UT Austin vs. Michigan

(Rankings, Profiles, Tuition, Student Life, . . . )

UT Austin or Michigan

UT Austin
41
61%
Michigan
26
39%
 
Total votes: 67

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PunkedbyReality
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Re: UT Austin vs. Michigan

Postby PunkedbyReality » Fri Feb 22, 2013 5:33 am

somewhatwayward wrote:
PunkedbyReality wrote:I received scholarships of $15,000 per year and $18,000 per year from UT and Michigan respectively; this also goes much farther at UT for me because I have in-state tuition of $33,000. Based on this information and the total costs provided on the website, I have done net present value (NPV) analysis on the cost of attending. My numbers are below. Here are my assumptions:

Chances of getting $160K starting salary:
UT - %30
Michigan - %40
I simply assumed that if I don't get a BigLaw salary then I would take a public service job with a starting salary of 55K.

EXPECTED VALUE WITH AN 8-YEAR OUTLOOK:
UT Austin: $308, 041
Michigan: $290,280

The value of UT is higher because it will cost so much less, but Michigan is not far behind because it provides roughly a 10% better chance of getting $160K starting. If I don't get BigLaw, then Michigan will put me in a tricky debt situation. But, Michigan is also a stronger school with more legitimate national reach. National reach and other qualitative criteria like this are making the decision a hard one. I would ideally like national reach, a collegial environment, and a moderate/liberal culture.

Where would you go?


You are pretty off with some stuff here. This is kinda long so before I get into it, I want to say I am not advocating Mich over UT. I think you should negotiate with UT using the T14 acceptances/scholarships (if Mich gave you 15K, seems like UT should give more than 18K), and then go to UT and live with your parents to keep costs down as much as possible.

Now onto the issues....first, you can't assume a 55K/year salary (whether in PI or not) if you miss big law. The most recent numbers show that 2/3 of UT's class reported a salary with the 25th percentile of those who reported at 57K. This means that 57K is about the median salary out of UT, so about half the grads make less than that (while about 1/3 make almost 3x the amount - welcome to the craziness of legal hiring). You can quibble about whether 57K is the median or the 40th percentile or whatever, but the point remains that you have a close to 50% chance of less than 57K (and they are not all 55K jobs down to the 1st percentile - see peak at 40K on a bimodal salary distribution chart). There are several reasons I assumed that the 1/3 who don't report have low/no salaries. First, common sense and human nature suggest that the people who don't report a salary either don't have one or are embarrassed by how low it is. Also, schools are allowed to track down salaries for people who don't respond, and it's pretty easy to track down the person working in big law and figure out their salary, all online, while it is harder to find the grad working as a cashier at BestBuy since they don't bother putting them on the website, and their salaries aren't plastered all over the Intenet. Plus, the schools obviously have an incentive to track down every last big law grad, and the numbers will reflect that.

I'm sorry if I sound a little harsh because you seem more informed than the people who come traipsing on here asking whether they should go to Cardozo at sticker bc of the shot it will give them at big law and say 'oh yeah I'm like totally cool with a 70-80K mid law job or an ADA position in the Manhattan DA's office if big law doesn't work out.' But you said that yur chances of getting the 55K/year PI job were 1-(chance of big law), and that is flat out wrong. You are not accounting for the possibility that you get no full-time long-term JD-required job (at least 17% of UT's class had this outcome) or a PI job or small firm job that pays 40K. If you recognize that there is a not insignificant chance that you end up with no legal job or a 40K/year insurance defense gig, then you truly understand the worst outcome. Perhaps a better way to say it is a 55K/year PI job is a good outcome, not a fallback option.

Also, a small point, but UMich's 40% big law is 33% more than UT's 30%, not 10%. 10% more would be if Mich was at 33% big law at which point we would all say they are essentially equivalent. I don't think this means you should go to Mich, but just sayin'....you're confirming the dreaed stereotype that law students are bad at math :D

Anyway, you're not in a terrible place, but think of these offers as the starting point for negotiation. Schools are going to be petty desperate this year come May with the gigantic drop in applicants. It is completely a students' market, so don't sell yourself short. Maximizing this advantage may require hardball negotiating where you basically (nicely) say I'd love to attend but it is not financially feasible for me at this price so I am withdrawing. I think this year that tactic will result in an increased offer pretty frequently. Obviously it is risky since the school could say 'fine, too bad.' But that is what I would do if I were applying now. If you think you can squeeze a few more points out of the LSAT, do it by all means. If you bumped your score in June you could go to UT and ask for more money or you could decide to reapply next year.


I wasn't sure exactly how much valuable feedback I'd get in posting this, but after people have taken the time to look critically at my situation and respond, it's proven valuable and makes me wish that I would have been more engaged with TLS sooner. Thanks for taking the time.

For your first point, I think I am leaning towards UT. And I think you just mistyped the numbers because I'm getting 15K from UT and 18K from Michigan. But, since I'm a Texas resident, UT's tuition for me is only 33K, which means I'll only be paying 18K per year for Texas. Whereas, Michigan's non-resident tuition is 51K which, despite the 18K being greater, would leave me paying 33K per year. And this is where the negotiating part might get sticky in my mind, because I'm thinking UT must realize that 15K from them, compared to Michigan's 18k, still means it significantly cheaper for me to attend UT.

I agree with you that my assumption that it would be big law or PI/55K is not, by any means, the most accurate way to predict what I will make after law school. I think this is the case because: 1) I didn't take into account the 11% of graduates who end up unemployed or still going to school (I genuinely thought unemployment was less likely and didn't look closely), and 2) because the 59% of graduates who are not making 160K or unemployed/in school, are not accurately represented by the arbitrary salary of 55K. I knew that this was a very crude assumption when I made the model, but I made it because I thought it might be an accurate reflection of my law school options. In other words, I was assuming that, since I would be fighting with almost all the other most-capable students, then I would have the same chance of getting BigLaw that everyone would have. And if I didn't get BigLaw, I was assuming that it was pretty much certain that I would go into PI rather seamlessly and make about 55K. However, this was a model with A LOT of subjectivity and assumption, and one that I recognize was not born purely from looking at the numbers as you've rightly suggested would be the best way to objectively make predictions.

Since only 74% or roughly 2/3 of employed graduates reported their salaries, I agree that the true median salary for employed graduates is surely lower than the reported median of $82,500. But, I don't think it's 57K. Not to quibble, but for this to be the case, it would require 87 of the 89 students who did not report their salaries to be making less than 57K (then 50% of the 382 total graduates would be making less than 57). It's possible, but pretty unlikely because 39 of those 89 who didn't report their salary would have firm jobs, and I want to think that most of those are making over 57K. I agree with the point though, and because you pointed this out, I'm noticing how optimistic the depiction of employment data is at first glance. I would even say the median is closer to 57K than it is to the reported median. It's shitty how misleading this could be.

Like I said though, I recognize that I did not model accurately the salary-related outcome if I don't get BigLaw. Actually, therein lies the tricky part in this process. One thing I do know is that I've got roughly a 30% chance at 160K. As far as the other 70%'s of graduates go, I guess the next surest thing is that roughly 11% of the total graduates will have a salary of 0, either because they're going to more school or unemployed. Then, for the remaining 59% percent of graduates, it's hard to know how much you'll make. There's really no way to model it because of what could be happening with the unreported graduates and because they don't show the raw data by salary. After your post I've thought about the best way to model it, but there's just a lot of uncertainty. Either way I'll be considering the downside more now though.

I think a lot of it will come down to negotiating. So we'll see how it goes. Maybe even another LSAT, who knows. Thanks again for taking the time to respond.

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NinerFan
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Re: UT Austin vs. Michigan

Postby NinerFan » Fri Feb 22, 2013 9:58 am

WhatOurBodiesAreFor wrote:
Nelson wrote:
WhatOurBodiesAreFor wrote:I refuse to believe that it is more than a very rare occurrence that a hard-working, sociable T14 grad ends up in the continuous stream of low-paying, very undesirable positions

...

Are you telling me that there is 10% of a T10 class that worked as hard as everyone else, has prior work experience, is flexible, and is sociable, yet will see a career of miserable shitlaw?

10%? Much more than that will fail to get jobs that will make the cost/benefit work for sticker price. Do you really think that people strike out at OCI because they didn't work hard enough and weren't "flexible" (whatever that means)? Please. Everyone at a T14 is "sociable" and has enough work experience to get through an interview. The fact of the matter is that a big chunk of the class at a T14 will have roughly median grades and only a toss up chance at a job that will pay for sticker debt.


Answer my first question. Is there 10% of a T10 class that is headed for a terrible career by no fault of their own? Cost/Benefit analysis was not my question. People can live frugally if Biglaw doesn't work.

All kinds of people strike out because they are socially inept and/or have no prior work experience. Also plenty of people are no-offered because they limited their search too much and were too picky (not "flexible").

And you don't go bankrupt if you miss Biglaw. If you did, 40% of lower T14 grads would be bankrupt by your logic. What happens? LRAP; other loan assistance programs; or you live frugally. There is NOT "a toss up chance at a job that will (not sentence you to bankruptcy)"


Are you in law school right now? If you're not and you seriously believe this, I'm concerned.

Yes, this shit happens. Good god. Just look at the post-employment fellowships. Most of the t-14 is doing it. I will say that they are not as egregiously bad as lower ranking schools, where you hear stories of graduates working for the school to answer phones or do non-legal or shitty legal crap for 10-15 bucks an hour.

In the light most favorable to the schools, the post-employment fellowships fills a gap where, after studying for the bar, graduates who have missed out on big law, clerkships, and other jobs that hire graduates who have not passed the bar, unemployed graduates can work somewhere while awaiting bar results. It's a small portion of the class that does this, but they exist in significant numbers, as evidenced by the small but still significant number of people at my T-14 job hunting. Did I take a scientific poll? No. But you hear things and I can name at least 5-10 people off the top of my damn head who are unemployed, looking, and frankly, pretty scared. These are not awkward social twits, nor do they have grades of DOOOOOM.

The schools claim that these fellowships lead to offers of employment, valuable experience, networking, etc. Obviously, they also boost the school's employment scores. The cynical student will say that this boosting is the primary reason it's done. The more idealistic student will say that it's just a happy side benefit of the real goal: to help their students find jobs.

I tend to think that there are good intentions behind it, at least for my school. My school claims that most of these graduates find employment via their fellowship program. But, they don't release any statistics or specific data about it. That worries me and makes me more skeptical. I can't endorse such programs like this without schools being more open about what happens to the fellowship recipients after it's over.

Getting back to the point, you claim that it's inconceivable that 10%+ of a T-14's graduating class "ends up in the continuous stream of low-paying, very undesirable positions"

You could probably look through NALP reports from the last year to find the numbers at each school. Campos has written about several times, singling out Michigan in particular.

http://taxprof.typepad.com/taxprof_blog ... ools-.html

^ Not every one of those kids is going to end up in a shitty job. But if there are such rosy outcomes for even most of the participants, why wouldn't the schools trumpet it and release info about it? For example "40 (randomly chosen number) students received our XYZ post-graduate fellowship and 34 turned it into full-time, long-term offers of employment!" etc

Do you believe that right now there are 2x as many law graduates graduating as there are law jobs? If so, you must realize that this means that many children with JD's are not going to get to be lawyers. These children will disproportionately be from the "lesser" schools. But the T-14 is not immune. It is not a rare occurrence that a t-14 graduate is underemployed and struggling to pay back loans and pay expenses. It's not a common occurrence. Personally, I think the number is probably 10-15%. But it happens.

OP, based on your last few posts, it seems like you acknowledge now that you can't simply switch from Biglaw track to PI track (not easily anyways) and that unemployment/underemployment is a very real possibility at both schools, so kudos to you for actually being able to take advice. Too many times, people come on these forums looking for acknowledgement of what they already believe and ignore contrary advice.

WhatOurBodiesAreFor
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Re: UT Austin vs. Michigan

Postby WhatOurBodiesAreFor » Fri Feb 22, 2013 11:50 am

NinerFan wrote:
WhatOurBodiesAreFor wrote:
Nelson wrote:
WhatOurBodiesAreFor wrote:I refuse to believe that it is more than a very rare occurrence that a hard-working, sociable T14 grad ends up in the continuous stream of low-paying, very undesirable positions

...

Are you telling me that there is 10% of a T10 class that worked as hard as everyone else, has prior work experience, is flexible, and is sociable, yet will see a career of miserable shitlaw?

10%? Much more than that will fail to get jobs that will make the cost/benefit work for sticker price. Do you really think that people strike out at OCI because they didn't work hard enough and weren't "flexible" (whatever that means)? Please. Everyone at a T14 is "sociable" and has enough work experience to get through an interview. The fact of the matter is that a big chunk of the class at a T14 will have roughly median grades and only a toss up chance at a job that will pay for sticker debt.


Answer my first question. Is there 10% of a T10 class that is headed for a terrible career by no fault of their own? Cost/Benefit analysis was not my question. People can live frugally if Biglaw doesn't work.

All kinds of people strike out because they are socially inept and/or have no prior work experience. Also plenty of people are no-offered because they limited their search too much and were too picky (not "flexible").

And you don't go bankrupt if you miss Biglaw. If you did, 40% of lower T14 grads would be bankrupt by your logic. What happens? LRAP; other loan assistance programs; or you live frugally. There is NOT "a toss up chance at a job that will (not sentence you to bankruptcy)"


Are you in law school right now? If you're not and you seriously believe this, I'm concerned.

Yes, this shit happens. Good god. Just look at the post-employment fellowships. Most of the t-14 is doing it. I will say that they are not as egregiously bad as lower ranking schools, where you hear stories of graduates working for the school to answer phones or do non-legal or shitty legal crap for 10-15 bucks an hour.

In the light most favorable to the schools, the post-employment fellowships fills a gap where, after studying for the bar, graduates who have missed out on big law, clerkships, and other jobs that hire graduates who have not passed the bar, unemployed graduates can work somewhere while awaiting bar results. It's a small portion of the class that does this, but they exist in significant numbers, as evidenced by the small but still significant number of people at my T-14 job hunting. Did I take a scientific poll? No. But you hear things and I can name at least 5-10 people off the top of my damn head who are unemployed, looking, and frankly, pretty scared. These are not awkward social twits, nor do they have grades of DOOOOOM.

The schools claim that these fellowships lead to offers of employment, valuable experience, networking, etc. Obviously, they also boost the school's employment scores. The cynical student will say that this boosting is the primary reason it's done. The more idealistic student will say that it's just a happy side benefit of the real goal: to help their students find jobs.

I tend to think that there are good intentions behind it, at least for my school. My school claims that most of these graduates find employment via their fellowship program. But, they don't release any statistics or specific data about it. That worries me and makes me more skeptical. I can't endorse such programs like this without schools being more open about what happens to the fellowship recipients after it's over.

Getting back to the point, you claim that it's inconceivable that 10%+ of a T-14's graduating class "ends up in the continuous stream of low-paying, very undesirable positions"

You could probably look through NALP reports from the last year to find the numbers at each school. Campos has written about several times, singling out Michigan in particular.

http://taxprof.typepad.com/taxprof_blog ... ools-.html

^ Not every one of those kids is going to end up in a shitty job. But if there are such rosy outcomes for even most of the participants, why wouldn't the schools trumpet it and release info about it? For example "40 (randomly chosen number) students received our XYZ post-graduate fellowship and 34 turned it into full-time, long-term offers of employment!" etc

Do you believe that right now there are 2x as many law graduates graduating as there are law jobs? If so, you must realize that this means that many children with JD's are not going to get to be lawyers. These children will disproportionately be from the "lesser" schools. But the T-14 is not immune. It is not a rare occurrence that a t-14 graduate is underemployed and struggling to pay back loans and pay expenses. It's not a common occurrence. Personally, I think the number is probably 10-15%. But it happens.

OP, based on your last few posts, it seems like you acknowledge now that you can't simply switch from Biglaw track to PI track (not easily anyways) and that unemployment/underemployment is a very real possibility at both schools, so kudos to you for actually being able to take advice. Too many times, people come on these forums looking for acknowledgement of what they already believe and ignore contrary advice.


You think because I disagree with you I am ignoring you? That's really annoying. Sure, I'm clearly not as informed as you guys who are in law school, but I do have an argument that you guys can't (or haven't yet) fully tear apart.

That said, I'm glad you started to quantified the "bad outcomes" graduates instead of just preaching doom like everyone else. These students who experience bad luck have motivation to come here and preach, while others don't. So, if you don't add this sort of caveat, comments like those of somewhatwayward become next to useless - everyone knows that there are at least a few students who get unlucky.

I'll back off now because my point is getting drowned out. Most of you guys are also in school and I'm not so your opinion deservedly holds more weight. I really just wish all of you anti-sticker people will clearly acknowledge that bad outcomes are uncommon and stop exaggerating and terrifying prospective students unduly. It's misinformation. In that respect, TLS kind of becomes the Fox News of the legal community.

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Nelson
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Re: UT Austin vs. Michigan

Postby Nelson » Fri Feb 22, 2013 12:07 pm

WhatOurBodiesAreFor wrote:Answer my first question. Is there 10% of a T10 class that is headed for a terrible career

I'm not sure why you keep saying "terrible." Certainly at least 10% of the class will end up on a career trajectory that they did not desire or intend.
WhatOurBodiesAreFor wrote:by no fault of their own?

Yes, that's the nature of a process that relies almost entirely on an OCI period where plenty of things can go wrong that are out of your control. If you really think the difference between those who get jobs and those who don't is merit, you're going to have a hard time looking some people in your class in the eye 3L year.
WhatOurBodiesAreFor wrote: Cost/Benefit analysis was not my question.

Cost benefit analysis is the only thing that matters. I don't see why you would make this decision in a vacuum. OP would certainly begin to regret not doing cost benefit analysis as soon as his first massive loan disbursed.
WhatOurBodiesAreFor wrote:People can live frugally if Biglaw doesn't work.

I'm getting flamed right? Michigan with a $15k scholarship puts OP at at least $200k once the interest capitalizes at graduation. That much debt requires a six figure salary to avoid IBR. And anyone that thinks IBR is a good deal is talking in the abstract and not thinking about how it would actually feel to have student debt hanging over their head in massive amounts for 25 years.
WhatOurBodiesAreFor wrote:All kinds of people strike out because they are socially inept and/or have no prior work experience. Also plenty of people are no-offered because they limited their search too much and were too picky (not "flexible").

You walk through the halls of your school surrounded by so many mouthbreathers and neophytes? I've been cynical about the student bodies of law schools before, but even I wouldn't be so hard on my peers. You should definitely reach out to prospectives since it seems like your characterization of the student body might have a negative effect on the social scene.
WhatOurBodiesAreFor wrote:And you don't go bankrupt if you miss Biglaw. If you did, 40% of lower T14 grads would be bankrupt by your logic. What happens? LRAP; other loan assistance programs; or you live frugally. There is NOT "a toss up chance at a job that will (not sentence you to bankruptcy)"

Your critical assumption is that all of those people are happy with their decision to expend a huge amount of money for a position they didn't want, and a degree that they may very well have to play down so they can work in a totally different field.
WhatOurBodiesAreFor wrote: These students who experience bad luck have motivation to come here and preach, while others don't

This is just a pernicious myth. I think the 3L and beyond posters on TLS are actually a decent cross section of the legal community today: good outcomes and bad, high debt loads and low. The idea that all of the posters are bitter burnouts with chips on their shoulder trying to dissuade 0Ls from the huge opportunity that is paying $250k for a law degree is simply untrue. The only reason why the idea of paying this much of professional school has any traction whatsoever is because society hasn't caught up to the fact that a law degree isn't an instant ticket to models and bottles any more (if it ever was).

I'm not sure why you keep throwing this data claim back on those of us who disagree with you. The data shows a huge chunk of the class that was going to big firms before 2009 that now is not. The data shows that many of the people in that chunk either don't report their placement and salary to their career services or their career services obscures the information. I'm not going to report anecdotes to you that will just get shot down, so maybe as a current student you should go talk to some of the 3Ls at your school yourself.

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Nelson
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Re: UT Austin vs. Michigan

Postby Nelson » Fri Feb 22, 2013 12:08 pm

BigZuck wrote:hockey bro avy who likes to argue but then avoids main points and flees the thread

Oh man I got schooled.

OP should go to UT.

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Re: UT Austin vs. Michigan

Postby WhatOurBodiesAreFor » Fri Feb 22, 2013 1:04 pm

Cost/benefit analysis is not all the matters to all prospective students. Many if not most people go to a particular school for intangible reasons that are hard to quantify as benefits.

Also, almost all of the "facts" you just threw at me were anecdotes, so I can shoot those down too.

Do you really believe that the posters on this thread represent a good sample of T14 law graduates? Absurd. By this logic, 90% of T14 graduates would be unemployed.

Also, I'm 0L. How many times have I said that? I'm going to make this kind of decision soon, which is why I'm here. Read my posts, dude.

-

You guys make it so hard to digress. I'm really gonna try this time.

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Rahviveh
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Re: UT Austin vs. Michigan

Postby Rahviveh » Fri Feb 22, 2013 1:32 pm

Also, I don't know how UT does, but I would imagine the placement rate (or ability) for Mich is better than 40%. We'll have a better idea when the new NLJ numbers come out.

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Richie Tenenbaum
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Re: UT Austin vs. Michigan

Postby Richie Tenenbaum » Fri Feb 22, 2013 2:01 pm

ChampagnePapi wrote:Also, I don't know how UT does, but I would imagine the placement rate (or ability) for Mich is better than 40%. We'll have a better idea when the new NLJ numbers come out.


Yeah, I think OP is relying on market-crash numbers. UT is not going to be able to match Mich's placement numbers, but I would be surprised if UT didn't have 40%+ when combining firms 100+ and Art. III for my class's numbers (2013). (That final number really should also include Texas Supreme Court too--that's pretty much on par with federal district court clerkships with Texas firms.)

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somewhatwayward
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Re: UT Austin vs. Michigan

Postby somewhatwayward » Fri Feb 22, 2013 4:18 pm

WhatOurBodiesAreFor wrote:Cost/benefit analysis is not all the matters to all prospective students. Many if not most people go to a particular school for intangible reasons that are hard to quantify as benefits.

Also, almost all of the "facts" you just threw at me were anecdotes, so I can shoot those down too.

Do you really believe that the posters on this thread represent a good sample of T14 law graduates? Absurd. By this logic, 90% of T14 graduates would be unemployed.

Also, I'm 0L. How many times have I said that? I'm going to make this kind of decision soon, which is why I'm here. Read my posts, dude.

-

You guys make it so hard to digress. I'm really gonna try this time.


That a noticeable minority of T14ers have a bad outcome is not anecdotal. You can see it in the un/underemployment stats compiled by rayiner and LST. For Mich, for example, it appears to be at least 10-25% but we don't know how many of the employed grads are actually doing what they came to law school for so it is hard to estimate. It is not anecdotal, though. This proportion may be lower for c/o 2013, but big law hiring receded for c/o 2014 so who knows where hiring is heading?

Before I go further let me dispel the idea that I am a bitter jobless law student. I had lots of employment choices and am going to a well-regarded firm, but I am in the top 20-30% at CLS and have some other good softs. But as I have learned more about law schools and legal hiring, I have become more and more skeptical about the way things are structured now, regardless of whether I benefitted from the system. I'm actually in the process of writing an article about cognitive biases and respective students' decisions to go to law school, so I have read a lot about the psychology of it. From a rational perspective, it would seem crazy to borrow 200K+ for a 1/3 chance at a job, but every year thousands of smart people Mae that decision bc they are operating under the influence of a variety of cognitive biases that prevent them from recognizing that they can't guarantee themselves a good outcome. What I do on this board is go around and point out to people when those cognitive biases are at play. For example, you said:

WhatOurBodiesAreFor wrote:I'm going to take the gamble. If I put everything I have into it I figure there is only a very, very small chance I don't land a good job right out of graduation. Even if I do have trouble finding a job, it's not like the world will end; there will always be a way forward.


This is exceptionalism. You inexplicably believe that you are immune to the 10-25% (more?) chance of a bad outcome. But why is your "putting everything into it" going to top everyone else's putting everything into it? that is a normal feeling to have. People tend to overestimate the control they have and overestimate their own abilities (apparently while underestimating the abilities and social skills of their fellow classmates who are typically equally smart and social).

Another example is your assertion that because no one is offering you evidence of bad T14 outcomes satisfactory to you (despite the stats) that we must be wrong. A rational person planning to take out 200K+ would make cautious assumptions in the face of uncertainty. I suppose this could be semantics. If you think 25% of the class in a bad outcome = uncommon, maybe we are ships passing in the night.

We have to be Fox News around here because we are fighting serious irrationality (confirmation bias, asymmetric skepticism, exceptionalism, etc).

None of this means don't go to law school. But also don't delude yourself. The people who end up un/underemployed from T14s aren't asocial or unmotivated for the most part. what separates us from them is basically luck.

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WokeUpInACar
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Re: UT Austin vs. Michigan

Postby WokeUpInACar » Fri Feb 22, 2013 4:29 pm

Is it really *that* crazy an assumption that someone who is above both of a school's medians and works extremely hard won't be in the bottom 15% of the class?

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philosoraptor
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Re: UT Austin vs. Michigan

Postby philosoraptor » Fri Feb 22, 2013 5:00 pm

WokeUpInACar wrote:Is it really *that* crazy an assumption that someone who is above both of a school's medians and works extremely hard won't be in the bottom 15% of the class?
It's an incorrect and dangerous assumption.

First, you're competing against people whose numbers are similar to yours, regardless of the school's median. A 168 on the LSAT doesn't mean you have a better chance of getting a job than someone with a 166, even if the school's median happens to be 167. Also it's practically impossible to compare college GPAs in a meaningful way.

Second, everyone works hard, despite some people's posturing one way or the other. You don't get into schools like UT or Michigan without knowing how to work hard and how important it is.

Third, everyone is on a curve, so there's no such thing as working hard in a vacuum: You can work the hardest in the class, get 90% of what the professor wanted you to mention on the exam, and still get a C if everyone else got more than 90%.

Fourth, although 1L grades are crazy important, they aren't the be-all, end-all. People with good grades strike out at OCI, and people with low grades talk themselves into jobs. It happens. Don't think the top 85% of the class automatically gets a job and everyone else gets nothing; that's not how it works.

I understand that if you want to be a lawyer, at some point you just have to close your eyes and take a risk, but you have to do what you can to minimize that risk. That does not include assuming you won't be at the bottom of the class if you're above both medians and think you'll "work extremely hard."

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Re: UT Austin vs. Michigan

Postby WhatOurBodiesAreFor » Fri Feb 22, 2013 5:37 pm

somewhatwayward wrote:...I'm actually in the process of writing an article about cognitive biases and respective students' decisions to go to law school, so I have read a lot about the psychology of it...


Back off, guys. He's writing a paper.

Dude, it's really annoying you are telling me how I feel. I genuinely think that, if medians were deteremined by a person's raw, actual intelligence, I'd be below median at every top school. But I do know I will work as hard as anyone and will therefore receive some sort of boost. (Note: I'm not saying that I will be at worst median because I work hard. I am just saying that if I end up not "getting it" I will still be above bottom of my class because I won't ever stop working hard.) This is not exceptionalism. I don't value myself and my opinions any higher than anyone else's - and certainly not as high as you apparently regard yourself.

I say "even if I do have a bad outcome, there will be a way forward" and you say I fall victim to exceptionalism and don't account for the possibility that I have a bad outcome. What? I'm saying I do plan to take the gamble and if I do happen to get unlucky, I will find a way forward.

Listen to me and read a little more into what I'm saying. Sure, there are people who fall victim to exceptionalism but if you stopped reading what you want to read in my text you'd see that this is not the case with me. You're way too quick to ascribe up there in your ivory tower.

Also, I major'd in psychology and I know exactly what I am doing and not doing.

ETA: Look, I know I'm getting overly-angered by this and my thoughts lack a bit of cogency. I also realize that your points need to be heard more than mine. It's just annoying and certainly borderline-misinformation to keep on preaching. The anti-sticker narrative is almost uniformly established here on TLS. Anyone who comes here will see that they should be very hesitant to pay sticker at just any law school. More people like you need to present the facts and stop speaking in hyperbole trying to get your point across. Then stop.
Last edited by WhatOurBodiesAreFor on Fri Feb 22, 2013 5:55 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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BruceWayne
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Re: UT Austin vs. Michigan

Postby BruceWayne » Fri Feb 22, 2013 5:54 pm

WhatOurBodiesAreFor wrote:
somewhatwayward wrote:...I'm actually in the process of writing an article about cognitive biases and respective students' decisions to go to law school, so I have read a lot about the psychology of it...


Back off, guys. He's writing a paper.

Dude, it's really annoying you are telling me how I feel. I genuinely think that, if medians were deteremined by a person's raw, actual intelligence, I'd be below median at every top school. But I do know I will work as hard as anyone and will therefore receive some sort of boost. (Note: I'm not saying that I will be at worst median because I work hard. I am just saying that if I end up not "getting it" I will still be above bottom of my class because I won't ever stop working hard.) This is not exceptionalism. I don't value myself and my opinions any higher than anyone else's - and certainly not as high as you apparently regard yourself.

I say "even if I do have a bad outcome, there will be a way forward" and you say I fall victim to exceptionalism and don't account for the possibility that I have a bad outcome. What? I'm saying I do plan to take the gamble and if I do happen to get unlucky, I will find a way forward.

Listen to me and read a little more into what I'm saying. Sure, there are people who fall victim to exceptionalism but if you stopped reading what you want to read in my text you'd see that this is not the case with me. You're way too quick to ascribe up there in your ivory tower.

Also, I major'd in psychology and I know exactly what I am doing and not doing.


Let me relay it to you in a non ivory tower fashion. Even though you have no personal experience in legal employment/hiring, and you have never gotten law school grades, you think that you are 100 percent certain that: 1. You will get grades high enough to guarantee employment or 2. You will be able to pull of some sort of desirable job because you will attend a top 14. Thus, for you sticker debt is worth it. You also believe this in the face of people with vastly more personal experience with the issue, even 3Ls who were in your position a few years ago, are telling you otherwise. Although, you really don't know anything about what you're talking about, you're very confident in what you're saying. Basically you are at best--exceptionally naive--and at worst a fool. The sad thing is that you are by no means alone.

Many 0Ls seem to think that they totally understand what law school, legal hiring, and the current legal market is like. For starters, one key thing that the posters talking to you haven't mentioned, but many know and that almost completely crushes your logic, is that almost no non biglaw legal employers like hiring straight from law school. What this means is that if you miss the biglaw boat, you are suddenly in a position where you are almost completely locked out of full time paid entry level legal employment.

It's one thing to just want to be a lawyer and not care about the cost or the risk. That's fine. But to argue from a point of ignorance about what that actually entails and to try to tell others who know far more than you about this that they are wrong is absurd.

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WokeUpInACar
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Re: UT Austin vs. Michigan

Postby WokeUpInACar » Fri Feb 22, 2013 6:05 pm

philosoraptor wrote:
WokeUpInACar wrote:Is it really *that* crazy an assumption that someone who is above both of a school's medians and works extremely hard won't be in the bottom 15% of the class?
It's an incorrect and dangerous assumption.

First, you're competing against people whose numbers are similar to yours, regardless of the school's median. A 168 on the LSAT doesn't mean you have a better chance of getting a job than someone with a 166, even if the school's median happens to be 167. Also it's practically impossible to compare college GPAs in a meaningful way.

Second, everyone works hard, despite some people's posturing one way or the other. You don't get into schools like UT or Michigan without knowing how to work hard and how important it is.

Third, everyone is on a curve, so there's no such thing as working hard in a vacuum: You can work the hardest in the class, get 90% of what the professor wanted you to mention on the exam, and still get a C if everyone else got more than 90%.

Fourth, although 1L grades are crazy important, they aren't the be-all, end-all. People with good grades strike out at OCI, and people with low grades talk themselves into jobs. It happens. Don't think the top 85% of the class automatically gets a job and everyone else gets nothing; that's not how it works.

I understand that if you want to be a lawyer, at some point you just have to close your eyes and take a risk, but you have to do what you can to minimize that risk. That does not include assuming you won't be at the bottom of the class if you're above both medians and think you'll "work extremely hard."

I'm aware of most of these things. While there is not much meaningful difference between a 168 and a 166, there is between say, a 170 and a 164. 164 is UT's 25th median. Now obviously each person's case is different, but on average 170s will be more likely to get jobs. Same with GPA as well. Also, EVERYONE works hard? I live with 5 UT law students right now and I can say that is categorically false. Further, I am pretty certain that at every law school there is a not insignificant group of students who are simply not smart enough, not prepared for law school, or who just aren't willing to put in the work (relative to their peers of course). And these students are USUALLY not above both medians when entering law school.

I have been around TLS for a while and I understand the nature of law school grading, and I'm not saying that anyone is guaranteed top 25%, median, or even top 2/3, I'm just saying that people with OP's credentials will almost never end up in the bottom 10-15%.

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Tiago Splitter
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Re: UT Austin vs. Michigan

Postby Tiago Splitter » Fri Feb 22, 2013 6:21 pm

WokeUpInACar wrote:While there is not much meaningful difference between a 168 and a 166, there is between say, a 170 and a 164. 164 is UT's 25th median. Now obviously each person's case is different, but on average 170s will be more likely to get jobs. Same with GPA as well. Also, EVERYONE works hard? I live with 5 UT law students right now and I can say that is categorically false. Further, I am pretty certain that at every law school there is a not insignificant group of students who are simply not smart enough, not prepared for law school, or who just aren't willing to put in the work (relative to their peers of course). And these students are USUALLY not above both medians when entering law school.

I have been around TLS for a while and I understand the nature of law school grading, and I'm not saying that anyone is guaranteed top 25%, median, or even top 2/3, I'm just saying that people with OP's credentials will almost never end up in the bottom 10-15%.

Keep in mind that 1L grades matter far more than those of any other year, and you just don't get that many grades during 1L year. At my school, I'll have 7 grades when I go through OCI. Just seven, each of which is determined by one final exam. So if you get sick, or you misread a question, or your professor just doesn't like your answer for whatever reason, your GPA can be sunk rather quickly. Fortunately for me, my school makes anything below a B discretionary, but at schools where professors routinely give out C's (whether by choice or mandate) you really are at the whim of the system.

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somewhatwayward
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Re: UT Austin vs. Michigan

Postby somewhatwayward » Fri Feb 22, 2013 8:05 pm

WhatOurBodiesAreFor wrote:
somewhatwayward wrote:...I'm actually in the process of writing an article about cognitive biases and respective students' decisions to go to law school, so I have read a lot about the psychology of it...


Back off, guys. He's writing a paper.

Dude, it's really annoying you are telling me how I feel. I genuinely think that, if medians were deteremined by a person's raw, actual intelligence, I'd be below median at every top school. But I do know I will work as hard as anyone and will therefore receive some sort of boost. (Note: I'm not saying that I will be at worst median because I work hard. I am just saying that if I end up not "getting it" I will still be above bottom of my class because I won't ever stop working hard.) This is not exceptionalism. I don't value myself and my opinions any higher than anyone else's - and certainly not as high as you apparently regard yourself.

I say "even if I do have a bad outcome, there will be a way forward" and you say I fall victim to exceptionalism and don't account for the possibility that I have a bad outcome. What? I'm saying I do plan to take the gamble and if I do happen to get unlucky, I will find a way forward.

Listen to me and read a little more into what I'm saying. Sure, there are people who fall victim to exceptionalism but if you stopped reading what you want to read in my text you'd see that this is not the case with me. You're way too quick to ascribe up there in your ivory tower.

Also, I major'd in psychology and I know exactly what I am doing and not doing.

ETA: Look, I know I'm getting overly-angered by this and my thoughts lack a bit of cogency. I also realize that your points need to be heard more than mine. It's just annoying and certainly borderline-misinformation to keep on preaching. The anti-sticker narrative is almost uniformly established here on TLS. Anyone who comes here will see that they should be very hesitant to pay sticker at just any law school. More people like you need to present the facts and stop speaking in hyperbole trying to get your point across. Then stop.


BruceWayne did a good job of summing up most of my response to this. We are 2/3Ls here telling you our actual experience with law school and legal hiring, and you are telling us you know better because...well, I'm not sure why exactly aside from the fact that you feel what you think is true. By the way, your assertion that your hard work will mean you land median at best is the epitome is exceptionalism. You're right that a sliver of the class, maybe 5-10%, will be lazy and most will make up the very bottom of the curve, and if you work hard, you will probably avoid bottom 10%. But saying the worst case scenario is beating 50% of your very smart and hard-working class is pretty ballsy....you haven't even met these people (not to mention the crazy arbitrary law school grading system) and you're already sure you can best half of them.

I will say that you are right that I am being paternalistic as many of the veteran posters on this website are. To some extent, I consider it a moral imperative to give people this information. Some will refuse the information and make a bad choice; a partial response to that is 'at least they were warned' except that those bad choices have negative effects on us all when masses of students default on government loans or rely on IBR or PAYE (aka eternal debt peonage). In addition to the fact that taxes fund these bad choices, I also try to warn people off because I care and don't want them to commit financial suicide without at least thinking about alternatives. We have been programmed to believe more education is always better and that it is the way to a stable middle-class lifestyle. I remember that I was shocked - truly shocked - when I first saw a thread entitled 'don't go to law school unless it is T14.' I had always thought that basically all graduate schools were worthwhile investments. With the more education=better mindset, it is natural for a 22-year-old senior in college to conclude that applying to law school is the logical move after college, blithely ignorant of the actual outcomes of recent law grads. You don't change that mindset with one link to LST or one post telling someone to retake. It takes time. So, yes, I do choose to be paternalistic rather than minding my own business both because I care and because of the government burden of student loan defaults and loan repayment programs where the loan never gets repaid.

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NinerFan
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Re: UT Austin vs. Michigan

Postby NinerFan » Fri Feb 22, 2013 9:26 pm

WhatOurBodiesAreFor wrote:You think because I disagree with you I am ignoring you? That's really annoying. Sure, I'm clearly not as informed as you guys who are in law school, but I do have an argument that you guys can't (or haven't yet) fully tear apart.

That said, I'm glad you started to quantified the "bad outcomes" graduates instead of just preaching doom like everyone else. These students who experience bad luck have motivation to come here and preach, while others don't. So, if you don't add this sort of caveat, comments like those of somewhatwayward become next to useless - everyone knows that there are at least a few students who get unlucky.

I'll back off now because my point is getting drowned out. Most of you guys are also in school and I'm not so your opinion deservedly holds more weight. I really just wish all of you anti-sticker people will clearly acknowledge that bad outcomes are uncommon and stop exaggerating and terrifying prospective students unduly. It's misinformation. In that respect, TLS kind of becomes the Fox News of the legal community.



Really? Bad outcome people are the only ones complaining? I had 1L and 2L SA's and got offered, so you could say that I won the law school jackpot/lottery. And I'm still here (and in real life) warning people away from law school. I would NOT do it again if I could, and I pretty much have one of the best outcomes possible short of clerking and then going into academia to suck on the government loan teat.

And there are others at my school with jobs who would counsel the same things I've said.

Bad outcomes are uncommon, yes, in that most people end up with jobs. Bad outcomes are not uncommon in that if you pick out 15-20 people at random in my school, you're gonna have 1-4 unemployed/underemployed.

I want to be sure we're discussing the same kind of sticker costs. Sticker to me means no scholarship, or nominal scholarship amount, and no outside support. So, you're paying basically all of tuition and COL from loans, meaning 200k+ in debt.

That shit is going to compound at 6-7%+ interest, so you could be looking at 250+ not even including any undergraduate debt. If you're okay undertaking that sort of non-dischargeable debt, well, you should at least know that that's a very real chance you will have a bad job or no job.

After 2.5+ years of law school and sitting pretty on a biglaw offer, I know way more about law school and admissions now than I ever did prior to law school. If I could do it all again, there's no way I'd go to my school again without like, a half tuition scholarship or more. So there's your "good outcome" criticism of paying sticker.




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