Coming to — or, rather, from — a law school near you: more detailed reporting of graduates’ employment outcomes, under new ABA rules:
As to job data, the 2011 Annual Questionnaire will request from law schools information on their graduates’ employment status, employment types and employment locations. It will also request additional and new information on whether a graduate’s employment is long-term or short-term. Finally, it will ask how many, if any, positions held by their graduates are funded by the law school or university.
New data will also be collected in the spring of 2012 (soon after February 15, 2012, the traditional nine-month-after-graduation date), for the graduating class of 2011, including whether the graduate’s job is part-time or full-time; whether the job requires bar passage; whether a J.D. is preferred for the job; whether the job is in another profession; and whether the job is a non- professional one. Definitions for these categories will be developed this coming fall. However, rather than wait until August 2012 to collect these new data, our plan is to collect those data from the schools soon after February 15, 2012 and display the data on our website in the late spring/early summer.
Overall I think this is good even though I suspect it will hurt UM, at least in the short run, since all the Legal Corps jobs, which I think provide much more valuable training and experience than most law-school-funded work, will probably show up as both short-term and law-school-funded.
Previously: Do Our Graduates Have Jobs? What Are They Making? (12/2/10) and Meet the UM Law Legal Corps Fellowship Program (10/14/10)
This seems like a step in the right direction. When the new NALP numbers came out showing that only about 50% of the class of 2010 had jobs practicing law, no one could have been surprised. In fact, 50% is probably too high if you remove the temporary and school funded jobs.
The schools don’t fund those jobs out of the goodness of their hearts. They put permanent craters in the bank accounts of students, and then “reward” them with temporary “jobs” that pay pitiful stipends because they know full well they are churning graduates out into a world where they have a less than 50-50 shot of getting a real job. All so the school can increase its employed at graduation numbers for US News.
But the schools will never police themselves by reducing enrollment. Law schools have little overhead and few expenses, other than bloated faculty salaries. And, there is a seemingly neverending supply of reality-challenged college grads who keep appyling to law school believing that they will be immune to the utter carnage that has gone on right in front of them for years. So with an unlimited supply of revenue and a comparatively negligible body of expenses, law schools are cash cows, and they know it.
David Segal’s NYT article couldn’t be more spot on, and hopefully it’s just the start of educating the public about what’s going on in legal education.