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April 09, 2014


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Former Editor

It's worth observing that according to LST's breakdown of the numbers we are still looking at underemployment/unemployment rate of 26.8% and that the number of school funded positions increased by half.


You should not count solo jobs and law school funded jobs as full time, long term. If you exclude such jobs, you end up with 53%.


What is "JD advantaged"?

Check out the Detailed Analysis of JD Advantage Jobs, May 2013, by the NALP.

"Starting with the law school Class of 2011, a new term of art entered our lexicon — “JD Advantage.” It is a phrase that NALP and the ABA use to describe a category of jobs for which bar passage is not required but for which a JD degree provides a distinct advantage. ... The ABA’s Questionnaire Committee (now the Data Policy and Collection Committee) coined the term “JD Advantage,” and, in collaboration with NALP, arrived at the definition."

"Jobs in this category ... do not require bar passage, an active law license, or involve practicing law. Examples of positions for which a JD is an advantage include a job as a corporate contracts administrator, alternative dispute resolution specialist, government regulatory analyst, FBI agent, and accountant. Also included might be jobs in personnel or human resources, jobs with investment banks, jobs with consulting firms, jobs doing compliance work for business and industry, jobs in law firm professional development, and jobs in law school career services offices, admissions offices, or other law school administrative offices. Doctors or nurses who plan to work in a litigation, insurance, or risk management setting or as expert witnesses could fall into this category, as could journalists and teachers (in a higher education setting) of law and law-related topics."

Journalists, doctors, nurses, accountants ... is there any theme here?

Fun fact: was the author of Gideon's Trumpet JD Advantaged?

Lois Turner

Odd that they omitted to list major league baseball manager, owner of the Pittsburgh Steelers or founder of California Pizza Kitchen chain.

If underperforming medical schools were to try to justify themselves by talking about the "M.D. Advantage" jobs their graduates could compete for -- like working as a salesman of medical equipment or a personal injury claims adjuster -- they'd be laughed at. But law schools . . .


Add to your analogy a medical school counting as "employed" a student it admitted who scored in the bottom 20% on the MCAT, then failed the USMLE, hired by the medical school to work in the medical school's career services office, admissions office, or some other medical school administrative office - on a part time and temporary basis.


Lois and Anon,

Fine analogies. I wouldn't care so much about the law school grift if the scam were victimless and if law faculty weren't so smug and self-important.


Most of the nauseating facts are being disclosed, albeit in somewhat misleading and nauseating ways.
Any instance of outright chicanery if discovered at this point will be likely outcome determinative for that institution, at least at the lower levels.


Looks like the problem is at the low end, not at the top or even the middle range of schools.

Ronald Johns

The jobs are simply not there for law school graduates, so there need to be less law students. It sounds simple, but it starts with students simply not applying for law school so the jobs numbers get corrected.

alta charo

Hmmm. Although it is true I passed a bar, I have never held a job in which bar passage was required, including a position at an academic-based consulting service, another as a staffer for Congress, another as a policy analyst for a couple of different federal agencies, and another as a law school faculty member. All these would be considered "JD advantage" jobs under the definition above. Yet, to me, they all seem like perfectly legitimate jobs to be reported under my alma mater's employment statistics. Why so much snarking?

Former Editor

I think the snark is because the category appears to be so squishy, and because some schools appear to be taking the definition quite broadly in their reporting. In other words, while Congressional staffer would seem to fit, other less prestigious jobs that seem to pretty clearly be underemployment for those with a JD would also fall into the category. For example, an entry level HR position also counts as a JD advantage job as would being a tax preparer. It's not even clear to me that a position as a paralegal would not fall into the JD advantage basket. Because of the spread of types of jobs, the category becomes a somewhat useless indicator of how those graduates are really fairing as a group. Yet the name, "JD Advantaged" implies that it should be a meaningful indicator of employment in a law-related position.

Alta Charo

Well perhaps what we need is not "JD advantaged" but rather "JD required but no bar required."


Alto Charo
Take a look at the definition provided by NALP.
The change you suggest would eliminate a substantial number of the "JD Advantage" jobs presently being counted.

Bathsheba Boldwood

According to today's L.A. Daily Journal, only 64% of the U.C. Erwin Law School class of 2013 managed to get full-time permanent lawyer jobs -- compared with 84% in 2012. Over 21% of the class are unemployed and looking. Dean Irvine Chemerinsky is quoted as saying he's "not worried."


Why should he worry?
Everything is fine for Erwin.
Who cares what a bunch of scam bloggers say?

Concerned Citizen

It may be worth noting that 2013's "Full time, long term, JD-Required" jobs in the school-funded category are 149% of the 2012 amount.

To the extent that plumping one's "full time, JD-required" category with school jobs might be considered an offense, the winners of the biggest offender award for the 2013 data include (ranked by percentage of grads categorized as "FT-LT-JD Required" that are school-funded jobs):

UMass Dartmouth ____ 10.3%
L&C ______________ 10.4%
UIUC _____________ 11.9%
UCLA _____________ 12.3%
GULC _____________ 13.5%
American __________ 16.0%
UVA ______________ 16.7%
GW _______________ 18.8% (surprising drop from ~ 26% of its 2012 grads)
W&M ______________ 25.9%
Emory _____________ 26.0% (warm welcome to the surprising new entrant to the top 10, vaulting all the way to the #1 spot from less than 9% of its 2012 grads)

Concerned Citizen

Professor Charo, I think the snark related to the JD advantage category is because experiences like yours fall into the category of the "one in a million" anecdote.

There are always anecdotes about the person who has lived a one in a million life, or become the owner of a major league ball team, or whatever.

In 2013 they counted some 12000+ JD-advantage jobs. While anecdotes about the very interesting person's life are, well, very interesting, how many of those 12000 JD-advantage jobs do you think fell into the categories you've listed?

How many brand new JD's each year become Congressional staffers?

How many brand new JD's each year become pubpol analysts at think tanks? Etc.

While I doubt anyone knows for sure, given the self-reporting nature, I think most people believe the large majority of those 12K JD-advantage jobs are low-level dead ends rather than, say, a path to tenure.

Bathsheba Boldwood

Good morning Professor Charo.

I note that you are employed at the University of Wisconsin Law School.

Could you tell us how many "academic-based consulting services" came to your school for on-campus interviewing last year? Or how many of your 2013 graduates found work with such entities?

How about "federal agencies"? Any of them come to Wisconsin law in search of policy analysts last year?

How many of Wisconsin's 2013 graduates are now law school faculty members?

Former Editor

Prof. Charo,

You are right that we need something more like "JD required but no bar required" for the category to be a useful metric. At present, however, "JD Advantaged" is the category we have. Once we have a less misleading category I'm sure that the snark will mostly evaporate. Until then the snark is totally appropriate.

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