Is % in bar required jobs a good metric for comparison?

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Aberzombie1892
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Is % in bar required jobs a good metric for comparison?

Postby Aberzombie1892 » Sun Nov 25, 2012 1:55 pm

Lately, a lot of posters have been pushing the idea that the percentage of the class that a school places into JD required/bar passage required jobs is a indicator of the strength of a school. Further, those posters claim that School A has better employment outcomes than School B if School A has a higher percentage of the class in JD/bar passage required jobs. I disagree with that.

The best way to explain why this is a not a good metric is to use an example. Let's use Mississippi College School of Law (MC), as I don't know any posters that attend there and I don't want to offend anyone who attends some schools that also place well in JD/Bar passage required jobs. MC places over 75% of its class in JD/bar passage required jobs. In case you did not know, this places it in the top 20 of all law schools if schools were ranked using that percentage. Is Mississippi College on the radar of most posters? I honestly would assume most applicants have not even heard of the school. According to LST, MC only placed 2 students in firms of more than 10 attorneys, and places many students into firms of 2-10 attorneys and as solo practitioners. Having spoken to some students/recent graduates from the school, I understand that many of these 2-10 attorney firm jobs are classmates creating firms together or graduates returning to a family firm. While the notion that MC places in the top 20 due to its JD/bar passage may seem to be a silly thing to honor the school for, which it is, that notion does not seem as easy to accept for prospective/current law school students that attend schools ranked much higher than MC that also place a lot of students into small firms that results in having a high percentage of the class in JD/bar passage required jobs.

So the question is, if School A places a lot more students in JD/bar passage required jobs than School B, does that make it inherently "better" than School B if most of those jobs are in small firms that are most likely classmates banding together or people returning to family firms? That's tricky. I would think that most posters would say no, but you never know. Many veteran posters have concluded that only jobs in firms of more than 50 attorneys should be considered t .o be desirable, and, if that is the case, MC would only have 2 graduates in desirable firm jobs even though 75%+ of their class are in JD/bar passage required jobs. With a ratio of JD/bar passage required to desirable outcomes like that, I guess the answer to the question would most likely be no (even though I'm not including federal clerkships, which are also considered to be desirable, in the ratio).

Any thoughts?

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Sheffield
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Re: Is % in bar required jobs a good metric for comparison?

Postby Sheffield » Sun Nov 25, 2012 2:07 pm

As I understand it, Mississippi has two law schools, MS college and Ole Miss. Their major employment market is Jackson (which is the state capitol). The firms pay well, plus the COL in MS is nominal. . .$80K in MS = $160 in NYC. There are a number of highly successful Jackson firms (plus state capitol opportunities, along with local gov’t opportunities) Other MS markets include Biloxi and Hattiesburg (and a few others). Overall you are probably is decent shape with your JD. In reviewing Jackson firms, I believe you will see that most associates are from MC or Ole Miss.

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RVP11
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Re: Is % in bar required jobs a good metric for comparison?

Postby RVP11 » Sun Nov 25, 2012 2:17 pm

Sheffield wrote:As I understand it, Mississippi has two law schools, MS college and Ole Miss. Their major employment market is Jackson (which is the state capitol). The firms pay well, plus the COL in MS is nominal. . .$80K in MS = $160 in NYC. There are a number of highly successful Jackson firms (plus state capitol opportunities, along with local gov’t opportunities) Other MS markets include Biloxi and Hattiesburg (and a few others). Overall you are probably is decent shape with your JD. In reviewing Jackson firms, I believe you will see that most associates are from MC or Ole Miss.


Way to really grasp what Aberzombie was looking for here.

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NoleinNY
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Re: Is % in bar required jobs a good metric for comparison?

Postby NoleinNY » Sun Nov 25, 2012 7:27 pm

Aberzombie1892 wrote:Lately, a lot of posters have been pushing the idea that the percentage of the class that a school places into JD required/bar passage required jobs is a indicator of the strength of a school. Further, those posters claim that School A has better employment outcomes than School B if School A has a higher percentage of the class in JD/bar passage required jobs. I disagree with that.

The best way to explain why this is a not a good metric is to use an example. Let's use Mississippi College School of Law (MC), as I don't know any posters that attend there and I don't want to offend anyone who attends some schools that also place well in JD/Bar passage required jobs. MC places over 75% of its class in JD/bar passage required jobs. In case you did not know, this places it in the top 20 of all law schools if schools were ranked using that percentage. Is Mississippi College on the radar of most posters? I honestly would assume most applicants have not even heard of the school. According to LST, MC only placed 2 students in firms of more than 10 attorneys, and places many students into firms of 2-10 attorneys and as solo practitioners. Having spoken to some students/recent graduates from the school, I understand that many of these 2-10 attorney firm jobs are classmates creating firms together or graduates returning to a family firm. While the notion that MC places in the top 20 due to its JD/bar passage may seem to be a silly thing to honor the school for, which it is, that notion does not seem as easy to accept for prospective/current law school students that attend schools ranked much higher than MC that also place a lot of students into small firms that results in having a high percentage of the class in JD/bar passage required jobs.

So the question is, if School A places a lot more students in JD/bar passage required jobs than School B, does that make it inherently "better" than School B if most of those jobs are in small firms that are most likely classmates banding together or people returning to family firms? That's tricky. I would think that most posters would say no, but you never know. Many veteran posters have concluded that only jobs in firms of more than 50 attorneys should be considered t .o be desirable, and, if that is the case, MC would only have 2 graduates in desirable firm jobs even though 75%+ of their class are in JD/bar passage required jobs. With a ratio of JD/bar passage required to desirable outcomes like that, I guess the answer to the question would most likely be no (even though I'm not including federal clerkships, which are also considered to be desirable, in the ratio).

Any thoughts?


In theory, most people go to law school to be lawyers. JD/BPR gigs fulfill that desire. Being able to make a viable living goes hand in hand (or at least close behind). Even if the initial income isn't terribly high, doing the type of job you wanted and doing it full time would let you build the skills to create better opportunities and (maybe) a better income.

If you are working a job that doesn't require a JD, then that is not a lawyer job (even if it has legal aspects). If you work a job that is part time, you run the risk of not making enough to live. You also don't gain lawyering skills at the same rate as someone doing the same work for 40+ hours a week.

The example of MC is interesting but it is not typical for those who have the highest potential risks/costs/benefits when it comes to law school (i.e., people in larger cities who want higher paying jobs and pay more for law school.) Maybe for social reasons students hanging their shingles or going to work for family are what's expected?

Full-Time JD/BPR metrics combined with accurate salary reporting (with the prospective students keeping in mind their own COL considerations) are the better metrics for deciding whether School A is better at getting them a Full Time Lawyer Job That Is Worth Going To School For vs. School B. What metric would you recommend, out of curiosity?

ETA: I just realized your initial post only referred to JD/BPR, not Full Time JD/BPR.

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JusticeHarlan
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Re: Is % in bar required jobs a good metric for comparison?

Postby JusticeHarlan » Sun Nov 25, 2012 7:54 pm

Does "JD/bar passage required" include jobs created by schools hiring their own grads?

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bk1
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Re: Is % in bar required jobs a good metric for comparison?

Postby bk1 » Sun Nov 25, 2012 9:16 pm

Moved to more appropriate forum.

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bk1
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Re: Is % in bar required jobs a good metric for comparison?

Postby bk1 » Sun Nov 25, 2012 9:18 pm

I hadn't thought of significant numbers of people banding together or hanging shingles. I had assumed it was rare and thus minimally impactful on employment stats. If it is widespread then I think placement into "desirable" positions might be the best proxy for school strength. Or you could just lop off solos and 2-10 firms from the FT/BPR stats and have that be the representative number. I think this would be a good question to pose to the LST guys.

TheColonel
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Re: Is % in bar required jobs a good metric for comparison?

Postby TheColonel » Sun Nov 25, 2012 11:02 pm

As mentioned above, I think it depends what you're looking for. If you're from a parochial market and not looking to go far outside of it, then %JD required would likely be useful. For most on this site, I'd say this graph from this thread is much more useful http://www.top-law-schools.com/forums/viewtopic.php?f=1&t=181415&start=225. It shows % of graduates in jobs with >50 attorneys and % of graduates in Article III clerkships. It obviously has it's own distortions (NYU's PI bent comes to mind and nobody would say Northwestern and Harvard are peers) but it seems like a good measure of employment for most.

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Aberzombie1892
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Re: Is % in bar required jobs a good metric for comparison?

Postby Aberzombie1892 » Sun Nov 25, 2012 11:22 pm

JusticeHarlan wrote:Does "JD/bar passage required" include jobs created by schools hiring their own grads?


Frequently it does, and the schools guilty of it would include certain T14s in addition to non-T14 schools that generally do not place as well (like Emory) and schools that are legendary for hiring a large percentage of their graduates (like GW).

bk1 wrote:I hadn't thought of significant numbers of people banding together or hanging shingles. I had assumed it was rare and thus minimally impactful on employment stats. If it is widespread then I think placement into "desirable" positions might be the best proxy for school strength. Or you could just lop off solos and 2-10 firms from the FT/BPR stats and have that be the representative number. I think this would be a good question to pose to the LST guys.


Well, one of the issues here is that it is functionally impossible to know if graduates banding together to form firms is really widespread. The law schools would not want to openly report that if it was the case, and NALP could not possibly care less about people that are not employed by (at least) a quasi-prestigious employer.

For the purpose of my example, I chose Mississippi College because (1) it places in the top 20 in percentage of graduates in JD/Bar passage required jobs, but also because (2) I knew that no posters were going to attempt to white knight it, and as such, a more open discussion could be had without distractions of that nature. However, I now think a more direct comparison between schools may be useful. Let's look at LSU and Emory.

The LSU law school places over 81% of its class in long term, full time JD required jobs, according to LST. Out of the 91 students in firms, 54 worked in firms of 10 or fewer attorneys (including solos). However, none of the students in long term, full time JD required jobs were employed by the school. Emory law school, on the other hand, places 57.7% of its class into full time, long term JD required positions after removing the students employed by the school that were counted as having such positions. Of the 93 students in firms, 20 worked in firms of 10 or fewer attorneys (including solos). How does calculate into thoughts about the two schools?

My interpretation of these findings would be that many people go to law school to find better employability or a higher salary post graduation rather than to work as a lawyer. Using this interpretation, I would assert that many graduates would prefer have an okay paying non-legal job (if given the option) rather than to start their own firm either by themselves or with classmates; or, as some may interpret it, something rather than nothing.

Lord Randolph McDuff
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Re: Is % in bar required jobs a good metric for comparison?

Postby Lord Randolph McDuff » Mon Nov 26, 2012 9:08 pm

You need to take a look at all the evidence together, Art III + larger firms, number of large firms in the area of the school, full-time, JD required, bar passage, school funded, etc, in order to get a good look at a school. I think you are on to something important though. 100% of people who go to Mississippi College probably wanted JD required work, while only 3/5 Yale students want that. I just made that up but you get my point, and I think that is a sub-point for what Aberzombie is saying.

I would say between 70 and 80% of students here want to be a full-time lawyer, with many wanting business and some wanting to be endangered species or something. With just under 60% of us in full-time JD required work, and 0% morphing into tiny, fuzzy animals, people can get pretty fucking disappointed around here. Not sure if that is relevant.




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