Is biglaw really it for T14?

(On Campus Interviews, Summer Associate positions, Firm Reviews, Tips, ...)
Forum rules
Anonymous Posting

Anonymous posting is only appropriate when you are revealing sensitive employment related information about a firm, job, etc. You may anonymously respond on topic to these threads. Unacceptable uses include: harassing another user, joking around, testing the feature, or other things that are more appropriate in the lounge.

Failure to follow these rules will get you outed, warned, or banned.
gmreplay
Posts: 171
Joined: Wed May 13, 2009 6:47 pm

Is biglaw really it for T14?

Postby gmreplay » Mon Feb 28, 2011 3:29 am

It seems like the consensus on the board is that someone who attends a T14 and doesn't get into biglaw is either screwed or wasting their money. Why is this? I assume it's either because biglaw is where most of the hiring occurs, or because biglaw is the only type of law that produces enough cash to pay down law school debt in a reasonable amount of time. Considering that only about half of Michigan grads got biglaw last year, what are the rest supposed to do? Burn their degrees?

User avatar
Columbia Law
Posts: 295
Joined: Wed Nov 11, 2009 7:51 pm

Re: Is biglaw really it for T14?

Postby Columbia Law » Mon Feb 28, 2011 3:35 am

No but after that it's pretty much eat what you kill.

A lot of kids who strived their whole life don't have the stomach for that.

User avatar
Reinhardt
Posts: 458
Joined: Fri May 18, 2007 2:27 am

Re: Is biglaw really it for T14?

Postby Reinhardt » Mon Feb 28, 2011 4:32 am

Not everyone is going for BigLaw. A lot of the top students go to federal clerkships. Others gun for ACLU and stuff like that. It's hard to say how many end up dissatisfied with their outcome, but I'd guess less than 50%.

User avatar
niederbomb
Posts: 962
Joined: Sat Dec 12, 2009 12:07 pm

Re: Is biglaw really it for T14?

Postby niederbomb » Mon Feb 28, 2011 5:18 am

Is it dumb to choose a T14 school if all you want is a long career in regional Mid Law? (I am thinking either Texas, where I'm from, or Philadelphia, PA).

Trying to choose between loads of debt at MVP and UT with very little debt.
Last edited by niederbomb on Mon Feb 28, 2011 5:19 am, edited 1 time in total.

FiveSermon
Posts: 1507
Joined: Tue Dec 14, 2010 6:56 pm

Re: Is biglaw really it for T14?

Postby FiveSermon » Mon Feb 28, 2011 5:19 am

niederbomb wrote:Is it dumb to choose a T14 school if all you want is a long career in regional Mid Law? (I am thinking either Texas, where I'm from, or Philadelphia, PA)


Go to UT with a scholarship.

FiveSermon
Posts: 1507
Joined: Tue Dec 14, 2010 6:56 pm

Re: Is biglaw really it for T14?

Postby FiveSermon » Mon Feb 28, 2011 5:21 am

gmreplay wrote:It seems like the consensus on the board is that someone who attends a T14 and doesn't get into biglaw is either screwed or wasting their money. Why is this? I assume it's either because biglaw is where most of the hiring occurs, or because biglaw is the only type of law that produces enough cash to pay down law school debt in a reasonable amount of time. Considering that only about half of Michigan grads got biglaw last year, what are the rest supposed to do? Burn their degrees?


Selling your degree on craigslist can recoup some of that wasted money.

User avatar
niederbomb
Posts: 962
Joined: Sat Dec 12, 2009 12:07 pm

Re: Is biglaw really it for T14?

Postby niederbomb » Mon Feb 28, 2011 5:26 am

FiveSermon wrote:
niederbomb wrote:Is it dumb to choose a T14 school if all you want is a long career in regional Mid Law? (I am thinking either Texas, where I'm from, or Philadelphia, PA)


Go to UT with a scholarship.


Even with UT's large class size and atrocious placement post ITE?

FiveSermon
Posts: 1507
Joined: Tue Dec 14, 2010 6:56 pm

Re: Is biglaw really it for T14?

Postby FiveSermon » Mon Feb 28, 2011 5:31 am

niederbomb wrote:
FiveSermon wrote:
niederbomb wrote:Is it dumb to choose a T14 school if all you want is a long career in regional Mid Law? (I am thinking either Texas, where I'm from, or Philadelphia, PA)


Go to UT with a scholarship.


Even with UT's large class size and atrocious placement post ITE?


UT with $$ with the career aim of midlaw in Texas is a great place to be.

I don't know much about Philly mid law but I hear Temple is great for Philly. You would think Penn would be good there also but I hear most Penn grads branch out to NYC/DC so it's not as great as one would expect.

mst
Posts: 925
Joined: Sun Jun 06, 2010 3:01 am

Re: Is biglaw really it for T14?

Postby mst » Mon Feb 28, 2011 5:44 am

1)Temple? No. Never.
2)Texas is fine in this situation. Penn is good too. Two good choices, although I'd be hesitant to do Penn @ Sticker, especially if I wasn't prepared for a big-law lifestyle to pay down that massive debt. Really just depends on your risk/reward preferences bro.

User avatar
niederbomb
Posts: 962
Joined: Sat Dec 12, 2009 12:07 pm

Re: Is biglaw really it for T14?

Postby niederbomb » Mon Feb 28, 2011 5:47 am

FiveSermon wrote:
niederbomb wrote:
FiveSermon wrote:
niederbomb wrote:Is it dumb to choose a T14 school if all you want is a long career in regional Mid Law? (I am thinking either Texas, where I'm from, or Philadelphia, PA)


Go to UT with a scholarship.


Even with UT's large class size and atrocious placement post ITE?


UT with $$ with the career aim of midlaw in Texas is a great place to be.

I don't know much about Philly mid law but I hear Temple is great for Philly. You would think Penn would be good there also but I hear most Penn grads branch out to NYC/DC so it's not as great as one would expect.


On the Admitted Students Website, it says about 20% stay in Philly. It doesn't say what percentage of those are originally from Philly, though.

Note: I'm probably not going to pay sticker at Penn. My numbers justify some $$, maybe over 30%, but how much I get is still up in the air. Probably about $140k in debt. UT would be under $80k and possibly close to $40k (if the Hazlewood Act really pays for law school).

User avatar
thesealocust
Posts: 8442
Joined: Mon Oct 20, 2008 8:50 pm

Re: Is biglaw really it for T14?

Postby thesealocust » Mon Feb 28, 2011 8:00 am

Reinhardt wrote:Not everyone is going for BigLaw. A lot of the top students go to federal clerkships. Others gun for ACLU and stuff like that. It's hard to say how many end up dissatisfied with their outcome, but I'd guess less than 50%.


I'd say at least 95% of the people at my school who clerked (a) spent a summer in biglaw and (b) have plans to do biglaw after clerking. Clerking is just a brief interlude in a career.

I'd also say that around 90%, maybe even more, of the class tried to get big law during fall recruiting.

People wind up other places, and many realize during fall recruiting that big law isn't for them, but pretty much everyone can be classified as "gunning for big law" - at least at UVA.

gmreplay
Posts: 171
Joined: Wed May 13, 2009 6:47 pm

Re: Is biglaw really it for T14?

Postby gmreplay » Mon Feb 28, 2011 11:38 am

thesealocust wrote:
Reinhardt wrote:Not everyone is going for BigLaw. A lot of the top students go to federal clerkships. Others gun for ACLU and stuff like that. It's hard to say how many end up dissatisfied with their outcome, but I'd guess less than 50%.


I'd say at least 95% of the people at my school who clerked (a) spent a summer in biglaw and (b) have plans to do biglaw after clerking. Clerking is just a brief interlude in a career.

I'd also say that around 90%, maybe even more, of the class tried to get big law during fall recruiting.

People wind up other places, and many realize during fall recruiting that big law isn't for them, but pretty much everyone can be classified as "gunning for big law" - at least at UVA.


This. Clerkships are just one prestigious step on the way to a prestigious biglaw career. As to the ACLU and many other PI jobs, my understanding is that they don't hire straight out of law school... which means you'll probably need a biglaw job first.

sealocust, of the people who realize biglaw isn't for them, what do they end up shooting for in the end?

User avatar
thesealocust
Posts: 8442
Joined: Mon Oct 20, 2008 8:50 pm

Re: Is biglaw really it for T14?

Postby thesealocust » Mon Feb 28, 2011 12:31 pm

gmreplay wrote:sealocust, of the people who realize biglaw isn't for them, what do they end up shooting for in the end?


Some people want to do public defense and have their hearts set there, others prosecution. Both are fairly common amongst the set of not-going-for-big-law. A few people grab consultancy gigs after realizing they're more interested in the business end of things. Many people word for federal agencies. A few follow politic interests and work for congress (legal staff for a committee is an incredible job and resume boost). A few look to public interest umbrella organizations like the ACLU, but there are others. A very, very small number land in house gigs out of law school, but that tends to not be a 'plan A' type goal.

Relatively few of the above careers are things that would even make somebody forsake a 2L summer associateship to make sure biglaw isn't for them. Most people I know who did not even participate in fall recruiting gunned for DoJ, DA/AUSA, or PD work.

gmreplay
Posts: 171
Joined: Wed May 13, 2009 6:47 pm

Re: Is biglaw really it for T14?

Postby gmreplay » Mon Feb 28, 2011 12:45 pm

thesealocust wrote:Many people word for federal agencies. A few follow politic interests and work for congress (legal staff for a committee is an incredible job and resume boost).


That sounds right up my alley. I wonder why there is so little discussion of these type of jobs on TLS.

A few look to public interest umbrella organizations like the ACLU, but there are others.


So the ACLU does in fact hire right out of law school? Is that the sort of job that one has to express a lot of dedication to PI to get into?

User avatar
BrianGriffintheDog
Posts: 157
Joined: Tue Feb 17, 2009 1:14 am

Re: Is biglaw really it for T14?

Postby BrianGriffintheDog » Mon Feb 28, 2011 1:57 pm

probably the best option to pay off the debt

cornellbeez
Posts: 301
Joined: Sun Aug 12, 2007 12:43 am

Re: Is biglaw really it for T14?

Postby cornellbeez » Mon Feb 28, 2011 2:12 pm

I know that at least 10-15% of my section at Michigan wants to go into PI. I know this because these people didn't even do OCI. I know non-trads who have gotten the highest grades in classes who had something lined up outside of biglaw before law school (in house) and didn't do OCI either. Before I interviewed with biglaw firms at OCI, I also interviewed with midlaw and small law firms. There are people who want to be in secondary markets and therefore are only looking at midlaw firms. I know a couple people who did not do OCI because they only interviewed with smaller firms in their hometown. Short answer - Although the majority of T-14 grads want biglaw, some genuinely do not want biglaw. These people want to go into PI; some (especially non-trads) already have jobs lined up; others want firm work but only in their particular hometown so they never go through OCI. I also know a bunch of people who "half-OCI'd," meaning they only interviewed with their "favorite" firms, which never made sense to me, because with the exception of certain outliers, all firms are pretty much the same.

gmreplay
Posts: 171
Joined: Wed May 13, 2009 6:47 pm

Re: Is biglaw really it for T14?

Postby gmreplay » Mon Feb 28, 2011 4:59 pm

cornellbeez wrote:I know that at least 10-15% of my section at Michigan wants to go into PI. I know this because these people didn't even do OCI. I know non-trads who have gotten the highest grades in classes who had something lined up outside of biglaw before law school (in house) and didn't do OCI either. Before I interviewed with biglaw firms at OCI, I also interviewed with midlaw and small law firms. There are people who want to be in secondary markets and therefore are only looking at midlaw firms. I know a couple people who did not do OCI because they only interviewed with smaller firms in their hometown. Short answer - Although the majority of T-14 grads want biglaw, some genuinely do not want biglaw. These people want to go into PI; some (especially non-trads) already have jobs lined up; others want firm work but only in their particular hometown so they never go through OCI. I also know a bunch of people who "half-OCI'd," meaning they only interviewed with their "favorite" firms, which never made sense to me, because with the exception of certain outliers, all firms are pretty much the same.


Very interesting. Very detailed. Thank you!

Do midlaw/small law firms generally pay salaries that are acceptable for someone with 150k in debt from law school? Do you pigeon hole your career if you do mid/small law?

bigben
Posts: 703
Joined: Sat Sep 29, 2007 2:44 pm

Re: Is biglaw really it for T14?

Postby bigben » Mon Feb 28, 2011 8:59 pm

niederbomb wrote:Is it dumb to choose a T14 school if all you want is a long career in regional Mid Law? (I am thinking either Texas, where I'm from, or Philadelphia, PA).

Trying to choose between loads of debt at MVP and UT with very little debt.

Not at all. Decent midlaw firms like T14 grads as much as the next firm, and midlaw isn't really any easier to get than biglaw, in fact it's often harder. I'm not particular familiar with the situation at UT but I can't imagine more than 30-40% are getting biglaw or 100k+ midlaw ITE. Probably much less.

bigben
Posts: 703
Joined: Sat Sep 29, 2007 2:44 pm

Re: Is biglaw really it for T14?

Postby bigben » Mon Feb 28, 2011 9:30 pm

gmreplay wrote:
cornellbeez wrote:I know that at least 10-15% of my section at Michigan wants to go into PI. I know this because these people didn't even do OCI. I know non-trads who have gotten the highest grades in classes who had something lined up outside of biglaw before law school (in house) and didn't do OCI either. Before I interviewed with biglaw firms at OCI, I also interviewed with midlaw and small law firms. There are people who want to be in secondary markets and therefore are only looking at midlaw firms. I know a couple people who did not do OCI because they only interviewed with smaller firms in their hometown. Short answer - Although the majority of T-14 grads want biglaw, some genuinely do not want biglaw. These people want to go into PI; some (especially non-trads) already have jobs lined up; others want firm work but only in their particular hometown so they never go through OCI. I also know a bunch of people who "half-OCI'd," meaning they only interviewed with their "favorite" firms, which never made sense to me, because with the exception of certain outliers, all firms are pretty much the same.


Very interesting. Very detailed. Thank you!

Do midlaw/small law firms generally pay salaries that are acceptable for someone with 150k in debt from law school? Do you pigeon hole your career if you do mid/small law?

I'd say that 'midlaw' refers to firms around 100+ attorneys that pay 90k - 130k to first year associates. Midlaw firms are kind of like biglaw firms that are smaller and cheaper. These might be firms in large markets offering biglaw-type services at a discount, or firms in smaller markets basically charging top rates for that market. This is a really tiny segment of the market compared to biglaw and everything below.

Most everything outside of biglaw and midlaw pays a lot less at the entry level, with the average probably around 40-50k. There are a wide range of practices this might involve. It's very rare to work your way up into midlaw, much less biglaw, if you don't start out there. Basically if you build a lucrative practice from the ground up, some midlaw firm might buy you out.

As far as being pigeon-holed into a type of work, basically everyone, biglaw or not, is more or less pigeon-holed by the time they pick a practice area and practice it for a few years. At least as far as law firm private practice goes.

FiveSermon
Posts: 1507
Joined: Tue Dec 14, 2010 6:56 pm

Re: Is biglaw really it for T14?

Postby FiveSermon » Mon Feb 28, 2011 9:31 pm

Isn't midlaw a myth? Like the loch ness monster?

gmreplay
Posts: 171
Joined: Wed May 13, 2009 6:47 pm

Re: Is biglaw really it for T14?

Postby gmreplay » Mon Feb 28, 2011 9:53 pm

bigben wrote:I'd say that 'midlaw' refers to firms around 100+ attorneys that pay 90k - 130k to first year associates. Midlaw firms are kind of like biglaw firms that are smaller and cheaper. These might be firms in large markets offering biglaw-type services at a discount, or firms in smaller markets basically charging top rates for that market. This is a really tiny segment of the market compared to biglaw and everything below.

Most everything outside of biglaw and midlaw pays a lot less at the entry level, with the average probably around 40-50k. There are a wide range of practices this might involve. It's very rare to work your way up into midlaw, much less biglaw, if you don't start out there. Basically if you build a lucrative practice from the ground up, some midlaw firm might buy you out.

As far as being pigeon-holed into a type of work, basically everyone, biglaw or not, is more or less pigeon-holed by the time they pick a practice area and practice it for a few years. At least as far as law firm private practice goes.


Doesn't a 40-50k salary with 150k in debt basically mean you're screwed? Unless you can LRAP your way out it seems like anything but biglaw is a losing proposition.

bigben
Posts: 703
Joined: Sat Sep 29, 2007 2:44 pm

Re: Is biglaw really it for T14?

Postby bigben » Mon Feb 28, 2011 10:05 pm

gmreplay wrote:Doesn't a 40-50k salary with 150k in debt basically mean you're screwed? Unless you can LRAP your way out it seems like anything but biglaw is a losing proposition.

Yes. Law school generally isn't a good investment at a 150k price point or even 75k unless you're getting biglaw or midlaw. That's regardless of whether you are taking out loans or paying in cash.

User avatar
rayiner
Posts: 6184
Joined: Thu Dec 11, 2008 11:43 am

Re: Is biglaw really it for T14?

Postby rayiner » Mon Feb 28, 2011 10:12 pm

thesealocust wrote:
Reinhardt wrote:Not everyone is going for BigLaw. A lot of the top students go to federal clerkships. Others gun for ACLU and stuff like that. It's hard to say how many end up dissatisfied with their outcome, but I'd guess less than 50%.


I'd say at least 95% of the people at my school who clerked (a) spent a summer in biglaw and (b) have plans to do biglaw after clerking. Clerking is just a brief interlude in a career.

I'd also say that around 90%, maybe even more, of the class tried to get big law during fall recruiting.

People wind up other places, and many realize during fall recruiting that big law isn't for them, but pretty much everyone can be classified as "gunning for big law" - at least at UVA.


Fair, but the NLJ250 numbers don't count people who got 2L SAs, but rather people who took jobs on graduation.

That said, the difference is narrow. C/O 2010 at Michigan had 8% of the class do federal clerkships. 45% NLJ250 + 8% clerkships = 53%. Over half, but barely so.

gmreplay
Posts: 171
Joined: Wed May 13, 2009 6:47 pm

Re: Is biglaw really it for T14?

Postby gmreplay » Mon Feb 28, 2011 11:53 pm

bigben wrote:
gmreplay wrote:Doesn't a 40-50k salary with 150k in debt basically mean you're screwed? Unless you can LRAP your way out it seems like anything but biglaw is a losing proposition.

Yes. Law school generally isn't a good investment at a 150k price point or even 75k unless you're getting biglaw or midlaw. That's regardless of whether you are taking out loans or paying in cash.


So who is supposed to staff government/PI positions?

Doesn't anyone find the concept of a 65-80 hour workweek a little bothersome? Frankly I find the biglaw hours on the high end to be perverse.

User avatar
rayiner
Posts: 6184
Joined: Thu Dec 11, 2008 11:43 am

Re: Is biglaw really it for T14?

Postby rayiner » Tue Mar 01, 2011 12:02 am

gmreplay wrote:Doesn't anyone find the concept of a 65-80 hour workweek a little bothersome? Frankly I find the biglaw hours on the high end to be perverse.


Lot's of people. But how much overlap is there between that set and the set of law school students, who think it is a good idea to spent the best years of their life reading cases for 60 hours/week?




Return to “Legal Employment”

Who is online

The online users are hidden on this forum.