NYU to Professor Campos: Come at me, bro!

“Having trouble knowing what to believe? We have a proposal for Paul Campos: come audit our numbers. We’ll show you a list of all NLJ 250 firms to which we sent associates in 2010 and 2011. Pick a reasonably sized sample from that group, and compare them to firm-verifiable data. Then let us, and the world, know what you find.”NYU’s Rebuttal

Professor Paul Campos called in to question NYU’s biglaw placement rate, citing a discrepancy between the numbers reported by NYU and by the National Law Journal. NYU’s response was clear:

Come at me, bro!

Something about NYU’s response (I’m a 2008 grad) just didn’t sit right with me. It wasn’t the acerbic tone the rebuttal took. It was that Law School Transparency had already requested NYU be more open about its job placement rates. LST actually made that request twice, and we have renewed that request again today.

Like all-but-six law schools, NYU has in its possession, right now, a NALP report with detailed job placement statistics for the class of 2010. This report contains a wealth of information, including the size of firms students went to work at; salary information for a multitude of categories; if the jobs are full time or part time, permanent or temporary; what states they are in; if the job at a law firm is as a lawyer, a clerk, or a paralegal; if students found the jobs through OCI, a job posting, or went back to work at a pre-law school employer. It paints a very detailed picture of what happened to the class of 2010, but it’s a picture that NYU has decided to not let anyone else see.

That’s what makes NYU’s response to Professor Campos so strange.

NYU professes its openness, its honesty, its transparency. With one hand it extends an offer to verify that things are as it says they are, but with the other hand it folds up the numbers and locks them away. “Come audit our books…. But not those books!”

Having trouble knowing what to believe? We have a proposal for New York University: disclose your numbers. You’ll publish the employment data collected by NALP for the class of 2010 (and for 2011 when you receive that report this summer). Then let us, and the world, know what you already know.

Letter

Dear Deans Revesz, Kleinrock, and Dorzback,

We are recent graduates of NYU Law working on legal education reform with Law School Transparency. One of our key projects has been to increase the quality of available consumer information to help prospective law students make informed decisions about attending law school.

On December 14th, 2011, Law School Transparency contacted NYU (and every other ABA-accredited law school) to request a copy of its NALP report for the class of 2010. The employment data contained in the NALP report are highly valuable to prospective students and not available elsewhere. Because NALP already collected the data and distributed the report to NYU in June 2011, there is no cost associated with our request. We ask only that NYU not withhold this information from prospective students.

To date, 37 law schools have provided NALP reports to Law School Transparency, with an additional 4 posting their reports online. However, the vast majority of law schools continue to withhold important information from prospective students, including NYU. Refusing to share these data harms not only the reputation of these schools, but of the legal education system at large.

In response to a recent post on Professor Paul Campos’s blog calling in to question the accuracy of NYU’s placement among large law firms, NYU extended him an offer to audit its numbers. This shows NYU already believes in the need to be an open book when addressing criticism that may harm NYU’s reputation. We hope that you will honor that spirit of openness by either publishing the NALP report on NYU’s website or providing it to Law School Transparency.

Law schools are tasked with training the legal professionals of the future. They hold students to honor codes, require them to attend a class on professional responsibility and ethics, and send them into a profession where they must uphold the values of that profession on a daily basis. However, when it comes to their own conduct, too many schools take a position that the minimal level of integrity required to maintain ABA accreditation is good enough. We hope that for a school in such an important position of academic and social leadership as NYU that the bare minimum is not good enough, and that you will choose to release the class of 2010 NALP report for the benefit of future students.

Thank you for your time and consideration on this matter. We would appreciate a response letting us know what your decision will be regarding our request. In the meantime please do not hesitate to contact us should you have any questions.

Sincerely,

Derek Tokaz
Assistant Director of Research
Law School Transparency
NYU School of Law Class of 2008

Natalie Reyes
Board Member
Law School Transparency
NYU School of Law Class of 2010