Law School Discussion

Washington and Lee Graduates Salaries Decline

Washington and Lee Graduates Salaries Decline
« on: November 11, 2013, 12:43:38 PM »
Not only have W & L's job placement percentages declined significantly, so have the starting salaries for their recent graduates.  For the graduating class of 2009, the median starting salary was $90,000. For the 2012 class, it was 57,404.  In addition, the 75th percentile salary for 2009 was $160,000, while for 2012 it was $70,000. Finally, the mean went from $102,491 to $68,220.

Re: Washington and Lee Graduates Salaries Decline
« Reply #1 on: November 11, 2013, 04:42:24 PM »
Is that to surprising?

First Biglaw is on the way out, which where many of the astronomical salaries came from.

On top of that many people choose positions based on things other than salary. When I graduated I had job offers from insurance defense firms that paid far more than the City Attorney job I currently have. I am more than happy making less doing something I love opposed to doing insurance defense and fighting to make money away from someone's family who was killed in a car crash.

As I say to all of your posts there is a lot of individuality to each person's career choice and looking at pure numbers like this is flawed. It is true that salaries are reduced for lawyers and the market in many industries is correcting itself because salaries were astronomical and unrealistic for many years, which is why the rescission occurred. 200,000 homes were valued at 700,000 etc, but reality struck and these drops are occurring across the board.

Is there a school whose salary has increased over the past few years? I would be interested to see that information.

Re: Washington and Lee Graduates Salaries Decline
« Reply #2 on: November 12, 2013, 02:05:43 PM »
Except for a handful of elite schools, starting salaries have declined across the board. As Citylaw said, the Biglaw model is quickly going extinct. Combine that with a terrible economy and the inevitable result is going to be lower starting salaries. What drove up W & L's salary medians in the first place was lots of hiring in the WDC market. Those jobs have dried up, and there simply aren't enough high paying jobs in the VA/NC area to maintain that median. It's the result of a crappy economy rather than a failure on the part of W & L.

Re: Washington and Lee Graduates Salaries Decline
« Reply #3 on: November 12, 2013, 06:46:24 PM »
Not to mention people make individual choices regarding how they use their legal education. The issue with issues blanket numbers for law graduates is that it does not account for the endless amount of variables that occur with each person.

As I stated I took a lower paying job because I wanted to be able to look at myself in the mirror and doing insurance defense or asbestos litigation often high-paying, but soul sucking jobs were not on my agenda.

Or a graduate may move to an area region where the lost of living is lower or higher. If someone moves to the New York Market they might make 100k, but if they are paying 40k in rent and 40k in taxes that doesn't leave much. Conversely, if someone moves to South Dakota and makes 60k they will be living like a king.

Again, these blanket numbers are very flawed when dealing with individuals career choices and as I always say if you are able to obtain a J.D. and a law license you have had a pretty blessed life and whether you succeed or not in the legal profession is up to you not your school.

Re: Washington and Lee Graduates Salaries Decline
« Reply #4 on: November 12, 2013, 10:35:08 PM »
According to Law School Transparency, William & Mary has an employment score of 73% for its 2012 graduating class, while Washington & Lee's is 49.2% for the same year.  William and Mary must be doing something Washington & Lee isn't.

Re: Washington and Lee Graduates Salaries Decline
« Reply #5 on: November 13, 2013, 10:32:38 PM »
If 47% of graduates found jobs from Washington & Lee it is certainly possible to find a job and 27% of William & Mary Grads are not working. Again as I always say graduates rarely report their salaries or give routine updates, but even assuming these numbers are 100% accurate it means 61 Washington & Lee grads are employed while 55 William & Mary Grads are employed. A nice little way of manipulating statistics to say what you want.

Quite clearly people from W & L succeeded and William & Mary do not and vice versa. As always the individual person will have a lot more to do with their success than the name on their diploma. 130 Grads from W & L 47% of 130=61 204 Grads from William & Mary 27% = 55

Re: Washington and Lee Graduates Salaries Decline
« Reply #6 on: November 13, 2013, 11:04:48 PM »
You need to proofread your post or check your math.  W&M has significantly better employment figures than W&L for 2012.  I think you mean 55 grads from W&M grads were unemployed.

Re: Washington and Lee Graduates Salaries Decline
« Reply #7 on: November 14, 2013, 07:07:28 PM »
Percentage wise you are correct, but William & Mary has 204 Graduates while William & Lee had 130 Graduates. 

William & Mary graduated 74 more students than William & Lee and according to the number you cited 73% as an employment score, which I take to mean 73% of William & Mary Grads reported employment. If 73% found employment 27% did not. 27% of 204 Graduates equals 55 the number of William & Mary Grads that did not report employment assuming these numbers are correct.

Comparatively William & Lee has 130 Graduates and you said their employment score is 49.2%, which I take to mean 49% of grads reported employment. Lets just call it 50% since it is so close this means 65 William & Lee Grads are employed and 65 are not.

There are 65 William & Lee Grads employed and 55 William & Mary Grads that are unemployed again assuming these numbers are correct. 

I could manipulate these numbers a variety of ways to say whatever I want though. I.E more than 50% of William & Lee Grads did not find employment while 73% of William and Mary Grads did.

Or I could say 148 William & Mary Grads found Employment while only 65 William & Lee Grads found work.

On and on and on. You can manipulate statistics to say whatever you want really and again the truth is that there are plenty of people who found employment from both schools and plenty that did not. Again, these has a lot more to do with the individual than the name of the school on their diploma.

Re: Washington and Lee Graduates Salaries Decline
« Reply #8 on: November 14, 2013, 09:30:41 PM »
W & M and W & L have comparable reputations and are in the same market.  Yet one has a 73% employment score and the other a 49.2% score for 2012. This is a significant difference and William and Mary must be doing something right. I certainly hope that you are not arguing that W & M students are working harder at finding a job than those at Washington & Lee.

Re: Washington and Lee Graduates Salaries Decline
« Reply #9 on: November 17, 2013, 03:00:16 PM »
My main argument is these numbers mean absolutely nothing. I imagine fewer Washington & Lee alumni keep in contact with their school than William & Mary based on Geography. Washington & Lee is located in Lexington, VA a town of 6,000 people in the middle of Virginia not near anything. Graduates likely leave the geographic area and do not keep their school updated.

William & Mary is also located in a small town of only 15,000, but it is near the Hamptons and more employment opportunities making it more likely that alumni keep in contact with the school. Here is a link to google maps showing where the two schools are located.,Williamsburg,+VA&gl=us&ei=1TqJUuHpHsSfiAKv8ID4Aw&sqi=2&ved=0CN4BELYD

With that said the numbers mean very little in my opinion and as I displayed above you can manipulate them to say whatever you want. However, even if the numbers are 100% accurate there are more than 50 unemployed William & Mary Grads and well over 50 Washington & Lee Grads that are employed and it really shows it is up to the individual more than the school.

Maybe William & Mary does give you slight edge over Washington & Lee and I would imagine that would be due to location more than anything else, but even assuming these numbers are accurate you are not guaranteed to succeed from William & Mary nor are you guaranteed to fail from Washington & Lee.

Bottom line is there are graduates from every ABA school in America that are employed and doing well for themselves conversely there are graduates from every ABA school who have been unable to pass the bar or find employment.

Whether you succeed in the legal profession has far more to do with the individual than the name of their school at least in my anonymous internet poster opinion.