Law School Transparency is a relatively new member of the discussion about how (or whether) American law schools should disclose the employment outcomes of their graduates. We are very proud of the enormous strides LST has made in our first year and a half of operation, and we have many of you to thank for it. Your observations have reinforced our identity as a consumer rights organization and, more importantly, influenced how we have chosen to advocate for change that will create lasting benefits for the legal profession.
To date, anonymous donations, as well as Kyle, Natalie, and my contributions, have covered our administrative costs (e.g. server costs and incorporation documents) and travel costs (e.g. attending the recent ABA Questionnaire Committee hearing). We work on a volunteer basis, and are not seeking to use donations for payroll. Even so, our projected costs are significant and we can’t foot the bill on our own, so we are looking for your help. Whether the help comes in the form of monetary donations, hotel points and frequent flier miles, or professional services, your assistance is valuable to us as we help spread our message. Past and future contributions allow us to take some critical steps that we would never have been able to do on our own.
As the year comes to an end, we hope you will continue to support LST through your contributions, particularly as we continue our lobbying efforts with organizations like the ABA, NALP, and U.S. News. Most of our projected funding needs are the costs associated with attending meetings and conferences over the next year. The ABA Questionnaire Committee and Standards Review Committee, for example, each meet about once every three months in different cities.
Our ability to be present at those meetings, as well as at ad hoc hearings and meetings of the ABA Section of Legal Education Council, will help us shape and steer the discussions in the right direction. Right now, we are limiting our attendance to only those meetings at which we can speak directly on transparency. Depending on the donations we receive, we also hope to attend meetings as nonparticipant observers so that we can monitor progress and continue building relationships with those individuals who are truly committed to turning things around. A large number of law school deans and professors are usually in attendance, and a student-oriented voice is often missing. Your contributions will help keep the conversation balanced and make sure a diversity of opinions are present at the table.
Where else will your money go?
LST is a Tennessee non-profit corporation, but we would like to become a 501(c)(3) non-profit this year so that our donors may deduct contributions. The application fee is $400.
LST would like to make open records requests from public law schools. Although open records requests are often free to make, we would be required to pay for documents and labor. We are looking for either a financial commitment or offers to make the requests on a pro bono basis.
LST would also like to increase circulation of our reports and other relevant data. This will help make sure that we can get more tools in the hands of prospective law students, educators, and pre-law advisors. We will introduce our “U.S. Law School Reports” series in 2011, which will explain how best to understand available employment information. These and other reports will remain available on our website, but we believe printed copies will be especially useful as a resource for pre-law advisors. These will supplement other publications like the ABA Official Guide and the U.S. News & World Report. At a minimum, we hope to raise enough funds to print and distribute copies of our reports to the pre-law advisors at the top feeder schools.
Finally, some funds will go toward keeping LST in good standing in Tennessee and making sure our website sticks around. Our 2011 server and domain costs are $117.93. Our Tennessee filings should be under $200 this year.
In the case that we receive more funds than what is necessary to pay for the above-mentioned items, we will be happy to discuss how you would like your contributions used. The goal in all of this is to continue building a consensus about the need for change, as well as for the best methods to reform how schools disclose employment data. It is only with your support that we can ensure that LST will play an active part as things go forward.
How To Donate
Please contact us if you are interested in providing professional services or making nonfinancial contributions. For monetary contributions, you have two options: click on the PayPal button on our website (right column) to make a secure donation to LST’s bank account; wire directly to the account (Wells Fargo).
We are grateful to those who have already found fit to contribute in support of our work, and we hope that more of you will continue offering up your ideas, suggestions, and contributions. LST has a lot left to accomplish, but with your help we can make sure we achieve our goals. Please let us know if you have any suggestions about how to improve our progress and how to make sure we have the resources we need to keep things going.
All the best,
Patrick J. Lynch
Policy Director, Co-Founder & Policy Director