The Life

September 16, 2010 2:03 PM

Blogs Target Law Schools as Quest for Better Job Statistics Hits Dead End

Posted by Brian Baxter

UPDATE: 9/16/10, 4:40 p.m. Kyle McEntee tells us that another law school, Ave Maria School of Law, has agreed to provide job statistics that meet the standard requested by Law School Transparency.

For years, especially since the beginning of the economic downturn two years ago, law schools have been accused of overstating the job prospects and earning potential of graduates in order to sell a new class of students on the law school experience.

Earlier this year, Vanderbilt University law students Kyle McEntee and Patrick Lynch cofounded the nonprofit Law School Transparency project in order to ferret out accurate statistics. In July they asked 199 law schools accredited by the American Bar Association to provide more detailed job numbers than what they give the ABA or U.S. News & World Report. Many law school critics hailed the move as a sign the veil would finally be lifted on those that fudged their numbers, reports Karen Sloan of sibling publication The National Law Journal.

Alas, it was not to be. The NLJ reports that just 11 schools have met the September 10 deadline to respond to the Vanderbilt students' requests, and only three have stated they are considering providing the requested data. (Those three schools are American University's Washington College of Law, the University of Michigan Law School, and Vanderbilt Law School, according to Sloan. Click here for the survey sent to schools, courtesy of Above the Law.)

McEntee told Sloan he's not discouraged by the response so far--some schools told him that disclosing such information would violate student privacy--and he hopes to have some data collected by the end of the year.

Other law school critics are still ranting into the blogosphere, including one who resorted to a half-hearted hunger strike to vent her frustration. And the ranks of such bloggers are growing, reports Douglas Malan of sibling publication The Connecticut Law Tribune.

At a time when hundreds--if not thousands--of associates have been laid off and scores of other graduates remain jobless or deferred, Malan reports that several dozen blogs have gained notoriety for revealing what they characterize as the "law school scam."

Malan spoke with the authors behind blogs like First Tier Toilet, Third Tier Reality, Esq. Never, and The Jobless Juris Doctor about the employment prospects for students outside the country's top eight law schools, as well as student loan debts reaching six-figures for some graduates.

And that's just scratching the surface. The Am Law Daily had a quick look at more than a dozen similar blogs out there, such as Exposing The Law School Scam, Highest Education, Legal Nihilist, Outside Lies Magic, Rose Colored Glasses, Scammed Hard!, Shilling Me Softly, Subprime JD, Tales of the Fourth-Tier Nothing and, dare we say, Fluster Cucked. No doubt there are countless others.

New England College School of Law professor Bill Childs, who told Malan he follows blogs that decry the law school experience as a scam, doesn't take offense to what they're saying, but also doesn't think that law schools are fraudsters.

"Law school is not the best idea for everyone in the world," Childs said. "Some of these blogs are coming from an honest place and are saying, 'Think about your choices carefully.' I can't argue with that. I think that's good."

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The market for lawyers fresh from college is bleak regardless of the college they attended. I believe when you enter college the majority of students seem to have a career in mind when enrolling. Some do change their majors. But after all the decision to become a lawyer in most cases is a personal inner decision.

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