I think that both Brian Leiter and I did an accurate job collecting and analyzing the data. I think that any major discrepancies in our data and results are due to the way the Martindale-Hubbell database has been changed and updated over the last two years. It should also be noted that at this time the data is over a year old and I don't expect anyone to be able to replicate the numbers that I have in my data table. I will attribute any differences reported between my data and any new data to changes in the Martindale-Hubbell database just as I have used this explanation to explain the differences between Leiter's results and my own.
I think a better way of doing this kind of study would be to use firms that had search engines on their websites that searched by law school. For now my goal was simply to try to get new data using the same methods as Brian Leiter. It annoys me to read studies like Anthony Ciolli's that criticize this study and Leiter's by ignoring all the caveats given about the limitations and goals of our research.
As Leiter said, it should be kept in mind that a school's success at national placement isn't equal to its success at local placement. Some schools particularly attract people who like to stay in the region (i.e. those in California , New York , etc.) The point of this study is to provide some measure of how well schools do placing their graduates nationally using a geographically dispersed sample of top law firms, and not to study the per capita placement of graduates at all top law firms.
What I think is important about my new study is not the relative shift in the standings of any one school at the expense of some other school. Every school had higher absolute numbers than in 2003, and most schools also gained significantly in their relative standings. I think my results show that all the schools studied do relatively well placing their graduates. I also think that my results are more optimistic given the extent to which the schools in my study performed better relative to Harvard than they performed in 2003. These improved results could be the result of a more complete database, or instead it might be that the economy is simply better now than it was two years ago and it is now easier for graduates of all schools to find jobs.
I would like to thank Neil Carlson and Kurt Schaefer of Calvin College for their many helpful suggestions.
Back to main page - Methodology - Data - Results