Wednesday, April 18, 2012

ABA releases employment data for Class of 2010

The ABA Section for Legal Education has released its Placement Summary Report for the Class of 2010.  While this data is already 14 months out of date (it represents the status of 2010 graduates as of February 15, 2011) it also provides the most complete picture yet of the employment status of law school graduates at ABA-accredited schools, as it essentially makes something resembling NALP national data available for individual schools.  The biggest gap in the ABA data relative to the NALP numbers is that the former don't reveal how many jobs require a JD.  For example I would advises prospective law students to translate jobs in the"business and industry" category into "Starbucks and Target".

I would also encourage people to pay close attention to the percentage of graduates who have jobs with law firms with more than 10 lawyers.  (Entry-level jobs with firms of ten lawyers or less make up a problematic category for a variety of reasons, the most obvious being that almost no such jobs either pay anywhere close to enough or feature long-term prospects for advancement that would justify the current cost of law school attendance for most students). Also, the ABA numbers don't include any salary data.  However, one can look at the national NALP data to get  a good idea of what jobs in particular employment categories are likely to pay.

You can look up schools individually, or download the whole report in the form of a spreadsheet. Probably the most interesting new piece of information made available by the report is data on how many 2010 graduates were in law-school funded jobs nine months after graduation, and were counted as "employed" for the purposes of schools' nine-month employment rates.  Such positions made up 4.81% of all jobs law schools reported their graduates held nine months after graduation, and not counting them for employment purposes drops the overall nine month employment rate for 2010 grads from 84.5% to 80.4% (Based on what I've seen I expect the number of 2011 graduates in these positions to be quite a bit higher. For example Cornell, which has released its class of 2011 numbers, went from having 6 to 26 graduates in such positions nine months after graduation).

Note that this data does not represent how many otherwise unemployed graduates are being put in law school-funded positions: it only represents how many are in such positions nine months after graduation.  The most striking illustration of this distinction is provided by the University of Michigan, which is listed as having seven 2010 graduates in law-school funded positions in February 2011, but which on its web site states that 61 graduates took such positions at some point after graduation.  New York University provides another illustration: in response to a reporter's query the school revealed that it funded 38 class of 2010 graduates in post-graduate positions; the ABA data lists 22 graduates in such positions nine months after graduation.

Of course the nine-month data is particularly salient, because it's what makes these "jobs" most problematic from the standpoint of transparency, as they (along with other factors, such as counting paid work of any kind as employment) artificially inflate a school's reported overall employment rate. For example, UCLA's overall employment percentage at nine months drops from 93.1% to 81.3% when short-term law school-funded positions are excluded (That nearly 20% of the 2010 class at the nation's 15th ranked law school was in effect unemployed nine months after graduation ought to give anyone pause).

A few observations about individual schools and overall patterns:

Yale and Harvard put 19 and 29 people in law-school funded jobs nine months after graduation -- 9% and 5% of their 2010 classes respectively.   Interestingly, they are the only schools at which a significant number of graduates had law-school funded positions nine months after graduation and those jobs are predominantly long-term (defined as a duration of at least one year) rather than short-term.  At least some of these jobs may be fellowships in the genuine sense of the world -- that is, positions that graduates took for some reason other than desperation. The other member of the Holy Trinity put just two graduates in law school-funded positions (both were long-term).

The majority of third and fourth-tier schools were funding no jobs for their classes of 2010 nine months after graduation. Given the unemployment rate at these schools this is obviously a product of limited resources.
Here is a list of schools that had at least ten 2010 graduates in law school funded positions nine months after graduation (any such positions that were long term are listed parenthetically):

American:           19   (2)
BU:                    26   (1)
BC:                    35   (1)
Hastings             58  (2)
UCLA               41  (3)
Case West         18
Chapman           23
CUNY              24 (4)
Denver              23  (1)
Duke                 10 (2)
Emory               20 (1)
Fl Coast            59 (5)
Florida              21 (1)
Fordham           73 (3)
George Mason  18  (3)
GWU                26 (2)
GULC               73 (7)
Golden Gate      20
Harvard             29 (27)
Hofstra              27
ITT                   19
UIUC                20  (9)
John Marshall    26   (6)
Lewis & Cl        23  (1)
Loyola Mary      16
Maryland           20 (4)
McGeorge         54
Miami                35 (4)
Mich State         37 (8)
Minnesota          40 (7)
NYLS                29 (5)
NYU                  22 (9)
Northeastern       17
Northwestern      10 (2)
Notre Dame        25 (2)
Ohio State           17 (4)
Oregon                11
Pace                    22 (2)
Penn                    13 (2)
Rutgers                12 (1)
San Diego            18
San Francisco      30  (1)
Santa Clara          14 (1)
USC                    17
Temple                41 (1)
Texas                  24 (3)
Vanderbilt           22 (1)
Virginia               40 (1)
Wake Forest       11
W & L                13 (8)
Washington         13 (1)
Yale                    19 (19)
Cardozo              59

Update: Paul Caron has this information presented in terms of percentage of jobs and percentage of all grads here.

I would anticipate this list will have something like twice as many schools on it for the Class of 2011.


  1. For Georgetown (GULC) that 73 must be more than 10% of the graduating class. That is baaad.

    Lawprof - could you express this as a % of the graduating class? Perhaps also the impact on the reported employment rate.


  2. I love the smell of data in the morning.

    Smells like, victory.

  3. MacK -

    Prof. Caron has sliced and diced the data:

  4. Yea and look at that 4th tier hunk of junk Florida Coastal, 59. Now you tell me they must be doing these fellowships out of the goodness of their hearts. Hell they would probably have a 75% unemployment rate reported, if it were not for this bit of trickery.

  5. Faux-outraged response from these schools, featuring the one or two graduates out of 10-75 who parlayed their CSO hush money into real work, in 3...2...1...

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  7. LP, are VAPs (Visiting Assistant Professors) generally hired by their degree-granting institution?

    Asking since VAPs might skew some school-funded numbers.

  8. BL1Y: No, not usually. Maybe a few of the YH people though.

  9. Apparently, Third Tier Drake did not place any 2010 grads in school funded positions.

  10. You can look on the HYS sites and see what kind of fellowships are available to students. Most of them are public interest ones designed to get people who do not want to work in firms into the ever decreasing pool of public interest jobs and government jobs that students would consider to be like public interest jobs. Those sectors are drying up and lots of students want to be in that area, and really disdain the idea of working for firms. Many are for two years, which would give employers the chance to see the graduate's work.

  11. This is bad.

    Prospective law students of the Class of 2015 take note. Keep your pennies and don't enroll.

    Understand what this means. This means that 73 members of Fordham's class of 2010 were 'working' for the law school 9 months after graduation. Almost none of these positions was long term, meaning intended to last one year or more.

    And Fordham is a good school in a big city with a lot of potential law-employers. Same for Georgetown.

    What happens after 9 months? They enter the private legal sector labor force, only they don't have jobs. Mother bird (law school) tells the chicks it's time to fly. Many will not.

    Do not go to law school this year unless it is Harvard, Yale, or Stanford.

  12. It seems like T3 really is the new T14. I wonder when it will become T1 or T0?

  13. Wait?!?!?!? According to Caron's data I go to a top five school now! I rock! Yay me!

    Wait a minute:)......

    Oh shit.

  14. Lawprof:

    A suggestion:

    I was looking at Caron's data and some of his percentages in his 04/17 article yesterday. His math seems to give the schools a break when it comes to calculating the percentage of those in short term positions. He calculates this number by dividing the number of short term employed graduates by total number of graduates. Wouldn't it be more accurate to divide the number of short term employed graduates by the total number of those employed? After all, at some schools there appears to be a huge difference between those employed and total number of graduates. The difference could be for a variety of reasons.

  15. "The other member of the Holy Trinity . . ."


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  17. I strongly believe that the T14 status should only be now afforded to the T6, maybe even just the T3. From the beginning of my time at UVA, I started to smell the BS. While only based on mere anecdotal evidence, I could really see that the situation was worse than the school numbers reflected. You wouldn't believe the number of people I encounter(ed) from the classes of 2010, 2011, and 2012 that well into the Spring semester of their 3L had/have no jobs or prospects. After many severely awkward moments, I learned to NEVER ask people what their plans were after graduation.

  18. Matt2:

    You are a hack. Stop trying to peddle your stupid website.


  19. i think this data is sufficient to warn any prospective students. If after looking at the charlotte school of law someone decides to enroll then they deserve all the misfortune that is coming their way. If you want to practice law at a high level then pick a school with not just high placement rates but also quality placements

  20. @Matt2--surprised at the numbers at HLS? 29 out of 589 students. Yale 19 out 207. Most of these are long term fellowships designed to get people into the kind of jobs they really want.

  21. I've seen spammer Matt2 a few different places this morning, linking to a site that isn't even up and running.

    He's at UC-Irvine, if anyone cares..

  22. Glad to see the great majority of my classmates have long term jobs, of course if those numbers are true and they are doing "attorney" work. I'm still trying to find that full-time gig.

  23. Please do a post on the other law school in CO. University of Denver's stats are horrible! The number of graduates in 2-10 attorney firms, the number employed by the school, and the low overall salaries are astounding! And this school charges $57K/yr at sticker price! Unbelievable! Couple all this information with the earlier post you made about the number of jobs in CO...I'm just shocked.

    This whole system is so screwed up. Glad I dropped out after 1 semester! Now I'm doing something I love with no added debt burden! Big thanks to people like you Professor!

  24. "Mother bird (law school) tells the chicks it's time to fly. Many will not."

    ROFL! Exactly, right. SPLAT!, as Mother Bird gets back to the task of laying more golden eggs.

  25. It's possible that a handful of these fellowships are actually helpful.

    I had been an intern with a prosector's office and had basically been working for them for free my 2nd and 3rd summers.

    Even though I had put myself in the best position possible, the positions don't open until the state funds them--so that meant waiting.

    I knew they had over applications on file, and that another individual working there was applying as well. So my fingers were crossed that they would have 2 new positions funded that year. I got lucky, and they had 5. Luckily for me, it was a large office, and they believed in me enough to extend an offer before bar results came back. I passed,

    I could see a scenario where an extra few months of funding might allow someone to get into a position like this---at least theoretically. However, I see a few differences in the market now.

    Like I said, there were very limited opportunities to get into a position like that, and even in those days it was highly competitive. Here are the problems one would face now:

    1. Position opens when state funds new position. Back in those days, in the larger offices, it wasn't unusual for 2, 3 or even 5 new hires to be funded. I worked in a large urban area, so there was state funding, metro city funding and federal grant funding.

    Back in those days, it was assumed that most or all of these would go to new lawyers, fresh out of law school, to cut their teeth. At the salaries they were paying, that was all they could afford. Now, many D.A.'s offices are in the catbird seat, and can hire folks with great credentials from top schools, folks shed from big firms, or private practitioners fleeing their private firms to get out from under their monthly overhead requirements or to get something as simple as reasonably priced health insurance. So that's a big difference.

    Also, with austerity measures squeezing state budgets, it's no longer a guarantee that new slots will be funded. It's often more likely the offices are trying to stave off layoffs or cuts.

    2. Another way (the only other way)to get on board was when a position opened up, through someone leaving for private practice, retirement, or death.

    When I started, it was common for folks to get 2-5 years experience, try a couple dozen jury trials and head out on their own for more money or to interview with a law firm. So, while the exits weren't predictable in terms of timing, you could count on a spot or two opening up every year just due to this type of churn. I don't see this happening as much any more, as a) the private sector law firm jobs aren't there any more, b)folks see solos running in the other direction (i.e. trying to leave their private criminal practice to get into public jobs) and c)people value a guaranteed paycheck and job security more than what the private sector can offer.

    Retirements and death still happen, of course, but that's small consolation. Retirements used to be more rare because you only had a handful of folks that stuck with the government that long. Now folks are seeing that as a lifestyle choice, and the pension looks safer than a 401(k). So for every one of these folks who decide to make it a career today, that means they'll be occupying a slot for 10, 20, 30 years or more, which means one less slot that will ever turn over for a new grad.

    So I don't necessarily hate the idea of the "bridge" fellowship. It would have been fantastic for me when I graduated. Unfortunately, the dynamics have changed and I'm afraid it won't be nearly as helpful going forward, at least not in large numbers.

  26. I think it is very telling that there have not been any comments since 11:49AM on this very vital topic.

    Often in life, what youse have to listen to most is not what you hear.....but rather to what you don't hear.

    And yes I am talking like a fortune cookie and figure it out.

  27. Will someone call that dopey judge in New York and him how "sophisticated" applicants were supposed to know that 10%+ of graduates at places like Virginia, Georgetown, Minnesota, Vanderbilt, UCLA, Texas, and Notre Dame were in phony temporary jobs paid by the school solely to maintain good will, boost the rankings, and deceive the consumer to get government-backed money?

    You know Big Tobacco? More ethical than the law school cartel. If only law grads got lung cancer instead of a 200k debt noose.

  28. Good comment @3:04 IMHO. I think what you say is realistic and fair. But, as you note the differences between then and now, and how much harder it is going to become, schools can't rely on these fellowship programs as defenses for their costs. Which, I think, is what this whole damn blog is supposed to be about. That, and the fact that after you learn "how to think like a lawyer", 95% of "thinking like a lawyer" and, you know, actually practicing law, will be learned while in the fellowship. So, with their exorbitant costs, what exactly are law schools providing? Not to mention the intent of these fellowships; e.g. padding stats v. legitimately helping students.

    Just happens to be one instance of an infinite amount of horrible shit that occurs on this planet.

  29. I would guess that not all of these fellowships are created equal. Looking on the HYS sites, there are a number of long term fellowships that seemed designed to help people get a foot in the door to areas that would be difficult to get into at any time.

    At the risk of bringing the wrath, I do wonder how some of these schools were supposed to know that the numbers of students requiring fellowships would jump as high as they have. Next year will look bad or worse. The preliminary reports suggest that the following year will look better--in terms of the fellowships created to deal with
    folks who have not found jobs and are not just getting a foot in the door. Still, it is great to have this information going forward.

  30. @3:17 Maybe that "dopey judge in New York" realized that Virginia, Minesota, Vanderbilt, Texas and Notre Dame were not defendants in the case, and the school that was before him was apparently reporting in the same manner as these more prestigious institutions.

  31. While I wish they included salary information, the data they released is not bad.

    For example, take Loyola. It shows that only 2/3 of their graduates have "long term employment" and that less than 200 of these jobs are at law firms, with the vast majority being in shitlaw.

    Let's add salary data to this and we'll be fine.

  32. This was never a sustainable system. In order for biglaw to hire a huge number of people and boot them after a few years, some people need to be placed into ongoing jobs. Those jobs are just not there, except in very small numbers.

    As it is, biglaw fired most of their older lawyers, many without jobs, even years before this. Finally, it got to a point where it was clear the system of hiring large numbers of grads and pushing them into unemployment is not great for the big firms. So they cut back their hiring.

    Still no place to go after a few years for a large number of law school grads who are biglaw alums, even with the cut back biglaw hiring.

    If you think these employment statistics are bad, try the numbers for experienced lawyers. How many solos working from home are there in West Haven, CT? Many more than the number of DUIs or divorces in the whole 50 mile radius of West Haven. Look at Martindale if you don't believe me.

  33. More massive cuts for CA Superior Court. Those who get laid off will probably go to law school to ride out the "recession" while gaining invaluable skills that will allow them to do whatever they want when they graduate and become leaders of society (assuming society still exists in 3 more years).

  34. "The budget crisis that began in fiscal year 2008-09 continues with little improvement," writes Judge Edmon in the memo. " Since that time, the California courts have been given permanant budget reductions totaling $652 million. Solutions are dwindling while reductions continue and uncertainty looms."

  35. I think the committee is absolutely right not to require salary information. Unless you get responses in the high 90s, the information will be misleading. Lots of folks do not care to respond, and that is their right.

  36. 4:59:

    You are exactly WRONG. At 50K a year tuition, the schools that receive any salary from a graduate can list that fucking number anywhere on their website. Put the simplest way: if 50 people respond, the school lists all 50 salaries. Not that frickin' hard to do. Again, especially when tuition is 50K funded by public money.

    I would do away with averages and means. They wreak of a lack of transparency and they cannot be trusted.

  37. Nope. I am right, you're wrong. That is partly what got NYLS sued, putting up salary information when only a small number of graduates responded. The school revealed the low percentage, and that was thought by the plaintiffs, and many commenters on the site, to be inherently misleading. The phrase "at 50k a year tuition" is meaningless as it does not address the issue I alluded to. It is not about the school, it is about the graduate. After I have paid my 50k a year, I have the right to walk away and be as involved with the school as I choose. If I do not want to give them personal information, I do not have to.Reporting salaries when responses are low is not helpful, and may mislead because people with higher salaries tend to report more.

  38. S student here. We give out two year-long fellowships a year for public interest work. The fellowship is in the range of a nonprofit salary (45k plus benefits); as noted above, it is to get PI folks experience in an increasingly cash-strapped and competitive field. As far as I know there is no juking of the stats via other programs, which seems to be born out by the numbers.

  39. @ 6:12 That seems to be the case with the HY fellowships, too. They are two year fellowships with health benefits. So much of the focus on this blog is Big Law, but there are lots of folks at HYS who simply refuse to go that route.

  40. 4:13 PM:

    Congrats on missing the point entirely.

  41. You are an idiot. This is not why NYLS was sued. They lied about the employment rates, lied about salary numbers, and spun the types of jobs that graduates received. Business and industry = Walmart and Target.

    It would be real easy to list these jobs and the salaries separately, so employment and salary are not linked. Just recently, one law school listed every single employer for their graduating class.

    If graduates choose not to report, the schools suffer in their rankings. I would imagine the schools would give self-centered graduate assholes like you (who care only about what is in it for you) an incentive to report your information...say a shitty $20.00 Starbucks card? I am sure you would bite. You probably would sell yourself out for even less.

    It is not about you. It is about helping graduates after you make an informed decision. Your attitude reflects a larger problem in this country: you don't care about anyone else because you got yours. This attitude is part of the reason why the country, and education, is in such bad shape.

    Fuck you.

  42. CUNY - 23.53%

    Ranked #1


    The silence from Bruh Rabbit re his pet school is deafening.


  44. so glad I dropped out of TTTemple.

  45. 6:25, you are still wrong. Read the complaint and briefs. The plaintiffs listed more than one reason for alleging that NYLS's information was misleading. Reporting low numbers, however you do it, is thought to be problematic because of the tendency for people with high salaries to report. A short list with relatively high salaries will not tell the story better than telling what percentages of people In the stated class were in one range or another if it is the case that people with higher salaries will always tend to report more.

    No. There are other ways to help graduates, and it is not for you--or anyone else --to dictate precisely how that is to be done. Prospective students do not need to know the precise salaries of every one who graduated from a law school to know whether going to that law school-or any law school-- makes sense. They would do better focusing on the cost, not on the hypothetical salary they might get based on a list of what 23 percent of a given class reported.

  46. I agree with this completely: "Of course the nine-month data is particularly salient, because it's what makes these 'jobs' most problematic from the standpoint of transparency, . . . ."

    For a lot recent alumni and current students, the assumption has been that these programs exist specifically to "cook the books." I remain of that view with regard to some schools, but not others. For example, I'm not certain how successful Michigan's program is, but it doesn't appear to exist to "cook the books" (why else provide them to lots of students but then have most of them exit the program before the crucial 9 month date?). And, from the students' perspective, that's also a big deal. If the fellowships end prior to the 9 month period, it suggests that the students are moving on to something else.

  47. 4:30 -- you might have a point there. Perhaps it's to get the recent grads enough cash to take Barbri (and learn what they should have been taught by the law faculty, but were not) and to cover the cost of the bar exam.

    That's the only legit reason I can imagine for paying for a short term fellowship. The more sinister motives of most schools, of course, are to game the rankings data and to avoid having a bunch of angry recent grads picketing the school when it's time for the new rubes, I mean students, to walk into the scam.

  48. @9:07 -- "as a dog who has learned a particularly clever trick"?--Oh, come on.

  49. Fordham's real folly is the pouring of tons of money into it's new law school at a time when the over saturated legal field holds little prospect for graduates; something that will prove financially ruinous to many of its graduates. Fordham talks highly of it's Jesuit tradition and desire to help mankind, Perhaps more so than fellow Jesuit tradition school, Georgetown U. But if this were true, why wouldn't Fordham's money go to programs other than the law school at a time when job prospects are poor? For example, they could have opened a School of Public Health, or increased their biomedical research if their concern was truly for "mankind." Soaking law students for such hefty tuition rates does not seem all that benevolent. NYU and Columbia? Well aren't all law schools just in it for money that can then be passed along to other school programs? The problem is that the law graduates, real flesh and blood people, mind you, are the ones whose lives are damaged so that other university needs can be met.


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