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How valuable is a law school transcript?

The summer season is full of mosquitoes, sweltering temperatures, open-toed shoes and… studying for the bar exam.

Yes, despite several years having passed, summertime still reminds me of studying for the bar exam. (Sad, I know.) It also reminds me of job discussions, last-minute interviews and unemployed law graduates in distress.

I have had several friends going through the interview process after several years of practicing law. More often than not, the prospective employers request a law school transcript on top of a resume and writing sample. While I have loosely understood the utility of a GPA to evaluate a whole crop of law students with very similar credentials, I have much stronger doubts as to the usefulness of a GPA as a factor in the consideration of an attorney who already has experience (especially in a specific subset of law).

With law schools and the profession going through extreme scrutiny in a variety of arenas (the value of law school, the emphasis that employers place on law school rankings and the current job market for recent graduates, etc.), I was wondering whether folks who graduated from higher-ranking law schools had different opinions on this than those who graduated from lower-ranking law schools.

My undergraduate alma mater, the University of Illinois, was recently fined $250,000 for fudging the academic credentials of their incoming law school students. What are your thoughts on this activity? Does this make those who graduated from lower-ranking law schools (and who were inevitably scrutinized for doing so) feel a bit suspicious as to the entire practice of the hugely competitive numbers game in law school admissions and graduation?

There is obviously some pressure for law schools of all rankings to report successful employment statistics for their graduates. Former students of New York Law School and Thomas M. Cooley Law School have unsuccessfully litigated against their alma maters with allegations that those institutions misrepresented their numbers. Is there more or less pressure based on your ranking?

2 comments

  1. It’s hard to know your exact point. You have several different themes rambling about and running into one another, seemingly without heading in any particular direction. Are you writing about law school rankings, law graduate employment prospects, recent litigation against law schools for misrepresenting employment data, or the University of Illinois Law School fine for falsifying admissions data (BTW – the University of Illinois Law School was fined, not your undergraduate alma mater, the University of Illinois), and what do any of these have to do with an employer’s request for a transcript in the job application process? On what seems to be your basic point (judging from the title to the column), if a transcript (not the same as a GPA) can be used to evaluate law school graduates with similar credentials, as you seem to say it can, why can’t it be used to evaluate experienced lawyers with similar credentials? If ever you should apply for work someplace else, you might want to consider including your law school transcript in the application package, in lieu of a writing sample.

  2. Why does this loser who calls himself Pushkin leave stupid comments all over the MD Daily Record’s website and other platforms? Pushkin is a coward. If he had any [guts] he would post in his real name. Grow a pair Pushkin and post in your real name.