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2012 Law School Employment Rankings

First, A DISCLAIMER. This article is my own personal curious analysis which I undertook on my own, and does not represent any viewpoint by the WVU College of Law or theABA. Although I am blogging on the “WVU College of Law Student Blog” is exactly that, a student blog.

Now then,

After I read this sobering article in The Atlantic I wanted to see for myself how the outlook at WVU Law was as far as employment rate. The gold standard implied in this article meant law grads who were employed in a job that 1) required bar passage; 2) was full time; and 3) was long term. If you’re curious to find a more nuanced definition of what this means you should consider working in legal career services, but also see the “2013 Questionnaire directions/instructions” on the ABA Job Report website.

Based on this full-time, bar passage, long-term “gold standard” of employment, I ranked the law schools by their percentage graduates employed to this standard. The top 30 results are listed here.

2012 Law School Employment Rankings

A full ranking by these calculations of all reporting law schools can be found here.

A couple of things to point out. I don’t think employment rate is the end-all-be-all of what makes a good law school. From a purely economic standpoint, I think this ranking seems to reflect a very one dimensional view of each law school graduate’s outlook (financial or otherwise). Don’t get me wrong, full-time, long-term, bar passage employment is the highest standard measured by the ABA in this study. But, as is often the case in the legal field, there are a variety of factors which are applied in different ways depending on each (graduate’s) factual circumstance.

A more robust financial analysis would perhaps include factors such as:
– Average starting salary of the employed graduates indexed against cost of living where these graduates found work; and/or
– Cost of tuition and living expenses while in law school.
Furthermore, a simple employment rate calculation says nothing of each school’s graduates’ ability to find work in either a specific field of law or a specific geographic location.

All that aside, I shouldn’t equivocate my way completely out of good news. Now matter how you slice it, I am quite pleased with the bottom-line here: In 2012, WVU Law had one of the very best employment rates for meaningful legal work in the country. As a prospective graduate of the Class of 2013, you can bet that this is a statistic I hope to maintain!

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