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US News Law School Rankings Will Add More Job Info on Law Grads

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By Tanya Roth, Esq. on December 20, 2010 5:50 AM

It looks as if all the protesting, pushing and even hunger strikes were worth it.

U.S. News and World Report's Law School Rankings has agreed to, if not glass-like transparency, at least to shine a brighter light on unemployment statistics from law schools in their rankings. While there will be no change in how the rankings themselves are calculated, there will be more data on job market and employment statistics for soon-to-be J.D.s to sink their teeth into.

Robert Morse, head of data and research for the law school rankings, says the new data will provide a clearer picture to students and those researching law schools, reports The Wall Street Journal. As of now, the rankings report how many grads are employed at the time of graduation and at the 9 months-after mark. Beginning with next year's rankings, much more information will be provided.

U.S. News already collects data on how many grads are seeking work at graduation and still looking 9 months after, as well has how many have taken clerkships, or whose status is unknown. This data will now be included in the report, beginning with stats on the class of 2009, reports The Journal.

How did the change come about? According to Robert Morse, it was pressure from the group Law School Transparency that helped push for change.

Maybe a bit of that pressure also came from hunger striker Ethan Haines, whose strike goals included a request for ten randomly picked law schools to comply with requests from the Law School Transparency campaign for better stats on unemployment to be kept by the schools themselves. This would of course make the data collection and transmission of U.S. News that much easier and more accurate.

But now that a clear new day of transparency is at hand, will it make a difference? As noted in a prior post, a recent survey showed that prospective law students looked almost exclusively at the numerical ranking of a school when choosing a potential academic home. They placed much, much less emphasis on the employment stats or even on cost, or location. So, will more data equal better decision making, or will students still believe it is enough just to go to a great school? Let's check in same time next year...

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