Law School Discussion

*Real* Employment prospects for your law school

Re: *Real* Employment prospects for your law school
« Reply #20 on: September 08, 2008, 01:01:27 PM »
Hi. Let's assume that I could speak and write Chinese and that I was interested in going to law school and then working for a company that does biz with China. Any ideas on how i might find out how difficult it would be to land such a job or what people who have this type of work think of it? Aside from calling up Walmart HQ and saying "yeah, let me speak to sb in your china legal division... :-\"

Also, thanks much for the above links. Berry useful...


I actually bought a book that discusses this. It tells you exactly what you need to do in order to break into certain specialties. It is called "the official guide to legal specialties." They have a whole section on international law. You have to get into big law or intern at a transnational corp during the summer. And take plenty of business law classes.

Thanks so much Next Top, you are very helpful. And ur pretty hot, too! :P

Re: *Real* Employment prospects for your law school
« Reply #21 on: September 08, 2008, 08:12:08 PM »


It was from 2005 because most statistical compilations are at least a year behind. Even US news.

I think there is more opportunity below the top us news 30. But the end result means that the vast majority of law students will be assed out.
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I understand your argument, and I'll agree that it is true in some cases, but, I have NOT seen this in my (albeit, limited) experience. Many of my clients are attorneys who attended tier 3 and tier 4 law schools. Trust me, they make bank. In fact, of all the attorneys that and either know personally, have as clients, work with as colleagues or whatever, very few even attended a tier 1 school. How did they manage if what you say is true? One of my best clients is a litigator who graduated from John Marshall (not a top school by any means and overshadowed by many other tier 1 and tier 2 schools in its immediate vicinity). How did she happen to manage a 20 year career pulling high six figures? Of course, there are always notable exceptions... yet I see SO many.

You probably have a reasonable claim when you view the statistics from a 30,000 foot overview. Yet, remember, these statistics are gathered at a point in time. In that sense, they are like a balance sheet... they can be completely different even a week later. Also, statistics don't track people through the course of their careers. Someone can be unemployed for 9 months or even a year or two after graduation and then find a six figure job in the next few months (I'm not saying this happens regularly). A more accurate picture would be presented if a random sampling of tier 3 and tier 4 graduates were tracked over the course of their careers to see where they land in 3, 5, 8, 10, and 20 years after law school. Keep in mind that those who start near the bottom of the income distribution can rise to the top in a matter of a few years (or a decade or so, more realistically). For this reason, I can't buy the doom and gloom based on such poor research.

Re: *Real* Employment prospects for your law school
« Reply #22 on: September 08, 2008, 08:16:35 PM »
A more accurate picture would be presented if a random sampling of tier 3 and tier 4 graduates were tracked over the course of their careers to see where they land in 3, 5, 8, 10, and 20 years after law school. Keep in mind that those who start near the bottom of the income distribution can rise to the top in a matter of a few years (or a decade or so, more realistically). For this reason, I can't buy the doom and gloom based on such poor research.

3, 5, 8, 10, or 20 years out doesn't matter so much when you have to start paying your student loans 6 months after you graduate.

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Re: *Real* Employment prospects for your law school
« Reply #23 on: September 08, 2008, 09:25:39 PM »


It was from 2005 because most statistical compilations are at least a year behind. Even US news.

I think there is more opportunity below the top us news 30. But the end result means that the vast majority of law students will be assed out.

I understand your argument, and I'll agree that it is true in some cases, but, I have NOT seen this in my (albeit, limited) experience. Many of my clients are attorneys who attended tier 3 and tier 4 law schools. Trust me, they make bank. In fact, of all the attorneys that and either know personally, have as clients, work with as colleagues or whatever, very few even attended a tier 1 school. How did they manage if what you say is true? One of my best clients is a litigator who graduated from John Marshall (not a top school by any means and overshadowed by many other tier 1 and tier 2 schools in its immediate vicinity). How did she happen to manage a 20 year career pulling high six figures? Of course, there are always notable exceptions... yet I see SO many.

You probably have a reasonable claim when you view the statistics from a 30,000 foot overview. Yet, remember, these statistics are gathered at a point in time. In that sense, they are like a balance sheet... they can be completely different even a week later. Also, statistics don't track people through the course of their careers. Someone can be unemployed for 9 months or even a year or two after graduation and then find a six figure job in the next few months (I'm not saying this happens regularly). A more accurate picture would be presented if a random sampling of tier 3 and tier 4 graduates were tracked over the course of their careers to see where they land in 3, 5, 8, 10, and 20 years after law school. Keep in mind that those who start near the bottom of the income distribution can rise to the top in a matter of a few years (or a decade or so, more realistically). For this reason, I can't buy the doom and gloom based on such poor research.
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Reply:

I never said that people coming out of t3 and t4 dont have any chance of succeeding. I do think that it is possible. But those meteoric 6 figure salaries coming out of law school may be a bit of a stretch for most. But the students at these schools in the top 10% do have at least a shot at that. But that is assuming that everyone wants to practice in big law.

And there have been many successful t3 and t4 graduates who have started firms and are successful. Nobody is disputing that. If you want to hang a shingle some time down the road, I dont think anyone can stop you. It is just more difficult these days for business because there is so much competition. And there are many lawyers who poach clients from other firms.

And the legal market was a different creature 20 years ago. Back then, US news rankings didn't exist. They only started in 1990. So you can imagine that there was more opportunity for advancement back then.

Unfortunately, we are in the 2nd decade of US News hegemony and it has created an unofficial caste system in the law.

Re: *Real* Employment prospects for your law school
« Reply #24 on: September 08, 2008, 10:35:02 PM »
An unofficial caste system? US News hegemony? That seems like a stretch. US News has no stake in the matter but to sell issues. What harm have they done? Please don't tell me that a magazine is responsible for the ills of the legal job market.

I suppose that big law primarily accepts the best applicants from the best schools.... welcome to the real world. How is this so different from fortune 500 corporations who typically only hire managers out of the best business schools in the country? Basically, the great revelation that this board seems to proffer is that if you study hard, get good grades, do well on the LSAT, get into one of the best schools, graduate at or near the top of your class, you will most likely get a high paying job if you seek one... wow, that's profound! What you call a caste system, I call capitalism.

Why does it shock so many that top jobs are mostly only available to top quality applicants? Is there any other industry where the mediocre are paid top dollar fresh out of school? If so, sign me up!

Re: *Real* Employment prospects for your law school
« Reply #25 on: September 08, 2008, 10:37:10 PM »

Why does it shock so many that top jobs are mostly only available to top quality applicants? Is there any other industry where the mediocre are paid top dollar fresh out of school? If so, sign me up!

blah blah blah you assume stuff blah blah and then more stuff, then act incredulous.

I call that mediocre.

(as is my treatment of your post because it doesn't deserve my reserves of Type A OCD).

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Re: *Real* Employment prospects for your law school
« Reply #26 on: September 08, 2008, 11:50:09 PM »
An unofficial caste system? US News hegemony? That seems like a stretch. US News has no stake in the matter but to sell issues. What harm have they done? Please don't tell me that a magazine is responsible for the ills of the legal job market.

I suppose that big law primarily accepts the best applicants from the best schools.... welcome to the real world. How is this so different from fortune 500 corporations who typically only hire managers out of the best business schools in the country? Basically, the great revelation that this board seems to proffer is that if you study hard, get good grades, do well on the LSAT, get into one of the best schools, graduate at or near the top of your class, you will most likely get a high paying job if you seek one... wow, that's profound! What you call a caste system, I call capitalism.

Why does it shock so many that top jobs are mostly only available to top quality applicants? Is there any other industry where the mediocre are paid top dollar fresh out of school? If so, sign me up!


--reply:

You just contradicted yourself. Yes, US news does have a stake in it. And the stake is to become the "ranking authority" and make as much dough as possible from magazine sales to unsuspecting newbies. And they are succeeding.

Students that are outside the top 10% are not mediocre. In many cases, the difference between a B and C is just based on a teacher's fancy. Most law students are smart and are not mediocre to begin with. So you are working with some pretty screwed up assumptions.


When you say the "best schools" what ranking system are you using. "The best" is indeed relative. It depends on who is doing the ranking and the metrics that he/she is using. And it has been established that US news methodology is flawed. But unfortunately, the legal industry has followed it like drones.   

Re: *Real* Employment prospects for your law school
« Reply #27 on: September 09, 2008, 08:52:26 AM »
Life is full of instances where the difference between success or failure is based upon the subjective decisions of an independent (not so independent in some cases) third party who is attempting to evaluate nearly identical cases or individuals. For instance, in many of the martial arts competitions that I have attended, the difference between those who took first place in their division and those who did not even make the semifinals was minute. I have been on both sides of that. Those who beat me did so by razor thin margins (and vice versa, any independent observer could have called it either way). Life is not always full of decisive victories or defeats. You might want to get used to that. So, if you say the difference between a B and a C is what the professor had for lunch, I'm not crying any tears for you. The difference between an Olympic gold medal and an honorable mention is tenths or hundredths of a second... in many cases, just the opinions of a few judges.

US News is a magazine that disseminates information. I doubt anyone at US News gives a damn which school is ranked where. As long as stupid people buy their product they are happy. Granted, their ranking system has flaws, as does any ranking system. It's sad that so many people put so much emphasis on what a magazine has to say. They can't seem to report the news very well, so they have to branch off into the rankings game to sell issues. That's what happens when most of your journalist staff are social commentators first and journalists second.

The perceptions of which schools were "the best" far predate US News. Harvard, Yale, Stanford, Columbia and company were all top dogs long before US News instituted is reign of terror. The tier 3 and tier 4 schools were still considered bottom of the barrel before then, as well. Tier 3 and Tier 4 students 20 and 30 years ago were able to struggle to find jobs, they will probably do the same today. Harvard and Yale elites have always had the world by the balls. That will probably never change. All of these same arguments were made by law students and recent graduates 30 years ago. They were just as ridiculous then, so I'm told.

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Re: *Real* Employment prospects for your law school
« Reply #28 on: September 11, 2008, 11:09:12 PM »
Life is full of instances where the difference between success or failure is based upon the subjective decisions of an independent (not so independent in some cases) third party who is attempting to evaluate nearly identical cases or individuals. For instance, in many of the martial arts competitions that I have attended, the difference between those who took first place in their division and those who did not even make the semifinals was minute. I have been on both sides of that. Those who beat me did so by razor thin margins (and vice versa, any independent observer could have called it either way). Life is not always full of decisive victories or defeats. You might want to get used to that. So, if you say the difference between a B and a C is what the professor had for lunch, I'm not crying any tears for you. The difference between an Olympic gold medal and an honorable mention is tenths or hundredths of a second... in many cases, just the opinions of a few judges.

US News is a magazine that disseminates information. I doubt anyone at US News gives a damn which school is ranked where. As long as stupid people buy their product they are happy. Granted, their ranking system has flaws, as does any ranking system. It's sad that so many people put so much emphasis on what a magazine has to say. They can't seem to report the news very well, so they have to branch off into the rankings game to sell issues. That's what happens when most of your journalist staff are social commentators first and journalists second.

The perceptions of which schools were "the best" far predate US News. Harvard, Yale, Stanford, Columbia and company were all top dogs long before US News instituted is reign of terror. The tier 3 and tier 4 schools were still considered bottom of the barrel before then, as well. Tier 3 and Tier 4 students 20 and 30 years ago were able to struggle to find jobs, they will probably do the same today. Harvard and Yale elites have always had the world by the balls. That will probably never change. All of these same arguments were made by law students and recent graduates 30 years ago. They were just as ridiculous then, so I'm told.

The difference between a sporting event and law school grading is that when you win in sports, you win though an objective measure (like time/score). But in law school it is all subjective. I had a prof give me a C on a paper. I submitted that same paper to a writing competition and won. When you are judged subjectively, beauty is in the eye of the beholder. So law school grades are useful up to a certain point.

Of course Ivy league schools were always prestigious. Thats why they hold their place in the rankings. But many schools that are in the top 50 were not the same schools in the top 50 in the 1990s. But after these schools climbed in the rankings, somehow, they became more prestigious. As if US News is some objective measure. So US news had a dramatic effect on the depreciation and appreciation of prestige of many law school within the past 2 decades.

Before the 90's there were people who attended "non-elite" schools and received jobs in law. Just check any firm's websites. There are some old partners who fit this description. So there wasn't a general consensus about what schools were bottom of the barrel. But because of the rankings, the consensus about school status seems to coalesce around what the US news declares.

Re: *Real* Employment prospects for your law school
« Reply #29 on: September 12, 2008, 12:07:58 AM »
I think your assessment is mostly true in big markets (New York, LA, Boston, D.C., ect.). In smaller markets, I think local connections trump prestige. It's hard to argue that US News is not a factor, since every ABA accredited law school in the country genuflects to it. If anything, the fact that law schools bow to US News only shows how badly education standards in this country have atrophied. Any college graduate with just one statistics class under his belt can see that the US News ranking methodology is deeply flawed. For one thing, it only measures inputs. Yet, this is a discussion for another thread.

As far as the subjectivity of law school grades, many other things in life are very arbitrary and subjective. I've competed in forms competitions where the difference between first and second place was the toss of a coin.  In some cases, my form was clearly better than all the other competitors, and everyone knew it, yet I did not take first place. In other cases, I won when I knew my competition beat me; the judges didn't see it that way on that day. I've been in speech competitions where I froze in the middle of my speech.... for a whole 30 seconds, yet took 1st place! Every other speech was far better than mine in both organization and delivery; nevertheless, the judge gave me the nod... who knows why? On more than one occasion, I shined, got a standing ovation from everyone in the room including competitors and did not even place! Even my competition shook my hand afterward. I've been on both sides of this more times than I can recall. Subjectivity is part of life... you will run into it in most endeavors. You best understand that life is just not fair... that's why condoms come in different sizes.