Whenever I get an alumni magazine in the mail, whether from law school or undergrad, I read it back-to-front. Like most people, I’d bet, I’m most interested in what my classmates are up to. Who got married, who made partner, that sort of thing. Since the class notes are always in the back, that’s where I start.
So when I received my Spring 2011 issue of Mitchell On Law, William Mitchell’s alumni magazine, I naturally opened the back cover first, and found on the last page a message from Dean Eric Janus entitled “Transparency.” The message showcases William Mitchell’s response to charges that law school employment information is less than, well, transparent.
Most law schools, as I’m sure you know, publish only the barest post-graduation information: percent of graduates employed 9 months after graduation, and median salary information by type of employment. This lack of in-depth information, many critics charge, is misleading to prospective students. By lumping everyone in as “employed,” you can’t tell how many graduates are actually employed as an attorney at a law firm, and how many graduates are temping, working part-time, or even working non-legal jobs.
William Mitchell’s newly published employment information digs deep. Sure, you can find out that 93.4% of 2009 graduates who were seeking employment were employed 9 months after graduation. But unlike our other local law schools, they don’t stop there. For instance, of those 2009 grads who reported their information:
- 21 are in solo practice;
- 18 are either temping or work for a legal temp agency;
- 14.7% work part-time;
- 11 work at a “Publishing House” (Thomson West, I assume?); and
- Only 67% work in positions where bar admission is required
In-depth information is also published for the classes of 2006-2008.
I applaud William Mitchell for giving its prospective students an honest look at its graduates’ employment information. Applicants can now make an informed decision on whether or not to attend, based on real information on post-graduation employment. I hope that other law schools soon follow suit. And if there are any readers who are considering attending a law school that doesn’t provide this detailed information, it could be worth asking the Admissions office why not. After all, they surely don’t have anything to hide… do they?