Bar Passage Vs. Other Expensive Options

(Please Ask Questions and Answer Questions)

Bar Passage with what kind of school

Guaranteed Job with Bar Passage, choose T-IV school
9
38%
Guaranteed Job with Bar Passage, via epensive Tier 1 school
4
17%
Guaranteed Job with Bar Passage, via very expensive T-14 school
11
46%
 
Total votes: 24

User avatar
Renne Walker
Posts: 546
Joined: Sat Jan 29, 2011 2:12 am

Bar Passage Vs. Other Expensive Options

Postby Renne Walker » Mon Jun 20, 2011 4:18 pm

During the last two summers my friend worked at a respected, medium sized, law office where her mother has worked for eight years as a legal secretary. The partners told her that if she passed the bar, they would bring her on board. She has opted for a small Tier IV law about six miles from her home (89.8% bar passage). Given her high GPA and impressive LSAT, her debt is negligible. In three years she would be a lawyer with a job (do not know the pay, guessing +$50K).

I talked to her about enrolling into a Tier 1 school. Or, given her grades she would have likely been accepted at an upper tier T-14 school. She is very happy with her decision. My question (the poll) is to ask, what would you have done?

User avatar
fatduck
Posts: 4186
Joined: Mon Sep 13, 2010 10:16 pm

Re: Bar Passage Vs. Other Expensive Options

Postby fatduck » Mon Jun 20, 2011 4:21 pm

my mom basically did the same thing, although the school she went to is ranked in the 60s, i think. i'm not sure how she would have benefited from going to a higher ranked school.

User avatar
Renne Walker
Posts: 546
Joined: Sat Jan 29, 2011 2:12 am

Re: Bar Passage Vs. Other Expensive Options

Postby Renne Walker » Mon Jun 20, 2011 5:46 pm

I have to agree, it makes sense. After a year or two of working for a law firm, I guess the “what law school did you attend” question becomes less of a factor.

While these presumed $160K salaries are enticing, the +$250K bill that comes with it, not so much. IMHO, a $50K starting salary isn’t dwarfed by a $5K or $10K debt. Plus, bar passage is not tied into class ranking or grades.

I am slowly but surely starting to believe she did the right thing. Initially, it seemed bazaar that someone with a 174 LSAT would opt for a Tier IV school. On the other hand that one test basically got her a near free ride.

User avatar
rinkrat19
Posts: 13918
Joined: Sat Sep 25, 2010 5:35 am

Re: Bar Passage Vs. Other Expensive Options

Postby rinkrat19 » Mon Jun 20, 2011 5:51 pm

It all depends on how sure a thing that job is. If it's an absolute, yeah, nothing wrong with going to a cheap school. If there's a significant chance that the job offer falls through for any reason, then she's stuck with an unemployable JD and three wasted years (but still no debt, which is nice).

09042014
Posts: 18282
Joined: Wed Oct 14, 2009 10:47 pm

Re: Bar Passage Vs. Other Expensive Options

Postby 09042014 » Mon Jun 20, 2011 6:05 pm

Some considerations.

1) She is losing salary for three years.

2) That firm could be permafucked in 3 years and she's SOL

The firm isn't investing in anything, and it only making a vague promise that it doesn't have to keep.

ajr
Posts: 165
Joined: Fri Nov 05, 2010 7:50 pm

Re: Bar Passage Vs. Other Expensive Options

Postby ajr » Mon Jun 20, 2011 6:07 pm

Is there such a thing as a guaranteed job after three years? Who knows what might happen in three years. Huge stable companies have gone down in shorter time periods, so I would really think hard about the possibility of that offer falling through, especially if your friend has to quit. If she can remain employed through this time though, the chances of the offer remaining valid are high, I would think.

User avatar
fatduck
Posts: 4186
Joined: Mon Sep 13, 2010 10:16 pm

Re: Bar Passage Vs. Other Expensive Options

Postby fatduck » Mon Jun 20, 2011 6:07 pm

Desert Fox wrote:Some considerations.

1) She is losing salary for three years.

2) That firm could be permafucked in 3 years and she's SOL

The firm isn't investing in anything, and it only making a vague promise that it doesn't have to keep.

also, this "friend" apparently had T6 numbers, so it's not like they'd have to go to a shithole TTTT to get a full ride. this person could probably get full ride + stipend at several T1 schools.

alumniguy
Posts: 426
Joined: Fri Mar 18, 2011 3:24 pm

Re: Bar Passage Vs. Other Expensive Options

Postby alumniguy » Mon Jun 20, 2011 6:27 pm

This answer to this question is about what type of life "your friend" envisions for herself. The answer to that question solves the overall question. If one is looking to have a decent life, working normal hours and making a relatively normal salary, then I would think that the minimal to no debt route is probably the "better" choice, here. It is likely that your friend is rather intelligent and will make a good lawyer. Also likely that a smaller firm will present a much more stable career path (i.e., working for most if not all of her career at "the firm"). Your friend may have already discovered that for whatever reason she doesn't have what it takes to succeed in a big market (i.e., total dedication to your career).

If one is looking to make their career the most important thing in one's life and wants the prestige, pay, stress and long hours that accompany such a life, then obviously the highest school one can get into is the better choice, even at substantial debt. FWIW, it seems that many TLS's have visions of grandeur, which is all well and good. However, the statistics suggest that very few of those people will actually go on to the grandeur they've envisioned. The weeding out process in biglaw is mostly about who has the dedication to work late into the night and be ready at the drop of a hat on weekends than about intelligence. Lawyers certainly aren't rocket scientists.

User avatar
Renne Walker
Posts: 546
Joined: Sat Jan 29, 2011 2:12 am

Re: Bar Passage Vs. Other Expensive Options

Postby Renne Walker » Mon Jun 20, 2011 7:14 pm

fatduck wrote: . . .this person could probably get full ride + stipend at several T1 schools.

True enough. I spoke to her about that very same thing. She just did not want to go through the hassle and expense of moving out of state―trust me, I can relate! The only other law school in the state is a T-III, at one time a law degree from that T-III school automatically granted bar passage (unfortunately, they did away with that proviso several years ago).

If she had a so-so GPA and LSAT, I would wholeheartedly say, rock on. Because her numbers are stellar, it just seems sinful (or at least weird) to waste them on a T-IV.

User avatar
Aberzombie1892
Posts: 1907
Joined: Sun Mar 29, 2009 10:56 am

Re: Bar Passage Vs. Other Expensive Options

Postby Aberzombie1892 » Mon Jun 20, 2011 7:29 pm

Renne Walker wrote:
fatduck wrote: . . .this person could probably get full ride + stipend at several T1 schools.

True enough. I spoke to her about that very same thing. She just did not want to go through the hassle and expense of moving out of state―trust me, I can relate! The only other law school in the state is a T-III, at one time a law degree from that T-III school automatically granted bar passage (unfortunately, they did away with that proviso several years ago).

If she had a so-so GPA and LSAT, I would wholeheartedly say, rock on. Because her numbers are stellar, it just seems sinful (or at least weird) to waste them on a T-IV.


She went to MC? MC has top 20% contingent full ride scholarships. I turned one down. She's crazy. I know someone personally who is going to do the same thing you friend did.

User avatar
Renne Walker
Posts: 546
Joined: Sat Jan 29, 2011 2:12 am

Re: Bar Passage Vs. Other Expensive Options

Postby Renne Walker » Mon Jun 20, 2011 8:36 pm

alumniguy wrote:. . . biglaw is mostly about who has the dedication to work late into the night and be ready at the drop of a hat on weekends. . .

The lure and prestige of a big name law school, a job in the apple sounded enticing, until you put it that way!

I remember the day she phoned with her LSAT score, saying that the partners at the law firm were very impressed (even though they expected nothing less from her. . . ditto, me too). I figured we would be running off to the Ivy league together. But nope, the idea of owing hundreds of thousands of dollars (plus she’s perversely concerned about the interest), and the cost of living, and tons of other expenses was not what she wanted. Honestly, at this point I am feeling a bit envious of her decision!

ajr
Posts: 165
Joined: Fri Nov 05, 2010 7:50 pm

Re: Bar Passage Vs. Other Expensive Options

Postby ajr » Mon Jun 20, 2011 8:40 pm

alumniguy wrote:... the dedication to work late into the night and be ready at the drop of a hat on weekends than about intelligence....


Whoever told you rocket science was any different. TBF, rocket science isn't exactly rocket science either :D.

User avatar
Renne Walker
Posts: 546
Joined: Sat Jan 29, 2011 2:12 am

Re: Bar Passage Vs. Other Expensive Options

Postby Renne Walker » Mon Jun 20, 2011 9:39 pm

Aberzombie1892 wrote:. . . MC has top 20% contingent full ride scholarships. I turned one down. She's crazy. I know someone personally who is going to do the same thing you friend did.

Crazy? Your friend has a job lined up once he/she passes the bar exam, so he/she enrolled in lower tier school to cut expenses. . . is that it? I guess I am missing the crazy part?

I can certainly understand someone turning down an offer from a school because they believe after three years they might not end up in a good place. The question here is, if a person one has a promised job awaiting them, upon passing the bar, what option should they take. . . go to the best possible school (with the a heavy debt load) or to a less impressive school with nearly no debt load.

User avatar
fatduck
Posts: 4186
Joined: Mon Sep 13, 2010 10:16 pm

Re: Bar Passage Vs. Other Expensive Options

Postby fatduck » Mon Jun 20, 2011 9:43 pm

Renne Walker wrote:
Aberzombie1892 wrote:. . . MC has top 20% contingent full ride scholarships. I turned one down. She's crazy. I know someone personally who is going to do the same thing you friend did.

Crazy? Your friend has a job lined up once he/she passes the bar exam, so he/she enrolled in lower tier school to cut expenses. . . is that it? I guess I am missing the crazy part?

I can certainly understand someone turning down an offer from a school because they believe after three years they might not end up in a good place. The question here is, if a person one has a promised job awaiting them, upon passing the bar, what option should they take. . . go to the best possible school (with the a heavy debt load) or to a less impressive school with nearly no debt load.

did you read the part where he said "top 20% contingent" ?

duckmoney
Posts: 886
Joined: Sun Jun 13, 2010 2:21 pm

Re: Bar Passage Vs. Other Expensive Options

Postby duckmoney » Mon Jun 20, 2011 9:49 pm

Get the offer in writing, and get them to lower the stips. If a T4 won't lower the stips for someone with a 174 AND a guaranteed job at graduation (she would account for a 100% increase in their employment statistics), I'd stay away from them.

User avatar
nealric
Posts: 2395
Joined: Fri Sep 25, 2009 9:53 am

Re: Bar Passage Vs. Other Expensive Options

Postby nealric » Mon Jun 20, 2011 11:33 pm

Plus, bar passage is not tied into class ranking or grades


Actually, law school grades are by far the best predictor of bar passage.

In any event, comparing laws schools based on bar passage is completely worthless. Law school doesn't prepare you for the bar unless you go to a TTT. Barbri or equivalent prepares you for the bar. The only time bar passage is remotely meaningful is when you have schools that are so bad they are in danger of losing accreditation or failing to get full accreditation.

User avatar
Renne Walker
Posts: 546
Joined: Sat Jan 29, 2011 2:12 am

Re: Bar Passage Vs. Other Expensive Options

Postby Renne Walker » Tue Jun 21, 2011 12:01 am

duckmoney wrote:Get the offer in writing, and get them to lower the stips. If a T4 won't lower the stips for someone with a 174 AND a guaranteed job at graduation (she would account for a 100% increase in their employment statistics), I'd stay away from them.

I honestly do not know any of the details she has with her school. What I do know is, she wants a license to practice law so she can begin working at the law firm. . . walking through the door on day one carrying as little debt as possible.

Whether she graduates from PENN, NYU or MC. . . it will not affect her salary. I suspect she has done the math!

User avatar
Renne Walker
Posts: 546
Joined: Sat Jan 29, 2011 2:12 am

Re: Bar Passage Vs. Other Expensive Options

Postby Renne Walker » Tue Jun 21, 2011 1:24 pm

As far as polls go, this one looks to be nearly done. Turns out that my initial advice of going to a T-14 (in spite of the debt) was #1 at 47%. Second place, T-IV over Tier 1, 35% to 17%. . . not particularly surprising, given the scenario backdrop of the poll.

A couple of questions I did not get to:
The 20% contingency question: If that means a person has to be in the top 20% of the class to keep the scholarship benefit. . . that is not an issue, given the quality of the student.

The business could go belly-up in three years: I guess anything is possible. I was by their office years ago, a corner two story building near the courthouse (that the partners own). What I remember most about my visit were all the exotic cars in the parking lot. . . did not look like anyone was on goverment assistance!

Law school grades are by far the best predictor of bar passage: Actually, isn’t the school’s actual bar passage the best indicator? According to TLS, the school’s bar passage on the first try in 89.8%.

Thanks for your input. If there is anything else, rock on. If not, bye.

09042014
Posts: 18282
Joined: Wed Oct 14, 2009 10:47 pm

Re: Bar Passage Vs. Other Expensive Options

Postby 09042014 » Tue Jun 21, 2011 1:30 pm

Renne Walker wrote:As far as polls go, this one looks to be nearly done. Turns out that my initial advice of going to a T-14 (in spite of the debt) was #1 at 47%. Second place, T-IV over Tier 1, 35% to 17%. . . not particularly surprising, given the scenario backdrop of the poll.

A couple of questions I did not get to:
The 20% contingency question: If that means a person has to be in the top 20% of the class to keep the scholarship benefit. . . that is not an issue, given the quality of the student.

The business could go belly-up in three years: I guess anything is possible. I was by their office years ago, a corner two story building near the courthouse (that the partners own). What I remember most about my visit were all the exotic cars in the parking lot. . . did not look like anyone was on goverment assistance!

Law school grades are by far the best predictor of bar passage: Actually, isn’t the school’s actual bar passage the best indicator? According to TLS, the school’s bar passage on the first try in 89.8%.

Thanks for your input. If there is anything else, rock on. If not, bye.


1) It is absolute bullshit to assume her past credentials will guarantee top 20%. L-school isn't like undergrad. You can't just gun to get an A.

2) I pet Howry's parking lot had a bunch of sweet rides too. I wouldn't even say the firm not existing is the biggest problem. The bigger problem is that they might just not need another associate in three years. Esp. if the economy crashes.

3) Bar passage stats are irrelevant. It's about individual work ethic more than anything. That really shouldn't be a consideration.

Your friend should take a full ride somewhere that doesn't have stipulations.

User avatar
paratactical
Posts: 5961
Joined: Wed Feb 04, 2009 1:06 pm

Re: Bar Passage Vs. Other Expensive Options

Postby paratactical » Tue Jun 21, 2011 1:41 pm

Desert Fox wrote:Your friend should take a full ride somewhere that doesn't have stipulations.

This. I would not have voted the way I did in the poll if I'd know the scholly had top 20% stips.

User avatar
bk1
Posts: 18422
Joined: Sun Mar 14, 2010 7:06 pm

Re: Bar Passage Vs. Other Expensive Options

Postby bk1 » Tue Jun 21, 2011 1:43 pm

paratactical wrote:
Desert Fox wrote:Your friend should take a full ride somewhere that doesn't have stipulations.

This. I would not have voted the way I did in the poll if I'd know the scholly had top 20% stips.


+1

User avatar
Wade LeBosh
Posts: 158
Joined: Tue Nov 23, 2010 11:46 pm

Re: Bar Passage Vs. Other Expensive Options

Postby Wade LeBosh » Tue Jun 21, 2011 3:12 pm

paratactical wrote:
Desert Fox wrote:Your friend should take a full ride somewhere that doesn't have stipulations.

This. I would not have voted the way I did in the poll if I'd know the scholly had top 20% stips.

User avatar
Renne Walker
Posts: 546
Joined: Sat Jan 29, 2011 2:12 am

Re: Bar Passage Vs. Other Expensive Options

Postby Renne Walker » Tue Jun 21, 2011 3:22 pm

Desert Fox wrote:1) It is absolute bullshit to assume her past credentials will guarantee top 20%. L-school isn't like undergrad. You can't just gun to get an A.

2) I pet Howry's parking lot had a bunch of sweet rides too. I wouldn't even say the firm not existing is the biggest problem. The bigger problem is that they might just not need another associate in three years. Esp. if the economy crashes.

3) Bar passage stats are irrelevant. It's about individual work ethic more than anything. That really shouldn't be a consideration.

Your friend should take a full ride somewhere that doesn't have stipulations.


1) I know I am right about this, although it is difficult to demonstrate, before the fact. Again, I do not know the deal she has with the school―she did not mention a stipulation. I believe a 174 LSAT (better score than mine) should be an indicator on how she will do, plus her work ethic is relentless.

2) The sweet rides were a lame example on my part. I was in high school at the time and impressionable (probably still am). If the economy crashes to the extent you suggested, we are all in big trouble. I should mention that she lives in the state capitol, I have never thought of that as an option, but I suppose it could come in handy someday.

3) Their bar passage stat is 89.8%, far from raising a red flag.

It would be wonderful if there was a Tier-1 school in the city (or state for that matter), but that is not the hand that was dealt!

User avatar
fatduck
Posts: 4186
Joined: Mon Sep 13, 2010 10:16 pm

Re: Bar Passage Vs. Other Expensive Options

Postby fatduck » Tue Jun 21, 2011 3:28 pm

i feel like i'm on loveline. what is the question?

User avatar
bk1
Posts: 18422
Joined: Sun Mar 14, 2010 7:06 pm

Re: Bar Passage Vs. Other Expensive Options

Postby bk1 » Tue Jun 21, 2011 3:54 pm

Renne Walker wrote:1) I know I am right about this, although it is difficult to demonstrate, before the fact. Again, I do not know the deal she has with the school―she did not mention a stipulation. I believe a 174 LSAT (better score than mine) should be an indicator on how she will do, plus her work ethic is relentless.


The LSAT only has roughly 0.4 correlation with law school success meaning that it plus GPA only account for about 20% of 1L grades. That leaves 80% unaccounted for. Of course work ethic is a big part of that 80% but since law school is graded on a curve work ethic isn't going to get her everywhere when a substantial portion of her classmates are working very hard as well.

It just seems stupid to take such a huge risk when there are other schools that should give the same scholarship offer without any stipulations or at least with ones that are not nearly as strenuous.




Return to “Law School FAQ”

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: Leliana and 2 guests