April 23, 2010
Student Site Seeks Transparency in Law Graduate Employment
The ABA Journal is reporting on two Vanderbilt Law Students who created a web site, Law School Transparency, to try and get more legitimate employment information for law school graduates. The premise is that employment data reported to the ABA and U.S. News is aggregate, which hides the real condition of the employment market for those with a law degree. As the ABA Journal articlenotes, those employed as in-house counsel are grouped in with graduates holding non-law jobs such as cooks at Waffle Houses. Would you like bacon or sausage with those contracts? Patrick Lynch and Kyle McEntee have published a paper at SSRN that details the concerns and methodology of reporting more detailed employment figures.
Good luck with that, as they say. The concept is a good idea, but there are vested interests in not releasing the information with such detail. The only schools that would voluntarily comply with a project such as this are those who have really good employment figures. That may include a few of the really good schools who can still place graduates. With large law firms holding off on associates from these same schools and Harvard and others having offered some tuition payback delay or forgiveness in return for public service work, I think even those will decide not to cooperate. Look for leaked documentsand other discussion rather than a comprehensive data set. Even that may have some impact on a potential law student's idea of what may happen to him or her at the other end of the grinder. Some of the raw data may even get some of the schools to respond in one form or another. Either that, or get the ABA and/or U.S. News to require it as part of the reporting process. Not likely to happen. [MG]