Prof. Steven Diamond, Santa Clara Law School, disputing the claim that law schools in general, and his own in particular, advertised misleading 90+% employment rates for their graduates, and asking for further research assistance on the matter:
PDF of Santa Clara Law School "Viewbook" for prospective students, captured from the web on June 20, 2009, p. 11:
OUR GRADUATES ARE IN HIGH DEMAND. MORE THAN 95 PERCENT OF SANTA CLARA LAW GRADUATES ARE EMPLOYED WITHIN NINE MONTHS
Whether you aspire to be a trial lawyer, specialize in tax or business law, or serve the underserved, Santa Clara Law’s excellent reputation and our Career Services staff will help pave the way to your new career.
Typically more than 80 firms, companies, and public and government agencies interview on campus, and hundreds of other firms request resumes from our students. In addition, Law Career Services offers numerous workshops, presentations, and services to help you launch your career, including Law Career Day, “Meet the Employers” receptions, mock interviews, diversity receptions, speed networking, and more.
(Caps in original).
Meanwhile this page from the school's web site claims that 263 of the 280 graduates of the class of 2007 were employed, and describes this as a 97% employment rate (Apparently this percentage was derived by excluding the four graduates who were enrolled in degree programs and the seven whose status was unknown from the calculation. The school listed just seven graduates as being unemployed, a total which included both those who were seeking and not seeking employment. Remarkably, just three years later Santa Clara would graduate 55 people who purportedly were not seeking employment nine months after graduation).
Update: This is getting embarrassing. A commenter mentions that Diamond has posted on this subject again, and his new post makes it even clearer that he doesn't have the slightest idea what he's talking about on this subject:
The fact is that SCU, perhaps as did many schools, made a reasonable effort to determine who is employed upon graduation and where. Not every student replies but of course 100% of the students who do report back, sure enough, adds up to 100% of the students who report back. And that’s why the school created a chart that has a column labeled “% of reported.”This is complete nonsense from top to bottom. Here are some of things Diamond obviously doesn't understand:
The actual number who report back is on the same page and includes a heading that says “44% reported” and, two clicks away, is the number of actual students in the new entering class (233 day, 77 evening/part-time).
As I suggested in the original post it is fairly clear, if one wants to put together these kinds of numbers in deciding on whether to pursue a law degree, what percentage of the entering class at SCU, nearly four years later, “reported” back that they were employed (approximately 122/233 = 52% [not including the part timers and not adjusting for minor variations in entering class size]). Before the crisis, of course, the numbers were presumably much stronger. That number is also compiled relatively soon after graduation and might not reflect post-bar passage employment gains. In addition, presumably, a school may have more success over time, and after the bar results, in increasing response rates. This might go some way to explaining the higher percentages reported by UNSWR that presumably Tamanaha was relying on at the Cato Institute. But it is precisely these qualifications that must be taken into account when dealing with these numbers.
(1) The statistics Santa Clara threw up on its web site are those it reported to NALP and the ABA in regard to the employment status of the classes of 2007 and 2008 on February 15 2008 and 2009 respectively. Diamond's suggestion that these statistics would be much better if they reflected post-bar results, and maybe that's why the USN numbers quoted by Tamanaha are much better, is the sort of assertion that only someone who doesn't know the first thing about how law graduate employment figures are collected and reported could make.
(2) Diamond also doesn't understand that these statistics are gathered by SCU using a variety of information sources. SCU, like other law schools, doesn't rely exclusively on graduate self-reporting, as huge percentages of graduates, especially at lower-ranked schools, provide no employment status information to their schools.
(3) Diamond claims that "the actual number who report back is on the same page and includes a heading that says '44% reported' and, two clicks away, is the number of actual students in the new entering class (233 day, 77 evening/part-time)," and that by combining these various numbers one can properly conclude that 52% of the class was employed "relatively soon" after graduation.
I'm trying not to rant here but this is sheer idiocy. The 44% figure has nothing whatsoever to do with the percentage of graduates of the class of 2007 whose employment status was reported by the school. That percentage is actually 97.5%, as the school managed to determine the employment status of 273 of the class's 280 graduates. Furthermore the school claimed that 263 of those 273 graduates were "employed," while another four were enrolled in full-time degree programs, yielding an impressive employment percentage of 97.8%. (Diamond fails to realize that the 44% figure refers to the percentage of the class of 2007 who had their salaries reported by the school.)
(4) Diamond also fails to comprehend that the class of 2007 had, at the national level, the best employment statistics of any graduating class in at least the last decade (the financial crisis hit several months after the class graduated, and of course large firms hired the class of 2007 on the basis of fall 2005 OCI), so his statement that "before the crisis, of course, the [employment] numbers were presumably much stronger" is as wrongheaded as the rest of the assertions in this astonishing display of apparently invincible ignorance.