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Messages - Anti09

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Choosing the Right Law School / Re: Too Many Good Choices
« on: February 26, 2013, 06:52:09 PM »
Well said, jack24. 

Choosing the Right Law School / Re: Too Many Good Choices
« on: February 25, 2013, 07:43:52 PM »
the mean salary was 78,000 in 2011, which was the worst year for legal employment. In 2009 the mean was 93,000,

The mean starting salary is a fairly meaningless statistic when the distribution is bimodal.  The NALP report is pretty clear:

The left-hand peaks of the graph reflect salaries of $40,000 to $65,000, which collectively accounted for about 52% of reported salaries. The right-hand peak shows that salaries of $160,000 accounted for about 14% of reported salaries. However, more complete salary coverage for jobs at large law firms heightens this peak and diminishes the left-hand peaks and shows that the unadjusted mean overstates the average starting salary by just over 6%. Nonetheless, as both the arithmetic mean and the adjusted mean show, relatively few salaries are close to either mean.

Notice how the largest proportion of those reporting, by far, were making between 40-65k.  The only ones making 140-160k did not, in general, graduate from schools like the ones OP is considering, because none of them place more than a few % into biglaw.  It is much more likely that OP will be making between 40-65k, which the salary data says is by far the most likely outcome.

You are correct that NALP surveys do not receive perfect participation. This is a bit of a moot point, however, as increased participation would likely end up hurting employment statistics. Notice that salary coverage is overrepresented at large firms, and consequently, among those making $140-$160k.  This is because law schools relentlessly pursue their successful graduates for their employment statistics, and let the less successful 'self-select' out.  I certainly wouldn't be thrilled about reporting I was unemployed, would you?

Statistics aren't everything.  But they are the best indicator of the legal market that we have.  It's silly to ignore them - we cannot pretend like there aren't serious problems with the legal industry.  It is difficult for students from the very best schools to get jobs, and OP needs to be informed of the substantial risk associated with graduating from a school that only places 50-60% of the class.  If he is taking on debt, it is simple common sense to plan his finances according to his expected salary (and commensurate with the very real possibility of ending up unemployed). 

Choosing the Right Law School / Re: Thomas Jefferson School of Law?
« on: February 25, 2013, 03:46:20 PM »
TJSL gives you a 26.7% chance of ever working as a lawyer.  In fact, you have a significantly greater chance of being unemployed altogether (41.5%) than you do of finding work as a lawyer. 

It's objectively one of the worst schools in the country and an outright scam.

Choosing the Right Law School / Re: Too Many Good Choices
« on: February 25, 2013, 03:41:25 PM »
Also as to Anti's point plenty of lawyers do start out making 40-60k, but this number goes up drastically in a few years with experience. There are also plenty of people who start out making 80-100k and whether you succeed as a lawyer is going to depend a lot more on you than whatever school you attend.

No they aren't.  Salary distributions are overwhelmingly bimodal.  OP should plan to make 40-60k upon graduation.

Choosing the Right Law School / Re: Too Many Good Choices
« on: February 24, 2013, 03:52:37 PM »
If total cost is equal between your top 3, go to the school located in the market you want to work.  Baylor is better than W&M or Wake, which are roughly equivalent in terms of employment prospects.  None of them will allow you to travel far from their location so make sure you're happy working there.  Finally, realize that lawyer salaries are bi-modal, so you will be making 40-60k MAX upon graduation.  Plan your finances accordingly. 

I will have to rebut Anit's statement and remember law school transparency is not exactly gospel. Furthermore, it only reports attorney salaries right after graduation and although it is true most lawyers start out making 40-60k,  after a few years of experience this number jumps significantly.

Law School Transparency is statistics.  It's the closest thing we have to an accurate picture of the legal market.  Statistics don't lie, and the statistics say that going to any of the schools OP is considering is not a good idea.  UArk isn't actually that awful (if OP is cool with AK and can go there on the cheap) but UM only places half their class into legal jobs, and Hofstra only places 40%.  Think about that - sticker cost at Hofstra is over $250,000, and it is more likely than not that OP will never work as a lawyer after graduation.  That's inexcusable.

Choosing the Right Law School / Re: I can't decide!
« on: February 19, 2013, 03:32:28 PM »
Fine, ranking past the T25 is almost completely irrelevant.  You touched on it when you said it's all about debt and location.  If you aren't going to a school with a portable name, your primary concerns should be debt, location, and placement statistics.  There are plenty of schools within the same market whose ranking doesn't correlate with job prospects - take FSU, a T2, which outperforms UF, a T1. 

My point is that too many people look at rankings and think they should choose a school outside of their desired market just because it's ranked higher.  That's a dangerous proposition when they realize that most schools don't have a portable name, hence the T25 cutoff (and that's generous).

Choosing the Right Law School / Re: I can't decide!
« on: February 18, 2013, 06:15:38 PM »
Ranking is important for maybe the T25.  After that it becomes completely irrelevant.

Go to school in the market you want to work, and pay as little as possible.  Ranking means almost nothing once you get past the T20, so you should focus on employment statistics and keeping your debt load as close to zero as you can.  Realize that many of the schools you listed give you less than a 50% chance of securing work as a lawyer, and you will be making $40-60k MAXIMUM.  The general rule of thumb is not to take out more debt that you expect to make your first year, so you should be paying AT MOST $60k for the total COA (including living expenses) for any school you attend.  Re-taking would give you access to more schools and to better scholarships at the schools you are in.  Good luck.

None of those schools are any good, so if you decide to go you should plan on keeping your debt as low as possible.  Check out - none of your options gives you more than a 50% chance of working as a lawyer.  Even if you do manage to get a job, expect to be making $40-60k MAX.  Consequently, I wouldn't go to any of them unless it was for free, and even then I would have to think about it. 

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