Visualizing law school federal judicial clerkship placement, 2012-2014

The release of the latest ABA employment data offers an opportunity to update the three-year federal judicial clerkship placement rates. Here is the clerkship placement rate for the Classes of 2012, 2013, and 2014. Methodology and observations below the interactive visualization. (By the way, this is my first effort to code a visualization using D3, so please bear with me for any technical glitches!) The "placement" is the three-year total placement; the "percentage" is the three-year placement divided by the three-year graduating class total.

The placement is based on graduates reported as having a full-time, long-term federal clerkship. (A one-year term clerkship counts for this category.) I thought a three-year average for clerkships (over 3500 clerks from the graduating classes of 2012, 2013, and 2014) would be a useful metric to smooth out any one-year outliers. It does not include clerkships obtained by students after graduation; it only includes clerkships obtained by each year's graduating class.

You can see that smaller schools, and strong regional schools, perform quite well. You can see that the University of California-Irvine is still performing quite well, but that's largely presently because a third of its score includes the 16-for-56 placement from its inaugural class. This year's placement was slightly over 10%, and I anticipate that its increased class sizes in the coming years will settle it somewhat lower but still near the top.

By the way, I'd previously called this a "microranking," but I've abolished that title for a couple of reasons. First, "rankings" are, in my view, increasingly problematic, particularly given how law school marketing departments gush over every "ranking," from whatever source, that places them anywhere near a respectable position in an effort to attract prospective students. Second, I tried using a 20-80 scale to rate schools, but, with a strong visualization, I feel more confident in allowing the figures to speak without attaching a scaled numerical value.