Law School Discussion

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Messages - stateofbeasley

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21
Most of you are well aware that that salary claims from law schools need to be taken with a grain of salt.  My own Temple University is no exception, and I am astounded at the claims Temple is making.

In my 3L year of law school, I attended a career services event for graduating students.  At this event, the career services office displayed a PowerPoint slide show with detailed statistics on employment.  I distinctly recall that most people going into private practice went into small firms, and that small firms paid between 40k and 60k annually.  Despite this, Temple's website claimed private practice "average" starting salaries in the 80k range:

http://web.archive.org/web/20060909061346/www.law.temple.edu/servlet/RetrievePage?site=TempleLaw&page=Prospective_Profile_Enter_Clas

Today, Temple Law is claiming an "average" starting salary for private practice that is well over $100,000:

http://www.law.temple.edu/servlet/RetrievePage?site=TempleLaw&page=Prospective_Profile_Enter_Clas

$108,303 to be exact.

Beware, for I don't believe that this figure accurately represents the reality on the ground.  People I know who tried to leave the document review shops were getting offers in the 40-50k range for plaintiff's firms, and 60-70k range for midsize ID firms. 

I really hate that Temple continues to publish this "average" salary figure.  The "average" student from Temple is not going to command a six-figure salary upon graduation. 

It is in my view unconscionable that Temple does not post a complete picture of where its graduates go after they leave the law school.  What % go into private practice, and what is the breakdown of salaries by quintile or quartile?  What % go to small, medium, and large firms?  What % go into public service, and what is the breakdown of salaries by quartile? 

Temple Law is a great school with competent, dedicated faculty, solid facilities, and a new dean who is among the most intelligent and talented professors I have ever encountered.  It bogles my mind that Temple does not publish open, complete, and clear employment stats. 

22
Where should I go next fall? / Re: Temple vs. Villanova
« on: July 06, 2008, 12:13:26 PM »
A new building is meaningless where the rankings are concerned, with the Cooley rankings being the obvious exception.  Myself and others predicted that Temple would make significant gains in the last five years due to new faculty hires and new facilities, but this did not happen.

In order for a school to rise in rank, it has to improve its reputation (lawyer/judge scores) and selectivity scores.  I honestly do not think that lawyers and judges have time to evaluate each school -- the score they give is probably going to be based on their impression of (1) graduates of that school (2) the school's publications, if they read them.  Busy lawyers just don't have the time to contemplate a nice new building.

Where selectivity is concerned, both Temple and Villanova have attracted students with LSATs in the low 160 range.  This has not changed in years and I suspect it will not change.

I know that people make predictions every year that a school will make Tier 1, but it is extremely difficult to do so when competing against many good law schools.  Cardozo is a good example of a school that has risen through the rankings quickly, but hit a barrier in the mid-50's, even though its LSAT range is solidly in the mid-160's.


23
Another poster on here started a blog about his miserable job prospects coming out of Temple.  I am not saying that he is exactly the norm, but you have to realize that Temple isn't Harvard either.

Referring to me?  ;D

It's difficult for most people coming out of Temple.  But things are much much worse for Dickinson grads in the Philadelphia area.  Temple, Rutgers, and Villanova have a huge presence in the crowded Philly market.  And to make matters worse, Drexel is throwing more JD's out into the fray.

Dickinson has the advantage in central PA.  Dickinson is the big force in the Harrisburg market.

What is alarming about Dickinson is the cost - paying private school tuition that can total $120,000 will be very painful when you have to start repaying the loan on a $40,000/year salary.

24
St. John's U Law School / Re: What A Waste
« on: July 03, 2008, 08:15:43 PM »
I want to offer a few points in defense of the OP.

Due diligence - the NALP article is well known now, but look at the date.  It covers the class of 2006 as of 15 February 2007.  This data was not available at the time the OP applied to law school.  When I applied to law school, I talked to prosecutors, biglaw partners, and small firm partners.  They were by and large successful people.  I didn't have access to people who went to law school and either did poorly or failed as lawyers.  Sites like jdunderground and blogs like temporary attorney did not exist at the time (2002-2003 or so) and I consequently did not know the worst that could happen.

Active involvement - IMO student groups are largely useless.  If you want to meet real practicing lawyers, hanging around a student group that is mostly students will not help you get anywhere.  On the other hand, I think specific sections of bar associations are much more helpful and RobWreck is on the right track here.  If you want to practice family law, there is no better place to meet actual family law attorneys than the local bar's family law section.  This is really common sense.

Curve - The curve at Temple was similar to that of St. John's.  Unfortunately, the difference between a B+ and C+ was usually only a handful of arbitrary points.  I found it was often the case that I would get every issue, but still get a B on the exam because everyone else also got every issue.  Curves are worthless because they punish a class of very smart people, or reward a dumbass who happens to have stupider classmates.  People should get grades based on what they accomplished or demonstrated, not what other people did.  If the class had a bunch of lazy slackers who learned nothing, they should all get F's. D level work should not get an A just because of a curve. 

As RobWreck correctly points out, job prospects from a Tier 2 school in the most competitive legal market in the US are going to be pretty poor.  A school as expensive as SJU or BLS just isn't worth the full price.

25
Where should I go next fall? / Re: Seton Hall bad reputation?
« on: July 02, 2008, 08:54:00 AM »
well in my opinion about 85% of the people on these boards are overly concerned about the price of a school

Overly concerned? 

It's beyond stupid to borrow money that you can't afford to borrow.  The subprime crisis, credit crunch, and other economic ills are directly related to people borrowing beyond their means.

26
Where should I go next fall? / Re: Seton Hall bad reputation?
« on: June 29, 2008, 12:54:32 PM »
I think the "ill will" you're discovering doesn't have much to do solely with Seton Hall's reputation, or academics, or facilities, or career prospects. People simply think it's overpriced.

Exactly.  Seton Hall is an incredibly bad deal compared to Rutgers (in-state) under normal circumstances.  There is no reason for an NJ resident considering those schools to even give SHU serious consideration unless SHU offers scholarships that reduce the cost of attendance to Rutgers levels.  Even then, if you can get a scholarship from SHU, you can probably get one from Rutgers.

27
Where should I go next fall? / Re: 150K -200K Debt Club...Anyone?
« on: June 17, 2008, 09:04:40 PM »
The Associated Press is picking up on the law school debt story - just recently posted on the New York Times:

http://www.nytimes.com/aponline/us/AP-Law-Schools.html

Quote
''I think we have this fundamental disconnect between images of lawyers in the popular media, in the courtroom dispensing justice, where everyone seems prosperous and well paid,'' said William Henderson, an Indiana University-Bloomington law professor who studies the job market. ''The reality is for a lot of people, law school is a route to trying to start your own private practice, and that's a very crowded business right now.''

And what is worse, TTTs are sprouting up like weeds everywhere.

Quote
Regardless, universities continue to build law schools.

With provisional accreditation, Charlotte School of Law and Elon University were Nos. 199 and 200. Nine others operating share that status. And at least 10 new ones are in the works nationwide, The National Law Journal recently reported, in states including Connecticut, Pennsylvania and California.

It is clear to me that the American Bar Association will do nothing to stop the spread of law schools that are little more than for-profit diploma mills. 

28
Where should I go next fall? / Re: 150K -200K Debt Club...Anyone?
« on: June 15, 2008, 02:09:57 PM »
The legal market is terrible, and we have been going through a period of economic prosperity. As the realities of a recession set in, the legal market will get even worse. There are articles monthly in the Wall Street Journal about how terrible the legal market is.

First, I would question anyone who says 'DontQuestionMe'.  The fact that people often don't ask questions about law schools is the very reason why people find themselves $150,000 in debt with no job prospects.

That being said, I've seen the worst that can happen.  People go to law school, and upon graduation, can't find a job or don't want to work as lawyers.  They are then stuck paying over $1000/month in student loans for the next 20 years. 

Here are my calculations:
http://stateofbeasley.blogspot.com/2007/04/stateofbeasley-test.html

This makes it virtually impossible for people to move ahead with their lives.  Buying a house, raising children, and paying for necessities becomes extremely difficult when 33-42% of your take home pay goes to debt service. 

The bottom line is don't treat loans like monopoly money.  Like credit cards and adjustable rate subprime mortgages, the debt always comes back to claim its due.

29
Where should I go next fall? / Re: JD or PhD in Biology
« on: May 17, 2008, 06:10:06 PM »
I am not sure I want to give my soul to science- because it is an all or nothing commitment. I like the idea that in law I could always do my own thing one day-

Law is also generally an "all or nothing" commitment, especially if you go out on your own (I am assuming that you "do my own thing" means opening up your own shop).  Running your own law firm is running your own business.  Half of it will be chasing business.

30
Where should I go next fall? / Re: JD or PhD in Biology
« on: May 16, 2008, 08:26:23 PM »
I think I would enjoy either. Which is more practical?

You know you already enjoy biology.  Why change course now?

Most of law school is vapid and sleep inducing.  The socratic method gets old quickly, and by 3L year, most people find class a waste of time.  Hell, as 2Ls people were already bored.

Go to law school only if you are sure you want to practice law. 

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