Where you go to law school isn't that important...

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AJRESQ
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Where you go to law school isn't that important...

Postby AJRESQ » Thu Jun 24, 2010 12:18 am

I was in a settlement conference today from about noon until midnight. The case involved two small firms (7 lawyers) and one mid/large firm (60 lawyers). After we all went out for drinks and were talking about new associates / law clerks. The consensus is this year was the most resumes any of us had ever received for law clerk / first year associate positions. What was the number one decision in who got an interview? For BIGLAW, it was mostly good grades and knew a partner. For the small firms? Ties to the area. If you grew up in Western Iowa, went to school in western Iowa, and now want to practice in Western Iowa, that makes sense. Conversely, if you grew up in California, went to law school in D.C., and are no sending your resume to law firms in southeastern PA, that doesn't make any sense.

My advice to you: go to law school where you have ties and where you want to practice. If you get into law school at at T2 outside your area, and a T3 where you grew up, go to the T3. Both the small firms placed little to no stock in "prestige" of a "good" law school. We hired from a TTTT (Widener, where we also have an associate firm) and they hired from a TTT in NYC. Outside wanting to be a partner at Sullivan Cromwell, the school you went to isn't that important. Both small firms agreed that the school you went to had little to no bearing on whether or not you got an interview.

So, in summary: if your model is "BIGLAW or bust" go to a T14 or don't go to law school. If you just want to be a lawyer, the rank of the school isn't nearly as important as your ties to the area. Also, the BIGLAW firm hired more associates from local school with good grades than out of state higher ranked schools for the same reasons. In other words, if you were at Temple (TT) in the top 10% of your class, you had a better chance of getting a job in Philadelphia BIGLAW than someone from an out of state school ranked higher.

Just a thought.

dukelawguy144
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Re: Where you go to law school isn't that important...

Postby dukelawguy144 » Thu Jun 24, 2010 12:27 am

somewhat solid advice

But still: majority of TTTT grads end up with debt and they are not smart enouph to hold down a decent small law firm. If you are actually smart and went to a TTT ot TTTT, then yes, you may be right. But, lets be honest, majority of people in 3rd the 4th tier schools (remember most not all) are dumb mofos

AJRESQ
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Re: Where you go to law school isn't that important...

Postby AJRESQ » Thu Jun 24, 2010 12:33 am

dukelawguy144 wrote:somewhat solid advice

But still: majority of TTTT grads end up with debt and they are not smart enouph to hold down a decent small law firm. If you are actually smart and went to a TTT ot TTTT, then yes, you may be right. But, lets be honest, majority of people in 3rd the 4th tier schools (remember most not all) are dumb mofos


That isn't even arguably true, nor relevant.

The practice of law doesn't require a great deal of book smarts. 20% are too dumb to practice law and should be digging ditches. 10% are absolute legal geniuses, and will come up with stuff that blows your mind. The remaining 70% is average -- and this includes most judges. What sets you apart is your common sense, ability to network, and ability to generate and retain clients. Your good clients don't care about your ability to grasp the rule against perpetuities, but they care about your ability to force a settlement that is favorable to them. Most of your clients don't even know what you do anyway -- it's more about inspiring confidence in them that you are doing it well than actually doing it well.

T-14 makes a difference in some circles, particularly BIGLAW. Outside of BIGLAW, there isn't much difference between T1 and TTTT.

pocket herc
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Re: Where you go to law school isn't that important...

Postby pocket herc » Thu Jun 24, 2010 12:42 am

I'm a little tired of hearing this sort of crap. Listen, there is a difference between T-1 students and TTT and TTTT students. By and large, the students that attend T1 schools are smarter. There are many individual exceptions of course, but as a broad generalization this is just simply true. Just as the students at T14 schools are superior to the students attending the rest of the T1 schools. But if it makes you feel better, outside the T14 we may all suffer similarly poor fates, so there's that...

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rman1201
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Re: Where you go to law school isn't that important...

Postby rman1201 » Thu Jun 24, 2010 12:44 am

AJRESQ wrote:T-14 makes a difference in some circles, particularly BIGLAW. Outside of BIGLAW, there isn't much difference between T1 and TTTT.


Flawed argument. Within the region there is a difference between higher ranked schools. Ie UF>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>Florida A&M for those who want to work in the Florida legal market. What you've been stating is if you want to work in a particular region and aren't T14, it's better to go to a regional lower ranked school than a higher ranked school outside the region. But you fail to consider the possibility of a higher ranked school within that region. So basically your entire argument is that schools outside the T14 are regional. No great new discoveries there.

And yeah I've been doing extensive LSAT prep lately, which is why my post is structured like an LSAT answer choice.

AJRESQ
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Re: Where you go to law school isn't that important...

Postby AJRESQ » Thu Jun 24, 2010 12:49 am

pocket herc wrote:I'm a little tired of hearing this sort of crap. Listen, there is a difference between T-1 students and TTT and TTTT students. By and large, the students that attend T1 schools are smarter. There are many individual exceptions of course, but as a broad generalization this is just simply true. Just as the students at T14 schools are superior to the students attending the rest of the T1 schools. But if it makes you feel better, outside the T14 we may all suffer similarly poor fates, so there's that...


Great. Too bad "smarts" are about 1/4 of the actual skills an attorney needs.

If you think you're getting a benefit by going to a TT instead of a TTTT outside of your geographic area, God bless you. You're free to spend your money on whatever you want for whatever reason. If you think your degree and the "prestige" it confers is important to small firms, though, I would ask practicing attorneys what they think of that, though.

AJRESQ
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Re: Where you go to law school isn't that important...

Postby AJRESQ » Thu Jun 24, 2010 12:53 am

rman1201 wrote:
AJRESQ wrote:T-14 makes a difference in some circles, particularly BIGLAW. Outside of BIGLAW, there isn't much difference between T1 and TTTT.


Flawed argument. Within the region there is a difference between higher ranked schools. Ie UF>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>Florida A&M for those who want to work in the Florida legal market. What you've been stating is if you want to work in a particular region and aren't T14, it's better to go to a regional lower ranked school than a higher ranked school outside the region. But you fail to consider the possibility of a higher ranked school within that region. So basically your entire argument is that schools outside the T14 are regional. No great new discoveries there.

And yeah I've been doing extensive LSAT prep lately, which is why my post is structured like an LSAT answer choice.


In my region, (southeastern PA) there is no difference between Widener and Temple / Villanova / Rutgers / Drexel for small firms. We were just having this discussion at dinner tonight and laughing about it. Maybe in BIGLAW. But for small firms, not at all. As for BIGLAW, I would rather be 10% of a TTTT than top 50% of TT. But again, it's all about your expectations.

I'm a Temple alum, BTW.

pocket herc
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Re: Where you go to law school isn't that important...

Postby pocket herc » Thu Jun 24, 2010 12:55 am

man, first of all, I'm not paying much for my school. Secondly, firms, even small firms, do seem to care. It's pretty bad at my T1 right now, but for the decent students there is still hope for something. The people I know at TTT's and TTTT's, even the ones that have performed well, are absolutely shit out of luck.

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alexonfyre
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Re: Where you go to law school isn't that important...

Postby alexonfyre » Thu Jun 24, 2010 12:57 am

We seem to have two opposite "factual" accounts here. Something is amiss.

pocket herc
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Re: Where you go to law school isn't that important...

Postby pocket herc » Thu Jun 24, 2010 12:58 am

Also, OP I don't mean to launch into a big argument. I've even appreciated some other posts you have made in the past...

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Cleareyes
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Re: Where you go to law school isn't that important...

Postby Cleareyes » Thu Jun 24, 2010 1:01 am

AJRESQ wrote:
T-14 makes a difference in some circles, particularly BIGLAW. Outside of BIGLAW, there isn't much difference between T1 and TTTT.


T-14 makes a difference for a bunch of different jobs outside of big law. Prestigious public interest. Fancy government posts. It may not matter in the circle you were in tonight but I spoke to a lot of lawyers before applying to law school and they all said to aim high to keep options open down the road.

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alexonfyre
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Re: Where you go to law school isn't that important...

Postby alexonfyre » Thu Jun 24, 2010 1:02 am

Cleareyes wrote:
AJRESQ wrote:
T-14 makes a difference in some circles, particularly BIGLAW. Outside of BIGLAW, there isn't much difference between T1 and TTTT.


T-14 makes a difference for a bunch of different jobs outside of big law. Prestigious public interest. Fancy government posts. It may not matter in the circle you were in tonight but I spoke to a lot of lawyers before applying to law school and they all said to aim high to keep options open down the road.


+1 I was told the same.

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romothesavior
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Re: Where you go to law school isn't that important...

Postby romothesavior » Thu Jun 24, 2010 1:06 am

Cleareyes wrote:
AJRESQ wrote:
T-14 makes a difference in some circles, particularly BIGLAW. Outside of BIGLAW, there isn't much difference between T1 and TTTT.


T-14 makes a difference for a bunch of different jobs outside of big law. Prestigious public interest. Fancy government posts. It may not matter in the circle you were in tonight but I spoke to a lot of lawyers before applying to law school and they all said to aim high to keep options open down the road.


Correct. I have heard the same from virtually every lawyer I've talked to, and I've talked to a lot.

AJRESQ
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Re: Where you go to law school isn't that important...

Postby AJRESQ » Thu Jun 24, 2010 1:08 am

pocket herc wrote:Also, OP I don't mean to launch into a big argument. I've even appreciated some other posts you have made in the past...


Hey, think whatever you want. My view certainly isn't the only one. That's just my two cents based on my experience. If you think where you went to law school is very important, pursue the best school you can get into.

Personally, I don't think that's it's that important -- and not nearly as important as your ties to the area and ability to generate clients. (both of which are usually intertwined). In my opinion, it's still reasonably challenging to pass the bar exam and they teach the same law at Harvard as they do at Cooley -- so you have a bunch of people licensed to practice that are reasonably intelligent.

For what it's worth, we hired a TTTT law clerk. The other small firm doesn't even remember what law school their law clerk came from. Both will probably be hired in as associates.

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Grizz
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Re: Where you go to law school isn't that important...

Postby Grizz » Thu Jun 24, 2010 1:09 am

Cleareyes wrote:
AJRESQ wrote:
T-14 makes a difference in some circles, particularly BIGLAW. Outside of BIGLAW, there isn't much difference between T1 and TTTT.


T-14 makes a difference for a bunch of different jobs outside of big law. Prestigious public interest. Fancy government posts. It may not matter in the circle you were in tonight but I spoke to a lot of lawyers before applying to law school and they all said to aim high to keep options open down the road.


This - fed govt. office where a close family member works has lots of "top" schools, T14 and others (BC, Emory, Vandy showed up) and few state schooled.

Agree about hiring for smaller firms, though.

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romothesavior
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Re: Where you go to law school isn't that important...

Postby romothesavior » Thu Jun 24, 2010 1:11 am

You're also forgetting one thing: Yeah firms may be okay hiring from the local TTTT, but they almost exclusively hire the top few kids from there.

Tell someone who finished at median at Michigan and someone who finished at median at Barry that where you went to school doesn't matter. One has a shot at 6 figures straight out of school, the other is almost certainly not going to ever practice law.

APimpNamedSlickback
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x

Postby APimpNamedSlickback » Thu Jun 24, 2010 1:11 am

x
Last edited by APimpNamedSlickback on Fri Jul 30, 2010 12:03 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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Grizz
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Re: Where you go to law school isn't that important...

Postby Grizz » Thu Jun 24, 2010 1:13 am

romothesavior wrote:You're also forgetting one thing: Yeah firms may be okay hiring from the local TTTT, but they almost exclusively hire the top few kids from there.

Tell someone who finished at median at Michigan and someone who finished at median at Barry that where you went to school doesn't matter. One has a shot at 6 figures straight out of school, the other is almost certainly not going to ever practice law.


This. I agree with some of the individual points made, but not the overall conclusion, that where you go to law school isn't that important.

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Ragged
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Re: Where you go to law school isn't that important...

Postby Ragged » Thu Jun 24, 2010 1:13 am

APimpNamedSlickback wrote:i read the title and assumed the post would be retarded.

my instincts did not fail me. op, i want my motherfucking 2 3/4 minutes back.


thanks for saving me the time man.

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kalvano
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Re: Where you go to law school isn't that important...

Postby kalvano » Thu Jun 24, 2010 1:13 am

AJRESQ wrote:My advice to you: go to law school where you have ties and where you want to practice. If you get into law school at at T2 outside your area, and a T3 where you grew up, go to the T3. Both the small firms placed little to no stock in "prestige" of a "good" law school. We hired from a TTTT (Widener, where we also have an associate firm) and they hired from a TTT in NYC. Outside wanting to be a partner at Sullivan Cromwell, the school you went to isn't that important. Both small firms agreed that the school you went to had little to no bearing on whether or not you got an interview.



Yes, the SMU / Wesleyan model here in Texas really proves that theory correct.

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dspit
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Re: Where you go to law school isn't that important...

Postby dspit » Thu Jun 24, 2010 1:15 am

AJRESQ wrote:I was in a settlement conference today from about noon until midnight. The case involved two small firms (7 lawyers) and one mid/large firm (60 lawyers). After we all went out for drinks and were talking about new associates / law clerks. The consensus is this year was the most resumes any of us had ever received for law clerk / first year associate positions. What was the number one decision in who got an interview? For BIGLAW, it was mostly good grades and knew a partner. For the small firms? Ties to the area. If you grew up in Western Iowa, went to school in western Iowa, and now want to practice in Western Iowa, that makes sense. Conversely, if you grew up in California, went to law school in D.C., and are no sending your resume to law firms in southeastern PA, that doesn't make any sense.

My advice to you: go to law school where you have ties and where you want to practice. If you get into law school at at T2 outside your area, and a T3 where you grew up, go to the T3. Both the small firms placed little to no stock in "prestige" of a "good" law school. We hired from a TTTT (Widener, where we also have an associate firm) and they hired from a TTT in NYC. Outside wanting to be a partner at Sullivan Cromwell, the school you went to isn't that important. Both small firms agreed that the school you went to had little to no bearing on whether or not you got an interview.

So, in summary: if your model is "BIGLAW or bust" go to a T14 or don't go to law school. If you just want to be a lawyer, the rank of the school isn't nearly as important as your ties to the area. Also, the BIGLAW firm hired more associates from local school with good grades than out of state higher ranked schools for the same reasons. In other words, if you were at Temple (TT) in the top 10% of your class, you had a better chance of getting a job in Philadelphia BIGLAW than someone from an out of state school ranked higher.

Just a thought.


Hears a thought... take the LSAT again.

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jayn3
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Re: Where you go to law school isn't that important...

Postby jayn3 » Thu Jun 24, 2010 1:23 am

APimpNamedSlickback wrote:i read the title and assumed the post would be retarded.

my instincts did not fail me. op, i want my motherfucking 2 3/4 minutes back.

Leeroy Jenkins
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Re: Where you go to law school isn't that important...

Postby Leeroy Jenkins » Thu Jun 24, 2010 1:25 am

jayn3 wrote:
APimpNamedSlickback wrote:i read the title and assumed the post would be retarded.

my instincts did not fail me. op, i want my motherfucking 2 3/4 minutes back.

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Cleareyes
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Re: Where you go to law school isn't that important...

Postby Cleareyes » Thu Jun 24, 2010 1:30 am

I also like that the title of the post is "Where you go to law school isn't that important" and the content is, partially, "Location of your law school is really important because firms prefer local graduates."

By the by, this generally fits with TLS accepted wisdom which is that there are basically 4 true tiers of law schools

1) Big national schools. Your T14 +- a couple others that people argue over.
2) Semi-nationals. your Notre Dames and BUs that have some reach but are significantly more restricted.
3) Solid regional schools. Schools that can place you in specific areas but don't have a ton of reach. The model for this is often the state school in an area without a huge market. University of Maine Law School might not be highly ranked, but if you want to work in Bangor it makes sense to go there. Don't expect to get to NYC or D.C.
4) Overpriced schools that can't place. These are generally low ranked schools in saturated markets. Many students won't graduate and many grads won't practice. Those who say that Cooley is just as good as Harvard forget, among other things, that Cooley washes out a huge portion of their 1L class each year. No tuition refund.

Your argument seems to be that among group 3 there's no point in taking a higher ranked school over one where you want to practice, and that makes sense. You further argue that in some markets there's not a huge difference between the various regional schools. That may be true. But the first group (and to some degree the second) open opportunities the others simply do not provide, and the fourth group fails most of its students. Saying it doesn't matter which group you go to just seems misleading and false. If you want to practice for a medium sized firm in Hattiesburg then maybe Ole Miss makes sense even over Cornell or Northwestern, but that's a very specific situation, and going to a school where attrition rates top 20% is pretty darned risky.

Fark-o-vision
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Re: Where you go to law school isn't that important...

Postby Fark-o-vision » Thu Jun 24, 2010 1:48 am

I like how everyone knows dozens of law students whose schools run the spectrum of all ranked law schools.




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