Mike Doty landed a six-figure job this fall as an associate at a big law firm in Minneapolis because of a smart move: The University of Chicago Law School graduate had performed so well at a second-tier school in Cleveland that he was able to transfer to Chicago after his first year.Many of the friends Mr. Doty left behind in Cleveland graduated with no jobs and a lot of debt. "Law school is definitely a huge financial mistake for a lot of people," he says. "Schools are asking consumers to spend upwards of $100,000 on a product, and there's nobody out there giving them the information they need to make an informed decision."Law-school application season has begun, and prospective students have a lot at stake as they choose among schools. Many recent law-school graduates who don't work at big firms are struggling to pay off student loans in an increasingly tough job market. The legal sector has grown at an average annual inflation-adjusted rate of 1.2% since 1988, or less than half as fast as the broader economy, according to Commerce Department data. While the top firms have prospered, leading to ever-rising salaries for new lawyers there, studies suggest salary growth elsewhere has stagnated.
Consider an in-state public law school: Unless you've been accepted at a nationally recognized top-tier school, where getting a job is easier regardless of your grades, think hard about minimizing cost. Over the past 20 years, law-school tuition increases were nearly triple the rate of inflation, and in 2006, graduates of public and private law schools had borrowed an average of $54,509 and $83,181, respectively, up 17% and 18.6% from the amount borrowed by graduates in 2002, according to the American Bar Association. An in-state public law school costs about half as much, on average, as a private school or a public school for out-of-state residents.
Scrutinize schools' data on graduate employment: Most law schools try to keep track of where their graduates end up and what their salaries are, but some schools are more forthright than others. When schools report that a certain percentage of their students were employed nine months after graduation, the figures can include nonlaw jobs or jobs for hourly wages. Some schools' salary data are heavily based on their most successful graduates who made it to big firms. Don't rely on the salary figure unless it's based on a high percentage of graduates who reported their salaries to the school. (Those percentages can be found in the "career prospects" section for individual schools in the "online premium edition" of U.S. News's latest graduate-school rankings. It sells for $14.95 at www.usnews.com, under "rankings.") And schools often include lawyers working on a contract basis in their figures, even though those jobs often don't offer significant career-growth potential.
Bad:Be a "big fish"...wildly presumptuous and not what I'd stake my career on. Many of the "big fish" at my 1L school tanked when grades came out.
The WSJ Law Blog covered this: http://blogs.wsj.com/law/2007/10/30/law-blog-news-you-can-use-how-to-get-a-biglaw-job/Read the comments. They are dead on. This is seriously one of the worst f_cking articles I have seen in terms of advice. Unless this was written by a 0L who would not know any better, there is really no excuse for this sort of content being published
Quote from: final_id on November 01, 2007, 04:15:02 PMCould it partly be, that the general form of North American law education has developed in order to create out of rather weak raw material a set of people who can "think like a lawyer" and you are actually already pretty good raw material in the first place? Your two semesters of torts was redundant for you; but for 90% of law school graduates, it might be the only thing standing between them and genetic stupidity.Two semesters of torts won't cure that, trust me. They are just as stupid as 3L's. I used to think law school was full of smart people, there are lots of them here, but they are not the magority. Maybe at "top schools" but I doubt it, the law attracts an overabudance of tools it seems.
Could it partly be, that the general form of North American law education has developed in order to create out of rather weak raw material a set of people who can "think like a lawyer" and you are actually already pretty good raw material in the first place? Your two semesters of torts was redundant for you; but for 90% of law school graduates, it might be the only thing standing between them and genetic stupidity.
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