vlienj24 wrote:I have to chime in on this topic. I am a 2013 graduate. I understand the OP's overall pessimism regarding UW and employment outcomes. However, as an unemployed 3L who found a job I would like to give my take. If you are in the top 20-30% of your class after your first year you should be in decent shape. You have a decent chance of landing big law somewhere, whether it be Madison, the Twin Cities, MKE, Chicago, or else where. If you miss big law with those grades you have a good shot at getting in with a number of the midlaw firms in the state and beyond the state. If you want to work for a large firm outside the immediate WI area you need top grades. Students do still secure big law on the east and west coasts, but most likely have ties and also have great academic creds.
For those at WI who are unlucky enough to find themselfs without a job their 3L year they need to hussle. They need to get as much experience as possible. There are opportunities to work for firms, businesses, government, non-profits, judges, ect during the school year. Some of these experiences lead directly to jobs while others certainly help in obtaining employment. OP makes it sound like the only positions available to those that miss the 2L OCI boat are positions that pay 20-40k. That is flat wrong. If you are in the bottom 50%, you will probably need to settle for a low paying job. Your goal at that point is to gain experience and move past your terrible grades. I know people who were in the bottom 50% and still secured positions that pay a reasonable amount (think positions that qualify for loan forgiveness). Nonetheless after 9 months about 75-85% of the class has long term legal employment that requires a law degree. I'd imagine my class, the class of 2013 has faired even better than that. The stats that are currently available are for the class of 2012, they had a rough time. I know my class did better than they did.
With that said, I think the OP may be doom and gloom because of his/her situation. I know the feeling. I was there. However, I do truly think that it works out. If you are a WI resident UW is good choice. If you are admitted to a T-14 school I would attend that T-14 unless UW offered a full ride. If its not a T-14 and you intend on working in WI, UW is the best option. If your intention is to work in a different state, like IL, then obviously other schools would give you better options.
PM me if you have questions.
I would like to reiterate that the employment opportunities at the University of Wisconsin are weak. If you fail to get a job out of 2L OCI, then your chances of landing a job paying $70,000 or higher is very slim. For example, this past fall there were 10-15 employers that participated in OCI. Three or four of these firms were IP. I don't recall any other biglaw firms. There was a mid-law ish size firm from Iowa. Another firm from with 8 attorneys. This firm wasn't even hiring. They were initially hiring for an unpaid Legal Intern. They claimed that the job would lead to an Associate position. They hired a girl, but she quit on the second day. Then they hired this other guy, but started looking for other candidates second semester when they realized the guy they hired sucked. Perhaps if they actually paid their interns, they would get better results.
Additionally, make no mistake about it, the jobs that are available after 2L OCI are mostly in the $30,000-$58,000 range. And in this market, I'd say $50,000 or higher is at the top of the range. For example, Assistant Attorney General in Madison.
There are opportunities to do externships during the school year. However, the ones at the Wisconsin Supreme Court or Circuit Courts will not lead to full time opportunities. The majority of the government externships will not lead to full-time opportunities. If you get a job at a small firm, there is a chance that this will go full-time. However, your salary will most likely be less than $50,000 and you will work in a law firm with ten or less attorneys.
I don't know what a reasonable amount consists of? But if they qualify for loan forgiveness, then that means it is public intrest, which rarely pays over $55,000. Yes, we have students who work on the cost. They are Top 10%. The last two presidents of Moot Court landed firm jobs in NYC and DC. That gives you an idea as to the caliber of student that get coast positions.
UW consistently posts jobs that their students are not qualified for. These positions require 1 to 2 years of experience. Recently, the school posted a "job" that consisted of renting office space at $800 a month. The school consistently posts unpaid internships for 3Ls. There are several Associate Attorney positions posted for law firms in "never been to" Wisconsin. These pay $30,000-$40,000.
In terms of Perkins Coie, they do IP and mostly insurance in Madison. They hire 1 to 2 Associates. The same is true for Quarles and Brady and most of the "big law firms" in Madison. Yes, there were two students after 2013 graduation who got big law in Milwaukee. One of them worked in the admissions office for a year. They were from the 2012 class. A girl from the 2012 class who graduated jobless and was working at one of the clinics, got a mid law firm in Eau Claire. However, these are the exception to the rule.
The employment situation is as dire as I make it sound. The job postings that UW posts through simplcity is not unique to the school. My friends at other schools share with me their job postings and a lot of them are the same as UW, which means these jobs are being posted to countless number of schools across the nation.