Law School Transparency...

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leib10
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Law School Transparency...

Postby leib10 » Thu Jan 30, 2014 10:52 am

Looking at the various Texas schools, and LST reports that South Texas COL has higher employment and lower unemployment rates than Texas Tech, University of Houston, and Baylor. Hmm... :roll:

PS- I'm doubting the veracity of that claim, not considering South Texas COL.

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jenesaislaw
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Re: Law School Transparency...

Postby jenesaislaw » Thu Jan 30, 2014 12:55 pm

Can you explain more clearly what you mean? I'll be happy to address any "claims" you think we're making.

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TheSpanishMain
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Re: Law School Transparency...

Postby TheSpanishMain » Thu Jan 30, 2014 1:18 pm

Make sure you're also taking into account the quality of those jobs.

leib10
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Re: Law School Transparency...

Postby leib10 » Thu Jan 30, 2014 1:21 pm

jenesaislaw wrote:Can you explain more clearly what you mean? I'll be happy to address any "claims" you think we're making.


Certainly. I was just curious about whether the employment rate (as TheSpanishMain mentioned, it does not factor in quality of jobs) of South Texas COL really was higher and the unemployment rate lower than that of 3 much higher-ranked schools in Texas. Just seemed strange to me... is there any explanation for this statistic?

TigerDude
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Re: Law School Transparency...

Postby TigerDude » Thu Jan 30, 2014 1:27 pm

if you look at their numbers there are a huge number of "business and industry" jobs. i wonder if these were people who went to law school with a job already at hand.

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deadpanic
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Re: Law School Transparency...

Postby deadpanic » Thu Jan 30, 2014 1:43 pm

leib10 wrote:
jenesaislaw wrote:Can you explain more clearly what you mean? I'll be happy to address any "claims" you think we're making.


Certainly. I was just curious about whether the employment rate (as TheSpanishMain mentioned, it does not factor in quality of jobs) of South Texas COL really was higher and the unemployment rate lower than that of 3 much higher-ranked schools in Texas. Just seemed strange to me... is there any explanation for this statistic?


South Texas is in Houston, which is clearly a huge market. Baylor and TX Tech are in places with small markets.

The difference between UH's score and South TX's score is negligible (66% vs 61%). I would still take UH over it as it has a better reputation overall. If you are median or below from either school though, you are probably in a disastrous situation either way.

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ggocat
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Re: Law School Transparency...

Postby ggocat » Thu Jan 30, 2014 2:32 pm

leib10 wrote:Certainly. I was just curious about whether the employment rate (as TheSpanishMain mentioned, it does not factor in quality of jobs) of South Texas COL really was higher and the unemployment rate lower than that of 3 much higher-ranked schools in Texas. Just seemed strange to me... is there any explanation for this statistic?

A possible explanation for your quandary is that USNWR rankings do not reflect a ranking that is based on solely (or even largely) employment outcomes for students.

Look at http://employmentsummary.abaquestionnaire.org/ . This is the employment data schools report to the ABA.

jenesaislaw can correct me if I'm wrong, but I believe if you look at the "full time, long term" column for "Employed - Bar Passage Required" and then subtract the number from the "Solo" employment type, you will get the LST employment score.

For example, Baylor has 112 "bar passage required" row with "full time, long term" column, with 4 "solo" lawyers, and a total of 164 graduates. (112 - 4) / 164 = .6585. The LST for Baylor is 65.9%.
STCL has 268 "bar passage required" row with "full time, long term" column, with 20 "solo" lawyers, and a total of 377 graduates. (268 - 20) / 377 = .6578. The LST for STCL is 66%.

EDIT: w/r/t STCL, LST's "ABA Format" tab shows 269 grads in "bar passage required, long term full time," so that explains the minor difference. Perhaps this is an error as the ABA report shows only 268, or perhaps the school amended its report at some point after LST collected data.
Last edited by ggocat on Thu Jan 30, 2014 2:55 pm, edited 3 times in total.

timbs4339
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Re: Law School Transparency...

Postby timbs4339 » Thu Jan 30, 2014 2:45 pm

Outside of a few categories of legal jobs that are very prestige driven, the raw employment number is going to be determined by a lot more than just the LSAT/GPA of the incoming class or the school's USNWR ranking. For example, the employment number may be higher at a lower ranked school because a school is located in a state capital or major metro region where it's easier for students to get internships or part-time jobs which could translate into full time offers. Or it might just reflect random, year over year variation.

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jenesaislaw
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Re: Law School Transparency...

Postby jenesaislaw » Thu Jan 30, 2014 2:58 pm

leib10 wrote:
jenesaislaw wrote:Can you explain more clearly what you mean? I'll be happy to address any "claims" you think we're making.


Certainly. I was just curious about whether the employment rate (as TheSpanishMain mentioned, it does not factor in quality of jobs) of South Texas COL really was higher and the unemployment rate lower than that of 3 much higher-ranked schools in Texas. Just seemed strange to me... is there any explanation for this statistic?


The best place to start is, as implied by TSM, is with what the scores reflect. The Employment Score reflects graduates who have full-time, long-term bar passage required jobs (except solos). The Under-Employment Score reflects those in short-term or part-time or non-professional jobs, as well as those who are pursuing FT degrees or who do not have a job (but are seeking). The Unknown Score indicates the degree of completeness and reliability of the Employment Score and Under-Employment Score as applied to what they measure.

Looking at South Texas, an absolute ton of their graduates end up in tiny firms. http://www.lstscorereports.com/?school= ... s&show=ABA Indeed, 36% of the 66% in the employment score are at firms 2-10 in size. Data for the class of 2011 show something very similar.

So what's going on? Frankly, I don't know. My first thought was that they are encouraging students to band together to form firms (or the students did it on their own). I asked their career services dean about this theory some time in the past year and she said she didn't do that. Not quite an answer, so the possibility is on the table. If that's what's going on, I don't think it's a bad thing -- it may be a great thing. But you should know that these are the jobs that's pushing the ES a little higher than traditional brands.

It also looks like there are a ton of people going into "Business" with jobs requiring bar passage. (36 JD Advantage LT, FT jobs, but 86 LT, FT business jobs means at least 50 of those business jobs required bar passage -- probably more.) This is much harder to explain. Keep in mind that document review jobs count in the "business" category. These jobs have traditionally been short-term because they have a definite duration of less than a year for the contract period. However, if graduates are signing long-term contracts (1 year+), they would be swept into the long-term category.

If I were you, I would call the law school and ask them to explain what the people with "business" jobs were doing. They have greater detail. The question is whether they will share them with you. If they do, please pass it along to LST: team@lawschooltransparency.com

Read this to get an idea of the limits of the Score Reports: http://www.lstscorereports.com/?r=guides&show=11
Also keep in mind that the rankings do a bad job at sorting by graduate employment outcomes. I don't know that STCOL is truly undervalued* because there are some questions about these data, but it's not uncommon to see local/regional schools undervalued because they only have a good reputation within a relatively small radius. The graphics on the guide we have on the value of the rankings are temporarily broken as I'm upgrading the database (http://www.lstscorereports.com/?r=guides&show=13), but the text is all there.

*note that by undervalued I am strictly talking about the perception of job opportunities -- "value" is far more complex than just that and needs to, of course, factor in cost...which is all-but uniformly absurd.
Last edited by jenesaislaw on Thu Jan 30, 2014 3:18 pm, edited 2 times in total.

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jenesaislaw
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Re: Law School Transparency...

Postby jenesaislaw » Thu Jan 30, 2014 3:16 pm

ggocat wrote:jenesaislaw can correct me if I'm wrong, but I believe if you look at the "full time, long term" column for "Employed - Bar Passage Required" and then subtract the number from the "Solo" employment type, you will get the LST employment score.

Yep.


ggocat wrote:EDIT: w/r/t STCL, LST's "ABA Format" tab shows 269 grads in "bar passage required, long term full time," so that explains the minor difference. Perhaps this is an error as the ABA report shows only 268, or perhaps the school amended its report at some point after LST collected data.


Good catch -- they did update this. You also caused me to catch a bug in the code for summing the columns. Fixing that now...

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jenesaislaw
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Re: Law School Transparency...

Postby jenesaislaw » Thu Jan 30, 2014 3:49 pm

Updated the data for South Texas. Thanks again for catching it. I also fixed the bug on the new version of the site, which we'll release in a few weeks. It's just an error with the summing of the columns for the Employer Type table.

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ggocat
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Re: Law School Transparency...

Postby ggocat » Thu Jan 30, 2014 5:34 pm

jenesaislaw wrote:Updated the data for South Texas. Thanks again for catching it. I also fixed the bug on the new version of the site, which we'll release in a few weeks. It's just an error with the summing of the columns for the Employer Type table.

No problem. You're doing great work.

Also, regarding the 2-10 category, I would be surprised if the CSO recommends that recent graduates partner up with each other. My school actively discouraged it due to the complications that arise from a partnership and dissolution. Much easier to just split costs of office space and expenses without splitting fees.

Lord Randolph McDuff
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Re: Law School Transparency...

Postby Lord Randolph McDuff » Thu Jan 30, 2014 7:04 pm

Not exactly on topic, but it bugs me that the ABA only asks for firms 2-10, 11-25, etc. One more category would be super helpful for a large portion of our country. Firms with 2-5 lawyers. That probably sounds silly to those on the coasts but most firms in our country are super small. Here, a firm of 9 is mid-size. Getting on with a firm of 9 could be a fantastic outcome with excellent training and compensation. A firm of 2 or 3 is usually a different story, where starting salaries could be as low as 30k, though of course there are exceptions.




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