GW ($0) vs W&L ($$$)

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Staddle

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GW ($0) vs W&L ($$$)

Postby Staddle » Fri Dec 14, 2018 1:46 pm

What would you advise for someone with a choice between no money at GWU or substantial scholarship at W&L, who wants to do BigLaw in DC? Thanks.

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Re: GW ($0) vs W&L ($$$)

Postby Staddle » Fri Dec 14, 2018 2:05 pm

Let me clarify the question: which school of these two should he attend? He has zero interest in reapplying next year, and zero interest retaking the LSAT. He also recognizes that neither school is near the top of the list for pipelines to BigLaw. So everyone can please skip those points in their response. Thank you.

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Re: GW ($0) vs W&L ($$$)

Postby Npret » Fri Dec 14, 2018 2:58 pm

Staddle wrote:Let me clarify the question: which school of these two should he attend? He has zero interest in reapplying next year, and zero interest retaking the LSAT. He also recognizes that neither school is near the top of the list for pipelines to BigLaw. So everyone can please skip those points in their response. Thank you.

Neither of these schools are likely to lead to the goal.
My vote is to minimize debt so the person won’t be completely screwed.

More 0L special snowflakes assuming they will beat the odds. Why go down a path you know will likely end in failure?

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Re: GW ($0) vs W&L ($$$)

Postby cavalier1138 » Fri Dec 14, 2018 3:15 pm

The correct answer is neither.

The answer that this person should select is W&L, because at least he'll have less debt to cope with for rushing the decision.

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Re: GW ($0) vs W&L ($$$)

Postby UVA2B » Fri Dec 14, 2018 4:21 pm

If you don't get Biglaw in DC, what sort of outcome would you shoot for and where would you want that outcome to be? Have you calculated the amount of debt you'll incur at both schools and the income you can expect if you get the statistically likely outcome from both and miss BIglaw in DC?

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Re: GW ($0) vs W&L ($$$)

Postby Staddle » Fri Dec 14, 2018 6:46 pm

Good questions. Debt at GWU maybe 150K. Debt at W&L maybe 65K. Strong desire and skill set to be a litigator. Will be happy as a litigator even if working outside BigLaw. But focusing solely on penetrating the Biglaw DC market, is the advantage to having a JD from GWU vs. W&L worth 85K?

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Re: GW ($0) vs W&L ($$$)

Postby cavalier1138 » Fri Dec 14, 2018 7:14 pm

Staddle wrote:But focusing solely on penetrating the Biglaw DC market, is the advantage to having a JD from GWU vs. W&L worth 85K?


Not based on the job numbers. GW places roughly 25-30% of its graduates in big firms; W&L hovers around 20%. It's a difference, but not an $85k difference.

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Re: GW ($0) vs W&L ($$$)

Postby gaddockteeg » Fri Dec 14, 2018 7:54 pm

If its DC big law or bust, then the answer is GW. No question.

If it's market paying big law in general or bust, then I think its closer due to the 85k difference but still GW bc Gw places in NY fairly well and a lot of W+L's big law placement is going to be at non-market paying locations like Richmond firms or tysons corner satellite offices.

If its biglaw/midlaw or bust, I htink it's W+L because they're going to have decent placement in places like richmond where they are top dog, coupled with 85k difference.

If its any legal job, then its W+L because of the 85k difference and bc for smaller firms, where you went to school matters way less.

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Re: GW ($0) vs W&L ($$$)

Postby Npret » Fri Dec 14, 2018 8:53 pm

Staddle wrote:Good questions. Debt at GWU maybe 150K. Debt at W&L maybe 65K. Strong desire and skill set to be a litigator. Will be happy as a litigator even if working outside BigLaw. But focusing solely on penetrating the Biglaw DC market, is the advantage to having a JD from GWU vs. W&L worth 85K?

How is the debt at GW only $150k with no scholarship?
If you have family money you are using to finance your education or other sources of funds in addition to debt and scholarships, that would be helpful to know.

I recall that GW was considered a trap school by Prof Campos during the recession. They take in a huge transfer class as well.

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Re: GW ($0) vs W&L ($$$)

Postby objctnyrhnr » Fri Dec 14, 2018 10:03 pm

So this “friends” 0L snowflake viewpoint is really dumb but I mean if this person is committed to being dumb and suffering the consequences (significant debt and a degree from a mediocre school), then I think GWU is the credited response because of the difference in biglaw placement.

But here’s a point that hasn’t been raised—GWU will have a stronger alum network in dc biglaw that can be potentially be utilized either during law school or after law school when this person’s trying to claw their way up from a firm that won’t sevice the debt.

Anyway this is stupid. W and L sucks regardless and GWU sucks absent $$$$$.

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Re: GW ($0) vs W&L ($$$)

Postby Npret » Sat Dec 15, 2018 1:12 pm

objctnyrhnr wrote:So this “friends” 0L snowflake viewpoint is really dumb but I mean if this person is committed to being dumb and suffering the consequences (significant debt and a degree from a mediocre school), then I think GWU is the credited response because of the difference in biglaw placement.

But here’s a point that hasn’t been raised—GWU will have a stronger alum network in dc biglaw that can be potentially be utilized either during law school or after law school when this person’s trying to claw their way up from a firm that won’t sevice the debt.

Anyway this is stupid. W and L sucks regardless and GWU sucks absent $$$$$.

I’m still skeptical of these numbers and OP hasn’t responded. My bias is towards less debt, but I guess some argument can be made that GW has a good network.

Honestly, OP needs a more achievable goal or at least be willing to accept his friend isn’t likely at all to get biglaw in DC.

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Re: GW ($0) vs W&L ($$$)

Postby Staddle » Mon Dec 17, 2018 3:30 pm

gaddockteeg wrote:If its DC big law or bust, then the answer is GW. No question.

If it's market paying big law in general or bust, then I think its closer due to the 85k difference but still GW bc Gw places in NY fairly well and a lot of W+L's big law placement is going to be at non-market paying locations like Richmond firms or tysons corner satellite offices.

If its biglaw/midlaw or bust, I htink it's W+L because they're going to have decent placement in places like richmond where they are top dog, coupled with 85k difference.

If its any legal job, then its W+L because of the 85k difference and bc for smaller firms, where you went to school matters way less.



Thank you for your thoughtful answer.

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Re: GW ($0) vs W&L ($$$)

Postby Staddle » Mon Dec 17, 2018 3:32 pm

Npret wrote:
Staddle wrote:Good questions. Debt at GWU maybe 150K. Debt at W&L maybe 65K. Strong desire and skill set to be a litigator. Will be happy as a litigator even if working outside BigLaw. But focusing solely on penetrating the Biglaw DC market, is the advantage to having a JD from GWU vs. W&L worth 85K?

How is the debt at GW only $150k with no scholarship?
If you have family money you are using to finance your education or other sources of funds in addition to debt and scholarships, that would be helpful to know.

I recall that GW was considered a trap school by Prof Campos during the recession. They take in a huge transfer class as well.



Yes, the delta between CoA and 150K is family money.

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Re: GW ($0) vs W&L ($$$)

Postby VirginiaFan » Mon Dec 17, 2018 3:33 pm

I think W&L is the clear choice here, but only if we assume that retaking is for some reason not an option-- but it's almost certainly still an option.

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Re: GW ($0) vs W&L ($$$)

Postby Staddle » Mon Dec 17, 2018 3:45 pm

objctnyrhnr wrote:So this “friends” 0L snowflake viewpoint is really dumb but I mean if this person is committed to being dumb and suffering the consequences (significant debt and a degree from a mediocre school), then I think GWU is the credited response because of the difference in biglaw placement.

But here’s a point that hasn’t been raised—GWU will have a stronger alum network in dc biglaw that can be potentially be utilized either during law school or after law school when this person’s trying to claw their way up from a firm that won’t sevice the debt.

Anyway this is stupid. W and L sucks regardless and GWU sucks absent $$$$$.



Perhaps you could please clarify what the "dumb snowflake viewpoint" is. Is it the acknowledgement that a law degree from GWU or W&L might not be enough to crack DC BigLaw and that he might have to settle for non-Big Law? Or is it the willingness to strive for a goal that may not be achieved? By the way, a total educational debt of 65-150K strikes me as daunting, but hardly catastrophic.

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Re: GW ($0) vs W&L ($$$)

Postby Npret » Mon Dec 17, 2018 4:00 pm

Staddle wrote:
objctnyrhnr wrote:So this “friends” 0L snowflake viewpoint is really dumb but I mean if this person is committed to being dumb and suffering the consequences (significant debt and a degree from a mediocre school), then I think GWU is the credited response because of the difference in biglaw placement.

But here’s a point that hasn’t been raised—GWU will have a stronger alum network in dc biglaw that can be potentially be utilized either during law school or after law school when this person’s trying to claw their way up from a firm that won’t sevice the debt.

Anyway this is stupid. W and L sucks regardless and GWU sucks absent $$$$$.



Perhaps you could please clarify what the "dumb snowflake viewpoint" is. Is it the acknowledgement that a law degree from GWU or W&L might not be enough to crack DC BigLaw and that he might have to settle for non-Big Law? Or is it the willingness to strive for a goal that may not be achieved? By the way, a total educational debt of 65-150K strikes me as daunting, but hardly catastrophic.


But the friend doesn’t really believe they have an extremely low chance of DC biglaw - the most competitive market in the US. The friend believes it’s just a challenge they believe in themselves they can overcome the obstacles to that path. It’s typical 0L snowflake thinking because they don’t understand the curve, the intense prestige focus of law and the high competition they will face from students at the tippy- top top of law schools. It’s just wishful thinking.

You didn’t give the friend’s scores , but I’m guessing if we knew them we would all say, believe in yourself and study and retake for a better chance of reaching the DC biglaw goal.

I also doubt that this friend who wants DC biglaw will be happy with a small firm job in rural or suburban Virginia.

The debt management is something that will depend on what job the friend ends up in. Maybe they haven’t considered the likelihood of a $70k or even $45k salary? Spending family money for school, when you could do better, is a waste. But it’s not my family or my money.

The end of the day - I don’t like either school. Hard to pick one.

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Re: GW ($0) vs W&L ($$$)

Postby BansheeScream » Mon Dec 17, 2018 4:14 pm

Staddle wrote:
objctnyrhnr wrote:So this “friends” 0L snowflake viewpoint is really dumb but I mean if this person is committed to being dumb and suffering the consequences (significant debt and a degree from a mediocre school), then I think GWU is the credited response because of the difference in biglaw placement.

But here’s a point that hasn’t been raised—GWU will have a stronger alum network in dc biglaw that can be potentially be utilized either during law school or after law school when this person’s trying to claw their way up from a firm that won’t sevice the debt.

Anyway this is stupid. W and L sucks regardless and GWU sucks absent $$$$$.



Perhaps you could please clarify what the "dumb snowflake viewpoint" is. Is it the acknowledgement that a law degree from GWU or W&L might not be enough to crack DC BigLaw and that he might have to settle for non-Big Law? Or is it the willingness to strive for a goal that may not be achieved? By the way, a total educational debt of 65-150K strikes me as daunting, but hardly catastrophic.


Just look at the numbers and it's really clear why everyone is telling you not to go to these schools with your sole expressed desirable outcome of DC big law. GW placed 20% of their class in firms of 500 plus. When you look at the location breakdown only about 50% of their class is in DC (not just the ones at firms) so I'm sure not all of those big law jobs were in DC. W&L placed 12% in 500 plus firms and 8% in firms between 101 and 250. Only 12% of all their class is in DC (once again whole class not just law firm).

At either school, your odds of getting DC big law are low. There's no way to know right now if you can take a law school exam well or will ever be able to and your grades are almost completely determinative of your outcome when it comes to big law recruiting, especially from lower ranked schools. I go to a T14 with significantly better job numbers than GW and W&L, have top grades, MC, law review, and got 2 DC offers out of the 15 firms I interviewed with. Plenty of people I know struck out in DC. It's an extremely competitive market.

If you would be okay being a prosecutor in VA or working a three letter agency then W&L or GW would be fine choices but if your goal is DC big law you need to retake and go to a different school to have even a reasonable expectation of that outcome.

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Re: GW ($0) vs W&L ($$$)

Postby cavalier1138 » Mon Dec 17, 2018 4:36 pm

Staddle wrote:By the way, a total educational debt of 65-150K strikes me as daunting, but hardly catastrophic.


What kind of salary would be required to pay off $150k in debt?

Look, based on your posts, you clearly have a lot of experience as an attorney. But I think you're probably not all that familiar with the reality for current graduates. The only noble thing about "striving for a goal that may not be achieved" is that it makes a great epitaph. The actual consequences of not achieving that goal with the debt that this student is facing at GW are quite severe.

If he did it, I'm sure he'd make it work. He'd probably have to do a PAYE/REPAYE plan, and he'd be hoping that he didn't have a tax bomb to pay in 25 years, when he didn't have that debt to deal with. Lots of people survive the debt. But I would never encourage someone to put themselves in a position where they have to talk about their financial situation as survival.

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Re: GW ($0) vs W&L ($$$)

Postby Staddle » Mon Dec 17, 2018 5:42 pm

cavalier1138 wrote:
Staddle wrote:By the way, a total educational debt of 65-150K strikes me as daunting, but hardly catastrophic.


What kind of salary would be required to pay off $150k in debt?

Look, based on your posts, you clearly have a lot of experience as an attorney. But I think you're probably not all that familiar with the reality for current graduates. The only noble thing about "striving for a goal that may not be achieved" is that it makes a great epitaph. The actual consequences of not achieving that goal with the debt that this student is facing at GW are quite severe.

If he did it, I'm sure he'd make it work. He'd probably have to do a PAYE/REPAYE plan, and he'd be hoping that he didn't have a tax bomb to pay in 25 years, when he didn't have that debt to deal with. Lots of people survive the debt. But I would never encourage someone to put themselves in a position where they have to talk about their financial situation as survival.


I appreciate your comments, and I suspect we largely agree.

You are right that my law school days are well me. I have been in BigLaw 35+ years. It was very competitive when I started and even more competitive now. I have annually participated at some level, usually as just one more in-office interviewer but occasionally as an on campus interviewer and, a long time ago, as a recruiting committee member. Some recruiting cycles were in great economic times and some when almost no one was hiring. So I am certainly not a Pollyanna about job prospects.

I also liked your epitaph comment, but I do think there is another noble thing about "striving for a goal that may not be achieved": sometimes, the goal IS actually achieved. There seems to be a common assumption in this forum that law school success is randomly distributed. That has not been my experience. Determined people who push themselves relentlessly dramatically increase their odds. On the other hand, hoping for success (or assuming one will have success) accomplishes nothing. In this regard, I bet only 10% of law students at T1 law schools meet my criteria for determined and hardworking. (More than 10% actually succeed, of course, but many do so on the basis of superior aptitude for the study of law, which I don't think is very predictable from the outset.)

In addition, staying motivated as a law student or lawyer is difficult if--as is common-- one's primary motivations are money and/or prestige. Law applicants and students who think they will get a rush from standing up in court and persuading a judge or jury why their client is right have a huge advantage over wantabe litigators who can't relate to the rush.

I certainly agree with you on the wisdom of avoiding debt and believe in shedding it ASAP. When I graduated law school, my combined undergrad/law debt seemed huge to me (although laughably small by today's standards). I took the subway and bought a couple pieces of used furniture at a thrift store, and paid off my debt early, in about four years. I agree the world has changed, and the cost of a law school education has outpaced the cost of living. I also admit that I don't even know what a PAYE/REPAYE plan is, or to what tax bomb you are referencing. But where I live, "starter homes" are more than a half million, and mortgages of 400-800K are common. So while I agree that 65K-150K is daunting, it strikes me as manageable. And for the record, if I were the applicant I am advising, I probably would lean W&L over GWU, but I think it is a close question, which is why I posed the question.

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Re: GW ($0) vs W&L ($$$)

Postby nixy » Mon Dec 17, 2018 5:54 pm

Staddle wrote: In this regard, I bet only 10% of law students at T1 law schools meet my criteria for determined and hardworking. (More than 10% actually succeed, of course, but many do so on the basis of superior aptitude for the study of law, which I don't think is very predictable from the outset.) l

What?? Have you been to any T1 law schools? I attended one, and I promise you well more than 10% of those students are determined and hard working. Maybe it’s less than you’d find at a T14 (though I’d debate that, because I think there’s a not-insignificant number at the T14 schools who get there through a gift of being good at school/tests, and who don’t have to work that hard once at the T14 because the employment rates for those schools are so favorable). But the difference between T14 students and T1 students isn’t as vast as you’re assuming it is.

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Re: GW ($0) vs W&L ($$$)

Postby QContinuum » Mon Dec 17, 2018 6:47 pm

Staddle wrote:I also liked your epitaph comment, but I do think there is another noble thing about "striving for a goal that may not be achieved": sometimes, the goal IS actually achieved. There seems to be a common assumption in this forum that law school success is randomly distributed. That has not been my experience. Determined people who push themselves relentlessly dramatically increase their odds. On the other hand, hoping for success (or assuming one will have success) accomplishes nothing. In this regard, I bet only 10% of law students at T1 law schools meet my criteria for determined and hardworking. (More than 10% actually succeed, of course, but many do so on the basis of superior aptitude for the study of law, which I don't think is very predictable from the outset.)

In my personal experience at a T14 - and in all of my friends' experiences - law school grades are largely unpredictable. Of course you can tell if you've really bombed an exam, but other than that there's little telling what grade you'll get. 1L year, I got my best grade in a class I largely blew off, and my worst grade in a class I put a shitload of work into and was "sure" I aced. There really isn't any good effort-to-grades correlation, as sad as it is. I doubt the system is that different at a non-T14 school.

I also am confused by your statement that "only 10% of law students [are] determined and hardworking ... more than 10% actually succeed." The nature of the curve is that only 10% of every class will end up in the top 10%. The top 10% isn't going to magically encompass more students if 50% of the class works their tails off.

nixy wrote:I attended one, and I promise you well more than 10% of those students are determined and hard working. Maybe it’s less than you’d find at a T14 (though I’d debate that, because I think there’s a not-insignificant number at the T14 schools who get there through a gift of being good at school/tests, and who don’t have to work that hard once at the T14 because the employment rates for those schools are so favorable). But the difference between T14 students and T1 students isn’t as vast as you’re assuming it is.

I second the above. My understanding - backed up by the admittedly anecdotal evidence of talking to many T1/T2-to-T14 transfer students - is that many T1/T2 students work far harder than T14 students. Not that T14 students don't work hard - they do! But the T1/T2 students realize they're fighting for their professional lives. And sure, I'm sure there are slackers at the T1/T2, but to suggest that 90% of T1/T2 students are slackers is, I think, wildly off the mark. In fact, I agree with nixy that there're probably more slackers as a percentage of every T14 class than as a percentage of every T1/T2 class - especially if you compare 2Ls and 3Ls. (So many T14 students "check out" after securing a SA at 2L OCI.)

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Re: GW ($0) vs W&L ($$$)

Postby Staddle » Mon Dec 17, 2018 7:01 pm

nixy wrote:
Staddle wrote: In this regard, I bet only 10% of law students at T1 law schools meet my criteria for determined and hardworking. (More than 10% actually succeed, of course, but many do so on the basis of superior aptitude for the study of law, which I don't think is very predictable from the outset.) l

What?? Have you been to any T1 law schools? I attended one, and I promise you well more than 10% of those students are determined and hard working. Maybe it’s less than you’d find at a T14 (though I’d debate that, because I think there’s a not-insignificant number at the T14 schools who get there through a gift of being good at school/tests, and who don’t have to work that hard once at the T14 because the employment rates for those schools are so favorable). But the difference between T14 students and T1 students isn’t as vast as you’re assuming it is.


No offense intended. I was not attempting to draw a distinction between T1 and T14 students. I suspect that I am using a higher threshold for "determined" than others might. To me, it refers to the students who have a passion for actually doing the work of lawyers, not just someone who strives to do well in law school (hence my reference to determined AND hardworking). My sense is that only a minority of law students are what I would call "determined." But even so, you may be correct that my 10% number is too low.

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Re: GW ($0) vs W&L ($$$)

Postby nixy » Mon Dec 17, 2018 8:21 pm

Staddle wrote:
nixy wrote:
Staddle wrote: In this regard, I bet only 10% of law students at T1 law schools meet my criteria for determined and hardworking. (More than 10% actually succeed, of course, but many do so on the basis of superior aptitude for the study of law, which I don't think is very predictable from the outset.) l

What?? Have you been to any T1 law schools? I attended one, and I promise you well more than 10% of those students are determined and hard working. Maybe it’s less than you’d find at a T14 (though I’d debate that, because I think there’s a not-insignificant number at the T14 schools who get there through a gift of being good at school/tests, and who don’t have to work that hard once at the T14 because the employment rates for those schools are so favorable). But the difference between T14 students and T1 students isn’t as vast as you’re assuming it is.


No offense intended. I was not attempting to draw a distinction between T1 and T14 students. I suspect that I am using a higher threshold for "determined" than others might. To me, it refers to the students who have a passion for actually doing the work of lawyers, not just someone who strives to do well in law school (hence my reference to determined AND hardworking). My sense is that only a minority of law students are what I would call "determined." But even so, you may be correct that my 10% number is too low.

My issue was really with the distinction between T1 and T14. You may be right that a minority of law students fit what you're defining as determined, but based on your description, I don't think there are likely to be more of those at a T14 than at a T1. The problem is that most people (whether at a T1 or a T14) can't know whether they really have that passion for actually doing the work of lawyers until they actually leave school and do that work, so it's not a very useful kind of quality for thinking about where to go to law school.

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Re: GW ($0) vs W&L ($$$)

Postby PartiallyLearnedHand » Mon Dec 17, 2018 8:53 pm

OP, I go to a non-T14, T1 law school that is near the DC area. This past recruiting season, I landed 7 DC call backs from V100 firms and 2 offers from those call backs. I am on LR, but did not finish in the top 10% (finished top 25%), am a K-JD, and I am not a URM. I also wanted DC big law before school, and I extensively researched the employment stats of the schools I was considering, as well as reading threads similar to this one on TLS, while making my decision on schools. I knew exactly what I was getting into when I decided on the school I am currently attending, but I still managed to make it work and, as a counter to some of the advice on this thread, it is eminently possible to do the same from GW or W&L.

However, it is not easy, and to riff off of what Staddle said, the only thing that allowed me to even have a chance was true determination and hard work. Everyone in law school goes to class, most people do the reading, and everyone studies hard for finals, but not everyone has an inner burning desire to accomplish their goals no matter. It sounds incredibly cheesy--almost laugh out loud so-- but I know for a fact that there are many other students at my school who worked extremely hard during 1L year but fell short because they did not have an inner passion pushing them to make the sacrifices necessary to accomplish their goals. I was scared sh*tless that I wouldn't land a big law job, so I hustled ass off 1L year to get passable grades, secured a 1L internship in DC, and used that to network my ass off during the summer, which ultimately helped me get my foot in the door with a few extra callbacks. Look, maybe I got really lucky (I'm sure some other posters in here will say so), and I had LR and my internship going for me, but my point is that the rest of the advice in this thread is not necessarily gospel. It simply is not true that big law jobs are completely unattainable unless you go to a T-14 or are in the top 5%-10% of your class, and that should at least enter your calculus a little bit when making your decision.

With that being said, my point is in no ways intended to have you disregard the rest of the advice in this thread. If you play the numbers game, you can objectively see that most graduates of these schools do not end up in DC big law, or big law in general. Instead, I wanted to share my experiences to hopefully give you a more "realistic" story on what is necessary to secure a big law job in DC from a similar school. Don't disregard everyone else, but hopefully this can give you a different perspective than TLS's general prevailing sentiment of "retake for T-14 or bust." As for your original question, I would probably lean towards W&L because of the scholarship money, with a view to securing a 1L internship in DC/Nova if you do attend. Feel free to PM me if you would like to discuss anything further.

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Re: GW ($0) vs W&L ($$$)

Postby QContinuum » Mon Dec 17, 2018 10:28 pm

PartiallyLearnedHand wrote:OP, I go to a non-T14, T1 law school that is near the DC area. This past recruiting season, I landed 7 DC call backs from V100 firms and 2 offers from those call backs. I am on LR, but did not finish in the top 10% (finished top 25%), am a K-JD, and I am not a URM. I also wanted DC big law before school, and I extensively researched the employment stats of the schools I was considering, as well as reading threads similar to this one on TLS, while making my decision on schools. I knew exactly what I was getting into when I decided on the school I am currently attending, but I still managed to make it work and, as a counter to some of the advice on this thread, it is eminently possible to do the same from GW or W&L.

However, it is not easy, and to riff off of what Staddle said, the only thing that allowed me to even have a chance was true determination and hard work. Everyone in law school goes to class, most people do the reading, and everyone studies hard for finals, but not everyone has an inner burning desire to accomplish their goals no matter. It sounds incredibly cheesy--almost laugh out loud so-- but I know for a fact that there are many other students at my school who worked extremely hard during 1L year but fell short because they did not have an inner passion pushing them to make the sacrifices necessary to accomplish their goals. I was scared sh*tless that I wouldn't land a big law job, so I hustled ass off 1L year to get passable grades, secured a 1L internship in DC, and used that to network my ass off during the summer, which ultimately helped me get my foot in the door with a few extra callbacks. Look, maybe I got really lucky (I'm sure some other posters in here will say so), and I had LR and my internship going for me, but my point is that the rest of the advice in this thread is not necessarily gospel. It simply is not true that big law jobs are completely unattainable unless you go to a T-14 or are in the top 5%-10% of your class, and that should at least enter your calculus a little bit when making your decision.

With that being said, my point is in no ways intended to have you disregard the rest of the advice in this thread. If you play the numbers game, you can objectively see that most graduates of these schools do not end up in DC big law, or big law in general. Instead, I wanted to share my experiences to hopefully give you a more "realistic" story on what is necessary to secure a big law job in DC from a similar school. Don't disregard everyone else, but hopefully this can give you a different perspective than TLS's general prevailing sentiment of "retake for T-14 or bust." As for your original question, I would probably lean towards W&L because of the scholarship money, with a view to securing a 1L internship in DC/Nova if you do attend. Feel free to PM me if you would like to discuss anything further.

First, congrats on your success! You've clearly done very well, and should justifiably be proud of your accomplishments: Top quarter, Law Review, a solid 1L internship, and now, at least two 2L SA offers.

Second, I'd like to respectfully push back on your - and many other posters' - misperception of TLS' mantra being "T14 or bust." I don't think TLS has ever told people "T14 or bust" as a general rule. What happens in many cases is that we look at someone's GPA and LSAT, and realize that, with a bit of extra effort - a few extra points on the LSAT - that person could get into a T14. Someone could easily be locked out of the T14 and struggle to land $$$ in the T20 with a 166, but land acceptances and substantial scholarships in the T14 with a 170. In those cases, taking into account the person's stated goals and desires, we often advise that retaking and attending a T14 is the best thing to do. But again, that isn't the same as saying that no school outside the T14 is worth attending. I don't think that's ever been the prevailing view around here - I'd go so far as to say that "T14 or bust" is a pretty fringe view.

Third, I think we've always acknowledged that there are exceptions to the rule. It's possible to land BigLaw from a T2 - even a T3. I have a good friend who graduated from a T3 and recently made partner at a V100. It's just very unlikely. Our advice has always been that, where possible, applicants should try to position themselves to be the rule - instead of putting themselves in a situation where they'll have to fight for their lives to be the exception to the rule. For someone wanting BigLaw, it makes far more sense to put in some extra work on the LSAT to get into, say, Vandy, instead of going to Arizona State.

What's better than any anecdotal advice is, I think, raw numerical data, and that's what I always try to base my advice off of. GWU has a BigLaw placement rate of 32%. W&L has a BigLaw placement rate of 24%. So in that connection, it does look like it'd make sense to take W&L with $$$ over GWU at sticker. It's an 8% difference in placement. BUT the reason many posters ITT are reluctant to plump for either school - understandably - is because even GWU's 32% placement rate is not that great. Think about it. You'd be spending well into the six figures for a less than one in three chance at landing BigLaw anywhere (including non-D.C.). Would you invest that much money in a lotto ticket with those odds?

You say that hustling worked for you. You beat the odds. That's great! But hustling isn't going to work for everyone at a school that places so few of its students (percentage-wise) into BigLaw. What if OP hustles, but doesn't make the right connections over their 1L summer? What if they fail to write on to Law Review? What if, instead of outperforming 75% of their classmates on their final exams, they "only" outperform 60% of their classmates? Is your contention that all of your non-Law Review classmates failed to hustle? That 75% of your classmates didn't have a burning desire to secure a good job out of law school?



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