Employment on the rise

Five law schools have improved their employment rates by an average of 5 percent or more during the past five years. 

Law schools at Pace University, Boston University, Hofstra University, St. John’s University and Drexel University have seen the greatest consistent improvements in their employment trends for the Class of 2011 through the Class of 2015.

Employment at Pace was just 54.3 percent in 2011, but that rate has climbed to 77.6 percent for last year’s graduating class. That’s a 5.6 percent upward trend.

National Jurist ran a linear regression analysis on five years worth of employment data to find an overall trend for average annual change. A trend of 5 percent means that employment increased at an average rate of 5 percent per year for the graduates of 2011 through 2015.

Thirty-four law schools saw upward trends of 3 percent or more over this period. 

Of the 199 schools with more than three years worth of employment data analyzed, the vast majority had a positive trend line, even if just slight. Fifty-two schools saw less than a 1 percent increase over this time period.

Meanwhile, 41 schools saw an overall drop in their employment rates for the five-year period. Four had a downward trend greater than 4 percent, and three of those were in Texas — St. Mary’s University, South Texas College of Law and Texas Southern University. 

For more on this story, be sure to read the Back to School issue of preLaw. 

The following 34 law schools had five-year trends above 3.0 percent: 

  • PACE UNIVERSITY    5.60%
  • BOSTON UNIVERSITY           5.49%
  • HOFSTRA UNIVERSITY         5.41%
  • ST. JOHN'S UNIVERSITY       5.14%
  • DREXEL UNIVERSITY           5.06%
  • WASHINGTON AND LEE UNIVERSITY        4.65%
  • LOYOLA MARYMOUNT UNIVERSITY-LOS ANGELES         4.53%
  • BROOKLYN LAW SCHOOL    4.53%
  • DEPAUL UNIVERSITY           4.50%
  • WASHINGTON UNIVERSITY 4.18%
  • VILLANOVA UNIVERSITY     4.15%
  • CALIFORNIA-LOS ANGELES, UNIVERSITY OF         4.05%
  • NEW YORK LAW SCHOOL    4.03%
  • ILLINOIS, UNIVERSITY OF    4.01%
  • FLORIDA, UNIVERSITY OF    3.90%
  • ALBANY LAW SCHOOL OF UNION UNIVERSITY    3.80%
  • WHITTIER LAW SCHOOL     3.76%
  • COLORADO, UNIVERSITY OF           3.75%
  • IDAHO, UNIVERSITY OF       3.73%
  • DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA      3.65%
  • APPALACHIAN SCHOOL OF LAW     3.63%
  • QUINNIPIAC UNIVERSITY    3.51%
  • KANSAS, UNIVERSITY OF     3.40%
  • OHIO STATE UNIVERSITY    3.35%
  • SETON HALL UNIVERSITY   3.28%
  • AMERICAN UNIVERSITY      3.28%
  • NORTHEASTERN UNIVERSITY        3.26%
  • MICHIGAN STATE UNIVERSITY       3.23%
  • CALIFORNIA-DAVIS, UNIVERSITY OF          3.23%
  • SOUTHERN CALIFORNIA, UNIVERSITY OF             3.23%
  • WILLAMETTE UNIVERSITY 3.19%
  • CARDOZO SCHOOL OF LAW             3.14%
  • TOLEDO, UNIVERSITY OF    3.10%
  • CITY UNIVERSITY OF NEW YORK   3.05%

In its employment rate formula, National Jurist assigns specific "weights" to different job types, effectively valuing some jobs more than others. Full time, long term jobs that require bar passage are the only positions that are given full weight. All other jobs are assigned less weight as follows:

  • Bar Passage Required: Full-time, Long Term is counted at 100%.
  • Bar Passage Required: Full-time, Short Term 70%
  • JD Advantage: Full-time, Long Term 70%
  • Professional position: Full-time, Long Term 60%
  • Bar Passage Required: Part-time, Long Term 50%
  • JD Advantage: Part-time, Long Term 40%
  • JD Advantage: Full-time, Short Term 40%
  • Bar Passage Required: Part-Time, Short Term 30%
  • Professional position: Part-time, Long Term 30%
  • Professional position: Full-time, Short Term 30%
  • JD Advantage: Part-Time, Short Term 10%
  • Non-Professional position: Full-time, Long Term 10%
  • All other categories received no value.

National Jurist multiplies the number of students employed in each category by the percentages assigned to each category. Then, we add up the total and divide by the number of JD graduates minus the number seeking further education.

Sum of all Jobs (applying assigned weights) [divided by] All JD Graduates – (minus) Graduates Seeking Further Education

In the denominator, this formula addresses graduates who are not looking for work for one reason (to pursue further education), but it does not account for graduates who are out of the workforce for other reasons—e.g. unemployed graduates not seeking employment, and graduates not seeking employment because they have a deferred offer. Nor does it exclude from the calculation those graduates whose employment status is unknown.