What determines short-term vs. long-term employment?

12twenty classifies outcomes as short-term or long-term employment using the Start Date and End Date values in the survey. 

Per ABA/NALP reporting guidelines, positions lasting less than a year are considered short-term, and positions lasting for one calendar year or more from the start date are considered long-term.

  • To classify a student’s outcome as short-term, ensure that the End Date is less than 365 days from the Start Date.
  • To classify a student’s outcome as long-term, ensure that the End Date is more than 365 days from the Start Date, OR select the “no end date” option in lieu of an End Date value.


Example 6 – Data Protocol 103(c)(2) & 104(b)(5) (ABA Protocols, page 13)
The EQ does not have an “unknown” option for reporting Full-Time/Part-Time or LongTerm/Short-Term for an employed graduate. How should a school report on these items when it does not have definitive information from the graduate or other sources?

  • Answer: In such situations, a school must use reasonable judgment in reporting the graduate employment data and, in the absence of sufficient information to make a reasonable judgment, report the graduate as Part-Time or Short-Term. However, See Data Protocol 103(c)(2). When the ABA reviews a school’s reported employment data, it will respect reasonable professional judgments regarding the reporting of graduate employment data when appropriately documented with an explanation and the basis for any assumptions made in the reported data. This is a situation that requires the school to carefully consider and justify any decision to choose the most favorable outcome (i.e. Long-Term or Full-Time). The basis to support such conclusions could be numerous, but an example might be knowledge that a particular employer only hires staff attorneys for full-time employment, or that the term of a clerkship with a particular judge is never less than one calendar year. If this is an assumption that is being made, then the Graduate Employment File should be annotated to reflect how the school arrived at this conclusion

Example 1 – Data Protocol 301(a)(4) (ABA Protocols, page 40)

Can a judicial clerkship lasting only 360 days be classified as Long-Term?

  • Answer: Yes, it may be classified as Long-Term if it is five or fewer days under the one calendar year mark. For systems such as 12Twenty that rely on dates to calculate whether a job is Short- or LongTerm, you must add a note to the Graduate Employment File explaining any date adjustments, who made them, and when.

Law School/ University Funded Positions (ABA Protocols, page 32)
Notwithstanding Data Protocol 301(a) on Long-Term vs. Short-Term, any graduate reported in a Law School/University Funded position can only be classified as long-term if the requirements below are met:

  • (i) The Law School or its Parent Institution expects the position to last one calendar year or more, and
  • (ii) The graduate is paid at least $40,000 per year 

  • Note: NALP does not share this standard - it is possible for the same student to have two different results in the ABA and NALP Standard Reports per each body's reporting protocols.

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