"Suicide Pricing" & the coming law firm crisis

(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.
User avatar
IrwinM.Fletcher
Posts: 1197
Joined: Mon Jun 27, 2011 2:55 pm

Re: "Suicide Pricing" & the coming law firm crisis

Postby IrwinM.Fletcher » Fri Nov 30, 2012 4:21 pm

JCougar wrote:I really think you underestimate the amount of small firms, plaintiff firms, and government agencies that tackle the exact same cases that Biglaw does. For example, in Employment Law, the EEOC is involved in virtually every case, and they have to certify the case before it even gets to Biglaw. The SEC or other similar agencies are involved in many corporate cases, not to mention the DOJ.


Oh cool, so it's pretty easy to just grab elite plaintiff's securities law or DOJ/SEC straight out of law school? I wonder why more people don't just do that.

A big part of your spiel has been that small firms (at least the tiny subset of them you're embracing) and PDs produce better-trained lawyers than biglaw could ever hope to crank out, so people should just go grabs those jobs instead if they wanna be a solid attorney. I don't think anyone wouldn't argue that PDs train people better to do low-level criminal defense work if someone wants to transition into private practice. I mean, no shit, someone who defended indigents might make a better DUI lawyer than someone who did complex commercial lit at Paul Weiss? Mindblowing stuff.

JCougar wrote:And unless you're talking about a handful of small firms in NYC that basically focus only on transactional, there's a lot more that Biglaw does that isn't transactional. I doubt transactional even makes up 30% of all Biglaw jobs. Someone had a chart that broke down the number of positions in Biglaw by department, but I can't find it right now. If I recall correctly, transactional was a decent chunk, but far from the majority. Fortune 500 clients have many more issues than just M&A.


This quote and a couple others make me think you confuse transactional work with pure m&a. You've listed things like real estate as being outside the transactional sphere; they are definitely in it. I would wager transactional jobs represent roughly 50% of work in V100 firms.
Last edited by IrwinM.Fletcher on Fri Nov 30, 2012 4:24 pm, edited 1 time in total.

User avatar
IrwinM.Fletcher
Posts: 1197
Joined: Mon Jun 27, 2011 2:55 pm

Re: "Suicide Pricing" & the coming law firm crisis

Postby IrwinM.Fletcher » Fri Nov 30, 2012 4:22 pm

.

User avatar
JCougar
Posts: 3175
Joined: Tue Dec 30, 2008 8:47 pm

Re: "Suicide Pricing" & the coming law firm crisis

Postby JCougar » Fri Nov 30, 2012 4:24 pm

Anonymous User wrote:Junior associates do grueling, simpler tasks


Exactly. I'm sure you get some good experience mixed in, but I heavily doubt (from what I've heard from basically every other Biglaw associate I know) that the "training" you get is so elite that great attorneys from agencies or smaller firms couldn't lateral in without being completely over their heads.

You don't buy into Yale; Yale buys into you.


Tell that to the people forking over $240K in loans to go there or to similar schools. Even if you end up getting your dream Biglaw job, it's a totally unnecessary and cumbersome expense. And you're not paying for Yale's education, you're paying for Yale's placement. Hence it's a pay-to-play scheme. The purely educational/training value of Yale's degree is similar to that of the majority of Tier 2 schools.

Employers like that stamp of approval because it's hard to distinguish from law students otherwise.


It's more efficient to distinguish people via their work product and their commitment to the career. A 2L summer isn't long enough to effectively measure that.

The real problem is that schools that don't command placement "via their prestige" are still getting paid exorbitant tuition anyway. It shouldn't cost the same to go to Suffolk as it does to Harvard, but it does. That has nothing to do with the prestige of schools or their placement value.


I just don't think that the tuition problem is limited to TTT schools. There's plenty of T10 graduates these days that are royally screwed. Even at elite schools, tuition these days is a gamble with a devastating downside.

You should be lobbying for student loan reform. Make schools with lower job placement eligible for less loan money. That'll drive down the amount of tuition local schools can actually charge, since most students won't pay more than they can borrow. Then you'll actually have the lower-cost local option you seem to want so badly.


Like I said, the tuition problem permeates the most elite law schools. Even schools like Columbia are stuffing dozens of unemployed graduates into school-funded "jobs" to make their job stats look better. And even the people that get Biglaw from elite schools take on far more debt than the average duration of an associate's tenure at a Biglaw firm can help pay off. Attrition is somewhere around 75% after five years. Not all these people have good exit options.

User avatar
JCougar
Posts: 3175
Joined: Tue Dec 30, 2008 8:47 pm

Re: "Suicide Pricing" & the coming law firm crisis

Postby JCougar » Fri Nov 30, 2012 4:27 pm

IrwinM.Fletcher wrote:
JCougar wrote:I really think you underestimate the amount of small firms, plaintiff firms, and government agencies that tackle the exact same cases that Biglaw does. For example, in Employment Law, the EEOC is involved in virtually every case, and they have to certify the case before it even gets to Biglaw. The SEC or other similar agencies are involved in many corporate cases, not to mention the DOJ.


Oh cool, so it's pretty easy to just grab elite plaintiff's securities law or DOJ/SEC straight out of law school? I wonder why more people don't just do that.

A big part of your spiel has been that small firms (at least the tiny subset of them you're embracing) and PDs produce better-trained lawyers than biglaw could ever hope to crank out, so people should just go grabs those jobs instead if they wanna be a solid attorney. I don't think anyone wouldn't argue that PDs train people better to do low-level criminal defense work if someone wants to transition into private practice. I mean, no shit, someone who defended indigents might make a better DUI lawyer than someone who did complex commercial lit at Paul Weiss? Mindblowing stuff.

JCougar wrote:And unless you're talking about a handful of small firms in NYC that basically focus only on transactional, there's a lot more that Biglaw does that isn't transactional. I doubt transactional even makes up 30% of all Biglaw jobs. Someone had a chart that broke down the number of positions in Biglaw by department, but I can't find it right now. If I recall correctly, transactional was a decent chunk, but far from the majority. Fortune 500 clients have many more issues than just M&A.


This quote and a couple others make me think you confuse transactional work with pure m&a. You've listed things like real estate as being outside the transactional sphere; they are definitely in it. I would wager transactional jobs represent roughly 50% of work in V100 firms.


You're actually just conflating/exaggerating/misconstruing a number of things I've said. There's no sense in responding to you in any more detail. In the words of Barney Frank, I might as well argue with my dining room table.

User avatar
dingbat
Posts: 4976
Joined: Wed Jan 11, 2012 9:12 pm

Re: "Suicide Pricing" & the coming law firm crisis

Postby dingbat » Fri Nov 30, 2012 4:35 pm

I love JCougar's argument that a lot of tasks performed by biglaw can be performed by any lawyer. On the corporate side, the tasks any lawyer can do are often done in-house. When a task that can be done in-house is done by an outside firm, it's usually to get a seal of approval, and to put the outside firm's reputation (and money) on the line to ensure that it's all correct.
When work is too complicated to be done in-house, it may get sent to a boutique, if the GC is familiar with a boutique that specializes in that particular task, but, more often than not, it's simpler to work with one firm, that has a track record of doing the work to your requirements, without error and without delay.
Having worked with biglaw, midlaw and boutiques, there's a big difference in the experience. With boutiques, there just wasn't the same type of responsiveness and immediacy. Not only that, the boutique could only handle very specific matters.

Now I know I've not addressed midlaw, which sits somewhere in between, but I gotta run. Either way, the arguments are related.

User avatar
androstan
Posts: 2699
Joined: Mon Jul 19, 2010 8:07 am

Re: "Suicide Pricing" & the coming law firm crisis

Postby androstan » Fri Nov 30, 2012 5:04 pm

Desert Fox wrote:
androstan wrote:tl;dr

SA with a litigation group that outsources all their doc review. Feelgoodsman.


Doc Review seems like a good way to get dem hours in a pinch.


Hours just aren't that hard to get in litigaton, eve w/o DR.

bbmic45
Posts: 25
Joined: Tue Nov 13, 2012 5:31 pm

Re: "Suicide Pricing" & the coming law firm crisis

Postby bbmic45 » Fri Nov 30, 2012 5:29 pm

I have a question, maybe someone with knowledge on the subject could enlighten me.

How did large law firms or the old school analogy to that function before adopting the Cravath model of hiring law students and grooming them internally?

Would the current model make a bit more sense if instead of beginning their first-year associate hiring exclusively from law school OCI, instead hire first-years from actual practicing attorneys? I mean it seems to me that a young attorney practicing for a few years at some small firm doing small business work would be more useful than your average biglaw first-year associate, and many of them would kill to make biglaw money. Am I missing something?

User avatar
dingbat
Posts: 4976
Joined: Wed Jan 11, 2012 9:12 pm

Re: "Suicide Pricing" & the coming law firm crisis

Postby dingbat » Fri Nov 30, 2012 5:44 pm

bbmic45 wrote:I have a question, maybe someone with knowledge on the subject could enlighten me.

How did large law firms or the old school analogy to that function before adopting the Cravath model of hiring law students and grooming them internally?

Would the current model make a bit more sense if instead of beginning their first-year associate hiring exclusively from law school OCI, instead hire first-years from actual practicing attorneys? I mean it seems to me that a young attorney practicing for a few years at some small firm doing small business work would be more useful than your average biglaw first-year associate, and many of them would kill to make biglaw money. Am I missing something?

originally all law firms were small 1-3 lawyer firms. Partners might hire a relative or acquaintance and show him the ropes; if business went well and they were god enough, they'd eventually make partner. If they had too much business, they might bring in a friend. As firms started to get bigger, if they didnt have enough young acquaintances they might hire a young graduate to help with drafts and such. If they proved capable, they would probably make partner. When firms grew even bigger, a lot less made partner.
One day Cravath decided to implement the "up or out" model - anyone who doesn't make partner is fired. Not many firms do this, but there is a certain appeal to it

Anonymous User
Posts: 273582
Joined: Tue Aug 11, 2009 9:32 am

Re: "Suicide Pricing" & the coming law firm crisis

Postby Anonymous User » Fri Nov 30, 2012 5:59 pm

Same associate.

JCougar wrote:
You don't buy into Yale; Yale buys into you.
Tell that to the people forking over $240K in loans to go there or to similar schools. Even if you end up getting your dream Biglaw job, it's a totally unnecessary and cumbersome expense. And you're not paying for Yale's education, you're paying for Yale's placement. Hence it's a pay-to-play scheme. The purely educational/training value of Yale's degree is similar to that of the majority of Tier 2 schools.

I'd agree that the classroom experience at Yale isn't that different from some lower-tier schools. But like I said, employers like that stamp of approval. Firms like knowing the law grad is in some sense better. *Because* the actual classroom education is so similar across schools, quality of education doesn't change much. But different schools have different student bodies, and the top law schools screen students much more rigorously. To attend one of these schools is to have been chosen by them, which is why attending them is valuable.

This is the point which you ignored: Not everyone can get into these schools, no matter how able to pay they are. You can't just pay to play at Yale. You have to get in first.

Your problem with the high cost of tuition is a separate argument. If your argument is that tuition costs are too high everywhere, then obviously that's not caused by the elite schools. Your problem isn't with favoring elite schools over others, your problem is the high cost of going to any school at all.

JCougar wrote:It's more efficient to distinguish people via their work product and their commitment to the career. A 2L summer isn't long enough to effectively measure that.

Adding on to what I just said, what law firms already do is efficient *for them*. They hire law students who were screened on two different levels. First, they're screened by the school which they got into. Second, they're screened by how they did at that school, grades, etc. Then, after those two levels, they bring them in to work for several weeks and evaluate them. All of that together is plenty enough to make a judgment. Most employers do far less than that before hiring someone.

Or are you suggesting that law firms don't hire entry-level attorneys at all? Perhaps they should only hire experienced attorneys. But then who would hire entry-level attorneys? How would they evaluate them? The best employers would probably use the same methods that make sense for law firms now: Focus on institution and grades. Those at the best institutions and with the best grades would still take the best entry-level opportunities. They would still end up first in line at the door to law firms. Nothing would have changed except that you added another layer of screening to the process.

Is your problem with the hiring process or with high tuition? It sounds like it's the high cost of tuition. It honestly doesn't matter how the top law firms hire attorneys if you think wages are driving tuition up. If the real cause of high tuition is people chasing big-dollar jobs, like you claim, then the only thing you can do is eliminate high-paying jobs for attorneys. Otherwise, no matter how law firms recruit, people will chase those jobs.

JCougar wrote:
You should be lobbying for student loan reform. Make schools with lower job placement eligible for less loan money. That'll drive down the amount of tuition local schools can actually charge, since most students won't pay more than they can borrow. Then you'll actually have the lower-cost local option you seem to want so badly.

Like I said, the tuition problem permeates the most elite law schools. Even schools like Columbia are stuffing dozens of unemployed graduates into school-funded "jobs" to make their job stats look better. And even the people that get Biglaw from elite schools take on far more debt than the average duration of an associate's tenure at a Biglaw firm can help pay off. Attrition is somewhere around 75% after five years. Not all these people have good exit options.

None of this goes against what I told you. In fact it reinforces what I told you. If tuition is so out of control that even those who make BigLaw can't afford it, then it can't just be caused by BigLaw salaries. You're actually railing against employers paying attorneys well, when that's not the real problem. The real problem is infinite free student loans that make it easy to gamble no matter what the risks. That's why so many people keep paying such high tuition. People will keep gambling as long as you keep giving them a free line of credit. If you want real reform you should stop crusading against jobs and start lobbying for changes that address your concerns.

User avatar
JCougar
Posts: 3175
Joined: Tue Dec 30, 2008 8:47 pm

Re: "Suicide Pricing" & the coming law firm crisis

Postby JCougar » Fri Nov 30, 2012 6:16 pm

bbmic45 wrote:I have a question, maybe someone with knowledge on the subject could enlighten me.

How did large law firms or the old school analogy to that function before adopting the Cravath model of hiring law students and grooming them internally?

Would the current model make a bit more sense if instead of beginning their first-year associate hiring exclusively from law school OCI, instead hire first-years from actual practicing attorneys? I mean it seems to me that a young attorney practicing for a few years at some small firm doing small business work would be more useful than your average biglaw first-year associate, and many of them would kill to make biglaw money. Am I missing something?


No, you're not missing anything. This is the point.

User avatar
dingbat
Posts: 4976
Joined: Wed Jan 11, 2012 9:12 pm

Re: "Suicide Pricing" & the coming law firm crisis

Postby dingbat » Fri Nov 30, 2012 6:28 pm

JCougar wrote:
bbmic45 wrote:I have a question, maybe someone with knowledge on the subject could enlighten me.

How did large law firms or the old school analogy to that function before adopting the Cravath model of hiring law students and grooming them internally?

Would the current model make a bit more sense if instead of beginning their first-year associate hiring exclusively from law school OCI, instead hire first-years from actual practicing attorneys? I mean it seems to me that a young attorney practicing for a few years at some small firm doing small business work would be more useful than your average biglaw first-year associate, and many of them would kill to make biglaw money. Am I missing something?


No, you're not missing anything. This is the point.

So who would be hiring fresh grads?
If a fresh grad needs to gain experience before getting a firm job, they'd probably need to chase ambulances. How does that prepare them for firm work?

As an aside, most big companies do not hire fresh grads, only people who've worked biglaw
As another aside, in most other countries, a law school grad needs to do some kind of apprenticeship under a practicing attorney (or at a law firm) before they can be admitted to the bar.

User avatar
IrwinM.Fletcher
Posts: 1197
Joined: Mon Jun 27, 2011 2:55 pm

Re: "Suicide Pricing" & the coming law firm crisis

Postby IrwinM.Fletcher » Fri Nov 30, 2012 6:37 pm

I remain thoroughly, thoroughly baffled as to how someone can think excessive tuition should be blamed on biglaw salaries and not the current loan structure.

User avatar
dingbat
Posts: 4976
Joined: Wed Jan 11, 2012 9:12 pm

Re: "Suicide Pricing" & the coming law firm crisis

Postby dingbat » Fri Nov 30, 2012 6:41 pm

IrwinM.Fletcher wrote:I remain thoroughly, thoroughly baffled as to how someone can think excessive tuition should be blamed on biglaw salaries and not the current loan structure.

I had written something here, but decided to be nice. Let's just say some people are idiots

User avatar
JCougar
Posts: 3175
Joined: Tue Dec 30, 2008 8:47 pm

Re: "Suicide Pricing" & the coming law firm crisis

Postby JCougar » Fri Nov 30, 2012 6:44 pm

Anonymous User wrote:I'd agree that the classroom experience at Yale isn't that different from some lower-tier schools. But like I said, employers like that stamp of approval. Firms like knowing the law grad is in some sense better. *Because* the actual classroom education is so similar across schools, quality of education doesn't change much. But different schools have different student bodies, and the top law schools screen students much more rigorously. To attend one of these schools is to have been chosen by them, which is why attending them is valuable.


I think you and I are going to disagree signficantly on how effective this screening process actually is. When Biglaw turnover is 75% after five years, I think there's plenty of evidence that the current system is not working. That's almost unheard of in any other industry except for mall retail or the restaurant industry. While the law firms themselves manage to profit off this system anyway, clients do not. And yes, clients are going to move to firms that are better equipped to meet their needs.

This is the point which you ignored: Not everyone can get into these schools, no matter how able to pay they are. You can't just pay to play at Yale. You have to get in first.


Yes, but nearly everyone gets into a range of schools: usually a better school with no scholarship or a worse school with close to a full ride. A lot of students choose the more expensive school not because they will get a more worthwhile education, but simply because of the pay-to-play placement power. So, instead of going to law school for free, they pay $150K in tuition solely to get placed into a better job.

Adding on to what I just said, what law firms already do is efficient *for them*. They hire law students who were screened on two different levels. First, they're screened by the school which they got into. Second, they're screened by how they did at that school, grades, etc. Then, after those two levels, they bring them in to work for several weeks and evaluate them. All of that together is plenty enough to make a judgment. Most employers do far less than that before hiring someone.


Like I said above, the point isn't that it's not effective for law firms--the point is that clients don't view it as an effective use of their money.

Or are you suggesting that law firms don't hire entry-level attorneys at all?


I think a good idea is to either hire laterals with experience (and yes, there is a substantial amount of people getting the kind of experience outside of Biglaw that would help them be a better Biglaw attorney), or to hire everyone as a staff attorney and pay them less, and make their work product, and not their grades, the grounds for becoming an associate.

This might not, at first glance, seem like an appealing option to a lot of law grads, but in the long term, the consequences of such a practice would have beneficial effects for almost everyone involved in the game.

Is your problem with the hiring process or with high tuition? It sounds like it's the high cost of tuition. It honestly doesn't matter how the top law firms hire attorneys if you think wages are driving tuition up. If the real cause of high tuition is people chasing big-dollar jobs, like you claim, then the only thing you can do is eliminate high-paying jobs for attorneys. Otherwise, no matter how law firms recruit, people will chase those jobs.


The cost of tuition is high because people think (many rightfully so) that a school's name alone is what will get you the job. So yes, Biglaw salaries do alter the calculus of how much prospective students are willing to spend on tuition. I'm not necessarily blaming this on Biglaw, but I am saying that, because the connection between school name and placement is so direct--instead of there being an intervening variable like demonstrated work product--it makes the "pay-to-play" tuition fiasco all the more prevelant.

People will always be lured into chosing the more expensive school if the expensive school alone is what will place you, and there are few other intervening variables.

None of this goes against what I told you. In fact it reinforces what I told you. If tuition is so out of control that even those who make BigLaw can't afford it, then it can't just be caused by BigLaw salaries. You're actually railing against employers paying attorneys well, when that's not the real problem. The real problem is infinite free student loans that make it easy to gamble no matter what the risks. That's why so many people keep paying such high tuition. People will keep gambling as long as you keep giving them a free line of credit. If you want real reform you should stop crusading against jobs and start lobbying for changes that address your concerns.


There are multiple problems, I agree. And I'm not blaming Biglaw salaries for the crisis. What I am saying is that if entry-level associate salaries went down to rational levels, tuition would have to steeply drop at almost every law school, because no one in their right mind would pay $240K just for school name alone. I realize that you are construing this as me "blaming" Biglaw salaries for the current crisis, but I hope you can see the difference.

What I am also claiming is that Biglaw associates don't financially realize the benefit from NYC to $160K because most of that extra salary is "captured" by the elite schools in the form of student loan payments. I'd much rather start out at $80K with $80K of school debt than $160K with $240K of school debt.

User avatar
JCougar
Posts: 3175
Joined: Tue Dec 30, 2008 8:47 pm

Re: "Suicide Pricing" & the coming law firm crisis

Postby JCougar » Fri Nov 30, 2012 6:45 pm

IrwinM.Fletcher wrote:I remain thoroughly, thoroughly baffled as to how someone can think excessive tuition should be blamed on biglaw salaries and not the current loan structure.


And I'm thoroughly baffled by some people's continued and repeated ability to completely miss the point.

User avatar
JCougar
Posts: 3175
Joined: Tue Dec 30, 2008 8:47 pm

Re: "Suicide Pricing" & the coming law firm crisis

Postby JCougar » Fri Nov 30, 2012 6:46 pm

dingbat wrote:As another aside, in most other countries, a law school grad needs to do some kind of apprenticeship under a practicing attorney (or at a law firm) before they can be admitted to the bar.


I think this sounds like a great idea.

User avatar
jkpolk
Posts: 896
Joined: Thu Nov 10, 2011 10:44 am

Re: "Suicide Pricing" & the coming law firm crisis

Postby jkpolk » Fri Nov 30, 2012 6:49 pm

JCougar wrote:
dingbat wrote:As another aside, in most other countries, a law school grad needs to do some kind of apprenticeship under a practicing attorney (or at a law firm) before they can be admitted to the bar.


I think this sounds like a great idea.


I think you're butthurt that some people being better than other people

User avatar
JCougar
Posts: 3175
Joined: Tue Dec 30, 2008 8:47 pm

Re: "Suicide Pricing" & the coming law firm crisis

Postby JCougar » Fri Nov 30, 2012 6:50 pm

polkij333 wrote:I think you're butthurt that some people being better than other people


Sorry, but that is not a complete sentence.

User avatar
jkpolk
Posts: 896
Joined: Thu Nov 10, 2011 10:44 am

Re: "Suicide Pricing" & the coming law firm crisis

Postby jkpolk » Fri Nov 30, 2012 6:51 pm

JCougar wrote:
polkij333 wrote:I think you're butthurt that some people being better than other people


Sorry, but that is not a complete sentence.


--ImageRemoved--

User avatar
IrwinM.Fletcher
Posts: 1197
Joined: Mon Jun 27, 2011 2:55 pm

Re: "Suicide Pricing" & the coming law firm crisis

Postby IrwinM.Fletcher » Fri Nov 30, 2012 6:57 pm

JCougar wrote:
IrwinM.Fletcher wrote:I remain thoroughly, thoroughly baffled as to how someone can think excessive tuition should be blamed on biglaw salaries and not the current loan structure.


And I'm thoroughly baffled by some people's continued and repeated ability to completely miss the point.


You keep refining your past dumb statements to make them more nuanced, but it just shows you still have no idea what you are talking about.


JCougar wrote:I am saying that, because the connection between school name and placement is so direct--instead of there being an intervening variable like demonstrated work product--it makes the "pay-to-play" tuition fiasco all the more prevelant.

People will always be lured into chosing the more expensive school if the expensive school alone is what will place you, and there are few other intervening variables.


JCougar wrote:There are multiple problems, I agree. And I'm not blaming Biglaw salaries for the crisis. What I am saying is that if entry-level associate salaries went down to rational levels, tuition would have to steeply drop at almost every law school, because no one in their right mind would pay $240K just for school name alone.


This is where you are just completely off base. If it were based on a rational expenditure of one's resources based on expected future benefit, you would see a more efficient pricing structure in tuition already- Columbia would be 10x as expensive as NYLS. People going to NYLS right now know they have no chance at $160k heading in but they still keep signing up for $50k tuition loans.

Schools will not pump the brakes on tuition because they have ZERO incentive- they currently hold NONE of the risk of default on those loans. It's all on the fed government and the student/sucker. Moral hazard at it's finest. Until the government institutes changes that implement any sort of scheme based on likelihood of loan repayment to base access off of, this will continue unabated in both undergraduate and other professional programs.

User avatar
jawsthegreat
Posts: 792
Joined: Wed Dec 03, 2008 10:51 pm

Re: "Suicide Pricing" & the coming law firm crisis

Postby jawsthegreat » Fri Nov 30, 2012 7:01 pm

JCougar wrote:
Anonymous User wrote:I'd agree that the classroom experience at Yale isn't that different from some lower-tier schools. But like I said, employers like that stamp of approval. Firms like knowing the law grad is in some sense better. *Because* the actual classroom education is so similar across schools, quality of education doesn't change much. But different schools have different student bodies, and the top law schools screen students much more rigorously. To attend one of these schools is to have been chosen by them, which is why attending them is valuable.


I think you and I are going to disagree signficantly on how effective this screening process actually is. When Biglaw turnover is 75% after five years, I think there's plenty of evidence that the current system is not working. That's almost unheard of in any other industry except for mall retail or the restaurant industry. While the law firms themselves manage to profit off this system anyway, clients do not. And yes, clients are going to move to firms that are better equipped to meet their needs.

This is the point which you ignored: Not everyone can get into these schools, no matter how able to pay they are. You can't just pay to play at Yale. You have to get in first.


Yes, but nearly everyone gets into a range of schools: usually a better school with no scholarship or a worse school with close to a full ride. A lot of students choose the more expensive school not because they will get a more worthwhile education, but simply because of the pay-to-play placement power. So, instead of going to law school for free, they pay $150K in tuition solely to get placed into a better job.

Adding on to what I just said, what law firms already do is efficient *for them*. They hire law students who were screened on two different levels. First, they're screened by the school which they got into. Second, they're screened by how they did at that school, grades, etc. Then, after those two levels, they bring them in to work for several weeks and evaluate them. All of that together is plenty enough to make a judgment. Most employers do far less than that before hiring someone.


Like I said above, the point isn't that it's not effective for law firms--the point is that clients don't view it as an effective use of their money.

Or are you suggesting that law firms don't hire entry-level attorneys at all?


I think a good idea is to either hire laterals with experience (and yes, there is a substantial amount of people getting the kind of experience outside of Biglaw that would help them be a better Biglaw attorney), or to hire everyone as a staff attorney and pay them less, and make their work product, and not their grades, the grounds for becoming an associate.

This might not, at first glance, seem like an appealing option to a lot of law grads, but in the long term, the consequences of such a practice would have beneficial effects for almost everyone involved in the game.

Is your problem with the hiring process or with high tuition? It sounds like it's the high cost of tuition. It honestly doesn't matter how the top law firms hire attorneys if you think wages are driving tuition up. If the real cause of high tuition is people chasing big-dollar jobs, like you claim, then the only thing you can do is eliminate high-paying jobs for attorneys. Otherwise, no matter how law firms recruit, people will chase those jobs.


The cost of tuition is high because people think (many rightfully so) that a school's name alone is what will get you the job. So yes, Biglaw salaries do alter the calculus of how much prospective students are willing to spend on tuition. I'm not necessarily blaming this on Biglaw, but I am saying that, because the connection between school name and placement is so direct--instead of there being an intervening variable like demonstrated work product--it makes the "pay-to-play" tuition fiasco all the more prevelant.

People will always be lured into chosing the more expensive school if the expensive school alone is what will place you, and there are few other intervening variables.

None of this goes against what I told you. In fact it reinforces what I told you. If tuition is so out of control that even those who make BigLaw can't afford it, then it can't just be caused by BigLaw salaries. You're actually railing against employers paying attorneys well, when that's not the real problem. The real problem is infinite free student loans that make it easy to gamble no matter what the risks. That's why so many people keep paying such high tuition. People will keep gambling as long as you keep giving them a free line of credit. If you want real reform you should stop crusading against jobs and start lobbying for changes that address your concerns.


There are multiple problems, I agree. And I'm not blaming Biglaw salaries for the crisis. What I am saying is that if entry-level associate salaries went down to rational levels, tuition would have to steeply drop at almost every law school, because no one in their right mind would pay $240K just for school name alone. I realize that you are construing this as me "blaming" Biglaw salaries for the current crisis, but I hope you can see the difference.

What I am also claiming is that Biglaw associates don't financially realize the benefit from NYC to $160K because most of that extra salary is "captured" by the elite schools in the form of student loan payments. I'd much rather start out at $80K with $80K of school debt than $160K with $240K of school debt.


No one in their right mind should pay 150k to go to a TTTT, but they do. You're an idiot, misguided, or willfully ignorant if you think that people wouldn't pay whatever schools charged, as long as they had access to an unlimited amount of student loan $$$.

User avatar
JCougar
Posts: 3175
Joined: Tue Dec 30, 2008 8:47 pm

Re: "Suicide Pricing" & the coming law firm crisis

Postby JCougar » Fri Nov 30, 2012 7:40 pm

IrwinM.Fletcher wrote:This is where you are just completely off base. If it were based on a rational expenditure of one's resources based on expected future benefit, you would see a more efficient pricing structure in tuition already- Columbia would be 10x as expensive as NYLS. People going to NYLS right now know they have no chance at $160k heading in but they still keep signing up for $50k tuition loans.

Schools will not pump the brakes on tuition because they have ZERO incentive- they currently hold NONE of the risk of default on those loans. It's all on the fed government and the student/sucker. Moral hazard at it's finest. Until the government institutes changes that implement any sort of scheme based on likelihood of loan repayment to base access off of, this will continue unabated in both undergraduate and other professional programs.


That's completely irrelevant to anything I said.

For people to pay $200K for a law school, $160K simply has to be plausible, because they will all think they can obtain it. If $160K simply isn't plausible from school name alone, they will react accordingly. Similarly, no matter how bad the school, they all report six figure starting salaries, and even if some students know the statistics might be skewed, the fact that they have a chance is worth the gamble.

Behavior of prospective students isn't completely irrational. They pay more for a better shot at the lottery. It ends up being a poor gamble for most people. But if they know that school name alone won't get them $160K, that takes away one of the biggest drivers for people to pay exorbitant rates for top schools.

This actually isn't a very difficult concept for you to grasp, and yet you continue to fail to grasp it.

User avatar
dingbat
Posts: 4976
Joined: Wed Jan 11, 2012 9:12 pm

Re: "Suicide Pricing" & the coming law firm crisis

Postby dingbat » Fri Nov 30, 2012 7:42 pm

jawsthegreat wrote:
JCougar wrote:stuff
No one in their right mind should pay 150k to go to a TTTT, but they do.You're an idiot, misguided, or willfully ignorant if you think that people wouldn't pay whatever schools charged, as long as they had access to an unlimited amount of student loan $$$.

Fixed

User avatar
SuperCerealBrah
Posts: 244
Joined: Sun Jul 01, 2012 6:34 pm

Re: "Suicide Pricing" & the coming law firm crisis

Postby SuperCerealBrah » Fri Nov 30, 2012 7:43 pm

polkij333 wrote:
JCougar wrote:
dingbat wrote:As another aside, in most other countries, a law school grad needs to do some kind of apprenticeship under a practicing attorney (or at a law firm) before they can be admitted to the bar.


I think this sounds like a great idea.


I think you're butthurt that some people being better than other people


wut?

User avatar
JCougar
Posts: 3175
Joined: Tue Dec 30, 2008 8:47 pm

Re: "Suicide Pricing" & the coming law firm crisis

Postby JCougar » Fri Nov 30, 2012 7:45 pm

jawsthegreat wrote:No one in their right mind should pay 150k to go to a TTTT, but they do. You're an idiot, misguided, or willfully ignorant if you think that people wouldn't pay whatever schools charged, as long as they had access to an unlimited amount of student loan $$$.


Interesting personal attack.

People wouldn't pay whatever schools charged if they knew that the most they could get out of school selection alone was an $80K/year job. I think you are out of touch with reality. The fact that you, and others like you, primarily resort to personal attacks in your responses on here shows the lack of intellectual girth in your thought process. You should try using your ad hominem attacks in your briefs or your oral arguments. I'm sure the judge would love that.




Return to “Legal Employment”

Who is online

The online users are hidden on this forum.