“An Employment Puzzle”: Merritt on Washington & Lee’s Placement Results

Over at The Law School Cafe, Deborah Merritt has a very interesting post on the placement results for graduates of Washington & Lee’s law school, which adopted a much-discussed practice-oriented program for the 3L year. Just a taste:

Employers say they are eager to hire . . . better-trained, more rounded, more “practice ready” lawyers — and they should be. That’s why the employment results for Washington & Lee’s School of Law are so troubling. Washington & Lee pioneered an experiential third-year program that has won accolades from many observers. Bill Henderson called Washington & Lee’s program the “biggest legal education story of 2013.” The National Jurist named the school’s faculty as among the twenty-five most influential people in legal education. Surely graduates of this widely praised program are reaping success in the job market?

Sadly, the statistics say otherwise. Washington & Lee’s recent employment outcomes are worse than those of similarly ranked schools. The results are troubling for advocates of experiential learning. They should also force employers to reflect on their own behavior: Does the rhetoric of “practice ready” graduates align with the reality of legal hiring? Let’s look at what’s happening with Washington & Lee graduates.

For earlier VC posts on whether W&L’s program has been successful, see David B’s posts from February of this year here and here.

Hat tip: TaxProf