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Saturday, June 08, 2019

Spring Self-Reported Entry Level Hiring Report 2019: Years Since Graduation - School Rank

On Twitter, Matthew Bruckner: "This was the first time I've noticed that the "too much practice experience is bad"-trope does not seem grounded in the data."

Lawprawfblawg: "Is it distributed evenly across schools, or does the trope apply to a greater degree depending on ranking?"

Matthew Bruckner: [Power Rangers Shrug .gif]

The following looks at all tenure-track hiring that's been reported to the entry-level report since 2011, inclusive. Years since graduation will provide a rough proxy for practice experience (though given the rise of fellowships and PhDs, not to mention clerkships, many hires have significantly fewer years of practice experience than they do years since graduation--that is, some number of years since graduation will, for many people, have been spent clerking, doing fellowships, getting other degrees, etc.)

That said, there do appear to be some real differences in years since graduation depending on rank of school. For example, while hires with 20 or more years since graduation are relatively uncommon in general, Top 14 schools have no reported hires of someone with 20 or more years since graduation during these years. Additionally, Top 14 schools are much more likely to hire someone with zero to 4 years since graduation than are other ranks.

Years Since Grad Rank Bar.20190608

Years Since Grad Rank Chart.20190608

Years Since Grad Rank Chart Count.20190608

The usual caveats regarding school rank apply. Rankings are deeply problematic. In the categories above, T30 means "Top 30 but not Top 14 or Top 20," etc. I was very expansive in categories, so, for example, in my list, more schools than 14 are in the T14; more schools than 30 are T14 + T20 + T30; etc. My list of law schools with ranking categories (which I drew loosely from the US News rankings, keeping in mind that the US news rankings are very stable over time) is available here. I'm sure one can quibble around the edges that a particular school should be higher or lower ranked, but moving a school or two shouldn't change the overall general sense above. 

Edited 6/8/19 to clarify that the information relates to years since graduation, not practice experience.

Posted by Sarah Lawsky on June 8, 2019 at 11:58 PM in Entry Level Hiring Report | Permalink


One thing I have noticed from years of hiring is that most people want to hire candidates with similar credentials and career paths to themselves. I think that would help explain the difference here. I went to a top school, and most of my profs had thin practice experience. To be fair, it is hard for a candidate to have both deep practice experience and the PhD that the market is moving towards.

Posted by: Profanon | Jun 9, 2019 10:00:40 AM

Well, that's certainly consistent with my recollection that the most forceful statements to me back in 2004-05 that I had no chance of getting hired after 25 years of practice came from people at top five schools. They were right.

My guess is that there may also be a relationship between years of practice before initial hiring and lateral movement. Which would make sense.

Posted by: Jeff Lipshaw | Jun 9, 2019 6:29:55 AM

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