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Author Topic: Does it Matter Where you go to Law School?  (Read 30482 times)

SouthSide

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Does it Matter Where you go to Law School?
« on: March 23, 2006, 01:07:26 PM »
Obviously, all of us are obsessed with the question of where we'll get in, and then where we should go. I just wonder how much it matters where you end up going, or if other, much more personal factors ultimately determine success.

For example, there was a great study done recently that showed that students who got into highly selective colleges but went to non-selective colleges ended up with just as much success as those who attended these highly selective colleges. In other words, the best evidence suggests that it is the person, not the school, that determines success.

I wonder if this is also true of law school. I don't know.

The defender of the elite schools would point to all the prominent achievers who went to the top five or six law schools. This would not prove anything, however, because those schools attract the top students. If all those top students decided to go to some school ranked 75th, I'm guessing that school's alumni would suddenly be just as successful as the students at the top. The person, not the school, makes the difference.

I think it would be great if someone tried to do a similar study comparing people who got into top 14 law schools, but chose to go elsewhere, with those who actually attended the top 14 schools. It's a fascinating question.


Here's a link to an article that discusses the study:
http://www.brookings.edu/views/articles/20040902easterbrook.htm


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somniferum

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Re: Does it Matter Where you go to Law School?
« Reply #1 on: March 23, 2006, 07:33:10 PM »
Short Answer: Yes it matters.

Longer Answer: You would have to define 'successful' first.

ChlorasepticRelief

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Re: Does it Matter Where you go to Law School?
« Reply #2 on: March 25, 2006, 05:15:18 PM »
Well, as you said, the top students go to the top schools. This improves the quality of the student body and allows you to network with people who will *most likely* be successful one day.... so yes, it does matter where you go. A little.
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burghblast

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Re: Does it Matter Where you go to Law School?
« Reply #3 on: March 27, 2006, 09:05:39 PM »
Three federal appellate court judges gave a lunchtime panel discussion about the clerkship process at NU last month.  The senior-most judge started:

"I hire my clerks from the Top 15 or so schools according to USNWR."


Kittyl30

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Re: Does it Matter Where you go to Law School?
« Reply #4 on: March 29, 2006, 02:35:22 AM »
you hand in your resume. so does some other dude. he goes to a t14. you go to a ttt. whos resume do you think they will look at first?
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ElectricalStorm

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Re: Does it Matter Where you go to Law School?
« Reply #5 on: March 29, 2006, 08:30:51 AM »
I'd say it matters quite a bit for your first 5-10 years out, then your personal reputation will overshadow that of your school. During those early times, individuals looking at you really only have your law school to estimate your capabilities. After that, then who cares that you went to a T2/T3 if you can get the job done, you just have to prove it.
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Goodfella Aaron

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Re: Does it Matter Where you go to Law School?
« Reply #6 on: March 29, 2006, 09:16:43 AM »
I'd say it matters quite a bit for your first 5-10 years out, then your personal reputation will overshadow that of your school. During those early times, individuals looking at you really only have your law school to estimate your capabilities. After that, then won't care that you went to a T2/T3 if you can get the job done, you just have to prove it.

This isn't always the case. Usually you can only get potential employers to look away from the school you went to if you can bring your own clients to the firm, which takes more than 5-10 years. My former headhunter professor (she did it for mostly biglaw firms in Boston) tells of guys in their 50s who were grilled about not being on the law review.

trogdor

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Re: Does it Matter Where you go to Law School?
« Reply #7 on: March 29, 2006, 09:30:29 AM »
The defender of the elite schools would point to all the prominent achievers who went to the top five or six law schools. This would not prove anything, however, because those schools attract the top students. If all those top students decided to go to some school ranked 75th, I'm guessing that school's alumni would suddenly be just as successful as the students at the top. The person, not the school, makes the difference.


if being the key word.  the point is that they don't for the most part.  the top students generally go to the top schools, and that definitely plays a large part in what makes a school good.  interacting with other bright people helps oneself further develop, and provides important opportunities for networking and future employment.  as i've said before, it may be a self-fulfilling prophecy, but good students go to good schools, further reinforcing the quality of those schools and ensuring better opportunities upon graduation. 
"If you want a vision of the future, imagine a boot stamping on a human face - forever." Orwell

yiplong

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Re: Does it Matter Where you go to Law School?
« Reply #8 on: March 29, 2006, 10:35:28 AM »
You guys are talking as if Columbia offers the same kind of education as CUNY.  That is certainly not true.  Given 2 guys with exactly the same potential and personality, the guy who receives a degree from Columbia would be a lot better at the practice of law than the guy who ends up in CUNY. 

philibusters

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Re: Does it Matter Where you go to Law School?
« Reply #9 on: March 29, 2006, 06:57:02 PM »
Southside: I am a sports fan, but I had to see "1919 (say it ain't so, Joe): none
1920-2004 (the loooong wait): none
2005 (Ozzieball): NYU, Harvard, Columbia ($$$), Yale" 

a few times before I got, even though in hindsight it was fairly obvious.  October 2005 seems so long ago now somehow.  A redsox fan could do something similiar.
2008 graduate of William and Mary Law School