Are you ready for some change? We’re about to see if two organizations worth about a quarter when it comes to regulating law schools can add up to a dollar’s worth of law school transparency. The American Bar Association has adopted new reporting standards for law school graduate employment data.
And at least for the first year of the new standards the ABA will be partnering with the National Association for Law Placement (NALP) to try to get accurate post-graduate employment data to prospective law students.
Let’s hope the ABA and NALP take their talents to the U.S. News law school rankings…
Law School Transparency has a good report on the details of these new ABA rules. Here’s what law schools will now be required to report:
Employment Status (100% of the class will be accounted for with these categories)
Job Credentials: employed in a job requiring bar passage, in a job for which a JD is preferred, in another professional job, in a non-professional job, or in a job of unknown type.
Non-Employed Status: pursuing a graduate degree; unemployed – not seeking or unemployed – seeking; and status unknown.
Employer Type (100% of the class will be accounted for with these categories)
Law Firms: various sizes based on total attorneys at the firm globally (8 total + an unknown category).
Other Employers: business and industry; government; public interest; judicial clerkships; academia; and employer type unknown.
United States: the three states where the most graduates are employed and number employed in each.
International: the number of graduates employed internationally.
Schools will also report data, where applicable, about whether the jobs are full-time/part-time and long-term/short-term, as well as indicate the number of jobs that are funded by the law school or university.
If law schools actually do this, these new standards will be a huge improvement. Hopefully prospective law students will notice.
Of course, there are no NALP police. And the ABA hasn’t shown itself to have the stones to wield its big accreditation stick. In short, there’s nothing really stopping law schools from pulling a Villanova and lying about these figures.
But it’s a start. And if these numbers somehow make their way into the U.S. News rankings matrix, we might well be on the verge of seeing law school employment data that actually means something.
ABA Reforms Employment Outcome Disclosure [Law School Transparency]