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Messages - FalconJimmy

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I go to the top school in my market and only half of last years class had a job at graduation.

Do you think this has something to do with the economy, though?  I mean, new grads of all stripes (both law and non-law) are having trouble finding jobs.  I wonder if perhaps the situation you describe has more to do with the economy than your school.

Totally agree with your post, though.

My anectdotal evidence may be grossly out of date, too.  In the 90s, I knew two women who ended up as biglaw associates at a big firm.  One of them was a gunner from day 1.  I knew her when she was in law school. 

The following is based on my limited universe of the cleveland market, but I think it could apply elsewhere.

She'd say things like, "You can only work biglaw if you go to case and do really well.  Otherwise, maybe they'll look at you if you go to Akron, but only if you're #1 in your class."

So, even then, she was acknowledging that there was a path to biglaw from 4T schools.  (Akron was 4T at the time.)

Once she worked for a while, though, she really changed her tune.  She indicated that her firm also picked up people from Cleveland State (which was either 3T or 4T.  I really don't remember.)  I think they still picked up the bulk of their new associates from Case, but there were enough people from "lesser" schools that she thought it was noteworthy.  At one point, I think she even said it wouldn't have mattered if she'd gone to CSU.

The overall impression I got was that yeah, you could get a job there from CSU, but that you'd better place really high in your class.

Again, somewhat validated by what you said, generally speaking the students at CWRU are better than the students at CSU.  If you take the same guy and put him at CWRU, maybe he is top 20%, but put him at CSU and he's maybe top 10%.  If you're the #1 student at CSU, there's a fair to middlin' chance that you might have been #1 at CWRU, too.  At a minimum, you probably would have been near the top.

I think firms that are hiring take this into account.  They aren't going to treat all schools equally, but they do look at people from most sorts of schools.  You just have to do a little better if your school is not as highly regarded.

These days, things are pretty bad all over, but I know that when I went to my school's preview day, they had some recent grads who had pretty good jobs.  I presume these people were the very top of the class.  Class sizes are small (maybe 100 students, maybe a few more), so to be in the top 10%, you pretty much have to be one of the 10 best students. 

However, there are jobs for those very top folks.  It's where folks are, say, down lower in rank that I think they're really, really struggling to find work.    Supply and demand.  Lots of grads, very few jobs.  So, the people with jobs can be very, very picky.

I also maybe am looking at this differently.  If the top 10% are getting good jobs (and by that, I mean six figure jobs), then that's pretty darned good.  If you took a typical guy who got a bachelor's degree, it's pretty unlikely they'll get a six figure job 3 years after graduation.  Chances are they'll be schlubbing around at something less than $50,000.  So, at a disparity that great, law school makes sense.

For those who graduate at the bottom of their class?  Yeah, I admit, I believe it when folks say that they're totally ****ed.  However, most degree programs are that way.  Some aren't, but most are.  If you graduate in the bottom of your class, your career isn't over, but you're going to have trouble finding a job and it probably won't pay well.

That's not law school's fault.  That's just the way things are.

Though, as an attorney, you can put up a web-site (I mean, how much does that cost, really?), open  up a family law practice and who knows.  Maybe after a few years, you'll be pulling down six figures, too.  Not hard to do if you're billing $150 an hour and $150 an hour isn't that high of a billing rate.

You might have to work long hours, but frankly, folks who make six figures usually do. 

I also think there's 4T and there's 4T.  Looking at Ohio schools, honestly, I mean no disrespect to anybody, but I don't think anybody thinks there's a whit of difference between CSU, U of Toledo and U of Akron Law.  I think they're all regarded as competent, not particularly remarkable, and just solid, state-supported law schools with rather forgiving admissions policies. 

I don't think anybody thinks of them as “great”, but I don't think anybody thinks of them as “bad” either.  They're “good”, solid, they teach you the law and get you ready to practice if you're willing to put in the work and you have some potential.  The top of the classes probably do very well.  The bottom of the classes probably not so much.

They all move around a lot between 3T and 4T.  Once in a while, one of them will crack the lower part of 2T.  (Toledo has been there a couple of times this century).  There seems to be a lot of movement and jockeying in the 3 and 4T. 

That tells me the rankings are highly imprecise when drawing distinctions between these schools.  You just can't take them too seriously if it's possible to be #98 one year, and in the hoard below #143 three years later.  Contrast to the T14, where the schools are the same every year. 

Now, some schools are in the 4T, always have been, and never will get out.  It's almost like they need a special 5T category, but really, what purpose would that serve?  Only a very naïve person would go to those schools thinking it was a great school, anyway. 


From reading past post by Bigs, one of his points about the ratings be of little value is based on a significant portion of the ratings being based upon reputation scores. Here we have lawyers/judges being asked to generate reputation schools off schools that they have little to know knowledge of.

Such as a judge in Oregon scoring comparing the reputation of Franklin Pierce and University of DC, when in reality he/she has likely never come across a lawyer from either school, much less be in a position to accurately compare and contrast.

That's the part that's probably the squirreliest.  Seriously, at some point, people are saying Yale is better just because everybody says Yale is better.  There comes a point  where the logic becomes circular.

Still, if you're applying for a job, especially outside your region, those opinions matter.  Right or wrong, a person making a hiring decision is likely to think a certain way about a school just because most people think that way. 

Is there an element of unfairness to include opinion in the rankings?  Sure.  There's also an element of reality to it.

I think we all realize that getting a job in the law is highly competitive.  That means that for every position you apply for, there will be maybe dozens of other candidates who are nearly indistiguishable from you.  At that point, you need every advantage you can get.  Law review?  If you have a 4.0 from a 2T school and somebody else has a 3.0 from a 2T school, I don't see how law review is going to make a difference.

If you have a 3.4 from a 2T school and somebody else has a 3.3 and law review, that might put them over the top.

Schools?  We all know that students from some schools have advantages over students from other schools.  Where we disagree is that the advantage extends much beyond 1T.  Personally, I think it applies (to a lesser, but still significant degree) at the 2Ts. 

Though this conversation has me thinking and I am sort of leaning towards the belief that differentiating between 3T and 4T is probably sorta pointless.  Instead of ranking the 3T, it might be more realistic to just put everything below the 2T in one big alphabetized pool.  Really, I can't see a 3T student doing all that much better than a 4T student (though there are some 4T schools that have such a generally bad reputation that they're sort of in a world all to themselves.)

Also, if there's only one law school in your market, it's likely to be the dominant law school in terms of lawyers holding down important positions.  However, if there's more than one, I would say that a 2T is likely to have an advantage over 3Ts in the area.  (See Cleveland example above.)  There is one major caveat here, though:  that I doubt 3Ts and 4Ts are necessarily automatically excluded from the same opportunties as the 2T grads.  They just might need a higher class rank to qualify for the same jobs.  Ultimately, though, the same amount of work that would get you a top 20% rank at a 2T might be comparable to the amount of work it takes to get a top 10% at a 3T.  So, in a way, the school is utterly unimportant.    I'm starting to come around to the view that below a certain point, the choice of school absolutely doesn't matter.  Seems like the only difference is that I'm thinking this happens below somewhere near the 2t / 3t horizon.  Whereas big is thinking it happens below the 1t/2t horizon.  Again, we agree on far more than we disagree on.

It seems to me Law School is the only place where I can obtain a career that respects humanities minded people and where I can obtain a career that pays something over 40k a year.

As much as I hate to say it, I think you're right about that.  You'll be closer to the rule, not the exception at law school.  In almost any business, you'll be the exception.  I also think that your salary goals are really rather modest.  Granted, some folks are doing worse, but if you're just looking to make over $40K, then law will give you a great shot at that, and maybe much more.

You mentioned getting an MA.  Not sure if you've ever considered Math or English, but hiring is actually petty good for people with masters in those two disciplines because so many community colleges need instructors in those disciplines.

Of course, if you want to work for the fed, why not get on and see what you qualify for already?

... nobody cares whether a school is the 89th or 102nd best.

There, I agree with you.  I don't think the rankings are useful if you're using them to say, "Oh, look.  This one is #90.  This one is #70.  70 must be clearly superior."

What it does do, however, is group schools, generally.  There may be some exceptions, but the #30 ranked school probably is a better law school than the #90 ranked school. 

You can dismiss that part of the rankings are based solely on opinion, but frankly, opinion is going to play a part in the hiring process.

As for using LSAT and GPA, I can say that I have attended a few schools.  Progressively, each had a higher caliber student body than the previous.  What happens is that the classes move faster when it's clear that 90% of the class isn't lost.

Schools are businesses.  They can't afford to fail out 50% of the class, even if 50% of the class deserves to fail.  They need to keep butts in seats and collect tuition $$$.  So, the caliber of your fellow students determines, to a large degree, how fast the class can move along and how tough the curve is.

Especially when the rating system they use makes no sense.

There we can agree only to disagree.  Parts of it make less sense than other parts, but it makes sense.  It's clearly an imperfect instrument and should be treated as such. 

The reason the NCAA doesn't rank outside of the top 25 is because they can't even come close to making any meaningful ranking.

And yet, we have a perfect example of why this logic doesn't hold sway.  The NCAA basketball tournament is going on right now and bracket seeding is determining, to a large degree, the actual outcome of games.  It isn't predicting them with absolute precision, just as tne US News rankings don't determine law school rankings with absolute precision, but when ranking 64 basketball teams, most of whom have never played each other, it's not impossible to make some pretty good generalizations about them.

Massive Controversy comes up when they are trying to pick 64 teams to make the NCAA tournament

And yet, they did a pretty good job, don't you think?  The lower seeds in the tournament seldom surprise anybody.  So, arguing that some OTHER team should have taken the 66th spot really is sort of pointless don't you think?

so they certainly couldn't distinguish between the 103rd and 114th best with any accuracy. 

But could they tell you the 30 teams that are somewhere around 100th?  I think they could and their opinion would be good enough to make a decision on.

Yet U.S. News using criteria that are nowhere near as objective as sports scores attempts to do it.

GMAT?  GPA?  I mean, most schools use all the same teaching materials and have professors from all the same schools.  The only real difference is the students, don't you think?

The reason is they are not accountable to anyone they are not regulated, approved, or anything. They simply come up with a half ass formula and publish a magazine to make money.

If you're saying that they're full of crap because University of Michigan is arguably as good a law school as Stanford, I'm listening, and I think you have a point.  If you're saying they're full of crap because you think that Capital University is as good a school as University of Texas, I can only agree to disagree with you.

Bottom line as I think we both said is if choosing between tier 2,3,4 school is go to school in the location you want to work in not what some unregulated magazine's subjective opinion is on what is the 73rd opposed to 79th best school

I think we agree on far more than we disagree on.  I don't think the rankings are useful to make micro-delineations between schools.  If a person really thinks the #38 school is demonstrably better than the #33 ranked school based only on the rankings, I think a person needs to re-think.

When talking about two comparable schools, I'd say go with the one where you want to go to school.

However, I do think people at the 2T schools enjoy some advantages over people at the 3T and 4T schools.

As I've posted elsewhere, I'm a resident of Ohio.  Let's take an example of the city of Cleveland.  You have Case Western Reserve, Cleveland State, and if you stretch things a bit, you have Akron U.

Case is 2T at #61.  Akron is 3T at 127.  Cleveland State is 3T at 132.

Is Case better?  The ranking say so.  So do the OCI.  So do the placements in biglaw.  Case is monumentally more expensive, but frankly, if I had to chose and I could go to any of the 3, I'd go to Case. 

Again, does this mean Case is better than, say, #77 ranked University of Miami?  I would say, no, it isn't.  If you want to practice in Florida, or greater Miami, then Miami is the place to go.  If you want to practice in Cleveland, then Case is your choice. 

(Set aside that any no sane person would want to live in Cleveland if they could live in Miami.)

Again, I think we agree on more than we disagree on, but it appears that you think the rankings are meaningless outside the 1T.  I just disagree. 

Also, it's no secret that the school I will probably be going to is 4T, so trust me, I wish this weren't true.  I just don't believe in kidding yourself.

Incoming 1Ls / Recommended E&Es?
« on: March 20, 2011, 06:49:54 AM »
Okay, if I attend in the Fall, it looks like my schedule will be

Civ Pro
Legal Writing and Research

I am wondering if people here have recommendations for E & Es for the first 4 classes.

Any feedback you could provide would be greatly appreciated.  If I am going to do this, I want to get started on the E&Es right now.

I'm getting ready to order this one:

Any strong feelings for or against?

In all honestly the ranking for schools outside of the T14 schools are pointless. University of Denver will get you a job in Denver and University of Oregon will get you a job in Oregon.

+1 on this sentiment.  Though I don't necessarily agree on the complete dismissal of the rankings, I think the above quote is spot-on.  Your primary criteria for decision if you're talking about schools that far apart, should be where you want to live / practice.

Current Law Students / Re: The Elitist Method - My Lost Lawyer Friend
« on: March 18, 2011, 05:58:44 PM »
I hope that you are right, BikePilot. I really do. It has been heartbreaking to witness a brilliant young man succumb to the dark side and become an avaricious, hypocritical, disingenuous little weasel.

Hahaha!  Hey, your real friend is in there.  Give him a little time to enjoy his success.  Let him make an ass of himself a little longer.  If he's a good guy, he'll come down to earth again on his own, eventually.  If it goes on too long and you get to where you really can't stand him, perhaps you could say something like, "Hey man, I'm really happy for your success.  But you're really wearing me out.  It's to the point where I'm not sure I really want to be around you because you're acting like kind of a feminine hygiene product."

After that, who knows.  He's young and he's just accomplished a great thing.  He's got a bit of a swelled head.  I don't think that's so unusual and I don't think it makes him a bad person. 

Give him a little time to take it all in.

BTW:  I've made six figures before.  Heck, I've made new biglaw associate money, before.  It really is nice, but it doesn't exactly put you in the ultra strata of the filthy rich.  You still don't own airplanes or a house in the Hamptons. 

Granted, if he hangs on and makes midlevel associate or partner, he'll be pulling down major coin.  (I've known two people who worked biglaw.  One made it 2 years, the other made it 4.  My personal opinion is that in both cases, they took it about as long as they could stand it and just couldn't last any longer.)

Until then, he's well off, but hardly wealthy.  A new biglaw associate makes about what a family practice doctor makes, and you don't see them running around stuffing their money in everyone's face.

Give him time.  He'll come back down to earth eventually.

Visits, Admit Days, and Open Houses / Re: Is Pepperdine Worth It?
« on: March 18, 2011, 11:09:40 AM »
Why do you say that Jwebony956?

If she really looks like the picture, my guess is that she's just used to saying that to every man she meets.

Visits, Admit Days, and Open Houses / Re: Wayne State: Worth it?
« on: March 18, 2011, 06:50:32 AM »
Toledo fell into T4.  (I'll be curious about that story--big fall in 3 years)

It's a pretty straightforward story.

Toledo was gaming the system with the US News numbers.  Basically, if you had poor GPA and LSAT, they put you in the transitional program, or only admitted you to the part-time section.

Now, US News includes part-timers in their ranking data.  So, Toledo lost an advantage there.

Also, these things snowball.  To a degree, the US News rankings become a self-fullfilling prophecy.  If your school makes it to, say, #23, students who weren't interested when it was #49 are now taking a look.  When Toledo was 2T, some folks who would not have otherwise considered it started thinking about it.  When they slid to 3T, fewer people considered it.  Dropping into 4T is really bad. 

The rankings are imperfect, but any time you fall into a group that includes all the very worst law schools in the country, that's going to look bad. 

A 2nd tier school usually draws folks from all over the country.  The 4th tier schools are going to basically be commuter schools.  Figure OSU and Cinci are better and are also state schools.  CWRU is better, and only 2 hours away.  Almost nobody is going to leave, say, the Cleveland metro area to go to Toledo since they can go to CWRU, and if they can't get in there, they can just go to CSU. 

Even Akron is ranked higher than Toledo, now.  This is bad and the Law School really needs to get a hotshot dean to pull them out of this death spiral.

Choosing the Right Law School / Re: Disability Law
« on: March 17, 2011, 03:04:33 PM »
California has a unique system with disability law that involves its own set of damages, etc.  Might be something you could figure out by taking a CE, but seems to me that you'd be foolish to go to a school outside California.

Just my barely-informed opinion.

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