« on: October 17, 2006, 06:50:02 PM »
I know this is an old posting, but I wanted ot offer my two cents for anyone doing a search regarding the OP's original topic. Salary information gets debated constantly in these forums by students who are usually not very informed on the subject. Looking at "average salary charts" created by various outside organizations will not give you an accurate reading of what most students are making. The majority of employment with mid-big law firms is met through the OCI process, which is mostly restricted to bigger law firms, firms that can predict what position they will be in with regard to hiring two years ahead of time. Samller law firms, maybe looking for 1-2 associates out of all the MI schools, are much fewer and farther between. The firms in the Michigan market are usually looking to hire about 4-7 students on average from a number of different schools. The best way to research salary statistics is to look at the NALP forms and see what the bigger law firms are paying, how many summer associates they are taking, what their grade/journal requirements are, and what schools they recruit from.
Personally, I think that to say the average Wayne grad makes 70,000-80,000 a yr upon graduation is ridiculous and simply not true. To get recruited by a firm that pays this amount of money is not easy. First of all, even the biggest Michigan firms only take between 4-7 summer associates each year. These firms start at 90,000 (Butzel Long) and pay as much as 125,000 (Honigman Miller). Firms like Dykema start at 105,000 however they pay their summer associates significantly less. To secure these postions you need TERRIFIC grades and probably journal experience. Of course, once you pass the paper test, it becomes more about personality, etc, but the only things that will get you interviews or call-backs (depending if your school's OCI process operates by a lottery system or has firms screen their applicants) is your academic record. For the firms that pay less than the numbers above you still need great grades, and keep in mind that these firms take SIGNIFICANTLY fewer summer associates due to the fact that their numbers are fewer and hiring capability not as great.
Second of all, the summer associates that these firms are taking are not all from Michigan schools, even mostly from Michigan schools. I can give you a personal example. I did my first year at Detroit Mercy and transferred to Notre Dame. At Notre Dame I got call-backs from ALL the Detroit firms. Pretty much everyone whom I have talked to interviewing in MI from ND has gotten callbacks from at least a couple of MI firms. The friends that I have at UDM are not even getting initial interviews with these firms. I can assure you that the case is similar with Wayne. With firms taking so few associates each year, why would they not interveiw only the top students? Why not top schools? To even get considered for these top firms you need sweet academic credentials. I have been through this process and have seen others go through it. Check the attorneys profiles at the firms you are looking at in Michigan. Look at the Wayne grads they are hiring. They will all have some academic credential after their name. Many will have law review, which is restricted to the top 10 students and some write ons.
Thirdly, consider law firms outside of the Michigan market. Dykema, Honigman, Dickinson, Butzel, Bodman, etc, are not national firms, although they do have small offices in other states. These firms are the biggest firms, for the most part, you will find interviewing at UDM and Wayne. Consider firms like Skadden, Jones Day, Kirkland, Sidley etc, firms with many more attorneys that offer employment at a national or international level. These firms will not interview at schools like UDM and Wayne. Check their websites. See where their attorneys are from. The firm I will be wroking for this summer has no grads from UDM and one partner from Wayne. This is out of over 2000 attorneys. I have seen IUB's name on the firm's profiles (again check nalpdirectory.com). I have not seen Wayne or UDM. This was a huge reason for tranferring from UDM. I also wanted to keep my options open in Michigan, and I was accepted to Wayne, but I did my own research and came to the conclusion that I was in a more marketable position at ND for Michigan firms. And, as I said, I got callbacks from every MI firm I interviewed with.
Anyway, I don't mean to be harsh. Getting a job paying over 50,000 coming from a lower tiered school is not easy. Be realistic. It sucks, but firms care VERY MUCH about stellar grades and stellar schools. UDM boasts a 90% employment placement rate and a 55,000 salary average, but this is NOT true from the students I have seen graduate this school and my friends that have just got through the OCI process with no luck. Many students are frustrated. Ask students where they are working the summer of their 2L year, and see what they say. Many travel with abroad programs. Very few will list the big firms stated above. Contrary to popular belief, there is not much difference between a tier 4 like UDM and a tier 3 like Wayne when it comes to interviewing at big firms. Sure Wayne probably does better on average, but it is still HIGHLY competitive. If you think you are assured a 70,000 job coming out of Wayne just because of the school's name you are dreaming.
Stop looking at independent studies and numbers posted by the school, and do your own research. Good luck to you all.