Number of 2010 Columbia and NYU grads who the National Law Journal confirmed were working in such jobs nine months after graduation:
No more than 448 (the real number is lower to the extent that any grads in associate track positions at NLJ250 firms were working at firms of less than 251 attorneys).
Total number of missing BigLaw jobs represented by these numbers:
(At least) 107
Explanation given by the two schools for this discrepancy to New York Post reporter Christine Parker when she requested one:
Comparable numbers of missing BigLaw jobs at other top ten law schools:
Number of 2010 NYU grads employed by the law school nine months after graduation, i.e., during the NALP employment reporting window:
Monthly salary of these jobs:
Average monthly rent for a one-bedroom apartment in Manhattan:
Number of 2010 Fordham law school graduates employed by the law school nine months after graduation:
Number of 2010 Columbia Law School graduates employed by the law school nine months after graduation:
Unknown "While Columbia acknowledged that it offers fellowships to students seeking employment, the school
I'll say this for Columbia: the place doesn't lack for chutzpah. When it comes to fundraising they probably use NSA data bases to secure their alums' cellphone numbers and GPS nanotechnology to track their exact locations, but somehow the answer to the question of the exactly the extent to which they're fluffing their "98%" employment number with law school-created "jobs" remains a deep and abiding mystery, even when one of the nation's largest newspapers (as opposed to a mere blogger) asks them point blank.
Speaking of which, at least NYU has disclosed -- when asked to do so by a large newspaper -- that it was employing eight per cent of its own graduates during the NALP reporting window. It thus joins UVA (11%) as the only other top ten school to reveal this fascinating number.
The Fordham number is the kind of thing that should get even students currently still within the 1L bubble stirred up. Simple math suggests that current Fordham law students are paying about a thousand bucks apiece to fund essentially fictitious jobs for Fordham grads, to fluff up the school's employment rate. (No doubt this money is for accounting purposes coming out of the sort of discretionary slush fund that sloshes around deans' offices, rather than directly from student tuition. But money is fungible).
And what's up with Harvard's BigLaw placement? While the discrepancy in its numbers isn't nearly as egregious as that at Columbia and NYU -- percentage-wise it's about a third as large -- it's still big enough that a nascent Woodward and Bernstein at the Crimson could find a worse use of their time than trying to look into it.
BTW some commenters responding to the original thread on this topic assumed I was accusing Columbia and NYU of intentionally cooking their numbers. I didn't and I'm not. What I'd like to know is why one out of every five BigLaw jobs that Columbia and NYU reported to NALP in 2010 has gone missing in the NLJ stats. There are lots of possible explanations for this that don't include outright fraud by the schools themselves (For instance one possibility is that unusually large percentages of Columbia and NYU grads are taking new non-partner track associate positions, which the NLJ doesn't count when surveying firms).
Simply refusing to answer the question, however, isn't a very good way of getting people to give you the benefit of the doubt.