Thursday, September 8, 2011

More fun with law school employment numbers

Jason Dolin, an Ohio attorney who is an adjunct law professor at Capital University, has just published an article in the Ohio Lawyer that digs into the employment statistics for the class of 2010 at Ohio's five public law schools nine months after graduation (unfortunately it appears you have to be a member of the Ohio bar to access the article on line).  Dolin filed public records requests with the schools, and the information he gathered is eye-opening in various ways.  Here I'll focus on the data released to him by Ohio State (a first-tier school) and Toledo (an unranked, aka fourth-tier school).


Ohio State

OSU's Class of 2010 had 202 graduates.  23 of these people (11.4%) reported themselves as being completely unemployed nine months after graduation (it's unclear from Dolin's data whether any of them were full-time students).  Of the 179 who were employed, ten were "employed" by OSU itself, or in jobs funded by OSU, which appears to be an example of an increasingly common practice whereby law schools fluff up their employment numbers with what might be called Potemkin Village jobs.  Of the remaining 169, 59 reported being employed either in jobs that didn't require a JD, or were part-time, or both.

Of the 110 graduates who reported having full-time jobs that required a JD, only four, according to OSU, listed their positions as being temporary as opposed to permanent.  This strikes me as highly implausible.  As I outlined in the New Republic in April, granular employment data from a very similar school to OSU revealed that almost one third of that school's 2010 graduates who had full-time jobs requiring a JD were in temporary positions -- and this was true even when treating the graduates in federal clerkships and state supreme court clerkships as having the equivalent of permanent full-time JD-requiring jobs.   (Dolin's article doesn't break out judicial clerkships as a separate category).

In any case, the idea that only 2% of OSU's 2010 class was doing temporary full-time legal work nine months after graduation flies in the face of everything we know about the current employment market for new lawyers.  This kind of implausible data highlights the need for information regarding law school employment to be subject to some sort of auditing procedure. For one thing, the current system relies exclusively on unaudited self-reporting from graduates, while my research indicates a significant percentage of graduates exaggerate the desirability of their employment situations, by for example characterizing part-time positions as full-time, and temporary jobs as permanent. The system also assumes that law schools will report this already far from-optimal data set accurately (an assumption that, given the enormous pressures law schools are under to cook their books, may well be unwarranted).

Nevertheless, even if we assume almost no 2010 OSU grads were doing temporary legal work nine months after graduation, barely half (106 of 202) claimed to have a real legal job, i.e., permanent full-time work requiring a law degree.

75 2010 OSU grads -- 37% of the class -- reported they were working in private law practice. Of these three were in solo practices, 31 were working for small firms (25 lawyers or less), and 14 were working for firms of 500 lawyers or more.  (Excluding three respondents who didn't reveal the size of the firm for which they were working, this apparently leaves 24 working for firms of more than 25 but less than 500 lawyers).

90% of the class had taken out loans in law school, with an average debt load of $81,408.

Summary:  The rough cut, unaudited breakdown for the graduating class of 2010 of this first tier school is: 16% unemployed (treating the school-created jobs as functional unemployment), 32% doing non-legal, and-or part-time, and-or temporary work, and 52% in real legal jobs of all kinds.  12% of the class reported having acquired real legal jobs outside private law practice.  15% of the class were working for small firms, 12% were working for medium-sized firms, and seven per cent were in BIGLAW.  (Again, this is all based on the assumption that this self-reported data is accurate).

Toledo

Interestingly, a slightly lower percentage of 2010 Toledo graduates reported themselves as unemployed as compared to OSU graduates (10% v. 11.4%).  Toledo did not provide information regarding whether the school had hired any of its own graduates.  Of the 145 graduates who reported themselves employed (out of a total class of 161), 134 provided more specific employment information.  Of this group, 54 -- that is, one third of the total class -- reported being employed full-time in a position for which a JD was required.  The school did not provide information regarding how many of these 54 jobs were permanent as opposed to temporary.  55 graduates reported they were in private law practice, which would seem to imply that no one in the graduating class had real legal job outside a firm setting.  Of these 55 graduates, 48 reported information regarding firm size, with 39 working for small firms (25 lawyers or less), seven working in solo practice, and two working for mid-sized firms. None worked for large firms.  86% of the class had law school debt, and the class's average debt was $76,898.

Summary: Again, the crucial piece of missing information in this data involves temporary versus permanent employment.  If we assume rather optimistically that the proportion of legally-employed graduates with temporary legal jobs mirrors the -- probably significantly understated -- NALP-reported national average of 27%, this would mean that around 20% of the graduating class had a real (full-time, permanent, JD-required) job nine months after graduation. (And this is treating the seven members of the class who report themselves in solo practice as having such jobs).  Note that until this year USNWR would have reported the school's "employment" rate as 90.1%. This year's changes in the USNWR reporting methodology have reduced that figure to 71%, which of course is still an exaggeration by a factor of probably more than three.

In comments, someone makes the excellent point that in the current legal market the whole concept of temporary versus permanent employment is getting increasingly complicated. For example, what about the relatively new practice of hiring associates at big law firms who are hired onto explicitly non-partnership tracks?  These people will surely report themselves as employed "permanently" --they are salaried with benefits etc. -- but their tenure with the firm is even as a formal matter limited from the start. Furthermore, BL1Y appropriately complicates the question of what a "real" legal job consists of beyond the question of the temporary/permanent distinction (You may want to skip this comment thread altogether if there are any sharp objects in your vicinity).

The point of this kind of analysis isn't to criticize either the outcomes or reporting practices of particular schools -- what we are looking at is clearly an industry-wide structural problem -- but rather to begin to determine the true employment rate nine months after graduation for current law school graduates (again, true employment = permanent full-time job requiring a JD).  The available data suggests that number is around 40% to 45% for first tier non-T-14 schools, and perhaps 15% to 20% for fourth-tier schools. (It would be interesting to get some idea of what the number is for T-14 schools, T-6 schools, HYS etc).

We certainly need better (audited, more precise) data, but the data we have -- especially with average law school debt already above $100,000 per year at private schools, and soon to get there for public ones -- suggests that the current cost-benefit structure of legal education has completely broken down, even for many schools in the first tier.  An obvious omission in the foregoing analysis was any discussion of salary levels.  This is another crucial piece of the puzzle which requires much better data-collection methods than law schools are employing currently.   A rough guess would suggest that a total of perhaps 20 to 25 of these 363 2010 law graduates, from two law schools at different ends of the hierarchical spectrum, were receiving a six-figure salary nine months after graduation.

116 comments:

  1. @LawProf: Do you have a sense of where this is headed? Even rough speculation? Perhaps you'd feel more comfortable speculating down here in the comments rather than as a main posting?

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  2. Let me step in for Campos here; Where is is this headed? More of the same, more lying, higher tuition and more scamming until regulations and laws are put in place to stop it.

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  3. A new trend in BigLaw, and I assume many medium size firms, is the "staff attorney" position or "non-partnership track associate" position. The former may lead to permanent associate status, but may not. The latter, by its definition, means that within a few years, that associate must leave. Are these "permanent?" There is no air of permanency surrounding them, though I would bet real money that reporting students with these positions would claim they are "permanent jobs requiring a JD."

    BW, this is headed to a major calamity. I don't know what kind of collapse, but beyond the legal market. This is happening at undergrad and grad levels, for architects and engineers (poor economy + we don't make shit any more), nurses and other medical staff, etc. Hedge fund managers feeling that I'll they're dealing with is a Ponzi scheme - and getting paid hansomely for it. So the only people in society that are compensated well (i.e. can shop at Whole Foods, send kids to private school, etc.) are financiers defrauding investors and the markets?!?! We are headed for breakdown.

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  4. 7:27: What makes Staff Atty positions any less "permanent" than the traditional Associate track, in which 90%+ of those hired must, according to the large firm business model, seek other employment in no more than 7 or 8 years?

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  5. "So the only people in society that are compensated well (i.e. can shop at Whole Foods, send kids to private school, etc.) are financiers defrauding investors and the markets?!?! We are headed for breakdown."

    When even a hardcore capitalist writing in the Harvrad Business Review that Marx may have been right in a lot of his analysis then yea, we might be heading to some overall breakdown: http://blogs.hbr.org/haque/2011/09/was_marx_right.html

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  6. The issue is that for all of human civilization up until about 50-75 years ago man tilled the soil. Agrarian. Society was structured around that - labor, wealth, education, etc. As we industrialized, the Great Depression helped our society realize that we were no longer agrarian, and societal saftey-nets were needed so that the non-agrarian society doesn't collapse. My point, without writing a treatise, is that this form of society is *really* new. We are still trying to figure it out. To figure it out we have leveraged *living* for the last 50-75 years. It is unsustainable. I really believe that the world we see in 20-30 years will not be recognizable today. When the less than intellectual elite decide at 18 they should go to busniess school and not study anything else, and we reward them, as a society, that limited knowledge at the expense of *all other education, experience and labor* we have a major problem.

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  7. (7:27 here) 7:31:

    What makes Staff Atty positions any less "permanent" than the traditional Associate track, in which 90%+ of those hired must, according to the large firm business model, seek other employment in no more than 7 or 8 years?

    Nothing, I was just asking what the cut-off was. Clerkships of 1-2 years, staff-attorney positions, unhired associates? I guess that's the danger with the game - it's one thing to report waiters and bartenders as "employed after 9 mos." but it's another to decide who is "permanently employed requiring a JD."

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  8. This is very interesting. I hope it encourages others to seek out this information. Talk about a powerful law review article.

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  9. (7:27 here)

    7:32: "When even a hardcore capitalist writing in the Harvrad Business Review that Marx may have been right in a lot of his analysis then yea, we might be heading to some overall breakdown: http://blogs.hbr.org/haque/2011/09/was_marx_right.html"
    --------------------
    Law schools specifically, and universities generally, are participating in America's favorite past-time. Transferring money while talking of "creating wealth." All our society does and applauds is rent-seeking and wealth transfer. Oh, also Jesus and guns.

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  10. re staff attorneys and temps and non-partner track associates - that is one thing that hasn;t been explored here yet. How partners of large law firms also exploit their positions and have created a business model that ensures higher profits at the expense of lont term tenure for the vast majority of us. Whereas they used to hire associates to do review, etc., and slowly learn what law school didn't teach us (albeit with abuse but at least we were compensated with high salaries and benefits) now they hire staff attys and temps and eventually manipulated the ABA into allowing foreign attorneys to do this work.

    The baby boom generation...gotta love 'em.

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  11. 7:42: The baby boom generation...gotta love 'em."

    Baby book generation: destroying America (w/ the Beatles) since 1968.

    Seriously, I was talking to my brother about this over the weekend, and maybe it's not a causal thing, but, my God, the baby-boom generation has taken a post-war economy that was thriving in the mid-1960s and over the last 40 years ground it to a halt.

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  12. In re the lack of temporary attorney positions:

    Perhaps ohio does not have temp doc review warehouses like the eastern big firms. Many of my fellow graduates (tier 2, NYC) were working at temp doc review jobs in large windowless rooms until they just gave up on the law and moved back to wherever they were from.

    I don't think that is as likely in ohio. . . though I know very little about the legal market in ohio.

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  13. @7:52 - I was just referring to the biglaw jobs where most of the $$ is.

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  14. @7:54,

    Sorry about the confusion. My comments regarding temporary positions were directed toward the discussion in the main article.

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  15. The category of jobs requiring a JD is still misleading. When I first see that, I assume it means doing things such as being a lawyer, or a judicial clerk, or some other job along the lines of what people want to do after graduating from law school. And, I think that's probably a pretty natural reading that others share.

    The trouble is that more and more jobs are staff attorney positions. You do doc review and other menial tasks which may require a JD, but cannot be honestly described as lawyering. If the trajectory of the job you're in does not at some point lead to representing or counseling clients, odds are you are not doing real legal work. Being part of the legal process is not the same as being a lawyer.

    This is also part of what must change with our cultural hard-on for lawyers and law school. There are people who do traditional lawyering tasks, the types of things you see on TV. But, legal practice is becoming much more mundane, and not just for the staff attorneys, but also for junior and midlevel associates. People are willing to take difficult, challenging, stressful jobs if the job is also meaningful, stimulating, and rewarding, but fewer legal jobs have that payout.

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  16. Law Prof, how did you determine that a significant number of graduates were
    exaggerating their employment status? Where is that information? Is it in The New
    Republic article?

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  17. BL1Y - legal practice has always been mundane. Its just that the explosion in lawyers and the change of the business model from working your way up the ladder to, essentially, contract work has made the entire thing ugly. There are specific people to blame for this. Add to that the 6 figure debt loads and I wonder on a daily basis why there isn't violence in the streets.

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  18. I second what 7:52 says. Temporary document review work is much larger in some areas of the country than in others. It is largest in NYC and DC, although attempts are being made to spread it to other markets, where labor is even cheaper. I know of at least one big temp agency that operates in Columbus and thereabouts, Lumen Legal, but I'm not sure how extensive their operation is.

    However, terrible as this sounds, people are now migrating to Washington, DC after graduation for the express purpose of doing document review work. I met quite a few 2010 grads from all over the country who came to DC because of what they had heard about the availability of doc review work here.

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  19. 8:03: As I describe in the TNR article, I audited a representative sample of graduate responses.

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  20. @8:10 - that is f...u...c...k...i...n...g pathetic. The baby boom generation, what a wonderful group. Im so glad Im paying for their social security.

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  21. At 8:10,

    Sweet Jesus, it's like the handbills in grapes of wrath.

    Going to Califonie with my fambily. I hear they need orange pickers.

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  22. my research indicates a significant percentage of graduates exaggerate the desirability of their employment situations, by for example characterizing part-time positions as full-time, and temporary jobs as permanent

    This is an important point, and I'm not sure how the problem can be remedied. Even when you know that your name won't be attached to your response, there's a strong impulse to make your situation sound better than it is. Maybe it's partly because you don't want to admit to yourself that things aren't so rosy, and maybe it's partly because, even if you're mad at your school, you still want it to come off well compared to others.

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  23. Another change in the legal industry - one that has been catching on more and more over the last ten years or so - is the reduction in the use of paralegals and other non-law school, bar passing, professionals in favor of so-called "lower quality" JDs. As they have with staff attorneys or contract/temp attorneys, big firms have been reducing the head counts of their paralegal staffs and more and more switching work previously performed by those people to those with JDs. These replacements have law degrees from schools that would never allow them to be considered for associate level jobs but are hired because they have JDs and large firms can then bill out at higher rates than they would paralegals. They compensate these "other" JDs at a rate that is higher than what they would have paid a paralegal but at one that is lower than that of their regular associates. In essence, the firms that are doing this are using the excess supply of JDs in the market as a way to increase their profits.

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  24. Great work, by Dolin. He also wrote a law review article, critical of "legal education." It does not require registration. (The Ohio State Bar ought to be ashamed of itself, for limiting this information.) I suppose someone can contact Dolin, and ask for a PDF version.

    http://works.bepress.com/cgi/viewcontent.cgi?article=1000&context=jason_dolin&sei-redir=1#search=%22james%20dolin%20opportunity%20lost%20how%20law%20school%22

    It is available, through this link. It is entitled: "Opportunity Lost: How Law School Disappoints Law Students, The Public and the Legal Profession."

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  25. You forgot to incorporate this very helpful bit of information:

    Only 47% of OSU Law's grads reported a non-zero salary. http://www.lawschooltransparency.com/clearinghouse/?school=osu

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  26. 8:18: "This is an important point, and I'm not sure how the problem can be remedied. Even when you know that your name won't be attached to your response, there's a strong impulse to make your situation sound better than it is."

    -----------------
    Let's call this the Facebook Rule - everything you write, report, post about yourself online or in public is designed to make your life's isignificance (in the grand scheme) more significant than all of your peers. This aids the demoralizing aspect of legal education and employment - when you see a Facebook or Linkedin post of a friend from law school or college, working on a BigLaw M&A deal or in leveraged finance at Morgan or teaching Italian 15th Century art in Paris, and you think about your soul-crushing litigation job at a small firm or doc review as a 2d year associate or 5 figure salary as a PD that leaves you 60 years behind in repaying the law school debt. So, just like those friends' posts you're reading, you puff your own situation. And then finally realize that your friends are doing the exact same thing. Nothing glamorous, nothing fortunate, just the same and the mundane.

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  27. More of the same, more lying, higher tuition and more scamming until regulations and laws are put in place to stop it.

    @7:25, you think the model is sustainable enough to last until regulations or laws are put into place to enforce a modicum of fair play? Given the gloom-and-doom that pervades this blog (among others), it sounds to me like we're in line for a really sharp "market correction" well before anything official.

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  28. I disagree about using JD's so they can bill out at higher rates. I do think they are using more JD's and less paralegals, but I think they're just increasing the leverage (workload) of their juniors to include work done by the paralegals while also giving them some legit low level diligence type work.
    The main reason I disagree is pushback from clients. How many hours will a client pay at $350+ per hour for a closing set? A lot of time on those administrative matters is written off if the junior is even allowed to bill it.

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  29. Frank Wu of the University of California, Hastings, essentially wrote a response to this blog (without mentioning it by name) in the Bay Area's legal journal, The Recorder. It begins:

    "The other night over dinner, a colleague told me that his brother-in-law was still looking for a job — and so were all his brother-in-law's pals. As it happens, this unemployed relative along with his friends had all recently graduated from architecture school, and they had no choice except to hang out. I listened to this anecdote with interest, not only because when I was young I always wanted to become an architect, but also due to the seemingly daily expos├ęs doubting the value of legal education.

    I remain convinced that a Juris Doctor degree is an advisable investment. I'd like to explain why. I know, of course, that as a law school dean I have an interest in the matter, yet I have the role that I do because I believe in the professional training we offer and not vice versa."

    I'm not sure if the link will work for non-subscribers, but here it is: http://www.law.com/jsp/ca/PubArticleCA.jsp?id=1202513694181&Value_of_Legal_Education#

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  30. @9:41. Thanks for the link, but sadly it's gated.

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  31. The dichotomy between "partner-track" associates and "non-partner-track" associates, which deems the former permanent and the latter non-permanent, is backwards.

    First, law firms (in BigLaw anyway) are making a trivial number of partners from inside their own ranks these days. So-called partner-track associates must leave.

    Second, the firms *intend* non-partner-track associates to stay. They are the permaassociates of the future, effectively staff attorneys. Now, that job may be unfulfilling, unprestigious, etc., but it's a legal job requiring a JD and it's definitely permanent (they typically carry no guarantees of future employment, but most jobs don't either).

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  32. Another update: Professor Horwitz weighed in (here: http://prawfsblawg.blogs.com/prawfsblawg/2011/09/a-reply-to-anonymous-commenter-number-3497.html#more) over at Prawfs in response to some of the recent comments on this blog re: law professors' silence. I will say that I am very sympathetic to Horwitz's perspective, and I'm one of the practitioners here who has been critical of what I've termed excessive hyperbole. However, I regret Horwitz's decision to disable comments on his site: I think that "vermin"-free discussion on the issues raised in this blog is necessary, I like reading Prawfs, and I think that'd be a good place to have a moderated discussion (in which all civilly-expressed perspectives were permitted, but comments with crude invective were removed). Moreover, I think it would indeed be a showing of good faith for one of the profs over at Prawfs to find time in their allegedly-busy schedules to take just a few minutes out of their day to moderate comments to facilitate that discussion.

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  33. @9:24 - where have you been? This crap has been going on for ten years at the very least. Let me guess, you just recently graduated and think the world revolves you and your classmates? Her's a clue for you - law school apps and attendance keep rising every year despite all this? Want to know why? Clueless undergrads, people who have crappy jobs now or no jobs and are willing to roll the dice on 3 years of $40 grand a year in loans for a chance at a real "professional" career, a crappy economy and IBR. This shit has no end in sight. Book it dano...

    People were complaining about all of this a decade ago when i was in school and they'll be complaining about it a decade from now.

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  34. "I remain convinced that a Juris Doctor degree is an advisable investment. I'd like to explain why."

    I'd love to hear how he explains why it's advisable to incur $200k in debt for the privilege of being unemployed, when you can enjoy the very same privilege for free.

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  35. My brother was considering becoming a lawyer. He looked into it a bit and discovered most lawyers were unhappy with their jobs, and that the jobs in which lawyers tended to be happy paid the worst and were hard to get. He decided not to go to law school.

    That was in 1999.

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  36. Meant to say:


    Here's a clue for you - law school apps and attendance keep rising every year despite all the problems we have been discussing for a decade. Want to know why?
    #1 Clueless undergrads
    #2 People who have crappy jobs now (or no jobs at all) and are willing to roll the dice on 3 years of $40 grand a year in govt guaranteed loans for a chance at a real "professional" career
    #3 A crappy economy
    #5 IBR

    This shit has no end in sight. Book it dano...

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  37. #6 The average person doesn't care because "lawyers are scum" and anyone who wants to be a lawyer is therefore scum.

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  38. 9:50: Thanks for the link to Paul Horwitz's comment which has apparently failed to show up on this blog (I have no idea why. Occasionally a comment gets caught in the spam filter, as indeed yours did, but his isn't in there).

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  39. @9:50 - you do know all this "vermin free" talk and complaints about decorum has the rest of us loling. In an occupation filled with abusive profs, abusive partners, abusive judges, abusive fellow attys you choose the weakest and most vulnerable to complain about. Why don't you do this, go and take care of all the abusive language and behavior exhibited by the people with power and then come back here and let us know how that works out. Enough already....living in that ivory tower must really be nice and comfy.

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  40. The comments on this blog are well above average in terms of Internet civility. (By way of contrast, spend some time among the comments on Reason magazine's Hit & Run blog.)

    In any event, the incivility complaints are nothing but a distraction. Perhaps intentional, perhaps not.

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  41. Loudly complaining about form, while ignoring substance, seems so deliciously lawyer-like.

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  42. Ohio has a lot of doc review operations in the Dublin and Columbus area. There is some doc review work in Cleveland but not much.

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  43. Doc review is going abroad anyway. Thank the ABA for that. Even the crumbs that the partners were giving out to the few lucky enough to get these slave jobs with no future are being outsourced.

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  44. You have to understand that lawyering is essentially lying. It is taking the facts that help your client (including some that aren't really facts because you made them up) and putting them in the forefront. Simultaneously, it is taking the facts that hurt your client and trying to hide them. It is fraud. It is deceptive. It is vile. However, the thought is that since a lawyer is doing this on both sides, the efforts even out such that no harm is done. Thus one should never expect intellectual honesty when speaking with a lawyer, and only expect such a thing when listening to two lawyers arguing opposing sides. There is no hypocratic oath in law. On the contrary, it is a lawyer's job to harm to his full ability.

    This is what I never understood about those who complain about legal education. You are being taught by the most hated, disreputable, vile, loathsome vermin of the professional world. If you were being taught by the devil and his minions, would you expect that to be a "fair" experience? No? So why would you expect the same when being taught by lawyers?

    Do you expect law professors to be ashamed of the scam they run? Do you expect them to apologize for lying about career placement? Do you expect them to apologize for ruining young kids' lives with life destroying and soul crushing debt? Do you expect them to apologize for working 10 hours a week to earn $150,000 plus? Do you expect them to apologize for the verbally abusive "stockholm syndrome" model of indoctrination known as 1L, i.e. the period in which those who are victimizing you aggressively break your will? Criminals and psychotics don't apologize. If they had the sense to apologize they wouldn't be doing that work in the first place.

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  45. Well there is a lot of problems with that last post but I'll just knock this one down - we aren't taught by lawyers. We're taught by effeminate, private school ninnies who grasp onto "codes of honor" like an aging lady of the night grasps onto mascara.

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  46. I'm a JD holder who got hired as a Paralegal at a BIGLAW firm, which had (at that time) been in the practice of promoting JD-bearing paralegals to associate positions. It was very much a through-the-back-door/under the table thing, but I actually spent the bulk of my time there 1) correcting other First Year's mistakes and 2) becoming the go-to person for partners and associates alike on Article 9 and multi-jurisdictional incorporation. I was let go as part of firmwide layoffs of contract personnel, which foresaged far more drastic cuts at the staff, associate, and partnership level (if this is too much of a tell as to which firm this was, then so be it).

    This was back in 2007. I was fortunate to only be on the job market for another six months before landing in my current position, which is essentially a staff attorney position. I do not do Doc Review or litigation work, but rather M&A Due Diligence. As such, I often coordinate directly with mid-levels and partners. Despite this, if there is indeed any possiblity of being made an associate, the firm has not made it known either to myself or anybody else in my role.

    Staff Attorneys are, by defintion, non-career track positions and generally very poorly paid for a BIGLAW role (mid five figures). I know that Skadden was in the habit of paying their staff attorneys more generously (low six figures), but they all but eliminated the program back in 2009.

    Lately, there has been a rise in the use of "Specialist" roles, which are non partner track associate positions with compensation in the low six figures. You are still subject to the same rigors and deadlines as any other associates, but (presumably) your salary increases more slowly and there is no possibility of partnership. My sense, from people who I know have been offered such positions, is that firms are actively seeking out Tier 1 refugees to fill these types of roles, where before Staff Attorney positions would be filled from the lower tiers.

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  47. It's true that an experienced paralegal or staff attorney can add much much more value than a new associate for 1/2 or even 1/3 of the cost. It's great that biglaw firms finally understand that there is a huge supply of talented graduates out there willing to work for less. Staff attorney cause a lot of grief for associates, as the associates contrive all sorts of machinations to marginalize the staff and promote themselves, but I think staff attorney are the future of biglaw.

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  48. Horwitz distinguishes himself from his peers by discussing the issue, and deserves however much credit that deserves (I'd say a lot).

    I think it is weird to ask what Campos is actually "doing" about it. It seems obvious to me that he is raising awareness in an unprecedented manner. Of course, my perspective is that of a blog reader and commenter. Maybe I'm overstimating the "buzz" he has created among law professors and law students and maybe Horwitz has reason I'm not privy to for doubting this blog's influence.

    To me, talking about the issue, in a loud voice, is about the best anybody could do at this still early stage of the game. Unless and until people realize and acknowledge that a problem exists, there will be no attempt to solve it by those with the power to do so. I'd say we're still pretty far from that point.

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  49. I would have no problem at all with Staff Attorneys being the future if BIGLAW if they at least paid us closer to a living wage for lawyers.

    I'm no talking six figures, I'm talking the ability to pay my bills every month and maybe save a little.

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  50. Staff Attorney compensation is right up there with the One Exam/One Grade issue as something endemic to the academy/profession for which there is literally no defensible reason.

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  51. "I think it is weird to ask what Campos is actually "doing" about it."

    It's not weird at all. It's an attempt by Horwitz to marginalize and eliminate criticism, so that law professors are free to continue running their scam. The goal of legal academia is shut down the scamblogs, lawsuits and criticism, and they'll resort to whatever means necessary. Another big battleground is in job placement disclosure. They bloodied the nose of all who challenged them on this. LawSchoolTransparency? Thoroughly rebuffed. US News? Stone walled. ABA? Tried to make some pathetic changes and the schools are fighting even this. You are messing with their livelihoods. How do you expect them to respond?

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  52. "It's great that biglaw firms finally understand that there is a huge supply of talented graduates out there willing to work for less."

    Either you're retarded or a biglaw partner or a John Galt fan. Im guessing the first and last.

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  53. "I would have no problem at all with Staff Attorneys being the future if BIGLAW if they at least paid us closer to a living wage for lawyers. I'm no talking six figures, I'm talking the ability to pay my bills every month and maybe save a little."

    Unfortunately that has nothing to do with what you are paid. Your pay is determined by the supply of workers and demand for labor. My point is only that there are great, smart, hard working and talented grads willing to do an associate's job for $60,000 to $70,000. Biglaw should - purely because it's smart business - realize this and start hiring them. Any biglaw partners on here? Why would you hire an associate for $180,000 starting (I'm including bonus) when you could get the same work, the same quality, the same work ethic, for $70,000 in this economy?

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  54. @11:37

    Many Staff attorneys make well below $70,000

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  55. By the way - the Big4 accounting firms have figured this out. At a big4, the partners make as much as partners in biglaw, but new grads start out at $60,000 to $80,000. They're not dumb enough to pay $180,000 for something they can get for a third of that price. That's just one of many reasons the big4 has been encroaching into the territory of large law firms over the past three decades.

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  56. To me, talking about the issue, in a loud voice, is about the best anybody could do at this still early stage of the game.

    Yes. Among other things, the more the issue is discussed, the greater the odds that 0Ls will learn about it and change their plans accordingly.

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  57. You also seem the same dynamic at big investment banks like Goldman Sachs. First years start out at $70k to $80k and you are paid more only if you earn and deserve it. Same with top consulting firms like McKinsey.

    Seriously, what the hell is wrong with biglaw firms partners? Are you people retarded? Why are they still paying $160,000 starting to a select group of fungible folks, who could otherwise be had for $60,000? They're just really bad at business.

    At some point some firm is going to figure this out and gain a huge competitive advantage by doing so.

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  58. "Why would you hire an associate for $180,000 starting (I'm including bonus) when you could get the same work, the same quality, the same work ethic, for $70,000 in this economy?"

    Because in law, the tail is wagging the dog.

    More pointedly, an accounting degree - even with a CPA credential - is an undergraduate degree. As such, there is far less expense involved in obtaining the credential and the purchasers of those with the credential have more market power to dictate the price they pay. In law, on the other hand, you're talking about an ever increasingly expensive graduate degree for which those who pay for it - the students/graduates - expect a reasonable ROI.

    Further, this whole salary thing was started and continues to be driven by what happened during the dot.com era and the fact that there is a finite number of graduates from the "best" law schools that law firms have access to. Law firms will continue to chase the small, select group of people coming out of the T10 schools and cater to the resulting salary demands - that, in reality, are driven by competition by and among firms - because they have to maintain appearances for the clients who want to know why they should pay $400 an hour or more for some snot nosed, inexperienced schmuck to proof read documents.

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  59. You're an idiot 11:48, I'm talking about what accounting firms, investment banking firms and consulting firms pay for JDs and other advanced degrees.

    The idea that your tuition should in any way entitled you to a higher starting salary ("ROI") is so ridiculous that I don't even know where to start. That's not how markets work. Bottom line is this, biglaw firms have a dinosaur business model where they way overpay for something they could easily get for much, much less. At professional services firms the partners drive the business and the junior employees are completely dispensable and replaceable. Every other professional services firm figured this out.

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  60. @11:53:

    This is 11:48. Thanks for the uninformed, unprovoked ad hominem.

    I didn't invent this system, you troglodyte, I merely pointed out the reality of why this is happening. You talk about supply and demand and markets, but obvioulsy are deeply confused and ignorant.

    This whole thing with every increasing salaries started in the late '90s early '00s with the dot.com boom when associates realized they could leave BIGLAW and get much higher salaries - with possible stock options and huge bonuses - if they left the firms and went the corporate route. Law firms panicked and started boosting salaries to compete. If you know anything about how markets work and economics, you'll know that wages are considered to be "sticky" downward. That means that once law firms bit the bullet and started paying more money for first years, it had an industry wide effect on wages going forward for first years and more experienced people.

    I don't understand why you don't understand this? Graduates of the best law schools are a scarce resource that law firms want. If there are fewer of them relative to demand, the price will go up. GET IT?

    This is what happened and continues to be an entrenced facet of the large law firm model. Law firms, every conscious of presitge, don't want to hire more people and pay them lower salaries; they would have to accept more people from schools further down the food chain, which, in turn, in their view, harm the perceived quality of their work product in the eyes of clients.

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  61. That is complete rubbish 12:02. The idea of an attorney being an especially attractive commodity in Silicon Valley is laughable. Someone from McKinsey or Goldman or PWC would be far more valuable, yet those firms didn't increase salaries to laughable levels. At those firms, you start low ($70 to $80) and you earn more based only on how well you perform. If you make partner level at those firms you can make as much as partners at biglaw firms (in the case of McKinsey and Goldman you can make much much more), but if you're a fungible new hire you'll be paid what you are worth.

    "Graduates of the best law schools are a scarce resource that law firms want."

    Complete bullshit. First of all firms DO NOT hire exclusively from 10 schools. They hire from all schools. A below median Columbia student has no chance against a top 5% Brooklyn student in biglaw hiring. They're chasing students who got the best grades in law school, but that's moronic because if they went down a little they could get employees who are just as good for a third of that price. At the end of the day they realize that 90% of the associates they overpaid for were not worth it and they Latham them, so why did they overpay for this crop of overrated new hires in the first place? Start them off at $70,000 and then give them RAISES and BONUSES for good work. That way you're not investing as much into this crop of utterly fungible and dispensable drones known as first years.

    Every other professional services business model figured this out and they are eating biglaw's lunch in every area of competition, yet top law firms still pursue this self destructive business model.

    Maybe we should deregulate law and let Goldman, PWC and McKinsey practice law. Their superior business sense would drive half the biglaw firms out in about one decade.

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  62. Two years ago McKinsey was paying law grads around $130K...

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  63. "harm the perceived quality of their work product in the eyes of clients."

    If you think clients give a shit about the schools first years went to then you are clueless. A firm's reputation comes from the reputation of its partners. End of story.

    Let me offer you an experiment. Take 50 top biglaw partners from tier 2 schools and put them in a firm with 200 tier 4 new associates. Have this firm compete with a firm made up of 50 biglaw washouts from top schools (who would serve as this firm's partnes) and 200 top school new associates. Which firm do you think would attract the most clients?

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  64. "Two years ago McKinsey was paying law grads around $130K"

    McKinsey and Goldman and PWC can start a new grad at a wide range of salaries. They are not lockstep. Thus while your statement is true, they also hired law grads for much much less. It depends on the candidate's resume.

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  65. @12:11:

    If you're also 11:53, you are seriously confused about economics, the way law firms work and basic logic.

    The bottom line is this: large law firms pay what they pay because that is the price they must pay to attract what they consider to be the best talent, or the talent with the most potential. If you're a Harvard graduate and you have a choice of going to Cravath for $160K+ or working at McKinsey for about half that amount, what are you going to do? Here's a hint: if you choose McKinsey you're a fucking moron. GET IT?

    You try to rationalize why law firms "shouldn't" pay what they're paying, but the fact is they "are" paying it because they feel it's in their best interest to pay it.

    As far as other businesses encroaching on law firm business, those other entities cannot engage in the practice of law. GOT IT?

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  66. 12:16
    I can't speak for Goldman and PWC as I know nothing about them. When McKinsey recruited at my law school they advertised pay at around $130K (it might have been a little more or a little less, I forget). I wouldn't think they would distribute that in their materials and then hire people for less although maybe they do. That would mean everyone from my law school was hired at $130K so it must vary by school and not by individual resume for grad hires.

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  67. "If you're also 11:53, you are seriously confused about economics, the way law firms work and basic logic. "

    No, you are seriously confused about economics and basic logic. Every other professional services firm figured out that if an employee is worth $70,000, you pay them $70,000. When they prove they're worth $160,000 you pay them that, and when they prove they're worth $5 million you pay them that.

    Biglaw - which is dominated in every area in which they compete with e.g. the Big4 accounting firms - believes that you pay some fungible drone of a first year, who has a 90-95% chance of NOT making it to partner, three times what he is worth. Why I don't know.

    "As far as other businesses encroaching on law firm business, those other entities cannot engage in the practice of law. GOT IT?"

    That's far less black and white than you imagine. Thanks for confirming that you are clueless.

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  68. Still waiting for a response to the experiment I proposed in 12:15.

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  69. I agree with 12:18. You have no idea how cheap Biglaw partners are, they aren't paying anything beyond what feel they have to.

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  70. 12:25, that's true in the sense that biglaw partners work associates to death such that the $160,000 is really about $35 per hour. But they could still pay less for that work.

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  71. "When McKinsey recruited at my law school they advertised pay at around $130K (it might have been a little more or a little less, I forget)."

    I don't know the details, but I do know that big4 firms advertise higher salaries than they actually pay. Sure you'll have JDs starting at PWC at $140k, and perhaps PWC has materials stating so, but you'll also have JDs starting there at $60k. I am certain tht McKinsey hires some JDs for much less than $130k (and some for much more).

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  72. P.S. on average McKinsey (and I'm sure Goldman) probably pay more than biglaw. I'm only describing their willingness to pay less for new hires.

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  73. This is 12:18:

    It doesn't matter whether BIGLAW partners "could" pay less, the fact is they "aren't," and they aren't because of the the confluence of supply and demand for quality associates, competition from other opportunities those associates may or may not have, the fact that wages have risen to a certain level and won't decrease because if they decrease people won't sign up for BIGLAW in the same numbers, and the weird perceptions and mentalities that are peculiar to law firms and law practice.

    I didn't invent this system, I simply pointed out why it's happening and why it likley won't change in the near term. The only way what you propose would work is if ALL law firms colluded to bring prices down so that one firm wouldn't have market advantage in the area of salaries.

    Let me know how successful you think such an endeavor would be among the hundreds of large law firms in this country.

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  74. I don't like the way Horwitz asked what Campos is doing about the situation; it came across as an irrelevant distraction, as if Campos not doing anything somehow means there isn't a problem.

    But, I do think it is an interesting question anyways. Talk is cheap. Raising awareness might deter a few students from making a bad choice, and it does a bit for morale of those who feel screwed over, but at the end of the day, it's not worth that much.

    One thing a professor can do is put together an hour long CLE, record it, and make it available online for free (or an extremely low price, to cover expenses).

    CLE credits go for about $50-100 per hour, and for someone struggling to find work, having to spend $600+ on CLEs is a bit of a burden. If just 1,000 young lawyers used the free CLE, you would save them a combined $50,000.

    This is a real, concrete step a professor can take to improve the situation for young lawyers (or lawyers of any age, really, but it's young lawyers who need it most). You're not just saving them money, but if you do it right, you're also helping to make up for some of the educations shortfalls of the current system as well. (And for the record, I suggested this in a comment on Volokh Conspiracy, and Orin Kerr said he liked the idea and would look into it.)

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  75. I always thought big4 firms hired for significantly less than McKinsey. Also, I think the hours at big4 firms are much better than law firm hours (except during the audit season). My understanding is that McKinsey hours are comparable to biglaw hours.

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  76. "It doesn't matter whether BIGLAW partners "could" pay less, the fact is they "aren't," and they aren't because"

    . . . they're bad at business and the only thing stopping other professional services business models from dominating them is the fact that those other firms can't practice some types of law.

    Fixed it for you.

    However, the first biglaw firm that wises up, sets an $80k starting salary will get a huge competitive advantage. It's actually already starting, with firms like DLA, MWE and so on relying more and more on staff attorneys.

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  77. I posted the CLE thought here once with a hat tip to you after I saw your post on Volokh.

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  78. McKinsey pays pretty well that's true. When I said McKinsey I was referring to management consulting in general. They don't necessarily pay more than the big4 as the big4 have consulting arms that compete with McKinsey. My only point is that they don't mandate a high starting salary. You have to earn that salary.

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  79. P.S. while we're on the topic of economics, you may want to look up the term "rent seeking." It's a concept very relevant to legal academia and biglaw salaries.

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  80. @12:36:

    If you're the same supercilious nitwit who keeps hammering this same point, here's a piece of advice for you: why don't you call up all the managing partners of all the big law firms in this country and tell them you want to provide business advice on how they should run their firms.

    Until then, take you 1L editing skills, and your juvenile mentality and STFU.

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  81. 12:36, you've been thoroughly exposed in this discussion, but I am still waiting for your response to the experiment I proposed at 12:15.

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  82. biglaw partners will never pay below 160 thou because the top firms want to look the biggest and baddest - the next economic downturn, which should happen soon, they will just hire less 1st years again and hold down the bonuses.

    12:36 you are a fucking retard (i can hear the profs pearl clutching as they read that)....your analysis of woulda should coulda has no place here. HAve you not been reading the blog? Most everything about the law has very little to do with logic but rather with past behavior. Dummy.

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  83. "biglaw partners will never pay below 160 thou because the top firms want to look the biggest and baddest"

    How many times do I have to tell you that no one gives a crap about a biglaw firm's first years? If anything this is a big negative with clients, who clearly see that they are being overcharged so some shit first year can make 3x what he/she is worth.

    "everything about the law has very little to do with logic but rather with past behavior. Dummy."

    No 1:20, ultimately logic catches up to the biggest fool.

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  84. How many times do I have to tell you that no one gives a crap about a biglaw firm's first years?

    Big law clients may not give a crap about where first years went to law school, but they do give a crap about where senior associates and partners went to law school. And senior associates and partners come from among the ranks of first years.

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  85. I covered your absurd point in the query I posed to you in 12:15, that you keep dodging. Nobody gives a shit where a partner went to school. If a partner drops such an irrelevant bit of information they would be laughed out of the room for their immaturity.

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  86. Making partner doesn't happen.

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  87. How timely is it that I am sitting next to an "employment information" mailing from my law school? Yeah. What can I say? I'm in the kitchen with a lap top just killing time until I can pick my daughter up at school.

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  88. @9:24 - where have you been? This crap has been going on for ten years at the very least. Let me guess, you just recently graduated and think the world revolves you and your classmates? Her's a clue for you - law school apps and attendance keep rising every year despite all this? Want to know why? Clueless undergrads, people who have crappy jobs now or no jobs and are willing to roll the dice on 3 years of $40 grand a year in loans for a chance at a real "professional" career, a crappy economy and IBR. This shit has no end in sight. Book it dano...

    People were complaining about all of this a decade ago when i was in school and they'll be complaining about it a decade from now.


    Where am I? I'm currently in law school.

    Where was I ten years ago, or where have I been for the past ten years? I was teaching science. I had no reason to look up, or care about, law employment statistics.

    Do I think the world revolves around me and my classmates? Perhaps. I'm not sure what the ad hominem has to do with my honest question about where things are going, or for how long the current system can clatter along before it collapses. And more importantly, whether the system will change due to a "market collapse" or due to new rules/laws.

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  89. Nobody gives a shit where a partner went to school. If a partner drops such an irrelevant bit of information they would be laughed out of the room for their immaturity.

    You're wrong. The people making the retention decisions at institutional clients (the kinds of clients big law courts) look at the pedigrees of lawyers at firms their considering, because that's the easiest way to justify the choice of one firm over another. And no one needs to drop that bit of information, because it's readily available on firm websites and (in the old days) in Martindale Hubbell.

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  90. Kindly ignore the Ayn Rand troll....he obviously knows nothing about how law firms work.

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  91. "You're wrong. The people making the retention decisions at institutional clients (the kinds of clients big law courts) look at the pedigrees of lawyers at firms their considering, because that's the easiest way to justify the choice of one firm over another."

    No they don't. Non t-10 biglaw partners dominate wall street. You are an immature idiot who doesn't understand how the business of law works.

    It would be hilarious to imagine a firm doing a beauty contest and hoping to win a client by saying "we went to blah blah school." lol. The best they could hope in that situation is that the client doesn't record and youtube such an assinine attempt at marketing. Clients live in the meritocracy known as business. The vast majority of wall street MDs, like the vast majority of wall street biglawyers, did not go to good schools and earned their way by performing.

    And AGAIN, I want you to answer the query I posed to you in 12:15. Which firm would get the most clients?

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  92. "How many times do I have to tell you that no one gives a crap about a biglaw firm's first years? If anything this is a big negative with clients, who clearly see that they are being overcharged so some shit first year can make 3x what he/she is worth."

    This is precisely why when the first firm went from $125,000 to $145,000 in 2005, all the other firms simply laughed, no one followed suit, and no firms raised their salaries to $160,000 a year later.

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  93. Kindly ignore the Ayn Rand troll....he obviously knows nothing about how law firms work.

    Point taken.

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  94. The point of this discussion, BL1Y, is that this was a moronic move that other professional services firms laugh at, and that this move shows you the utter business incompetence of biglaw firms. If law were deregulated such that other professional services firms could compete completely with biglaw, biglaw would go under . . . Please try to read the prior posts before you start commenting on a discussion.

    BL1Y, you're a perfect example of why it was a bad idea. A firm paid you a huge salary when you didn't even perform as well as a median Brooklyn graduate making 1/3 of what you made. That's why they let you go.

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  95. "Point taken."

    Exactly, now that you have been thoroughly rebuffed and pwned in every one of your idiotic comments, run off as you should have done an hour ago.

    And IF you decide to come back and argue some more, make sure you start by answering the query I posed to you in 12:15 that you have been dodging for 2 hours now.

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  96. Who is "you"? At least 5 people have pointed out what a fool you are. Aren't you missing an Atlas Shrugged reading somewhere?

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  97. All you anonymice need a catchy handle or something to tell you apart.

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  98. @1:59: What a weird coincidence that my firm decided I was worse than a median Brooklyn grad at the same time the rest of the market was letting thousands of other people go simply because there wasn't enough work for them.

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  99. A question from someone who doesn't know much about the upper end of the profession. How does the diligence, consulting etc. work done by say Cravath on M&A's differ from the work done on M&A's done by EY, PWC etc.?

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  100. Talk is cheap, I agree. Some have said that Campos is risking something by attaching his name to these ideas, but that might not be true. We'll have to see.

    Raising awareness can have a cascading effect, if it forces others to confront the issue. The jury is out on this one too, although it seems obvious to me that Campos has forced more discussion of this issue, by other professors, than would have otherwise occured. In theory this could eventually influence Congress or the ABA or law school administrations. (laughable?)

    Its true though that its very easy to just type words. Its sad that nobody was willing to listen until it was a law professor typing them.

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  101. 12:15: I'll take a crack at answering your question.

    "Take 50 top biglaw partners from tier 2 schools and put them in a firm with 200 tier 4 new associates. Have this firm compete with a firm made up of 50 biglaw washouts from top schools (who would serve as this firm's partnes) and 200 top school new associates. Which firm do you think would attract the most clients?"

    Large corporate clients are attracted to firms with top partners who are motivated to practice large-scale litigation. I suspect that, at least for starters, the firm with fifty Biglaw success-story partners would initially attract the most business, because one presumes that they would have significant books of business, while the "washout" partners (not sure exactly what that means) presumably don't have books of business. Whether the "washout" partner-led firm could become more successful in the long-term is a separate question. If the partners are "washouts" because they left biglaw and didn't care to practice it, then (a) they would probably not become more successful, ever, but (b) they probably also would not have founded your hypothetical firm, as it's not really what they want to be doing. If "washout" means something else unexplained, then yeah, maybe they could catch up with, or beat, the first firm over time.

    And here is where the second point comes in. I absolutely think the 200 top school new associates are, as a group, going to outperform the 200 T4 new associates, though I suspect there will be some outliers in both directions as with any group. If the "washout" partners are now motivated to succeed and inclined to practice biglaw, I suspect they will find the 200 top school new associates to be of great assistance in catching up to your first hypothetical firm.

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  102. "A question from someone who doesn't know much about the upper end of the profession. How does the diligence, consulting etc. work done by say Cravath on M&A's differ from the work done on M&A's done by EY, PWC etc.?"

    Not at all for M&A work done at PWC.

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  103. "And here is where the second point comes in. I absolutely think the 200 top school new associates are, as a group, going to outperform the 200 T4 new associates."

    I would disagree with this. Associate work is a lot of tedious and middling stuff that the T4 new associates would probably perform better. The firm with 50 established partners + 200 T4 schools would dominate the firm with 50 top school failed biglawyers as its partners and 200 top school new associates. The latter would be out of business in X months, where X = capital/monthly overhead.

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  104. @ 6:57, but the hypothetical is so darn realistic as to prove nothing at all. Why on earth would there be a biglaw firm spearheaded by "failed biglawyers," top school or otherwise? People who "fail" at biglaw or leave voluntarily usually hated their biglaw experiences. That they would try to start a firm to recreate those experiences is wholly implausible. And to say that such a firm, if they did start it, would fail...only establishes that people (regardless of the "tier" of their education or their academic performance) are not very likely to succeed in jobs they despise.

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  105. @6:57pm: When you change out the partners, it's an apples and oranges comparison.

    50 established partners beat 50 -failed- biglaw partners and day of the week, no matter who the associates are.

    But, in an apples to apples comparison, why is there any reason to think that someone who got a 150 on the LSAT and a 2.8 in undergrad is going to be smarter or harder working than someone with a 170/4.0?

    The only argument I can see for T4 grads in general doing better with the tedious, middling stuff is that their expectations are lower and they're more willing to think that tedious middling stuff is interesting, and so they're more engaged. But, having done some of that tedious middling stuff as a junior Big Law associate, I can tell you that it's a lot more challenging than you'd think. Diligence and doc review? Yeah, not so much. Multi-jurisdictional securities issues? If you can't handle an LSAT logical reasoning question, don't bother.

    And yes, even some of the more intellectually challenging stuff is tedious, because it's a faceless corporation making a deal with another faceless corporation to produce a financial product, not a real product. No amount of complexity makes that interesting or meaningful to work on.

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  106. Actually, the firm with the T10 partners could wind up winning in a Dodgeball, Major League, Waterboy et. al. underdogs vs. establishment movie scenario.

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  107. I would quit, but ROTC is paying my way through law school. I should escape with only $8,000 in stafford loans. I still can't help but think this is a waste of my time.

    Every time I hear someone say they want to go to law school, I point them here. It's such a fucking waste of time and money. I plan on doing army aviation and using my degree to get into a government agency as a non-lawyer. Also, I will use it to teach an easy undergrad business course at Ole Miss. That's what drives me to press on with this shit. Oh yes, Fuck Ap Ad.

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  108. We law profs need to understand much, much more about the career prospects of our students. One of my top students (at a school ranked 30-50 by US News) told me she had a "career summer associate" position for a BigLaw firm. "Oh good," I thought to myself, "she's on the 'real' associate track." Wrong: "Career associate" is the new name for "staff attorney." This particular student worked at a peripheral site in West Virginia--far away from the partners and "real" associates in the law firm. She and her colleagues may have done interesting work, the lifestyle may be good, and it's a "real" law job. But things are not as they sound: This position is not what most people would envision if someone told them they had a "career associate" position at a BigLaw firm.

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  109. Someone needs to challenge the idea that people from lower ranked schools will give you the same quality of work as people from higher ranked schools.

    From the Wikipedia page on IQ

    According to Frank Schmidt and John Hunter, "for hiring employees without previous experience in the job the most valid predictor of future performance is general mental ability."[63] The validity of IQ as a predictor of job performance is above zero for all work studied to date, but varies with the type of job and across different studies, ranging from 0.2 to 0.6.[64] The correlations were higher when the unreliability of measurement methods were controlled for.[38] While IQ is more strongly correlated with reasoning and less so with motor function,[65] IQ-test scores predict performance ratings in all occupations.[63]

    The LSAT is basically an IQ test. People who got 170 on the LSAT are going to do better work than people who got 160. That's why BIGLAW firms don't just drop their starting salaries to $60K a year and hired T2 students.

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  110. Someone needs to challenge the idea that people from lower ranked schools will give you the same quality of work as people from higher ranked schools.

    Actually, reading further down I see that some have.

    Take 50 top biglaw partners from tier 2 schools and put them in a firm with 200 tier 4 new associates. Have this firm compete with a firm made up of 50 biglaw washouts from top schools (who would serve as this firm's partnes) and 200 top school new associates. Which firm do you think would attract the most clients?

    Take 12 women who played college basketball and have them play against 12 male couch potatoes who have completely let themselves go. Who do you think would win? And what does such a hypothetical prove?

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  111. I got a call from the University of Toledo College of Law Career Services office a while back. They asked me if I had a job, I said "yes, full time." That was all that was asked of me. The woman did not ask where, for whom, what type of firm, if a JD was required. For all I know, she used my report to massage the school's statistics.

    This could account for a lot of the discrepancy re: true employment v. temporary employment. Most certainly my employment qualifies as "true", but my answers to the questions of this career services individual would not have led her to come to this conclusion and lump me into this category.

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