Job Searches, Law Schools, Rankings, U.S. News

Employment Statistics Shenanigans Open Thread: Which Schools Are Juking Their Stats?

Ervin Burell was a man who know how to 'juke the stats.'

All right folks, graduation is upon us. If you are a 3L who did not secure a post-graduate legal job, I’m sorry. Your life isn’t over, but law school didn’t work out as well for you as you might have hoped. At least not yet.

Not that your law schools want anybody to know that. No, according to your law school, you, unemployed 3L, are an embarrassment. They wish you would just go away. They don’t want to be reminded that you exist. Why? Because your unemployment could hurt your law school’s U.S. News ranking.

Unfortunately for some schools, U.S. News is actually paying more attention these days to schools that simply ignore their unemployed 3Ls for purposes of reporting their employed-upon-graduation statistics. Maybe U.S. News can’t force schools to report only those students employed in legitimate legal jobs, but they can punish schools that refuse to report on all of their recent graduates.

You know what that means: bring on your fake job programs, designed largely for rankings-enhancement purposes.

Let’s try to collect all of the schools that are enacting ridiculous “employment” programs that seem designed primarily to enhance their U.S. News rank. We’ll get you started with a fun one….

The whole point of doing this as an open thread is that we don’t think any one school should be blamed for what has become an epidemic of misinformation throughout legal academia. As one wise tipster rhetorically asked:

Are the real victims the law students without jobs, or the prospective law students who believe the school’s brochure?

That tipster was from UCLA Law, and he was distressed about this message from Dean Rachel F. Moran:

Hello Class of 2011!

On Friday, along with your families and friends, I will have the privilege and joy of celebrating your graduation from UCLA Law. I want each and every one of you to know how truly proud I am of all of your achievements. It took a lot for you to get into this great school and it took a lot for you to graduate. I hope that as you become the fine lawyers I know you can be, you will keep in touch and share your many accomplishments.

I also am mindful that this year’s employment market is not as good as it has been in years past. While many of you know where you will be working in the fall, some of you still have not located a job. I hope you will be in contact with our Office of Career Services. While you may be leaving campus you are not leaving behind all of the resources UCLA Law has to offer. We are a family and [Redacted] the Alumni/3L Counselor, and the entire OCS team want to hear from you and help you. Please contact them or set up an appointment if you have not been in touch with them recently and please continue to stay in contact as your career progresses.

I am pleased to inform you that we are expanding and formalizing our New Graduate Opportunity Program (NGOP) this year. If you are a member of the Class of 2011 and have not obtained a post-graduate job, we will provide funding for approximately 20 hours per week for 10 weeks of work in a nonprofit organization or a governmental agency contingent upon your submitting an NGOP application and following through with the NGOP requirements. In past years, participating students have found this program very helpful in providing the resources and credentials to enable them to find other opportunities and a few obtained permanent jobs from their placements. If you are interested and have not already filled out an NGOP Application, please contact [Redacted] in Career Services. She and the OCS team can provide you with information about the program and possible opportunities and will be communicating with you throughout the next several months.

And again, congratulations on completing your legal education!

Warm regards,

Rachel F. Moran
Dean and Michael J. Connell Professor of Law

Does 10 weeks of work, for 20 hours a week, count as “employed upon graduation”? And will schools come up with similar programs as their graduates approach another important milestone, the “nine months after graduation” mark? We welcome input from readers with knowledge about the logistics for counting law school graduates as “employed,” under the various reporting regimes (e.g., U.S. News, ABA, NALP, etc.).

To be clear, there’s nothing wrong with the program. The program sounds great. The problem is using programs like this as a way to inflate the number of graduates that are “employed.”

Which law schools are doing this? Please list the school and the program in the comments. At the very least, prospective law students should know which schools are most actively engaged in producing disingenuous employment statistics.

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