Law School Discussion

Deciding Where to Go => Choosing the Right Law School => Topic started by: hellfish6 on August 24, 2008, 06:17:40 PM

Title: Another Tier 3/4 question
Post by: hellfish6 on August 24, 2008, 06:17:40 PM
I know all the advice on not attending a tier 3 or 4 school because of the debt to future income ratio that is likely upon graduation.  I am in a unique situation where I will not have to pay tuition at a tier 3/4 school, the only loans will be for living expenses and what not.  I don't plan to work my life away in biglaw...I would rather work for a smaller firm with a decent income.  Is this situation worth attending a tier 3/4 school?
Title: Re: Another Tier 3/4 question
Post by: blueskies6 on August 24, 2008, 06:25:35 PM
While other people on here might disagree with this, my opinion is that if you don't have to pay for it and you'll be living in the area you want to live and get a job, go for it!!  UNLESS you live in an market flooded with higher ranked schools.  If you live in say, Boston, where you will be competing with Harvard, BU, BC, Northeastern, and on down, you might  be in a situation where people that are lower ranked in their classes might crowd you out in the smaller firms.  But, if you want live and work in Little Rock, Arkansas, I don't think you'll encounter any problems going to UALR for free.
Title: Re: Another Tier 3/4 question
Post by: blueskies6 on August 24, 2008, 07:49:32 PM
Another note- you should look at the firms that you would be considering and see how many people they hire from the school you're considering, just to give you an idea if this decision would be viable
Title: Re: Another Tier 3/4 question
Post by: big - fat - box on August 25, 2008, 01:17:56 PM
If your "free" education is coming from a law school scholarship contingent on first year law school gpa, then I would think twice. Odds are you won't keep the money past the first year. Law school is not like undergrad as far as grading goes.
Title: Re: Another Tier 3/4 question
Post by: hellfish6 on August 25, 2008, 02:18:22 PM
My "free" law school comes from my veterans benefits.
Title: Re: Another Tier 3/4 question
Post by: clairel on August 25, 2008, 03:15:40 PM
the problem is that a "decent income" working for a small firm is not going to be $70,000 a year in most cases. biglaw pays around $100-160K....the next step down is often to $35,000-50,000 a year. so if you're comfortable earning that salary out of law school, tier 3/4 without loans should be fine.
Title: Re: Another Tier 3/4 question
Post by: DCLabor25 on August 25, 2008, 05:11:48 PM
While other people on here might disagree with this, my opinion is that if you don't have to pay for it and you'll be living in the area you want to live and get a job, go for it!!  UNLESS you live in an market flooded with higher ranked schools.  If you live in say, Boston, where you will be competing with Harvard, BU, BC, Northeastern, and on down, you might  be in a situation where people that are lower ranked in their classes might crowd you out in the smaller firms.  But, if you want live and work in Little Rock, Arkansas, I don't think you'll encounter any problems going to UALR for free.

I agree with this, as well as the point about whether or not firms and others recruit at the Tier 3/4.  Those are very important considerations.  I think some Tier 3/4's have better overall job prospects than others. 

I also agree with the previous poster that there are jobs paying $35-$50K and those paying $160K and not a lot in between.  But that being said, I don't think enough people consider the very real possibility that going to the higher ranked school does not automatically make you more likely to land the $160K job.  Yes, it's true for the T14, but not for everyone else.  On top of that, the prospect of taking out $125-$150K in debt is likely -- how you can pay back that sort of debt without a six figure salary is beyond me -- and the fact of the matter is that outside the T14, the majority of students do not get the $160K job.   

In short, I think aiming for the $160K job and taking out a ton of debt is a high risk/high reward option.  Opting for a full ride, no debt, and only making $50K might be a safer/much less reward option.  Of course, too, it's important where you might live -- $50K can take you much further in many areas (think midwest/rural/small cities) -- NYC, LA, Wash DC -- not so much. 
Title: Re: Another Tier 3/4 question
Post by: xferlawstudent on August 25, 2008, 09:48:33 PM
Advice from a recent low T1 grad:  Go to a T14 if possible otherwise go somewhere offering you $$$ or a cheap in-state school.  I promise. 
Title: Re: Another Tier 3/4 question
Post by: hellfish6 on August 26, 2008, 05:55:48 AM
Advice from a recent low T1 grad:  Go to a T14 if possible otherwise go somewhere offering you $$$ or a cheap in-state school.  I promise. 

So, you're saying either go to a top 14 school, if that doesn't work, go to the least expensive one, even it's a T4?
Title: Re: Another Tier 3/4 question
Post by: SASS on August 26, 2008, 06:14:16 AM
the problem is that a "decent income" working for a small firm is not going to be $70,000 a year in most cases. biglaw pays around $100-160K....the next step down is often to $35,000-50,000 a year. so if you're comfortable earning that salary out of law school, tier 3/4 without loans should be fine.

I don't think this is entirely accurate. The next step down from big law is not making 35-50,000 a year. This may be true for a small firm (10 or less attorneys) because they simply don't have the money for the high salaries. But midsize firms you can easily make between 50-80,000 and still have a life.

I agree with what people are saying for the most part. If you are in a legal market that is not flooded with higher ranked schools AND your school has a good local rep and you want to stay there, take the money and run. Make sure your school has a good rep though. I would not go anywhere that is consistently trashed by others.
Title: Re: Another Tier 3/4 question
Post by: xferlawstudent on August 26, 2008, 07:02:28 AM
Advice from a recent low T1 grad:  Go to a T14 if possible otherwise go somewhere offering you $$$ or a cheap in-state school.  I promise. 

So, you're saying either go to a top 14 school, if that doesn't work, go to the least expensive one, even it's a T4?

Yes, kinda.  As a general rule, I would recommend going to either a T14 or the least expensive school.  However, look into the school's reputation in the area you want to work.  Don't go to Cooley or other school with a poor rep under any circumstances.  A state school with in-state tuition in the area you want to work would be ideal.

Also, if you end up at a lower-ranked school, make sure to stay close to where you want to work.  Many attorneys will not have even heard of some T4s that aren't in their state.
Title: Re: Another Tier 3/4 question
Post by: StevePirates on August 26, 2008, 02:58:03 PM
I took Free T4 and so far so good.  I will say that the decision to go to a T4 should not be made lightly.  If you wind up not grading very well...   You'll have a lot of work to do in order to secure a good job. 

I figured I would do well in law school, so I took a "grade contingent" scholarship.  I did more than well enough to keep my scholarship.  So, don't believe all the doom and gloom you hear.  But, do be realistic about what things mean.  Not all T3/T4s are the same.  So if you're considering that route, make sure you look closely at which schools you're applying to, where they are, how they place, etc etc.  Outside of the Top 50 schools, individual reputation starts counting for a lot more than general ranking.
Title: Re: Another Tier 3/4 question
Post by: Holden Caulfield on September 17, 2008, 08:54:14 PM
the problem is that a "decent income" working for a small firm is not going to be $70,000 a year in most cases. biglaw pays around $100-160K....the next step down is often to $35,000-50,000 a year. so if you're comfortable earning that salary out of law school, tier 3/4 without loans should be fine.

I don't think this is entirely accurate. The next step down from big law is not making 35-50,000 a year. This may be true for a small firm (10 or less attorneys) because they simply don't have the money for the high salaries. But midsize firms you can easily make between 50-80,000 and still have a life.

I agree with what people are saying for the most part. If you are in a legal market that is not flooded with higher ranked schools AND your school has a good local rep and you want to stay there, take the money and run. Make sure your school has a good rep though. I would not go anywhere that is consistently trashed by others.


I completely agree. I don't know where this rumor started that it was $160,000 or $40,000, but from what I've seen that's very inaccurate. Everyone I know that has gone into non-biglaw private firms has started in the 80's, or 90's.


Take everything you read on this board with a grain of salt.
Title: Re: Another Tier 3/4 question
Post by: Holden Caulfield on September 17, 2008, 09:11:25 PM
the problem is that a "decent income" working for a small firm is not going to be $70,000 a year in most cases. biglaw pays around $100-160K....the next step down is often to $35,000-50,000 a year. so if you're comfortable earning that salary out of law school, tier 3/4 without loans should be fine.

I don't think this is entirely accurate. The next step down from big law is not making 35-50,000 a year. This may be true for a small firm (10 or less attorneys) because they simply don't have the money for the high salaries. But midsize firms you can easily make between 50-80,000 and still have a life.

I agree with what people are saying for the most part. If you are in a legal market that is not flooded with higher ranked schools AND your school has a good local rep and you want to stay there, take the money and run. Make sure your school has a good rep though. I would not go anywhere that is consistently trashed by others.


I completely agree. I don't know where this rumor started that it was $160,000 or $40,000, but from what I've seen that's very inaccurate. Everyone I know that has gone into non-biglaw private firms has started in the 80's, or 90's.


Take everything you read on this board with a grain of salt.

It's definitely not $160K or $40K.  Some people make under $30K.

You are correct, but just about all of them didn't go to law school.
Title: Re: Another Tier 3/4 question
Post by: TheBreadWinner on September 17, 2008, 09:30:28 PM
the problem is that a "decent income" working for a small firm is not going to be $70,000 a year in most cases. biglaw pays around $100-160K....the next step down is often to $35,000-50,000 a year. so if you're comfortable earning that salary out of law school, tier 3/4 without loans should be fine.

I don't think this is entirely accurate. The next step down from big law is not making 35-50,000 a year. This may be true for a small firm (10 or less attorneys) because they simply don't have the money for the high salaries. But midsize firms you can easily make between 50-80,000 and still have a life.

I agree with what people are saying for the most part. If you are in a legal market that is not flooded with higher ranked schools AND your school has a good local rep and you want to stay there, take the money and run. Make sure your school has a good rep though. I would not go anywhere that is consistently trashed by others.


I completely agree. I don't know where this rumor started that it was $160,000 or $40,000, but from what I've seen that's very inaccurate. Everyone I know that has gone into non-biglaw private firms has started in the 80's, or 90's.


Take everything you read on this board with a grain of salt.

It's definitely not $160K or $40K.  Some people make under $30K.

You are correct, but just about all of them didn't go to law school.

True.  Some of them went to Cooley.
Title: Re: Another Tier 3/4 question
Post by: Holden Caulfield on September 19, 2008, 09:20:09 AM
the problem is that a "decent income" working for a small firm is not going to be $70,000 a year in most cases. biglaw pays around $100-160K....the next step down is often to $35,000-50,000 a year. so if you're comfortable earning that salary out of law school, tier 3/4 without loans should be fine.

I don't think this is entirely accurate. The next step down from big law is not making 35-50,000 a year. This may be true for a small firm (10 or less attorneys) because they simply don't have the money for the high salaries. But midsize firms you can easily make between 50-80,000 and still have a life.

I agree with what people are saying for the most part. If you are in a legal market that is not flooded with higher ranked schools AND your school has a good local rep and you want to stay there, take the money and run. Make sure your school has a good rep though. I would not go anywhere that is consistently trashed by others.


I completely agree. I don't know where this rumor started that it was $160,000 or $40,000, but from what I've seen that's very inaccurate. Everyone I know that has gone into non-biglaw private firms has started in the 80's, or 90's.


Take everything you read on this board with a grain of salt.

It's definitely not $160K or $40K.  Some people make under $30K.

You are correct, but just about all of them didn't go to law school.

Sorry to burst your bubble, but many of them did.

I can't help but wonder what somebody did (or didn't) do to put themselves in that position.
Title: Re: Another Tier 3/4 question
Post by: StevePirates on September 21, 2008, 02:13:18 PM
If you don't go to a "name brand" school, then you have to work hard at selling yourself.  After all, why should someone hire you when they can hire the last place finisher at Cornell?  When new clients walk in, they can point at that sheepskin from Cornell and the clients are excited.  They don't know that homeslice was the bottom of the pack.

I think the people who are at the bottom of the earnings list are those who don't "get" this concept.  Work hard in law school, join organizations that boost your visibility, and get out there and earn a job.  For instance, after 1L, why would you work at a restaurant when you could get a volunteer internship at some public interest group and get actual substantive legal experience.  Still, at my school, I know several people who spent their 1L summer working at Cold Stone.  So now, they're playing catch up with the kids from better schools, AND the kids from my school who now have real legal experience. 

So, just from my rough observations, I think that's where a lot of those super-low earning people come from.
Title: Re: Another Tier 3/4 question
Post by: TheBreadWinner on September 27, 2008, 01:49:52 PM
the problem is that a "decent income" working for a small firm is not going to be $70,000 a year in most cases. biglaw pays around $100-160K....the next step down is often to $35,000-50,000 a year. so if you're comfortable earning that salary out of law school, tier 3/4 without loans should be fine.

I don't think this is entirely accurate. The next step down from big law is not making 35-50,000 a year. This may be true for a small firm (10 or less attorneys) because they simply don't have the money for the high salaries. But midsize firms you can easily make between 50-80,000 and still have a life.

I agree with what people are saying for the most part. If you are in a legal market that is not flooded with higher ranked schools AND your school has a good local rep and you want to stay there, take the money and run. Make sure your school has a good rep though. I would not go anywhere that is consistently trashed by others.


I completely agree. I don't know where this rumor started that it was $160,000 or $40,000, but from what I've seen that's very inaccurate. Everyone I know that has gone into non-biglaw private firms has started in the 80's, or 90's.


Take everything you read on this board with a grain of salt.

It's definitely not $160K or $40K.  Some people make under $30K.

You are correct, but just about all of them didn't go to law school.

True.  Some of them went to Cooley.

Subtle anti-Cooley trolling.

Was it subtle?  I need to try harder.
Title: Re: Another Tier 3/4 question
Post by: 3Loser on September 28, 2008, 05:58:37 AM
Just a thought on scholarships, at least large ones (like full-tuition scholarships):

Everyone always says that your odds of being in the top 10% are 10% (meaning there is a 90% chance you will not be in the top 10%). In a purely abstract statistical world this is true. But law schools are not hollow entities that follow the mathematical rules of statistics in a vacuum. They dole out scholarships based on a system--a finely tuned system at some places--sometimes taking great pains to ensure their "best" prospective students receive the scholarships . . . and keep them.

The point being. If you are getting a full-ride, it might be the case that you are more likely to do well. Granted, this is not necessarily true, and I am not stating a fact--just something to think about.

All that said, a T4 school is not the best place to go, as you probably know. If you have a chance at a low T1 v. a T4 full ride, I would probably hitch my horse to the higher-ranked star.
Title: Re: Another Tier 3/4 question
Post by: tony_rocky_horror on September 28, 2008, 05:09:02 PM
Just a thought on scholarships, at least large ones (like full-tuition scholarships):



The point being. If you are getting a full-ride, it might be the case that you are more likely to do well. Granted, this is not necessarily true, and I am not stating a fact--just something to think about.



Yes, Florida Coastal
Title: Re: Another Tier 3/4 question
Post by: botbot on October 01, 2008, 07:47:43 AM
1.  They didn't go to a T14, or a T25.

2.  They didn't end up at the top of their class.

Once those two conditions are met, you're often happy to get any kind of job whatsoever.

...

Don't be stupid.
Title: Re: Another Tier 3/4 question
Post by: Matthies on October 01, 2008, 07:55:19 AM
1.  They didn't go to a T14, or a T25.

2.  They didn't end up at the top of their class.

Once those two conditions are met, you're often happy to get any kind of job whatsoever.

...

Don't be stupid.

I don't think it can be helped. Rule number 1 of LSD, pull salery numbers out of your ass for schools you don't go to in regions you have never worked then call them facts.  ::)
Title: Re: Another Tier 3/4 question
Post by: kenpostudent on October 01, 2008, 02:27:24 PM
Everyone always cites employment data from this or that source when exhorting prospective students to "go to a T14 or else". The problem with this horrible, shallow analysis is that employment data for T14 schools is somewhat skewed. Many who attend T14s already have a job upon graduation and they had it from day one. Therefore, a true analysis of the employment prospects of T14 grads would have to eliminate those whose family connections afford them opportunities that the broad cross-section of law grads do not have (assuming the analysis was simply for those students, like me, who do not come from a priveleged background to determine which school to attend). If this type of analysis were done, my HYPOTHESIS is that the T14 schools are marginally better than other schools and not worth the debt load.
Title: Re: Another Tier 3/4 question
Post by: Resident CLS Troll on October 01, 2008, 02:50:31 PM
For the record, I do not know a single person at my law school (or at any other "T14", for that matter) who got his or her law firm job through personal connections that existed prior to law school.  And yes, I know a large number of people at my school.

And in case anybody wonders why I put "T14" in quotation marks, it's because I think the category is stupid.
Title: Re: Another Tier 3/4 question
Post by: Matthies on October 01, 2008, 03:01:18 PM
For the record, I do not know a single person at my law school (or at any other "T14", for that matter) who got his or her law firm job through personal connections that existed prior to law school.  And yes, I know a large number of people at my school.

And in case anybody wonders why I put "T14" in quotation marks, it's because I think the category is stupid.

I agree with this, if you have connections there is no reason to to go to a T14 in the first place. Go to your local school live at home, party your ass off and have you parents pay for it. The t14 (which I also agree is stupid) is a magnet for social climbing poor people desperately trying to become socially important. But, thank god, we know who you are and can spot you from your new rich Acura/Lexis/Infinity and know to keep our daughters away from you so you donít taint our blueblood with your commoners. Nobody from a good family goes to anything less than Yale or Harvard, or they go local. We donít want our children mixing with the townies at Cornell for god sakes. Sure we will pay you a lot of money to work for the firm our name is on, but we know we never have worry about you moving in next to us in the Hamptons, we give you just enough to taste it but never enough to really be one of us, we invented SoHo for you to feel like you made it so we don't have to mingle with you at the yacht club.
Title: Re: Another Tier 3/4 question
Post by: kenpostudent on October 01, 2008, 04:27:45 PM
For the record, I do not know a single person at my law school (or at any other "T14", for that matter) who got his or her law firm job through personal connections that existed prior to law school.  And yes, I know a large number of people at my school.

And in case anybody wonders why I put "T14" in quotation marks, it's because I think the category is stupid.

C'mon, you can't tell me that there are not sizeable numbers in each class who go to those schools only because their daddy went there. Please!

If you pay $43k per year to attend an elite law school, that's on you. If mommy and daddy pay for it, great! Yet, if you incur that debt all on your own and gamble with your future, you are either far braver than I. Why let your debt load dictate your job options?

Title: Re: Another Tier 3/4 question
Post by: Resident CLS Troll on October 01, 2008, 05:01:25 PM
C'mon, you can't tell me that there are not sizeable numbers in each class who go to those schools only because their daddy went there. Please!

Yes, I can.  There are not sizeable numbers of people here who are here only because their daddies went here.
Title: Re: Another Tier 3/4 question
Post by: Matthies on October 01, 2008, 05:15:36 PM
1.  They didn't go to a T14, or a T25.

2.  They didn't end up at the top of their class.

Once those two conditions are met, you're often happy to get any kind of job whatsoever.

...

Don't be stupid.

I don't think it can be helped. Rule number 1 of LSD, pull salery numbers out of your ass for schools you don't go to in regions you have never worked then call them facts.  ::)

Mattheis, you have some good insights into finding work when you're not at a top school.  That said, I know tons of people who didn't go to top schools, didn't end up at the top of their class, and therefore ended up struggling to find any kind of work whatsoever.  I personally know well-adjusted, studious, reasonably bright people who ended up taking jobs paying under $35K because those were the only jobs available.

I'm speaking from what I've personally witnessed with actual people.  If people don't want to believe this is the reality for many students, that's fine by me.  But they may face a rude awakening once they graduate if they don't recognize this reality.

Bottom line, if you're not at a T14/25, or not at the top of your class, you're unlikely to get a job through OCI.  At that point, once you're searching on your own, you're often happy to take any kind of legal job, even if it doesn't pay that much.  Not sure why this is considered particularly controversial.

That is exactly the problem. 99% of law students have no idea how to find a job, take away OCI and they have no clue what to do to find a job (see student side of this board for plenty of examples). That is the students fault, not the schools. If 10% of law students would realize before 3L how the legal field works, the number and placement at all schools would go up, even the top 14.

Students take crap jobs precisely because that is the only choice they have when they put all their cards in one OCI basket. Then they turn to mass mail or asnwering adds in the newspaper, guess what these jobs are empty becuase they suck, good jobs get filled by referal. Do most law students give any thought to this before hand, of course not becuase they are like deer in headlights for OCI.

And that says something about the student and the future type of lawyer they will be. You don't make partner sitting around waiting for your school to hand you a new client.  You either make things happen or you sit around and wait for things to happen to you. The later is the default option for most people, as itís the easiest path.
Title: Re: Another Tier 3/4 question
Post by: Matthies on October 01, 2008, 05:17:10 PM
For the record, I do not know a single person at my law school (or at any other "T14", for that matter) who got his or her law firm job through personal connections that existed prior to law school.  And yes, I know a large number of people at my school.

And in case anybody wonders why I put "T14" in quotation marks, it's because I think the category is stupid.

I agree with this, if you have connections there is no reason to to go to a T14 in the first place. Go to your local school live at home, party your ass off and have you parents pay for it. The t14 (which I also agree is stupid) is a magnet for social climbing poor people desperately trying to become socially important. But, thank god, we know who you are and can spot you from your new rich Acura/Lexis/Infinity and know to keep our daughters away from you so you donít taint our blueblood with your commoners. Nobody from a good family goes to anything less than Yale or Harvard, or they go local. We donít want our children mixing with the townies at Cornell for god sakes. Sure we will pay you a lot of money to work for the firm our name is on, but we know we never have worry about you moving in next to us in the Hamptons, we give you just enough to taste it but never enough to really be one of us, we invented SoHo for you to feel like you made it so we don't have to mingle with you at the yacht club.

You really as rich as you're pretending to be here, Mattheis? 

That said, remember that H and Y are also part of the T14.  And the truly rich people don't go to law school at all.  (Is your Audi exempt from your Acura/Lexis/Infinity analysis?   ;)

Yes. Rich people don't buy re-badged accords. We buy cars that break down a lot from Germany becuase that's how we keep the economy going.
Title: Re: Another Tier 3/4 question
Post by: Matthies on October 01, 2008, 05:21:28 PM
the problem is that a "decent income" working for a small firm is not going to be $70,000 a year in most cases. biglaw pays around $100-160K....the next step down is often to $35,000-50,000 a year. so if you're comfortable earning that salary out of law school, tier 3/4 without loans should be fine.

I don't think this is entirely accurate. The next step down from big law is not making 35-50,000 a year. This may be true for a small firm (10 or less attorneys) because they simply don't have the money for the high salaries. But midsize firms you can easily make between 50-80,000 and still have a life.

I agree with what people are saying for the most part. If you are in a legal market that is not flooded with higher ranked schools AND your school has a good local rep and you want to stay there, take the money and run. Make sure your school has a good rep though. I would not go anywhere that is consistently trashed by others.


I completely agree. I don't know where this rumor started that it was $160,000 or $40,000, but from what I've seen that's very inaccurate. Everyone I know that has gone into non-biglaw private firms has started in the 80's, or 90's.


Take everything you read on this board with a grain of salt.

It's definitely not $160K or $40K.  Some people make under $30K.

You are correct, but just about all of them didn't go to law school.

Sorry to burst your bubble, but many of them did.

I can't help but wonder what somebody did (or didn't) do to put themselves in that position.


1.  They didn't go to a T14, or a T25.

2.  They didn't end up at the top of their class.

Once those two conditions are met, you're often happy to get any kind of job whatsoever.

I would agree with this if you added:

3. most law students have no clue how to find a job on thier own

4. most law studnets are lazy or late when it comes to the job search.
Title: Re: Another Tier 3/4 question
Post by: k. on October 01, 2008, 05:23:26 PM
For the record, I do not know a single person at my law school (or at any other "T14", for that matter) who got his or her law firm job through personal connections that existed prior to law school.  And yes, I know a large number of people at my school.

And in case anybody wonders why I put "T14" in quotation marks, it's because I think the category is stupid.

C'mon, you can't tell me that there are not sizeable numbers in each class who go to those schools only because their daddy went there. Please!

If you pay $43k per year to attend an elite law school, that's on you. If mommy and daddy pay for it, great! Yet, if you incur that debt all on your own and gamble with your future, you are either far braver than I. Why let your debt load dictate your job options?



Im at one of these "T14s" and have yet to meet anyone who has mommy and daddy paying for everything.  I also haven't met anyone who has a parent that is a big shot lawyer.  So yes, I am willing to say that there is not a sizeable number of people coming to Penn just because someone in their family did.  
Title: Re: Another Tier 3/4 question
Post by: stateofbeasley on October 01, 2008, 05:35:52 PM
That is exactly the problem. 99% of law students have no idea how to find a job, take away OCI and they have no clue what to do to find a job (see student side of this board for plenty of examples).

...
And that says something about the student and the future type of lawyer they will be. You don't make partner sitting around waiting for your school to hand you a new client.  You either make things happen or you sit around and wait for things to happen to you. The later is the default option for most people, as itís the easiest path.

What people fail to understand going into law school is that law is a business.  Most of my classmates just wanted a job.  Go to work, go home, read to the children and put them to bed.  What they didn't understand is that outside of the big firms, corporations, and government, you've got to make rain, even if you are the lowest person on the totem pole.

I'd say if you're not entrepreneurial or government oriented, a lower tier law school is an utter waste of time and money.  You are basically getting a degree so you can sit for a licensing exam so that you can start your own business.  If that's not what you want, forget law school unless you want to be a doc reviewer or ID toileteer.  It's useless.
Title: Re: Another Tier 3/4 question
Post by: Matthies on October 01, 2008, 06:17:13 PM
That is exactly the problem. 99% of law students have no idea how to find a job, take away OCI and they have no clue what to do to find a job (see student side of this board for plenty of examples).

...
And that says something about the student and the future type of lawyer they will be. You don't make partner sitting around waiting for your school to hand you a new client.  You either make things happen or you sit around and wait for things to happen to you. The later is the default option for most people, as itís the easiest path.

What people fail to understand going into law school is that law is a business.  Most of my classmates just wanted a job.  Go to work, go home, read to the children and put them to bed.  What they didn't understand is that outside of the big firms, corporations, and government, you've got to make rain, even if you are the lowest person on the totem pole.

I'd say if you're not entrepreneurial or government oriented, a lower tier law school is an utter waste of time and money.  You are basically getting a degree so you can sit for a licensing exam so that you can start your own business.  If that's not what you want, forget law school unless you want to be a doc reviewer or ID toileteer.  It's useless.

Yea people go to law school wanting a cubical job where you go in get work assigned to you do your work well and the firm pats you on the head for doing a good job and that's all you have to do to keep employed. Like youíre an MBA or something. Law is a sales, your selling a service, you need to sell yourself and your firm and you need to make rain, even at big law. Its more business than law. The law is just the product you give the customer. If you want a cubical job get an MBA, that's not law.
Title: Re: Another Tier 3/4 question
Post by: kenpostudent on October 01, 2008, 11:32:59 PM
For the record, I do not know a single person at my law school (or at any other "T14", for that matter) who got his or her law firm job through personal connections that existed prior to law school.  And yes, I know a large number of people at my school.

And in case anybody wonders why I put "T14" in quotation marks, it's because I think the category is stupid.

C'mon, you can't tell me that there are not sizeable numbers in each class who go to those schools only because their daddy went there. Please!

Legacy admissions are almost nonexistent in law school.  Aside from AA, law school admissions are incredibly meritocratic/numbers-driven, if only by necessity.


If you pay $43k per year to attend an elite law school, that's on you. If mommy and daddy pay for it, great! Yet, if you incur that debt all on your own and gamble with your future, you are either far braver than I. Why let your debt load dictate your job options?

Here's the problem:

1.  Most law schools cost about the same amount. 
2.  At an elite school, you're pretty much guaranteed a high-paying job.
3.  At a non-elite school, you're clearly not.
4.  The non-elite school is therefore much more of a gamble, generally speaking.
5.  Even if you get a full-ride, you're investing 3 years of your life, lost earning opportunities, etc.  There's no guarantee you'll make law review.  So there's no guarantee you'll get a respectable job.

Either way, it's a gamble.  Even if you go T14, you may hate the work, and quit after a year.  But that's generally a more secure gamble than attending a lower-ranked school, which could handicap your entire career, depending on what you want to do.

Put another way:  Why let your pedigree/short-sightedness dictate/limit your job options?

A non-elite law school may be a gamble for you. I, however, have 200 clients that I can call for work. Of those 200, I bet one puts me in contact with someone that leads to a decent job. I've also met several attorneys, from associate to partner, at several firms in conferences and various training sessions over the last two years. If you didn't, that's not my problem. I've also built relationships with regulators at both the SEC and the IRS. If you didn't, again, that's not my problem. So, while an elite school might matter to some, to me education is worthless. I've worked with attorneys on both sides of the spectrum: Harvard and T4. Honestly, I can't see a difference in competence levels.

I spent the last week at SEC training with 400 accountants and about 50 attorneys. Of the 50 attorneys, less than half came from "elite" schools. I doubt where they went to school made much of a difference in their career. I can tell you what nearly all of them had in common... a background in accounting, finance, or business before entering law school. So, I don't know about every specialty, but securities attorneys seem to come from a variety of schools.
Title: Re: Another Tier 3/4 question
Post by: kenpostudent on October 01, 2008, 11:45:28 PM
That is exactly the problem. 99% of law students have no idea how to find a job, take away OCI and they have no clue what to do to find a job (see student side of this board for plenty of examples).

...
And that says something about the student and the future type of lawyer they will be. You don't make partner sitting around waiting for your school to hand you a new client.  You either make things happen or you sit around and wait for things to happen to you. The later is the default option for most people, as itís the easiest path.

What people fail to understand going into law school is that law is a business.  Most of my classmates just wanted a job.  Go to work, go home, read to the children and put them to bed.  What they didn't understand is that outside of the big firms, corporations, and government, you've got to make rain, even if you are the lowest person on the totem pole.

I'd say if you're not entrepreneurial or government oriented, a lower tier law school is an utter waste of time and money.  You are basically getting a degree so you can sit for a licensing exam so that you can start your own business.  If that's not what you want, forget law school unless you want to be a doc reviewer or ID toileteer.  It's useless.

Yea people go to law school wanting a cubical job where you go in get work assigned to you do your work well and the firm pats you on the head for doing a good job and that's all you have to do to keep employed. Like youíre an MBA or something. Law is a sales, your selling a service, you need to sell yourself and your firm and you need to make rain, even at big law. Its more business than law. The law is just the product you give the customer. If you want a cubical job get an MBA, that's not law.


I would agree with that, but this is true for most professions today. Even the MBA is not guarantee for the cubicle job anymore. Business is becoming highly specialized to the point that the MBA is now what a bachelor's used to be. To get the cubicle job now, you almost need an MBA and a PhD or some other form of specific experience or expertise to set you apart from the crowd.

Yet there are some types of law that are more employable than others. Tax law will always be a good specialization because the IRS doesn't even know what its own damn regulations specify. Ask 10 IRS agents or even attorneys the same question and you'll probably get 10 different answers. For much the same reason, but to much less of a degree, securities law is similar. The SEC regularly flip flops on the interpretation of its own regulations. So, for those with the interest and aptitude for that type of law, there will be work.

The forthcoming convergence of US GAAP and IFRS will probably create a ton of work for corporate and securities lawyers. There's work for those with the right skill set. I'm sure hundreds of others could name specialties with similar opportunities. It's  just a matter of getting the right skill set and learning who the players are in that field. The degree is only a tool. A degree from an elite school is an over-priced tool, unless it gives you some sort of access that you couldn't get otherwise. I have built relationships with a few partners at various firms and hope to build more before I attend law school and during. To me, that is worth more than an Ivy League degree.
Title: Re: Another Tier 3/4 question
Post by: Resident CLS Troll on October 02, 2008, 05:37:47 AM
A non-elite law school may be a gamble for you. I, however, have 200 clients that I can call for work. Of those 200, I bet one puts me in contact with someone that leads to a decent job. I've also met several attorneys, from associate to partner, at several firms in conferences and various training sessions over the last two years. If you didn't, that's not my problem. I've also built relationships with regulators at both the SEC and the IRS. If you didn't, again, that's not my problem. So, while an elite school might matter to some, to me education is worthless. I've worked with attorneys on both sides of the spectrum: Harvard and T4. Honestly, I can't see a difference in competence levels.

I spent the last week at SEC training with 400 accountants and about 50 attorneys. Of the 50 attorneys, less than half came from "elite" schools. I doubt where they went to school made much of a difference in their career. I can tell you what nearly all of them had in common... a background in accounting, finance, or business before entering law school. So, I don't know about every specialty, but securities attorneys seem to come from a variety of schools.

With regard to all this stuff you're saying about yourself, more power to you.  But do you see how your situation might be somewhat atypical?
Title: Re: Another Tier 3/4 question
Post by: kenpostudent on October 02, 2008, 07:28:34 AM
Yes, I see that. But my point it to illustrate that those who want to find work can if they make the right choices. I'm NOT attempting to toot my own horn. I think the core issues of employment prospects after law school is work experience and business sense. Prospective law students can acquire both before they start law school and give themselves the best chances for success.

Furthermore, I am skeptical of the so called "caste system" of elite law schools. I've heard so many posters say that it is difficult to find work in many markets if you don't come from this or that school. However, I've conversed with more attorneys that I can count regarding career mentoring and advice. Not once has any attorney even intimated that where I attend school is remotely important other than for where I intend to practice. Why is that? If going to the elite school is so important, how come no one but posters on admissions blogs offer such counsel?

I suppose there is some truth to the notion that the top 14, 10, 25, or whatever schools give some sort of employment advantage in some markets. There are plenty of larger firms where you will be hard pressed to find even a handful of attorneys from anything less than the best schools. Yet, there are other firms in the same markets that virtually no attorneys from the elite schools.

As to T3/T4 schools, the analysis depends on the school. No one will convince me that someone who wants to practice in Alabama, Mississippi, or Wyoming would be materially disadvantaged if they attended Samford, Ole Miss, or U of Wyoming over larger schools in the region. Now, if you want to practice law in DC, Georgetown is probably a better choice than Howard. Whatever choice is made, though, a graduate makes his own future after law school. His school, at that point, is a very expensive line item on his resume.
Title: Re: Another Tier 3/4 question
Post by: tony_rocky_horror on October 02, 2008, 07:42:54 AM
Yes, I see that. But my point it to illustrate that those who want to find work can if they make the right choices. I'm NOT attempting to toot my own horn. I think the core issues of employment prospects after law school is work experience and business sense. Prospective law students can acquire both before they start law school and give themselves the best chances for success.

Furthermore, I am skeptical of the so called "caste system" of elite law schools. I've heard so many posters say that it is difficult to find work in many markets if you don't come from this or that school. However, I've conversed with more attorneys that I can count regarding career mentoring and advice. Not once has any attorney even intimated that where I attend school is remotely important other than for where I intend to practice. Why is that? If going to the elite school is so important, how come no one but posters on admissions blogs offer such counsel?

I suppose there is some truth to the notion that the top 14, 10, 25, or whatever schools give some sort of employment advantage in some markets. There are plenty of larger firms where you will be hard pressed to find even a handful of attorneys from anything less than the best schools. Yet, there are other firms in the same markets that virtually no attorneys from the elite schools.

As to T3/T4 schools, the analysis depends on the school. No one will convince me that someone who wants to practice in Alabama, Mississippi, or Wyoming would be materially disadvantaged if they attended Samford, Ole Miss, or U of Wyoming over larger schools in the region. Now, if you want to practice law in DC, Georgetown is probably a better choice than Howard. Whatever choice is made, though, a graduate makes his own future after law school. His school, at that point, is a very expensive line item on his resume.

Good points on several fronts:
1. I am in process of completing my CPA and will be complted prior to entering law school. Between that and my work experience I should have a major advantage over my classmates no matter what school I attend
2. My cubile mate went to Gtown, passed the bar, decided law was not for her and is now settling bodily injury claims for prob less than 50k (claims adjuster). At the end of the day it's just a degree and what you make/want out of it.
Title: Re: Another Tier 3/4 question
Post by: Resident CLS Troll on October 02, 2008, 08:06:35 AM
I think the core issues of employment prospects after law school is work experience and business sense.

No one disputes that work experience and business sense help in terms of employment prospects.  I'm not really clear on what makes you think those are the core issues after law school.

I would agree that business sense is probably a core issue in terms of long-term success, but not so much right out of law school.
Title: Re: Another Tier 3/4 question
Post by: Contract2008 on October 02, 2008, 10:04:03 AM
the problem is that a "decent income" working for a small firm is not going to be $70,000 a year in most cases. biglaw pays around $100-160K....the next step down is often to $35,000-50,000 a year. so if you're comfortable earning that salary out of law school, tier 3/4 without loans should be fine.

I don't think this is entirely accurate. The next step down from big law is not making 35-50,000 a year. This may be true for a small firm (10 or less attorneys) because they simply don't have the money for the high salaries. But midsize firms you can easily make between 50-80,000 and still have a life.

I agree with what people are saying for the most part. If you are in a legal market that is not flooded with higher ranked schools AND your school has a good local rep and you want to stay there, take the money and run. Make sure your school has a good rep though. I would not go anywhere that is consistently trashed by others.

It seems that you wrote what you've written above to make yourself feel better.  The reality is, there are very few jobs (especially entry level) out there at mid-size firm.  The hours are very similiar to big law without the high pay.  That's exactly what mid-law is and expect fierce competition from top 10% graduates and law review members. 

Go ask around, there are tons of Tier1 graduates from 2007 and 2006 still looking for jobs that pays less than $50K and some of them have great credentials too such as journals, moot court, etc.
Title: Re: Another Tier 3/4 question
Post by: botbot on October 02, 2008, 10:44:17 AM
Ok peoples...

Title: Re: Another Tier 3/4 question
Post by: Contract2008 on October 02, 2008, 11:01:58 AM
Any tier one graduate who has passed the bar and is "still looking for a job that pays $50k" has made a huge mistake somewhere and this situation is far from common.

It is much more common than you think.  Especially schools ranked 50-30.  In other words, it's not uncommon to hear about a Wake Forest, UF, SMU, etc. graduates being unemployed.  In that case, the UF graduates are better off though due to low debt.
Title: Re: Another Tier 3/4 question
Post by: Matthies on October 02, 2008, 11:19:59 AM
Ok peoples...

  • Stop trying to find a rule where one doesn't exist.  Every firm is different.  Every law school graduate is different.
  • Any tier one graduate who has passed the bar and is "still looking for a job that pays $50k" has made a huge mistake somewhere and this situation is far from common.
  • Any firm could require 3000 billables, any firm could require 1200 billables - size doesn't necessarily matter.
  • Stop focusing on $160k starting salaries.  Start looking at longterm.  (sometimes BIGLAW is best long term, but not always)

Bobot,

While I appreciate your candor, you have violated several LSD rules in posting it. You did not speak in broad generalizations about things you donít have experience with. [violation 1] You did not give anecdotal evidence that your cousins best friends college roommate went to a school ranked in the 30s was top .05% on EIC of two law reviews and argued and won a case before the supreme court during his clinic 3rd year could only get a job paying $4.27 to do document review then say therefore no one gets a job from any school outside the top 14. [violation 2]. Please conform your posts to traditional talking out of one ass standards this board has come to expect.

Thanks you for your prompt attention to this matter,

Matthies
Title: Re: Another Tier 3/4 question
Post by: botbot on October 02, 2008, 06:55:28 PM
Any tier one graduate who has passed the bar and is "still looking for a job that pays $50k" has made a huge mistake somewhere and this situation is far from common.

It is much more common than you think.  Especially schools ranked 50-30.  In other words, it's not uncommon to hear about a Wake Forest, UF, SMU, etc. graduates being unemployed.  In that case, the UF graduates are better off though due to low debt.

I go to a tier one school in the 40s...  ;)

It's not nearly as common as you think.
Title: Re: Another Tier 3/4 question
Post by: Contract2008 on October 02, 2008, 08:48:03 PM

I go to a tier one school in the 40s...  ;)

It's not nearly as common as you think.

The key word is, you go there, probably still a naive 1L or 2L. Come back in two years and report to us how your classmates are doing.
Title: Re: Another Tier 3/4 question
Post by: Matthies on October 03, 2008, 07:55:27 AM

I go to a tier one school in the 40s...  ;)

It's not nearly as common as you think.

The key word is, you go there, probably still a naive 1L or 2L. Come back in two years and report to us how your classmates are doing.

Iíll say that of my friends, from my T2 everyone from the class of 07 and 08 has a job. Granted I donít know everyone in the classes, and I only tend to be friends with the type of people who know how to find a job, so that may not be a good sample. I also know two people from class of 2007 who are on their third jobs since then, these folks I know from my Inn, and well, them having had 3 or more jobs by now does not surprise me much at all knowing those two. They still have not figured out how legal hiring works. At least they are in the Inn so that helped them each get their most recent job. But I would stay they represent the ďstandard studentĒ who has real trouble figuring out how to get a good legal job if the school does not hand them one.
Title: Re: Another Tier 3/4 question
Post by: botbot on October 03, 2008, 09:23:20 AM

I go to a tier one school in the 40s...  ;)

It's not nearly as common as you think.

The key word is, you go there, probably still a naive 1L or 2L. Come back in two years and report to us how your classmates are doing.

Yawn.

I've spoken with  ~50 recent graduates (only a few were on law review).  Each one of them is gainfully employed.

My grades are pretty poor, I have a job.
Title: Re: Another Tier 3/4 question
Post by: Holden Caulfield on October 03, 2008, 09:26:41 AM
Ok peoples...

  • Stop trying to find a rule where one doesn't exist.  Every firm is different.  Every law school graduate is different.
  • Any tier one graduate who has passed the bar and is "still looking for a job that pays $50k" has made a huge mistake somewhere and this situation is far from common.
  • Any firm could require 3000 billables, any firm could require 1200 billables - size doesn't necessarily matter.
  • Stop focusing on $160k starting salaries.  Start looking at longterm.  (sometimes BIGLAW is best long term, but not always)

Bobot,

While I appreciate your candor, you have violated several LSD rules in posting it. You did not speak in broad generalizations about things you donít have experience with. [violation 1] You did not give anecdotal evidence that your cousins best friends college roommate went to a school ranked in the 30s was top .05% on EIC of two law reviews and argued and won a case before the supreme court during his clinic 3rd year could only get a job paying $4.27 to do document review then say therefore no one gets a job from any school outside the top 14. [violation 2]. Please conform your posts to traditional talking out of one ass standards this board has come to expect.

Thanks you for your prompt attention to this matter,

Matthies


Genius. I completely agree
Title: Re: Another Tier 3/4 question
Post by: Holden Caulfield on October 03, 2008, 09:28:08 AM
Any tier one graduate who has passed the bar and is "still looking for a job that pays $50k" has made a huge mistake somewhere and this situation is far from common.

It is much more common than you think.  Especially schools ranked 50-30.  In other words, it's not uncommon to hear about a Wake Forest, UF, SMU, etc. graduates being unemployed.  In that case, the UF graduates are better off though due to low debt.

I go to a tier one school in the 40s...  ;)

It's not nearly as common as you think.

Me also.
Title: Re: Another Tier 3/4 question
Post by: themanwithnoname on October 03, 2008, 09:58:05 AM
For the record, I do not know a single person at my law school (or at any other "T14", for that matter) who got his or her law firm job through personal connections that existed prior to law school.  And yes, I know a large number of people at my school.

And in case anybody wonders why I put "T14" in quotation marks, it's because I think the category is stupid.

C'mon, you can't tell me that there are not sizeable numbers in each class who go to those schools only because their daddy went there. Please!

Legacy admissions are almost nonexistent in law school.  Aside from AA, law school admissions are incredibly meritocratic/numbers-driven, if only by necessity.


If you pay $43k per year to attend an elite law school, that's on you. If mommy and daddy pay for it, great! Yet, if you incur that debt all on your own and gamble with your future, you are either far braver than I. Why let your debt load dictate your job options?

Here's the problem:

1.  Most law schools cost about the same amount. 
2.  At an elite school, you're pretty much guaranteed a high-paying job.
3.  At a non-elite school, you're clearly not.
4.  The non-elite school is therefore much more of a gamble, generally speaking.
5.  Even if you get a full-ride, you're investing 3 years of your life, lost earning opportunities, etc.  There's no guarantee you'll make law review.  So there's no guarantee you'll get a respectable job.

Either way, it's a gamble.  Even if you go T14, you may hate the work, and quit after a year.  But that's generally a more secure gamble than attending a lower-ranked school, which could handicap your entire career, depending on what you want to do.

Put another way:  Why let your pedigree/short-sightedness dictate/limit your job options?

A non-elite law school may be a gamble for you. I, however, have 200 clients that I can call for work. Of those 200, I bet one puts me in contact with someone that leads to a decent job. I've also met several attorneys, from associate to partner, at several firms in conferences and various training sessions over the last two years. If you didn't, that's not my problem. I've also built relationships with regulators at both the SEC and the IRS. If you didn't, again, that's not my problem. So, while an elite school might matter to some, to me education is worthless. I've worked with attorneys on both sides of the spectrum: Harvard and T4. Honestly, I can't see a difference in competence levels.

I spent the last week at SEC training with 400 accountants and about 50 attorneys. Of the 50 attorneys, less than half came from "elite" schools. I doubt where they went to school made much of a difference in their career. I can tell you what nearly all of them had in common... a background in accounting, finance, or business before entering law school. So, I don't know about every specialty, but securities attorneys seem to come from a variety of schools.

What division of the SEC?
Title: Re: Another Tier 3/4 question
Post by: kenpostudent on October 03, 2008, 08:24:43 PM
The conference had representatives from Corp Fin and Enforcement. The Enforcement update was far more interesting... it's always nice to hear what the government is doing to ruin lives.
Title: Re: Another Tier 3/4 question
Post by: kenpostudent on October 03, 2008, 08:43:13 PM

I go to a tier one school in the 40s...  ;)

It's not nearly as common as you think.

The key word is, you go there, probably still a naive 1L or 2L. Come back in two years and report to us how your classmates are doing.
Yawn.

I've spoken with  ~50 recent graduates (only a few were on law review).  Each one of them is gainfully employed.

My grades are pretty poor, I have a job.

I can't fathom how T1-T3 law grads cannot find jobs (T4, I sort of understand, since most of those schools have pretty low standards). Maybe it's true, and I'll only know the truth of the matter after my first year of law school. Yet, I am skeptical of the doom and gloom spouted on this site. If these so-called job seekers are striking out by blast faxing resumes or relying on OCI, then I understand. However, if those who can't find jobs are networking their @sses off and still striking out, that is a different matter. The latter is unbelievable and entirely inconceivable to me. I found my current job while in school by networking with professors who put me in contact with my current boss. Maybe the legal profession has different hiring practices... I can't say for certain.

Maybe it's just supply and demand at work. However, I don't here this sentiment from the grads that I know personally. How come the only place I hear this crap is on LSD? Hence, my skepticism.

Matthies knows his $hit when it comes to marketing and networking with professionals. If someone employed even a fraction of his tactics, I can't imagine that they would not find a decent job despite choice of school or grades.