Lawquacious wrote:Yeah, I see what you mean re: GPA--you were referring to hiring cutoffs; I noticed that earlier but forgot, so some of my comments were misplaced.
But that is just one metric of hiring, and overall placement stats, including quality of firms placed into, is arguably a better measure (if accounting for clerkships), in which case I think there are generally significant distinctions between PENN and lower T-14, even if you can find limited--such as year-to-year--distinctions, or point to particular metrics--such as the firm GPA-cutoffs you referenced--where there may seem to be little-or-no difference. Even then it may be true that the distinctions between the schools aren't always strikingly obvious, but I believe that they are there.
The differences may not be as great as all the hype re: detailed ranking schemes (which I think is one of your points), but saying that there is not a significant difference between Penn and lower-T14 is inaccurate IMO, and I think it is ironic given how strongly you believe there is a massive gulf between CCN and HYS, even though raw numbers data doesn't always make this immediately obvious (I agree there is a gap there and would be hard pressed to argue otherwise, but I don't think it is the gaping hole you think it is and I also disagree that there is no distinction between Penn and lower-T14 as indicated here).
On the 0L/1L note, I agree in some regards these posters will not generally have the insight on employment topics that 2L/3Ls will, but I disagree that what is basically an ad hominem attack is ever ideal in terms of discrediting someone, except perhaps in cases where moral authority on a topic is a necessary condition of what is being asserted. And most employment stats are in fact widely made available, even if it is true that 0Ls and 1Ls can't understand how grim it is for some of us at top schools right now.
1. You are right that there is a difference in the "quality of firms" placement between say Penn and "lower" top 14s. But it's like I was saying earlier--the differences come into play for the students who land above the median. So yeah Davis Polk likes hiring from Penn more than GULC in the sense that they hire way more often from top 1/3 at Penn than they do top 1/3 at GULC. But the issue is this; that kind of difference shouldn't factor into someone's decision making process when they're talking going top 14 at sticker vs. strong regional in region they want to work for free. How Penn students at top 1/3 do vs. Cornell students at top 1/3 do at Simpson Thatcher is something you think about when you're looking at half scholly Cornell vs. 1/3 scholly NYU. You don't take on 250K debt for a better chance at landing a job at a firm that won't hire you from either school if you land below median. But again because so many people have this mentality of "I won't land below median" that's the sort of decision making process they make. They say "hmm I won't land below median regardless, but if I land in the top 1/3 at NYU I can get Simpson Thatcher whereas if I 'and top 1/3 at NU I will have to work at Mayer Brown!" Again, not the sort of decisionmaking you should be doing unless we're talking comparable debt loads. I'm not going to say anything about your comment about there being other metrics than how deep into a class employers are willing to go for evaluating placement. Because, honestly, I don't know what you're talking about. Maybe I'm misunderstanding something because really that should be the only consideration. It determine whether they hire you or not.
2. Unfortunately, HYS are a different ballgame. There really is a massive gulf between them and the rest of the top 14 in regards to how deep employers are willing to go. Now let me add the caveat of maybe what I think is a massive gulf and what you think is a massive gulf are 2 different things. Here's the sucky reality for those of us that attend top 14's other than HYS: if you're below median at HYS with ties to a particular market you will probably get a big firm job in that market. If you attend any other top 14 as a below median student and have ties to a market, you probably won't get a big firm job in that market. To me being below median at one school vs. another likely determining whether I will get the chance to work at a big firm in my home market is a massive gulf. And to clarify what I'm saying I'll provide some hypos. Take a student from SF who is below median at Harvard and wants to go to a big firm in SF. He/she will probably land a biglaw firm in SF if they hustle. Now take a below median student at NYU from SF; he she is highly likely to strike out with SF firms and not get a job in that market. Take a student from Georgia who attends Stanford and wants to work in a biglaw firm in Atlanta. Now take one from Atlanta who attends Columbia, but is below median and wants the same thing. He/She will probably strike out in Atlanta.
Now I know because a lot of people on here only care about whether they can get a firm job in NYC that isn't important. But even if that's all you care about your chances go from being very high to up in the air once you go from HYS to a lower ranked top 14. That's a very different set of circumstances than what happens when you attend Penn over NYU or Duke over Penn. The latter aren't "job vs. no job". Whereas the HYS vs. the rest of the top 14 is highly likely to be.
FTR: None of what I said about people being 1Ls or 0Ls was meant as an insult. I said that because those groups of people generally haven't seen the GPA hiring data and have not interviewed for jobs yet.
Some good points, although I think by focusing on all the risks of T14 schools you are discounting the risk of going to Emory if OP's goal is not to stay in GA. Even if it isn't, I do think Emory with full-ride plus beats T14 unless substantial discount (though not necessarily more than half depending on which T14 or T10 we are talking about). Emory is simply in a way different league, even if it is true that many T14 kids are struggling.
Re: HYS, yes those are the best law schools, but the extent that they are venerated here and considered in an entirely different class (at least re: H and S) is not fully consistent with the fact that some of those kids struggle to get the jobs they want too. None of those are 100% golden tickets IMO, except perhaps Yale. Even then there are plenty of ways to eff up a career.
Re: the GPA cut-offs, I don't know exactly the data you are referring to, but
(a) not all firms have hard floors;
(b) this is focusing only on biglaw, which is not the end-all-be-all of employment, and T14 will generally give much better secondary options than Emory, even if these take blood, sweat, and tears to get, especially for someone looking outside of GA;
(c) just because minimums are stated to be the same at two schools (or are) doesn't mean that one school won't provide better chances than the other at that firm;
(d) although the choice analysis shouldn't assume being above median when looking at T14 (which is a risk for prospective students) it also shouldn't assume below--the expected value equation involves both percentage of those who get biglaw and percentage who don't, and just because some end up in the no biglaw category doesn't mean it was a horrible risk for them to take in the first place;
(e) getting back to some of the nuances between T14 schools, any analysis that says a person below median is necessarily in trouble re: biglaw at PENN is probably not accurate, even if you could statistically say this fairly easily of GULC. The basic median analysis you are using is less effective when applied to some of the T14 schools than with others.