ABA Section of Legal Education to Collect Graduate-level Data

The Council of the Section of Legal Education announced today that it would move forward in collecting graduate-level data from law schools. As we reported yesterday, the Section and NALP will collaborate as to limit the negative effects of this policy on NALP’s annual studies of the entry-level hiring market.

Press Release

TORONTO, Aug. 6, 2011 — The Council of the American Bar Association Section of Legal Education and Admissions to the Bar is announcing that it will move forward in collecting detailed job placement data from law schools, and will hold schools accountable for the completeness and accuracy of that data. The decision comes at the end of the section’s council meeting held at the ABA Annual Meeting in Toronto.

As the federally recognized law school accreditor, the council has the ability to require law schools to meet specific standards for accreditation.

“Our regulatory function puts us in the best position to be able to collect data from law schools and ensure that it is reliable,” said section chair Chief Justice Christine Durham of the Utah Supreme Court. “We will begin requiring that law schools report job placement data directly to us,” she said. Previously, law schools voluntarily provided job placement information to a trade association, the National Association for Law Placement. The section and NALP have agreed to collaborate going forward.

During the past year, the ABA Section of Legal Education’s Questionnaire Committee engaged in an extensive effort to respond to concerns that current data was either inaccurate, insufficient or both. Beginning next month, the annual law school questionnaire will require schools to report more specific information than ever before, including employment status, types and locations. The questionnaire will ask these questions, among others:

  • Is the graduate employed or unemployed?
  • Is the graduate’s employment long-term or short-term?
  • Is the job funded by the law school or university?
  • Does the graduate work for a law firm, a business or in government?

“The section is committed to providing this data so that applicants, students and the public can make informed career decisions,” said Bucky Askew, legal education consultant to the American Bar Association. The section will report the information in the ABA-LSAC Official Guide to ABA Approved Law Schools.

With nearly 400,000 members, the American Bar Association is the largest voluntary professional membership organization in the world. As the national voice of the legal profession, the ABA works to improve the administration of justice, promotes programs that assist lawyers and judges in their work, accredits law schools, provides continuing legal education, and works to build public understanding around the world of the importance of the rule of law.