Regional Powerhouses vs T14

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yot11
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Regional Powerhouses vs T14

Postby yot11 » Fri Jul 26, 2013 4:43 pm

I wouldn't be surprised if this has been addressed but it's difficult to search for -- I've tried several times.

The argument for attending T-14 vs regional powerhouses is often centers around two advantages:
1) Better placement
2) More mobility

But it still comes down to class rank, right? For example, USC places 25% of grads in 501+ firms with 25 percentile and up making 160K (basically standard biglaw). Even though UChicago places 40% of grads in same stats, is it really easier to place in top 40% at Chicago than top 25% at USC?

If you knew you wanted to practice in California, is Chicago really the better choice, especially if you're likely to have $$ from USC if you can get Chicago?

Source:
http://www.lstscorereports.com/?school= ... class=2011
http://www.lstscorereports.com/?school= ... class=2011

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Lincoln
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Re: Regional Powerhouses vs T14

Postby Lincoln » Fri Jul 26, 2013 4:51 pm

TCW is that future class rank is inherently unpredictable. Substantially all of the people attending a given school will be within a standard deviation of each other in terms of LSAT and GPA. There simply isn't a strong enough correlation between LSAT and UG GPA, on the one hand, and law school class rank, on the other, to allow you to predict being, say, top 25% simply because your LSAT score is, say, 2 points higher than most of your classmates'. Thus it arguably is that much harder to be top 25% at USC than top 40% at UChi. Because of this, all other things being equal, you want to maximize your chances of getting a favorable outcome.

That being said, there is certainly a price at which the reduced chance of a favorable outcome is worth it, or where the very definition of a favorable outcome to that individual makes a lower-ranked regional school worth it over a T14. I would, for example, take a free ride at UCLA over sticker at UChi in a heartbeat if I wanted to work in LA. But this balancing is very individual and depends on a variety of factors, including resulting debt, ties, desirability of second-best outcome, QOL, etc.

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LSATmakesMeNeurotic
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Re: Regional Powerhouses vs T14

Postby LSATmakesMeNeurotic » Fri Jul 26, 2013 4:54 pm

Whoops.
Last edited by LSATmakesMeNeurotic on Fri Jul 26, 2013 5:01 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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yot11
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Re: Regional Powerhouses vs T14

Postby yot11 » Fri Jul 26, 2013 4:56 pm

Lincoln wrote:TCW is that future class rank is inherently unpredictable. Substantially all of the people attending a given school will be within a standard deviation of each other in terms of LSAT and GPA. There simply isn't a strong enough correlation between LSAT and UG GPA to where you can predict being, say, top 25% simply because your LSAT score is, say, 2 points higher than most of your classmates'. Because of this, all other things being equal, you want to maximize your chances of getting a favorable outcome.

That being said, there is certainly a price at which the reduced chance of a favorable outcome is worth it, or where the very definition of a favorable outcome to that individual makes a lower-ranked regional school worth it over a T14. I would, for example, take a free ride at UCLA over sticker at UChi in a heartbeat if I wanted to work in LA.


Okay so if I understand it right, it sounds like there's no significant difference in the caliber of students between USC and Chicago? Because otherwise, it would seem (to me) that if you got into Chicago, and thus were Chicago caliber, then you would be of higher caliber than USC students -- if there was a difference between the student bodies.

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rickgrimes69
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Re: Regional Powerhouses vs T14

Postby rickgrimes69 » Fri Jul 26, 2013 4:59 pm

LSATmakesMeNeurotic wrote:
yot11 wrote:I wouldn't be surprised if this has been addressed but it's difficult to search for -- I've tried several times.

The argument for attending T-14 vs regional powerhouses is often centers around two advantages:
1) Better placement
2) More mobility

But it still comes down to class rank, right? For example, USC places 25% of grads in 501+ firms with 25 percentile and up making 160K (basically standard biglaw). Even though UChicago places 40% of grads in same stats, is it really easier to place in top 40% at Chicago than top 25% at USC?

If you knew you wanted to practice in California, is Chicago really the better choice, especially if you're likely to have $$ from USC if you can get Chicago?

Source:
http://www.lstscorereports.com/?school= ... class=2011
http://www.lstscorereports.com/?school= ... class=2011


You know that Chicago is also a T-14, right? So you're comparing T-14 to T-14, not T-14 to "regional powerhouse"


What? USC isn't T14

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LSATmakesMeNeurotic
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Re: Regional Powerhouses vs T14

Postby LSATmakesMeNeurotic » Fri Jul 26, 2013 5:01 pm

rickgrimes69 wrote:
LSATmakesMeNeurotic wrote:
yot11 wrote:I wouldn't be surprised if this has been addressed but it's difficult to search for -- I've tried several times.

The argument for attending T-14 vs regional powerhouses is often centers around two advantages:
1) Better placement
2) More mobility

But it still comes down to class rank, right? For example, USC places 25% of grads in 501+ firms with 25 percentile and up making 160K (basically standard biglaw). Even though UChicago places 40% of grads in same stats, is it really easier to place in top 40% at Chicago than top 25% at USC?

If you knew you wanted to practice in California, is Chicago really the better choice, especially if you're likely to have $$ from USC if you can get Chicago?

Source:
http://www.lstscorereports.com/?school= ... class=2011
http://www.lstscorereports.com/?school= ... class=2011


You know that Chicago is also a T-14, right? So you're comparing T-14 to T-14, not T-14 to "regional powerhouse"


What? USC isn't T14


Yeah, reading comp fail on my part.

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moonman157
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Re: Regional Powerhouses vs T14

Postby moonman157 » Fri Jul 26, 2013 5:06 pm

yot11 wrote:
Lincoln wrote:TCW is that future class rank is inherently unpredictable. Substantially all of the people attending a given school will be within a standard deviation of each other in terms of LSAT and GPA. There simply isn't a strong enough correlation between LSAT and UG GPA to where you can predict being, say, top 25% simply because your LSAT score is, say, 2 points higher than most of your classmates'. Because of this, all other things being equal, you want to maximize your chances of getting a favorable outcome.

That being said, there is certainly a price at which the reduced chance of a favorable outcome is worth it, or where the very definition of a favorable outcome to that individual makes a lower-ranked regional school worth it over a T14. I would, for example, take a free ride at UCLA over sticker at UChi in a heartbeat if I wanted to work in LA.


Okay so if I understand it right, it sounds like there's no significant difference in the caliber of students between USC and Chicago? Because otherwise, it would seem (to me) that if you got into Chicago, and thus were Chicago caliber, then you would be of higher caliber than USC students -- if there was a difference between the student bodies.


There may be a difference, but the advantage you gain by going to a lower ranked school where the average student had a lower LSAT/GPA is almost always smaller than the disadvantage in terms of job prospects for that school. But it does largely depend on career goals.

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Tiago Splitter
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Re: Regional Powerhouses vs T14

Postby Tiago Splitter » Fri Jul 26, 2013 5:09 pm

yot11 wrote:
Lincoln wrote:TCW is that future class rank is inherently unpredictable. Substantially all of the people attending a given school will be within a standard deviation of each other in terms of LSAT and GPA. There simply isn't a strong enough correlation between LSAT and UG GPA to where you can predict being, say, top 25% simply because your LSAT score is, say, 2 points higher than most of your classmates'. Because of this, all other things being equal, you want to maximize your chances of getting a favorable outcome.

That being said, there is certainly a price at which the reduced chance of a favorable outcome is worth it, or where the very definition of a favorable outcome to that individual makes a lower-ranked regional school worth it over a T14. I would, for example, take a free ride at UCLA over sticker at UChi in a heartbeat if I wanted to work in LA.


Okay so if I understand it right, it sounds like there's no significant difference in the caliber of students between USC and Chicago? Because otherwise, it would seem (to me) that if you got into Chicago, and thus were Chicago caliber, then you would be of higher caliber than USC students -- if there was a difference between the student bodies.

Even if Chicago students are better at law school than USC students (and we don't know that to be true) the difference is going to be relatively small. Meanwhile, the dropoff in job prospects is large. Maybe a median student at Chicago would finish at the 40% mark at USC, but the 40% guy at USC will have a tough time getting BigLaw while it should be relatively easy for the guy at Chicago.

abl
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Re: Regional Powerhouses vs T14

Postby abl » Fri Jul 26, 2013 5:11 pm

Okay so if I understand it right, it sounds like there's no significant difference in the caliber of students between USC and Chicago? Because otherwise, it would seem (to me) that if you got into Chicago, and thus were Chicago caliber, then you would be of higher caliber than USC students -- if there was a difference between the student bodies.


There is a difference between the caliber of Chicago students and USC students, but probably not big enough of one to make the 25% to 40% difference (or whatever it is) in placement. In other words, you'll almost certainly be higher in your class at USC than you would be at Chicago -- but not enough (/nearly enough) to make up for the difference in the schools' respective placements. This is because (1) there's a relatively small difference in admissions standards at top schools -- the difference between 3 LSAT points and .1 GPA is pretty negligible; (2) even fairly significant differences in student quality are only mediocre predictors of law school performance; and (3) much of the difference between USC and Chicago students will be in softs -- which may significantly impact your law school experience, but will influence class rank less than numerical factors.

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yot11
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Re: Regional Powerhouses vs T14

Postby yot11 » Fri Jul 26, 2013 5:48 pm

Thanks for the replies! I think I get the picture now. The relationship between higher class rank vs better job placement isn't linear and so the lower you go, you lose more in placement than you would gain in rank.

Edit:
So overall, lower ranked schools still represent higher risk even with a (small) boost to ranks

WanderingPondering
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Re: Regional Powerhouses vs T14

Postby WanderingPondering » Fri Jul 26, 2013 6:08 pm

Also need to take into account cost.

I'm sure many people have chosen WUSTL for free over Northwestern at sticker even though NU has far better employment numbers.

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moonman157
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Re: Regional Powerhouses vs T14

Postby moonman157 » Fri Jul 26, 2013 6:10 pm

Yes, plus the fact that how you will do in law school is unknown until you actually get your grades back. LSAT and GPA can only do so much to indicate someone's potential. A school's placement power, on the otherhand, is something that can be pretty much guaranteed.

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Re: Regional Powerhouses vs T14

Postby Hutz_and_Goodman » Fri Jul 26, 2013 6:32 pm

OP I don't think class rank is purely unpredictable. I turned down $ at a couple T14s for a regional powerhouse full ride. I know someone else in my class who did the same thing. We're now two of the top five people in our class. This is not a guaranteed outcome by any means but I think it's crazy to think there's no correlation between gpa/LSAT and law school grades. Having said that I killed myself working all of 1L year out of fear that my grades would leave me screwed. So I personally think regional powerhouse is a great way to go but the other way is less stressful grades wise (but more stressful debt wise).

abl
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Re: Regional Powerhouses vs T14

Postby abl » Fri Jul 26, 2013 6:39 pm

OP I don't think class rank is purely unpredictable. I turned down $ at a couple T14s for a regional powerhouse full ride. I know someone else in my class who did the same thing. We're now two of the top five people in our class. This is not a guaranteed outcome by any means but I think it's crazy to think there's no correlation between gpa/LSAT and law school grades. Having said that I killed myself working all of 1L year out of fear that my grades would leave me screwed. So I personally think regional powerhouse is a great way to go but the other way is less stressful grades wise (but more stressful debt wise).


Sure-- the question here, though, is not how well you did at your regional powerhouse, but how well you would have done at the T14s had you worked similarly as hard (I suppose that last caveat is somewhat important, although I suspect people in your situation are as likely to slack as they are to bust it). I suspect you would have done very well at the T14s -- probably top 15-20 in the class. Whether that would have led to as good outcomes for you is a harder question ... being #3 at Wash-U is probably preferable to being #18 at Georgetown, for example (especially if you're gunning for midwest jobs).

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Re: Regional Powerhouses vs T14

Postby Hutz_and_Goodman » Fri Jul 26, 2013 10:03 pm

abl wrote:
OP I don't think class rank is purely unpredictable. I turned down $ at a couple T14s for a regional powerhouse full ride. I know someone else in my class who did the same thing. We're now two of the top five people in our class. This is not a guaranteed outcome by any means but I think it's crazy to think there's no correlation between gpa/LSAT and law school grades. Having said that I killed myself working all of 1L year out of fear that my grades would leave me screwed. So I personally think regional powerhouse is a great way to go but the other way is less stressful grades wise (but more stressful debt wise).


Sure-- the question here, though, is not how well you did at your regional powerhouse, but how well you would have done at the T14s had you worked similarly as hard (I suppose that last caveat is somewhat important, although I suspect people in your situation are as likely to slack as they are to bust it). I suspect you would have done very well at the T14s -- probably top 15-20 in the class. Whether that would have led to as good outcomes for you is a harder question ... being #3 at Wash-U is probably preferable to being #18 at Georgetown, for example (especially if you're gunning for midwest jobs).


I agree--but what is it worth in difference? I had 70k from Duke and Northwestern. So even there what would my prospects be as opposed to top couple people at my school? I think pretty similar with no debt vs 150/200k in debt.

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jbagelboy
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Re: Regional Powerhouses vs T14

Postby jbagelboy » Sat Jul 27, 2013 12:23 am

The proposition that the average USC law student and the average University of Chicago law student are of equal intellectual caliber is absurd.

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Re: Regional Powerhouses vs T14

Postby californiabeauar » Sat Jul 27, 2013 1:41 am

jbagelboy wrote:The proposition that the average USC law student and the average University of Chicago law student are of equal intellectual caliber is absurd.

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dr123
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Re: Regional Powerhouses vs T14

Postby dr123 » Sat Jul 27, 2013 1:42 am

RIGOR

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rickgrimes69
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Re: Regional Powerhouses vs T14

Postby rickgrimes69 » Sat Jul 27, 2013 11:55 am

jbagelboy wrote:The proposition that the average USC law student and the average University of Chicago law student are of equal intellectual caliber is absurd.


The proposition that a few points on the LSAT or a slightly higher GPA indicates a higher intellectual caliber is what's absurd. Know what the LSAT measures? How good you are at taking the LSAT. Know what GPA measures? How much work you can put into school. Neither of those necessarily indicates intelligence, nor are they intended to.

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lawhopeful10
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Re: Regional Powerhouses vs T14

Postby lawhopeful10 » Sat Jul 27, 2013 12:13 pm

If you keep saying the average intelligence of students at school X is the same as school Y which has lower medians and that the average intelligence of students at school Y is the same as the slightly lower ranked school Z eventually you would reach absurd statements like the average Harvard student is equal to the average Rutger student. Now whether or not it is worth it to take a regional over say a T-14 will depend on a variety of factors, how debt averse one is, scholarships offered, the type of employment one wants and personal factors (where your SO/family are). It also seems to be generally accepted that the decrease in employment prospects dips faster than ones advantage over their classmates hence the general sentiment that taking money at a lower rank school isn't a guarantee to getting top of your class.

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Re: Regional Powerhouses vs T14

Postby Hutz_and_Goodman » Sat Jul 27, 2013 12:16 pm

The average intelligence is not really relevant. There are brilliant people--Einstein, Mozart--who would be horrible attorneys because they don't have the right personality and skill set. I would absolutely agree that the average person at a T14 will be smarter than the average person at a strong regional. But at both schools many of these people will not be suited to law, will hate it, will end up in bottom half of their class, etc.

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jbagelboy
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Re: Regional Powerhouses vs T14

Postby jbagelboy » Sat Jul 27, 2013 1:21 pm

rickgrimes69 wrote:
jbagelboy wrote:The proposition that the average USC law student and the average University of Chicago law student are of equal intellectual caliber is absurd.


The proposition that a few points on the LSAT or a slightly higher GPA indicates a higher intellectual caliber is what's absurd. Know what the LSAT measures? How good you are at taking the LSAT. Know what GPA measures? How much work you can put into school. Neither of those necessarily indicates intelligence, nor are they intended to.


Thats why I say average. Some USC students will be law savants, some UChi students will be idiotic. But pick a significant sample size of people at random from each school and compare them on a number of different criteria to measure legal aptitude/critical thinking/intellect and you will see a trend. Sure some people were lazy in Ug but are actually brilliant, but Id actually bet that most students applying to law school DID try as undergrads, and did study for the LSAT. Also its not entirely numbers driven, although TLs would like to make it so, and UChi students will have done more impressive "stuff" on average. And yes there are horrible flaws in the admissions process - still, you average them out with a large enough sample, and most students at schools as disparate as USC and UChi will have worked hard to get where they are based on intellect (I dont believe your claim that differences in lsat/gpa/resume/UG are entirely chalked up to effort.). Naturally, this is a limited definition of intellect, but its appropriate in the context of competition based on performance in the vein of that intellect.

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TheThriller
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Re: Regional Powerhouses vs T14

Postby TheThriller » Sat Jul 27, 2013 3:54 pm

I can feel my intellectual inferiority every time I talk to someone who attends the 14 schools ranked higher than mine. I'm not religious but sometimes I ask God why he made me so dumb.

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jbagelboy
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Re: Regional Powerhouses vs T14

Postby jbagelboy » Sat Jul 27, 2013 5:03 pm

TheThriller wrote:I can feel my intellectual inferiority every time I talk to someone who attends the 14 schools ranked higher than mine. I'm not religious but sometimes I ask God why he made me so dumb.


Thats not my point and you know it.

People at higher ranked law schools arent necessarily smarter (please excuse the lay term for occidental academic capability) than people at lower ones. I dont feel "smarter" than a student at a law school outside T13 or outside T1 even, just as I dont feel dumber than friends with easier UG coursework and inflated grades now at Harvard law (although maybe a little dumber than my YLS friend haha). There are many different reasons applicants choose a less prestigious school over a "higher ranked" option; for example, Id take USC full ride over Chicago sticker, and I wouldnt be any less qualified for Chicago or its peers than other uchi students as a result of that choice. However, only a small portion of the entering class would be on full scholarship.

Maybe intellect was the wrong word for me to use given the sizeable number of variables in play. I intended to refute the notion that USC and UChicago students would be identical competition for an incoming law student. Of course, as another person mentioned, this particular selection of skills present a horrible parameter for intellect; many of the worlds' most brilliant people would fail as law students/attorneys. I may not have the right vocabulary cued up, but on average there remains a distinction b/t student bodies in different peer groups, and the notion that all students in every law school (or some arbitrary ~18 school cutoff) have the same competitive academic abilities is absurd.

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dr123
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Re: Regional Powerhouses vs T14

Postby dr123 » Sat Jul 27, 2013 5:13 pm

dood the difference between the medians at USC and UChicago is 4 LSAT points and .18 GPA. That's like a handful of questions and a couple of Bs.




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