Newly released law school job-placement data is sparking renewed debate about postgraduate employment rates: Many schools report hiring their own graduates for jobs, straight out of law school.
Data from the American Bar Association's annual law-school questionnaire shows about three-fourths of ABA-accredited law schools hired their own grads, or funded their first jobs after commencement.
In fact, 24 law schools bankrolled jobs for at least 10% of their graduating class in 2010, a FindLaw analysis of the data shows. The Top 10 schools that hired the greatest proportion of their own graduates were:
1. The City University of New York School of Law, which funded 19.0% of their own graduates' post-law school jobs;
2. University of the Pacific, McGeorge School of Law, 17.5%;
3. University of San Francisco School of Law, 16.8%;
4. Yeshiva University's Benjamin N. Cardozo School of Law, 15.4%;
5. Fordham University School of Law, 14.9%;
6. University of Notre Dame Law School, 14.5%;
7. University of Minnesota Law School, 14.1%;
8. Temple University Beasley School of Law, 13.9%;
9. University of California, Hastings College of the Law, 13.8%; and
10. Florida Coastal School of Law, 13.6%.
What's more, many law school-funded positions were short-term fellowships that covered recent grads' unpaid legal work. Reporting these as "jobs" serves to boost a school's employment rate on paper, one critic opined for National Review.
Or, as one commentator posted at JDUnderground.com: "Doesn't that seem a heck of a lot like inbreeding?"
One law professor who scrutinized the 2010 numbers said he was "surprised at how widespread the practice is," JD Journal reports. "It's a powerful reflection of how hard it is to get a full-time legal job right now."
Perhaps we'll get a better picture of law schools hiring their own graduates when results for the Class of 2011 are released. The ABA hopes to publish that data by May or early June, The Wall Street Journal reports.