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What American Territory Graduates the Most Non-Lawyer JDs?

By Jonathan R. Tung, Esq. on February 08, 2016 | Last updated on March 21, 2019

Think one territory: Puerto Rico. According to data collected from the ABA and put together by Startclass, the territory of Puerto Rico takes the crown for graduating JDs who don't eventually put their degrees to work as attorneys.

Not to say that there is a causation issue here, but if you really want to practice law, might we suggest that you avoid the schools that made it to the top 25 list of non-lawyership?

How the Data was Gathered

The data was, albeit a little narrow so far as time goes, but the fact that all three of the Puerto Rico Schools ended up in the top five of schools that graduate JDs who don't use their degree is probably not just a coincidence.

Specifically, Smartclass took the data provided by the ABA and ranked all the ABA approved schools based on the schools' percentages of employed grads who were in positions requiring not requiring bar passage or not in "JD-advantaged" positions. The students included in the ranking graduated between September 1, 2013 and August 31, 2014.

The "Winners"

  1. Pontifical Catholic University of Puerto Rico School of Law -- Approximately half of the grads here use their JDs ... or half don't. You pick.
  2. Inter American University of Puerto Rico School of Law -- A little less than half of grads are not using their JDs in their work.
  3. Florida A&M University College of Law -- Approximately 30 percent of grads here are not using their JDs
  4. Duncan School of Law, Lincoln Memorial University -- About 28 percent don't use their JDs from this law school.
  5. University of Puerto Rico School of Law -- About a quarter of grads from this school do not use their JDs in their work.

Honorable Mentions

The much-written-about Thomas Jefferson School of Law also made it in the top 10 of "why even bother with getting a JD" schools. The school is embroiled in legal disputes over supposed lack of transparency over its employment numbers, including a controversy where "Victoria's Secret Sales Clerk" was included within its employment numbers. Another student has found full employment all right -- as an UBER driver.

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