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Law School Transparency

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Law School Transparency

Law School Transparency
Formation 2009
Type Public Policy Think Tank
Location
Executive Director Kyle McEntee
Website LawSchoolTransparency.com

Law School Transparency is a Washington, DC-based [1]

History

Law School Transparency was founded in July 2009 by two law students at Vanderbilt University Law School, Kyle McEntee and Patrick J. Lynch. Their goal was to improve legal education and the legal profession through increased access to high-quality post-graduation job outcome information. The duo was motivated by Vanderbilt's comprehensive disclosure of job outcomes in early 2008. McEntee and several of his classmates decided to attend Vanderbilt in fall 2008 in part due to the information revealed by the law school.[2] In order to increase access to better information, McEntee and Lynch first identified two key problems with law school disclosure practices in a white paper originally published in April 2010.[3][4] An updated version of the white paper was published by Pace Law Review two years later.

First, law schools provided misleading and incomplete employment information that took advantage of how students understand law schools and the legal profession.[5][6] For example, law schools advertised basic employment rates that included any job in the numerator, whether short-term or long-term, part-time or full-time, legal or non-legal. Schools even counted volunteer jobs funded by the law school, leading almost every school to report employment rates over 90%. In addition, law schools reported deceptively high starting salaries. Notably, law schools reported the median salary for a small percentage of the class without disclosing the response rate or sampling bias.[7]

Second, law schools did not share basic information they possessed that would have helped students better understand school offerings and career paths. The result was an information asymmetry favoring law schools that enabled law schools to raise tuition prices indiscriminately.[8] To solve these problems, LST asked law schools to voluntarily disclose basic employment information about recent graduates.[9] Knowing that law schools would decline initially, McEntee and Lynch were actually targeting the American Bar Association's accreditation standards. By 2012, LST succeeded in reforming the ABA standards to better protect students and to hold law schools accountable, and in changing attitudes about how law schools interact with prospective students.[10]

[13]

Programs

LST Score Reports

This web tool helps students make smart application and enrollment choices using admissions, employment, and cost information. While not rankings, they do serve as an alternative to conventional law school rankings. LST does not reduce complex data to a single metric. Instead, LST's tool focuses students on schools that have observable relationships to specific legal markets and job types. The result is a product that makes appropriate, useful comparisons and provides a thorough understanding of how schools stack up, how much they cost, and how they’re trending.[14]

LST Transparency Index

This project affects how law schools disclose consumer information and impacts how the ABA enforces Standard 509, the accreditation standard LST played a major role in enhancing. In the most recent index, LST did a two-fold analysis of law school websites. First it asked whether law schools were violating any part of Standard 509. This portion of the index was designed to ensure law schools follow the rules and to ensure that the ABA is held accountable for its failure to enforce. Second it asked whether law schools were meeting transparency norms set by LST. This portion of the index was designed to change the norms under which law schools operate.[15]

NALP Report Database

This project tracks whether law schools are disclosing an employment report that they receive from NALP. LST began tracking the publication of these reports for graduates from the class of 2010.[16] At that time, no law schools published so-called NALP Reports. As of May 2014, 56% of ABA-approved law schools published their class of 2012 NALP Reports.[17]

Leadership

LST is led by its executive director and co-founder, Kyle McEntee. Patrick J. Lynch, the other co-founder, is the chair of the board of directors. LST relies on many volunteers and on part-time consultants and employees.[18]

External links

  • Law School Transparency
  • LST Score Reports
  • LST Transparency Index
  • NALP Report Database

References

  1. ^ LST Mission, Law School Transparency.
  2. ^ LST's Origins, Law School Transparency.
  3. ^ Kyle P. McEntee and Patrick J. Lynch, A Way Forward: Transparency at American Law Schools,SSRN, April 10, 2010.
  4. ^ Karen Sloan, Law Students Push Schools for Better Employment Numbers, National Law Journal, April 21, 2010.
  5. ^ John Eligon, Jobs Data More Vital to Her Than Food, New York Times, August 27, 2010.
  6. ^ David Segal, For 2nd Year, a Sharp Drop in Law School Entrance Tests, New York Times, March 20, 2012.
  7. ^ Amanda Becker, Critics say law schools don't give students realistic career expectations, Washington Post, February 18, 2011.
  8. ^ Kyle P. McEntee and Patrick J. Lynch, A Way Forward: Transparency at American Law Schools, Pace Law Review (2012), available at SSRN.
  9. ^ Debra Cassens Weiss, New Nonprofit Asks Law Schools for Detailed Salary, Job Information, ABA Journal, July 13, 2010.
  10. ^ David Yellen, Advancing Transparency in Law School Employment Data: The ABA's New Standard 509, The Bar Examiner, December 2012.
  11. ^ David Lat & Elie Mystal, Increasing Transparency in Employment Reporting by Law Schools: What Is to Be Done?, Above the Law, April 21, 2010.
  12. ^ David Lat & Elie Mystal, Increasing Transparency in Employment Reporting by Law Schools: What Is to Be Done?, Above the Law, April 21, 2010.
  13. ^ Vivia Chen, Law School Transparency Gets R-E-S-P-E-C-T, The Careerist, June 14, 2011.
  14. ^ Guide to Using the LST Score Reports
  15. ^ LST Transparency Index
  16. ^ NALP Report Database
  17. ^ Kyle McEntee, Transparency Review in Advance of New Law School Jobs Data, Law.com, April 4, 2014.
  18. ^ LST Team, Law School Transparency.
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