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Searching for the TRUTH..

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$$$ Question
« on: July 27, 2003, 10:51:38 PM »
Two part question.

1)  What do people have to say about the claim made in Law School Confidential, and by many others, that if a prospective student doesn’t make it into a top 14 they should reapply or kiss their legal future goodbye?  Its seems that they are talking about employability, especially with respect to big firm/big $$$ jobs.

Law School Confidential does say that there are a few exceptions, is BU one of them???  Going on their employment numbers it seems to be.

2)  Is the reported median income for first year grads at BU accurate?  If so, where does one have to finish in their class ranking to have a shot at such a position?


Thanks

squidz

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Can't handle the truth . . .
« Reply #1 on: July 28, 2003, 09:31:30 AM »
Bah! Law School Confidential sounds like a steaming pile. Be skeptical.

Of course you don't have to be in the "top 14" to get a big salary. That doesn't stand up empirically. There are tons of BUSL grads with big bank accounts. I'm just beginning the job search myself, so maybe I've got blinders on for the sake of my own sanity, but only the top 14? That just can't be!

First of all, top 14 according to whom? U.S. News? Leiter? You probably mean U.S. News -- I tell you what: of the lists out there, U.S. News is the shiniest and the most famous (and the source of all kinds of amusing BUSL neuroses), BUT it's REALLY NOT the be all end all in the legal market. There are just too many variables involved in getting a job: location, personal charm, grit, nepotism, &c.  

Also, why the "top 14"? That's pretty arbitrary. It's not like first 14 are teaching law while the rest are teaching VCR repair.

Will you have a better chance finding a job if you go to Harvard? Will you have a better chance if you're in the top 10%? Will you have a better chance getting a summer associate spot if you're dad is a partner at Ropes & Gray? Will you have a better chance of getting a clerkship if you save Souter from a hungry bear? The answer to all of these questions is, of course, DUH.    

Are you doomed if all you have is a boring J.D. from BU? Only a little. The painful answer is that a J.D. from ANY school is only a tool. It will help open a few doors. No matter who you are though, you still have to go through the arduous miserable process of selling yourself. You haven't chosen an easy career. Even if you are the Harvard grad with the silver spoon and Souter on a bear-skin rug, it's not easy. You will be tested. You will be ranked. You will compare yourself to your peers. You will doubt yourself.  It will never stop.

The job that pays you 125K a year will require you to work 90 hours a week just to keep your head above water. There aren't any secrets to success. There aren't any short cuts. Not only aren't there any people in the top 10 who didn't work hard, there aren't any people in the top HALF who didn't work hard. Guess what. All the kids in the bottom half were working really hard too.  

The ethereal fantasy of big money is one of the methods we use to divert ourselves in this grueling lifestyle, but if money is the only thing compelling you to go to lawschool, get out now. Don't do it. There are easier ways to get rich.

I'll stop ranting now . . .

To answer your question more directly, if you go into the private sector with a J.D. from BUSL, the odds are pretty good that you will be able to make a lot of money.


Shoelace78

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Re: $$$ Question
« Reply #2 on: July 28, 2003, 11:33:44 AM »
If you really want to be a lawyer go to law school.  It helps if you know where you want to work.   For instance, Boston is a market that likes Boston students.  A student at ANY Boston school has a shot.  It is true that the "worse" the school the higher you need to be in the class.  Also, think about what you want to do.  Some of the lower ranked schools are very good places for people who want to go into government or politics.  Suffolk in Boston is a good example of this.  

There are a lot of factors.  The most important thing is to go to law school because you want to be a lawyer.  It's not really something to do for shits and giggles or even because some lawyers make a lot of money.  If you aren't sure, take some time and work.

NH

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Re: $$$ Question
« Reply #3 on: July 29, 2003, 04:45:01 PM »
First of all, let me echo the sentiments above. If you don't absolutely love everything about law, don't go to law school. The law is not a sure-fire shortcut to big money. Most lawyers start out making 40-50k. While it is true that some graduates from some schools make more than graduates from others, the "top-14" mentality is a sham that is encouraged by... lets see... about 14 law schools. If you want a law degree that is portable, i.e. which will get you a job in any market in America, then you should go to a top-10 ish school. If you want to work in Boston, you are better off at BU than at Georgetown or GWU, even though both are "ranked" higher. If you want a job in in L.A., you are better off going to USC or UCLA rather than Duke, for the same reason, so figure out where you want to live before you try to figure out where you want to go to school.

I was just like you a year ago when I was trying to figure out where to go (currently starting 2L at BUSL). I was obsessed with rankings, and attending a top-14 school. I certainly agree that the USNEWS rankings are the only ones that matter to the public at large, but I don't think lawyers and recruiters care at all what a school is ranked. Every market will prefer certain schools over other schools, and that's why determining which market you want to live in is so important. If you don't know, and don't get into a "national" school, just make sure you are ok with spending the rest of your life in the city where you attend law school. I decided that I wanted to live in Boston, and even though I was accepted into Georgetown and GWU, I came to BU.

AGAIN: If you aren't absolutely sure you want to be a lawyer (regardless of whether you make 40k or 140k), then get your MBA or skip grad school altogether. Law school is a MISERABLE experience if you don't enjoy studying the law. The hours are very long, the material very difficult, and every student (and I mean EVERY student) is eventually humiliated by a professor in front of 100 of his section-mates. The pressure to make law review and journals is intense, as is the pressure to get good grades, and every single person here is brilliant and qualified, so don't think that YOU are a shoe-in. Finding and keeping a high-paying job gets more difficult every year as law school continue to saturate the market with newly minted JDs.

And don't forget to consider the massive debt you have to incur to attend most good law schools. What if you graduate and take a BIGLAW job that pays six figures only to discover that you HATE IT? You won't be able to quit, and in 20 years you'll wonder where your life went.

Sorry to be so negative, but people need to be prepared for the rigors of law school and life after law school. I absolutely love law school, but it is not a glamorous life, and I would recommend to most people that they find some other way to spend 3 years of thier lives.

bu2b

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Re: $$$ Question
« Reply #4 on: July 29, 2003, 05:02:11 PM »
My whole mindset about law school has changed a lot over the past few months since my acceptance into law school. At first, like many others unfamiliar with the level of competition for high paying jobs, I was pretty psyched at the prospect of possibly making six figures by graduation as the median salary on the website was 125k. Then from my own research through Nalp, I realized the summer associate class size at Boston Biglaw are no more than 50 per year. With no fewer than half a dozen law schools in the New England region competing for these positions, the odds does not seem favorable. I therefore find the median salary info a little hard to believe. I am still going to attend law school, but have a more realistic expectation about job prospects. I think you  have to hope for the best but prepare for the worst which isn't all that bad considering you will have a paying job.

Ryckman_Boy

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Re: $$$ Question
« Reply #5 on: July 29, 2003, 05:06:38 PM »
I think the median salary information is perfectly credible. Half last year's graduating class was making 125k 9 months after graduation. The question you should be asking is, what is the other half making?

On the upside, a friend who summered at a BigLaw firm's Boston office says that business is looking up. And if you look at the NALP forms, many firms show a slight upward trend in thier hiring forecasts.

So, are you starting at BU in the fall?

bu2b

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Re: $$$ Question
« Reply #6 on: July 29, 2003, 05:07:52 PM »
What I said above is not exclusive to BU, all the top markets in this country are highly competitive, at least BU has somewhat of a home-field advantage in one of those markets.

Searching for the TRUTH..

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Re: $$$ Question
« Reply #7 on: July 29, 2003, 06:35:23 PM »
I have no reservations about going to law school.  Nor do I suffer from delusions of grandeur.  I am simply asking whether LSC is correct in what it asserts, if BU is one of its unspoken exceptions to the top 14 rule, and if BU's employment stats are accurate.

I find it awkward that every time someone poses a question about finances current 1, 2 and 3l's go on attack with a sense of idealistic omnipotence in everyone of their words.  All of a sudden money doesn't matter and those who consider it, or even worse publicly express concerns about it, are corrupted materialistic whores drawn to law school, like the moth to the flame, as the answer to their dreams of riches.  Rather arrogant if you ask me.  

I understand that many have good intentions, but they ought to consider that plenty of incoming 1l's have spent the better part of their undergraduate careers thinking about the decision to go to law school.  Some are motivated solely by money, others however are not.  Regardless, I think we are all capable of making our own decisions and should not be chastised when we ask about a single aspect of the law experience.

Ryckman_Boy

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Re: $$$ Question
« Reply #8 on: July 29, 2003, 06:52:50 PM »
All right, here is the unvarnished truth, as far as I have been able to discern.

The claim attirbuted to Law School Confidential (which is otherwise a pretty good book) that a degree from a non top-14 school is worthless, is a worthless claim. Do a Martindale-Hubbell search and you will see grads from lower tier schools working at plenty of prestigous firms.

A degree from a top-14 school will likely land you a 125k job in a major market right out of school, regardless of how well you do (although I still imagine the bottom quartile struggles, except at the ivys).

A degree from BU will land you a 125k job in Boston and New York if you are in the top 10%, make law review, or otherwise distinguish yourself (work experience, etc.), and will land you the same job on the West Coast, in DC, Chicago, or other major markets if you hussle and do some networking, or if you have a connection to the region.

As you fall in the class at BU, it takes more hussle to get the 125k job. If you aren't in the top 1/3, you probably won't get one, at least not right out of law school. People in the bottom half of the class will have to hussle extra hard to get these jobs, but will find good jobs nonetheless. Once out a year or two, things may start to even out a little.

But all of this is based on conjecture, and my own biases.

They key though is: THE NUMBERS ARE NOT MADE UP. 50% plus of 2002 BU grads made 125k 9 months after graduation, and this is in a soft economy that is (rumors, beware) improving.

Does that help?


bu2b

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Re: $$$ Question
« Reply #9 on: July 29, 2003, 08:15:45 PM »
According to US news the 25% at BU is 80k and 75% 125k.I will be going to BU in the fall :). Where can you get used text books?