Wednesday, November 10, 2010

USNWR will change its formula for calculating the "employed-at-graduation" component of law school rankings

In 2010, the "employed-at-graduation" ("EAG") component of the USNWR law school rankings formula counted for 4% of the overall ranking figure while the "employed-at-nine-months" component counted for 14%.  Apparently some schools that don't have stellar EAG numbers simply don't report it rather than take the hit.  But in the chess-game that's become the relationship between law schools and USNWR (maybe Spy vs. Spy is the better analogy), Robert Morse is trying to stay one step ahead of those administrators intent on gaming (his) system by changing the ranking formula in order to penalize those schools that don't report EAG numbers.  According to this press release from NALP:

In May 2010, Robert Morse, Director of Data Research for US News & World Report, announced on his blog that US News will change the method by which it self-calculates the at graduation number for schools that don’t report that figure. US News cited the potential for gamesmanship as the reason for changing its methodology in this regard. In the current edition of the rankings, 74 law schools, or 39% of those schools that were ranked, did not report an at graduation employment number. US News was concerned that law schools that had a poor at graduation employment number were intentionally failing to report the figure, knowing that the magazine would assign a nine month minus 30% number, which would be better than the actual number that wasn’t reported.

My question is this:  Is USNWR also going to discount the EAG component for those schools that create jobs for otherwise unemployed law grads?  It's a hot trend right now - whether schools pay employers to take their grads, pay stipends directly to students until they find permanent jobs, or merely provide office space and other resources to help students start solo practices, failure to account for these programs in the EAG numbers can mislead prospective students about their true job prospects upon graduation.

You can read more of the NALP's reporting on how USNWR plans to handle the employment component of law school rankings here.


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