Saturday, April 30, 2011


I actually spend time trying to devise cutesy titles for my posTTTs. It comes from a desire for something attention grabbing and years of submitting headlines to Fark, mostly unsuccessfully.

Headlines are an art. I know a former NY Daily News headline writer and they come to him naturally. His terse e-mail responses often require a second (or third) look lest they sail over my head.

Sometimes an article's headline is so good that it needs no embellishment; it's perfect as is. Paul Campos, a professor of law at the University of Colorado, handed me the title for this post. His article, Served How law schools completely misrepresent their job numbers, is one more nail in the law school carTTTel's coffin.

"Served," "owned," and "pwned" all mean the same thing to me: To be obliterated in a contest, usually publically. It's a succinct description of the fate awaiting lemmings heading off to law school. Campos probably used "served" because of its legal connotation. I prefer pwned, myself.

Follwing the incendiary subtitle, Campos trods familiar ground, noting that schools claim almost all their graduates get jobs as lawyers and that US Snooze has revised its employment rate calculations to make them "somewhat less inaccurate."

He hits his stride when he begins analyzing National Association for Law Placement (NALP) data. NALP reports that 63% of graduates of ABA schools have full-time legal positions within 9 months of graduating. Campos points out that NALP does not distinguish between permanent and temporary jobs. While the latter are typically low-status, low-paid clerical and document review, he also includes state trial-level clerkships as temporary positions.

Based on a T50 he analyzed, the true 9-month employment rate is 45%; lower-ranked schools fare worse.

In other news that will surprise only Ric Romero, he notes that employment figures are self-reported and that neither the schools nor NALP audit them. Unemployed and underemployed graduates tend not to report back to the school. Campos further "found several instances of people describing themselves as employed permanently or full-time, when in fact they had temporary or part-time jobs (I found no instances of inaccuracies running in the other direction)." Even T14s game their ranking by hiring alumni temporarily.

So, life after T50 is mostly for losers? What happens to the winners? They "often accept jobs that make them miserable, featuring insane hours and unfulfilling work, but which these graduates conclude they must take in order to pay their often astronomical educational debt."

Served. Indeed.

No comments:

Post a Comment