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Messages - lawnecon

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31
Where should I go next fall? / Re: Tell me about Villanova
« on: May 15, 2007, 02:40:13 PM »


Any clue what's up with the admissions office though?  They don't seem to like responding to emails.

No idea - Not surprisingly, once you're admitted and accept the offer, you don't have much contact with them. In fact, I never had much contact with them to beging with. The one thing I did notice though was my acceptance letter was probably the least enthusiatic piece of mail I've ever received. To paraphrase, it essentially said, "I guess your credentials are okay...Feel free to show up for orientation and pay us a large sum of money if you'd like." I felt felt really special after that - I literally received waitlist letters that were more encouraging!

32
Where should I go next fall? / Re: Syracuse
« on: May 15, 2007, 02:31:16 PM »
one of my best friends is a 2L at syracuse now. she chose it because of the $$ they gave her and she really regrets it now. she isn't anywhere near the top 10% and she says she has zero job prospects - and had a real hard time finding a summer job this year - even in upstate NY where she is from anyway, plus she still has a gross amount of loans even with the $$. just thought you guys might want to know. even though i'm sure its better for alot of people.

Hmmm, well this makes me a feel a little better about passing on the dough from Syracuse last year. I know there were a couple of girls on this board last year who had a free ride to Syrcause and took it - I wonder if they're still happy with their decisions.

Thanks for the info. I've heard from a lot of people that the job prospects are grim.

Anyone know of people having good experiences finding summer jobs and employment upon graduation from Syracuse? I know someone who got hired at the top firm in the city I live in (Pittsburgh, PA) but he was on law review...so I'm assuming he graduated with honors.

I think I posted this in another Syracuse thread (though maybe it was this one) - I have a friend who wasn't anywhere near the top 10% as well who had a good job at a DA office in Massachusetts after his 1L year. He worked part time at the same office during his 2L summer as well. It looked like he was going to get an ADA position at an upstate NY DA's office, but he passed to pursue his political career aspirations. The job paid about $50k, too. However, at $35k a year, the tuition (without a scholarship) is probably too high.

I also mentioned that the student reps at an admitted students' event all had pretty great jobs lined up; though, I'm sure they were pre-screened by the office of admission while the SU losers were locked in the closet waiting for their mountain bikes (sorry, I couldn't resist the Simpsons reference).

33
Where should I go next fall? / Re: Tell me about Villanova
« on: May 14, 2007, 07:40:33 PM »
How much debt to take out really depends on what you're comfortable with in terms of a post graduation lifestyle. I think the best idea is to look at what you'll likely make after taxes with a salary of $50 or 60k and then look at your estimated loan payments. Do you think you can live on such a budget - Remember, you'll likely have deductions on your paycheck for insurance, parking, and 401k contributions - you'll also be able write off up $2k in interest payment if you make $55k and below and you're permitted a smaller deduction which phases out as you approach the high 60's, I believe.

If you don't think you can handle your loan payments on the standard ten year plan, then you'll have to opt for a graduated plan, an income sensitive plan (usually they'll cut you some slack if payments exceed 20% of your income), or an extended payment plan. However, all of these plans come at the price of higher interest payments, and you have to ask yourself if you'd really be willing to pay off your debt for the next 25 or 30 years with an extended payment plan. One consideration to make on the positive side is that it's unlikely that you'll still be earning $50k (if that's your starting salary) in ten years unless something is seriously wrong. On the other hand, you also want to plan for retirement, will likely want to buy a house (debt ratio can hurt you in taking out a mortgage), and may want to have a family (which depending on if your spouse works and what type of tax credits/deductions you can take on your kids can also affect your financial situation).

Another point is your overall lifestyle when you graduate. When I graduated college, I made a decent starting salary, but I lived in a modest two bedroom apartment, had a roommate, only had basic cable, ate a lot of cheaper frozen food, didn't go out to eat much, watched the A/C use, etc. Those are hardly Oliver Twist living conditions especially for a recent college grad, but are you willing to live that lifestyle for a while after graduating from a professional school in your late 20's early 30's? If you're dreaming of expensive cars, luxury apartments, and eating out every night, then you could be in for a rude awakening.

Personally, I find some of the threads on this board where people claim that anyone who goes to a school less prestigious than Georgetown is going to live in a van down by the river to be pretty annoying - The tier 3 and below bashing is particularly vicious (though the tier 2 gets some jabs). That said, the one good point those people do make is that taking out $150k when you're not going to make $90k+ after graduation can be rough on some people especially those with the wrong expectations. For some people, it may very well be a better idea to take a scholarship at a lower ranked school, go to a state school with instate tuition, try the LSAT again to get into a better school/get more money, or take a different career route altogether.

For me, I'm looking to go into the policy research sector (where I worked before entering law school), so there's no way I'd be willing to take out more than $100k in loans, but that's just me.

Here's my thought on all of this. What you're saying is right on.  I plan of busting my butt and making the grades, first off.  Basically, if I come out of law school still single, then I frankly don't need any of the nice stuff, and I'm going to work my public sector job.  If I just so happen to meet anyone in the next three years, then I'm not going to want to live like a shmo anymore, and I'll get the high paying job. But as long as I'm living by myself, I'm going to do what I want to do, and that's serving people...directly.

The main reason I picked IU over Stetson, was I need the school with a name behind it to go after the agencies like DOJ/GAO/EPA, etc....    If I was going to go the PD or legal services route, I would of taken the cash at Stetson and ran.

The biggest reason I didn't go to Villnova, was my tour guide and some girl on the tour started bashing the public service initiative at Villanova, and my first thought was "these are the types of people they let in here...no thanks!"

I think you made the right call. Though, I'm somewhat surprised about your experience at Villanova. Nova has a pretty active pro bono society, an annual auction to raise money for students who do PI work over the summer, a Public Interest Fellowship Program (which provides full scholarships to people who want to do PI work after graduation), and even has a full time career center staffer dedicated to PI/Pro bono work and career paths. At any school you're going to have a diversity of opinion, but overall, Villanova certainly isn't hostile to PI work. They've even started a LRAP program.

34
Where should I go next fall? / Re: Tell me about Villanova
« on: May 14, 2007, 03:25:27 PM »
How much debt to take out really depends on what you're comfortable with in terms of a post graduation lifestyle. I think the best idea is to look at what you'll likely make after taxes with a salary of $50 or 60k and then look at your estimated loan payments. Do you think you can live on such a budget - Remember, you'll likely have deductions on your paycheck for insurance, parking, and 401k contributions - you'll also be able write off up $2k in interest payment if you make $55k and below and you're permitted a smaller deduction which phases out as you approach the high 60's, I believe.

If you don't think you can handle your loan payments on the standard ten year plan, then you'll have to opt for a graduated plan, an income sensitive plan (usually they'll cut you some slack if payments exceed 20% of your income), or an extended payment plan. However, all of these plans come at the price of higher interest payments, and you have to ask yourself if you'd really be willing to pay off your debt for the next 25 or 30 years with an extended payment plan. One consideration to make on the positive side is that it's unlikely that you'll still be earning $50k (if that's your starting salary) in ten years unless something is seriously wrong. On the other hand, you also want to plan for retirement, will likely want to buy a house (debt ratio can hurt you in taking out a mortgage), and may want to have a family (which depending on if your spouse works and what type of tax credits/deductions you can take on your kids can also affect your financial situation).

Another point is your overall lifestyle when you graduate. When I graduated college, I made a decent starting salary, but I lived in a modest two bedroom apartment, had a roommate, only had basic cable, ate a lot of cheaper frozen food, didn't go out to eat much, watched the A/C use, etc. Those are hardly Oliver Twist living conditions especially for a recent college grad, but are you willing to live that lifestyle for a while after graduating from a professional school in your late 20's early 30's? If you're dreaming of expensive cars, luxury apartments, and eating out every night, then you could be in for a rude awakening.

Personally, I find some of the threads on this board where people claim that anyone who goes to a school less prestigious than Georgetown is going to live in a van down by the river to be pretty annoying - The tier 3 and below bashing is particularly vicious (though the tier 2 gets some jabs). That said, the one good point those people do make is that taking out $150k when you're not going to make $90k+ after graduation can be rough on some people especially those with the wrong expectations. For some people, it may very well be a better idea to take a scholarship at a lower ranked school, go to a state school with instate tuition, try the LSAT again to get into a better school/get more money, or take a different career route altogether.

For me, I'm looking to go into the policy research sector (where I worked before entering law school), so there's no way I'd be willing to take out more than $100k in loans, but that's just me.

35
Where should I go next fall? / Re: Tell me about Villanova
« on: May 13, 2007, 11:53:16 PM »
Do you really think a 60 some percent employment rate at graduation is "good"???  Id say its OK, but not very impressive.  Id say a 80% or around there would be good.

I don't know if your comment is directed towards me or not, but I'll answer anyway. As I mentioned, Villanova is no Harvard or Penn.

Two thirds at graduation isn't amazing, but it doesn't concern me too much either. This means that at graduation 2/3rds of students have found jobs with which they are comfortable. Not only does this mean that most of class isn't taking doc review/insurance defense jobs out of desperation, but it also means that for a school that doesn't have great placement in big firms through the traditional recruiting process, plenty of students are able secure jobs through their own merits via other avenues.

Also, once again, even if the 2/3rds with jobs/post grad programs reflects the top 63% of the class, then it means you certainly don't have to be in the top 5, 10 or 20% to get a job with which you'll be happy by graduation. This is a far cry from a lot of the New York area 2nd and 3rd tier grads who are weeping in the blogosphere because (at least according to them), unless you're in the top 5% of your class, you're destined for a life of contract work or insurance defense slavery.

Also, about 90% of the class has a job before they receive their bar results - Not only does this mean the vast majority of the class gets a job over the summer or into the fall, but once again, most of these job probably aren't taken out of desperation since the grace period hasn't ended quite yet.

I think this is particularly impressive since a lot of Nova law students end up working for smaller firms which usually don't like to train recent grads and certainly don't like taking risks on people who don't have their bar exam results yet. I think it says a lot about the school's alumni connections and its reputation in the area as well as the career center's effective advice about actively seeking jobs and not just leaning back and waiting for firms to come to OCI. Plus, take a look at some other schools like UNC, they're in pretty much the same boat, so a 60% employment rate at graduation isn't too terrible for the lower part of the T1 and the upper part of the T2.

All of this being said, students who don't take the right initiative, pass the bar, or don't build a strong resume (whether based on grades or outside experience) are probably the guys stuck with lousy jobs or still unemployed at nine months out.

I think my analysis is pretty accurate based upon both the numbers and the attitude around Villanova. There certaintly isn't the collective deppression at Villanova that seems to exist at some schools like Loyola where apparently everyone is upset that they can't land jobs. The only grumbling I've heard is from people who were too optimistic about their chances for big law when they enrolled at VLS.

Here's the bottom line: Don't take out too much debt - Expect a biglaw offer only as a bonus for having strong grades and not as a right - Work hard both in school and in your job search - Build a solid resume with extracurriculars, externships, and summer work - Expect to work on the east coast - Pass the bar. You'll be in good shape if you have the right expectations and take the right steps.

(Also, I don't know about you, but there's no way that 2/3rds of my graduating college class had offers for career oriented jobs in hand as they walked the stage at commencement.)



36
Where should I go next fall? / Re: Tell me about Villanova
« on: May 13, 2007, 09:40:52 PM »
yeah, I'll be frank, the 96% employed within 9 months figure is probably Villanova's biggest draw. Otherwise... how's life there?

I'd be careful in evaluating a school just based upon a high employment rate within 9 months - Even 4th tier schools have pretty high numbers at 9 months out. If a school DOESN'T have at least a 90% employment rate in that span, something is seriously wrong. After all, loans come due at 6 months out. That said, I think the fact that virtually everyone is reporting their data and that there's such a high employment rate at decent paying jobs before grads get their bar results bodes well for VLS.

Otherwise, Nova is pretty good. As mentioned, the building is in poor shape and the lower levels of the library essentially remind me of a dungeon, but a lousy (and soon to be replaced) building won't deny you a good job anymore than fancy facilities will gurantee you one.

The professors are pretty good and the students are generally pretty nice and rather bright - most people come to Nova from top schools but for whatever reason got stuck with LSAT scores in the lower 160's which barred them from the top 25. Nobody seems too bitter about being here, however. Though, I'm sure 10 - 20 people will probably upgrade over the summer - top students have a lot of great transfer opportunities.

Course selection seems to be okay with a number of practical writing, clinic, and externship opportunities. I'll let you know in a week how easy it is for 2L's at least to get the courses they want.

In general, I think Villanova is a good school. If you come in with the right expectations and can get some financial assistance from scholarships or your family, then you'll probably be pretty happy when you graduate.

If you'd like any more specific information, just ask.

37
Where should I go next fall? / Re: Tell me about Villanova
« on: May 13, 2007, 11:12:27 AM »
By popular demand:

2-10 Attorneys: 24% ($54k)
11-25 " 15% ($63k)
26-50 " 12% ($72k)
51-100 " 8% ($83k)
101-250 " 6% ($95k)
251-500 " 14% ($108k)
500 or more: 17% ($115k)
Unknown: 4% (n/a)

HTH (Remember this is roughly 60% of the graduating class of 2005)

38
Where should I go next fall? / Re: Tell me about Villanova
« on: May 12, 2007, 10:59:25 PM »
Hi everyone Ė Now that classes are over and the writing competition/my summer job havenít started, I thought Iíd give everyone a breakdown of the employment stats the career center provides, which are more accurate and comprehensive than the US News data. I hope it will help potential VLS students gauge their employment prospects upon graduation, so you can determine if Villanova is the right school for you. The overview is based upon survey data from the classes of 2005 and 2004 at nine months after graduation. The 2005 data is more comprehensive and detailed, but the 2004 data gives absolute numbers instead of percentages, so it can help to fill in the gaps. Iíll primarily rely on the 2005 data, however. Sorry Ė I donít have access to scanner, so I can give you the raw numbers.

Accuracy: For the 2005 survey, only one graduate failed to report his employment status. For the 2004 survey, everybody reported. I know that some schools report high salaries and the like with only a partial representation of their graduating class; this is not the case here. As for the career center Ė They seem to be pretty straightforward. They never promised to help us get a job and let us know that while they can point us in the right direction and help us sell ourselves, the ultimate responsibility for employment resides with us. I therefore believe theyíre being pretty honest with the numbers. That said, Iíll try to point out any areas where there looks like there may be some chicanery.

Overall Employment: According to the 2005 data, 96% of grads who wanted jobs had jobs (or were in some sort of grad program) at nine months out. According to the numbers from 2004, 3 people werenít seeking employment, 11 were in graduate programs, and 6 were unemployed and looking for employment. None of these numbers should be too disturbing Ė The three people not looking for employment probably were recently married grads who might have been starting a family or something. The 11 grad students isnít surprising since VLS has a joint JD/PhD program in psychology, a joint JD/MBA program, and a joint JD/LLM in taxation Ė in fact, Iím surprised the number is only 11. As for the 6 who are (were) unemployed, they probably didnít pass the bar.

Time Table for Employment: Obviously, the high employment rate a nine months doesnít necessarily mean anything. After all, a number of people could just be grabbing any crummy job so they donít default on their loans. However, the numbers look pretty promising that this is not the case. About 2/3rds (63%) had jobs by graduation. Twenty-six percent had job after graduation but before they received their bar results, and the remaining 11% received their jobs after receiving the bar results.

I think these percentages are based upon the 96% of grads who are employed overall, and they might lump in all of the grad students with the people who are ďemployed at graduationĒ. Nonetheless, assuming that the timetable for employment reflects class rank, it looks like if youíre in the top half of the class (or even a bit lower), youíre going to have an offer in hand (or graduate options) when you walk the stage at commencement. Even more encouraging is if youíre pretty much in the top 90%, youíll be employed before your employer even knows if youíll pass the bar (though I assume if you donít, youíd lose the position). Since you receive your bar results before Sallie Mae comes knocking at the end of the six month grace period, most of these jobs are probably not taken out of desperation. As for the rest, an optimist would say that theyíre just people who were holding out for better jobs, a pessimist would say they rue the day they went to law school. Without more data, I canít tell you, but Iíd assume most of these folks probably had trouble passing the bar the first time around. Bottom line: Pass the bar, and you should be fine. (VLS has an 83% first time bar passage rate.)

Types of Jobs: Sixty percent work for firms, 9% went into government and public interest work, 16% accepted judicial clerkships, and 13% worked outside of law for a business.

The firm work percentage is kind of low, but the percentage in clerkships is high for schools in the second tier (or so Iíve been told). Iím not sure how many of those clerkships are with federal courts and how many are with local traffic courts, but I do know that at least some (based upon school events and people with whom Iíve spoken) are actually pretty top notch jobs with the 3rd circuit and PA federal district courts. A number of people with such clerkships also have firm jobs lined up once they complete their clerkships. As for the business category, itís also hard to tell since both working as a financial analyst for KPMG and working the soft serve machine at your hometown Dairy Queen would fall under this classification. Nonetheless, because it looks like only 11% of the class (at most) are taking jobs of desperation and some of those jobs are probably doc review or bureaucratic government work, Iím sure at least some of these jobs are actually legitimate career oriented positions.

Because government jobs, clerkships, and non-law business jobs vary so much, no salary information is given. However, government and clerkship salaries tend to be pretty standard (and low) regardless of where you went to school. According to the 2004 data, only one person went into PI work Ė They now have a PI scholars program that gives free rides to qualified PI students, so that should change.

Iíll provide a further breakdown of firm statistics and salaries in a bit.

Geography: About 2/3rds stay in PA. There are graduates employed in every state (and DC) from Massachusetts to Florida with the exception of RI and SC. Not surprisingly, the most common destinations outside of PA are NJ, DE, NY and MA. Iíve heard that the DC area attracts a good chunk of the rest. A decent number of people are from CA and return there after graduation. Besides that, VLS isnít too well represented across the rest of the country. I do know a graduating 3L who is headed to work for a firm in Chicago.

Firms: Thereís too much detail in this section for me to write everything down, so Iíll be more general. If youíd like some more information, let me know. Anyway, about 40% (of the 60% who take private firm jobs) go into small law 1-25 attorneys, 40% go into big law 100+ attorneys while the rest are in medium law Ė somewhere in between. Those at the smallest firms make an average of $50k and those at the slightly larger firms make in the 60ís. Medium law is 70ís to 80ís and big law is 90ís on up to the low-mid six figures. They didnít have standard deviations, but if say, those at the smallest firms have an average in the 50ís but a bunch of people are making in the 30ís, then that number would have to be offset by those making in the 60ís or 70ís, which isnít realistic for really small firm work. Therefore, I think the averages are pretty representative.

Overall: It looks like if you pass the bar, you have pretty good job opportunities. The one caveat is that if you want to work in Biglaw (particularly outside of the Philly market), you better be ready to bust your tail or try the LSAT again in order to get into a better school. The same is true if you donít want to work on the east coast. If you can live making $50-70k and want to work between DC and NY (particularly in the Philly area), Villanova is a solid choice. You canít just graduate Villanova and expect to have your ticket punched for a life of economic prosperity, but youíll be in a strong spot to start your career and hopefully avoid becoming another nightmare story in the blogosphere of a ruined tier 2 (or lower) grad toiling away in misery to pay to tribute to Sallie Mae.

If you have any questions or comments, feel free to post them. Please donít slam me as a Villanova apologist Ė I tried to be honest about the schoolís prospects. I know that it takes a lot more effort to get a job from Villanova than at a top 25 school, and to be honest, I sometime wish I was at a better school. That said Ė You could do a lot worse than Villanova. Just make sure youíre not borrowing for tuition with the expectation that youíll be making six figures at a major firm upon graduation. Thatís definitely not a guarantee.

39
Where should I go next fall? / Re: Tell me about Villanova
« on: May 12, 2007, 11:25:43 AM »
I've heard from upperclassmen here at Nova that it isn't that difficult to secure a job in DC, but I don't know if these are necessarily so called "biglaw" jobs. As for NYC, there is some pull - even a special NYC interiew program (they just started a DC version, too); however, it's such a competitive market that you'll need to be tops in your class to get a solid job there - not surprising since plenty of NYC tier 2 grads have a difficult time finding good jobs in the city and end up starting out in doc review jobs.

When I was soliciting advice last year, the consensus seemed to be that Temple was a little better for Philly but Nova has more pull outside of Philly. I'm not sure if that's true, but it seems reasonable.

According to Martindale:

Villanova grads in Philly:  1,008.

Temple grads in Philly:  1,362.

In terms of reach, id say Penn, Temple, then Villanova - the diff in the latter two not being as big.  But still, i think temple is stronger, might be cause its actually inside the city as well.  BTW, if you cant tell, ill prob be going to Temple, but i got into both.

Curious what these numbers would look like if you added NYC and DC. If Villanova has more people leaving Philly for NYC and DC, then obviously the numbers for Temple grads in Philly would be higher, due to their inability/lack of desire to go to DC or NYC.

40
Where should I go next fall? / Re: Tell me about Villanova
« on: May 10, 2007, 08:03:30 PM »
I just finished my 1L year today - I'd be happy to answer any questions anyone may have either here or via PM.

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