Is Law School Transparency Accurate?

(Please Ask Questions and Answer Questions)
jwinaz
Posts: 179
Joined: Fri Sep 07, 2012 6:03 pm

Is Law School Transparency Accurate?

Postby jwinaz » Mon Jan 21, 2013 4:35 am

I read in another thread that LST uses law schools' own self-reported numbers for employment, which makes for dubious statistics.

Is this true? And, if so, why is the site hailed as a major social activist/reform type of site trying to change the current law school in-transparency culture? Wouldn't they want to use more accurate numbers?

Lastly, what places can we find real and accurate employment data? What can we trust?

User avatar
rinkrat19
Posts: 13916
Joined: Sat Sep 25, 2010 5:35 am

Re: Is Law School Transparency Accurate?

Postby rinkrat19 » Mon Jan 21, 2013 4:50 am

LST is the closest thing we have to accuracy, short of tracking down every member of the graduating class of 2011 from Podunk U School of Law and asking them ourselves.

LST uses the numbers that schools are required to report to the ABA/NALP. If the schools are lying about those numbers, welllll....we're SOL.

The telling differences are obvious when you compare the numbers for a good school and a shitty school. Namely, a good school willingly reports everything. When a school A)only reports the bare minimum of what they are required to and B)those numbers are terrible, you can assume that the stuff they're leaving out is even worse. Do you really think that if their employment results were just peachy, they wouldn't shout that shit from the rooftops?

Shitty school's website: 98% employment!
Then if you look at their actual data, it looks like this:
Graduating class: 100
Known employment outcome: 45 <= trust me, the missing 55 are not on the partner track at Cravath.
Unknown: 1
Private firms: 30
-Firms 100+: 2
-Firms 50-100: 1
-Firms <50: 27 <= probably mostly desperate graduates banding together to form startup firms that will likely fail
Government: 9
Business: 30 <= This category conveniently includes anyone working in retail, food service, gas station, etc.
Clerkships: 5 <= probably state courts, not ArtIII
Academia: 15 <= probably mostly school-funded


Good school's website:
Graduating class: 100
Known employment outcome: 99
Unknown: 1
Private firms: 60, Median salary $160k
-Firms 100+: 40
-Firms 50-100: 15
-Firms <50: 5
Government: 20
Business: 10
Clerkships: 5
Academia: 3
Unemployed: 1
JD Required: 75
JD Preferred: 10
JD Not required: 10
Unknown: 5
Full-time: 70
Part-time: 20
Unknown: 10
School-funded: 2
etc.

(all totally made up data. But representative.)

jwinaz
Posts: 179
Joined: Fri Sep 07, 2012 6:03 pm

Re: Is Law School Transparency Accurate?

Postby jwinaz » Mon Jan 21, 2013 5:02 am

That was amazing. You deserve an award for presentation.

I have a follow-up question if I may. *raises hand*

jwinaz
Posts: 179
Joined: Fri Sep 07, 2012 6:03 pm

Re: Is Law School Transparency Accurate?

Postby jwinaz » Mon Jan 21, 2013 5:04 am

Question: You say that schools only have to report some minimum set of data to the ABA and NALP. Do you happen to know what that minimum is?

And why shouldn't there be a higher standard requiring full disclosure of all outcomes known? It seems obvious that if schools don't have to report everything that they would absolutely game the system and report the best data only. Seems like a flawed way of doing things.

User avatar
rinkrat19
Posts: 13916
Joined: Sat Sep 25, 2010 5:35 am

Re: Is Law School Transparency Accurate?

Postby rinkrat19 » Mon Jan 21, 2013 5:11 am

jwinaz wrote:Question: You say that schools only have to report some minimum set of data to the ABA and NALP. Do you happen to know what that minimum is?

And why shouldn't there be a higher standard requiring full disclosure of all outcomes known? It seems obvious that if schools don't have to report everything that they would absolutely game the system and report the best data only. Seems like a flawed way of doing things.

You clearly don't know much about the ABA: the toothless, spineless wonder.

I suggest you familiarize yourself with the information available on LST's website: http://www.lstscorereports.com/?r=methodology

LST Methodology wrote:Although NALP annually publishes the aggregate and average information from all law schools, NALP agrees to keep all graduate-level data and each school's NALP Report private. While NALP is bound by confidentiality agreements and cannot release any school-specific data or information, the same is not true for the schools. Accordingly, much of the battle for employment data transparency over the past few years has been about convincing schools to make public the employment data they already possess.

Beginning with the class of 2010, the ABA began to collect graduate-level data too. While not nearly as extensive as the NALP collection, it covers much of what matters to prospective students making decisions among law schools. Unfortunately, the ABA does not disclose all that it collects either.

jwinaz
Posts: 179
Joined: Fri Sep 07, 2012 6:03 pm

Re: Is Law School Transparency Accurate?

Postby jwinaz » Mon Jan 21, 2013 5:15 am

Ok. Thank you.

Some schools are definitely scary on that site. The one I thought of attending - Regent - has 0 people in biglaw and a big "under-employment" percentage (35%), while charging $200,000 non-discounted rate for full COA.
Last edited by jwinaz on Mon Jan 21, 2013 5:20 am, edited 1 time in total.

User avatar
rinkrat19
Posts: 13916
Joined: Sat Sep 25, 2010 5:35 am

Re: Is Law School Transparency Accurate?

Postby rinkrat19 » Mon Jan 21, 2013 5:20 am

jwinaz wrote:Ok. Thank you.

Some schools are definitely scary on that site. The one I thought of attending - Regent - has 0 people in biglaw and a big "underemployment" percentage, while charging $200,000 non-discounted rate for full COA.

For the love of ALL THAT IS HOLY, do not attend Regent. Not only are its employment stats an utter joke, the "legal" education they provide is filtered through a evangelical Christian filter of bullshit and quackery. The fucking place was founded by Pat Robertson.

For the most part, lower-ranked schools don't actually give you a significantly worse education than good schools (the difference in quality is due mostly to employment prospects, which is due mostly to reputation). Regent is one of the exceptions, where the actual education is inferior. Unless you're a member of Fred Phelps' family and want to go into the family business of being professional assholes, Regent is, categorically, emphatically and objectively, a terrible fucking idea.
Last edited by rinkrat19 on Mon Jan 21, 2013 5:21 am, edited 1 time in total.

User avatar
togepi
Posts: 533
Joined: Thu May 10, 2012 10:13 am

Re: Is Law School Transparency Accurate?

Postby togepi » Mon Jan 21, 2013 5:21 am

In my opinion, LST is the best thing out there at the moment. The main flaw when you look at overall employment is that it does not differentiate between a 501+ lawyer firm and a solo. You are able to break it down into various categories that can give you the data you are looking for. Be sure to thoroughly check each school that you are interested in. Even if a T1/T2 school does place 20% of its class into 50+ lawyer firms, the other 80% can be more or less shit out of luck. It's a good site if used properly.

HTH

jwinaz
Posts: 179
Joined: Fri Sep 07, 2012 6:03 pm

Re: Is Law School Transparency Accurate?

Postby jwinaz » Mon Jan 21, 2013 5:28 am

Some TLS people convinced me a while back that Regent was bad for employment prospects. So, I'm aware of that now.

The main reason I considered was living here in the same city and being able to save on COL and possibly retaining my job part-time. That's the thing is that I wonder if these lower ranked schools can sometimes be an OK idea for special circumstances.

I'm not wealthy by any means and so cannot just attend any law school and not have to worry about cost. I do need to worry. But I could technically have $0 cost-of-living thru living with family and also maintain employer relationships (possibly even working part-time) in this area.

I've actually discussed this before on TLS, so won't go into it again. But essentially, I wasn't that attracted to biglaw to begin with. I would have been fine with a smaller law firm. But the issue really seems to be that even smaller firms are not hiring oftentimes and you may need connections to get in. And the salaries weren't as good as I had figured.

I appreciate your help re: LST. My whole Regent thing is another story ...for another day maybe. I don't think I'd attend unless I literall had a full scholarship. But part of me fears that the reputation of Regent may hurt me in the job market later even if I attended for free. So, I'm not sure. But it would likely have to be completely free or close to completely free for me to attend.

I'm going to start another thread on "When is Attending a 'Bad' LS Justified?"
Last edited by jwinaz on Mon Jan 21, 2013 5:35 am, edited 1 time in total.

User avatar
rinkrat19
Posts: 13916
Joined: Sat Sep 25, 2010 5:35 am

Re: Is Law School Transparency Accurate?

Postby rinkrat19 » Mon Jan 21, 2013 5:31 am

jwinaz wrote:Some TLS people convinced me a while back that Regent was bad for employment prospects. So, I'm aware of that now.

The main reason I considered was living here in the same city and being able to save on COL and possibly retaining my job part-time. That's the thing is that I wonder if these lower ranked schools can sometimes be an OK idea for special circumstances.

I'm not wealthy by any means and so cannot just attend any law school and not have to worry about cost. I do need to worry. But I could technically have $0 cost-of-living thru living with family and also maintain employer relationships (possibly even working part-time) in this area.

I've actually discussed this before on TLS, so won't go into it again. But essentially, I wasn't that attracted to biglaw to begin with. I would have been fine with a smaller law firm. But the issue really seems to be that even smaller firms are not hiring oftentimes and you may need connections to get in. And the salaries weren't as good as I had figured.

I appreciate your help at LST. My whole Regent thing is another story ...for another day maybe. I don't think I'd attend unless I literall had a full scholarship. But part of me fears that the reputation of Regent may hurt me in the job market later even if I attended for free. So, I'm not sure. But it would likely have to be completely free or close to completely free for me to attend.

I'm going to start another thread on "When is Attending a 'TTTT' Justified?"
Some lower-ranked schools are arguably ok if TRULY free (keep in mind that a lot of them structure their sections so that many/most scholarship recipients lose their money after 1L year). Regent is simply not.

User avatar
dingbat
Posts: 4976
Joined: Wed Jan 11, 2012 9:12 pm

Re: Is Law School Transparency Accurate?

Postby dingbat » Mon Jan 21, 2013 9:36 am

jwinaz wrote:I read in another thread that LST uses law schools' own self-reported numbers for employment, which makes for dubious statistics.

Is this true? And, if so, why is the site hailed as a major social activist/reform type of site trying to change the current law school in-transparency culture? Wouldn't they want to use more accurate numbers?

Lastly, what places can we find real and accurate employment data? What can we trust?

The big problem with LST is that they view a school where a high percentage of grads get crappy law jobs better than a school where a slightly lower percentage get better law jobs (any employment > good employment outcomes), so that even if a school has high biglaw placement, it ranks lower than a school that manages to place more attorneys into jobs that pay $40k/year.

Check this out:
drmguy wrote:I was posting in the other thread, but since I spent a long time on this I don't want it to disappear on page 5 of the other thread.

Detailed Employment Statistics

If you have any suggestions for changes let me know.

Here's the source: http://placementsummary.abaquestionnaire.org/home.aspx

As far as honesty is concerned, this tends to correlate with NLJ250 numbers, which is a listing of which schools big law firms hire from (the source is law firms, not law schools)

User avatar
nygrrrl
Posts: 4948
Joined: Wed Sep 30, 2009 1:01 am

Re: Is Law School Transparency Accurate?

Postby nygrrrl » Mon Jan 21, 2013 10:34 am

drmguy wrote:I was posting in the other thread, but since I spent a long time on this I don't want it to disappear on page 5 of the other thread.

Detailed Employment Statistics

If you have any suggestions for changes let me know.

Here's the source: http://placementsummary.abaquestionnaire.org/home.aspx

Dude, did you make that? I've been looking at it on and off since you first posted it. Haven't checked all the numbers but seems pretty accurate for my school and the format is great.

User avatar
dingbat
Posts: 4976
Joined: Wed Jan 11, 2012 9:12 pm

Re: Is Law School Transparency Accurate?

Postby dingbat » Mon Jan 21, 2013 11:18 am

nygrrrl wrote:
drmguy wrote:I was posting in the other thread, but since I spent a long time on this I don't want it to disappear on page 5 of the other thread.

Detailed Employment Statistics

If you have any suggestions for changes let me know.

Here's the source: http://placementsummary.abaquestionnaire.org/home.aspx

Dude, did you make that? I've been looking at it on and off since you first posted it. Haven't checked all the numbers but seems pretty accurate for my school and the format is great.
Drmguy made it (see quote). It's stickied in the "Choosing a Law School" forum
It's my go-to employment stat compilation and it meshes with every source I cross checked (which is far more than most people - I analyzed the shit out of employment outcomes)

User avatar
nygrrrl
Posts: 4948
Joined: Wed Sep 30, 2009 1:01 am

Re: Is Law School Transparency Accurate?

Postby nygrrrl » Mon Jan 21, 2013 12:18 pm

dingbat wrote:Drmguy made it (see quote). It's stickied in the "Choosing a Law School" forum
It's my go-to employment stat compilation and it meshes with every source I cross checked (which is far more than most people - I analyzed the shit out of employment outcomes)

Yeah, I saw it as soon as he threw it up on the boards, just didn't know that he'd made it. Cool.

User avatar
dingbat
Posts: 4976
Joined: Wed Jan 11, 2012 9:12 pm

Re: Is Law School Transparency Accurate?

Postby dingbat » Mon Jan 21, 2013 12:24 pm

My contributions fall more along these lines:
http://www.top-law-schools.com/forums/viewtopic.php?f=1&t=202470

User avatar
jenesaislaw
Posts: 996
Joined: Mon May 19, 2008 6:35 pm

Re: Is Law School Transparency Accurate?

Postby jenesaislaw » Mon Jan 21, 2013 12:36 pm

Good explanations, rink. The only thing I have to add is that we have that reputation because we were involved in the changes to ABA Standard 509 and have convinced many schools to fork over data they've never before published.

togepi wrote:In my opinion, LST is the best thing out there at the moment. The main flaw when you look at overall employment is that it does not differentiate between a 501+ lawyer firm and a solo. You are able to break it down into various categories that can give you the data you are looking for. Be sure to thoroughly check each school that you are interested in. Even if a T1/T2 school does place 20% of its class into 50+ lawyer firms, the other 80% can be more or less shit out of luck. It's a good site if used properly.

HTH


Just as a clarification, the Employment Score does not include solos. It does include all legal jobs that are long-term, full-time other than solos. You are spot-on that it's important to dig down into various categories. The state reports and the basic scores are just a start. Using the Employment Scores like a ranking system without understanding what's underneath is not that smart, though it won't produce as bad of results as slavishly following the U.S. News rankings.

jwinaz
Posts: 179
Joined: Fri Sep 07, 2012 6:03 pm

Re: Is Law School Transparency Accurate?

Postby jwinaz » Wed Feb 06, 2013 9:50 am

Under "public service," I noticed there is no differentiation between federal government versus local/state government jobs.

Is there still, nevertheless, a prestige and/or salary difference between these two types of "government" employment. I tend to have it in my mind for some reason or another that federal government jobs (just like federal clerkship is highly prestigious versus a more ordinary state/local one) are a class above local/state gov't jobs.

Am I wrong?

User avatar
A. Nony Mouse
Posts: 22842
Joined: Tue Sep 25, 2012 11:51 am

Re: Is Law School Transparency Accurate?

Postby A. Nony Mouse » Wed Feb 06, 2013 10:35 am

No, fedgov jobs generally pay more and have more cachet than their state equivalents. Chances are good that the surveys of grads don't differentiate between the two.

timbs4339
Posts: 2733
Joined: Sat Apr 02, 2011 12:19 pm

Re: Is Law School Transparency Accurate?

Postby timbs4339 » Wed Feb 06, 2013 11:07 am

The presentation of the data in itself is invaluable. You can go to LST and see that a school that is saying 50% of their grads (FN- in private practice, at firms of 100 or more, for whom salaries were known) were making 115K can actually confirm only 5% of grads making those salaries. It cuts through the bullshit.

jwinaz
Posts: 179
Joined: Fri Sep 07, 2012 6:03 pm

Re: Is Law School Transparency Accurate?

Postby jwinaz » Wed Feb 06, 2013 12:12 pm

question: People have said that reported salaries tend to be from those making more, so that you have figures higher than what people may actually be making.

How do we know that though? If someone doesn't report their salary, how do we know they have a higher or lower one than from the median and mean's of these schools?

If it's anonymous, why would a low-salaries person be scared to do it?

User avatar
rinkrat19
Posts: 13916
Joined: Sat Sep 25, 2010 5:35 am

Re: Is Law School Transparency Accurate?

Postby rinkrat19 » Wed Feb 06, 2013 12:25 pm

jwinaz wrote:question: People have said that reported salaries tend to be from those making more, so that you have figures higher than what people may actually be making.

How do we know that though? If someone doesn't report their salary, how do we know they have a higher or lower one than from the median and mean's of these schools?

If it's anonymous, why would a low-salaries person be scared to do it?

Law schools know when their grads end up at good firms. (nearly every firm website provides attorney profiles, plus the firms and schools communicate).
Law schools want to make themselves look good.
If a law school knows that a grad got a good firm job (these are the vast majority of the jobs with high pay), they will damn well shout that from the rafters, whether the student reported it or not.

To assume that there are oodles of grads out there getting unreported 6-figure jobs, you are assuming that there are significant numbers of people who got high-paying jobs that the schools don't know about. There are just not very many of these jobs out there for new law school grads. Entry-level government doesn't make that much and most in-house departments don't hire new grads. For good or for bad, that is the hiring model of the legal market in this country.

To strengthen the argument, look at the salary reporting rates of the good schools vs. the shitty schools. You're deluding yourself if you think the 100% vs. 20% reporting rates are just coincidence and that the 80% of unreported salaries at TTT school X are as good as or better than the reported 20%.




Return to “Law School FAQ”

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 1 guest