Law School Discussion

Are big law firms jobs really dominated by top 14? Is lsat really so important?

I am always wondering this question. Had I known the importance of the law school rank, I would wait and retake lsat at any cost. But lsat is only a paper test set in limited time, the advantage gained by these lsat high achievers or early starters of their law related performance such as in lsat really far outweighs the actual talents that they might possess in this career.

Has anyone found statics that those from top law schools make themselves top lawyers?

Here's an idea: pull up the vault rankings and then go to firm web pages... nearly all of the large firms let you search their attorneys by the school they graduated from. Doing so will give you a better, real world perspective as to just how much the T14 dominates biglaw firms.

GA-fan

lsat IS just a paper test in a room, time restrictions, blah, blah, blah. I know you're trying to rationalize this, but yes, LSAT is the be all and end all of law school admissions. And you know what? LSAT and 1L grades are the best predictor of bar passage rates (another paper test in a room, under time restrictions, blah,blah,blah). The T14 dominates big law. Why? because the firms will take the middle of the class at a T14 and the top 10-20% (or less) for the rest of the schools out there. So big firms won't even interview students outside the T6, T14, T20, or T50. T14 wins by sheer volume.

I am always wondering this question. Had I known the importance of the law school rank, I would wait and retake lsat at any cost. But lsat is only a paper test set in limited time, the advantage gained by these lsat high achievers or early starters of their law related performance such as in lsat really far outweighs the actual talents that they might possess in this career.

Has anyone found statics that those from top law schools make themselves top lawyers?

Yes the LSAT score matters as far as your chances at a job for a big firm.  But, this really only applies to your first job.  If you take a job at a mid-size firm because you had to (lets say you were top 30% at a T2/T3/T4 or something) and you are a stud at what you do, trust me you can end up getting a job at wherever you please.
Bottom line... Firms care about talent, and your ability to make them money; not your degree.  For young lawyers with no experience they obviously pick based on ranking, school, etc. because this is the only information they have to choose from.  They don't know if you are going to be a good lawyer or not, so there best guess is to just pick the "smartest" kids and this usually means the kids with the best grades at the best schools which is pooled by those who did best on the LSAT.
10 years out of law school some firm isnt going to keep some useless hack who went to a top 10 law school over some lawyer who is making them a ton of money who went to a T3 or something.

Bob D

If you look through the BIGLAW firms, you will see that about half of the lawyers come from Top 14 schools.

This is consistent with the notion that everyone at Top 14 can get a BIGLAW job, and only 10% of the students at the other 140 or so law schools can get BIGLAW jobs.

Furthermore, you don't know how those students from bottom tier schools got those jobs. Did their parents know someone important? If you're expecting to land a BIGLAW job without any inside contacts, then going to the top school is doubly important.

leostrauss

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Not only that, but I've heard that ppl from the T14 schools get better dockets than their other T1/T2/T3/T4 counterparts who graduated in the very tippy tip top of their class and get into big law. These folks from T14 schools get more responsibility sooner, and are on partner track a bit faster. This is just some gossip I heard; can anyone confirm/deny it?

I am assuming when you say you want a BIGLAW job you mean you want a big paycheck.  I mean who cares what firm you work for?  Bottom line is this:  At some point you are going to have to stand out.  Your first chance is the LSAT.  Second chance is in law school.  Last chance is when you are actually working.  Now if you did great on the LSAT, great in law school, chances are you know what you are doing.
Nobody is going to hand you a good job because you "work hard" and "you really want it" or "you spent all your time studying on the weekends", etc.  If you go to a lower ranked school and get a job at a medium or small firm then you will have to excel here at some point.  However, if someone blows up at this stage... why would you go take an associate job at a big firm for 150k a year and work 70 hrs a week?  Chances are you can make more money staying where you are and continuing your successful record.
So don't think that only attorneys in big firms are making a lot of money.  I know personal injury lawyers who went to schools that are now non-existent and make 500k+ a year, but I also know T4 grads that are grinding it out doing Doc Review.
In the end, it comes down to if you are good at what you do.  The schooling part will just end up speeding up your success or slowing it down.  I also think it is worth noting that those who did better academically (LSAT, law school gpa) are more likely to do better in the real world, although there are always exceptions.

Bob D

Not only that, but I've heard that ppl from the T14 schools get better dockets than their other T1/T2/T3/T4 counterparts who graduated in the very tippy tip top of their class and get into big law. These folks from T14 schools get more responsibility sooner, and are on partner track a bit faster. This is just some gossip I heard; can anyone confirm/deny it?

This would be consistent with the notion that BIGLAW would prefer that ALL of their lawyers be Top 14, but there aren't enough Top 14 graduates to fill up all the associate positions, so they are forced to hire some non-top 14 grads, however for the non-top 14 grads they only hire from the very top of the class so at least they can put "Law Review, Order of the Coif" on that person's bio. They will also hire some people from the top 20% to 30% of the class from near-top 14 schools.

But since the goal is to have ony the best schools on the bios, denying partnership to the non-top 14 associates would accomplish this goal. All things being equal. A non-top 14 associate demonstrating superior rainmaking potential would be invited to become a partner, but when things are equal, the non-top 14 associate would get the boot.

This is only a theory. I never worked at BIGLAW.

I am assuming when you say you want a BIGLAW job you mean you want a big paycheck.  I mean who cares what firm you work for?  Bottom line is this:  At some point you are going to have to stand out.  Your first chance is the LSAT.  Second chance is in law school.  Last chance is when you are actually working.  Now if you did great on the LSAT, great in law school, chances are you know what you are doing.
Nobody is going to hand you a good job because you "work hard" and "you really want it" or "you spent all your time studying on the weekends", etc.  If you go to a lower ranked school and get a job at a medium or small firm then you will have to excel here at some point.  However, if someone blows up at this stage... why would you go take an associate job at a big firm for 150k a year and work 70 hrs a week?  Chances are you can make more money staying where you are and continuing your successful record.
So don't think that only attorneys in big firms are making a lot of money.  I know personal injury lawyers who went to schools that are now non-existent and make 500k+ a year, but I also know T4 grads that are grinding it out doing Doc Review.
In the end, it comes down to if you are good at what you do.  The schooling part will just end up speeding up your success or slowing it down.  I also think it is worth noting that those who did better academically (LSAT, law school gpa) are more likely to do better in the real world, although there are always exceptions.

Good point! But I don't only wanna big money, the more concerned to me is whether I am deprived of the chance to stand out or excel in my practice. If I don't get into big law firm, will I have much fewer chance to do something big? I mean whethter all big cases will go to biglaw firm?