May 19, 2024

Bucks Blog: A Tool for Comparing Post-Law School Prospects

Law schools have been getting a lot of attention lately, and not of the good kind. Too many law school graduates can’t find decent-paying, long-term legal jobs and are having trouble paying back their student loans.

To help prospective legal scholars sort out their options, the Web site NerdWallet has introduced an online law school comparison tool. The tool uses employment information provided to the American Bar Association by law schools, as well as salary information gleaned from the law schools themselves. The tool is part of the financial site’s new education-related offerings.

The tool allows users to choose up to four schools and — unlike other school ranking sites — lets them compare their stats side by side, said Joseph Audette, vice president of education and financial literacy at NerdWallet. Right now, the tool offers an analysis of 50 top schools, but it will eventually be expanded.

The goal is to help students choose a law school based on what they would like to do afterward, Mr. Audette said, “because the employment situation for law students is pretty challenging right now.”

With a few clicks, you can see the school’s average graduating class size; how many students have jobs; how many go to law firms, clerkships or graduate school; and where the graduates end up geographically.

Or users can click on preset headings to see, for instance, the “best” schools in terms of the highest starting salaries for graduates (the University of Michigan, at an average of $128,201 overall), or the school with the best record of placing graduates students in judicial clerkships (Yale, 34 percent of its graduating class).

The tool uses only long-term employment figures, and averages the numbers over two years (2010 and 2011; 2012 data isn’t available yet).

Are you considering law school? Take a look at NerdWallet’s tool and let us know what you think.

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