A Way Forward: Transparency at American Law Schools
77 Pages Posted: 10 Apr 2010 Last revised: 14 Dec 2012
Date Written: March 7, 2012
Law school has long been thought of as an investment in human capital inherently worth consuming. This is a dated view. Today, entering the legal profession through law school requires an increasingly significant financial investment. Yet very little information about the value of a legal education is available for prospective law students. In fact, much of the information tends to mislead rather than inform aspiring lawyers.
This Article surveys the available information with respect to one important segment of the value analysis: post-graduation employment outcomes. It then proposes a new standard for the presentation of post-graduation outcomes, "The LST Proposal." Our hope is that this standard enables prospectives to take a detailed, holistic look at the diverse employment options from different law schools.
This white paper builds on an earlier version, first published in April 2010. The original set forth an exposé of the available law school employment information and proposed a way for law schools to voluntarily release better information. This Article updates descriptions of the current employment information, explains the recent reforms at the ABA Section of Legal Education that followed from the original paper, and offers a new proposal for the Section of Legal Education to adopt for the betterment of the legal profession.
Keywords: law school, employment, education, prospective law students, salary, US News, rankings, ABA, NALP, NLJ, transparency
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