Does the School matter THAT much?

(Please Ask Questions and Answer Questions)
Oblivion_08
Posts: 257
Joined: Wed Mar 24, 2010 11:20 pm

Does the School matter THAT much?

Postby Oblivion_08 » Mon May 31, 2010 1:25 pm

I am taking my LSAT next week, and I went up from a 136 to 155 in my PT's and I hope to get into the high 150's low 160's and I was wondering if any school really matters on how successful you become. I used to work for a firm as an intern, and my boss was raking in about 1.3 mil a year and he graduated from Whittier, which from what I can tell is not a great school. Does anyone else hear any stories like this or know if the school really does matter from past experiences?

miamiman
Posts: 1486
Joined: Mon Mar 02, 2009 8:55 pm

Re: Does the School matter THAT much?

Postby miamiman » Mon May 31, 2010 1:28 pm

Oblivion_08 wrote:I am taking my LSAT next week, and I went up from a 136 to 155 in my PT's and I hope to get into the high 150's low 160's and I was wondering if any school really matters on how successful you become. I used to work for a firm as an intern, and my boss was raking in about 1.3 mil a year and he graduated from Whittier, which from what I can tell is not a great school. Does anyone else hear any stories like this or know if the school really does matter from past experiences?


the earnings potential, job opportunities, networking, etc. etc. that exists for T14 grads far surpasses that of lower-ranked schools.

A good metric is the % that are placed into NLJ 250 firms. Go see for yourself.

Locke N. Lawded
Posts: 84
Joined: Thu May 27, 2010 9:15 pm

Re: Does the School matter THAT much?

Postby Locke N. Lawded » Mon May 31, 2010 1:32 pm

One thing you'll hear a lot from admissions officers is that the school you go to and the grades you received there don't matter once you're out "in the real world".

I think that in the past, especially if you went to a regional school with strong placement in the area, that old adage would be mostly true.

However, ITE, the school you attend is much more important. The scores you are currently getting in your PTs will likely leave you in the lower T2 schools and if you don't score over 150, it's TTT land.

You should strive to get into the very best school that you can, but understand that your job prospects will be circumscribed by the school you ultimately attend. That's true ITE, and it has always been true, though not necessarily publicized like it is now.

User avatar
CX1329
Posts: 18
Joined: Sun May 16, 2010 10:22 pm

Re: Does the School matter THAT much?

Postby CX1329 » Mon May 31, 2010 1:39 pm

Back when your boss graduated, not so much. In this economy, probably. I'd still wager on being able to land a good job in the same region as your school, provided it's a reputable regional school. However, don't expect to work Biglaw or other highly prestigious jobs if you don't attend a T14, and you should definitely not make the terrible mistake of attending a regional school then moving to another State to practise, like many unsuspecting students do.

Mr. Pablo
Posts: 283
Joined: Thu Mar 05, 2009 8:21 pm

Re: Does the School matter THAT much?

Postby Mr. Pablo » Mon May 31, 2010 2:06 pm

Nightrunner wrote:OP, the school you attend sets soft parameters and probabilities for your career, but just like in the rest of life there's a lot of room for hard work and luck (good or bad). It is possible to go to Thomas Jefferson and end up as a millionaire partner, and it is possible to go to Stanford and end up managing a Carl's Jr...but the likelihood of each is drastically increased if we switched the hypothetical schools.

IMO, go to the best school within the region in which you'd like to practice, or alternatively the strongest school in that region that gives you a substantial scholarship.

But first and foremost: do the best you can on the LSAT.

Seconded.
/ Motion Passed.

User avatar
bk1
Posts: 18409
Joined: Sun Mar 14, 2010 7:06 pm

Re: Does the School matter THAT much?

Postby bk1 » Mon May 31, 2010 4:42 pm

Nightrunner wrote:OP, the school you attend sets soft parameters and probabilities for your career, but just like in the rest of life there's a lot of room for hard work and luck (good or bad). It is possible to go to Thomas Jefferson and end up as a millionaire partner, and it is possible to go to Stanford and end up managing a Carl's Jr...but the likelihood of each is drastically increased if we switched the hypothetical schools.

IMO, go to the best school within the region in which you'd like to practice, or alternatively the strongest school in that region that gives you a substantial scholarship.

But first and foremost: do the best you can on the LSAT.


Credited.

Oblivion_08
Posts: 257
Joined: Wed Mar 24, 2010 11:20 pm

Re: Does the School matter THAT much?

Postby Oblivion_08 » Mon May 31, 2010 5:42 pm

Thank you guys, I am shooting high. I want to get into a Top 50 school, looking into Pepperdine and Loyola..but I mean I have some cousins that went to Southwestern who are doing very well right now..but I was just wondering if there was a BIG difference.

User avatar
General Tso
Posts: 2289
Joined: Sun Dec 07, 2008 6:51 pm

Re: Does the School matter THAT much?

Postby General Tso » Mon May 31, 2010 5:55 pm

Oblivion_08 wrote:Thank you guys, I am shooting high. I want to get into a Top 50 school, looking into Pepperdine and Loyola..but I mean I have some cousins that went to Southwestern who are doing very well right now..but I was just wondering if there was a BIG difference.


You can always find examples of outliers that beat the odds out of lower ranked schools. Also, it was probably a lot easier to find quality work out of lower ranked schools 5-20 years ago. Now that big firms have stopped hiring, many mid-level candidates from places like UCLA, etc. that would have gotten biglaw in the past are now taking the kinds of jobs your cousins from Southwestern would have gotten.

b.j.
Posts: 285
Joined: Sun Nov 29, 2009 2:06 am

Re: Does the School matter THAT much?

Postby b.j. » Tue Jun 01, 2010 9:28 am

I was told last week by a lawyer that the school isn't as important as one would think. In fact, those who make themselves marketable--find a niche, have possible experience, and so on--from a lower ranked school are better than those who simply do well and graduate from a better school. This guy said that if it comes down to a New York Law School (T3 or T4) grad versus an N.Y.U. grad, he and others would take the N.Y.L.S. grad provided there was some sort of quality that made the former special. All things being equal, of course, they'd probably go with the graduate of the higher ranked school, but from what this guy was telling me, going to a lower ranked school, doing well, and standing out in some way means it's quite possible to do well.

So I'd say that the school matters, but not nearly as much as some might think. Then again, I'd guess this has always been true to some extent. It's just that the people who were going to excel no matter what usually ended up going to the better schools anyway.

User avatar
Grizz
Posts: 10583
Joined: Mon Jan 04, 2010 6:31 pm

Re: Does the School matter THAT much?

Postby Grizz » Tue Jun 01, 2010 9:50 am

b.j. wrote:going to a lower ranked school, doing well, and standing out in some way means it's quite possible to do well.


The more prestigious school you go to, the less "well" you have to do.

b.j.
Posts: 285
Joined: Sun Nov 29, 2009 2:06 am

Re: Does the School matter THAT much?

Postby b.j. » Tue Jun 01, 2010 10:03 am

rad law wrote:
b.j. wrote:going to a lower ranked school, doing well, and standing out in some way means it's quite possible to do well.


The more prestigious school you go to, the less "well" you have to do.


Perhaps. But in the end, it's all about getting a job.

User avatar
badwithpseudonyms
Posts: 815
Joined: Wed Apr 15, 2009 12:48 pm

Re: Does the School matter THAT much?

Postby badwithpseudonyms » Tue Jun 01, 2010 10:10 am

b.j. wrote:I was told last week by a lawyer that the school isn't as important as one would think. In fact, those who make themselves marketable--find a niche, have possible experience, and so on--from a lower ranked school are better than those who simply do well and graduate from a better school. This guy said that if it comes down to a New York Law School (T3 or T4) grad versus an N.Y.U. grad, he and others would take the N.Y.L.S. grad provided there was some sort of quality that made the former special. All things being equal, of course, they'd probably go with the graduate of the higher ranked school, but from what this guy was telling me, going to a lower ranked school, doing well, and standing out in some way means it's quite possible to do well.

So I'd say that the school matters, but not nearly as much as some might think. Then again, I'd guess this has always been true to some extent. It's just that the people who were going to excel no matter what usually ended up going to the better schools anyway.


Yes, but chances are, "You are not special. You are not a beautiful or unique snowflake. You're the same decaying organic matter as everything else." :lol:

User avatar
whuts4lunch
Posts: 391
Joined: Fri Feb 06, 2009 3:54 pm

Re: Does the School matter THAT much?

Postby whuts4lunch » Tue Jun 01, 2010 10:20 am

rad law wrote:
b.j. wrote:going to a lower ranked school, doing well, and standing out in some way means it's quite possible to do well.


The more prestigious school you go to, the less "well" you have to do.


At the same time, it is entirely possible that the typical NYU law student would rank top 5% at NYLS.

b.j.
Posts: 285
Joined: Sun Nov 29, 2009 2:06 am

Re: Does the School matter THAT much?

Postby b.j. » Tue Jun 01, 2010 10:25 am

badwithpseudonyms wrote:
b.j. wrote:I was told last week by a lawyer that the school isn't as important as one would think. In fact, those who make themselves marketable--find a niche, have possible experience, and so on--from a lower ranked school are better than those who simply do well and graduate from a better school. This guy said that if it comes down to a New York Law School (T3 or T4) grad versus an N.Y.U. grad, he and others would take the N.Y.L.S. grad provided there was some sort of quality that made the former special. All things being equal, of course, they'd probably go with the graduate of the higher ranked school, but from what this guy was telling me, going to a lower ranked school, doing well, and standing out in some way means it's quite possible to do well.

So I'd say that the school matters, but not nearly as much as some might think. Then again, I'd guess this has always been true to some extent. It's just that the people who were going to excel no matter what usually ended up going to the better schools anyway.


Yes, but chances are, "You are not special. You are not a beautiful or unique snowflake. You're the same decaying organic matter as everything else." :lol:


I get what you are saying, but still. This guy works in marital law, I believe, and he said that he and his fellow lawyers will take someone who has some sort of experience even if they come from a much lower ranked school because they will have to spend far less time training them as opposed to a graduate from a top ranked school who has no idea what they are doing.

Perhaps that's not true for all firms, especially the bigger and more famous ones, but ask yourself this: what's more valuable to an employer, someone who has experience or something similar to offer and/or a niche focus, or someone who doesn't? (Once again, he did say, all things being equal, they'd take someone from a better school, but how often do things like up that equally?) None of this means, of course, that the usual stuff, like good grades and networking, lose their importance. It just means that the school isn't the only determination of your future--far from it, in fact.

b.j.
Posts: 285
Joined: Sun Nov 29, 2009 2:06 am

Re: Does the School matter THAT much?

Postby b.j. » Tue Jun 01, 2010 10:27 am

whuts4lunch wrote:
rad law wrote:
b.j. wrote:going to a lower ranked school, doing well, and standing out in some way means it's quite possible to do well.


The more prestigious school you go to, the less "well" you have to do.


At the same time, it is entirely possible that the typical NYU law student would rank top 5% at NYLS.


Oh, of course, but that means it's the student more than the school.

User avatar
Grizz
Posts: 10583
Joined: Mon Jan 04, 2010 6:31 pm

Re: Does the School matter THAT much?

Postby Grizz » Tue Jun 01, 2010 10:34 am

b.j. wrote:
rad law wrote:
b.j. wrote:going to a lower ranked school, doing well, and standing out in some way means it's quite possible to do well.


The more prestigious school you go to, the less "well" you have to do.


Perhaps. But in the end, it's all about getting a job.


How is that different than what I'm saying?

b.j.
Posts: 285
Joined: Sun Nov 29, 2009 2:06 am

Re: Does the School matter THAT much?

Postby b.j. » Tue Jun 01, 2010 10:37 am

rad law wrote:
b.j. wrote:
rad law wrote:
b.j. wrote:going to a lower ranked school, doing well, and standing out in some way means it's quite possible to do well.


The more prestigious school you go to, the less "well" you have to do.


Perhaps. But in the end, it's all about getting a job.


How is that different than what I'm saying?


I thought it was, but maybe it's not.

Would you agree that it's the student more than the school?

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

Re: Does the School matter THAT much?

Postby rayiner » Tue Jun 01, 2010 10:42 am

Oblivion_08 wrote:I am taking my LSAT next week, and I went up from a 136 to 155 in my PT's and I hope to get into the high 150's low 160's and I was wondering if any school really matters on how successful you become. I used to work for a firm as an intern, and my boss was raking in about 1.3 mil a year and he graduated from Whittier, which from what I can tell is not a great school. Does anyone else hear any stories like this or know if the school really does matter from past experiences?


Law is like any other field. Do you think NASA is full of engineers who graduated from Georgia Southwestern State University? Does Google recruit heavily from Cal State Fullerton? Does Goldman Sachs dig deep into the finance program at George Mason U?

User avatar
badwithpseudonyms
Posts: 815
Joined: Wed Apr 15, 2009 12:48 pm

Re: Does the School matter THAT much?

Postby badwithpseudonyms » Tue Jun 01, 2010 10:49 am

b.j. wrote:I get what you are saying, but still. This guy works in marital law, I believe, and he said that he and his fellow lawyers will take someone who has some sort of experience even if they come from a much lower ranked school because they will have to spend far less time training them as opposed to a graduate from a top ranked school who has no idea what they are doing.

Perhaps that's not true for all firms, especially the bigger and more famous ones, but ask yourself this: what's more valuable to an employer, someone who has experience or something similar to offer and/or a niche focus, or someone who doesn't? (Once again, he did say, all things being equal, they'd take someone from a better school, but how often do things like up that equally?) None of this means, of course, that the usual stuff, like good grades and networking, lose their importance. It just means that the school isn't the only determination of your future--far from it, in fact.

I definitely get what you are saying, I was just joking. Your last post just made me think of that line in Fight Club. I agree that if you are a charismatic extrovert with years of tangential experience and a record of high achievement, you stand a good chance at besting the mouth-breathing social retard with an NYU degree.*

*unless said NYU student finished in the top 5-10% of his/her class, then you're probably still SOL.

User avatar
Grizz
Posts: 10583
Joined: Mon Jan 04, 2010 6:31 pm

Re: Does the School matter THAT much?

Postby Grizz » Tue Jun 01, 2010 10:50 am

b.j. wrote:
I thought it was, but maybe it's not.

Would you agree that it's the student more than the school?


No, in general, due to law's heavy orientation towards prestigious schools.

And there's definitely not enough leeway to make a decision by, ie assuming kids who can get into T14 will be ahead of the curve at other T1. Just too many variables.

b.j.
Posts: 285
Joined: Sun Nov 29, 2009 2:06 am

Re: Does the School matter THAT much?

Postby b.j. » Tue Jun 01, 2010 11:00 am

rad law wrote:
b.j. wrote:
I thought it was, but maybe it's not.

Would you agree that it's the student more than the school?


No, in general, due to law's heavy orientation towards prestigious schools.

And there's definitely not enough leeway to make a decision by, ie assuming kids who can get into T14 will be ahead of the curve at other T1. Just too many variables.


Big law, or just law in general?

And I don't mean to suggest that it's guaranteed someone will do well anywhere. It's not. The point is that if you end up doing well in lower ranked school, while also distinguishing yourself in some way, you can still find a good job. At least that's what I've been told.

b.j.
Posts: 285
Joined: Sun Nov 29, 2009 2:06 am

Re: Does the School matter THAT much?

Postby b.j. » Tue Jun 01, 2010 11:02 am

badwithpseudonyms wrote:
b.j. wrote:I get what you are saying, but still. This guy works in marital law, I believe, and he said that he and his fellow lawyers will take someone who has some sort of experience even if they come from a much lower ranked school because they will have to spend far less time training them as opposed to a graduate from a top ranked school who has no idea what they are doing.

Perhaps that's not true for all firms, especially the bigger and more famous ones, but ask yourself this: what's more valuable to an employer, someone who has experience or something similar to offer and/or a niche focus, or someone who doesn't? (Once again, he did say, all things being equal, they'd take someone from a better school, but how often do things like up that equally?) None of this means, of course, that the usual stuff, like good grades and networking, lose their importance. It just means that the school isn't the only determination of your future--far from it, in fact.

I definitely get what you are saying, I was just joking. Your last post just made me think of that line in Fight Club. I agree that if you are a charismatic extrovert with years of tangential experience and a record of high achievement, you stand a good chance at besting the mouth-breathing social retard with an NYU degree.*

*unless said NYU student finished in the top 5-10% of his/her class, then you're probably still SOL.


HA! I should probably watch that movie again.

User avatar
VA LawDog
Posts: 29
Joined: Sat May 29, 2010 11:23 am

Re: Does the School matter THAT much?

Postby VA LawDog » Tue Jun 01, 2010 11:04 am

miamiman wrote:
Oblivion_08 wrote:I am taking my LSAT next week, and I went up from a 136 to 155 in my PT's and I hope to get into the high 150's low 160's and I was wondering if any school really matters on how successful you become. I used to work for a firm as an intern, and my boss was raking in about 1.3 mil a year and he graduated from Whittier, which from what I can tell is not a great school. Does anyone else hear any stories like this or know if the school really does matter from past experiences?


the earnings potential, job opportunities, networking, etc. etc. that exists for T14 grads far surpasses that of lower-ranked schools.

A good metric is the % that are placed into NLJ 250 firms. Go see for yourself.

Where can I find that information?

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

Re: Does the School matter THAT much?

Postby rayiner » Tue Jun 01, 2010 11:06 am

This is of course predicated on distinguishing yourself. What makes you special?

In engineering school, lot's of people went in with dreams of getting a PhD and working at Google or Lockheed. 70-80% of the class didn't make that cut. At least those folks could fall back on a $50k+ engineering job, but at a TTT law school the fall back is straight-up unemployment.

b.j.
Posts: 285
Joined: Sun Nov 29, 2009 2:06 am

Re: Does the School matter THAT much?

Postby b.j. » Tue Jun 01, 2010 11:07 am

rayiner wrote:This is of course predicated on distinguishing yourself. What makes you special?

In engineering school, lot's of people went in with dreams of getting a PhD and working at Google or Lockheed. 70-80% of the class didn't make that cut. At least those folks could fall back on a $50k+ engineering job, but at a TTT law school the fall back is straight-up unemployment.


My mother has told I am special for a long, long time. So there.




Return to “Law School FAQ”

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 1 guest