I"m Striking Out at OCI
midweststudent (Aug 30, 2012 - 2:01 am)The typical law student at the typical law school is now incurring levels of educational debt that make sense only on the assumption that the student will get a job with the typical employers (large law firms) who come to a school's on-campus interview (OCI).
Help! My grades are not the problem (my school is an issue, but I know that others have gotten CBs). I do have a lot of public-service/not very prestigious pre-law-school experience on my resume - which employers seem to want to talk about (and which might be a problem). I only have a couple additional screeners - so at this point, I want to talk small firm 2L summer stuff. How do I go about getting a job. I've been drinking all night - apologies for typos, general lack of coherence.
The typical law student at the typical law school is extremely unlikely to get such a job.
In 2011, 3,375 out of the 43,001 graduates whose job status was recorded by NALP were reported to get jobs via OCI. This is a smaller number than the 4,756 graduates who were reported to get jobs with law firms of more than 100 attorneys, although some unknown percentage of the larger figure were hired into non-partner track positions that certainly weren't acquired via OCI.
In any case, the large majority of graduates who got jobs via OCI were at T-14 schools, as at most schools the number of graduate who get jobs via this route is negligible, as is, of course, the number of graduates who get jobs with large firms. (I looked at the extended 2011 NALP forms for two schools, one top 50 and the other top 100, and found that 24 of 460 grads got jobs via OCI).
Why do people pay so much for something that is very unlikely to produce a result making the investment worthwhile? ITLSS has examined several of the factors at length, including asymmetrical information (in its more extreme forms, morphing into outright fraud), optimism bias, confirmation bias, and other factors that produce annual blizzards of special snowflakes.
One thing that hasn't gotten enough emphasis is what could be called the incredulity factor. I suggest there's a baseline assumption at work among prospective law students that, if law schools cost $200,000 and more to attend, it couldn't be the case that this price simply bears no reasonable relationship whatsoever to the present value of a law degree. Because if this were the case, that would suggest a bunch of very respectable social institutions had in effect become shams. And that couldn't be true because . . .
Better start searching for that lost shaker of salt.