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Author Topic: Non-T14 School's Negative Press - Your Response?  (Read 10143 times)

El_Che

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Non-T14 School's Negative Press - Your Response?
« on: October 25, 2007, 03:11:02 PM »
With all of the negative press lately concerning the dismal job prospects(30k/yr temp jobs; no interviews; etc) for graduating law students who did NOT attend a t14, I thought it would be helpful for people to share their success stories. Recently graduated students or soon-to-be graduates from non-t14 schools: If you have had success in job hunting, securing interviews, or just general tips/advice/good stories, please share them here! Thanks!

Jets

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Re: Non-T14 School's Negative Press - Your Response?
« Reply #1 on: October 25, 2007, 06:19:21 PM »
To some (large) extent, the importance of "T14" is a pervasive myth -- at least to the extent that you frame your post. It is categorically incorrect to imply (as I think you do) that there are dismal job prospects for non-T14 grads. I'm basing this on what I've seen during the course of my short time at law school from people at my school and another school that is tier 1, but not "T14". If you were narrowing the scope of your argument to Top 50 v. Tier 4, I'd agree that there's a disparity from "decent" to "dismal" prospects. It's just not the case, however, that attending a school that is ranked lower than #14 amounts to dismal job prospects. It's not even the case that your job prospects are so "great" if you attend a school within the T14. At several of those schools -- the so-called "lower" T14s -- great job prospects despite poor class rank are hardly a given.

El_Che

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Re: Non-T14 School's Negative Press - Your Response?
« Reply #2 on: October 25, 2007, 07:51:32 PM »
It's not as though I'm just pulling this argument out of thin air. It has been well documented that the job market for incoming attorneys has reached it's saturation point;

http://online.wsj.com/article/SB119040786780835602.html

and that starting job prospects for the majority of new attorneys isn't all it's cracked up to be;

http://www.elsblog.org/the_empirical_legal_studi/2007/09/distribution-of.html

How about if I narrowed the scope to 50 thru 100 vs. t14?

My original point was that, despite this negative press and word of mouth, there must be some success stories out there. I just thought it would be helpful for those people to share their stories so that we can see the silver lining on this one.

StudentUVA

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Re: Non-T14 School's Negative Press - Your Response?
« Reply #3 on: October 25, 2007, 08:09:48 PM »
I think that unless you go to a really really unknown school, then if you are in the top third you should be able to get a decent job. Maybe lower schools require you to be in top 20 or top 10%. Since by definition, someone has to be in the top ten %, then of course there are those that get good jobs from T2 or T3 schools. The problem is that those people are a minority; the majority of people in those schools tend to have pretty high debt, unless they go to a cheap public school or get a substantial scholarship. However, usually those that get scholarships are those that tend to be in the top of their class, which further suggests that there are a number of people who are getting screwed- they have a high debt and bad job prospects.

Jets

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Re: Non-T14 School's Negative Press - Your Response?
« Reply #4 on: October 25, 2007, 08:59:57 PM »
It's very much, so far as I can tell, such that as the list goes down the USNews list (to some extent, in the order they rank with some major caveats) the % you need to be for the "top jobs" is higher and higher (I.E. you'd need to be higher in your class at GULC than NYU to get a job at a firm of a particular caliber). There are many, many schools besides USNews' top 14 that place very well tho (BU, BC, GW, Fordham to name a few). Some T2s, T3s and even T4s have placement such that people can land very good jobs (granted these schools are less "national" than others, but within the region, they're often considered top-of-the line...e.g, Widener in DE, Suffolk in Boston, countless others).

StudentUVA

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Re: Non-T14 School's Negative Press - Your Response?
« Reply #5 on: October 25, 2007, 09:02:45 PM »
It's very much, so far as I can tell, such that as the list goes down the USNews list (to some extent, in the order they rank with some major caveats) the % you need to be for the "top jobs" is higher and higher (I.E. you'd need to be higher in your class at GULC than NYU to get a job at a firm of a particular caliber). There are many, many schools besides USNews' top 14 that place very well tho (BU, BC, GW, Fordham to name a few). Some T2s, T3s and even T4s have placement such that people can land very good jobs (granted these schools are less "national" than others, but within the region, they're often considered top-of-the line...e.g, Widener in DE, Suffolk in Boston, countless others).
I agree, and my response was generally towards the "50 and down" schools.

big - fat - box

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Re: Non-T14 School's Negative Press - Your Response?
« Reply #6 on: October 26, 2007, 01:11:45 PM »
Matthies makes some very good points, but I'd like to point out a few things.

1. He goes to school in Colorado and there are only two law schools in the state. His experience in Denver may not hold true for a major, overcrowded legal market like Chicago, DC, LA, or New York. It all comes down to supply and demand. If a market is overcrowded, the people who hire (even at jobs outside of biglaw) can afford to be picky / snobbish about things like grades and what school you went to, and networking will not necessarily overcome this for the most part.

2. If I remember correctly, he is specializing in "water law", a very narrow sub-specialty in Environmental Law. Most law student are generalists and won't be going into a narrow, tight knit field.

3. He goes to school in the evening (and doesn't work), not during the day. Most law students won't have time during the day to do all the networking he does, although I think they should make time for networking with attorneys wherever and whenever they can, especially local attorneys.

4. I agree that many law students don't know how to look for jobs while in law school, but most of the struggling recent grads I've spoke to network their tails off after graduation. I suppose it would have been better for them to network more while in school. BUT after 6 months to 1 year of looking (and networking with attorneys), you'd think they would have been able to find something better than a job that pays $40-50K, if they are lucky. And it's not just recent grads that complain about the job prospects being bad either. Plenty of practicing attorneys who've been out for a couple years will tell you that the job market for lawyers (even EXPERIENCED lawyers) isn't great.

big - fat - box

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Re: Non-T14 School's Negative Press - Your Response?
« Reply #7 on: October 26, 2007, 01:22:50 PM »
One more thing I thought I'd point out:

In any given market, usually a secondary market, there is a low ranked private law school that has a "good" reputation. In my hometown, it was a tier 4 - though many non top 25 schools could also fall into this category. Half the prosecutors in the state and a good number of judges, and successful law firm parters had come out of this school.

However, the difference between back when those successful alums started their careers and NOW is that the job market wasn't as bad and tuition wasn't NEARLY as high as it is now. Those are the major reasons why things are so bad for new law grads and people going to law school now. Going to one of these schools now is a bad idea unless you happen to rank at the top of your class after first year, or can afford to pay tuition out of pocket, or have an unconditional scholarship.

Choosing a school with in-state tuition or taking steps to gain residency before or after enrolling is pretty much the best advice I can give anyone considering attending a non-top law school. It might be a hassle, but in the end it's your choice to decide how much you pay for law school.

Bowie

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Re: Non-T14 School's Negative Press - Your Response?
« Reply #8 on: October 26, 2007, 01:40:43 PM »
I really can't see the job prospects being different between the school that is ranked 14th and the school that is ranked 15th. I think as long as its a Tier 1 or 2 school, your job prospects will be good depending on other factors.

yykm

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Re: Non-T14 School's Negative Press - Your Response?
« Reply #9 on: October 26, 2007, 02:29:07 PM »
I think a major problem for law students is that they dont really know how to network.  They know how to talk to their fellow students, but that likely wont amount ot much.  Several of you have mentioned going out to local bar events and stuff like that, but those things feel real awkward for students.  Plus, students at non-major-city schools have to invest a lot of money and time to attend such events in locations that theyre interested.  Outside of this option, I've just sent out emails to alums expressing interest in their firm and the city they work in.  Sometimes they link you up with other attys or even invite you to give them a call. I didnt start this practice until  2L, but it certainly helps.