Is LRAP a better proxy than ABA #s for optionality/preftige?

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Businesslady
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Is LRAP a better proxy than ABA #s for optionality/preftige?

Postby Businesslady » Thu Jan 15, 2015 3:18 pm

Not really interested in specific cases or "it always depends." This is about creating a hard and fast heuristic soundbite. Obviously aid packages on the way in are important for the optionality question as well, but if people have to borrow money then it's kind of pretty much the same thing depending on the restrictions. So, like, is tying LRAP to nonprofits an ex post facto merit scholarship to people who can land a legal job with one? And stuff like that

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Re: Is LRAP a better proxy than ABA #s for optionality/preftige?

Postby A. Nony Mouse » Thu Jan 15, 2015 4:03 pm

Yeah, that seems reasonably accurate. It benefits people who make it through law school without getting swayed to biglaw because it's easier/$$$ (rather than giving money to attend to someone whose PS swears devotion to PI but then ends up at Cravath or such, not that I'm criticizing that choice). My sense though is that with the creation of IBR/PSLF, some schools at least have tied their LRAPs to these programs and the LRAPs aren't as significant any more? Not sure if that's true or how high up the chain it goes, though. I think the number of schools with LRAPs that really make a difference/are measurably better than repayment/loan forgiveness is pretty small, though admittedly that probably goes to your point about what LRAP is a proxy for.

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Re: Is LRAP a better proxy than ABA #s for optionality/preftige?

Postby Skool » Thu Jan 15, 2015 4:17 pm

Businesslady wrote:So, like, is tying LRAP to nonprofits an ex post facto merit scholarship to people who can land a legal job with one? And stuff like that


The bold seems like a big if to me. They seem like the kind of fine print that cost people scholarships at lower ranked schools.

If everything goes well, probably. But if we are talking work in a non-profit, you have to land that first fellowship. Nothing is easier than easing a fellow with bad work product out the door. So for that 1-2 year trial period, you have to kill it and convince them to hire you when your fellowship is over. Alternatively, you have to find somebody else to hire you permanently (quite the investment for a non-profit) with your measly two years of experience. Or you can try and start your own non-profit.

I know people who are currently doing/have done all three. If it's a merit scholarship, those are some risky stipulations (unless you're at HYS where LRAP isn't necessarily tied to legal employment).

I'm kind of interested in hearing from folks who invested everything in this public interest plan and failed. For the people who graduated in the dark days of 2009-2011, I know some PI attorneys who almost fell off the ledge, but survived through their schools "1st Year Post Grad Public Interest Welfare" Programs. They're surviving, bordering on thriving.

Again, curious to hear about people who failed to meet the stipulations.
Last edited by Skool on Thu Jan 15, 2015 4:30 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: Is LRAP a better proxy than ABA #s for optionality/preftige?

Postby Skool » Thu Jan 15, 2015 4:29 pm

Also, there is a strong disincentive to moving jobs. You're trying to stay employed for ten years straight. If you're trying to build a career, moving jobs is one of the best ways to get more responsibility and better pay. But if you move, you sacrifice stability and the track record you've established in one office. Moving always requires, to some extent starting over, which is risky. But sometimes, advancing requires risk taking. So accepting this as a "merit scholarship" can keep you tied down and less able to advance (unless you're at HYS, then you LOL even on the unemployment line).

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Re: Is LRAP a better proxy than ABA #s for optionality/preftige?

Postby Businesslady » Thu Jan 15, 2015 9:15 pm

Skool wrote:
Businesslady wrote:So, like, is tying LRAP to nonprofits an ex post facto merit scholarship to people who can land a legal job with one? And stuff like that


The bold seems like a big if to me. They seem like the kind of fine print that cost people scholarships at lower ranked schools.

[...]

If it's a merit scholarship, those are some risky stipulations (unless you're at HYS where LRAP isn't necessarily tied to legal employment).

Yes, that's the idea. It informs the question in the first place, which is, in effect: is LRAP quality the best crude proxy for prestige / optionality we have?
Those schools don't have merit scholarships either, and from what I understand stips are regarded as trashy, so the analogy should hold up.

e: In before comments re: e.g., UCI, WUSTL making it rain on the way in. Also, this is a thought exercise, and I obviously think people should read more papers

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Re: Is LRAP a better proxy than ABA #s for optionality/preftige?

Postby Skool » Thu Jan 15, 2015 9:37 pm

But the Best LRAP programs are basically coextensive with USNews rankings. It doesn't seem like we get a different output if we prefer one over the other and then rank.

So, Socrates, why don't you suggest the basis on which we should prefer LRAP to classic Rankings? You clearly have some kind of hypothesis.

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Re: Is LRAP a better proxy than ABA #s for optionality/preftige?

Postby Businesslady » Thu Jan 15, 2015 9:41 pm

In short, because so are LST numbers at the elite cluster of schools. It's good that it's largely coextensive, because it's more meaningful than the ranking, provides largely the same purpose, and makes people think through their assumptions and goals more than ABA jobs numbers. Plus,
A. Nony Mouse wrote:Yeah, that seems reasonably accurate. It benefits people who make it through law school without getting swayed to biglaw because it's easier/$$$ (rather than giving money to attend to someone whose PS swears devotion to PI but then ends up at Cravath or such, not that I'm criticizing that choice).

I also think it's good cutting the other way. Like, someone goes and does Cravath, says fuck this, I want to teach high school, but golden handcuffs. It may make an exit easier, soften the blow of burnout or finding Jesus.

It's also something people already in schools can push administrations on after learning more about what interests them.

As for incentives relating to implementing it, it's hard to measure the signaling values to employers of "flight risk" against "wants to be here despite being able to do anything else," or whether anyone knows or cares. If it's churn-and-burn with associates anyway, it doesn't seem like as big of a deal as giving grads the bargaining leverage to say "fuck this" in the first place. Besides, the more value a firm has invested into an associate, the less advantageous LRAP would be.

Then, of course, if this were to catch on, there'd be a causality direction issue with LRAP/prestige that might weaken the prestige proxy (currently described as basically coextensive). Still, the optionality proxy would hold up by definition, and I think the not-so-invisible hand of the market would probably regulate the prestige function in intuitive ways I could better describe explicitly if I weren't in the middle of a stim crash.

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Re: Is LRAP a better proxy than ABA #s for optionality/preftige?

Postby Businesslady » Thu Jan 15, 2015 9:42 pm

Quote via PM

Michigan ties its LRAP to PAYE, but not to public service. If you make under a certain amount of money (~45K) they cover your whole payment or a sliding percentage of it up to about $85k. They put an amount equal to the interest that you've accrued in escrow and you get a one time opportunity to cash out the escrow account if you start making more money. The program lasts ten years, so if you have a lower paying job at a nonprofit you're still pretty fucked, but at least you have ten years of depreciation and time to save/invest on your side before you have to start making full payments for the subsequent years before the tax bomb hits. The party line is that this allows people to follow their dreams/take risks/become country lawyers. It remains to be seen how this will work out for me, but this is part of the reason I chose that school. I think in a lot of ways its a better model than tying to public service, but is by no means perfect.

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Re: Is LRAP a better proxy than ABA #s for optionality/preftige?

Postby Businesslady » Thu Jan 15, 2015 9:45 pm

Okay, basically: If LRAP is attractive, and competitive applicants collectively view it as attractive, then the numbers-driven USNWR should follow suit anyway?
e: Even if there's lag in the way this works, improving LRAP could still be a leading indicator

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Re: Is LRAP a better proxy than ABA #s for optionality/preftige?

Postby Skool » Thu Jan 15, 2015 9:51 pm

So you envision this as a methadone to get people off the hard stuff (USNews)?

I don't think it works because everyone values prestige, whether your Cravath, the ACLU, or BigFed. Prestige suggests intelligence which suggests use value for employers.

What value does I went to the school with the best LRAP signal to Cravath. Consumers/Magazines/Law Schools rank based on what pleases Cravath (because if you please Cravath you get the money, and after you get the money you get the bitches). I don't think anyone will be very interested in what PI students value.

Until people's values change, this won't work. Basically you're proposing changing currency, but people can't buy what they want with your currency.

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Re: Is LRAP a better proxy than ABA #s for optionality/preftige?

Postby Businesslady » Thu Jan 15, 2015 9:57 pm

Prestige serves a social function and good scholarship should be subsidized. Better scholarship, in fact, but that's a law review question.

I do not suggest jettisoning the whole idea of social capital and academic quality control. Just wondering if people who want a crude proxy should use LRAP.

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Re: Is LRAP a better proxy than ABA #s for optionality/preftige?

Postby Businesslady » Thu Jan 15, 2015 10:37 pm

Actually, thinking about it for like 2 more seconds, I'm proposing that if the quoted PM is common it speaks to exactly why USNWR is fucked and LST is inchoate.

This is a website where I have to repeat myself all the time. So, in advance, I understand that many people drill down into data. Others don't.

USNWR:
Is this the logic, roughly?
"Prestige means 'top' firm placement or elite PI, which means paying off loans and having exit options so I can do what I want later"
Here, just switch to LRAP because 1) it tracks it anyway 2) a hypothesis is that quality correlates to the USNWR reputation component

LST:
It is what it is. An aggregator. People abuse it.
Biglaw + clerkships is a SPS concept in the first place. If people don't do biglaw because they don't have to because LRAP is good, then it's even worse.
Even clerkships should be broken down, as this should be the most transparent part, I'd think. People should also understand what role ideology plays.
This is a Tamanaha-style quant question. Someone in his class at WUSTL should get him to post more; doesn't half this board go there?
Also, LST should start working on something like that NLJ chart of where schools place in firms, except for clerks and judges.

Compare Michigan and UVA. The UVA LRAP private sector option is "underserved areas of VA."
Biglaw and clerkships combined is a failure as a proxy for optionality and I assume even worse for prestige, especially since boomers have all the money.

Sorry this is sloppy. I'm spacy AF

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Re: Is LRAP a better proxy than ABA #s for optionality/preftige?

Postby A. Nony Mouse » Thu Jan 15, 2015 11:15 pm

I guess I'm curious what improving LRAPs means? Just more money? That would be great, but seems unrealistic. I'd also want to know what percentage of grads actually use LRAP, because I think one of the reasons the good programs are so good is that not that many people actually use them. Looking at the percentage in biglaw/clerkships (just for facts, not as a way to pick a school), at the schools with the best LRAPs, most people aren't using them. That leaves out people the people trying to get free from the golden handcuffs you mentioned earlier, of course - I would love to know how many they are/how to measure that.
Businesslady wrote:Even clerkships should be broken down, as this should be the most transparent part, I'd think. People should also understand what role ideology plays.

I'm not sure what this means? Ideology matters to some judges, obviously, but to others, not at all. A lot of what clerks do is extremely routine/mundane and simply requires applying established law to a new set of facts in a relatively mechanical manner. SCOTUS and some of the fancier COAs excepted, of course. I guess the question is whether you think it's necessary to focus on the very top elite as the drivers of the profession, or whether you want to address the masses instead/as well.
Also, LST should start working on something like that NLJ chart of where schools place in firms, except for clerks and judges.

Individual schools usually track this information, about where their graduates clerk.

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Re: Is LRAP a better proxy than ABA #s for optionality/preftige?

Postby Nomo » Thu Jan 15, 2015 11:53 pm

Nearly every school has tied their LRAP to PAYE. But its PAYE that makes your debt payments so low, not LRAP. A school might advertise that you'll pay nothing under their LRAP if you make less thank 50k. But if you make 50k in New York your PAYE payment is only $271 per month. It's nice to save that money, but its not exactly a game changer. Especially when you consider that your interest is growing way faster than that, and that there is a chance loan forgiveness will be gone by the time you're eligible. I don't think there are any LRAP's tied to PAYE that could ever provide a benefit of more than about $4,000 per year or $40,000 over 10 years (and very few students will maintain an income over 10 years that hits the absolute max payout from the school). I would take a 5k/yr. scholarship (15k over 3) over any LRAP that's tied to PAYE.

The only good LRAP's are the ones that run separately from PAYE/IBR. They (1) don't tie you down to 10 or 20 year loan forgiveness; and (2) they reduce your principal as you go.

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Re: Is LRAP a better proxy than ABA #s for optionality/preftige?

Postby twenty » Fri Jan 16, 2015 2:09 am

Maybe. I think you're about 70% of the way there. My guess is that law schools probably don't put a lot of emphasis into their LRAP programs from the getgo because most people that end up in PI/government careers end up making enough money to where very few students will actually spend all ten years on the LRAP program. I think a program like NYU's makes sense where their LRAP is preferable to PAYE all the way up to 104k in annual income, and I wish more schools had caps this high.

I think you'll also find the careers that would qualify for LRAP but not PAYE/PSLF are pretty limited to begin with. On the other hand, there are tons of jobs that qualify for PAYE/PSLF that don't qualify for LRAP. You pointed out "underserved populations in VA" but I'm not sure what that entails if not direct legal services/public defender's office/etc. etc.

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Re: Is LRAP a better proxy than ABA #s for optionality/preftige?

Postby twenty » Fri Jan 16, 2015 2:25 am

As a side note, I think it'd be pretty cool if otherwise-unemployable recent law graduates started public interest legal non-profits as a means to cop their school's LRAP/(PSLF in ten years.) I imagine "start a non-profit" is probably a bit too adventurous for a lot of recent law graduates, but I really like the idea of recent law graduates getting state/local grant money to provide direct legal services to poor people as a means to check back against society's "burden" of charging off your loans ten years down the road.

I'm curious to know if direct legal services providers are less susceptible to malpractice claims. My guess is that court appointed counsel in general are going to be pretty insulated, but I'm not sure if bros that go to foreclosure conventions and help ESL people stay in their homes have the same protections.

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Re: Is LRAP a better proxy than ABA #s for optionality/preftige?

Postby Businesslady » Fri Jan 16, 2015 3:38 am

twenty wrote:As a side note, I think it'd be pretty cool if otherwise-unemployable recent law graduates started public interest legal non-profits as a means to cop their school's LRAP/(PSLF in ten years.) I imagine "start a non-profit" is probably a bit too adventurous for a lot of recent law graduates, but I really like the idea of recent law graduates getting state/local grant money to provide direct legal services to poor people as a means to check back against society's "burden" of charging off your loans ten years down the road

Can you really just start a non-profit to get LRAP/PSLF? Doesn't someone have to, like, be paying you? Just do live/work in the projects/EBT/LRAP/PSLF/501(c)(3) is logical on some level and makes more sense than building schools overseas or whatever, except for the thing where the American welfare state is SPS and this isn't even an option. Not having proper socialism is pretty wack and everything, but not being able to hang a shingle in public housing is downright un-American.

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Re: Is LRAP a better proxy than ABA #s for optionality/preftige?

Postby A. Nony Mouse » Fri Jan 16, 2015 9:08 am

twenty wrote:As a side note, I think it'd be pretty cool if otherwise-unemployable recent law graduates started public interest legal non-profits as a means to cop their school's LRAP/(PSLF in ten years.) I imagine "start a non-profit" is probably a bit too adventurous for a lot of recent law graduates, but I really like the idea of recent law graduates getting state/local grant money to provide direct legal services to poor people as a means to check back against society's "burden" of charging off your loans ten years down the road.

I'm curious to know if direct legal services providers are less susceptible to malpractice claims. My guess is that court appointed counsel in general are going to be pretty insulated, but I'm not sure if bros that go to foreclosure conventions and help ESL people stay in their homes have the same protections.

Why do you think court appointed counsel would be insulated?

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Re: Is LRAP a better proxy than ABA #s for optionality/preftige?

Postby twenty » Fri Jan 16, 2015 2:52 pm

Businesslady wrote:Can you really just start a non-profit to get LRAP/PSLF? Doesn't someone have to, like, be paying you? Just do live/work in the projects/EBT/LRAP/PSLF/501(c)(3) is logical on some level and makes more sense than building schools overseas or whatever, except for the thing where the American welfare state is SPS and this isn't even an option. Not having proper socialism is pretty wack and everything, but not being able to hang a shingle in public housing is downright un-American.


Ideally, yeah. I'm not sure how hard it would be to get grant or subawardee funding from municipal/state governments to operate a legal services non-profit (and it probably depends a lot on the state or region), and my guess is there are probably some other requirements you'd have to work around to make that happen. I assume no one's going to just give you grant money and tell you to have a great life, so it probably makes sense to volunclerk with another more-established direct legal service group to kind of get your bearings. Maybe this is where post-grad fellowship funding comes into play?

Primarily a thought-exercise, everything is terrible, etc. etc. but I'm not entirely convinced this wouldn't work if you figured out what buttons to push.

Why do you think court appointed counsel would be insulated?


I know some states (Delaware comes to mind) provide qualified immunity from malpractice liability in certain settings. I'd guess that in practice, the rate to which indigent clients successfully sue their appointed attorneys (whether because the indigent client doesn't understand that there's been malpractice, because the indigent client can't find someone to represent them in a malpractice claim, or because courts take a subconscious "fuck you" standard when it comes suing a court-appointed attorney.) But that's not really what I'm going for as much as I'd think suing a pro bono legal services dude that you meet for the first time at a eviction-prevention event isn't going to happen very often.

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Re: Is LRAP a better proxy than ABA #s for optionality/preftige?

Postby Businesslady » Fri May 08, 2015 2:00 pm

Blank bumping is broken




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