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North CentralWhich Region Had The Best Employment Rates For Law School Grads?

Wondering where in the United States you should go for your greatest chances of landing a job requiring a JD? The Institute for the Advancement of the American Legal System (IAALS) at the University of Denver has you covered.
The national, independent research center has been inputting American Bar Association job placement data from the past four years into a helpful interactive map. Viewers can look at current data and trends for individual schools, states, and regions dating back to 2011. And, according to the ABA, trends are on the uptick.
In 2011, only 63% of graduates by nine months after graduation held full-time, long-term jobs that required a JD and bar passage. In 2012, the number jumped to 65.7% and then to 67.3% in 2013. There was another jump in 2014 to 71.1%, but it should be noted schools were not required to report placement numbers until 10 months out instead of nine the previous years.
So which law schools had the greatest increases in employment numbers since 2011? They were those in the “West North Central” region, which includes schools in Iowa, Kansas, Minnesota, Missouri, Nebraska, North Dakota, and South Dakota. Since 2011, the region has seen an increase of 13.4% and is now the region with the highest employment rate of 79.2%.
Leading the progress was the University of South Dakota School of Law, which had an increase from 45.5% to 79%—a jump of more than 22%—since 2011. Washington University in St. Louis leapt by nearly 25% from 66.2% to 91.1%. Washburn University in Topeka, Kansas shot up from 55.6% to 79.5%. In fact, 10 out of the 16 schools in the region made double-digit percentage increases.
The region with the next highest placement rate in 2014 is the Mid-Atlantic with 75.7%, followed by the Mountain region with 74.3%. The toughest place to find a job in 2014 was the Pacific region with just 63.7%.
List of regions:

  1. West North Central: 79.2%
  2. Mid-Atlantic: 75.7%
  3. Mountain: 74.3%
  4. West South Central: 74.1%
  5. East South Central: 73.1%
  6. New England: 72.5%
  7. South Atlantic: 71.9%
  8. East North Central: 69.8%
  9. Pacific: 63.7%

Source: ABA Journal and IAALS