Visualizing legal employment outcomes in Illinois in 2018

Following up on a series of posts last year (and previous years), this is the first in a series visualizing employment outcomes of law school graduates from the Class of 2018. The U.S. News & World Report ("USNWR") rankings recently released, which include data for the Class of 2017, 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 "all jobs excluding positions funded by the law school or university that are full-time, long-term and for which a J.D. and bar passage are necessary or advantageous ." It does not give "full weight" in its metrics 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 as bar passage required jobs. (Some have further critiqued solo practitioners being included in the bar passage required statistics.) Nonetheless, as a top-level category, I looked at these “full weight” positions.

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 2017 and 2018, with relative overall changes year-over-year. Here, I used the employment rate including school-funded positions, which USNWR used to print but no longer does; nevertheless, because there are good-faith disputes, I think, about the value of school-funded positions, I split the difference—I excluded them in the sorting of the bar graphs, and included them comparatively in the tables. 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"). This year, I also added the total graduates. (My visualization is limited because the bar widths for each school are the same, even though schools vary greatly in size, and that means raw placement might be more impressive considering class size.)

The first state is Illinois (last year's visualization here). There were 1696 statewide grades, a 3% decline over last year's class. The total placement rate among the graduates was 82% (including a few school-funded jobs). It is, once again, a slight improvement over last year driven by the smaller class size. Placement in bar passage required jobs fell slightly again.

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 2018 YoY% BPR JDA LSF Grads 2017 BPR JDA LSF Grads
4.7 University of Chicago 98.1% 0.4 188 4 10 206 97.7% 197 4 8 214
4.2 Northwestern University (Pritzker) 96.9% 3.0 205 12 5 229 94.0% 204 24 5 248
3.2 University of Illinois-Urbana-Champaign 91.9% 5.3 118 19 0 149 86.6% 111 12 0 142
2.6 Loyola University Chicago 85.5% 8.0 119 46 0 193 77.5% 138 34 0 222
2.6 Illinois Institute of Technology (Chicago-Kent) 81.0% 7.0 149 39 0 232 74.0% 133 32 0 223
2.2 DePaul University 73.5% 3.9 126 40 0 226 69.6% 126 34 0 230
1.7 The John Marshall Law School 67.5% -4.1 151 33 1 274 71.6% 161 43 0 285
1.6 Southern Illinois University-Carbondale 67.3% 8.7 63 11 0 110 58.6% 64 4 0 116
1.6 Northern Illinois University 66.2% -10.9 43 8 0 77 77.1% 42 11 1 70