SMU Dedman School of Law is now officially willing to pay law firms to hire SMU graduates. The school is calling its new program “Test Drive.” ... This program is a shameless attempt to game the U.S. News rankings. SMU essentially admits as much in the opening paragraph of its Test Drive pitch:
We are pleased to report that over 97% of our graduates in the SMU Dedman School of Law Class of 2009 were employed nine months after graduation, and we want to support the Class of 2010 toward equally strong employment. To this goal, we initiated Test Drive, which allows employers to evaluate the legal knowledge, skills, work ethic and professionalism of our recent December 2009 or May 2010 graduates on a “no strings attached” basis.
I like how SMU wants to keep it’s employment numbers up — but with no strings attached. This letter is essentially saying “hire our kids so we can report strong employment numbers, we don’t really care what happens to them after that.”
But give SMU this much credit, at least they are putting some money behind the program:
If your firm has an identified need for a new associate, we encourage you to Test Drive one of our graduates for a month at our expense. The law school will fund $3,500 for the graduate’s first month of employment at your firm and will consider funding an additional month of employment if you and the graduate intend to continue the relationship toward full-time employment. On the other hand, if you or the graduate determines after one month not to pursue long-term employment, there is no further obligation.
That’s right, SMU is willing to pay for its U.S. News gaming.
SMU is currently ranked 48th
What do you think of this?