To Everything, There Is a Link—Third Tier Surreality? Carnegie Mellon’s Pre-Law Society Webpage Tells Us Its Law School of the Week

(1) Debra Cassens Weiss, “Why a Better Economy Is Bad News for Some BigLaw Partners,” and, “Largest Law Firms Still Shrinking, Shedding 1,400 Lawyers This Year,” in the ABA Journal

There’s only the thinnest slice of plausibility in which these two articles don’t facially conflict.  It would require clear evidence of economic recovery in the legal sector.  Simply believing (as I suspect the ABA does) the NBER’s recent conclusion that the recession ended in June 2009 is insufficient.  Unless the legal economy starts adding lawyer jobs fast, Debra Cassens Weiss (and her editors) will have to write more consistently.

(2) Carnegie Mellon Pre-Law Society, “Law School of the Week: Boston College Law School

I noticed CMU’s “Law School of the Week” last week when it celebrated Albany Law School but chose to ignore it.  This week, though, it cracked me up.  On Boston College Law School, the Society teaches us:

The employment prospects are even more promising: almost 98% of students in the 2008 class secured jobs within nine months of graduation. This class enjoyed a median salary of $160,000 in their first year, with 65% accepting jobs in the private sector and about 15% taking on judicial clerkships.

Normally, I just sigh and shrug my shoulders when anyone relays a law school’s self-reported graduate employment statistics, but CMU Pre-Law really has to do better.  One, BC’s 2009 statistics are readily available on its website.  Two, CMU Pre-Law really bumbles into newspeak territory when it dedicates precious Internet electrons to a law school whose own 3Ls futilely ask for a tuition refund when faced with their non-job prospects.  Now, I have neither the time nor the patience to correct everyone on all God’s little law schools—I leave that to Third Tier Reality—but if you’re going to report on law schools, do your research and at least try to appear to know what’s going on in the law school news.



  1. I don’t know what you are so worked up about, Matt. BC seems to be the place to attend law school: One-half of its 2009 graduates earned salaries of above $160,000 a year. Not many law schools can honestly report such commendable results.

  2. Hmm…

    That’s not my point. I’m contrasting how CMU relays BC’s data while I’m still hearing about the 3L pleading for his money back. It feels like we’re in two different worlds, hence the surrealism.

    Looking through BC’s stats…

    We have 1 non-response (which is pretty good)
    We don’t know how many “aren’t seeking work” (244-x)
    At best, only 6 of its graduates were unemployed. (244-x x .976 = >5, if 0 aren’t seeking work)
    It doesn’t tell us if anyone went on to a second degree. (= 244 – non-workers – unemployed – x)
    It doesn’t tell us how many of the 244 reported their salaries with the survey, nor whether those working are associates, contract workers, etc.

    As for the 31.7% reported in non-private practice…
    Do those with judicial clerkships have anything lined up for when their clerkships conclude?
    We don’t know the details of business/corporations. Are these jobs requiring judgment or are they working class occupations?
    Same goes for “government/public interest”.
    We don’t know the salaries for “business/corporations” and “academia”. Are the latter law professors (some of mine were almost straight out of law school so it’s possible), or are they research assistants, library staff, &c.?

    In short, there are so many ways law schools market their stats that I don’t trust them, and I certainly don’t enjoy slogging through them. True, best guess is that the average BC 2009 grad did better than those at lesser-regarded schools, and BC had an easier time reporting that. But when its 3Ls are asking for their money back, I doubt the situation is nearly as good as it looks.

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