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Incoming 1Ls / Law School Placement in Texas Big Law Firms
« on: November 17, 2008, 11:13:08 AM »
For those interested in practicing in Texas, here is a list of the 23 largest firms in Texas and the law schools of the Class of 2008.

University of Texas School of Law 108
Southern Methodist University Dedman School of Law 53
University of Houston Law Center 49
University of Virginia School of Law 21
Texas Tech University School of Law 14
Baylor University School of Law 13
Harvard Law School 13
Vanderbilt University Law School 13
Georgetown University Law Center 11
South Texas College of Law 11
Columbia Law School 8
Louisiana State University Paul M. Hebert Law Center 8
Tulane Law School 7
Duke University School of Law 6
Texas Southern University Thurgood Marshall School of Law 6
Texas Wesleyan University School of Law 5
University of Chicago Law School 5
University of Oklahoma College of Law 5
Washington University in St. Louis School of Law 5
William and Mary School of Law 5
Northwestern University School of Law 5
St. Mary's University School of Law 4
University of Michigan Law School 4
Brigham Young University J. Reuben Clark Law School 3
Notre Dame Law School 3
Stanford Law School 3
University of Arkansas School of Law 3
Yale Law School 2
Wake Forrest University School of Law 2
University of Tulsa College of Law 2
University of Pittsburgh School of Law 2
University of Kansas School of Law 2
University of Pennsylvania Law School 2
Pepperdine University School of Law 2
Loyola University Chicago School of Law 2
George Washington University Law School 2
All other law schools 37


Incoming 1Ls / Passed the Texas Bar!
« on: November 06, 2008, 03:18:45 PM »
Y'all have no idea how good this feels! It's like getting a 180 on the LSAT (not like I would know ;)). I do not envy y'all who are about to start law school!

Incoming 1Ls / More Research Before Going to Law School
« on: November 03, 2008, 11:28:12 AM »
This has probably been posted before, but I recommend that future law students look at these law websites and blogs to get a better understanding of what they are getting into. With the current market, rising tuition costs, and an influx of new lawyers, the job market is getting tougher and I think a lot of expectations from people here are not realistic. However, even if I came across these websites before I went to law school, I would still have gone to the same school even with no scholarships.
This is the inverse of LSD. A lot of complaining, whining, and bitching about TTT schools, the law profession, and life in general. It is a good counter-balance for the overt optimisim on this board and the people who just want to get into ANY law school and still expect a 6-figure salary.
A good legal "tabloid" that highlights the drama going on at major firms in major markets, courts, law schools, and a hodgepot of other random legal news. I think it provides good perspective on the big firms (which is where 90% of law students want to get a job) and how they are fairing in this market. Provides good info on law firm mergers and law offs which are generally ignored in the mainstream media.

Other good blogs:

Choosing the Right Law School / Texas Law Schools Report Card
« on: August 21, 2008, 02:00:36 PM »
Here is an interesting survey conducted by The Texas Lawyer on the Texas law schools.

I've seen relevant threads, but I'd like to put a candid perspective on what I am coming across as a recent law school graduate with no job. While it sucks not having a job right out of law school, I'm not as doom and gloom as a lot of the posters here and on jdunderground. It amazes me that so many of us in the legal profession demand jobs right out the gates of law school just because other students got jobs as 2Ls. Ask a recent college grad and they would be amazed that people are whining that they don't have a job before graduating or before they even have a license to practice law.

I am currently waiting for my bar results and if I pass, then I will start worrying about getting a job. With that said, I think this website is a bit biased and feeds a misperception about law school. I know I a lot of people get sick of negative posts talking about how bad some law schools are and the job situation, but I think it is good to have a balanced perspective on the law school process. It is nice that there is a place for people to talk about applying to law schools and give encouragement to those with less stellar LSATs or GPAs and those who are on endless waitlists. However, it is equally important to highlight the future of the vast majority of law students at or after graduation. The anxiety and uncertainty many of you future law students feel is nothing compared to the feelings you will have after graduation if you don't have a job. Even though waiting 6-9 months may seem a drop in the bucket and worth the wait, try actually living in that time frame without a job in this economy.

It is especially humbling when you know that people with similar or worse grades from you who graduated a year before you had employers banging at their doors with awesome job offers. I know that there is a silver lining and I still don't regret going to my law school and taking out $160K in loans. But there are some observations that I'd like to share from my personal experience:

Because of the economy, many medium and smaller firms have stopped hiring recent grads. I know this sounds like a no-brainer, but the reason kind of scared me. The smaller firms do need more lawyers, but there are so many experienced lawyers in the market place that they don't need to focus on the recent graduates anymore. If you ask legal recruiters, they are doing extremely well in this economy because lawyers are jumping ship from their old firms before they are getting laid off from their current firms. As such, the smaller firms who used to hire 1 to 2 recent grads are now focusing on lawyers with 2-3 years experience for the same or similar pay. I have been on at least two interviews for "entry-level" positions that eventually went to lateral attorneys. The guy interviewing me was surprised that someone with my grades and class rank would even apply to his firm, but he was also amazed at the number of resumes he received for just one job opening. Hopefully this trend is not permanent, but with the number of new law schools expanding and the number of law firms outsourcing to India, it might be something else for future law students to consider. 

Law School Admissions / The effect of the US NEWS Ranking
« on: March 29, 2008, 06:57:24 PM »
Just curious....And I guess you can post an example:

"I was picking between school A & B; school A went up 3 spots to #X and school B went down one spot to #Y and I picked school __."

Posted this article already, but a good read for prospective law students:

Salary Reality: Many Lawyers Don't Earn Big Bucks
By Mary Flood, Houston Chronicle

Jul. 26--People have a false impression about lawyers -- that they all make six-figure salaries.

With at least three big law firms in Houston announcing this month that they're raising starting pay to $160,000, there's reason for the confusion.

But the reality is that first-year graduates from the three Houston law schools make as little as $30,000 a year and have a median salary of around $70,000.

Those outside the profession aren't the only ones with unrealistic impressions of lawyer pay.

A lot of law students, seduced by publicity about high-end salaries and some wishful thinking, aren't grounded about legal salaries either.

"Every student thinks they are going to be in the top 5 percent of the class and make $150,000. The reality is they are not. If the grades are not there, the money does not follow," said Andreaus Boise, career service coordinator for the Thurgood Marshall School of Law at Texas Southern University.

Students get upset about this often enough that Boise keeps Rolaids on her desk for them. Another law school career adviser says she keeps tissues on her desk for the inevitable tears.

Feeling the curve The top salaries go to law students from the prestige schools or those who have the very best grades at other schools.

Others, even some who have enjoyed earlier academic success, might need to lower their expectations.

"These students have done well their whole life. This is the first time for a lot of them that they feel a forced curve," said Rhonda Beassie, assistant dean of career development at the University of Houston Law Center. "A healthy percentage of the students don't get the message until they go bid for a job."

The law students who go to the top-tier firms will make $120,000 to $165,000 annually, but that will be the top 10 percent or less, according to the local law school career offices. Those in midsize firms will make roughly $55,000 to $80,000. At small firms or government jobs, they get $40,000 to $60,000. Solo practitioners may make $30,000 or even live off loans when they start out.

Certainly with experience, these lawyers should increase their income and eventually most of them will get past $100,000, but not that far past it. The median income or 50th percentile, for all attorneys in Texas was $113,300 in 2005, the last time the State Bar of Texas conducted its survey.

In the Houston area, the Bar found the median income for probate and estate attorneys was $78,333, for real estate lawyers it was $88,750, and for civil trial lawyers it was $187,500.

The price of going solo "Students who go out and get a first-year salary of $45,000 are blown away. Their expectations were glamorized," said Reginald Green, the assistant dean of career resources at South Texas College of Law.

The median income for members of the South Texas class of 2006 is $70,000, and the average is $82,000, he said their survey shows.

Green said expectations may be inflated because law schools market themselves in the brightest light and the media cover the highest salaries.

Boise said the TSU law school produces many solo practitioners.

"A lot of students hang out their own shingle. They go to the courthouse to get court appointments. They start at $35,000, sometimes more, sometimes less," she said.

A fresh start Melissa Lanier and her law partner, Elizabeth Pagel, graduated from TSU law school in May 2006 and they set up a partnership in Humble -- Lanier & Pagel. Their first-year income will probably be about $30,000 each, tops.

"We think we are doing well. We thought there might be no money in our own pocket for a year or two," said Lanier, who practices bankruptcy law, while Pagel focuses on family law.

The partners have hustled business by networking, distributing fliers, attending seminars and placing phone books ads.

"We sent out announcement cards to everyone we had ever met in our lives," Lanier said.

"It is funny, even my husband thought he'd have a wife making big bucks. That's not automatic," said Lanier, 40, who is making the law a second career after working in marketing. She is delighted with her progress.

Living a little So is Amber Lanvin, a May 2005 UH law school grad, making about $53,000 at the small bankruptcy law firm Swindell & Associates. She tried a couple of other small firms before she found the right fit.

"The people at the top of the class were really driven to be there. But I work about 50 hours a week. I'm not working their 80 hours a week," said Lanvin, 27. "I get to hang with my fiance, have a nice dinner, live a little."

Ryan Peterson, a May 2006 graduate of South Texas, makes about $50,000 doing mostly traffic court work for the Citizen Law Firm.

"No question that there are some people who go to law school thinking they'll get $100,000 at their first job even though they can't argue their way out of a paper bag," said Peterson, 28, who would like to move to more serious criminal cases.

'It's worth it...' Amy Allen, a May 2006 UH law school grad, is practicing family law at Myres, Dale & Associates.

She didn't have the grades to make the big bucks and earns less than $60,000, but says she likes getting hands-on experience with clients and in court.

"I'm literally learning something new every day," Allen said.

"Every day it seems some friend thinks I'm making more than I do. They say, 'Come see me in Florida.' I say I can't afford it, and they are surprised," said Allen, 35. "I'm living paycheck to paycheck. I don't have a new BMW. But I love my job. It's worth it to me."

Incoming 1Ls / Expected Worse Case Scenario After Law School
« on: July 28, 2007, 08:42:13 PM »
I am currently a 3L and never really considered how I would fair at graduation. While the answer to this question probably wouldn't sway decision to attend law school, I might have chosen a less expensive option. Like most law students, I assumed that I would be earning a six-figure salary at graduation. Just something future law students should consider...

Incoming 1Ls / .
« on: March 13, 2007, 08:42:19 PM »

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