GMU vs. UIUC vs. UC Davis vs. Case Western

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GMU vs. UIUC vs. UC Davis vs. Case Western

UIUC
9
43%
GMU
6
29%
Case Western
3
14%
UC Davis
3
14%
 
Total votes: 21

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jbagelboy
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Re: GMU vs. UIUC vs. UC Davis vs. Case Western

Postby jbagelboy » Wed May 29, 2013 1:13 pm

BigZuck wrote:
Monochromatic Oeuvre wrote:Based on the schools he reported getting accepted into, I'm guessing OP's GPA is not extraordinarily high. If it is, however, then it's not unheard of for UVA to take residents who ED with a 162. It would be a total hail mary, and to my knowledge has never worked for anyone below a 3.85, but the cost of trying (just an app fee and he could get an answer in fifteen days) is really low compared to the payoff of UVA at sticker--way, way better than any of his other options.

But that's extraordinarily unlikely. To me it looks like OP has three relatively inexpensive Tier 1 options. I would suggest OP also give BYU a try (better employment stats than Mason) and William and Mary (the best employment stats of the three by far). OP may get less $ (or none) from the other two, but if he hasn't tried this is well worth taking another cycle to give a go. BYU is cheaper, and William and Mary's tuition is a little higher but is offset by COL.

Also, it would be good if everyone could think a little longer-term on these decisions. If you're not T20, you won't be balling at 30, and you won't be more than halfway through to paying a five or low-six figure debt. But even if you whiff at Midlaw, you are in a way, way better position at 40 having worked a government job on IBR/PAYE for 15 years with a Tier 1 JD than you are having worked retail for 15 years.


Please stop. You're making us clueless 0Ls look even worse than we already do.


Give him time, Zuck. Every so often fresh meat comes on to TLS with a presumably novel outlook. Within a few months, they each fall back into the fold.

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Monochromatic Oeuvre
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Re: GMU vs. UIUC vs. UC Davis vs. Case Western

Postby Monochromatic Oeuvre » Wed May 29, 2013 2:07 pm

BigZuck wrote:
Monochromatic Oeuvre wrote:Based on the schools he reported getting accepted into, I'm guessing OP's GPA is not extraordinarily high. If it is, however, then it's not unheard of for UVA to take residents who ED with a 162. It would be a total hail mary, and to my knowledge has never worked for anyone below a 3.85, but the cost of trying (just an app fee and he could get an answer in fifteen days) is really low compared to the payoff of UVA at sticker--way, way better than any of his other options.

But that's extraordinarily unlikely. To me it looks like OP has three relatively inexpensive Tier 1 options. I would suggest OP also give BYU a try (better employment stats than Mason) and William and Mary (the best employment stats of the three by far). OP may get less $ (or none) from the other two, but if he hasn't tried this is well worth taking another cycle to give a go. BYU is cheaper, and William and Mary's tuition is a little higher but is offset by COL.

Also, it would be good if everyone could think a little longer-term on these decisions. If you're not T20, you won't be balling at 30, and you won't be more than halfway through to paying a five or low-six figure debt. But even if you whiff at Midlaw, you are in a way, way better position at 40 having worked a government job on IBR/PAYE for 15 years with a Tier 1 JD than you are having worked retail for 15 years.


Please stop. You're making us clueless 0Ls look even worse than we already do.


Point out what you think is wrong. I'll always listen to facts or logical arguments, but "LOLNO U SUCK" really doesn't shed much light on the situation.

While a community of posters heavily weighted towards T6/MVP $$+ attendees certainly has a lot of insight to provide, one potential drawback is the proliferation of people who:

a) Never seriously considered working with just a Bachelor's until retirement in a global economy where that degree is falling fast in relative value
b) Never considered applying outside the T14
c) Immediately scream "Retake!" at every thread even when a poster makes absolutely clear they've done the best they are going to do
d) Treat every situation in which someone has debt at 30 as an epic disaster
e) Confidently assert you would be better off turning tricks in Compton than paying sticker at non-YHS, or otherwise completely fail to consider the opportunity cost of whether or not to go to law school.

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Re: GMU vs. UIUC vs. UC Davis vs. Case Western

Postby bananapeanutbutter » Wed May 29, 2013 2:13 pm

Monochromatic Oeuvre wrote:
BigZuck wrote:
Monochromatic Oeuvre wrote:Based on the schools he reported getting accepted into, I'm guessing OP's GPA is not extraordinarily high. If it is, however, then it's not unheard of for UVA to take residents who ED with a 162. It would be a total hail mary, and to my knowledge has never worked for anyone below a 3.85, but the cost of trying (just an app fee and he could get an answer in fifteen days) is really low compared to the payoff of UVA at sticker--way, way better than any of his other options.

But that's extraordinarily unlikely. To me it looks like OP has three relatively inexpensive Tier 1 options. I would suggest OP also give BYU a try (better employment stats than Mason) and William and Mary (the best employment stats of the three by far). OP may get less $ (or none) from the other two, but if he hasn't tried this is well worth taking another cycle to give a go. BYU is cheaper, and William and Mary's tuition is a little higher but is offset by COL.

Also, it would be good if everyone could think a little longer-term on these decisions. If you're not T20, you won't be balling at 30, and you won't be more than halfway through to paying a five or low-six figure debt. But even if you whiff at Midlaw, you are in a way, way better position at 40 having worked a government job on IBR/PAYE for 15 years with a Tier 1 JD than you are having worked retail for 15 years.


Please stop. You're making us clueless 0Ls look even worse than we already do.


Point out what you think is wrong. I'll always listen to facts or logical arguments, but "LOLNO U SUCK" really doesn't shed much light on the situation.

While a community of posters heavily weighted towards T6/MVP $$+ attendees certainly has a lot of insight to provide, one potential drawback is the proliferation of people who:

a) Never seriously considered working with just a Bachelor's until retirement in a global economy where that degree is falling fast in relative value
b) Never considered applying outside the T14
c) Immediately scream "Retake!" at every thread even when a poster makes absolutely clear they've done the best they are going to do
d) Treat every situation in which someone has debt at 30 as an epic disaster
e) Confidently assert you would be better off turning tricks in Compton than paying sticker at non-YHS, or otherwise completely fail to consider the opportunity cost of whether or not to go to law school.

1.) You can't predict law school performance. Everyone thinks they're smart. Only some are geniuses, and only some are mentally mature enough and physically capable of spending 70 hours a week working. These are the ones who will place well. Even then, the hard working ones need to be able to apply law to fact, which not everyone can do beyond the obvious.

2.) At non-top 14 schools you can't pay back 200k if you're not top 25% and be able to support yourself, and god forbid a kid.

3.) It's a work intensive field, so if you're doing nothing but working and still can't support yourself, your life will be miserable.

4.) As tax payers, the world has to pay for the mistake, and it's over 50% at most schools it will be a mistake.

5.) Anyone can get into a top 14. If they can't they probably shouldn't go.

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romothesavior
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Re: GMU vs. UIUC vs. UC Davis vs. Case Western

Postby romothesavior » Wed May 29, 2013 2:27 pm

the problem with the argument is that it starts with the false premise that everyone deserves to go to law school. If someone had a terrible GPA and a mediocre MCAT, we would probably say tough luck, go do something else with your life. The fact that George Mason at 125,000 dollars in debt is the best someone can do doesn't mean that person should go to law school.

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Micdiddy
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Re: GMU vs. UIUC vs. UC Davis vs. Case Western

Postby Micdiddy » Wed May 29, 2013 2:34 pm

Monochromatic Oeuvre wrote:
BigZuck wrote:
Monochromatic Oeuvre wrote:Based on the schools he reported getting accepted into, I'm guessing OP's GPA is not extraordinarily high. If it is, however, then it's not unheard of for UVA to take residents who ED with a 162. It would be a total hail mary, and to my knowledge has never worked for anyone below a 3.85, but the cost of trying (just an app fee and he could get an answer in fifteen days) is really low compared to the payoff of UVA at sticker--way, way better than any of his other options.

But that's extraordinarily unlikely. To me it looks like OP has three relatively inexpensive Tier 1 options. I would suggest OP also give BYU a try (better employment stats than Mason) and William and Mary (the best employment stats of the three by far). OP may get less $ (or none) from the other two, but if he hasn't tried this is well worth taking another cycle to give a go. BYU is cheaper, and William and Mary's tuition is a little higher but is offset by COL.

Also, it would be good if everyone could think a little longer-term on these decisions. If you're not T20, you won't be balling at 30, and you won't be more than halfway through to paying a five or low-six figure debt. But even if you whiff at Midlaw, you are in a way, way better position at 40 having worked a government job on IBR/PAYE for 15 years with a Tier 1 JD than you are having worked retail for 15 years.


Please stop. You're making us clueless 0Ls look even worse than we already do.


Point out what you think is wrong. I'll always listen to facts or logical arguments, but "LOLNO U SUCK" really doesn't shed much light on the situation.

While a community of posters heavily weighted towards T6/MVP $$+ attendees certainly has a lot of insight to provide, one potential drawback is the proliferation of people who:

a) Never seriously considered working with just a Bachelor's until retirement in a global economy where that degree is falling fast in relative value What poster fits this criteria?
b) Never considered applying outside the T14 Lots of megaposters not only applied, but attend or graduated from schools outside the t14. Many other who will/do attend a t14 definitely applied to some outside (myself included)
c) Immediately scream "Retake!" at every thread even when a poster makes absolutely clear they've done the best they are going to do I think you're purposefully misdescribing this. There is an important or don't go that follows, and IS relevant to those who have "done the best they are going to do."
d) Treat every situation in which someone has debt at 30 as an epic disaster Considering many (most/almost all) of us are putting ourselves in debt before the age of 30, I do not see how you reached this conclusion by any stretch of the imagination.
e) Confidently assert you would be better off turning tricks in Compton than paying sticker at non-YHS, or otherwise completely fail to consider the opportunity cost of whether or not to go to law school. Another clear misrepresentation. We may not wax at length about opportunity costs, but mostly because A: The random OP has already provided us with enough information to support that whatever the other option is, it is better than law school, or B: OP refuses to get into it and thus we cannot weigh the two costs and simply go with some unspecified average cost of opportunity, that I doubt (and so do you) is anything like turning tricks in Compton

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Re: GMU vs. UIUC vs. UC Davis vs. Case Western

Postby jbagelboy » Wed May 29, 2013 2:39 pm

Micdiddy wrote:
Monochromatic Oeuvre wrote:
BigZuck wrote:
Monochromatic Oeuvre wrote:Based on the schools he reported getting accepted into, I'm guessing OP's GPA is not extraordinarily high. If it is, however, then it's not unheard of for UVA to take residents who ED with a 162. It would be a total hail mary, and to my knowledge has never worked for anyone below a 3.85, but the cost of trying (just an app fee and he could get an answer in fifteen days) is really low compared to the payoff of UVA at sticker--way, way better than any of his other options.

But that's extraordinarily unlikely. To me it looks like OP has three relatively inexpensive Tier 1 options. I would suggest OP also give BYU a try (better employment stats than Mason) and William and Mary (the best employment stats of the three by far). OP may get less $ (or none) from the other two, but if he hasn't tried this is well worth taking another cycle to give a go. BYU is cheaper, and William and Mary's tuition is a little higher but is offset by COL.

Also, it would be good if everyone could think a little longer-term on these decisions. If you're not T20, you won't be balling at 30, and you won't be more than halfway through to paying a five or low-six figure debt. But even if you whiff at Midlaw, you are in a way, way better position at 40 having worked a government job on IBR/PAYE for 15 years with a Tier 1 JD than you are having worked retail for 15 years.


Please stop. You're making us clueless 0Ls look even worse than we already do.


Point out what you think is wrong. I'll always listen to facts or logical arguments, but "LOLNO U SUCK" really doesn't shed much light on the situation.

While a community of posters heavily weighted towards T6/MVP $$+ attendees certainly has a lot of insight to provide, one potential drawback is the proliferation of people who:

a) Never seriously considered working with just a Bachelor's until retirement in a global economy where that degree is falling fast in relative value What poster fits this criteria?
b) Never considered applying outside the T14 Lots of megaposters not only applied, but attend or graduated from schools outside the t14. Many other who will/do attend a t14 definitely applied to some outside (myself included)
c) Immediately scream "Retake!" at every thread even when a poster makes absolutely clear they've done the best they are going to do I think you're purposefully misdescribing this. There is an important or don't go that follows, and IS relevant to those who have "done the best they are going to do."
d) Treat every situation in which someone has debt at 30 as an epic disaster Considering many (most/almost all) of us are putting ourselves in debt before the age of 30, I do not see how you reached this conclusion by any stretch of the imagination.
e) Confidently assert you would be better off turning tricks in Compton than paying sticker at non-YHS, or otherwise completely fail to consider the opportunity cost of whether or not to go to law school. Another clear misrepresentation. We may not wax at length about opportunity costs, but mostly because A: The random OP has already provided us with enough information to support that whatever the other option is, it is better than law school, or B: OP refuses to get into it and thus we cannot weigh the two costs and simply go with some unspecified average cost of opportunity, that I doubt (and so do you) is anything like turning tricks in Compton


+1

while I appreciate Monochromatic's effort to work with available options, as he/she will learn, often "don't go" is far more substantive advice then attending the "best option" that would endorse six figure debt for <25% shot at gainful legal employment

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Monochromatic Oeuvre
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Re: GMU vs. UIUC vs. UC Davis vs. Case Western

Postby Monochromatic Oeuvre » Wed May 29, 2013 3:08 pm

romothesavior wrote:the problem with the argument is that it starts with the false premise that everyone deserves to go to law school. If someone had a terrible GPA and a mediocre MCAT, we would probably say tough luck, go do something else with your life. The fact that George Mason at 125,000 dollars in debt is the best someone can do doesn't mean that person should go to law school.


I agree, and I didn't intend to suggest that anyone should always go to law school no matter what, even if their best option isn't good. I'm just say we really do have to consider what the trade-off is in each situation, because the range of possible options is so wide. If OP has an offer to go code at Microsoft for $80k/yr, his trade off is much different than if OP is a philosophy major who's been blackballed from ten major industries. But maybe the question that's the most significant, from strictly a financial perspective, is "What is the lifetime expected net worth of a Mason grad with $125k of debt, versus the lifetime expected net worth of someone with a Bachelor's?"

Micdiddy wrote:a) Never seriously considered working with just a Bachelor's until retirement in a global economy where that degree is falling fast in relative value What poster fits this criteria?


Well, for one, me--I've been thinking about law school since 16 and been set on going since 18. This is probably most true for K-JDs (like myself). I fully believe I'm not in a good position to say what a particular person's job prospects are with a Bachelor's. But then again, even those who have WE on here (a lot of whom are T-14 bound and will probably have better career prospects than 95% of Americans) aren't necessarily representative of what the options of someone targeting a non-T14 school would be if they didn't go. This is because the kind of people who get accepted to T14s are also the kind of people who are presumably capable enough to land something half-decent even without a JD. If you can't get into a good school, then you probably don't have those kinds of capabilities with a Bachelor's. As we've discussed, it's hard to just slap a figure on the expected value of a Bachelor's. But however you slice it, it's pretty low. And the larger that opportunity cost is, the wider range of schools it would be beneficial for a student to attend.

b) Never considered applying outside the T14 Lots of megaposters not only applied, but attend or graduated from schools outside the t14. Many other who will/do attend a t14 definitely applied to some outside (myself included)


Maybe the better phrasing would be "A lot of posters never considered applying to a Tier-2 school." It would be more literally true, and the intent of the point would stand.

c) Immediately scream "Retake!" at every thread even when a poster makes absolutely clear they've done the best they are going to do I think you're purposefully misdescribing this. There is an important or don't go that follows, and IS relevant to those who have "done the best they are going to do."


Fair point. I agree this is the relevant dichotomy to present.

d) Treat every situation in which someone has debt at 30 as an epic disaster Considering many (most/almost all) of us are putting ourselves in debt before the age of 30, I do not see how you reached this conclusion by any stretch of the imagination.


A lot of the debt calculations that float around this site gear people toward making decisions based on financial outcomes in 3-7 year spans. That's okay if you're making an apples-to-apples comparison over a specific time frame, but it doesn't necessarily translate to the criteria that would be best to use in deciding whether or not to go to law school. More succinctly, a lot of people seem to view a law degree as a 7-10 year investment. It's not, it's a lifetime degree, and someone who has one will, all else equal, be much better off than someone with a Bachelor's between, say, 40 and 65.

e) Confidently assert you would be better off turning tricks in Compton than paying sticker at non-YHS, or otherwise completely fail to consider the opportunity cost of whether or not to go to law school. Another clear misrepresentation. We may not wax at length about opportunity costs, but mostly because A: The random OP has already provided us with enough information to support that whatever the other option is, it is better than law school, or B: OP refuses to get into it and thus we cannot weigh the two costs and simply go with some unspecified average cost of opportunity, that I doubt (and so do you) is anything like turning tricks in Compton


Agreed, and I know sometimes there isn't enough data available to make as good of a calculation as we might like. I think an important question that should be added to the criteria would be something along the lines of "What would you do if you didn't go to law school?" Then, like I said, we'd have different answers for "I'll go work at a biotech firm" and "I'd be unemployed for years."

jbagelboy wrote:while I appreciate Monochromatic's effort to work with available options, as he/she will learn, often "don't go" is far more substantive advice then attending the "best option" that would endorse six figure debt for <25% shot at gainful legal employment


Certainly "don't go" is the best advice possible in many situations. I don't think that's the case in this situation--as I mentioned, I think $ at W&M is the best realistic option OP has. I am, as I've said before, less pessimistic about the prospects of relatively inexpensive T1 schools, believing that they will usually be an investment with a long term ROI. Saying don't go to Mason for $125k is close to saying "Don't pay six figures for any non-T25." I know a lot of posters believe this to be the case (and that's their opinion) but I'm merely suggesting they're not necessarily considering some factors the average person might find very important.

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Re: GMU vs. UIUC vs. UC Davis vs. Case Western

Postby BigZuck » Wed May 29, 2013 3:10 pm

Strawmen. Also, the "you guys are elitists" thing is stupid, jbagelboy is the only T6 snob posting ITT that I know of. I'm personally a T15 knuckle-dragger and I'm not even going to tell you what T20 cesspool Romo crawled out of.

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Re: GMU vs. UIUC vs. UC Davis vs. Case Western

Postby romothesavior » Wed May 29, 2013 3:19 pm

BigZuck wrote:Strawmen. Also, the "you guys are elitists" thing is stupid, jbagelboy is the only T6 snob posting ITT that I know of. I'm personally a T15 knuckle-dragger and I'm not even going to tell you what T20 cesspool Romo crawled out of.

:lol: :lol: :lol:

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Re: GMU vs. UIUC vs. UC Davis vs. Case Western

Postby BigZuck » Wed May 29, 2013 3:20 pm

Mono- your argument is very boomerish and naive IMO. 125K debt really sucks when and if someone misses their 50/50 shot and doesn't become a lawyer. Because then the degree will never be worth it and they have a bunch of debt with the same or worse job prospects as their useless bachelors.

Look, I have a useless bachelors and a useless masters and I work retail. But I would rather stay on that path than pay 125K to go to a mediocre law school like George Mason. Way too much of a risk of not becoming a lawyer at all. I wouldn't pay 125K for any school ranked lower than USC (and even at that level it would still give me pause). If you become a lawyer then it's probably worth it. But the chance of not becoming a lawyer is just so damn high.

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Re: GMU vs. UIUC vs. UC Davis vs. Case Western

Postby Monochromatic Oeuvre » Wed May 29, 2013 3:25 pm

BigZuck wrote:Strawmen. Also, the "you guys are elitists" thing is stupid, jbagelboy is the only T6 snob posting ITT that I know of. I'm personally a T15 knuckle-dragger and I'm not even going to tell you what T20 cesspool Romo crawled out of.


Really just a tangential aside not directly related to the question of what schools would be valuable, so not really strawmen because I'm not attempting to use them to prove my case than a relatively inexpensive Tier 1 is not always an awful investment. If it came across that those points were intended to be directly related to my argument, I'm sorry. The "elitist" idea is really only relevant as a proxy for the "you haven't considered what the opportunity costs of someone who isn't in your position might be" idea. As menitoned, this is sometimes difficult. But I think given the difficulties a Bachelor's holder might face, a degree from a school that isn't $200k+ and isn't awful may be a better decision. If you thought was I presented were strawmen, then you would also agree they were a response to an ad hominem point.

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Re: GMU vs. UIUC vs. UC Davis vs. Case Western

Postby hephaestus » Wed May 29, 2013 3:27 pm

BigZuck wrote:Mono- your argument is very boomerish and naive IMO. 125K debt really sucks when and if someone misses their 50/50 shot and doesn't become a lawyer. Because then the degree will never be worth it and they have a bunch of debt with the same or worse job prospects as their useless bachelors.

Look, I have a useless bachelors and a useless masters and I work retail. But I would rather stay on that path than pay 125K to go to a mediocre law school like George Mason. Way too much of a risk of not becoming a lawyer at all. I wouldn't pay 125K for any school ranked lower than USC (and even at that level it would still give me pause). If you become a lawyer then it's probably worth it. But the chance of not becoming a lawyer is just so damn high.

Also worth noting is that while many posters scream "elitist" at the TLS hive mind, very few if any of them are law students. When most people that agree with your argument that an objectively bad school is worth 125k are 0Ls, that should be a huge red flag.

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Re: GMU vs. UIUC vs. UC Davis vs. Case Western

Postby jbagelboy » Wed May 29, 2013 3:32 pm

BigZuck wrote:Strawmen. Also, the "you guys are elitists" thing is stupid, jbagelboy is the only T6 snob posting ITT that I know of. I'm personally a T15 knuckle-dragger and I'm not even going to tell you what T20 cesspool Romo crawled out of.


Psssshhhh. Whatevs, my advice is no more "elitist" than any of yours. Isnt Ti Malice at Yale?

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Re: GMU vs. UIUC vs. UC Davis vs. Case Western

Postby BigZuck » Wed May 29, 2013 3:37 pm

jbagelboy wrote:
BigZuck wrote:Strawmen. Also, the "you guys are elitists" thing is stupid, jbagelboy is the only T6 snob posting ITT that I know of. I'm personally a T15 knuckle-dragger and I'm not even going to tell you what T20 cesspool Romo crawled out of.


Psssshhhh. Whatevs, my advice is no more "elitist" than any of yours. Isnt Ti Malice at Yale?


:twisted:

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Re: GMU vs. UIUC vs. UC Davis vs. Case Western

Postby Monochromatic Oeuvre » Wed May 29, 2013 3:44 pm

BigZuck wrote:Mono- your argument is very boomerish and naive IMO. 125K debt really sucks when and if someone misses their 50/50 shot and doesn't become a lawyer. Because then the degree will never be worth it and they have a bunch of debt with the same or worse job prospects as their useless bachelors.

Look, I have a useless bachelors and a useless masters and I work retail. But I would rather stay on that path than pay 125K to go to a mediocre law school like George Mason. Way too much of a risk of not becoming a lawyer at all. I wouldn't pay 125K for any school ranked lower than USC (and even at that level it would still give me pause). If you become a lawyer then it's probably worth it. But the chance of not becoming a lawyer is just so damn high.


Seems roughly 75% of their class is doing something you could call substantive. Biglaw+FedClerk is eight percent (Biglaw at market rate, presumably), around four percent in Midlaw (making who knows what), 24ish percent not FTE, and the rest (Small-to-shitlaw, government, PI, other private sector) are making probably 50k-60k. I suppose the difference between myself and others is I call that 50k-60k a substantial improvement over Bachelor's opportunities in the long run, when considering compound interest but also IBR/PAYE options. It might be tough for quite a while--maybe ten or fifteen years. But that's where I think later-career prospects (40-70) are important and given much less consideration than they deserve. Again, if people disagree that, given those numbers, there's a decent investment there, that's fine. But they shouldn't act like there's no possible way to make the case for it.

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Re: GMU vs. UIUC vs. UC Davis vs. Case Western

Postby Monochromatic Oeuvre » Wed May 29, 2013 3:46 pm

ImNoScar wrote: Also worth noting is that while many posters scream "elitist" at the TLS hive mind, very few if any of them are law students. When most people that agree with your argument that an objectively bad school is worth 125k are 0Ls, that should be a huge red flag.


Normally I would agree, but I think the "hive mind" misses a gigantic point in these discussions--later-career employment prospects, which almost no one seems to include in their calculations. So the fact that many disagree doesn't surprise me.

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Re: GMU vs. UIUC vs. UC Davis vs. Case Western

Postby bananapeanutbutter » Wed May 29, 2013 3:49 pm

Monochromatic Oeuvre wrote:
ImNoScar wrote: Also worth noting is that while many posters scream "elitist" at the TLS hive mind, very few if any of them are law students. When most people that agree with your argument that an objectively bad school is worth 125k are 0Ls, that should be a huge red flag.


Normally I would agree, but I think the "hive mind" misses a gigantic point in these discussions--later-career employment prospects, which almost no one seems to include in their calculations. So the fact that many disagree doesn't surprise me.

Ask any economist what the best predictor is of future financial success, and they will say present financial success.

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Re: GMU vs. UIUC vs. UC Davis vs. Case Western

Postby jbagelboy » Wed May 29, 2013 3:52 pm

Monochromatic Oeuvre wrote:
BigZuck wrote:Mono- your argument is very boomerish and naive IMO. 125K debt really sucks when and if someone misses their 50/50 shot and doesn't become a lawyer. Because then the degree will never be worth it and they have a bunch of debt with the same or worse job prospects as their useless bachelors.

Look, I have a useless bachelors and a useless masters and I work retail. But I would rather stay on that path than pay 125K to go to a mediocre law school like George Mason. Way too much of a risk of not becoming a lawyer at all. I wouldn't pay 125K for any school ranked lower than USC (and even at that level it would still give me pause). If you become a lawyer then it's probably worth it. But the chance of not becoming a lawyer is just so damn high.


Seems roughly 75% of their class is doing something you could call substantive. Biglaw+FedClerk is eight percent (Biglaw at market rate, presumably), around four percent in Midlaw (making who knows what), 24ish percent not FTE, and the rest (Small-to-shitlaw, government, PI, other private sector) are making probably 50k-60k. I suppose the difference between myself and others is I call that 50k-60k a substantial improvement over Bachelor's opportunities in the long run, when considering compound interest but also IBR/PAYE options. It might be tough for quite a while--maybe ten or fifteen years. But that's where I think later-career prospects (40-70) are important and given much less consideration than they deserve. Again, if people disagree that, given those numbers, there's a decent investment there, that's fine. But they shouldn't act like there's no possible way to make the case for it.


$60K is optimistic for the non-biglaw/clerkship grads at GMU.

Monochromatic Oeuvre wrote:
jbagelboy wrote:while I appreciate Monochromatic's effort to work with available options, as he/she will learn, often "don't go" is far more substantive advice then attending the "best option" that would endorse six figure debt for <25% shot at gainful legal employment


Certainly "don't go" is the best advice possible in many situations. I don't think that's the case in this situation--as I mentioned, I think $ at W&M is the best realistic option OP has. I am, as I've said before, less pessimistic about the prospects of relatively inexpensive T1 schools, believing that they will usually be an investment with a long term ROI. Saying don't go to Mason for $125k is close to saying "Don't pay six figures for any non-T25." I know a lot of posters believe this to be the case (and that's their opinion) but I'm merely suggesting they're not necessarily considering some factors the average person might find very important.


Alright -- as you know, I agree that the employment situation for BA's is not good right now. In another thread, I actually pointed out that your characterization of post-college employment was overly optimistic. HOWEVER, this does not by default make LAW a good alternative. Many students who couldn't find solid employment in 2009-2010 who went to law school are doing equally shitty trying to find FT work, but with $100K+ federal debt to boot.

The point is, 1) if you make that $50-60K now, don't give it up to go to a law school that gives you a <%50 chance of biglaw/clerkships (esp not going in debt for it), since more likely than not you will come out at the same salary rate (I make ~$60K/year + bonus now, and I wouldn't attend unless I knew the school would open up more interesting/more lucrative opportunities); and 2) if you are unemployed or underemployed after college, all the more reason to STUDY FOR THE LSAT and do BETTER than a 162. The advice is geared towards encouraging people not to make foolish financial choices when they could STUDY and save hundreds of thousands of dollars. You'll notice for super splitters who can't benefit from retaking, the advice is different. That's not elitism. It's common sense.

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Re: GMU vs. UIUC vs. UC Davis vs. Case Western

Postby Micdiddy » Wed May 29, 2013 4:00 pm

At least Mono has stepped back and tried to restate many of his points to make them relevant, which is a good step in the right direction. As long as we stick to the topic at hand and not devolve into strawmen, exaggerations, etc. then it is perfectly healthy for posters to disagree and give OP different perspectives.

Off-topic ramblings to follow:

I think, sometimes a classic TLS "hivemind" response will look like a thoughtless, curt dismissal ("Retake or don't go" and almost everything Rad_Lulz says comes to mind :mrgreen: ), when really it is a shorthand for arguments that have been fleshed out and repeated ad nauseum in the past and that the poster who has been here for years doesn't feel like typing out every single freakin' time. Unfortunately, this may have the consequence of a (relatively) newer poster not being aware that said megaposter has lengthy, valid reasons ready for their seemingly "knee-jerk" (with an emphasis, in the newer poster's mind, on jerk) response, so the newer poster responds in what they think is a similar fashion and quickly gets labeled a bad poster (because they are both A: Wrong and B: giving 'tude), when in actuality they think they are fitting in with the perceived acceptable attitude.
I'm not really prescribing anything to fix this, just an observation.

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Re: GMU vs. UIUC vs. UC Davis vs. Case Western

Postby BigZuck » Wed May 29, 2013 4:07 pm

Monochromatic Oeuvre wrote:
BigZuck wrote:Mono- your argument is very boomerish and naive IMO. 125K debt really sucks when and if someone misses their 50/50 shot and doesn't become a lawyer. Because then the degree will never be worth it and they have a bunch of debt with the same or worse job prospects as their useless bachelors.

Look, I have a useless bachelors and a useless masters and I work retail. But I would rather stay on that path than pay 125K to go to a mediocre law school like George Mason. Way too much of a risk of not becoming a lawyer at all. I wouldn't pay 125K for any school ranked lower than USC (and even at that level it would still give me pause). If you become a lawyer then it's probably worth it. But the chance of not becoming a lawyer is just so damn high.


Seems roughly 75% of their class is doing something you could call substantive. Biglaw+FedClerk is eight percent (Biglaw at market rate, presumably), around four percent in Midlaw (making who knows what), 24ish percent not FTE, and the rest (Small-to-shitlaw, government, PI, other private sector) are making probably 50k-60k. I suppose the difference between myself and others is I call that 50k-60k a substantial improvement over Bachelor's opportunities in the long run, when considering compound interest but also IBR/PAYE options. It might be tough for quite a while--maybe ten or fifteen years. But that's where I think later-career prospects (40-70) are important and given much less consideration than they deserve. Again, if people disagree that, given those numbers, there's a decent investment there, that's fine. But they shouldn't act like there's no possible way to make the case for it.


50% is getting full time, long term employment requiring a JD (aka they are becoming lawyers). So why do you think 75% is doing well? 25% of the class is employed, but not as lawyers. I doubt they are making 50-60K on average at whatever those jobs are.

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Re: GMU vs. UIUC vs. UC Davis vs. Case Western

Postby Monochromatic Oeuvre » Wed May 29, 2013 4:24 pm

jbagelboy wrote:$60K is optimistic for the non-biglaw/clerkship grads at GMU.


Their reported 25-75 for Class of 2011: (2012 doesn't seem to have public/private breakdown although overall, Biglaw and shitlaw data are available)

Overall: $60k-87k
Public sector: $54k-$73k
Private sector: 60-140
Biglaw: $145k-$160k
Shitlaw: $55k-70k

Yes, self-reporting bias, massaging of data and all that jazz apply. But C/O 2011 generally had worse prospects then we expect now, right? So you can discount these figures a little, but not a ton. I still think $50k-60k is the meaty part of that curve.

Alright -- as you know, I agree that the employment situation for BA's is not good right now. In another thread, I actually pointed out that your characterization of post-college employment was overly optimistic. HOWEVER, this does not by default make LAW a good alternative. Many students who couldn't find solid employment in 2009-2010 who went to law school are doing equally shitty trying to find FT work, but with $100K+ federal debt to boot.

The point is, 1) if you make that $50-60K now, don't give it up to go to a law school that gives you a <%50 chance of biglaw/clerkships (esp not going in debt for it), since more likely than not you will come out at the same salary rate (I make ~$60K/year + bonus now, and I wouldn't attend unless I knew the school would open up more interesting/more lucrative opportunities); and 2) if you are unemployed or underemployed after college, all the more reason to STUDY FOR THE LSAT and do BETTER than a 162. The advice is geared towards encouraging people not to make foolish financial choices when they could STUDY and save hundreds of thousands of dollars. You'll notice for super splitters who can't benefit from retaking, the advice is different. That's not elitism. It's common sense.


I would agree anyone who can start out at $55k-$60k shouldn't go to a non-Biglaw-placing school, as their opportunity cost of not going is very low. I'm presuming most of these grads are STEM/finance+accounting majors, as those are the ones reporting the lowest unemployment rates and highest starting salaries. The ones who have a lot more to risk by just keeping their Bachelor's (presumably, the humanities kids) are the ones for whom it sometimes makes sense to take more of a risk. It's not that they have better options, just that their fallback is much worse. I think if you're chronically unemployed (like the 09/10 applicants), applying to a relatively inexpensive Tier 1 (even one with mediocre employment prospects) is not a bad decision (the bad decisions were the 200k+ TTT attendees, who went because they felt they had to do something). After all, from a T1 you, at the very least, will probably have a job paying you a middle-class salary.

The difference between a starting salary of $60k versus a starting salary of $40k may not look all that large in the context of six-figure debt, but magnified over your career it becomes a gigantic difference in your late-career expected net worth, and therefore an important differentiating factor as to whether or not to attend law school. I am presuming most applicants don't have a marketable degree (defined as STEM or finance/accounting) and are thus much more like to be looking at $40k starting rather than $60k. Like the guy who wanted to do patent law (and thus presumably had a marketable degree), I would advise anyone with a pretty good fallback to not go to law school unless they're going to someplace where they would be a good shot for Biglaw.

Certainly doing some good LSAT studying is the best investment, by ROI, anyone could make (e.g. a couple months of studying can turn into $50k or more of scholarship money). And it should certainly be the first question asked of anyone considering their choices, because so many half-assed their studying. But at some point, like with super-splitters or people who've taken it three times, you've done as good as you're going to do. I think most people would agree with that. That's not to downplay the impact a good retake can have--as has been pointed out over and over again, it can be staggering.

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Re: GMU vs. UIUC vs. UC Davis vs. Case Western

Postby Monochromatic Oeuvre » Wed May 29, 2013 4:34 pm

Micdiddy wrote: I think, sometimes a classic TLS "hivemind" response will look like a thoughtless, curt dismissal ("Retake or don't go" and almost everything Rad_Lulz says comes to mind :mrgreen: ), when really it is a shorthand for arguments that have been fleshed out and repeated ad nauseum in the past and that the poster who has been here for years doesn't feel like typing out every single freakin' time. Unfortunately, this may have the consequence of a (relatively) newer poster not being aware that said megaposter has lengthy, valid reasons ready for their seemingly "knee-jerk" (with an emphasis, in the newer poster's mind, on jerk) response, so the newer poster responds in what they think is a similar fashion and quickly gets labeled a bad poster (because they are both A: Wrong and B: giving 'tude), when in actuality they think they are fitting in with the perceived acceptable attitude.
I'm not really prescribing anything to fix this, just an observation.


I agree. I spent a while lurking (fiveish months) mostly because I didn't want to post when I felt like I didn't know anything. I learned a lot while lurking, and I appreciate the shorthand, because a lot of times the right answer is something that's been posted 5,000 times elsewhere in a lengthier dismissal. But one thing I never came across was a serious, quantitative-based analysis looking at financial considerations for someone beyond age 40-45. A ton of these debt calculations have been done, but they're all about 3-7 year windows. I think most people would agree that absent issues of debt, most people with JDs do better financially than the average person without one. Presumably, very few people are carrying on their debt past about 45, but they will still be more marketable afterwards than had they not gone. Yes, long-term debt is an impedient to home equity and 401(k) buildup. But I think if you stretched these financial plans out to span an entire career, we would conclude that more schools are viable options than we now do. Doing that is uncertain, yes, because things may change in ways we don't anticipate. But the uncertainty isn't a good reason for dismissing the notion entirely. Even if we know late-career prospects are a relevant factor rationally, the fact that we never use it as a variable leads us to consciously or unconsciously discount it.

BigZuck wrote: 50% is getting full time, long term employment requiring a JD (aka they are becoming lawyers). So why do you think 75% is doing well? 25% of the class is employed, but not as lawyers. I doubt they are making 50-60K on average at whatever those jobs are.


I don't think the JD advantage data ought to be discounted entirely, as there's good reason to believe that all else equal, a JD earns more in a given position than a non-JD. It's of course not as good as having access to a position non-JDs don't have access to, but it does alleviate the pain of whiffing on a bar passage job a little.

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Re: GMU vs. UIUC vs. UC Davis vs. Case Western

Postby suralin » Wed May 29, 2013 9:39 pm

Monochromatic Oeuvre wrote:
jbagelboy wrote:$60K is optimistic for the non-biglaw/clerkship grads at GMU.


Their reported 25-75 for Class of 2011: (2012 doesn't seem to have public/private breakdown although overall, Biglaw and shitlaw data are available)

Overall: $60k-87k
Public sector: $54k-$73k
Private sector: 60-140
Biglaw: $145k-$160k
Shitlaw: $55k-70k

Yes, self-reporting bias, massaging of data and all that jazz apply. But C/O 2011 generally had worse prospects then we expect now, right? So you can discount these figures a little, but not a ton. I still think $50k-60k is the meaty part of that curve.

Alright -- as you know, I agree that the employment situation for BA's is not good right now. In another thread, I actually pointed out that your characterization of post-college employment was overly optimistic. HOWEVER, this does not by default make LAW a good alternative. Many students who couldn't find solid employment in 2009-2010 who went to law school are doing equally shitty trying to find FT work, but with $100K+ federal debt to boot.

The point is, 1) if you make that $50-60K now, don't give it up to go to a law school that gives you a <%50 chance of biglaw/clerkships (esp not going in debt for it), since more likely than not you will come out at the same salary rate (I make ~$60K/year + bonus now, and I wouldn't attend unless I knew the school would open up more interesting/more lucrative opportunities); and 2) if you are unemployed or underemployed after college, all the more reason to STUDY FOR THE LSAT and do BETTER than a 162. The advice is geared towards encouraging people not to make foolish financial choices when they could STUDY and save hundreds of thousands of dollars. You'll notice for super splitters who can't benefit from retaking, the advice is different. That's not elitism. It's common sense.


I would agree anyone who can start out at $55k-$60k shouldn't go to a non-Biglaw-placing school, as their opportunity cost of not going is very low. I'm presuming most of these grads are STEM/finance+accounting majors, as those are the ones reporting the lowest unemployment rates and highest starting salaries. The ones who have a lot more to risk by just keeping their Bachelor's (presumably, the humanities kids) are the ones for whom it sometimes makes sense to take more of a risk. It's not that they have better options, just that their fallback is much worse. I think if you're chronically unemployed (like the 09/10 applicants), applying to a relatively inexpensive Tier 1 (even one with mediocre employment prospects) is not a bad decision (the bad decisions were the 200k+ TTT attendees, who went because they felt they had to do something). After all, from a T1 you, at the very least, will probably have a job paying you a middle-class salary.

The difference between a starting salary of $60k versus a starting salary of $40k may not look all that large in the context of six-figure debt, but magnified over your career it becomes a gigantic difference in your late-career expected net worth, and therefore an important differentiating factor as to whether or not to attend law school. I am presuming most applicants don't have a marketable degree (defined as STEM or finance/accounting) and are thus much more like to be looking at $40k starting rather than $60k. Like the guy who wanted to do patent law (and thus presumably had a marketable degree), I would advise anyone with a pretty good fallback to not go to law school unless they're going to someplace where they would be a good shot for Biglaw.

Certainly doing some good LSAT studying is the best investment, by ROI, anyone could make (e.g. a couple months of studying can turn into $50k or more of scholarship money). And it should certainly be the first question asked of anyone considering their choices, because so many half-assed their studying. But at some point, like with super-splitters or people who've taken it three times, you've done as good as you're going to do. I think most people would agree with that. That's not to downplay the impact a good retake can have--as has been pointed out over and over again, it can be staggering.


Monochromatic Oeuvre wrote:
I agree. I spent a while lurking (fiveish months) mostly because I didn't want to post when I felt like I didn't know anything. I learned a lot while lurking, and I appreciate the shorthand, because a lot of times the right answer is something that's been posted 5,000 times elsewhere in a lengthier dismissal. But one thing I never came across was a serious, quantitative-based analysis looking at financial considerations for someone beyond age 40-45. A ton of these debt calculations have been done, but they're all about 3-7 year windows. I think most people would agree that absent issues of debt, most people with JDs do better financially than the average person without one. Presumably, very few people are carrying on their debt past about 45, but they will still be more marketable afterwards than had they not gone. Yes, long-term debt is an impedient to home equity and 401(k) buildup. But I think if you stretched these financial plans out to span an entire career, we would conclude that more schools are viable options than we now do. Doing that is uncertain, yes, because things may change in ways we don't anticipate. But the uncertainty isn't a good reason for dismissing the notion entirely. Even if we know late-career prospects are a relevant factor rationally, the fact that we never use it as a variable leads us to consciously or unconsciously discount it.


I think you have a good point here and previously re always considering the opportunity cost of either going or not going to law school. However, it's a little frustrating reading these posts because it almost seems like you're just assuming away any counterpoints when you talk about the long-term ROI of a JD. That is, on what basis are you making the assumption that somebody with a JD 25-40 years out from a tier 2/3 school will have higher net worth than somebody who only had a Bachelor's and who perhaps worked their way up the corporate ladder? I think sometimes people forget that it is in fact possible to start as an entry-level employee and end up, for example, a manager of a Lowe's or whatever. Not prestigious maybe, but it's certainly not implausible that that person's net worth, 25 years out, would be better than if he/she had spent 3 years and $250000 of debt to earn a JD from a tier 2 school.

Also, I think you have to consider that there may be structural elements to the lack of legal jobs compared to the surplus of JDs, at least w.r.t. the impact of technology's exponential growth and increased automation in more and more industries 2-3 decades out ("Software is eating the world."). That, combined with the lack of data concerning post-BigLaw jobs, makes me very leery of just assuming that a JD will be as valuable in 30 years as you seem to want to make it out to be.

These and other reasons are why I usually limit considerations of the value of a JD to 10-20 years, instead of trying to extrapolate post-BigLaw earnings to 20-40 years out. Trust me, I would love to have a purely quantitative analysis of earnings with a JD in the long run compared to without--in fact, I have a spreadsheet with something of that sort for the short term--but I just don't think it's possible while remaining unbiased.

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Re: GMU vs. UIUC vs. UC Davis vs. Case Western

Postby Monochromatic Oeuvre » Wed May 29, 2013 9:53 pm

Suralin wrote: I think you have a good point here re always considering the opportunity cost of either going or not going to law school. However, it's a little frustrating reading these posts because it almost seems like you're just assuming away any counterpoints when you talk about the long-term ROI of a JD. That is, on what basis are you making the assumption that a JD 25-40 years out from a tier 2 school will have higher value than somebody who only had a Bachelor's and who perhaps worked their way up the corporate ladder? I think sometimes people forget that it is in fact possible to start as an entry-level employee and end up, for example, a manager of a Lowe's or whatever. Not prestigious maybe, but it's certainly not implausible that that person's net worth, 25 years out, would be better than if he/she had spent 3 years and $250000 of debt to earn a JD from a tier 2 school.

Also, I think you have to consider that there may be structural elements to the lack of legal jobs compared to the surplus of JDs, at least w.r.t. the impact of technology's exponential growth and increased automation in more and more industries 2-3 decades out ("Software is eating the world."). That, combined with the lack of data concerning post-BigLaw jobs, makes me very leery of just assuming that a JD will be as valuable in 30 years as you seem to want to make it out to be.


Well, the long-term value of the JD is affected by the relative value of the rate of income growth for JD-holders as opposed to Bachelor's holders. The assumption is that Bachelor's holders don't experience salary growth in significantly greater levels than do JD holders. I can't verify that this is absolutely true. If the average growth rate for Bachelor's holders were significantly higher, it becomes a different calculation. My presumption is that every entry-level guy who makes the leap into the boardroom is matched, percentage-wise, by a small or shitlaw associate who winds up getting top-line work. But I have no way of knowing that.

I don't mean to assume the JD is more valuable than the Bachelor's 30 years out, just that it's my null hypothesis if there's no reason to believe the contrary. The extended timeframe makes it very hard to make assumptions (as does the lack of post-Biglaw data), which is why it seems to be so ignored. There are some instances in which technological change can be seen as affecting the legal labor market (e.g. language processing software eliminating the manpower formerly required in contract work), but overall it seems to me that law is more resistant to technological change by its nature than are most professional fields. Computers are still quite a ways away from being able to construct and deconstruct logical reasoning in the way humans can. Might this change in the future? Perhaps. We just don't know.

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Re: GMU vs. UIUC vs. UC Davis vs. Case Western

Postby suralin » Wed May 29, 2013 10:12 pm

Monochromatic Oeuvre wrote:
Suralin wrote: I think you have a good point here re always considering the opportunity cost of either going or not going to law school. However, it's a little frustrating reading these posts because it almost seems like you're just assuming away any counterpoints when you talk about the long-term ROI of a JD. That is, on what basis are you making the assumption that a JD 25-40 years out from a tier 2 school will have higher value than somebody who only had a Bachelor's and who perhaps worked their way up the corporate ladder? I think sometimes people forget that it is in fact possible to start as an entry-level employee and end up, for example, a manager of a Lowe's or whatever. Not prestigious maybe, but it's certainly not implausible that that person's net worth, 25 years out, would be better than if he/she had spent 3 years and $250000 of debt to earn a JD from a tier 2 school.

Also, I think you have to consider that there may be structural elements to the lack of legal jobs compared to the surplus of JDs, at least w.r.t. the impact of technology's exponential growth and increased automation in more and more industries 2-3 decades out ("Software is eating the world."). That, combined with the lack of data concerning post-BigLaw jobs, makes me very leery of just assuming that a JD will be as valuable in 30 years as you seem to want to make it out to be.


Well, the long-term value of the JD is affected by the relative value of the rate of income growth for JD-holders as opposed to Bachelor's holders. The assumption is that Bachelor's holders don't experience salary growth in significantly greater levels than do JD holders. I can't verify that this is absolutely true. If the average growth rate for Bachelor's holders were significantly higher, it becomes a different calculation. My presumption is that every entry-level guy who makes the leap into the boardroom is matched, percentage-wise, by a small or shitlaw associate who winds up getting top-line work. But I have no way of knowing that.

I don't mean to assume the JD is more valuable than the Bachelor's 30 years out, just that it's my null hypothesis if there's no reason to believe the contrary. The extended timeframe makes it very hard to make assumptions (as does the lack of post-Biglaw data), which is why it seems to be so ignored. There are some instances in which technological change can be seen as affecting the legal labor market (e.g. language processing software eliminating the manpower formerly required in contract work), but overall it seems to me that law is more resistant to technological change by its nature than are most professional fields. Computers are still quite a ways away from being able to construct and deconstruct logical reasoning in the way humans can. Might this change in the future? Perhaps. We just don't know.


Right, I guess my main point is that given this intrinsic uncertainty in post-BigLaw outcomes, especially a few decades out, we should be more conservative when making judgments about the worth of a JD/going to law school. This is magnified by the often very large, upfront cost of a JD and the importance of school ranking to employment prospects.




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