Examples of trap schools?

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bretby
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Examples of trap schools?

Postby bretby » Fri Mar 06, 2015 2:00 am

It's a term I've seen thrown around, but am not entirely clear on what constitutes a trap school. Can someone fill me in?

BigZuck
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Re: Examples of trap schools?

Postby BigZuck » Fri Mar 06, 2015 2:16 am

It's a school that seems like it gives you a good shot at achieving your goals but could easily leave you with nothing to show for it as well.

It's all relative. For someone who wants big law, pretty much the entire band of schools outside of the T14 (and many would say including Georgetown) can trap people. UT, UCLA, Vandy, etc. have pretty decent placement but not at the level of a T14 so they could easily be a trap. WUSTL, Emory, GWU perhaps even more so.

Chicago could be a trap for someone who wants to be an academic. It's probably technically still possible, and it's more possible there than at most other schools, but you'd be much better off at, say, Yale if that's the goal.

Etc.

Of course a lot of the trappishness can be mitigated by keeping costs low and going in with your eyes open and realistic about just what you're paying for.

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Mack.Hambleton
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Re: Examples of trap schools?

Postby Mack.Hambleton » Fri Mar 06, 2015 3:05 am

High tuition, low employment numbers, usually some lay prestige to con people into thinking employment numbers are better than they are.

Examples:
GW
American
Emory

sandwhich
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Re: Examples of trap schools?

Postby sandwhich » Fri Mar 06, 2015 11:12 am

BigZuck wrote:It's a school that seems like it gives you a good shot at achieving your goals but could easily leave you with nothing to show for it as well.

It's all relative. For someone who wants big law, pretty much the entire band of schools outside of the T14 (and many would say including Georgetown) can trap people. UT, UCLA, Vandy, etc. have pretty decent placement but not at the level of a T14 so they could easily be a trap. WUSTL, Emory, GWU perhaps even more so.

Chicago could be a trap for someone who wants to be an academic. It's probably technically still possible, and it's more possible there than at most other schools, but you'd be much better off at, say, Yale if that's the goal.

Etc.

Of course a lot of the trappishness can be mitigated by keeping costs low and going in with your eyes open and realistic about just what you're paying for.


I will say one of my best professors this semester went to UChi. However, by and large the majority of the professors here seem to be Columbia grads. Plenty from Harvard and Yale also though.

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BVest
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Re: Examples of trap schools?

Postby BVest » Fri Mar 06, 2015 12:11 pm

Mack.Hambleton wrote:High tuition, low employment numbers, usually some lay prestige to con people into thinking employment numbers are better than they are.


This tends to be more what people are talking about... that is where their employment numbers are significantly out of line with their USNWR ranking. That said, I would move American to the top of that list, drop GW, and add W&L as one of the top traps (though diminished somewhat by their precipitous drop in rankings).

People do not usually mean what Zuck is talking about (though admittedly he mentions two of the above, but only as an add-on to his discussion of UT, UCLA, Vandy and Chicago). Many of the schools Zuck mentions place exactly where one would expect them to place given their USNWR ranking.

Also, not really trap schools, but one must be aware of the regionality of schools outside the T14. Most non-T14 schools -- even those with great employment numbers -- do not place well if at all outside of their region. That doesn't make them trap schools per se, but does reflect an area where not only should you not rely on rankings, but you also shouldn't rely strictly on employment stats.

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jbagelboy
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Re: Examples of trap schools?

Postby jbagelboy » Fri Mar 06, 2015 12:23 pm

Mack.Hambleton wrote:High tuition, low employment numbers, usually some lay prestige to con people into thinking employment numbers are better than they are.

Examples:
GW
American
Emory


Agree with this. Would add large class size as a classic factor. I don't agree that schools like UT and UCLA (or Chicago for that matter) are "traps." You typically get what you pay for and you know what you're getting into.

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deadpanic
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Re: Examples of trap schools?

Postby deadpanic » Fri Mar 06, 2015 12:28 pm

Mack.Hambleton wrote:High tuition, low employment numbers, usually some lay prestige to con people into thinking employment numbers are better than they are.

Examples:
GW
American
Emory


I agree with this, and would also add Tulane and Fordham, although there are numerous others. I think every school in DC is largely a trap school (outside of Georgetown, and even it kind of can be) in that people go to law school there thinking there will be tons of legal jobs. Or if they can't be a lawyer, they will just be a lobbyist or politician or something.

I would also possibly add in some state flagships with a high ranking like Minnesota, Alabama, etc. These are not necessarily trap schools if you treat them as a state flagship just like you would Wyoming, New Mexico, etc. But the problem is out of state people see their high ranking and think it makes them a good choice for a prestigious job.

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zombie mcavoy
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Re: Examples of trap schools?

Postby zombie mcavoy » Fri Mar 06, 2015 12:31 pm

Isn't Georgetown the shining example? All of the "prestige" compared to its usnwr peers, but they give no scholarships and have comparably shitty placement.

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buckiguy_sucks
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Re: Examples of trap schools?

Postby buckiguy_sucks » Fri Mar 06, 2015 12:34 pm

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Last edited by buckiguy_sucks on Tue Sep 29, 2015 7:45 pm, edited 1 time in total.

mvp99
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Re: Examples of trap schools?

Postby mvp99 » Fri Mar 06, 2015 12:36 pm

i think trap schools employ dishonest practices to lure students...

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Winston1984
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Re: Examples of trap schools?

Postby Winston1984 » Fri Mar 06, 2015 12:39 pm

I would also possibly add in some state flagships with a high ranking like Minnesota, Alabama, etc. These are not necessarily trap schools if you treat them as a state flagship just like you would Wyoming, New Mexico, etc. But the problem is out of state people see their high ranking and think it makes them a good choice for a prestigious job.

I get your thinking here, but Alabama doesn't cost $50k+ and have a really high COL. They also don't try to sell themselves as biglaw feeders or somewhere that people should go to practice international law. I really don't think it's a trap school.

sandwhich
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Re: Examples of trap schools?

Postby sandwhich » Fri Mar 06, 2015 12:41 pm

zombie mcavoy wrote:Isn't Georgetown the shining example? All of the "prestige" compared to its usnwr peers, but they give no scholarships and have comparably shitty placement.


Is it really that bad? Around 40% big law compared to the mid-low 30's of Vandy and UT. It seems like GTown is just serves as a TLS punching bag for indiscernible reasons. Every school above it has better numbers and every school below has worse. And what's wrong with a little lay prestige if it makes you feel special lol

Plus they offer pretty significant need-based aid as far as I'm aware, even to transfers.

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sd5289
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Re: Examples of trap schools?

Postby sd5289 » Fri Mar 06, 2015 12:47 pm

I would add schools with stips on their scholarships (because apparently that's still a thing). Best "trap" out there really. You go on scholarship, end up not meeting the stip, and now you're one year in with a lot more debt to take on.

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jbagelboy
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Re: Examples of trap schools?

Postby jbagelboy » Fri Mar 06, 2015 12:49 pm

buckiguy_sucks wrote:so a trap school is made a trap school by the impression of the applicants and the high tuition etc. If you have reasonable expectations coming out of a school and get a high discount from a place like GW, it's not really a trap for you but may be for your classmates. Trap schools are not invariably bad decisions, just very often. Am I wrong in this?


Some are worse offenders than others. Some schools are situational to the student. Minnesota's a classic example: it was a trap school for a long time when it pushed the "national T20" sell with 15-20% large firm/fed clerk numbers, highly driven by the twin cities legal market. Out of state kids borrowing $100k+ going there just b/c of USNWR got quintessentially fucked come 2L when they realized their UMinnesota JD wasn't going very far with big employers in LA, SF, or Chicago, and definitely couldn't feed them into international arbitration in London or an ICJ clerkship just because they had a clinic for it (despite all the "international" advertising). However, the school has always been a great choice for an in state resident with a good scholarship looking to settle down in the twin cities at a family/mid-size firm, state court or local prosecutor/defender. Never been a trap for everyone.

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deadpanic
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Re: Examples of trap schools?

Postby deadpanic » Fri Mar 06, 2015 12:57 pm

Winston1984 wrote:
I would also possibly add in some state flagships with a high ranking like Minnesota, Alabama, etc. These are not necessarily trap schools if you treat them as a state flagship just like you would Wyoming, New Mexico, etc. But the problem is out of state people see their high ranking and think it makes them a good choice for a prestigious job.

I get your thinking here, but Alabama doesn't cost $50k+ and have a really high COL. They also don't try to sell themselves as biglaw feeders or somewhere that people should go to practice international law. I really don't think it's a trap school.


I agree with you that for most people, it is not a trap school. However, I still submit for some it is kind of a trap school due to some T25 ranking. It would be a trap for a guy from California that has no ties to the South that uproots his life to Tuscaloosa, Alabama and pays out of state sticker. I don't know that they necessarily sell themselves as a big law feeder (but their marketing is pretty over the top so maybe), but students wrongly assume they may be due to the ranking.

It is certainly not as bad as say, GW/American/etc. Not even close.

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Re: Examples of trap schools?

Postby BigZuck » Fri Mar 06, 2015 1:17 pm

I think Mack's definition is pretty perfect and I probably should have just said "Georgetown" and been done with it.

I guess I was just trying to pin down what I think is the essence of what makes a school a trap and to me, it's that "It sounds good, but probably won't get you where you want to go." Of course I don't think Chicago is a trap school (when TLS says that 9 times out of 10 its talking about GULC or GW). I doubt anyone has ever called Chicago a trap school. I also don't think that UT is really what TLS means by trap school but I've seen people who got trapped at UT. I can't tell you how many times we've been told that it's the best law school for 1000 miles. And maybe that's true. I'm not saying that the trappishness wasn't largely self-inflicted. But that applies to pretty much every school in the era of LST, etc.

I'm kind of more along the lines of what Deadpanic is saying. Lots of schools can easily be pretty trappy, whether because of US News Rankings, or the prestige of the city it is located in, or how patriotic the name is, whatever.

But I also agree with the hive here, examples of trap schools when TLS uses the term are anything located in DC and other "prestigious" private schools that don't have great placement.

And maybe we should include predatory administration into the definition. I don't know, I'm kind of agnostic about that.

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Re: Examples of trap schools?

Postby BigZuck » Fri Mar 06, 2015 1:21 pm

sandwhich wrote:
zombie mcavoy wrote:Isn't Georgetown the shining example? All of the "prestige" compared to its usnwr peers, but they give no scholarships and have comparably shitty placement.


Is it really that bad? Around 40% big law compared to the mid-low 30's of Vandy and UT. It seems like GTown is just serves as a TLS punching bag for indiscernible reasons. Every school above it has better numbers and every school below has worse. And what's wrong with a little lay prestige if it makes you feel special lol

Plus they offer pretty significant need-based aid as far as I'm aware, even to transfers.


Use the search function if you want to read people's thoughts on Georgetown, we aren't going to do that twice this week

sandwhich
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Re: Examples of trap schools?

Postby sandwhich » Fri Mar 06, 2015 1:32 pm

BigZuck wrote:
sandwhich wrote:
zombie mcavoy wrote:Isn't Georgetown the shining example? All of the "prestige" compared to its usnwr peers, but they give no scholarships and have comparably shitty placement.


Is it really that bad? Around 40% big law compared to the mid-low 30's of Vandy and UT. It seems like GTown is just serves as a TLS punching bag for indiscernible reasons. Every school above it has better numbers and every school below has worse. And what's wrong with a little lay prestige if it makes you feel special lol

Plus they offer pretty significant need-based aid as far as I'm aware, even to transfers.


Use the search function if you want to read people's thoughts on Georgetown, we aren't going to do that twice this week


*TLS user's* thoughts. I care more about its graduate's thoughts and employment statistics than some TLS user saying "GULC don't deserve T14 blah blah blah"

I'm not defending GULC, I don't go there, but the opinions on TLS seem largely unsubstantiated. I merely want to know if there are facts supporting people's unfavorable disposition towards Georgetown. Maybe GULC 5 years ago wasn't in a good place, but I could care less about that.

Don't get so defensive.

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cron1834
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Re: Examples of trap schools?

Postby cron1834 » Fri Mar 06, 2015 1:34 pm

jbagelboy wrote:
buckiguy_sucks wrote:so a trap school is made a trap school by the impression of the applicants and the high tuition etc. If you have reasonable expectations coming out of a school and get a high discount from a place like GW, it's not really a trap for you but may be for your classmates. Trap schools are not invariably bad decisions, just very often. Am I wrong in this?


Some are worse offenders than others. Some schools are situational to the student. Minnesota's a classic example: it was a trap school for a long time when it pushed the "national T20" sell with 15-20% large firm/fed clerk numbers, highly driven by the twin cities legal market. Out of state kids borrowing $100k+ going there just b/c of USNWR got quintessentially fucked come 2L when they realized their UMinnesota JD wasn't going very far with big employers in LA, SF, or Chicago, and definitely couldn't feed them into international arbitration in London or an ICJ clerkship just because they had a clinic for it (despite all the "international" advertising). However, the school has always been a great choice for an in state resident with a good scholarship looking to settle down in the twin cities at a family/mid-size firm, state court or local prosecutor/defender. Never been a trap for everyone.

I use the term the way bagels does. Trap = distinction between rankings and lay prestige, on one hand, and actual placement power on the other. Doesn't mean that the school is necessarily shit or a bad deal for everyone, but will be capable of luring you into a bad situation if your goals and costs don't comport with what the school can actually provide.

BigZuck
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Re: Examples of trap schools?

Postby BigZuck » Fri Mar 06, 2015 1:36 pm

sandwhich wrote:
BigZuck wrote:
sandwhich wrote:
zombie mcavoy wrote:Isn't Georgetown the shining example? All of the "prestige" compared to its usnwr peers, but they give no scholarships and have comparably shitty placement.


Is it really that bad? Around 40% big law compared to the mid-low 30's of Vandy and UT. It seems like GTown is just serves as a TLS punching bag for indiscernible reasons. Every school above it has better numbers and every school below has worse. And what's wrong with a little lay prestige if it makes you feel special lol

Plus they offer pretty significant need-based aid as far as I'm aware, even to transfers.


Use the search function if you want to read people's thoughts on Georgetown, we aren't going to do that twice this week


*TLS user's* thoughts. I care more about its graduate's thoughts and employment statistics than some TLS user saying "GULC don't deserve T14 blah blah blah"

I'm not defending GULC, I don't go there, but the opinions on TLS seem largely unsubstantiated. I merely want to know if there are facts supporting people's unfavorable disposition towards Georgetown. Maybe GULC 5 years ago wasn't in a good place, but I could care less about that.

Don't get so defensive.

Just go here dude: viewtopic.php?f=2&t=235459




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