jayzon wrote:Snooker wrote:The NALP data combined with NLJ's data should lead us to believe that the median salary is $60,000, not $160,000. NALP is saying there's 2 salary poles, the 60k one and the 160k one, the 160k offers coming from NLJ250 firms. The NLJ survey's say that around 30% of Fordham graduates, in most years, place into NLJ250 firms; Fordham's own statistics say instead that about 80% of their private sector graduates place into NLJ250 firms. So, when Fordham reported to the NYT that their 25-75 stats were 155k/160k for salaries, it was because they claimed virtually everyone in the private sector worked in the biggest law firms. In short, they pretended their employment stats were as good as Columbia's for the private sector.Since you're speaking of fraud, how would it be reasonable to rely on a claim of the "median salary is $160,000?"
This is an interesting argument. I think it would be reasonable for two reasons:
1. There are 17 law schools which could accurately make this claim about past employment, and Fordham is generally perceived as being very close in quality to those schools.
2. As a major university, Fordham enjoys a level of credibility surpassing that of any private organization, or even the government. In Academic culture, material published in a University's periodicals are supposed to have "authority" - being under the aegis of the University implies the information has been subjected to rigorous scrutiny. If their publications about Civil War statistics are to be trusted, then a reasonable person would conclude that the university is publishing accurate information about its own graduates, a relatively simple project. Academic rigor, not outright deception, is expected of major universities.
More importantly: why do I feel this is a major issue?
Fraudulent reporting of law school graduates' salaries raises the perceived value of the JD as an investment, and therefore increases students' willingness to pay higher rates. Even if we're personally aware that the reporting is not accurate, we can't escape tuition inflation.
Realistically, you're absolutely right. More than likely, they've manipulated the original data set (willingly or not) so that the 13% not reporting are the 13% at the very bottom, which can drastically affect any average. It is likely that these people self-selected (who wants to fill out the "I am unemployed" survey?") and some of them may have been "lost in the mail."
With 100% reporting, median is 50%. With 13% not reporting, median is 37% -- a HUGE difference. In that case, Fordham needs only to place slightly more than a third of their grads into big money to be totally justified in pretending that is the "average."
I'll bet anything a university full of mathematicians and lawyers triple-check that what they're doing -- while...ahem...morally questionable -- is legal.
This still doesn't explain how 70%+ of their grads are reported to be in NLJ250 firms, indexed to the salary data, but the NLJ250 itself reports only about a third of Fordham's graduates in such firms. Even if 13% didn't report, that wouldn't account for the doubling of the NLJ figure.
Fordham has not only reported its median on that site, but reported 25-75 salary statistics to third parties (i.e. NYT) that represent the school's 25th percentile salary as being extremely high. No doubt that the 25th percentile figure for the school has been consistently drawn from the above 70% in NLJ figure.