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About half of law schools post incomplete job and scholarship data, group says; Which did best?

Posted Mar 6, 2013 1:30 PM CDT
By Debra Cassens Weiss

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About 46 percent of accredited law schools are failing to post charts about student scholarships and employment, or are reporting misleading and incomplete data, according to numbers released Wednesday by the group Law School Transparency.

The number was even higher, the group says, before it notified law schools about problems it uncovered in an end-of-the-year review, the National Law Journal reports. Law School Transparency initially found that 78 percent of accredited law schools were failing to meet expectations. The percentage continues to drop—from 49 percent on Monday to 46 percent on Wednesday—as schools react to the findings and clean up their statistics.

Law School Transparency analyzed the schools’ online data for compliance with new standards set by the ABA’s accrediting arm, the ABA Section of Legal Education and Admissions to the Bar. The section’s so-called Standard 509 requires all consumer information released by law schools to be complete, accurate and not misleading.

Standard 509 also requires the schools to post on their websites two charts of data, LST says in a report summarizing its findings. One chart covers employment outcomes for graduates. The other covers the percentage of students who retain scholarships that are dependent upon minimum grades or class standing.

These are the results of LST’s analysis released on Monday, conducted after law schools initially responded to the group’s criticism:

• About 49 percent of law schools don’t meet expectations set by Standard 509.

• About 35 percent failed to publish one or both charts required by the standard.

• About 31 percent publish consumer information that is incomplete, inaccurate, or misleading.

Barry Currier, the ABA's interim consultant on legal education, told the National Law Journal that the legal education section has had behind-the-scenes contact with law schools about compliance with Rule 509 and it will examine Law School Transparency's report to see if additional action is warranted. The section has circulated a request for proposals for possible audits of the data.

"We've stepped up to plate in terms of adding to the reporting requirements, and we are gearing up our enforcement efforts," Currier told the NLJ.

Some top law schools got dinged by Law School Transparency, either for failing to post both charts or for inadequate salary information, Above the Law reports. They include Yale, Stanford, Columbia, Chicago, NYU, University of California-Berkeley, Virginia, Northwestern, Georgetown and Cornell.

There is some good news from Law School Transparency, however. It gave a perfect score to 23.6 percent of the law schools for full transparency, TaxProf Blog reports. The blog lists the 47 schools that made the list as of March 4:

1. Akron

2. Albany

3. Baltimore

4. Baylor

5. Boston College

6. Colorado

7. CUNY

8. Dayton

9. George Mason

10. Golden Gate

11.Idaho

12. Illinois

13. Iowa

14. Lewis & Clark

15. Loyola-L.A.

16. Loyola-New Orleans

17. Marquette

18. McGeorge

19. Memphis

20. Michigan

21. Michigan State

22. Mississippi College

23. New Hampshire

24. North Carolina

25. Northern Kentucky

26. Oklahoma

27. Oklahoma City

28. Pepperdine

29. Rutgers-Camden

30. Rutgers-Newark

31. San Diego

32. Santa Clara

33. Seattle

34. Seton Hall

35. South Carolina

36. Southern Illinois

37. St. John's

38. St. Mary's

39. St. Thomas U. (MN)

40. Texas Tech

41. Thomas Jefferson

42. UNLV

43. Washington & Lee

44. Wayne State

45. Western State

46. William & Mary

47. William Mitchell

Since TaxProf Blog published its report, three more law schools made the list: Arizona, New York Law School, and Cleveland Marshall.

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