2012 Employment Data

March 15th, 2013 / By

Consumer advocates have criticized law schools, not only for posting misleading employment data, but for disclosing those figures too slowly. The ABA acted to remedy both of those problems. Its revised Standard 509 and accompanying worksheet require schools to publish specific employment outcomes “on the school’s website each year by March 31” for “persons who graduated with a J.D. degree between September 1 two calendar years prior and August 31 one calendar year prior.” That’s legalese for: nine-month employment outcomes for the Class of 2012 must appear on websites by the end of this month.

There’s no reason for schools to neglect that deadline. They already have the 2012 outcomes, which are tabulated as of February 15. They’ve had another month to compile the figures, which are due in the NALP office by next Monday, March 18. Most important, prospective students need that information. As applicants weigh the offers extended to them, and decide whether to attend law school, they should know the job outcomes for the students who graduated ten months ago–not just for the ones who graduated twenty-two months ago.

I have great sympathy for Career Services staff, who feel that they operate under a blizzard of deadlines. First NALP wants this, then US News wants that, and now the ABA wants a somewhat different set of numbers by yet another deadline. Permeating all of that, deans and faculty want them to !!get jobs for graduates by February 15!! Sometimes the dates and reports seem more important than the jobs and graduates themselves.

But this ABA deadline is the most essential one: publishing updated information to prospective students is crucial. That shouldn’t be simply the task of Career Services staff; it should be the first website priority for the school as a whole.

Every accredited law school will update its website multiple times between now and March 31. With admitted students weighing offers, there will be plenty of upbeat news items about alumni accomplishments, faculty awards, and other achievements. That’s as it should be. But let’s make sure that the 2012 employment data appear as well. They’re the first website priority.

I welcome notifications of schools that have already complied with the ABA rule and posted their 2012 job data.


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