Is law school worth it 2011 version - prof schlunk

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sunynp
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Is law school worth it 2011 version - prof schlunk

Postby sunynp » Wed Nov 23, 2011 1:59 am

Some people here might be familiar with Prof Schlunk's 2009 article discussing if law school is worth it (solely on an economic basis). I just noticed a brief article on above the law that links to his 2011 version of the paper.

You can read it yourselves. I think the article at least provides an analytic framework for law students to decide if law school is worth it for their own situation.

One thing- he thinks the current situation in legal hiring may be the new norm.

http://abovethelaw.com/2011/11/quote-of ... -worth-it/


Is a law degree a good investment today? The below links to his paper:

http://papers.ssrn.com/sol3/papers.cfm? ... id=1957139

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FryBreadPower
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Re: Is law school worth it 2011 version - prof schlunk

Postby FryBreadPower » Wed Nov 23, 2011 2:17 am

Thank you for providing some sort of new source/insight.

However, I give this thread 6 posts before it becomes the usual shit storm this topic typically brings.

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IAFG
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Re: Is law school worth it 2011 version - prof schlunk

Postby IAFG » Wed Nov 23, 2011 2:22 am

Of course he's right. For some people it's a good choice, for others, it's a time and money sinkhole. But people don't like nuance and shades of grey.

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NYC Law
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Re: Is law school worth it 2011 version - prof schlunk

Postby NYC Law » Wed Nov 23, 2011 2:36 am

TL;DR - if you've got shit prospects (ie liberal arts grad from a non-elite school) and you can go to a top law school and/or for extremely cheap, law school is a good investment. If not, you're not making a good financial investment.

Nothing groundbreaking, but still more nuanced than typical TLS opinions.
(NEVER go vs. LS will always work if you just have a little work ethic and passion)

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JamMasterJ
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Re: Is law school worth it 2011 version - prof schlunk

Postby JamMasterJ » Wed Nov 23, 2011 2:38 am

yay, shit lib arts degree with possible T10 acceptance in my future. Looks like LS is a good call

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johansantana21
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Re: Is law school worth it 2011 version - prof schlunk

Postby johansantana21 » Wed Nov 23, 2011 2:39 am

When is going to a HYS school for cheap NOT a good investment for someone straight out of undergrad?

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FryBreadPower
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Re: Is law school worth it 2011 version - prof schlunk

Postby FryBreadPower » Wed Nov 23, 2011 2:39 am

JamMasterJ wrote:yay, shit lib arts degree with possible T10 acceptance in my future. Looks like LS is a good call


I miss the old 'tar :(

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JamMasterJ
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Re: Is law school worth it 2011 version - prof schlunk

Postby JamMasterJ » Wed Nov 23, 2011 2:43 am

FryBreadPower wrote:
JamMasterJ wrote:yay, shit lib arts degree with possible T10 acceptance in my future. Looks like LS is a good call


I miss the old 'tar :(

which one, Hercules or Scrubs?

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FryBreadPower
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Re: Is law school worth it 2011 version - prof schlunk

Postby FryBreadPower » Wed Nov 23, 2011 2:52 am

JamMasterJ wrote:
FryBreadPower wrote:
JamMasterJ wrote:yay, shit lib arts degree with possible T10 acceptance in my future. Looks like LS is a good call


I miss the old 'tar :(

which one, Hercules or Scrubs?


Herc. Definitely had a solid 5 seconds of confusion.

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JamMasterJ
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Re: Is law school worth it 2011 version - prof schlunk

Postby JamMasterJ » Wed Nov 23, 2011 2:57 am

FryBreadPower wrote:
JamMasterJ wrote:
FryBreadPower wrote:
JamMasterJ wrote:yay, shit lib arts degree with possible T10 acceptance in my future. Looks like LS is a good call


I miss the old 'tar :(

which one, Hercules or Scrubs?


Herc. Definitely had a solid 5 seconds of confusion.

wow. Didn't realize anyone outside of NH actually recognized me

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IAFG
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Re: Is law school worth it 2011 version - prof schlunk

Postby IAFG » Wed Nov 23, 2011 2:59 am

JamMasterJ wrote:yay, shit lib arts degree with possible T10 acceptance in my future. Looks like LS is a good call

In this current economy, sure. If the economy ever changes, this won't be such a hard-and-fast rule.

That said, I think even now T14 is a pretty solid bet.

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FryBreadPower
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Re: Is law school worth it 2011 version - prof schlunk

Postby FryBreadPower » Wed Nov 23, 2011 3:00 am

JamMasterJ wrote:
FryBreadPower wrote:
JamMasterJ wrote:
FryBreadPower wrote:
I miss the old 'tar :(

which one, Hercules or Scrubs?


Herc. Definitely had a solid 5 seconds of confusion.

wow. Didn't realize anyone outside of NH actually recognized me


Your Duke experience sent me into a 5-minute mini-freakout. I then realized you were going to be shooting far higher in the rest of your cycle and I immediately calmed myself.

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sunynp
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Re: Is law school worth it 2011 version - prof schlunk

Postby sunynp » Wed Nov 23, 2011 3:05 am

I laughed at the sentence where he says: every student admitted considers themselves to be at worst above average, however, statistically this can not be the case.

I laughed because that is so true; however, I think the perception that everyone has that they will at worst be above median is a big part of the reason people have trouble realistically evaluating the investment decision to go to law school. If everyone thinks they will do well, statistics about hiring don't really concern them.

I think most people would agree that law school is a risky financial proposition. But the same people feel that the risk is worth it for them because they assume they will do well.

In the three fictional cases he examines, law school is worth it for only 20% to 30% of the class. He also finds that only 1/3 of the total graduates( not including clerks or others who continue their education) have a starting salary of $65,000 or higher.

His analysis is too detailed to fully explain here and I'm sure people may argue with some of his assumptions. At least this can provide a starting point for people to make their own individual analysis of whether law school is a good investment.
Last edited by sunynp on Wed Nov 23, 2011 3:16 am, edited 2 times in total.

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cubbiesyear
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Re: Is law school worth it 2011 version - prof schlunk

Postby cubbiesyear » Wed Nov 23, 2011 3:05 am

Soooooo let me get this straight.

acceptance to T14 + LA degree :arrow: woohoo let's go to L school!

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sunynp
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Re: Is law school worth it 2011 version - prof schlunk

Postby sunynp » Wed Nov 23, 2011 3:15 am

cubbiesyear wrote:Soooooo let me get this straight.

acceptance to T14 + LA degree :arrow: woohoo let's go to L school!


I don't think it is as simple as that- but you need to read the article. He doesn't really make a T14 distinction per se. Even with his best case student, the high cost of law school was only worth it for about 30% of the class. But that was a student at a school ranked around 19. I don't think that means everyone at a higher ranked school is golden.

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cubbiesyear
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Re: Is law school worth it 2011 version - prof schlunk

Postby cubbiesyear » Wed Nov 23, 2011 3:19 am

sunynp wrote:
cubbiesyear wrote:Soooooo let me get this straight.

acceptance to T14 + LA degree :arrow: woohoo let's go to L school!


I don't think it is as simple as that- but you need to read the article. He doesn't really make a T14 distinction per se. Even with his best case student, the high cost of law school was only worth it for about 30% of the class. But that was a student at a school ranked around 19. I don't think that means everyone at a higher ranked school is golden.


Yeah, I read Paul Caron's summary so I admit I didn't read the whole article. But I think I got the jist. I was just being facetious.

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IAFG
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Re: Is law school worth it 2011 version - prof schlunk

Postby IAFG » Wed Nov 23, 2011 3:26 am

sunynp wrote:I laughed at the sentence where he says: every student admitted considers themselves to be at worst above average, however, statistically this can not be the case.

I laughed because that is so true; however, I think the perception that everyone has that they will at worst be above median is a big part of the reason people have trouble realistically evaluating the investment decision to go to law school. If everyone thinks they will do well, statistics about hiring don't really concern them.

I think most people would agree that law school is a risky financial proposition. But the same people feel that the risk is worth it for them because they assume they will do well.

In the three fictional cases he examines, law school is worth it for only 20% to 30% of the class. He also finds that only 1/3 of the total graduates( not including clerks or others who continue their education) have a starting salary of $65,000 or higher.

His analysis is too detailed to fully explain here and I'm sure people may argue with some of his assumptions. At least this can provide a starting point for people to make their own individual analysis of whether law school is a good investment.

I always say you should not attend any school that won't get you the job you want from the median.

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cubbiesyear
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Re: Is law school worth it 2011 version - prof schlunk

Postby cubbiesyear » Wed Nov 23, 2011 3:30 am

IAFG wrote:I always say you should not attend any school that won't get you the job you want from the median.


+1

My overall thought process as well.

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sunynp
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Re: Is law school worth it 2011 version - prof schlunk

Postby sunynp » Wed Nov 23, 2011 12:38 pm

I would like to see him calculate whether people should drop out after 1L or OCI if they are below median (or some other benchmark.) I think most people are going to decide to go to law school and employment numbers won't dissuade them. In some ways that makes sense, because no one knows how well they will perform until they have grades.

But if a person is below median or has no job prospects after the end of the 1st 2L semester ( through both OCI and mass mailing), they need to make a realistic calculation about continuing to invest time, money and effort into a legal career. For most people, (at least from what I understand from the article) continuing is not the best decision.

I am starting to think that deciding whether to continue should be a key step in a law student's life, just as important as admissions. The job market is so tough and school is so expensive, that it may not make sense to keep going if you are not getting the grades. Most people will stay and build up more debt even after they know they are not doing well. They need to reevaluate.
Last edited by sunynp on Wed Nov 23, 2011 12:45 pm, edited 2 times in total.

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thelawschoolproject
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Re: Is law school worth it 2011 version - prof schlunk

Postby thelawschoolproject » Wed Nov 23, 2011 12:43 pm

So, I'm going to go with LS is possibly a good decision for me. Not that it matters, doing it anyway.

Life Goal = Infiltrate the 1%



JamMasterJ wrote:wow. Didn't realize anyone outside of NH actually recognized me



Well, Jam, you are a celebrity. Just accept it. :)

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Elston Gunn
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Re: Is law school worth it 2011 version - prof schlunk

Postby Elston Gunn » Wed Nov 23, 2011 12:43 pm

JamMasterJ wrote:yay, shit lib arts degree with possible T10 acceptance in my future. Looks like LS is a good call


+1

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sanetruth
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Re: Is law school worth it 2011 version - prof schlunk

Postby sanetruth » Wed Nov 23, 2011 12:45 pm

NYC Law wrote:TL;DR - if you've got shit prospects (ie liberal arts grad from a non-elite school) and you can go to a top law school and/or for extremely cheap, law school is a good investment.


So the question then becomes, where is the cutoff from elite/semi-elite to non-elite liberal arts schools. In other words, where is the cutoff when your liberal arts degree starts becoming worthless. People on TLS would say 'if not top 3, not elite', but I doubt this guy would.

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IAFG
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Re: Is law school worth it 2011 version - prof schlunk

Postby IAFG » Wed Nov 23, 2011 12:47 pm

sunynp wrote:I would like to see him calculate whether people should drop out after 1L or OCI if they are below median (or some other benchmark.) I think most people are going to decide to go to law school and employment numbers won't dissuade them. In some ways that makes sense, because no one knows how well they will perform until they have grades.

But if a person is below median or has no job prospects after the end of the 1st 2L semester ( through both OCI and mass mailing), they need to make a realistic calculation about continuing to pay invest time, money and effort into a legal career. For most people, (at least from what I understand from the article) continuing is not the best decision.

I am starting to think that deciding whether to continue should be a key step in a law student's life, just as important as admissions. The job market is so tough and school is so expensive, that it may not make sense to keep going if you are not getting the grades. Most people will stay and build up more debt even after they know they are not doing well. They need to reevaluate.
I would rather have $150k of debt and access to LRAP + IBR + a T14 JD than half the debt and no LRAP and no JD. Both for short and long term earning potential.

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Gail
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Re: Is law school worth it 2011 version - prof schlunk

Postby Gail » Wed Nov 23, 2011 12:57 pm

thelawschoolproject wrote:
Life Goal = Infiltrate the 1%




You picked the wrong career track then.

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thelawschoolproject
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Re: Is law school worth it 2011 version - prof schlunk

Postby thelawschoolproject » Wed Nov 23, 2011 1:04 pm

Gail wrote:
thelawschoolproject wrote:
Life Goal = Infiltrate the 1%




You picked the wrong career track then.



Don't rain on my dream-parade, yo.




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