Factors 0Ls think are important vs. reality

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for10s88
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Factors 0Ls think are important vs. reality

Postby for10s88 » Thu Jul 19, 2012 11:30 am

There is a thread already (http://www.top-law-schools.com/forums/viewtopic.php?f=1&t=152993) discussing factors we current law students now think are important. For this topic, I wanted to point out factors that 0Ls think are important that actually aren't. We should help dispel some reasons for attending a law school that shouldn't be considered at all. (I made a similar post in another thread, but that was more of a hijacking)

1. Reputation within a given field. This factor is a great way to convince yourself that the law school is better than its ranking suggests. Example: Vermont Law. Supposedly has the best Environmental Law program in the country, but it's still a TTT, and less than half of its graduates have long-term, full-time jobs within 9 months of graduation.

2. Special centers within the law school that sound interesting. I think it's a very rare occurrence that a firm has a policy of hiring out of these centers. Sure, they may be fun to work with while in school, but they have little bearing on your future employment and even less of a bearing on the quality of the law school.

3. "This law school focuses on practice, so that our attorneys graduate practice-ready!" I HATE this statement. It's what crap schools say every damn time. A large part of law school rankings factors in how present lawyers view the graduates of the schools. So law firms almost always view grads of the #20 school as more "practice-ready" than grads of the #90 school. You don't hear hiring partners say "I'm going with the Quinnipiac grad because they're so good at practical skills." They say "I'm going with the Northwestern grad because she's really smart."

4. Bar passage rates. Ugh. This does not reflect the quality of the education or the quality of the school in general! The school doesn't prepare you for the bar. The service you pay $2,000 for prepares you for the bar. And the 300 hours you spend studying after graduation. Who cares if 98% of your students pass the bar the first time when 55% of them are unemployed?!

5. Percentage of students receiving aid. This one can be useful, but only when compared with the average grant amount. Cooley has a 100% rate of giving students aid, but its average gift is about $3,000. Pathetic.

6. Proximity to your target market (as justification for terrible school). Look, if you want to work at a FIRM, you have to go to a highly-ranked school. If you're looking in a big market, the students from the top schools in the area and nationally will get all the spots. If you want to work in bumble____ county Michigan, then sure, go to the local TTTT there. Just don't think that if you try really hard and get #1 in your class at Brooklyn, then you'll surely get a job at Skadden! It might happen, but it's highly doubtful. I knew the #2 guy at Campbell, and he had no job prospects in any market. Ended up settling for a lower state-court "clerkship."

Anything I missed? What do you think are factors that 0Ls use to convince themselves to go to the wrong school?

kenji
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Re: Factors 0Ls think are important vs. reality

Postby kenji » Thu Jul 19, 2012 12:44 pm

.

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kalvano
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Re: Factors 0Ls think are important vs. reality

Postby kalvano » Thu Jul 19, 2012 12:45 pm

That seemed unnecessary. It's actually a pretty good list.

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rayiner
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Re: Factors 0Ls think are important vs. reality

Postby rayiner » Thu Jul 19, 2012 12:46 pm

Irrelevant distinctions in USNWR ranking. E.g. 47 versus 57.

kenji
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Re: Factors 0Ls think are important vs. reality

Postby kenji » Thu Jul 19, 2012 12:50 pm

kalvano wrote:That seemed unnecessary. It's actually a pretty good list.


Thats why I deleted it. Some aspects of the post come off whiny though.

timbs4339
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Re: Factors 0Ls think are important vs. reality

Postby timbs4339 » Thu Jul 19, 2012 12:54 pm

Advice from boomer attorneys who probably couldn't guess within 10K the current tuition at their alma mater.

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sunynp
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Re: Factors 0Ls think are important vs. reality

Postby sunynp » Thu Jul 19, 2012 12:57 pm

The idea that law schools are all the same because everyone ends up with a JD.

Relying on the anecdote of the one kid who did really well as a reason to go to a bad school

071816
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Re: Factors 0Ls think are important vs. reality

Postby 071816 » Thu Jul 19, 2012 12:58 pm

timbs4339 wrote:Advice from boomer attorneys who probably couldn't guess within 10K the current tuition at their alma mater.

LOL this

for10s88
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Re: Factors 0Ls think are important vs. reality

Postby for10s88 » Thu Jul 19, 2012 1:55 pm

chimp wrote:
timbs4339 wrote:Advice from boomer attorneys who probably couldn't guess within 10K the current tuition at their alma mater.

LOL this


Seconded. When a boomer attorney points to another boomer attorney in his firm as proof that graduates of TTTT do really well, even though 85% of the firm comes from the T14.

PolySuyGuy
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Re: Factors 0Ls think are important vs. reality

Postby PolySuyGuy » Thu Jul 19, 2012 2:22 pm

for10s88 wrote: 4. Bar passage rates. Ugh. This does not reflect the quality of the education or the quality of the school in general! The school doesn't prepare you for the bar. The service you pay $2,000 for prepares you for the bar. And the 300 hours you spend studying after graduation. Who cares if 98% of your students pass the bar the first time when 55% of them are unemployed?!



I think this is kind of misleading. If you can't pass the bar you can't be an attorney. Last summer Phoenix law had a 30+% bar passage rate. University of Arizona had a 90+% bar passage rate. ASU had a 80+% bar passage rate.
I think it is a reflection of the types of students the law school recruits and how well the students are prepared to study for the bar exam.

for10s88
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Re: Factors 0Ls think are important vs. reality

Postby for10s88 » Thu Jul 19, 2012 2:35 pm

PolySuyGuy wrote:
for10s88 wrote: 4. Bar passage rates. Ugh. This does not reflect the quality of the education or the quality of the school in general! The school doesn't prepare you for the bar. The service you pay $2,000 for prepares you for the bar. And the 300 hours you spend studying after graduation. Who cares if 98% of your students pass the bar the first time when 55% of them are unemployed?!



I think this is kind of misleading. If you can't pass the bar you can't be an attorney. Last summer Phoenix law had a 30+% bar passage rate. University of Arizona had a 90+% bar passage rate. ASU had a 80+% bar passage rate.
I think it is a reflection of the types of students the law school recruits and how well the students are prepared to study for the bar exam.


I really meant this as a bad justification to go to a worse law school, not a bad factor period. I have the 2009 numbers in front of me at the moment, and I wouldn't recommend ignoring the fact that NC-Central had an 82% bar passage rate while Campbell had a 98% passage rate. What I'm warning against is thinking that because Baylor has a 98.5% bar passage rate, that it is somehow a better decision than UT, which only has an 89% rate. UT is the better choice because it has far better employment numbers.

PolySuyGuy
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Re: Factors 0Ls think are important vs. reality

Postby PolySuyGuy » Thu Jul 19, 2012 2:43 pm

for10s88 wrote: What I'm warning against is thinking that because Baylor has a 98.5% bar passage rate, that it is somehow a better decision than UT, which only has an 89% rate. UT is the better choice because it has far better employment numbers.



Do you know what percentage of Baylor students and Texas students reported their bar results?

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1776
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Re: Factors 0Ls think are important vs. reality

Postby 1776 » Thu Jul 19, 2012 4:42 pm

"Feel" of the school- whether you would like your classmates. I feel like that was the dumbest thing I thought about.

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rayiner
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Re: Factors 0Ls think are important vs. reality

Postby rayiner » Thu Jul 19, 2012 4:45 pm

PolySuyGuy wrote:
for10s88 wrote: What I'm warning against is thinking that because Baylor has a 98.5% bar passage rate, that it is somehow a better decision than UT, which only has an 89% rate. UT is the better choice because it has far better employment numbers.



Do you know what percentage of Baylor students and Texas students reported their bar results?


It's not a self-reported figure.

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Scotusnerd
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Re: Factors 0Ls think are important vs. reality

Postby Scotusnerd » Thu Jul 19, 2012 4:48 pm

Whether a law school is religious or not.

I mean...seriously?

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nickb285
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Re: Factors 0Ls think are important vs. reality

Postby nickb285 » Thu Jul 19, 2012 5:26 pm

Scotusnerd wrote:Whether a law school is religious or not.

I mean...seriously?


Depends. If it's a school that just has a religious tradition, like most of them, then that's not really important. However, if it's a school like BYU, where the religion actually dictates both lifestyle off-campus and potential employment prospects, I'd say that's very important.

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swilson215
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Re: Factors 0Ls think are important vs. reality

Postby swilson215 » Thu Jul 19, 2012 5:31 pm

Scotusnerd wrote:Whether a law school is religious or not.

I mean...seriously?


lol THIS.

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CardinalLaw
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Re: Factors 0Ls think are important vs. reality

Postby CardinalLaw » Thu Jul 19, 2012 7:30 pm

Is the grading structure of the law school (i.e. letter grades vs. high pass/pass/fail systems) a legitimate factor to consider?

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piccolittle
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Re: Factors 0Ls think are important vs. reality

Postby piccolittle » Thu Jul 19, 2012 7:34 pm

CardinalLaw wrote:Is the grading structure of the law school (i.e. letter grades vs. high pass/pass/fail systems) a legitimate factor to consider?

Yes, if the HP/P/F system is at HYS. ;)

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CardinalLaw
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Re: Factors 0Ls think are important vs. reality

Postby CardinalLaw » Thu Jul 19, 2012 7:53 pm

piccolittle wrote:
CardinalLaw wrote:Is the grading structure of the law school (i.e. letter grades vs. high pass/pass/fail systems) a legitimate factor to consider?

Yes, if the HP/P/F system is at HYS. ;)


are those the only schools in the T14 that use that system?

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JamMasterJ
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Re: Factors 0Ls think are important vs. reality

Postby JamMasterJ » Thu Jul 19, 2012 8:03 pm

CardinalLaw wrote:Is the grading structure of the law school (i.e. letter grades vs. high pass/pass/fail systems) a legitimate factor to consider?

as a follow up, whether LRW is graded is important to consider

bobbyh1919
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Re: Factors 0Ls think are important vs. reality

Postby bobbyh1919 » Thu Jul 19, 2012 8:05 pm

1776 wrote:"Feel" of the school- whether you would like your classmates. I feel like that was the dumbest thing I thought about.


I agree that this in particular is hard to guess at and not worth considering, but "feel" in general should be considered (location, city vs. country, etc.). If you're gonna go through the most academically important year of your life, might as well do it at some place you're comfortable.

And my first thought to this thread was rankings. I would recommend applicants check out the attorney profiles at a few firms in their target markets. Get a feel for where those firms draw from and use that to your advantage.

Curious1
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Re: Factors 0Ls think are important vs. reality

Postby Curious1 » Fri Jul 20, 2012 10:15 am

CardinalLaw wrote:
piccolittle wrote:
CardinalLaw wrote:Is the grading structure of the law school (i.e. letter grades vs. high pass/pass/fail systems) a legitimate factor to consider?

Yes, if the HP/P/F system is at HYS. ;)


are those the only schools in the T14 that use that system?


Pretty sure Berkeley does this also.

FlanSolo
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Re: Factors 0Ls think are important vs. reality

Postby FlanSolo » Fri Jul 20, 2012 10:26 am

rayiner wrote:Irrelevant distinctions in USNWR ranking. E.g. 47 versus 57.


This, by far, is the most common misperception. I'd note it also goes the other way too though (i.e., difference between M and V)

Two other thoughts:

1. This list (obviously) assumes a candidate is focused exclusively on biglaw/prestigious jobs. This is most, but not at all, applicants.
2. The "feel" of a school definitely does matter if other factors are basically even

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lnoy
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Re: Factors 0Ls think are important vs. reality

Postby lnoy » Fri Jul 20, 2012 6:58 pm

PolySuyGuy wrote:
I think this is kind of misleading. If you can't pass the bar you can't be an attorney. Last summer Phoenix law had a 30+% bar passage rate. University of Arizona had a 90+% bar passage rate. ASU had a 80+% bar passage rate.
I think it is a reflection of the types of students the law school recruits and how well the students are prepared to study for the bar exam.


Where did you get these numbers? The number on Phoenix is lowest I've seen yet!




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