Paul L. Caron

Tuesday, August 2, 2011

NALP May Sue ABA Over New Law School Placement Data Reporting Rules

NALP logo Following up on Sunday's post, NALP Objects to ABA Reform of Law School Placement Data Reporting: National Law Journal, NALP Clashes With ABA Over Jobs Data — and Hints at Taking Legal Action:

A bitter turf war has broken out between NALP and the ABA over the collection of law school postgraduate employment data, with the former hinting that it might sue the latter.

Last week, the executive committee of the of the ABA's Section of Legal Education and Admissions to the Bar decided to require law schools to report far more detailed information about the jobs and salaries that their graduates land directly to the ABA — essentially, cutting NALP out of the reporting process. The decision represented a departure from an earlier recommendation by the section's questionnaire committee to require the reporting of detailed statistics, but to rely on NALP to collect and sort the data. ... The changes will be in effect during the next survey cycle, and will cover the class of 2011.

NALP ... wrote to the ABA on July 28 outlining three primary concerns:

  • That law school career services offices will be burdened by reporting two different sets of employment and salary statistics, one for NALP and one for the ABA.
  • That fewer law schools would report statistics to NALP, because doing so is voluntary while reporting directly to the ABA is mandatory. ...
  • That the ABA is appropriating NALP's intellectual property, in the form of its jobs survey.

[NALP Executive Director James Leipold] said that the ABA appears to be using the same research and survey process that NALP has developed during the past 37 years. "As far as the IP issue, there's legal recourse," he said. "I don't want to engage in a legal showdown with the ABA, but we'll go there if we have to."

Bill Henderson, a professor at Indiana University Maurer School of Law — Bloomington, said the ABA's new reporting system will represent a major blow to NALP's ability to collect information and analyze the legal job market. Henderson has used NALP data extensively for his research on the legal industry. "I think what's happening is a total disaster," he said. "Everything that we know about the industry on a systemic level is from NALP. The ABA won't crunch industry data the way NALP does. They won't have the will or the capacity."

The most logical solution, Henderson said, would be to create a joint NALP/ABA survey, which would allow both entities to exist and make clear that reporting is part of the law school accreditation process.

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The gnashing you hear is the sound of teeth on the rims of empty rice bowls.

Posted by: anon2 | Aug 2, 2011 11:44:48 AM

Hell hath no fury like NALP employees trying to keep their jobs, even if it means misleading law school applicants about legal job prospects.

Posted by: anon | Aug 2, 2011 9:19:57 AM