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ABA council adopts changes in collection of law school data

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The Council of the American Bar Association Section of Legal Education and Admissions to the Bar has approved changes in the collection and publication of graduate placement data provided by law schools. The changes are aimed at enhancing the accuracy, timeliness and level of detail law schools must report to the ABA.

The changes – recommended by the Legal Education and Admissions to the Bar Section’s Questionnaire Committee – were adopted at its annual meeting Dec. 3. Law schools will have to gather more detailed information, which includes graduate employment status, salary, whether the position is short or long term and whether the position is funded by the school itself. Schools will also have to report on whether the graduate’s job required passing the bar, is full time or part time, and if there is an advantage to having a J.D. for the position.

The data law schools collect will be reported directly to the Legal Education and Admissions to the Bar section, and this information will be posted online the year after it’s collected. Right now, data on specific classes are often posted two years later.

Section chair John O’Brien, New England Law/Boston dean, said in a news release that these changes will better inform future law students about the prospects of employment.

The announcement this summer by the ABA regarding the changes in the collection of data caused tension between the bar association and NALP. NALP keeps postgraduate employment data for law schools and was surprised by the ABA’s announcement that it would begin collecting its own data. In the past, placement data was reported only to NALP, which then sent a report to the schools. The law school reported the information to the ABA in the bar’s annual questionnaire.

But only a few weeks after attempting to cut NALP out of the collection and reporting process, the ABA announced that the section and NALP agreed to collaborate going forward.

Indiana Lawyer reported in August that the ABA data collection process will be a two-step, two-year process that was set to begin this October when the ABA collected an abbreviated data set for each graduate of the class of 2010.

The ABA plans to collect full data in February 2012 for each 2011 law graduate. NALP said it will continue to request a single electronic file from each school, while the ABA may ask for schools to input student record data one student at a time through an online data submission form.
 

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  1. Frankly, it is tragic that you are even considering going to an expensive, unaccredited "law school." It is extremely difficult to get a job with a degree from a real school. If you are going to make the investment of time, money, and tears into law school, it should not be to a place that won't actually enable you to practice law when you graduate.

  2. As a lawyer who grew up in Fort Wayne (but went to a real law school), it is not that hard to find a mentor in the legal community without your school's assistance. One does not need to pay tens of thousands of dollars to go to an unaccredited legal diploma mill to get a mentor. Having a mentor means precisely nothing if you cannot get a job upon graduation, and considering that the legal job market is utterly terrible, these students from Indiana Tech are going to be adrift after graduation.

  3. 700,000 to 800,000 Americans are arrested for marijuana possession each year in the US. Do we need a new justice center if we decriminalize marijuana by having the City Council enact a $100 fine for marijuana possession and have the money go towards road repair?

  4. I am sorry to hear this.

  5. I tried a case in Judge Barker's court many years ago and I recall it vividly as a highlight of my career. I don't get in federal court very often but found myself back there again last Summer. We had both aged a bit but I must say she was just as I had remembered her. Authoritative, organized and yes, human ...with a good sense of humor. I also appreciated that even though we were dealing with difficult criminal cases, she treated my clients with dignity and understanding. My clients certainly respected her. Thanks for this nice article. Congratulations to Judge Barker for reaching another milestone in a remarkable career.

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