I have friends who finished outside of the top 25% who are working at very decent firms, but they are not making $140k+ their first year out (closer to $90k, I imagine).
Do you know how far outside the top 25% they finished? What kind of firms and in which cities are your classmates making ~$90k?
Also, in regard to the RA comments. I have been told by several people that RA positions are fairly easy to obtain. What makes them competitive in your opinion?
Do you know people who were able to participate on a journal, maintain a RA position, and maintain their grades? One of my concerns is cost, to which the RA option is always the answer. Another concern is getting a good job from Iowa and from what I can
tell, participating on a journal makes ones chances much stronger.
My friends in the $90k range work at firms in Omaha, Des Moines, Kansas City, Chicago, D.C. and Miami. I cannot give you exact rankings but I imagine they were between the 30%-50% range. Of course, many of these people were outstanding in other ways. Some speak Mandarin, are CPAs, or had excellent summer positions (SEC, US Attorneys Office, Universal Studios, etc.).
I fear prospective students are led to believe that RA positions are guaranteed. I know this is not the case. I estimate 3 out of 5 students actually earn an RA position. Also, some professors are more demanding than others and make being an RA a nightmare. I was an RA for two different professors, but I am an extremely likeable person
! I am from Iowa, but I wanted to be an RA because of the experience and I really liked the type of work the professors were doing (negotiations and non-profit). Of course, the out-of-state students probably didn't like it when Iowans took these positions, but it happens.
I know a few people who did journal/moot court/student government/RA and stayed in the top 20%, but--in my opinion--they were crazy. Most of the time something is going to suffer. You have to know yourself and be realistic. I know people who did journal and they dropped from the top 15% to the 25%-37.5% range. Now the reason for the drop may be that the second year and third year of law school is different than the first year. Students can choose courses better suited to their interests or avoid professors with finals they do not do well on (like multiple choice or take-home essay or whatever).
The happiest IOWA graduates are those who took it upon themselves to search for jobs on their own. These people sent out dozens and dozens of mailings and did not rely soley on OCI (on-campus interviews) to get positions.