Amidst the whole law school mess , Law School Transparency stands out. Not a scamblog, not a legal publication looking for page views, and not a law professor looking to attack or defend legal education, Law School Transparency was founded by two Vanderbilt Law students in August of 2008, before the economy tanked. Its purpose was simple: to push law schools to tell the truth about their graduates’ employment, and to push the ABA and the Association of American Law Schools to require it.
And to a very significant degree, they’ve succeeded. Now they need your help to keep going.
Law School Transparency has been a registered non-profit since 2009. It currently has a staff of three. According to its website, it originally pleaded directly to law schools to provide more (read: complete, accurate, and useful) employment data. Those pleas were ignored. So LST took the DIY route, culled the data itself, and created a beautiful tool on its website showing real employment data for (as far as I can tell) every accredited law school in the US.
Not willing to stop there, LST rattled the cage of the ABA Section on Legal education, while coming to the attention of two top law faculty rabble-rousers, Paul Campos and Brian Tamanaha, who use LST as a reliable source of information. The result is that the ABA has leaned on the law schools, and the information they provide has improved (but LST is still the place to go to get the real low-down on any school).
Part of LST’s strength comes from its calm, rational tone, and its belief that good data matters most. But when it catches a law school obviously using false data to troll for students, LST does call for heads to roll. Think of LST as Politifact for law school employment claims.
Now, having had all this success and done all this fantastic work and paying for all of it themselves, the folks at LST are now at the point where they need to figure out how they are going to pay off their own law loans and make a living by lawyering while continuing with their mission. So they’re asking for donations.
Lawyer, can you spare a dime?
How much are they trying to raise? 15 thousand dollars. You read that correctly. A paltry sum. How much have they raised? As of this writing, $3,238.
This is nuts. When the Oatmeal’s Matthew Inman can, in just a few weeks, raise hundreds of thousands of dollars for a Tesla museum, why can’t three recent law grads who have done as much as anyone to positively change law school behavior raise a lousy 15 thousand dollars to keep the lights on?
It’s time for those of us lucky enough to be employed in this train-wreck of a legal market to help these good people keep doing this important work.
And yes, I’ve already donated. If you care about your profession, and think law schools should tell the truth, you should donate too. And spread the word!