Largest employment gains by school


by Rebecca Larsen

While the nationwide employment rate for recent graduates has been largely flat during the past few years, some schools have bucked the trend and significantly improved their employment rates. Twenty law schools improved their employment rate by 10 percent or more during the past two years, according to a formula created by The National Jurist which uses data from the American Bar Association. The National Jurist created the formula in 2012 in order to assess schools for its Best Value ranking. 

Willamette University College of Law leads all schools with a 19 percent improvement, rising from 57.4 percent for the class of 2011 to 77.1 percent for the class of 2013.

The University of Illinois College of Law and Brooklyn Law School are right behind with a 17 percent improvement during the same time span.

“We strengthened our curriculum to make students more employable and made sure employers knew about it,” said Nick Allard, dean at Brooklyn Law School, which improved employment from 59 to 76 percent on the National Jurist scale. “We have a record high bar pass rate [94 percent), business boot camp, a center for business entrepreneurship and public service fellowships for the third year that secures students their first job after graduation.” 

Brooklyn has also improved its full-time bar passage required employment rate, but not by as much. It has risen from 47.2 percent to 56.5 percent. That means Brooklyn has aggresively improved J.D.-preferred positions and non-full-time positions. 

The National Jurist calculates its employment rate using a formula that tracks full-time bar passage required employment at 100 percent, full-time-JD preferred employment at 70 percent, and ten other categories at percents from 60 percent to as low as 10 percent for non-professional, full-time positions. The full formula is available here, along with raw employment data and calculations used by other sources: 


Top schools by improvement 2011 2013                        Percent improved
Willamette University 57.4% 77.2% 19.7
University of Illinois 64.5% 81.5% 17.1
Brooklyn Law School 59.0% 76.1% 17.0
Appalachian School of Law 44.1% 60.6% 16.5
University of Toledo 52.3% 68.1% 15.7
Washburn University 63.7% 78.5% 14.8
Georgetown University 76.0% 90.4% 14.4
William and Mary Law School 73.5% 87.1% 13.6
Boston University 64.2% 77.6% 13.4
Case Western Reserve University 63.8% 76.6% 12.8
Pepperdine University 56.2% 67.9% 11.8
Southern Illinois University 71.3% 82.7% 11.4
University of New Hampshire 67.8% 79.1% 11.4
University of Washington 70.5% 81.6% 11.1
University of Kansas 68.1% 79.1% 11.0
University of Maine 53.3% 63.8% 10.5
University of the District of Columbia 38.9% 49.2% 10.3
UCLA School of Law 74.7% 84.9% 10.2
CUNY School of Law 48.3% 58.4% 10.1

 A complete version of this story will appear in the Back to School edition of preLaw magazine, due out in late August.