These days, when someone announces that they’re going to law school, there’s a cacophony of groans from law school graduates pleading, nay, begging that the prospective law student do something else with their lives. “There aren’t any jobs!” they shout. “You’ll be drowning in debt!” they scream. Some people listen and don’t enroll, but others forge ahead to become future members of the exponentially growing army of law school naysayers.
But what if we told you that there’s some evidence that the jobs are coming back? What if we told you that there are some law schools that have seen more than 20 percent improvement in their employment rates?
If you think we’re crazy, keep reading, because we’ve got some hard data for you…
The National Jurist recently came out with a new study that purportedly shows which law schools have made the largest improvements in their post-graduation employment rates from 2011 to 2013. Of course, these percentages were compiled using the “National Jurist scale,” which can be best described as nonsensical, seeing as most care only about whether a legal education from a particular school will enable its graduates to become lawyers in full-time, long-term positions requiring bar passage.
Anyway, here’s how National Jurist decided to calculate their numbers:
The National Jurist calculates its employment rate using a formula that tracks full-time bar passage required employment at 100 percent, full-time-JD preferred employment at 70 percent, and ten other categories at percents from 60 percent to as low as 10 percent for non-professional, full-time positions.
So National Jurist gives credit for both barred attorneys and bar tenders. Here are the 19 law schools they claim showed a vast improvement in employment statistics in 2013 when compared to 2011:
Make of that what you will. We recreated the chart using only the data for full-time, long-term positions where bar-passage was required. The results differed greatly from National Jurist’s — shockingly so:
We imagine that Maine and D.C. will happily stand by their National Jurist assessment, but many of these schools should be very, very angry — their actual improvement was leaps and bounds better than what was reflected by the magazine’s absurd scale. As you can see, Willamette is no longer in first place, and Brooklyn Law, a school that was praised by National Jurist for coming in third place, is now third to last out of this group of schools when it comes to graduates working in long-term, full-time jobs as lawyers.
Don’t even get us started on the schools that included students employed in school-funded positions in their long-term, full-time statistics. For example, if we subtract those recent graduates from Georgetown’s numbers, the school is left with a 14.6 percent improvement in employment from 2011 to 2013. William and Mary, in second place on the ATL chart, would be left with just a 1.8 percent improvement in employment.
If you’re thinking about applying to law school, you need to crunch the job numbers for yourself. You never know who is giving you just part of the truth. We’re here to help you discover the whole truth, and we sincerely hope that you investigate these things on your own before it’s too late. Best of luck!
Largest employment gains by school [National Jurist]