As is the case every year, the U.S. News & World Report releases its rankings with data that becomes obsolete in a matter of weeks. Its rankings include the Class of 2013 employment data. But schools have released their Class of 2014 employment data. The ABA has not yet released the spreadsheet of the data, but individual schools have. I thought I'd recreate last year's data on California law school employment outcomes, with a couple of tweaks due to external changes.
Complaints from law school deans in California were heeded. Employment outcomes are now reported at ten months' after graduation instead of nine. But the decline in bar pass rates for the Class of 2014 meant, in all likelihood, a more challenging environment.
The USNWR methodology also changed slightly, too. It still prints the "employed" rate as "the percentage of all graduates who had a full-time job lasting at least a year for which bar passage was required or a J.D. degree was an advantage." But this year, it announced that would not give "full weight" in its internal ranking metric to jobs that were funded by the law school. (Many law schools have migrated toward providing funding for these types of positions; we'll see if that was motivated by the USNWR methodology, and, if so, we'll see if any react by rolling back those programs.) USNWR gives other positions lower weight, but these positions are not included in the ranking tables. And while it includes J.D. advantage positions, there remain disputes about whether those positions are really as valuable.
A few things jump out from the data. First, there were fewer graduates: there were about 400 fewer graduates from California schools, from 5185 for the Class of 2013 to 4731 for the Class of 2014.
Second, total job placement remained flat. Between 2800-2900 California graduates obtained unfunded positions in the last three years. This year shows that 2849 obtained these unfunded, full-weight positions, good for 60.2% of California graduates--a percentage better than previous years, no doubt, because of the smaller graduating classes.
Third, school-funded positions continue to rise. There were 145 school-funded positions from California schools .Two schools significantly increased school-funded positions: USC went from 12 to 33 (15% of the graduating class), and UC-Irvine went from 0 to 13 (14% of the graduating class). Davis added 9, and Stanford and Loyola each added 5 more school-funded positions, among other more modest changes. (Keep in mind that the Class of 2012 had just 24 such school-funded positions among California schools.)
Below is a graph of the unfunded and funded full-time, long-term, bar passage-required and J.D.-advantage positions. The chart below that reflects the same data, with the 2016 USNWR peer score, the full-time, long-term, bar passage-required and J.D.-advantage positions, along with year-over-year increase or decline in points from the 2013 rate. It then lists the raw number of students who obtained such positions, along with a parenthetical notation of how many of those positions were school-funded. The same is listed for 2013.
|4.4||CALIFORNIA-BERKELEY, UNIVERSITY OF||95.5%||5.1||274||(20)||90.4%||2.3||272||(25)|
|3.9||CALIFORNIA-LOS ANGELES, UNIVERSITY OF||87.5%||5.3||294||(32)||82.2%||5.1||273||(34)|
|3.5||SOUTHERN CALIFORNIA, UNIVERSITY OF||85.7%||14.7||186||(33)||71.0%||-1.4||169||(12)|
|3.0||CALIFORNIA-IRVINE, UNIVERSITY OF||84.9%||18.3||79||(13)||66.7%||-19||56||(0)|
|3.3||CALIFORNIA-DAVIS, UNIVERSITY OF||81.7%||8.2||138||(19)||73.5%||5.6||144||(10)|
|2.5||LOYOLA LAW SCHOOL-LOS ANGELES||71.0%||11.8||281||(10)||59.1%||10.4||230||(5)|
|1.9||MCGEORGE SCHOOL OF LAW||59.4%||12.5||111||(1)||46.9%||3.1||149||(3)|
|2.6||SAN DIEGO, UNIVERSITY OF||58.1%||-2.0||155||(1)||60.1%||8.4||191||(0)|
|3.1||CALIFORNIA-HASTINGS, UNIVERSITY OF||57.7%||10.5||232||(2)||47.2%||-4.5||176||(2)|
|1.5||CALIFORNIA WESTERN SCHOOL OF LAW||57.1%||15.4||125||(0)||41.6%||-7.8||117||(0)|
|1.9||SOUTHWESTERN LAW SCHOOL||55.9%||3.9||175||(1)||52.0%||-4.5||156||(0)|
|nr||LA VERNE, UNIVERSITY OF||50.0%||9.3||22||(0)||40.7%||4.2||35||(1)|
|2.4||SANTA CLARA UNIVERSITY||47.9%||-8.3||125||(0)||56.2%||-0.2||181||(1)|
|2.1||SAN FRANCISCO, UNIVERSITY OF||46.7%||-0.8||92||(0)||47.5%||14.9||95||(1)|
|1.1||WESTERN STATE COLLEGE OF LAW||45.3%||1.4||68||(0)||43.9%||4.1||54||(0)|
|1.4||WHITTIER LAW SCHOOL||43.8%||13.3||85||(0)||30.5%||-15.4||64||(0)|
|1.3||THOMAS JEFFERSON SCHOOL OF LAW||41.0%||0.0||120||(0)||41.0%||4.8||120||(0)|
|1.6||GOLDEN GATE UNIVERSITY||31.7%||2.7||58||(2)||28.9%||1.8||66||(1)|