Measuring Clinical Legal Education's Employment Outcomes
21 Pages Posted: 16 Aug 2015 Last revised: 4 May 2017
Date Written: August 14, 2015
This Article examines evidence of a possible link between learning opportunities in law school and J.D. employment outcomes. It responds to a paper by Jason Yackee that finds, using 2013 data from top 100 ranked schools, “not much evidence” that law clinic opportunities are likely to improve a school’s graduates’ employment outcomes and suggesting that those opportunities may even harm employment prospects.
The Article reexamines Yackee’s methodological approach and then looks beyond both law clinics and his statistical models. The expanded empirical analysis finds it is not possible to draw any reliable conclusion from his models about the likely effects of law clinic courses, or other activities like law journal and interschool skills competitions, on employment outcomes, and surely not any negative suggestion about clinic opportunities or participation. The most realistic conclusion from available data is that nationwide models provide inconclusive results, as they do not achieve statistical significance and yield both positive and inverse relationships depending on the year of graduation, control variables, and outliers. In fact, other evidence shows that law clinic experiences are important to potential employers and do aid some students in securing employment.
Keywords: legal education, law school, clinical legal education, experiential legal education, experiential learning, clinical, law clinic, skills, skills training
JEL Classification: K00, K10
Suggested Citation: Suggested Citation