Some Law Schools Reveal “Employed at Graduation Figures” to U.S. News, And Suffer Drop In Rankings For Disclosure

To disclose or not to disclose? That may have been the question faced by at least 16 law schools in reporting their
“employed at graduation” stats to U.S. News & World Report for the 2011 rankings. According to Paul L. Caron at TaxProf Blog, 16 law schools actually reported to U.S. News & World Report the percentage of their students who were employed at graduation, even though they would have been better off allowing the magazine to make an automatic calculation instead.

According to the ABA Journal, “U.S. News collects figures on students employed nine months after graduation, a number also collected by the ABA, and students employed at graduation, a number the ABA does not collect. When a law school fails to report how many of its graduates are employed at graduation, U.S. News will assign a number that is 30 percentage points less than the number of the school’s graduates employed nine months later. Sixteen schools reported employment-at-graduation numbers that were more than 30 percentage points lower than their nine-month figures.”

TaxProf Blog points out that “the 74 nonreporting schools presumably had an employed at graduation number more than 30 percentage points below their employed at nine months number and thus benefited in the rankings by not reporting their employed at graduation number to U.S. News.” TaxProf Blog concludes that “many of these schools undoubtedly adversely affected their overall ranking by reporting their employed at graduation data to U.S. News.

“Last year, 23 schools would have likely been better off keeping their employment-at-graduation numbers a secret,” says the ABA Journal.

For more information on this topic, check out our recent podcast, Law School Rankings: What Do the Numbers Mean?, where we talk with some of the people who publish law school rankings and take a look at the methodology behind the rankings. Robert Morse, Director of Data Research for U.S. News & World Report’s, The Best Law Schools is one of the guests interviewed for this Law School Podcaster segment. Listen to the full show to hear more about the way the rankings are calculated.