How do YOU compare schools?

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_lw1234

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How do YOU compare schools?

Postby _lw1234 » Tue Dec 19, 2017 5:13 pm

Curious about your methods for comparing law schools to each other. I know many ranking systems exist but I’m asking about your personal method and which factors (employment stats, ranking, average weather, etc) everyone is considering in making their choice.

I myself have a spreadsheet put together which compares US news ranking, employment stats, bar passage, cost of attendance and other “hard” stats - but I’m also considering the distance from my hometown, how walkable the neighborhood is, whether the city has a baseball team (professional or minor league). When comparing, I’m obviously putting more weight on the outcomes and academics, but I figure that with the schools I’m applying to (T1, low T2) loving where I live is pretty important.

cavalier1138

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Re: How do YOU compare schools?

Postby cavalier1138 » Tue Dec 19, 2017 5:15 pm

1. Job outcomes
2. Cost of attendance for you
3. Region

See how much easier that is than a spreadsheet?

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KENYADIGG1T

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Re: How do YOU compare schools?

Postby KENYADIGG1T » Tue Dec 19, 2017 5:18 pm

$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$

albinododobird

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Re: How do YOU compare schools?

Postby albinododobird » Tue Dec 19, 2017 5:21 pm

One factor that's weighing increasingly heavily for me as I continue to consider schools is which faculty members I want to study with. For example, Yale is obviously very prestigious, and they have a lot of great scholars, but I think I'd be more interested in working with faculty members at Harvard than at Yale. Chicago and Virginia also have a number of professors that I would really enjoy studying under.

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KENYADIGG1T

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Re: How do YOU compare schools?

Postby KENYADIGG1T » Tue Dec 19, 2017 5:24 pm

albinododobird wrote:One factor that's weighing increasingly heavily for me as I continue to consider schools is which faculty members I want to study with. For example, Yale is obviously very prestigious, and they have a lot of great scholars, but I think I'd be more interested in working with faculty members at Harvard than at Yale. Chicago and Virginia also have a number of professors that I would really enjoy studying under.


My comment above was a bit tongue-in-cheek (hey, $ is important), but I am also thinking about faculty as well. I'm doing legal philosophy, so the chance to work with Scott Shapiro would be hard to pass up (my work responds to his). But first I have to get in LOL.

Are you looking to legal academia, albinododobird?

albinododobird

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Re: How do YOU compare schools?

Postby albinododobird » Tue Dec 19, 2017 5:29 pm

KENYADIGG1T wrote:Are you looking to legal academia, albinododobird?

Academia would be an ideal outcome for me, which is why I'm somewhat more concerned with particular faculty members than with any school's reputation as a whole.

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KENYADIGG1T

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Re: How do YOU compare schools?

Postby KENYADIGG1T » Tue Dec 19, 2017 5:31 pm

albinododobird wrote:
KENYADIGG1T wrote:Are you looking to legal academia, albinododobird?

Academia would be an ideal outcome for me, which is why I'm somewhat more concerned with particular faculty members than with any school's reputation as a whole.

I figured. Best of luck as you decide!

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wmbuff

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Re: How do YOU compare schools?

Postby wmbuff » Tue Dec 19, 2017 5:32 pm

1. How likely am I to get my dream job?
2. How likely am I to have a job I'd be happy in that would allow me to repay my debt if I miss out on my dream job?
3. How much do I want to work in the places this school gets graduates employed?
4. Can I realistically pay off the debt I will need to incur to attend this school (regardless of whether I'm in my dream job or not)?
Last edited by wmbuff on Sun Jan 28, 2018 8:48 pm, edited 1 time in total.

sparkytrainer

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Re: How do YOU compare schools?

Postby sparkytrainer » Tue Dec 19, 2017 5:34 pm

Just want to point out, unless you are at Yale, the chances of you ever getting a shot at legal academia is slim to none. I actually have relevant experience in understanding law school legal academic hiring. Mods can PM me for proof.

Two types of people are getting hired:

Type 1: Top of the class at Y, maybe HS. Was a Supreme Court Clerk. Generally has a PHD/JSD from Yale/Oxford. Works in DOJ in Civil Rights division or Solicitor Generals office, publishes a bunch, then has a shot.

Type 2: Top of the class at Y, maybe HS. Has a PHD in an empirical field: That means PHD in Econ from UChicago/MIT. Maybe has Supreme Court clerkship. Has a really in-depth data set. Publishes a bunch, then has a shot.


If you are comparing schools, your chances at legal academia is already approaching 0%. If you don't have a phd/supreme court clerkship, it's approaching 0%.

Not to be a hater, but letting you know the chances. You should not go to law school with any plans to be a legal academic, even if you are at Yale.

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A. Nony Mouse

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Re: How do YOU compare schools?

Postby A. Nony Mouse » Tue Dec 19, 2017 5:37 pm

albinododobird wrote:One factor that's weighing increasingly heavily for me as I continue to consider schools is which faculty members I want to study with. For example, Yale is obviously very prestigious, and they have a lot of great scholars, but I think I'd be more interested in working with faculty members at Harvard than at Yale. Chicago and Virginia also have a number of professors that I would really enjoy studying under.

This isn’t really how law school is intended to work. You can make this happen, if you seek out additional opportunities, but law school classes aren’t about working with/studying under faculty members.

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Re: How do YOU compare schools?

Postby LawTweet » Tue Dec 19, 2017 5:40 pm

sparkytrainer wrote:Just want to point out, unless you are at Yale, the chances of you ever getting a shot at legal academia is slim to none. I actually have relevant experience in understanding law school legal academic hiring. Mods can PM me for proof.

Two types of people are getting hired:

Type 1: Top of the class at Y, maybe HS. Was a Supreme Court Clerk. Generally has a PHD/JSD from Yale/Oxford. Works in DOJ in Civil Rights division or Solicitor Generals office, publishes a bunch, then has a shot.

Type 2: Top of the class at Y, maybe HS. Has a PHD in an empirical field: That means PHD in Econ from UChicago/MIT. Maybe has Supreme Court clerkship. Has a really in-depth data set. Publishes a bunch, then has a shot.


If you are comparing schools, your chances at legal academia is already approaching 0%. If you don't have a phd/supreme court clerkship, it's approaching 0%.

Not to be a hater, but letting you know the chances. You should not go to law school with any plans to be a legal academic, even if you are at Yale.


All of my profs this semester at my T14 were hired in the last few years. Zero have PhDs or SJDs. Only one went to Yale. Another went to a law school outside of the T14. Zero clerked for SCOTUS. They are all brilliant and deserving but none of them have these allegedly required credentials.

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KENYADIGG1T

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Re: How do YOU compare schools?

Postby KENYADIGG1T » Tue Dec 19, 2017 5:42 pm

LawTweet wrote:
sparkytrainer wrote:Just want to point out, unless you are at Yale, the chances of you ever getting a shot at legal academia is slim to none. I actually have relevant experience in understanding law school legal academic hiring. Mods can PM me for proof.

Two types of people are getting hired:

Type 1: Top of the class at Y, maybe HS. Was a Supreme Court Clerk. Generally has a PHD/JSD from Yale/Oxford. Works in DOJ in Civil Rights division or Solicitor Generals office, publishes a bunch, then has a shot.

Type 2: Top of the class at Y, maybe HS. Has a PHD in an empirical field: That means PHD in Econ from UChicago/MIT. Maybe has Supreme Court clerkship. Has a really in-depth data set. Publishes a bunch, then has a shot.


If you are comparing schools, your chances at legal academia is already approaching 0%. If you don't have a phd/supreme court clerkship, it's approaching 0%.

Not to be a hater, but letting you know the chances. You should not go to law school with any plans to be a legal academic, even if you are at Yale.


All of my profs this semester at my T14 were hired in the last few years. Zero have PhDs or SJDs. Only one went to Yale. Another went to a law school outside of the T14. Zero clerked for SCOTUS. They are all brilliant and deserving but none of them have these allegedly required credentials.


+1

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A. Nony Mouse

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Re: How do YOU compare schools?

Postby A. Nony Mouse » Tue Dec 19, 2017 5:45 pm

I think sparky’s overstating it a little, but it’s a super competitive field to aim for. (Where I’d disagree is with the idea that you have to have a SCOTUS clerkship - there are lots of SCOTUS clerks who become academics but saying it’s de facto required is a bit much.) In particular, respectfully, “all your profs this semester” is 4 or 5 people max.

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Re: How do YOU compare schools?

Postby LawTweet » Tue Dec 19, 2017 5:47 pm

A. Nony Mouse wrote:I think sparky’s overstating it a little, but it’s a super competitive field to aim for. (Where I’d disagree is with the idea that you have to have a SCOTUS clerkship - there are lots of SCOTUS clerks who become academics but saying it’s de facto required is a bit much.) In particular, respectfully, “all your profs this semester” is 4 or 5 people max.


Of course, but they also make up a sizable chunk of the recent hires.

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A. Nony Mouse

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Re: How do YOU compare schools?

Postby A. Nony Mouse » Tue Dec 19, 2017 5:48 pm

Brian Leiter usually keeps stats about legal academia hiring. The aggregated numbers are probably more helpful than individual experience.

Now, it’s true that you don’t have to go to Yale or have a PhD to get a job in legal academia, but there are clear trends when you look at the collective numbers. You have to publish well and have connections, and elite credentials usually give the best opportunity to do both those things.

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Re: How do YOU compare schools?

Postby A. Nony Mouse » Tue Dec 19, 2017 5:49 pm

LawTweet wrote:
A. Nony Mouse wrote:I think sparky’s overstating it a little, but it’s a super competitive field to aim for. (Where I’d disagree is with the idea that you have to have a SCOTUS clerkship - there are lots of SCOTUS clerks who become academics but saying it’s de facto required is a bit much.) In particular, respectfully, “all your profs this semester” is 4 or 5 people max.


Of course, but they also make up a sizable chunk of the recent hires.

At your school alone, not in legal academia as a whole. (Also clinical profs and legal writing profs don’t count.)

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Re: How do YOU compare schools?

Postby albinododobird » Tue Dec 19, 2017 5:51 pm

I appreciate the warnings. Legal academia is ideal for me, but I'd be okay if I ended up somewhere else. That said, the distinguishing feature of legal academics these days seems to be their capacity to publish a lot of high-quality scholarship in a short period of time. One of my favorite legal scholars earned his JD from George Mason in 2009. But the guy publishes like crazy, and the stuff he publishes is well-reviewed.

My hypothesis is that most of the people who want to be legal scholars end up at Yale, but that Yale isn't necessarily substantially more effective at helping aspiring legal scholars to get academic positions. Schools would be stupid to pick candidates with a JD from Yale and no publications over those with JDs from other top schools and many publications.

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Re: How do YOU compare schools?

Postby A. Nony Mouse » Tue Dec 19, 2017 5:56 pm

I agree that publishing is the coin of the realm. I think the very top schools are actually better at placing people in academic positions, as they devote resources to it, but how to measure the differences between them is hard except at the extremes. Yale is going to do a way better job than GW, and it does a better job (numerically) than the rest of the T14, but some of that is also going to be self-selection.

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Re: How do YOU compare schools?

Postby Rigo » Tue Dec 19, 2017 6:11 pm

cavalier1138 wrote:1. Job outcomes
2. Cost of attendance for you
3. Region

Basically this. If PI minded, check out each school's LRAP too.

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Re: How do YOU compare schools?

Postby jd21 » Wed Dec 20, 2017 12:01 am

I have my schools split into two groups: schools that I won't have to move to attend and schools that I will have to move for. The first group is pretty much only one school which is my safety in the event I can't get enough scholarship to justify moving and taking on debt. The other schools are ranked pretty much solely on the scholarship money with job outcomes being a second characteristic in the event two schools end up tied. Assuming that schools remain tied after that, whatever school is closest to home wins.

tl;dr I don't care about anything except how much debt I'll be in and what kind of job I can get to take care of that debt after the fact.

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UVA2B

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Re: How do YOU compare schools?

Postby UVA2B » Wed Dec 20, 2017 12:05 am

Rigo wrote:
cavalier1138 wrote:1. Job outcomes
2. Cost of attendance for you
3. Region

Basically this. If PI minded, check out each school's LRAP too.


This, absent really extraneous factors. Like if you're caring for a dying loved one, or something that inextricably puts you in one locale.

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Re: How do YOU compare schools?

Postby RedPurpleBlue » Fri Dec 22, 2017 12:45 am

KENYADIGG1T wrote:
LawTweet wrote:
sparkytrainer wrote:Just want to point out, unless you are at Yale, the chances of you ever getting a shot at legal academia is slim to none. I actually have relevant experience in understanding law school legal academic hiring. Mods can PM me for proof.

Two types of people are getting hired:

Type 1: Top of the class at Y, maybe HS. Was a Supreme Court Clerk. Generally has a PHD/JSD from Yale/Oxford. Works in DOJ in Civil Rights division or Solicitor Generals office, publishes a bunch, then has a shot.

Type 2: Top of the class at Y, maybe HS. Has a PHD in an empirical field: That means PHD in Econ from UChicago/MIT. Maybe has Supreme Court clerkship. Has a really in-depth data set. Publishes a bunch, then has a shot.


If you are comparing schools, your chances at legal academia is already approaching 0%. If you don't have a phd/supreme court clerkship, it's approaching 0%.

Not to be a hater, but letting you know the chances. You should not go to law school with any plans to be a legal academic, even if you are at Yale.


All of my profs this semester at my T14 were hired in the last few years. Zero have PhDs or SJDs. Only one went to Yale. Another went to a law school outside of the T14. Zero clerked for SCOTUS. They are all brilliant and deserving but none of them have these allegedly required credentials.


+1


I feel like a lot has been said so far is nonsense.

The type 1/2 thing doesn't make any sense. First, only 3 hires last year clerked on SCOTUS, despite there being 36 clerks. Second, for PhD/JSD granting institutions Harvard, Yale, Penn, USC, Northwestern, NYU, Wisconsin, Chicago, Minnesota, Stanford, Columbia, Berkeley, Michigan, Genoa, Virginia, Witwatersrand, and EU Institute were all listed. The idea that you need a Yale/Oxford PhD/JSD is utter bunk. Also, the idea that you need it in an empirical field is equally shit. From Sarah Lawsky's survey of last year's tenure-track hires (like the previous and future data), "For the 26 Ph.D.s and expected Ph.Ds, 4 had degrees in Economics; 2 in sociology; and the other Ph.D./D.Phil. topics, each of which had only hire, were American History; American Studies; Comparative Law; Criminology; Finance and Economics; History; History of American Civilization; JSP; Law; Law and Economics; Near Eastern Languages and Civilization; Neuroscience; Philosophy; Political Science; Rhetoric; Social Anthropology and Law & Society." As you can see, many of those fields are not quantitative or only tangentially. I'm not discounting the fact that quantitative skills are valuable (they are), but the notion that they are a de facto requirement is just wrong. Also, the idea that the quantitative PhDs need to be from a place like Chicago/MIT is trash considering the list I gave you only had Chicago pop up once and it was for a JSD and MIT was completely absent.

For someone with relevant experience, all your points severely contradict the data and seem like they might represent your anecdotal neck of the woods but not academic hiring as a whole.

As for the idea that a PhD is unnecessary, the data really doesn't support this conclusion as a general trend, and promoting this idea as such is relatively dangerous to potential academia-gunners. If you want a tenure-track job at a law school, you pretty much need a PhD. Look at Sarah Lawsky's data. It's the best around. Here's an excerpt. For 2017, "51 (about 82%) had a fellowship; 32 (about 52%) had a clerkship; 42 (about 68%) had a higher degree. Only one reported hire didn’t have either an advanced degree or a fellowship." So, yeah, while it's possible to get a job as a law professor (with a fellowship + clerkship), it's important to note that 2/3+ of the tenure-track jobs (the ones you want) are going to JD-PhD folk.

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KENYADIGG1T

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Re: How do YOU compare schools?

Postby KENYADIGG1T » Fri Dec 22, 2017 12:50 am

RedPurpleBlue wrote:
KENYADIGG1T wrote:
LawTweet wrote:
sparkytrainer wrote:Just want to point out, unless you are at Yale, the chances of you ever getting a shot at legal academia is slim to none. I actually have relevant experience in understanding law school legal academic hiring. Mods can PM me for proof.

Two types of people are getting hired:

Type 1: Top of the class at Y, maybe HS. Was a Supreme Court Clerk. Generally has a PHD/JSD from Yale/Oxford. Works in DOJ in Civil Rights division or Solicitor Generals office, publishes a bunch, then has a shot.

Type 2: Top of the class at Y, maybe HS. Has a PHD in an empirical field: That means PHD in Econ from UChicago/MIT. Maybe has Supreme Court clerkship. Has a really in-depth data set. Publishes a bunch, then has a shot.


If you are comparing schools, your chances at legal academia is already approaching 0%. If you don't have a phd/supreme court clerkship, it's approaching 0%.

Not to be a hater, but letting you know the chances. You should not go to law school with any plans to be a legal academic, even if you are at Yale.


All of my profs this semester at my T14 were hired in the last few years. Zero have PhDs or SJDs. Only one went to Yale. Another went to a law school outside of the T14. Zero clerked for SCOTUS. They are all brilliant and deserving but none of them have these allegedly required credentials.


+1


I feel like a lot has been said so far is nonsense.

The type 1/2 thing doesn't make any sense. First, only 3 hires last year clerked on SCOTUS, despite there being 36 clerks. Second, for PhD/JSD granting institutions Harvard, Yale, Penn, USC, Northwestern, NYU, Wisconsin, Chicago, Minnesota, Stanford, Columbia, Berkeley, Michigan, Genoa, Virginia, Witwatersrand, and EU Institute were all listed. The idea that you need a Yale/Oxford PhD/JSD is utter bunk. Also, the idea that you need it in an empirical field is equally shit. From Sarah Lawsky's survey of last year's tenure-track hires (like the previous and future data), "For the 26 Ph.D.s and expected Ph.Ds, 4 had degrees in Economics; 2 in sociology; and the other Ph.D./D.Phil. topics, each of which had only hire, were American History; American Studies; Comparative Law; Criminology; Finance and Economics; History; History of American Civilization; JSP; Law; Law and Economics; Near Eastern Languages and Civilization; Neuroscience; Philosophy; Political Science; Rhetoric; Social Anthropology and Law & Society." As you can see, many of those fields are not quantitative or only tangentially. I'm not discounting the fact that quantitative skills are valuable (they are), but the notion that they are a de facto requirement is just wrong. Also, the idea that the quantitative PhDs need to be from a place like Chicago/MIT is trash considering the list I gave you only had Chicago pop up once and it was for a JSD and MIT was completely absent.

For someone with relevant experience, all your points severely contradict the data and seem like they might represent your anecdotal neck of the woods but not academic hiring as a whole.

As for the idea that a PhD is unnecessary, the data really doesn't support this conclusion as a general trend, and promoting this idea as such is relatively dangerous to potential academia-gunners. If you want a tenure-track job at a law school, you pretty much need a PhD. Look at Sarah Lawsky's data. It's the best around. Here's an excerpt. For 2017, "51 (about 82%) had a fellowship; 32 (about 52%) had a clerkship; 42 (about 68%) had a higher degree. Only one reported hire didn’t have either an advanced degree or a fellowship." So, yeah, while it's possible to get a job as a law professor (with a fellowship + clerkship), it's important to note that 2/3+ of the tenure-track jobs (the ones you want) are going to JD-PhD folk.


+180. Thanks for putting in the work for this response.

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Barack O'Drama

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Re: How do YOU compare schools?

Postby Barack O'Drama » Fri Dec 22, 2017 12:57 am

For me, it comes down to rank and $$$. I want the best chance of getting a good job for as little cost as possible.
Last edited by Barack O'Drama on Fri Jan 26, 2018 6:37 pm, edited 2 times in total.

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Re: How do YOU compare schools?

Postby jbagelboy » Fri Dec 22, 2017 2:15 pm

Balance of (1) Biglaw+FedClerk % as a proxy for employability and (2) total cost after scholarships/grants



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