Tag Archive for Legal Education

Top Law Schools for Placing Graduates in Jobs in Massachusetts by Number

If you are planning on attending law school and seeking to gain employment in the state of Massachusetts afterwards then this ranking may be helpful for you to consider your options. This ranking is based on the employment data provided by the ABA and is subject to the limitations of that data.  Since the ABA does not break down employment type by state, it is important to note that this ranking includes all types of jobs and not just law graduates employed as attorneys. Also, the ABA only reports the placements from the top three jurisdictions for each law school and so some schools may be omitted from this list based on that limitation.  For instance, Harvard almost certainly placed more than 5 students in jobs in Massachusetts, but since the top three placement jurisdictions for 2013 Harvard graduates were New York, California and Washington D.C. , the ABA did not report the number of Harvard’s graduate placements in Massachusetts.

Law School Name State

USN Rnk

Empl % at 9 Mo. # of Grads Empl in MA % of Grads Empl in MA
SUFFOLK UNIVERSITY MA

NR

69.31%

258

54%

NEW ENGLAND LAW | BOSTON MA

NR

77.78%

193

56%

NORTHEASTERN UNIVERSITY MA

93

82.57%

126

58%

BOSTON COLLEGE MA

36

87.75%

119

47%

BOSTON UNIVERSITY MA

27

87.41%

116

42%

UNIVERSITY OF MASSACHUSETTS DARTMOUTH MA

NR

71.84%

58

56%

WESTERN NEW ENGLAND UNIVERSITY MA

NR

78.20%

37

28%

CONNECTICUT, UNIVERSITY OF CT

54

81.82%

20

11%

ROGER WILLIAMS UNIVERSITY RI

NR

73.14%

17

10%

NEW HAMPSHIRE UNIVERSITY OF NH

93

85.05%

13

12%

QUINNIPIAC UNIVERSITY CT

118

82.43%

5

3%

 

Georgia Law Grad Job Placements Broken Down by Law School

If you are a prospective law student and you hail from the Peach State (or at least you aspire to practice in Georgia following law school), then this is the law school ranking for you.  This listing includes the top 12 law schools for placing graduates in jobs in Georgia.  You should note that the employment data is not broken down based on the type of job and non-lawyer placements are included in these numbers.

The ABA provides data on the number of employed graduates working in lawyer jobs based on each school and employment by state, but does not provide employment data by state and job type together.  Generally speaking, the higher ranked law schools typically place more graduates in attorney positions and so the U.S. News Rankings are included in this list.  Also, the higher ranked schools tend to place more graduates in large law firms in New York and California and so the lower percentage of graduates employed in Georgia for higher ranked law schools is likely a function of their graduates having more options both inside and outside the state. This listing is based on the total number of 2013 graduates placed in Georgia nine months after graduation, but also includes the graduates from that law school placed in Georgia as a percentage of the law school’s graduating class.

Law School Name

USN Rnk

# of Grads Empl in GA % of Grads Empl in GA
ATLANTA’S JOHN MARSHALL LAW SHOOL

NR

166

71%

GEORGIA STATE UNIVERSITY

64

156

80%

EMORY UNIVERSITY

19

147

50%

GEORGIA, UNIVERSITY OF

29

138

59%

MERCER UNIVERSITY

104

112

71%

SAMFORD UNIVERSITY

135

19

12%

FLORIDA COASTAL SCHOOL OF LAW

NR

18

3%

SOUTH CAROLINA, UNIVERSITY OF

93

9

4%

LOUISIANA STATE UNIVERSITY

72

6

3%

TENNESSEE, UNIVERSITY OF

72

6

4%

ARKANSAS, LITTLE ROCK, UNIVERSITY OF

121

5

3%

FLORIDA STATE UNIVERSITY

45

5

2%

 

The above data is based on employment information provided by the law schools to the ABA and is subject to the same limitations as the ABA data.

The Top 10 Colleges in Massachusetts for Law School Placements

Future Lawyer Image Blend

If you are considering colleges in Massachusetts and you know that law school is in your future then this ranking may be helpful to you as you weigh different options.  Of course any ranking should be taken in context and for law school admissions the prestige of the University you attend is far more important than the number of students going on to law school, but for evaluating schools with similar academic reputations these rankings can be meaningful. The state of Massachusetts is one of the key centers of education in the United States, and the world, with some of the most prestigious universities that provide amazing opportunities for its students. The following rankings provide the top ten universities in Massachusetts for placing graduates in law school including placements by number and by percentage of graduates.[1]

 

School Name 5 yr Ave Total Enrollment % Going on To Law School
HARVARD UNIVERSITY

333

6658

16.96%

AMHERST COLLEGE

90

1817

16.84%

BOSTON COLLEGE

382

9110

15.21%

WILLIAMS COLLEGE

83

2052

15.13%

COLLEGE OF THE HOLY CROSS

102

2926

11.69%

TUFTS UNIVERSITY OF ARTS & SCIENCES

175

5255

11.47%

BRANDEIS UNIVERSITY

130

3588

11.29%

SUFFOLK UNIVERSITY

85

5770

7.33%

BOSTON UNIVERSITY

363

18306

6.71%

NORTHEASTERN UNIVERSITY

187

13107

4.91%

UNIVERSITY OF MASSACHUSETTS-AMHERST

233

21928

3.73%

Footnotes    (↵ returns to text)
  1. The information in this ranking estimates the number of graduates as 22% of the total undergraduate enrollment as reported by the Universities to U.S. News and the placement data is based on an average for the last five years of the ABA data provided to LSAC for the top 240 law school feeder schools.

U.S. News Rankings Dominate the News for Law Schools Last Week

U.S. News 2015 Law School Rankings Dominate the News this Week

News agencies aren’t typically supposed to be making the news, but with law school rankings U.S. News takes a position at the front and center of an evolving legal education market by publishing the ever-important law school rankings. The weekly news was, as expected, dominated by these new rankings.

Boston College Law School Dean Responds to Drop in Law School Rankings – Noting that the law school was on track for many important initiatives but fell short in others that resulted in a ten spot drop in the law school’s ranking, the Dean acknowledged the importance of law school rankings in terms of the external perception for the school.  Other Deans in the Boston area note some of the important limitations in the rankings, particularly for law schools succeeding in experiential learning rather than research and publications. Law school deans mull declines in U.S. News rankings, by Mary Moore (Boston Business Journal, March 17, 2014).

LSAT Test Takers Is on the Rise for First Time Since 2010 – The WSJ reports that LSAT test takers actually increased this year for the first time since 2010, although the numbers are still much lower than what law schools that struggling for survival with low enrollments would like to see.  The increase was just 1.1% compared to double digit decreases in several prior years, which indicates the hemorrhaging may have finally stopped for the legal education industry. See For First Time Since 2010, Number of LSAT Test Takers is on the Rise, by Jacob Gershman (Wall Street Journal Law Blog, March 17, 2014).

Law Schools Continue to Pay Graduates to Boost Rankings – Law Schools continue to pay salaries to recent graduates following graduation to boost employment numbers for the U.S. News Rankings. University of Virginia and George Washington were among the worst offenders in using this tactic, with GW hiring a whopping 22% of their graduates to boost their employment numbers to 85% and Virginia hiring 15% of their graduates to boast employment numbers of 97.5%. See Some Law Schools Are Paying Graduates’ Salaries To Boost Rankings (Business Insider Australia, March 15, 2014).

2015 US News Law School Rankings Hit the Press – U.S. News releases its annual graduate school rankings including the highly anticipated law school rankings. The dramatic decreases in enrollments has shuffled a number of schools compared to prior years.  See 2015 Law School Rankings (U.S. News, March 11, 2014)

 

Decline in Admissions Numbers Means Greater Opportunities for Aspiring Law Students

Ranking of Law School Job Placements in Ohio

Are you seeking to attend a prestigious law school, but concerned about your likelihood of admission?  If so, the downward trend in qualitative metrics for admitted students from last year may give you hope.

The famed U.S. News Law School rankings are set to come out tomorrow and there may be some interesting movements based on the quantitative metrics from last year’s enrollment.  The numbers that have already been released to the ABA regarding admitted students suggest that it is easier than ever to get into a prestigious law school for aspiring law students.  Law schools have been faced with significantly fewer applications and, therefore, have had to decide whether to retain admissions standards and reduce enrollment or allow a dip in admissions standards in order to retain steady enrollment numbers.  A reduction in admissions standards directly affects the law school’s U.S. News ranking.  On average, LSAT scores for admitted students are down across all law schools by one point just from 2012 to 2013.[1]  A one point drop in LSAT scores across all admitted students in just one year is an enormous drop, which suggests that law schools are widely electing to lower admissions standards.

While law schools may be sweating out the current downturn in applications, if you are considering law school then this trend means you will likely be able to gain admission at a better law school than you otherwise would have if you applied 5 years ago. If you are a prospective law student then this is what you call a buyer’s market with law schools cutting tuition costs and re-considering ways to make law school more affordable and less risky.

Footnotes    (↵ returns to text)
  1. See Thoughts on Fall 2013 Enrollment and Profile Data Among Law Schools by Jerry Organ (The Legal Whiteboard, March 2, 2014).

Enrollments and Selectivity Continue to Drop for Law Schools – Last Week’s Law School News

Law School Weekly News

The news for law schools this last week included another round of significant reductions in enrollments and the corresponding downward adjustment to selectivity in the admissions process. Also included is an interesting debate over affirmative action and the ever expanding executive power under the Obama presidency.

Law School Becomes Less Selective (GW Hatchet, March 3, 2014). Article chronicles how George Washington Law School has become significantly less selective in its admissions policies in order to maintain enrollment numbers.

Our view: Concerns about Obama’s use of executive power (Midland Daily News, March 2, 2014).  Article expands on Law Professor Jonathan Turley’s concerns over President Obama’s use of executive power.

UMaine law school dean stepping down (Washington Times, March 1, 2014). University of Main’s law school dean is stepping down as dean effective June 2015, but will continue on staff as a professor.

Law School Hosts Debate on the Merits of Affirmative Action (The Harvard Crimson, February 28, 2014). The Harvard Federalist Society and the American Constitutional Society co-sponsored a debate on whether Affirmative Action programs in higher education does more harm than good.

Local Law School Enrollment Drops by Over 30% (Philadelphia Business Journal, February 27, 2014). Article notes the severe reduction in enrollments at law schools local to Philadelphia averaging over a 30% drop across all schools, although Penn saw a modest increase in enrollment.

 

Ranking of Top Law Schools for Finding Jobs in Utah

If you are considering going to law school and you want to be employed as an attorney in the state of Utah so you can continue being a ski bum well into your legal career, then this article and ranking may provide some helpful insight for you.  The Utah job market, like the rest of the country, has been fairly tight for some time and so selecting a school with a strong presence of alumni in Utah can make a big difference for your job prospects once you get out of law school.  When reading this list, you should note that there are a number of important limitations, which are more particularly described in the footnote below.[1]  You should also be careful not to place too much weight on this factor as other factors including the overall prestige of the law school may have more to do with your ability to achieve employment as a lawyer in Utah than this particular ranking, but this still may be helpful if you are deciding between similarly ranked schools. So here’s the data on law school with grads finding jobs in Utah:

 

Law School Total Graduates Number of Graduates Employed in Utah % of School Employed in Utah
UTAH, UNIVERSITY OF

118

96

81.4%

BRIGHAM YOUNG UNIVERSITY

133

71

53.4%

GONZAGA UNIVERSITY

133

13

9.8%

ARIZONA STATE UNIVERSITY

203

7

3.4%

IDAHO, UNIVERSITY OF

96

6

6.3%

ARIZONA SUMMIT – PHOENIX SCHOOL OF LAW

163

4

2.5%

AVE MARIA

109

4

3.7%

UNIVERSITY OF NEVADA – LAS VEGAS

133

4

3.0%

WESTERN STATE SCHOOL OF LAW

48

1

2.1%

 

There are really no great surprises with the order of this ranking as both Utah and BYU occupy the top slots followed mostly by law schools in the surrounding states of Arizona, Washington, Idaho, and Nevada. The significant majority of attorneys hired in the state of Utah attended law school in the state of Utah, which is fairly common for most regions.

Footnotes    (↵ returns to text)
  1. This ranking is based on the information reported by the schools to the ABA and it only covers the top 3 states of employment for each school, so if Utah was the fourth largest employment state for a particular law school then that would not be included on this list.  For example, both Creighton and the University of Virginia place a good number of attorneys in the state of Utah, but since Utah is not one of the top 3 states of employment for law grad from either of these law schools they do not appear on this list. Importantly, this list also does not distinguish between legal jobs and other types of employment, nor does it distinguish between part time and full time or short term and long term employment. Such information is available through LSAC for each law school generally but is not broken down on a state by state basis.

The ABA Task Force on the Future of Legal Education – Part 3: Skills and Competencies

The ABA task force appointed to make recommendations on the future of legal education made several recommendations regarding the quality of legal education as to providing skills and competencies for law students. Today’s topic discusses the task force’s analysis of the job law schools are doing in providing legal skills and competencies to law students.[1] The task force’s recently-released report and recommendations[2] identified significant gaps in the knowledge base of law graduates.

ABA LogoThis is an interesting topic as it is probably the most glaring and obvious weakness in law school education today.  It comes as a surprise to most people that a legal education does not actually prepare law students with the necessary skills to practice law.  Rather, legal education tends to be largely dedicated to policy, a theoretical understanding of the underlying legal principals, and a study of the history of the law.  Apart from first year writing courses, which tend to be heavily focused on appellate practice, law schools do not typically require any skills courses for law students to graduate.

There have been some encouraging recent trends in regards to increasing skills-based courses and utilizing the problem method rather than the Socratic method of instruction, but these policy changes can only go so far to change such a deep seeded issue with legal education.  The plain reality is that law schools are not staffed with professors that have significant practical experience as attorneys to teach skills-based curriculum.  In fact, it has been asserted by many that there is a considerable bias in law school hiring against experienced practitioners.[3]

Therefore, the recommendation for law schools to teach more skills-based courses is not a challenge that the current professorship model is even capable of meeting and, absent a change in the hiring process for most law schools, this is a problem that is unlikely to be resolved even over time.  Law school hiring for tenure track positions is typically a democratic process with significant input by the current professorship[4] and so even efforts by law deans to steer the hiring decisions will make little difference and law schools will continue to hire new professors that look an awful lot like younger versions of their current professors.  If law schools are going to take this recommendation to heart then they will either have to drastically change their hiring practices, which is unlikely, or they will have to utilize adjunct faculty to fill out more of their curricular needs.  Given the significant financial pressure on law school budgets and the incredible bargain law schools receive by hiring adjunct faculty, I would anticipate law schools going with the latter option and filling course needs with tenured and existing faculty.

Footnotes    (↵ returns to text)
  1. This article is the third of a four-part series considering the ABA Task force’s recommendations for the future of legal education. See Part 1: The Funding Mechanism for Law School and Part 2: Accreditation & Innovation.  
  2. See Generally Report and Recommendations, Task Force On the Future of Legal Education (American Bar Association, January, 2014) 
  3. See At law schools, age bias co-exists with outdated practices, by Nicholas J. Spaeth, Esq.  
  4. Id.

Top 16 Law Schools for Producing Government Attorneys

The George’s are the big winners in the government placement contest, combining to place over 200 attorneys from the class of 2012 in government positions.

The following are the top 16 law schools for placing students in government positions upon graduation based on the employment data from the class of 2012. I have also included the state where the school is located and the percentage of the law school class working in government positions.[1]

Placement in Government Positions by Law School (2012 Grads)

LAW SCHOOL NAME State Where Law School is Located Grads in Government Positions % of Class in Government Positions
#1 GEORGE WASHINGTON DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA 118 21%
#2 GEORGETOWN UNIVERSITY DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA 93 15%
#3 THOMAS M. COOLEY LAW MICHIGAN 86 8%
#4 FLORIDA STATE UNIVERSITY FLORIDA 65 23%
#5 AMERICAN UNIVERSITY DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA 64 14%
#6 UNIVERSITY OF DENVER COLORADO 62 20%
#7 JOHN MARSHALL LAW SCHOOL ILLINOIS 62 15%
#8 UNIVERSITY OF MIAMI FLORIDA 60 13%
#9 STETSON UNIVERSITY FLORIDA 59 17%
#10 FLORIDA COASTAL FLORIDA 58 11%
#11 MCGEORGE SCHOOL OF LAW (PACIFIC) CALIFORNIA 58 19%
#12 FORDHAM UNIVERSITY NEW YORK 53 11%
#13 SUFFOLK UNIVERSITY MASSACHUSETTS 53 10%
#14 CALIFORNIA-HASTINGS, UNIVERSITY OF CALIFORNIA 52 12%
#15 INDIANA UNIVERSITY – INDIANAPOLIS INDIANA 51 17%
#16 WILLIAM AND MARY LAW VIRGINIA 48 24%

Clearly schools in the District of Columbia have a significant advantage for these positions and, not surprisingly, D.C. law schools occupy three of the top five spots on the list, including the top two. If your goal is to become a government attorney, then Georgetown and George Washington are great law schools to attend.

Footnotes    (↵ returns to text)
  1. Based on data reported by the law schools to the ABA.

The ABA Task Force Recommendations on the Future of Legal Education – Part 2: Accreditation & Innovation

ABA Logo

The report and recommendations of the American Bar Association’s task force on the future of Legal Education[1]  made several key conclusions regarding how law schools need to adapt to better serve law students, the legal community, and the general public.[2]

The second and third key conclusions were in regards to the accreditation standards of the ABA and how the standards stunt innovation.  More specifically, the report concluded that the rigid system of accreditation is neither sufficiently flexible to account for the various diverse needs of the students of different ABA member schools nor does it promote a system that is cost effective.[3] The task force recommended that the ABA accreditation standards be modified  to enable “more heterogeneity” and encourage “more attention to service, outcomes, and value delivered to law students.” More specifically, the task force recommends either repealing or dramatically changing the accreditation standards.

The report later notes that the ABA standards tend to increase the quality of legal education without regard to how the benefit of such increases correlate with the costs.[4]  This appears to be a fairly convoluted way of saying that the trend of utilizing law professors to produce more scholarship and teach amorphous policy-based courses, as opposed to skills courses, is a great way to increase the quality of legal education, but it also increases the cost to law students without providing equivalent value in return.  This is a pretty subjective conclusion as it pitches hard data of increasing legal education costs against the value of legal education measured in non-economic terms.  If such value were determined using hard financial data, like the average real increases in law graduate salaries compared to the increased costs of education, then I am confident there would be empirical findings to support, or disprove, this conclusion.

In terms of innovation, the report correctly concludes that the ABA standards prevent law schools for experimenting with different types of legal education.  Indeed, law schools face significant restrictions on the types of educational delivery systems that may be employed, decisions of curricular priorities, and specialty areas.

Footnotes    (↵ returns to text)
  1. See Generally, Report and Recommendations, Task Force On the Future of Legal Education (American Bar Association, January, 2014)
  2. This is the second part of a series of posts addressing the key findings of the ABA task force. See the initial post at The ABA Task Force Recommendations on the Future of Legal Education – Part 1: The Funding Mechanism for Law School or later posts as they become available on this lawblog
  3. See Report and Recommendations, Task Force On the Future of Legal Education (American Bar Association, January, 2014) at p.2.
  4. Id at 23-24.