The hardworking guys and girls over at Law School Transparency have sent me a link to this news release, detailing their request for the most recent NALP reports from every single law school. These reports contain the employment data for the class of 2010, and will be posted on the LST web site for everyone to see.
Transparency is the key here. There is nothing wrong with transparency. Law school applicants are smart enough to understand the data – they’re not idiots. And what better way than letting prospective students look at the same data that the schools look at, before it is tweaked, scrubbed and dressed up to hide the imperfections. Employment data might seem insignificant or unimportant to law schools, but to applicants, it’s one of the main reasons they’re applying to law school – to get a job after graduating.
As an aside, the web site for the law school I attended is still directing students to its class of 2009 employment statistics, despite having the 2010 data in hand. Why? I don’t think it’s an oversight or laziness, because the site is generally up-to-date and well-maintained. I think it’s because the data for the class of 2010 will be ugly, and the school is delaying its release until accepted students have firmly committed to attending this particular school. At that point, the accepted students are far less likely to run in the opposite direction when the data is released.
What can you do to help?
Well, if you’re an applicant with an offer that you haven’t accepted yet, shoot an email over to the admissions office and ask that they either send you the data directly, or they send it to LST so you can see it on the LST web site. You have a valid right to know, since your entire future may depend on it. And if you get it, send it to LST.
If you’ve accepted an offer, send a similar email, but suggest that if the school doesn’t comply and hides this relevant information from you, you’ll rethink your decision to attend.
If you’re a student, march yourself to the dean’s office and ask that they comply. The school’s failure to comply will be embarrassing for the school, and will decrease the positive reputation of the school, directly affecting your job prospects.
And if you’re a law school graduate, write to your alma mater and state in no uncertain terms that the school should comply immediately so it is not added to the list of schools that are being deliberately deceptive (and thus adversely affecting your professional reputation), and let the school know that you will not consider donating a single cent in the future if the school drops the ball on this simple request.