Does it matter where you go to school? I think it depends on what you want to do....The top judge for the juvenile court in Orange County went a "night law school" (his words, not mine) and he said that where he went to law school was never an issue. I think in terms of government jobs, it may not be as much of an issue. DA's office may be more selective but not by much: a Whittier grad I know is working for the Long Beach DA's office.
Quote from: pinkybella on April 12, 2006, 01:24:59 PMDoes it matter where you go to school? I think it depends on what you want to do....The top judge for the juvenile court in Orange County went a "night law school" (his words, not mine) and he said that where he went to law school was never an issue. I think in terms of government jobs, it may not be as much of an issue. DA's office may be more selective but not by much: a Whittier grad I know is working for the Long Beach DA's office. Depends on the government job. Prestige matters big time in DC. But for local jobs you're right, my political science thesis advisor said often it's better to attend a local law school over a higher ranked one if you want to get one of those jobs.
What about for family law - does it matter as much where you went to school? I was looking at the findlaw.com lawyer location & it seems that many of the top family law firms in San Diego & Orange County are partnered by people who went to Tier 4s. Does anyone have any insight on this? Does where you went to school severly impact your job opportunities in family law?Any insight would be great.
No one has dealt with my original question very substantively. Of course you will get better jobs more easily coming out of a top-tier law school as opposed to a lower tier one. This is also very true of college.The study I linked to in my original post, however, showed that over time, this initial advantage doesn't mean anything. In the end, the evidence is against the idea that where you went to college matters very much for your prospects in life. The study ingeniously corrects for selection bias by comparing students who got into the same schools but went to different ones.So the question is: does the same logic apply to law school? It seems fairly clear that initial prospects are better at some schools than others, but how true does this hold over time?If someone were to do the same study with law schools, and look at people who got into top schools but didn't go, compared with those who did go to the top schools, what would it reveal and why?If it matters which school you went to even long after you graduate, there can only be three explanations, as I see it. One, it could be that the law is just a more prestige-oriented profession than any other and therefore people will always judge you first by where you went to school, even if you have the same career accomplishments as someone else.Two, it could be that the quality of the education you get and the connections you make in the three years of law school is so important that it fundamentally changes your capacity to succeed in the legal profession. Three, it could be that your initial post-law school job is vitally important to your future career prospects. In other words, the legal career is like a race in which it a small head start at the beginning makes a huge difference.None of these reasons sounds super compelling for me, which is why I question how much it matters which school you go to in the first place.
So the big clerkships are totally out of the question for those out of the top 20. But is local big law out of the question for those from average schools?