legalese_retard wrote:First off, major props to both of you guys for doing this. It is nice to see students at a high-caliber law school tackling an issue that doesn't affect their student body as much. If students from a 4th tier law school tried to do something similar, no one would really pay attention.
I'm still reading your paper, but I was going to suggest a comparative analysis section to provide better context to this issue. Most lawyers are already aware of this problem and either don't care or fear the consequences of change. It might help prospective students and non-lawyers understand and appreciate the problems with the current employment reporting system by law schools.
For example, the SEC is very strict about protecting investors and other stakeholders when it comes to corporations reporting their financial statements. Each company is required to disclose its numbers to its stockholders and must do so under specified accounting principles. Finance 101 here, but news and information is what drives investment decisions. An investor cannot make a reasonable business decision if they are relying on faulty information (no matter how much research they try to do). A company will be in serious trouble if it misinforms its stockholders or tries to manipulate results with clever accounting strategies.
Based on the current system, the vast majority of law schools would be shut down if the SEC was in control. Employment numbers are provided by each school, but there is no "standard" method of collecting or producing these employment numbers. While the USNews and the ABA claims that they have a criteria that all schools must follow, there is no oversight or check to see how schools are collecting data, how they analyze the data, and if the numbers reported actually resemble reality. I also think there is much more at stake when it comes to law students v. stockholders. Stockholders lose money, but they can start over. Student loans are not dischargeablee at bankruptcy. The fact that a law student was misinformed prior to enrolling will not relieve their debt.
At my school, for example, they reported a 6-figure average and medium salary for 2008 grads. What they neglect to mention is that only 40% had a salary to report and 75% of those reporting were in the top 25% of the class. In the same report, the school says its employment rate at graduation was 75% and at 98% 9 months out. Again, they don't mention the fact that the majority listed as employed were either temps or working at starbucks (but thos people are not included in the "salary stat" because they don't have a salary to report). In this case, the school is having its cake and eating it too; reporting a high emplooyment rate for the sake of reporting employment numbers, but excluding the unemployed without mentioning the disparity.
I think it is important to find out the class rank of the people who responded as well as the overall response rate. If a school is reporting employment numbers from only the top of the class but at the same time trying repot numbers that is supposedly defining the entire student body, I would like to know that in my law school decision.
I like it. We barely scratched the surface of a comparative analysis in the working draft, but maybe this is something we could expand upon (maybe starting with the references to Brandeis's "Other People's Money," which is a great read.)
I don't know if this is you or not, but someone else has made a similar suggestion yesterday in the ABA Journal comments section:
"Everything I’ve learned about corporate and securities law suggests that the laws are (in theory) designed to protect unsophisticated parties, requiring public disclosure of company financial health, major changes, etc., even though the fact of obligating disclosure may impact the company’s effectiveness and competitiveness. The laws demand this even though those investing in securities have a “choice” to invest in company X vs. company Y, and further to choose to invest in securties as opposed to gold, etc.
People who want to be lawyers don’t, in most cases, have a “choice” - you have to go to law school in order to obtain a license. Furthermore, practically everyone attending law school is an unsophisticated party vis a vis the market - they’re typically one-time players - set against law schools that have years of data, and lenders whose loans were (until recently) backed 97% by the government.
So what I don’t understand is this: since we’re clearly dealing with unsophisticated parties, and since the a social consensus vis a vis other large-scale financial transactions entered into entirely by choice seems to be that unsophisticated parties should be given access to information even if it hamstrings the overall operations of a company, why do we continue to let law schools get away with something that smacks of accounting fraud? Especially when, as now, the American taxpayer is going to end up bearing all of the risk from the transaction?
Anyone who opposed the bank bailout but supports the current law school financial model because you think students made a “choice” to attend: your views are totally inconsistent. "
edit: link to the above quote (in Post # 35 by "2L"): http://www.abajournal.com/news/article/ ... ent_stats/