July 18, 2013

Some adult coverage and commentary on "The Economic Value of a Law Degree"

Here.

Posted by Brian Leiter on July 18, 2013 in Legal Profession, Of Academic Interest, Student Advice | Permalink

Simkovic v. Tamanaha on the economic value of a law degree

This round to Simkovic.

UPDATE:  This is also helpful.

Posted by Brian Leiter on July 18, 2013 in Legal Profession, Of Academic Interest, Student Advice | Permalink

July 17, 2013

"The Economic Value of a Law Degree"

This article ought to fundamentally change the conversation about the economic value of legal education; it's considerably more sophisticated methodologically than anything I've seen, and it sensibly compares the value of the JD to the alternatives, such as only having a BA.  (A peculiarity of the cyber-ranting about "don't go to law school" is that it never explains, or even seems to care, what happens or would happen to those who forego the JD.)   There's also a powerpoint version which contains most (not all) of the key data and analysis.

UPDATE:  Predictably, serious research and analysis is met with derision and and insults from the know-nothing crowd.  Professor Simkovic sent the following measured reply to Mr. Mystal's nonsense, which makes clear that Mystal didn't even read the article before ranting about it:

Your coverage of our research, "The Economic Value of a Law Degree" contains several inaccuracies that you may wish to correct.  

1)  The study does not only look at averages, as you state in your post.  It also considers the median, 25th percentile and 75th percentile outcomes.  Even at the 25th percentile, the value of a law degree exceeds the cost.

2) The study includes earnings data from 1996 to 2011--the coverage does not stop in 2008 as you state.  The most recent law school and college graduates in sample for the earnings portion of the study are from the class of 2008, but earnings are reported through 2011.

3) The study notes the typical tax rate on the earnings premium and reports both pre-tax and after tax-values.  It does not only report the value of a law degree before taxes, as you state.

4) The study includes a range of possible tuition values in our internal return calculations and explains clearly how to compare the cost of the degree to the value of the degree.  It does not simply provide "theoretical never-never-land [estimates] where things like TUITION don’t matter", as you state.

5) The study presents student loan default rates for many low-ranked law schools.  The default rates are lower than average default rates for former college and graduate school students.

UPDATE:  Professsor Simkovic will be blogging about his research here.

Posted by Brian Leiter on July 17, 2013 in Legal Profession, Of Academic Interest, Student Advice | Permalink

July 16, 2013

NYU's Misleading Presentation of its Academic Job Placement

Tsk, tsk--technically accurate, but also misleading, since it omits the fact that NYU also had the third highest number of candidates on the market (and by a wide margin).  In fact, NYU's percentage placement of its academic job seekers is quite respectable (and better than Harvard's, as it happens!), but the fact is most NYU teaching candidates did not get academic jobs.

Posted by Brian Leiter on July 16, 2013 in Advice for Academic Job Seekers, Faculty News, Ludicrous Hyperbole Watch, Rankings, Student Advice | Permalink

May 27, 2013

Rookie hiring summary courtesy of UCI's Sarah Lawsky...

...hereAs a percentage of candidates on the market, here's how the schools fared in terms of tenure-track placement of their alumni (Lawsky's numbers are a bit different, at least in part due to a failure to count tenure-stream jobs in non-US law schools; I list only schools that had at least five candidates on the market):

1.  University of Chicago (58%)

2.  University of Virginia (57%)

3.  Yale University (49%)

4.  Duke University (39%)

4.  New York University (39%)

6.  University of Michigan (31%)

7.  Harvard University (30%)

8.  University of California, Los Angeles (25%)

9.  Cornell University (21%)

9.  Northwestern University (21%)

11. University of Texas, Austin (18%)

12. Georgetown University (17%)

13. Stanford University (15%)

13. University of California, Berkeley (15%)

15. Columbia University (11%)

The Stanford and Columbia performances seem anomalously low--maybe due to underreporting, and maybe due to a fluke this year.

Professor Lawsky's numbers, even allowing for the limits of self-reporting, also clearly show the steep drop-off in hiring this year, on the order of almost one-third fewer hires than in recent years.

UPDATE:  Professor Lawsky's percentage chart, but just for US tenure-track hires.

Posted by Brian Leiter on May 27, 2013 in Advice for Academic Job Seekers, Of Academic Interest, Rankings, Student Advice | Permalink

May 07, 2013

Is law school tuition going up or down?

No one really knows, but given the data from private universities and colleges, the answer is very likely "down."

MEANWHILE an uptick in employment for new lawyers.

Posted by Brian Leiter on May 7, 2013 in Legal Profession, Of Academic Interest, Student Advice | Permalink

Another Employment-Outcome Rankings

From the University of Denver--it depends on self-reported data by the schools, of course, but it does provide a simple way to see the import of that data.

Posted by Brian Leiter on May 7, 2013 in Legal Profession, Rankings, Student Advice | Permalink

April 30, 2013

Is the job market for new lawyers, even from lower-ranked schools, really that bad?

Some interesting contrarian evidence from Ben Barros (Widener).

Posted by Brian Leiter on April 30, 2013 in Legal Profession, Of Academic Interest, Rankings, Student Advice | Permalink

April 15, 2013

Standard & Poor's Downgrades Albany Law School's Rating

Of course, the track record of these agencies is sufficiently poor that it's hard to know what to make of this, but it is still a "sign of the times," as it were.

Posted by Brian Leiter on April 15, 2013 in Legal Profession, Of Academic Interest, Professional Advice, Student Advice | Permalink

April 12, 2013

Post-graduation employment minus school-funded jobs

Interesting list here, though as we noted before, school-funded jobs are often the crucial route into public sector positions for many graduates, and schools with big investments in getting graduates into public interest will necessarily have a good number of these.  On the other hand, it is certainly true that in many other cases, school-funded jobs are make-work position meant to boost employment statistics, not help launch careers.

Posted by Brian Leiter on April 12, 2013 in Legal Profession, Of Academic Interest, Rankings, Student Advice | Permalink