Since our founding in 2009, our web tools have gone through many iterations. With our first tool in 2010, our "data clearinghouse," we explained the shortcomings of law school employment and salary data. We highlighted how top-line statistics didn't mean what people assumed. After many years of advocacy — convincing the ABA to compel schools to share data and law schools to go above minimum requirements — we built tools that prelaw students use to make more informed choices about where to apply, where to attend, and how much to pay. These tools also help law schools, regulators, journalists, and the public better understand legal education.
Today we release version 6 of our web tools. We have consolidated the LST Reports, PreLaw Platform, and LST Radio under the Law School Transparency platform (and domain). We're excited to see how this helps more people take advantage of our tools.
Yet this change reflects more than just better design, information architecture, and navigation. We've added and updated most of our tools to better serve our many audiences.
Student and Advisor Courses
We think video learning is the present and the future. We also think these are most effective when the videos are short, direct, and well-produced. Our target audiences are prelaw students and prelaw advisors (including private consultants).
For students, we want to make the law school admissions process more equitable and transparent, the law school decision-making process more focused on what matters (i.e. not U.S. News rankings), and entry to law school more seamless, especially for those who don't know many or any lawyers.
Today we launch with two courses for students. We will add many more in the coming months and years.
For advisors, we hear them loudly and clearly that there are few high-quality and accessible opportunities for professional development. Prelaw advising is a profession with advisors who want to continuously improve, but who often have many other responsibilities, especially at under-resourced colleges and universities. There's also a lot of outdated and misguided information that must be addressed for the sake of students.
Today we launch with seven advisor-only courses. As with student courses, we will add to this library over time.
Law School Reports
We will continue to provide ample data and analysis about law schools organized primarily around geography. Our redesign focuses on helping students through the process of discovering, applying to, and making decisions about law schools. We want students to build their list of law schools through pre-made lists or in consultation with the LST Wizard, an algorithm that helps students narrow and rank schools based on a series of questions. Then we want students to engage with the schools on their list through the My Law Schools Report, develop budgets, and consider the costs and benefits of various paths. Our ultimate goal is to provide a space where prelaw students can feel confident that they are making the best choice for themselves.
Whether a state report (e.g. the Texas State Report), the LST Wizard Report, or the My Law Schools Report, the content across reports and report sections is the same — only the schools appearing change. These reports have a place at the beginning and the end of the admissions process. They're useful for figuring out where to apply — and then again for deciding among potential schools. In the middle, students can take advantage of our other tools to get their best shot at the schools they apply to.
LST does not and will not provide traditional rankings that treat all students the same. Instead, we focus on how to bring into focus real reputational and outcome-based differences among law schools without falling victim to (or encouraging) rankings mania. People like rankings because it helps them quickly compare schools for which they have no information or more information than they know how to or can weigh. So we can't ignore the why when we provide alternatives.
For many years, we have used the LST Employment Score and the LST Under-Employment Score to proxy successful and unsuccessful starts to law careers. These scores provide quick value, yet encourage people to look deeper.
Today, we have added two new scores: Your Job Score and Your Utility Score. These scores help students identify schools that meet their personal goals and depend on student input to generate.
Your Job Score
Your Job Score reflects how close a school's job outcomes are to your goals. Higher scores are better, all else equal, but consider cost, starting salaries, and other factors in deciding value. If you change job preferences through the LST Wizard, Your Job Score will change.
Your Utility Score
Your Utility Score has three elements: job preferences, subjective excitement, and lower debt. It sets the stage for you to confidently make a wise, strategic decision. It factors in your subjective experience and what you want out of your law school experience, as well as a post-graduate perspective that considers the impact of student debt repayment and job opportunities on your life. The score will also jump a school up a list that you might have overlooked despite being a good value. Your Utility Score for a school will change if you update your LST Wizard job preferences, change the school's rating, or update your budget.
Legal Career Compass
As of today, we have updated the two core premium reports, added a third core report, and added nine toolkits. The premium reports are available to subscribers, students in advising groups (with private consultants or pipeline programs), and colleges/universities that upgrade their basic reports. A basic report is available to any student who affiliates with their undergraduate prelaw advisor on this platform.
The Legal Career Compass, based on the Attorney Assessment, measures a variety of traits that are critical to success in the business and practice of law. Your reports compare your results to a proprietary database of thousands of practicing attorneys and help you understand your fit for law.
The LCC also measures other traits that help you on the process of self-discovery, self-awareness, and self-development. The LCC reports and toolkits can help you answer Who am I?, What do I want?, and How do I get there?
We hope students and advisors find these tools helpful. In addition, we have also improved the I Am The Law podcast navigation so listeners can more readily find episodes of interest. We have also improved the tools for tracking applications, application components, scholarships, and budgets.