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Bar Results Release Schedule Hurting Law School Employment Rates
Employment rates for students that recently graduated from law school certainly aren’t good at the moment, but the American Bar Association is currently reviewing a change that may boost these rates for law schools in certain states, according to The National Law Journal. Because each state’s bar association releases the results of their entrance examinations at different periods of time after the exam is given, law school deans are saying that schools in states in which the bar association releases its results early have an advantage over states where the release of the results are delayed when employment rates among recent graduates are determined.
The ABA currently collects data about recent law school graduate employment nine months after graduation, and has done so for the last two decades. As the economy and legal industry shift, employers are now less likely to hire students still in law school, and because there is no consistency from state to state as to when bar exam results are released, law school deans in many states say that their own state’s comparative delay in releasing the results is having a negative effect on their graduate employment rates.
A proposal has been introduced to the ABA’s Council of the Section of Legal Education and Admissions that would see the data collection timeline moved from nine months after graduation to ten months after graduation in an attempt to level the playing field for schools in states where bar exam results are released later. The National Law Journal reports that states like New York and California, where 17 percent of graduates from ABA accredited law schools take the exam, don’t release the results of the bar exam until November, and schools must report employment rates for their most recent graduating class by February 15.
“Deans have advocated for reporting employment a year after graduation, but at the time the reasoning was that since student loans are due six months after graduation, nine months was a reasonable time frame,” said NALP executive director Jim Leipold. “But the problem with New York and California is very real.”
Law School Transparency Director Kyle McEntee feels differently and has described the proposal as misguided, and called the ABA committee out for failing to produce reliable data that schools in California and New York are actually at a disadvantage to other states, and feels that any delay in reporting job data would be a drawback.
The ABA Council is expected to take up the issue of delaying reporting by a month on Friday.