Top 20 MBA or Tier 3 Law School?

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making34
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Top 20 MBA or Tier 3 Law School?

Postby making34 » Tue Jan 14, 2014 4:08 pm

After graduating undergrad with a gpa of 3.2 and an LSAT of 156 (much lower than my pts) I decided to pass on paying near sticker for a tier 3 law school and found a job in auto sales where I was quickly promoted to finance manager and then general sales manager within two years. Knowing I didn't want to run a car store for the rest of my life I decided to take the GMAT and apply to business school. I did fairly well on the GMAT and was accepted into a top 20 MBA program with a little $$. However, I still have thoughts about going to law school considering that was what I always wanted to do. I am on the fence on whether I want a career in business or law. Both have aspects that are appealing to me. My question is what are your thoughts on paying $60,000 for a t3 law degree vs. $120,000 for a top 20 MBA? Thanks!

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Dr. Review
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Re: Top 20 MBA or Tier 3 Law School?

Postby Dr. Review » Tue Jan 14, 2014 4:24 pm

Preliminary comment: The ideals are T14 for law school or M7 for business schools (HBS; Wharton; Columbia; Kellogg; Chicago; Stanford; MIT Sloan). This is a list of places that are generally worth attending. There are a number of examples of exceptions to this, but we'll say that if you MUST do one of law school or b-school, that you should aim for one of those two benchmarks.

Preliminary question: The real question here is: "what are your goals?" If you want to be a lawyer, business school won't get you there. For almost anything else, law school isn't a good option.

Having said that, let's say that you MUST do one of b-school or law school, and that for some strange reason, the only other option is death or dismemberment. You have ignored the idea that you could strengthen your credentials over the next year and reapply to one or both of law school and business school. The majority of law schools, especially the range you are looking at with your current numbers, aren't worth the opportunity cost of attending, even with substantial scholarships. Hell, some of them aren't worth it for free. As for business school, those who get the most out of attending already have significant managerial experience that the MBA will complement.

Clearly, your credentials have not placed you into the T14 or into the M7. How can you fix that? Well, for law school you'll need to retake the LSAT. With a GPA above 3.0, I can think of at least a couple of schools (UVA, NU) that would amdit you, given a high enough LSAT (>170). As for the M7, all that you can do at this point is to raise your GMAT score and to get the best experience you can. B-school tends to be a bit less numbers oriented than the cut and dry approach by law schools.

The long and short of it is - the question you are asking and the question you should be asking are different questions. It isn't "Should I do A or B?", but rather "Are either of A and B going to give me the outcome I want, or is waiting a year and strengthening my application the better choice?" I say that a year and another LSAT (if you want law) or at least a year and another GMAT (if you want what an MBA can give you) is TCR.

TL;DR - neither one; retake

making34
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Re: Top 20 MBA or Tier 3 Law School?

Postby making34 » Tue Jan 14, 2014 5:28 pm

I understand my numbers are a far cry from the top tiers of either business or law schools. However, I want to work in the mid-south (St. Louis, Louisville, Nashville, Cincinnati) where top tier degrees are nice but not a necessity. Both the top-20ish business schools and the tier 3 law schools I would be looking at are in this region. My goals are to actually have some type of work/life balance in an area that I enjoy living in. If I chose law I would like to eventually make partner with a small firm specializing in civil defense and for business I would like to either 1.) work in consulting specializing in human capital and strategy or 2.) Work as a mid-level manager in organizing a companies human capital and resources. I understand these are very two different career paths but they are what interest me in the two different fields. With that being said what do you think a "smarter" decision would be...and by smarter I mean employment opportunities, ROI, work/life balance, or anything that you think should be factored in when making this decision.

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Dr. Review
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Re: Top 20 MBA or Tier 3 Law School?

Postby Dr. Review » Tue Jan 14, 2014 6:01 pm

making34 wrote:I understand my numbers are a far cry from the top tiers of either business or law schools. However, I want to work in the mid-south (St. Louis, Louisville, Nashville, Cincinnati) where top tier degrees are nice but not a necessity. Both the top-20ish business schools and the tier 3 law schools I would be looking at are in this region. My goals are to actually have some type of work/life balance in an area that I enjoy living in. If I chose law I would like to eventually make partner with a small firm specializing in civil defense and for business I would like to either 1.) work in consulting specializing in human capital and strategy or 2.) Work as a mid-level manager in organizing a companies human capital and resources. I understand these are very two different career paths but they are what interest me in the two different fields. With that being said what do you think a "smarter" decision would be...and by smarter I mean employment opportunities, ROI, work/life balance, or anything that you think should be factored in when making this decision.

As a 0L, I understand that the necessity of going to a T14 (if choosing law school) seems overblown. I encourage you to look at lawschooltransparency. For example:

Tennessee
Kentucky
Illinois

What you'll notice upon review is that the range of schools you are looking at all give you AT BEST a coin flip's chance of being a lawyer in the states you mentioned. Sure, there are people who do well out of those schools. No one should expect to do well coming from any of those schools, as ~50% (or fewer) of their graduates become lawyers. The chances of getting one of those jobs that pays a sufficient amount to service your debt is even less likely, as legal jobs typically fall along a bimodal distribution of 40-60k or 160k (See, e.g., http://www.nalp.org/salarydistrib).

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guano
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Re: Top 20 MBA or Tier 3 Law School?

Postby guano » Tue Jan 14, 2014 6:04 pm

Question 1: do you want to be a lawyer?
If the answer is no, don't go to law school

Question 2: do you have a real job and are you looking to move up? (Preferably from middle management, or at least a supervisory position)?
If the answer is no, don't go to business school*


*exception if you want to do Ibanking or consulting and got into an M7

making34
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Re: Top 20 MBA or Tier 3 Law School?

Postby making34 » Tue Jan 14, 2014 6:26 pm

Thanks bedsole, thats the kind of information I was looking to get out of this. The b-schools I have been admitted to show employment stats of having over 95% of graduates with offers 3 months out and an average salary right at 100k. Even though these numbers are coming from the schools themselves they are still impressive. Employment wise there is no comparison b/n the two options, I just have a hard time looking at the cost of attending the MBA program.

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Winston1984
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Re: Top 20 MBA or Tier 3 Law School?

Postby Winston1984 » Tue Jan 14, 2014 6:31 pm

Why not just name the schools?

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thesealocust
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Re: Top 20 MBA or Tier 3 Law School?

Postby thesealocust » Tue Jan 14, 2014 6:31 pm

Law School, given your credentials, is all but certain to lead to unemployment, debt and poverty. Under no circumstances should you attend. Everything you've been told about the abysmal legal employment market is true.

thesealocust, Esq.

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chuckbass
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Re: Top 20 MBA or Tier 3 Law School?

Postby chuckbass » Tue Jan 14, 2014 6:33 pm

Winston1984 wrote:Why not just name the schools?

Yea what bschool?

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guano
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Re: Top 20 MBA or Tier 3 Law School?

Postby guano » Tue Jan 14, 2014 6:41 pm

making34 wrote:Thanks bedsole, thats the kind of information I was looking to get out of this. The b-schools I have been admitted to show employment stats of having over 95% of graduates with offers 3 months out and an average salary right at 100k. Even though these numbers are coming from the schools themselves they are still impressive. Employment wise there is no comparison b/n the two options, I just have a hard time looking at the cost of attending the MBA program.

Those stats are even easier to manipulate for B schools than they are for law schools.
Unlike a JD, or even a BA/BS, an MBA is not an entry level degree. It really is for people to move up the food chain, rather than for fresh starts. Hiring will care more about work experience than grades

making34
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Re: Top 20 MBA or Tier 3 Law School?

Postby making34 » Tue Jan 14, 2014 6:49 pm

Kelley at Indiana and Owen at Vanderbilt. I have spoken with a number of students and alums from each and from what I can gather there are anywhere from 25-35% career switchers at these programs.

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JCougar
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Re: Top 20 MBA or Tier 3 Law School?

Postby JCougar » Tue Jan 14, 2014 6:57 pm

Both options sound like a bad idea. If I were you, I'd lean toward the MBA, especially if your old company will hire you back and give you a promotion...but maybe check out some cheaper MBA options. Even with the cost differences, the MBA is one less year of opportunity cost where you would probably be earning close to $50K anyway (at least, hopefully).

There's really not much point in attending a TTT these days, even if it's close to free. You're just not going to work as a lawyer, or if you do, it's going to be at some terrible shitlaw place that offers you no options for advancement--either that or working the "volunteer circuit" for about two years doing various government/legal aid "fellowships," etc. and getting paid nothing.

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PepperJack
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Re: Top 20 MBA or Tier 3 Law School?

Postby PepperJack » Tue Jan 14, 2014 7:10 pm

The market is bad. The 0L who said the t-14 is the end all be all didn't take it far enough - the t-14 isn't a magical forum that makes it better than 15-25. At many of them literally 50% is screwed. It's t-14 or bust because 50% is a better deal than 10%. How was your GMAT, OP? I'm curious about the similarities between LSAT and GMAT.

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jk148706
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Re: Top 20 MBA or Tier 3 Law School?

Postby jk148706 » Tue Jan 14, 2014 7:21 pm

PepperJack wrote:The market is bad. The 0L who said the t-14 is the end all be all didn't take it far enough - the t-14 isn't a magical forum that makes it better than 15-25. At many of them literally 50% is screwed. It's t-14 or bust because 50% is a better deal than 10%. How was your GMAT, OP? I'm curious about the similarities between LSAT and GMAT.


50% of students at t14s are screwed? 4 realz?

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Legisperitus
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Re: Top 20 MBA or Tier 3 Law School?

Postby Legisperitus » Tue Jan 14, 2014 7:43 pm

PepperJack wrote:The market is bad. The 0L who said the t-14 is the end all be all didn't take it far enough - the t-14 isn't a magical forum that makes it better than 15-25. At many of them literally 50% is screwed. It's t-14 or bust because 50% is a better deal than 10%. How was your GMAT, OP? I'm curious about the similarities between LSAT and GMAT.

This makes it sound like not getting biglaw means you're screwed, which is certainly not the case if you keep your debt down and are ok with making 50k-70k for the foreseeable future. There are T1 regionals that place well and are not a bad option with a decent sized scholarship. It doesn't sound like that is OP's situation though.

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JCougar
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Re: Top 20 MBA or Tier 3 Law School?

Postby JCougar » Tue Jan 14, 2014 7:48 pm

jk148706 wrote:
PepperJack wrote:The market is bad. The 0L who said the t-14 is the end all be all didn't take it far enough - the t-14 isn't a magical forum that makes it better than 15-25. At many of them literally 50% is screwed. It's t-14 or bust because 50% is a better deal than 10%. How was your GMAT, OP? I'm curious about the similarities between LSAT and GMAT.


50% of students at t14s are screwed? 4 realz?


The bottom half of the T14...pretty much. Might be a bit lower for the top 6-8 schools.

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jk148706
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Re: Top 20 MBA or Tier 3 Law School?

Postby jk148706 » Tue Jan 14, 2014 7:54 pm

JCougar wrote:
jk148706 wrote:
PepperJack wrote:The market is bad. The 0L who said the t-14 is the end all be all didn't take it far enough - the t-14 isn't a magical forum that makes it better than 15-25. At many of them literally 50% is screwed. It's t-14 or bust because 50% is a better deal than 10%. How was your GMAT, OP? I'm curious about the similarities between LSAT and GMAT.


50% of students at t14s are screwed? 4 realz?


The bottom half of the T14...pretty much. Might be a bit lower for the top 6-8 schools.


So at Duke with a 85% employment score and 64% biglaw+fed clerkship half the students are screwed? How so?

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JCougar
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Re: Top 20 MBA or Tier 3 Law School?

Postby JCougar » Tue Jan 14, 2014 7:59 pm

jk148706 wrote:So at Duke with a 85% employment score and 64% biglaw+fed clerkship half the students are screwed? How so?


Those numbers are unusually high for Duke. I wouldn't expect that to continue.

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jk148706
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Re: Top 20 MBA or Tier 3 Law School?

Postby jk148706 » Tue Jan 14, 2014 8:00 pm

JCougar wrote:
jk148706 wrote:So at Duke with a 85% employment score and 64% biglaw+fed clerkship half the students are screwed? How so?


Those numbers are unusually high for Duke. I wouldn't expect that to continue.


I see

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rickgrimes69
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Re: Top 20 MBA or Tier 3 Law School?

Postby rickgrimes69 » Tue Jan 14, 2014 8:05 pm

JCougar wrote:
jk148706 wrote:So at Duke with a 85% employment score and 64% biglaw+fed clerkship half the students are screwed? How so?


Those numbers are unusually high for Duke. I wouldn't expect that to continue.


No, they aren't actually. Duke has done alright through the recession.

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guano
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Re: Top 20 MBA or Tier 3 Law School?

Postby guano » Tue Jan 14, 2014 8:15 pm

making34 wrote:Kelley at Indiana and Owen at Vanderbilt. I have spoken with a number of students and alums from each and from what I can gather there are anywhere from 25-35% career switchers at these programs.

Sorry, I didn't realize you had a real job. The MBA is not a bad idea

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JCougar
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Re: Top 20 MBA or Tier 3 Law School?

Postby JCougar » Tue Jan 14, 2014 8:18 pm

rickgrimes69 wrote:
JCougar wrote:
jk148706 wrote:So at Duke with a 85% employment score and 64% biglaw+fed clerkship half the students are screwed? How so?


Those numbers are unusually high for Duke. I wouldn't expect that to continue.


No, they aren't actually. Duke has done alright through the recession.


Maybe I'm missing something, but your 2011 and 2010 stats show about a 45% Biglaw + Clerkship rate.

"Federal" clerkships aren't the same as Article III Federal clerkships...the latter being a smaller subset of the former. It's arguable how much value a non-Article III Federal clerkship provides for later employment. I'd put the Biglaw cutoff at around 250 or so employees. Anything lower than that is midlaw, and the pay varies widely.

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jk148706
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Re: Top 20 MBA or Tier 3 Law School?

Postby jk148706 » Tue Jan 14, 2014 8:20 pm

JCougar wrote:
rickgrimes69 wrote:
JCougar wrote:
jk148706 wrote:So at Duke with a 85% employment score and 64% biglaw+fed clerkship half the students are screwed? How so?


Those numbers are unusually high for Duke. I wouldn't expect that to continue.


No, they aren't actually. Duke has done alright through the recession.


Maybe I'm missing something, but your 2011 and 2010 stats show about a 45% Biglaw + Clerkship rate.

"Federal" clerkships aren't the same as Article III Federal clerkships...the latter being a smaller subset of the former. It's arguable how much value a non-Article III Federal clerkship provides for later employment. I'd put the Biglaw cutoff at around 250 or so employees. Anything lower than that is midlaw, and the pay varies widely.


Ok, but still that wouldn't mean half the class is "screwed," no?

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JCougar
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Re: Top 20 MBA or Tier 3 Law School?

Postby JCougar » Tue Jan 14, 2014 8:47 pm

jk148706 wrote:Ok, but still that wouldn't mean half the class is "screwed," no?


It's probably pretty close, but that depends on your level of debt. Duke probably attracts more students whose rich families can bail them out...some in the bottom half may have gotten a decent scholarship and ended up in Midlaw, etc.

In each year, you see about 12% either unemployed or in short-term, full-time jobs. But you also see an additional 12% in firms of less than 100 lawyers. Not all of these will be terrible outcomes, but almost none will mean a salary even close to six figures. You're most likely looking at a salary of $40-50K here...if you have a salary at all. A lot of small firms pay by the hour (as low as $15/hr) and offer no benefits. And some of these people are solos scraping by on almost nothing. So that's about 25% that are screwed from these two categories alone.

Then you have "business," "public interest" and "government," about half of which will be unpaid volunteer work or jobs that only really require a high school degree (bartender counts as "business"). So that's another 7% (half of 14%). Then you have the state/federal clerks that are non-prestigious clerkships...I'd guess another 5% here (about one third of all clerkships). Also, we have a few percent of the "academia" jobs being people that were hired by the school in their admissions office. We're now up to about 40% or so.

That leaves the 101-250 attorneys category. A fair amount of these will be good jobs, but the majority of these firms are, although defense-side, regional midlaw that can pay anywhere from $70-90K. A great salary if you have no debt, but not so great if you paid sticker. But there's also a non-negligible amount of shitlaw in this group, including large bankrupcy or slip n' fall mills, insurance defense, etc. Also, a lot of the larger firms (even ones you would consider "Biglaw") are now hiring "Staff Attorneys," people whose main job is doc review and who have no hope of ever making it to "Associate." Probably another 5% of bad outcomes here.

That's a rough estimate that 45% of these people are screwed from the job-outcome perspective. Not all of the job-outcome screwed people paid sticker, etc., so not all of these 45% will be screwed with hopeless debt. Also, not all of these people will remain in their shitty positions...some will be able to find a good job after the 9-month mark. But others who got Biglaw will likely be laid off/quit due to the stress after 1-3 years (turnover in Biglaw is extremely high, and unless you have a book of business, your lateral options will not be good). It's very, very hard to emphasize how shitty the options are outside of OCI, even for people at highly-ranked schools. That's one thing that's not stressed enough on TLS.

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Re: Top 20 MBA or Tier 3 Law School?

Postby BigZuck » Tue Jan 14, 2014 9:39 pm

JCougar wrote:
rickgrimes69 wrote:
JCougar wrote:
jk148706 wrote:So at Duke with a 85% employment score and 64% biglaw+fed clerkship half the students are screwed? How so?


Those numbers are unusually high for Duke. I wouldn't expect that to continue.


No, they aren't actually. Duke has done alright through the recession.


Maybe I'm missing something, but your 2011 and 2010 stats show about a 45% Biglaw + Clerkship rate.

"Federal" clerkships aren't the same as Article III Federal clerkships...the latter being a smaller subset of the former. It's arguable how much value a non-Article III Federal clerkship provides for later employment. I'd put the Biglaw cutoff at around 250 or so employees. Anything lower than that is midlaw, and the pay varies widely.


Bruce, please stop trolling the on-topics.

Eta: I mean, at least do the math right




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