How Reliable Are ABA Reports?

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confused_humpback
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How Reliable Are ABA Reports?

Postby confused_humpback » Tue Mar 24, 2015 7:01 pm

Hey, everyone.

Been wanting to ask this for awhile.

I see a lot of dissonance between the numbers coming out of ABA reports and what people are saying on the forums here. Take Fordham for instance. In several threads I've seen a lot of people implying that going to schools outside of the T14 give you basically a 50/50 chance of being unemployed for an extended period of time out of school (have seen this specifically said about Fordham). But the ABA reports say that the school's unemployment is only at about 6% +/-, with the rest of the numbers also looking pretty impressive.

Is there an issue with ABA report reliability that I'm not aware of?

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Tiago Splitter
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Re: How Reliable Are ABA Reports?

Postby Tiago Splitter » Tue Mar 24, 2015 7:09 pm

Everything is on there:

481 grads
60 employed by the school
33 unemployed and seeking work
9 unemployed but not seeking work
64 in business and industry (could be anything)
...

The school is telling the truth, or is at least pretty close to it. The problem is that even its own report suggests that only 63% of the class has a long term, full time legal job nine months after graduation.

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MistakenGenius
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Post removed.

Postby MistakenGenius » Tue Mar 24, 2015 7:24 pm

Post removed.
Last edited by MistakenGenius on Sun Dec 13, 2015 9:14 am, edited 1 time in total.

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lacrossebrother
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Re: How Reliable Are ABA Reports?

Postby lacrossebrother » Tue Mar 24, 2015 7:28 pm

MistakenGenius wrote:
Tiago Splitter wrote:Everything is on there:

481 grads
60 employed by the school
33 unemployed and seeking work
9 unemployed but not seeking work
64 in business and industry (could be anything)
...

The school is telling the truth, or is at least pretty close to it. The problem is that even its own report suggests that only 63% of the class has a long term, full time legal job nine months after graduation.


He nailed it. ABA reports are very close to the actual numbers, but you have to dissect it. Someone working as a waiter (business and industry) no doubt regrets going to law school. Employment rates that you see here and on law school transparency show how many of their students are actually employed as attorneys in long term jobs.

LST just uses ABA reports and adds literally nothing else. They provide the illusion that they're somehow doing something extra which kind of makes the whole process seem confusing.

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DCfilterDC
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Re: How Reliable Are ABA Reports?

Postby DCfilterDC » Tue Mar 24, 2015 7:29 pm

lacrossebrother wrote:LST just uses ABA reports and adds literally nothing else. They provide the illusion that they're somehow doing something extra which kind of makes the whole process seem confusing.


You're a one man crusade.

But how does LST make anything confusing?

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bearsfan23
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Re: How Reliable Are ABA Reports?

Postby bearsfan23 » Tue Mar 24, 2015 7:35 pm

MistakenGenius wrote:
Tiago Splitter wrote:Everything is on there:

481 grads
60 employed by the school
33 unemployed and seeking work
9 unemployed but not seeking work
64 in business and industry (could be anything)
...

The school is telling the truth, or is at least pretty close to it. The problem is that even its own report suggests that only 63% of the class has a long term, full time legal job nine months after graduation.


He nailed it. ABA reports are very close to the actual numbers, but you have to dissect it. Someone working as a waiter (business and industry) no doubt regrets going to law school. Employment rates that you see here and on law school transparency show how many of their students are actually employed as attorneys in long term jobs.


How can you "dissect it" when the information is so vague. I mean 75% of TLS posters automatically assume Business/Industry means working at barista at Starbucks, when in reality a lot of those are really good jobs.

A 2014 grad I know from Chicago is now working for a corporation starting at around $150k. I highly doubt he regrets going to law school

Until the ABA requires more detailed job information, the only real meaningful things to compare are overall employment numbers, large firm employment numbers, and clerkships

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rpupkin
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Re: How Reliable Are ABA Reports?

Postby rpupkin » Tue Mar 24, 2015 7:42 pm

lacrossebrother wrote:LST just uses ABA reports and adds literally nothing else. They provide the illusion that they're somehow doing something extra which kind of makes the whole process seem confusing.

You don't know what "literally" means.

Also, what "illusion" are you talking about? LST organizes and presents information based on publicly available data. LST does not purport to do anything else. I'm not sure what you find confusing about it.

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lacrossebrother
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Re: How Reliable Are ABA Reports?

Postby lacrossebrother » Tue Mar 24, 2015 8:17 pm

If I made a website called public company transparency and literally just republished sec filings but color coded the tables, I think it would serve to suggest that the companies are not being transparent and I'm publishing something that I uncovered.

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lacrossebrother
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Re: How Reliable Are ABA Reports?

Postby lacrossebrother » Tue Mar 24, 2015 8:20 pm

See, e.g., OP thinking he is working with incomplete data

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lawschool1741
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Re: How Reliable Are ABA Reports?

Postby lawschool1741 » Tue Mar 24, 2015 8:35 pm

To me, the service LST provides is compiling all of the data in a cohesive, easy to use/understand platform (cost, outcomes, student body data, personalized financial worksheets, etc, etc). Yes, the data is publicly available..but it is spread across many sources. In doing this, LST makes the whole decision making process more 'transparent'.

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confused_humpback
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Re: How Reliable Are ABA Reports?

Postby confused_humpback » Tue Mar 24, 2015 8:36 pm

Tiago Splitter wrote:Everything is on there:

481 grads
60 employed by the school
33 unemployed and seeking work
9 unemployed but not seeking work
64 in business and industry (could be anything)
...

The school is telling the truth, or is at least pretty close to it. The problem is that even its own report suggests that only 63% of the class has a long term, full time legal job nine months after graduation.


The ABA report still puts the school at 72% (including JD-advantage) long term full time employment. This doesn't sound like a horrible number to me. We don't know anything else about the other 28% such as what those students were ranked at, what their intern/clinic habits were, so on and so forth. Just seems like there's so many variables at place.

Not that I'm doubting there are major problems with law schools. I recognize the problematic nature of tuition growth and market over-saturation. Just having a hard time figuring out how to distinguish between the value of different mid-tier schools.

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rpupkin
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Re: How Reliable Are ABA Reports?

Postby rpupkin » Tue Mar 24, 2015 8:41 pm

lacrossebrother wrote:See, e.g., OP thinking he is working with incomplete data

But the OP doesn't even mention LST. He is confused by what he perceives as the dissonance between ABA Reports and advice from TLS posters.

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confused_humpback
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Re: How Reliable Are ABA Reports?

Postby confused_humpback » Tue Mar 24, 2015 8:46 pm

rpupkin wrote:
lacrossebrother wrote:See, e.g., OP thinking he is working with incomplete data

But the OP doesn't even mention LST. He is confused by what he perceives as the dissonance between ABA Reports and advice from TLS posters.


I took a look at the LST reports and they don't seem dramatically different than the ABA reports in terms of the numbers they are reporting.

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starry eyed
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Re: How Reliable Are ABA Reports?

Postby starry eyed » Tue Mar 24, 2015 9:06 pm

Yea honestly the employment numbers are already clearly available on the ABA site. I only look at LST for job source information or to quickly compare a bunch of schools.

And i don't know why fordham gets more hate than USC, UCLA, and WUSTL

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jbagelboy
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Re: How Reliable Are ABA Reports?

Postby jbagelboy » Tue Mar 24, 2015 9:18 pm

confused_humpback wrote:
Tiago Splitter wrote:Everything is on there:

481 grads
60 employed by the school
33 unemployed and seeking work
9 unemployed but not seeking work
64 in business and industry (could be anything)
...

The school is telling the truth, or is at least pretty close to it. The problem is that even its own report suggests that only 63% of the class has a long term, full time legal job nine months after graduation.


The ABA report still puts the school at 72% (including JD-advantage) long term full time employment. This doesn't sound like a horrible number to me. We don't know anything else about the other 28% such as what those students were ranked at, what their intern/clinic habits were, so on and so forth. Just seems like there's so many variables at place.

Not that I'm doubting there are major problems with law schools. I recognize the problematic nature of tuition growth and market over-saturation. Just having a hard time figuring out how to distinguish between the value of different mid-tier schools.


if this is a should-I-go-to-Fordham thread in disguise, the answer is that you'll have to be in the top quarter of the class to be competitive for work at a firm, and prospects are pretty dismal given the average debt levels below that. So probably not.

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confused_humpback
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Re: How Reliable Are ABA Reports?

Postby confused_humpback » Tue Mar 24, 2015 9:26 pm

jbagelboy wrote:
confused_humpback wrote:
Tiago Splitter wrote:Everything is on there:

481 grads
60 employed by the school
33 unemployed and seeking work
9 unemployed but not seeking work
64 in business and industry (could be anything)
...

The school is telling the truth, or is at least pretty close to it. The problem is that even its own report suggests that only 63% of the class has a long term, full time legal job nine months after graduation.


The ABA report still puts the school at 72% (including JD-advantage) long term full time employment. This doesn't sound like a horrible number to me. We don't know anything else about the other 28% such as what those students were ranked at, what their intern/clinic habits were, so on and so forth. Just seems like there's so many variables at place.

Not that I'm doubting there are major problems with law schools. I recognize the problematic nature of tuition growth and market over-saturation. Just having a hard time figuring out how to distinguish between the value of different mid-tier schools.


if this is a should-I-go-to-Fordham thread in disguise, the answer is that you'll have to be in the top quarter of the class to be competitive for work at a firm, and prospects are pretty dismal given the average debt levels below that. So probably not.


:lol:

Touché.

I'm just trying to get a rounded out perspective on all the numbers as I move forward on making a decision. As a side note I'm leaning toward public interest so not hugely concerned about biglaw employability.

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jbagelboy
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Re: How Reliable Are ABA Reports?

Postby jbagelboy » Tue Mar 24, 2015 9:32 pm

Honestly, what's really missed by the ABA reports for a school like Fordham is the number of students that transfer out. Transfer data has a negligible impact on a T6, where maybe 3-5 kids will transfer within that set each year. By contrast, it has a substantial impact on Fordham, where a non-negligible number of students in the top 10% will transfer, mainly to Cornell, NYU or CLS. Not sure what that says about the school or the opportunities it creates for its students.

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chuckbass
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Re: How Reliable Are ABA Reports?

Postby chuckbass » Tue Mar 24, 2015 9:40 pm

bearsfan23 wrote:
MistakenGenius wrote:
Tiago Splitter wrote:Everything is on there:

481 grads
60 employed by the school
33 unemployed and seeking work
9 unemployed but not seeking work
64 in business and industry (could be anything)
...

The school is telling the truth, or is at least pretty close to it. The problem is that even its own report suggests that only 63% of the class has a long term, full time legal job nine months after graduation.


He nailed it. ABA reports are very close to the actual numbers, but you have to dissect it. Someone working as a waiter (business and industry) no doubt regrets going to law school. Employment rates that you see here and on law school transparency show how many of their students are actually employed as attorneys in long term jobs.


How can you "dissect it" when the information is so vague. I mean 75% of TLS posters automatically assume Business/Industry means working at barista at Starbucks, when in reality a lot of those are really good jobs.

A 2014 grad I know from Chicago is now working for a corporation starting at around $150k. I highly doubt he regrets going to law school

Until the ABA requires more detailed job information, the only real meaningful things to compare are overall employment numbers, large firm employment numbers, and clerkships

When you don't know, it's better to assume the worst. The higher you go up the food chain though, the more deference you give to these positions outside of the biglaw/fed clerk numbers. Your anecdata is an awful example: the business jobs Chicago kids are getting are not the "business" jobs Fordham students are getting, on average. This is why HYS for instance report lower biglaw numbers, but no one would dispute that they have the best employment numbers.

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confused_humpback
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Re: How Reliable Are ABA Reports?

Postby confused_humpback » Tue Mar 24, 2015 9:49 pm

scottidsntknow wrote:This is why HYS for instance report lower biglaw numbers, but no one would dispute that they have the best employment numbers.


And best clerkship numbers (which detracts from the reported number of students going to big firms).

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rpupkin
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Re: How Reliable Are ABA Reports?

Postby rpupkin » Tue Mar 24, 2015 9:50 pm

jbagelboy wrote:Honestly, what's really missed by the ABA reports for a school like Fordham is the number of students that transfer out. Transfer data has a negligible impact on a T6, where maybe 3-5 kids will transfer within that set each year. By contrast, it has a substantial impact on Fordham, where a non-negligible number of students in the top 10% will transfer, mainly to Cornell, NYU or CLS. Not sure what that says about the school or the opportunities it creates for its students.

I think it suggests that a lower-ranked school's grad-based employment numbers might be slightly misleading for 0Ls. If a significant percentage of the top 10% - 15% of a 1L class transfers, and if the transfer group has a largely positive employment outcome, then that should count in the 1L school's favor--at least it should if you're a 0L making decisions about where to go to law school. But the 1L school, of course, doesn't get to count the departed transfers among its final employment numbers.

On the other hand, many schools like Fordham also take in a ton of transfers. To the extent those transfers do well and end up in long-term legal employment, it offsets some of the brain drain effect you flagged. But, overall, I think the "transfer out" effect does make certain schools seem like slightly worse deals than they actually are. It's a pretty minor thing, though.

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Re: How Reliable Are ABA Reports?

Postby chuckbass » Tue Mar 24, 2015 9:57 pm

confused_humpback wrote:
scottidsntknow wrote:This is why HYS for instance report lower biglaw numbers, but no one would dispute that they have the best employment numbers.


And best clerkship numbers (which detracts from the reported number of students going to big firms).

And wow would you look at that, looks like Columbia is number 1 if you add those numbers up (I am not an idiot thank you).

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confused_humpback
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Re: How Reliable Are ABA Reports?

Postby confused_humpback » Tue Mar 24, 2015 10:19 pm

rpupkin wrote:
jbagelboy wrote:Honestly, what's really missed by the ABA reports for a school like Fordham is the number of students that transfer out. Transfer data has a negligible impact on a T6, where maybe 3-5 kids will transfer within that set each year. By contrast, it has a substantial impact on Fordham, where a non-negligible number of students in the top 10% will transfer, mainly to Cornell, NYU or CLS. Not sure what that says about the school or the opportunities it creates for its students.

I think it suggests that a lower-ranked school's grad-based employment numbers might be slightly misleading for 0Ls. If a significant percentage of the top 10% - 15% of a 1L class transfers, and if the transfer group has a largely positive employment outcome, then that should count in the 1L school's favor--at least it should if you're a 0L making decisions about where to go to law school. But the 1L school, of course, doesn't get to count the departed transfers among its final employment numbers.

On the other hand, many schools like Fordham also take in a ton of transfers. To the extent those transfers do well and end up in long-term legal employment, it offsets some of the brain drain effect you flagged. But, overall, I think the "transfer out" effect does make certain schools seem like slightly worse deals than they actually are. It's a pretty minor thing, though.


It might also be having the opposite effect for some schools, assuming that transfer students continue to do well. Fordham took in double the amount of students that transferred out of the program.

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Tiago Splitter
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Re: How Reliable Are ABA Reports?

Postby Tiago Splitter » Tue Mar 24, 2015 10:24 pm

I doubt Fordham transfers in are doing very well. OTOH a TLS poster from a couple years ago was around top 10-15% at Fordham and struck out at OCI so the jobs aren't uniformly going to the top of the class.

Fordham did go from 477 1L's in 2010 to 367 this past year. Hopefully they keep pushing that number down.
Last edited by Tiago Splitter on Tue Mar 24, 2015 10:27 pm, edited 2 times in total.

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rpupkin
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Re: How Reliable Are ABA Reports?

Postby rpupkin » Tue Mar 24, 2015 10:26 pm

confused_humpback wrote:
rpupkin wrote:
jbagelboy wrote:Honestly, what's really missed by the ABA reports for a school like Fordham is the number of students that transfer out. Transfer data has a negligible impact on a T6, where maybe 3-5 kids will transfer within that set each year. By contrast, it has a substantial impact on Fordham, where a non-negligible number of students in the top 10% will transfer, mainly to Cornell, NYU or CLS. Not sure what that says about the school or the opportunities it creates for its students.

I think it suggests that a lower-ranked school's grad-based employment numbers might be slightly misleading for 0Ls. If a significant percentage of the top 10% - 15% of a 1L class transfers, and if the transfer group has a largely positive employment outcome, then that should count in the 1L school's favor--at least it should if you're a 0L making decisions about where to go to law school. But the 1L school, of course, doesn't get to count the departed transfers among its final employment numbers.

On the other hand, many schools like Fordham also take in a ton of transfers. To the extent those transfers do well and end up in long-term legal employment, it offsets some of the brain drain effect you flagged. But, overall, I think the "transfer out" effect does make certain schools seem like slightly worse deals than they actually are. It's a pretty minor thing, though.


It might also be having the opposite effect for some schools, assuming that transfer students continue to do well. Fordham took in double the amount of students that transferred out of the program.

Yeah, I mentioned that. On the other, other hand, what if transfer students coming to a place like Fordham don't do well as a group? Like, what if their employment outcomes are worse on average, than, say, the median non-transfer outcome? In that case, the transfer effect would be doubly misleading for a 0L looking at the school's employment stats: the school would lose a bunch of "positive employment outcome" students who transfer out, while gaining a bunch of "negative employment outcome" students who transfer in.

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confused_humpback
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Re: How Reliable Are ABA Reports?

Postby confused_humpback » Tue Mar 24, 2015 10:35 pm

rpupkin wrote:
confused_humpback wrote:
rpupkin wrote:
jbagelboy wrote:Honestly, what's really missed by the ABA reports for a school like Fordham is the number of students that transfer out. Transfer data has a negligible impact on a T6, where maybe 3-5 kids will transfer within that set each year. By contrast, it has a substantial impact on Fordham, where a non-negligible number of students in the top 10% will transfer, mainly to Cornell, NYU or CLS. Not sure what that says about the school or the opportunities it creates for its students.

I think it suggests that a lower-ranked school's grad-based employment numbers might be slightly misleading for 0Ls. If a significant percentage of the top 10% - 15% of a 1L class transfers, and if the transfer group has a largely positive employment outcome, then that should count in the 1L school's favor--at least it should if you're a 0L making decisions about where to go to law school. But the 1L school, of course, doesn't get to count the departed transfers among its final employment numbers.

On the other hand, many schools like Fordham also take in a ton of transfers. To the extent those transfers do well and end up in long-term legal employment, it offsets some of the brain drain effect you flagged. But, overall, I think the "transfer out" effect does make certain schools seem like slightly worse deals than they actually are. It's a pretty minor thing, though.


It might also be having the opposite effect for some schools, assuming that transfer students continue to do well. Fordham took in double the amount of students that transferred out of the program.

Yeah, I mentioned that. On the other, other hand, what if transfer students coming to a place like Fordham don't do well as a group? Like, what if their employment outcomes are worse on average, than, say, the median non-transfer outcome? In that case, the transfer effect would be doubly misleading for a 0L looking at the school's employment stats: the school would lose a bunch of "positive employment outcome" students who transfer out, while gaining a bunch of "negative employment outcome" students who transfer in.


I think this just highlights the overarching problem of the ABA numbers: they tell you just enough for you to know what you don't know.




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