Why all the hate towards American???

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IAFG
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Re: Why all the hate towards American???

Postby IAFG » Tue Mar 02, 2010 10:46 am

I have two friends attending American, and both are very satisfied with their job prospects. They will both be going to work for the same federal regulatory commission after graduation. Most TLSers would not want the jobs they will have, but if you do, American is probably an okay choice.

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Rocketman11
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Re: Why all the hate towards American???

Postby Rocketman11 » Tue Mar 02, 2010 10:48 am

IAFG wrote:I have two friends attending American, and both are very satisfied with their job prospects. They will both be going to work for the same federal regulatory commission after graduation. Most TLSers would not want the jobs they will have, but if you do, American is probably an okay choice.


Hard for him to know if you don't specify the job ;) lol

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IAFG
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Re: Why all the hate towards American???

Postby IAFG » Tue Mar 02, 2010 10:51 am

Rocketman11 wrote:
IAFG wrote:I have two friends attending American, and both are very satisfied with their job prospects. They will both be going to work for the same federal regulatory commission after graduation. Most TLSers would not want the jobs they will have, but if you do, American is probably an okay choice.


Hard for him to know if you don't specify the job ;) lol

It isn't "saving the world" or "helping people," it doesn't pay well, and it isn't prestigious, but it does come with federal benefits. If someone wants to look up the pay scale for federal attorneys they can, I suppose.

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jlnoa0915
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Re: Why all the hate towards American???

Postby jlnoa0915 » Tue Mar 02, 2010 10:51 am

Its the basic economic concept of premiums vs. discounts / normal v. inferior goods(not literally inferior).

The higher up in ranking system a good goes, the more a person will pay to obtain it. If a good is lower in the ranking system, the seller of that good must include a discount to in order to provide the incentive to purchase it. (watered down explanation but you get the point.)

Example: Filet Mignon v. hamburger. You wouldn't pay the price of filet mignon to get hamburgers.

In the case of American there is no discount to their place in the rankings. They charge almost as much as some schools in the T14 and as an accepted student I cannot personally justify paying sticker; especially considering the COL of DC. That said I think American is a fantastic school and with the intrinsic benefits of being located in DC it would be a very good school to attend, with some sort of discount or scholarship. IMHO
Last edited by jlnoa0915 on Tue Mar 02, 2010 10:54 am, edited 2 times in total.

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Rocketman11
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Re: Why all the hate towards American???

Postby Rocketman11 » Tue Mar 02, 2010 10:52 am

IAFG wrote:it doesn't pay well,


Important to note when you take on crushing AU debt.

Do you know where you're going yet farmgirl?

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IAFG
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Re: Why all the hate towards American???

Postby IAFG » Tue Mar 02, 2010 10:55 am

Rocketman11 wrote:
IAFG wrote:it doesn't pay well,


Important to note when you take on crushing AU debt.

Do you know where you're going yet farmgirl?

depends on the $ of course but probably NU, unless a UChi or CLS miracle comes along.

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Dick Whitman
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Re: Why all the hate towards American???

Postby Dick Whitman » Tue Mar 02, 2010 11:01 am

American has one of the highest curves of any law school. So even if you do well, you're still left swimming in a morass of American graduates with plumped GPAs.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_law_school_GPA_curves

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Doritos
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Re: Why all the hate towards American???

Postby Doritos » Tue Mar 02, 2010 11:10 am

Dick Whitman wrote:American has one of the highest curves of any law school. So even if you do well, you're still left swimming in a morass of American graduates with plumped GPAs.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_law_school_GPA_curves


People doing the hiring at firms are going to know this though right? UVa and Duke have even higher medians and they seem to find employment

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Rocketman11
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Re: Why all the hate towards American???

Postby Rocketman11 » Tue Mar 02, 2010 11:16 am

Doritos wrote:
Dick Whitman wrote:American has one of the highest curves of any law school. So even if you do well, you're still left swimming in a morass of American graduates with plumped GPAs.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_law_school_GPA_curves


People doing the hiring at firms are going to know this though right? UVa and Duke have even higher medians and they seem to find employment


Maybe. I think the astute employer will ask your class rank since GPA is relative. And there's a huge difference between UVA/Duke and American, GPA notwithstanding.

holidayfromreal
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Re: Why all the hate towards American???

Postby holidayfromreal » Tue Mar 02, 2010 11:27 am

jlnoa0915 wrote:Its the basic economic concept of premiums vs. discounts / normal v. inferior goods(not literally inferior).

The higher up in ranking system a good goes, the more a person will pay to obtain it. If a good is lower in the ranking system, the seller of that good must include a discount to in order to provide the incentive to purchase it. (watered down explanation but you get the point.)

Example: Filet Mignon v. hamburger. You wouldn't pay the price of filet mignon to get hamburgers.

In the case of American there is no discount to their place in the rankings. They charge almost as much as some schools in the T14 and as an accepted student I cannot personally justify paying sticker; especially considering the COL of DC. That said I think American is a fantastic school and with the intrinsic benefits of being located in DC it would be a very good school to attend, with some sort of discount or scholarship. IMHO


normal goods are goods you buy more of when your income increases where as inferior good are goods you buy more of when your income decreases so that analysis doesn't make much sense since first off you have to get in and second off it's not like someone's more likely to go to an equally expensive law school if their income decreases.

I agree with your explanation but don't just throw econ terms out there simply so you can compare your point to a concept, just make your point. Sorry I know this comes across as mean it's not meant to be, I just don't think that the argument should be made on shaky economic grounds

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phoenix323
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Re: Why all the hate towards American???

Postby phoenix323 » Tue Mar 02, 2010 1:10 pm

Thanks for all of the informative posts. I wasn't aware of the high grading curve. Someone else earlier mentioned that it would be hard to pay off the exorbitant debt from American with a 40k/yr public/private sector job. It is realistic to assume that I'd graduate from American and only be earning 40K in the private sector? That's scary.

Anyway, I'm not even close to making a decision yet. I applied to over 20 schools in the end of January and have only hear back from 6 so far. So I have a lot of thinking to do. Thanks everyone for your balanced and honest opinions.
Last edited by phoenix323 on Wed Mar 03, 2010 9:02 pm, edited 1 time in total.

09042014
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Re: Why all the hate towards American???

Postby 09042014 » Tue Mar 02, 2010 1:14 pm

IAFG wrote:
Rocketman11 wrote:
IAFG wrote:I have two friends attending American, and both are very satisfied with their job prospects. They will both be going to work for the same federal regulatory commission after graduation. Most TLSers would not want the jobs they will have, but if you do, American is probably an okay choice.


Hard for him to know if you don't specify the job ;) lol

It isn't "saving the world" or "helping people," it doesn't pay well, and it isn't prestigious, but it does come with federal benefits. If someone wants to look up the pay scale for federal attorneys they can, I suppose.


It also pays off Federal loans under IBR. Not a bad career choice.

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FunkyJD
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Re: What's so wrong with American???

Postby FunkyJD » Tue Mar 02, 2010 1:26 pm

DeSilentio2728 wrote:Best Law Schools Specialty Rankings: International Law
Ranked in 2009
1 Columbia University
New York, NY
2 New York University
New York, NY
3 Harvard University
Cambridge, MA
4 Georgetown University
Washington, DC
5 Yale University
New Haven, CT
6 American University (Washington)
Washington, DC

And how many of these specialty law classes will you take in your first year, which will substantially determine your future?

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gdane
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Re: Why all the hate towards American???

Postby gdane » Tue Mar 02, 2010 1:47 pm

8)
Last edited by gdane on Tue Nov 16, 2010 7:24 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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DeSilentio2728
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Re: Why all the hate towards American???

Postby DeSilentio2728 » Tue Mar 02, 2010 2:00 pm

gdane5 wrote:Why does everyone believe that one's starting income will be their income for the rest of their lives?

You may start off at $40k, but in a few years time you could make substantially more. Plus, upward mobility is more than possible.

If you have debt, thats fine. Pay it off. People pay mortgages, car payments, child support, etc etc all the time, so what is wrong with a law grad paying off law school debt? Most grads are in their mid to late 20's, so they have all the time in the world to pay off law school debt. This is not to say that one should take 50 years to pay off the debt, but that its not imperative to pay it off immediately.

That's what life is. You work, you pay off debt and you slowly, but surely, build some savings.

So many people on here have a misconception that things go like this: Go to T14 law school, graduate #1, get $100k+ job right out of law school, pay off debt in 1 year and then enjoy the rich life.


+1

86revolt
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Re: Why all the hate towards American???

Postby 86revolt » Tue Mar 02, 2010 2:05 pm

unlike most people here, i think American is a good school for international law. also, i would go there to study with professor Vladeck. one of the smartest people i've ever met. i had him come and speak at my panel discussion while i was in DC and you can just tell he is passionate about the law and about the Constitution (if that's what you're into). catch him while he's young and energetic.

GTLAWSCHOOL
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Re: Why all the hate towards American???

Postby GTLAWSCHOOL » Tue Mar 02, 2010 2:13 pm

First and foremost, thank you everyone for you well reasoned replies to the OP. As someone considering American it’s nice to hear a well-reasoned argument, and not just do not go, it’s a bad school. FWIW I had dinner with Dean Grossman, and his enthusiasm for the school and charisma was very appealing.

democrattotheend
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Re: Why all the hate towards American???

Postby democrattotheend » Tue Mar 02, 2010 2:14 pm

I went to American for undergrad, and I have a cousin who went there for law school, so I figured I would chime in.

First, I want to say that I had a great experience there for undergrad, and would definitely recommend the undergrad program. In terms of the law school, I have mixed feelings. My cousin had a pretty good experience, but he graduated in 2007, before the crash, and he still struggled to find work. He did get a summer associate position with a midlaw firm in Phoenix, but it didn't work out and he didn't get an offer. He was unemployed for about six months after graduation.

He eventually found a job in Phoenix with a small firm (he moved back there because of his girlfriend's job), but they didn't have enough work for him and laid him off. He then found another job that he hated, then another small firm job where the guy also ran out of money to pay him. He just recently got hired as a public defender for another county in Arizona, so things are looking up for him a bit, but he has struggled a lot, and probably hasn't even made a dent in his loan payments.

On the flip side, he did manage to get that initial summer associate gig coming from American (although granted, that was before ITE), although he contacted them himself and did not get it through OCI. But you could argue that it not being a good fit wasn't the school's fault. I also know that he had the opportunity to do internships at 2 federal departments during the school year (not DOJ or SEC, won't say which ones because I don't want to be too specific), and I know he had a really good experience with clinic. And my cousin says that having a degree from a school in Washington, DC is regarded as impressive in the Phoenix market, so American may have more reach than you would think, especially in secondary markets.

So there are some positives, and I have to disagree with those here who say GMU is a better choice in every case. It is probably a better value, but depending on your politics, financial situation, and career goals, American might be the better choice for a lot of people. That said, I do agree with those who say that the job prospects do not necessarily justify the tuition, and I would be wary of paying sticker at AU in this economy.

I hope that helps. If you have any specific questions, I can ask my cousin and get back to you.

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FunkyJD
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Re: Why all the hate towards American???

Postby FunkyJD » Tue Mar 02, 2010 2:17 pm

gdane5 wrote:Why does everyone believe that one's starting income will be their income for the rest of their lives?

You may start off at $40k, but in a few years time you could make substantially more. Plus, upward mobility is more than possible.

If you have debt, thats fine. Pay it off. People pay mortgages, car payments, child support, etc etc all the time, so what is wrong with a law grad paying off law school debt? Most grads are in their mid to late 20's, so they have all the time in the world to pay off law school debt. This is not to say that one should take 50 years to pay off the debt, but that its not imperative to pay it off immediately.

That's what life is. You work, you pay off debt and you slowly, but surely, build some savings.

So many people on here have a misconception that things go like this: Go to T14 law school, graduate #1, get $100k+ job right out of law school, pay off debt in 1 year and then enjoy the rich life.

40k after taxes is what, 30ish, or $2.5k a month after taxes?

$150k down, 30 years repayment = what, $1k a month?

I'm not a fan of that situation, for any length of time following law school.

What happens when you don't go from $40k/yr to Hogan + Hartson, or a decent government job?

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tommytahoe
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Re: Why all the hate towards American???

Postby tommytahoe » Tue Mar 02, 2010 2:18 pm

gdane5 wrote:Why does everyone believe that one's starting income will be their income for the rest of their lives?

You may start off at $40k, but in a few years time you could make substantially more. Plus, upward mobility is more than possible.

If you have debt, thats fine. Pay it off. People pay mortgages, car payments, child support, etc etc all the time, so what is wrong with a law grad paying off law school debt? Most grads are in their mid to late 20's, so they have all the time in the world to pay off law school debt. This is not to say that one should take 50 years to pay off the debt, but that its not imperative to pay it off immediately.

That's what life is. You work, you pay off debt and you slowly, but surely, build some savings.

So many people on here have a misconception that things go like this: Go to T14 law school, graduate #1, get $100k+ job right out of law school, pay off debt in 1 year and then enjoy the rich life.


First, I don't think everyone here believes that part about $40K/year for the rest of one's life. And if they do, they shouldn't.

Second, I think there is a difference between saying that the debt may be more manageable than we think, and saying that "that's fine," and that $160K in debt is just an everyday function of living in America with debt. Clearly, the debt for a law grad far outstrips the debt for, say, a business grad, also with the potentially shining prospects of $100K in a few years.

Third, I also don't think anyone here thinks they will pay off their LS debt in one year (unless they invented the next version of twitter while in LS).
I do feel that there are a bunch of folks on here, however, who are positively salivating at the notion of the rich life!

I hear what you're saying, though. Going to Big Law is not an instant cure-all of all debt (in fact, for many of us, the prospect of BigLaw alone is unattractive). And PI law is by no means a certain death of having pounds of flesh extracted by cold debt collectors for decades! But both of those options do often bring considerable constraints (either in life quality or in salary).

I'm not sure what this has to do with WCL, however. To the extent that its job prospects are limited, it would be so across the board, from Orrick to the EPA to the ACLU.

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Rocketman11
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Re: Why all the hate towards American???

Postby Rocketman11 » Tue Mar 02, 2010 2:18 pm

gdane5 wrote:You may start off at $40k, but in a few years time you could make substantially more. Plus, upward mobility is more than possible.


I agree with most of the rest of your post, but this is a tricky piece of it. You COULD make more, yes. Likely you will make more money as you get older, but that is how every profession is. Law school should not be a gamble. You should not counting on being in the top X% of your class even at a T4 on full scholarship thinking you're smarter than everyone else because you got into Tier 1's. You need to look at the cost of that school, put yourself at the 50% mark in your class, and weigh it against your likely starting salary and job prospects (after all you could be stuck with a terrible job you hate, and in that case salary doesn't matter). That's the responsible way to do it. I see a lot of people on TLS who think "ok ill just work super hard and be top 10%" or "i'll just spend X hours per week networking and then my school's poor OCI won't matter" and it's just so disheartening to me. Be extra conservative and then you will be pleasantly surprised instead of smacked down.

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phoenix323
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Re: Why all the hate towards American???

Postby phoenix323 » Tue Mar 02, 2010 3:17 pm

Rocketman11 wrote:
gdane5 wrote:You may start off at $40k, but in a few years time you could make substantially more. Plus, upward mobility is more than possible.


I agree with most of the rest of your post, but this is a tricky piece of it. You COULD make more, yes. Likely you will make more money as you get older, but that is how every profession is. Law school should not be a gamble. You should not counting on being in the top X% of your class even at a T4 on full scholarship thinking you're smarter than everyone else because you got into Tier 1's. You need to look at the cost of that school, put yourself at the 50% mark in your class, and weigh it against your likely starting salary and job prospects (after all you could be stuck with a terrible job you hate, and in that case salary doesn't matter). That's the responsible way to do it. I see a lot of people on TLS who think "ok ill just work super hard and be top 10%" or "i'll just spend X hours per week networking and then my school's poor OCI won't matter" and it's just so disheartening to me. Be extra conservative and then you will be pleasantly surprised instead of smacked down.


+1

This makes a lot of sense. Thanks!

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SteelReserve
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Re: Why all the hate towards American???

Postby SteelReserve » Tue Mar 02, 2010 3:30 pm

You may start off at $40k, but in a few years time you could make substantially more. Plus, upward mobility is more than possible.

If you have debt, thats fine. Pay it off. People pay mortgages, car payments, child support, etc etc all the time, so what is wrong with a law grad paying off law school debt? Most grads are in their mid to late 20's, so they have all the time in the world to pay off law school debt. This is not to say that one should take 50 years to pay off the debt, but that its not imperative to pay it off immediately.

That's what life is. You work, you pay off debt and you slowly, but surely, build some savings.


Gdane, your point is certainly reasonable and appreciated, but I think it misses the mark for a few reasons. First, taking out loans to buy houses and cars is very different from taking out loans for law school. Until the crash, housing was/is generally an appreciating asset, but even if it depreciates like a car, when you get in trouble--you can sell the asset. "Crap, my house is going down in value, my job isn't paying enough, gotta sell."

Contrast this with a 150k JD--you cannot sell it off. You must repay every penny. So you start work at around 40k, move up slowly to 70k or so by the time you're 30. 70k at age thirty is good money-- *but only for a person who did not start off with 150k in loans.

But do the math--we're talking paying at least 10,000 per year on the interest alone, without even putting a dent on the principal. You may just be starting to dent the principal in your thirties.

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SteelReserve
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Re: Why all the hate towards American???

Postby SteelReserve » Tue Mar 02, 2010 3:32 pm

Also, to OP, I know you are not asking for advice but I thought I'd just throw two cents in there. You seem very reasonable and you seem very interested in American. I don't know your age or circumstances, but perhaps you would be inclined to do some sort of part-time or full-time paralegal work for a year, having fun with your friends, and study for the LSAT on the side.

If you raise your score enough, you can go to American with a fat, juicy scholarship, making the decision to go there far more rational. As an added bonus, you will not only get to see the practice of law up close, you will also have a significant advantage during the OCI process, or for any hiring process.

*Think about it long and hard--one year of making a little money and studying for the LSAT could net you more than many years of work.

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gdane
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Re: Why all the hate towards American???

Postby gdane » Tue Mar 02, 2010 3:37 pm

Mr Steel,

I completely agree with what you said. I didnt mention it because I didnt want to get into an economics conversation. haha.

There are a lot of valid points. There is no right or wrong answer, no right or wrong side. I just personally believe that people shouldnt dismiss American simply because it has a high price, but isnt in the T14. I understand the concerns. Paying filet mignon price for a Hamburger (although I dont like this analogy cause it brings American down to the level of a hamburger. hahahaa!).

The title of this thread reminds me of the "Player Haters Ball' skit on the Chappelle Show. " I hate you, you and I dont even know you, but I hate you". haha!!!




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