Talk me out of law school (UMaine)

(Rankings, Profiles, Tuition, Student Life, . . . )
User avatar
sunynp
Posts: 1899
Joined: Tue May 24, 2011 2:06 pm

Re: Talk me out of law school (UMaine)

Postby sunynp » Sat Jul 23, 2011 5:05 pm

Right now i would start organizing files for each firm/ attorney so you can keep their information straight. I would ask each person you can for their advice about doing well in law school, practicing in Maine, practice areas, etc. Ask them what their current experience is like. Ask any other questions that come up about practicing. If they are recent grads, ask them what their experience at the school was like. I would also ask them how they found their current job. Be respectful of their time and be sure to thank them. Note: make it like a conversation, which I think you can do, you are not taking a survey.

Also, if you can, ask them about the market for lawyers in a general way. I know that if only 18 Maine grads have fulltime jobs practicing law, the market is tough. But I think that because it is a small market, where attorneys know each other, you can use that to your advantage. Be careful about acting like you aren't sure about law- if one of these people are later deciding whether to hire you, it might be an issue with them. Just be concerned about possible job prospects.

Do all of this in the guise of needing information,which you do. Most practicing lawyers will take a little time to discuss the practice of law with a student starting law school.

If I were you, I would present myself as a very responsible, go-getter type who has some passion and dedication for the law. Be organized and research the person before you talk to them. Mention your concerns about debt and why you decided to go to Maine. And then ask them if they mind if you contact them later for more advice. Make a note of the people who seem the most helpful and that you connect with the most.

(You want to end up with a strong list of people that you can contact directly when you are applying for jobs, internships, etc. or when you just need some good advice based on experience.)

Also remember that even though you are an 0L now, in a few years you will be their colleague. Think how far ahead of the game you will be if you have a good network of people that you created from your 0L year.

Finally, always be generous in trying to help other people in law school or when you finish. It will only help you.

User avatar
observationalist
Posts: 472
Joined: Mon Mar 26, 2007 12:55 pm

Re: Talk me out of law school (UMaine)

Postby observationalist » Mon Jul 25, 2011 10:53 am

bosa wrote:That doesn't sound very good at all. I seriously hope they are placing better than that. I turned down UNH to avoid 50k in debt. I hope I didn't turn down better employment opportunity. I suppose given my connections and low debt I don't necessarily have to calculate my risk of unemployment as 17% (14/80), also it would be logically incorrect to assume that my individual chance of being employed is 17%. Perhaps I should go for 1L fall and see where I go from there.

Your breakdown of the numbers seems pretty in depth. Do you have some good sources that break down these data? T14 Paradise and the other scamblogs link to some info but nothing on Maine yet.

I just noticed job openings at US Airways, health benefits and free flights anywhere sounds pretty enticing at this point.


I don't mean to scare anyone away from UMaine based on what I think a representative guess would be for a risk-averse applicant... my main point is that you need to contact the school and get better information, because no matter how good the information they provided you looks it is misleading and contains certain omissions that you otherwise won't learn about until after you've started school. Many (though perhaps not all) schools recognize that applicants would not be as interested in paying full tuition were they fully aware of the actual job market, and for various reasons ("we're just complying with the ABA's requirements; we don't have the manpower to compile that data; we think the data we've provided is all the data people need because that's how we've always done it and we haven't been sued yet for it") the schools have justified only showing you a piece of the pie.

Here's the link to the UNH data I mentioned, posted by androstan viewtopic.php?f=4&t=126084&start=75#p4215515. I believe they got the list in response to questions they asked of the new career services dean at UNH. This is a refreshingly clear glimpse of last year's job placement... it distinguishes between FT and PT, temp and perm, and provides the employer names so that you can research employers. Additionally, it provides a separate list of salaries for 52 out of 112 graduates, or 41% of the class. This list is more useful than had they only provided you with median salaries even thought it's only for a portion of the class, not only because it lets you note the outliers (like the 5 students making 160K), but because you can use what we know about who reports salaries to assume this is likely the salary breakdown of the top 41%. Perhaps more likely would be to assume it represents salaries of the top third plus all graduates who had family/employer connections pulling them up despite gpas. Given that schools can't force graduates to report salaries, and given that many of the PT/temp jobs don't lend themselves to accurately predicting annualized salaries, I'd say UNH is doing their absolute best to let prospectives in on how their graduates fared.

UMaine may or may not be a better deal, but as it stands now UNH is clearly the school that cares more about informing its consumers before they invest. More schools need to be taking that approach, particularly those competing with UNH for your tuition!

User avatar
observationalist
Posts: 472
Joined: Mon Mar 26, 2007 12:55 pm

Re: Talk me out of law school (UMaine)

Postby observationalist » Mon Jul 25, 2011 11:03 am

Also bosa, in terms of my sources we rely on what we know about law school behavior at the macro level. We compile info on how schools advertise their services, focusing on post-graduation outcomes and the ways in which schools manage to comply with minimal ABA regulations while still effectively misleading the consumer. I haven't spoken directly with either of the career services reps at UNH or Maine (or Suffolk for that matter), but in conversations and correspondence with a few dozen other CSOs we've been able to document a fair number of ways to present data in a manner that misleads the average applicant. The research has gotten us involved with ABA regulatory reform in order to raise the minimum standards for what schools must report, but otherwise we're basically just trying to create a more-informed market where prospectives know what they're getting into and are able to better evaluate which school is the best fit for them.

Applicants who use TLS are far more informed than those who don't, but you still need to do your own legwork to get the missing data once you know what's missing. UMaine needs to tell you how many grads were in FT jobs, how many were in permanent, who the employers were, and what were the reported salaries. The easiest and most useful way to do this is to just send you the lists they've already compiled, which looks like what UNH did. The separate salary list is done to protect individual and employer privacy, given that many people are uncomfortable having their peers learn their salaries and given that many small to mid-sized employers do not make their starting salaries public already.

Hopefully that's enough to motivate people to contact the school, but regardless g'luck to anyone starting up next month and I second what sunynp wrote about being proactive in contacting attorneys, even after you've enrolled.




Return to “Choosing a Law School”

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: Google Adsense [Bot], hwwong and 3 guests