Tuesday, May 8, 2012

Mistakes in 2012 ABA Take-Offs

The 2012 ABA Take-Off data was released in the past few weeks, and I do some number-crunching for a few committees I’m on, so I’ve been updating past reports with this year’s data. This involves combining numbers from various ABA Take-Off reports, and so I have to make sure that the list of schools is the same between different reports. They usually are, but off three reports I’ve looked at, two had what are either careless commissions or sloppy errors.

First, Table “B2 Faculty: Student/Faculty Ratios, Annual Teaching Loads,” left off Suffolk U.:

Suffolk Law School Left off of 2012 ABA TakeOff Table B2

This table is a single alphabetic listing of schools (well, one big listing with a supplemental listing of the five schools on a quarter system), and, alphabetically, Suffolk would fall between Stetson and Syracuse. Once in a while, a schools won’t provide all the data in the annual questionnaire, for whatever reason, but the TakeOffs usually indicate this. But searching the PDF for “Suffolk” doesn’t find the school mentioned at all, so it looks like it was left off of this chart (Suffolk IS included in the listings on the few other reports I spot-checked).

The second sloppy error I found is in Table “IT 1 Technology: Information Technology Statistical Table”; in this table Temple is listed twice on both charts in this report:

ABA TakeOff Table IT 1 Lists Temple Law School twice

Again two out of three tables I looked at yesterday morning had errors like this, so statistically its doubtful that these are the only errors in the fifty-two tables that make up the TakeOffs.

Also, though its not an error, just a weird thing the ABA does, it includes the Judge Advocate General School in some charts, but not others. Its listed in the Technology table above:

Jag School JAG SCHOOL???

But not the other tables I looked at. The JAG School is not a JD-granting institution; it trains military lawyers and offers an MLL degree, but the ABA does not “accredit” MLL and other post-JD degrees when they’re offered by other law schools; the schools must just demonstrate to the ABA that their advance degree programs do not drain resources from their JD program. So I’ve never been clear about the relationship between the ABA and the JAG School. The ABA likes the JAG School, though, because, as I noted a few years ago, it counts it when listing all U.S. Law Schools, mainly so it can trumpet that there are now 200 ABA-accredited law schools (oh, but only if you count Widener’s two campuses as separate schools, no matter that their Dean says its one law school with separate campuses).

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