In March 2013, Colorado Law reported post-graduation employment data for its class of 2012 to the American Bar Association (ABA) and the National Association for Law Placement (NALP). A detailed description of the employment outcomes and salaries of the class of 2012 appears below.
Colorado Law received a perfect score from Law School Transparency, a nonprofit legal education policy organization, for reporting employment outcomes for the class of 2011. In addition to complying with the American Bar Association’s minimum reporting standards for employment outcomes, Colorado Law was one of only 35 law schools to provide all ten voluntary employment disclosures.
We continue that commitment to transparency in the reporting of employment outcomes for the class of 2012.
Of the 175 graduates in the Colorado Law class of 2012, 158 (90 percent) reported employment nine months after graduation (February 15, 2013):
The timing of Colorado Law students accepting post-graduate employment has followed a distinct pattern over the last two years. By spring break, one-third of students had reported a post-graduate position. By graduation, approximately half of graduates were employed. While some graduates found positions over the summer, it was more common for graduates to report accepting jobs in September and October.
By mid-December each of the last two years, almost 90 percent of our graduates had found jobs. Below are the percentages of students known to be employed on each of the following dates. Note that subsequent surveys revealed a higher percentage of graduates to be employed than we knew of at graduation.
Percentage of class of 2012 known to have accepted a post-graduate job
Post-graduate employment information for the Colorado Law class of 2012 was reported to the ABA and NALP in March 2013 and will be reported to U.S. News in December 2013 (outcomes as of nine months after graduation):
* = Eleven of these 158 employed graduates were working for judges and in other public service roles and receiving funding from Colorado Law's post-graduate public service fellowship program.
Consistent with transparency in reporting, we calculate employment percentages by dividing the number of employed graduates by the total number of graduates. This calculation's denominator includes graduates who are not seeking employment (four graduates), those from whom no employment status could be determined (two graduates), and the one student known to be volunteering.
94 / 175 = 53.7 % employed at graduation
158 / 175 = 90.3 % employed nine months after graduation
Two of the ten class of 2012 graduates who were seeking employment as of February 15, 2013 were employed within two weeks, and four others began new positions by the end of March 2013. Also, two of the eleven fellows paid by Colorado Law as of February 15, 2013 secured full-time, bar passage required positions in March 2013 that do not depend on school funding, and another began a full-time bar passage required position in May 2013.
And finally, three graduates who were employed on February 15 in positions that valued, but did not require a law degree transitioned to full-time, long-term, bar required positions by the end of April 2013.
On March 12, 2013 U.S. News & World Report released its 2014 law school rankings, which include employment statistics from the class of 2011. For both the “employed at graduation” and “employed nine months after graduation” categories, U.S. News counted only those graduates who had a full-time job lasting at least one year for which bar passage was required, or a JD degree was an advantage.
Utilizing the new U.S. News formula, 41.7 percent (73/175) of our 2012 graduates had a full-time, long-term job at graduation for which bar passage was required, or a JD degree was an advantage. This compares to 33.5 percent in the class of 2011.
Of our 2012 graduates 64 percent (112/175) had a full-time, long-term job nine months after graduation for which bar passage was required, or a JD degree was an advantage. This compares to 64.2 percent in the class of 2011.
Fifty-six of the 158 employed graduates in the class of 2012 (35 percent) were working for law firms in private practice nine months after graduation, and 82 percent of these law firm jobs were in law offices of 50 or fewer attorneys. Seven 2012 graduates reported employment at National Law Journal 250 law firms, including Arnold & Porter, Brownstein Hyatt Farber & Schreck, Cooley LLP, Fulbright & Jaworski, and Polsinelli.
Twenty-seven of the 158 employed graduates (17 percent) accepted judicial clerkships. Three of these were federal court clerkships, 12 were state appellate court clerkships, and 12 were state trial court clerkships. Seven of the 11 post-graduate fellows were employed with judges, so there were 34 graduates working with judges nine months after graduation.
Excluding fellows receiving school funding, 15 percent of employed graduates were working for government, and another 12 percent were in public interest positions such as with public defender offices. Offers for some government and public interest positions, such as those with district attorney offices and city attorney offices, are typically made after graduates pass the bar exam, months after graduation.
Finally, 13 of the 158 employed graduates (8 percent) accepted positions with businesses other than law firms including Boulder Brands, MWH Global, and SolidFire.
Of the 158 employed graduates from the class of 2012, 124 reported a salary. This represents 78 percent of employed graduates and 71 percent of all graduates. These 124 salaries represent 105 long-term jobs and 19 short-term jobs. One hundred and thirteen of the positions are full time, and 11 are part time.
To maintain consistency with the NALP employment report that will be released in June 2013, below we report only salaries from full-time, long-term positions held by members of the class of 2012 as of February 15, 2013 (101 salaries).
We do not know if the reported salary information is representative of the unreported salary information. The median salary reported was $50,100 and the mean was $63,939. Twenty-five percent of the graduates reporting salary data earn $68,000 or more per year, and 25 percent of the graduates reporting salaries earn $48,000 or less per year.
With respect to salaries, we note that our public service-focused programs, including criminal defense, are strong, and many of our alumni enthusiastically serve in offices such as the Office of the Public Defender, which currently pays less than $50,000 per year to recent law school graduates. The Loan Repayment Assistance Program (LRAP) is available for some graduates working in public service jobs, such as the Office of the Public Defender, and the program awarded each of 11 qualified applicants with $6,500 awards during the 2012-13 academic year.
The following charts provide more detailed information about the employment outcomes for the Colorado Law class of 2012, including the number of graduates working in the private sector versus the public sector, the employment categories in which graduates were working nine months after graduation and finally, the number of graduates working in positions that require a law degree.
In each chart, you will find information about the number of graduates who reported employment, whether that employment was long or short term (long term defined as a position that does not have a definite term of less than one year), full or part time and the relevant salary data.
Note: Three graduates who reported employment did not provide any additional information, so the number of employed students in the Employment Sector chart totals 155. We could determine the Employment Category for one of these three, so the total number of graduates in that section is 156, not 158.
* = Seven of the 10 graduates in the public sector reporting short term/part time employment were employed as post-graduate public service fellows.
* = Seven of the 11 post-graduate fellows were employed with judges, three with government agencies, and one with Colorado Law.
“Bar Required” jobs require that the graduate pass the bar and be licensed to practice law. These jobs may be in a law firm, business, government, or non-profit setting. This category also includes judicial clerks and positions that require the graduate to pass the bar after being hired.
“JD Advantage” jobs include those for which the employer sought an individual with a JD, and perhaps even required a JD, but the job itself does not require bar passage, an active law license or involve practicing law.
An "Other Professional" position is one that requires professional skills or training but in which a JD is neither required nor particularly applicable, such as accountant, teacher, business manager, nurse, etc.
A "Nonprofessional" position is one that does not require any special professional skills or training.
* = One hundred and thirty-six of the 141 graduates reporting employment in the Mountain region were employed in Colorado. This represents 78 percent of all graduates and 86 percent of employed graduates.
(duplicate employers have been removed)