LST Certification helps law schools publish the data that they want prospective students to understand. We assist with compliance, improve disclosure efforts, and produce compelling graphics that appeal to today's applicants.
The certification program provides two ongoing reviews of law school marketing materials. One review analyzes materials according to the letter and spirit of the ABA's Standard 509. The other review analyzes materials according to LST Best Practices, which require schools to publish valuable, standardized consumer information. LST Certified law schools are entitled to use the LST Certified mark on their marketing materials as a symbol of their commitment to transparency. The program raises the floor for acceptable marketing and ensures that transparency maxims are not lost in translation.
Earning our certification mark proves to a school's prospective students, current students, and alumni that a credible third-party has evaluated the school's consumer information according to specific and transparent criteria, and has concluded that the school is being open, honest, and fair. It demonstrates that the school's leadership is serious about being transparent and accountable. It emphasizes the importance of rising above the minimum regulatory standards to meet educational and professional ideals. It recognizes that as a gatekeeper to the legal profession, the school must carefully and thoughtfully market its program and the profession. The LST certification process will help prospective law students find the path that makes the most sense for them.
LST also provides a variety of free services to law schools that apply for certification. These services can simplify data publication and improve your presentation to prospective students. In other words, if your school decides it wants to be LST Certified, we will do much of the work for you.
Law school is a huge investment of time and money that requires you to understand and balance complicated costs, potential job outcomes, and intangible benefits. LST Certification is designed to help you make more informed decisions about whether and where to attend law school. Certified law schools publish comprehensive information that you will find valuable while you make a choice that works for you.
The number of factors that impact your decision can be overwhelming. Even if you know what information you want and it's available, apples-to-apples comparisons between law schools are notoriously difficult. Differences and unintentional holes in the information schools present accrue, despite more and more schools seeking to be comprehensive and transparent.
Law schools that submit to our certification program have volunteered to make your decision-making process easier and to be accountable to a third-party organization committed to the availability of valuable and standardized information. Non-certified schools may be adequately transparent, but you will need to rely on another metric to determine that they're meeting transparency norms.
The following is a sampling of what LST Certified law schools do in accordance with certification:
We ask you to consider whether complying with any of our requirements is unnecessarily onerous, if the resulting information is unnecessarily confusing or unfair, or if a few dollars per student is too much to charge for the service certification provides. (Schools already have the necessary data to comply.) If you find any to be true, or the school provides another reasonable explanation for not seeking certification, don't hold a school accountable for not seeking and receiving LST certification.
Of course, we believe we struck the right balance, thus consider it very important that all schools be certified. Note that our classification of schools as certified or not certified does not make a school a better or worse investment for you. Also note that non-certified schools can and may publish information in formats that accord with the LST Best Practices. If two schools present information in the exact same way, but one is certified and the other is not, the difference is that the certified school voluntarily added a layer of accountability that aims to ensure they meet the requirements.
Law school alumni are a powerful force in shaping how law schools react to the growing legal education crisis. Recent and not-so-recent alumni are cognizant of the new normal. Students are graduating with extraordinary debt into a challenging and quickly-changing legal market. They need to do so with their eyes wide open, and schools (and alumni) owe it to them to communicate a realistic picture of what it means to attend law school.
LST Certification sends a message to prospective law students that your alma mater recognizes the critical place for job outcome and financial education. It represents a bold assertion about how the school views itself and its position as an educational institution and professional gateway.
That certification isn't free may prevent some law schools from participating. While the cost is minimal compared to overall operating budgets, schools are moving to become more efficient without making too many waves and without damaging educational quality. Asking them to spend just a small amount of money—even for something as important as enrolling an informed student body—could not come at a worse time. Within a few years, most if not all schools will have reduced tuition.
Nevertheless, the legal profession needs a healthy legal education system and transparency is essential to improvement. We hope that alumni will see the benefit of this program and pledge a donation for their school's participation.
This section is designed to explain the certification process and to illustrate some of the many reasons why schools should certify.
The certification process is a partnership between LST and law schools to achieve a public good: knowledge about entry into the legal profession. Any school can decide to follow our best practices—and every school must already meet Standard 509—but the schools that submit to and pass our review will stand out for a commitment to transparency. Asking LST to monitor and to review marketing materials adds a new layer of accountability to protect against Standard 509 missteps and to ensure that a school does its part to contribute to educating the public. But unlike typical certifications, we expect that our certification will reduce work.
Law schools, like any educational institution, require trust to fulfill their missions. Managing expectations from first contact, whether about cost, job outcomes, or the classroom experience, is essential for creating and keeping the trust of prospective students as they become students and then alumni.
Law schools face unprecedented skepticism about the information that they publish—especially about job outcomes. Increasingly, law schools are being more transparent. However, skepticism is difficult to shake even for schools that are open, honest, and fair.
By becoming LST Certified, law schools can prove that transparency maxims are not empty, convenient words. Applicants need a signal and LST's certification will provide it to them for schools that earn it.
The growing focus on consumer information provides a real challenge for schools. Complying with regulations and consumer expectations costs time and money. For example, professional development staffs are now career counselors, data collectors, and data publishers.
By letting LST tackle certain data presentation responsibilities and certify transparency, schools will spend less time trying to satisfy rules and more time achieving their core missions. Restoring trust to the process is important for the legal profession, and it won't happen overnight.
LST is in frequent contact with the ABA Section of Legal Education about Standard 509. We contributed to the standard's content and interpretation, as well as the ABA's enforcement of the standard.
We cannot guarantee that the ABA will find that an LST Certified law school complies with Standard 509, but our review and feedback will point administrators in the right direction, especially as the rules change.
A law school interested in LST Certification must send us an application to inform us of the intent to submit to the certification process. The application reflects a request for LST to conduct the certification review under the authority of these attached documents:
The law school dean will sign the application, which constitutes an agreement to proceed through the certification process in good faith and an agreement to pay the licensing fee if the school meets the certification requirements.
If the school meets the certification requirements, LST will accept the application, accept payment of the annual licensing fee, and certify the law school. LST will send a letter to the school to inform the school that it has been certified and return a fully executed licensing agreement to the school.
If the school does not meet the certification requirements, LST will provide a written explanation that outlines what the school must do to be certified. LST and at least one school representative will have a conference call to discuss the explanation. If the school makes the changes, LST will accept the application and certify the law school. If the school declines to make all of the changes, the school will not be charged the licensing fee and a separation agreement will go into effect.
Becoming an LST Certified law school does not require that the school provide any data to LST. We do not review or audit the underlying data for accuracy—of course, if the data are fabricated, a school will have a problem with the Standard 509 Review. Rather, we leave data integrity to the ABA, which has recently published a request for proposal (RFP) concerning employment data integrity. More info available on the RFP here.
An LST Certified law school must always be in compliance with the certification requirements. To ensure compliance, LST will monitor schools through post-certification reviews.
There are three ways to trigger a post-certification review:
If LST identifies a problem during a post-certification review, it will inform the law school in writing. This letter will outline the problem(s) and proposed remedies, such as correcting the problem or, where appropriate, notice. The school must remedy the problem(s) promptly. If it does so, LST will provide written notification to the school that the problem has been remedied.
However, if the school disagrees either that there is a problem or that a remedy is appropriate, LST and at least one representative of the law school authorized to make decisions on behalf of the law school will have a conference call or, if practicable, meet in person. If LST and the school still cannot come to terms, and the school wants to keep its certification, the licensing agreement requires arbitration. The number of arbitrators will be three. LST will select one arbitrator. The law school will select one arbitrator. Those two arbitrators will together select the third.
If the problem amounts to gross misconduct, LST reserves the right to terminate certification immediately, which the school is free to challenge in arbitration. If a school loses its certification, it must cease using the certification mark on all materials.
At any time, an LST Certified law school may voluntary withdraw from the LST Certification Program. If the school chooses to do so, it must cease using the certification mark on all materials.
The certification period each year will be August 1 – July 31. LST sets the program requirements for one year at a time by May 1, so the current requirements will apply through July 31, 2014 and the subsequent year's requirements will be finalized by May 1, 2014. The program requirements will not change during the annual certification period unless the ABA changes Standard 509 (note below) or a new law or regulation conflicts with the program requirements. Changes to the program requirements will be made in consultation with participating law schools and other interested parties.
Note on ABA Changes: The Standard 509 Review is subject to change if the ABA Section of Legal Education changes Standard 509 or its professional staff changes how the standard is understood or to be implemented. In the event of changes to the ABA Standards (or other relevant regulations), we will help schools get into compliance.
Certification does not require that schools submit any data to LST, but schools may elect to submit certain data to take advantage of our free services. We will not publish these data and will use them to help schools to produce information for their websites. To the extent that confidentiality agreements are required, we are prepared to enter into them. Schools will not be put in a position to violate FERPA.
When a school elects to send us data, there are two methods. To explain how they vary, it's best to use an example.
The Tuition Discount Distribution Curve (an LST optional service) provides an area spline graph of tuition discounts for entering students and a pie chart that distinguishes between those entering students with and without tuition discounts.
A school may choose to make this chart themselves, which does not result in LST receiving any data. But if a school wants LST to produce all of the relevant development code for it to use on its website (a free service), the school will need to provide data to LST. Again, these data may take two forms.
First, the school can provide an anonymized list of all incoming students. Each entry will indicate whether the student is full-time or part-time and, if the school is public, whether the student is a resident or non-resident. If a student receives no discount, the entry will say 0 for annual discount. If the student does receive a discount, the entry will indicate how much. Each entry with a discount will also indicate whether the discount is conditional.
With this list, which does not include any personally identifiable information, LST will compute the data required to produce the area spline chart and pie chart. The pie chart in this example is binary. Either the student received a discount or the student did not. The area spline graphs place each student into a category band of $3,000. For example, if a student receives a discount of $43,000, that student falls into the category band of $42,000 – $44,999. If that student is the only student in this category, the category band is 0.4% (1/282). If a school provides us the anonymized list, we do all of these calcuations.
Second, the school can provide the final computations. For the pie chart in this example, the school needs to tell LST how many total students (or what percentage of all students) did not receive a discount and how many total students (or what percentage of all students) did receive a discount. For the area spline graphs, the school needs to tell LST the number of students or percentage of students in each category band. If a school does not provides us the anonymized list, the school does all of these calcuations.
The annual fee for LST Certification is $2,750 and due by August 1 each year. If a school joins during the program's first year, the school will receive a 30% discount, so the rate will be $1925. We do not expect to certify any law schools by August 1 this year. We will therefore adjust the rate based on the start date of the program. When we certify the inaugural group of law schools, the rate they and subsequent schools pay for the first year will be prorated.
Each year, we will reevaluate the fee in consultation with law schools, but any increase will be capped at 5% each year. There is no limit on possible percentage decreases. The annual fee does not cover the full cost of instituting a certification program, and we are pursuing other funding to make up the difference.
We recommend, though do not require, that law schools pay the annual fee with alumni donations raised specifically for certification. Certification represents a school-wide commitment to transparency, not just one by the career services or admissions offices.
We have not yet announced which schools will participate in the inaugural LST Certification.
This section aims to answer questions you—a law school dean, administrator, or faculty member; a prospective law student, current student, or alum; a journalist or policymaker—may have.
No. There are administrative costs involved in monitoring law schools. The fee enables a necessary layer of accountability and ensures real participation in the certification process.
We need 10 schools to submit an application before we will certify any school.
There is no doubt that the U.S. News rankings have had a profoundly negative impact on legal education. Our goal is not to sell magazines to prospective students, but to help them make informed decisions. A brief or careful look at our requirements demonstrate this commitment. Each element is tailored to helping prospective students make better decisions and managing their expectations once they start law school.
We have clearly spelled out our mission, both as an organization and with the certification program. Any changes to the certification requirements happen before a school pays the annual review fee. Moreover, changes to the program requirements will be made in consultation with participating law schools and other interested parties.
When we argue that tuition prices (nominal and average) need to come down, we do not ask schools to stop spending money. Rather, we ask schools to consider what legal education elements are necessary for producing ethical lawyers who can meet employer and client demands well. Producing these attorneys means enrolling informed students and it means setting professional and ethical examples from the start. Law schools are the de facto gateway to our profession and they must act like it.
LST Certification is a justified expense—we wouldn't create this program otherwise. It's a practical solution to a complex problem, and it ensures that students have access to critical information. The net effect should actually result in schools saving money and spending more time on mission-related activities.
Even if certification does not save money, it need not increase tuition. We recommend that law schools finance our very modest fee through alumni donations specifically for certification. Alumni care about how the school is perceived, and they care that their alma mater is being open, honest, and fair.
But say the school does not save money and does not finance the certification through alumni gifts: for a school with 600 total students, the average cost is about $3 per student. We encourage schools to ask students whether they'd find this a worthwhile expense.
No. Even if every student starts a satisfying career post-J.D. with zero debt, prospective students deserve the opportunity to make informed decisions about how they invest their time and money. Transparency and accountability are completely divorced from the health of the legal and overall economies. Good news or bad, schools should be open, honest, and fair.
No, but that's the point. Our certification is voluntary and reflects a participant's desire to exceed the minimum regulatory standards. ABA accreditation plays an important role in regulating legal education. But whether a school has ABA accreditation is not enough for prospective students. It is just one factor—albeit an important one—among many that sway law school decisions.
We understand that law schools want to put their best foot forward. Schools should continue to differentiate themselves where they can, provided they're being open, honest, and fair. We developed the certification requirements in consultation with many people not associated with LST. Law school deans, other law school administrators, law professors, prospective students, journalists, and non-profit leaders all helped us develop a set of reasonable criteria. We will involve these same people in our annual review of the certification requirements.
In the event that an LST Certified law school disagrees with our interpretation of the program requirements, we will work hard with the school to resolve the dispute, keeping in mind that the sanctity of the certification program requires diligent enforcement of the agreed upon criteria. A certification program is a service for the public, not one designed to benefit LST or law schools. If we cannot come to terms, the certification mark licensing agreement requires arbitration to resolve the dispute. The arbitrators will enforce the requirements to which LST and the school agreed.
Though data integrity is critical to informed decision making, audits are very expensive and we have little reason to believe that there are discoverable problems in the integrity of law school data. We also believe that the ABA, courts, and legislatures should continue to oversee data integrity. Most law schools struggle, not to collect accurate data, but to present that information in a fair and compelling manner that will evoke trust from applicants and the public. LST certification can help schools achieve that goal.
We will review law school websites for compliance with the letter and spirit of Standard 509. We will also review the scholarship offer letters, law school viewbooks, and other marketing materials. For non-web materials, the schools are responsible for submitting the materials to LST for review. At the law school's option, we will review materials prior to publication.
Standard 509 has two components. It forbids law schools from publishing any consumer information that is inaccurate, incomplete, or misleading to a reasonable prospective student. It also requires that law schools disclose certain consumer information on their websites and in scholarship offer letters. Our review includes both components and is subject to change if the ABA Section of Legal Education changes Standard 509 or its professional staff changes how the standard is understood or to be implemented.
Under Standard 509, schools must publish on their websites two charts—one for conditional scholarship retention and one for employment outcomes—and various other consumer information. It also requires that law schools include the conditional scholarship retention chart along with an offer of a conditional scholarship.
Schools publish on their websites charts that include data about graduate employment outcomes in the form designated by the Council of the ABA Section of Legal Education. The standard requires three years of employment data in the format required for that year. We check to see whether the school posted the appropriate chart for each year. The school must either publish the data in the exact format designated by the Council or in a modified format, provided that it includes all required data and provided that readers can easily compare the data to other schools. The school must publish the latest year of data by March 31.
Schools must publish on their websites a chart that includes conditional scholarship retention data in the form designated by the Council of the Section of Legal Education. We check to see whether schools posted the chart. A school must either publish the data in the exact format designated by the Council or in a modified format, provided that it includes all required data and provided that readers can easily compare the data to other schools. As of June 2013, law schools must have just one year of data, for the 2011-2012 academic year, on the chart.
Schools must publish on their websites certain consumer information. As of June 2013, Standard 509(b) requires the following additional information:
Schools must also publish on their websites "policies regarding the transfer of credit earned at another institution of higher education." At minimum, this requires "a statement of the criteria established by the law school regarding the transfer of credit earned at another institution; and a list of institutions, if any, with which the law school has established an articulation agreement."
Standard 509(a) requires that all consumer information must be complete, accurate, and not misleading. The scope of materials impacted by the standard is broad. If information may be relied upon by a reasonable law student or applicant, it cannot be deceptive. The availability of accurate data, which can be used to correct deceptive information, does not exonerate an instance of deceptive information. Please note that many of the examples used in this section can be properly classified as inaccurate, incomplete, and misleading.
An inaccurate statement is a false statement, known or unknown, intentional or unintentional. An example problem with inaccurate information is when a school uses the ABA logo to wrongly imply compliance with the accreditation standards.
Information is incomplete when it fails to disclose facts that, due to their absence, may alter a reasonable law student's or applicant's understanding of the underlying data. Incomplete information is likely, but not necessarily, misleading. Example problems with incomplete information:
A law school does not disclose how it calculated an exmployment rate. A rate (R) is the result of dividing a numerator (N) by a denominator (D). R = N ÷ D. Schools often adjust the rate numerator or rate denominator without indicating the adjustment(s). Common adjustments:
While not necessarily problematic, these adjustments may also mislead readers if the methodology is not disclosed or unclear. Making data available that allow readers to deduce the adjustments, without also disclosing the methodology, does not change the deceptive nature.
In describing job characteristics with percentages or raw data, a law school does not account for all graduates described. It is not problem when a school does not collect certain job characteristics data for all employed graduates; the problem arises when the school fails to indicate whether unknowns exist or not. For example, a job offer timing pie chart is incomplete if it has just three slices (before graduation, before bar results, and after bar results) with percentages that sum to 100%, although the response rate for the question is, for example, 75%.
In describing salary information, graduate or otherwise, a law school does not provide adequate context to understand the salaries of the graduates described. A mean or median salary without additional context is incomplete because entry-level lawyer salaries follow a bi-modal distribution. Therefore, mean salary must also be accompanied by salary quartiles, just as a median salary must be accompanied by the 25th and 75th percentiles. A salary range is not sufficient context for completeness; if a school says its average salary is $80,000 with a range of $20,000 to $160,000, the information is incomplete despite the added context.
In describing salary information, graduate or otherwise, a law school does not indicate the response rate. Interpretation 509-3 indicates that whenever a school publishes or distributes graduate salary information, the school "must clearly identify the number of salaries and the percentage of graduates included." The same logic extends to any other salary information published because Interpretation 509-3 concerns the completeness of salary information.
Information is misleading when it would lead a reasonable law student or applicant to believe something he or she should otherwise not believe. Example problems with misleading information:
In listing employers to demonstrate specific employment outcomes, a law school overstates the chances of achieving outcomes similar to those listed. A law school must not imply that a list is representative or a sampling unless it is. The common sense test is whether the list would leave a reasonable reader to have an unrealistic expectation of job outcomes. The practical test is to compare the job outcomes for the period to the employer list to see if the list overrepresents certain jobs, e.g. federal clerkships and positions at large law firms.
In describing consumer information, a law school uses an atypical term to describe employment outcomes that is likely to confuse the reasonable law student or applicant.
In listing course offerings, a law school overstates the frequency or availability of certain courses. Interpretation 509-1 prohibits a school from listing "a significant number of courses that have not been offered during the past two academic years and that are not being offered in the current academic year."
We will review law school websites for compliance with the LST Best Practices, our heightened standard for law school marketing. The best practices require that law schools publish specified consumer information and that law schools decline to use specified publishing formats. The best practices are based on our extensive experience reviewing school websites and other marketing materials, consultation with a sample of law school administrators, and the consumer data that law schools already possess. The goal is to provide meaningful and comparable information without overwhelming readers with data.
Qualifying for LST Certification will help you organize the information you already provide, give key information to prospective students, stay current with ABA requirements, and match disclosures by other law schools. The LST requirements fall into five simple categories:
Law school websites offer a wealth of information to prospective students. Following LST's requirements will help students navigate your site to find the essential consumer information you provide. The first step in achieving that goal is to create a single landing page that links to all consumer information. This page must:
Prospective law students don't know how law schools gather and report data. Nor do they understand the role of organizations like NALP or LSAC. This page will give prospective students the information they need to comprehend consumer information. The page must:
Prospective students apply to many law schools, and each school chooses to distribute information differently. To help students navigate web sites more easily, LST requires certified schools to use standardized language for common consumer information pages and links. These are:
Detailed, accurate employment information helps students manage their own careers and choose the school that best suits their goals. To achieve these ends, LST Certification requires four categories of employment information.
Employment data should be considered over time, not just one year at a time. For this reason, ABA Standard 509 currently requires schools to report three years of employment outcomes. Even if the ABA changes that requirement, prospective students need more than one year of employment data. For that reason, LST Certified schools must, by March 31 of each year, publish their Class of 20xx ABA Employment Charts for the three previous graduating classes.
LST Certified schools must offer a complete accounting of the data listed below. An accounting is "complete" if it's clear that the data account for all employed graduates for the relevant period and graduating class. LST recognizes that some graduates are difficult to track, but a "complete" accounting must indicate those unknowns. For example, a job offer timing pie chart is inadequate if it has just three slices (before graduation, before bar results, and after bar results) with percentages that sum to 100%; the school must somehow indicate the employed graduates' response rate for the timing question.
Certification requires publication of the following data reported to NALP:
Information about job source and timing helps manage the expectations of incoming students. By knowing how and when graduates found jobs, students will manage their professional development more effectively from the beginning of law school.
Similarly, an understanding of where students typically find work after graduation helps prospective students make intelligent decisions about where they should attend school if they have their sights set on certain geographic locations.
If the school has funded any jobs over the past three graduating classes for which employment data is available, the school must create an independent page devoted to explaining these jobs. The page will include the following for each year with at least one school-funded job:
|Full Time||Part Time||Total (% class)|
|Long Term||Short Term||Long Term||Short Term|
|Bar Passage Required||25||0||10||5||40 (14.3%)|
|J.D. Advantage||2||0||0||0||2 (0.7%)|
|Total (% class)||27 (9.6%)||0 (0%)||10 (3.6%)||5 (1.8%)||42 (15%)|
|Full Time||Part Time||Total (% class)|
|Long Term||Short Term||Long Term||Short Term|
|Business & Industry||0||0||0||0||0 (0%)|
|Public Interest||2||0||4||4||10 (3.6%)|
|Law Firm||0||0||0||0||0 (0%)|
|Total (% class)||27 (9.6%)||0 (0%)||10 (3.6%)||5 (1.8%)||42 (15%)|
Law schools continue to seek new, innovative ways to help graduates succeed on the job market. The rapid evolution across law schools and year-over-year at individual schools makes understanding employment outcome data challenging. Law schools should provide more detail about bridge, fellowship, or safety-net programs that they fund.
Salary information is imperfect, but a legal education is expensive and prospective students want to know what kind of salary outcomes they can expect to start their career. Because salary data collection varies by school, we require only that a school provide the distribution of all salary data collected; we illustrate that requirement below. If a school chooses to publish other salary information, it must clearly identify data and show where holes exist. We also illustrate that requirement below.
|Category||# Grads||# Salaries||25th||50th||75th||Mean|
|Law Firm||58||24 (41.4%)||$50,000||$60,000||$110,000||$74,163|
|Public Interest||5||2 (40.0%)|
Under Standard 509, every law school publishes its cost of attendance data. However, there is no standard method of creating the figures, organizing them, or publishing them. To help prospective students process information and and compare costs, LST Certification requires schools to make each of the following elements easily accessible on the school's website:
|Cost of Attendance9 months of living expenses|
|Tuition & Fees||$40,000||$40,000|
|Room & Board||$13,215|
|Books & Supplies||$2,000|
|Stafford Loan Origination Fee1.0% Fee||$205|
|Grad PLUS Loan Origination Fee4.0% Fee||$1,580|
|Other Personal Expenses||$1,000|
|Variable Financial Assistance|
|Scholarship or GrantsFrom the law school||$0|
|Other AssistancePrivate scholarships or grants||$0|
|Student Loan RequirementsTotal COA - Variable Assistance||$60,000|
|Estimated Loans — Year 1|
|Stafford Loan6.8% Interest||$20,500|
|Grad PLUS Loan7.9% Interest||$39,500|
Some marketing choices may not be deceptive under Standard 509, but still put prospective students at a disadvantage in interpreting consumer information.
Giving undo weight or prominence to the basic employment rate, even with a defined methodology. The basic employment rate is any rate that includes all employed in the numerator, either alone or together with graduates pursuing an additional advanced degree.
The basic employment rate is a statistic of very limited value to prospective students, and because of its probability of either misleading or prejudicing applicants, we advise against its use except in very limited circumstances. Any use of the basic employment rate which tends to suggest it is the most important employment statistic for prospective students is prohibited.
For an example of an acceptable use of the basic employment rate, see the report produced by NALP for law schools, where the basic employment rate is listed below information about employment by job characteristics, unemployment, and full-time degree status.
Any employment statistic must clearly identify how many graduates are not included, e.g. a breakdown of the employer types must indicate how many non-employed graduates were in the graduating class.
Standard 509(a) may prohibit these breakdowns as the provision of incomplete information. However, information that specifies a limited scope arguably meets the Standard 509 tests. Nevertheless, schools should not provide breakdowns without putting the information in the context of the entire graduating class because it reduces the likelihood that a reader understands all post-graduation outcomes.
A law school may not require that a student login to the school website, either with personal credentials or shared credentials, to access consumer information required by Standard 509 or the LST Best Practices.
Putting information behind such a barrier keeps information from applicants and others. This is counterproductive to the purpose of disclosure, and would cause readers to ask what the school is hiding.
LST wants to make it easier for schools to display meaningful data in a meaningful way. In accordance with this goal, we will help schools create and maintain segments of their websites without charge.
A distribution of the law school loans disbursed to graduates over the course of their studies, and the estimated cost of attendance for each year attended by the graduating class. Available for all graduates, or broken down by classification, e.g. out-of-state, full-time graduates.
|Cost of Attendance (2010–2011)9 months of living expenses|
|Tuition & Fees||$37,000|
|Room & Board||$13,000|
|Books & Supplies||$1,800|
|Cost of Attendance (2011–2012)9 months of living expenses|
|Tuition & Fees||$38,600|
|Room & Board||$14,000|
|Books & Supplies||$1,900|
|Cost of Attendance (2012–2013)9 months of living expenses|
|Tuition & Fees||$40,000|
|Room & Board||$15,000|
|Books & Supplies||$2,000|
A pre-packaged HTML and CSS page that serves as the centralized location for all consumer information required by Standard 509 and the LST Best Practices.
A pre-packaged HTML and CSS page with all relevant definitions and methodologies explained clearly and concisely, targeted to people new to law school consumer information.
A report that combines data from the ABA Employment Chart and the NALP Employment Report into a single document that's easier to consume than the NALP Employment Report, without eliminating much data. To view an example Class of 20xx LST Employment Report, click here.
A format based on the NALP Report standard for publishing salary information.
|Category||# Grads||# Salaries||25th||50th||75th||Mean|
|Law Firm||58||24 (41.4%)||$50,000||$60,000||$110,000||$74,163|
|Public Interest||5||2 (40.0%)|
An interactive chart that displays the job types (e.g. Bar Passage Required) of its employed graduates.
An interactive chart that displays the employer types (e.g. Public Interest) of its employed graduates.
A sample of how to comply with the LST Best Practices for Geographic Placement:
A chart that displays the geographic outcomes by state of employed graduates. 1-year and 3-year options available. To view an example map, click here.
The federal government provides the Pay As Your Earn (PAYE) program to ease the debt burden of students in partial financial hardship. Prospective students are advised to consider PAYE to be a safety net. No students should enroll in law school with the plan of being in financial hardship after graduation. Students are also advised that continuation of PAYE is not guaranteed and can be cancelled by Congress.
PAYE caps the amount you are required to pay at 10% of your discretionary income. Discretionary income is defined as the amount above 150% of the poverty level, which is based on your family size. The 2013 poverty level for a single individual household is $11,490, so a graduate making use of PAYE would be required to pay 10% of his or her income in excess of $17,235.
PAYE applies only to Direct Loans, Direct PLUS Loans made to graduate or professional students, and Direct Consolidation Loans without underlying PLUS loans made to parents. PAYE does not limit repayment of PLUS loans made to parents, FFEL Program loans, and private education and bar loans. So long as you remain current on payments and annual filings, unpaid interest will not capitalize.
Under PAYE, your remaining loans will be forgiven after a period of 20 years, but the forgiven amount may be treated as income for tax purposes. Graduates working in qualified public service jobs may have their loans forgiven after 120 qualified monthly payments. While enrolled in PAYE, interest will continue to accumulate. Interest will not capitalize, but you may pay more interest as a result of participating in the program.
More information can be found at here.
Additional 2013 poverty guidelines can be found on the HHS website.
A sample of how to comply with the LST Best Practices for Job Source:
|How Employed Graduates Obtained Jobs|
|Commercial Internet Site||3||1.5%|
|Return to Prior Job||8||4.0%|
|Start Own Practice||3||1.5%|
|Employed – Other Source||4||2.0%|
|Employed – Unknown Source||18||9.0%|
|Job Status Unknown||10||5.0%|
A sample of how to comply with the LST Best Practices for Job Offer Timing:
|When Employed Graduates Obtained Job Offers|
|Job Offer Timing||Reported|
|Before Bar Results||11||4.5%|
|After Bar Results||11||4.5%|
|Employed – Unknown Timing||35||14.5%|
|Job Status Unknown||6||2.5%|
LST will coordinate volunteers to help the career services office collect post-graduation job outcome data. The purpose is to show that the school takes seriously what happens to the employment data after it's collected.
A distribution of the tuition discounts, whether need-based or merit-based, received by students in an incoming class for their first year.
Law schools are offering tuition discounts to an increasingly larger number of incoming students. This has reduced the value of nominal tuition rates to prospective students in estimating their real cost of attendance, which is and should be an important element of the decision to apply to a law school. With greater insight into tuition discounts, prospective students can achieve a better understanding of a school's cost before being accepted and being awarded a financial aid package.