Job placement for median at T14 v. top % at lower T1

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nyc1213
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Job placement for median at T14 v. top % at lower T1

Postby nyc1213 » Thu Apr 08, 2010 2:15 pm

I'm currently deciding between a T14 and a slightly lower-ranked Tier 1 school with more money, which wouldn't require me to move. (I'm keeping things vague because I don't want this to turn into a strict School X v. School Y debate)
I'm pretty set on going to the T14, and I'm pretty sure it's mainly just because it's a T14. I don't like it all that much more - I visited both and liked both equally. So, I'm partially being a rankings whore and partially legitimately concerned about job prospects. It's obvious to me, and I think to most people here, that someone at a T14 has better prospects than someone in the T50.
However, someone has just tried to tell me that's not necessarily true. I work at a law firm right now and a coworker has just tried to assert that someone in the top 1-2% at a lower school has a better chance than basically anyone below the top 1-2% at a T14. I tend to take most of what she says with a big fat grain of salt, but she's been in this industry for a hundred years and may not actually be pulling this one out of her butt. The exact example she used was (and neither of these are the schools I'm looking at) "When Cravath is hiring, they'll take someone in the top 1% at Brooklyn Law over someone in the top 30% at UVA."

True or False?

dakatz
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Re: Job placement for median at T14 v. top % at lower T1

Postby dakatz » Thu Apr 08, 2010 2:18 pm

Probably true. Finishing top 1% is an impressive accomplishment no matter where you go, and finishing median at a top school is good, but nothing stupendous. But does it really matter? You can't possibly expect to be in the top 1 or 2% of your class if you go to a lower ranked school. So it should be a moot point.

rando
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Re: Job placement for median at T14 v. top % at lower T1

Postby rando » Thu Apr 08, 2010 2:22 pm

dakatz wrote:Probably true. Finishing top 1% is an impressive accomplishment no matter where you go, and finishing median at a top school is good, but nothing stupendous. But does it really matter? You can't possibly expect to be in the top 1 or 2% of your class if you go to a lower ranked school. So it should be a moot point.


Probably true. And yes, probably moot point. Still interesting though. Even top 1-2% at T2s have very good job prospects. It would be interesting to graph where ranking to job prospects are located on a school by school basis.

mwazaumoja
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Re: Job placement for median at T14 v. top % at lower T1

Postby mwazaumoja » Thu Apr 08, 2010 2:43 pm

My Con Law professor summed it up the best when during orientation he said "That guy who is just cracking the binding of his casebook the day of the exam, and ultimately gets the A+.... You are not that person."

I'd take the T14, better opportunities for everything, not the pressure to 'do well or else!' Because let me tell you, most law students live in the land called 'or else.'

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TTT-LS
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Re: Job placement for median at T14 v. top % at lower T1

Postby TTT-LS » Thu Apr 08, 2010 5:04 pm

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Last edited by TTT-LS on Sun Jul 11, 2010 4:36 pm, edited 1 time in total.

nyc1213
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Re: Job placement for median at T14 v. top % at lower T1

Postby nyc1213 » Thu Apr 08, 2010 5:52 pm

Yeah I know it's kind of a moot point. You can never guarantee that you'll be in that top percentage, be it 1% or 10% or whatever. I personally think the T14 is a better bet and that's probably going to be my choice, I just hadn't really heard her point of view before. I think she was also making the point that, if you can get into a T14, you can probably pull some top grades at a lower-ranked school (making the assumption that it would be an easier group to compete with). But as TTT-LS said, grading is random and those assumptions are dangerous.
Just to stir the pot a little, the T50 is Fordham, and I'm looking at BigLaw in NY. I know that at my firm, you can't walk down the hall without tripping over a Fordham grad, and when I visited the T14, they said my firm (in the V20) didn't hire anyone from there this year. That could also be self-selection, obviously.
So if a school is more regional like that, how much do you think it affects the "safe" percentage to be in (not just talking about Fordham and NY)? Is it too strong to say that it evens the playing field? Where, like at a T14, above median gives you a decent shot in the market? Or is it still too risky, and take the T14 if you can?

PoliticalJunkie
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Re: Job placement for median at T14 v. top % at lower T1

Postby PoliticalJunkie » Thu Apr 08, 2010 5:58 pm

dakatz wrote:Probably true. Finishing top 1% is an impressive accomplishment no matter where you go, and finishing median at a top school is good, but nothing stupendous. But does it really matter? You can't possibly expect to be in the top 1 or 2% of your class if you go to a lower ranked school. So it should be a moot point.


True that you can't expect to be in the top 1-2%, but your chances are increased substantially.

If you take the LSAT/GPA combo for what it is - an accurate predictor of your success in law school and compare it to your classmates, you could make the argument that if you are above the 75% on LSAT and GPA for the incoming class, your chances are significantly higher to outsmart and outperform others in your class. On the other hand if you're at the median at the t14 school you'd have to work your ass of as you would, if you agree the predictors, already be at a disadvantage.

Not sure if any data supports this, but I would tend to believe that your chances at outperforming your classmates is higher at the lower Tier 1 than the T14.

rando
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Re: Job placement for median at T14 v. top % at lower T1

Postby rando » Thu Apr 08, 2010 6:10 pm

nyc1213 wrote:Yeah I know it's kind of a moot point. You can never guarantee that you'll be in that top percentage, be it 1% or 10% or whatever. I personally think the T14 is a better bet and that's probably going to be my choice, I just hadn't really heard her point of view before. I think she was also making the point that, if you can get into a T14, you can probably pull some top grades at a lower-ranked school (making the assumption that it would be an easier group to compete with). But as TTT-LS said, grading is random and those assumptions are dangerous.
Just to stir the pot a little, the T50 is Fordham, and I'm looking at BigLaw in NY. I know that at my firm, you can't walk down the hall without tripping over a Fordham grad, and when I visited the T14, they said my firm (in the V20) didn't hire anyone from there this year. That could also be self-selection, obviously.
So if a school is more regional like that, how much do you think it affects the "safe" percentage to be in (not just talking about Fordham and NY)? Is it too strong to say that it evens the playing field? Where, like at a T14, above median gives you a decent shot in the market? Or is it still too risky, and take the T14 if you can?


First, TTT-LS did not say grading is random. He said, given the slight degree of randomness you can't bank on 1-2%. But as political junkie mentioned, there is a good argument that you are more likely to do much better at the lower ranked school.

Leading to your second point. The regional school might equalize your T14 if you are looking only at that regional market. For instance, going to Georgetown vs. Fordham to get into your NYC firm. Fordham will have more alumni there, more of an OCI presence etc. doing at least something to equalize the difference in school rankings.
But overall, GULC will give you better job prospects. GULC is probably a bad example b/c i'm sure i'm about to get owned by T13 advocates.

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j.wellington
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Re: Job placement for median at T14 v. top % at lower T1

Postby j.wellington » Thu Apr 08, 2010 6:23 pm

dakatz wrote:Probably true. Finishing top 1% is an impressive accomplishment no matter where you go, and finishing median at a top school is good, but nothing stupendous. But does it really matter? You can't possibly expect to be in the top 1 or 2% of your class if you go to a lower ranked school. So it should be a moot point.


What does this mean exactly?

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TTT-LS
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Re: Job placement for median at T14 v. top % at lower T1

Postby TTT-LS » Thu Apr 08, 2010 7:35 pm

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Last edited by TTT-LS on Sun Jul 11, 2010 4:35 pm, edited 3 times in total.

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vanwinkle
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Re: Job placement for median at T14 v. top % at lower T1

Postby vanwinkle » Thu Apr 08, 2010 7:39 pm

TTT-LS wrote:No x 1000.

As a 3L, I can tell you countless anecdotes about people I know who came in with high LSAT/uGPA numbers and did poorly as law students. Or I can tell you anecdotally about myself, someone who came in with a uGPA below my school's 25th % and an LSAT just above the median. I finished 1L year in the top 1% or so and haven't looked back since. Those anecdotes notwithstanding, the data is what really matters, and the data says that LSAT/GPA combo only has something like an 0.4 correlation with law school performance. That LSAT/uGPA is the best predictor of LS success by no means indicates that it is a good predictor.

So, in summary, one cannot fairly rely on above median, or even above 75th % numbers to predict LS success. HTH.

This. All of this. GPA x LSAT are useful predictors of success in the aggregate but are far less so individually. You cannot assume that GPA/LSAT translate into a high degree of success. Not only that, but those who are successful at a lower-ranked school and transfer up are typically successful at their higher-ranked school despite being around higher-GPA/LSAT students.

The only thing you know as a 0L going into any law school is that you have a 99% chance of not being in the top 1%. That's it.

rando
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Re: Job placement for median at T14 v. top % at lower T1

Postby rando » Thu Apr 08, 2010 7:41 pm

vanwinkle wrote:
TTT-LS wrote:No x 1000.

As a 3L, I can tell you countless anecdotes about people I know who came in with high LSAT/uGPA numbers and did poorly as law students. Or I can tell you anecdotally about myself, someone who came in with a uGPA below my school's 25th % and an LSAT just above the median. I finished 1L year in the top 1% or so and haven't looked back since. Those anecdotes notwithstanding, the data is what really matters, and the data says that LSAT/GPA combo only has something like an 0.4 correlation with law school performance. That LSAT/uGPA is the best predictor of LS success by no means indicates that it is a good predictor.

So, in summary, one cannot fairly rely on above median, or even above 75th % numbers to predict LS success. HTH.

This. All of this. GPA x LSAT are useful predictors of success in the aggregate but are far less so individually. You cannot assume that GPA/LSAT translate into a high degree of success. Not only that, but those who are successful at a lower-ranked school and transfer up are typically successful at their higher-ranked school despite being around higher-GPA/LSAT students.

The only thing you know as a 0L going into any law school is that you have a 99% chance of not being in the top 1%. That's it.


These.

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ConMan345
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Re: Job placement for median at T14 v. top % at lower T1

Postby ConMan345 » Thu Apr 08, 2010 7:44 pm

vanwinkle wrote:
The only thing you know as a 0L going into any law school is that you have a 99% chance of not being in the top 1%. That's it.


I get your point, but I don't think it's quite like this :P

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TTT-LS
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Re: Job placement for median at T14 v. top % at lower T1

Postby TTT-LS » Thu Apr 08, 2010 7:50 pm

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Last edited by TTT-LS on Sun Jul 11, 2010 4:35 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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sundevil77
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Re: Job placement for median at T14 v. top % at lower T1

Postby sundevil77 » Thu Apr 08, 2010 7:59 pm

After talking with career placement people at a couple of T40 schools and talking with people working at some large Phoenix firms, all of them have invariably said that the top 10% at any T1 school is pretty much the same. Employers tend to look at them similarly, although a bump is given for the prestige factor. The only real difference between the T14 and the rest of the T50 is the depth of the class. If you can do top 10% at a T50ish school, you'll be doing alright. Of course, it's a calculated risk you'd be taking and you'll probably have to work harder to finish top 10% at a T50, then median at T14.

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Re: Job placement for median at T14 v. top % at lower T1

Postby 270910 » Thu Apr 08, 2010 8:00 pm

vanwinkle wrote:
TTT-LS wrote:No x 1000.

As a 3L, I can tell you countless anecdotes about people I know who came in with high LSAT/uGPA numbers and did poorly as law students. Or I can tell you anecdotally about myself, someone who came in with a uGPA below my school's 25th % and an LSAT just above the median. I finished 1L year in the top 1% or so and haven't looked back since. Those anecdotes notwithstanding, the data is what really matters, and the data says that LSAT/GPA combo only has something like an 0.4 correlation with law school performance. That LSAT/uGPA is the best predictor of LS success by no means indicates that it is a good predictor.

So, in summary, one cannot fairly rely on above median, or even above 75th % numbers to predict LS success. HTH.

This. All of this. GPA x LSAT are useful predictors of success in the aggregate but are far less so individually. You cannot assume that GPA/LSAT translate into a high degree of success. Not only that, but those who are successful at a lower-ranked school and transfer up are typically successful at their higher-ranked school despite being around higher-GPA/LSAT students.

The only thing you know as a 0L going into any law school is that you have a 99% chance of not being in the top 1%. That's it.


+1,000,000

The reason TLS exists and gives advice the way it does is because we give advice to ALL law students. If you knew you'd be in the top 5%, it would be much easier to swallow a rankings drop + scholarship in most cases.

But nobody can.

Even those with enormous potential can make slight miscalculations during first semester or first year that destroy any chance at being at the top of the class long term.

I think that going to a school 'worse' than your numbers predicts might insulate you from the BOTTOM of the class to some degree, but it won't help your quest for the top. You don't know what competition means until you pit a few hundred over-eager type A law students against one another as the economy craters under their feet.

sundevil77 wrote:After talking with career placement people at a couple of T40 schools and talking with people working at some large Phoenix firms, all of them have invariably said that the top 10% at any T1 school is pretty much the same. Employers tend to look at them similarly, although a bump is given for the prestige factor. The only real difference between the T14 and the rest of the T50 is the depth of the class. If you can do top 10% at a T50ish school, you'll be doing alright. Of course, it's a calculated risk you'd be taking and you'll probably have to work harder to finish top 10% at a T50, then median at T14.


Very accurate.

There are some differences though. Clerkships are a great example, you really need both pedigree and amazing performance to have a realistic shot at getting a court of appeals clerkship, for example. Same same for academia, which just so happens to be a job that tends to require a solid clerkship placement.

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sundevil77
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Re: Job placement for median at T14 v. top % at lower T1

Postby sundevil77 » Thu Apr 08, 2010 8:04 pm

disco_barred wrote:
vanwinkle wrote:
TTT-LS wrote:No x 1000.

As a 3L, I can tell you countless anecdotes about people I know who came in with high LSAT/uGPA numbers and did poorly as law students. Or I can tell you anecdotally about myself, someone who came in with a uGPA below my school's 25th % and an LSAT just above the median. I finished 1L year in the top 1% or so and haven't looked back since. Those anecdotes notwithstanding, the data is what really matters, and the data says that LSAT/GPA combo only has something like an 0.4 correlation with law school performance. That LSAT/uGPA is the best predictor of LS success by no means indicates that it is a good predictor.

So, in summary, one cannot fairly rely on above median, or even above 75th % numbers to predict LS success. HTH.

This. All of this. GPA x LSAT are useful predictors of success in the aggregate but are far less so individually. You cannot assume that GPA/LSAT translate into a high degree of success. Not only that, but those who are successful at a lower-ranked school and transfer up are typically successful at their higher-ranked school despite being around higher-GPA/LSAT students.

The only thing you know as a 0L going into any law school is that you have a 99% chance of not being in the top 1%. That's it.


+1,000,000

The reason TLS exists and gives advice the way it does is because we give advice to ALL law students. If you knew you'd be in the top 5%, it would be much easier to swallow a rankings drop + scholarship in most cases.

But nobody can.

Even those with enormous potential can make slight miscalculations during first semester or first year that destroy any chance at being at the top of the class long term.

I think that going to a school 'worse' than your numbers predicts might insulate you from the BOTTOM of the class to some degree, but it won't help your quest for the top. You don't know what competition means until you pit a few hundred over-eager type A law students against one another as the economy craters under their feet.

sundevil77 wrote:After talking with career placement people at a couple of T40 schools and talking with people working at some large Phoenix firms, all of them have invariably said that the top 10% at any T1 school is pretty much the same. Employers tend to look at them similarly, although a bump is given for the prestige factor. The only real difference between the T14 and the rest of the T50 is the depth of the class. If you can do top 10% at a T50ish school, you'll be doing alright. Of course, it's a calculated risk you'd be taking and you'll probably have to work harder to finish top 10% at a T50, then median at T14.


Very accurate.

There are some differences though. Clerkships are a great example, you really need both pedigree and amazing performance to have a realistic shot at getting a court of appeals clerkship, for example. Same same for academia, which just so happens to be a job that tends to require a solid clerkship placement.


Right, academia would be the biggest exception. Clerkships are possible from other T1s, but the highly competitive positions like SCOTUS and federal court positions are probably out of the question.

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Re: Job placement for median at T14 v. top % at lower T1

Postby 270910 » Thu Apr 08, 2010 8:08 pm

sundevil77 wrote:Right, academia would be the biggest exception. Clerkships are possible from other T1s, but the highly competitive positions like SCOTUS and federal court positions are probably out of the question.


Just to be precise: SCOTUS is basically impossible for everyone, even Yale grads. You need to be the top of the top of the top to be in contention there.

Federal district court and court of appeals positions are 'easier' but still extremely hard and pedigree focused. 'Good' CoA judges tend to hire top 5% students at top law schools (deeper into the class the better the school, obviously) and district court judges tend to consider people in roughly the top quarter.

Magistrate judges and state judges are substantially easier to land, and while they might be useful experiences for the career of an attorney, they don't carry the same weight or exist options that federal clerkships do.

Don't mean to derail the thread much, but since clerkships are the prime (and one of the only) examples of a job where pedigree matters enough that just doing great at a lower ranked school can't always overcome the rankings deficit, I felt it was worth a little precision.

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sundevil77
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Re: Job placement for median at T14 v. top % at lower T1

Postby sundevil77 » Thu Apr 08, 2010 8:17 pm

disco_barred wrote:
sundevil77 wrote:Right, academia would be the biggest exception. Clerkships are possible from other T1s, but the highly competitive positions like SCOTUS and federal court positions are probably out of the question.


Just to be precise: SCOTUS is basically impossible for everyone, even Yale grads. You need to be the top of the top of the top to be in contention there.

Federal district court and court of appeals positions are 'easier' but still extremely hard and pedigree focused. 'Good' CoA judges tend to hire top 5% students at top law schools (deeper into the class the better the school, obviously) and district court judges tend to consider people in roughly the top quarter.

Magistrate judges and state judges are substantially easier to land, and while they might be useful experiences for the career of an attorney, they don't carry the same weight or exist options that federal clerkships do.

Don't mean to derail the thread much, but since clerkships are the prime (and one of the only) examples of a job where pedigree matters enough that just doing great at a lower ranked school can't always overcome the rankings deficit, I felt it was worth a little precision.


I don't know if you have any insight on this, but how prestigious is clerking for a state Supreme Court? Where would that land on the spectrum of prestige?

270910
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Re: Job placement for median at T14 v. top % at lower T1

Postby 270910 » Thu Apr 08, 2010 8:21 pm

sundevil77 wrote:I don't know if you have any insight on this, but how prestigious is clerking for a state Supreme Court? Where would that land on the spectrum of prestige?


For states with important big law practice (NY, CA, etc.) it can be roughly comparable to a federal district court clerkship. And it will still be a fabulous experience. One thing civ pro teaches you is that the jurisdiction of federal and state courts overlaps almost to a comical degree.

Basically, if you clerk for a federal district court judge or a court of appeals judge, the prestige-obsessed legal industry knows what to do with you. They know what it took to get that gig, know what you did, know others who have done it, and have a generally high opinion of it. After that point, when you look at federal magistrates, state courts, etc. the experience is unlikely to be dramatically less personally fulfilling or enriching, but the resume signal will be weaker - it may be perfect for some jobs, but other employers might not bat an eyelash.

To give you an idea of how that stacks up numerically, at a top law school you an expect realistically to see a breakdown as follows:

Random T14 school:

Clerkship: ranking needed to be competitive
SCOTUS clerks: 1%, complete domination of law school and important professors going to bat for you + prior strong CoA clerskhip
CoA clerks: 5-8%, law review all but mandatory
Federal district clerks: 25%, most NOT on law review
State supreme court clerks: Just above median
Lower state courts: Below median, but not by a lot

There is leeway, and averages can be deceiving. CoA clerks in remote locations can be as 'low' in the class as top 25%, fit can matter. And the best CoA clerkships require SCOTUS-level stats.
Last edited by 270910 on Thu Apr 08, 2010 8:24 pm, edited 1 time in total.

rando
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Re: Job placement for median at T14 v. top % at lower T1

Postby rando » Thu Apr 08, 2010 8:22 pm

sundevil77 wrote:
disco_barred wrote:
sundevil77 wrote:Right, academia would be the biggest exception. Clerkships are possible from other T1s, but the highly competitive positions like SCOTUS and federal court positions are probably out of the question.


Just to be precise: SCOTUS is basically impossible for everyone, even Yale grads. You need to be the top of the top of the top to be in contention there.

Federal district court and court of appeals positions are 'easier' but still extremely hard and pedigree focused. 'Good' CoA judges tend to hire top 5% students at top law schools (deeper into the class the better the school, obviously) and district court judges tend to consider people in roughly the top quarter.

Magistrate judges and state judges are substantially easier to land, and while they might be useful experiences for the career of an attorney, they don't carry the same weight or exist options that federal clerkships do.

Don't mean to derail the thread much, but since clerkships are the prime (and one of the only) examples of a job where pedigree matters enough that just doing great at a lower ranked school can't always overcome the rankings deficit, I felt it was worth a little precision.


I don't know if you have any insight on this, but how prestigious is clerking for a state Supreme Court? Where would that land on the spectrum of prestige?


A lot of State SC's require experience. But if you can get one I would argue it ranks next to a fed. dist. court. Some firms offer bonuses for fed. clerkships + State SC

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Re: Job placement for median at T14 v. top % at lower T1

Postby Bankhead » Thu Apr 08, 2010 8:42 pm

Top 1% would probably have better prospects than median at a T14.

But who cares? If you would be top 1% at a tier 1, then you'd well above the median at a T14...




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