Thursday, May 9, 2013

Is Hamline Univ. School of Law scamming-up its JD Advantage numbers?

According to data collected by law schools pursuant to the ABA-required annual placement survey, only 53.2% of law graduates of the Class of 2012 obtained full-time, long-term, bar-required jobs that were nonsolo and non-school-funded within nine months of graduation. [1]
 
However, the ABA survey includes a category called "JD Advantage." The ABA defines a JD Advantage job as "one for which the employer sought an individual with a JD, and perhaps even required a JD, or for which the JD provided a demonstrable advantage in obtaining or performing the job, but itself does not require bar passage, an active law license, or involve practicing law." [2] A "JD Advantage" job is distinguishable from a job in the category of "Other Professional," which is defined as "one that requires professional skills or training, but for which a JD is neither required nor a demonstrable advantage." [3] The famous US News and World Report ranking takes "JD Advantage" jobs into consideration in calculating a law school’s rank, giving "[f]ull weight. . .for graduates who had a full-time job lasting at least a year where bar passage was required or a J.D. degree was an advantage." [4]
 
My question is: Do law schools try to scam-up their employment data by including any old sort of job in the JD Advantage category? And this question is addressed in particular to career services at Hamline University School of Law. You see, out of the 201 ABA accredited law schools, Hamline reported the highest percentage of its grads in JD Advantage jobs that are full-time, long term, and non-school-funded (hereinafter: JD-Adv., FT, LT). An incredible 30.0% of Hamline’s 2012 graduating class allegedly obtained JD-Adv., FT, LT jobs. [5] By way of comparison, the median law school score is 9.0%. So a Hamline grad had more than triple the chance of snagging such a job than a law grad elsewhere.

Hamline, with its 30.0% score, is one of a tiny number of outliers. Only 23 of the 201 accredited law schools claimed to have placed over 15.0% of their 2012 grads in such jobs, and only eight claimed over 20.0%. Only two other law schools are even in Hamline’s ballpark--Quinnipiac (27.2%) and Catholic (26.6%). 
 
Is Hamline's success some sort of regional thing? Well, the nearby University of Minnesota only placed 7.8% of its 2012 grads in JD-Adv., FT, LT jobs. Is it a fluke? Well, the year before, 2011, Hamline was in the top four out of the 201 law schools in terms of percentage of graduates placed in JD-Adv., FT, LT jobs. [6],[7] Is the answer that Hamline’s bar-required job placement rate is so awful that its grads have no choice but to take JD Advantage jobs? Well, Santa Clara Univ. School of Law and Loyola-Marymount Univ. School of Law, each with slightly worse bar-required job placement rates, only claimed 13.4% and 7.3% JD-Adv., FT, LT jobs, respectively.

Hamline must be doing something right to place all those graduates--30% of its most recent graduating class!--in full-time nonlaw jobs where the graduates' JDs will be useful in performing their duties. Hamline needs to share the secret of its success, because the ever-widening crisis of jobless and underemployed lawyers will quickly resolve if non-law white collar employers, en masse, fall in love with JDs, as they have evidently fallen in love with Hamline JDs.

Another possibility, of course, is that Hamline is scamming.

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notes and additional links.

[1] Go to this (excellent) calculator:

http://educatingtomorrowslawyers.du.edu/law-jobs/

and click: "Bar Passage Required," "Full Time," and "Long Term." Also click "Exclude from Numerator: "School Funded" and "Solo Practitioners." This generates the requested percentage of such jobs obtained by each school's graduating class nine months out, in rank order.

[2]http://www.americanbar.org/content/dam/aba/administrative/legal_education_and_admissions_to_the_bar/council_reports_and_resolutions/2011_questionnaire_memo_re_placement.authcheckdam.pdf
(scroll down to p. 7)

[3] Id.

[4] http://www.usnews.com/education/best-graduate-schools/top-law-schools/articles/2013/03/11/methodology-best-law-schools-rankings?page=2

[5] http://educatingtomorrowslawyers.du.edu/law-jobs/
and click "JD Advantage," "Full Time," and "Long Term" Also click "Exclude from Numerator: "School Funded."

[6] Same as above, but change the year from 2012 to 2011.

[7] On March 12, 2013, Hamline issued a press release celebrating its 25-place rise in the US News ranking. In the press release, the school recognized that its "emphasis" on JD Advantage jobs was "[a] key factor in Hamline's climb in the overall rankings." This press release was issued before Hamline completed its final report on its 2012 graduating class. However, Hamline noted that it was "equally optimistic" about the 2012 data.
http://www.hamline.edu/HUPopUp.aspx?id=4294987375

27 comments:

  1. Never heard of this school before. Checked them out on Legal Transparency and see that there has been a huge drop off in its number of 1L's over the past two years - almost 50%. Those JD Advantage numbers seem hard to believe. Maybe it has something to do with Westlaw.

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    1. Interesting that they chose to maintain their LSAT and GPA numbers at the cost of reducing enrollment dramatically.

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    2. Yeah, I'll give them credit for that. Still, I don't see how they can continue on that course and remain open.

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  2. Replies
    1. A better find would be a "JD Advantage" position.

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  3. hamline probably just makes up their numbers from scratch...like 75% of all law schools.

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  4. a focus on the stats is good....that is their weak point. Stats from a historical basis....that is where their self-interest shows most.

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  5. Four law schools located in St. Paul-Minneapolis. Only University of Minnesota is a decent school, and those grads are struggling to find work. According to Economic Modeling Specialists Inc., Minnesota is the 13th most glutted attorney job market in the country.

    http://economix.blogs.nytimes.com/2011/06/27/the-lawyer-surplus-state-by-state/

    On June 27, 2011, the New York Times Economix blog published Catherine Rampell's piece "The Lawyer Surplus, State by State." Her article is based on EMSI's findings. Look at the numbers for Minnesota:

    2010-2015 Estimated Annual Openings: 378
    2009 Bar Exam Passers: 888
    Surplus: 510

    At least, they are not as bad off as the waterheads getting ready to take the NY and CA bar exams.

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    1. This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

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  6. I don't even believe the 9% median. For every person I know who got a true JD Advantage job, I know probably 50 who are practicing attorneys and 20 who are unemployed.

    Getting me to believe the 30% would require more suspension of disbelief than getting me to believe the 90+% employed figures.

    My thing is this: the rules are not hard - like not even remotely hard - to interpret. If their graduates did what these law schools did in interpreting and applying rules, they would be sanctioned, disbarred, and mocked by the stone-throwing oligarchs at the attorney ethics enforcement office.

    Thankfully, the ABA and state bars don't seem to care that the law schools they accredit scam scam and scam some more.

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  7. Hamline derives most of its prestige from residual memories of Harry Hamlin leading the credits of L.A. Law...

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    Replies
    1. Harry Hamline has been appearing on MadMen lately, so I assume they must be opening a School of Advertising.

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  8. "Another possibility, of course, is that Hamline is scamming."

    No, no, no! That is an "unsubstantiated assertion." We can't make those. http://leiterlawschool.typepad.com/leiter/2013/05/unsubstantiated-assertion-and-platitudinous-self-congratulation.html

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    Replies
    1. Stop being insolent.

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  9. If you poke around Law School Transparency, you can find plenty of statistics that defy belief. Just one example (and there are plenty of others out there). West Virginia University School of Law - which is ranked near the bottom of the second tier claims a 72.5% employment rate. That is higher than a lot of schools with much better reputations including BU, BC, Fordham, UCLA, Notre Dame, and Vandy. Its basically the same employment rate claimed by G-Town. How the fuck can that be? Bottom line - there are still a lot of fraudulent numbers being put out - and these numbers are used in setting the rankings which the lemmings drool over. West Virginia jumped 10 places in the lates US News rankings.

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    1. A attended WVU. Take a look - they get several fed clerkships (including COA) every year. Tuition is kept at a reasonable level and most students are from WV (in my class only 2 people were from out of state). The state bar is very loyal to the school and the local law firms hire WVU grads every year. I believe the employment stats.

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  10. Short answer: yes, it's a total lie and Hamline is scamming hard. NALP reported 12.5% JD-Advantage placement nationally for 2011.

    You're telling me Hamline is placing 3 times as many JD-Advantage jobs as HYS? Please.

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    Replies
    1. NALP reported 12.5% for 2011, but also state that only 2/3 of those are full time and long-term (i.e. lasting a year or more).

      Hamline, by contrast, reports 30% in full-time and long-term JD Advantage jobs. If you include the part-time and short-term JD Advantage jobs reported by Hamline, you get 33.2% (for 2012) and 21.0% (for 2011).

      The mismatch is pretty staggering

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  12. They are lying thru there teeth. Have you seen the cost of this trash pit. 2016 Class costs from LST is $203,482. That is one serious chuck of change.

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  13. You Deserve a Break TodayMay 9, 2013 at 3:19 PM

    I'd like a Hamline on a McGeorge with cheese, hold the Touronaisse, please.

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  14. You guys should really stop picking on those poor law professors. This time of year, some of them have upwards of 100 tests to grade over the course of a few short months. I welcome your comments on this thoughtfull post about the arduous lives of law profs. Thanks!

    http://prawfsblawg.blogs.com/prawfsblawg/2013/05/reflections-on-the-rhythm-of-academic-life.html#more

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  15. I wouldn't be surprised if you had more than a few baristas or greeters in there, since to the law schools the law degree necessarily is an "advantage" in anything you do.

    It's the same theory that allows Duquesne Law School to tout Art Rooney as an example of a successful graduate when, you know, the fact that his family owned the Steelers for three generations probably had more to do with him becoming owner than his JD.

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  16. wow, lsac updated their #s:

    http://www.lsac.org/lsacresources/data/three-year-volume.asp

    Applicants are "only" down 14% now. I was hoping for a 20% bloodbath.

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  17. During the 2000's, a lot of Hamline Law grads wound up working at Westlaw, which I would assume qualifies as a "JD Advantage" job. It's reasonable to think that's still going on, although it doesn't explain why their percentage is higher than the other schools in the same town.

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  18. Hamline pushes JD Advantage jobs. A lot of the jobs students take are in compliance (health compliance, bank compliance, etc.), as there are a lot of opportunities for those positions in Minnesota. The fact that Thomson Reuters has a Twin Cities presence does help, but I have to say, from my law school class (yes, from Hamline), I only know one who works there.

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