This cycle vs. last cycle

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JCougar
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Re: This cycle vs. last cycle

Postby JCougar » Fri Oct 05, 2012 12:04 pm

Br3v wrote:Cougar to be honest, lately I have been looking at considering like a BU GW full scholarship ED option, though I'm unaware how truly competitive they are. What's your feeling on that? How else could you truly go about securing a 100% tuition scholarship? Also are there such things as true 100% scholarships for law school (stipends, etc)?


WUSTL with that large of a scholarship is a pretty good decision. To top it off, cost of living in STL is very reasonable compared to some of our peer schools in Boston or DC. You can save an additional $10K/ year on COL in St Louis. I reccomend you try and live cheaply.

I really don't mean to hijack OP's thread any more than I already have. There's probably a better place for discussion on this. OP has the right idea if she's only taking out $50K in loans and has her living situation covered. You should do like OP is and financially plan on getting a $50-60K/year salary initially, no matter where you go to school. Even if you go for broke and get Biglaw, chances are you're going to want to leave for a better job a lot sooner than it takes to pay down sticker-price debt from a T14. And a lot of Biglaw exit options pay far less, at least initially.

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Tiago Splitter
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Re: This cycle vs. last cycle

Postby Tiago Splitter » Fri Oct 05, 2012 12:13 pm

To the OP's question, things were probably 5-10% easier last cycle, and they might get another 5-10% easier this cycle. Hard to say what the means practically other than that there won't be seismic changes in admissions standards, but there will be plenty of people getting into places they wouldn't have gotten into before.

A bit of a counter to that point is Campos' suggestion that while class sizes were reduced this cycle to keep medians intact, this coming cycle will see more schools keeping class sizes the same while allowing medians to slip drastically. This would mean things will get much easier over night. Campos' logic that schools' central administrations aren't happy with the lost revenue from declining class sizes at their law schools and will force law school deans to keep class sizes up to bring in more revenue does make sense, but it also means that some schools are prepared to let their rank drop precipitously. We didn't see that on a grand scale this past year but if it does come to fruition its a real game changer.

Paul Campos
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Re: This cycle vs. last cycle

Postby Paul Campos » Fri Oct 05, 2012 12:14 pm

cahwc12 wrote:
Paul Campos wrote:With trivial exceptions for a few endowed scholarships, "merit aid" consists of nothing but cross-subsidized tuition. In other words if half the class is paying $40K in tuition and the half that gets "merit aid" is averaging $20K in tuition, the real tuition for the school is $30K, and the half of the class that's paying more than that is subsidizing everybody who is paying less.

This kind of cross-subsidization is used exclusively to buy higher LSAT and GPA scores, in order to protect those numbers because of the role they play in the law school rankings. Some schools have chosen to advertise a very high sticker price and then discount it heavily to buy students, while other schools have a lower sticker and discount less. Both of these are strategic choices.

The only things you should pay any attention to when considering a law school are actual cost of attendance and employment outcomes.


Is there a list somewhere of the "real tuition" for schools based on amount of aid given? And, more generally, is there a better place than self-reported LSN to look at aid garnered for applicants with various numbers?


You can look up how much tuition was actually discounted at any law school last year here: https://officialguide.lsac.org/release/OfficialGuide_Default.aspx

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JCougar
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Re: This cycle vs. last cycle

Postby JCougar » Fri Oct 05, 2012 12:17 pm

Tiago Splitter wrote:
JCougar wrote:
Tiago Splitter wrote:
JCougar wrote:My advice is to go to the best school that gives you a full ride.


A lot of people at CCN could only get a full ride at a place like Indiana, if that.


I would much rather get a full ride at Indiana than pay sticker at CCN.


I'm sure there are a few others like you. But for someone like me, going to law school for free at Indiana would be a far worse decision than just not going at all. Getting a real firm job is highly unlikely out of that school, so if you want a firm job and don't have a great GPA you either gotta pay or just pick another path.


Getting a real firm job from Indiana won't be that hard if your priority is not OCI, but networking and finding jobs in small or mid-law right from the get-go. People on this board call those jobs "shitlaw," but the reality is that these firms give you a lot more opportunity at a far sooner time than Biglaw, and thus you learn to be a lawyer a lot faster (as long as you're not stuck some ID or doc review mill). You might look at the numbers from each school and think "only 60% get reall attorney jobs," but a non-negligible fraction of the 40% that don't are either people who think jobs will fall into their lap, or people who are so depressed from the law school experience that they have no intention of ever practicing law in the first place (and this is a non-negligible number as well). Small and midlaw jobs rarely reach out to school CSOs when they are looking for people to hire. They hire people based on networking.

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Tiago Splitter
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Re: This cycle vs. last cycle

Postby Tiago Splitter » Fri Oct 05, 2012 12:21 pm

All of the above points are fair. But less than 40% of IU's grads work in firms, and a significant portion of those work in firms of 1-10 attorneys. For someone not interested in a small firm or in litigation it doesn't make sense.

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JCougar
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Re: This cycle vs. last cycle

Postby JCougar » Fri Oct 05, 2012 12:29 pm

But the reality for people is that they're going to end up either in government work, small/mid law, or completely out of law in the long run.

Biglaw is a pyramid scheme that preys on desperate and naive students saddled with crippling debt that chiefly exists only to make a few partners rich.

The only way sticker makes sense at a T14 is if you really think you're going to be one of those people that can tolerate Biglaw long-term (chances are very low of this happening, and you won't truly understand how bad it gets until well after they wine, women and song you during your 2L summer), or if you want to aim for a high-profile government job (for which public interest IBR will make your debt a non-issue).

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alwayssunnyinfl
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Re: This cycle vs. last cycle

Postby alwayssunnyinfl » Fri Oct 05, 2012 12:34 pm

Do we have any good data on whether or not schools discounted tuition more last cycle than in the past?

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Tiago Splitter
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Re: This cycle vs. last cycle

Postby Tiago Splitter » Fri Oct 05, 2012 12:34 pm

Again, for someone who doesn't want litigation those options just aren't what its about. If I thought my end game was small firm work or government I would not have come to law school. I'm far from alone here. But for someone who is comfortable with that as the end game then I agree with you that it might be worth it to keep the debt down and gun for those jobs right from the start.

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JCougar
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Re: This cycle vs. last cycle

Postby JCougar » Fri Oct 05, 2012 12:39 pm

And Biglaw might get you a decent lateral option, or it might not. For every Biglaw dropout that laterals to a great in-house position or midlaw boutique (the vast majority will drop out before they even sniff partner), there's two that end up begging municipal court judges to reduce my speeding ticket to "excessive vehicle noise" for $150.

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JCougar
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Re: This cycle vs. last cycle

Postby JCougar » Fri Oct 05, 2012 12:41 pm

Tiago Splitter wrote:Again, for someone who doesn't want litigation those options just aren't what its about. If I thought my end game was small firm work or government I would not have come to law school. I'm far from alone here. But for someone who is comfortable with that as the end game then I agree with you that it might be worth it to keep the debt down and gun for those jobs right from the start.


Just curious...what is your endgame?

Kurst
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Re: This cycle vs. last cycle

Postby Kurst » Fri Oct 05, 2012 12:46 pm

JCougar wrote:
Tiago Splitter wrote:Again, for someone who doesn't want litigation those options just aren't what its about. If I thought my end game was small firm work or government I would not have come to law school. I'm far from alone here. But for someone who is comfortable with that as the end game then I agree with you that it might be worth it to keep the debt down and gun for those jobs right from the start.


Just curious...what is your endgame?

Tiago's going to throw rooftop toga parties at 51 W 52nd.

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sunynp
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Re: This cycle vs. last cycle

Postby sunynp » Fri Oct 05, 2012 12:56 pm

JCougar wrote:Keep in mind why less people are applying. The job prospects are absolutely terrible, and they're not getting measurably better. Even with the recent decline in applicants, there's still too many people going to law school.

It's foolish to pay sticker anywhere except for HYS. The rest of the T14 won't save you these days, and god forbid you go anywhere else short of a 50% scholarship or more. My advice is to go to the best school that gives you a full ride.


This first paragraph should be repeated every time someone posts about how it will be easier to get into law school. Remember why it is getting easier. The smart money is fleeing the law as a career choice.

Also realize that jobs are not getting easier to find just because there will be fewer grads. Look at all the threads here from people from top schools who strike out at OCI and mass mailing. Many of them thought they understood how bad the market was but expected their grades and/or school to make up for it. These people are finding that the job market isuch worse than they assumed.

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sunynp
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Re: This cycle vs. last cycle

Postby sunynp » Fri Oct 05, 2012 1:01 pm

JCougar wrote:But the reality for people is that they're going to end up either in government work, small/mid law, or completely out of law in the long run.

Biglaw is a pyramid scheme that preys on desperate and naive students saddled with crippling debt that chiefly exists only to make a few partners rich.

The only way sticker makes sense at a T14 is if you really think you're going to be one of those people that can tolerate Biglaw long-term (chances are very low of this happening, and you won't truly understand how bad it gets until well after they wine, women and song you during your 2L summer), or if you want to aim for a high-profile government job (for which public interest IBR will make your debt a non-issue).

Big law as a pyramid has been around since before tuition sky rocketed. The original design was not to prey on young associates to keep them hand cuffed to the firm. I can see how it appears that way. The original design was to have bodies to do the lower level work while at the same time they were getting trained.
I think that most of the senior partners at my firm and other firms have no idea how much law school costs and how much debt people have.

Anecdote: I had lunch several months ago with a family friend who is a partner at a NYC big law firm. She actually is an interviewer for Chicago. She didn't believe me when I told her people had more than 6 figures of debt. She didn't see how that would be possible.

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Tiago Splitter
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Re: This cycle vs. last cycle

Postby Tiago Splitter » Fri Oct 05, 2012 1:15 pm

LOL Kurst is close. My endgame is on the corporate side, back in my old industry if necessary. JCougar's contention that 2/3 of ex biglaw attorneys are defending traffic tickets, while obviously a bit exaggerated, is nowhere near what people who work in BigLaw say. But everyone does need to do their own research.

The original point I was trying to make was that just dropping down the rankings until you get a full ride is not a good idea for most applicants. Ties make a difference (the guy from Indianapolis who wants to end there is in a very different position vis-a-vis an IU full ride than a dude who wants to end up back in his hometown of LA.) And for people with crappy GPAs the full ride may not materialize until you get down to Tier 2 and 3 schools even with T-14 acceptances in hand. For many people something in the middle will be the best bet.

sunynp wrote:Also realize that jobs are not getting easier to find just because there will be fewer grads. Look at all the threads here from people from top schools who strike out at OCI and mass mailing


You may be right, but we have to wait a few years to see the effects of the reduced class sizes on employment. The group that started in 2010 was the biggest ever.

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sunynp
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Re: This cycle vs. last cycle

Postby sunynp » Fri Oct 05, 2012 1:25 pm

We don't need to wait a few years if we look at the BLS data. ( Or we can just look at the class sizes of big law firms over the past few years post-crash.) BLS is the best prediction out there and it may be overly optimistic in predicting the number of boomers that will retire.

They are predicting something like 218,000 jobs of all types for attorneys opening in the next decade. This is based on how many jobs ( of all kinds temporary , contract, doc review and solos) the economy can support. There are going to be almost double the number of grads for jobs in the next decade.

Also, the over- supply of lawyers effects the entire profession. Federal judges can take clerks who are willing to work for nothing because people are desperate for meaningful work experience . See the Ropes thread today for a discussion of the associates who took a voluntary deferral and are getting some kind of stipend to clerk or volunteer elsewhere. If people weren't able to work for free - if the supply wasn't so vast- people could demand to get paid for work. Plenty of federal agencies have people working for free.


Campos or DJM has written a couple of posts on it. Here is one link:
http://insidethelawschoolscam.blogspot. ... s.html?m=1
Last edited by sunynp on Fri Oct 05, 2012 1:33 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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Tiago Splitter
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Re: This cycle vs. last cycle

Postby Tiago Splitter » Fri Oct 05, 2012 1:31 pm

sunynp wrote:We don't need to wait a few years if we look at the BLS data. ( Or we can just look at the class sizes of big law firms over the past few years post-crash.) BLS is the best prediction out there and it may be overly optimistic in predicting the number of shot boomers that will retire.

Campos or DJM has written a couple of posts on it. Here is one link:
http://insidethelawschoolscam.blogspot. ... s.html?m=1


Right. We are a long ways from guaranteeing great legal employment for everyone who steps onto a law school campus. Doesn't mean that a 20% drop in the number of people starting law school has no effect.

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sunynp
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Re: This cycle vs. last cycle

Postby sunynp » Fri Oct 05, 2012 1:36 pm

Tiago Splitter wrote:
sunynp wrote:We don't need to wait a few years if we look at the BLS data. ( Or we can just look at the class sizes of big law firms over the past few years post-crash.) BLS is the best prediction out there and it may be overly optimistic in predicting the number of shot boomers that will retire.

Campos or DJM has written a couple of posts on it. Here is one link:
http://insidethelawschoolscam.blogspot. ... s.html?m=1


Right. We are a long ways from guaranteeing great legal employment for everyone who steps onto a law school campus. Doesn't mean that a 20% drop in the number of people starting law school has no effect.


I'm curious - what effect do you think it will have? Also curious as to why you think law schools will reduce class size instead of lower standards? I think the elite schools will just get more elite as the other schools follow the example of American and drop their medians. Once that happens, their rankings will sink and recruiting will probably be worse.

Even a 20% decrease won't solve the over supply problem in a meaningful way. Big law is always going to hire from the top schools. Maybe for the people who are getting in at a new lower median will benefit. But I don't think that will be a large number of people. ( also I think firms may go more and more toward hiring associates who get paid less, live in Ohio or west Virginia and will never make partner. I think the pyramid structure is going to change to have fewer people on the partnership track. )
Last edited by sunynp on Fri Oct 05, 2012 1:42 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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Tiago Splitter
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Re: This cycle vs. last cycle

Postby Tiago Splitter » Fri Oct 05, 2012 1:40 pm

Well, last year saw a decent sized drop in the number of people starting, and it sounds like it is getting even better this year:

http://www.lsac.org/lsacresources/data/ ... ummary.asp

As far as its effect on employment, I doubt anyone getting a job in 2014 will be able to say they wouldn't have gotten a job in 2012 (whether they believe it or not.) So for any one person the difference is too small or too difficult to quantify to have any impact on their decision. But in the aggregate there will be fewer unemployed people.

But there will still be a lot of unemployed people. And most people going to law school right now should not be going to law school.

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sunynp
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Re: This cycle vs. last cycle

Postby sunynp » Fri Oct 05, 2012 1:53 pm

Tiago Splitter wrote:Well, last year saw a decent sized drop in the number of people starting, and it sounds like it is getting even better this year:

http://www.lsac.org/lsacresources/data/ ... ummary.asp

As far as its effect on employment, I doubt anyone getting a job in 2014 will be able to say they wouldn't have gotten a job in 2012 (whether they believe it or not.) So for any one person the difference is too small or too difficult to quantify to have any impact on their decision. But in the aggregate there will be fewer unemployed people.

But there will still be a lot of unemployed people. And most people going to law school right now should not be going to law school.

Yes, so there will be fewer unemployed people because people aren't going, not because there are more jobs.

That was one of the points I was trying to emphasize- fewer grads doesn't mean an appreciable difference in getting a job. If you get into a T6 that you wouldn't have before, you will have access to more firms. So in that way I guess a few people might see the top scorers fleeing law as a personal benefit. I would urge even those people to seriously consider why people with better stats are giving up on law as a profession.

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Tiago Splitter
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Re: This cycle vs. last cycle

Postby Tiago Splitter » Fri Oct 05, 2012 2:03 pm

I never said there would more jobs. Just that the low number of jobs would stay roughly the same. Which means fewer people unemployed because fewer people are going. I also conceded that the difference is not yet appreciable (although I'm curious to see the BigLaw placement of schools like Penn and Columbia which cut their enrollment by ten percent.) Totally agree that everyone should think and re-think this decision through.

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JCougar
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Re: This cycle vs. last cycle

Postby JCougar » Fri Oct 05, 2012 2:07 pm

Tiago Splitter wrote:LOL Kurst is close. My endgame is on the corporate side, back in my old industry if necessary. JCougar's contention that 2/3 of ex biglaw attorneys are defending traffic tickets, while obviously a bit exaggerated, is nowhere near what people who work in BigLaw say. But everyone does need to do their own research.


If you're going in-house right away, that's totally legit. There's no pyramid aspect to it so your employer has the incentive to treat you well and keep you around instead of churn through you and bill every hour of yours they can find and than toss you to the side when it's time to make partner.

But the traffic ticket thing is true. I just had an ex-biglaw associate get rid of one for me. Now maybe there's reasons for that...maybe that attorney is married and the spouse has a secure income or something and is just doing it part time for a few extra bucks. But getting laid off from biglaw can give you "the stench," which will make it incredibly difficult for some to get a second prestigious job.

Like anything, I am speaking in generalizations. There's some Biglaw firms that are probably great to work for. Researching leverage ratios is probably the first thing you would want to do. If you have a greater than 50% chance of making partner, it may be legit. If it's like 8 or 9 to 1, just by the nature of things, it's going to be a sweatshop.

The point is, even if you do get Biglaw, it's not a sure thing that you'll be able to or want to stick around long enough to pay off a massive $240K debt load you get from attending NYU at sticker.

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sunynp
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Re: This cycle vs. last cycle

Postby sunynp » Fri Oct 05, 2012 2:13 pm

How do we find out the average years associates stay employed with the firm? There must be some retention information somewhere. I always thought that 2-3 years was the average. This might have changed in the past few years. I don't know any big law firms that have a fifth year class that is the same size ( even if different people) as when they were incoming first years . I thought the decline was precipitous.

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Tiago Splitter
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Re: This cycle vs. last cycle

Postby Tiago Splitter » Fri Oct 05, 2012 2:17 pm

bk1 posted a link in this thread which said that 80% were out by year five. Looks like the link is dead now. The article was from 2007, and it wouldn't surprise me if people stayed around a little longer these days just because of the lack of exit options.

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JCougar
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Re: This cycle vs. last cycle

Postby JCougar » Fri Oct 05, 2012 3:14 pm

Tiago Splitter wrote:bk1 posted a link in this thread which said that 80% were out by year five. Looks like the link is dead now. The article was from 2007, and it wouldn't surprise me if people stayed around a little longer these days just because of the lack of exit options.


I was at a conference last year where they cited something like 76% are gone by year five. They didn't say how much of that was just after years one or two.

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cahwc12
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Re: This cycle vs. last cycle

Postby cahwc12 » Fri Oct 05, 2012 4:16 pm

Just wanted to say thanks to all of you guys because this thread is highly informative.




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