Atlantic: law school is professional Russian roulette

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NYstate
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Atlantic: law school is professional Russian roulette

Postby NYstate » Thu Jan 31, 2013 6:09 pm

http://m.theatlantic.com/business/archi ... be/272729/

Hey guys: here is another compelling article. I thought it merited its own thread.

Please read this one. It has a better analysis of the employment market than the Times article.


Note the comparison of going to law school as "professional Russian Roulette."

The lies law schools have told for years are finally being exposed. And many, many people are realizing that the risk is too great. So, how will you protect yourself from being a casualty of this employment market? As long as people make informed decisions before taking on massive debt and plan for the worst, I guess we are well ahead of where we were even two years ago.

So what do you think?

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Tiago Splitter
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Re: Atlantic: law school is professional Russian roulette

Postby Tiago Splitter » Thu Jan 31, 2013 9:04 pm

Certainly doesn't sound that bad:

"Median pay for new grads in private practice has fallen 18 percent since since 2010 to $85,000"

I guess if I go to an average school and finish a little below median I'll still be making 60-80K, which I'm cool with.

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dingbat
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Re: Atlantic: law school is professional Russian roulette

Postby dingbat » Thu Jan 31, 2013 9:13 pm

Tiago Splitter wrote:Certainly doesn't sound that bad:

"Median pay for new grads in private practice has fallen 18 percent since since 2010 to $85,000"

I guess if I go to an average school and finish a little below median I'll still be making 60-80K, which I'm cool with.

that sounds incredibly logical, which is what makes it so sad

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Re: Atlantic: law school is professional Russian roulette

Postby cynthiad » Thu Jan 31, 2013 9:13 pm

Tiago Splitter wrote:Certainly doesn't sound that bad:

"Median pay for new grads in private practice has fallen 18 percent since since 2010 to $85,000"

I guess if I go to an average school and finish a little below median I'll still be making 60-80K, which I'm cool with.


No, because all law school grads don't get jobs.

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Bronck
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Re: Atlantic: law school is professional Russian roulette

Postby Bronck » Thu Jan 31, 2013 9:15 pm

cynthiad wrote:
Tiago Splitter wrote:Certainly doesn't sound that bad:

"Median pay for new grads in private practice has fallen 18 percent since since 2010 to $85,000"

I guess if I go to an average school and finish a little below median I'll still be making 60-80K, which I'm cool with.


No, because all law school grads don't get jobs.


Whooooosh

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Re: Atlantic: law school is professional Russian roulette

Postby cynthiad » Thu Jan 31, 2013 9:29 pm

Bronck wrote:
cynthiad wrote:
Tiago Splitter wrote:Certainly doesn't sound that bad:

"Median pay for new grads in private practice has fallen 18 percent since since 2010 to $85,000"

I guess if I go to an average school and finish a little below median I'll still be making 60-80K, which I'm cool with.


No, because all law school grads don't get jobs.


Whooooosh


I though he was saying that the article was too optimistic...not sure what else this comment could mean? Am I missing something?

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Tiago Splitter
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Re: Atlantic: law school is professional Russian roulette

Postby Tiago Splitter » Thu Jan 31, 2013 9:36 pm

cynthiad wrote:I though he was saying that the article was too optimistic...not sure what else this comment could mean? Am I missing something?

If someone considering law school reads that article and sees the "facts" I quoted they'll think things aren't that bad.

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Re: Atlantic: law school is professional Russian roulette

Postby cynthiad » Thu Jan 31, 2013 9:41 pm

Tiago Splitter wrote:
cynthiad wrote:I though he was saying that the article was too optimistic...not sure what else this comment could mean? Am I missing something?

If someone considering law school reads that article and sees the "facts" I quoted they'll think things aren't that bad.


All I said was that the language was deceptive because of the "in private practice" line, so what was it that I missed? The article is overly optimistic not because it gets its statistics wrong but because it uses the wrong statistic...

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Tiago Splitter
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Re: Atlantic: law school is professional Russian roulette

Postby Tiago Splitter » Thu Jan 31, 2013 9:46 pm

cynthiad wrote:
Tiago Splitter wrote:
cynthiad wrote:I though he was saying that the article was too optimistic...not sure what else this comment could mean? Am I missing something?

If someone considering law school reads that article and sees the "facts" I quoted they'll think things aren't that bad.


All I said was that the language was deceptive because of the "in private practice" line, so what was it that I missed? The article is overly optimistic not because it gets its statistics wrong but because it uses the wrong statistic...

The statistics may not be technically wrong, but they aren't meaningful because the number of people reporting salaries in private practice is so low, with higher earners being disproportionately likely to report their salaries.

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Re: Atlantic: law school is professional Russian roulette

Postby NYstate » Thu Jan 31, 2013 9:50 pm

Tiago Splitter wrote:
cynthiad wrote:I though he was saying that the article was too optimistic...not sure what else this comment could mean? Am I missing something?

If someone considering law school reads that article and sees the "facts" I quoted they'll think things aren't that bad.

Only if they are morons. The point being made was that the median had dropped 18% in about 2 years while tuition kept being jacked up to the roof as schools used law schools as "cash cows." He didn't explain the bimodal nature of salaries. He did make it clear how hard it is to get a job and how the demand is dropping, but law schools have done nothing to respond.

If someone reads that article and concludes law school is worth the debt, then they are probably beyond convincing anyway.

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Tiago Splitter
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Re: Atlantic: law school is professional Russian roulette

Postby Tiago Splitter » Thu Jan 31, 2013 9:59 pm

NYstate wrote:
Tiago Splitter wrote:
cynthiad wrote:I though he was saying that the article was too optimistic...not sure what else this comment could mean? Am I missing something?

If someone considering law school reads that article and sees the "facts" I quoted they'll think things aren't that bad.

Only if they are morons. The point being made was that the median had dropped 18% in about 2 years while tuition kept being jacked up to the roof as schools used law schools as "cash cows." He didn't explain the bimodal nature of salaries. He did make it clear how hard it is to get a job and how the demand is dropping, but law schools have done nothing to respond.

If someone reads that article and concludes law school is worth the debt, then they are probably beyond convincing anyway.

I don't know man. Two years ago when I was first considering law school and about to attend a Tier 2 that article would have provided just enough ammo to keep the cognitive dissonance working.

Those of us who understand just how shitty things are need to keep in mind that people reading these articles are often learning these things for the first time. Writers of these articles really need to watch just how they present the facts. A 0L set on law school could think "85K! That's great! And that's DOWN from where things were when the economy was better. Those greedy elitist bastards on TLS just never can get enough, can they? If I don't make the average, I'll still be at 60-80K and I'm cool with that. Plus I don't really want BigLaw anyway."

Honestly dude re-reading that article the only clear facts it cites are that 85% of the class of 2011 had a job (ignorant 0L immediately thinks "legal job") and that the median private practice salary for class of 2010 was $85,000.

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Re: Atlantic: law school is professional Russian roulette

Postby NYstate » Thu Jan 31, 2013 10:50 pm

Tiago Splitter wrote:
NYstate wrote:
Tiago Splitter wrote:
cynthiad wrote:I though he was saying that the article was too optimistic...not sure what else this comment could mean? Am I missing something?

If someone considering law school reads that article and sees the "facts" I quoted they'll think things aren't that bad.

Only if they are morons. The point being made was that the median had dropped 18% in about 2 years while tuition kept being jacked up to the roof as schools used law schools as "cash cows." He didn't explain the bimodal nature of salaries. He did make it clear how hard it is to get a job and how the demand is dropping, but law schools have done nothing to respond.

If someone reads that article and concludes law school is worth the debt, then they are probably beyond convincing anyway.

I don't know man. Two years ago when I was first considering law school and about to attend a Tier 2 that article would have provided just enough ammo to keep the cognitive dissonance working.

Those of us who understand just how shitty things are need to keep in mind that people reading these articles are often learning these things for the first time. Writers of these articles really need to watch just how they present the facts. A 0L set on law school could think "85K! That's great! And that's DOWN from where things were when the economy was better. Those greedy elitist bastards on TLS just never can get enough, can they? If I don't make the average, I'll still be at 60-80K and I'm cool with that. Plus I don't really want BigLaw anyway."

Honestly dude re-reading that article the only clear facts it cites are that 85% of the class of 2011 had a job (ignorant 0L immediately thinks "legal job") and that the median private practice salary for class of 2010 was $85,000.


I guess I read the idea of professional Russian roulette as a huge deterrent. His focus is that law schools are going to get a needed shake-out.

Maybe there is no way of stopping all 0Ls, but a significant number of people are getting it. Schools lied for decades- hard to change that perception over night for everyone. Me, I would tell most people to wait at least a year and maybe they will be able to get bigger scholarships at better schools, if they still want to go. There are very few people on TLS who need to go this year- I'm thinking military with set arrangements. Just my opinion, and I had no debt from school, but I would never have borrowed 6 figures for a slight chance at a job I would have to work my ass off for years just to get even.

At least these 0Ls had the chance to be warned, but I get that all they are looking for is a positive salary number. Still, don't people say"wait, this huge drop in applicants is indicative of a massive problem and I should pay attention to that?

At a certain point, willful ignorance is on them. Other people had only false data; if people with better data and mainstream media telling them law school is not worth the cost, it is their own doing. Lawyers need to know when to take heed of good advice.

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Tiago Splitter
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Re: Atlantic: law school is professional Russian roulette

Postby Tiago Splitter » Thu Jan 31, 2013 10:54 pm

NYstate wrote:At least these 0Ls had the chance to be warned, but I get that all they are looking for is a positive salary number. Still, don't people say"wait, this huge drop in applicants is indicative of a massive problem and I should pay attention to that?

I'd certainly hope so, but that article could have done a better job of it. People who are fairly set on law school will latch onto any shred of positive data they can find. I certainly did for about six months before I saw the light.

While you're right that things are getting better, we need to stay aggressive at keeping people away because all this talk of applications being at record lows is also an incentive for people to apply now.

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Re: Atlantic: law school is professional Russian roulette

Postby bdubs » Thu Jan 31, 2013 11:19 pm

Anyone know if the Citibank "watch list" for firms at risk of collapse is available without paying for their report (or available at all)?
Last edited by bdubs on Thu Jan 31, 2013 11:26 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: Atlantic: law school is professional Russian roulette

Postby NYstate » Thu Jan 31, 2013 11:26 pm

bdubs wrote:Anyone know if the Citibank "watch list" for firms at risk of collapse is available without paying for their report?

The report is free, anyone can read it. It has been linked here or the other thread.

But I'm sure they keep their watch list extremely confidential. Letting anyone outside the bank know who is on the list would be setting fire to those firms and accelerate their demise. The report has a list of things to watch for though, like a lot of lateral movement and some other indicators of firm instability.

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Re: Atlantic: law school is professional Russian roulette

Postby bdubs » Thu Jan 31, 2013 11:40 pm

NYstate wrote:
bdubs wrote:Anyone know if the Citibank "watch list" for firms at risk of collapse is available without paying for their report?

The report is free, anyone can read it. It has been linked here or the other thread.

But I'm sure they keep their watch list extremely confidential. Letting anyone outside the bank know who is on the list would be setting fire to those firms and accelerate their demise. The report has a list of things to watch for though, like a lot of lateral movement and some other indicators of firm instability.


Didn't really think through posting that one. Obviously private firms who voluntarily share information are not going to want that kind of list getting out. Found the report though and it's got some interesting figures.

https://peermonitor.thomsonreuters.com/ ... visory.pdf

Biggest surprise for me was billable hours for income partners being lower than equity partners. Do income partners work less or do they get stuck with all of the non-billable management and admin work that comes along with running a firm?

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Re: Atlantic: law school is professional Russian roulette

Postby dingbat » Thu Jan 31, 2013 11:47 pm

bdubs wrote:Biggest surprise for me was billable hours for income partners being lower than equity partners. Do income partners work less or do they get stuck with all of the non-billable management and admin work that comes along with running a firm?

my guess is that income partners earn less, so they work less (equity partners are equity partners for a reason)

edit: note how the development of asia is basically fucking us. We should have let them stay in the stone age

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Re: Atlantic: law school is professional Russian roulette

Postby bdubs » Fri Feb 01, 2013 12:02 am

dingbat wrote:
bdubs wrote:Biggest surprise for me was billable hours for income partners being lower than equity partners. Do income partners work less or do they get stuck with all of the non-billable management and admin work that comes along with running a firm?

my guess is that income partners earn less, so they work less (equity partners are equity partners for a reason)

edit: note how the development of asia is basically fucking us. We should have let them stay in the stone age


I always assumed a lot of equity partners' time would be spent selling business, so their billables would be relatively low (at least that was how it was in consulting). I thought income partners didn't really generate business which is why giving them equity doesn't make sense. I just wasn't really sure why you would keep around an income partner that was less productive than a senior associate, but maybe it's just a title issue and pay per hour isn't really that different.

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dingbat
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Re: Atlantic: law school is professional Russian roulette

Postby dingbat » Fri Feb 01, 2013 12:05 am

bdubs wrote:
dingbat wrote:
bdubs wrote:Biggest surprise for me was billable hours for income partners being lower than equity partners. Do income partners work less or do they get stuck with all of the non-billable management and admin work that comes along with running a firm?

my guess is that income partners earn less, so they work less (equity partners are equity partners for a reason)

edit: note how the development of asia is basically fucking us. We should have let them stay in the stone age


I always assumed a lot of equity partners' time would be spent selling business, so their billables would be relatively low (at least that was how it was in consulting). I thought income partners didn't really generate business which is why giving them equity doesn't make sense. I just wasn't really sure why you would keep around an income partner that was less productive than a senior associate, but maybe it's just a title issue and pay per hour isn't really that different.

Presumably because a partner is billed at a significantly higher rate than an associate?

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Re: Atlantic: law school is professional Russian roulette

Postby bdubs » Fri Feb 01, 2013 12:15 am

dingbat wrote:
bdubs wrote:
dingbat wrote:
bdubs wrote:Biggest surprise for me was billable hours for income partners being lower than equity partners. Do income partners work less or do they get stuck with all of the non-billable management and admin work that comes along with running a firm?

my guess is that income partners earn less, so they work less (equity partners are equity partners for a reason)

edit: note how the development of asia is basically fucking us. We should have let them stay in the stone age


I always assumed a lot of equity partners' time would be spent selling business, so their billables would be relatively low (at least that was how it was in consulting). I thought income partners didn't really generate business which is why giving them equity doesn't make sense. I just wasn't really sure why you would keep around an income partner that was less productive than a senior associate, but maybe it's just a title issue and pay per hour isn't really that different.

Presumably because a partner is billed at a significantly higher rate than an associate?


It's measured in hours, not dollars.

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dingbat
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Re: Atlantic: law school is professional Russian roulette

Postby dingbat » Fri Feb 01, 2013 12:24 am

bdubs wrote:
dingbat wrote:
bdubs wrote:I just wasn't really sure why you would keep around an income partner that was less productive than a senior associate, but maybe it's just a title issue and pay per hour isn't really that different.

Presumably because a partner is billed at a significantly higher rate than an associate?


It's measured in hours, not dollars.
I mean that it makes sense to keep an income partner that's less productive if that income partner is being billed at a higher rate

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Re: Atlantic: law school is professional Russian roulette

Postby drive4showLSAT4dough » Fri Feb 01, 2013 12:37 am

Sometimes when I think of the law school deans, I imagine them as a group in a blissful free-fall from the great heights of the Empire State Building, completely confident that their parachutes will save them, screaming collectively: "your personal statement should be grammatically PERFECT!!" all the while, forgetting that the nylon bags strapped to their backs contain no parachutes -- only soon to be useless cash.

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Re: Atlantic: law school is professional Russian roulette

Postby bdubs » Fri Feb 01, 2013 12:41 am

dingbat wrote:I mean that it makes sense to keep an income partner that's less productive if that income partner is being billed at a higher rate


As long as they don't come along with a higher salary that offsets their billing rate difference.

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Re: Atlantic: law school is professional Russian roulette

Postby ksllaw » Fri Feb 01, 2013 6:21 am

Tiago Splitter wrote:I don't know man. Two years ago when I was first considering law school and about to attend a Tier 2 that article would have provided just enough ammo to keep the cognitive dissonance working.

Those of us who understand just how shitty things are need to keep in mind that people reading these articles are often learning these things for the first time. Writers of these articles really need to watch just how they present the facts. A 0L set on law school could think "85K! That's great! And that's DOWN from where things were when the economy was better. Those greedy elitist bastards on TLS just never can get enough, can they? If I don't make the average, I'll still be at 60-80K and I'm cool with that. Plus I don't really want BigLaw anyway."

Honestly dude re-reading that article the only clear facts it cites are that 85% of the class of 2011 had a job (ignorant 0L immediately thinks "legal job") and that the median private practice salary for class of 2010 was $85,000.


This was actually close to my thinking last summer when I first began researching law school.

It just does not click with people sometimes. I had grown up like many here and off these boards as well seeing (on TV and in the movies) and hearing (from parents and teachers) that law was one of the highest paying fields you could enter into (like a medical doctor). I figured going to a local law school was just fine and that while I may make less than a big corporate lawyer that I'd still be making about $75-80K and could grow from there.

I figured these jobs were not that difficult to get either.

It really takes time to be educated on these things and w/o the mainstream media and credible sources covering them, many probably had natural psychological reasons for disbelieving the reports and critiques they heard online from the scamblogger type sites and anonymous posters online. My mindset was that these were just poor students and the few disgruntled and failed lawyers who posted this stuff. It wasn't until hearing it from reputable sources and really aggressively asking a lot of questions over several months that I came to understand the reality.

It's a powerful myth and image that still exists. Psychologists have various names for people's responses to these things from belief perseverance to cognitive dissonance.

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Re: Atlantic: law school is professional Russian roulette

Postby ksllaw » Fri Feb 01, 2013 6:35 am

NYstate wrote:At a certain point, willful ignorance is on them. Other people had only false data; if people with better data and mainstream media telling them law school is not worth the cost, it is their own doing. Lawyers need to know when to take heed of good advice.


This was the problem, sunynp.

It wasn't until the NYT's 2011 piece, "Is Law School a Losing Game," that the mainstream media covered it. And it wasn't until I saw Campos and Rhodes' lecture/talk at Stanford ( http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=o2gvnPTHvH8 ) last summer in 2012 that I full grasped the problem.

As I explained to Tiago above, I figured all these complainers online were just anonymous folks who did poorly in law school and were the few disgruntled and truly incompetent who could not find a job. I still thought of lawyers as having a relatively equal position/salary/prospects as a medical doctor did in society.

Having scambloggers rant against the legal economy and law schools was not at all convincing for me personally. The reason was credibility. You see these seemingly respectable legal institutions (we often equate universities with altruism and a place of great respect and pure learning) and think there is no way things could be this bad and for them to advertise the way they do. ... It would be as if someone told me becoming a medical doctor would have a high risk of unemployment and living in poverty. I would have just laughed and probably paid little attention. Or maybe I would have figured they were talking about a statistical few (maybe those living in rural areas) and that the majority still did extremely well.




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