Saturday, February 7, 2015

Is there a correlation between experiential learning and job outcomes for law students?

The Volokh Conspiracy, via the Washington Post, has a short piece discussing a new article posted on SSRN (is that circuitous enough for you?) that plots the number of clinical slots available to students at a given law school against the number of grads who obtain full time, JD required employment 9 months after graduation.  The article, by Professor Jason Yackee (Wisconsin), finds no correlation between the two suggesting that employers do not place much value on experiential training though the prestige of the graduate's school still matters like it always has according to the study (no surprise there  - nor can I imagine that's ever going to change).  You can find Professor Yackee's article on SSRN here.  From the Washington Post, here's an excerpt of Professor Kerr's take on it.

Do law school clinics lead to more jobs for law school graduates?

. . . .

As Yackee makes clear, the paper does not try to assess the value of clinical education. Instead, it tries to assess whether employers of newly-minted JDs see such education as valuable based on their hiring patterns. As I understand things, the basic methodology is to look school by school at two variables: (a) the percentage of slots available at that school in faculty supervised law clinic courses as compared to overall JD enrollment, based on the ABA Standard 509 Information Report of that school; and (b) that law school’s Law School Transparency “Employment Score,” which “measures the percent of recent graduates obtaining full time employment, within nine months of graduation, for which a JD degree and bar passage are required.” The basic question is, do schools that have a high proportion of clinical spots do better employment-wise than those that don’t?

. . . .

I’ll be interested to see how other empirical legal studies scholars respond to the paper, and whether they think its conclusions hold up.

Continue reading here.


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