Paul L. Caron

Tuesday, April 1, 2014

Muller: The Improving Job Market for California Law Grads

Derek Muller (Pepperdine), Legal Employment Outcomes in California in 2013:

The USNWR methodology gives "full weight" to "graduates who had a full-time job lasting at least a year where bar passage was required or a J.D. degree was an advantage." ... Imperfect a measure as it may be, I took this metric and calculated the differences in 2012 and 2013 data for 19 California ABA-approved schools and 2 California provisionally-accredited schools. Here's what the data show. 

First, there were more graduates. Total graduates from these 21 schools increased 1.4%, from 5114 graduates in 2012 to 5185 graduates in 2013.

Second, more graduates obtained full-time, long-term, bar passage-required or J.D.-advantage positions. In 2012, there were 2848 who obtained such employment, for a 55.7% employment rate. In 2013, there was a 1.2 percentage point increase, with 2950 who obtained such employment for a 56.9% employment rate. ...

Third, law school funding for these types of positions tripled. There were 24 school-funded full-time, long-term bar passage-required or J.D.-advantage positions in 2012; that number jumped to 100 in 2013. Leading the way were UC-Berkeley (from 0 to 25), UCLA (from 9 to 34), USC (from 0 to 12), and UC-Davis (from 2 to 10), which accounted for 70% of the increase. ...

Below is a chart reflecting the 2012 and 2013 data, with links to the school's underlying data. It includes the 2015 USNWR peer score, the 2013 full-time, long-term, bar passage-required and J.D.-advantage positions, along with the year-over-year increase or decline in points from the 2012 rate. It then lists the raw number of students who obtained such positions, along with a parenthetical notation of how many of those positions were school-funded. The same is listed for 2012. ...


All 21 schools are here.

Update:   I have updated the post to reflect the data released by UC-Berkeley.

Law School Rankings, Legal Education | Permalink


While it was very perspicacious of you to notice this, I hate to rain on CA students' parade, but these stats are more likely a result of the recent upturn in California's economy and job growth than some surge in CA schools' success in getting grads employed. I'd guess a comparison of out-of-state CA grad employment in 2012/2013 would show no change, although I'd be interested to see the figures.

Omitted variable bias, for all you stats-heavy majors out there...

Posted by: Mojojojo | Apr 7, 2014 11:46:42 AM

UC Irvine is the real story here. Despite being a self proclaimed (and by prawfs' ignorant standards, an accepted) to 20 "law school," with the venerable Erwin Chemerinsky acting as a de facto career services counselor to further his cause, Irvine, having only graduated 84 heads, only managed to achieve a 66% FTLT bar required/J.D. advantage employment rate. They are at about 1/3 of their anticipated 1L enrollment capacity, so what happens when they get there? Will saying over and over "we are a top 20 law school" translate into top 20 law school-quality employment results? Or is this a sad tail of decadence gone bad?

To JM: UC Irvine costs more than many private schools, for in-staters. You are correct.

What a mess.

Posted by: Anon | Apr 6, 2014 2:09:12 PM

Irvine aspired to compete with UCLA. Three years into this experiment, no top student in their right mind would consider enrolling there without a full scholarship. I don't see any way they even crack the top 50 at this point.

Posted by: JM | Apr 1, 2014 1:16:31 PM

Well, 54.9% IS better than 53.6%, although I'm not sure Mr. Muller's parents would have bought that as a justification were he referencing his high school test scores.

Posted by: Unemployed Northeastern | Apr 1, 2014 7:44:26 AM