Sunday, June 2, 2013

How To Turn God-Awful Numbers to Shillables: Go Patrick Hobbs, Go

A Message from Seton Hall Dean Patrick E. Hobbs (a.k.a "The Valvoline Dean"):

Law School Transparency (LST) ranked Seton Hall Law 4th among law schools in the tri-state area for the placement of its graduates in “law jobs,” defined as full-time, long-term employment with a J.D. required or a J.D. preferred. Seton Hall Law was outranked in the NY, NJ and the PA area by only three schools, all of which are in the Top 10.

Did you know Law School Transparency ranks schools by subregions? I didn't, either, it wouldn't really make sense, and I can't find a link for such things, but if you're Patrick Hobbs, you look at Law School Transparency not as an annoyance that points out that your law school is a terrible, head-smashing option for 98% of law applicants. Oh, no. You view it as yet another means to validate the awesomeness of your particular institution through any means possible.

Here's where LST "ranks" the top 10 schools in New York, New Jersey, and Pennsylvania and their respective employment scores:

1. Pennsylvania - 94.4%
2. Columbia - 93.4%
3. New York U. - 91.1%
4. Cornell - 85.3%
5. Seton Hall - 65.2%
6. Fordham - 62.8%
7. Penn State - 56.2%
8. Cardozo - 53.2%
9. CUNY - 52.5%
10. Rutgers 1 - 52.3%

Obviously, Hobbs is excluding upstate New York regardless of where Cornell's grads wind up. Likewise, he's ignoring Yale (I always thought "tri-state" meant NJ, NY, and CT? Isn't Seton Hall as close to Connecticut as it is to Pennsylvania?), which sends a modality of its graduates to NYC. He also pretends that there isn't a huge, cataclysmic drop between NYU and the mass of third-tier schools that follow it. But hey, that's the luxury of being right in a technical sense.

It also ignores things like this:

Public Service Score
1. Rutgers 1 - 8.6%
2. Rutgers 2 - 7.0%
3. Seton Hall - 6.5%

Or this:

Unknown Score
1. Seton Hall - 7.1% (LST seems to have mistakenly put 7.7% here)
2. Rutgers 1 - 3.3%
3. Rutgers 2 - 1.1%

The highest Unknown Score in the region appears to be 7.9%. Oops - we lost twice as many people as our main competitors!

Seton Hall also benefits greatly from New Jersey's obscene amount of low-level clerkships:

State/Level Clerkships
1. Rutgers 2 - 34.1%
2. Seton Hall - 28.7%
3. Rutgers 1 - 26.7%

It's rare for non-NJ schools to be above 10% in this category. And you can tell that Seton Hall includes its army of state-level clerks in within "full-time, long term" bar passage required jobs even though they know almost all of them end after 12 months by simply looking at the distributions. Without that network of clerkships, Seton Hall's numbers would drop below many of its rivals in the broad New York City area.

Private Law Firm Placement (from LST)
Fordham - 42.1%
Hofstra- 36.3%
Cardozo - 31.1%
Brooklyn - 29.2%
Pace - 29.1%
Seton Hall - 27.9%

So the advantage to Seton Hall is that you get to play small-firm employment roulette twice. But Hobbsie sees this as a positive:

As you’ll see in the chart below - which tracks our judicial clerks' post-clerkship employment, we found a 94% full-time, long-term employment rate among the 100 graduates who had accepted clerkships, with 72% having entered private practice.

To translate, almost half the people who have "full-time, long-term bar passage required jobs" from Seton Hall have a 94% chance of landing a "full-time, long-term" job when that first temporary job ends, if you believe Seton Hall's unaudited, self-interested follow-up numbers. And why wouldn't you believe it when a law school says you've got a 94% chance of employment?

I write all of this to underscore Hobbs' conclusion:

These are results that we are proud of.

LOL. No, just...LOL. God, pass me a cigar.

I mean, let's look at the dumpster fire:

1. There were 310 graduates of Seton Hall a year ago.
2. 22 could not be located. 30 were unemployed and seeking. That's a full 1/6 of the class.
3. Another 11 people worked in part-time or short-term jobs.
4. Another 3 worked in non-professional/un-determinable positions. We're now up to 21.3% of the class with craptacular results.
5. Of the remaining 244 students, a full 89 took "long-term" state/local clerkships, meaning they would have to hit the employment market a second time the following year. That's 36.4% of students who remain and 28.7% of all students. At this point, we have accounted for 50% of the class with less-than-ideal results. Of those 89, an estimated 5 will be unemployed 21 months after law school ends, and very few will transfer to employment that can properly service six figures of student loan debt.
6. Moving to the attorneys, we have 2 people who went solo and 32 who landed jobs at firms of 2-10 attorneys. These, too, are almost certainly not making enough to service the private school debt, given how small firms work and pay. That's another 10.9% of the class. We're now at 60.9% of the class with fairly weak (or, at best, uncertain) results.
7. Seton Hall lists 31 "JD Advantage" jobs, most of whom would need to be in "business and industry" if you break down the numbers. If you actually believe that, I've just GOT to tell you about Glen Ross Farms.

A law dean with a conscience would find these numbers deplorable, pathetic, anger-proviking, wretched, inadequate, lamentable, grim, sorrowful, tragic, distressing, reprehensible, and a hundred similar words.

Thankfully, Seton Hall has Patrick Hobbs in charge.

These are results that we are proud of.

Law schools, this is what you want in a leader, the Stalin-like ability to see the good in what is, statistically, a slaughtering of the majority.

This man makes roughly $400,000 per year per the school's tax filings.

Also - ProTip - if you ever have fraud accusations thrown your way, shower the state attorney general with accolades.

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