The ABA has released job data for the class of 2011, and Law School Transparency has organized and broken down the numbers. I’ll have several things to say about these figures this week, but preparatory to anything else I want to salute LST for the amazing work they’ve done and continue to do – work that is all the more amazing considering the organization consists a handful of recent law school graduates, and that they have no funding to speak of (Speaking of which, throw these people some money).
And this work is having a major effect. Due to the political pressure put on it – pressure which is in no small part a consequence of LST’s advocacy efforts -- the ABA has now begun to provide prospective students with far more granular information about employment outcomes than what was available even very recently. It seems hard to believe that less than two years ago every single law school in the country was slamming their doors in LST’s face.
Let’s look at the first “Tier One” law school that appears in LST’s alphabetical list to get a sense of what the ABA’s data, and LST’s breakdown of it, tells us about the current state of the market for law school graduates.
American University is charging that portion of its entering class which will pay the full sticker price $50,149 in tuition. The school estimates the full cost of attendance for this coming year to be $70,204. LST helps prospective students understand that debt financing a law degree from American will result in a total debt of $246,988 for the entering class, assuming modest annual cost of attendance increases. (This debt load would result in 120 loan payments of $2,945 over ten years or 300 loan payments of $1,843 over 25 years, i.e. about $354,000 or $553,000 in total payments respectively).
And what can a student expect in return for this investment? LST provides interested parties with a school’s “Employment Score,” which consists of long-term full-time employment requiring bar admission, minus solo practitioners. It’s important to understand what “long-term” means in this context. LST uses the definition employed by the ABA and NALP, which includes all employment except for employment of a definite term of less than one year. This means that a large number of explicitly temporary positions – for example law-school funded “jobs” that last for one year, about which more later – count toward improving a school’s Employment Score.
LST also calculates an Under-Employment Score, which is made up of those graduates who are unemployed and seeking work, working part-time, working in temporary positions that have a definite term of less than one year, working in long-term explicitly non-professional positions, or are re-enrolled in another degree program.
Note that these are quite conservative definitions. For instance the definition of “long term” employment includes many jobs that are long term in name only, and the exclusion of those graduates who are listed as unemployed-not seeking from the Under-Employment Score allows schools to engage in various statistical shenanigans (For example I know of a case in which a law school’s dean instructed the office of career services to ask all graduates who listed themselves as unemployed as of graduation to make an appointment with the office, to discuss their job situation. The dean then ordered the OCS to list all students who declined to make an appointment, or who simply didn’t respond to the request, as “unemployed-not seeking” for the purposes of the NALP and ABA nine-month post-graduation numbers).
Indeed, it’s fair to say that LST is putting as good a face as can reasonably be put on the numbers it is analyzing. This is certainly a legitimate choice, as it ought to preclude claims that LST is exaggerating the gravity of the situation. But prospective students should be aware of that choice, and recognize that in many instances a school’s Employment Score would be much lower, and its Underemployment Score much higher, if one employed even moderately skeptical assumptions in regard to this data.
Now let’s look at American’s data. (American is currently in the 76th percentile of the USNWR rankings). 167 of the 467 graduates in the class of 2011 -- 35.76% of the class -- had a full-time “long-term” position requiring bar admission. 56 graduates (12% of the class) had a long-term job with a law firm of more than ten attorneys, while 61 graduates were listed as unemployed and seeking work. Another 21 graduates were listed as unemployed-not seeking. 27 graduates were working in law-school funded jobs, although only two of these jobs were both full-time and “long-term” (As we shall see in another post many schools have placed large numbers of 2011 graduates in school-funded jobs that the schools characterize as full-time, long-term, and requiring bar admission – thus greatly increasing their Employment Score per LST’s methodology).
An astonishing 42.4% of the class was underemployed according to LST’s -- again, conservative and quite generous to legal academia -- definition of underemployment. This number is made up of 61 unemployed-seeking graduates, 49 graduates in short-term (less than one year) full-time positions, 44 [!] in short-term part-time positions, 15 in long-term part-time positions, 26 graduates pursuing another graduate degree, and three graduates listed as employed in long-term, full-time non-professional positions.
Sometimes it helps to step back for a moment and consider how extraordinary things we treat as quite ordinary really are. Given these catastrophic employment numbers, it’s extraordinary that the federal government will loan nearly $250,000 to anyone who American University chooses to admit to its law school. And American is a “good” school! We’re a long, long way from the bottom here. Thanks to Law School Transparency, everyone who bothers to look can now see how deep the rabbit hole goes.
But so many will look at LST and rationalize the bad stats by saying that the class of 2011 did OCI in 2009, but things have improved since then so we'll be different.ReplyDelete
Why would the underemployed number count unemployed grads while the employed number doesn't? Do I simply need a 2nd cup of coffee?ReplyDelete
nevermind, I get it. 2nd cup pouring now.ReplyDelete
This is a major accomplishment and I will definitely donate to LST.ReplyDelete
I want to add that I believe that schools are still able to do some scamming within the category of "2-10 attorney law firms" and that is reflected in LST's summary. I believe that most jobs in the category of "2-10 lawyer firm" consist of grads teaming up to form doomed-to-fail firms, not jobs in well-established niche firms that pay middle class incomes to entry-level lawyers.
This is not such a problem with American U., which reports that 20 of their 467 grads are in the category of "full-time, long-term, law firm, 2-10."
However, look at Baylor, which has about the same place in the US News ranking as American. Baylor reports 110 grads out of 157 grads total, in long-term, full-time, bar-required jobs, nine months out. However, no less than 43 of these are in 2-10 lawyer firms. Over a quarter of Baylor's graduating class are in these alleged jobs, whereas for American the percentage is under five percent!
Because Baylor has, apparently, scammed-up their numbers in the category of "law firm, 2-10," they are able to obtain an LST employment rate of 68.8%, as opposed to American's 35.8%.
LST ought to provide an alternate score where the jobs in the 2-10 category are listed in the under-employed score, rather than the employed score.
"For example I know of a case in which a law school’s dean instructed the office of career services to ask all graduates who listed themselves as unemployed as of graduation to make an appointment with the office, to discuss their job situation. The dean then ordered the OCS to list all students who declined to make an appointment, or who simply didn’t respond to the request, as “unemployed-not seeking” for the purposes of the NALP and ABA nine-month post-graduation numbers"ReplyDelete
How the hell can they get away with that?? That's flagrantly fraudulent.
From the ABA definition for "Unemployed -- Not Seeking":
Also included is a graduate who is offered a position, turned it down, and is not seeking further employment as of February 15, 2012.
What the OP described does not seem to mesh with this, unless the email explicitly offered them a job. If it did not explicitly offer them the job, then there is a big problem.
I'm not as disturbed by the 2-10 number. I think most of these jobs are legit (ie full time legal employment) as opposed to a rat king of grads. Many in my class ended up working for solos or two attorney firms (collections and LT shops) that work in bulk, including myself. Don't get me wrong, these are TOTAL shitlaw jobs that nobody wants, but I can definitely say that I was fully employed while I was there (for a month and a half before I quit for a gov job)ReplyDelete
Damnit, Pace, I trusted you.ReplyDelete
Thank you for exposing American University for the overpriced beast that it is. It is has profited off its DC-based location as a 3rd place prize for people who didn't make the cut for Georgetown or George Washington. What you will find are many, many disillusioned law grads from this school who bought into its supposed "enlightened" and "holistic" approach to teaching the law. AU prides itself for its human rights and international law programs, but you will RARELY meet anyone from AU who went on to practice in these areas.ReplyDelete
I work with a few AU students. They seem blissfully oblivious of how terrible their situation will be when they graduate next year...ReplyDelete
Most of the people from AU who get LEGAL jobs are people who KNEW people prior to going to law school...either through family relations or past work experience. You will not find people who--through academics and unilateral merit--made their way into the big law world. As you scrape along the outer realm of the tier 1 schools like American University, KNOWING PEOPLE and having FAMILY CONNECTIONS trumps academic performance because the school name in itself does not possess that certain cachet. AU will NOT tell you this, but it is certainly true about their school. It exists to serve the high-salary needs of layers upon layers of administrators in the posh area of Tenleytown. Soon, they will be exposed and diminishing marginal return of this school will be well-known far beyond the confines of DC proper.ReplyDelete
The data from the ABA still isn't presented in a clear enough manner, an undergrad trying not familiar with law school or the law school system should not have to subtract the law school funded positions from the full-time bar passage required number, nor should they have to subtract the solo practitioner number from the full-time bar passage required number, this is still a game of hide the ball, are there any more reform efforts underway in the ABA to present the data more clearly? A lot of schools are now parsing the information so much that the charts they are producing are not clear, in fact they seem purposely confusingReplyDelete
AU prides itself for its human rights and international law programs, but you will RARELY meet anyone from AU who went on to practice in these areas.ReplyDelete
To be fair, you will rarely meet anyone from who went on to practice in these areas. Turns out the internationally poor and oppressed don't have a lot of money.
Thanks for your blog. It's certain put the fear of God into me.
I'm going to HYS next year and still I'm terrified. I hope the fear of homelessness will drive me to try really hard in law school so I can hopefully get a job.
@7:51. You're right about the cluelessness. I was at a closing recently where one of the parties was represented by a solo, a 2010 NYLS grad, who worked out of her apartment. She brought along her intern [!], a kid going into his third year at NYLS. During downtime I the closing, I started chatting him up. Utterly clueless. The poor kid had no idea that how bleak things were -- and here he was spending his last law school summer interning for an attorney who didn't even have a real office.ReplyDelete
I am a rising 3L at American WCL and am on the Law Review. I know people in the very top of the class that were unable to land a summer position at a law firm, government, or anything. One of the lowest days I had at school was watching a graduating 3L cry in the Law review office because she "couldn't believe she was going to be one of those unemployed lawyers."ReplyDelete
No one talks about jobs at school, whether you have one or you don't, it's all hush. People that do have jobs are embarrassed to talk about them, for fear of 'bragging' when so many don't. Further, the career services at school is a mess, and routinely blames the students for not finding jobs. I was told that the reason I was not getting many call backs from large law firms was because I probably interview poorly.
For reasons beyond me, American puts a heavy emphasis on large law firms and OCI, even though basically no one gets a job this way, even if you're top 10%. Those who do get jobs with small law firms, myself included, for the most part, get it on their own.
Externships are also king at American and the always is posting about new exciting expensive externships.
One Professor, Professor Robbins, understands how dire the situation is though, and has been posting jobs for students from his own contacts and many former students. Besides Professor Robbins though, I do not know a single Professor who has on a daily basis posted jobs.
I personally know 11 grads of American University's law school class of 2011, and they have ALL struggled to find jobs, all the while deferring their loans. AMERICAN WCL STUDENTS, if you are reading these entries during your morning or afternoon classes, please NOTE that the quiet you are experiencing now within the cocoon of student loan funds will give way to a treacherous environment of SURVIVAL within just a few short months/years. All of your sacrifices for the LSAT, the multitude of application fees, the hours of study for Civil Procedure, and the hours spent for Legal Rhetoric classes and beyond will all be for nothing. On the other end of this, you will have exhausted so much of yourself, and there will be no payout whatsoever. As the growing days and months separate you from that pivotal day in May of your 3L year, you will suffer ever more so and barely remember the days when you journeyed with great anticipation aboard the AU law school shuttle from the Tenleytown metro stop. I laugh at all the time I spend reading A Civil Action, learning all those rules. None of it is used now. NONE OF IT. Be warned.ReplyDelete
What has become of DJM? I genuinely enjoyed her posts and would like hearing her opinion of the LST data.ReplyDelete
Yeah, 2010 grad from American here. All the warnings are true and valid. Career services will have you thinking that is YOU...YOU...and YOU again. After having drafted multiple versions of my resume and having graduated top 15%, it is apparently still ME that is the problem. As the above poster stated, there is the cocoon of ignorance that exists while you are at the school, quietly typing away or reading in your "carrel." In hindsight, it feels that my law school education there was tantamount to reading a Wikipedia entry on space travel---curious and interesting but so far removed from my reality. I thought I was learning something important and useful for a profession; there's no way I thought it would be a complete waste. The funny part is that you never know how bleak it is until that day in the summer when you take your first bar exam. Your mind is typically consumed with all the classes/the bar and the buzz around studying. For me, I had that "OH SH!T" moment the day after the bar exam. It is now June 2012, almost TWO YEARS since that time. I'm still feeling that moment as I labor each day in a job that is so far removed from the reality of law school and the false expectation it provided. I gave up on a REAL LAW job after economic reality mandated it. Perhaps I am still in a state of shock, finding time for movies or reading a book...listening to music...anything that will take my mind off my huge mistake that was 3 years in the making. And then I open the mailbox to see my new correspondence from Direct Loans;reality comes back.ReplyDelete
LP and like minded prof's should write a letter to Obama. Let all of us lemmings sign it. We have been hushing out details of the scam for about a year now, I think it is time for us to get a position and start promoting it in the political arena.ReplyDelete
AU's Career Services is not held to any measurable standard of performance such as placing graduates. Instead, there are merely people filling positions that are deemed good to have on the PR front. Meanwhile, the lackeys collect their merit increases each fiscal year for doing absolutely NOTHING for the school's goal of creating lawyers.ReplyDelete
Professor Campos, LST and to some extent the scambloggers (e.g., Scott Bullock, Calico Cat, Tom the Temp and Nando of TTR, etc.) deserve kudos for bringing this disgusting law school industry under the spotlight. Law schools have been playing these "massaging the numbers" games for decades. The student loan business is also a racket. This 1985 article highlights on the same page two stories: story 1 is about a Harvard UG/Columbia Law grad who became homeless and the second story is about sham marriages and fraud to obtain student loan funding (of course the schools knew about it).ReplyDelete
This was in 1985 yet the articles are buried on page 22 of an obscure newspaper. This industry needs exposure. It is only way to break the false conventional "wisdom" that a law degree is a wise investment. Maybe for 1% is a good investment.
I predict that American will fall from its coveted position in the top 50. US News even listed it in its top 10 for schools that create students with the most debt.ReplyDelete
What I love about the employment findings is that they show how silly it is to take the USN&WR rankings seriously, especially outside of the T14.ReplyDelete
Want a full-time job requiring a JD after graduation? And you went to Cornell or Northwestern? LOL, TTT losers - you should have gone to LSU or the University of Alabama.
"Professor Campos, LST and to some extent the scambloggers (e.g., Scott Bullock, Calico Cat, Tom the Temp and Nando of TTR, etc.) deserve kudos for bringing this disgusting law school industry under the spotlight. "
To SOME extent we scamblogger deserve kudos? We scambloggers, and in particular, I myself basically invented the current angle of attack against the schools--focusing in on the job/salary stats and breaking them down and showing how they were bogus. NOBODY had done that when I started my blog in approx. mid-2008. Now that approach is the basis of the lawsuits which are the best publicity device we have had. Granted, in adopting that approach I was inspired by the comments in blogposts on Tom the Temp and Scottys' blog and on JDunderground, and perhaps other scamblogs. But there is NO denying this--the statistics-oriented angle of attack --which is the foundation of this movement-- was invented in the scamblogs. Period.
Oh brother, give me a break.ReplyDelete
Looking at statistics that are exaggerated was invented by you?
Get a grip, dude.
"But there is NO denying this--the statistics-oriented angle of attack --which is the foundation of this movement-- was invented in the scamblogs. Period."ReplyDelete
Its also its greatest weakness.
Its also its greatest weakness. These schools never lied, they just misrepresented data. No one is going to give a damn about the data. Law school is just like undergrad school. No one is promised a job and the tuition will be the most amount people are willing to pay.
Plus you're forced to learn a bunch of shit that is irrelevant to the day in day out work world.
No one is going to feel bad that law grads were "lied" to and will never work real law jobs.
This is how America works. I don't know where you've been.
I don't know where he's been either, but I can tell you where he apparently hasn't:ReplyDelete
Standing on the shoulders of giants.
According to him, he is the first and foremost giant and all others stand on his shoulders.
No wonder he posts from the library.
I also go to American and am a rising 3L. I knew things were bad at American when during out first year the professors for our section held a "career luncheon" about getting summer work. We were told not to stick around D.C. and go home and use connections to get any job doing anything legal. For the amount I pay this was worse then a kick in the stomach.ReplyDelete
Many of the professors refuse to address how dire and depressed everyone is at school. They joke about the new realities or what we will do when we work at large law firms as if that day will ever come. Maybe they are in complete denial, but no one who is a student is joking.
Further, even though there was much publicized news that American would be sued for its BS numbers, there was not a peep at school. No profs openly addressed it. When students did raise these issues infront of Dean Yaffe, he lawyered up real fast and said that the school did nothing wrong and pointed to the then recently dismissed fraud suit by former students at another school.
Its funny to see scam bloggers competing for recognition as if being a scam blogger is something in which to aspire. …to be a scam blogger you’re basically saying that you were stupid enough to get fooled and now you’re all mad about it. And the only people reading scam blogs are the losers who lost in the game of life. The other people with actual power to change things are too busy winning.ReplyDelete
Please god, no one take 10:28's flame bait.ReplyDelete
10:28 - I'm not a loser who lost in the game of life and I still read this scam blog, so you're not entirely correct.ReplyDelete
I graduated with a 3.7 and scored a 161 on the LSAT on my FIRST TRY with NO STUDYING. I'll be attending a T100 law school with a nice, fat, 50% discount and it's in a strong legal market.
Yeah, I'll still read here after I've truly won, and these same guys will probably be commenting. I think most of them probably didn't even graduate law school or they'd be working and making money. Or if they did graduate, they are just mad because other people there made the top 25% and got the good jobs.
I don't know if I'll get top 10% or anything, but I guarantee you I'll be top quarter. Won't need CSO then!
Hilarious trolling, really clever.ReplyDelete
@ 1028 A.M.ReplyDelete
We all noticed you're reading this scamblog. I guess that makes you the biggest loser of them all.
I'd just like to point out, as LawProf has done, that the only thing changing here is how law schools/NALP/ABA calculates employment statistics. Law students have been underemployed for years on end. To a recent law grad, nothing about these statistics is surprising. In response to growing pressure, the ABA has merely started to remove its head from the sand to see the entire picture.ReplyDelete
Here is American University, Dean of Students David Jaffe's Linkedin profile: http://www.linkedin.com/pub/david-jaffe/6/299/780ReplyDelete
Looks like he couldn't cut it for Big Law and went straight into Big Education in 1993 at AU, where he has been ALL THIS TIME.
That's the problem folks. You have lackeys in higher education trying tell you how it works in the real world when those folks have never even ventured out of academia.ReplyDelete
"...that the only thing changing here is how law schools/NALP/ABA calculates employment statistics. "ReplyDelete
Someone need to tell this to this asshat:
"But there is NO denying this--the statistics-oriented angle of attack --which is the foundation of this movement-- was invented in the scamblogs. Period."
@10:42 - You are probably wasting your GPA. You should retake. You are not in as good of a position as you seem to think you are in. You can't guarantee getting top 25%. You can't even guarantee being above median.ReplyDelete
As of this morning, the AU college of law web site says the school is still accepting applications for the class entering this fall. What does that say about their applicant pool?ReplyDelete
Don't some schools continue to take rolling applications straight through the fall?ReplyDelete
I believe most Tier One schools have published application cut-off dates ranging from Febuary 1 to April 1. I assume it's noteworthy that AU is still accepting applications in mid to late June.ReplyDelete
AU Law is planning on adding students, and building a brand new law school facility to accommodate it all. Forget trying to get their grads jobs, the already over paid and under worked administration and faculty need a new facility.ReplyDelete
Cooley takes applications year round. I think you can start whenever you want, too. http://www.cooley.edu/prospective/applynow.htmlReplyDelete
It would be unpatriotic to critize a school named American. Fuck all of your commie bastards.ReplyDelete
Hi, tdennis, I'm still out here and look forward to commenting more soon. I've been working on methods for tracking grad outcomes over 10 years and hope to share some of that method for others to use. Meanwhile had that cataract surgery this morning, leaving me one eyed for the day. Kudos to LST on these numbers--one of my colleagues has already sent the link to the full faculty.ReplyDelete
American University's law school is located in an old office building that used to house retail stores...hahahahah. It is, in fact, located directly across the street from a Crate & Barrel and alongside a grocery store.ReplyDelete
AU administrators paid all this money (student loan money) to "gentrify" and make more sophisticated this decidedly square, brick building with a fountain out front and water elements at the entrance. And NOW they want another building???? Good GAWD.
What a JOKE!!! AU is place you go when you want to say you went to law school in DC, but didn't have the grades to get into GU and GW.ReplyDelete
Hi DJM! Hope everything went well with your surgery. I am so looking forward to you sharing some of your discoveries with us about long term prospects for lawyers. That the oversupply of lawyers ravages our best and brightest youth is bad enough, but, as I believe your research will help quantify, it is ravaging the profession as a whole, as well.ReplyDelete
Gee, I went to Catholic Law School and graduated in mid 90's. At one of my first temp jobs, I met an American University graduate. He eventually went on to become a paralegal at a top firm which is probably not going to happen today.ReplyDelete
Catholic Law School which is in DC carries on about how moral it is since it is Catholic. This is a law school that as far as I am still aware does not offer loan forgiveness.
The above individual graduated from the law school at American University.ReplyDelete
I think American graduates a number of people in government work that might be considered "JD preferred" Thats not a full excuse for crummy stats but I am also not sure American deserves to be ripped on anymore than the next law school. These stats shouldn't come as a surprise for a "Tier 1" school specifically, I don't think anyone should trust a 14th tier magazine to think for them. The only thing I think compares to that silliness is judging a school based on its athletic conference. The rank should be irrelevant. But ultimately law school needs to become more like real academia where the individuals work as a whole is usually the point of interest instead of a quick glance at the top/bottom of a resume. And when the latter does happen, the phd student's adviser or specific professors they've worked with are often given more clout than the school name. I should also note that most lawyers I talk to tell me that they often don't know (or care) where their colleagues went to school in their work life.ReplyDelete
This points out the huge problem of law schools turning out far too many lawyers. There is no place for them to go and make use of their degrees. I just wish these statistics were carried through for older classes of law school grads. If they were, the catastrophe of really few long term jobs would be readily aparent. For example at CCN maybe half the grads and maybe 75% of the women and minorities over the age of 50 would fall into the unemployed/underemployed category. HYS would be better but even they would not be great. Once you hit age 60, very few people will be employed. Not out of choice mind you but because they cannot get jobs. We need the statistics to demonstrate that the percentage of law school grads who are walking into sure fire unemployment/underemployment after age 50 is probably 80% and that number goes up by several percentage points for each year the lawyer ages. If you are older, as I am, this is a total scam. Top college and law school degrees are about as useful as toilet paper at my age. I am relegated to eat what you kill. No one will pay me to be an employed lawyer. I have great experience, top degrees, know what I am doing. Really is a travesty that the U.S. government is funding this scam and putting more and more people into it.ReplyDelete
@5:06 "We need the statistics to demonstrate that the percentage of law school grads who are walking into sure fire unemployment/underemployment after age 50 is probably 80% and that number goes up by several percentage points for each year the lawyer ages. If you are older, as I am, this is a total scam."ReplyDelete
This is my perception of what I see. I hope DJM really can put together some manner to collect data and demonstrate this reality. Sine the classes of the late 1980s at least, the long term employment prospects for lawyers has not been good. I would be surprised if one half and likely surprised if even one third of lawyers remain in a sustainable job after 20 years. I also know from my experience among my colleagues from the early 1990s that a median salary of lawyers as reported of c. 120K is just about as believable as the employment statistics that law schools have historically published.
See the UVA study. Thanks.
Thanks for sharing this info.Law school scam should be avoided to avoid financial and time loss.ReplyDelete
what is Campos' incentive to bite the hand that feeds him? i thought participants in a game cash out of the game when the game is about to crumbleReplyDelete
and why is the blackball fear greater for Brian Tamanaha than for Campos
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