Biglaw Washout

A forum for applicants and admitted students to ask law students and graduates about law school and the practice of law.
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starry eyed
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Biglaw Washout

Postby starry eyed » Tue Nov 18, 2014 11:48 am

I'm trying to decide where I would like to go to law school. A big question that I can't seem to find an answer is that why is everyone on tls so set on T14 if the rumor of most biglaw associates won't make partner is true. What's the point in staying in biglaw long enough to pay debt off and then go to a smaller firm where you could probably end up the same getting hired at a small firm right out of law school and then hustle? If most grads either hate their jobs and leave or gets forced out, I do not see the advantage in pursuing it in the first place. Seems like not many ppl on here have a burning passion for biglaw, most are pesimists about it. Would it make sense to target a geographical location where the economy is growing and pay cheap tuition, where there is a midlaw presence and room for lateral hiring? (let's use SMU for Dallas as an example- hypothetical for those that are gonna jump all over that). Sure the likelihood of biglaw is not too high, but 80% are getting jobs whee a law degre is required.

I can't get any knowledgable answers from 0Ls.

Everyone assumes do not go to law school expecting a certain ranking, well then why go biglaw with the optimism of making partner? So am I assume that unless I am rainmaker, I won't make partner?
Those of you that received substantial scholly's probably can't relate. But I am not so fortunate. Most likely I will be faced paying sticker at T14 or substantial scholly at T50.

However, there's another aspect of this situation that may affect things. I have a trust that currently earns 50k-75k a year in income, and if i take out 250k for law school, it will cut the income in half as well. What do y'all think. I know there's a lot of factors here
Last edited by starry eyed on Tue Nov 18, 2014 11:56 am, edited 1 time in total.

toothbrush
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Re: Biglaw Washout

Postby toothbrush » Tue Nov 18, 2014 11:51 am

alaird21 wrote:I'm trying to decide where I would like to go to law school. A big question that I can't seem to find an answer is that why is everyone on tls so set on T14 if the rumor of most biglaw associates won't make partner is true. What's the point in staying in biglaw long enough to pay debt off and then go to a smaller firm where you could probably end up the same getting hired at a small firm right out of law school and then hustle? If the rumors are true that most law grads just want biglaw to pay off their debt, and then either hate their jobs and leave or gets forced out, I do not see the advantage in pursuing it in the first place. Seems like not many ppl on here have a burning passion for biglaw, most are pesimists about it. Would it make sense to target a geographical location where the economy is growing and pay cheap tuition, where there is a midlaw presence and room for lateral hiring? (let's use SMU for Dallas as an example- hypothetical for those that are gonna jump all over that). Sure the likelihood of biglaw is not too high, but 80% are getting jobs whee a law degre is required.

I can't get any knowledgable answers from 0Ls.

Everyone assumes do not go to law school expecting a certain ranking, well then why go biglaw with the optimism of making partner? So am I assume that unless I am rainmaker, I won't make partner?
Those of you that received substantial scholly's probably can't relate. But I am not so fortunate. Most likely I will be faced paying sticker at T14 or substantial scholly at T50.

However, there's another aspect of this situation that may affect things. I have a trust that currently earns 50k-75k a year in income, and if i take out 250k for law school, it will cut the income in half as well. What do y'all think. I know there's a lot of factors here


If the rumors are true that most law grads just want biglaw to pay off their debt,

:?: :?: :?:
I have a trust that currently earns 50k-75k a year in income,

:lol: :lol:

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starry eyed
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Re: Biglaw Washout

Postby starry eyed » Tue Nov 18, 2014 11:52 am

Forgot my goals. Live a decent life in a southern large city, and make over 150k.

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Emma.
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Re: Biglaw Washout

Postby Emma. » Tue Nov 18, 2014 11:56 am

1. Retake

2. If your trust is returning between 10-15% annually, do not touch that. Use the income from the trust to pay for school and supplement with loans if you need to.

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starry eyed
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Re: Biglaw Washout

Postby starry eyed » Tue Nov 18, 2014 11:57 am

toothbrush wrote:
alaird21 wrote:I'm trying to decide where I would like to go to law school. A big question that I can't seem to find an answer is that why is everyone on tls so set on T14 if the rumor of most biglaw associates won't make partner is true. What's the point in staying in biglaw long enough to pay debt off and then go to a smaller firm where you could probably end up the same getting hired at a small firm right out of law school and then hustle? If the rumors are true that most law grads just want biglaw to pay off their debt, and then either hate their jobs and leave or gets forced out, I do not see the advantage in pursuing it in the first place. Seems like not many ppl on here have a burning passion for biglaw, most are pesimists about it. Would it make sense to target a geographical location where the economy is growing and pay cheap tuition, where there is a midlaw presence and room for lateral hiring? (let's use SMU for Dallas as an example- hypothetical for those that are gonna jump all over that). Sure the likelihood of biglaw is not too high, but 80% are getting jobs whee a law degre is required.

I can't get any knowledgable answers from 0Ls.

Everyone assumes do not go to law school expecting a certain ranking, well then why go biglaw with the optimism of making partner? So am I assume that unless I am rainmaker, I won't make partner?
Those of you that received substantial scholly's probably can't relate. But I am not so fortunate. Most likely I will be faced paying sticker at T14 or substantial scholly at T50.

However, there's another aspect of this situation that may affect things. I have a trust that currently earns 50k-75k a year in income, and if i take out 250k for law school, it will cut the income in half as well. What do y'all think. I know there's a lot of factors here


If the [b]rumors are true that most law grads just want biglaw to pay off their debt,

:?: :?: :?: [/b]
I have a trust that currently earns 50k-75k a year in income,

:lol: :lol:


sorry, edited

BigZuck
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Re: Biglaw Washout

Postby BigZuck » Tue Nov 18, 2014 11:59 am

I don't think most people around here go into big law expecting to make partner, I think they go in expecting (hoping?) to last like 5 years, pay off their debt (or a good chunk of it), and move on to something else (in house council, smaller firm, etc.). If you last 5 years you'll make about $1,000,000 (pre-tax) if you're at a market-paying firm.

Also, it's hard to just start at a small firm and work your way up because hiring at those places is so unpredictable. Generally people think they'll put it their time in big law and then lateral into a decent position at a smaller firm.

I'm painting with extremely broad strokes here and a lot of this is kind of unknown (to TLS) because there aren't a ton of people who have stayed on this site through law school, and then a few years of big law, and then into another position after big law. Hopefully people like that will keep posting and the hive mind will continue to evolve.

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starry eyed
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Re: Biglaw Washout

Postby starry eyed » Tue Nov 18, 2014 11:59 am

I do not want this to turn into a stock market discussion, because we all know that a market correction is coming at some point, so that 10-15% that it has returned for the past few years, can change quick

Cogburn87
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Re: Biglaw Washout

Postby Cogburn87 » Tue Nov 18, 2014 12:01 pm

Do not go to law school.

BigZuck
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Re: Biglaw Washout

Postby BigZuck » Tue Nov 18, 2014 12:02 pm

alaird21 wrote:Live...in a southern large city, and make over 150k.


That's all well and good but 150K jobs aren't exactly plentiful, especially not in southern cities and especially especially not for grads of middling law schools. I wouldn't go to a school like SMU unless I was totally ok with getting like a 40-50K job out of school that might not ever turn into a 150K gig (or, if it does, it would take quite a long time).

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Emma.
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Re: Biglaw Washout

Postby Emma. » Tue Nov 18, 2014 12:03 pm

For the 80% of SMU grads who are getting jobs where a law degree is required, a very high number of those are not going to be making anywhere near $150K. Same goes for most folks at smaller firms. People choose biglaw because there are very few alternative ways to make that kind of money straight out of law school.

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starry eyed
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Re: Biglaw Washout

Postby starry eyed » Tue Nov 18, 2014 12:04 pm

Yet another factor, the trust does not become fully accessible until I am 35, im 23. I only can access a small monthly stipend that pays rent etc..

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starry eyed
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Re: Biglaw Washout

Postby starry eyed » Tue Nov 18, 2014 12:10 pm

Emma. wrote:For the 80% of SMU grads who are getting jobs where a law degree is required, a very high number of those are not going to be making anywhere near $150K. Same goes for most folks at smaller firms. People choose biglaw because there are very few alternative ways to make that kind of money straight out of law school.

I know I won't make 150k starting out, but 10 years down the road? There's many variables I know, and I feel like people in here are very averse to risk.

Also, 40-50 k seems a little low. That something i would expect in rural MS. But i digress, is there a small law firm forum? lol

BigZuck
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Re: Biglaw Washout

Postby BigZuck » Tue Nov 18, 2014 12:16 pm

alaird21 wrote:
Emma. wrote:For the 80% of SMU grads who are getting jobs where a law degree is required, a very high number of those are not going to be making anywhere near $150K. Same goes for most folks at smaller firms. People choose biglaw because there are very few alternative ways to make that kind of money straight out of law school.

I know I won't make 150k starting out, but 10 years down the road? There's many variables I know, and I feel like people in here are very averse to risk.

Also, 40-50 k seems a little low. That something i would expect in rural MS. But i digress, is there a small law firm forum? lol


40-50K is low for a feshly minted JD? Why does that seem low to you? What are you basing your knowledge of starting salaries on?

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starry eyed
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Re: Biglaw Washout

Postby starry eyed » Tue Nov 18, 2014 12:17 pm

BigZuck wrote:
alaird21 wrote:
Emma. wrote:For the 80% of SMU grads who are getting jobs where a law degree is required, a very high number of those are not going to be making anywhere near $150K. Same goes for most folks at smaller firms. People choose biglaw because there are very few alternative ways to make that kind of money straight out of law school.

I know I won't make 150k starting out, but 10 years down the road? There's many variables I know, and I feel like people in here are very averse to risk.

Also, 40-50 k seems a little low. That something i would expect in rural MS. But i digress, is there a small law firm forum? lol


40-50K is low for a feshly minted JD? Why does that seem low to you? What are you basing your knowledge of starting salaries on?



http://abovethelaw.com/2010/10/a-small- ... ts-part-1/

among others

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starry eyed
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Re: Biglaw Washout

Postby starry eyed » Tue Nov 18, 2014 12:19 pm

BigZuck wrote:
alaird21 wrote:Live...in a southern large city, and make over 150k.


That's all well and good but 150K jobs aren't exactly plentiful, especially not in southern cities and especially especially not for grads of middling law schools. I wouldn't go to a school like SMU unless I was totally ok with getting like a 40-50K job out of school that might not ever turn into a 150K gig (or, if it does, it would take quite a long time).


When I;m 35, say I'm making 100k, i can comfortably take out extra from the trust to meet that 150k

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Dr. Review
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Re: Biglaw Washout

Postby Dr. Review » Tue Nov 18, 2014 12:24 pm

alaird21 wrote:http://abovethelaw.com/2010/10/a-small-firm-salary-survey-the-results-part-1/
among others

There are a host of statistics failings in this post, not the least of which is self-selection bias. The other major flaw is that it does not limit the responses to associates, so this skews the values upward. Try this on for size:

http://www.nalp.org/salarydistrib

Graph is based on 21,545 salaries reported for full-time jobs lasting a year or more. A few salaries above $205,000 are excluded from the graph for clarity, but not from the percentage calculations. The left-hand peaks of the graph reflect salaries of $40,000 to $65,000, which collectively accounted for about half of reported salaries. The right-hand peak shows that salaries of $160,000 accounted for about 17% of reported salaries. However, more complete salary coverage for jobs at large law firms heightens this peak and diminishes the left-hand peaks — and shows that the unadjusted mean overstates the average starting salary by just over 5%. Nonetheless, as both the arithmetic mean and the adjusted mean show, relatively few salaries are close to either mean. For purposes of this graph, all reported salaries were rounded to the nearest $5,000.

BigZuck
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Re: Biglaw Washout

Postby BigZuck » Tue Nov 18, 2014 12:26 pm

I didn't read the whole thing but reporting bias, survivor bias, those aren't starting salaries were all thoughts that came to mind.

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logdog
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Re: Biglaw Washout

Postby logdog » Tue Nov 18, 2014 12:28 pm

alaird21 wrote:Yet another factor, the trust does not become fully accessible until I am 35, im 23. I only can access a small monthly stipend that pays rent etc..



This sounds like something a T&E class could really help you with. Definitely go to law school. :wink:

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logdog
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Re: Biglaw Washout

Postby logdog » Tue Nov 18, 2014 12:33 pm

In all seriousness, though, I think you would be just fine going to SMU, assuming you are at least top 25%. I know several people from SMU, Baylor, and Houston who found jobs in Dallas and Houston making at least $80k starting out--including me.

AReasonableMan
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Re: Biglaw Washout

Postby AReasonableMan » Tue Nov 18, 2014 1:00 pm

That's a big assumption. I also think having the trust could be a grading disadvantage. Hard to care to the same extent.

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logdog
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Re: Biglaw Washout

Postby logdog » Tue Nov 18, 2014 1:04 pm

AReasonableMan wrote:That's a big assumption. I also think having the trust could be a grading disadvantage. Hard to care to the same extent.


It is, but I really think that it's possible to gauge your law school performance if you can actually be honest with yourself about your work ethic, etc. If you get a decent scholarship and did well in undergrad, you have the ability. After that, it's all about the work you put into it.

LegalReality
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Re: Biglaw Washout

Postby LegalReality » Tue Nov 18, 2014 1:09 pm

Biglawyer here, we tend to hang out with other people from our T14 and talk about how it's pretty awful and it is. I dated someone from a regional school though. She worked at a shitlaw firm for 40k and worked longer hours than me. Shitlaw is basically the same as biglaw except that you don't get paid and the quality of your work is cut and paste shit because your matter volume is ten times what it is in biglaw because you are working for a bunch of people that cant pay shit. That's why I'm still high on biglaw as an outcome, even though I'll just be completely leaving the law soon, at least I got marketable skills and made some money, something I cannot say for shitlawyers.

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logdog
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Re: Biglaw Washout

Postby logdog » Tue Nov 18, 2014 1:14 pm

LegalReality wrote:Biglawyer here, we tend to hang out with other people from our T14 and talk about how it's pretty awful and it is. I dated someone from a regional school though. She worked at a shitlaw firm for 40k and worked longer hours than me. Shitlaw is basically the same as biglaw except that you don't get paid and the quality of your work is cut and paste shit because your matter volume is ten times what it is in biglaw because you are working for a bunch of people that cant pay shit. That's why I'm still high on biglaw as an outcome, even though I'll just be completely leaving the law soon, at least I got marketable skills and made some money, something I cannot say for shitlawyers.


Five sentences. Five uses of the word "shit." I like your style.

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kalvano
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Re: Biglaw Washout

Postby kalvano » Tue Nov 18, 2014 1:24 pm

logdog wrote:In all seriousness, though, I think you would be just fine going to SMU, assuming you are at least top 25%. I know several people from SMU, Baylor, and Houston who found jobs in Dallas and Houston making at least $80k starting out--including me.


1) There's a 75% chance he won't be in the top 25%, and even top 25% is no guarantee of anything these days. I know plenty of people in the top 25% at SMU who struggled to find a job.

2) Not all jobs are created equal. I have a friend who works in a small firm for less than $80K and bills out an absurd amount of hours. Like 225 a month.

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Clemenceau
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Re: Biglaw Washout

Postby Clemenceau » Tue Nov 18, 2014 1:26 pm

You're convoluting this thread by trying to ask for big picture (why does everyone on tls want biglaw?), and then adding useless details about your situation, trust fund, etc.

Biglaw offers: high starting salary, consistent hiring schedules for new JDs, and generally solid exit options.

Small law, anecdotally, is more erratic with hiring(usually on an as-needed basis), and more likely to involve connections. Many small-midlaw firms will not hire new JDs. Not everywhere is like this of course, just mentioning a point of contrast with biglaw.

I know a few lawyers who have solid, in-house positions. Small sample size, but they all started at v100s.

Biglaw is not partner or bust. For those who don't make partner, it's still a few years of sophisticated, work-intensive training that is beneficial to get under your belt. Also comes with a nice resume stamp. A similar principle applies for people in investment banking. Few expect to climb the ladder much at jp or goldman, but spending a few years there as an analyst goes a long way in terms of future employment prospects. Means to an end, not the end itself.

I know this post didn't do much to dispel the idea that tls is biglaw/t14 or bust, but oh well




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