USC - Trap School?

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RamTitan
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USC - Trap School?

Postby RamTitan » Thu Jun 30, 2016 2:27 pm

For someone who is not from LA and has essentially zero connections in that area, would USC (or even UCLA for that matter) best be avoided?

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maybeman
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Re: USC - Trap School?

Postby maybeman » Thu Jun 30, 2016 2:35 pm

LA is an overcrowded pit stop on your way from the good part of CA to San Diego. Avoid at all costs

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RamTitan
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Re: USC - Trap School?

Postby RamTitan » Thu Jun 30, 2016 2:43 pm

maybeman wrote:LA is an overcrowded pit stop on your way from the good part of CA to San Diego. Avoid at all costs

Do those schools place well in San Diego?

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lymenheimer
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Re: USC - Trap School?

Postby lymenheimer » Thu Jun 30, 2016 3:09 pm

Bruh...chillll

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RamTitan
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Re: USC - Trap School?

Postby RamTitan » Thu Jun 30, 2016 3:19 pm

lymenheimer wrote:Bruh...chillll

Lmao, yeah I've been blasting a lot of threads lately. To be fair, this is a pretty interesting question regardless.

Redfactor
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Re: USC - Trap School?

Postby Redfactor » Thu Jun 30, 2016 4:01 pm

I don't know if "trap schools" exist anymore.

The last 4-5 years there has been such a push for clearer reporting by law schools that now if people go to these traditional "trap schools" (USC, GW, Vandy, WashU etc.) and pay sticker it's not because the student has been "trapped," it's because the student made a stupid choice.

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pancakes3
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Re: USC - Trap School?

Postby pancakes3 » Thu Jun 30, 2016 4:07 pm

you could do worse than full ride to USC/UCLA.

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RamTitan
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Re: USC - Trap School?

Postby RamTitan » Mon Jul 04, 2016 2:12 pm

Redfactor wrote:I don't know if "trap schools" exist anymore.

The last 4-5 years there has been such a push for clearer reporting by law schools that now if people go to these traditional "trap schools" (USC, GW, Vandy, WashU etc.) and pay sticker it's not because the student has been "trapped," it's because the student made a stupid choice.

So don't pay sticker/take out loans for schools of that caliber?

SFSpartan
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Re: USC - Trap School?

Postby SFSpartan » Mon Jul 04, 2016 2:29 pm

RamTitan wrote:
Redfactor wrote:I don't know if "trap schools" exist anymore.

The last 4-5 years there has been such a push for clearer reporting by law schools that now if people go to these traditional "trap schools" (USC, GW, Vandy, WashU etc.) and pay sticker it's not because the student has been "trapped," it's because the student made a stupid choice.

So don't pay sticker/take out loans for schools of that caliber?


Taking out loans and paying sticker are two fundamentally different things. Whether you want to pay sticker is really a question of what level of debt you are comfortable with. But I think that a reasonable position is that for most people that have to foot the bill for LS themselves and are not independently wealthy, no non-HYS school is worth sticker. Even then, I think there is room for debate as to whether any school is worth sticker.

For schools like USC/UCLA, TCR is probably to take out a reasonable amount of loan $$ to foot the bill, rather than taking, for example, a CA T1 on a full ride. If you limit yourself to $80k-ish for loans, you're probably fine.

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RamTitan
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Re: USC - Trap School?

Postby RamTitan » Mon Jul 04, 2016 3:31 pm

SFSpartan wrote:
RamTitan wrote:
Redfactor wrote:I don't know if "trap schools" exist anymore.

The last 4-5 years there has been such a push for clearer reporting by law schools that now if people go to these traditional "trap schools" (USC, GW, Vandy, WashU etc.) and pay sticker it's not because the student has been "trapped," it's because the student made a stupid choice.

So don't pay sticker/take out loans for schools of that caliber?


Taking out loans and paying sticker are two fundamentally different things. Whether you want to pay sticker is really a question of what level of debt you are comfortable with. But I think that a reasonable position is that for most people that have to foot the bill for LS themselves and are not independently wealthy, no non-HYS school is worth sticker. Even then, I think there is room for debate as to whether any school is worth sticker.

For schools like USC/UCLA, TCR is probably to take out a reasonable amount of loan $$ to foot the bill, rather than taking, for example, a CA T1 on a full ride. If you limit yourself to $80k-ish for loans, you're probably fine.

Interesting to note. Would you say those schools are best for people who practice in California? Do they have reach into other states like Arizona?

Redfactor
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Re: USC - Trap School?

Postby Redfactor » Mon Jul 04, 2016 4:01 pm

RamTitan wrote:
Redfactor wrote:I don't know if "trap schools" exist anymore.

The last 4-5 years there has been such a push for clearer reporting by law schools that now if people go to these traditional "trap schools" (USC, GW, Vandy, WashU etc.) and pay sticker it's not because the student has been "trapped," it's because the student made a stupid choice.

So don't pay sticker/take out loans for schools of that caliber?



My point was more that these schools should no longer be labeled as "trap schools."

I've been around TLS off-and-on for like 10 years (when Ken was still a semi-active poster).

The amount of information available today is so different. People used to think that these "trap schools" were the ticket to riches, and schools' reporting/advertisements generally supported that thought. It used to be that schools reported "median private sector salary," and a "trap school" would report market rate, 125k, 140k, or 160k, depending on when it was. It was accurate, yet deceptive.

This was because 1) not all the students would report salaries to the school, and 2) the students who did self-select to report tended to be the higher-earners of their class, because they had good outcomes. So from the outside, there was only one number, median private sector salary, and it showed a path to upper middle class.

At the same time, it was not common knowledge nor disclosed that legal salaries, even in the private firm sector, are bimodal. So while ~55% of trap school A's graduates that reported their private sector salaries fared well, a good 30-40% of those that reported landed on the other mode. You can guess whether those who opted out of reporting typically did well. (Hint: No.)

But from the outside, everything looked promising, and a lot of people leveraged incredible debt believing the school's ability to place them in high-income jobs was stronger than it was.

The law school structure looked something like this for an applicant:

Schools fell into one of two camps. Either their median private sector salary was market rate, or it was generally around half of market rate.

So a school like USC would show its median at market - the exact same rate as Harvard or Columbia, etc., but a school like University of Minnesota would show a median of like 70k (for example), even though the UMN was much closer to USC than USC was to Columbia in its ability to place graduates in good outcomes.

So, while the T-14 thing existed back then like it does today, most going into law school did not understand the importance because GW, USC, WashU were reporting the exact same employment statistics as CCN.

Hence, the trap.

(And hence why websites like lawschooltransparency were created -- to actively fight against this understandable ignorance.)

Contrasted with today:

There is so much information out there to demonstrate that USC is not the same as CCN in its ability to get you into a job that pays market, and thus one shouldn't expect it to. The increase in type and quality of information available has fundamentally changed the game for the better. If a student matriculates ignorant of possible outcomes, it's not the school's fault.

USC is a fantastic school and it has a good record of placing its graduates in biglaw and a strong record in general for placing in SoCal. Make sure the debt undertaken is reasonable and it's a great option.

SFSpartan
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Re: USC - Trap School?

Postby SFSpartan » Mon Jul 04, 2016 10:12 pm

RamTitan wrote:
SFSpartan wrote:
RamTitan wrote:
Redfactor wrote:I don't know if "trap schools" exist anymore.

The last 4-5 years there has been such a push for clearer reporting by law schools that now if people go to these traditional "trap schools" (USC, GW, Vandy, WashU etc.) and pay sticker it's not because the student has been "trapped," it's because the student made a stupid choice.

So don't pay sticker/take out loans for schools of that caliber?


Taking out loans and paying sticker are two fundamentally different things. Whether you want to pay sticker is really a question of what level of debt you are comfortable with. But I think that a reasonable position is that for most people that have to foot the bill for LS themselves and are not independently wealthy, no non-HYS school is worth sticker. Even then, I think there is room for debate as to whether any school is worth sticker.

For schools like USC/UCLA, TCR is probably to take out a reasonable amount of loan $$ to foot the bill, rather than taking, for example, a CA T1 on a full ride. If you limit yourself to $80k-ish for loans, you're probably fine.

Interesting to note. Would you say those schools are best for people who practice in California? Do they have reach into other states like Arizona?


California schools will always be best for people that want to practice in CA. Upwards of 80% of the graduates of UCLA and USC in c/o 2015 stayed in CA, with some going to NY and some going to DC. None went to AZ. This is likely due to (i) self selection; and (ii) the fairly small Phoenix biglaw market. If you're from AZ and want to get back there, I would think that UCLA and USC could get you there, but it's probably going to be an uphill battle.

You can probably answer your own question by doing some research. Look at some of the big and midlaw phoenix firms and see where their associates (not partners) went to school. That will be largely indicative of their hiring patterns.




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