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Author Topic: How would you rank chicago law schools??  (Read 1779 times)

rmatha

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How would you rank chicago law schools??
« on: July 16, 2009, 08:13:42 PM »
Outside of Northwestern and U of Chicago, how would you rank the chicago law schools based on starting salaries, job opportunities, strength of degree?

big - fat - box

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Re: How would you rank chicago law schools??
« Reply #1 on: July 16, 2009, 08:40:54 PM »
After those two, I'd look at U of I.

The other Chicago schools are not that great. I wouldn't attend any of them w/o hefty guaranteed scholarship $ that is not tied to 1L performance. No matter what their USNews info says (which is fudged), starting salary at any of those schools for an average student is going to be in the neighborhood of $50K at best, probably more like $40K given the current economy.

I actually know some people who went to these schools and the general outlook for most students is not pretty. The ones at the top of the class after 1L, like any tier 2/3/4 school in a big city, usually end up transferring to much higher ranked schools.

,.,.,.;.,.,.

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Re: How would you rank chicago law schools??
« Reply #2 on: July 16, 2009, 09:24:26 PM »
I recently read an Illinois CLE packet for drunk driving/DUIs (including tips on motions to suppress) that was written exclusively by Depaul/Chicago-Kent types.  I think that gives you a good indication of where they end up.

big - fat - box

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Re: How would you rank chicago law schools??
« Reply #3 on: July 17, 2009, 10:13:53 AM »
Yes. Most of the students at Loyola, Kent, Depaul, and JM are going to wind up at small firms that pay around $45K or less, if they can find a decent atty job. All these schools, but especially the first three have insanely inflated/fudged salary stats that they report to USNews. JM is easily the worst of the bunch but that doesn't mean you are "golden" at any of the rest.


big - fat - box

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Re: How would you rank chicago law schools??
« Reply #4 on: July 22, 2009, 12:18:29 PM »
The problem with the Chicago legal market is that there are so many schools feeding into it and there are four lower ranked schools in the city alone vying for decent jobs. Employers can be picky b/c there is a surplus of candidates.

As an example, I actually know 2 students who graduated top 1/3 and top 1/2 at Depaul/Kent/Loyola would couldn't find anything in the city before graduation. One moved back to their home state (a large city) and found a job paying under $40K at a small firm. Another was headed to a tax LLM program. Keep in mind the job market for tax LLM isn't that hot right now.

All of these schools are expensive private schools too. There is nothing wrong with making $45K at a small firm as a freshly minted attorney. The problem is a lot of students at these schools will have racked up $150-180K in student loans to get there.

vansondon

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Re: How would you rank chicago law schools??
« Reply #5 on: July 22, 2009, 02:08:47 PM »
After those two, I'd look at U of I.

The other Chicago schools are not that great. I wouldn't attend any of them w/o hefty guaranteed scholarship $ that is not tied to 1L performance. No matter what their USNews info says (which is fudged), starting salary at any of those schools for an average student is going to be in the neighborhood of $50K at best, probably more like $40K given the current economy.

I actually know some people who went to these schools and the general outlook for most students is not pretty. The ones at the top of the class after 1L, like any tier 2/3/4 school in a big city, usually end up transferring to much higher ranked schools.

While you're certainly entitled to your opinion, I don't think you know what you're talking about.

First of all, career/salary data is self-reported to a given school by the graduates themselves.  If there is any "fudgery" going on, it starts with the graduates themselves, not the career services office.  Second of all, the data comes from information gathered from a certain sample size of a graduating class, not a census , it only applies to the number of graduates who actually reported something, not (necessarily) to the entire graduating class.  Although, it is possible for everyone in the graduating class to respond. Nevertheless, data showing a 61% portion of private sector employment is limited to the number of respondents (graduates) who self-reported their information to their school, that could be any percentage (35%, 50%, 72%) of the entire graduating class of a given school.  And this is true for all schools (regardless of ranking). Every school's data  (regardless of ranking) is subjected to this.  Third of all, I think that if the career services offices were really "fudging" the data, they'd be reporting much higher numbers than they are (something around $100K for the 25th percentile of private practice). 

The notion that somehow the University of Illinois, University of Chicago, and Northwestern wouldn't  "fudge" their data, yet every other school does is nothing short of being an elitist, absurd, problematic, and ridiculous concept.  This idea that data is only authentic when it comes from your perceived "top" schools is imaginary.  You'd stand on sturdier ground to be critical of the entire self-reporting apparatus (across all schools) that underlies the concrete numbers found in the U.S. News data.

As far as ranking goes, I think the general opinion/perception is as follows (for Illinois law schools):

1. University of Chicago/Northwestern University
2. University of Illinois
3. Loyola University/Chicago-Kent/Depaul University
4. John Marshall Law School
5. Northern Illinois University
6. Southern Illinois University

big - fat - box

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Re: How would you rank chicago law schools??
« Reply #6 on: July 22, 2009, 02:51:55 PM »
ALL law schools fudge their data. I never said they didn't. My comment pertained to the non-t14 chicago schools b/c that's what the OP asked about. I suggested U of I b/c it's an in-state school with lower tuition and many students who could get into Loyola or Kent probably stand a decent shot at U of I, maybe with a few points higher on the LSAT.

The data may be "self reported" by students but it is up to schools themselves to decide what do with that data, how to "interpret" it and what final numbers get reported to USNews. USNews doesn't audit the data, the US govt isn't doing it and nobody is hiring a big four accounting firm to audit the data either. Schools are always going to report data in the light most favorable to them to whatever extent they think they can get away with, period.

Hypothetically, they could report what ever they want, like the 100K 25th percentile, but they are not going to do that. It would look too suspicious to prospective students. So they report a 90K median and 65K 25th percentile, for example. Then people on boards like this or applicants who buy USNews read it and reason that only the bottom 25% of the class must be making $65K or less. And since a lot of these students are banking on being in the top half, they think a 90K job must be in the bag if they go to X school. Problem is, entry level legal jobs for fresh grads that pay $70-90K are few and far between. There is a huge, huge gap between the big firms and other legal jobs. If you don't land at a big firm, you are far, far more likely to make $45K or less at your first job out of law school. That's in the private sector.

For example, one persistent problem is that schools will take an hourly salary earned at temp/contract attorney doc review jobs, and use that data to make a full-time salary based on that job. Since doc review gigs can pay $30-40/hr, you can see why the numbers could get distorted. And doc review is big business in major legal markets like Chicago, LA, DC, and NYC.

I understand it is a sample size, not a complete census. Problem is, most students and applicants don't understand that or they think that 40$, 50%, or 60% represents a picture roughly as accurate as 90% or 100%. Or they don't even bother to look at how many students are reporting.

vansondon

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Re: How would you rank chicago law schools??
« Reply #7 on: July 22, 2009, 03:03:12 PM »
ALL law schools fudge their data. I never said they didn't. My comment pertained to the non-t14 chicago schools b/c that's what the OP asked about. I suggested U of I b/c it's an in-state school with lower tuition and many students who could get into Loyola or Kent probably stand a decent shot at U of I, maybe with a few points higher on the LSAT.

The data may be "self reported" by students but it is up to schools themselves to decide what do with that data, how to "interpret" it and what final numbers get reported to USNews. USNews doesn't audit the data, the US govt isn't doing it and nobody is hiring a big four accounting firm to audit the data either. Schools are always going to report data in the light most favorable to them to whatever extent they think they can get away with, period.

Hypothetically, they could report what ever they want, like the 100K 25th percentile, but they are not going to do that. It would look too suspicious to prospective students. So they report a 90K median and 65K 25th percentile, for example. Then people on boards like this or applicants who buy USNews read it and reason that only the bottom 25% of the class must be making $65K or less. And since a lot of these students are banking on being in the top half, they think a 90K job must be in the bag if they go to X school. Problem is, entry level legal jobs for fresh grads that pay $70-90K are few and far between. There is a huge, huge gap between the big firms and other legal jobs. If you don't land at a big firm, you are far, far more likely to make $45K or less at your first job out of law school. That's in the private sector.

For example, one persistent problem is that schools will take an hourly salary earned at temp/contract attorney doc review jobs, and use that data to make a full-time salary based on that job. Since doc review gigs can pay $30-40/hr, you can see why the numbers could get distorted. And doc review is big business in major legal markets like Chicago, LA, DC, and NYC.

I understand it is a sample size, not a complete census. Problem is, most students and applicants don't understand that or they think that 40$, 50%, or 60% represents a picture roughly as accurate as 90% or 100%. Or they don't even bother to look at how many students are reporting.

Okay. I see what you're saying. But I think you're making a different argument than you were making before.  I apologize if I misinterpreted what you were saying before.  However, I still maintain some differences with you on this issue.

Remarq

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Re: How would you rank chicago law schools??
« Reply #8 on: July 22, 2009, 05:16:27 PM »
Not totally related, but if you can get the 45K job the new Federal Loan Repayment option makes life a lot easier.

A few friends who just graduated from ugrad with me are heading to Kent, Depaul and Loyola. They looked in to it more than I have, but they each reached the conclusion that KDL will all put you in the same place after graduation. But, I recall them, and I think offers on this forum too, saying that each school had a different feel - seemed to attract different kinds of students.

chi2009

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Re: How would you rank chicago law schools??
« Reply #9 on: July 31, 2009, 06:53:53 PM »
I think b-f-b's first comment is pretty spot on.

I recently read an Illinois CLE packet for drunk driving/DUIs (including tips on motions to suppress) that was written exclusively by Depaul/Chicago-Kent types.  I think that gives you a good indication of where they end up.

At least they're on top of their game enough to be writing the CLE on suppression matters. The analogous book in my state is written by state judges. (And for what it's worth, motions to suppress are incredibly important because they can be dispositive if they are granted and the state ends up not being able to prove an element of the crime. The scoffing attitude I hear in my head when you talk about "tips" on how to do them is ill-founded.)

OP, for what it's worth, Wally has a pretty serious superiority complex about the Chicago schools, so you have to take it with a grain of salt. Although the nuanced core of his argument is correct -- in a tough economic climate, people from less prestigious schools will have weaker job opportunities, starting salaries, etc. -- it is an impermissible logical inference to say that "where they [graduates] end up" is solely in DUI defense, or even in comparable practice areas. Many probably won't do well, as b-f-b indicated. But I guarantee there will be some people from those schools who will do biglaw, although it will be fewer than at higher-ranked schools. They will almost certainly need honors or law review, but that's a typical requirement.1  I also guarantee there will be people from our school who will do defense work, including suppression motions on DUIs, and they won't necessarily be the ones at the bottom of the barrel. The numbers are different at each school.

1 At Mayer Brown, see http://www.mayerbrown.com/lawyers/profile.asp?hubbardid=B121090055; http://www.mayerbrown.com/lawyers/profile.asp?hubbardid=B278063298.

I know a Northwestern grad who works at Sidley Austin - alongside a couple Chi-Kent grads.