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Author Topic: Wayne State: Worth it?  (Read 6292 times)

FalconJimmy

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Re: Wayne State: Worth it?
« Reply #20 on: March 26, 2011, 01:23:35 PM »
"Wayne State: Worth it?"  Probably not.

Wow, no matter how many law grads I see saying things like this, it always sorta strikes me as one of those, "oh wow!" moments. 

Thanks for your candor.  I hope at least that you've been able to do okay.

WSUAlum1

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Re: Wayne State: Worth it?
« Reply #21 on: March 26, 2011, 01:49:28 PM »
Thanks for asking! 

I'm doing OK, thankfully, but there's a big difference between weathering an economic storm with a client base and a reputation, and stepping into the same economic storm w/ a fresh degree and no experience.  Right now, there's a two year backlog of people who graduated and could not find jobs.  Some have taken appointment work, or gone into document review, or taken bar and restaurant jobs. A few are tearing up the local comedy club circuit, either in standup or improv.  (And from what I can tell, the comics are learning skills that will probably come in very handy if things ever turn around).  But people thinking about going to law school today should understand that when they get out, they'll be standing in line behind the ones who have graduated before them.  I would be reluctant to spend $75-100K to go to a law school like Wayne that has a pretty good reputation in only one city--a city that has lost 25% of its population in the last decade, and may be the 'anchor' of one of the most economically depressed regions in the country.  I'm not a Detroit hater--there are lots of interesting opportunities in this region, and I'm here to stay.  But freshly-minted lawyers have a very hard way to go here.  My advice, FWIW: either get a degree that will travel, or do something else.

FalconJimmy

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Re: Wayne State: Worth it?
« Reply #22 on: March 29, 2011, 09:25:10 AM »
I think everything you say makes sense, but there's one distinction I think needs to be made.

The guys who graduate when the job market picks up aren't going to be behind the backog of other years' grads.  I've seen this play out time and time again.  I'm older.  So, I've seen a few booms and busts. 

What happens is that people who graduate during a bust cycle almost always have their career ****ed for good.  They never, never make up the ground that they lost.  I've seen numerous articles and studies on this, but the basic gist is this:

Some guy graduates during a bust.  He's #15 out of a class of 100.  Can't find a job.  Ends up working odd jobs, eventually gets some job at a title company.  His career is pretty much forever defined by this starting point.

The guy who graduates during a boom?  He's #15 out of a class of 100, gets a job offer of $65,000 at some midsize firm.  His career continues on a trajectory from there.

This is just one of the first that turned up on a google search, but the effects of graduating in a downturn are long-lasting.

http://www.doublex.com/blog/xxfactor/recession-has-really-screwed-recent-college-grads

The effects of graduating in a boom?  It would seem only fair that the new guys should have to wait after all the old guys, but that just isn't the case.  Training pipelines that want recent grads want exactly that:  recent grads. 

I graduated high school during a recession.  Went in the military.  Got out, went to college.  Right when I needed a job, another recession.  In '93, I was able to find a good job that lasted a while.  Completed a graduate degree.  Finished it just before... yep... another recession.  Was sorta stuck, instead of being able to use my degree to vault to the next level. 

In the mean time, timing is everything.  People who graduated just 2 or 3 years before or after had multiple job offers, higher salaries, etc. 

I remember when I got my first management job, I needed to hire a LAN administrator.  The market was so hot, I ended up hiring a kid who had completed only a year or so at a community college.  I paid him over $40,000 to start.  Just 7 years earlier, I'd taken my first job at 27K and didn't mkae that kind of money until 3 promotions and a relocation later.

I do agree with what you have to say about the economy.  I live in SE Michigan / NW Ohio and this place is just depressing.  It's hard to stay encouraged around here. 

Did you know many/any people who transferred out of Wayne?  Was anybody able to get to U Mich,  Notre Dame, Case or Ohio State? 

Hamilton

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Re: Wayne State: Worth it?
« Reply #23 on: March 29, 2011, 04:06:45 PM »
pretty big assumption that there is a "boom" coming anytime soon...

FalconJimmy

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Re: Wayne State: Worth it?
« Reply #24 on: March 29, 2011, 04:12:29 PM »
pretty big assumption that there is a "boom" coming anytime soon...

Yep.  I wonder if anybody made that assumption.  Pretty clear I didn't.  There will be one someday, but not in the foreseeable future.

WSUAlum1

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Re: Wayne State: Worth it?
« Reply #25 on: March 30, 2011, 02:26:10 PM »
Hi FJ:

Interesting point about graduates in a bust who get 'skipped over' when things improve.  I think there is something to that.  But I also suspect that lawyers are unlike your typical undergrad (and UGs are the focus of the study you cite, and most others I've seen).  Lawyers hang around the periphery of the profession, getting some work, making contacts, sharing space, getting a few appointments and (esp!!) learning motion practice.  The skills and connections they pick up on the periphery distinguish them in important ways from the newbies, who are clueless re all of the above.

I agree that when Dykema decides to hire again, it'll skip the '09 and '10 unemployeds and grab this year's articles' editor.  But big firms employ a tiny percentage of Wayne's class.  Most of Wayne's students will go to firms of 3-15, or government jobs, or in-house at small companies.  In those settings, the ability to practice from day one--to file pleadings and motions, take deps, etc--will count for a hell of a lot.  Wayne does not teach those skills, and has no interest in doing so.  When the market picks up, lawyers who know these things will have the edge in the types of jobs that Wayne students (and other T3-T4s) typically get. 

You may be right, and it may be that folks entering law school now will skip over the ones who graduated earlier and will have career paths that will justify their large debt loads.  But it's not a gamble I'd want to take.

To answer the question at the end of your post, almost all Wayne students are Michigan residents, so their transfer destination of choice is UM.  In a typical year, after the 1L grades come out, about 3-5 will transfer.  You need about a 3.7 to be confident of a transfer (that's top 5% or so) but  I've heard of kids with a 3.5 getting in (and that's more like top 10%).   People don't typically look at Ohio State or Notre Dame.

FalconJimmy

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Re: Wayne State: Worth it?
« Reply #26 on: March 30, 2011, 03:49:01 PM »
You may be right, and it may be that folks entering law school now will skip over the ones who graduated earlier and will have career paths that will justify their large debt loads.  But it's not a gamble I'd want to take.

Ah, yes, I agree.  I wasn't stating that point so much to say that future grads will have it good.  I was saying it more to imply that current grads may not necessarily be in front of more recent grads when things open up in the future.  Your point about experience in the law is a good one.  I agree that if an employer can chose between an experienced applicant and a new applicant for the same money, the experienced applicant is probably at an advantage.

I think a lot of this, though, is self-imposed.  By that, I mean, if you graduate during a hard time, and you have a devil of a time finding a job, then eventually, you do contracts for a title company for $50,000 a year, it's entirely possible that after a few years, you're making, say, $60,000.  The new grads who come out could come out into an environment where the midsized firms are starting people at $65,000.  It's not that the experienced person doesn't want that job.  It's that they may not be looking at all.

Or maybe they're making $62,000 at the title company, and the midsized firms are starting folks at $58,000.  However, the associates at the midsize firms have a lot more salary upside potential down the road.

There are lots of ways that this can play out where a person's starting salary has some stickiness to it and it impacts their future earnings.  However, for the sake of current grads in the soft market, I hope you're right.



To answer the question at the end of your post, almost all Wayne students are Michigan residents, so their transfer destination of choice is UM.  In a typical year, after the 1L grades come out, about 3-5 will transfer.  You need about a 3.7 to be confident of a transfer (that's top 5% or so) but  I've heard of kids with a 3.5 getting in (and that's more like top 10%).   People don't typically look at Ohio State or Notre Dame.

Wow, you think that maybe as many as 3-5 1Ls are able to transfer to Michigan?  That's amazing.  Pretty encouraging, really.  Granted, you have to be darned good, but it's a nice second-chance for folks who might have attended Wayne State because they couldn't get into Michigan to begin with.

WSUAlum1

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Re: Wayne State: Worth it?
« Reply #27 on: March 31, 2011, 12:43:44 AM »
Hi FJ:

That 3 to 5 number is pretty solid.  It's worth noting that Wayne's typical entering class is now around 200 students (down from 230-240, b/c the faculty wants to squeeze the class to raise GPA/LSATs for US News purposes), so 3-5 is only around 2%.  It's also worth noting that the top of Wayne's (and now MSUs) entering class was a UM undergrad w/ a 3.5 UGPA and a 165 LSAT and a good personal story who was wait-listed at UM, so those folks are largely indistinguishable from the last folks who made the cut at UM.  By and large, they are going to Wayne for free.  They have to give up a dead certain law review gig and lots of professorial attention (research assistant, glowing letter of rec from a locally well regarded prof) at Wayne in exchange for the privilege of paying $40,000 a year and being a second class citizen at UM.  But almost every Wayne student who gets the nod from UM will jump at the chance.




FalconJimmy

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Re: Wayne State: Worth it?
« Reply #28 on: March 31, 2011, 08:56:29 AM »
Good call.  I forgot that Wayne's classes are so large.  So, yeah, 3-5 applicants sounds good, but that's going to end up being the top 1.5% - 2%.  I see what you mean:  the folks likely to do that well probably didn't appear out of thin air and probably had a great academic background, anyway.  So, U of M doesn't gamble much by admitting them.

The implications are pretty profound, though.  Not only do they get one more U of M grad, who is likely to be very successful, AND who pays sticker price for two years, but they deprive other schools of their top grads.  So, that guy who would have had a really good law career as a Wayne State grad will now go on to have a really good law career as a U of M grad.  This makes U of M's alumni network stronger and Wayne State's alumni network weaker.

Really, the name of the game is that U of M wants graduates who inspire people to think of "top law school".  It makes it all the harder for Wayne State to get people to think "top law school" if so many of the people who would have made the best alums end up going to a different school.

WSUAlum1

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Re: Wayne State: Worth it?
« Reply #29 on: April 04, 2011, 08:38:40 PM »
BTW--Here’s a comparison between Wayne and MSU re: your Career Services options.
Here are the firms who will come to campus looking to interview.  The #s below are from
http://lawschoolnumbers.com/

MSU:
53 firms
12 from NY, DC and CA

Wayne:
39 firms
4 from NY, DC and CA