Thursday, March 15, 2012

A couple of Class of 2011 placement charts

These are the first two Class of 2011 placement numbers I've seen law schools put up (there are probably others; I haven't done a search):


George Washington


The most striking thing about the GWU numbers is the change over the course of the last four graduating classes.

Total number of graduates getting BigLaw jobs (250+ lawyer firms):

2008:  240

2009:  227

2010:  134

2011: 95

*A side note: GWU is yet another school at which the number of its grads listed as having jobs with firms of 250+ lawyers correlates almost exactly with the number of its grads listed by the NLJ as having jobs with NLJ250 firms (the figures are 95 and 92 respectively for the class of 2011).

Total salaries reported by GWU to NALP:

2008:  359

2009:  325

2010:  188

2011:  170
The percentage of known graduate salaries has declined from 67.9% to 32.8% over the past four years.

GWU also lists 37 2011 graduates as employed in "academia," but only one person in a law-school funded job.

The WUSTL stats are to put it charitably skeletal, but this number jumps out: Percentage of the class with a full-time "long-term" job requiring a JD nine months after graduation: 59.3%

"Long-term" is in quotation marks because both  of these schools are counting judicial clerkships as "long-term" employment.  They can do this while staying ("arguably" as a lawyer might say) within the NALP definitions because NALP defines "short-term" employment as any definite period of employment of less than one year.  Technically most judicial clerkships last one year, although I note that in its aggregated national statistics NALP treats judicial clerkships as short-term employment.  Given that a large proportion of the judicial clerkships taken by graduates of sub-elite schools are state and local rather than federal (slightly less than half at GWU in 2011; comparable number at WUSTL unknown), many of these jobs are very much short-term in both form and substance, as they are essentially a one-year reprieve from post-graduate unemployment.

In other words one doesn't have to look very critically at even these sparse statistics to conclude that less than half the most recent graduating class at the nation's 23rd-ranked law school had a real legal job nine months after graduation, even liberally defined.


  1. Note that almost as many grads reported being employed in firms of 50 or fewer (88) as in 250 or more (95).

    What do you suppose "academia" means? A theory for which I have no evidence but some basis in experience to propose: various administrative/research/gopher positions on projects housed in universities and funded by foundation or government grants. There are a lot of these in DC and, because they evaporate when the grant is over, they tend to be filled by highly educated young people who have little prospect of full time employment.


  2. The trend is not your friend.

  3. @RPL, right, then the law school doesn't need to report them as employed in positions funded by the law school. Genius. It's like whack-a-mole, you press them on transparency one way and they'll just pop up with another BS way to obfuscate the numbers.

  4. Some of these people may also be part-time law students who already had administrative jobs in academia that they simply kept after graduating.

  5. Lawprof -

    Please confront GW on what this new explosion of academia jobs are. Given GW's history of flagrant strategic gaming of the rankings (i.e., the part-time scam it used to run) I'm very concerned that they've just found yet another way to defraud prospective students.

    Can you imagine someone choosing GW thinking that they will have even the slightest chance of breaking into "academia" with that degree? That would be like someone choosing Rutgers because Beth Warren got a job teaching at Harvard!

  6. Those stats smell like ass. GW is a total trap school.

  7. 1. The basic segmentation of data in these placement stats is clearer and more meaningful than two years ago (a victory for the scamblog movement), even though WUSL, disgracefully, does not report salary info and GW’s salary info is based on 1/3 of the class and should be disregarded.

    2. I note that GW and WUSL are the US News number #20 and #23-–not just first tier, but top half of first tier. And they report the following numbers in full-time long-term JD-required positions, nine months out: WUSL: 188/317= 50.6%; and GW=421/518=81.2%. I can only imagine the percentages in the lower-first, second, third, and fourth tiers.

    3. If GW's numbers hold up, it is evidence that, if you must go to law school, you still benefit from going to a school in proximity to D.C., lawyer capital of the world.

    4. What does “JD-advantage” mean? Both schools report over 30 graduates in this category. My guess is that this is a scam category that includes grads who snagged white collar nonlaw jobs due to preexisting contacts or skills. Nonlaw employers no longer “prefer” a JD--the market-flooding behavior of the law schools has destroyed any "mystique" the degree once had.


  8. 188/317=59%, sorry, WUSL


  9. Furthermore, when publishing data off of survey responses, social scientists would at least provide a disclaimer to the effect of "These figures may be skewed as those with higher incomes were more likely to report their salary data."

  10. why make the distinction between unemployed - not seeking and unemployed seeking? Is it some bizarre attempt to try and suggest that some students are so disinterested in finding work they just don't care and couldn't even be bothered to look? Clearly it wasn't the JD program that failed them, but rather their own lack of motivation and initiative!

  11. 3:23: Until last year USNWR took grads listed as unemployed not seeking out of the denominator when calculating the nine month employment rate. This inevitably led to some egregious abuses of this category, so as of last spring those people started getting counted as simply unemployed. But schools are still using the old data collection format.

  12. These pages are horribly formatted. It's excruciating to read them. There needs to be a standardized form that you can see as a pdf or image because it's almost deliberately confusing.

    Why the change in terminology? We now use "JD Advantage"- that sounds like some kind of special lawyer credit card program. Long term/short term? In the real world we call those temporary and permanent.

    GW needs to disclose how many salaries were reported in each category. WUSTL just needs to disclose more. It's amazing that we're talking about top 30 schools here.

  13. Not that I want to defend the law schools, but doesn't the first set of GW numbers showing annual big law employment support the theory that we're in a recession?

    Personally, I believe the downturn is structural, and not cyclical, and that the classes of 2009, 2010, and 2011 will be a lost generation.

    But it could also support the law school's claim that there is a recession going on and it's not their fault. What is the response to that?

  14. Law Prof

    Why are you focused solely on large employers? Is the point that this is what is being used to entice students to law school?

    My main problem that is that this is not true of a large number of people applying to law school.

    Shouldn't you include other data to provide a full picture of why going to law school is a problem even if someone doesn't plan to become an associate at a large law firm

    Here, I am not only referring to non-profit law. I am referring to various specialties such as patent law. I have a friend (several actually) with PhDs, who nevertheless had difficulties finding a job, including at boutiques and specialty shops.

    In fact, I think the arms race for higher and higher degrees in patent is a really interesting part of this. When I started, one merely needed to pass the patent bar. Now, they are requiring PhD and masters degrees. As the saturation has occurred, the educational requirements have increases. Is this expectation of employers true in general in the legal market?

    To me, that's a big sign there's a problem with the market. If even highly specialized areas of law are saturated, how bad could it be for the generalist?

    Bruh Rabbit

    1. For almost everyone biglaw is the only way to pay back loans and afford law school.

  15. sorry for the typos and grammatical mistakes. bruh rabbit

  16. What these numbers tell me is that the Class of 2008 mastered the art of networking. It seems to me that the subsequent classes relied entirely on their career services office to land a job. Hello? That's not how it works. No school hands you a job. You have to go out and get it. This is a millenials' problem. They are too entitled. There are plenty of jobs out there. They won't come to you. You have to go out there, hustle, network and master your own destiny. Quit crying about how "law school failed me." You have yourselves to blame for your own failures. These are all fine schools. The class action lawsuits are a joke. The attorneys who filed those cases will fold like a cheap deck of cards once settlement offers to pay huge attorneys' fees start rolling in. I think it is comical that young attorneys are making money off of the misery of these "woe is me" law grads.

    1. Hahahahaha. So networking is a lost art? No one makes friends at the country club anymore?

      I'm sure all those lathered, deferred and no- offered attorneys just needed to learn networkin. The economy had nothing to do with it!

    2. Oops it auto- corrected "lathamed" to " lathered" which is funny in a sad way.

  17. 6:16:

    Fuck you ya damn fool.

  18. This is 6:16PM again.

    The problem, as I see it, is that law students today have their priorities all screwed up. When they come in for interviews, I see them wearing designer suits, Louis Vuitton brief case, Mont Blanc pen and the latest Iphone. I am sure most used student loan money to buy these expensive accoutrements. When I was a student, I lived frugally, did not borrow more than I needed and bought a suit off of Jos A. Banks. I networked hard at every law school event and was employed every summer and had a job secured by the start of my third year. I lived in a studio apt. out in Queens with a roomate and took the subway to work everyday. Today, kids want to live at Trump Tower and drive a Benz to work. This is an unrealistic expectation. First, when you are subsidizing your lazy tendencies for 3 years at $50-60K a year, that is not FREE money. You are setting yourself up to make less than what you spend. This is reckless behavior. There are jobs out there, the problem is that law grads today have little drive to be a go-getter. They expect to sit pretty in an office, sipping on lattes while surfing the net whereas I want to hire someone who will generate revenue and bring in business. I need a producer, not a sponge. I have enough sponges at home (i.e., two kids and a trophy wife) that the last thing I need is to carry a self-entitled brat because he took out too much loans to party during college and law school.

    1. They dress to emulate you. They want to impress clients and fit in. Looked in the mirror lately?

      Why do you refer to law students as lazy? What do you know of their circumstances? Honestly if you're interviewing top people, you should assume they worked hard.

  19. You stated that you saw employment numbers suddenly tank, simultaneously with a global recession, and drew the conclusion that "kids can't network anymore"?? I really thought your previous comment was a pretty funny satire, but apparently you were serious? Wow.

    I don't know what kind of job you are hiring for - I'm guessing corporate? Maybe that is why the job is attracting such spoiled and lazy applicants. The young lawyers I know bear no resemblence to your description, but I work for the government. I took out loans in law school so I could pay for my 500 a month subterranean sh*thole apartment. I was one of about 5 people in my class who couldn't afford a laptop, so I took notes, exams, and the bar by hand. And I worked 20-30 hours a week to pay for my food, clothes and books. And guess what, due to the exorbitant interest, my student loans are still above 150 grand, 10 years out. Don't be so quick to assume that everyone fits your convenient stereotypes.

  20. Hey Bruh Rabbit,

    Please allow me to repeat to you what is told to every do-nothing, lazy asshole who believes that LawProf is their assistant, do your own work you lazy bum. Every day, one can get insight into why you people don't have jobs by reading your comments. A bunch of shiftless losers with no work ethic who couldn't be trusted to make a sandwich. You're all bums. That's why you don't have jobs. Bums.

  21. Hey, @7:01, after 13 years my loans are 31k, but my wife (who no longer practices law) has loans of 100k. Nyah, nyah,... nyah?

    6:47 was a troll. I'm just slap-happy after 13 hours in the office.

  22. "When they come in for interviews, I see them wearing designer suits, Louis Vuitton brief case, Mont Blanc pen and the latest Iphone. I am sure most used student loan money to buy these expensive accoutrements."

    Oh come on an Iphone is $200 bucks. You're just old. Also, I don't believe the stuff about LV bags and MB pens. Who brings a pen to an interview?

  23. From the Chronicle.
    Millennials Are More 'Generation Me' Than 'Generation We,' Study Finds
    By Joanna Chau

    Millennials, the generation of young Americans born after 1982, may not be the caring, socially conscious environmentalists some have portrayed them to be, according to a study described in the new issue of the Journal of Personality and Social Psychology.

    The study, which compares the traits of young people in high school and entering college today with those of baby boomers and Gen X'ers at the same age from 1966 to 2009, shows an increasing trend of valuing money, image, and fame more than inherent principles like self-acceptance, affiliation, and community. "The results generally support the 'Generation Me' view of generational differences rather than the 'Generation We,'" the study's authors write in a report published today, "Generational Differences in Young Adults' Life Goals, Concern for Others, and Civic Orientation."

    For example, college students in 1971 ranked the importance of being very well off financially No. 8 in their life goals, but since 1989, they have consistently placed it at the top of the list.

    The study also found a decline in civic interest, such as political participation and trust in government, as well as in concern for others, including charity donations, and in the importance of having a job worthwhile to society.

    "Having a population that is civically involved, is interested in helping others, and interested in the problems in the nation and the world, are generally good things," she says. But Ms. Twenge does not believe this is happening. People are "more isolated and wrapped up in their own problems," she says. "It doesn't bode well for society in general."

  24. When you hear today's law grads say "I'll just go on IBR and coast through life," it shows the general millenial mindset. They take reckless risks by going to law school and then saddle the taxpayer. Last summer, my senator was looking into proposing a revision of title 11, section 523(a)(8) of the Bankruptcy Code. I made an appointment with him through his liason and printed hundred of pages from a website called "Top Law Schools." I showed my senator how kids were taking calculating risks to default on future obligations and that it would be an injustice to the taxpayer to reward their recklessness by allowing them to discharge student loans. I was pleased that he seemed concerned and quickly dropped his talk about bankruptcy reform. If you kids have a passion for the law or love the law, learn to live with paying its pricetag.

  25. That's right fucker 8:15. You created a system that used lies about jobs to defraud me into wasting three years and a ton of money. I got an LLM too and now I'm in 300k of debt, and I love - love - filling out that IBR form once a year to turn my required repayment from $3,000 per month to $0 per month.



    You thought the law schools would victimize me, but now I'm victimizing you. Bitch.

  26. This is 8:15PM.

    I did not create the system you decry in sour grapes mode. I didn't fall for the "pie in the sky" scenario that the law school deans painted for you. Maybe your parents coddled you too much or insulated you from the realities of life. Well, let me teach you the first reality. Life revolves around money. People are fucked over and killed over money. Do you really think colleges and universities are eleemosynary institutions that strive to create an educated society that can discuss Kant and Rawls in civil discourse? No you idiot. Higher education is a fucking scam if you didn't know. Your parents told you that you would be the next Johnnie Cochran and you believed them. You put on the rose tinted glasses and drank the Kool Aid and you say fuck me? No kid, fuck you for being stupid. Law school will pan out for a few lottery winners. The rest of you will wither away in misery and you expect to put that burden on society? And then you expect society to side with you? Do you think the average layperson can sympathize with a lawyer? Lawyers today are seen at the same level as used car salesmen. It's not my fault that you believed a JD diploma would confer your with a magical mantle of prestige and that employers would be begging to hire you. You created that image in your brain. Go cry on your mother's shoulder if you want sympathy for having to be dehumanized in filing out a form once a year to feed off of the public dole.

  27. The commentators on this board are very good at seeing the flaws in others, but they fail completely in seeing their own flaws.

  28. "Go cry on your mother's shoulder if you want sympathy for having to be dehumanized in filing out a form once a year to feed off of the public dole."

    I'm too busy financially fucking you in the ass, bitch. That's what you morons forget. If I don't get a job, I'll rape your butt entitlement style. Dumbasses.

  29. lol'ed irl at all the crazy trolls

  30. phew, i'll go ahead and assume the good professor is sound asleep. i would hope he wouldn't allow this useless back and forth to go on.

  31. 6:16/6:47,

    Oh wise one, please tell me this art form you call "networking". From my experience, this involves one or more of the following:

    1. Paying $50-$1500/year for the "privilege" of meeting people several times per month who may or may not refer work to you. This may include bar associations of dubious quality as well as some other business networking groups (BNI, Provisers, etc.)

    2. Paying another $50-$500 to attend an event where it is nothing more than paying homage to a judge (for whatever reason), paying homage to newly elected board members, or other weird nonsense.

    3. Pay $500+ (along with hotel and other incidental expenses) to attend conferences where you will meet some people who you will likely never see again.

    4. Having lunch/night out at a strip club/bridge game with other attorneys who are either too busy (or pretend to be), are condescending, or are dishonest.

    If this is what networking is, I would like to get a tuition refund of my third year of law school. I can use the money to do the above.

  32. One could point out that there are far to many law schools in the DC metro area: Georgetown, GW, AU, Catholic, UDC and Howard - and just outside George Mason - seven law schools pumping out about 2400 JDs per year - and that is before you add UVA whose main market is the DC Metro (300 odd) the Yalies (not many jobs in New Haven) and the Harvard and UVa grads. Washington DC is expected to absorb a huge number of JDs a year.

    On law student lifestyles - hm. With caveat that my knowledge comes from the late 80s and early 90s, when tuition was around $12-14,000 (and that was then the highest) - when I was working my way through without student loans. My first year my parents were in DC and I lived in a very comfortable home (that why I went there and not to a school in say Cambridge) but we were not wealthy and the lack of student loans meant that I had to earn most of my tuition and living expenses and worried about every ¢ and working 30+ hours a week hurt my grades. I was therefore surprised at my classmates' lifestyles, given their worries about loan debt; many of them went to Italy on a summer program, bought or leased new cars, rented very nice apartments (we ended up with a strung out junkie ripped off by the dealers upstairs in ours with a knife) and ate out in pricy-ish restaurants, shopped at Brooks Brothers, Britches of Georgetown and wore Rolex, had new-laptops and laser printers (in 1990 this was a very expensive) and put Mont Blanc pens in their pockets for interviews (yes I used a fountain pen too - but that was to try to make my crap handwriting legible.) I do not know if loan-dependent law students still live as well - I doubt it - but I can see how someone who went to law school 20 years ago might think so.


  33. On a previous thread I pointed out that law firms are under no obligation to tell NLJ or AmLaw who they hire or from what school. I think we need to ask ourselves how much of the disclosure that started in the 80s was a good thing. Let me start by saying that Steven Brill (the original editor of the American Lawyer) is and was an unmitigated asshole. Brill spend the 80s preaching law is a business - he (and the Hildebrant consulting firm) preached the doctrine of rip off your clients - I remember a column in the American Lawyer explaining that a laser printer was really just a photocopier and that lawyers should therefore charge 25¢ a page for printing - and the American Lawyer was all for things like marking up photocopies to 30¢ or marking up Westlaw and Lexis- there were endless articles about looking for profit centers and jokes about photocopiers being worth more to the firm than associates - even though ABA rules prohibit marking up disbursements. Then the American Lawyer published the Skaddenomics article decrying the practices it had promoted.

    But the big failing of the American Lawyer was in publishing ludicrous articles in which it reported partners' earnings in BigLaw and firm profitability. Some of the articles were based on leaks - usually of the big earners numbers in a few firms - but then if firms would not "play ball" AmLaw published guesstimates as fact. Then many law-firms cooperated - all massaging their numbers upwards - and all over the legal profession partners making hundreds of thousands of dollars a year felt they were screwed (while to be blunt their wives complained (at least the wives of some of the ones I worked with) about the "fact" that they were not making enough.) The next step was calling in Hildebrant who always made the same suggestion - billable hours targets - either implement them or raise them. Personally I regard billable targets as an instruction to the associates to "rip off" the client and as a GC made our firms disclose the official and unofficial target - and since I have been in fee cases, it is interesting how the billables always soar at the end of the "year" for which they are counted, regardless of matter status, packed with research and document review.

    Everyone should read the BLS earnings statistics for each state and metropolitan area - for any lawyer to make $100,000 a year puts them in the mainstream, $200,000 is doing quite well, $300,000 is very good, $500,000 is a lot and $1 million is stratospheric. Part of the law school problem is that the public have come to believe that the earnings of a very small proportion of lawyers, maybe 1-2% who become senior partners in BigLaw are in fact the norm - and this has driven the demand to go to law school and law school tuition. It also drove many law students' lifestyles at least in the early 90s.


  34. 815

    Lol at anyone taking TLS posts as a reason to drop legislation. Even more at someone who would claim to print out thousands of pages of posts from there. As people say on TLS " pics or it didn't happen."

    You made my morning!

    PS. If you read carefully people are calculating what they need to make to repay the debt schools cost them to go- it's calked a cost- benefit analysis. Most people overestimate their earnings/ shot at biglaw. Wonder where they got the idea everyone makes $160,00? Here's a hint- law school publications.

  35. On a lighter note, this is brilliant:

    "An eager law student visits Doo Lee's House of Jurisdoctorates which is a "fast education" law school that even has a drive thru window."

  36. 8:47 is clearly a troll.

  37. 8:15PM

    It is always advisable for an interviewee to dress to fit in - so if someone is interviewing with us I would not be socked at Jeans or Chinos - but in previous roles I would have expected a suit (we have banned partners wearing bicycle shorts though - yikes!) Indeed if you read say - The Perfect Interview, Max A. Eggert - a book incidentally every law student should buy - it will make precisely this point. So I ask you - what brand of suit do your partners wear - do some have a Mont Blanc in their shirt pocket at all times - a Rolex?

    Incidentally, I once worked with a partner, a very successful litigator, who made a lot of money. His tips were for jury trials (a) wear a timex; (b) go to the local Sears or other mid level department store and buy a couple of suits there (don't free better than the jurors); and (c) always be extra polite in the courthouse, hold doors, etc. You never know who is a juror. I also managed to stop a harassment complaint from a young paralegal against him the time he sent her down to the new stand with instructions to get a copy of various mens magazines and two cartons of cigarettes ("doesn't matter what brand") - he was going to visit a client in jail - and in that jail these items were currency.

    In terms of hard work - since class rank in 1L and to a lesser degree 2L matters so much - and matter more than it did say 30, 20 and 10 years ago, law school has become much more hard working and viciously competitive. It was bad 20 years ago, I hear it is savage today.


  38. wow my typos - I keep switching keyboard types - don't dress better than the jurors.


  39. From what I see on a daily basis, law students are still living beyond their means during school (assuming that at least a fair percentage of those I see are taking out loans).

    Almost all have all of the newest Apple products. 75%+ spend a majority of each class on FaceBook or shopping online. I've heard countless stories about trips during spring break ("normal" places like FL but also overseas (Italy, etc.)) and in which foreign lands they're spending their coming summer, etc.

    I don't know about the cars and housing, but if what they carry with them and where they travel is any indication, I doubt they're slumming and relying on public transit.

  40. Two things I will now carp about:

    (1) The prestige of a clerkship is inversely proportional to its usefulness. The best learning experience a young lawyer can have is to work a year in a busy, downtown state courtroom, where she will see every type of motion, argument and style of representation. Yes state clerkships barely count, while genteel federal clerkships, with their lighter dockets, are considered superior.

    (2) 5:24 am -- A trip to Europe or anywhere abroad can, if done correctly, be much less expensive than a trip within the USA.

  41. Seriously guys, we have a structurally flawed system that is destroying the futures of thousands of young people and jeopardizing the future of our profession, and you guys want to quibble about whether some anectdotal law student uses a Mont Blanc or a ball point pen?

    Back when I was in law school in the 90's, I knew students who lived off Ramen noodles (I was one of them) as well as students who made car payments with loan money. We all have to pay back the loans, however. Myself personally, I did not have a dime to spare (meaning at the end of every year, I had no savings or 401(k)) for the first five years out of lawschool. And my loans were a lot, lot less.

    More imporantly, each and every student loan debtor will pay way more in interest over time than they'll spend on iphones, laptops, etc.

  42. Any evidence to back up your assumption that state/local judicial clerks tend to finish their clerkships unemployed?


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