WUSTL ($) v. W&L ($$) v. Vandy ((1/2)*$)

(Rankings, Profiles, Tuition, Student Life, . . . )

Which school would you choose to attend?

Vandy ((1/2)*$)
65
76%
WUSTL ($)
13
15%
W&L ($$)
8
9%
 
Total votes: 86

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Regionality
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Re: WUSTL ($) v. W&L ($$) v. Vandy ((1/2)*$)

Postby Regionality » Fri May 14, 2010 1:16 am

quadsixm wrote:
Regionality wrote:
quadsixm wrote:W&L actually sent more to NYC than DC in 2009 - I was pleased to learn this at ASW.


WHAAAA??? How can this be?? Is this like they sent 4 students to DC and 5 students to NYC and the rest are in rural Virginia suing on behalf of black-lunged miners?


lol, not quite. Out of a class of 138, with 119 reporting, 15 (11%) went to NYC and 11 (8%) went to DC:
http://law.wlu.edu/deptimages/Career%20Planning/FINAL%20Class%20of%202009%209%20Month%20Statistical%20Report%20-%20WEB.pdf

Only 38 (28%) stayed in the state of VA.

P.S. Coal mining takes place in West Virginia, not Virginia. They're different states.


WHAAA?? Different states?? Shit!

As for the DC number, what about people working in VA and MD just outside of DC? Gotta be some more people there.

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quadsixm
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Re: WUSTL ($) v. W&L ($$) v. Vandy ((1/2)*$)

Postby quadsixm » Fri May 14, 2010 2:25 am

Regionality wrote:
quadsixm wrote:
Regionality wrote:
quadsixm wrote:W&L actually sent more to NYC than DC in 2009 - I was pleased to learn this at ASW.


WHAAAA??? How can this be?? Is this like they sent 4 students to DC and 5 students to NYC and the rest are in rural Virginia suing on behalf of black-lunged miners?


lol, not quite. Out of a class of 138, with 119 reporting, 15 (11%) went to NYC and 11 (8%) went to DC:
http://law.wlu.edu/deptimages/Career%20Planning/FINAL%20Class%20of%202009%209%20Month%20Statistical%20Report%20-%20WEB.pdf

Only 38 (28%) stayed in the state of VA.

P.S. Coal mining takes place in West Virginia, not Virginia. They're different states.


WHAAA?? Different states?? Shit!

As for the DC number, what about people working in VA and MD just outside of DC? Gotta be some more people there.


You're right, the VA number probably counts some people in Arlington, etc. Didn't consider that.

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Grizz
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Re: WUSTL ($) v. W&L ($$) v. Vandy ((1/2)*$)

Postby Grizz » Fri May 14, 2010 2:45 am

quadsixm wrote:lol, not quite. Out of a class of 138, with 119 reporting, 15 (11%) went to NYC and 11 (8%) went to DC:
http://law.wlu.edu/deptimages/Career%20Planning/FINAL%20Class%20of%202009%209%20Month%20Statistical%20Report%20-%20WEB.pdf

Only 38 (28%) stayed in the state of VA.


We don't know what these grads are doing in DC and NY. Could still be shitty jobs, somewhat negating the portability factor.

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Regionality
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Re: WUSTL ($) v. W&L ($$) v. Vandy ((1/2)*$)

Postby Regionality » Fri May 14, 2010 11:46 am

rad law wrote:
quadsixm wrote:lol, not quite. Out of a class of 138, with 119 reporting, 15 (11%) went to NYC and 11 (8%) went to DC:
http://law.wlu.edu/deptimages/Career%20Planning/FINAL%20Class%20of%202009%209%20Month%20Statistical%20Report%20-%20WEB.pdf

Only 38 (28%) stayed in the state of VA.


We don't know what these grads are doing in DC and NY. Could still be shitty jobs, somewhat negating the portability factor.


One could say this about every job placement statistic out there. Pure conjecture.

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Re: WUSTL ($) v. W&L ($$) v. Vandy ((1/2)*$)

Postby Grizz » Fri May 14, 2010 6:42 pm

Regionality wrote:One could say this about every job placement statistic out there. Pure conjecture.


That's my whole point. We can do nothing better than conjecture, because school self-reported aggregate stats are basically worthless.

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Regionality
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Re: WUSTL ($) v. W&L ($$) v. Vandy ((1/2)*$)

Postby Regionality » Fri May 14, 2010 6:44 pm

rad law wrote:
Regionality wrote:One could say this about every job placement statistic out there. Pure conjecture.


That's my whole point. We can do nothing better than conjecture, because school self-reported aggregate stats are basically worthless.


No they aren't. You just have to look at them with a critical eye. People DO make their decisions based on self-reported aggregate stats, even at T14 schools. T14 schools paint and are painting a rosier picture of career prospects than the reality probably is...

If we look at all stats with the same critical eye, then for purposes of comparison they become useful.

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Re: WUSTL ($) v. W&L ($$) v. Vandy ((1/2)*$)

Postby Grizz » Fri May 14, 2010 8:11 pm

Regionality wrote:
rad law wrote:That's my whole point. We can do nothing better than conjecture, because school self-reported aggregate stats are basically worthless.


No they aren't. You just have to look at them with a critical eye. People DO make their decisions based on self-reported aggregate stats, even at T14 schools. T14 schools paint and are painting a rosier picture of career prospects than the reality probably is...

If we look at all stats with the same critical eye, then for purposes of comparison they become useful.


No, they don't.

Yes, all employment stats are inflated. But the numbers are just so convoluted as to be nearly useless. Consider GW, a strong, regional T1 school (just picked randomly; the most recent stats were very easy to find). Firstly, they're using the class of 2008 stats, who did 2L OCI in 2006, a very strong year. NY to 190 in 2007, anyone? This immediately arouses suspicion. It is a fair conjecture that hiring will have decreased ITE.

Anyways, in this exceptional year, GW neglected to say what % of grads reported salary. This makes me very, very suspicious, especially considering that only 359/529 submitted salary data. That's only 68%. Is the number who reported what kind of job they had lower or higher? Again, we don't know. We can only conjecture.

And here are the stats, for an unknown percentage of the class (see how fucked we are already?).
Law Firm Practice (all sizes) 65%
Judicial Clerkships 9%
Government 11%
Business and Industry 6%
Public Interest 4%
Academic 2%
Military 1%
Not Identified 2%

So now what do we do with these? We have no idea how many people reported what job they had. We must make a conjecture. It is reasonable to assume that of the 359 who submitted salary data also must have submitted where they worked. Should we throw in a few more who said where they worked, but did not report salary? Maybe that's that "Not identified" 2%. I don't know. Gee, it would be nice if GW would have just told me, so I wouldn't have to make so many conjectures. Anyways, add 2% of 359 and you get 366. Is this the amount of grads who reported? Beats me. If it is, we get this:

Law Firm Practice (all sizes) 65% - 238
Judicial Clerkships 9% - 33
Government 11% - 40
Business and Industry 6% - 22
Public Interest 4% - 15
Academic 2% - 7
Military 1% - 4

So how much is everyone making? The problem is, again, we have no goddamn clue. Let’s start with private practice. Well, according to most recent NLJ250, who did OCI in 2007(?), 32% got NLJ250. It should be about the same for the year we’re looking at. However, NLJ250 can be anywhere from about 160ish IIRC lawyers at the bottom to many hundreds at the top. GW is not helpful in parsing out the differences and who went where, only giving mean salary info for general groups. Again, we have no idea how many are in what group.

Private Practice, (501+ attorneys), $125,000 - $175,000, Mean: $157,652
Private Practice, (251-500 attorneys), $110,000 - $160,000, Mean: $152,895
Private Practice, (101-250 attorneys), $90,000 - $160,000, Mean: $138,375

This ought to cover the NLJ250. So what is our range for biglaw? $90k-$175k? How many firm grads got paid this “range?” Did they all report to GW? If so, we’re talking maybe 155 grads? Out of 559? Where on the # of attys scale did they work? Do they cluster near the top, 501+, thee bottom, 101-ish of the scale, or do we just not know?

Ding ding ding! We don’t know. Means skew everything so much that I could almost make the numbers say almost whatever I want. I could make some conjectures, but my mind is so clusterfucked by this point it’s not even worth trying. Notice how I couldn't even use just the school's data, but had to bring in NLJ250, an incredibly crude approximation of the firms who big bucks to even make SOME sense of it all.

So now, we still no almost nothing about individual grads, or even what percentage of total grads got paid what. This is awesome, since we're all hoping to make money from school. And here’s some more great points to consider:

1. It is logical to assume that those who did not report made less and did not report due to anger at GW or shame. This would drive down the mean and median salaries.
2. Clerkship – how many Article III? These are the good ones. By not telling us, it seems like GW is trying to obfuscate something. It could be all Article III. It could be none. It’s probably somewhere in the middle. But I have no clue.
3. Business – barely anyone obtains in-house fresh out of school, so what are these jobs? Waiter at Chilis? No clue. We can always conjecture.

So what is the lesson? After parsing out GW’s stats, we have to make a bunch of conjectures just to get off the ground, for just 2/3 of the grads. Unreliable school stats don’t have some magical structural error we can always account for. After all this effort, I know barely anything about GW, other than some grads got some jobs with salaries that went from $35k-$175k. THIS INFO GAVE ME ALMOST NOTHING. NOTHING. AT. ALL.


TL;DR version: If you rely on school self-reported stats to make decisions, you are fooling yourself. HTH

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Regionality
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Re: WUSTL ($) v. W&L ($$) v. Vandy ((1/2)*$)

Postby Regionality » Sat May 15, 2010 1:52 am

rad law wrote:
Regionality wrote:
rad law wrote:That's my whole point. We can do nothing better than conjecture, because school self-reported aggregate stats are basically worthless.


No they aren't. You just have to look at them with a critical eye. People DO make their decisions based on self-reported aggregate stats, even at T14 schools. T14 schools paint and are painting a rosier picture of career prospects than the reality probably is...

If we look at all stats with the same critical eye, then for purposes of comparison they become useful.


No, they don't.

Yes, all employment stats are inflated. But the numbers are just so convoluted as to be nearly useless. Consider GW, a strong, regional T1 school (just picked randomly; the most recent stats were very easy to find). Firstly, they're using the class of 2008 stats, who did 2L OCI in 2006, a very strong year. NY to 190 in 2007, anyone? This immediately arouses suspicion. It is a fair conjecture that hiring will have decreased ITE.

Anyways, in this exceptional year, GW neglected to say what % of grads reported salary. This makes me very, very suspicious, especially considering that only 359/529 submitted salary data. That's only 68%. Is the number who reported what kind of job they had lower or higher? Again, we don't know. We can only conjecture.

And here are the stats, for an unknown percentage of the class (see how fucked we are already?).
Law Firm Practice (all sizes) 65%
Judicial Clerkships 9%
Government 11%
Business and Industry 6%
Public Interest 4%
Academic 2%
Military 1%
Not Identified 2%

So now what do we do with these? We have no idea how many people reported what job they had. We must make a conjecture. It is reasonable to assume that of the 359 who submitted salary data also must have submitted where they worked. Should we throw in a few more who said where they worked, but did not report salary? Maybe that's that "Not identified" 2%. I don't know. Gee, it would be nice if GW would have just told me, so I wouldn't have to make so many conjectures. Anyways, add 2% of 359 and you get 366. Is this the amount of grads who reported? Beats me. If it is, we get this:

Law Firm Practice (all sizes) 65% - 238
Judicial Clerkships 9% - 33
Government 11% - 40
Business and Industry 6% - 22
Public Interest 4% - 15
Academic 2% - 7
Military 1% - 4

So how much is everyone making? The problem is, again, we have no goddamn clue. Let’s start with private practice. Well, according to most recent NLJ250, who did OCI in 2007(?), 32% got NLJ250. It should be about the same for the year we’re looking at. However, NLJ250 can be anywhere from about 160ish IIRC lawyers at the bottom to many hundreds at the top. GW is not helpful in parsing out the differences and who went where, only giving mean salary info for general groups. Again, we have no idea how many are in what group.

Private Practice, (501+ attorneys), $125,000 - $175,000, Mean: $157,652
Private Practice, (251-500 attorneys), $110,000 - $160,000, Mean: $152,895
Private Practice, (101-250 attorneys), $90,000 - $160,000, Mean: $138,375

This ought to cover the NLJ250. So what is our range for biglaw? $90k-$175k? How many firm grads got paid this “range?” Did they all report to GW? If so, we’re talking maybe 155 grads? Out of 559? Where on the # of attys scale did they work? Do they cluster near the top, 501+, thee bottom, 101-ish of the scale, or do we just not know?

Ding ding ding! We don’t know. Means skew everything so much that I could almost make the numbers say almost whatever I want. I could make some conjectures, but my mind is so clusterfucked by this point it’s not even worth trying. Notice how I couldn't even use just the school's data, but had to bring in NLJ250, an incredibly crude approximation of the firms who big bucks to even make SOME sense of it all.

So now, we still no almost nothing about individual grads, or even what percentage of total grads got paid what. This is awesome, since we're all hoping to make money from school. And here’s some more great points to consider:

1. It is logical to assume that those who did not report made less and did not report due to anger at GW or shame. This would drive down the mean and median salaries.
2. Clerkship – how many Article III? These are the good ones. By not telling us, it seems like GW is trying to obfuscate something. It could be all Article III. It could be none. It’s probably somewhere in the middle. But I have no clue.
3. Business – barely anyone obtains in-house fresh out of school, so what are these jobs? Waiter at Chilis? No clue. We can always conjecture.

So what is the lesson? After parsing out GW’s stats, we have to make a bunch of conjectures just to get off the ground, for just 2/3 of the grads. Unreliable school stats don’t have some magical structural error we can always account for. After all this effort, I know barely anything about GW, other than some grads got some jobs with salaries that went from $35k-$175k. THIS INFO GAVE ME ALMOST NOTHING. NOTHING. AT. ALL.


TL;DR version: If you rely on school self-reported stats to make decisions, you are fooling yourself. HTH


All of this is fine and dandy, and I don't disagree with the uselessness of getting a comprehensive picture from self-reported data of a specific school. I do, however, try to compare apples to apples between law schools' self-reported data.

For example, if a schools says 96% reported job information and of that 96%, 92% had jobs 9 months after graduation, that is something I can solidly compare to another school. If another school has 93% reporting and a 85% employment rate 9 months after graduation, that's worse, and I feel it is indicative of the relative strength of the two schools. (of course this must include specific circumstances like if a school hires their grads at the library or if the students are so hopeless that they DO get a job at Chili's)

So, I try to look at the data like this. Is it perfect? No, but what else is there to look at? I sure as hell am not going to take the anecdotal advice that I get on TLS about which school is placing better without reference some sort of evidence. I like TLS advice because people direct me to new information, or give me ideas about how to best interpret it (like you are doing)...but in the end I need to look at as much information as I can and make as informed a decision as I can without just trusting random pieces of advice in a vacuum.

What are you basing your decisions on? Reputation alone?

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Grizz
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Re: WUSTL ($) v. W&L ($$) v. Vandy ((1/2)*$)

Postby Grizz » Sat May 15, 2010 2:06 pm

Regionality wrote:
rad law wrote:TL;DR version: If you rely on school self-reported stats to make decisions, you are fooling yourself. HTH


For example, if a schools says 96% reported job information and of that 96%, 92% had jobs 9 months after graduation, that is something I can solidly compare to another school. If another school has 93% reporting and a 85% employment rate 9 months after graduation, that's worse, and I feel it is indicative of the relative strength of the two schools. (of course this must include specific circumstances like if a school hires their grads at the library or if the students are so hopeless that they DO get a job at Chili's)


Employed at graduation doesn't tell us who is working what jobs, or even if those jobs required a JD. As you pointed out, employed could mean "working at Chilis." For all we know, many people could have gotten jobs similar to ones they got pre-JD. I'm not going to school just to be employed, I am going to school to get a job as a lawyer, preferably as one that will earn enough to get rid of my non-dischargeable debt sometime in the near future.

So, I try to look at the data like this. Is it perfect? No, but what else is there to look at? I sure as hell am not going to take the anecdotal advice that I get on TLS about which school is placing better without reference some sort of evidence.


Other stats? There is barely any information out there. I mean, there's NLJ250 as a crude metric of biglaw, or you can look at firm websites to see where they get their grads, but beyond that, not a lot. We all have to go on anecdotes to some degree. But there's anecdotes, and then there's anecdotes. For example "By buddy Bob went to SeTTTon Hall and he's BIGLAWSECURE" is a bad, exceptional anecdote and is not helpful, whereas "I've talked to lawyers in my area, and they all say that UF people get hired ahead of Stetson people" is a helpful anecdote, which can be supported somewhat by looking at firms and seeing where they hired from. Here, we can learn from the legwork someone has already done, as long as they're not talking out their ass.

What are you basing your decisions on? Reputation alone?


I asked 4 main questions:

Q: Where do I want to work?
A: The South, specifically ATL or FL. That was easy.

Q: What schools should I apply to that place well in these areas?
A: Well, my scores were competitive for some T14 and below. So I applied to UVA, Duke, Vandy, Emory (Southern powerhouses); Texas (Texas powerhouse as well as surrounding environs); and UF, UGA (state powerhouses). Why these schools? Talked to lawyers, looked at firm websites, and it seems that this is where firms got a lot of their grads. Got into all except UVA and Duke.

Q: Any money?
A: Yup. Nice scholarships from the schools I got into.

Q: Which school should I pick, closely related to the question, "Where would I be happy at median?" Assuming you're in the middle of the pack is helpful.
A: Just Vandy and Texas. UGA/UF at median are unemployed or marginally employed. How do I know? Asked recent grads, read around (blogs, TLS, etc.). Also, I talked to an Emory 2L who was very dismal about biglaw chances outside top 25%, and dismal for those at median. Lastly, I looked at NLJ250 to see generally how many grads got hired to these firms.

So how did I decide between those two? Talked to a bunch of lawyers, who said that Vandy was stronger for where I wanted to end up. Took some TLS insight into account. Also, Vandy was exceptional in providing a nice list showing where exactly pretty every one of their most recent grads got jobs. I saw a healthy amount of Article III clerkships, and many in ATL got jobs at Alston & Bird, King & Spalding, Jones Day, DLA Piper, etc., as well as other non-NLJ250 bigger firms.

So that's how I made my decision.

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Re: WUSTL ($) v. W&L ($$) v. Vandy ((1/2)*$)

Postby savagecheater » Mon May 17, 2010 8:41 pm

Vandy has the best job prospects here, and defies the "only T14s are national" wisdom.

Take Vandy and enjoy it.




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