thesealocust wrote:1) No, you're not understanding the data. When choosing a school, you must consider its ABILITY to place you in your desired job, not the frequency with which it actually does so. The pool of students at Michigan who got big law, clerkships, prestigious PI, or government positions is much, much larger than that pool from USC. This is relevant because almost all of the people who took clerkships, etc. out of michigan COULD have had big firm jobs if they had so chosen. Looking only at the NLJ number makes the schools look closer together than they are. USC, for example, probably placed more people than yale in the NLJ, because double-digit proportions of Yale grads go on to clerkships. Is USC better at placing big law in so cal? Fuck no. The fact that at one point in time (which, per point two below, is quite dated) both schools sent a similar number of grads to large law firms DRAMATICALLY underestimates the placement difference. A student at the median at USC is up shit creek, where as (back in the good 'ol days) a student at the median (or even a good bit below) from Mich was very likely to get a six figure starting salary. That fact is largely concealed by the fact that Michigan grads have better choices than NLJ 250 jobs at a much higher degree of frequency than grads from USC.
You're presenting a problematic counterfactual, which we have no easy way of testing. You say that people who chose to take up clerkships, prestigious PI, etc. could
have chosen biglaw instead. Yet, the number of biglaw positions available (presumably) would not have increased to accommodate their preference. Thus, it's possible that many of those were placed into biglaw from Michigan originally may not have gotten it. You're also neglecting to consider that at least some of those people may not have performed well in the biglaw interviewing process (due to temperament) despite having done adequately in the interviews for other positions.
Don't misconstrue this to mean that I think a Michigan grad does not have better options coming from what is, indisputably, a better school. But--once again
--if OP wants biglaw, those additional options may be less valuable than $20k/year in his pocket.
thesealocust wrote:2) Sigh. The class of 2009 graduated law school as summer began in 2009. They summered at law firms in 2008. They received offers for those summer positions in Fall 2007. Since then, two more recruitment cycles have occurred: The class of 2010, which was recruited in Fall 2008, and the class of 2011, which was recruited in Fall 2009. The market has changed. Your data is old.
No. The data is recent -- or more precisely, it's as recent as it is possible to be. Sure, they summered in 2008, but they were hired
in 2009. Do firms HAVE
to hire associates to whom they previously promised positions? If not
, then the data does
reflect changing economic conditions. No rational firm would hire someone for whom there is no work, and thereby diminish their profit margin, just for the fuck of it.
You can speculate that future data will make USC less attractive, but that's what you're doing: speculating.