texas man wrote:Here's my response (with the questioner's consent); keep in mind that these are my opinions that have developed from my experiences and observations (others may have had different experiences, and hence, different opinions):
Most of the info (that I've read) on TLS about getting jobs is either mildly or grossly inaccurate. Getting a job is a long process with many pieces (or gates), and it is important to understand the process. I have been through this process, so I'll do my best to briefly explain.
Posts on TLS generally give the impression that if you get great grades, you are golden. This is not true. Grades are just one of the criteria that are considered at the first "gate." As you will discover during OCI, most firms (mid to big) have a class-percentage ranking requirement. If you meet this requirement, then they will look at your cover letter and resume (and sometimes a writing sample) -- these have to be outstanding (you can be first in your class and not get an interview due to a bad cover letter or resume). Then, based on an applicant's total impression, they will decide who looks good on paper, and fill up their interview slots (usually 10-20). These are candidates that they consider qualified (on paper) to work at the firm.
I suppose this is where different experiences inform different opinions. Everybody on TLS who has been through OCI acknowledges the importance of the other "gates" you mention.
Based on my experience and observations, IMHO, some people at OCI will be "golden," others will have a relatively easy time, others will have to put in some decent work, others will sweat it out but land something, and, finally, some won't land anything at all. Fit, personality, cover letters, and writing samples are necessary conditions for any legal position. Perhaps you'll agree that all other things being equal, the majority of the time, higher grades at a higher ranked school will win out?
b.gump81 wrote:On top of that, I personally don’t think being in a small firm is as bad as you are making it out to be (I do agree that a recent grad shouldn’t go solo).
Acknowledging there are some great small firm gigs for new grads, based on my experience working with small firms, on balance, I don't think a small firm is a favorable destination for a new grad. It isn't big and mid-size firms posting $10/hr, contract attorney positions on job boards. You're also missing the fact that many of those new grads heading to small firms are in fact starting firms with classmates. A 2-5 attorney firm full of new grads is no better
b.gump81 wrote:first of all, the USAO doesn’t hire grads out of law school, so that argument fails right there. Secondly, schools (none that I have seen at least) even provide for such a break down, so you are basically saying my argument is speculation by arguing speculation of your own. The employment data I have seen breaks down the information to large categories such as government, academia, clerkship, private, etc., but besides breaking down the size of the firms, I haven’t seen employment data provide too much more in detail. If you have the break down of how many SMU grads went to the USAO or a litigation boutique out of the gate, then I would love to see that. Also, comparing the data for class of 2008, there isn’t much of a difference between the schools in most of these main overall categories. SMU had 2% for clerkships, 3% for academia, 4.9% for government, 1% for public interest, and 22.7% business. Tech had 4.5% clerkships, .5% for academia, 20.6% for government, 2.5% for public interest, and 17.1% business. I see your argument that we can’t really compare without knowing the exact jobs, but until you provide that information (which I don’t think many, if any, schools provide) then it is the best we have to go off of and calling my arguments speculation doesn’t change that.
1. An unsubstantiated conclusion is an unsubstantiated conclusion. It isn't somehow strengthened b/c you are going off of the best information available.
2. You are not going off of the best information available.
LST paints a clearer picture than the broad job categories you are using. Take clerkships. For c/o 2008, SMU claims 2.2% in clerkships, while Tech claims 4.5%. This would seem to suggest the schools are competing with each other; indeed, you could argue Tech is better. But then you go to LST and realize that SMU placed 2.2% of its class in art. III clerkship and Tech isn't reporting that data. Check out c/o 2009. I'm not going to bother to look it up, but I'm sure the broad job category of "clerkships" suggests that Tech and SMU are competing with each other. But, when you drill down in the data, SMU placed 4% of the class in art. III clerkships while Tech placed 1% of the class in art. III clerkships (12 to 2 in favor of SMU). Comparing the job category of "clerkships" it seems like Tech and SMU are competing with each. Once you actually compare the clerkships involved, it doesn't seem that way. That's why I'm telling you that taking broad job categories and the location of practicing attorneys is not enough to conclude that one school is competing with the other. Without knowing the jobs the students are actually going into, you can't possibly make an accurate judgment as to what is happening. That you're dealing with imperfect data should serve as a caution to drawing broad conclusions, not a justification for the conclusions b/c its the "best" you can do.
You can also use LST to paint a clearer picture of the private law firm job category as well. I'm not going to find the data, but I'll concede that Tech and SMU are placing a similar percentage of the class with private firms. Using the broad job category and bar data, I'm guessing you would want to argue that Tech and SMU are competing. But the salary data on LST paints a different picture.
Using LST c/o 2009 data, we can conclude that Tech had at least 33 grads in the private sector with a salary equal to or greater than $58,000/year.
(206*.214*.75). On a side note, this data is consistent with the information you provided for c/o of 2010. 2010 saw just 48 Tech grads at firms with 16+ attorneys. Some of the midsize firms those 48 students ended up at are likely to pay around $50k a year. Although the LST c/o 2009 salary data is incomplete, I do think it paints a fairly accurate picture once you take the c/o 2010 data into account.
Using LST c/o 2009 data, we can conclude that SMU had at least 155 grads in the private sector with a salary equal to or greater than $75,000/year.
Does any of this conclusively prove that SMU and Tech are not competitive with each other? Absolutely not. That data is insufficient for that conclusion. On the other hand, the data does cast serious doubt on the idea that SMU and Tech are competing with each other for jobs. From the salary and art. III data, it seems plausible to me that SMU and Tech grads are ending up in different types of jobs, even though the jobs may be grouped under the same broad job category (yes, a certain percentage of the Tech class will end up in the same jobs as a much larger percentage of the SMU class). I also believe the salary data suggests SMU grads are, on average, landing more desirable jobs.
This is why I am telling you that without knowing more information, you can't possibly use broad job categories and state bar data on the location of bar members to conclude that Tech is or is not competitive with any school. The only conclusion the data you are citing supports is that Tech grads have jobs in certain locations. As to whether that makes Tech grads competitive with [fill in the blank] grads, nobody can make that assertion without access to much better data.
b.gump81 wrote:Exactly the way it sounds: you can get an interview in these cities if you are high enough in the class.
As an SMU student I can get an interview in the same cities as a UT student for mostly the same jobs (I know b/c I ran into countless UT students on my callbacks). According to the NLJ Go to Law Schools list, UT placed just 10% more of its students in NLJ250 firms than SMU did. Using your logic SMU competes with UT, right?
I'm not trying to be an ass here. As much as I love SMU, I wouldn't use broad job categories and/or state bar data to suggest that SMU is competing with UT. I'm sure the overall job categories of the two schools look similar, and it appears that the difference in biglaw placement between UT/SMU is roughly the same as the difference between SMU/TTU biglaw placement. I, however, do not believe this suggests that SMU and UT are competing, mostly because the quality of the jobs open to UT students is, on balance, superior to the quality of jobs open to SMU students. Do you believe SMU is competitive with UT or do you believe that UT is clear a notch above SMU?
In fact, when you look at LST for context to the employment data, it becomes very clear that UT is clearly superior to SMU.
b.gump81 wrote:I’ll give you that academia and DOJ Honors are largely prestige based.
I think offers like that are the exception rather than the rule, and they point more to a situation like the judge hiring a clerk from their alma mater than it points to prestige hiring.
You missed the point: earlier, you said "non-biglaw jobs require less school prestige." I gave you examples of nonbiglaw jobs that care about prestige, and you seem to agree that there are non-biglaw jobs that care about school prestige. Your prior assertion was clearly wrong.
b.gump81 wrote:Again, youre attacking my claims as speculation with speculation of your own. Until you can give me a detailed breakdown of Texas schools, then we will never know. I also guess our ideas of what “competitive” means may be different, but I wouldn’t say I was being disingenuous. I was just providing the best information available and interpreting it the best I could, while I was also studying for class
I'm pointing out to you that the very limited data you are relying on does not support your conclusion. Not only that, there is some data out there (LST) that casts serious doubt on your conclusion.