Law School Discussion

Suffolk Law

Suffolk Law
« on: March 11, 2013, 12:45:42 PM »
I saw the employment prospect is low for Suffolk but at the same time i see that US News Ranks its individual programs in Dispute Resolution, Legal Writing, and Clinical Training among the top. Why is the employment prospect bad for Suffolk if the US News ranks the programs nationally pretty high? Also, how legit is

Im just confsued as to why so many people are attending unranked schools? Is it because they are known regionally? If so, wouldnt the job prospect employment score be higher?


Re: Suffolk Law
« Reply #1 on: March 11, 2013, 05:26:28 PM »
Why is the employment prospect bad for Suffolk if the US News ranks the programs nationally pretty high?

This is a good example of why I'm skeptical of specialty rankings. In my experience, they really don't matter. Suffolk, for example, may have a good local reputation for dispute resolution in the Northeast (as Pepperdine does in California), and has been given a high specialty ranking by USNWR.

For whatever reason, however, these programmatic rankings never seem to generate better overall reputational/employment dividends. It seems that law schools have a general reputation based on their history, alumni success, and admission selectivity. Getting ranked in a specific, narrow field never seems to have much impact on that general reputation (positive or negative). Part of the issue is probably that most students are only able to take three or four classes within a given concentration. Therefore, while a few specific classes may be considered "ranked", the majority of the J.D. program isn't.

Here's an example. Lewis & Clark has one of the highest ranked environmnetal law programs in the country, ranked higher than Harvard. Does that mean that a huge firm in NYC is more willing to hire an L&C grad than a Harvard grad for its Enviro/Natural Resources section? I have no doubt that L&C is a fine school, but the big firms back east still want nationally recognized names. 

Im just confsued as to why so many people are attending unranked schools? Is it because they are known regionally? If so, wouldnt the job prospect employment score be higher?

People attend unranked schools for all sorts of reasons, its difficult to generalize. I graduated from T3 because (1) I needed a part-time evening program, (2) I didn't have time to commute (the school was only ten minutes away), and (3) they offered me a 75% scholarship. Some people were there for similar reasons, others just didn't get in anywhere else.

As far as employment prospects, the numbers are down for all schools right now. Some T3/T4s have employment prospects that are equivalent to many T2s and even some T1s, others are very low. It just depends. Many T3/T4s have decent local reputations and produce lots of local judges, DAs, and Main Street lawyers. Especially if the school is geographically isolated, the employment prospects might be alright. You really need to look at specific local conditions and parallel competition in order to evaluate whether a particular unranked school is a good choice. 

Re: Suffolk Law
« Reply #2 on: March 11, 2013, 07:50:11 PM »
Maintain gives some great analysis U.S. rankings as a whole are not very important in the real world and specialty rankings are even less important. Remember that U.S. News is nothing more than a for profit magazine offering an opinion. They are entitled to their opinion, but I will never understand why OL's make life altering decisions based upon it.  U.S. News ranks more than law schools Albuquerque, New Mexico is the best place to live. (there is the link.

South Dakota is in the top 10 of best places to retire in 2032 I imagine you are nobody with common sense is going to move to Alberqueue based soley on what U.S. News say or start retiring in 2032 soley because U.S. News says so. They have reasons for their ranking, but to many OL's blindly look at this magazine and make life altering decisions based on it, which is a terrible idea.

The reality of law school is that whether an individual succeeds or not is far more up to them than the name on their degree. I went to a mediocre school at best then passed the bar and got a job as an attorney, which I love. The name of my law school never comes up in court, when I am in meetings, etc it is up to me to get stuff done. That is the job of an attorney and ABA school will get you a law license. It is an uphill battle to start a career in any profession and law is no different.

As for lawschooltransparency and their stats I am all for their mission, but you have to realize the statistics are not that accurate and they have an agenda. For example when I graduated, passed the bar, and was employed as a lawyer I never felt out my school's survey because I just didn't get around to it. So I was listed as an unreported and by LST's logic means I was unemployed, which was not the case I was just lazy as many people are. I imagine if your undergrad wrote asked you to fill out a survey giving all your personal information etc you might not fill it out either because you were busy or just didn't feel like sharing that info. That is assuming you maintained the appropriate contact information with the school.

On top of that it takes a long time to find a job as an attorney. One thing to realize in California for example is that you graduate in May, but you get bar results in November this means you cannot possibly find a job as a licensed attorney until 6 months after graduation.  Realistically most people do not hire during November or December either so you really cannot start looking for a job until January, which is 8 months after graduation. That is assuming you pass the first time and even schools like UCLA had 60 people fail the first time so those people cannot find jobs as attorneys period.

The bottom line is LST's mission is great, but the numbers are flawed. On top of that it does not account for the numerous personal situations that people encounter. For example in my class one guy's dad died during the bar exam he had to postpone until the February bar to get his estate in order etc. He found a job, but not until May of the next year when he passed the February bar. Another example is one guy I know passed the bar and got offered a job as a D.A., but he smoked pot and failed his drug test. Another girl was just exorbitantly rich and was never going to work period and another person just went to law school and had no intention of taking the bar. Those are just a few examples and LST does not account for those factors.

The bottom line is if you get licensed as a lawyer you CAN find a job as a lawyer, but it is hard. It was not easy for me I probably sent out 400+ resumes and got 4-5 interviews 3 rejections there and 2 job offers when I got bar results. It sucked to find a job, but I did it and almost everyone of my law school friend's did. This can occur at Suffolk, Western New England, Harvard, whatever it may be.

So bottom line if you really want to be a lawyer then Suffolk can work, but law school is nowhere near as glamorous or lucrative as T.V. makes it out to be. I personally love my job as an attorney, but I am not making a ton of money. Law school is not a great financial investment there are much lucrative paths to take, but if you really want to be a lawyer then it can be a great gig.


  • ****
  • 1041
    • View Profile
Re: Suffolk Law
« Reply #3 on: March 12, 2013, 09:58:35 AM »
Don't forget the basics about the rankings.

First, employers do care about the rankings.  Why do they care? Because they believe the highest ranked schools attract, on average, the most intelligent, hardest working students.  Most legal employers suck at interviewing, so they will either hire someone they have a personal relationship with (or a friend recommends) or they will hire based on a combination of personality and statistics.   

Say I'm looking at two resumes.  Author of Resume A went to an out of state school ranked 40, was ranked just outside the top 20%.  Author of Resume B went to an out of state school ranked T4, was ranked just outside the top 20%.  Assume I don't have a personal preference on the schools and I don't know either person.   I'd be an idiot, all other things being equal, to choose B.   The students at School A are of a much higher caliber.  Its average LSAT and UGPA are much higher, and the competition to be in the top quarter would be more difficult.

In a lot of cases, the hiring attorneys will be sifting through hundreds of resumes, and they'll have to make first cuts without doing much analysis. 

The best advice I can give is for you to pick a few employers in the city you want to work, and ask them where (and if) you should go to law school.  See if their hiring partners care about US news rankings.  See if they prefer local schools.  If you want to work in Boston, it's probably a better bet to go to Suffolk than Alabama.   There will be several Suffolk alums in town, the impression of the school will be good, and you'll be there and available to network during law school.   As 75%+ students get their jobs through networking and hustling, being in the right place at the right time is crucial.    That being said, if you wanted to work in Denver or Seattle, it's probably better to go with Alabama than Suffolk.


Re: Suffolk Law
« Reply #4 on: March 12, 2013, 11:33:40 AM »
First, employers do care about the rankings.  Why do they care? Because they believe the highest ranked schools attract, on average, the most intelligent, hardest working students. 

I agree. If an employer sees Yale on your resume they're going to assume that you're very smart, and very hardworking. Not bad.

Do you think the same holds true for specialty rankings, though? Based on nothing more than my own anecdotal experience, I've never seen an employer get excited over the fact that an otherwise unremarkable school is ranked high in some random subcategory.

Say I'm looking at two resumes.  Author of Resume A went to an out of state school ranked 40, was ranked just outside the top 20%.  Author of Resume B went to an out of state school ranked T4, was ranked just outside the top 20%.  Assume I don't have a personal preference on the schools and I don't know either person.   

I agree that if an employer has nothing else to go on they'll probably make the decision based on rankings. But how realistic is this scenario? Typically an employer is not limited to choosing between two out of state, relatively unknown applicants.

I agree with you that rankings do indeed matter, but I think the degree to which they matter dramatically decreases the farther down the list you go. At the offices I've worked at, a local T4 grad with personal connections would have a much better chance than an unknown out of state grad from a random top 50 school. I'm not saying that the ranking would be completely disregarded, but I'm not sure that it would be sufficient to overcome a lack of experience or personal connections, either.

I've seen people from T4 schools get hired over T1 grads because they worked at the office as an intern and did a great job. They were a known quantity, and the hiring attorneys felt comfortable with them. I've also seen resumes from candidates who attended higher-ranked, but not exactly prestigious, law schools summarily dismissed. Why? Because they were unknown quantities, and lawyers can be very risk adverse. 

Now, if we include graduates from elite schools, the entire analysis changes. A Stanford grad will always get an interview, and probably get hired, based on pedigree alone.

Re: Suffolk Law
« Reply #5 on: March 12, 2013, 12:33:58 PM »
Thanks, Maintain FL 350, livinglegend, and jack24!

It makes sense that employers will simply use the ranks (no matter how irrelevant we think they are) in order to do a pre-analysis of the candidates. All T4 schools should roughly be viewed as the same other than their regionally recognition.

It's funny how I was rejected by a few lower-ranked but higher-ranked schools accepted my application.

These are good comparisons on the numbers of lawtranscperency website. Just curious, what other type of jobs are there for law graduates who do not pass/take the bar?

Re: Suffolk Law
« Reply #6 on: March 12, 2013, 10:07:24 PM »
It is true some employers will look at the rankings, but some will care less. I have hired attorneys and interns I always just hire from my alma matter and I am sure plenty of employers do that. Others may want someone from a T4 school who they think will have a positive attitude. Plenty of others will want the Harvard grad the possibilities of what employers want are endless. At the end of the day employers are people with their own likes, dislikes, etc.

One time a guy applying for an internship at our office went to a CBA school, but he went to my undergrad so I interviewed him. He did a great job in the interview and we gave him an internship. My undergrad is not highly ranked or world renowned, but I picked him ahead of others because he went to my undergrad.

So again the possibilities just endless, but that is why it is so important to want to work in the location you attend law school in. I am sure there countless numbers of employed lawyers in Boston from Suffolk who would love to help someone from Suffolk out. Same goes for Western New England Law, Boston College, etc. However, there will not be many alumni from Santa Clara law school in Boston. Furthermore, nobody in Boston will know anything about Santa Clara law school they will just pass over it more than likely.

I realize there are some firms out there that have detailed hiring standards, but the vast majority of law firms, government agencies, etc just hire locally it is just so much easier especially because you will know the professors, admins, etc from the schools. If a professor from my Alma Matter calls me and says John Doe (3L) is a great kid and looking for help I will see what I can do. If some professor in Florida calls me to help out a (3L) I would not know who they were, not have any opinion of them, and likely would say I am just to busy to deal with it.

Bottom line is people in the legal profession and employers are people. Use your common sense and insight to think about how human beings work and you will get a lot of answers as to what law school to choose. I know as a City Attorney I have never looked at the U.S. News rankings when shifting through 100+ resumes.

I first look at their address to see if they live in the Bay Area. If they don't I pretty much toss it I don't want to deal with flying someone in or having that conversation about will you pay my costs etc. Furthermore, I work for the government I want to help local people out they are ones paying taxes, which fund my salary so we look local.

Bottom line use common sense not the U.S. News rankings.

As for people that fail the bar most simply take it again. It sucks, but almost everyone I know who failed the first time passed the second time. If you never pass then it sucks and you cannot be hired as an attorney. However, you can possibly apply for the F.B.I, to be a cop, or some other law enforcement profession. However, the reality is without a law license there isn't a lot you can do with a J.D. The bar exam is an extremely high pressure test and your entire career rides on it. You can retake, but you only get to do it twice a year and you do NOT want to fail it. It is very scary to deal with and one of the major obstacles of the legal profession if that scares you to much then don't go to law school that obstacle will be there.

Re: Suffolk Law
« Reply #7 on: March 13, 2013, 08:02:21 AM »
Thanks for the info. I guess I should be ok if I am not looking for biglaw (which is rare and very competitive) and regardless of the school I attend (if the school is not T14).

How accurate are the numbers on the following:

I know this site offers an accumulation of the numbers found on NALP, but how is this site (or NALP) different from lstransparency?

I guess I mean to ask is how are the employment numbers different from NALP and lstranparencey (with the exception that not all students/grads are reported in these data, as mentioned earlier on this thread)?

Re: Suffolk Law
« Reply #8 on: March 13, 2013, 07:46:28 PM »
Jojo if you go to law school one think you will learn is you can manipulate statistics anyway you want. Lawschooltransparency wants to make law schools look worse and NALP & LSAC wants to make schools look good. You see drastically different numbers, but neither of them are very accurate. I cannot tell you how many times in court I have seen two experts on opposing sides say the exact opposite thing and the reality is you cannot get a solid stat on what your law school employment options will be it depends on countless factors.

I suppose if a real survey wanted to get done they would poll every single student at each law school, interview them, see what their class rank was, whether they passed the bar, do they have a criminal charge, did they pass their moral character check, how many internships did they have during law school, did they participate in extracurricular activiites, did they hold internships during law school, have they ever held a job or did they never work in undergrad or law school, did they have a personal trajedy which impacted their employment, after the bar exam did they decide to travel around the world for a year, the possibilities are quite literally endless, but if there was a survey that asked all those questions then you could have a real idea of the odds, but that would be an insane amount of work. You would need everyone to answer all those questions as well and just finding the contact information for everyone would be nearly impossible yet alone getting them to answer those detailed questions.

I will tell you these wherever you attend law school there is a 50% chance you will finish in the bottom half of the class. Nothing against you, but that is simply the reality if you are in the bottom half of the class it will be harder to get your first job. If you are in the top 10% it will be easier, but there is a 90% chance you won't be.  Now even if your grades aren't great in law school you can get internships, do mock trial, etc. However, you need to hustle to succeed in the legal profession and there is no guarantee of success it is hard work to be get a job as a lawyer and even harder to be a lawyer.  Even if you make it the pay for attorneys is nowhere near what T.V. makes it out to be. I do not make over 6 figures, but I absolutely love my job as an attorney. I could have made more different fields, but I am excited to go to work everyday it is fun, but if you are someone who really cares about money then law school may not be the best investment.

I am getting off track for original question and the answer to that is that if you want to find stats that show Suffolk is a good school you can and if you want to find stats that say Suffolk is a bad school you can. I imagine you watch the news see the disparity between Fox News and National Public Radio on the same issue Obama is a Mulsim Terrorist on Fox and a godsend that is dedicated to fixing the world on NPR. In reality I think he is alright he is not trying to destroy America single handedly nor is he going to fix every problem in America.

Suffolk is the same it is an ABA school that will provide you an education and get you a law license. How successful you are with that license or if you pass the bar to obtain depends a lot more on you than the school's reputation.

Re: Suffolk Law
« Reply #9 on: March 14, 2013, 06:32:20 AM »
Oh I see, I think I understand.

Yup, the follow up questions are now just general and not solely related to Suffolk. Thanks!