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University of Denver Law Verifies 6 Percent Employment Rate Boost with Outside Audit

Posted Apr 24, 2012 4:10 PM CDT
By Rachel M. Zahorsky

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As scrutiny over law school statistics intensifies for law schools across the nation, the University of Denver Sturm College of Law has called on an independent team of auditors to vet the school’s findings and attest for their reliability.

The school recently reported that 96.6 of job-seeking 2011 grads were employed as of Feb. 15, 2012, a 6 percent boost from 2010. Nearly 97 percent of those jobs are positions that either require bar admission, jobs where a law degree is deemed advantageous or other professional positions, according to a press release (PDF).

Denver Law's employment rate formula doesn't include graduates whose employment status is not known, graduates pursuing additional full-time degrees, graduates with deferred job offers or graduates not seeking employment, according an according to an April 17 document (PDF) on the law school's Office of Career Development & Opportunities website. Denver Law said in the release that if U.S. News & World Report's formula were applied to the 2011 class, its employment rate would be 89.5 percent, more than 7 percent higher than that of the class of 2010.

The push for an independent review came from Denver Law Dean Martin Katz, who called for the school to submit a sample of the career department’s data for its 2010 graduates to the University of Denver’s Office of Institutional Compliance & Internal Audit, an independent office reporting directly to the Audit Committee of the University of Denver Board of Trustees. By using already-established university resources, the law school is better able to demonstrate its commitment to providing transparent and accurate information to current and prospective students, alumni and the general public quickly without overtaxing the career services department or requesting additional funds or staff, said Eric Bono, assistant dean for career opportunities.

“While I believe that law schools try very hard to collect and report accurate employment data, there is no doubt that the general public perception right now is that schools aren’t as transparent as they should be,” Bono told the ABA Journal. “I think more schools will realize that everyone is under a microscope, and it’s better to be proactive and demonstrate that they’re trying to do what is right and report accurate data, even if independent audits are not yet required by the American Bar Association.”

The university reviewers also offered tips and guidelines to increase efficiency and streamline ways to collect, organize and store employment information, which will aid the school’s initiative to evolve and expand its reporting efforts.

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