T3/T4 school into private practice?

(Please Ask Questions and Answer Questions)
User avatar
SarahKerrigan
Posts: 126
Joined: Sun Jul 31, 2011 5:02 pm

T3/T4 school into private practice?

Postby SarahKerrigan » Fri Aug 05, 2011 4:47 am

I see a lot of people telling other people to not go to T3/T4 schools cause they don't have a chance at big law, and the debt isn't worth it because they wont be able to find a good enough job to make the price worth it. Wouldn't private practice be worth it for people who's only option is going to a T3/T4 school? I was looking through the phone book in my area and there were tons of private practice firms around, most of them had 1-2 lawyers. I also checked Salary.com for my area (somewhere in southern california) and an attorney with no experience had a median salary + bonus of $106,111. An attorney with 5-8 years of experience had a median salary + bonus of $178,356. So yea after looking into this it appears, at least to me that private practice could be a great option for people from T3/T4 schools. I mean i doubt many clients will know law school rankings and wont do business with you because of the school you attended. But yeah, based off of what i saw in the phone book, i'm guessing 99% of these stats are from small private practices, because i don't live in a big city. Anyone see flaws in this? maybe I live in a good city, maybe salary.com sucks, idk, just seemed interesting to me that private practice could be a really good option for T3/T4 school grads. but yeah, any input on this would be great, I really have limited knowledge on this stuff.

User avatar
GATORTIM
Posts: 1214
Joined: Tue Jun 09, 2009 3:51 pm

Re: T3/T4 school into private practice?

Postby GATORTIM » Fri Aug 05, 2011 6:16 am

but yeah, that's my plan

User avatar
Cupidity
Posts: 2214
Joined: Sun Jun 07, 2009 10:21 pm

Re: T3/T4 school into private practice?

Postby Cupidity » Fri Aug 05, 2011 7:33 am

The idea that you would be competent to fly solo after law school is laughable. Any successful solo practitioner has significant work experience, whether its a few years at a firm, or apprenticing under another solo. If you graduated, opened up shop, and started litigating cases, you'd be sued for malpractice.

areyouinsane
Posts: 208
Joined: Tue Jun 14, 2011 3:22 pm

Re: T3/T4 school into private practice?

Postby areyouinsane » Fri Aug 05, 2011 7:52 am

The idea that you would be competent to fly solo after law school is laughable. Any successful solo practitioner has significant work experience, whether its a few years at a firm, or apprenticing under another solo. If you graduated, opened up shop, and started litigating cases, you'd be sued for malpractice.


I'd like to see a newbie solo grad get sued for malpractice and implead his lawschool in as a 3rd party defendant. There is no excuse for an expensive THREE YEAR graduate program to produce such dangerously incompetent practitioners. No one would tolerate medical or engineering programs that produce grads who couldn't diagnose a strep throat or run the formulas to determine if a bridge footing could hold the intended weight/traffic.

Given the hoards of loser TTT grads "hanging a shingle" in this horrible economy, I wouldn't be surprised to see state bars begin requiring a certain # of years of admission before letting people solo. NJ has kind of done this in a "backdoor" way by requiring a bona fide physical office (virtual offices are not allowed), and other rules that make it harder for newbies to hang a shingle. They also have mandatory LIVE CLE classes for the first three years of admission, where attendance is taken and the doors are actually guarded so you can't leave or hang out outside on the phone.

User avatar
KevinP
Posts: 1324
Joined: Sat Sep 26, 2009 8:56 pm

Re: T3/T4 school into private practice?

Postby KevinP » Fri Aug 05, 2011 7:54 am

Don't do it. Barring special circumstances, the idea that a T3/T4 will empower you to do anything besides accumulate heaps of crushing debt is ludicrous.

Also,
cinephile wrote:Are you thinking about going solo immediately, or later in your career? This is a topic that comes up fairly frequently on this site. Here are some links to previous discussions:

viewtopic.php?f=23&t=158232&p=4513791
viewtopic.php?f=3&t=157893&p=4506964
viewtopic.php?f=23&t=156007
viewtopic.php?f=5&t=152966

User avatar
ndirish2010
Posts: 2951
Joined: Mon Dec 14, 2009 4:41 pm

Re: T3/T4 school into private practice?

Postby ndirish2010 » Fri Aug 05, 2011 10:35 am

Flame?

User avatar
Samara
Posts: 3245
Joined: Wed May 11, 2011 4:26 pm

Re: T3/T4 school into private practice?

Postby Samara » Fri Aug 05, 2011 10:39 am

SarahKerrigan wrote:I see a lot of people telling other people to not go to T3/T4 schools cause they don't have a chance at big law, and the debt isn't worth it because they wont be able to find a good enough job to make the price worth it. Wouldn't private practice be worth it for people who's only option is going to a T3/T4 school? I was looking through the phone book in my area and there were tons of private practice firms around, most of them had 1-2 lawyers. I also checked Salary.com for my area (somewhere in southern california) and an attorney with no experience had a median salary + bonus of $106,111. An attorney with 5-8 years of experience had a median salary + bonus of $178,356. So yea after looking into this it appears, at least to me that private practice could be a great option for people from T3/T4 schools. I mean i doubt many clients will know law school rankings and wont do business with you because of the school you attended. But yeah, based off of what i saw in the phone book, i'm guessing 99% of these stats are from small private practices, because i don't live in a big city. Anyone see flaws in this? maybe I live in a good city, maybe salary.com sucks, idk, just seemed interesting to me that private practice could be a really good option for T3/T4 school grads. but yeah, any input on this would be great, I really have limited knowledge on this stuff.

You're new here, so I'll assume not flame.

Your salary data sounds roughly correct for southern California. However, the salary distribution is very bimodal, with a lot of biglaw associates from T1 schools at the top making 145K-160k and a lot of TTT grads making 40k-60k, if they're lucky enough to be employed in a legal position. That salary data ignores all the TTT grads who don't get a legal job or don't get a job at all, which is quite a few of them. So, yes, you are misinterpreting the data. Also, just because there are a lot of private practices in the phone book doesn't mean they're making any money. I would hazard a guess that most of the people you find in the phone book are earning below the median. Check out http://www.lawschooltransparency.com/ for more data.

Take Barry for example: --LinkRemoved-- Over a third of the class is unemployed nine months after graduation. The median salary is 50k and 75% are making 63k or less.

Compare to UCLA: --LinkRemoved-- 93% of graduates are employed after nine months with a median salary of 160k.

If that doesn't convince people not to go to a TTTT, I don't know what will.

thederangedwang
Posts: 1124
Joined: Tue Jul 12, 2011 9:44 pm

Re: T3/T4 school into private practice?

Postby thederangedwang » Fri Aug 05, 2011 10:52 am

SarahKerrigan wrote:I see a lot of people telling other people to not go to T3/T4 schools cause they don't have a chance at big law, and the debt isn't worth it because they wont be able to find a good enough job to make the price worth it. Wouldn't private practice be worth it for people who's only option is going to a T3/T4 school? I was looking through the phone book in my area and there were tons of private practice firms around, most of them had 1-2 lawyers. I also checked Salary.com for my area (somewhere in southern california) and an attorney with no experience had a median salary + bonus of $106,111. An attorney with 5-8 years of experience had a median salary + bonus of $178,356. So yea after looking into this it appears, at least to me that private practice could be a great option for people from T3/T4 schools. I mean i doubt many clients will know law school rankings and wont do business with you because of the school you attended. But yeah, based off of what i saw in the phone book, i'm guessing 99% of these stats are from small private practices, because i don't live in a big city. Anyone see flaws in this? maybe I live in a good city, maybe salary.com sucks, idk, just seemed interesting to me that private practice could be a really good option for T3/T4 school grads. but yeah, any input on this would be great, I really have limited knowledge on this stuff.


Your whole statement is based on a logical fallacy. Just because you see "all these" solo practices doesnt mean they are easy to start or keep up.

There are close to a hundred T3 and T4 law schools. Each one graduates hundreds of students each year....whatever number of solo practices exist, that number will pale in comparison to the amount of graduates.

Basically, the odds are stacked against you enormously since even if you found 100 solo practices, that accounts for a mere fraction of the total amount of grads.

In addition, those median figures are only for those practicing lawyers, it doesn't include the 80% of grads who can't find a job and/or are doing something else entirely (paralegal?) for much less money..


Your whole argument and the statistics you present, is a logical reasoning error worthy of a LSAT question.....but seriously though..dont kid yourself...if you do go to a t3/t4, the odds are very very much against you

User avatar
DoubleChecks
Posts: 2333
Joined: Fri Sep 25, 2009 4:35 pm

Re: T3/T4 school into private practice?

Postby DoubleChecks » Fri Aug 05, 2011 10:58 am

Samara wrote:Compare to UCLA: --LinkRemoved-- 93% of graduates are employed after nine months with a median salary of 160k.


wow really? 93% of UCLA grads have median biglaw salaries? im misinterpreting THIS data right? hahaha

and to the OP: i have a friend who's been out for about a year after graduating from a T3...can't find a job in a great market (relatively speaking) and considered opening shop -- found out that for him, with malpractice insurance, he'd need $250k O.O

with his already 150k+ debt...yeah, no.

User avatar
Samara
Posts: 3245
Joined: Wed May 11, 2011 4:26 pm

Re: T3/T4 school into private practice?

Postby Samara » Fri Aug 05, 2011 11:06 am

DoubleChecks wrote:
Samara wrote:Compare to UCLA: --LinkRemoved-- 93% of graduates are employed after nine months with a median salary of 160k.


wow really? 93% of UCLA grads have median biglaw salaries? im misinterpreting THIS data right? hahaha

and to the OP: i have a friend who's been out for about a year after graduating from a T3...can't find a job in a great market (relatively speaking) and considered opening shop -- found out that for him, with malpractice insurance, he'd need $250k O.O

with his already 150k+ debt...yeah, no.

Haha, yes, you're misinterpreting. The data suggests that ~50% of the class makes 160k biglaw salaries. I've heard, and maybe someone like scammedhard will jump in here, that the salary data skews salary data upward, so that may have something to do with it.

Also, and this is the most important part, the latest data they have is for the class of '09. From what I understand, the data for '10 and '11 is a lot less rosy. I can only imagine how much worse it looks for TTTT grads.

crazyblink653
Posts: 196
Joined: Fri Apr 08, 2011 8:13 pm

Re: T3/T4 school into private practice?

Postby crazyblink653 » Fri Aug 05, 2011 11:17 am

your plan is not very good..while you CAN open a solo practice after graduating, the odds that it will be successful are extremely low. This is not even a knock on you're going to a TTT school; even graduates from a T14 would likely find it very difficult to start a successful solo practice straight out of LS with no experience. LS just doesn't teach you the minutiae necessary to be a practicing attorney. If you're absolutely committed to going to a TTT school, then you should try to reach out to solo firms or small firms in your area beforehand and see if you can apprentice under them (this will usually be unpaid or very poorly paid), but it will at least give you the experience needed to eventually start your own practice.

target
Posts: 688
Joined: Tue Jul 26, 2011 6:40 pm

Re: T3/T4 school into private practice?

Postby target » Fri Aug 05, 2011 11:28 am

Samara wrote:
DoubleChecks wrote:
Samara wrote:Compare to UCLA: --LinkRemoved-- 93% of graduates are employed after nine months with a median salary of 160k.


wow really? 93% of UCLA grads have median biglaw salaries? im misinterpreting THIS data right? hahaha

and to the OP: i have a friend who's been out for about a year after graduating from a T3...can't find a job in a great market (relatively speaking) and considered opening shop -- found out that for him, with malpractice insurance, he'd need $250k O.O

with his already 150k+ debt...yeah, no.

Haha, yes, you're misinterpreting. The data suggests that ~50% of the class makes 160k biglaw salaries. I've heard, and maybe someone like scammedhard will jump in here, that the salary data skews salary data upward, so that may have something to do with it.

Also, and this is the most important part, the latest data they have is for the class of '09. From what I understand, the data for '10 and '11 is a lot less rosy. I can only imagine how much worse it looks for TTTT grads.


I think you misinterpret doublecheck's post. The link you posted used data from 2008, and here is an article about UCLA's recent job placement statistics. http://abovethelaw.com/2011/06/ucla-law ... ine-print/

Edit: but this is neither here nor there. OP: I agree with Samara's first post on salary distribution and job opportunity. Few people can make six figs despite attending T3/T4 law schools doesn't mean everyone attending T3/T4 schools can.

User avatar
Samara
Posts: 3245
Joined: Wed May 11, 2011 4:26 pm

Re: T3/T4 school into private practice?

Postby Samara » Fri Aug 05, 2011 11:39 am

target wrote:
Samara wrote:
DoubleChecks wrote:
Samara wrote:Compare to UCLA: --LinkRemoved-- 93% of graduates are employed after nine months with a median salary of 160k.


wow really? 93% of UCLA grads have median biglaw salaries? im misinterpreting THIS data right? hahaha

and to the OP: i have a friend who's been out for about a year after graduating from a T3...can't find a job in a great market (relatively speaking) and considered opening shop -- found out that for him, with malpractice insurance, he'd need $250k O.O

with his already 150k+ debt...yeah, no.

Haha, yes, you're misinterpreting. The data suggests that ~50% of the class makes 160k biglaw salaries. I've heard, and maybe someone like scammedhard will jump in here, that the salary data skews salary data upward, so that may have something to do with it.

Also, and this is the most important part, the latest data they have is for the class of '09. From what I understand, the data for '10 and '11 is a lot less rosy. I can only imagine how much worse it looks for TTTT grads.


I think you misinterpret doublecheck's post. The link you posted used data from 2008, and here is an article about UCLA's recent job placement statistics. http://abovethelaw.com/2011/06/ucla-law ... ine-print/

Edit: but this is neither here nor there. OP: I agree with Samara's first post on salary distribution and job opportunity. Few people can make six figs despite attending T3/T4 law schools doesn't mean everyone attending T3/T4 schools can.

I forgot about that ATL post. Excellent link!

User avatar
SarahKerrigan
Posts: 126
Joined: Sun Jul 31, 2011 5:02 pm

Re: T3/T4 school into private practice?

Postby SarahKerrigan » Fri Aug 05, 2011 12:14 pm

Thanks for all the replies everyone. But yeah, that actually makes a lot of sense, i didn't really think about the difficulty of starting up a solo practice straight out of school, i mean if it was so easy everyone would be doing it. Also law school really doesn't seem worth it if your going to T3/T4 school, you could make more money with a bachelors in Engineering lol. After looking at those stats, i would be scared of never being able to repay the loan debt.

User avatar
Veyron
Posts: 3598
Joined: Fri Jan 08, 2010 3:50 am

Re: T3/T4 school into private practice?

Postby Veyron » Fri Aug 05, 2011 12:19 pm

UCLA never placed 93% of the class into biglaw jobs. Those data be rigged, just like the data OP is looking at.

User avatar
ndirish2010
Posts: 2951
Joined: Mon Dec 14, 2009 4:41 pm

Re: T3/T4 school into private practice?

Postby ndirish2010 » Fri Aug 05, 2011 12:39 pm

Veyron wrote:UCLA never placed 93% of the class into biglaw jobs. Those data be rigged, just like the data OP is looking at.


What? Nobody said they did.

User avatar
Veyron
Posts: 3598
Joined: Fri Jan 08, 2010 3:50 am

Re: T3/T4 school into private practice?

Postby Veyron » Fri Aug 05, 2011 12:49 pm

ndirish2010 wrote:
Veyron wrote:UCLA never placed 93% of the class into biglaw jobs. Those data be rigged, just like the data OP is looking at.


What? Nobody said they did.



Compare to UCLA: --LinkRemoved-- ... &show=flow 93% of graduates are employed after nine months with a median salary of 160k.

crazyblink653
Posts: 196
Joined: Fri Apr 08, 2011 8:13 pm

Re: T3/T4 school into private practice?

Postby crazyblink653 » Fri Aug 05, 2011 12:58 pm

Veyron wrote:
ndirish2010 wrote:
Veyron wrote:UCLA never placed 93% of the class into biglaw jobs. Those data be rigged, just like the data OP is looking at.


What? Nobody said they did.



Compare to UCLA: --LinkRemoved-- ... &show=flow 93% of graduates are employed after nine months with a median salary of 160k.


apparently you don't know the meaning of the word "MEDIAN." that quote doesn't suggest that 93% are employed in biglaw.

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

Re: T3/T4 school into private practice?

Postby Renne Walker » Fri Aug 05, 2011 2:01 pm

Hello. How could it not suggest a median salary of $160K (since that is exactly what it says. . 93% of graduates are employed after nine months with a median salary of 160k)? So yeah, one would think BigLaw or else medium size law firms have dramtically increased their salaries!

User avatar
Cupidity
Posts: 2214
Joined: Sun Jun 07, 2009 10:21 pm

Re: T3/T4 school into private practice?

Postby Cupidity » Fri Aug 05, 2011 2:07 pm

You clearly don't understand the difference between median and mean. Let me explain it for you.

0, 0, 0, 0, 160, 160, 160, 160, 160 = median is 160

0, 0, 0, 0, 160, 160, 160, 160, 160 = mean is 88.9

crazyblink653
Posts: 196
Joined: Fri Apr 08, 2011 8:13 pm

Re: T3/T4 school into private practice?

Postby crazyblink653 » Fri Aug 05, 2011 2:20 pm

Renne Walker wrote:Hello. How could it not suggest a median salary of $160K (since that is exactly what it says. . 93% of graduates are employed after nine months with a median salary of 160k)? So yeah, one would think BigLaw or else medium size law firms have dramtically increased their salaries!


his/her quote may unintentionally imply that, but it was merely summarizing the data in the link (albeit poorly), which shows that 93% of UCLA graduates are employed within 9 mo. of graduation, and that of those employed in the private sector, the median salary is $160K (though in tiny print it also says that the quartiles only represent about 60% of the class). this hardly suggests that 93% is employed in biglaw (though i will concede OP's wording does suggest that).

User avatar
Veyron
Posts: 3598
Joined: Fri Jan 08, 2010 3:50 am

Re: T3/T4 school into private practice?

Postby Veyron » Fri Aug 05, 2011 2:27 pm

crazyblink653 wrote:
Veyron wrote:
ndirish2010 wrote:
Veyron wrote:UCLA never placed 93% of the class into biglaw jobs. Those data be rigged, just like the data OP is looking at.


What? Nobody said they did.



Compare to UCLA: --LinkRemoved-- ... &show=flow 93% of graduates are employed after nine months with a median salary of 160k.


apparently you don't know the meaning of the word "MEDIAN." that quote doesn't suggest that 93% are employed in biglaw.


Woops, missed that. still 93% of UCLA law students never had a 160 MEDIAN either (well, MAYBE in 2006).

User avatar
Samara
Posts: 3245
Joined: Wed May 11, 2011 4:26 pm

Re: T3/T4 school into private practice?

Postby Samara » Fri Aug 05, 2011 2:31 pm

crazyblink653 wrote:
Renne Walker wrote:Hello. How could it not suggest a median salary of $160K (since that is exactly what it says. . 93% of graduates are employed after nine months with a median salary of 160k)? So yeah, one would think BigLaw or else medium size law firms have dramtically increased their salaries!


his/her quote may unintentionally imply that, but it was merely summarizing the data in the link (albeit poorly), which shows that 93% of UCLA graduates are employed within 9 mo. of graduation, and that of those employed in the private sector, the median salary is $160K (though in tiny print it also says that the quartiles only represent about 60% of the class). this hardly suggests that 93% is employed in biglaw (though i will concede OP's wording does suggest that).

Yeah, I definitely could have worded that better. And I forgot about all that ATL fine print. I was just trying to succinctly highlight the difference between a T25 and a TTTT. Lord knows there are quite a few qualifiers to attach the Barry numbers, too.

User avatar
ndirish2010
Posts: 2951
Joined: Mon Dec 14, 2009 4:41 pm

Re: T3/T4 school into private practice?

Postby ndirish2010 » Fri Aug 05, 2011 3:47 pm

Woops, missed that. still 93% of UCLA law students never had a 160 MEDIAN either (well, MAYBE in 2006).


They probably did from 2005-2007. It is not beyond reason that 45% of UCLA's class was making market at that point.

User avatar
observationalist
Posts: 472
Joined: Mon Mar 26, 2007 12:55 pm

Re: T3/T4 school into private practice?

Postby observationalist » Mon Aug 08, 2011 12:56 pm

Bumping this thread just to clarify: the stats were that 93% of the Class of 2009 were employed in any job whatsoever nine months after graduation (including nonlegal, temporary, part-time gigs), which is what you'd expect given that almost everyone graduates with student debt and loans enter repayment six months after graduating. The "% employed" stats touted by schools are not limited only to legal jobs (or even fulltime jobs) unless the school explicitly states that's the case. Not surprisingly most law schools don't bother separating out the data because they would prefer applicants presume these jobs are all desirable outcomes.

In contrast, the median 160K salary UCLA reported for the Class of 2009 was based on the subsection of graduates who 1) landed up in the private sector AND 2) voluntarily reported their starting salaries OR 2) didn't voluntarily report but still had a salary reported by their school, using any of the accepted methods for figuring out what the graduate was making. The "median" statistic therefore usually represents anywhere from what 10% to 40% of a class was making, which is why people say that it skews upwards. Schools like UCLE fare much better, with 60% of the class represented by the reported salary statistics. It is in no measure a true median, even for graduates in the private sector. Only the very top performers have a shot at making the median salary, and in this market much of that chance will depend on nepotism/family connections.

UCLA's reporting is actually very strong, with 88% of private sector grads reporting salaries in 2009. Still, that means only 30% were making that 160Kmedian in 2009. By way of comparison (using Barry since someone linked to their page already), Barry reported salaries for just 37% of the class in 2009. If an applicant to Barry knew enough to dig into the stats they would discover that just 28% of the class was making 40K or more, and that a larger percentage of the class (33%) were either unemployed or had an 'unknown' employment status. This was for one of the strongest placement years on record. Schools used to game the 'unknown' category because U.S. News would give them the benefit of the doubt by counting 1/4 of the unknowns as employed, but that was changed this year after U.S. News became convinced too many schools were purposely not collecting/reporting data for the unknowns.

OP, the best answer I can give you as to why so many people are willing to attend a T3/T4 is that they genuinely do not know what the actual job placement looks like because the schools don't tell them. Schools have historically been given significant leeway in how much data they can report and how they can present it to applicants, with almost no risk of facing sanctions for misleading applicants. That is starting to change, but this cycle we will still likely see many thousands of applicants enrolling in law schools without realizing the school did not give them a fair picture of the job market coming from that particular school. Too many gaps exist in the data, and even where applicants realize it they still tend to fill in the gaps with favorable information that helps them justify the decision to attend. I'm sure some applicants will assume that certainly more than 28% of Barry grads must have made more than 40K in 2009, even though there is no indication that was the case. And schools have always pointed to the 'unknown' group and asserted that some graduates are just too busy with highly-rewarding legal work to take the time to respond to the school's requests. We have seen almost no examples of that being the case.




Return to “Law School FAQ”

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: Google [Bot] and 2 guests