Let's talk about employment statistics. If you have yet to graduate, your exposure to them has primarily been when you researched law schools before applying. If you're a graduate, you've filled out the graduation employment survey as well as perhaps the CDO's employment survey we use to report to the American Bar Association (ABA) and National Association of Law Placement (NALP). That brings us full circle, because it's the ABA and NALP numbers that all of you used in researching law schools before applying.
The ABA and NALP numbers come from us; they are based on information you provide and what we learn from other sources (social media, employers, professors, etc.). Let me say first that we're all for transparency and are confident in the integrity of our reporting. We also fully appreciate the value of the information to prospective students, and believe it's important to communicate it to them. The information (or lack thereof) is also helpful as we continue helping those still seeking employment.
However, career development offices across the country, including ours, do not enjoy this part of the job. Rather than counseling students, visiting employers or providing quality programming, we're spending time investigating your employment situations and collecting data. We view time we're spending on data collection over and above what is absolutely necessary as time we're not spending helping you in your job search, and we see that as harmful.
Not only is it a time waste; it is uncomfortable. We are required to ask you things like how you got the job and how much money you make. What a great way to start a conversation!
Why do I tell you this? Several reasons:
- We want you to understand that when the time comes for us to ask for your information, it's not for our personal benefit or even for the law school's, it's for third party regulators and we have no choice.
- It's to no one's benefit to take any more time on this than absolutely necessary, so please respond the first time. If you receive an employment survey from us and fail to complete it in its entirety, we are going to have to follow up with you again and again until it's complete. How annoying for all of us! Let's just treat this like a Band-Aid: one motion, right off!
- The accuracy of our data depends on you. I assume that each of you relied on the accuracy of the employment data we reported when you were researching law schools. Well, that can only work to the extent graduates provide us with complete and accurate data. So please consider being courteous to prospective Baylor Law students coming after you and afford them the same accurate data you relied upon when choosing to come here. I would also say that it's typically easier to obtain information about higher paying positions than lower, which can skew results if we don't have everyone's data. So please understand we want to include every graduate's information regardless of whether or not you are employed, and regardless of how little or much you might be earning.
Below are a few other things about the collection of employment statistics you should know and consider:
- Dates. The CDO collects employment data in the January-March range for all graduates in the prior year, with the exception being those who graduated in November (If you graduate in November we'll be asking for your stats the following January-March).
- Your information is kept confidential. We will have your data on file here, but no names are attached to the information we provide the ABA and NALP.
- Surveys. There are two surveys: the at-graduation survey that is administered by Jerri Cunningham and the Registrar's office, and the CDO employment survey. You must complete both, so to avoid confusion we don't want you thinking you've already provided everything to us just because you've completed the at-graduation survey.
- Time. The CDO survey is online and takes approximately five minutes to complete.
- Employers. Some graduates fail to complete the survey because they worry their employer won't approve of them sharing the information. Employers who are members of NALP (typically larger employers but not always) must report their information anyway, so that shouldn't be an issue at all. Those of you at mid-size or small employers should feel free to discuss the situation with your employer, or have one of us talk with them. We're happy to do that and typically are able to relieve any concerns.
- How you got your job is irrelevant to the responsibility to submit your data. Sometimes students feel if they got their job on their own, with little to no help from the CDO, that they shouldn't have to report their information. That logic is flawed for two reasons:
a) Law schools nationwide count every employed student regardless of the involvement of the CDO, so it skews the results when prospective students are comparing law schools; and
b) There is a place within the employment survey to indicate the "source of the job," where you will share how you got the job.
I'm a great example of this. Since I was pursuing a job in college athletics rather than law, I conducted my job search independently of the CDO. However I still reported my employment data when asked by the CDO.
Employment statistics can be a great tool for prospective students, and no doubt were useful as you were making your decision of where to attend law school. Our goal is to collect each graduate's employment data, 100% completely and accurately, in as little time as possible. We hope and know you'll help us do that!
If you have any questions about employment statistics please contact me by email [email protected] and/or @DanielHare on Twitter.
Also, for next week's blog I want to do another "Mailbag" session, where I answer your questions about any topic. So send in your questions!
Job of the Week: Each week I highlight a job in Symplicity you might be interested in but may have missed. This week's job is: In-House Attorney / Law Clerk with First City Financial in Waco. Log in to Symplicity to view this job and apply.
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