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.

Continue reading LST Requests Class of 2011 NALP Reports

Class of 2011 legal employment and underemployment numbers are in, and far worse than expected

LST’s Press Release:

Mister Hart, here is a dime. Take it, call your mother, and tell her there is serious doubt about you ever becoming a lawyer.
– Kingsfield, The Paper Chase

The ABA has released Class of 2011 job outcome data for all domestic ABA-approved law schools. The data are far more granular than ever before. Law School Transparency has analyzed the data and made the school-specific data available on its website for easy comparison.

The ABA data shed considerable light on how poorly the 2011 graduates fared. We can now say with certainty that the employment picture is far worse than previously reported. Only 55.2% of all graduates were known to be employed in full-time, long-term legal jobs. A devastating 26.4% of all graduates were underemployed.

According to the ABA data from 195 law schools:

Full-time, Long-Term Legal Jobs:

  • These jobs require bar passage or are judicial clerkships and are for at least 35 hours per week and have an expected duration of at least one year.
  • The national full-time, long-term legal rate is 55.2%.
  • At 73 law schools (37.1%), less than 50% of graduates had these legal jobs.
    • 30 schools (15.2%) had less than 40%
    • 10 schools (5.1%) had less than a 33%
  • 89 schools (45.2%) exceeded the national rate of 55.2%.
    • 31 schools (15.7%) had more than 67%
    • 19 schools (9.6%) had more than 75%
    • 5 schools (2.5%) had more than 90%

Underemployed:

  • We define a graduate as underemployed when he or she is “Unemployed – Seeking”, pursuing an additional advanced degree, in a non-professional job, or employed in a short-term or part-time job.
  • The national underemployment rate is 26.4%.
  • 180 schools (91.4%) reported a rate greater than 10%.
    • 144 schools (73.1%) had more than 20%
    • 109 schools (55.3%) had more than 25%
    • 57 schools (28.9%) had more than 33%
    • 20 schools (10.2%) had more than 40%

Large Firms (at least 101 attorneys):

  • 10.7% of graduates were employed at large firms in full-time, long-term positions
    • Graduates seek these jobs in part because they’re the jobs that tend to pay the highest salaries.
  • At only 45 schools (22.8%) were more than 10% in these jobs.
    • 20 schools (10.2%) had more than 20%
    • 15 schools (5.6%) had more than 33%
    • Only 3 schools were over 50% – Columbia, Northwestern, and Penn.

Law School Transparency’s executive director, Kyle McEntee, urged caution to students planning to enroll this fall. McEntee said, “Law school still costs way too much money compared to post-graduation employment outcomes. If you plan to debt-finance your education or use your hard-earned savings, seriously think twice about attending a law school without a steep discount. For the vast majority of prospective law students who have not received an extensive scholarship, it will make sense to wait for prices to drop.”

There has been some speculation that the class of 2011 may represent the bottom, though this view is grounded more in optimism than evidence. Rather, evidence points to a structural shift in legal employment, especially at the entry-level, that signals a new normal far below pre-recession levels. Technology, globalization, and law firm strategies are substantially changing our profession.

To view every ABA-approved law school’s profile, visit http://www.lawschooltransparency.com/clearinghouse/.

To view comparison charts, visit http://www.lawschooltransparency.com/clearinghouse/?show=compare&sub=jobs

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.

Class of 2011 NLJ 250 Statistics

The National Law Journal (NLJ) released its annual report this weekend on the law schools that send the most graduates to the 250 largest American law firms (NLJ 250). In this post we’ll answer a few basic questions about this important employment outcome measure. This is the first Class of 2011 employment information publicly provided.

What is the NLJ 250?

The NLJ 250 includes the 250 largest law firms headquartered in the United States. This is measured by the firm-reported annual average number of full-time and full-time equivalent attorneys working at the firm, in any office, in 2011. This does not include temporary or contract attorneys.

Where do the data come from?

First, the NLJ collects survey data from the law firms themselves, not the law schools. A significant percentage of all NLJ 250 firms responded to the survey about first-year hiring. (The NLJ would not comment on the exact percentage.) The NLJ then contacts the law schools to fill in the gaps — but never relies directly on their word. The final figures reached are minimums, representing only the people the NLJ verified to their liking; at no point does the NLJ extrapolate from a smaller number to a larger number.

What do these numbers tell us?

Large firm placement percentage is an important, albeit imperfect, proxy for the number of graduates with access to the most competitive and highest paying jobs. The percentage, accordingly, tell us which schools most successfully place students in these highly sought-after jobs. Successful large firm placement is best analyzed by looking at multiple years worth of data. (View the NLJ 250 from 2010 here.)

What do these numbers not tell us?

First, self-selection controls all post-graduation outcomes. Nobody is coerced into a job they are offered (unless you consider debt pressure or other strong personal influences coercive), so these numbers do not provide more than a proxy for opportunities. Opportunities, after all, are prospective students’ real concern when analyzing employment information, and these rankings do not necessarily reflect a school’s ability to place students into NLJ 250 firms.

Many graduates, particularly at the top schools, choose to clerk after graduation instead of working for these law firms. While not all of these graduates would have secured employment at the NLJ 250 firms, many could have. For this reason, one popular technique used to understand a school’s placement ability is adding the percentage of graduates at NLJ 250 firms to the percentage of graduates clerking for Article III judges. This method is not perfect; read our white paper for a more detailed explanation of the strengths and weaknesses of this technique.

Second, NLJ 250 firm jobs are not the only competitive, high-paying firm jobs. Boutique law firms are also very competitive, with some paying New York City market rates and above. Additionally, the NLJ 250 does not include large, prestigious internationally-based law firms with American offices.

Third, not all NLJ 250 firm jobs are equally competitive. Law firms from different regions and of differing caliber have varying preferences for the students from different law schools, including how far into the class they are willing to reach. That is, two schools that place an equal percentage of graduates in NLJ 250 firms may do so for reasons other than similar preferences among equally competitive NLJ 250 firms.

Fourth, the rankings include data only about the law schools that placed at least 6.49% of its entire class in the NLJ 250 firms. All other American law schools placed a lower, unknown percentage at NLJ 250 firms. The remaining schools range from 0% to 6.49%, and probably do not fall into a normal distribution.

If you have more questions, please feel free to email or reply this post. We will update this as needed.

2011 placement into NLJ 250 firms by law school

Rank School NLJ 250 Grads Total Grads % of Class
1 University of Pennsylvania Law School 156 274 56.93%
2 Northwestern University School of Law 149 286 52.1%
3 Columbia Law School 235 455 51.65%
4 Harvard Law School 285 583 48.89%
5 Stanford Law School 87 181* 48.07%
6 University of California, Berkeley School of Law (Boalt Hall) 140 305 45.9%
7 University of Chicago Law School 92 203 45.32%
8 Duke Law School 89 219* 40.64%
9 New York University School of Law 187 466 40.13%
10 University of Virginia School of Law 150 377 39.79%
11 Cornell Law School 72 188* 38.3%
12 University of Southern California Gould School of Law 68 207 32.85%
13 University of Michigan Law School 119 378 31.48%
14 Georgetown University Law Center 198 637 31.08%
15 Yale Law School 61 205 29.76%
16 University of California at Los Angeles School of Law 78 344 22.67%
17 Vanderbilt University Law School 43 195 22.05%
18 Boston College Law School 62 285 21.75%
19 University of Texas School of Law 82 382 21.47%
20 Fordham University School of Law 84 429 19.58%
21 Boston University School of Law 48 269* 17.84%
22 George Washington University Law School 92 518 17.76%
23 University of Notre Dame Law School 26 190 13.68%
24 Washington University School of Law (St. Louis) 42 315 13.33%
25 Washington and Lee University School of Law 16 126 12.7%
26 Emory University School of Law 28 225 12.44%
27 Yeshiva University Benjamin N. Cardozo School of Law 45 380 11.84%
28 University of Washington School of Law 21 182 11.54%
29 University of Minnesota Law School 29 261 11.11%
29 University of Illinois College of Law 21 189 11.11%
31 Southern Methodist University Dedman School of Law 28 272 10.29%
32 University of Houston Law Center 27 281 9.61%
33 West Virginia University College of Law 12 126* 9.52%
34 Wake Forest University School of Law 15 158 9.49%
35 University of California, Davis School of Law 17 195 8.72%
36 University of North Carolina School of Law 21 246 8.54%
37 University of California Hastings College of the Law 35 412 8.5%
38 University of Missouri-Columbia School of Law 12 142* 8.45%
39 Seton Hall University School of Law 24 293 8.19%
40 Rutgers School of Law-Newark 19 248 7.66%
41 Howard University School of Law 12 157* 7.64%
42 Villanova University School of Law 19 252 7.54%
43 University of Maryland School of Law 20 281 7.12%
44 University of Wisconsin Law School 18 254 7.09%
45 Samford University Cumberland School of Law 11 157 7.01%
46 Temple University James E. Beasley School of Law 22 319 6.9%
46 University of Alabama School of Law 12 174* 6.9%
48 Brigham Young University J. Reuben Clark Law School 10 148 6.76%
49 Brooklyn Law School 30 455 6.59%
50 University of Miami School of Law 25 385 6.49%

*Graduate class size based on latest data from the ABA/LSAC Official Guide to Law Schools.