Law School Discussion

Unreliable Career Numbers?

SleepyGuyYawn

Unreliable Career Numbers?
« on: December 14, 2004, 01:19:31 PM »
I'd like to know what you all think of this, especially those of you who aren't applying to T14 schools (I would presume you don't have to worry about it as much).

I visited a friend at Brooklyn Law School a while back and she said (she was pretty stressed, it is true) that jobs were not nearly as easy to come by as the US News numbers suggested, for a couple of reasons.

-You can be working at McDonalds and be counted as Employed.

-Private Sector Salary Info for some schools is under-reported. Many schools have half their grads reporting, and there's no good reason to think that it is a random sample.

The US News Online version (they charge for it) will show the career stats for an individual school and sometimes you learn interesting things.  Take Case Western Reserve Law School for instance (not to pick on Case as this is common):

Case Law School Career Stats

9 Month Employment Rate:  98%
Percent of Jobs where Bar is Required:  76%
Percent of Jobs where Bar is Preferred: 6%
Other Professional, but Non-Legal Jobs: 15%
Non-Professional Jobs: 1%

Median Private Sector Salary: $90 K
Percent Reporting Private Sector Salary Info: 52%

Percent Firms: 54%
Percent Business Legal: 1%
Percent Business Non-Legal: 12%

Ok, so ya'll get the point.  Yes, 90 grand sounds great... until you take into account all the other information, including the under-reporting and people not working in the legal sector at all, what do you make of it?

SleepyGuyYawn

Re: Unreliable Career Numbers?
« Reply #1 on: December 14, 2004, 01:41:28 PM »
To add a note: My friend who's into Stats said that there probably is over-reporting of salary information.  He said that over-reporting is very common in post-undergraduate surveys.


kernelgt

Re: Unreliable Career Numbers?
« Reply #2 on: December 17, 2004, 12:32:58 PM »
Yeah, I personally don't put much stock into those stats.  Also to consider, the job thing may be in some small degree related to the regional market.

domovoy

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Re: Unreliable Career Numbers?
« Reply #3 on: December 17, 2004, 12:40:30 PM »
The only thing is the more credible schools actually list how many people reported salaries (BU was something like 98.9%)

SleepyGuyYawn

Re: Unreliable Career Numbers?
« Reply #4 on: December 17, 2004, 12:48:34 PM »
domovoy,

You are very right about schools that have higher rates of reporting, which interestingly tend to be the top ranked schools. 

Also, I found something interesting about Seattle University.  Their data on US News conflicts with that on their website (is far better on US News, far far better for salary information).  That's a little nutty as these things count for ranking data.

txgirl

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Re: Unreliable Career Numbers?
« Reply #5 on: December 17, 2004, 01:51:05 PM »
That is why I'm wary about going next year if I'm only going to get in to my safety schools.  The thought of being $100000 in debt and making as much as I'm making now, or maybe even less, is depressing.  I think I'd rather put off going for another year and make sure I get in to a better school.

kernelgt

Re: Unreliable Career Numbers?
« Reply #6 on: December 17, 2004, 02:35:41 PM »
I think you can go to a TTT and make 6 figures, just not when you graduate.  It's all about your work ethic and what you do with your degree.  However, I concede...the better ranked schools give you a much better opportunity at getting on that path from the start.

Bottom line, don't let those numbers dictate what you'll be making. 

domovoy

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Re: Unreliable Career Numbers?
« Reply #7 on: December 19, 2004, 09:56:19 AM »
You know what else is cool?

You know how for the upper schools there is a huge split between public and private salaries? Mostly 125K/45K. Well it looks like some schools report their private sector salary as their OVERALL median salary. And there's just no way that could happen, unless like 95 percent of your class went into private practice for BigLaw.

Other schools at least have more of a conscience, they will actually list the median salary as it's supposed to be.

Btw, i have a friend who goes to Albany Law, and he said from what he heard those entry level salaries of 125K are ridiculous and no one gets them. (Once again, take that with a grain of salt)

SleepyGuyYawn

Re: Unreliable Career Numbers?
« Reply #8 on: December 19, 2004, 10:34:52 AM »
When you look at USNews it reports the median in the private sector -- not the median overall.  I disagree that nobody gets these salaries.  Of my dozen or so friends at Michigan Law most have taken or are sure they can get such jobs.
But just look at the numbers... Here is New York University:

Starting Salaries (2002 Graduates Employed Full-time)
Private sector (25th-75th percentile): $125,000 - $125,000
Median in the private sector: $125,000
Percent in the private sector who reported salary information: 98%
Median in public service: $43,326

Law firms: 72%
 Business/industry (legal): 1%
 Business/industry (nonlegal): 0%
 Government: 3%
 Public interest: 8%
 Judicial clerkship: 16%

So you'll notice that those who choose to go to law firms get paid pretty well (doesn't count yearly bonuses).  Of course, some people decide to do clerkships, but it is generally accepted that if you do a clerkship from a law school that good it will put you in a really good position when you are finished.  And some people do public interest -- I should think that is not because they can't get a job in the private sector.

Clearly these jobs are common for t14 grads.  I would suggest your friend at Albany might be wrong.

Re: Unreliable Career Numbers?
« Reply #9 on: December 19, 2004, 10:51:21 AM »
both the albany dude and you are right- you are right that t14 grads (esp t6) can easily get 125 salaries right after their JDs. the albany dude is right that for _albany_ grads (or other non t14 schools) the odds of such jobs diminish significantly.