PreLaw - Back to School 2010 - 5
More common, however, are law schools who hire recent graduates to work at the school. This practice has been defended as a way for school’s to help their alumni. But most critics point to it as the primary reason the employment data can’t be trusted. Brian Leiter, a professor at the University of Chicago and a critic of U.S. News, said the magazine does not audit its data in any way, and schools have shown they will manipulate numbers when they can. He said the recent changes proposed by U.S. News are minor compared to the real problem. That is one reason two law students are trying to create a better employment tracking system. Patrick Lynch and Kyle McEntee, two Vanderbilt Law students, launched the Law School Transparency project this summer, with the hope of gathering better data from the 200 ABA-accredited law schools. They are asking schools to submit employment data that will break it down by individual graduates, rather than overall class data. “The number one problem with the current system is that it allows schools to hide their employment information in aggregate statistical forms,” McEntee told the National Law Journal. “You may know that 50 percent of graduates got jobs at law firms, but you don’t know what types of firms and types of jobs they got.” Under the model, schools would report employer type, employer name, position name, bar passage requirement, full-time or part-time status, office location, whether the student worked on a law journal and salary for each alumnus nine months after graduation. Lynch and McEntee hope to make the data available to prospective students via their Web site. But they are unsure how many schools will cooperate. Accounting for each graduate in detail also makes it more difficult for schools to manipulate the numbers, Lynch and McEntee said. Caron said the students are on the right track. “It is really a sophisticated effort,” he said. “They did a good job with focus groups and drafts [to get feedback]. There is not a lot of extra work for the law schools, and it could be extraordinarily useful data.”
Get more law school news at www.NationalJurist.com. Get up-to-date Breaking News, Critical Issues in Legal Education and Employment Insider.
THE GOOD & THE BAD
IT WAS A GOOD SUMMER FOR … Law school deans, as a former peer was nominated to the Supreme Court for the first time. Elena Kagan, the former dean at Harvard Law, and a professor at University of Chicago, was nominated to fill the vacancy of Justice John Paul Stevens. Sixty-nine law school deans signed a letter endorsing Kagan, that stated she was a “superb” dean at Harvard Law. Touro law students, after the school received more than half a million dollars for paid summer public interest internships. The grant will allow for 167 students to be paid for work at public interest organizations and government agencies. Tulane’s environmental law clinic after a bill that was aimed at limiting the clinic died in the Louisiana senate. The bill would have restricted university law clinics from suing individuals for damages, taking government agencies to court or making constitutional challenges. Tulane had been worried the bill would have forced the clinic to shut its doors. IT WAS A BAD SUMMER FOR … Georgetown University Law School Professor Peter Tague after his mock announcement in class that Supreme Court Justice John Roberts was planning to retire went viral. Before Tague could tell the class that it wasn’t true, Radar Online had published the rumor, after a student had texted the blog. A former law student at Thomas M. Cooley Law School after her lawsuit to be reinstated at the school was dismissed. The student, who was expelled for poor grades, alleged that the school refused to allow her to take fewer classes on account of a learning disability. The school had already allowed her additional time to take tests. Four California law schools after The National Federation for the Blind added them to a lawsuit against the LSAC over use of its online application system. The law schools use the system, which is not compatible with software for blind users. The schools — Chapman University School of Law, Whittier Law School, Thomas Jefferson School of Law and the University of California Hastings College of Law — said they have no idea why they were singled out from the 200 law schools nationwide.
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