Regionality wrote:I'm not falling back on cries of elitism except as it relates to vanwinkle. My primary point was that it's ridiculous to say that going to a non T14 school but still tier 1 school is a bad idea...that's where all of this started, and it devolved into personal accusations of elitism.
My overall opinion is a little more nuanced than that, but right now, ITE, I think that's a fair enough summary.
Regionality wrote:I still think that the advice vanwinkle is giving is bad. I do not agree with what I understand his advice to be, that if you can't get into a T14 school, and you don't get significant money at a T50, then it isn't worth it to go to law school (Vanwinkle, if I characterized your advice wrongly, please say so).
I appreciate you inviting me the opportunity to respond. What I don't tell people is not to go to law school. It's their own decision. However, I do push very strongly a realistic look at the cost/benefit calculations, and an acknowledgement from people that once you get down into the lower T1 range, the job market is so bleak right now that you're taking a very large risk with very low chance of reward attending one of those schools at sticker. There are still times when it's worth taking that risk: When a person has literally no other options for employment available to them, when they are certain they want to become a lawyer, so much so that they still want to try despite being fully aware of the low odds of their success.
The bulk of the problem is that it's still possible to succeed if you're at the very top of your class at those schools and you manage to do enough networking to make yourself the opportunities you need when you graduate. However, there is literally no way to know that you'll be at the top of your class or even close to it. This is the common mistake people make; they realize things are bleak, but then tell themselves "that's okay, because I'm going to work harder and do better than anyone else" and it doesn't work that way. Everyone works hard in law school. Close to 100% of the people at any T1 or even T2 is going to be working hard and believing they can rise to the top, especially ITE where everyone is so hyperaware of the consequences of not doing well. Sadly, 90% of them are going to make it.
This is what people need to come to terms with. They need to look at things from the perspective of what opportunities they'll have even if they do poorly in law school, and ITE by "poorly" I mean "less than the top of the class" at a low T1 or T2. This is where you have to calculate your risks from, not from the top, because assuming you're going to be at the top is a massive and stupid mistake. Realistically, right now the calculation for many low T1 or high T2 schools is something like 150-180K in debt for a 50% or less chance of a 50K/yr job on graduation. That's me being optimistic, everything I've heard indicates it's actually much worse than that, but even that ought to be enough to deter a lot of people not truly committed.
People can go to a T2 or worse at sticker if they want to and I can't stop them. I'm not trying to stop them, either. I'm trying to make sure they know what they're getting into. If that stops them, then that's good, but it's not because it's what I want, it's because it's them realizing that it's not the right decision for them after all. Not everyone who wants to go to law school should. Those who are doing it for the money or glory are risking epic disappointment in these tough times. The only person who should be going at this point are:
1) Someone who can get into a T14, because they still have at least decent employment opportunities even if they don't do well in their class.
2) Someone who's getting good money to go to a T1 or high T2, because the costs are less which means the overall risk is less.
3) Someone who fully understands the risks and is willing to take them because being a lawyer is that important to them, and they're okay with assuming the 150K in debt it takes to have that chance even knowing they may never get legal work when they graduate.
Unfortunately a lot of people who want to go to law school right now don't fit into one of these categories.
Also, people with family or other connections shouldn't have to worry about that kind of analysis quite so much since they have employment potential that most people do not. It changes the analysis much more strongly in favor of going to law school, in those rare cases.
Regionality wrote:Whether Vanwinkle is elitist or not, and whether I am or not, is quite irrelevant to the decisions that many students are grasping with right now: to go to law school or not, which law school to go to, and where to draw the line in terms of cost of investment/lost opportunity cost vs legal career prospects and capacity to pay back student loans.
That discussion is a good one to have. Vanwinkle vs me is not.
I agree with all of this. The important discussion is not where things were unfortunately taken with the charges of elitism and whatnot; the important discussion is when it is and isn't appropriate to go to law school.