Has it come to this?

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BarbellDreams
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Has it come to this?

Postby BarbellDreams » Tue Jan 26, 2010 4:03 pm

After all the TLS pessimism about the economy, people are starting to look at law schools as a t-14 or bust more so than ever before. My question is this: Lets say you go to a t2 school with a moderately big name within the area, (Lets say Marquette in WI, Miami in Southern Florida, Mizzou in MO, Penn State in PA, etc.), can you kiss a decent paycheck goodbye and assume you'll be making 45K (aka public sector money)? This seems to be more and more the tone I am hearing around TLS this year and am wondering how true this is.

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jonas586
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Re: Has it come to this?

Postby jonas586 » Tue Jan 26, 2010 4:12 pm

Where is the horse and the rider? Where is the horn that is blowing? They have past like rain on the mountains--like wind in the meadow. The days have come down in the west, behind the hills, into shadow. How did it come to this?

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Drew2010
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Re: Has it come to this?

Postby Drew2010 » Tue Jan 26, 2010 4:20 pm

I wrote a detailed response regarding small markets in Florida, where they hire from, and what they pay. I then took a second look at your question, shook my head, deleted my thoughtful response, and wrote this. This is what your question is really worth.

inordertologin
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Re: Has it come to this?

Postby inordertologin » Tue Jan 26, 2010 6:16 pm

BarbellDreams wrote:After all the TLS pessimism about the economy, people are starting to look at law schools as a t-14 or bust more so than ever before. My question is this: Lets say you go to a t2 school with a moderately big name within the area, (Lets say Marquette in WI, Miami in Southern Florida, Mizzou in MO, Penn State in PA, etc.), can you kiss a decent paycheck goodbye and assume you'll be making 45K (aka public sector money)? This seems to be more and more the tone I am hearing around TLS this year and am wondering how true this is.


There is always room for good lawyers, it does not matter what school you went to 5 years out so long as you know what you are doing and know how to talk to people.

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algren
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Re: Has it come to this?

Postby algren » Tue Jan 26, 2010 6:18 pm

Mark my words. Mtal will visit this thread...

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thesealocust
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Re: Has it come to this?

Postby thesealocust » Tue Jan 26, 2010 6:59 pm

edit: never mind
Last edited by thesealocust on Wed Jun 30, 2010 11:14 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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rayiner
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Re: Has it come to this?

Postby rayiner » Tue Jan 26, 2010 7:12 pm

thesealocust wrote:Roughly 10% of jobs for fresh JDs pay 6 figures in a good year. Most of the jobs that don't pay 6 figures are much closer to the 40-50K end of the spectrum. I'd hardly call it 'public sector' money, tons of private sector jobs are in that range too.

Reality: Not as fun as the alternative, but substantially more real.


Also: 30% of fresh JD's never get a legal job, again in a good year.

runn3rs
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Re: Has it come to this?

Postby runn3rs » Tue Jan 26, 2010 9:03 pm

You can get a 160K job from almost any school. The same high-paying jobs are available to the top 80% of Yale grads, top 40% of UVA grads, top 20% of BC grads, top 5% of Tulane grads, and Top 1% of Hofstra grads. Some jobs like SCOTUS clerkship, some DOJ stuff, and other select jobs will be nearly impossible for even the top grad from some schools but if you only want a high-paying corporate job you can get it from almost any school. You take a gamble when you go to a lower-ranked school because you have to be in a higher percentage of your class.

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Grizz
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Re: Has it come to this?

Postby Grizz » Tue Jan 26, 2010 9:30 pm

jonas586 wrote:Where is the horse and the rider? Where is the horn that is blowing? They have past like rain on the mountains--like wind in the meadow. The days have come down in the west, behind the hills, into shadow. How did it come to this?


Theoden of Rohan. Good call.

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algren
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Re: Has it come to this?

Postby algren » Tue Jan 26, 2010 11:31 pm

thesealocust wrote:Roughly 10% of jobs for fresh JDs pay 6 figures in a good year. Most of the jobs that don't pay 6 figures are much closer to the 40-50K end of the spectrum. I'd hardly call it 'public sector' money, tons of private sector jobs are in that range too.

Reality: Not as fun as the alternative, but substantially more real.


This makes me wonder what the median private sector salary is for everyone graduating from a Tier one school in their first year out..... I'm not disputing you as I have no evidence, but if you would have asked me what the average is I would have guessed right at 6 figures (100,000.00) for the private sector. Maybe 95,000.00.

rayiner wrote: Also: 30% of fresh JD's never get a legal job, again in a good year.


For many the goal is not a "legal" job (I'm assuming you mean employment as a practicing lawyer). Once again, I'm not disputing so much as pointing out this statistic isn't necessarily as scary as it seems since a certain percentage of folks who get a JD look for jobs outside of practice.

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thesealocust
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Re: Has it come to this?

Postby thesealocust » Tue Jan 26, 2010 11:41 pm

edit: never mind
Last edited by thesealocust on Wed Jun 30, 2010 11:12 pm, edited 1 time in total.

Generic20101L
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Re: Has it come to this?

Postby Generic20101L » Wed Jan 27, 2010 2:56 am

thesealocust wrote:
algren wrote:For many the goal is not a "legal" job (I'm assuming you mean employment as a practicing lawyer). Once again, I'm not disputing so much as pointing out this statistic isn't necessarily as scary as it seems since a certain percentage of folks who get a JD look for jobs outside of practice.


This is a horrible, horrible myth. A JD WILL NOT open many non-legal doors, and may in fact shut some. If you get the job with a JD, and it's not a lawyer job, odds are high you could have gotten it without tossing $$$ and years at the JD. While a percentage go on to not practice law, VERY few do so intentionally & happily.


Yeah, sure. The (insert favorite sports team) would have hired me straight out of college with an International Relations degree to help run their front office. Not a chance. JD will open doors, you're crazy if you don't think so. Even if just for the contacts and new opportunities it presents. You have so many options if you can show you are a hard worker.

Xiaolong
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Re: Has it come to this?

Postby Xiaolong » Wed Jan 27, 2010 3:16 am

thesealocust wrote:
algren wrote:For many the goal is not a "legal" job (I'm assuming you mean employment as a practicing lawyer). Once again, I'm not disputing so much as pointing out this statistic isn't necessarily as scary as it seems since a certain percentage of folks who get a JD look for jobs outside of practice.


This is a horrible, horrible myth. A JD WILL NOT open many non-legal doors, and may in fact shut some. If you get the job with a JD, and it's not a lawyer job, odds are high you could have gotten it without tossing $$$ and years at the JD. While a percentage go on to not practice law, VERY few do so intentionally & happily.


Hey, can I send you my address and you send me the thousands of pages of research and survey data on which you based this?

Excuse me, what? Oh, okay, I see you based this on thousands of pages of TLS-talk-out-of-your-butt-undergrad-heresay-data...

Renzo
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Re: Has it come to this?

Postby Renzo » Wed Jan 27, 2010 3:22 am

Xiaolong wrote:
thesealocust wrote:
algren wrote:For many the goal is not a "legal" job (I'm assuming you mean employment as a practicing lawyer). Once again, I'm not disputing so much as pointing out this statistic isn't necessarily as scary as it seems since a certain percentage of folks who get a JD look for jobs outside of practice.


This is a horrible, horrible myth. A JD WILL NOT open many non-legal doors, and may in fact shut some. If you get the job with a JD, and it's not a lawyer job, odds are high you could have gotten it without tossing $$$ and years at the JD. While a percentage go on to not practice law, VERY few do so intentionally & happily.


Hey, can I send you my address and you send me the thousands of pages of research and survey data on which you based this?

Excuse me, what? Oh, okay, I see you based this on thousands of pages of TLS-talk-out-of-your-butt-undergrad-heresay-data...

Here's my data: I personally worked with 6 JD's who left my former trade, went to law school, and came back to the trade because they couldn't find legal jobs. Their JD's did not "open doors," and was far less useful than a masters in any related discipline would have been. Now, what non-legal doors has your JD opened for you?

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Richie Tenenbaum
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Re: Has it come to this?

Postby Richie Tenenbaum » Wed Jan 27, 2010 3:24 am

Xiaolong wrote:
thesealocust wrote:
algren wrote:For many the goal is not a "legal" job (I'm assuming you mean employment as a practicing lawyer). Once again, I'm not disputing so much as pointing out this statistic isn't necessarily as scary as it seems since a certain percentage of folks who get a JD look for jobs outside of practice.


This is a horrible, horrible myth. A JD WILL NOT open many non-legal doors, and may in fact shut some. If you get the job with a JD, and it's not a lawyer job, odds are high you could have gotten it without tossing $$$ and years at the JD. While a percentage go on to not practice law, VERY few do so intentionally & happily.


Hey, can I send you my address and you send me the thousands of pages of research and survey data on which you based this?

Excuse me, what? Oh, okay, I see you based this on thousands of pages of TLS-talk-out-of-your-butt-undergrad-heresay-data...


Law school is essentially a trade school. Would you go to med school without a serious interest in becoming a doctor? No? Then why on earth would you do the same for law school?

And actually it doesn't take too much snooping around to hear/see this over and over again regarding the potential disadvantage of a JD: companies knowing you have a JD can get you classified as a flight risk for leaving them for a higher paying legal job if one comes around.

Xiaolong
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Re: Has it come to this?

Postby Xiaolong » Wed Jan 27, 2010 3:28 am

Renzo wrote:
Xiaolong wrote:
thesealocust wrote:
algren wrote:For many the goal is not a "legal" job (I'm assuming you mean employment as a practicing lawyer). Once again, I'm not disputing so much as pointing out this statistic isn't necessarily as scary as it seems since a certain percentage of folks who get a JD look for jobs outside of practice.


This is a horrible, horrible myth. A JD WILL NOT open many non-legal doors, and may in fact shut some. If you get the job with a JD, and it's not a lawyer job, odds are high you could have gotten it without tossing $$$ and years at the JD. While a percentage go on to not practice law, VERY few do so intentionally & happily.


Hey, can I send you my address and you send me the thousands of pages of research and survey data on which you based this?

Excuse me, what? Oh, okay, I see you based this on thousands of pages of TLS-talk-out-of-your-butt-undergrad-heresay-data...

Here's my data: I personally worked with 6 JD's who left my former trade, went to law school, and came back to the trade because they couldn't find legal jobs. Their JD's did not "open doors," and was far less useful than a masters in any related discipline would have been. Now, what non-legal doors has your JD opened for you?


School? Class rank? Which market were they looking in? What kind of jobs were they trying to get?

Renzo
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Re: Has it come to this?

Postby Renzo » Wed Jan 27, 2010 3:36 am

Xiaolong wrote:School? Class rank? Which market were they looking in? What kind of jobs were they trying to get?

Regional market with two schools (one T1, one T2), some went to each. Can't speak to class rank, and any legal job. The only success stories were one person who had an unrelated MA and went to an academic (non-profesorrial) research job and one guy who got a job as a non-tenure track lecturer at a community college after working for 2 years as basically a paralegal at a slip-and-fall firm. Even those who returned to the field I was working in weren't favored for promotion because of their degrees.

Now again, what doors has your JD opened for you? If you're going to call people out for lack of evidence, it would be nice if you had some to support your position.

Xiaolong
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Re: Has it come to this?

Postby Xiaolong » Wed Jan 27, 2010 7:46 am

Renzo wrote:
Xiaolong wrote:School? Class rank? Which market were they looking in? What kind of jobs were they trying to get?

Regional market with two schools (one T1, one T2), some went to each. Can't speak to class rank, and any legal job. The only success stories were one person who had an unrelated MA and went to an academic (non-profesorrial) research job and one guy who got a job as a non-tenure track lecturer at a community college after working for 2 years as basically a paralegal at a slip-and-fall firm. Even those who returned to the field I was working in weren't favored for promotion because of their degrees.

Now again, what doors has your JD opened for you? If you're going to call people out for lack of evidence, it would be nice if you had some to support your position.


Oki doki, I guess the fact that these people did not share their class rank with you suggests that they probably didn't do too well.
No JD here yet, so I can't comment. For the record, I wasn't claiming that the person who made that statement was 100% off, just saying that someone who comes of as so knowledgable that they CAPITALIZE WORDS should have something to back it up. However I assume that poster has little hard evidence, and even if, it probably won't be more than anecdotal evidence like your story of the six JDs.

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algren
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Re: Has it come to this?

Postby algren » Wed Jan 27, 2010 1:05 pm

I'm not disagreeing that in entering law school, the primary goal of most is to be a practicing attorney.... but its simply not true for everyone. Personally, I want to be a practicing attorney and am therefore going to law school. I agree that this seems like a no brainer.

However, a friend of mine has a JD and openly sought to work in related field (Title Insurance) right out of school. He got the job of managing a division of a major commercial title insurer without the work experience someone without a JD would need, and he's survived in that position even through the recent economoic peril in the real estate market.

I don't think this is common. I doubt it's even the best approach to getting this type of job. However, he did it, and I'm sure others have. So it does skew the intially quoted statistic in some way.

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jcl2
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Re: Has it come to this?

Postby jcl2 » Wed Jan 27, 2010 1:41 pm

thesealocust wrote:Roughly 10% of jobs for fresh JDs pay 6 figures in a good year. Most of the jobs that don't pay 6 figures are much closer to the 40-50K end of the spectrum. I'd hardly call it 'public sector' money, tons of private sector jobs are in that range too.

Reality: Not as fun as the alternative, but substantially more real.


That is an exaggeration, there is certainly a bimodal curve, but median starting salary for the class of 2008 was $72,000 and though it is difficult to read the graph with any precision, it looks like roughly 35-40% of jobs for first year graduates were 6 figures, over 20% where at $160,000.

Here is the source: http://www.nalp.org/salarydistrib

There also appear to be many more jobs in the 50-65k range than the 40-50k range, and there is a significant difference between those ranges IMO. For example 45k would be about the minimum needed to survive and make minimum loan payments in most major cities, where as at 55k you could have some semblance of a life.

I'm not trying to paint a rosy picture of job prospects in the legal field, there is certainly an over supply of new lawyers every year, many graduates are unable to find legal work, and graduates of T2 and lower schools have almost no chance at 6 figure jobs straight out of school, I'm just trying to point out that the idea that 90% of people who go to law school are doomed to eternal poverty is a little overly pessimistic.

Renzo
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Re: Has it come to this?

Postby Renzo » Wed Jan 27, 2010 1:46 pm

jcl2 wrote:That is an exaggeration, there is certainly a bimodal curve, but median starting salary for the class of 2008 was $72,000 and though it is difficult to read the graph with any precision, it looks like roughly 35-40% of jobs for first year graduates were 6 figures, over 20% where at $160,000.

Here is the source: http://www.nalp.org/salarydistrib


From your source:
The new reality is that very few law school graduates actually make either the median or mean starting salaries, and so it is neither helpful nor accurate to describe starting lawyer salaries using those modalities... It is important for anyone considering a legal education to understand that half of all starting lawyer salaries are less than $72,000 and in fact 42% of them are between only $40,000 and $65,000.

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chadwick218
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Re: Has it come to this?

Postby chadwick218 » Wed Jan 27, 2010 2:02 pm

For me, it was pretty much T-14 or bust. Had I not gotten into one of the schools of my choice, I was going to sit out a year and continue working.

Also, I grew up in Missouri and Mizzou's placement in both KC and STL in recent years is really pretty awful. In fact, St. Louis University outplaces them in many of the large St. Louis law firms.

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jcl2
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Re: Has it come to this?

Postby jcl2 » Wed Jan 27, 2010 2:04 pm

Renzo wrote:
jcl2 wrote:That is an exaggeration, there is certainly a bimodal curve, but median starting salary for the class of 2008 was $72,000 and though it is difficult to read the graph with any precision, it looks like roughly 35-40% of jobs for first year graduates were 6 figures, over 20% where at $160,000.

Here is the source: http://www.nalp.org/salarydistrib


From your source:
The new reality is that very few law school graduates actually make either the median or mean starting salaries, and so it is neither helpful nor accurate to describe starting lawyer salaries using those modalities... It is important for anyone considering a legal education to understand that half of all starting lawyer salaries are less than $72,000 and in fact 42% of them are between only $40,000 and $65,000.


I wasn't disputing that. Yes not many earn salaries right around the mean or median, but half earn salaries of more than 72k, which doesn't seem too terrible. Again, I'm not saying things are great out there, especially ITE, but the idea that most first year lawyers earn only 40-50k is inaccurate.

chitown825
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Re: Has it come to this?

Postby chitown825 » Wed Jan 27, 2010 2:08 pm

I go to Indiana - Indianapolis (T2) which has a lock on this city. Things are fine here.

Renzo
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Re: Has it come to this?

Postby Renzo » Wed Jan 27, 2010 2:27 pm

jcl2 wrote:
Renzo wrote:
jcl2 wrote:That is an exaggeration, there is certainly a bimodal curve, but median starting salary for the class of 2008 was $72,000 and though it is difficult to read the graph with any precision, it looks like roughly 35-40% of jobs for first year graduates were 6 figures, over 20% where at $160,000.

Here is the source: http://www.nalp.org/salarydistrib


From your source:
The new reality is that very few law school graduates actually make either the median or mean starting salaries, and so it is neither helpful nor accurate to describe starting lawyer salaries using those modalities... It is important for anyone considering a legal education to understand that half of all starting lawyer salaries are less than $72,000 and in fact 42% of them are between only $40,000 and $65,000.


I wasn't disputing that. Yes not many earn salaries right around the mean or median, but half earn salaries of more than 72k, which doesn't seem too terrible. Again, I'm not saying things are great out there, especially ITE, but the idea that most first year lawyers earn only 40-50k is inaccurate.

I still think that you are unreasonably reassured by these statistics. Essentially that report says, "T14 or bust" in that it says 26% of new lawyers are making exactly 160k as biglaw 1st years, while almost half are making less than $65k, and the amount of jobs anywhere in between is small and shrinking. This is also a survey of 1st year lawyer salaries, so it doesn't count those who can't find legal work, or find they can make more money doing non-legal work.




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