By Jake Shore
Entering into the world of law can seem daunting to law students at a time when the New York Times reports 30 percent of all law school graduates are reported to be unemployed or unable to find a job. The trend does not seem to have affected Fordham Law School though, as the school incorporates practical skills into its curriculum to make its students employable.
In figures released by Fordham Law School after checking in with graduates 10 months after their 2015 graduation, 357 of 410 graduates had secured employment after passing the bar exam. The school, which recently claimed a top-20 spot on SoFi’s list of top salaries for law graduates, makes use of alumni and teaches real-world skills according to students.
Second-year Fordham Law student Redwan Saleh, LAW ’18, has secured a summer position working for O’Melveny and Myers, a top-tier New York firm. He said Fordham’s focus is on practicality.
“This is not a master’s degree. This is a skills school. We’re learning skills to practice law and I think the most beneficial thing is to take more practical courses,” Saleh said. “Fordham has been good [with that]. They have the right professors, they’re engaging and they make boring stuff engaging and practical.”
For Saleh, he found “practical” in professors he could consult with about practicing law and in student clubs where he competes with other schools’ teams on legal cases.
Second-year Fordham Law student Katherine Wright shares Saleh’s opinion, as she also secured a summer position at a New York firm, Shearman and Sterling. She said Fordham Law’s connections are the reason why she has the position.
“I wouldn’t have this job if it wasn’t for Fordham,” said Wright.
Wright credited Fordham Law for making her a more attractive candidate to the firm she is pledged to. She said the school did this by focusing on practical skills which, according to a 2016 Fortune article, many law students from other schools wish was the case in their education.
Wright put special emphasis on clinics. Offering 17 different types, Fordham Law’s clinics pair students with real clients’ cases and experienced professors. The school also gives academic credits for interning at a firm, called “externships.”
“Fordham Law’s selling point is graduating lawyers who are, in fact, practice ready,” said Wright.
However, the programs Fordham has in place are not innovative, as the top law schools in the nation already have in place. Another school offering clinics and practiced professors is Yale Law School. It has a near-100 percent employment rate with their 2015 graduating class, and are ranked No. 1 in the country, according to US News law school rankings.
Graduates from Yale and from the other top-10 ranked law schools have no problems securing jobs, while the graduates from schools below that line face a little more trouble.
Fordham Law, on the other hand, sits at No. 37 on the US News ranking. While not ranked quite as high as Yale or Columbia Law schools, it enjoys a higher employment rate than schools ranked above it like University of Georgia Law School, University of Washington Law School and University of Wisconsin Madison Law School.
Additionally, Fordham Law School’s 2015 employment rate of 89 percent competes with the rates of higher-tier law schools like No. 12 Northwestern University Law School (92 percent), No. 20 Boston University Law School (90 percent) and No. 30 UC Davis Law School (90 percent).
“Fordham Law School takes a proactive, systematic approach to career planning. Our goal is to help students maximize their career options by clarifying their interests, exploring opportunities, showcasing their best professional selves in the job search and connecting with employers,” said Fordham Law School Dean Matthew Diller in a statement.