WUSTL Recent Grad (and others) Taking Questions

A forum for applicants and admitted students to ask law students and graduates about law school and the practice of law.
User avatar
TatteredDignity
Posts: 1520
Joined: Fri Jul 04, 2008 2:06 am

Re: WUSTL Recent Grad (and others) Taking Questions

Postby TatteredDignity » Tue Jun 14, 2016 9:15 pm

I appreciate the good work JCoug does educating everyone about the worst-case scenarios from WUSTL. Definitely a healthy perspective for over-optimistic 0Ls.

That said, for any 0Ls reading this thread, WUSTL can make a lot of sense depending on your situation. I'm very happy to have attended (c/o 2014). Just come in with your eyes wide open.

konar
Posts: 36
Joined: Wed Apr 25, 2012 12:17 am

Re: WUSTL Recent Grad (and others) Taking Questions

Postby konar » Tue Jun 14, 2016 9:52 pm

I'll provide a different perspective. Outcomes from one 1L section of 30-35 people of the class of 2015:

11 Biglaw (defined looser than "top 100 firms", but all six figure starting salaries and very good outcomes).
1 120k+ salary Boutique firm
2 Art III Clerks
1 State Supreme Court Clerks
3 Public Interest
1 Prosecutor
1 Stanford Transfer
2 Good in-House jobs
3 JD/MBA

That's one section out of six, but i find it difficult to believe it was such an incredible outlier that the class of 2015 as a whole didn't have pretty good outcomes.

User avatar
sublime
Posts: 15411
Joined: Sun Mar 10, 2013 12:21 pm

Re: WUSTL Recent Grad (and others) Taking Questions

Postby sublime » Tue Jun 14, 2016 9:54 pm

I'm just annoyed that upperclassmen don't have grade cutoffs yet. Wtf. Although it is probably a prof's fault, not the registrar's.

User avatar
njdevils2626
Posts: 384
Joined: Tue Mar 04, 2014 9:53 pm

Re: WUSTL Recent Grad (and others) Taking Questions

Postby njdevils2626 » Tue Jun 14, 2016 10:30 pm

sublime wrote:I'm just annoyed that upperclassmen don't have grade cutoffs yet. Wtf. Although it is probably a prof's fault, not the registrar's.


There are 4 profs who have classes that aren't listed on the grade distributions page yet, so my guess is it's collectively their faults. I'm pretty peeved about it too

User avatar
sublime
Posts: 15411
Joined: Sun Mar 10, 2013 12:21 pm

Re: WUSTL Recent Grad (and others) Taking Questions

Postby sublime » Tue Jun 14, 2016 10:30 pm

njdevils2626 wrote:
sublime wrote:I'm just annoyed that upperclassmen don't have grade cutoffs yet. Wtf. Although it is probably a prof's fault, not the registrar's.


There are 4 profs who have classes that aren't listed on the grade distributions page yet, so my guess is it's collectively their faults. I'm pretty peeved about it too


And I bet like half of those are pass/fail.

acr
Posts: 482
Joined: Tue Jan 07, 2014 11:14 pm

Re: WUSTL Recent Grad (and others) Taking Questions

Postby acr » Tue Jun 14, 2016 10:32 pm

Pro Brono wrote:
valen wrote:Is it better to wait to apply until you find out about journals, or better to apply now and update once you find out?

You're going to find out about journals this weekend. I would just wait


Is this confirmed? Or just based on past years?

User avatar
sublime
Posts: 15411
Joined: Sun Mar 10, 2013 12:21 pm

Re: WUSTL Recent Grad (and others) Taking Questions

Postby sublime » Tue Jun 14, 2016 10:46 pm

acr wrote:
Pro Brono wrote:
valen wrote:Is it better to wait to apply until you find out about journals, or better to apply now and update once you find out?

You're going to find out about journals this weekend. I would just wait


Is this confirmed? Or just based on past years?


I graduated, but I know that for my secondary journal, the last set of grades for the comments were due a few days ago.

User avatar
RareExports
Posts: 642
Joined: Mon Oct 20, 2014 4:12 pm

Re: WUSTL Recent Grad (and others) Taking Questions

Postby RareExports » Wed Jun 15, 2016 9:42 am

For firms that are going to both SEMW and MCGC, should you bid them for both programs or is that considered to be in bad taste?

Pro Brono
Posts: 24
Joined: Tue Mar 04, 2014 12:18 am

Re: WUSTL Recent Grad (and others) Taking Questions

Postby Pro Brono » Wed Jun 15, 2016 11:54 am

JCougar wrote:I didn't realize this until just now, but the Biglaw numbers for c/o 2015 were released a few months ago, and WUSTL came in at 13.53%. That's under the National Law Journal's yearly rankings, which set the cutoff at the 100 largest firms.

That's basically 0 improvement from two years prior. Some people insisted to me that things had gotten better. Maybe the classes in school now will actually catch a break. It's just a warning that the people that are open about whether they got a good job are usually loud about it, and people who haven't gotten one are usually pretty quiet and withdrawn. If that's the number, plenty of people in the top third got screwed...not to mention the bottom 67%.

Most of the people from my class have barely made any progress paying down their debt, even if they got Biglaw. Living on the coasts is extremely expensive, and a lot of people will end up having a very short tenure in Biglaw. And you'll likely spend a few months unemployed/in doc review in between jobs, because the market for laterals is bad, too.

I don't know that the NLJ's rankings are all that great of an indicator of probability of "good job" outcomes (I didn't even know these rankings existed). Relevant employment data (A3 clerkships + 101+ atty firms) for the last five years:
C/o 2011: 21.5%
C/o 2012: 26.3%
C/o 2013: 32.3%
C/o 2014: 31.4%
C/o 2015: 33.8%
(Lawschooltransparency)

The increase is proportional to the bounce-back in firm hiring since the recession, and competitive with WUSTL's peer schools, especially when you consider the huge amount of scholarship money that WUSTL doles out compared to its peers (half of the c/o 2016 was on a full ride, and I think many in the c/o 2017 are).

I definitely agree that your perspective is helpful to ground special snowflake prospective students who think going to law school guarantees them a six figure job. But attending WUSTL isn't the "top 5% or bust" doomsday scenario that I feel like you often portray. The message to send is that it's probably not a good idea to attend WUSTL, any of its peer schools, or possibly any law school at all, at sticker. Taking out $150k+ in loans to come here is almost without exception a terrible financial decision, but that's true of probably any school outside of HYS.

Having said that, WUSTL can be a great option for some people, particularly those who get large scholarships. I graduated with minimal debt and a job at a firm that I could have ended up at from a higher ranked school for way more money, and I wasn't at the top of my class. Yeah, the people who paid sticker and had median grades are in a shitty situation right now, as are students who paid sticker and got mediocre grades at any non-t14/t10. However, as the job market bounces back, job placement at WUSTL has increased roughly on par with comparable schools, and can be a really solid option depending on your circumstances.

User avatar
Jmart082
Posts: 252
Joined: Thu Feb 06, 2014 5:52 pm

Re: WUSTL Recent Grad (and others) Taking Questions

Postby Jmart082 » Wed Jun 15, 2016 12:38 pm

Pro Brono wrote:
JCougar wrote:I didn't realize this until just now, but the Biglaw numbers for c/o 2015 were released a few months ago, and WUSTL came in at 13.53%. That's under the National Law Journal's yearly rankings, which set the cutoff at the 100 largest firms.

That's basically 0 improvement from two years prior. Some people insisted to me that things had gotten better. Maybe the classes in school now will actually catch a break. It's just a warning that the people that are open about whether they got a good job are usually loud about it, and people who haven't gotten one are usually pretty quiet and withdrawn. If that's the number, plenty of people in the top third got screwed...not to mention the bottom 67%.

Most of the people from my class have barely made any progress paying down their debt, even if they got Biglaw. Living on the coasts is extremely expensive, and a lot of people will end up having a very short tenure in Biglaw. And you'll likely spend a few months unemployed/in doc review in between jobs, because the market for laterals is bad, too.

I don't know that the NLJ's rankings are all that great of an indicator of probability of "good job" outcomes (I didn't even know these rankings existed). Relevant employment data (A3 clerkships + 101+ atty firms) for the last five years:
C/o 2011: 21.5%
C/o 2012: 26.3%
C/o 2013: 32.3%
C/o 2014: 31.4%
C/o 2015: 33.8%
(Lawschooltransparency)

The increase is proportional to the bounce-back in firm hiring since the recession, and competitive with WUSTL's peer schools, especially when you consider the huge amount of scholarship money that WUSTL doles out compared to its peers (half of the c/o 2016 was on a full ride, and I think many in the c/o 2017 are).

I definitely agree that your perspective is helpful to ground special snowflake prospective students who think going to law school guarantees them a six figure job. But attending WUSTL isn't the "top 5% or bust" doomsday scenario that I feel like you often portray. The message to send is that it's probably not a good idea to attend WUSTL, any of its peer schools, or possibly any law school at all, at sticker. Taking out $150k+ in loans to come here is almost without exception a terrible financial decision, but that's true of probably any school outside of HYS.

Having said that, WUSTL can be a great option for some people, particularly those who get large scholarships. I graduated with minimal debt and a job at a firm that I could have ended up at from a higher ranked school for way more money, and I wasn't at the top of my class. Yeah, the people who paid sticker and had median grades are in a shitty situation right now, as are students who paid sticker and got mediocre grades at any non-t14/t10. However, as the job market bounces back, job placement at WUSTL has increased roughly on par with comparable schools, and can be a really solid option depending on your circumstances.

This. I'm always surprised by the fact that a lot of the people that did decide to transfer because of the biglaw or bust doomsday scenario decided to opt for Georgetown or something comparable. These weren't people paying full sticker, either. I'm not sure that Georgetown or even some of the lower ranked T-14 schools are placing people in biglaw at such a rate to justify foregoing a good scholarship at WUSTL to pay sticker at these other schools for the added prestige.

tebowtime23
Posts: 60
Joined: Sun Mar 20, 2016 7:15 pm

Re: WUSTL Recent Grad (and others) Taking Questions

Postby tebowtime23 » Wed Jun 15, 2016 5:29 pm

RareExports wrote:For firms that are going to both SEMW and MCGC, should you bid them for both programs or is that considered to be in bad taste?


Also curious about this.

User avatar
lososos
Posts: 50
Joined: Sun Nov 30, 2014 2:50 am

Re: WUSTL Recent Grad (and others) Taking Questions

Postby lososos » Wed Jun 15, 2016 10:54 pm

tebowtime23 wrote:
RareExports wrote:For firms that are going to both SEMW and MCGC, should you bid them for both programs or is that considered to be in bad taste?


Also curious about this.


Bid them for both, and they'll choose which of the two programs they want to interview you at. This is what I did last summer, and what I was told to do by a recruiter at one of the firms that attended both.

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

Re: WUSTL Recent Grad (and others) Taking Questions

Postby JCougar » Wed Jun 15, 2016 11:50 pm

I agree that transfering to Georgetown is a stupid idea, especially if you have a scholarship from WUSTL. Georgetown is heading down the tubes. It doesn't have a large enough endowment to be competitive with scholarships, and it's overly reliant on an embarassingly large class size when it knows it can't place all those people, so their enrollment stats are in decline, and their placement stats suck for a T14. They won't be there for much longer, actually.

As for the top 5% or bust thing, that's clearly not what I said, when about 15% get biglaw plus prestigious clerkships, and there's others that graduate with little debt given WUSTL's obviously generous scholarship policy who find their niche in a smaller firm. Smaller firms aren't as universally bad as TLS makes them out to be. They can be horrible, and most are, but they can also be really laid back and give you a livable (but only if you have no debt) salary where you work about 35 hours per week tops, and hit the bars at 4pm. But the only way you get jobs at these firms are through local connections and friends, etc.

The top 5% or bust was simply aimed at Chicago jobs. Illinois is a failing state, and it's actually losing population despite our nation's continued population growth. The need for lawyers there is actually contracting. Illinois has about four too many law schools. NIU, John Marshall, and DePaul should be shut down, and Kent/Loyola should pull a Hamline/WM and cut their classes in half and merge into one.

The problem with Chicago is that it's so over-saturated that you can't even get a small firm job with a WUSTL degree. If you want to get a job in Chicago, it's really Northwestern or bust, and even that's a risky strategy unless you get a 75% scholarship. Beyond that, you have Michigan, WUSTL, ND, UIUC, Iowa, Minnesota, IU-Bloomington, and maybe even some Ohio State all trying to jam their Top 5% to 40% into a market that simply can't absorb it. Their own home states certainly can't. Iowa has no legal market to begin with; even with the Hamline/WM merger, Minnesota has at least one too many law schools; Wisconsin could probably do with only one law school; Indiana has a number of schools that need to be closed right this instant; Ohio has even more, and the Cleveland/Cinci biglaw market is embarassingly small; etc. The only state that's worse than the Midwest for legal employment is California.

If I could do it all over again, the credited path is get a full scholarship and find a more laid-back small firm to work at and build your own practice. Biglaw is awful. It's a trap. Nobody really likes it, and everyone basically takes the job simply to pay off the extra debt you took out just to get Biglaw...and you usually don't last long enough to do even that. Small firms are filled with a very wide range of talent, from the lowest TTT grads on up, so if you end up being really good at what you do, you can actually develop a local reputation and rise to the top fast. You really have to learn how to network and bring in business, though. In law, you're either a salesman or an associate. And associates do all the bitch work and then get fired before they get too expensive. That's just the way it goes.

User avatar
hoos89
Posts: 1969
Joined: Sun Jan 08, 2012 11:09 pm

Re: WUSTL Recent Grad (and others) Taking Questions

Postby hoos89 » Thu Jun 16, 2016 12:00 am

JCougar wrote:
....
As for the top 5% or bust thing, that's clearly not what I said, when about 15% get biglaw plus prestigious clerkships, and there's others that graduate with little debt given WUSTL's obviously generous scholarship policy who find their niche in a smaller firm. Smaller firms aren't as universally bad as TLS makes them out to be. They can be horrible, and most are, but they can also be really laid back and give you a livable (but only if you have no debt) salary where you work about 35 hours per week tops, and hit the bars at 4pm. But the only way you get jobs at these firms are through local connections and friends, etc.
....


As people have said before, it's more like 1/3 of people who get big law + fed clerkships. Yeah I'm aware of the NLJ number, but that's a pretty terrible definition of big law, and WUSTL does particularly poorly on that since a lot of the big firms in STL aren't among the biggest firms in the country. Firms of 100+ attorneys plus federal clerkships is a better metric than NLJ, I think. Also while this can't really be measured, transfers in do disproportionately poorly, and transfers out do disproportionately well. So the percentage of people who actually enroll at WUSTL who end up with those kinds of jobs is probably higher. I'm not saying sticker is a safe or reasonable bet that you'll get a good job by any means, but I think you're kind of overstating how bleak things are.
Last edited by hoos89 on Thu Jun 16, 2016 12:12 pm, edited 1 time in total.

Pro Brono
Posts: 24
Joined: Tue Mar 04, 2014 12:18 am

Re: WUSTL Recent Grad (and others) Taking Questions

Postby Pro Brono » Thu Jun 16, 2016 10:07 am

JCougar wrote:As for the top 5% or bust thing, that's clearly not what I said, when about 15% get biglaw plus prestigious clerkships

Dude, come on. I literally just posted this data for the last five years, and almost all of them are double that number.

JCougar wrote:The top 5% or bust was simply aimed at Chicago jobs. [...] The problem with Chicago is that it's so over-saturated that you can't even get a small firm job with a WUSTL degree. If you want to get a job in Chicago, it's really Northwestern or bust

This is laughable. Like I said, I'm mostly a proponent of your cold hard truth schtick, but when you start saying wildly incorrect things like this you lose credibility. Of the ~15 people in my class who are going to big firms (100+ lawyers) in Chicago, almost every single one of them is outside the top 5%. In fact, I know of at least 4 who are only top third. A couple of my friends who were top 20-25% got offers in Chicago through OCI but went to NYC instead.

JCougar wrote:Biglaw is awful. It's a trap. Nobody really likes it, and everyone basically takes the job simply to pay off the extra debt you took out just to get Biglaw...and you usually don't last long enough to do even that.

I don't think anyone is arguing that biglaw is an enjoyable lifestyle. But I don't know of any other professions that will pay a 24 year old $180k + bonus straight out of school, either. Many people I know, myself included, are doing it to get some experience, save up some money, and pursue exit options a few years down the road.
Last edited by Pro Brono on Tue Jun 21, 2016 11:35 am, edited 1 time in total.

User avatar
Joscellin
Posts: 783
Joined: Wed Dec 31, 2014 1:40 am

Re: WUSTL Recent Grad (and others) Taking Questions

Postby Joscellin » Thu Jun 16, 2016 10:15 am

Pro Brono wrote:
JCougar wrote:Biglaw is awful. It's a trap. Nobody really likes it, and everyone basically takes the job simply to pay off the extra debt you took out just to get Biglaw...and you usually don't last long enough to do even that.

I don't think anyone is arguing that biglaw is an enjoyable lifestyle. But I don't know of any other professions that will pay a 24 year old $180k + bonus straight out of school, either. Many people I know, myself included, are doing it to get some experience, save up some money, and pursue exit options a few years down the road.


To follow up on this, work in general sucks. Sure, working 60-80 hour weeks for 180Gs sucks, but I can personally attest that working 50-60 hour weeks teaching public school for 35k sucks too, and there's MUCH less upside.

User avatar
Jmart082
Posts: 252
Joined: Thu Feb 06, 2014 5:52 pm

Re: WUSTL Recent Grad (and others) Taking Questions

Postby Jmart082 » Thu Jun 16, 2016 11:35 am

Biglaw is awful. It's a trap. Nobody really likes it, and everyone basically takes the job simply to pay off the extra debt you took out just to get Biglaw...and you usually don't last long enough to do even that. Small firms are filled with a very wide range of talent, from the lowest TTT grads on up, so if you end up being really good at what you do, you can actually develop a local reputation and rise to the top fast. You really have to learn how to network and bring in business, though. In law, you're either a salesman or an associate. And associates do all the bitch work and then get fired before they get too expensive. That's just the way it goes.

I agree with this sentiment, and with the attrition rates being what they are in big firms (I've heard numbers range anywhere from 70 to 80 percent over four years), it's no wonder that we're already seeing big firms hire IBM Watson to do the bitch work for them (see BakerHostetler). I think we're already at a point where it's not entirely inconceivable that large firms start to rely less on flaky 24 year olds and more on super intelligent AI to get the grunt work done, but that could just be my paranoia.

MtheG
Posts: 93
Joined: Sat Nov 09, 2013 6:57 pm

Re: WUSTL Recent Grad (and others) Taking Questions

Postby MtheG » Thu Jun 16, 2016 11:57 am

Upper class grade cutoffs on Monday (maybe tomorrow) but definitely Monday per registrar.

User avatar
Jmart082
Posts: 252
Joined: Thu Feb 06, 2014 5:52 pm

Re: WUSTL Recent Grad (and others) Taking Questions

Postby Jmart082 » Thu Jun 16, 2016 11:59 am

MtheG wrote:Upper class grade cutoffs on Monday (maybe tomorrow) but definitely Monday per registrar.

Love this due diligence

User avatar
sublime
Posts: 15411
Joined: Sun Mar 10, 2013 12:21 pm

Re: WUSTL Recent Grad (and others) Taking Questions

Postby sublime » Thu Jun 16, 2016 12:01 pm

MtheG wrote:Upper class grade cutoffs on Monday (maybe tomorrow) but definitely Monday per registrar.



jfc. Last day of exams was May 6th, so Monday would be like a month and a half.

Thanks for the update though.

MtheG
Posts: 93
Joined: Sat Nov 09, 2013 6:57 pm

Re: WUSTL Recent Grad (and others) Taking Questions

Postby MtheG » Thu Jun 16, 2016 12:29 pm

FWIW, I think the delay was due to profs

User avatar
sublime
Posts: 15411
Joined: Sun Mar 10, 2013 12:21 pm

Re: WUSTL Recent Grad (and others) Taking Questions

Postby sublime » Thu Jun 16, 2016 12:31 pm

MtheG wrote:FWIW, I think the delay was due to profs



Oh, I know. It almost definitely was. Still frustrating though.

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

Re: WUSTL Recent Grad (and others) Taking Questions

Postby JCougar » Thu Jun 16, 2016 12:48 pm

Just as the NLJ's "top 100 firms" is overly restrictive when defining Biglaw, firms of 100+ is probably overbroad. There's a lot of firms in that range that really aren't Biglaw at all. Even just outside the top 100, there's national plaintiff mills and insurance defense firms that pay way less than market, but have the same hours and retention rates of Biglaw.

Not that these firms can't be good learning experiences with near-zero debt, but you're going to be really pressed for money paying rent on the coasts, plus paying what will likely be less than a full interest payment on your student loans.

User avatar
splitterfromhell
Posts: 638
Joined: Mon Jun 01, 2015 8:37 pm

Re: WUSTL Recent Grad (and others) Taking Questions

Postby splitterfromhell » Thu Jun 16, 2016 1:12 pm

Would I be able to find something decent quickly in CWE if I just show up to St. Louis for orientation with a U-Haul of stuff? Weighing riding a waitlist until the bitter end versus signing a lease soon.

User avatar
sublime
Posts: 15411
Joined: Sun Mar 10, 2013 12:21 pm

Re: WUSTL Recent Grad (and others) Taking Questions

Postby sublime » Thu Jun 16, 2016 1:14 pm

splitterfromhell wrote:Would I be able to find something decent quickly in CWE if I just show up to St. Louis for orientation with a U-Haul of stuff? Considering riding a waitlist until the bitter end.



The StL apartment market really isn't that tough to find anything in. You probably could, I would assume. If it comes to the worst, you can always (probably) hit up Quadrangle(WUSTL owned housing) for a non-CWE apt.




Return to “Ask a Law Student / Graduate”

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: davey jones, MSNbot Media and 4 guests