RogerWaters wrote:This is the most informative thread I've read in months of lurking here. Thank you for everyone's input thus far.
Is the feeling generally that this is a really bad short-term shock to the legal market or is it that the days where T14 meant great job prospects almost across the board (in terms of class rank) are gone forever? I mean, it has been a horrible market for almost half a decade now - am I being unreasonable to think that by the time people graduate in 2015 that they will be looking at great prospects and the doom and gloom of the 2 and 3L's here will be anachronistic?
Unless there is some type of massive systemic change where Biglaw no longer needs to operate the way it has for (? I don't know, a hundred years or so ?) then I don't see how once the rest of the economy picks back up that the law jobs won't come right along with it.
As mentioned above, nobody really knows. My take on the market (which is informed by a lot of friends in different law schools and reading the statistics, etc. but is still just anecdotal) is that it's improving, and the vast majority (75% or more) of students at the top 15 schools right now will get decent, respectable legal employment when they graduate or shortly after, even if it's not at their first choice of firm and location. The other 25%, especially outside of the top 5 or 10 schools, will have to hustle a bit more but likely won't end up unemployed a year after graduating. They just might have a slightly crappy job (insurance defense at a mid-sized firm that doesn't pay near market) or have to put in some time clerking or doing really low-level prosecution work or something, but probably won't be stuck doing the real shitty stuff like contract doc review or personal injury (although a few in each class WILL get suck with those options).
I think after the T-15, you have another big cutoff around the top 30-35 schools or so. The schools in that range are very strong regional schools which place small yet significant portions of their students into large firms in large markets. In addition, they place strong regionally and have solid national reputations. The MAJORITY of students at them will find respectable legal employment within a year of graduating, but a significant minority will really be scraping by, and the bottom quarter of the class will be lucky to get any legitimate/non-shitty legal job. Significant portions of classes will be doing low-level clerking, rural assistant county attorney jobs and the like, with quite a few people doing the downright shitty work like personal injury and doc review.
Outside the top 50...good friggen' luck, and I hope you have a full ride. Outside the top 100... have you considered other options?