Law school applicants, beware. Those job placement figures might not be what they seem and you should absolutely check the fine print. Tamesha Keel, assistant dean of career services at Penn State’s Dickinson School of Law, took the time in her weekly column to remind and urge law school applicants to take a closer look at job placement numbers. Specifically, Keel says to watch for “J.D. advantage” positions—jobs that require a J.D. but not bar passage. Reports provided by schools and the American Bar Association reflect “J.D. required” jobs—or those that require a J.D. and bar passage.
Of course everyone knows what a “J.D. required” job is. They cover law firm careers, judicial clerkships, nonprofit, and government positions. But what exactly is a “J.D. advantage” job? Well, the ABA says these are jobs “for which the employer sought an individual with a J.D., and perhaps even required a J.D., or for which the J.D. provided a demonstrable advantage in obtaining or performing the job, but which does not itself require bar passage or an active law license or involve practicing law.”
According to Keel, these could include jobs in human resources or within investment firms and banks. As a result, “responsive schools” are now providing courses and instruction around topics not covered on the bar. Some examples include courses in accounting, project management, wealth management, and tax advisement.
With hiring in traditional legal jobs remaining flat or slowly increasing, Keel points to J.D. advantage jobs as a place where recent law graduates can find success. According to her report, almost 15% of the class of 2014 held J.D. advantage jobs.
The obvious question to this is, is this all made up hype from a frantic career services office? How many people actually envision themselves going into wealth management, banking, or accounting when they enter law school? As Keel states, students are getting “savvier” in how they job search and present themselves in front of employers. However, the inverse may also be true: Career services departments should become savvier in prepping their students for J.D. required job search success.
Source: Huffington Post
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