Schools With Big Employment Gains

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Up-And-Comers On The Employment Front

If you’re attending law school, you probably can’t help but worry. Sure, you hear good news: Salaries are up (slightly), according to the NALP. With enrollments down in the coming years, you’ll face less competition for jobs (if the glut of out-of-work grads has given up on law careers, that is). But there is one number that scares you: 57 percent. That’s the percentage of graduates who earned full-time, long-term jobs (i.e. not contract, part-time, or school-based jobs), according to the American Bar Association (ABA).
Like everyone, you’re feverishly networking and snapping up pro bono work, hoping to grab any slight advantage in the job market. Trust me, your career services department is working just as hard. These days, a law school’s reputation is measured more by job placement than its research prowess, students’ LSAT scores, clerkships, or endowment.
So which schools are best at placement? Well, by that measure, you’re looking at Columbia University, the University of Chicago, New York University, and the University of Pennsylvania. But those are big ticket schools that will likely sit atop the hiring pyramid. When it comes to the up-and-comers, you’ll find some surprises on the list.
Recently, The National Jurist pored over the ABA’s latest hiring data and found that the Truman Wesley Collins Law Center at Willamette University ranked #1 for employment growth. Even though the school’s name sounds like a law firm, its placement rose 19.7% from 2011-2013, jumping from 57.4% to 77.2%. The University of Illinois finished second, with a 17.1% increase, going from 64.5% to 81.5% over two years (despite dropping 5 spots in the U.S. News rankings during that same period). Brooklyn Law, which recently cut tuition by 15 percent, also showed a 17.1% rise in placement.
Among higher-ranked schools, the top performances were turned in by the Georgetown Law Center (+14.4%), Boston University (+13.4%), the University of Washington (+11.1%), and UCLA (+10.2%).
According to The National Jurist, the employment rates were calculated “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.”
Here is The National Jurist’s list of the law schools that produced a job placement increase of 10% or better over the past two years:

Top Schools by Improvement 2011 2013   % Improved
1.  Willamette 57.40% 77.20% 19.70%
2.  Illinois 64.50% 81.50% 17.10%
3.  Brooklyn 59.00% 76.10% 17.10%
4.  Appalachian 44.10% 60.60% 16.50%
5.  Toledo 52.30% 68.10% 15.70%
6.  Washburn 63.70% 78.50% 14.80%
7.  Georgetown 76.00% 90.40% 14.40%
8.  William & Mary 73.50% 87.10% 13.60%
9.  Boston University 64.20% 77.60% 13.40%
10. Case Western 63.80% 76.60% 12.80%
11. Pepperdine 56.20% 67.90% 11.80%
12. Southern Illinois 71.30% 82.70% 11.40%
12. New Hampshire 67.80% 79.10% 11.40%
14. University of Washington 70.50% 81.60% 11.10%
15. Kansas 68.10% 79.10% 11.0%
16. Maine 53.30% 63.80% 10.50%
17. UDC 38.90% 49.20% 10.30%
18, UCLA 74.70% 84.90% 10.20%
19. CUNY 48.30% 58.40% 10.10%

Above the Law also reviewed the ABA employment and compiled a different ranking than The National Jurist. To review Above the Law’s rankings, click here.
Source: National Jurist

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