“Served: How law schools completely misrepresent their job numbers”

If law schools were viewed in the same light as for-profit vocational training schools, there’d probably be a big movement to shut them down:

Many law schools all but explicitly promise that, within a few months of graduation, practically all their graduates will obtain jobs as lawyers, by trumpeting employment figures of 95 percent, 97 percent, and even 99.8 percent. The truth is that less than half will.

Schools use a variety of shabby dodges to undercount jobless graduates while straining to count others as employed, all of which serves little public purpose beyond “the defense of a professional cartel from which law professors benefit more than almost anyone else.” [law professor Paul Campos at the University of Colorado, in the new issue of New Republic] When I spoke recently at Colorado on Schools for Misrule, Prof. Campos was kind enough to be the commenter, and I agreed with pretty much everything he had to say then and afterward.

P.S.: More generally from Alex Eichler, Atlantic Wire. And law school “merit scholarships” aren’t always quite as attractive as they seem.


  • I am an unemployed (5+ years with nothing but temp jobs unrelated to my training) PhD cell biologist. At the public institution where I attended graduate school, it is claimed that 98% of the graduates went on to careers in the field. The number was higher, but I complained to a politician about the lack of career resources offered to alumni at the institution, and he took an interest. So, the problem is not just law schools. The problem is with the data fudging and wildly inaccurate career advice. (We do not have enough people studying for careers in STEM fields!!!!)
    I would rather there exist an overcapacity in the educational system, combined with accurate, non-BS career advice, than have quotas to entry into the profession as exist in health fields, such as medicine. These quotas take the fear of competition away from already licensed practitioners, and encourage late-career physicians to neglect keeping their skills up to date. Physicians around the country howled when it was suggested that they need to periodically retake the board examinations. As for continuing medical education (CME) requirements, those were the people (physicians) sleeping in conference rooms at biomedical conferences. The scientists were awake – their careers depended on understanding the material.

  • I love Campos’s last sentence in that piece; I think the popolo minuto are going to be better off when the inevitable credentialing crash comes.