timbs4339 wrote:I'm not quoting that word vomit, but I'm going to clue you in on something that you will quickly learn when you graduate.
Again, there are obvious differences in placement between HYS and CCN which should certainly be taken into account when choosing between schools. But don't think that's because anybody ever sat down and thought this out like you seem to. It's because there needs to be a way for federal judges to rank the thousands of applications they get from students and figure out who is on top, and they go off marginal differences in school rank (just like marginal differences in grades) because it's relatively quick to do that. And then people like you come and create long-winded narratives about Why It Must Be, which is comfortable because it allows you to think there's some kind of ordered or logical system behind the insane hierarchies this profession perpetuates.
When you learn that there's really nothing special about people at HYS over people at CCN, just like there's really no difference in "quality" over CCN vs the rest of the t14, and the rest of the t14 over the t25, you'll appreciate that someone with a no name JD can come in and kick your ass all over the floor. And you'll be a lot better for it.
Ha. I have graduated. I've also hired for a federal judge. And you're wrong, at least with respect to how my judge did it -- we used marginal differences in school rank (although not on the level of HYS versus CCN) to cull the field, but when it came time to actually select a candidate from the roughly 20 or so finalists we'd picked, we were looking a whole lot more closely than just "did this person go to Columbia or Stanford." (We also looked a whole lot more closely than that to narrow things down from 100 to 20 -- it was only on the 800 to 100 level that we were making the sort of broad-based cuts that you describe, and even so, we had a number of finalists (one of whom got the clerkship) who did not go to a T14 or even a top 25 school.)
I have difficulty imagining that, at least with respect to CCN versus HYS, that the vast majority of federal judges don't do as my judge did. There are few enough applicants in the top 5% of HYS/CCN to look at every single one of them carefully. I assure you: the reason why we hired far more HYS candidates than CCN candidates wasn't because we had gave the HYS folks any significant preference with all things being equal. It's because the best candidates we got tended to be from HYS -- those in the top 5% of HYS who we saw had tended to do much more interesting things before law school, in law school, and, if relevant, after law school, than those in the top 5% of CCN.
I'm not arguing that therefore HYS students always or even usually make better lawyers. Nor am I arguing that no good lawyers come from lower-ranked schools. Those are different points. My point is only that the experience of attending HYS is qualitatively different than the experience of attending CCN, in part because HYS has a significantly greater number of superstar students.
What is the basis for saying that Supreme Court clerk hiring and Skadden fellowships are not prestige based? Please return to TLS and report back the day that you figure out that this profession, up to the highest levels, is indeed prestige based. That's not necessarily a terrible thing, it just is what it is. And maybe it justifies you tranferring, to reap those invisible prestige points. But this garbage you are spewing about the amount of famous people and whatnot is just hilarious. It does not affect your experience at all. When Bozo the gunner talked about Elliot Spitzer in class, do you know what that did for you? It allowed you to tell others that it happened which made you feel super cool. That's it. Is that what you are really after in an education?
My basis is that unlike, I suspect, most people here, I've actually gone through a lot of these application processes. And obviously prestige plays a big role in these things. But as selectors can focus more on the more relevant factors in an application, the value of using proxy factors such as prestige decreases substantially. To illustrate my point with an example: RBG can choose whoever she wants to be her clerk. She has nearly unlimited resources on which to rely in making that choice. She has to answer to nobody for the choice she makes. She is one of the smartest legal minds in the country, has years of experience of previous clerks to consider in making her decisions, and has a lot riding on who she hires as her clerk. My point is that if there really were no material difference in the top students from CCN and HYS -- as you suggest -- she would hire roughly equal numbers (relative to class size, of course) from each tier of school. Yet, year in and year out, she does not.*
*Obviously the far better example is the Justices' aggregated totals, not the numbers from any one particular Justice.