Law School Discussion

*Real* Employment prospects for your law school

Re: *Real* Employment prospects for your law school
« Reply #30 on: September 13, 2008, 11:56:38 AM »
Excuse my naivety, but you are saying that often if you are not in nationally recognized firms (t14) it is better to go to a lower ranked school with a higher class rank then a higher ranked school with a mediocre class rank?

Re: *Real* Employment prospects for your law school
« Reply #31 on: September 13, 2008, 12:24:27 PM »
No, I think someone should pick the law school that is right for them. That school may not be the highest ranked school that will admit them. The school's rank on US News is not what makes one's legal career. Maybe in the very short-term, the T-14 schools afford far more opportunities than lesser ranked schools. In the long-term, a graduate of a lesser ranked school can end up in the same place as the T-14 with hard work and good choices. After five years or so of experience, where one attended law school becomes far less important. After ten years, it's ancient history. Ultimately, I think one should attend the law school where one can find the best mentorship opportunities. Good mentors make good professionals.

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Re: *Real* Employment prospects for your law school
« Reply #32 on: September 13, 2008, 02:18:07 PM »
Excuse my naivety, but you are saying that often if you are not in nationally recognized firms (t14) it is better to go to a lower ranked school with a higher class rank then a higher ranked school with a mediocre class rank?

Well, a mediocre class rank in a school below the top 50 will give you some difficulties in the job search. Not saying that it would be impossible, but more difficult. In the job adverts, you commonly see: top ranked school, top class rank, etc. And since there are so many graduates out in the market now, they have the ability to pick and choose between those that came from "top ranked" schools.

People coming from lower ranked regional schools do have hope for jobs. Some regional schools below the top 25 do place well in big law, mid-size and small firms. But the people coming from these regional schools with mediocre rankings will face serious difficulties. 

Re: *Real* Employment prospects for your law school
« Reply #33 on: September 13, 2008, 07:18:46 PM »
The idea that a handful of schools dispersed across nine states and one territory have a lock on the legal market of the entire country is preposterous and entirely unbelievable. Do you also believe that the Skull and Bones Society elects all of our presidents or the Bilderberg Group really controls the world?

I can't even fathom the idea that Big Law would rather hire a T-14 grad over an attorney with 3-5 years of experience who attended a T3/T4 school. If this is true, what does that say about the difficulty of legal jobs? I interview new applicants for my firm on a regular basis. I'll take an accountant from a low ranked school with three years of experience over a BYU or USC grad fresh out of school anyday. In fact, the accountant with three years of experience is probabl worth three fresh grads in terms of productivity. Why is this not also true in the legal profession? I just don't understand.

Re: *Real* Employment prospects for your law school
« Reply #34 on: September 13, 2008, 07:24:17 PM »
I can't even fathom the idea that Big Law would rather hire a T-14 grad over an attorney with 3-5 years of experience who attended a T3/T4 school.

This data is for hiring out of law school and does not appear to include laterals (how would you pick a slice of time, etc.?)

What you can get straight out of school matters immensely for those of us who will have $100k or more in loans to start paying off 6 months after graduation.  That's most of us.

What you can get with the local T3/T4 depends on which market you're talking about.  The local T3 in my preferred market actually does quite well at getting market rate in the area, which happens to be a very nice salary and can easily pay the loans despite the fact that few of the firms in that market are V-whatever.

The end-of-story for this type of discussion is that once you're out of the 10-14 "top" law schools, your mileage may vary, so be wary.  Yes.  That was on purpose.

Re: *Real* Employment prospects for your law school
« Reply #35 on: September 13, 2008, 11:14:41 PM »
I see why this is important. $100k in debt is no small nut to crack. I'm going to try to work while attending school part-time. If I can't do that, then, I'll have to bite the bullet and incur the debt, as well.

It IS possible to service $100k of debt on $50k per year, though, assuming you live cheap and budget very well. I'm not saying this is an ideal life, or the life that anyone would envision for themselves after earning a professional degree. Yet, if you come out of law school with a $50k salary, isn't reasonable to assume that your salary won't stay that low for very long? Is it reasonable to assume that an attorney who starts at $50k can end up with $65-$80k in at least 3-5 years?

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Re: *Real* Employment prospects for your law school
« Reply #36 on: September 14, 2008, 09:44:18 AM »
I see why this is important. $100k in debt is no small nut to crack. I'm going to try to work while attending school part-time. If I can't do that, then, I'll have to bite the bullet and incur the debt, as well.

It IS possible to service $100k of debt on $50k per year, though, assuming you live cheap and budget very well. I'm not saying this is an ideal life, or the life that anyone would envision for themselves after earning a professional degree. Yet, if you come out of law school with a $50k salary, isn't reasonable to assume that your salary won't stay that low for very long? Is it reasonable to assume that an attorney who starts at $50k can end up with $65-$80k in at least 3-5 years?

a 50k salary has the trajectory of topping out at or below 100K

Re: *Real* Employment prospects for your law school
« Reply #37 on: September 14, 2008, 10:42:09 AM »
Well, a mediocre class rank in a school below the top 50 will give you some difficulties in the job search. Not saying that it would be impossible, but more difficult. In the job adverts, you commonly see: top ranked school, top class rank, etc. And since there are so many graduates out in the market now, they have the ability to pick and choose between those that came from "top ranked" schools.

People coming from lower ranked regional schools do have hope for jobs. Some regional schools below the top 25 do place well in big law, mid-size and small firms. But the people coming from these regional schools with mediocre rankings will face serious difficulties. 

Hypothetically (and feel free to generalize somewhat, I know you guys are pretty serious about the specifics)

Lets say the best school I got into was Hastings, but if I went there I would likely not be top 25, and would get no aid...

Would it be a plausible choice to go to a #60-80 school, like Santa Clara, in order to get a higher class rank (im sure this depends on local job markets and specific statistics, but is this sort of choice ever wise) ?

Also, would it be wise if the lower ranked school also offered me half+ money?

---

One other thing, how plausible is it to get a job from USAjobs.gov...they only require top 25 OR moot court OR law journal OR other achievement, and while the salary is low, it seems it would be good experience...

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Re: *Real* Employment prospects for your law school
« Reply #38 on: September 14, 2008, 11:15:04 AM »
I can't even fathom the idea that Big Law would rather hire a T-14 grad over an attorney with 3-5 years of experience who attended a T3/T4 school.

I would think that it would depend on what kinds of skills and ability that attorney from T3/T4 really acquired during those 3-5 years of experience.  The problem is that it's hard to evaluate this.

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Re: *Real* Employment prospects for your law school
« Reply #39 on: September 14, 2008, 11:55:47 AM »
Well, a mediocre class rank in a school below the top 50 will give you some difficulties in the job search. Not saying that it would be impossible, but more difficult. In the job adverts, you commonly see: top ranked school, top class rank, etc. And since there are so many graduates out in the market now, they have the ability to pick and choose between those that came from "top ranked" schools.

People coming from lower ranked regional schools do have hope for jobs. Some regional schools below the top 25 do place well in big law, mid-size and small firms. But the people coming from these regional schools with mediocre rankings will face serious difficulties. 

Hypothetically (and feel free to generalize somewhat, I know you guys are pretty serious about the specifics)

Lets say the best school I got into was Hastings, but if I went there I would likely not be top 25, and would get no aid...

Would it be a plausible choice to go to a #60-80 school, like Santa Clara, in order to get a higher class rank (im sure this depends on local job markets and specific statistics, but is this sort of choice ever wise) ?

Also, would it be wise if the lower ranked school also offered me half+ money?

---

One other thing, how plausible is it to get a job from USAjobs.gov...they only require top 25 OR moot court OR law journal OR other achievement, and while the salary is low, it seems it would be good experience...



Whoa! My advice would be to go to hastings. Because everyone at the lower ranked schools is worried about class rank. Some are known for their over-competitiveness because they also want to transfer. So don't think of it as a walk in the park. Just go with the safe option.

Don't fall for the conditional scholarship scam. They promise you a scholarship as long as you maintain a certain gpa. It is a racket!!!!!! Because they know darn well that the first year curves will make it extremely difficult to keep that scholarship. Some teachers don't give out the grades that will allow you to maintain the scholarship.

If you could get a job anywhere be happy. Gov't salaries are known for trending lower. But if it gives you experience, then by all means go for it. That experience could translate to firm employment later.