See above. Nothing wrong with 90K. But few people make 90K. Most people make 50K or else 1XX,000. One way that law schools fuck people is that they see "median salary 160K" and assume (not only that all students are reporting but) "well, if I fuck up, I might be stuck with 80K or 100K. That's cool." That's not how it works. It is feast or famine. I go to a T14 (ooooh, fancy!) and even here: some people have 160K Vault jobs. The others don't have 80K mediocre jobs:
But you said some NLJ 250 jobs
are bad jobs. Now you're saying that if you miss a 100k+ job and take a 50k job (which would be a non-NLJ 250 job), you've had a bad outcome. These are two different situations. I agree that there is a bimodal salary distribution, and I agree a lot of people don't realize it. But to jump from talking about bimodal salary distribution to "Some NLJ 250 jobs are bad outcomes" makes no sense whatsoever. My whole point is that I don't think there are "bad outcome" NLJ 250 firms, and if there are, then I'd love to hear about them.
I also wholeheartedly disagree that 80k is "mediocre," especially if you're in a small or mid-sized market.
I probably should have put quotes around "mediocre". My point was:
(NOT THE SITUATION): "If you miss a 160K job, you settle for 100K or 80K."
(THE SITUATION): "If you miss a 160K (or other six-figure or whatever) job, the only firms you'll probably get a shot with pay like 50K".
In other words, it was the absence of an 80K "second-best" set of possibilities that I was remarking upon. And hey, I agree, there are probably even markets where 80K would be great. My point is that this salary range just isn't very well-populated.
romothesavior wrote:My whole point is that I don't think there are "bad outcome" NLJ 250 firms, and if there are, then I'd love to hear about them.
I honestly don't know if there are NLJ 250 firms that pay on the left-hand side of that salary distribution. I think it bears investigation. Neither "there are" nor "there aren't" would shock me. This should be investigated. Again, I apologize for punting to next week, but honestly I probably should not have even started this project this week...killer study-cram-test weekend ahead. I promise I will work on this next week, and flag things so that people realize there are errors and inaccuracies.
tgir wrote:OP, why do you assume that the average of old, pre-ITE Article III placements is even remotely predictive of the current state of affairs? If placement into these fields were independent of each other, I'd think your model made sense. However, the amount of grads who end up in clerkships is obviously highly dependent on the number of grads who were able to land biglaw at OCI, among other factors. So if one school's numbers go way down on NLJ but way up on clerkships (or vice versa) over a one- or two-year span, your data becomes horribly unrepresentative of its placement.
In terms of comparing the schools to one another, you'd be much better off just using the most recent Article III data from USNews (Class of 2009) alongside the corresponding NLJ250 data--in other words, the older data for the Class of 2009. True, it wouldn't capture ITE, but the reality is that we simply don't have the numbers yet to compare schools ITE. And if all you want is a big-picture view of ITE, you don't need school-by-school numbers anyway.
I fully agree that adding 2009 NLJ 250 data is a good idea. As I'm about to update the original post to reflect, though, I have an exam in about 48 hours that I need to go continue cramming for. I'll make a few quick changes to correct specific errors with Georgia and W&M, and stick a gloriously 1990s "UNDER! CONSTRUCTION!" sign on it.
tgir wrote:However, the amount of grads who end up in clerkships is obviously highly dependent on the number of grads who were able to land biglaw at OCI, among other factors.
As I understand it, if you get a clerkship, you take the clerkship. Firms are generally happy to defer a year to let you do a federal clerkship. Most of them give bonuses for it, in fact. It also opens all kinds of doors, in the firm world and outside it. (There might be some super-transactional firms that would not reward/might even actively discourage clerkships, but ... if they exist, I think they're a minority.)
Now, any thought beginning with "As I understand it" and relating to the law school placement world should provoke skepticism. But this is my impression as someone who's gone through OCI and all that.
As for the accuracy of the data: the number of available clerkships probably doesn't change much with recessions. (Perhaps there's a slight uptick in "experienced" people going and getting a clerkship after having practiced a couple years.) Federal clerkships are not fallback options. It's possible that ITE has motivated judges to alter their criteria, e.g. to help out their law schools. But I'll be surprised if 2009 data shows massive fluctuations. The 2007/2008 data (both pre-ITE, it's true) hover very close to one another:
And here's my raw data, again: