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Only 26% of Law Schools Report Percentage of Grads with Legal Jobs, Study Finds

Posted Jan 18, 2012 7:00 AM CDT
By Debra Cassens Weiss

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Most law schools still hide critical information from applicants, according to a study of websites by the group Law School Transparency.

The study (PDF) analyzed employment data for the class of 2010 provided on websites of ABA-approved law schools. Only 1 percent of the 197 law schools—in other words, two schools—disclosed how many grads were in full-time, long-term legal jobs. They are Michigan State University College of Law and Southwestern Law School.

Only 26 percent even disclosed how many graduates worked in legal jobs. “Prospective law students still lack the information they need to make a meaningful decision about whether and where to earn a J.D.,” the report says.

Other findings:

• 27 percent (54 out of 197 schools) don’t provide any “evaluable information” on employment for the class of 2010. Twenty-two schools didn’t provide any employment data at all on their websites, and 32 “demonstrate a pattern of consumer-disoriented behavior.” One common problem: Schools describe the kinds of workplaces where grads found work, without describing the types of jobs or how many were employed.

• 51 percent don’t indicate how many graduates responded to the employment survey. “Without the rate, schools can advertise employment rates north of 95 percent without explaining that the true employment rate is unknown, and likely lower,” the study says.

• 49 percent provide at least some salary information, but 78 percent do so in ways that mislead the reader. Salaries can appear inflated when there is no information on how many people provided the information, or when an average is provided without showing the distribution.

The breakdown for each school is provided in a “transparency index.”

Related coverage:

ABAJournal.com: "ABA Committee Approves New Law School Disclosure Requirements"

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