Yesterday, UMLS posted a great deal of information about the program, which apparently has existed for seven years now, but whose existence was not a matter of public record until 24 hours ago. The program pays up to $4000 over 12 weeks (this is equivalent to an annual salary of $17,000). Apparently most graduates enter and depart the program in the fall after graduation,
The permanent positions fellows obtain vary. For the class of 2010, 61 graduating students obtained a postgraduate fellowship. Of the 53 who remained in ongoing communication with the Office of Career Planning, 27 obtained permanent post-Fellowship legal employment with government or public interest agencies, 12 began work as law firm associates, 4 went into business, and 3 accepted federal judicial clerkships. The remaining 7 people were still seeking permanent employment at the close of their fellowship: 3 held legal positions that were either part-time or not permanent; 2 continued their education in another field; and 2 remained unemployed.It is of course a step forward that UMLS has disclosed this information. What's unfortunate is that the school appears to have engaged in material misrepresentation to admitted students regarding it less than a week ago. As a commenter notes in the previous thread on this topic, admitted students who were visiting UMLS last week were told that the post-graduate fellowship program for the class of 2011 employed eight graduates, i.e. two percent of the class, rather than the 20% of the class (75 graduates) that actually took such fellowships (I have heard the same information from other attendees). The career services office's explanation for this discrepancy is that when prospective students were given the smaller number, the CSO was only referring to those graduates who were in fellowships as of the NALP reporting deadline.
For the class of 2011—the class widely believed to be most hard-hit by the constriction in legal employment, because of a dramatic decrease in the size of summer-associate classes in 2010—75 students were awarded Postgraduate Fellowships. At the nine-month mark for accumulation of final NALP data, 8 of our graduates were still in their funded fellowship positions, which there is every reason to believe will result—as did the great majority of 2010 Fellowships—in long-term legal positions. Of the remaining 67 graduates, 54 had moved to permanent positions, while 13 remained unemployed. We will post more detailed 2011 postgraduate statistics once we have final data for the 8 graduates who remain in their funded Fellowship positions.
Now this sort of thing would constitute perjury if offered as sworn testimony in a court of law, as it is actually far more materially misleading than simply refusing to acknowledge the existence of a fellowship program at all. (I am told that a similarly misleading account of the program was given to the faculty). Of course the UMLS administration isn't under oath -- at the moment anyway -- so it is free to tell half (really more like one tenth) truths while suffering no consequences other than yet more bad publicity.
On the plus side (sort of) UMLS has also just engaged in a massive data dump in regard to the specific employment outcomes for its last three graduating classes, becoming as far as I know the first law school to actually list the employment outcomes for every individual graduate in those classes. This is a positive development in that it certainly allows a "sophisticated consumer" to spend a few hours figuring out, with the help of Google etc., more or less what everyone who graduated from UMLS in the last three years was doing nine months after graduation. The down side is that this blizzard of information does require considerable work to unpack, especially to the extent that one doesn't understand things such as what the likely salary of somebody working as an entry level associate with a 12-person law firm in Southfield is likely to be.
Speaking of which, the percentage of graduates whose salaries were known is misreported on the law school's web site, apparently as a consequence of an inconsistent reporting method. For the classes of 2009 and 2010 the school reports the percentage of graduates whose salaries were known among those graduates who were in jobs for which bar passage was required. For the class of 2011 it reports the percentage of known salaries for the entire class. Besides (apparently inadvertently) shifting the method employed to make the relevant calculation, the CSO also got the latter number slightly wrong, reporting it as 52% when it was 50.26%.
The more interesting number in all this is the remarkable contraction in the percentage of UMLS graduates getting jobs of any kind (full-time, part-time, long-term, short-term) that require bar passage, from 94.4% in 2009 to 79.1% two years later (77% not counting the eight remaining post-graduate fellows). In other words, using the most liberal possible definition of what counts as a legal job, nearly a quarter of the 2011 graduating class of a top ten law school didn't have one nine months after graduation.
I have a lot more to say regarding all these new numbers, especially in regard to the relationship between the salaries UMLS graduates are being paid a year after graduation relative to the cost of attending the school, but I'll save that for another post.