Nonprofit introduces own method for choosing law school

November 13, 2012
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Law School Transparency unveiled its tool to help prospective law students choose the right school for them, touting it as an alternative to the popular U.S. News & World Report law school rankings.

The LST Score Reports are “user-friendly tools for sorting law school employment outcomes, projected costs, and admission stats,” according to the LST release on the reports. The score reports are not rankings, the nonprofit organization emphasizes, unlike the rankings provided by U.S. News & World Report.

You can view the score reports at http://www.lstscorereports.com/.

LST says the reports should be used as a starting point and a comparison tool to other rankings or classifications of law schools.

“Focus on outcomes and how much it will cost you to get there,” the website says. “Reputation, after all, is only as valuable as the ends you want that it can help you actually achieve. You can’t eat prestige.”

The 3-year-old nonprofit was created by two Vanderbilt University Law Students and aims to improve consumer information on legal education and reform the traditional law school model.

The latest rankings by U.S. News & World Report list Notre Dame Law School at No. 22; Indiana University Maurer School of Law at No. 26; and Indiana University Robert H. McKinney School of Law at No. 89 overall best law school. Valparaiso University Law School appears on the list as unranked.

You may want to take a look at LST’s guides to using and reading the report before jumping to conclusions about the list. The Employment Score has been calculated by the bar passage rate, minus part-time jobs, short-term jobs and solo practitioners, with that figure divided by all graduates. The guide doesn’t explain what years are used to compile the data.

Based on that formula, Notre Dame Law School has the highest employment score in the state. They also have the fewest number of graduates employed in Indiana. Then comes I.U. Maurer School of Law at 59.5 percent employment score, I.U. McKinney School of Law at 52 percent, and Valparaiso University Law School at 39.2 percent. Based on LST calculations, Valpo had the most under-employed graduates.

The under-employment score is calculated by taking the number of unemployed graduates, minus the total sum of those not seeking jobs, those who have short-term or part-time jobs, nonprofessional jobs, or are pursuing another degree, divided by the number of all graduates. Again, it’s helpful to read their guides to understand how LST came up with their figures.

You can view Indiana’s data for yourself here.
 

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