Law School Discussion

Rankings whores.

JamesD

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Rankings whores.
« on: March 19, 2006, 09:27:09 PM »
In spite of what the rankings whores may say, there are reasons to choose a 'lower ranked' school over one that is higher ranked.  One of the biggest reasons to do so is $$$. 

We are all attempting to maximize our future options, and rightfully so.

Some schools have better reputations than others.  Some degrees are functionally worth more.  This is a very salient principle that I cannot contest. 


Anyone who makes law review at a 'good school' will have strong career prospects.  The guy with the great personality who starts his own firm and works tirelessly will probably have a successful practice.  Anyone who is driven and determined will likely find a way to succeed.  The road to 'success' may be harder from Temple than it is from Penn, but the road still exists.

Sure, in some cases, the top school is just a better fit.  In some cases, the top school just wows an applicant; the opportunities are more abundant; the quality of intellectual engagement seems more intense.  But in many other instances, it is a matter of risk aversion.  It is 'safer' to attend the highest ranked school.  Take out the loans, pay the tuition, and rest assured that a big firm job is waiting at the end of the tunnel. 
           
This is not to suggest that I am anti T14 or T25 or T50 or whatever.  This is simply to say that I am in favor of people making their decision based on all of the factors that exist... not simply based on rankings.  In the end, I will end up going to the school that represents the best fit, not only in terms of ranking... but also finances, location, etc. 



JamesD

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Re: Rankings whores.
« Reply #1 on: March 19, 2006, 09:29:42 PM »
Trust me.  I am aware of 9 million arguments that people could make in response to my post.  Future cost/benefit, top school offerring an objectively better quality of education, relative importance of rank in class.  I'm sure that LOTS of people will entirely disagree with me...  I just wanted to make it pretty clear that I understand the vast majority of arguments that can be made to the contrary.  I'm not clueless.


Mr. Pink

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Re: Rankings whores.
« Reply #2 on: March 19, 2006, 09:34:09 PM »
Im probably going to Ru-Newark for free instead of a higher ranked school.  I agree with you, money is a big (in fact the Biggest) factor of where I attend.

JamesD

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Re: Rankings whores.
« Reply #3 on: March 19, 2006, 09:45:01 PM »
Lots of people will try to rebut that, arguing that your future earning potential will be higher with a degree from the 'better' school.  All depends.  Some people are so clueless.  If You really want to make money, and that's all you care about, I'll tell you how.  Right now.  No lie.  Plaintiff's side litigation.  Personal injury, medical malpractice, or securities fraud.  Join a small plaintiff's side firm in a big city.  Do this immediately following law school.  Learn the ropes.  Immediate experience.  Initially, you won't make as much as your peers who went BIGLAW.  But wait 5 years.  Where will you be?  Possibly, a partner.  Possibly, you will leave that firm and start your own, having already established a client base and a reputation.  Possibily, you'll stay put as an associate --- because at some small firms, you make a percentage of whatever you bring in (even as an associate). 

So the 'future cost/benefit' argument is filled with holes....   

The argument about earnings and career prospects is also particularly circumspect when it comes to students who choose a 'lower ranked' school over the 'higher ranked' school for whatever reason .... Do a study that looks at ONLY those students who choose 'lower ranked' school X over 'higher ranked' school Y.  Kids who choose W&L or W&M over Virginia.  Or UNC over Duke.     

 

Steve.jd

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Re: Rankings whores.
« Reply #4 on: March 19, 2006, 09:48:40 PM »
Lots of people will try to rebut that, arguing that your future earning potential will be higher with a degree from the 'better' school.  All depends.  Some people are so clueless.  If You really want to make money, and that's all you care about, I'll tell you how.  Right now.  No lie.  Plaintiff's side litigation.  Personal injury, medical malpractice, or securities fraud.  Join a small plaintiff's side firm in a big city.  Do this immediately following law school.  Learn the ropes.  Immediate experience.  Initially, you won't make as much as your peers who went BIGLAW.  But wait 5 years.  Where will you be?  Possibly, a partner.  Possibly, you will leave that firm and start your own, having already established a client base and a reputation.  Possibily, you'll stay put as an associate --- because at some small firms, you make a percentage of whatever you bring in (even as an associate). 

So the 'future cost/benefit' argument is filled with holes....   

The argument about earnings and career prospects is also particularly circumspect when it comes to students who choose a 'lower ranked' school over the 'higher ranked' school for whatever reason .... Do a study that looks at ONLY those students who choose 'lower ranked' school X over 'higher ranked' school Y.  Kids who choose W&L or W&M over Virginia.  Or UNC over Duke.     

 

Ditto on the Personal injury stuff...I know a PI lawyer who graduated from a tier 3 school, the guy has a license to print money...hes making 400k+ annually, working 50 hours a week, and taking 3 week long vacations every now and then.  Add to that the fact that he doesn't have a boss looking over his shoulder and gets to set his own hours, if you're out for the money and don't care about prestige or w/e PI is bank...

oldhat

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Re: Rankings whores.
« Reply #5 on: March 19, 2006, 09:49:20 PM »
Hmmm...

shaz

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Re: Rankings whores.
« Reply #6 on: March 19, 2006, 09:50:04 PM »
i have no clue where i'm going.  my pocket tells me to take the best monetary offer.  my heart tells me to go to chicago, where i want to practice.  i am really torn.  i just pray that i get into my top choice and my path becomes clear.  

JamesD

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Re: Rankings whores.
« Reply #7 on: March 19, 2006, 09:53:41 PM »
No doubt.  And if you want the prestige in addition to the money, I know a several attorneys who do securities fraud litigation.  Its insane.  They make millions.  They have no set schedules.  They take vacations whenever they want to.

 

Ditto on the Personal injury stuff...I know a PI lawyer who graduated from a tier 3 school, the guy has a license to print money...hes making 400k+ annually, working 50 hours a week, and taking 3 week long vacations every now and then.  Add to that the fact that he doesn't have a boss looking over his shoulder and gets to set his own hours, if you're out for the money and don't care about prestige or w/e PI is bank...
[/quote]

Re: Rankings whores.
« Reply #8 on: March 19, 2006, 09:56:02 PM »
Trust me.  I am aware of 9 million arguments that people could make in response to my post.  Future cost/benefit, top school offerring an objectively better quality of education, relative importance of rank in class.  I'm sure that LOTS of people will entirely disagree with me...  I just wanted to make it pretty clear that I understand the vast majority of arguments that can be made to the contrary.  I'm not clueless.



i completely understand what you are saying.  one thing I think about, though, if you're stuck between a t14 and a lower-ranked school and are completely unsure where to go--it's much easier to transfer down the rankings than up.  if you make a mistake and go to a better law school that you don't like, you can probably get into the lower-ranked school again (although admittedly maybe not with money, and this might depend on your GPA).  i guess i'm saying that--I could be wrong--it seems easier to correct an over-ambitious mistake than an under-ambitious one.

eh?

i have no clue where i'm going.  my pocket tells me to take the best monetary offer.  my heart tells me to go to chicago, where i want to practice.  i am really torn.  i just pray that i get into my top choice and my path becomes clear. 

Shaz, I completely feel your pain.  I'm torn between reapplying and trying to get into a school I'm super-passionate about (I'm not getting into my first choices this time around), or opening my mind to a good school, but one I hadn't really considered.  I really hope you get into your first choice...  :-X

Re: Rankings whores.
« Reply #9 on: March 19, 2006, 10:04:38 PM »
You were worried about Cornell not being perceived as 'national' enough; not actually being viewed as an Ivy League school; and went so far as to question whether or not Cornell was even regarded as a 'real T14'.  Clearly, we have very different perceptions about law school, opportunity, etc...

Risk aversion, like I said in my original post.  But not just risk aversion... ridiculous risk aversion...  like Cornell is not good enough risk aversion.... 

Try here:
www.xoxohth.com   

i understand what you are saying.  perhaps i fall into one of your categories of an individual with a unique perception to be considered?  hehe  ;D

i completely agree that one should go to law school where they are happiest.  for some people, and i include myself in this, they will be happiest at the very best law school they can get in to--or at least the law school that will give them the most opportunities when they graduate.  that's not what it's about for everyone, but it's certainly about that for some.