BigZuck wrote:I think not including, say, Duke as a school that is ok if you want big law is shark jumpy
Also, I'm sure that this is me being naive or whatever but I do think there is probably still a need for small firm/local government types and that state flagships are fine. Maybe they should cost less and maybe there should only be 1 law school per state (or, maybe states with small legal markets like New Mexico and Arizona would have one combined law school to cover the general region). I think we could probably lop off half the law schools out there and be ok. But less than 10? That's too much.
But a lot of those local government jobs are terrible cut n' paste type gigs where you're fighting through like 10 years of appeals/administrative hearings, etc. over like a $5,000 case. There's a few interesting jobs in the appeals/litigation divisions of larger cities, but it's hard to get those, as a lot of them go to people who get burned out of Biglaw.
Like if you have a useless humanities degree and just need something to support a family and don't care about having an interesting job, these are great gigs, especially because of the better hours. But it's not the kind of job most people have in mind when they try and decide whether going to law school is worth it. They usually pay a decent salary, especially considering the debt forgiveness, but most people don't end up ever making six figures. You're not financially screwed, but I think a lot of these people still mostly hate their jobs and wish they would have gone another route.
As far as small law, unless you can work your way into some boutique niche area (most of these niche people are Biglaw cast-offs anyway), the pay is basically the same except for no loan forgiveness. We recently had an opening at my agency that paid like $68K, and we were flooded with resumes of people with 20 years of experience who though this was a great salary. People with 15 years of experience didn't even get callbacks.
Duke is not a terrible school, but there's still a non-negligible risk of striking out if you graduate from there. Some people think 60/40 risk of success is worth it. But like I said, that's a risk MD's at almost all medical schools don't have to take.