The American Bar Association hopes to get information about how well the law school class of 2011 did in the job market into the hands of prospective law students as early as next month — a full year earlier than in the past.
The ABA required law schools to complete a special jobs survey last month for their 2011 graduates — six months earlier than it traditionally was done, according to Hulett “Bucky” Askew, the ABA’s consultant on legal education. The organization is still crunching the numbers, he said, but expects to make them public by late May or early June.
Students deciding where to enroll need the most up-to-date information, Askew said. “We decided a while back that as soon as we got all the data together, we’d put it up for the public to see. We want to get information out more quickly.”
The ABA, which has come under pressure from transparency advocates and Congressional leaders to increase the amount and accuracy of law school employment data, took a step in that direction last week, releasing law school employment data containing unprecedented details about, for example, how many graduates were in school-financed positions.
Traditionally, there has been a two-year lag between graduation and the publication of details about the jobs members of a class have landed. Schools collected data for each May’s graduates during the subsequent February — nine months later. And they reported those outcomes to the ABA the following October. The data were not made public until the publication of the ABA-LSAC Official Guide every May — meaning the information was two years old by the time it was released.
The data the ABA released last week was collected in October and pertains to the class of 2010, so the lag wasn’t reduced by very much. However, the level of detail increased, to include graduates in school-financed jobs; in short-term and long-term jobs; and the number of graduates working in a variety of different-sized firms and whether those jobs were permanent or temporary.
The report for the class of 2011 will be even more extensive; it will include the number of graduates in part-time and full-time jobs, and the number in jobs that require a J.D., Askew said.
“The goal is to have schools reporting employment statistics consistently, so that it’s easy to compare across schools,” he said.
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