Apparently a whole lot of people got an email from Rutgers-Camden's law school this week:
Today my girlfriend received the email below from Rutgers. By way of background, she has never even thought seriously about going to law school, let alone registered or taken the LSAT, or even registered or taken an LSAT prep course. She has taken the GMAT, and scored moderately well. Apparently that is enough to get you into Rutgers Law School. Notice that the requirement is that you've scored in the 70th percentile on any single section of the GMAT, and a UGPA of 3.3. You can almost smell the desperation for new applicants… waiving the application fee and the deposit fee makes this even more clear. Their completely nonsense employment data regarding their class of 2011 is a far cry from their Law School Transparency profile, based on 2010's data, which boasted a $56k mean salary with fully 19% unemployed. Somehow their average law firm salary jumped $28k in one year, in the middle of the worst time for young lawyers in a generation. Anyway, just thought you'd like to see one additional facet of law school admissions offices' despicable conduct. You've got to keep getting the word out on this insanity; the ABA has completely abdicated its responsibility for keeping our profession credible. Keep up the good work and I really hope you're working on a manuscript…[Name]
Date: May 17, 2012 5:40:21 PM CDT
To: Subject: Rutgers School of Law - CamdenDear __________,In the ever-volatile job market, you may be considering graduate school. Consider this - Rutgers School of Law - Camden is giving high-achieving students, such as you, the opportunity to enroll in the Fall 2012 class. The traditional law school program is a three-year program, which is extremely attractive to most graduate students given the difficult economy. The program is open to all students who have completed their undergraduate education with a 3.3 GPA or higher and scored in the 70th percentile or higher on any one core section of the GMAT. If accepted at Rutgers law School at Camden, you will join other bright, talented students who are pursuing their legal education at our law school. To encourage you to participate in the program, the Law School is waiving the application fee, and if accepted, the $300 deposit fee. Joint JD/MBA degrees with the Graduate School of Business are also possible. Scholarship awards and in-state tuition are available.The School is proud to carry on the tradition of excellence at Rutgers University, which is one of the oldest and largest public institutions of higher learning in the nation. As a direct result of the quality of legal education at Rutgers, of those employed nine months after graduation, 90% were employed in the legal field and 90% were in full time positions. Our average starting salary for a 2011 graduate who enters private practice is in excess of $74,000, with many top students accepting positions with firms paying in excess of $130,000. In a recent Forbes publication, Rutgers School of Law-Camden was ranked 18th nationally as one of the "Best Law Schools for Getting Rich". Rutgers is also ranked high in the nation at placing its students in prestigious federal and state clerkships.I hope that you will consider this opportunity and join this class. Please apply on-line at our web site at http://camlaw.rutgers.edu. We are a direct student loan institution so financial aid is easily processed. We also have newly constructed on-campus law school apartments available, adjacent to the Law School and the Federal Courthouse, and guaranteed for our law students.Sincerely,
Associate Dean of Enrollment
Let's look at some numbers. About 270,000 people take the GMAT each year. I don't know how many score in at least the 70th percentile on any one core section, but let's assume half do. How many of those people have undergrad GPAs of at least 3.3? With grade inflation and all this could easily add up to 60,000 or more
targets candidates for Rutgers-Camden's innovative plan, which allows them to solicit law school applications from people who, like the above recipient, have never really even thought about going to law school, but who could well start her 1L year a few weeks after considering such a career path for the very first time.
Before doing so, she should take a very close look at what the salary numbers Rutgers is advertising actually look like. Rutgers is claiming that "our average starting salary for a 2011 graduate who enters private practice is in excess of $74,000, with many top students accepting positions with firms paying in excess of $130,000." First, note that only 29% of the 84% of the class whose status was known and that was actually employed -- 58 graduates -- were in private practice nine months after graduation. But only 27 of those 58 people had their salaries reported by the school. The median salary for those 27 people was $60,000.
So another way of phrasing this employment data would be this: "14 out of 237 graduates of the 2011 Rutgers-Camden class were reported to be making $60,000 or more in private practice nine months after graduation." The claim that "many top students accepting positions with firms paying in excess of $130,000" is based on . . . well we can't say exactly how many graduates, since the 75th percentile of reported salaries for graduates with firm jobs was $110,000, which means that at most six people in the entire class reported a salary of $130,000.
A careful search of the internet reveals that Rutgers-Camden is being remarkably discreet about the fact that it's trying to convince people who have never even thought about going to law school to enroll as 1Ls 12 weeks from now, on the basis of egregiously misleading employment stats. That's so . . . 2010. (The reference to this farcical Forbes "study" is also a nice touch).
Really Dean Andrews? This is May 2012. Did you actually think this kind of thing is going to fly under the radar at this point?
New Jersey Rules Governing Professional Conduct
It is professional misconduct for a lawyer to:
(c) engage in conduct involving dishonesty, fraud, deceit or misrepresentation;
Lawyers who commit unethical conduct in this state are subject to discipline by the Supreme Court. Such discipline can range from an admonition, the least serious discipline, to a reprimand, censure, suspension from practice, or permanent disbarment from practice. The "Attorney Discipline" page describes the process. The attorney disciplinary process is usually begun by the filing of an Attorney Grievance form with the Secretary of one of the Supreme Court's 18 district ethics committees. To contact a district ethics committee Secretary call the toll free Ethics/Fee Arbitration Hotline at 1-(800)-406-8594. Be prepared to provide the five digit zip code of the attorney's address.
Attorney Discipline: New Jersey
Note: I'm very pleased to announce that DJM will be blogging here for the next week (and hopefully beyond). As readers of this blog are well aware, DJM has been at the forefront of the battle for meaningful law school reform, and it's an honor to have her contribute in this way. Please give her a warm welcome.