Schools like SMU with "lower rank" + great employment

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IgosduIkana
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Schools like SMU with "lower rank" + great employment

Postby IgosduIkana » Sun Nov 10, 2013 5:51 am

SMU's employment stats seem so impressive..
http://www.lstscorereports.com/?school=smu

Are there any other schools in the lower T1 or even the T2 that offer employment that is comparatively excellent given its USNWR rank? Let's pretend I don't care about location. I applied to SMU as a semi-safety but now I feel like I should take it more seriously, and apply to other schools like it.

Hutz_and_Goodman
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Re: Schools like SMU with "lower rank" + great employment

Postby Hutz_and_Goodman » Sun Nov 10, 2013 8:28 am

SMU's numbers are awesome. Keep in mind though that if you don't have ties to TX you will face problems getting a job (you may still get a job, but you will underperform what you otherwise would get).

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Tiago Splitter
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Re: Schools like SMU with "lower rank" + great employment

Postby Tiago Splitter » Sun Nov 10, 2013 11:46 am

Dig a little deeper and you'll see those numbers aren't that great. 17.4% get jobs with 100+ attorney firms or fed clerkships. Out of 293 grads, 67 were employed in firms of 2-10 attorneys, and another 58 were employed in "business and industry." On the other hand they are bringing in smaller 1L classes so maybe things are getting better.

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mr. wednesday
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Re: Schools like SMU with "lower rank" + great employment

Postby mr. wednesday » Sun Nov 10, 2013 12:02 pm

Tiago Splitter wrote:Dig a little deeper and you'll see those numbers aren't that great. 17.4% get jobs with 100+ attorney firms or fed clerkships. Out of 293 grads, 67 were employed in firms of 2-10 attorneys, and another 58 were employed in "business and industry." On the other hand they are bringing in smaller 1L classes so maybe things are getting better.


Add to this the fact that is costs a quarter of a million dollars to go there, and only five people found jobs outside of TX. Like a lot of lower ranked schools, it's not a bad choice per se but you need to have specific goals (ties to Texas and a desire to never practice elsewhere, not big law), and you still shouldn't be paying sticker. Less than 20% of the class will ever make enough that they can pay back $250,000 dollars, much less actually make that amount of debt worth it.

But if you are okay with opening your own practice or really hustling to get a local small law /PD type job, and either you/your parents paid your tuition or you have a decent scholarship, then I could see it being a fine choice.

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kalvano
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Re: Schools like SMU with "lower rank" + great employment

Postby kalvano » Sun Nov 10, 2013 12:10 pm

mr. wednesday wrote:
Tiago Splitter wrote:Dig a little deeper and you'll see those numbers aren't that great. 17.4% get jobs with 100+ attorney firms or fed clerkships. Out of 293 grads, 67 were employed in firms of 2-10 attorneys, and another 58 were employed in "business and industry." On the other hand they are bringing in smaller 1L classes so maybe things are getting better.


Add to this the fact that is costs a quarter of a million dollars to go there, and only five people found jobs outside of TX. Like a lot of lower ranked schools, it's not a bad choice per se but you need to have specific goals (ties to Texas and a desire to never practice elsewhere, not big law), and you still shouldn't be paying sticker. Less than 20% of the class will ever make enough that they can pay back $250,000 dollars, much less actually make that amount of debt worth it.

But if you are okay with opening your own practice or really hustling to get a local small law /PD type job, and either you/your parents paid your tuition or you have a decent scholarship, then I could see it being a fine choice.



None of it is quite that bad.

They are extremely generous with money if you have at least a passable LSAT.

It's possible to secure work outside of Texas, initially or at some point, if you want to. It just takes quite a bit of work, and probably a couple of years experience.

And there are more than a few firms in Dallas that pay $55K - $70K. It's not Baylor, you aren't forced to open your own shop.

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mr. wednesday
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Re: Schools like SMU with "lower rank" + great employment

Postby mr. wednesday » Sun Nov 10, 2013 12:22 pm

I'm not saying everyone is forced to open their own shop, just that statistically, about half the people who end up at a firm are either solo or a place with 2-10 lawyers, and a larger percentage when you include firms up to 25 lawyers. To me, that means no one should go to that school if the only way to make good on that investment is a biglaw salary, like if you are paying sticker.

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kalvano
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Re: Schools like SMU with "lower rank" + great employment

Postby kalvano » Sun Nov 10, 2013 12:52 pm

Well, Dallas smaller shops tend to pay, on average, more than other places.

But sticker at SMU would be dumb. Really dumb. Especially since money can be had with a low-mid 160's LSAT

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MistakenGenius
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fountino
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Re: Schools like SMU with "lower rank" + great employment

Postby fountino » Sun Nov 10, 2013 10:10 pm

If you are at all familiar with the way SMU distributes scholarship money it is silly to keep harping on the $250k COA. At that price it is not worth attending--end of story. Name me a single school outside the T14 that is worth $250k. A more helpful premise to evaluate the value would be at $100k-150k COA, as this is the boat many applicants would be in.

Is $70k per year at a small or midsize firm with $100k in debt a terrible situation? Especially considering cost of living in Texas? How much worse is it than someone working NYC Biglaw at $160k per year with $250k in debt? Plus, if you are one of the 15-20% of the class who gets a market-paying big law gig, you are in an excellent position considering Texas COL.

Many people on this board would dismiss $70k per year jobs as non-existent. But anyone familiar with the Dallas market would know that there is a meaningful "mid law" market. This makes salary distribution less bimodal than most other law schools, and thus softens the impact of missing the big law boat. Additionally there are a fair amount of boutique firms with <100 attorneys that pay $100k-185k.

Does this make SMU a "great" value? No. But depending on scholarship money, it makes it an equal or better value than most any other school outside the T20 or so. Take the hypothetical applicant with a 3.1/165 or 3.8/161. I think SMU with the scholarship they are likely to receive would make it competitive with most any other option they would be looking at. Admittedly, you better not attend unless you are 100% okay with working in Texas, as you are largely on your own for anything else.

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kalvano
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Re: Schools like SMU with "lower rank" + great employment

Postby kalvano » Sun Nov 10, 2013 11:45 pm

MistakenGenius wrote:
kalvano wrote:Well, Dallas smaller shops tend to pay, on average, more than other places.

But sticker at SMU would be dumb. Really dumb. Especially since money can be had with a low-mid 160's LSAT


Dude, I see that you are trying to defend your school, and I understand why, but that doesn't mean you should ignore some basic rules. If you go to SMU, you're going to have a bitch of a time finding employment with Biglaw, something you often need for the exorbitant price of the school. 55k isn't a lot of money to work with in Dallas alongside a 250 grand debt. I personally wouldn't take on 100k for SMU. That said, it is probably the best performing school in the low ranks, but if you make a 165, it's dumb to settle for a school with such limited opportunities.



What "basic rules"? Where did I say $55K? Why are you saying $250K in debt? Name me a better school that you can get into with significant money with a 165. Biglaw isn't the only possible good outcome.

Reading comprehension isn't your strong suit, is it?

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IgosduIkana
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Re: Schools like SMU with "lower rank" + great employment

Postby IgosduIkana » Mon Nov 11, 2013 3:51 am

haha didn't quite get an answer but glad I got to hear the range of opinions about the school. I am comfortable with living in Texas, but I am going to take a closer look at the employment numbers on the school before any decisions are made. Only applied very recently so no major decisions need to be made any time soon. Thanks everybody.

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IgosduIkana
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Re: Schools like SMU with "lower rank" + great employment

Postby IgosduIkana » Mon Nov 11, 2013 4:00 am

fountino wrote:If you are at all familiar with the way SMU distributes scholarship money it is silly to keep harping on the $250k COA. At that price it is not worth attending--end of story. Name me a single school outside the T14 that is worth $250k. A more helpful premise to evaluate the value would be at $100k-150k COA, as this is the boat many applicants would be in.

Is $70k per year at a small or midsize firm with $100k in debt a terrible situation? Especially considering cost of living in Texas? How much worse is it than someone working NYC Biglaw at $160k per year with $250k in debt? Plus, if you are one of the 15-20% of the class who gets a market-paying big law gig, you are in an excellent position considering Texas COL.

Many people on this board would dismiss $70k per year jobs as non-existent. But anyone familiar with the Dallas market would know that there is a meaningful "mid law" market. This makes salary distribution less bimodal than most other law schools, and thus softens the impact of missing the big law boat. Additionally there are a fair amount of boutique firms with <100 attorneys that pay $100k-185k.

Does this make SMU a "great" value? No. But depending on scholarship money, it makes it an equal or better value than most any other school outside the T20 or so. Take the hypothetical applicant with a 3.1/165 or 3.8/161. I think SMU with the scholarship they are likely to receive would make it competitive with most any other option they would be looking at. Admittedly, you better not attend unless you are 100% okay with working in Texas, as you are largely on your own for anything else.


Yeah I am not cracking the top 20, will be around the 25 to 50 range. Only recently did I discover LST and have been poking around the schools I'm applying for. Things certainly do get a LOT less certain out of the T14. If Emory, WUSTL, and GWU don't work out then I'm checking out U Arizona and SMU, and SMU's numbers fare far better than Arizona.

I like that this critical discussion is keeping me cautious about employment opportunities. But if the folks expressing uncertainty about SMU go to CLS or other top schools...well, I recognize that things are looking a lot better for you and do know that your cautionary gestures are appreciated, but at the end of the day I have to make the smartest decision I can make with the numbers I've got.

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Tiago Splitter
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Re: Schools like SMU with "lower rank" + great employment

Postby Tiago Splitter » Mon Nov 11, 2013 9:34 am

IgosduIkana wrote:at the end of the day I have to make the smartest decision I can make with the numbers I've got.

That's all anyone is trying to help you do. When someone says "SMU's numbers are awesome" I feel obligated to jump in and at least qualify that statement a bit.

Given your numbers you're right to completely ignore US News rankings and focus on employment outcomes. Wherever you end up, make sure to keep your costs very low. And keep in mind that with applications falling every year there is no harm in waiting another year to apply.

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kalvano
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Re: Schools like SMU with "lower rank" + great employment

Postby kalvano » Mon Nov 11, 2013 9:58 am

Yes, I'll happily admit SMU's numbers look better than they really are, but SMU is not a bad choice if you get a scholarship. It does place well in Dallas, and Dallas is a weird market when it comes to salaries and such.

I wouldn't ever suggest passing on a T14 without a full ride or something, but when you get into those nebulous "regional" schools, SMU tends to do better on average than others because of its location.

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Re: Schools like SMU with "lower rank" + great employment

Postby Hutz_and_Goodman » Mon Nov 11, 2013 10:00 am

I guess I should qualify my response. The numbers are "awesome" relative to the ranking of the school, but going to SMU should still only be on a free ride or if they give you 50% tuition at an absolute minimum.

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Re: Schools like SMU with "lower rank" + great employment

Postby gregfootball2001 » Mon Nov 11, 2013 3:48 pm

IgosduIkana wrote:SMU's employment stats seem so impressive..
http://www.lstscorereports.com/?school=smu

Are there any other schools in the lower T1 or even the T2 that offer employment that is comparatively excellent given its USNWR rank? Let's pretend I don't care about location. I applied to SMU as a semi-safety but now I feel like I should take it more seriously, and apply to other schools like it.

You'd better want to stay in Georgia, but for the amount it costs, UGA does pretty well employment-wise.

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jordan15
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Re: Schools like SMU with "lower rank" + great employment

Postby jordan15 » Mon Nov 11, 2013 9:53 pm

Hutz_and_Goodman wrote:I guess I should qualify my response. The numbers are "awesome" relative to the ranking of the school, but going to SMU should still only be on a free ride or if they give you 50% tuition at an absolute minimum.


Isn't this what the OP asked anyway?

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Re: Schools like SMU with "lower rank" + great employment

Postby texas_ranger » Fri Nov 15, 2013 12:54 am

MistakenGenius wrote:If you go to SMU, you're going to have a bitch of a time finding employment with Biglaw


Total bullshit. Students in the top 10% are basically guaranteed BigLaw jobs if they want them. Top 20% is also easily doable if you're an ace candidate in other respects (law review, moot court/mock trial, etc.). Same goes at UH. Your odds of getting a job at a Dallas BigLaw firm, assuming your grades are top-notch, really aren't much different than if you were applying from a T14 school, albeit with a lower class rank. (Again, same goes for Houston and UH. Every BigLaw firm in town recruits at OCI, and even a few that aren't recruit there.)

Getting back to the OP's question: ATL has SMU ranked higher than UH in terms of job prospects, but both are pretty damn good (and considerably better than the likes of Baylor, even if its U.S. News ranking is close and it always has the highest bar-passage rate in Texas). Even among students who didn't land a BigLaw summer gig via OCI, I know plenty who landed a p/t clerkship during the school year at a midsized firm and ended up getting hired there after graduation (and a number of them moved into BigLaw via laterals).

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Tiago Splitter
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Re: Schools like SMU with "lower rank" + great employment

Postby Tiago Splitter » Fri Nov 15, 2013 1:00 am

texas_ranger wrote:
MistakenGenius wrote:If you go to SMU, you're going to have a bitch of a time finding employment with Biglaw


Total bullshit. Students in the top 10% are basically guaranteed BigLaw jobs if they want them. Top 20% is also easily doable if you're an ace candidate in other respects (law review, moot court/mock trial, etc.).

You can't call bullshit then admit that someone finishing in the top 20% still needs a lot to go right to get Biglaw.

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AT9
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Re: Schools like SMU with "lower rank" + great employment

Postby AT9 » Sat Nov 16, 2013 7:38 pm

Glad I found this thread. I just posted in the SMU applicants thread pretty much the same thing OP said - that SMU's numbers are more in line with a top 25 school than top 50 or 60. With 64% of the class of 2011 reporting salary, the median is $80,000. That's not bad at all considering the COL in Texas.

Now I'll have to choose between $39K for UGA and about $50K for SMU (these are tuition figures...spouse will be covering as much COL as possible). Decisions, decisions...

MrAnon
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Re: Schools like SMU with "lower rank" + great employment

Postby MrAnon » Sat Nov 16, 2013 7:59 pm

I think the question you meant to ask is: Are there other schools with "lower rank" which will also pay employers to hire their grads?

http://abovethelaw.com/2010/05/smu-will ... graduates/

gregfootball2001
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Re: Schools like SMU with "lower rank" + great employment

Postby gregfootball2001 » Sun Nov 17, 2013 9:23 pm

AT9 wrote:Now I'll have to choose between $39K for UGA and about $50K for SMU (these are tuition figures...spouse will be covering as much COL as possible). Decisions, decisions...

Well...where do you want to practice? Cause neither school is gonna place in the other's city.

oblitigate
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Re: Schools like SMU with "lower rank" + great employment

Postby oblitigate » Sun Nov 17, 2013 9:42 pm

Here's one big factor. SMU has a LOT of wealthy alumni, both from the LS and the UG. Also, they are rabidly loyal to SMU. Plus these people historically CHOOSE to remain in Dallas for strong economy/Texas pride. Upon visiting Dallas, one will quickly realize the pervasive disdain for the north and unfettering love for Texas amongst the locals. And Dallas currently (and historically) has the strongest economy in the U.S., so Dallas firms are hiring deep. See Forbes "Best Cities for Good Jobs 2013-14." Dallas/Ft. Worth/Houston/San Antonio/Austin are all different than the rest of the major U.S. cities, so keep that in mind OP.

Local ties and connections go a long way in Dallas. Keep that in mind too.

oblitigate
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Re: Schools like SMU with "lower rank" + great employment

Postby oblitigate » Sun Nov 17, 2013 9:51 pm

One more fairly unusual thing: a lot of smaller firms (5-20 attys) pay market or above market in Dallas. These are really high-end firms that handle top-notch matters, usually on a contingency fee/alternative fee basis or charge a high hourly rate. Don't let size fool you, especially with Texas firms.

I'm not pro-SMU trolling, I just practice in Dallas so am a good source of info for OP.

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IgosduIkana
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Re: Schools like SMU with "lower rank" + great employment

Postby IgosduIkana » Mon Nov 18, 2013 12:16 am

oblitigate wrote:Here's one big factor. SMU has a LOT of wealthy alumni, both from the LS and the UG. Also, they are rabidly loyal to SMU. Plus these people historically CHOOSE to remain in Dallas for strong economy/Texas pride. Upon visiting Dallas, one will quickly realize the pervasive disdain for the north and unfettering love for Texas amongst the locals. And Dallas currently (and historically) has the strongest economy in the U.S., so Dallas firms are hiring deep. See Forbes "Best Cities for Good Jobs 2013-14." Dallas/Ft. Worth/Houston/San Antonio/Austin are all different than the rest of the major U.S. cities, so keep that in mind OP.

Local ties and connections go a long way in Dallas. Keep that in mind too.


Thanks oblitigate, these are some very valuable points to hear. Sounds like a pretty jingoistic legal market, haha. But as long as you're on the inside all seems well. Very much appreciate the info will definitely return to this thread after the decision comes in.




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