LST Requests Class of 2011 NALP Reports

Following our success in collecting NALP reports from schools last year, we are asking schools to now make their reports for the class of 2011 available.

For the class of 2010, we managed to collect 50 NALP reports. These reports helped us expand our data clearinghouse so that we could become the place to go for the most thorough and easy-to-compare employment information. This year, our goal is to double the number of reports we collect.

Even with the improvements to law school transparency, thanks to immense pressure on the ABA, these reports contain helpful data that schools are not required to be make public.

  • Salary Data (aggregated in categories)
  • Job Source (e.g., OCI, networking, direct mailings)
  • Job Offer Timing (before graduation, before bar results, after bar results)
  • Job Status (employed graduates who are still seeking or not seeking)
  • Job Region and Job States
  • Job Type Breakdowns by Employer Type (e.g., government JD Advantage)

Check out Seattle University School of Law’s Class of 2011 NALP report, which the school sent to us unprompted, to see what schools have to offer this year.

We hope that schools share our sense of urgency and help us put comparable employment information into the hands of consumers. Check out the full letter after the jump.

LST’s Letter to Law School Deans

June 28, 2012

To the Dean:

We are writing on behalf of Law School Transparency (“LST”) to ask that your law school provide its NALP report for the class of 2011. For the class of 2010, 50 ABA-approved law schools made these reports public. We expect to double that number this year.

Our objective remains straightforward. We aim to help prospective law students find the law schools that best meet their career objectives by providing access to timely, thorough, and comparable employment information. While the ABA Section of Legal Education and Admissions to the Bar has taken important steps towards helping prospective students make informed decisions, there is still much that your school can do, using data you already possess, to inform applicants and show them that your school is committed to fair and accurate disclosure.

What are we asking you to do?

We are asking that you provide LST with your school-specific NALP report, including the Summary Report and Tables 12 through 16, for the class of 2011. We will make all NALP reports freely available online. This will give applicants access to the same, critically important information your school receives each year.

To ensure that we can make the information accessible as soon as possible, we ask that you please submit the NALP report by July 18, 2012. If your school has yet to receive the report by mail, it should arrive shortly. We anticipate schools will receive electronic copies from NALP by next week.

Compliance with our request requires no additional work for your staff beyond emailing the report to LawSchoolTransparency@gmail.com. However, to limit privacy concerns, we respectfully request that your staff redact all gender, ethnicity, disability, and age information from the NALP report. If your staff is unable to make these redactions or would prefer that LST make the redactions for you, we will do so before publishing the report. If your office believes that compliance with our request implicates any other sensitive information we are happy to discuss your concerns at your convenience.

How will we use the NALP reports?

Our website is already regarded as a credible source of employment information for prospective law students. The NALP reports allow us to expand this free, widely-used service and permit further in-depth analysis for site visitors. In the event that we do not have a report from your school, we will post notice that your school declined to comply with our request. Our website also reproduces the NALP report format, with minor stylistic changes, to demonstrate which data each school has made public and which data the school has withheld from prospective students. See this page for an example from the class of 2010.

Our goal is to make comparable information available to those considering applying to and attending your law school. To this end, we will add a new website feature to help prospective students look up schools based on job outcome locations. We already know each school’s three most common destinations using data released by the ABA. However, in order to ensure that we can provide both state and regional lookups that include your school in all of the right places, we also need your class of 2011 NALP report. Both your school and prospective students will benefit from complete geographic lookups.

What won’t we use the NALP reports for?

Law School Transparency will not rank any individual law school based on the data contained in the NALP reports. Except for the redacted portions, we will present all data to the public in a manner consistent with our mission of informing the public about employment outcomes. As a result, other third parties may create so-called derivative tools, including rankings, to make comparisons based on the data disclosed in the reports. To the extent we can monitor the development of such tools and ensure they do not mislead prospective students, we will do so. We will also continue our policy of not making definitive statements about whether one program is better than another program. The decision to attend law school is fact sensitive and must be based on each individual’s career and educational objectives. We believe it is important to recognize that every law school and applicant is different.

What if your school already provides high quality employment information?

Some schools already recognize their heightened duty to inform prospective law students, understanding that the ABA standards only provide a reporting floor. These schools have surpassed the bare minimum in a timely fashion. Despite this, prospective law students still want and need comparable employment information before they can make an informed decision, and they need it now. Allowing prospective students to make direct comparisons requires that individual schools willingly share information in a standardized fashion. As the Section of Legal Education continues to hone its requirements, the NALP reports can function as a useful stopgap.

These reports are thorough and content-rich, especially compared to the alternative, where each school individually chooses to display only the information it feels best conveys its placement strengths. The reports contain helpful data that the Section of Legal Education does not require to be made public, including the following:

  • Salary Data (aggregated in categories, not individual salaries)
  • Job Source (e.g., OCI, networking, direct mailings)
  • Job Offer Timing (before graduation, before bar results, after bar results)
  • Job Status (employed graduates who are still seeking or not seeking)
  • Job Region and Job States
  • Job Type Breakdowns by Employer Type (e.g., government JD Advantage)

Applicants are increasingly aware of the ways schools have withheld important information in the past, and they are unlikely to prefer schools that continue that behavior in the future. Schools have already begun sending us their NALP reports, unprompted. We hope your school values this initiative and will join others in closing an obvious and inexcusable information gap.

Please do not hesitate to contact a member of our staff if you have any questions.

Best,

Kyle P. McEntee, Esq.
Executive Director, Co-Founder

Patrick J. Lynch, Esq.
Policy Director, Co-Founder

Derek M. Tokaz, Esq.
Research Director

Established in 2009, Law School Transparency is a nonprofit legal education policy organization. Our mission is to improve consumer information and to usher in consumer-oriented reforms to the current law school model. We operate independently of any legal institutions, legal employers, or academic reports related to the legal market. This email was sent to the dean’s office for every ABA approved and provisionally-approved law school. If you received this letter in error, please let us know to whom we should direct our request.