I am also surprised no one has jumped in here to say 250k+ debt for a 58% chance at biglaw is ludicrous. I am not that familiar with the ED process. Are you really stuck at sticker? Do you get to apply for need? Are you considered for any merit scholarships or does being ED preclude you?
Stealing Nova's format (although tweaking it):http://www.lstscorereports.com/?school=penn
•82.4% of graduates were known to be employed in long-term, full-time legal jobs. This figure includes no school-funded jobs.
•58% of graduates were working at firms with 101+ attorneys
•8% of graduates were underemployed.
Your chances at getting the job you need to service your absurd debt is better but not significantly better than a coin flip.
This is the kind of ass backward 0L thinking that I find ridiculous.
Side note...Sounds like going to law school might be wrong for you in general. "Don't care as long as it pays the debt" is the kind of mentality that turns half of America's lawyers into 50 year old grey-haired divorcee alcoholics. Do it because you want to, not because you don't care.
But either way I'll entertain your question because the poster I quoted is being even more absurd... Here's why:
Let's look at the breakdown:
(a) 83.9% Full Time long term legal jobs
(b) 9.1% FEDERAL CLERKSHIPS
(c) 8.1% (which you call underemployed) are pretty much all SHORT TERM legal jobs... see point 3 below.
So the 83.9% figure that you turned into 82.4% because "UP TO 1.5% may be employed by the school" is ridiculous for a few reasons:
1. 0% are employed by the school. I know because I go to Penn. There is one former student that is both not a professor and employed by the school, and that person graduated 4 years ago, worked for a few years, and CAME BACK to manage a program.
2. It misleads because it doesn't include the 9.1% of the class employed in FEDERAL CLERKSHIPS, which are taken by folks who EASILY could've gotten big law gigs with their grades.
3. It misleads because it doesn't include the 8.1% in (c), virtually all of which have taken either state clerkships (usually because they are gunning for some of the nations most prestigious DA/PD offices, where state trial level and appellate level clerkships are like GOLD for hiring), or because they have obtained a 2-year fellowship (think skadden fellows... EJW fellows, etc.) with prestigious PI organizations like the ACLU (which doesn't hire pre-bar) or because they have obtained a 2-year fellowship with prestigious PD offices (a la San Francisco).
Add 83.9 to 9.1 to 8.1 and you get 99.1%.
Next, let's address the fact that 69% of the 83.9% (aka 58% of the overall class) that are working in full time legal positions are working big law... to make the math easier, let's deal in integers... 58/84 we'll say. That leaves 26/84 that aren't doing big law.
(1) 6.2% are doing public interest according to LST. Don't think for a second that those who are doing public interest didn't want to. Some are working for the feds (DOJ, SEC, EPA, etc.), some are working at PD/DA/legal aid/immigrant rights/international etc. We came to law school with a passion, and that passion is for service. I would never take a corporate job, and neither would the vast majority of my public-interest minded classmates. My grades would get me a V20 if I so desired, but I don't. So now we're down to 20/84. Of those 20/84 many are doing the 3 year JD/MBA with Wharton, and going back into finance afterward. I can't put a number on it, but I'd guess 5-10% of the class. Let's go with 8%. Now we're down to 12/84. Of the remaining 12% of the class, some had cushy family gigs to begin with in smaller firms, and others had geographical preferences (family reasons or otherwise) that put them in places where they are working for firms with less than 101 attorneys. Some of those firms are boutique firms. You see where I'm going with this. The general consensus here is that you pretty much have to be a terrible interviewer and get bottom 10% grades (B minuses) in ALL your classes to not have a solid shot at a firm gig.
Now that I've put the antidote in the ridiculous TLS koolaid I want to reiterate that firm work sucks. Not many people really look forward to it. They look forward to the paycheck, and they look forward to lateraling out to a cushy in-house gig, or to building a nice nest-egg and then working for the government/PI. The few that are excited about it, that love finance, M&A, transactions, contracts etc. are going into it because they want to make partner. To each his own... I reserve the right to think that they are nuts, but hey, we all are. All I'm saying is analyze your motives. Life is short, and nobody will tell you that being an associate at a NLJ250 firm is living.