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Group Tries Gathering Law School Information Again
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Law School Transparency is taking a second stab at getting graduate employment data. An initial attempt to gather information, in 2010, only yielded a response from one school—Ave Maria School of Law. However, the school’s willingness to reveal any tidbits was short-lived.

Every American Bar Association-accredited law school got letters, dated Dec. 14, requesting their National Association of Law Placement (NALP) graduate employment reports for the Class of 2010.

Law School Transparency, a nonprofit group, wants to augment information that the ABA is gathering. Doing so, Law School Transparency Executive Director Kyle McEntee said, allows a better comparison of employment and compensation information to potential law students.

  
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“We have prospective students asking us for data they can compare about the class of 2010,” he said. “We’ve had way more positive reactions that we did the first time.”

Increased attention from law school hopefuls and authorities as well as having ready-to-distribute report, most likely, accounts for better responses, according to McEntee.  Last year, schools were asked to respond to a Law School Transparency-designed survey, instead of depending on NALP information.

That information is generally a compilation of data into detailed reports. NALP has entered into agreements with law schools, which forbid releasing individual information—only making national employment statistics public.

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The Bar’s of Legal Education and Admissions section has also improved its annual jobs questionnaire. New categories include graduates in school-funded positions and those in short-term jobs.

However, a question about the Class of 2010—nine months following graduation—was omitted. Before an expanded questionnaire becomes available, incoming law students won’t get all the information they need, McEntee believes.



NALP data is more thorough than the ABA plans to provide. That information includes salary information—specific to particular schools—for different job categories and firm sizes.

In addition, informing students about how many students are in long-term or short-term jobs is helpful, according to McEntee. Schools, he said, sending more students to short-term public service jobs rather than long-term private sector positions should be duly noted.

The demand for more information has prompted various law schools to provide more than the ABA-required information on their Web sites. Yale Law School, University of Chicago Law School, University of Michigan Law School, Michigan State University College of Law, Loyola University Chicago School of Law, University of Denver Sturm College of Law and Southwestern Law School are among them.

But even most of those schools don’t include all the data generated in the NALP reports, and they don’t present the data in a uniform way that allows prospective law students to compare them across the board, McEntee said.

Law School Transparency hopes to create a database that allows users to easily compare schools, he said. Initial reaction has been positive, McEntee said. Whether schools release what’s long been seen as proprietary data remains to be seen.



 

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