Law School Site Comparable to Businessweek MBA Rankings?

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Bronte
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Re: Law School Site Comparable to Businessweek MBA Rankings?

Postby Bronte » Sun Jun 09, 2013 2:15 pm

namename wrote:As a blanket response to others, my concerns are: that "big law" is not a meaningfully specific category, and outcomes data for the legal field do not go much beyond medians, range markers, and anecdote. (The NLJ Go-To website is helpful though.) If someone asks a lawyer, "What do you do?" and the lawyer responds, "Oh, I work in big law," the immediate next question would be, "Right, but what do you do?" Again, this likely stems from my feeling that wanting a career "in the law" is too broad for personal comfort, and so high-level data are not sufficient to address my questions.


It sounds like you want data that says what percentage of students from a particular school go into particular practice areas in big law. For example, say, at NYU 60% of those who do big law do general litigation, 40% do transactional, and within transactional 30% do M&A, etc. I agree that we could use better data, but this particular type of data does not seem very useful.

Who cares what practice groups people go into? For the most part, if you manage to get big law, you can choose your practice area. And even to the extent you can't, your inability to do so is going to have little to nothing to do with your school. The best data would not be more granular, but would take into account self-selection, i.e., of those who sought big law, how many got big law.

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chuckbass
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Re: Law School Site Comparable to Businessweek MBA Rankings?

Postby chuckbass » Sun Jun 09, 2013 2:48 pm

Bronte wrote:
namename wrote:As a blanket response to others, my concerns are: that "big law" is not a meaningfully specific category, and outcomes data for the legal field do not go much beyond medians, range markers, and anecdote. (The NLJ Go-To website is helpful though.) If someone asks a lawyer, "What do you do?" and the lawyer responds, "Oh, I work in big law," the immediate next question would be, "Right, but what do you do?" Again, this likely stems from my feeling that wanting a career "in the law" is too broad for personal comfort, and so high-level data are not sufficient to address my questions.


It sounds like you want data that says what percentage of students from a particular school go into particular practice areas in big law. For example, say, at NYU 60% of those who do big law do general litigation, 40% do transactional, and within transactional 30% do M&A, etc. I agree that we could use better data, but this particular type of data does not seem very useful.

Who cares what practice groups people go into? For the most part, if you manage to get big law, you can choose your practice area. And even to the extent you can't, your inability to do so is going to have little to nothing to do with your school. The best data would not be more granular, but would take into account self-selection, i.e., of those who sought big law, how many got big law.

And also even if we had the specifics on what practice groups people go into, that wouldn't be particularly insightful or generalizable. It's not like a firm prefers Columbia students for practice group A and Penn students for practice group B.

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guano
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Re: Law School Site Comparable to Businessweek MBA Rankings?

Postby guano » Sun Jun 09, 2013 2:56 pm

namename wrote:
A. Nony Mouse wrote:You might argue that this in itself is the problem, but: I think law and business are so different that it affects this kind of analysis. Most MBA applicants have significant job experience in their field before getting the MBA. Law students don't...So the kind of analysis applicants make about law school focuses on what kind of job opportunities you have - speaking broadly, like biglaw v. public interest. I think it's difficult for most law school applicants to start parsing "biglaw" more finely until they've actually gone to law school.

This is a thoughtful response. Yes, I do believe that is in itself the problem.

As a blanket response to others, my concerns are: that "big law" is not a meaningfully specific category, and outcomes data for the legal field do not go much beyond medians, range markers, and anecdote. (The NLJ Go-To website is helpful though.) If someone asks a lawyer, "What do you do?" and the lawyer responds, "Oh, I work in big law," the immediate next question would be, "Right, but what do you do?" Again, this likely stems from my feeling that wanting a career "in the law" is too broad for personal comfort, and so high-level data are not sufficient to address my questions.

The cost estimates are back of the envelope, but include opportunity costs (NPV of foregone salary+opportunity cost of lost investment above consumption) and debt+interest. If you make 50k a year, the opportunity cost for three years is around 90k after basic living costs. Above that level, the investment costs rise. At 100k a year in salary, you are looking at large levels of foregone compound investment wealth. For instance, say that instead of going to law school, you work for those three years and save $150,000. After ten years at 10% CAGR, you've accumulated $389,000. After 20 years, you've accumulated $1,000,000+.

So, if you leave a good job to go to law school, you can very easily find yourself negative $750,000 (tuition+interest, foregone wages+investment wealth).

10% CAGR? Are you high?

The foregone savings should be offset against the new salary. If you forego that $50k/yr job to get biglaw at $160, even accounting for tuition the break even is about 3-4 years employment (all else being equal and not taking taxes into consideration)

Also, how are you converting that $50k/yr to $90k over 3 years?

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Blessedassurance
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Re: Law School Site Comparable to Businessweek MBA Rankings?

Postby Blessedassurance » Sun Jun 09, 2013 3:07 pm

lol at booth being number 1...just lol...

isn't businessweek the ttt magazine that tries to rank the 25 most "prestigious" hls students etc etc?

it's like those shitigators with "superlawyer" this and that in their bios.

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Monochromatic Oeuvre
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Re: Law School Site Comparable to Businessweek MBA Rankings?

Postby Monochromatic Oeuvre » Sun Jun 09, 2013 3:22 pm

namename wrote: As a blanket response to others, my concerns are: that "big law" is not a meaningfully specific category, and outcomes data for the legal field do not go much beyond medians, range markers, and anecdote.


I'm not clear on what you want. You have data governing means, medians, approximate ranges, and percentile graphs. The only thing you do have is a listing of salaries for anyone who goes into any type of legal job. But that doesn't exist anyone. You have as much data as any other field.

If someone asks a lawyer, "What do you do?" and the lawyer responds, "Oh, I work in big law," the immediate next question would be, "Right, but what do you do?" Again, this likely stems from my feeling that wanting a career "in the law" is too broad for personal comfort, and so high-level data are not sufficient to address my questions.


That doesn't make the characterization meaningless or abstract. Your particular practice area is pretty irrelevant to a) How much money you make, and b) What schools firms will hire you from. When people want to focus on what matters--What I am paying for what outcome?--they don't focus on practice area for that reason.

The cost estimates are back of the envelope, but include opportunity costs (NPV of foregone salary+opportunity cost of lost investment above consumption) and debt+interest. If you make 50k a year, the opportunity cost for three years is around 90k after basic living costs. Above that level, the investment costs rise. At 100k a year in salary, you are looking at large levels of foregone compound investment wealth. For instance, say that instead of going to law school, you work for those three years and save $150,000. After ten years at 10% CAGR, you've accumulated $389,000. After 20 years, you've accumulated $1,000,000+.

So, if you leave a good job to go to law school, you can very easily find yourself negative $750,000 (tuition+interest, foregone wages+investment wealth).


Nobody is assuming 10% CAGR--that's generally accepted to be a wildly optimistic projection as far as averages go. We tend to assume 4-7% is a more realistic projection. You've also come up with a huge investment-adjusted opportunity cost figure that would go well into your potential legal career, which we presume to be more lucrative than the alternative.

Presume living costs are the same whether you choose to go to law school or not. Your opportunity cost of going to law school is modeled, in a period of X years, as the take-home pay minus the total COL invested at rate R over three years, minus the differential in take-home pay invested at rate R over (X-3) years. If you make $50k a year, you certainly don't have $30k after living costs, so I'm assuming that's an after-tax figure and you have an annual salary of $70k-ish. That's pretty high for someone with a Bachelor's. Even at such a high level, your opportunity cost at graduation is $350k. Input whatever you want for the variables, but a graduate who gets Biglaw, even heavily indebted, winds up with a higher net worth 20 to 25 years down the line. At no point in time will the net worth differential ever come close to $750k.

By the way, most people on the board would tell you that someone who could be investing $30k/year (meaning they make a minimum of $70-75k a year with a Bachelor's) shouldn't be going to law school unless they were nearly assured of a good outcome (HYS only). And your premise becomes absurd at six figures--why the hell would anyone making six figures go to law school? No one's advice is geared towards that. Most everyone presumes the alternative is to make $30-60k per year.

20141023
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Re: Law School Site Comparable to Businessweek MBA Rankings?

Postby 20141023 » Sun Jun 09, 2013 3:23 pm

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Ti Malice
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Re: Law School Site Comparable to Businessweek MBA Rankings?

Postby Ti Malice » Sun Jun 09, 2013 5:55 pm

kappycaft1 wrote:
Ti Malice wrote:There are no rankings included, but this site will provide as much information as you'll find anywhere else: http://www.lstscorereports.com/. Some of the information you'll find there is still subject to strategic manipulation by the schools (e.g. UVA (14.8%) and Yale (5%) employment data), but it's the best data available.

FTFY. :lol:

By the way, one of my favorite moments of at UChicago's ASW was during one of the smaller informal information sessions where we were broken up into groups of about 20 and sent into small classrooms to eat lunch with current students. During that session, I asked the students about UChicago's school-funded employment rate (7.9%) and what kind of outcomes those students were seeing after the school funding ended. There were 4 current students in total, and 2 of them were these girls who were 2Ls that were Rubenstein scholarship recipients. They tried explaining to me how "Above the Law" wrote an article on this, and how there actually aren't any "school funded positions" that are being used as a cover-up to feign employment stats. I never suggested that the law school had such ill intentions (I imagine that many schools use this as a legitimate way to help their graduates achieve employment goals that would otherwise be unattainable for those individuals), but their response gave me legitimate lulz. I didn't want to be the kid at ASW who tells current students that they're wrong, so I was like "okay, that's good to hear, thanks!", but at the same time wondered if they just didn't know the facts or if they were trying to hide the fact in front of a room full of potential students. :|


Harhar. :lol:

In seriousness, I don't know anything about Chicago's school-funded jobs, but the standard assumptions about employment outcomes in general become more questionable as you go up the law school hierarchy (partly for reasons I described above). Of course you can say it sounds self-serving, but the truth is that YLS has long had a significant number of endowed fellowships for PI-oriented grads. I won't promise that there aren't a couple of people on them who are struggling, but most of the people on YLS fellowships aren't doing it because they struck out in BigLaw or whatever else. A significant proportion of people come here with zero intention of working in anything other than PI law. Our Skadden winners, for instance, were all slated to be on school fellowships this year. Skadden Fellows aren't doing low-paying PI work because they had no other options. Most telling is the fact that the number of YLS fellowships available remained stable when the market imploded -- during the time that, for example, Columbia's increased from 10 to 38, NYU's from 22 to 57, and UVA's from 19 to 64.
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Jimbo_Jones
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Re: Law School Site Comparable to Businessweek MBA Rankings?

Postby Jimbo_Jones » Sun Jun 09, 2013 5:56 pm

Bronte wrote:
namename wrote:As a blanket response to others, my concerns are: that "big law" is not a meaningfully specific category, and outcomes data for the legal field do not go much beyond medians, range markers, and anecdote. (The NLJ Go-To website is helpful though.) If someone asks a lawyer, "What do you do?" and the lawyer responds, "Oh, I work in big law," the immediate next question would be, "Right, but what do you do?" Again, this likely stems from my feeling that wanting a career "in the law" is too broad for personal comfort, and so high-level data are not sufficient to address my questions.


It sounds like you want data that says what percentage of students from a particular school go into particular practice areas in big law. For example, say, at NYU 60% of those who do big law do general litigation, 40% do transactional, and within transactional 30% do M&A, etc. I agree that we could use better data, but this particular type of data does not seem very useful.

Who cares what practice groups people go into? For the most part, if you manage to get big law, you can choose your practice area. And even to the extent you can't, your inability to do so is going to have little to nothing to do with your school. The best data would not be more granular, but would take into account self-selection, i.e., of those who sought big law, how many got big law.


To build off of this, I think it's key to understand that biglaw firms are generally "full service" and they pretty much all practice in the same handful of practice areas as each other. So for instance, you want to do IP work? You can do that at Kirkland & Ellis. Want to do Corporate transactional work? You can do that at Kirkland & Ellis. Want to do litigation? You get the point. Its pretty much the same no matter what big firm you go to, so its useless to try to differentiate between them based on practice areas. Your choice of practice area generally doesn't dictate what firms you target (obviously there are exceptions). This is very different coming out of an MBA program where there's a specific industry build around consulting or a specific industry built around IB or a specific industry build around VC work, etc.

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Re: Law School Site Comparable to Businessweek MBA Rankings?

Postby Jimbo_Jones » Sun Jun 09, 2013 6:07 pm

namename wrote:Consider, for example, an individual deciding whether and how to spend $500,000 on legal education. He is interested in several legal areas (e.g., criminal law, international business law, health care law) and not interested in others (e.g., tax law, intellectual property law, environmental law). $500,000 is a large amount of money, so he wants to understand the possible investment.


I think there is a fatal flaw in the premise of your example. Most people going to law school don't have the money lying around to pay for it. They have to borrow it from somewhere else. When you start borrowing hundreds of thousands of dollars of SOMEONE ELSE's money, the primary concern becomes "how do I pay back what I owe ASAP?" instead of jumping to ROI. This is another reason why big firms get lumped together, because they are the surest way to pay back large sums of money as quickly as possible. As mentioned their starting salaries are the highest and are all standardized. There is a huge risk of not being able to pay the money quickly if you miss the biglaw boat. There are other options like LRAP/IBR/PAYE, but who would mess with those if they could just scrimp for 5 years and pay down their debt with a six figure salary?

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Bronte
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Re: Law School Site Comparable to Businessweek MBA Rankings?

Postby Bronte » Sun Jun 09, 2013 6:10 pm

Jimbo_Jones wrote:To build off of this, I think it's key to understand that biglaw firms are generally "full service" and they pretty much all practice in the same handful of practice areas as each other. So for instance, you want to do IP work? You can do that at Kirkland & Ellis. Want to do Corporate transactional work? You can do that at Kirkland & Ellis. Want to do litigation? You get the point. Its pretty much the same no matter what big firm you go to, so its useless to try to differentiate between them based on practice areas. Your choice of practice area generally doesn't dictate what firms you target (obviously there are exceptions). This is very different coming out of an MBA program where there's a specific industry build around consulting or a specific industry built around IB or a specific industry build around VC work, etc.


I would differ with you a little bit there. Like I said, I think it would be pretty useless to know that 2.5% of Columbia grads that do big law specialize in tax whereas 2.0% of NYU grads do the same. This wouldn't be first on my list of employment data that we need.

But I disagree that it's useless to differentiate between practice areas and that you shouldn't choose firms based on practice areas. On the contrary, I think it's pretty well accepted that you can and should differentiate between firms based on practice areas. It's true that most big firms are full-service, but it's also true that most big firms are stronger in particular practice areas.

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A. Nony Mouse
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Re: Law School Site Comparable to Businessweek MBA Rankings?

Postby A. Nony Mouse » Sun Jun 09, 2013 6:15 pm

Bronte wrote:But I disagree that it's useless to differentiate between practice areas and that you shouldn't choose firms based on practice areas. On the contrary, I think it's pretty well accepted that you can and should differentiate between firms based on practice areas. It's true that most big firms are full-service, but it's also true that most big firms are stronger in particular practice areas.

This is probably true, although I don't think that that level of differentiation is helpful when you're picking a law school. In part because when you apply, most people probably don't know which practice groups will actually appeal to them, and in part because I don't think (as someone - you? - said already) that the school you go to much affects your practice group opportunities.

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Re: Law School Site Comparable to Businessweek MBA Rankings?

Postby Jimbo_Jones » Sun Jun 09, 2013 6:18 pm

Bronte wrote:But I disagree that it's useless to differentiate between practice areas and that you shouldn't choose firms based on practice areas. On the contrary, I think it's pretty well accepted that you can and should differentiate between firms based on practice areas. It's true that most big firms are full-service, but it's also true that most big firms are stronger in particular practice areas.


I agree with you (hence my "exceptions" caveat). I guess what I meant is that if one rising 2L going into OCI wants to do litigation and one wants to do corporate transactional work, it is likely that you will see a lot of overlap on their bid lists. Once you have multiple offers in hand, then I definitely agree to chose based on strength of practice area.

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guano
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Re: Law School Site Comparable to Businessweek MBA Rankings?

Postby guano » Sun Jun 09, 2013 6:18 pm

A. Nony Mouse wrote:
Bronte wrote:But I disagree that it's useless to differentiate between practice areas and that you shouldn't choose firms based on practice areas. On the contrary, I think it's pretty well accepted that you can and should differentiate between firms based on practice areas. It's true that most big firms are full-service, but it's also true that most big firms are stronger in particular practice areas.

This is probably true, although I don't think that that level of differentiation is helpful when you're picking a law school. In part because when you apply, most people probably don't know which practice groups will actually appeal to them, and in part because I don't think (as someone - you? - said already) that the school you go to much affects your practice group opportunities.

Unless that school is a TTT, in which case your practice area is limited to ambulance chasing or pacing outside traffic court hoping for clients

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A. Nony Mouse
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Re: Law School Site Comparable to Businessweek MBA Rankings?

Postby A. Nony Mouse » Sun Jun 09, 2013 6:20 pm

guano wrote:
A. Nony Mouse wrote:
Bronte wrote:But I disagree that it's useless to differentiate between practice areas and that you shouldn't choose firms based on practice areas. On the contrary, I think it's pretty well accepted that you can and should differentiate between firms based on practice areas. It's true that most big firms are full-service, but it's also true that most big firms are stronger in particular practice areas.

This is probably true, although I don't think that that level of differentiation is helpful when you're picking a law school. In part because when you apply, most people probably don't know which practice groups will actually appeal to them, and in part because I don't think (as someone - you? - said already) that the school you go to much affects your practice group opportunities.

Unless that school is a TTT, in which case your practice area is limited to ambulance chasing or pacing outside traffic court hoping for clients

Well, sure. I was assuming a school at which biglaw is a realistic possibility, given the rest of the conversation.

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guano
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Re: Law School Site Comparable to Businessweek MBA Rankings?

Postby guano » Sun Jun 09, 2013 6:21 pm

Jimbo_Jones wrote:
Bronte wrote:But I disagree that it's useless to differentiate between practice areas and that you shouldn't choose firms based on practice areas. On the contrary, I think it's pretty well accepted that you can and should differentiate between firms based on practice areas. It's true that most big firms are full-service, but it's also true that most big firms are stronger in particular practice areas.


I agree with you (hence my "exceptions" caveat). I guess what I meant is that if one rising 2L going into OCI wants to do litigation and one wants to do corporate transactional work, it is likely that you will see a lot of overlap on their bid lists. Once you have multiple offers in hand, then I definitely agree to chose based on strength of practice area.

Only if they're lazy. Many firms are heavily biased to one or the other, and if a rising 2L knows for sure s/he wants to do corp, bidding on eg Quinn would be dumb

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Bronte
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Re: Law School Site Comparable to Businessweek MBA Rankings?

Postby Bronte » Sun Jun 09, 2013 6:23 pm

A. Nony Mouse wrote:
Bronte wrote:But I disagree that it's useless to differentiate between practice areas and that you shouldn't choose firms based on practice areas. On the contrary, I think it's pretty well accepted that you can and should differentiate between firms based on practice areas. It's true that most big firms are full-service, but it's also true that most big firms are stronger in particular practice areas.

This is probably true, although I don't think that that level of differentiation is helpful when you're picking a law school. In part because when you apply, most people probably don't know which practice groups will actually appeal to them, and in part because I don't think (as someone - you? - said already) that the school you go to much affects your practice group opportunities.


Yeah, I agree, and those are the points I was originally trying to make. This data would not help you pick a law school, and your law school really does not dictate what practice area you get. It's just Jimbo took us down a different path pertaining to whether you should choose a firm by practice area and whether firms can even be differentiated by practice area. This is tangential to the OP, but I think the answer to both is yes.

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A. Nony Mouse
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Re: Law School Site Comparable to Businessweek MBA Rankings?

Postby A. Nony Mouse » Sun Jun 09, 2013 6:26 pm

Bronte wrote:
A. Nony Mouse wrote:
Bronte wrote:But I disagree that it's useless to differentiate between practice areas and that you shouldn't choose firms based on practice areas. On the contrary, I think it's pretty well accepted that you can and should differentiate between firms based on practice areas. It's true that most big firms are full-service, but it's also true that most big firms are stronger in particular practice areas.

This is probably true, although I don't think that that level of differentiation is helpful when you're picking a law school. In part because when you apply, most people probably don't know which practice groups will actually appeal to them, and in part because I don't think (as someone - you? - said already) that the school you go to much affects your practice group opportunities.


Yeah, I agree, and those are the points I was originally trying to make. This data would not help you pick a law school, and your law school really does not dictate what practice area you get. It's just Jimbo took us down a different path pertaining to whether you should choose a firm by practice area and whether firms can even be differentiated by practice area. This is tangential to the OP, but I think the answer to both is yes.

Gotcha. Agree. :)

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Bronte
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Re: Law School Site Comparable to Businessweek MBA Rankings?

Postby Bronte » Sun Jun 09, 2013 6:30 pm

Jimbo_Jones wrote:I guess what I meant is that if one rising 2L going into OCI wants to do litigation and one wants to do corporate transactional work, it is likely that you will see a lot of overlap on their bid lists. Once you have multiple offers in hand, then I definitely agree to chose based on strength of practice area.


I can buy into that. A lot of law students really can't get more specific than wanting litigation or corporate (and even that is a struggle). In that case, it's true that there are a number of firms that are strong enough in both litigation and corporate that trying to differentiate wouldn't really make sense. It's just that it would be ideal to get a little more specific with your practice area choice and choose firms accordingly, but that's not realistic for a lot of people going into OCI.




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