Visualizing legal employment outcomes in Texas in 2016

Following up on a series of posts last year, this is the first in a series visualizing employment outcomes of law school graduates from the Class of 2016. The U.S. News & World Report ("USNWR") rankings recently released, which include data for the Class of 2015, are already obsolete. The ABA will release the information soon, but individualized employment reports are available on schools' websites.

The USNWR 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 it does not give "full weight" in its internal ranking metric to jobs that were funded by the law school. 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 actually as valuable. (Some have further critiqued solo practitioners being included in the bar passage required statistics.)

The top chart is sorted by non-school-funded jobs (or "full weight" positions). The visualization breaks out full-time, long-term, bar passage required positions (not funded by the school); full-time, long term, J.D.-advantage positions (not funded by the school); school funded positions (full-time, long-term, bar passage required or J.D.-advantage positions); and all other outcomes. I included a breakdown in the visualization slightly distinguishing bar passage required positions from J.D.-advantage positions, even though both are included in "full weight" for USNWR purposes (and I still sort the chart by "full weight" positions).

The table below the chart breaks down the raw data values for the Classes of 2015 and 2016, with relative overall changes year-over-year, and is sorted by total placement (as USNWR prints). The columns beside each year break out the three categories in the total placement: FTLT unfunded bar passage required ("BPR"), FTLT unfunded J.D. advantage ("JDA"), and FTLT law school funded BPR & JDA positions ("LSF").

The first state is Texas (last year's visualization here). Total jobs in these unfunded bar passage-required and J.D.-advantage positions improved, from 1445 in 2015 to 1551 in 2016, even as the total graduates actually increased slightly in the state. The overall employment rate was 74.1% (including a few funded positions), up from 70.5% last year. (More granular data is available at each school's website.) Some of the improvement may be attributable to improved bar passage rates last July.

As always, if I made a mistake, please feel free to email me or comment; I confess there are always risks in data translation, and I am happy to make corrections.

Peer Score School 2016 YoY% BPR JDA LSF 2015 BPR JDA LSF
4.1 University of Texas-Austin 85.6% 1.2 289 18 3 84.5% 268 20 11
2.6 Southern Methodist University 81.6% -2.1 176 15 0 83.7% 183 17 0
2.4 Baylor University 80.4% -7.6 122 4 1 88.0% 88 5 2
2.7 University of Houston 79.6% 1.4 162 29 0 78.2% 129 42 1
1.9 Texas Tech University 76.4% 2.9 125 14 0 73.5% 138 17 0
1.6 St. Mary's University 68.9% 7.3 144 18 2 61.6% 113 19 1
2.2 Texas A&M University 68.3% 0.5 121 19 0 67.8% 137 17 0
1.6 South Texas College of Law Houston 62.2% 8.0 175 31 0 54.2% 164 25 1
1.5 Texas Southern University 58.9% 16.0 79 10 0 42.9% 52 11 0