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

Which Law Schools Employed the Most Graduates as Real Lawyers Versus Real Baristas?

Another day, another post about the latest batch of U.S. News law school rankings. It’s been a while since we last wrote about them, and we figured you might be experiencing some sort of withdrawal, so we’re here to deliver you another much-needed dose of rankings crack. Perhaps you can consider this our Curtis Mayfield moment — we’re your pushers.

Given that our readers think employment outcomes are the most relevant factor for a law school ranking system, today we’re going to be delving into all of the employment statistics that were used in the most recent rankings, with the assistance of a Pepperdine law professor.

Which law schools had the most graduates employed as lawyers? How about the law schools where the closest graduates have come to being employed at the bar are working as baristas and bartenders?

We’re about to find out….

Derek Muller of Pepperdine Law created several Top 10 lists after analyzing the job statistics used in the 2014 rankings, and he named them oh so creatively. Here they are, courtesy of TaxProf Blog:

Real Lawyers (Required bar passage, full-time, long-term)
“Advantaged” Non-Lawyers (JD advantage, full-time, long-term)
The Professionals (Professional, full-time, long-term)
Career Baristas (Non-professional, full-time, long-term)
The Temps (any employed position that’s part-time, short-term, or both)
Giving Up (unemployed, not seeking)
More Debt, Please (graduates pursuing a graduate degree full-time)
Return to Sender (employment status unknown)

Let’s get this show on the road. We’ll start off on the right foot with the Real Lawyers — all the people who were employed in positions where bar passage was required nine months after graduation.

1. University of Virginia 94.7%
2. Columbia University 94.1%
3. Stanford University 90.6%
4. Harvard University 90.1%
4. New York University 90.1%
6. University of Chicago 88.2%
7. Yale University 87.8%
8. University of Pennsylvania 84.7%
9. Duke University 82.1%
10. George Washington University 81.3%
10. Louisiana State University 81.3%

Of course UVA is at the top of this list; we’ve previously noted that UVA boasts the best “employed at graduation” rate of the top 14 law schools. The school may also have the best “we employed our own students at graduation” rate of the top 14 law schools, but that’s neither here nor there.

What’s most surprising, though, is that this list includes schools outside of the T14. UC Berkeley, Michigan, Northwestern, Cornell, and Georgetown: when you’ve gotten your pants beaten off by law schools ranked #21 and #76, you got some splainin’ to do! Go ahead, try blaming this year’s coastal employment bias after you take a moment to collectively hang your heads in shame.

Speaking of shame, here are the Top 10 law schools that made the Career Baristas list of graduates who are employed in full-time, long-term, non-professional positions. How embarrassing for you:

1. University of Akron 7.8%
2. University of North Dakota 6.2%
3. University of Nevada—Las Vegas 4.7%
4. Northern Illinois University 4.1%
5. University of Massachusetts—Dartmouth 3.9%
5. Willamette University 3.9%
7. Duquesne University 3.4%
7. University of Arkansas—Fayetteville 3.4%
9. Western State College of Law 3.3%
9. Western New England University 3.3%

Yep, there’s my alma mater, doing me proud with a tie at #9. As the commenters have asserted time and time again, it’s now been confirmed that Western New England produces some damn good sandwich makers. (And I make a great low-cal avocado spread for sandwiches; email me for the recipe.)

At least we weren’t #1. That honor goes out to Akron, a school that recently “froze” its tuition — after raising it by 6 percent — in an attempt to draw in more incoming students. At least now potential enrollees know they can go to this school to enjoy luxurious careers as plumbers and electricians.

UPDATE (3/28/2013, 10:10 a.m.): Here’s an important caveat to these rankings, pointed out by Dean Nancy Rapoport of UNLV Law.

If you’re interested, you can check out the full list of Top 10 rankings here, where you’ll find out interesting tidbits about all types of law school employment data. For example, we bet you didn’t know that Cooley Law is the third-best school in the nation in terms of graduates who are presumably too humiliated to tell their school about their employment outcomes.

Go ahead, feel free to praise or condemn your law school’s employment ranking in the comments.

The 2014 U.S. News Law School Rankings: Employment Data [TaxProf Blog]

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