Sunday, December 6, 2009

Open Letter to Iowa’s Law Dean and Her Responses

University of Iowa Lists Class of 2008 High Salary as $750,000

I got this info from a poster on JDU:

Here is the actual link to the PDF, entitled “The University of Iowa College of Law Career Services Statistics - Class of 2008.”

In response to this misleading material, I wrote the following email to Dean Carolyn Jones. It was sent out on Friday, December 4, 2009 at 3:56 pm.


Dean Carolyn Jones
Director of Career Services Karen Klouda
College of Law
The University of Iowa
290 Boyd Law Building
Iowa City, IA 52242-1113

Dear Carolyn and Karen,

I recently came across a report from the law school, regarding Career Services Statistics for the Class of 2008. I have provided the link to that report, at the bottom of this letter. In that PDF, I see where the high salary for 2008 graduates is listed at $750,000.

While this may be the case, isn’t this a misrepresentation to prospective law students? For example, NFL Hall of Fame quarterback Steve Young obtained his law degree in 1994, from the J. Reuben Clark Law School at Brigham Young University. At that point in time, Young was on his way to leading his team to a Super Bowl victory while earning the MVP of the National Football League. I won’t pretend to know what he was earning at that point in his career. But it is very likely that he was making about $4 million in annual salary. (This is probably a conservative estimate.)

Now, would it have been fair or accurate for BYU to say that the top salary for its law Class of 1994 was $4 million? Especially, when this particular graduate has never practiced law? Surely, another school would object to this, and argue that this is misleading and gives the false impression to potential law students that they can shoot for the top of the class and command such a HUGE starting salary, right out of law school.

If the University of Iowa is going to tout this figure on its recruiting materials, it should at least put out a disclaimer, such as: “This is not representative of a law firm salary for new associates.” Or “This person is not practicing law.”

Thank you for reading this letter.


(PDF link enclosed]


Here are the responses, in full, from Dean Carolyn C. Jones. The first was sent out on Saturday, December 5, at 8:51 am. The second was sent out five minutes later.

Dear [Nando],

Thank you for your note regarding salaries for our law school graduates. The very high salary you note is quite high, but it is what was reported to us. In our reporting we do not limit our graduates' salaries (which is what we are asked) to those practicing law. Indeed, a number of our graduates do not end up practicing law, but may find existing careers enhanced or new opportunities open as a result of attaining a law degree. This particularly true for our graduates who enter the business arena. The College has reported the information we have in the format asked. We believe that law students are intelligent enough to know that these are not first year associate salaries even at the largest law firms. If students want to know about salary structures at law firms across the country, our Career Services office is certainly able to provide that information in counseling sessions with our students and alumni.

Thank you for your inquiry.

My best,

Dean Carolyn Jones

Response 2

Dear [Nando]-- I do think that a clarification might be useful for our stats. We will be adding that soon.

My best,

Dean Carolyn Jones

Some observations:
Notice how the dean states, “We believe that law students are intelligent enough to know that these are not first year associate salaries even at the largest law firms.” Okay, so the onus is on the prospective student to already know this.

One question: Then why put this on recruiting materials? After all, these figures are not meant primarily for the benefit of graduates. I’m sure not including such a disclaimer was just another one of those “errors” or oversights that law schools seem to be afflicted with.

Lastly, if you look closely at the PDF, you can see that the school claims that not a single solitary graduate was unemployed and seeking employment!! Add up the numbers, so you can verify (or disprove) what I just said. I guess they count ANYTHING as employment, i.e. stocking shelves at a warehouse, nightclub bouncer, PT sales clerk at a record store, bartender, yoga instructor, plumber’s assistant, etc.


  1. If I ever get an employment survey from my law school, I'm going to say I make 45 million a year.

    I wonder if they'll report that.

  2. Here are some additional points to consider:

    1. Dean Jones is an incompetent, stumbling, bumbling fool. During her “tenure,” the following has happened at Iowa:

    a. The Dean publicly humiliated a respected, well-intentioned professor for having the temerity to use the “N” word in the context of a pedagogical exercise dealing with the effects of certain words.

    b. The law school saw its reputation nosedive as the school shifts focus from being a solid, well respected place to obtain a good legal education to one where the emphasis is on diversity and preparing people for non-paying civic engagement jobs.

    c. The law school and the Dean got sued, not once but twice, IN THE SAME YEAR, for discriminatory hiring practices.

    d. Four of the best, productive and most dynamic faculty members respond to this mess by fleeing for other institutions, further highlighting the ever decreasing ranks of qualified and productive professor.

    2. It is unrealistic to think that this so-called Dean would do anything but engage in blatant CYA techniques when responding to your query.

    3. There is no reason, other than to misrepresent the employment/salary statistics of graduates, to include such a high salary in that chart and not give a highly visible disclaimer about its inclusion.

    4. It is telling that the current head of the CSO didn’t respond. That non-response is emblematic of the deep, structural problems at the law school at U of Iowa, and all the response you need regarding what is going on at that place.

    5. Iowa has been blatantly misrepresenting the employment stats of its graduates for years. Keep on eye on the stats for the classes of ’09 and ’10. No doubt they’ll report the same 99% or more employed. When that happens, you will have further proof that their status numbers are nothing but an outright fraud.

    6. Anyone who has any intention of actually entering the legal profession should avoid U of Iowa law school like the plague. The place is run by incompetent boobs.

  3. Hey Nando,

    I just wanted to say that I like the site and I check it several times a week. I found out about it by lurking over at JDU. I really think you've touched on something by emailing the Deans of lawschools about their false employment statistics and its great to watch them squirm. Several years ago I also read and believed that 99% of JDs were employed and averaged 90K a year. HA! Keep up the good work!

  4. Okay, let’s keep things civil and avoid any personal attacks. To the school’s credit, the dean did respond within one day to an email sent out late on a Friday afternoon. I am sure most deans would just be seeing such an email right about now.

    As to your first point, I am not quite sure of the school’s inner workings. I have heard a few bad things about that place in the last couple of years, and I have seen a fair amount of negative attention from other sources, such as ATL and JDU.

    To address your fourth point, the director of Career Services probably has not yet seen the letter in her email box.

    Overall, I agree with your assessment, i.e. that this school misrepresents the employment and salary figures of its graduates. I have received numerous requests to address this specific school, on this blog. I guess these figures (ZERO percent unemployed and seeking a job; and a high salary of $750,000 with no accompanying disclaimer) finally made me mention this school.

    However, this is not endemic to Iowa. This conduct is systemic. These types of practices are prevalent across the country, and across all “tiers” of law schools. And the ABA does nothing to preclude this from happening.

  5. I really don't want to out myself, but I am a member of the UI class of '08, and I specifically reported myself as "unemployed and seeking work." I even saved the emails from CS when I told them. You can see the integrity of that office in these listed results.

  6. I probably shouldn't have posted the above, so feel free to delete. After reading your last comment, you're right -- all schools do this.

  7. my genitals hurt. what is your advice for someone like me?

  8. Monday's over. Still no word?


  9. Where is the clarification? I think they've had significant time.


    It has been 13 months since I brought this to Carolyn's attention. In her brief second email, she states: "I do think that a clarification might be useful for our stats. We will be adding that soon."

    Well, guess what? The school still lists the high salary - for the Class of 2008 - as $750,000. The commode does not clarify anything, with regard to this chart. In the final analysis, now "dean emerita and F. Wendell Miller professor of law" Carolyn Jones has no integrity.

    You can call her at 319-335-9034 and ask her how one can become an administrator at a public law school with no decency. After all, these law school pigs love to squeal about "professional responsibility" and "ethics." Too bad, these swine do not have any sense of actual morality.


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