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20141023
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Postby 20141023 » Sun Mar 10, 2013 5:21 am

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Last edited by 20141023 on Fri Sep 13, 2013 2:00 am, edited 1 time in total.

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EvilClinton
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Re: Why "Prestige" and the USNWR Rankings Matter

Postby EvilClinton » Sun Mar 10, 2013 5:37 am

I have heard this same thing from people at my firm. But in the end, reputation and relationship matter more to clients. In other words they would rather work with a firm that has partners that get them results and keep their word regardless of their alma mater.

At my firm last summer (V50ish) there was a partner that went to a T2 school that had the one of the biggest clients the firm serviced. That client was the 3rd highest billable client in the entire firm and they would only deal with this one partner. Of course it was too much work for him so he had about 15-20 associates and 4-5 other partners working under him on various matters for the client. He was considered the biggest rainmaker in the office but his law school alma mater was ranked lower than all the people that worked under him and all the other partners. His client didn't give a shit about his law school rank. They only cared about the service he gave them and the relationship he had established with them.

RPK34
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Re: Why "Prestige" and the USNWR Rankings Matter

Postby RPK34 » Sun Mar 10, 2013 8:55 am

Of course prestige matters. Firms want to be able to out "Graduated from Columbia" or "summa cum laude" and "law review" on their associates bios. I know for a fact that this in some ways in how partners will sell work to clients about juniors doing work. If a client is weary of billables from a junior, often times things like "Look, he's a second year but he graduated top of his class at Georgetown, managed the Law Review, and has been doing great work" can be a bit of sell to clients that they have an extremely smart associate working on the litigation/deal. It of course doesn't always work like this, but it does happen. It's one of the reasons local schools can do better.

Onto your second question, what the hell does this have to do with USNWR rankings. First off, clients generally know what schools are prestigious. If they don't, none of them are going to go on USNWR and find the rankings of the school of the associates that they're working on. Third, even if they did look at rankings, they rarely shift enough to make a difference. With the exception of schools like ASU jumping a shit ton of spots, schools just sort of shuffle around.

So yes, prestige matters. USNWR doesn't

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somewhatwayward
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Re: Why "Prestige" and the USNWR Rankings Matter

Postby somewhatwayward » Sun Mar 10, 2013 9:55 am

kappycaft1 wrote:Although I chose to begin working after college, I have numerous friends that decided to go the K-JD route. I was recently talking with one of them (he went to HLS) about some random stuff, and we somehow got on the topic of prestige and rankings. He mentioned that prestige and rank are both much more important than most lawyers want to admit, but perhaps for the wrong reasons. He said that when law firms go to bid on jobs, clients are often drawn to firms that offer a team of "prestigious" lawyers. The uninformed clients will be awed by names such as Harvard and Yale, but often not even know the difference between the University of Michigan and Michigan State University. I talked with another friend who went to a T20 school a couple of days later and he affirmed what I had been told by our other friend. Accordingly, it sounds like prestige and rank are "important" mainly to clients, but because clients are the source of money, law firms also must be prestige whores to win bids.

I was just wondering if any of you TLS-ers who are done with law school could confirm/deny this, and also provide any additional insight into the role of prestige and rankings in the legal field.


For someone who seems to have a lot of knowledge about law school and employment despite being a 0L, I am surprised you haven't heard this before. It probably accounts somewhat for big law firms tendency to hire much deeper in the class at higher-ranked schools. I think another big piece of it is that people hire from the schools they went to, so it is a self-perpetuating system in which the big law firms hire lots of people from high-ranked schools who then hire lots of people from their schools who then hire lots of people from their schools. Having gone to the same school as your interviewer gives you an instant thing in common....same goes for having gone to the same undergrad, and big law firm attorneys and students at high-ranked schools are disproportionately likely to have gone to HYP and other prestigious undergrads, which provides another instant connection. I swear that it seems like 20% of my class at CLS went to Yale for undergrad. Thus, that phenomenon you are describing is one piece of the puzzle.

Actually another reason that I have heard mentioned is that it is easier to defend hiring a person who turns out to suck if he went to a top school than if he went to a lower-ranked school.

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jetsfan1
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Re: Why "Prestige" and the USNWR Rankings Matter

Postby jetsfan1 » Sun Mar 10, 2013 10:09 am

So yes, prestige matters. USNWR doesn't


So question... If you had to rerank the T14 in terms of prestige, would it change much? Prestige in terms of the layman who doesn't know much about law school. I know for me, before I started doing my research, I would have told you Georgetown has a better law school than Michigan, NYU, Boalt, etc. Obviously, thats not the case. So if clients want prestige, and they perceive it in a skewed way, does this somehow make a school like Georgetown more valuable?

Just for fun, here is my "T14" as I remember thinking it was before I started researching law schools (not that I knew there was a T14 or that this ranking is based on anything more than a college kid's vague knowledge of law schools)

1) The Thomas M. Cooley School of Law (kidding)

1) Harvard
2) Yale
3) Columbia
4) Stanford
5) Chicago
6) UVA
7) Georgetown
8) Duke (probably solely bc of Tucker Max haha)
9) Penn
10) Northwestern
11) Vanderbilt (no idea why)

... and beyond that I really had no idea. But I think what this illustrates is how much the general public doesn't know about law school, so if prestige, as understood by clients, is such an important factor, than I imagine there are tons of biases there. Out of curiosity, anyone else have a school that they thought was super prestigious until they actually started looking at law schools? My Georgetown/Vandy?

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Dr. Dre
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Re: Why "Prestige" and the USNWR Rankings Matter

Postby Dr. Dre » Sun Mar 10, 2013 10:14 am

jetsfan1 wrote:
Out of curiosity, anyone else have a school that they thought was super prestigious until they actually started looking at law schools?


basically you equated law school rankings with US News national rankings for undergradz

NYstate
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Re: Why "Prestige" and the USNWR Rankings Matter

Postby NYstate » Sun Mar 10, 2013 10:20 am

Law firms are prestige whores for themselves as well. It is not solely because the clients want grads of top schools. Until recently, clients had no control or input ( and no interest in control or input) over the lower level staffing of a deal (other than keeping hours reasonable.) I have heard of clients to going to another firm with a deal if a person they are supporting for partner gets turned down, but at the bottom levels of staffing, clients didn't care. Now they do care in a big way and refuse to pay for training of junior associates.

Here is an example: a corporate partner at my firm refused to approve hiring the person who was number one in the class of the evening division at Fordham (this was not in the past few years so people who go to Fordham can't identify the person.) Another partner was arguing for this hire, saying not to hold it against a person who was hardworking and a self-made person. The partner said that the evening division grading is easier so being the top of the class doesn't mean anything. So the person didn't get an offer. Firms can afford to be snobs now because they get plenty of supply for a relatively low demand. Many partners went to top schools so they look down on other schools. That is just part of the culture.

Be careful though. Once you have worked for a couple of years, clients want to know what your experience has been and what matters you have worked on. They aren't going to prefer an inexperienced Harvard grad to a person they have worked with before, or a person who has worked on many similar matters. Experience and doing stellar, timely, error free work is essential. Your school is not going to make your career for you.

One more thing: these are very sophisticated clients. Don't assume they know nothing about the top law schools. If they are thinking Michigan is the same as Michigan State, that is because they don't think highly of Michigan, not because they aren't familiar with the best schools. I don't know if I agree that clients don't think highly of Michigan anyway.

rad lulz
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Re: Why "Prestige" and the USNWR Rankings Matter

Postby rad lulz » Sun Mar 10, 2013 10:53 am

Prestige matters.

USNWR doesn't. Attorneys I know don't read it.

Both "prestige" and "USNWR" are pretty bad ways to pick schools when we have employment outcomes to look at.

Big Dog
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Re: Why "Prestige" and the USNWR Rankings Matter

Postby Big Dog » Sun Mar 10, 2013 11:05 am

So yes, prestige matters. USNWR doesn't



This is a common refrain on TLS. But how can you separate the two?

Law firms are prestige whores...


Doh!

talesofyore
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Re: Why "Prestige" and the USNWR Rankings Matter

Postby talesofyore » Sun Mar 10, 2013 11:07 am

Dr. Dre wrote:
jetsfan1 wrote:
Out of curiosity, anyone else have a school that they thought was super prestigious until they actually started looking at law schools?


basically you equated law school rankings with US News national rankings for undergradz


I also thought Vanderbilt was super prestigious. My aim when I began this process was to somehow get into Vanderbilt. :D

RPK34
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Re: Why "Prestige" and the USNWR Rankings Matter

Postby RPK34 » Sun Mar 10, 2013 11:24 am

Big Dog wrote:
So yes, prestige matters. USNWR doesn't



This is a common refrain on TLS. But how can you separate the two?


USNWR is generally a decent indicator of prestige. Regional variations can matter (like I'm sure UCLA/USC is much more prestigious in So. Cal than in Chicago, and Notre Dame is much more prestigious in Chicago than So. Cal). In general, USNWR does a pretty decent job tracking employment outcomes as well.

But caring about annual movement in rankings is the dumb part. If Penn drops to 11 this year, it isn't going to be seen as any less prestigious by employers. If Washington and Lee moves up to 15th, no one is going to see it as anymore prestigious.

rad lulz
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Re: Why "Prestige" and the USNWR Rankings Matter

Postby rad lulz » Sun Mar 10, 2013 11:51 am

RPK34 wrote:
Big Dog wrote:
So yes, prestige matters. USNWR doesn't



This is a common refrain on TLS. But how can you separate the two?


USNWR is generally a decent indicator of prestige. Regional variations can matter (like I'm sure UCLA/USC is much more prestigious in So. Cal than in Chicago, and Notre Dame is much more prestigious in Chicago than So. Cal). In general, USNWR does a pretty decent job tracking employment outcomes as well.

But caring about annual movement in rankings is the dumb part. If Penn drops to 11 this year, it isn't going to be seen as any less prestigious by employers. If Washington and Lee moves up to 15th, no one is going to see it as anymore prestigious.

--LinkRemoved--

USNWR does a shit job of tracking employment outcomes

Also, why not just use, I dunno, ACTUAL employment outcomes?

dixiecupdrinking
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Re: Why "Prestige" and the USNWR Rankings Matter

Postby dixiecupdrinking » Sun Mar 10, 2013 12:05 pm

This is a real effect but something you've overlooked is that "clients" aren't just companies or banks or whatever—they're the GCs at those organizations. That is, big firms' clients for the most part are other lawyers. They know the difference between Michigan and Michigan State.

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thelawyler
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Re: Why "Prestige" and the USNWR Rankings Matter

Postby thelawyler » Sun Mar 10, 2013 12:06 pm

I've heard that it is often the in-house legal council of the huge clients that hire outside counsel, and those attorneys are very aware of which schools are good.

I just got sniped by dixiecup.

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A. Nony Mouse
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Re: Why "Prestige" and the USNWR Rankings Matter

Postby A. Nony Mouse » Sun Mar 10, 2013 12:17 pm

Dr. Dre wrote:
jetsfan1 wrote:
Out of curiosity, anyone else have a school that they thought was super prestigious until they actually started looking at law schools?


basically you equated law school rankings with US News national rankings for undergradz

Yeah, I think this is where lay prestige comes from. That, and regional bias. I grew up in New England where the state schools don't have a lot of prestige (you could get into UMass as a Mass resident if you had a pulse; though we all thought the University of Vermont was great for some reason... but anyway). It was a total shock to me that Michigan and Berkeley were good schools because hey, state schools. But I'm sure in Michigan and Cali they feel differently.

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LSATSCORES2012
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Re: Why "Prestige" and the USNWR Rankings Matter

Postby LSATSCORES2012 » Sun Mar 10, 2013 12:32 pm

A. Nony Mouse wrote:
Dr. Dre wrote:
jetsfan1 wrote:
Out of curiosity, anyone else have a school that they thought was super prestigious until they actually started looking at law schools?


basically you equated law school rankings with US News national rankings for undergradz

Yeah, I think this is where lay prestige comes from. That, and regional bias. I grew up in New England where the state schools don't have a lot of prestige (you could get into UMass as a Mass resident if you had a pulse; though we all thought the University of Vermont was great for some reason... but anyway). It was a total shock to me that Michigan and Berkeley were good schools because hey, state schools. But I'm sure in Michigan and Cali they feel differently.
Berkeley is actually, overall, an exception to this rule (on an international scale, anyway). Internationally, Berkeley has a better reputation than Yale, Princeton, Oxford, Columbia, and Chicago. Not specific to the legal field, of course.

I'm curious as to what the results would be domestically.

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Mick Haller
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Re: Why "Prestige" and the USNWR Rankings Matter

Postby Mick Haller » Sun Mar 10, 2013 12:36 pm

rad lulz wrote:Prestige matters.

USNWR doesn't. Attorneys I know don't read it.

Both "prestige" and "USNWR" are pretty bad ways to pick schools when we have employment outcomes to look at.


Exactly. Older lawyers in the Bay Area will call Hastings "the Georgetown of the West", but employment stats paint an entirely different picture.

walkingpanda
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Re: Why "Prestige" and the USNWR Rankings Matter

Postby walkingpanda » Sun Mar 10, 2013 12:47 pm

[/quote]Berkeley is actually, overall, an exception to this rule (on an international scale, anyway). Internationally, Berkeley has a better reputation than Yale, Princeton, Oxford, Columbia, and Chicago. Not specific to the legal field, of course.

I'm curious as to what the results would be domestically.[/quote]


The list in my head does not align with this one. Not even close.

rad lulz
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Re: Why "Prestige" and the USNWR Rankings Matter

Postby rad lulz » Sun Mar 10, 2013 12:49 pm

Mick Haller wrote:
rad lulz wrote:Prestige matters.

USNWR doesn't. Attorneys I know don't read it.

Both "prestige" and "USNWR" are pretty bad ways to pick schools when we have employment outcomes to look at.


Exactly. Older lawyers in the Bay Area will call Hastings "the Georgetown of the West", but employment stats paint an entirely different picture.

I lol internally when people invariably say "shit school has a great rep in Resaca GA!" but there's no jobs there.

04102014
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Re: Why "Prestige" and the USNWR Rankings Matter

Postby 04102014 » Sun Mar 10, 2013 12:52 pm

Mick Haller wrote:
rad lulz wrote:Prestige matters.

USNWR doesn't. Attorneys I know don't read it.

Both "prestige" and "USNWR" are pretty bad ways to pick schools when we have employment outcomes to look at.


Exactly. Older lawyers in the Bay Area will call Hastings "the Georgetown of the West", but employment stats paint an entirely different picture.


Employment outcomes that are intrinsically tied to prestige, which is intrinsically tied to the rankings.

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pedestrian
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Re: Why "Prestige" and the USNWR Rankings Matter

Postby pedestrian » Sun Mar 10, 2013 12:56 pm

Mick Haller wrote:
rad lulz wrote:Prestige matters.

USNWR doesn't. Attorneys I know don't read it.

Both "prestige" and "USNWR" are pretty bad ways to pick schools when we have employment outcomes to look at.


Exactly. Older lawyers in the Bay Area will call Hastings "the Georgetown of the West", but employment stats paint an entirely different picture.


Georgetown seems to be rapidly headed toward being "the Hastings of the East"

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Mick Haller
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Re: Why "Prestige" and the USNWR Rankings Matter

Postby Mick Haller » Sun Mar 10, 2013 12:59 pm

ohpobrecito wrote:Employment outcomes that are intrinsically tied to prestige, which is intrinsically tied to the rankings.


I think you guys are overthinking things. Just look at the employment stats. Who has time for this USNWR and prestige horseshit?

rad lulz
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Re: Why "Prestige" and the USNWR Rankings Matter

Postby rad lulz » Sun Mar 10, 2013 1:01 pm

Mick Haller wrote:
ohpobrecito wrote:Employment outcomes that are intrinsically tied to prestige, which is intrinsically tied to the rankings.


I think you guys are overthinking things. Just look at the employment stats. Who has time for this USNWR and prestige horseshit?


This

"Prestige matters because employers care about it."

Okay, so just go look at the employment outcomes rather than trying to use some asinine measure of "prestige of a school in the eyes of hiring partners."

04102014
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Re: Why "Prestige" and the USNWR Rankings Matter

Postby 04102014 » Sun Mar 10, 2013 1:10 pm

pedestrian wrote:
Mick Haller wrote:
rad lulz wrote:Prestige matters.

USNWR doesn't. Attorneys I know don't read it.

Both "prestige" and "USNWR" are pretty bad ways to pick schools when we have employment outcomes to look at.


Exactly. Older lawyers in the Bay Area will call Hastings "the Georgetown of the West", but employment stats paint an entirely different picture.


Georgetown seems to be rapidly headed toward being "the Hastings of the East"


:lol:

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stuckinthemiddle
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Re: Why "Prestige" and the USNWR Rankings Matter

Postby stuckinthemiddle » Sun Mar 10, 2013 1:13 pm

LSATSCORES2012 wrote:Berkeley is actually, overall, an exception to this rule (on an international scale, anyway). Internationally, Berkeley has a better reputation than Yale, Princeton, Oxford, Columbia, and Chicago. Not specific to the legal field, of course.

I'm curious as to what the results would be domestically.


Whaaaat? Definitely not. I've spent a large chunk of my life outside the US and nobody even knows what Berkeley is.

Internationally, I'd say Oxbridge and the Ivies (minus Dartmouth and to some extent Brown) are the only ones that people know of. This is just based on personal experience of course.




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