Brian Leiter's Law School Reports

Brian Leiter
University of Chicago Law School

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Friday, April 16, 2010

Move over Ripley! Bob Morse's "Believe It or Not?"

According to information printed by U.S. News & World Report...

Duke University is the only law school in the United States of America to have reported 100% of its graduates employed at graduation.

Duke, Northwestern University, University of Iowa, University of Utah, and University of Hawaii are the only law schools in the United States to have reported 100% of their graduates employed nine months after graduating (by then in the midst of the worst economic downturn since the Great Depresion)--thus trouncing Yale, Stanford, Berkeley, Cornell, Georgetown, Wash U/St. Louis, and many others.

University of California at Davis reported 97.3% of its graduates employed at graduation, while the University of California at Hastings reported only 69.8% of its graduates employed at graduation.

Arizona State University reported 90.7% of its graduates employed at graduation, while the University of Arizona reported only 77.4%.  (ASU also leap-frogged nearly 20 spots in the overall ranking, showing up ahead of U of Arizona.  Strangely enough, ASU is part of a university that cares so much about rankings, its President is rewarded for improvements in the U.S. News college rankings.)

George Mason University reported 95.9% of its graduates employed at graduation, more than Georgetown and George Washington Universities.

Chapman University reported 91.1% of its graduated employed at graduation, more than any school ranked between 47 and 100 in U.S. News (Chapman ranked 93rd).

These are just some of the Ripley-style facts that leap out on casual perusal of the "data" printed by U.S. News.

Let me add that I think several of the schools mentioned above are, in fact, under-ranked by U.S. News, notwithstanding the surprising employment data they reported.

And some of these figures might well turn out to be legitimate.  Perhaps an enterprising journalist will investigate, since U.S. News obviously doesn't care.  Yale Law School might be a reasonable benchmark for assessing the plausibility of the reported figures, since Yale's #1 spot in U.S. News is sustained by its massive per capita expenditures, so it has no reason to fudge about anything else.  Yale reports 93.5% employed at graduation--behind Duke, UC Davis, and George Mason, among many, many others--and 98.1% employed nine months out.   To be sure, Yale may be less diligent about collecting information on its graduates, since it matters less to the end results.  But surely the Yale results are not irrelevant when reviewing some of the others.

And perhaps the time has also come to eliminate the self-reported employment data?

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