How much does school name matter after first job?

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untar614
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How much does school name matter after first job?

Postby untar614 » Mon Apr 29, 2013 1:38 pm

So I know someone posted this a while back on one of the pre-law subforums, but it didn't garner much solid info, and I figured this would be a better place to ask.

Let's say one lands that sought-after biglaw associate position. After that, how much will the school they graduated from matter? Let's say we're comparing Chicago and Columbia vs lower T14s and maybe more respected regional schools in the region (e.g. UT at a big Houston firm). Will a more prestigious school offer any significant difference regarding either exit options from biglaw, a better chance at staying in biglaw if one wanted to, or a better shot at moving up the ladder, maybe onto partner track, if they stay where they are? Big influence due to alumni connections? No difference at all?


Sorry if this has already been covered. The search function here sucks, and I went back about 5 pages and didn't see anything.

wisdom
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Re: How much does school name matter after first job?

Postby wisdom » Mon Apr 29, 2013 8:47 pm

My understanding is that school name matters very little if at all in terms of partnership prospects/likelihood of staying in BigLaw at that firm. Most firms really are true meritocracies in the sense that, if you're a killer lawyer, they don't care if you went to a doghouse or Yale, you'll make partner. They don't care about beefing up their prestige by having a bunch of T14 partners who can't cut it. With that being said, a better school would be relevant to partnership potentially because a person who can generate business (or is perceived as having that capability in the long term) will be more likely to get tapped for partner. And Ivy grads may have an advantage there because of their powerful and well-established networks.

As for exit options, I think school name might matter a little, for instance, in landing a great government gig. But for government, the school name matters a lot less than connections.

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Tekrul
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Re: How much does school name matter after first job?

Postby Tekrul » Mon Apr 29, 2013 11:29 pm

I think there is still something to be said about the alumni network. I won't blink at a stranger, but if a fraternity brother or UG alum asks me for something, I will generally send an e-mail connecting him to help if I am able within 24 hours. It's not that I don't do things for strangers, but I will more consistently help people who have some claim of relation to me, it's human nature. Something that is not too different from guilt/responsibility keeps me from forgetting their requests while strangers' requests often slip away from my mind even if I was inclined to help.

At the very least, it will be a talking point. So when you consider a higher ranked school, you will likely encounter alumni from said school at more firms, across more states, and in higher positions. This is not to the exclusion of other schools, but it's a pretty safe bet to take generally that you'll find an alum proportional to the esteem of the school somewhere. You'll have something to talk about, laugh about, share stories about, etc.

All of my closest ties are either alumni from my UG, fraternity brothers, were also D1 fencers, or are indirect contacts of the aforementioned people. There is only 1 law connection I've made without being introduced by someone else or otherwise had a direct connection with. A partner was slammed drunk at a bar and his credit card was not working; I paid for his ridiculously expensive tab as a concerned bystander and he handed me his business card. Other than this once-in-a-lifetime kind of accidental mishap, every lead on a job I have at this moment came directly from alumni networks. Even when exiting, this talking point will be primo material when you are stacked up against other applicants. In the same way that these people I've been connected with check up on me as their junior and ward, or the way I will prefer those who have a connection to me, so too will other alumni treat you preferentially, it's just human nature.

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untar614
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Re: How much does school name matter after first job?

Postby untar614 » Tue Apr 30, 2013 12:01 am

Tekrul wrote:I think there is still something to be said about the alumni network. I won't blink at a stranger, but if a fraternity brother or UG alum asks me for something, I will generally send an e-mail connecting him to help if I am able within 24 hours. It's not that I don't do things for strangers, but I will more consistently help people who have some claim of relation to me, it's human nature. Something that is not too different from guilt/responsibility keeps me from forgetting their requests while strangers' requests often slip away from my mind even if I was inclined to help.

At the very least, it will be a talking point. So when you consider a higher ranked school, you will likely encounter alumni from said school at more firms, across more states, and in higher positions. This is not to the exclusion of other schools, but it's a pretty safe bet to take generally that you'll find an alum proportional to the esteem of the school somewhere. You'll have something to talk about, laugh about, share stories about, etc.

All of my closest ties are either alumni from my UG, fraternity brothers, were also D1 fencers, or are indirect contacts of the aforementioned people. There is only 1 law connection I've made without being introduced by someone else or otherwise had a direct connection with. A partner was slammed drunk at a bar and his credit card was not working; I paid for his ridiculously expensive tab as a concerned bystander and he handed me his business card. Other than this once-in-a-lifetime kind of accidental mishap, every lead on a job I have at this moment came directly from alumni networks. Even when exiting, this talking point will be primo material when you are stacked up against other applicants. In the same way that these people I've been connected with check up on me as their junior and ward, or the way I will prefer those who have a connection to me, so too will other alumni treat you preferentially, it's just human nature.

Yeah, that's one of the major things I had in mind. I read an article recently - wish I could find it - about how we give preferential treatment to people we have some connection to, and this phenomenon is likely to propagate disparities once caused by racism. The article opened with a Yale professor remarking on how she normally wouldn't give an interview, but agreed to one after the girl asking for one said she'd gone to Yale while the professor was teaching there and went to some or her lectures.

And if your someone who can just pick up a stranger's ridiculously expensive bar tab, we should hang out, like, a lot.

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Tekrul
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Re: How much does school name matter after first job?

Postby Tekrul » Tue Apr 30, 2013 12:12 am

Lol, I was just concerned because he was truly having trouble. Credit card not working, drunk to incomprehensible, bartender getting pissed. Everything gets paid forward in my experience. I like to live generously and kindly.

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Grazzhoppa
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Re: How much does school name matter after first job?

Postby Grazzhoppa » Tue Apr 30, 2013 12:15 am

did you call this dude later?

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Clearly
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Re: How much does school name matter after first job?

Postby Clearly » Tue Apr 30, 2013 12:20 am

untar614 wrote:
Tekrul wrote:I think there is still something to be said about the alumni network. I won't blink at a stranger, but if a fraternity brother or UG alum asks me for something, I will generally send an e-mail connecting him to help if I am able within 24 hours. It's not that I don't do things for strangers, but I will more consistently help people who have some claim of relation to me, it's human nature. Something that is not too different from guilt/responsibility keeps me from forgetting their requests while strangers' requests often slip away from my mind even if I was inclined to help.

At the very least, it will be a talking point. So when you consider a higher ranked school, you will likely encounter alumni from said school at more firms, across more states, and in higher positions. This is not to the exclusion of other schools, but it's a pretty safe bet to take generally that you'll find an alum proportional to the esteem of the school somewhere. You'll have something to talk about, laugh about, share stories about, etc.

All of my closest ties are either alumni from my UG, fraternity brothers, were also D1 fencers, or are indirect contacts of the aforementioned people. There is only 1 law connection I've made without being introduced by someone else or otherwise had a direct connection with. A partner was slammed drunk at a bar and his credit card was not working; I paid for his ridiculously expensive tab as a concerned bystander and he handed me his business card. Other than this once-in-a-lifetime kind of accidental mishap, every lead on a job I have at this moment came directly from alumni networks. Even when exiting, this talking point will be primo material when you are stacked up against other applicants. In the same way that these people I've been connected with check up on me as their junior and ward, or the way I will prefer those who have a connection to me, so too will other alumni treat you preferentially, it's just human nature.

Yeah, that's one of the major things I had in mind. I read an article recently - wish I could find it - about how we give preferential treatment to people we have some connection to, and this phenomenon is likely to propagate disparities once caused by racism. The article opened with a Yale professor remarking on how she normally wouldn't give an interview, but agreed to one after the girl asking for one said she'd gone to Yale while the professor was teaching there and went to some or her lectures.

And if your someone who can just pick up a stranger's ridiculously expensive bar tab, we should hang out, like, a lot.

I didnt read this but heard an absurdly similar discussion on NPR recently about a Yale professor at the hospital with a hand problem, and noticed she got significantly more attentive care after someone else mentioned she was Yale faculty.

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untar614
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Re: How much does school name matter after first job?

Postby untar614 » Tue Apr 30, 2013 12:25 am

Clearlynotstefan wrote:
untar614 wrote:
Yeah, that's one of the major things I had in mind. I read an article recently - wish I could find it - about how we give preferential treatment to people we have some connection to, and this phenomenon is likely to propagate disparities once caused by racism. The article opened with a Yale professor remarking on how she normally wouldn't give an interview, but agreed to one after the girl asking for one said she'd gone to Yale while the professor was teaching there and went to some or her lectures.

And if your someone who can just pick up a stranger's ridiculously expensive bar tab, we should hang out, like, a lot.

I didnt read this but heard an absurdly similar discussion on NPR recently about a Yale professor at the hospital with a hand problem, and noticed she got significantly more attentive care after someone else mentioned she was Yale faculty.

That was actually the same person - it was in the latter part of the same article. Man, really wish I could find that thing.

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Clearly
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Re: How much does school name matter after first job?

Postby Clearly » Tue Apr 30, 2013 12:27 am

untar614 wrote:
Clearlynotstefan wrote:
untar614 wrote:
Yeah, that's one of the major things I had in mind. I read an article recently - wish I could find it - about how we give preferential treatment to people we have some connection to, and this phenomenon is likely to propagate disparities once caused by racism. The article opened with a Yale professor remarking on how she normally wouldn't give an interview, but agreed to one after the girl asking for one said she'd gone to Yale while the professor was teaching there and went to some or her lectures.

And if your someone who can just pick up a stranger's ridiculously expensive bar tab, we should hang out, like, a lot.

I didnt read this but heard an absurdly similar discussion on NPR recently about a Yale professor at the hospital with a hand problem, and noticed she got significantly more attentive care after someone else mentioned she was Yale faculty.

That was actually the same person - it was in the latter part of the same article. Man, really wish I could find that thing.

I suspected that was the case, that or, you just heard it on NPR lol

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untar614
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Re: How much does school name matter after first job?

Postby untar614 » Tue Apr 30, 2013 12:55 am

found it!
lol, turns out it was from npr's website. and correction: it was 2 different people, but they were both Yale professors at the time of their respective anecdotes.

http://www.npr.org/blogs/codeswitch/201 ... n=20130423

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hmlee
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Re: How much does school name matter after first job?

Postby hmlee » Wed May 01, 2013 11:37 am

When I was working at the DOJ one summer, I had this conversation with a woman who was a long time attorney there. I was skeptical that school name really mattered down the road in one's career. She said to me (she was a graduate of Marquette, for whatever that's worth), "the best way to explain the difference is that, coming from a school like I did, if I want a new job, I have to call recruiters. You will have recruiters calling you."

Now, obviously, that's a little bit simplistic, as she admitted. Drawing the attention of headhunters down the road in your career can be accomplished in a variety of ways, many of which don't involve what school you went to. But there's no doubt that certain school names on resumes draw the attention of people even many years later. Is it enough to justify taking a better school w/o money over a lesser one with? I don't know. And I don't know that anyone here could answer that question with certainty.

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Re: How much does school name matter after first job?

Postby mewalke1 » Fri May 03, 2013 11:10 pm

untar614 wrote:So I know someone posted this a while back on one of the pre-law subforums, but it didn't garner much solid info, and I figured this would be a better place to ask.

Let's say one lands that sought-after biglaw associate position. After that, how much will the school they graduated from matter? Let's say we're comparing Chicago and Columbia vs lower T14s and maybe more respected regional schools in the region (e.g. UT at a big Houston firm). Will a more prestigious school offer any significant difference regarding either exit options from biglaw, a better chance at staying in biglaw if one wanted to, or a better shot at moving up the ladder, maybe onto partner track, if they stay where they are? Big influence due to alumni connections? No difference at all?


Sorry if this has already been covered. The search function here sucks, and I went back about 5 pages and didn't see anything.


I have asked a few attorneys I know this same question and they all say no. Nobody cares were you went after a few years. They want to know your job history. Just like where you went to high school and college get less important after you've worked for a while same as law school.

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Tekrul
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Re: How much does school name matter after first job?

Postby Tekrul » Sat May 04, 2013 2:03 pm

That may be their stance on it. Myself as a person, I know that if ever I were in a spot to choose between two similar applicants and one studied in the same library as me, took classes with favorite professors, got drunk at my college bar, and competed in sports for my alma mater, its going to be a tilt.

Nobody here is suggesting that law school is going to be a slam dunk, but I simply won't believe it doesn't count for anything as the people you mention have said. We are humans not input/output robots.

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Re: How much does school name matter after first job?

Postby Cobretti » Sat May 04, 2013 3:34 pm

mewalke1 wrote:
untar614 wrote:So I know someone posted this a while back on one of the pre-law subforums, but it didn't garner much solid info, and I figured this would be a better place to ask.

Let's say one lands that sought-after biglaw associate position. After that, how much will the school they graduated from matter? Let's say we're comparing Chicago and Columbia vs lower T14s and maybe more respected regional schools in the region (e.g. UT at a big Houston firm). Will a more prestigious school offer any significant difference regarding either exit options from biglaw, a better chance at staying in biglaw if one wanted to, or a better shot at moving up the ladder, maybe onto partner track, if they stay where they are? Big influence due to alumni connections? No difference at all?


Sorry if this has already been covered. The search function here sucks, and I went back about 5 pages and didn't see anything.


I have asked a few attorneys I know this same question and they all say no. Nobody cares were you went after a few years. They want to know your job history. Just like where you went to high school and college get less important after you've worked for a while same as law school.

I have a professor who is a partner at a V25 and a Berk alum. When I asked him about schools he said even after 20+ years practicing and being a partner at his firm, if he went to look for a new job tomorrow the first thing people would ask him is where he went to law school. He then told me to prestige whore it up. (for context he was just saying make sure you go T14, and don't be persuaded by $ at a T1, not sure what he'd say regarding NU v CLS)

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Re: How much does school name matter after first job?

Postby DportIA » Sat May 04, 2013 3:46 pm

Cobretti wrote:
mewalke1 wrote:
untar614 wrote:So I know someone posted this a while back on one of the pre-law subforums, but it didn't garner much solid info, and I figured this would be a better place to ask.

Let's say one lands that sought-after biglaw associate position. After that, how much will the school they graduated from matter? Let's say we're comparing Chicago and Columbia vs lower T14s and maybe more respected regional schools in the region (e.g. UT at a big Houston firm). Will a more prestigious school offer any significant difference regarding either exit options from biglaw, a better chance at staying in biglaw if one wanted to, or a better shot at moving up the ladder, maybe onto partner track, if they stay where they are? Big influence due to alumni connections? No difference at all?


Sorry if this has already been covered. The search function here sucks, and I went back about 5 pages and didn't see anything.


I have asked a few attorneys I know this same question and they all say no. Nobody cares were you went after a few years. They want to know your job history. Just like where you went to high school and college get less important after you've worked for a while same as law school.

I have a professor who is a partner at a V25 and a Berk alum. When I asked him about schools he said even after 20+ years practicing and being a partner at his firm, if he went to look for a new job tomorrow the first thing people would ask him is where he went to law school. He then told me to prestige whore it up. (for context he was just saying make sure you go T14, and don't be persuaded by $ at a T1, not sure what he'd say regarding NU v CLS)


His advice may not pay the bills. Be wary of taking on a quarter-million of debt in this economy to "prestige whore" it up.

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Cobretti
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Re: How much does school name matter after first job?

Postby Cobretti » Sat May 04, 2013 3:54 pm

DportIA wrote:
His advice may not pay the bills. Be wary of taking on a quarter-million of debt in this economy to "prestige whore" it up.

Well he wasn't saying to chase prestige for the sake of prestige. He was saying the t14 hiring advantage will be there for your whole life.

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Re: How much does school name matter after first job?

Postby sfhaze » Sat May 04, 2013 4:45 pm

Cobretti wrote:I have a professor who is a partner at a V25 and a Berk alum. When I asked him about schools he said even after 20+ years practicing and being a partner at his firm, if he went to look for a new job tomorrow the first thing people would ask him is where he went to law school. He then told me to prestige whore it up. (for context he was just saying make sure you go T14, and don't be persuaded by $ at a T1, not sure what he'd say regarding NU v CLS)

Sure, they may ask first for bs small talk. They'd also ask if you'd like a soda, etc. But if this guy's being serious claiming that where a supposedly established, successful partner went to lawl school would materially affect hiring for a law firm or similar legal job, he's full of it. Now if the interview is for a law prof position, that might be a different story. Also, with rare exceptions, truly successful partners simply do not have the time to teach on the side much unless they're moving hard to become a prof, which actually would explain this 'advice' from this guy.

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hmlee
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Re: How much does school name matter after first job?

Postby hmlee » Sat May 04, 2013 6:04 pm

sfhaze wrote:
Cobretti wrote:I have a professor who is a partner at a V25 and a Berk alum. When I asked him about schools he said even after 20+ years practicing and being a partner at his firm, if he went to look for a new job tomorrow the first thing people would ask him is where he went to law school. He then told me to prestige whore it up. (for context he was just saying make sure you go T14, and don't be persuaded by $ at a T1, not sure what he'd say regarding NU v CLS)

Sure, they may ask first for bs small talk. They'd also ask if you'd like a soda, etc. But if this guy's being serious claiming that where a supposedly established, successful partner went to lawl school would materially affect hiring for a law firm or similar legal job, he's full of it. Now if the interview is for a law prof position, that might be a different story. Also, with rare exceptions, truly successful partners simply do not have the time to teach on the side much unless they're moving hard to become a prof, which actually would explain this 'advice' from this guy.


But there's a whole lot of room between green associate and partner with a solid book of business. So if anything, I'd say that prof was probably exaggerating on the longevity of the relevance of school name, but not on that fact that it can matter down the road.

Also, realistically, this isn't the factor that should determine selection of a school anyway. What OP and any other prospective should be thinking about is a. how likely will they be able to get a good job out of a particular school, and b. how hard will their lives be because of the debt they're taking on if things go south right away or several years down the road.




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