Doorkeeper wrote:I think the numbers MoC used with Chicago and Harvard are a bit off. For Chicago, for example, they placed 58% of the class into BigLaw last year (70% total into firms), plus when you consider clerkships (14%) and PI jobs that's nearly 80-90% of the class. So the whole, the "if you're not top 50% you're screwed" argument seems to really be, "if you're in the bottom 15-20% then maybe you're screwed". I think that makes a big difference for most people making the decision.
Now maybe if you want V10, academia, or the most prestigious clerkships it's a different story. I think it's only really there where you have the argument about the grades.
HAhaha, listen I wasn't saying you are "screwed" graduating anywhere from Chi. You aren't screwed with a Chi law degree, that would be silly to even suggest. Even in a down economy, we are still talking about an extremely valuable law degree. I suspect anyone that ends up "screwed' has much more to do with their own personal failings screwing them than the Chi law degree they hold. What I said was that it may close off CERTAIN opportunities that graduating from Yale will not period. That in no way means you are screwed, but if you want to do certain things or think you might then you need to consider this. I don't think this is any way debatable from people in the field. I highly doubt Chi profs would even deny it if they were being candid.
Yes, Harvard still works a little differently, but I've heard from this 1L class that they too are moving away from the low pass. But you still have Law Review to distinguish the top part of the class - that's a lot of extra work you need to ask yourself whether you are willing to do.
At Yale the P, HP system from all accounts from the 20 odd grads I spoken with effectively works to equalize the playing field. Almost everyone graduates with some combo of these and employers (even clerkships from what I've heard) could care less that the next guy got one more HP than you. Yalies also have much more flexibility in the coursework they take so you inevitable take some courses that you are going to excel in if you are wise. Interviews are much more important for Yale grads, but not only that, the class is so small and diverse, from what I have heard there is not alot of competition between you and the next Yale grad. You simply aren't competing in the same way against H grads, because there are so many more of them. Either way though, Yale grads generally have pretty broad interests and none of them have mentioned ever feeling any competition from other classmates in getting certain positions. There aren't many to go around. And "greatness" in my definition is defined by doing great at what you want to pursue, not in terms of SCoTUS aspirations. If your personal def of greatness is getting a spot at a V5, unless you really bomb out for some reason, Yale is going to keep that door open for you (again because there isn't a "bottom of the class"), bottom of a Chi class is going to make it extremely unlikely.
That being said, I have heard that in law firms both H grads and Chi grads are generally better prepared for the daily grind of legal practice than Yalies. This is apparently commonly accepted by big law firms and they don't worry about it in hiring. By the end of 2 summers of SA, they know that Yalies are extremely capable and smart and will be right where they need to be. These of course are generalizations and will depend on what knowledge you come in with/what courses you take, etc.
As for the implicit suggestion that people who finish at the bottom of classes at Chi or wherever in this league are somehow lazy or less intelligent...you aren't reading my post very carefully. Its not about either. Its about the fact that some people have interests outside of law, whether its advocacy or other academic interests or whatever. Yale provides a system where you can continue to explore these without a detriment to your future career prospects. Some of the other schools do not. People make choices in law school about whether they want to spend 24/7 out-competing others. Some do, some don't, it has nothing to do with intelligence. Personally, I have 3 small kids and a husband. I wouldn't consider myself a "success" if I graduated first in my class at HYS or Chi, but ended up in divorce court. Nor would I like to let go of my connection to certain advocacy networks. I can almost guarantee that I would not finish in the top 20% of my class at Chi (and not necessarily because one couldn't or has a debilitating addiction to reality tv). Its def something that should realistically be weighed in making a choice.
And when we are talking about certain possibilities, I'm not talking about a job at a law firm so I could care less about the statistics for that. Any T10 school is going to give you that option. Its not special. You might have your choice if you are higher in the class or what not, but that is not the topic at hand. Look at the composition of the Supreme Court and you will realize that where your degree comes from most certainly does matter for those with certain goals (of which I am admittedly not one), but there are some on here that are and should consider that.
But I think the core of any disagreement between any of us on this is how the grading system works. Look into it. Talk to some Yale grads. It really is important. Don't take my word for it.