Employment Outcomes

Employment Outcomes

graduate employment data

Recent Graduate Employment Data

Employment Summaries for the 2015, 2016, 2017, 2018 and 2019 graduate cohorts are posted below in the format required by the ABA.

These reports are also available on the ABA's Placement Statistics page. Click here for that ABA page.

Reporting Employment Data

Law schools collect and report graduate employment information to the American Bar Association Section on Legal Education and Admissions to the Bar (ABA). WMU-Cooley Law School asks each graduate to complete the ABA’s Employment Questionnaire. This ABA-designed questionnaire collects employment information for those who graduated between September 1 and August 31 of the prior academic year. The 2019 reporting year thus includes those who graduated from WMU-Cooley in September 2017, January 2018, and May 2018.

WMU-Cooley Law School publicly reports its graduate employment data in accordance with ABA guidelines. Graduates who voluntarily respond to the survey are the primary source of employment data. For graduates who did not respond to the survey, WMU-Cooley Law School determined and confirmed a graduate's employment status from publicly available sources such as state bar records, social media, law firm or employer websites, and other internet resources that have been deemed sufficiently reliable by the ABA. Any graduate employment information that was indirectly obtained and deemed credible in accordance with ABA guidelines was reported. The Law School submits its employment questionnaire for all WMU-Cooley campuses combined.

As with any statistics, it is important to understand the definitions of terms and the methodology used to compile graduate employment data and reports. Click here for an explanation of the ABA's reporting methodologies.

If you have questions about WMU-Cooley Law School's graduate employment data, contact WMU-Cooley Law School’s Office of Career and Professional Development.

The charts below convert the data in the four ABA Employment Questionnaires into the categories used by the U.S. Department of Labor in calculating the official national employment rates and adds percentage calculations. Essentially, the Labor Department focuses on those known to be employed in the labor market or actively seeking employment, so in these charts, those who are enrolled in graduate programs, or who are not seeking employment listed as “Not in the Job Market.” Those with unknown employment status were not included in the calculations.

Employment Data - Summary of All Graduates 

Employment Data - Summary of All Graduates 2018 2017 2016 2015 2014
Total Graduates 377 352 462 688 871
Grads with Known Employment Status 355 336 445 629 809
Graduates in the Job Market 346 327 434 620 785
# Employed 273 261 342 456 574
# Employment Date Deferred 5 5 2 2 0
# Unemployed Seeking Job 68 61 90 162 211
Graduates Not in the Job Market 9 9 11 9 24
# Enrolled in Graduate Study 3 2 8 9 13
# Not Seeking Job 6 7 3 0 11

Graduates in the Job Market - Detail

Graduates in the Job Market - Detail 2018 2017 2016 2015 2014
Graduates in the
Job Market
346 327 434 620 785
Employed +
Employment Date Deferred
278 266 344 456 574
Unemployed-Seeking Job 68  61  90  164 211

Employed Graduates - Detail

Employed Graduates - Detail 2018 2017 2016 2015 2014
# Employed 273 261 342 456 574
Bar Pass Required 123 111  156 206 282
J.D. Advantage 73 70  90 121  158
Other Professional 60 66 77 92 93
Non-Professional 17 14 19 37 41

The ABA employment questionnaires measure employment only once, either nine or ten months after graduation. Approximately 20% of WMU-Cooley graduates do not attempt a bar examination at the first offering after graduation, with half of those deferring until the third offering or beyond. This pattern affects the “Bar Pass Required” category negatively and the “Other Professional” category positively, but does not affect the “JD Advantage” category.      

Those with “Employment Date Deferred” have been included with Employed in the “In the Job Market” category because the ABA counted them as employed beginning with the Class of 2018.

Career and Placement Services

Western Michigan University Thomas M. Cooley provides comprehensive services to help students and graduates with career planning and employment searches.  Click here for a full description. WMU-Cooley also offers extensive clinical internship and externship opportunities as well.  Click here for a full description.

U.S. Employment Data on Law Careers

The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics keeps detailed employment on law careers.  Click here for U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics data.


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