Law School Discussion

-

Uptown *2*L

  • ****
  • 289
  • I speak softly and carry a big stick
    • View Profile
Re: What's the Difference Between T10 Schools?
« Reply #20 on: November 19, 2007, 10:39:58 PM »
i want to work a fair amount of hours each week, go out at least one night every week, and just keep things as real as possible while earning over 150k.

Hmm. I'd like a billion dollars, but it's unlikely to happen.

If that's really what you want, law school is not a good way of getting it. You'd be better off working in management consulting and then switching to PE after two years at McK, Bain, or BCG.

Some of the lower V50 "lifestyle" firms have what you describe. If you don't want to work for a V10, and don't care about your practice group, you should go to the T14 school that offers you the most money.

K?

  • ****
  • 509
  • Do You Believe Her
    • View Profile
Re: What's the Difference Between T10 Schools?
« Reply #21 on: November 21, 2007, 08:09:14 AM »
what about mobility? except the top 5, I still don't see how a degree from Berkley, Cornell, Northwestern or Michigan would be more mobile around South Bend, Indiana than say Notre Dame.

fixed.  8)

Not really.  Notre Dame is arguably the most mobile degree outside the t14, if you find the alumni network.

Uptown *2*L

  • ****
  • 289
  • I speak softly and carry a big stick
    • View Profile
Re: What's the Difference Between T10 Schools?
« Reply #22 on: November 30, 2007, 07:57:28 PM »
bump for a fascinating post.  What's a practice group?

I spent a while thinking about it, but I'm going to take this as an honest question instead of a snark.

Most big law firms are organized into divisions / departments (corporate, litigation, trusts and estates, etc.) and then within each division further organized into practice groups -- tax (which at some firms is its own division), real estate, commercial litigation, M&A, private equity, environmental (also a division at some firms) etc. At some firms the lines are more blurred than others; some firms do away with the divisions / departments and simply have overlapping practice groups, some of which are larger than others (i.e., both a corporate and an M&A group, but everybody in M&A is in corporate). The potential Venn Diagrams are endless.

Skadden is one of the more amorphous / overlapping examples: http://www.skadden.com/index.cfm?contentID=4

Latham is a little more straightforward:
http://www.lw.com/Practices.aspx (note that Latham is organized into departments first, and then practice groups; click a department at the top to see the practice groups under it).

HTH.

Re: What's the Difference Between T10 Schools?
« Reply #23 on: December 01, 2007, 12:09:54 AM »
That said, I realized three weeks ago that I hate people who want to clerk and do biglaw. Really. Loathe. Almost as much as I loathe the people who "want to go into policy."

You're whittling away the options...

What do YOU want to do?   :)

Fight power, yo. Also have a good time and watch as much reality television as I can. Pay back my loans, probably.

And I don't have as much of a problem with people who want to clerk, or with people who want to do biglaw. It's the combo that makes me irritated, because they really don't have anything to do with each other, except for money. Which, like, gross. Have something bigger in mind, man. Anything.

Why would clerking and biglaw give you more money than simply biglaw?

Re: What's the Difference Between T10 Schools?
« Reply #24 on: December 01, 2007, 10:03:51 AM »
You get a hiring bonus at most firms for clerkships.  Check NALP Directory. There's usually a section with answers to questions like this:
Judicial Clerkship Bonus:     
Compensation/progression credit for judicial clerkship?    
Compensation/progression credit for other advanced degrees?    

Re: What's the Difference Between T10 Schools?
« Reply #25 on: December 01, 2007, 10:13:41 AM »
The big firms in So Cal (so I'm assuming in all major markets) just jumped up their clerkship bonus from $15,000 to $50,000 (yes, that number is right). But that's not to say you make MORE money clerking.  While you're clerking you're like a G8/9 on the GS making about 60 instead of 160 at a firm.  But when you do start at your firm, you start at the 2nd year salary.

But there's nothing wrong w/ clerking before BigLaw, especially if you don't want career BigLaw.  I want to clerk--> BigLaw 3-5 -->USAO (hopefully), for which clerking is a BIG help especially if you come from BigLaw where it takes a while to see the inside of courtroom, and when you do you're holding the briefcase as the 2nd chair (tho billing over 400/hour to do it). 

Kirk Lazarus

  • ****
  • 1967
  • I'm a lead farmer, mofo
    • View Profile
Re: What's the Difference Between T10 Schools?
« Reply #26 on: December 01, 2007, 10:55:58 AM »
I think the benefits of clerking are negligible for people who are going into a corporate practice. The benefits of clerking are a bit more tangible if you're doing litigation. First, clerking allows you to develop your critical reading and writing skills in a way that being in law school doesn't. The benefit is that at a firm, your analysis will probably be of higher quality than the average junior associate. Second, you augment your research skills which allows you to become more efficient. Third, you can (but not always) develop a close relationship with a pretty influential member of the judiciary and develop relationship with other clerks (presumably high caliber new lawyers). These relationships may pay dividends throughout the course of your career.

Firms will pay you a clerkship bonus of 50k. Many people are getting paid higher than GS-7/8 these days for clerkships because they go to a firm for one year. Their second year they clerk. They return to biglaw their third year, collect their bonus and return at 3rd year seniority. While your peers who didn't clerk begin to get burned out by their 3rd year, you've had a break in between your 1st and third years to recuperate. Just from a relative energy standpoint, you have a competitive advantage.

Clerking also signals to partners that you're serious about the law and you are serious about your work. In a firm where partners give work, associates who clerk are going to have an advantage in getting the high profile work, access to client contacts, ect that allows you to progress in the firm.


This is not to say that clerking is the best option for your career always. Cravath basically told me that I shouldn't clerk and that they don't see the benefit of it. They rather their associates come straight in after law school. Cravath wants to train you in the cravath way - and they don't want any pesky member of the judiciary giving you bad habits.

-------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

With respect to the schools rankings, I simply think Yale provides the most benefits to its students. The average Yalie is better off than anybody except ~ the top 10% of HLS. Every single YLS student can get a job in a vault 5 firm. Many decide to go to less ranked firms or do other things, but every single YLS student can get a job at a vault 5 if he/she wants it. The top of YLS has the best access to jobs in academia or chances to be SCOTUS clerks. So strictly in terms of what the name of your school says, I think YLS is objectively above any other school in terms of giving every single student excellent career opportunities- generally the opportunities that they want, not the opportunities that they are forced into accepting.

Harvard and Columbia are significantly above the other t14 schools, in my estimate, for job opportunities. No school places better in biglaw than Columbia and HLS is not far behind. These two schools have some of the best networks in the legal profession. Doors open because you went to Columbia or HLS. And another benefit is that you are presumed to be brilliant if you attend HLS or CLS.

Stanford is only slightly below HLS/CLS simply because there is a strong east coast biased in the legal profession. Stanford is tops on the West Coast and I doubt any Stanford student would have trouble getting a job on the east coast, but the school name doesn't carry quite as much weight in DC, NYC, Chicago, Boston - the important legal markets in the U.S. (LA is important too, but I'm moving in generalizations). And because its graduates tend to stay on the west coast, the opportunities for doors opening because of the stanford name are much more limited. I would rate NYU and University of Chicago here with Stanford (although, I'd got to Stanford over the other two in a heart beat).

Then you have what I call the reputation schools. These are the schools that have sort of a historic reputation because they have many powerful alumni and they aren't the tops for immediate exit opportunities, but they are fantastic choices if you want to have certain jobs down the line. I'd put UVA and Michigan here. If you want to go into politics, get a government job, have access to federal judges that have a preference against the ivies and for your school, then these are the schools to go to. UVA and Michigan alumni look out for their own first and foremost, and so there is a nice flow of jobs that are only going to be available to you guys because of your pedigree.

Then after that, you have the other t14s which are all fantastic schools, but the competitions is a little stiffer or the networks aren't as strong or whatever it may be. Georgetown, for example, is a factory of lawyers (great alumni network, mediocre job prospects if you graduate in the bottom 50%). How often have you met a Northwestern Law grad outside of Chicago? Never.  Again, these are elite schools, but I personally don't think they are on the same level as the others with respect to job opportunities and long term benefits for their students.

Re: What's the Difference Between T10 Schools?
« Reply #27 on: December 01, 2007, 10:57:17 AM »
Well I'm clerking (hopefully) and working in Biglaw, and I see nothing inconsistent about doing both.  I worked for a federal dist ct judge last summer, and it was amazing--you'll wait years to see so much of the litigation process at a law firm.  Plus, most of the judges I've met love being mentors to upcoming lawyers.  My legal writing improved a LOT just during the few months I was there.

That said, I'm also excited about my two firms this summer.  I was shooting to work in a very narrow practice group, and I consider myself very fortunate to be working at two places that are leaders in the field.  The first is a large firm; the second, a small specialized boutique that doesn't hire right out of school.  I hope to get my foot in the door there this summer, but starting there as a young associate is not an option.  Thus, I'll likely begin my career clerking, then go to Biglaw, then eventually move over to this boutique, which pays less but has MUCH more reasonable hours.

The people that annoy me are the ones who chose their law firms based entirely on its Vault rank.  I keep hearing people saying *&^% like, "Well I really liked [x firm], but once I got [V5 firm], of course I HAD to take it."  No, you don't.  They pay the same--if you liked the first firm better, even if it's V50 or whatever, why the hell wouldn't you take it?!

Kirk Lazarus

  • ****
  • 1967
  • I'm a lead farmer, mofo
    • View Profile
Re: What's the Difference Between T10 Schools?
« Reply #28 on: December 01, 2007, 11:05:33 AM »
Well I'm clerking (hopefully) and working in Biglaw, and I see nothing inconsistent about doing both.  I worked for a federal dist ct judge last summer, and it was amazing--you'll wait years to see so much of the litigation process at a law firm.  Plus, most of the judges I've met love being mentors to upcoming lawyers.  My legal writing improved a LOT just during the few months I was there.

That said, I'm also excited about my two firms this summer.  I was shooting to work in a very narrow practice group, and I consider myself very fortunate to be working at two places that are leaders in the field.  The first is a large firm; the second, a small specialized boutique that doesn't hire right out of school.  I hope to get my foot in the door there this summer, but starting there as a young associate is not an option.  Thus, I'll likely begin my career clerking, then go to Biglaw, then eventually move over to this boutique, which pays less but has MUCH more reasonable hours.

The people that annoy me are the ones who chose their law firms based entirely on its Vault rank.  I keep hearing people saying sh*t like, "Well I really liked [x firm], but once I got [V5 firm], of course I HAD to take it."  No, you don't.  They pay the same--if you liked the first firm better, even if it's V50 or whatever, why the hell wouldn't you take it?!

Most law students don't know what's going on. They look at the vault guide and see it as a substitution for US News. It isn't. The difference between Skadden and Arnold and Porter is negligible in prestige. Associates prefer Wachtell, but in the profession, partners consider Cravath better. W&C in DC is probably better for litigation than any of the vault 5. Vault is done almost exclusively on associate surveys and they come up with a rough metric of how prestigious a firm is. The reality is that if you're in the vault 20, you're at one of the very best firms in the country. I don't look at a Cravath or a Skadden attorney any differently than I see any other attorney at another large law firm. You're all smart, you're all making the same money, none of you are going to make partner...

ININ

Re: What's the Difference Between T10 Schools?
« Reply #29 on: December 01, 2007, 11:19:33 AM »
Just wanted to say that Galt's perspective on the schools is pretty valid, at least in my opinion.  

One caveat though is something I see here at UVA, though I make no claim that it is exclusive to UVA.  Based on a relatively short supply of students wanting to go to into certain markets, it can be easier to get top jobs in certain markets.

For instance, we average 22 interviews per person and have more partners nationally than any school except Harvard.  UVA grads are very spread out around the country.  Consequently, last year was the first year we had a majority of students taking the bar in NYC.  There has been a shortage of UVA grads in NYC, and thus it is known as a market where kids can work at top firms that weren't in the top of the class.

Obviously this can change how the top firms recruit