Northwestern 1L/2L/3L/Grads Taking Questions and Challenges

A forum for applicants and admitted students to ask law students and graduates about law school and the practice of law.
PaulAtriedes
Posts: 11
Joined: Mon Oct 08, 2012 12:28 pm

Re: Northwestern 3Ls Taking Questions and Challenges

Postby PaulAtriedes » Thu Oct 11, 2012 2:26 pm

There must be a substantial number of people who enroll at NU at sticker. Would it be worth it?

In general, is NU one of those schools where LS is still a good investment?

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

Re: Northwestern 3Ls Taking Questions and Challenges

Postby rayiner » Thu Oct 11, 2012 3:41 pm

PaulAtriedes wrote:There must be a substantial number of people who enroll at NU at sticker. Would it be worth it?

In general, is NU one of those schools where LS is still a good investment?


It depends on your risk tolerance and alternative options. It's a high-risk option, just like every school that isn't HYS.

At Columbia, 18% of C/O 2011 ended up not employed, at small firms or so, in "academia", in school-funded temporary jobs, or state clerkships. At NU for C/O 2011, 21% ended up at the same position.

Basically, outside of HYS and in the rest of the T14, you've got a 20-30% chance of being totally screwed. Almost everyone who isn't screwed is in a pretty good position--working at a decent-sized firm, working an IBR-eligible public interest or government job, etc. I think for most people, a 70-80% shot at big law is going to lead to much greater expected lifetime earnings than they would have with just a BA (the average BA makes like $68k/year according to the NPR report I was listening to today). But while you'll probably be better off, there is a real chance you'll be much worse off.

PaulAtriedes
Posts: 11
Joined: Mon Oct 08, 2012 12:28 pm

Re: Northwestern 3Ls Taking Questions and Challenges

Postby PaulAtriedes » Thu Oct 11, 2012 5:24 pm

to your knowledge, how much of the under employment in the top 14 can be attributed to self-inflicted causes - e.g. if the cause was due to over-reliance on OCI, poor academic performance, or insistance on pursuing a field of law which is currently exotic at entry level (clerkships, JAG, public interest, DA) ??

User avatar
Rahviveh
Posts: 2271
Joined: Mon Aug 06, 2012 12:02 pm

Re: Northwestern 3Ls Taking Questions and Challenges

Postby Rahviveh » Thu Oct 11, 2012 5:35 pm

rayiner wrote:
PaulAtriedes wrote:There must be a substantial number of people who enroll at NU at sticker. Would it be worth it?

In general, is NU one of those schools where LS is still a good investment?


It depends on your risk tolerance and alternative options. It's a high-risk option, just like every school that isn't HYS.

At Columbia, 18% of C/O 2011 ended up not employed, at small firms or so, in "academia", in school-funded temporary jobs, or state clerkships. At NU for C/O 2011, 21% ended up at the same position.

Basically, outside of HYS and in the rest of the T14, you've got a 20-30% chance of being totally screwed. Almost everyone who isn't screwed is in a pretty good position--working at a decent-sized firm, working an IBR-eligible public interest or government job, etc. I think for most people, a 70-80% shot at big law is going to lead to much greater expected lifetime earnings than they would have with just a BA (the average BA makes like $68k/year according to the NPR report I was listening to today). But while you'll probably be better off, there is a real chance you'll be much worse off.


Would it be logical to think that things like work experience, minority status might lower than chance of being totally screwed? I know its best to be as conservative as possible, but that could help with the calculus

User avatar
Icculus
Posts: 1421
Joined: Tue Mar 02, 2010 12:02 am

Re: Northwestern 3Ls Taking Questions and Challenges

Postby Icculus » Thu Oct 11, 2012 5:35 pm

PaulAtriedes wrote:to your knowledge, how much of the under employment in the top 14 can be attributed to self-inflicted causes - e.g. if the cause was due to over-reliance on OCI, poor academic performance, or insistance on pursuing a field of law which is currently exotic at entry level (clerkships, JAG, public interest, DA) ??


As one who is attending at sticker and managed to find soemthing through OCI I can say that even with an SA that should turn into full time employment I shudder whenever I think about my debt load. That said the debt and the risk was worth it in my mind as I had no other options (splitter with a sub 3.0 GPA). As for under/unemployment I do think most people in law school, not just NU, rely too heavily on OCI and don't mass mail until it looks like they may strike out. I persoanlly started mass mailing before OCI started since I did not want to put all my eggs in that basket. I'm not sure most people did this. And don't include performance under "self inflicted" since the curve is really about who can take a law school exam best, not who studied or worked the hardest.

User avatar
Icculus
Posts: 1421
Joined: Tue Mar 02, 2010 12:02 am

Re: Northwestern 3Ls Taking Questions and Challenges

Postby Icculus » Thu Oct 11, 2012 5:37 pm

ChampagnePapi wrote:Would it be logical to think that things like work experience, minority status might lower than chance of being totally screwed? I know its best to be as conservative as possible, but that could help with the calculus


I also think I was helped through OCI since I had almost a decade of work experience prior to law school. Most screeners and call back interviewers commented on it and saw it as a plus. I also don't think I would have ended up with the offer I chose had I not had work experience.

User avatar
IAFG
Posts: 6665
Joined: Mon Jun 15, 2009 1:26 pm

Re: Northwestern 3Ls Taking Questions and Challenges

Postby IAFG » Thu Oct 11, 2012 5:39 pm

ChampagnePapi wrote:Would it be logical to think that things like work experience, minority status might lower than chance of being totally screwed? I know its best to be as conservative as possible, but that could help with the calculus

A common (and fair) criticism of Northwestern's strong placement relative to its rank is that our students have WE that help out-perform their school and GPA.

User avatar
IAFG
Posts: 6665
Joined: Mon Jun 15, 2009 1:26 pm

Re: Northwestern 3Ls Taking Questions and Challenges

Postby IAFG » Thu Oct 11, 2012 5:42 pm

PaulAtriedes wrote:to your knowledge, how much of the under employment in the top 14 can be attributed to self-inflicted causes - e.g. if the cause was due to over-reliance on OCI, poor academic performance, or insistance on pursuing a field of law which is currently exotic at entry level (clerkships, JAG, public interest, DA) ??

Some. I would also tack on geographical inflexibility.

PaulAtriedes
Posts: 11
Joined: Mon Oct 08, 2012 12:28 pm

Re: Northwestern 3Ls Taking Questions and Challenges

Postby PaulAtriedes » Thu Oct 11, 2012 5:45 pm

do you mean that they insist on working in certain area or avoiding major markets (for example NY) - do you mean that there are students who are unemployed b/c they have insisted on living/working in a certain area?

09042014
Posts: 18282
Joined: Wed Oct 14, 2009 10:47 pm

Re: Northwestern 3Ls Taking Questions and Challenges

Postby 09042014 » Thu Oct 11, 2012 5:46 pm

quote="PaulAtriedes"]to your knowledge, how much of the under employment in the top 14 can be attributed to self-inflicted causes - e.g. if the cause was due to over-reliance on OCI, poor academic performance, or insistance on pursuing a field of law which is currently exotic at entry level (clerkships, JAG, public interest, DA) ??[/quote]

Poor academic performance isn't really self inflicted. This isn't like college where you can just try real hard and never get worse than a b+.

User avatar
Icculus
Posts: 1421
Joined: Tue Mar 02, 2010 12:02 am

Re: Northwestern 3Ls Taking Questions and Challenges

Postby Icculus » Thu Oct 11, 2012 5:46 pm

IAFG wrote:
PaulAtriedes wrote:to your knowledge, how much of the under employment in the top 14 can be attributed to self-inflicted causes - e.g. if the cause was due to over-reliance on OCI, poor academic performance, or insistance on pursuing a field of law which is currently exotic at entry level (clerkships, JAG, public interest, DA) ??

Some. I would also tack on geographical inflexibility.


This cannot be understated. For example, I know a few people who targeted only Chicago, or DC, or both together and these two markets were tough this year, DC especially if youn weren't tip top of the class. Secondary markets can also be very tough since class sizes are generally smaller.

Edit: I think unless your grades are top of the top it's good to balance out a bid list with NY firms that have large class sizes (yes, I know this is not new information).

PaulAtriedes
Posts: 11
Joined: Mon Oct 08, 2012 12:28 pm

Re: Northwestern 3Ls Taking Questions and Challenges

Postby PaulAtriedes » Thu Oct 11, 2012 5:48 pm

Desert Fox wrote:quote="PaulAtriedes"]to your knowledge, how much of the under employment in the top 14 can be attributed to self-inflicted causes - e.g. if the cause was due to over-reliance on OCI, poor academic performance, or insistance on pursuing a field of law which is currently exotic at entry level (clerkships, JAG, public interest, DA) ??


Poor academic performance isn't really self inflicted. This isn't like college where you can just try real hard and never get worse than a b+.[/quote]

ok can you answer this question: how much does ending up on the wrong side of the curve factor into unemployment?

User avatar
Icculus
Posts: 1421
Joined: Tue Mar 02, 2010 12:02 am

Re: Northwestern 3Ls Taking Questions and Challenges

Postby Icculus » Thu Oct 11, 2012 5:48 pm

PaulAtriedes wrote:ok can you answer this question: how much does ending up on the wrong side of the curve factor into unemployment?


Well if you're on the side that is below a firm's cut off then it factors in greatly.

Edit: That said being median or slightly below is not the end of the world, especially if you have work experience or wow a screener. But if you are at median you need to be open minded about area and need to strongly consider NY firms as they have such large class sizes.

User avatar
IAFG
Posts: 6665
Joined: Mon Jun 15, 2009 1:26 pm

Re: Northwestern 3Ls Taking Questions and Challenges

Postby IAFG » Thu Oct 11, 2012 5:53 pm

Icculus wrote:
IAFG wrote:
PaulAtriedes wrote:to your knowledge, how much of the under employment in the top 14 can be attributed to self-inflicted causes - e.g. if the cause was due to over-reliance on OCI, poor academic performance, or insistance on pursuing a field of law which is currently exotic at entry level (clerkships, JAG, public interest, DA) ??

Some. I would also tack on geographical inflexibility.


This cannot be understated. For example, I know a few people who targeted only Chicago, or DC, or both together and these two markets were tough this year, DC especially if youn weren't tip top of the class. Secondary markets can also be very tough since class sizes are generally smaller.

Edit: I think unless your grades are top of the top it's good to balance out a bid list with NY firms that have large class sizes (yes, I know this is not new information).

I don't think there are many people at any school with any background who can go all-in on DC and expect a good outcome.

PaulAtriedes
Posts: 11
Joined: Mon Oct 08, 2012 12:28 pm

Re: Northwestern 3Ls Taking Questions and Challenges

Postby PaulAtriedes » Thu Oct 11, 2012 5:55 pm

so it seems that a significant amount of the unemployment out of NU is due to voluntary choices and strategies (if we factor out academic performance)

09042014
Posts: 18282
Joined: Wed Oct 14, 2009 10:47 pm

Re: Northwestern 3Ls Taking Questions and Challenges

Postby 09042014 » Thu Oct 11, 2012 5:56 pm

PaulAtriedes wrote:
Desert Fox wrote:quote="PaulAtriedes"]to your knowledge, how much of the under employment in the top 14 can be attributed to self-inflicted causes - e.g. if the cause was due to over-reliance on OCI, poor academic performance, or insistance on pursuing a field of law which is currently exotic at entry level (clerkships, JAG, public interest, DA) ??


Poor academic performance isn't really self inflicted. This isn't like college where you can just try real hard and never get worse than a b+.


ok can you answer this question: how much does ending up on the wrong side of the curve factor into unemployment?[/quote]

Pretty heavily. Some people recover, others don't.

User avatar
Icculus
Posts: 1421
Joined: Tue Mar 02, 2010 12:02 am

Re: Northwestern 3Ls Taking Questions and Challenges

Postby Icculus » Thu Oct 11, 2012 5:56 pm

IAFG wrote:
Icculus wrote:
IAFG wrote:
PaulAtriedes wrote:to your knowledge, how much of the under employment in the top 14 can be attributed to self-inflicted causes - e.g. if the cause was due to over-reliance on OCI, poor academic performance, or insistance on pursuing a field of law which is currently exotic at entry level (clerkships, JAG, public interest, DA) ??

Some. I would also tack on geographical inflexibility.


This cannot be understated. For example, I know a few people who targeted only Chicago, or DC, or both together and these two markets were tough this year, DC especially if youn weren't tip top of the class. Secondary markets can also be very tough since class sizes are generally smaller.

Edit: I think unless your grades are top of the top it's good to balance out a bid list with NY firms that have large class sizes (yes, I know this is not new information).

I don't think there are many people at any school with any background who can go all-in on DC and expect a good outcome.


Agreed, I just know a few people who did Chi and DC together and it was also tough because they ended up targeting the top firms in each market and I think it hurt them.

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

Re: Northwestern 3Ls Taking Questions and Challenges

Postby rayiner » Thu Oct 11, 2012 6:32 pm

PaulAtriedes wrote:so it seems that a significant amount of the unemployment out of NU is due to voluntary choices and strategies (if we factor out academic performance)


One, academic performance is absolutely not self-inflicted. I can think of just a couple of people who didn't put in a pretty strong effort, and of course half of everyone ends up at or below median.

Two, I think that for C/O 2012 (my class), most of the people who are still unemployed did not put 100% into their job search. If everyone who didn't come out of summer 2011 with an at-graduation job offer in hand was applying to dozens of jobs each day all over the country, I think a substantial fraction of those people would have gotten something by now. Maybe not even half of those people, but a substantial fraction. That said, even this not entirely "self-inflicted." It's really difficult to convey how soul-sucking it is to deal with the constant rejection of the job search, and how much depression affects peoples' ability to keep applying.

Third, I don't think you should try to read too much into (2) in estimating your own probabilities. A lot of the people who did get jobs despite having median or lower grades had connections, technical backgrounds, etc. These people to a degree "cancel out" people who didn't get a job because they didn't put enough effort into their job search. I don't think it's worth trying to parse the numbers more finely than to just ignore both sets of factors.

alabamabound
Posts: 140
Joined: Mon Oct 26, 2009 11:31 pm

Re: Northwestern 3Ls Taking Questions and Challenges

Postby alabamabound » Thu Oct 11, 2012 9:02 pm

Hi Paul,

I'm a 3L -- don't know if I'm rising or not anymore -- but I wanted to chime in and give a less fatalistic take on NU employment prospects than what you've heard in here so far. This is purely based on my own observations of my classmates, but I feel like bad employment outcomes are largely self-inflicted (flame away, guys). To really oversimplify the picture, when I hear about a classmate who's struggling in this respect, I've never thought to myself, I can believe that's happening to him/her of all people! That sounds like I'm a bit of a prick -- maybe I am -- but I'm just trying to be honest with you.

The basic advice you're getting in here -- don't take anything for granted, hustle etc. -- is good stuff. But I have a somewhat more rosy and less fatalistic view of NU's placement and just wanted to share my 2 cents.

User avatar
IAFG
Posts: 6665
Joined: Mon Jun 15, 2009 1:26 pm

Re: Northwestern 3Ls Taking Questions and Challenges

Postby IAFG » Thu Oct 11, 2012 9:14 pm

alabamabound wrote:Hi Paul,

I'm a 3L -- don't know if I'm rising or not anymore -- but I wanted to chime in and give a less fatalistic take on NU employment prospects than what you've heard in here so far. This is purely based on my own observations of my classmates, but I feel like bad employment outcomes are largely self-inflicted (flame away, guys). To really oversimplify the picture, when I hear about a classmate who's struggling in this respect, I've never thought to myself, I can believe that's happening to him/her of all people! That sounds like I'm a bit of a prick -- maybe I am -- but I'm just trying to be honest with you.

The basic advice you're getting in here -- don't take anything for granted, hustle etc. -- is good stuff. But I have a somewhat more rosy and less fatalistic view of NU's placement and just wanted to share my 2 cents.

Who the fuck said something contradictory to what you just said

PaulAtriedes
Posts: 11
Joined: Mon Oct 08, 2012 12:28 pm

Re: Northwestern 3Ls Taking Questions and Challenges

Postby PaulAtriedes » Thu Oct 11, 2012 9:27 pm

rayiner wrote:Third, I don't think you should try to read too much into (2) in estimating your own probabilities. A lot of the people who did get jobs despite having median or lower grades had connections, technical backgrounds, etc. These people to a degree "cancel out" people who didn't get a job because they didn't put enough effort into their job search. I don't think it's worth trying to parse the numbers more finely than to just ignore both sets of factors.


Rayiner,

Can you expand on this? I'm not sure what you mean. It would seem that you are saying that it is bleaker than it appears because lower figures would ensue if it weren't for previously existing qualifications and connections that NU students have, but it seems like its a more complex thought than that.

I guess what I am trying to get to the bottom of is this: do some people who do well at NU, and make informed decisions regarding finding employment still end up getting screwed? Lets say that this hypothetical group has no geographic inflexibility and does everything to find a job.

User avatar
homestyle28
Posts: 2312
Joined: Thu Jun 04, 2009 12:48 pm

Re: Northwestern 3Ls Taking Questions and Challenges

Postby homestyle28 » Thu Oct 11, 2012 9:28 pm

Just to pile on: Going through OCI with good WE is helpful (I didn't really have good WE, but an interesting/unique one that got mentioned in every interview, though some might have viewed my background negatively). Never think you can work your way above the curve at a good school, pretty much everyone here is smart, dedicated and hardworking (at least when it comes to grades). There are two things you can do (at any school) to better your chances:
1)Mass Mail pre-OCI - Career services may tell you you don't need to, but you do. It's not that hard (fwiw I didn't do so and very much regreted it).
2) Be as geographically flexible as possible. I was largely in a "Chicago or bust" mindset and came very (very!) close to the bust. It's brutal, there really isn't any safe GPA in Chicago (maybe 4.0+?). People I know who were either serious about considering other smaller markets (and had the requisite ties) or targeted NYC are doing just fine, even well below median folk.

As a final point, (as IAFG often liked to point out in the NU OCI thread) getting a job isn't law school admissions and a lot of the objectivity is out the window. I uniformly stuck out at firms where my GPA was well above there #s. I know people on LR who struck out (by targeting only Chicago and not mass mailing) and I know people well below median with multiple offers.

TL;DR: I echo what's already been said.

PaulAtriedes
Posts: 11
Joined: Mon Oct 08, 2012 12:28 pm

Re: Northwestern 3Ls Taking Questions and Challenges

Postby PaulAtriedes » Thu Oct 11, 2012 9:35 pm

sorry to keep bombarding you all with questions.

Heres one more :)

Seriously, what does it mean to "strike out" is it as Campos says in DGTLSU, that you are basically out of the legal profession forever? In debt servitude to the Fed for eternity?

User avatar
homestyle28
Posts: 2312
Joined: Thu Jun 04, 2009 12:48 pm

Re: Northwestern 3Ls Taking Questions and Challenges

Postby homestyle28 » Thu Oct 11, 2012 9:44 pm

PaulAtriedes wrote:sorry to keep bombarding you all with questions.

Heres one more :)

Seriously, what does it mean to "strike out" is it as Campos says in DGTLSU, that you are basically out of the legal profession forever? In debt servitude to the Fed for eternity?


At some schools maybe, at NU it means 1) get your grades/journal etc in line for clerkship apps, and apply everywhere 2) Get your public interest/local gov hat on and begin doing externships/networking that like mad and hope to ride the LRAP to financial success.

At least that's my sense of it.

User avatar
bk1
Posts: 18422
Joined: Sun Mar 14, 2010 7:06 pm

Re: Northwestern 3Ls Taking Questions and Challenges

Postby bk1 » Thu Oct 11, 2012 10:18 pm

PaulAtriedes wrote:sorry to keep bombarding you all with questions.

Heres one more :)

Seriously, what does it mean to "strike out" is it as Campos says in DGTLSU, that you are basically out of the legal profession forever? In debt servitude to the Fed for eternity?


Striking out means you fail to get a 2L SA at a large law firm during fall semester of 2L. That is pretty much the only time to get into biglaw due to their hiring (they don't really hire 3Ls and they only generally only hire practicing attorneys with large firm experience).

What happens to these people? At NU some of them try for PI/gov positions and survive on LRAP/IBR (which are rare). Others will end up working at small firms that don't pay much. Some will end up doing temporary legal work (which is terrible). And some won't get legal jobs at all. Outside of the PI/gov spots, these people are generally in a bad spot. They aren't out of the legal profession forever but they are likely out of biglaw forever. If they have substantial debt, they will probably be debtpwned.




Return to “Ask a Law Student / Graduate”

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: Bing [Bot], LS19 and 7 guests