Steve Diamond links to a 2010 employment report (describing outcomes for the class of 2008 as of February 2009) that any ordinary reader would understand to be reporting a 99% employment rate for graduates of the law school at which he teaches, in order to argue that Santa Clara wasn’t posting misleading 90%+ employment figures even before the law school transparency movement started demanding a little transparency.
His rationale for this amazing rhetorical feat is this:
Here is what SCU posted in the Fall of 2008 about employment. If one compares it with what we now post, in response to the new ABA guidelines, it seems to me there is not a dramatic difference. The much vaunted “bi-modal” distribution is clearly visible as is the fact that only about half the class reported salaries (from which any rational individual could conclude that that only half had employment at that point).
This is so nonsensical it’s hard to know where to begin. The first linked set of statistics gives no indication that it isn’t a comprehensive account of what the class of 2008 is doing nine months after graduation. There’s no category for unemployed graduates; indeed there’s no way to tell from this data how many SCU graduates are unemployed, how many are in short-term or part-time jobs, or how many are in jobs that require bar admission.
By contrast the second linked set of stats, which SCU was reluctantly forced to cough up by the equally reluctant Section of Legal Education of the ABA in the wake of pressure from the transparency movement, reveals that 24% of the 2011 SCU class is completely unemployed, although supposedly two-thirds of these people– 47 graduates out of 296! — aren’t actually seeking jobs (the latter purported “fact” is the kind of thing that ought to be of intense interest to potential plaintiffs’ attorneys).
Update: SCU’s reported number of 47 graduates not seeking employment was by far the highest of any law school for the class of 2011. For all schools, the mean number of graduates purportedly not seeking employment was five, and only two other schools had even half as many graduates listed as unemployed not seeking as SCU. Last year US News started counting graduates listed as unemployed not seeking as simply unemployed, because of widespread suspicions that a few schools were manipulating the category to produce a better putative employment rate for their graduates).
Update II: SCU’s extremely suspicious practice of categorizing a huge percentage of its graduates as unemployed not seeking was not a one-year thing, as it listed 55 members of the class of 2010 in this category. Again, as in 2011, this was by far the highest number of any law school (Second place went to Thomas M. Cooley, with 32. Cooley’s graduating class was three times larger than SCU’s however). All this suggests that perhaps Prof. Diamond could find a better example of law school transparency than his own institution.
Even more incredibly, Diamond’s rationalization for SCU failing to reveal any unemployment data for the class of 2008 as of February 2009 is that “only about half the class reported salaries (from which any rational individual could conclude that that only half had employment at that point).” Apparently “any rational individual” is a term of art for “someone who has no idea what he’s talking about,” i.e., the author, who hasn’t noticed that the percentage of the SCU class of 2008 which SCU reported to the ABA and NALP as being “employed” in February 2009 is readily available. That percentage is 92.6%.
In sum, despite Diamond’s assertion that he can’t find any evidence that SCU was publishing claims of 90+% employment rates for its graduates, the very evidence he cites for this assertion shows that in 2010 SCU appeared to claim a 99% employment rate on its web site. The school also reported a 92.6% “employment” rate to the regulatory authorities, which was then reprinted in US News. Lest we forget, even the marginally lower latter figure was almost wholly fictitious, as it:
(a) Excluded from the denominator graduates the school characterized as “unemployed not seeking” (a category which includes 16% of the 2011 class!);
(b) Excluded people pursuing further education; and, most crucially,
(c) Included every possible form of employment, from working at Latham & Watkins to working ten hours per week at Starbucks.