Observationalist (policy director), DerekTokaz (assistant director of research) and I will be taking questions here. Please also feel free to provide comments and criticisms. This is a work in progress and we can make it better with feedback.
A few things already in the works for today and the rest of this week:
- a school comparison chart for key statistics that will allow you to see how employment and under-employment scores vary
- a better color scheme for the graphs -- the colors are random right now, and that makes zero sense
- more salary data when available on the salary tab of each school
- reverse-lookup by top graduate destination states
Summary from the National Law Journal:
For each ABA-accredited law school, the database includes key employment statistics; charts that break down the percentage of graduates in lawyer and non-lawyer jobs; graphs that detail whether jobs were long-term or short-term; maps showing the states in which the largest percentage of graduates found jobs; salary breakdowns; and the jobs reports that schools submitted to the ABA and NALP.
Law School Transparency has calculated an "employment score" for each school, accounting for all graduates in jobs that require a J.D. but subtracting those in solo practices and those in short-term jobs. ...
By contrast, the raw employment score that law schools historically have submitted to the ABA lump all jobs together, regardless of whether they require a law degree or are for the long term. (The ABA has introduced reforms intended to extract more detailed jobs information from schools in the future).
Law School Transparency has calculated what it calls the "under-employment score" for each school — the percentage of graduates who are unemployed; are in jobs that don't require or prefer a law degree; are in part-time jobs; or are enrolled in a degree program.
The database's "key stats" tab includes the percentages of students from a given school whose employment status is unknown; who reported salary data to their school; in jobs funded by the school itself; in jobs at law firms with 100 or more attorneys; and in public service jobs.
The public service statistics includes only graduates in government or public interest jobs — not judicial clerks or graduates working in academia. "If you go to law school saying, 'I want to work for the public good,' the public service figure will tell you how many people from a specific school do that," McEntee said.
The percentage of students who report their salaries to their law school reflect how happy graduates are with their professional lives, he said, on the theory that only students who are pleased with their jobs are likely to report their salaries.
Law School Transparency's calculations generally offer a different view of a law school's employment statistics that those reported to the ABA or NALP. For example, Law School Transparency's "employment score" for American University Washington College of Law is 54.3 percent — meaning that slightly more than half the class of 2010 found long-term legal jobs, excluding solo practitioners. By contrast, the ABA report for the class of 2010 shows an employment rate of 83 percent, which includes graduates in short-term jobs and in jobs that don't require law degrees. ...
Finally, the database covers tuition including a total debt projection for the classes of 2015 and 2016. The debt projections include interest, inflation and additional factors that many prospective students don't consider when taking out loans, McEntee said.