Young Lawyers Demand the Truth about Law Schools

by Vault Law Editors | February 15, 2011

  • My Vault

Law schools, get ready to pull up your shades. The ABA’s Young Lawyers Division (“YLD”) is getting serious about transparency. Over the weekend, the YLD approved the Truth in Law School Education resolution (“TILSE”) to encourage law schools to provide accurate and more-accessible employment information to prospective law students. The YLD will present TILSE to ABA’s House of Delegates this summer at the ABA’s Annual Meeting.

According to TILSE, “[t]hose entering our profession should have an accurate understanding of the employment opportunities and salaries available to recent law school graduates. There is a greater need for publicly-available, accessible facts for prospective law school students, so that these individuals are able to make a more informed decision regarding their future careers.”

The following are among TILSE’s unsurprising findings:

•Currently, “there are fewer jobs available to law school graduates,” and many jobs secured are temporary.
•Law schools have been creating jobs for their graduates.
•NALP predicts the unemployment trend to continue for the classes of 2010 and 2011.
•Law schools are manipulating salary information “to provide a much rosier employment picture to prospective law students, which in turn may contribute to the increase in law school enrollment.”
•Law students have “historically high debt” and are without employment opportunities to meet such debt.

The YLD is encouraging law schools to disclose accurate employment information, including type of employment, whether or not it is in the legal field, whether it is part-time or full-time and whether or not the work is permanent. Law schools should publicize this employment information, as well as accurate salary statistics and data on law-school costs.

TILSE doesn’t just call out law schools, though—it also focuses on the Section of Legal Education and Admissions to the Bar (“the section”). The YLD recommends that the section revise the Standards for Approval of Law Schools and implement a model questionnaire, which will include points from TILSE, to collect information.

Some of the comments to the ABA Journal’s write-up of TILSE were negative and projected a “too little, too late” mentality. I think that any progress on this issue is a good thing, and the more awareness we bring to the financial and employment realities, the better. Some schools, like Washington & Lee University School of Law, are already making tremendous progress in transparency for prospective and current law students. Hopefully TILSE will propel more schools to start opening up and sharing accurate information.

Truth in Law School Education resolution
ABA Journal source

Read More:
Young Lawyers Division of ABA Presses for Truth in Law School Employment Data
Washington & Lee Law School Gets Even More Transparent
Competition, Innovation, and Efficiency Mark the Future of the Legal Industry

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Filed Under: Law

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