Agreed. But what do we do then? Just rely on anecdotes?
sinfiery wrote:The data is shit. Deal with it.
How far down the line of schools do we accept the "lolno man, self-selection" or whatever else we hear? Do we stop at the T13? T14? T18? First tier (whatever that is)? Cooley?
And how many anecdotes should we collect before our fears are allayed?
No, but that's a fair question. I don't know if you'll make any headway on this, but I would honestly try to ask the schools to look at their average offer GPAs and then take into account each school's different medians. That's your key to seeing how deep in each school's class any given student will or will not be competitive. I've only seen average offer GPA mentioned on these forums from Penn for Cleary, STB, DPW, and Weil, and it is amazing how little difference there is between the two schools' average offer GPA when the difference in medians is taken into account.
On another note, most people who have been on TLS for more than a couple years know that this forum's biggest weakness is that it acts as an echo chamber. The process is always the same: somebody with 10,000 posts to his/her name says something authoritative, a few up-and-coming gunners who just landed 170s and suddenly think that means they know (or perhaps worse, can deduce) something about legal employment repeat it adamantly as a fact, and, before you know it, TLS is inundated with this totally factual common knowledge. Right now, the common wisdom is that Michigan is a shitty school on the decline because Michigan's NLJ 250/Article III clerkship total percentage is substantially lower than Penn's and has been since the market crashed for c/o 2011.
People started trying to connect the dots to provide all sorts of hypotheses for why Michigan's NLJ percentage is suddenly noticeably smaller than Penn's: Michigan lacks a home market, Detroit is struggling (this one always amuses me - Detroit proper has been in the shitter for decades, not just since 2008), the class size is too big, firms don't want to fly to Ann Arbor, etc. And of course, it's much more fun to try to play TLS sleuth and figure out why Michigan is "on the decline" instead of looking at pre-recession statistics to discover that Michigan's NLJ percentage has historically lagged Penn by 12-15%. And yet, back then, more-or-less every single Michigan (or Penn, or Duke, or UVA, or Berkeley, or NU, etc.) student could land a big law gig at 2L OCI if he/she wanted because firms simply couldn't get enough warm bodies in the building for their work. Back then, most median (and many below-median) students were more concerned with figuring out which of the numerous callbacks they would turn down than whether they would be able to land a single offer. And even back then, the same firms almost uniformly went just as deep into each school's class for the same students.
So what has changed now? Obviously it's not the same story for most median students these days, and there's certainly much greater uncertainty for people entering OCI. But nothing has changed about how the firms view any of these schools, and nothing has made any of these post-recession firms suddenly start digging deeper in some schools' class than they do their peers. I don't know what it is about these forums that makes 0Ls try to act like they're solving the da vinci code of law school placement rankings, but those of you who do end up at a firm in 4-5 years are going to be terribly disappointed when your friends in recruiting reveal that there's no magical secret awaiting you regarding granular distinctions between these schools. My NYC firm regularly brings in more Penn students than Michigan students, but I can assure you we offer students interested in NYC biglaw from the same percentage of each school's class.