T 14 or bust- accurate?

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walterwhite
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T 14 or bust- accurate?

Postby walterwhite » Thu Aug 08, 2013 12:04 am

This is kind of a hard question to articulate but just from reading around TLS I get the impression that a lot of people believe it is not worth paying for law school unless you get into a top school. I figured this meant top 35 or so.

But then I read one thread and commenters said BU and USC degrees have no portability, and are virtually useless unless you stay in Boston or LA. On other threads people said similar things about GW. So I thought if people are saying brand name schools like USC, BU, and GW are worthless what does that leave? The T-14?

But then other threads said GULC is just a "degree mill." So what does that leave? 13 schools?

But still other threads suggest the really elite, high paying firms only recruit from HYS. Since I'm still thinking about what schools to apply to I just want to make sure I'm not wasting time and money applying to schools considered mediocre by the legal world.

Obviously when you apply to undergrad they tell you to have safety schools and matches but the prevailing wisdom on TLS suggests any law school that is a "safety school" is not worth attending in the first place. Would you say that sentiment is accurate or have I really misinterpreted the forums here?

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Monochromatic Oeuvre
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Re: T 14 or bust- accurate?

Postby Monochromatic Oeuvre » Thu Aug 08, 2013 12:12 am

Very few TLS posters will advise you to pay sticker outside of the T14.

Also, no firm recruits from only HYS. All but a couple recruit from at least the entire T14.

kritarch
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Re: T 14 or bust- accurate?

Postby kritarch » Thu Aug 08, 2013 12:12 am

Unlike undergrad, law school is extremely expensive and ordinarily unsubsidized, meaning that many people amass debt well in excess of one hundred thousand dollars. To put that in perspective, that is an amount of debt equivalent to a mortgage on a small house, except it is nondischargeable in bankruptcy, and rather than a 3-4% interest rate on a 30-year Note, it's more like 8%.

To pay back such an enormous sum--just to pay it back, not even to make the three lost years of income worth it--you need a job that pays nearly what the market rate for large commercial law firms is (i.e. one hundred and sixty thousand dollars a year).

Now, at Yale Law School, every student, no matter how "poor" their "grades" can have one of these jobs if they want. It diminishes as the school ranks go down. Such that a student in the bottom third at CLS will struggle to obtain a job that pays this amount, and that school is ranked #4.

The top 10% at Georgetown will almost certainly obtain jobs that pay this wage. However, at and below median, it is very dicey. And if you don't make the enormous amount that work at a large corporate or commercial firm pays, you will be essentially "trapped" by the debt since you will not be able to obtain any job that pays an even remotely similar wage.

Many people believe that it is a gamble when you attend law school--that no one can realistically know what their class rank will be in advance. But that means that even at Georgetown you have a 50/50 chance (under this "we can't know" model) of deeply regretting law school potentially for the next several decades as you work as a wage slave mired in an unpayable debt that never goes down until it is finally forgiven after 30 years.

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UnicornHunter
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Re: T 14 or bust- accurate?

Postby UnicornHunter » Thu Aug 08, 2013 12:15 am

walterwhite wrote:This is kind of a hard question to articulate but just from reading around TLS I get the impression that a lot of people believe it is not worth paying for law school unless you get into a top school. I figured this meant top 35 or so.

But then I read one thread and commenters said BU and USC degrees have no portability, and are virtually useless unless you stay in Boston or LA. On other threads people said similar things about GW. So I thought if people are saying brand name schools like USC, BU, and GW are worthless what does that leave? The T-14?

But then other threads said GULC is just a "degree mill." So what does that leave? 13 schools?

But still other threads suggest the really elite, high paying firms only recruit from HYS. Since I'm still thinking about what schools to apply to I just want to make sure I'm not wasting time and money applying to schools considered mediocre by the legal world.

Obviously when you apply to undergrad they tell you to have safety schools and matches but the prevailing wisdom on TLS suggests any law school that is a "safety school" is not worth attending in the first place. Would you say that sentiment is accurate or have I really misinterpreted the forums here?



"Paying" is the key word here. Depending on price/goals/background, schools less respected than USC or BU can be worth while. However, taking out 6 figures of debt to go to those schools is not a good bet.

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DaRascal
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Re: T 14 or bust- accurate?

Postby DaRascal » Thu Aug 08, 2013 12:18 am

I really appreciate the advice I've been given on TLS but I would love to play you guys in poker. 8)

timmyd
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Re: T 14 or bust- accurate?

Postby timmyd » Thu Aug 08, 2013 12:19 am

I would put UT, UCLA, and Vandy right there with Gtown, northwestern, and cornell, but I'm a little bit biased because I chose UT over Gtown. So, maybe that answers your question to a degree. T-14 or bust is a little to simple of a thought process for me. Obviously, if you get HYS...go over any school. The same goes for Columbia and perhaps UChi and NYU. As you move further down the list you are able to entertain the notion of going to a lower ranked school if its in the area you want to practice. At schools below the top 6 or so you are still going to have to do pretty well anyways. So for example, if you want to work in Texas go to UT over Gtown, Cornell, Northwestern, Michigan, Boalt (in my opinion) because there are so many UT alums that hire in Texas. If you want Cali big law...I would say do well at UCLA over Gtown, Northwestern or Cornell. Below UCLA I don't know. I think its dicey. I have heard that USC and WUSTL are trap schools.

californiauser
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Re: T 14 or bust- accurate?

Postby californiauser » Thu Aug 08, 2013 12:26 am

Flagship state law school at a discount can be a great deal, too

E.g. you're from Wyoming and want to live and practice in Wyoming and get 25k a year from Wyoming Law

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LSATSCORES2012
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Re: T 14 or bust- accurate?

Postby LSATSCORES2012 » Thu Aug 08, 2013 12:30 am

TLS really operates in extremes, and the word "worthless" is one of those extremes. Those schools aren't worthless, but they are definitely worth less.

I really do think that it's T13, though, not T14, in terms of employment. This spreadsheet that kappycaft1 made is very illustrative.
Last edited by LSATSCORES2012 on Thu Aug 08, 2013 12:34 am, edited 3 times in total.

Mal Reynolds
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Re: T 14 or bust- accurate?

Postby Mal Reynolds » Thu Aug 08, 2013 12:31 am

timmyd wrote:I would put UT, UCLA, and Vandy right there with Gtown, northwestern, and cornell, but I'm a little bit biased because I chose UT over Gtown. So, maybe that answers your question to a degree. T-14 or bust is a little to simple of a thought process for me. Obviously, if you get HYS...go over any school. The same goes for Columbia and perhaps UChi and NYU. As you move further down the list you are able to entertain the notion of going to a lower ranked school if its in the area you want to practice. At schools below the top 6 or so you are still going to have to do pretty well anyways. So for example, if you want to work in Texas go to UT over Gtown, Cornell, Northwestern, Michigan, Boalt (in my opinion) because there are so many UT alums that hire in Texas. If you want Cali big law...I would say do well at UCLA over Gtown, Northwestern or Cornell. Below UCLA I don't know. I think its dicey. I have heard that USC and WUSTL are trap schools.


This is terrible advice.

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skers
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Re: T 14 or bust- accurate?

Postby skers » Thu Aug 08, 2013 12:35 am

timmyd wrote:I would put UT, UCLA, and Vandy right there with Gtown, northwestern, and cornell, but I'm a little bit biased because I chose UT over Gtown. So, maybe that answers your question to a degree. T-14 or bust is a little to simple of a thought process for me. Obviously, if you get HYS...go over any school. The same goes for Columbia and perhaps UChi and NYU. As you move further down the list you are able to entertain the notion of going to a lower ranked school if its in the area you want to practice. At schools below the top 6 or so you are still going to have to do pretty well anyways. So for example, if you want to work in Texas go to UT over Gtown, Cornell, Northwestern, Michigan, Boalt (in my opinion) because there are so many UT alums that hire in Texas. If you want Cali big law...I would say do well at UCLA over Gtown, Northwestern or Cornell. Below UCLA I don't know. I think its dicey. I have heard that USC and WUSTL are trap schools.


UCLA and USC are indistinguishable. T14 kids tend to have pretty great success getting back into the Texas market, but this is tempered with likely higher COA. Other than that you're basically playing pin the tail on the donkey with various schools and coming up with random conclusions.

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Samara
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Re: T 14 or bust- accurate?

Postby Samara » Thu Aug 08, 2013 12:39 am

LSATSCORES2012 wrote:TLS really operates in extremes, and the word "worthless" is one of those extremes. Those schools aren't worthless, but they are definitely worth less.

I really do think that it's T13, though, not T14, in terms of employment. This spreadsheet that kappycaft1 made is really illustrative.

Please stop peddling this T13 nonsense. GULC is in a tough spot right now because DC is the market hardest hit by the downturn. That doesn't suddenly mean its in a different tier.

When you factor in government, PI, and self-selection into the toughest market in the country, it gets a lot closer to the other T14 schools. Even without that, there is a clear difference between GULC and UT/Vandy/UCLA/USC.

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walterwhite
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Re: T 14 or bust- accurate?

Postby walterwhite » Thu Aug 08, 2013 12:40 am

LSATSCORES2012 wrote:TLS really operates in extremes, and the word "worthless" is one of those extremes. Those schools aren't worthless, but they are definitely worth less.

I really do think that it's T13, though, not T14, in terms of employment. This spreadsheet that kappycaft1 made is very illustrative.


isn't this true to some extent? isn't there a self-selection bias at TLS or any other online forum? For the most part the people who come here want to go to the very best schools and set higher standards than people who are not on the forums

Mal Reynolds
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Re: T 14 or bust- accurate?

Postby Mal Reynolds » Thu Aug 08, 2013 12:43 am

walterwhite wrote:
LSATSCORES2012 wrote:TLS really operates in extremes, and the word "worthless" is one of those extremes. Those schools aren't worthless, but they are definitely worth less.

I really do think that it's T13, though, not T14, in terms of employment. This spreadsheet that kappycaft1 made is very illustrative.


isn't this true to some extent? isn't there a self-selection bias at TLS or any other online forum? For the most part the people who come here want to go to the very best schools and set higher standards than people who are not on the forums


You can tell that to your loan officer when he's calling your work and family three times a day.

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LSATSCORES2012
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Re: T 14 or bust- accurate?

Postby LSATSCORES2012 » Thu Aug 08, 2013 12:44 am

Samara wrote:
LSATSCORES2012 wrote:TLS really operates in extremes, and the word "worthless" is one of those extremes. Those schools aren't worthless, but they are definitely worth less.

I really do think that it's T13, though, not T14, in terms of employment. This spreadsheet that kappycaft1 made is really illustrative.

Please stop peddling this T13 nonsense. GULC is in a tough spot right now because DC is the market hardest hit by the downturn. That doesn't suddenly mean its in a different tier.

When you factor in government, PI, and self-selection into the toughest market in the country, it gets a lot closer to the other T14 schools. Even without that, there is a clear difference between GULC and UT/Vandy/UCLA/USC.

You're right, I don't know enough about Georgetown's situation to make that assessment. Based on last year's numbers I think it's accurate, but I suppose those numbers shouldn't be viewed without perspective.

timmyd
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Re: T 14 or bust- accurate?

Postby timmyd » Thu Aug 08, 2013 12:48 am

In terms of employment numbers....there is barely any difference between UT and Georgetown.

Redfactor
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Re: T 14 or bust- accurate?

Postby Redfactor » Thu Aug 08, 2013 12:48 am

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Last edited by Redfactor on Wed Aug 28, 2013 1:09 pm, edited 1 time in total.

timmyd
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Re: T 14 or bust- accurate?

Postby timmyd » Thu Aug 08, 2013 12:53 am

Also, I probably got a little carried away with my comment about Texas employers taking UT over schools like Boalt and Michigan, but I stand by the assertion that as far as Texas is concerned, I would take UT over Gtown/Cornell. You will presumably make connections there to help you land a job over some random guy from Gtown or Cornell (grades being considered equal).

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skers
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Re: T 14 or bust- accurate?

Postby skers » Thu Aug 08, 2013 1:04 am

Redfactor wrote:
walterwhite wrote: But still other threads suggest the really elite, high paying firms only recruit from HYS. Since I'm still thinking about what schools to apply to I just want to make sure I'm not wasting time and money applying to schools considered mediocre by the legal world.

Obviously when you apply to undergrad they tell you to have safety schools and matches but the prevailing wisdom on TLS suggests any law school that is a "safety school" is not worth attending in the first place. Would you say that sentiment is accurate or have I really misinterpreted the forums here?


This is Top Law Schools.

Other schools can very much be a good deal and many times they are the better deal than T-14 at sticker. T-14 allows career options that are just not realistic coming from lower-ranked schools. But, if you're not inclined to do biglaw or you're not looking for a clerkship, then regional schools for cheap can be a prudent decision.

Just understand that you won't be making 160k from lower-ranked school. So don't go to those schools if it requires taking out 6 figure debt.


The problem is regional markets are very, very small. Even a market like Chicago, which is one of the biggest in the country, only hires like 300 SAs a year. If you're a kid from St. Louis, sure you can go somewhere like Wash U, but you've got to keep in mind that even at Wash U you still have to do pretty damn well to get an SA in St. Louis or KC because the classes are so small. On the other hand, take the exact same person, but put them in Northwestern, they've got great access to the New York and Chicago markets just by virtue of where they went to school and they've still got a great shot at the St. Louis market without necessarily needing stellar grades.

There's a trade-off risk given the higher cost, so it's all a personal decision, but the 'just do super regional bro' often ignores just how little hiring is often actually done in those locations.

Daily_Double
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Re: T 14 or bust- accurate?

Postby Daily_Double » Thu Aug 08, 2013 1:12 am

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Last edited by Daily_Double on Sun Sep 15, 2013 9:45 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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MoMettaMonk
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Re: T 14 or bust- accurate?

Postby MoMettaMonk » Thu Aug 08, 2013 1:15 am

TemporarySaint wrote:The problem is regional markets are very, very small. Even a market like Chicago, which is one of the biggest in the country, only hires like 300 SAs a year. If you're a kid from St. Louis, sure you can go somewhere like Wash U, but you've got to keep in mind that even at Wash U you still have to do pretty damn well to get an SA in St. Louis or KC because the classes are so small. On the other hand, take the exact same person, but put them in Northwestern, they've got great access to the New York and Chicago markets just by virtue of where they went to school and they've still got a great shot at the St. Louis market without necessarily needing stellar grades.

There's a trade-off risk given the higher cost, so it's all a personal decision, but the 'just do super regional bro' often ignores just how little hiring is often actually done in those locations.


0l here. I've always thought that the idea of going to a strong regional isn't necessarily to increase your odds of working big law in whatever market the school is in, but to minimize debt as much as possible while still maintaining an acceptable level of job prospects. Essentially making it unnecessary that you secure the 160k position to pay off your loans since you (ideally) wouldn't have large loans in the first place.

I suppose if your ultimate goal is to do large firm type work and not just to do it for a few years to pay off loans then a lower t14 over a strong regional would be the best idea.
Last edited by MoMettaMonk on Thu Aug 08, 2013 1:16 am, edited 1 time in total.

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Mick Haller
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Re: T 14 or bust- accurate?

Postby Mick Haller » Thu Aug 08, 2013 1:15 am

californiauser wrote:Flagship state law school at a discount can be a great deal, too

E.g. you're from Wyoming and want to live and practice in Wyoming and get 25k a year from Wyoming Law


This can often be bad advice. Example - a lot of respected TLS posters used to speak highly of Ole Miss because it's cheap and the flagship school in a small state.

Well it turns out there are over 300 new JDs every year in MS, competing for 30 jobs. 30 new legal jobs in the entire state of 2.5 million!

I believe Wyoming is not that dire but one should be cautious. And also small rural states tend to be wary of outsiders.

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WokeUpInACar
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Re: T 14 or bust- accurate?

Postby WokeUpInACar » Thu Aug 08, 2013 1:44 am

DaRascal wrote:I really appreciate the advice I've been given on TLS but I would love to play you guys in poker. 8)

I call :)

Redfactor
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Re: T 14 or bust- accurate?

Postby Redfactor » Thu Aug 08, 2013 1:46 am

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Last edited by Redfactor on Wed Aug 28, 2013 1:08 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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walterwhite
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Re: T 14 or bust- accurate?

Postby walterwhite » Thu Aug 08, 2013 1:54 am

so if I could reduce this to a flow chart would it look like:

Do I want to do big law? (Yes, I would love to do big law) ----------> T 14 or bust
l
l
l
V
(No, I do not want to do big law)
Go to the best school you can while prioritizing cost

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KremeCheez
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Re: T 14 or bust- accurate?

Postby KremeCheez » Thu Aug 08, 2013 2:01 am

Mick Haller wrote:
californiauser wrote:Flagship state law school at a discount can be a great deal, too

E.g. you're from Wyoming and want to live and practice in Wyoming and get 25k a year from Wyoming Law


This can often be bad advice. Example - a lot of respected TLS posters used to speak highly of Ole Miss because it's cheap and the flagship school in a small state.

Well it turns out there are over 300 new JDs every year in MS, competing for 30 jobs. 30 new legal jobs in the entire state of 2.5 million!

I believe Wyoming is not that dire but one should be cautious. And also small rural states tend to be wary of outsiders.


Yeah....I don't know about all that 30 jobs / 300 JDs stuff.
http://www.mslitigationreview.com/2013/06/articles/law-school/mississippi-legal-job-market-data-called-into-question/




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