Law School Transparency Hot Topic at NAPLA
July 6, 2011
This year’s law-school scandals involving fudged admission and employment data made law school transparency a hot topic at the annual Northeast Association of Pre-Law Advisors conference. Several sessions focused on admission and employment criteria standards or lack there of.
“Buyer beware!” Timely advice to you, if law school is in your future.
You may want to compare the law schools to which you plan to apply on their delivery to their graduates, by rating practical experience programs available, courses that emphasize practical business skills, and career placement services. You may also want to know the degree to which they have exaggerated their job placement scores in the past.
James Leipold, Executive Director of NALP (the Association for Legal Professionals), told conference attendees that law schools often employ their own graduates, adding those numbers to the placement data, or count students employed outside the law, or exclude evening or part-time students from their admissions data.
“Perhaps not surprising, some laws schools apply a highly technical and legalistic approach to deciding what data can be submitted and what information should be left out.” Leipold said.
"That is sometimes the case with reports on how many law school graduates have found jobs, as well as with admissions data," Leipold continued.
In response, the Young Lawyers Division (YLD) of the American Bar Association (ABA) passed a resolution calling for information transparency in the collection of such data. Prospective law students and pre-law advisers need this data. Entering the legal profession today is a risky investment that should only be undertaken after due diligence about the costs and a realistic view of one’s prospects. Transparent data needs to be there to make informed decisions.