cornell employment stats question

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theturkeyisfat
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cornell employment stats question

Postby theturkeyisfat » Wed Jun 15, 2011 1:53 am

i just got off of cornell's "reserve" list, and i'm weighing their offer against a ~22k/yr offer from vandy.

the stats on this form (http://www.lawschool.cornell.edu/career ... lstats.pdf) look really good. in every class 135-150 out of 185-195 students got jobs at "very large" firms, or firms with over 100 lawyers. this comes out to about 75% of the class per year.

obviously, not all of these firms are among the 250 largest, as cornell's placement has ranged from 40-58% into those. also, they're obviously not all market-paying. i was wondering, though, what is the low to middle end of the salaries for associates hired in to the less prestigious, but still large, firms?

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Re: cornell employment stats question

Postby quakeroats » Wed Jun 15, 2011 2:00 am

theturkeyisfat wrote:i just got off of cornell's "reserve" list, and i'm weighing their offer against a ~22k/yr offer from vandy.

the stats on this form (http://www.lawschool.cornell.edu/career ... lstats.pdf) look really good. in every class 135-150 out of 185-195 students got jobs at "very large" firms, or firms with over 100 lawyers. this comes out to about 75% of the class per year.

obviously, not all of these firms are among the 250 largest, as cornell's placement has ranged from 40-58% into those. also, they're obviously not all market-paying. i was wondering, though, what is the low to middle end of the salaries for associates hired in to the less prestigious, but still large, firms?


Don't trust that data. It's spread over several years, and doesn't give you enough information to be helpful.

http://abovethelaw.com/2010/07/biglaw-e ... -a-debate/

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Re: cornell employment stats question

Postby theturkeyisfat » Wed Jun 15, 2011 2:03 am

quakeroats wrote:
theturkeyisfat wrote:i just got off of cornell's "reserve" list, and i'm weighing their offer against a ~22k/yr offer from vandy.

the stats on this form (http://www.lawschool.cornell.edu/career ... lstats.pdf) look really good. in every class 135-150 out of 185-195 students got jobs at "very large" firms, or firms with over 100 lawyers. this comes out to about 75% of the class per year.

obviously, not all of these firms are among the 250 largest, as cornell's placement has ranged from 40-58% into those. also, they're obviously not all market-paying. i was wondering, though, what is the low to middle end of the salaries for associates hired in to the less prestigious, but still large, firms?


Don't trust that data. It's spread over several years, and doesn't give you enough information to be helpful.

http://abovethelaw.com/2010/07/biglaw-e ... -a-debate/


my post generalized, but if you check out the link, it's broken down year-by-year and the numbers are surprisingly consistent.

i want to look at these numbers with a heavy dose of skepticism, because that's how you should analyze the statements of someone trying to sell you something, but i don't see any room for number-fudging here unless they flat-out lied. if you have any other criticisms of that data, please let me know.

otherwise, i'd love to know.. what are these other, smaller but still large firms like?

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Re: cornell employment stats question

Postby Rock-N-Roll » Wed Jun 15, 2011 2:08 am

theturkeyisfat wrote:i was wondering, though, what is the low to middle end of the salaries for associates hired in to the less prestigious, but still large, firms?


Wow. Not trying to judge, but you're really taking the value assessment of these schools pretty far here.

The hypothetical I think you're implying would be you going to Cornell, and not being towards the top of the class, and still landing a job, but not a top 250 firm job. And then I guess you are wondering if in this implied hypothetical you would make enough money to have Cornell be a better value than Vandy with a scholarship.

Are there no other non-hypothetical or non-fiscal related factors in play?

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Re: cornell employment stats question

Postby theturkeyisfat » Wed Jun 15, 2011 2:13 am

Rock-N-Roll wrote:
theturkeyisfat wrote:i was wondering, though, what is the low to middle end of the salaries for associates hired in to the less prestigious, but still large, firms?


Wow. Not trying to judge, but you're really taking the value assessment of these schools pretty far here.

The hypothetical I think you're implying would be you going to Cornell, and not being towards the top of the class, and still landing a job, but not a top 250 firm job. And then I guess you are wondering if in this implied hypothetical you would make enough money to have Cornell be a better value than Vandy with a scholarship.

Are there no other non-fiscal related factors in play?


there are other factors - i'd like to practice in chicago or sf, but i'm also very open to nyc, for example. well, actually that and the whole debt-vs-job prospects (short-term and long-term) thing are what i'll base my decision upon.

i think it's a good question to ask - if these smaller large firms pay good money, then cornell seems like an amazing decision. if not, then i might have to think about this decision a little more.

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Re: cornell employment stats question

Postby theturkeyisfat » Wed Jun 15, 2011 2:49 am

omg i just saw the doc review thread...

i hope these aren't doc review/temp jobs?

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Re: cornell employment stats question

Postby Helmholtz » Wed Jun 15, 2011 2:58 am

Basically, if OCS publishes something, and makes it available to the public, don't rely on it being useful or meaningful.

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Re: cornell employment stats question

Postby Rock-N-Roll » Wed Jun 15, 2011 3:10 am

theturkeyisfat wrote:there are other factors - i'd like to practice in chicago or sf, but i'm also very open to nyc, for example. well, actually that and the whole debt-vs-job prospects (short-term and long-term) thing are what i'll base my decision upon.


Okay. Well, what about this more optimistic hypothetical then: Say you are at or towards the top of the class at each school would you then have equal success getting jobs in all of your desired markets? I personally think that that might be a better way to compare the two schools in terms of value they might offer you. Who comes to their OCIs and are associates from these schools well represented in law firms that you desire to work for?

The employment data that law schools make available can be tricky to navigate. While the data might be helpful in a general sense, I feel like what's out there doesn't really help to delineate the finer differences in value between one top-school and another in the way that you (and me and other TLSers) are after.

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Re: cornell employment stats question

Postby theturkeyisfat » Wed Jun 15, 2011 3:13 am

Helmholtz wrote:Basically, if OCS publishes something, and makes it available to the public, don't rely on it being useful or meaningful.


I understand this, and I'm all for being skeptical about published employment numbers. I'm a little hesitant to believe that schools would resort to straight-up lying about their employment statistics, though. For example, a number of schools still report an average starting salary of 160k for their grads when this is obviously not the case at most of these schools. To get to this number, they usually keep reporting 2008 numbers and also only report the salary of people who both responded to the survey and decided to report their salary.

I don't see any of those tricks being used here though. The numbers are current and the data accounts for about 90% of each class. So if these numbers are to be doubted, what did Cornell due to manufacture them? I don't see anything they could have done besides outright lying (which would shock me) or somehow reporting temp or contract work (which would be a bitch move).

And also, there are firms that employ over 100 lawyers but aren't part of the nlj 250. Maybe, just maybe, Cornell grads have success landing jobs there.

Or maybe Cornell just lies or reports temp jobs as big firm jobs. I dunno.

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Re: cornell employment stats question

Postby Rock-N-Roll » Wed Jun 15, 2011 3:20 am

theturkeyisfat wrote:
Helmholtz wrote:Basically, if OCS publishes something, and makes it available to the public, don't rely on it being useful or meaningful.


I understand this, and I'm all for being skeptical about published employment numbers. I'm a little hesitant to believe that schools would resort to straight-up lying about their employment statistics, though. For example, a number of schools still report an average starting salary of 160k for their grads when this is obviously not the case at most of these schools. To get to this number, they usually keep reporting 2008 numbers and also only report the salary of people who both responded to the survey and decided to report their salary.

I don't see any of those tricks being used here though. The numbers are current and the data accounts for about 90% of each class. So if these numbers are to be doubted, what did Cornell due to manufacture them? I don't see anything they could have done besides outright lying (which would shock me) or somehow reporting temp or contract work (which would be a bitch move).

And also, there are firms that employ over 100 lawyers but aren't part of the nlj 250. Maybe, just maybe, Cornell grads have success landing jobs there.

Or maybe Cornell just lies or reports temp jobs as big firm jobs. I dunno.


I think you misread his post. It seems like he said what I tried to say in my longer post above which is that the data doesn't help but not (necessarily) because it is false.

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Re: cornell employment stats question

Postby theturkeyisfat » Wed Jun 15, 2011 3:24 am

Rock-N-Roll wrote:
theturkeyisfat wrote:there are other factors - i'd like to practice in chicago or sf, but i'm also very open to nyc, for example. well, actually that and the whole debt-vs-job prospects (short-term and long-term) thing are what i'll base my decision upon.


Okay. Well, what about this more optimistic hypothetical then: Say you are at or towards the top of the class at each school would you then have equal success getting jobs in all of your desired markets? I personally think that that might be a better way to compare the two schools in terms of value they might offer you. Who comes to their OCIs and are associates from these schools well represented in law firms that you desire to work for?

The employment data that law schools make available can be tricky to navigate. While the data might be helpful in a general sense, I feel like what's out there doesn't really help to delineate the finer differences in value between one top-school and another in the way that you (and me and other TLSers) are after.


I've taken the "top of the class at vandy" hypothetical and concluded that, if I were in that situation, it would open up a lot of doors for me and allow me to find a good job in Cali or Chicago. However, I don't want to take landing in the top of my class as a given.

As for firms that visit vandy and Cornell, I haven't looked into that enough yet, but from what I've gathered Cornell does attract some very very nice firms that don't visit vandy. I also think that the Cornell name will travel better to these other markets and resonate more with clients.

So I've decided that Cornell is a better fit. But the question is whether it is $75,000 better, and the answer to that has a lot to do with what type of jobs will be available to me if I don't end up at the top of my class. I'm basically trying to see how risky Cornell is.

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Re: cornell employment stats question

Postby theturkeyisfat » Wed Jun 15, 2011 3:26 am

Rock-N-Roll wrote:
theturkeyisfat wrote:
Helmholtz wrote:Basically, if OCS publishes something, and makes it available to the public, don't rely on it being useful or meaningful.


I understand this, and I'm all for being skeptical about published employment numbers. I'm a little hesitant to believe that schools would resort to straight-up lying about their employment statistics, though. For example, a number of schools still report an average starting salary of 160k for their grads when this is obviously not the case at most of these schools. To get to this number, they usually keep reporting 2008 numbers and also only report the salary of people who both responded to the survey and decided to report their salary.

I don't see any of those tricks being used here though. The numbers are current and the data accounts for about 90% of each class. So if these numbers are to be doubted, what did Cornell due to manufacture them? I don't see anything they could have done besides outright lying (which would shock me) or somehow reporting temp or contract work (which would be a bitch move).

And also, there are firms that employ over 100 lawyers but aren't part of the nlj 250. Maybe, just maybe, Cornell grads have success landing jobs there.

Or maybe Cornell just lies or reports temp jobs as big firm jobs. I dunno.


I think you misread his post. It seems like he said what I tried to say in my longer post above which is that the data doesn't help but not (necessarily) because it is false.


Whoops my bad, thanks for the clarification. I know the data is kinda vague as is, and that's why I started this thread - to find out what these phantom/other big firm jobs are like.

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Re: cornell employment stats question

Postby Rock-N-Roll » Wed Jun 15, 2011 3:28 am

Here's one simple example of where the data is limited:

Let's say that the data shows that 40% get big law at school A and 30% at B.

According to the data A would seem superior, but we have no idea how many students at A applied to big law and were unsuccessful.

What if it actually turned out that 80% of students at A applied for big law with only half getting it and at B everyone who went for big law got it?

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Re: cornell employment stats question

Postby Rock-N-Roll » Wed Jun 15, 2011 3:32 am

theturkeyisfat wrote:I know the data is kinda vague as is, and that's why I started this thread - to find out what these phantom/other big firm jobs are like.


Well I guess if that particular data point is an important part of your decision, I hope someone can help you out...

Maybe you could ask them over at Cornell's career services office whether those non-250 jobs pay market?

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Re: cornell employment stats question

Postby theturkeyisfat » Wed Jun 15, 2011 3:38 am

Rock-N-Roll wrote:Here's one simple example of where the data is limited:

Let's say that the data shows that 40% get big law at school A and 30% at B.

According to the data A would seem superior, but we have no idea how many students at A applied to big law and were unsuccessful.

What if it actually turned out that 80% of students at A applied for big law with only half getting it and at B everyone who went for big law got it?


This is a good point, you're right - I can't assume that the same number of people want big firm jobs out of both schools. In fact, the people that Cornell are probably more like to be the ones that were aiming for those from the beginning.

That said, I think the number of people getting good-paying firm jobs is one of the better metrics available for assessing a school's career prospects.

I understand your point, rock and roll. I just wanna know, what are these 100 lawyer firm jobs like? If someone can provide some insight about that, I'd be really grateful.
I'll call the career services office tomorrow and ask them about it. And of course, I'll have to take their answer with a big grain if salt..
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Re: cornell employment stats question

Postby Helmholtz » Wed Jun 15, 2011 3:38 am

theturkeyisfat wrote:Or maybe Cornell just lies or reports temp jobs as big firm jobs. I dunno.


I don't think they're outright lying, but you can bet that if they can somehow count temp jobs under "working for a large firm," they would do it without blinking.

First of all, I think it's disingenuous to count any firm over 100 attorneys as a "Very Large Firm." There are law firms out in Buffalo or Rochester or Syracuse that are larger than 100 attorneys, start their associates out at $90k or less, and I don't think they're the type of firms pictured in your head when somebody tells you they're employed at a "Very Large Firm." I'm assuming that you've read this article: http://www.nytimes.com/2011/05/24/busin ... .html?_r=1 . Any OCS would have no qualms with scratching the "biglaw" box if somebody got hired for a "Career Associate" position in a law office in Dayton or Wheeling that pays $50,000.

I just think the OCSs play upon people's assumptions, without offering more detailed analysis, because that wouldn't make them look as good. It's really annoying that the people who are supposed to be the ones dishing out honest and hard facts on your employment chances are also responsible for what boils down to advertising for the school.

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Re: cornell employment stats question

Postby Helmholtz » Wed Jun 15, 2011 3:39 am

theturkeyisfat wrote:I understand your point, rock and roll. I just wanna know, what are these 100 lawyer firm jobs like? If someone can provide some insight about that, I'd be really grateful.


They could be anything from super-prestigious appellate litigation work in DC to low-level doc review in Wheeling. I'm not sure there is a standard answer.

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Re: cornell employment stats question

Postby theturkeyisfat » Wed Jun 15, 2011 3:47 am

Holtz, I'm gonna ask them specifically about temp jobs tomorrow.

As for jobs in Rochester and such, I realized that a lot of these jobs would be in the 80 to 100k range, but that's not a bad outcome for being below median in my opinion. When I counted the employers from the detailed list that vandy sent me, I calculated that about 50% of people got 90k plus or a prestigious clerkship. If all those 100 firm jobs pay in that same range, then that would mean cornell is placing well over 80% of its class into 90k+ or good clerkships... Which is much, much better than vandy.

But I'm not quite sure what their data means...

Btw, vandy's transparency was beautiful

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Re: cornell employment stats question

Postby Anonymous User » Wed Jun 15, 2011 7:01 am

Helmholtz wrote:
theturkeyisfat wrote:Or maybe Cornell just lies or reports temp jobs as big firm jobs. I dunno.


I don't think they're outright lying, but you can bet that if they can somehow count temp jobs under "working for a large firm," they would do it without blinking.

First of all, I think it's disingenuous to count any firm over 100 attorneys as a "Very Large Firm." There are law firms out in Buffalo or Rochester or Syracuse that are larger than 100 attorneys, start their associates out at $90k or less, and I don't think they're the type of firms pictured in your head when somebody tells you they're employed at a "Very Large Firm." I'm assuming that you've read this article: http://www.nytimes.com/2011/05/24/busin ... .html?_r=1 . Any OCS would have no qualms with scratching the "biglaw" box if somebody got hired for a "Career Associate" position in a law office in Dayton or Wheeling that pays $50,000.

I just think the OCSs play upon people's assumptions, without offering more detailed analysis, because that wouldn't make them look as good. It's really annoying that the people who are supposed to be the ones dishing out honest and hard facts on your employment chances are also responsible for what boils down to advertising for the school.

Anonymous so as not to be outed.

Believe it or not, Upstate New York has a lot of major corporations, banks, etc., who require representation for various matters.

I'm summering at one of those firms in Rochester or Syracuse, and it doesn't seem at all different from the V50 firms my friends are working at in New York, except people seem to generally be nicer and go home before 8:00 most nights. The firm does the exact same kind of work V50 firms do, just for clients who are either in the Upstate region or who are based in the city but are being sued Upstate or are acquiring a company from Upstate or whatnot. So I think it's actually exactly what people think of when they think of a "very large firm," just with a slightly better quality of life. And yes, I have my own office with a window, and yes, I have a secretary, and yes, I have a firm blackberry.

And yes, $90K goes just as far if not farther in Upstate NY than $160K does in the city.
Last edited by Anonymous User on Wed Jun 15, 2011 7:05 am, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: cornell employment stats question

Postby Anonymous User » Wed Jun 15, 2011 7:04 am

Annnd I tried to fix something in my post and instead just posted again accidentally.

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Re: cornell employment stats question

Postby thesealocust » Wed Jun 15, 2011 8:47 am

Don't worry about temp jobs corrupting the data set. Attorneys with temp gigs aren't hired by firms, they're hired by agencies that do the staffing on a temporary basis. Cornell is a great school, there's no doubt some people fall through the cracks every year but it's just not the case that substantial portions of its graduates wind up temping.

Any firm with 100+ lawyers will pay a livable wage, but as discussed some might not be writing 6-figure checks to first year associates. Still, the overwhelming majority of grads in that category each year from Cornell are likely in run of the mill Vault-style big law firms making $160/year. If it's fudged a bit to group them in with some people at less flashy but still somewhat large firms, that's going to be happening at the margin.

The overall answer to your question is that it's impossible to say whether Cornell or Vandy would be better for you. $75K is a lot of money but Cornell will give you a better shot at landing a big firm job, especially in NYC. Cornell grads also likely on average clerk for a somewhat more prestigious group of firms, but that probably has a lot to do with geography and prestige isn't exactly deeply meaningful to your daily life as a lawyer.

If it were me I would go to Cornell, because getting a big firm job after working hard 1L year is something absolutely within your reach. That's true at and from Vandy as well, but there's strong evidence that the economic downturn disproportionately impacted schools at Vandy's level and below as firms were choosing a smaller group of schools to recruit from. We could argue all day and all night over placement difference, but especially with eyes on NYC I'd take out an extra 75K in loans for the extra shot at a big firm, so long as I knew I actually wanted at least a few years in such an office. No bonus points for going to Cornell if you think you might decide to be a local prosecutor.

Rock-N-Roll wrote:Here's one simple example of where the data is limited:

Let's say that the data shows that 40% get big law at school A and 30% at B.

According to the data A would seem superior, but we have no idea how many students at A applied to big law and were unsuccessful.

What if it actually turned out that 80% of students at A applied for big law with only half getting it and at B everyone who went for big law got it?


This is a silly hypothetical. You're mathematically correct, but $3,000/week and lavish events ensures that at almost every school with a major OCI almost every student is attempting to get at least a summer in big law. It's understood that big firm jobs are springboards to other professional endeavors and almost nobody is willing to write it off from day one.

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Re: cornell employment stats question

Postby Rock-N-Roll » Wed Jun 15, 2011 6:18 pm

thesealocust wrote:
Rock-N-Roll wrote:Here's one simple example of where the data is limited:

Let's say that the data shows that 40% get big law at school A and 30% at B.

According to the data A would seem superior, but we have no idea how many students at A applied to big law and were unsuccessful.

What if it actually turned out that 80% of students at A applied for big law with only half getting it and at B everyone who went for big law got it?


This is a silly hypothetical. You're mathematically correct, but $3,000/week and lavish events ensures that at almost every school with a major OCI almost every student is attempting to get at least a summer in big law. It's understood that big firm jobs are springboards to other professional endeavors and almost nobody is willing to write it off from day one.


My hypothetical was simplistic, which I acknowledged at the beginning of my post, but I think the point is valid. The denominator of total students applied to big law could differ enough from top school to top school that having that data point would help applicants make meaningful value distinctions between schools.

If you were correct in your claim that the total students applied denominator was irrelevant because "at almost every school with a major OCI almost every student is attempting to get at least a summer in big law" then what would you make of this graph?

http://www.freeimagehosting.net/uploads/619e48c024.jpg

According to it, in 2009 percentage-wise Yale had the lowest overall NLJ 250 placement out of the entire T14 and Harvard placed fewer overall than NU which by the way had the second strongest placement overall. That doesn't seem right, and I think this data strongly suggests therefore that in '09 a higher percentage of students at Yale and Harvard chose to do other things besides big law, which strongly goes against your anecdotal argument.

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Re: cornell employment stats question

Postby theturkeyisfat » Wed Jun 15, 2011 6:22 pm

Rock-N-Roll wrote:
thesealocust wrote:
Rock-N-Roll wrote:Here's one simple example of where the data is limited:

Let's say that the data shows that 40% get big law at school A and 30% at B.

According to the data A would seem superior, but we have no idea how many students at A applied to big law and were unsuccessful.

What if it actually turned out that 80% of students at A applied for big law with only half getting it and at B everyone who went for big law got it?


This is a silly hypothetical. You're mathematically correct, but $3,000/week and lavish events ensures that at almost every school with a major OCI almost every student is attempting to get at least a summer in big law. It's understood that big firm jobs are springboards to other professional endeavors and almost nobody is willing to write it off from day one.


My hypothetical was simplistic, which I acknowledged at the beginning of my post, but I think the point is valid. The denominator of total students applied to big law could differ enough from top school to top school that having that data point would help applicants make meaningful value distinctions between schools.

If you were correct in your claim that the total students applied denominator was irrelevant because "at almost every school with a major OCI almost every student is attempting to get at least a summer in big law" then what would you make of this graph?

http://www.freeimagehosting.net/uploads/619e48c024.jpg

According to it, in 2009 percentage-wise Yale had the lowest overall NLJ 250 placement out of the entire T14 and Harvard placed fewer overall than NU which by the way had the second strongest placement overall. That doesn't seem right, and I think this data strongly suggests therefore that in '09 a higher percentage of students at Yale and Harvard chose to do other things besides big law, which strongly goes against your anecdotal argument.


Harvard and Yale are outliers. Many of their students get opportunities to do things more prestigious than biglaw.

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Re: cornell employment stats question

Postby Rock-N-Roll » Wed Jun 15, 2011 6:46 pm

theturkeyisfat wrote:
Harvard and Yale are outliers. Many of their students get opportunities to do things more prestigious than biglaw.


My point here all along was that significant differences in students going into big law can exist between top school and top school. How can you so confidently discount HY as outliers relative to other top schools without the data? It's just supposition.

What I'm still trying to get at in general is my belief that schools aren't releasing complete employment data to applicants and they should.

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Re: cornell employment stats question

Postby Anonymous User » Wed Jun 15, 2011 10:11 pm

I just gradauted from Cornell (c/o 2011). I would guess that btw 30-40% (closer to 40%) got "biglaw" (including secondary markets). I would also guess that about 40%, at least, did not have jobs at graduation. At graduation events I stopped asking ppl what they were doign after graduation b/c so many ppl did not have jobs. That being said, the class behind me (2012) seemed to do better at biglaw though, but I don't have any idea how much better.




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