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Current articles from Lawyer Metrics

Law School Ranks and Law School Curves

Author(s): || June 2, 2015

Law School Ranks and Law School Curves

Over at Above the Law, Shannon Achimalbe bemoans the current system of grading “on a curve” in law schools. In doing so, she takes note of a pattern: “I wondered why my law school gave out Cs to the majority of its students while the top schools were more liberal about awarding As and Bs. It turns out that my school was not the only one doing this.   …At many lower-ranked schools, the GPA of the 50% rank is between 2.0 – 2.9. Also, the GPA curve is lower for first-year students. At mid-ranked schools, the 50% GPA is around 3.0. Top schools have a 50% GPA of...

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Thoughts on DORP

Author(s): || May 26, 2015

Thoughts on DORP

In baseball statistics, one of the more useful numbers for measuring player performance is “VORP” (value over replacement player). The idea behind VORP is to measure “how much a hitter contributes offensively or how much a pitcher contributes to his team in comparison to a fictitious ‘replacement player,'” where “(A) replacement player performs at ‘replacement level,’ which is the level of performance an average team can expect when trying to replace a player at minimal cost, also known as ‘freely available talent.'”VORP is one of the oldest “advanced” baseball statistics, but remains in wide use. The Wikipedia entry on VORP provides a nice description of why VORP us a...

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JD Advantage Jobs: A Closer Look, Part I

Author(s): || April 7, 2015

JD Advantage Jobs: A Closer Look, Part I

“JD advantage” (“JDA”) jobs are those “for which bar passage is not required but for which a JD degree provides a distinct advantage.” Perhaps most important, they are treated equivalently to “bar passage required” (BPR) jobs for purposes of calculating U.S. News’ annual law school rankings. This suggests that enterprising law schools might consider how they might maximize placement of their graduates into such positions, since doing so is (for ranking purposes) equivalent to placing those same students in jobs requiring bar passage.Accordingly, here I take a closer look at “JD Advantage” positions. I do so using the same publicly-available data I have used in several previous posts on the...

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Client-Centric Data Analysis, Part I

Author(s): || March 3, 2015

Client-Centric Data Analysis, Part I

Whether in today’s market or tomorrow’s, the key to success is relating to clients. – Aric Press, The American Lawyer Large law firms recognize the importance of client focus. To relate to clients, these firms work to understand their clients’ business and industry. Yet, for practical reasons, acquiring this “client-centric” understanding can be a challenge. Generally speaking, outside counsel and their corporate clients tend to approach the client’s needs differently.To elaborate, outside lawyers view client work through a practice area lens. Their interactions with clients are thus anchored by a “practice-centric” understanding. Corporate clients, however, view their work from an industry perspective. These clients are focused on how the organization...

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Similarities in Employment Status: What do the Data Say?

Author(s): || February 24, 2015

Similarities in Employment Status: What do the Data Say?

In a recent post, I used the 2013 ABA employment data to assess which schools’ employment profiles were most alike. We can do a similar exercise with the employment categories themselves, by considering how similar each category is to each other. Two categories would be considered identical if the proportions of graduates employed in that category were the same within each of the 195 schools. Conversely, differences in the proportions of graduates in each category will make those categories less similar, and thus more “distant” from each other.In the phylogram above (PDF), “similar” employment categories are denoted by categories whose nodes (labels) are connected farther to the right in...

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Visualizing Employment by Law School, Part IV

Author(s): || February 15, 2015

Visualizing Employment by Law School, Part IV

In a series of previous posts, we discussed ways of visualizing law school employment outcomes. While the focus of those posts was on schools’ employment fractions in seven ABA-defined categories, it can also be useful to combine the information in those categories to compare schools directly.One way to do that is to consider the similarity of schools’ employment profiles. One straightforward way to do this is to calculate a distance metric for all pairs of schools, where distance is defined according to the differences in the proportions of schools’ graduates employed in each of the seven categories. For example, we can calculate the Euclidean distance between school \(X\) and...

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