Well, I think everyone has made up their mind on this issue, so I'll leave it at this...
Yes, you will get better opportunities at a T-14 while in law school. More firms come there to recruit, there will be more federal clerkships, etc. That kind of thing can open doors for you, particularly in terms of getting into more complex and sophisticated practice areas.
A few years out, what will matter are your practice areas and your portables. Not where you went to law school or that prestigious federal clerkship. Prestige doesn't pay the bills or generate cash flow. In a small firm, I don't even know what schools are considered T-14 anymore. I know all of the local schools, generally, and Yale, Harvard, Stanford, Georgetown, etc. I have no idea where Iowa, Ohio State, and Casewestern are ranked. I don't think many BIGLAW partners do either, nor do they have the time to closely follow the U.S. News and World Report rankings. Also keep this in mind -- you might go into BIGLAW for 5 years. If you're not "partnership material", are you going to leave with clients? If you don't have any clients, and you're 5 or 6 years out, who is going to hire you? That federal clerkship is prestigious, but it doesn't generate cash. Would you rather hire someone who is profitable or someone who is prestigious? Prestige can help you be more profitable, but it certainly won't guarantee it.
In my own experience, we've never considered where you went to law school important. You have no competitive advantage coming from the local TTTT from the local TT state schools. You would be at a disadvantage coming from an out of state T1, because why would someone from Washington D.C. or New York want to come to Philadelphia without a good reason?
That's my two cents. Big picture. Also, for what it's worth, I started out at a TTTT and transferred to a TT. Transferring to the TT didn't open any new doors. A few years out, I think I would have been better off taking the scholarship at the TTTT rather than transferring to the TT. At this stage, where I went to law school is a footnote on my resume. Where you went to law school is just one of many factors that will dictate your success. It's certainly not the biggest one.
Last edited by AJRESQ
on Thu Jun 24, 2010 12:43 pm, edited 1 time in total.