Law Schools

Law school job statistics get extra scrutiny in random ABA audits

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The ABA is for the first time conducting random audits of jobs data provided by law schools for the class of 2015.

The auditors are examining data from 10 randomly selected law schools and from 382 randomly selected students from 156 law schools, (sub. req.) reports. The aim is to make sure schools followed proper procedures in collecting and verifying the employment data, which was released in May.

A range of sanctions are available if serious errors are discovered. They include a private or public reprimand, fines and probation.

The ABA Section of Legal Education and Admissions to the Bar hired an outside consulting firm to conduct the audits. It is funding the audits with a $250,000 fine imposed on the University of Illinois College of Law in 2012 for misreporting admissions data.

Barry Currier, the ABA’s managing director of accreditation and legal education, says the audits began when the schools reported their data. “We want to do our job of making sure that schools are reporting complete, accurate, not misleading data, and this is one way to do that,” Currier tells the ABA Journal.

If audits over the next few years find law schools are doing a good job, the ABA may change to a system of less intensive audits, Currier says. The hope, he tells the ABA Journal, is that the audit results will confirm that schools are doing a good job of reporting, giving the public more confidence in the reliability of the data.

Currier says the audit results with regard to specific schools won’t be publicly released, unless problems lead to a public sanction. The audit protocol is here (PDF).

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