Law Schools

Forbes Will Rank Law Schools Based on Job Results, Northwestern Reveals

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Updated: Northwestern University’s law school has politely declined a request for more detailed salary and job information requested by a new nonprofit group, suggesting Forbes magazine may be the better organization to handle the job.

TaxProf Blog alluded to new law school rankings by Forbes in an Aug. 19 post, saying the magazine reportedly will rank schools for their “return on investment.” The Northwestern letter, published on the Law School Transparency website, confirms the Forbes survey and says the magazine is seeking information similar to that requested by the transparency group.

Law School Transparency sent a letter to 199 law schools this July seeking data about each law school graduate in categories that include their employer type and name, whether their position is full- or part-time, whether the job requires a law license, and their salaries after nine months. The group asked for a response by Sept. 10.

Northwestern’s letter said it agreed with the general mission of Law School Transparency, but it believed that the sensitive information being sought is better collected by a more well-established organization, ideally for an alternative ranking.

“For example, Forbes recently conducted a survey of law school alumni which asks for similar types of information,” Northwestern says. “Forbes intends to use the survey results to create a new ranking of law schools based on these employment-related outcomes. We were happy to participate and assist them in this endeavor.”

Northwestern was one of only 11 law schools that met Law School Transparency’s deadline, and of those, only three indicated they were giving more thought to the request for data, the National Law Journal reports. The three schools are American University Washington College of Law, University of Michigan Law School and Vanderbilt University Law School. Several others said reporting individual rather than aggregate data raised privacy concerns.

One school—the Ave Maria School of Law—had indicated it would would respond six days after Law School Transparency’s deadline. On Thursday, it agreed to supply the job data, becoming the first law school accept the group’s request for information.

Updated on Friday at 7 a.m. to include information about the Ave Maria School of Law.

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