Study tackles transparency of law schools

January 18, 2012
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A Tennessee nonprofit is calling out law schools for their lack of accessible information on recent graduates.

The Tennessee nonprofit – Law School Transparency – is calling out law schools for their lack of accessible information on recent graduates. It just released its winter 2012 report on its analysis of the class of 2010 employment information available on ABA-approved law school websites this month. According to the group, schools aren’t being as transparent as the LST would like.

More than a quarter of those schools aren’t providing any evaluable information online for the 2010 graduates’ employment outcomes. Only about 25 percent of schools report how many graduates work in legal jobs, but only 1 percent said how many were in full-time, long-term legal jobs. Just over half of schools didn’t indicate how many graduates actually responded to their survey.

Nearly half of schools are providing salary information, but the LST claims that 78 percent of those schools provide the information in ways that mislead the reader.

“Taken together, these and other findings illustrate how law schools have been slow to react to calls for disclosure, with some schools conjuring ways to repackage employment data to maintain their images,” the report says. “Our findings play into a larger dialogue about law schools and their continued secrecy against a backdrop of stories about admissions data fraud, class action lawsuits, and ever-rising education costs. These findings raise a red flag as to whether schools are capable of making needed changes to the current, unsustainable law school model without being compelled to through government oversight or other external forces.”

This report comes on the heels of the annual meeting of the Association of American Law Schools in which legal organizations outside of academia and law firms questioned how law schools are preparing students to practice law. The chief executive officer of Legal OnRamp, a web-based platform for attorneys to connect, compared law schools to the 1970s Swedish singing group ABBA to make the point that if law schools don’t adapt to changes in the legal profession then schools will look as outdated as ABBA seems to people born after 1980. The CEO of a legal consulting group said schools are tweaking their curriculum but not really responding to the bigger issues of preparing students to actually be lawyers and that not all will practice in a law firm.

Do you think law schools are doing a good job letting graduates know about how previous classes have done in terms of employment? What about preparation for becoming an attorney?


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  1. If a class action suit or other manner of retribution is possible, count me in. I have email and voicemail from the man. He colluded with opposing counsel, I am certain. My case was damaged so severely it nearly lost me everything and I am still paying dearly.

  2. There's probably a lot of blame that can be cast around for Indiana Tech's abysmal bar passage rate this last February. The folks who decided that Indiana, a state with roughly 16,000 to 18,000 attorneys, needs a fifth law school need to question the motives that drove their support of this project. Others, who have been "strong supporters" of the law school, should likewise ask themselves why they believe this institution should be supported. Is it because it fills some real need in the state? Or is it, instead, nothing more than a resume builder for those who teach there part-time? And others who make excuses for the students' poor performance, especially those who offer nothing more than conspiracy theories to back up their claims--who are they helping? What evidence do they have to support their posturing? Ultimately, though, like most everything in life, whether one succeeds or fails is entirely within one's own hands. At least one student from Indiana Tech proved this when he/she took and passed the February bar. A second Indiana Tech student proved this when they took the bar in another state and passed. As for the remaining 9 who took the bar and didn't pass (apparently, one of the students successfully appealed his/her original score), it's now up to them (and nobody else) to ensure that they pass on their second attempt. These folks should feel no shame; many currently successful practicing attorneys failed the bar exam on their first try. These same attorneys picked themselves up, dusted themselves off, and got back to the rigorous study needed to ensure they would pass on their second go 'round. This is what the Indiana Tech students who didn't pass the first time need to do. Of course, none of this answers such questions as whether Indiana Tech should be accredited by the ABA, whether the school should keep its doors open, or, most importantly, whether it should have even opened its doors in the first place. Those who promoted the idea of a fifth law school in Indiana need to do a lot of soul-searching regarding their decisions. These same people should never be allowed, again, to have a say about the future of legal education in this state or anywhere else. Indiana already has four law schools. That's probably one more than it really needs. But it's more than enough.

  3. This man Steve Hubbard goes on any online post or forum he can find and tries to push his company. He said court reporters would be obsolete a few years ago, yet here we are. How does he have time to search out every single post about court reporters and even spy in private court reporting forums if his company is so successful???? Dude, get a life. And back to what this post was about, I agree that some national firms cause a huge problem.

  4. rensselaer imdiana is doing same thing to children from the judge to attorney and dfs staff they need to be investigated as well

  5. Sex offenders are victims twice, once when they are molested as kids, and again when they repeat the behavior, you never see money spent on helping them do you. That's why this circle continues