Paul L. Caron

Wednesday, March 27, 2013

The 2014 U.S. News Law School Rankings: Employment Data

2014 U.S. NewsDerek Muller (Pepperdine) has mined the employment data in the 2014 U.S. News Law School Rankings and created these Top 10 lists:

  • Real Lawyers (Required bar passage, full-time, long-term)
  • “Advantaged” Non-Lawyers (JD advantage, full-time, long-term)
  • The Professionals (Professional, full-time, long-term)
  • Career Baristas (Non-professional, full-time, long-term)
  • The Temps (any employed position that’s part-time, short-term, or both)
  • Giving Up (unemployed, not seeking)
  • More Debt, Please (graduates pursuing a graduate degree full-time)
  • Return to Sender (employment status unknown)

Real Lawyers (Required bar passage, full-time, long-term):

1. University of Virginia 94.7%
2. Columbia University 94.1%
3. Stanford University 90.6%
4. Harvard University 90.1%
4. New York University 90.1%
6. University of Chicago 88.2%
7. Yale University 87.8%
8. University of Pennsylvania 84.7%
9. Duke University 82.1%
10. George Washington University 81.3%
10. Louisiana State University 81.3%

“Advantaged” Non-Lawyers (JD advantage, full-time, long-term):

1. Catholic University of America 23.0%
2. University of Massachusetts—Dartmouth 21.6%
3. Northern Kentucky University 21.2%
4. University of Louisville 19.7%
5. Hamline University 19.0%
6. George Mason University 18.2%
7. Southwestern Law School 17.8%
8. Phoenix School of Law 17.6%
9. University of Richmond 17.5%
10. Michigan State University 15.9%

The Professionals (Professional, full-time, long-term):

1. University of North Dakota 13.6%
2. University of New Mexico 11.7%
3. William Mitchell College of Law 11.3%
4. Florida A&M University 11.2%
5. Phoenix School of Law 10.7%
6. North Carolina Central University 10.6%
7. Rutgers Newark 10.5%
8. Indiana University—Indianapolis 10.3%
9. Western State College of Law 10.0%
10. Southern University Law Center 9.8%

Career Baristas (Non-professional, full-time, long-term):*

1. University of Akron 7.8%
2. University of North Dakota 6.2%
3. University of Nevada—Las Vegas 4.7%
4. Northern Illinoi University 4.1%
5. University of Massachusetts—Dartmouth 3.9%
5. Willamette University 3.9%
7. Duquesne University 3.4%
7. University of Arkansas—Fayetteville 3.4%
9. Western State College of Law 3.3%
9. Western New England University 3.3%

* Caution is in order for any ordinal ranking, but in a category like this, where the percentages are low, small numbers may appear large. For instance, the University of Akron has just 9 graduates in this category but ranks first; the University of North Dakota, just 5 graduates but ranks second; the University of Nevada—Las Vegas, just 6 graduates, but ranks third.

The Temps (any employed position that’s part-time, short-term, or both):

1. Florida Coastal School of Law 32.8%
2. Golden Gate University 32.3%
3. Pennsylvania State University 31.2%
4. University of New Hampshire 30.7%
5. Brigham Young University 30.6%
6. University of the Pacific 30.4%
6. Northeastern University 30.4%
8. University of California—Davis 29.7%
9. Phoenix School of Law 28.4%
10. University of San Francisco 28.2%

Giving Up (unemployed, not seeking):

1. Santa Clara University 15.9%
2. Willamette University 11.6%
3. University of the District of Columbia 11.5%
4. Chapman University 11.3%
5. Charlotte School of Law 10.3%
6. Southwestern Law School 9.4%
7. University of Hawaii—Manoa 7.9%
8. Western State College of Law 7.8%
9. University of Washington 7.7%
10. Atlanta’s John Marshall Law School 6.8%

More Debt, Please (graduates pursuing a graduate degree full-time):

1. Gonzaga University 7.5%
2. Pennsylvania State University 7.3%
3. University of Mississippi 6.6%
4. Mercer University 6.2%
5. University of Arkansas—Fayetteville 6.0%
6. University of Montana 5.9%
6. Florida A&M University 5.9%
8. Golden Gate University 5.8%
9. American University 5.6%
10. University of South Dakota 5.5%

Return to Sender (employment status unknown):

1. Capital University 28.6%
2. Florida A&M University 27.6%
3. Thomas M. Cooley Law School 26.3%
4. Appalachian School of Law 23.9%
5. University of Memphis 15.5%
6. Texas Wesleyan University 15.2%
7. Southern Illinois University—Carbondale 13.6%
8. University of Mississippi 12.6%
9. Ave Maria School of Law 12.5%
10. Roger Williams University 12.0%


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Impressive that LSU is that high and is on The White List (Schools that reported zero law school/university funded positions 9 months after graduation). UVA is a wonderful program, but it is also #1 on the We Take Care of Our Own (Graduates employed in law school/university funded positions). Take that 17% from UVA and they fall below LSU.

Posted by: rwr | Mar 28, 2013 11:19:15 AM

Very impressive to see LSU law crack into a top ten list. They have always had an excellent reputation in Louisiana and throughout the southeast and Texas, and really have done alot in recent years to up their game.

If regional economics alone could explain why LSU law's after graduation employment rate was so high, then it would seem like it would also lift other nearby law schools like Tulane, Texas or Baylor as well, but that doesn't seem to be the case for some reason. Interesting results.

Posted by: Rob | Mar 28, 2013 8:35:25 AM

Nancy -- In the case of UNLV, it should say "career blackjack dealers."

Posted by: Justa Joke | Mar 27, 2013 3:03:36 PM

Because the information about UNLV (Boyd School of Law) is based on a total of six graduates and ignores the fact that 75% of that graduating class is employed in full-time or part-time positions that require bar passage or a JD, I've asked Professor Muller to please correct the mistaken impression caused by including us on that "top 10" list of his. I'm looking forward to hearing from him.

Posted by: Nancy Rapoport | Mar 27, 2013 2:24:32 PM

@attysb: does it say something about the school that they don't care to find out what their graduates are doing? Heck, even my tiny high school somehow continues to know what I'm doing (and I don't tell them). My suspicion is that the schools who are "Return to Sender" fear for the responses they'll receive. The diploma mill that is Cooley surely doesn't want people to know that they have such horrible professional employment.

Posted by: JohnPM | Mar 27, 2013 1:42:17 PM

It'd be great to a spreadsheet of all schools in all categories. At the least, the data would be more relevant for the schools ranked 50-100- LSU has obviously outperformed it's ranking, and I'm sure some other schools are significantly over (or under) achieving- that would have been nice information before I sold my soul for a worthless piece of paper.

Posted by: DCW | Mar 27, 2013 11:03:21 AM

So because some schools aren't aware of their graduates employment status the school is lumped in the "Return to Sender" category? I'm personally 4 years out of law school and am employed on a permanent full time basis as an attorney and haven't informed my school and I know countless others who haven't either.

Posted by: attysb | Mar 27, 2013 10:45:12 AM

If a lists like these existed for all schools, it would greatly assist prospective students in finding the right law school. I would love to add lists one and two.

Posted by: HTA | Mar 27, 2013 7:22:21 AM

I am not sure exactly how these numbers work, but UVA reported about 15% of its class in school funded positions. That makes the 94.7% figure here seem a bit dubious. It seems schools may be using different standards to report these numbers.

Posted by: JDEsq | Mar 27, 2013 6:51:36 AM