Monday, September 10, 2012

How reliable are law school employment numbers?

This weekend DJM broke down the official NALP statistics for the class of 2011, emphasizing how dire they are on their face (less than three out of five 2011 graduates were reported by law schools as holding full-time jobs requiring bar admission nine months after graduation).

These statistics are important, because they're all we have to work with when analyzing employment and salary outcomes, but one thing that those of us who pay attention to this stuff need to remind ourselves and others of is that all these numbers need to be taken with a pillar of salt.  As bad as the story they tell appears to be, these statistics still almost certainly give a far too positive picture of the actual employment situation for recent law school grads.

Here's why:
The NALP statistics are far too complete to be genuinely reliable.  This sounds like a paradox, and to understand that paradox we need to look at how these statistics are compiled.  Law schools attempt to survey graduates regarding their employment status in the following manner: In their final semester of law school, students are asked by their school's CSO to report where they'll be working after graduation.  Students who don't have a post-graduation employer, or who don't report their status, are surveyed again at some point between graduation and the February 15th NALP/ABA reporting date regarding status nine months after graduation.

There are several things about this process that lead to a systematic exaggeration of positive employment outcomes. Here I'll discuss two:

(1) 3Ls who report prior to graduation that they will be employed are not surveyed again prior to the following February.  Unless the CSO receives information to the contrary (which in practice means the graduate reports his or her changed status), 3Ls whose anticipated jobs fall through between the spring of their graduating semester and the following winter, or who lose their jobs, are listed as employed (almost always, of course, in full-time positions requiring bar admission).  In other words, the NALP procedures instruct law schools to go to great lengths to determine if the employment status of unemployed graduates changes between graduation and the nine-month reporting date, but they use a default rule which assumes no one has a job fall through, or otherwise becomes unemployed, over this same time frame.

This is probably produces a relatively minor positive bias in the statistics. The next factor produces a very major one.

(2)  NALP "best practices" encourage schools to fill in the gaps when graduates provide incomplete information, or none at all.  This explains the remarkably high reporting rate on these surveys, and the even more remarkable comprehensiveness of the reported data.  As DJM noted, employment status was reported for 94% of the national class of 2011.  This by itself is an exceptionally high "response" rate in the context of such surveys, but it becomes even more remarkable when we take into account the curious case of the Thomas M. Cooley School of Law.  Cooley failed to ascertain the employment status of no less than 263 of its 2011 graduates. The school by itself accounted for nearly one in every ten 2011 law school graduates whose employment status was unknown.  If Cooley is taken out of the equation, the national reporting rate rises to nearly 95%.

Now I suspect it's far from coincidental that Cooley failed to report the employment status of 26.3% of its graduates, when the other 200-odd ABA accredited schools collectively had a 5% non-reporting rate (and even this average is heavily affected by relatively low reporting rates among other bottom feeder schools. A quick glance suggests that top 100 schools have a median non-reporting rate in the 1%-2% range).  Indeed we can, perhaps surprisingly, learn quite a bit from Cooley when trying to figure out just how reliable NALP statistics really are.  Consider this statement on Cooley's webpage reporting employment statistics:

NOTE: The ABA advised schools to determine and report every graduate’s full-time/long- or short-term and part-time/long- or short-term employment status, even if a graduate did not voluntarily supply complete information. Of those 2011 graduates reporting sufficient information for Cooley to make this determination, slightly more than 87 percent reported full-time/long-term employment. Based on this high percentage, the default classification for those lacking complete data was full-time/long-term unless Cooley had evidence to contradict that classification. Note also that graduates working for legal temporary agencies were classified as fulltime/long term due to the nature of their employment contract with the temporary agency.
This reporting policy, we should note, was announced in the midst of a lawsuit accusing Cooley of reporting fraud.  It represents, in other words, the considered policy choice of a heavily lawyered up institution.

Under the circumstances I very much doubt that Cooley would employ this methodology unless it had a good basis for arguing that this remarkably optimistic spin on its employment data was following standard business practice.  And indeed this turns out to be the case. It turns out that the default rule followed by law school CSOs is, when reporting employment data, to assume that "employed" means "employed in a full-time long-term position," unless the compiler of data has some reason to believe otherwise.  In other words, graduates who provide incomplete data are assumed to be in the most positive employment situation. The same holds for graduates who report nothing, but whose employment status is determined independently by the CSO, by for example finding evidence of employment status on the internet.

All this helps explain two otherwise inexplicable facts: the apparent comprehensiveness of the NALP employment data, and the astonishingly high percentage of graduates in bar-required positions who are reported to have full-time long-term employment.

Note that the NALP data purports to provide a 100% reporting rate in regard to full-time/part-time/long-term/short-term employment among the 94% -- itself a remarkably high percentage -- of graduates whose employment status is known.  The reason there's a 100% reporting rate in regard to these crucial variables is because law schools simply fill in the blanks when it comes to the huge gaps that exist in the data they actually manage to collect -- and they do so using the most optimistic methodological assumptions possible.

Here's just one example of how this works in practice.  Consider Brooklyn Law School's class of 2011. The class had 455 graduates, of which 137 were completely unemployed nine months after graduation.  Unfortunately for law schools, there's no way to positively spin flat-out unemployment.  But when we look at the 236 BLS graduates who had jobs requiring bar admission it's a different story.   Purportedly, only 21 of these 236 graduates had something other than a full-time long-term job. This improbable figure becomes even more improbable when we discover that 12 of those 21 people were employed by BLS itself in short-term positions. (BLS, knew, of courses, that these 12 graduates were not in long-term positions, since the school was paying for the jobs). So according to BLS, 215 of the other 224 BLS graduates (96%) who were doing legal work nine months after graduation were employed in positions that were both full-time and long-term.

That, of course, is completely incredible to anyone who has the slightest acquaintance with the actual employment status of current law school graduates from any school this side of the Holy Trinity.  (Of course it helps a great deal if you treat, as Cooley openly admits it does, document review gigs as full-time long-term employment).  But this incredible stat is far from incredible if you employ a data collection method that simply assumes that every piece of information you don't have actually represents the most positive possible outcome from the perspective of the reporting entity.

There's more to be said about how the reported employment data systematically overstates the actual employment status of new graduates, which I'll leave for another post.

73 comments:

  1. "Note also that graduates working for legal temporary agencies were classified as fulltime/long term due to the nature of their employment contract with the temporary agency."

    What???? How does this make sense in any rationale universe?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. The disclaimer is not intended to be read; it was put there in order to be trotted out in court as a CYA tactic if necessary. ("See? We told them that we were counting people working for temporary agencies as long-term employees. Full disclosure!") Probably a lot of Cooley's graduates who are working as "lawyers" are doing document review for some tawdry temporary agency, so counting these as long-term employees makes a big difference in Cooley's reported data.

      Mind you, anyone who has seen Cooley's absurd rankings of US law schools (which place Cooley second) knows better than to expect statistical competence, or even integrity.

      Delete
  2. It doesn't even make sense as extrapolation. If 87% (leaving to one side my misgivings about that figure) who fully report their status are employed full time, then Cooley should at best deem only 87% of those not providing complete data to be employed full time. There's no respectable justification for reporting 100%, especially when it seems highly probable that those who don't provide full details are less likely to have full-time employment.

    Of course, the words Cooley and respectable sit oddly together in a sentence.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. To continue what I said above:

      "The same holds for graduates who report nothing, but whose employment status is determined independently by the CSO, by for example finding evidence of employment status on the internet." This too skews the figures upwards. Evidence of employment status on the Internet will favor those who are, or have been, employed. Someone "employed" at a little two-person upstart law firm ("proudly serving the community since 2012") will trumpet the fact on the Internet in an ill-fated attempt to attract business; an unemployed graduate, by contrast, is most unlikely to advertise her fate. In addition, evidence of employment may persist on the Internet long after the person has lost her job. Evidence of unemployment rarely exists at all.

      Delete
    2. Continuing again:

      "The class had 455 graduates, of which 137 were completely unemployed nine months after graduation. Unfortunately for law schools, there's no way to positively spin flat-out unemployment." Oh, yes, there is! Just leave some of those graduates' letters precariously perched over the wastebasket. What happened to those important papers that were on my desk five minutes ago? I didn't see any papers on your desk. Hmmm, yes, I must have been imagining things. By the way, isn't it time to take out the trash?

      Is anyone so naïve as to put law schools (especially Cooley & Cie) past that stunt?

      Delete
  3. I linked this post to my sister who studies statistics. Probably not a nice thing to do, because she just got a new laptop, and I'd hate for it to be damaged by her head exploding.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Lol, this is why we don't let people with math skills into the profession.

      Delete
    2. I enjoyed math, calculus, statistics, etc., much more than I enjoyed anything to do with law school.

      However, the last thing on God's Green Earth that I was going to do at the time I applied to law school was to pursue a career in accounting, statistics, actuarial science, etc. That just sounded painfully boring to me at the time.

      This was before I experienced the sheer joy and pleasure of billing all of my time in six minute increments.

      Delete
  4. OK. Here's the problem with this blog.

    All of the cool blogs have graphs. Especially when you are talking about employment information.

    So, what the two of you are going to need to do is to go grab a law student with an engineering or economics undergrad degree and tell them to make some pretty pictures with this information.

    For example, Mish is always doing color commentary graphs. I'm not recommending that you use him for any substantive information, just that you use his graph with text style.

    Here's what I'm talking about:

    http://globaleconomicanalysis.blogspot.com/2012/09/household-survey-number-of-employed.html

    ReplyDelete
  5. "Consider Brooklyn Law School's class of 2011. The class had 455 graduates, of which 137 were completely unemployed nine months after graduation."

    Network!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Networking is great when it means asking Daddy to talk to his pals down at the yacht club. It's not so great when one has no contacts in or near the legal profession.

      Delete
  6. It seems that categories like long- and short-term employment are really unhelpful when long-term employment includes stuff like school funded fellowships or one year only clerkships. Could we use other metrics such as position with potential for advancement?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I would like someone to explain why fellowiships can be included in the employment statistics at all. Those numbers are an absolute misrepresentation of the nature of a fellowship as far as my experience is concerned.

      After graduation, I was offered (read: forced into) a fellowship that was funded directly by the school. The school made me pick a placement and sign a "contract" regarding the fellowship (which failed to include specifics regarding work hours or beginning/ending dates). The career placement office then handed me a check and sent me on my way.

      I was clearly no one's employee. Yet, my law school was able to buy my employment statistic...from me. How sick and wrong is that?!?!


      ~FellowshipF**kery

      Delete
  7. This data analysis method can be used in many other fields. Imagine the improvements in medicine if researchers assumed any patients they cannot contact were fully cured! New "proven" treatments would be available in no time.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Change the rules so that the assumption is that anyone who cannot be contacted is unemployed and will remain so forever. That would be more reasonable than assuming the most positive outcome, especially since the schools don't have a great incentive to track down non-responding graduates.

      Delete
    2. 8:56: +1

      Delete
  8. Of course, all these NALP statistics are not subject to outside audit by the National Center for Education Statistics or any other agency.

    ReplyDelete
  9. Here's a law school grad in the news:

    http://www.freep.com/article/20120910/NEWS03/120910003/West-Bloomfield-Township-officer-killed-by-barricaded-gunman?odyssey=tab|topnews|text|FRONTPAGE

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. engineering undergrad, JD/MBA

      Delete
  10. According to BLS, not a single one of its 2011 grads is working in a non-professional job. Does stocking shelves at Home Depot or working the cash register at Starbucks count as a professsion these days?

    ReplyDelete
  11. STOP WHINING.

    YOU SHOULD HAVE KNOWN THESE STARTISTIKS WERE WRONG.

    IT'S YOU'RE FAULT.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Dear E.A. Judge,

      Please, for the love of God, learn the difference between "your" and "you're."
      You sound like a tard.

      XXOO,
      2011 Graduate

      Delete
    2. 1:53 PM, uh, ubin trolled.

      Delete
    3. @3:07, uh, don't care. That typo makes me crazy.

      Good lookin out, tho!
      2011 Graduate

      Delete
  12. STOP WHINING.

    YOU SHOULD HAVE KNOWN THESE STARTISTIKS WERE WRONG.

    IT'S YOU'RE FAULT.

    ReplyDelete
  13. Wait- so the schools are making all this data up and NALP does nothing to verify it?

    How is that not fraud?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. If you're so confident, file a suit and let a judge/jury decide.

      Delete
  14. It's almost as if the juris doctor degree industry is a business or something.

    ReplyDelete
  15. "How is that not fraud?"

    BECAUSE YOU UNREASONABLY RELIED ON IT

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. implied duty of care. implied warranty of merchantability.

      Delete
  16. USNews should add a rating criteria for schools that have specific people just to track grads. And then they should audit the information.

    ReplyDelete
  17. LawProf, serious question here. Were you aware that Appalachian Law School in Grundy, Va. was unaccredited when a Nigerian law student murdered the law school dean, a law professor and a student back in 2002? Were you also aware that the Nigerian law student had a history of mental problems which the school administrators were aware of? Were you aware that the school flunked the Nigerian student twice out of law school but kept brining him back to bolster its "diversity?" Were you aware that despite this information, the ABA still accredited the school?

    Folks, if the Appalachian law school example doesn't shine a bright light on this disgusting industry, I don't know what will.

    ReplyDelete
  18. A couple of things:

    1) I am a graduate of Cooley. No cuss words, please, everyone. Before going to Cooley, I lived w/ my parents and that was the first address that I gave Cooley. Since then, I moved to Michigan to attend Cooley, changed my address to reflect that reality, moved again after graduating and of course, gave Cooley my new address. I still live at the new address, so the address where I am currently living is the last known address Cooley has on file for me. Yet, Cooley still sends alumni mail to the old address, where I haven't lived for seven years. Strange, much? No wonder they can't find those 26% of graduates...

    2) My unofficial employment survey of fellow graduates from Cooley indicated the following amongst my acquaintances: 50% of my acquaintances who graduated from Cooley w/in the last 3 or 4 years went on to work in retail or in jobs that paid less than $10 an hour. Another 20% were unemployed last I heard. About 30% went on to work as lawyers, but by lawyers, I include those who were solo practitioners and 2 individuals (not including the solos) made $12,000 a year or less.

    3) I am going to preface the following statement with 'I could be mistaken as my memory has been known to be faulty and I may not have searched as dilligently as I could', but when I took the Cooley employment poll before graduating, I seem to recall that the poll Cooley gave me only had a place for filling out my salary if I indicated I worked as an attorney or law clerk. I could be wrong, but I don't remember there being a place for me to put my salary if I worked at a job classified as 'business.' This makes a huge difference in reported average salaries if a lot of your grads are working in low-paid retail jobs. If I have recalled it incorrectly, I truly apologize because factual correctness is important to me, but I don't recall it being differently.

    Just thought I would add that to the conversation.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. CooleyGrad - thanks for the anecdata. Interesting to hear from someone who knows some of the folks we've been reading about.

      When did you graduate?

      Also, do we infer from the lack of personal info that although many of your mates are not doing well, that you yourself have a real lawjob?

      As for the reporting form you mention - did you post about this a while back? Maybe a month or so someone mentioned having recollection of a very similar form that didn't ask for salary data unless the grad was at a firm. Shortly after that person's post, someone else came back with reply having a link showing a very similar reporting form, although it may not have been the same LS as the original poster.

      Anyway, at least from that one datapoint, forms configured as you recollect do seem to exist.

      Good e'en, all.

      Delete
  19. Let me just add, and this is an honest question, are there any employment figures that schools have not massaged or outright lied about? Is there any reliable data anywhere?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Reply to myself- we know the website data is not trustworthy.

      How are we going to ever find out the real numbers?

      Delete
    2. Statistically, this can be done by cross-checking the NALP numbers with other employment surveys of lawyers done by the National Law Journal, the Bureau of Labor Statistics and others.

      Delete
    3. I don't know how to do that. It would be easier to make schools pay to have their numbers audited.

      Delete
    4. I don't know how to do that. It would be easier to make schools pay to have their numbers audited.

      Delete
  20. pure comedy

    Study Shows Why Lawyers Are So Smart: http://online.wsj.com/article/SB20000872396390444230504577615443664768610.html

    ReplyDelete
  21. Some well intentioned, though pathetically condescending, Pickwickian simpleton commented about how he overheard a conversation from a waiter wherein the waiter said that he went to law school.

    Then, Mr. Pickwick made a moral judgement and said that the young waiter will learn virtue and humility somehow by waiting tables, which will possibly enable the law grad waiter to go far in his law career.

    Folks and especially to the kids: If you plop down six figures and devote three years of your life for an education, and then end up severely underemployed like the young waiter referred to above.....

    If you wind up that way, all you will feel is humiliated as you take orders from people that never even finished high school, and will wonder why you even bothered to get that advanced degree in the first place.

    All you get from underemployment is bad knees, a bad back, and sore hands and early arthritis.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. 1. I think you've misinterpreted Pickwick's intentions as posted.

      2. I think you've already had too much to drink, and it's what, 4:46 pm (at the time of your post) at GMT -5:00 land where you live?

      Delete
  22. Off topic, but here's an article that should give starry-eyed law school hopefuls a perspective on the grim reality of borrowing tens of thousands of dollars in non-dischargeable debt:

    http://mobile.nytimes.com/2012/09/09/business/once-a-student-now-dogged-by-collection-agencies.xml

    If anything, this is at least a sign that the students debt crisis is gaining momentum in the mainstream media.

    ReplyDelete
  23. Another slightly off topic article quesitoning the real vaule of higher education in the context of loans. It also hits hard on some of CAmpos' points: inflated admin salaries, decreased teaching hours yet skyrocketing tuition.

    http://www.thedailybeast.com/newsweek/2012/09/09/megan-mcardle-on-the-coming-burst-of-the-college-bubble.html?utm_medium=email&utm_source=newsletter&utm_campaign=in_newsweek&cid=newsletter%3Bemail%3Bin_newsweek&utm_term=Tina%20Brown%20List

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. "Just as homeowners took out equity loans to buy themselves spa bathrooms and chef’s kitchens and told themselves that they were really building value with every borrowed dollar, today’s college students can buy themselves a four-year vacation in an increasingly well-upholstered resort, and everyone congratulates them for investing in themselves."

      Delete
  24. I just posted, and on my blog, a new post.

    The title of the Post is: "ORGASMS!!!"

    And I am now promoting my blog by declaring to all of you here the following:

    The title of my new post is: "ORGASMS!!!

    Which is not a four letter word.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Are you buying or selling?

      Either way, not particularly interested.


      (Eeewwwwwwwwwwwwww).

      Delete
    2. I guess that going into that business is one way of dealing with excessive student loan debt.

      Delete

  25. Portions of a copy of a comment by me below:




    No offense. It was all too cryptic and I wasn't sure how to take it anyway.

    I did see a video today and I assume it is you. If so it wasn't bad, but needs a lot of editing. To me the best portion relates to how the JD is the kiss of death or scarlett letter as you say in the non-legal job world.

    It is a scarlett letter that is very hard to hide because leaving it off the resume involves telling lies, or at least great omissions; and involving how to explain away the 3 years whilst in law school.

    Keep in mind that the US Dept. of Defense reads Nando and me and even you based upon my tracking software.

    So it could be a person with a law degree working with the Dept. of Defense just poking around, or a full scale monitoring of my blog and all related blogs.

    You seem about half my age, I will gladly share what has been my life experience with the Scarlett letter of the JD.

    And really, I am just one story in the naked city or up and down broadway, and I tell it as best I can.

    What is the most troubling to me is the fact that the Professor Campos blog has a whole host of anonymous commenters that are very eager, and then I go in with my full ID, and they still want to be Anon when replying to me.

    Why are they hiding? Or if they are not hiding, why do they not just come out and honestly say who they are and just tell what their career situations are?

    And to paraphrase:

    Sometimes the things that are the most telling, Dr. Watson, are things are not heard, but rather the things that ought to be heard when the questions are begged.

    Arthur Conan Doyle

    And maybe that is the law school scam in a nutshell.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. EEEeeeeeewwwwww 10 inchSeptember 10, 2012 at 3:56 PM

      "I did see a video today and I assume it is you. If so it wasn't bad, but needs a lot of editing. "

      You don't need editing with the lengths involved.

      Delete
    2. EEEeeeewwwwwwwwwww - OKAY, SERIOUSLYSeptember 10, 2012 at 4:03 PM

      John, I've been joking with you here, but you're clearly an intelligent guy. I mean, look at your writings when you're not just flying comments off the cuff. You're not a dumbass. You're just ... ...not. You've got brains. How can you not find some way to harness your obvious intelligence to make it pay??

      P.S. Not just the DoD. Certainly you've attracted the attention of the FBI, the CIA, the HSE, the OSI, OSA, and OSIRA. You probably better lay low for a while.

      Just kiddin! :-)

      Delete
  26. To the antiseptic @3:17PM:


    Thank You for taking my word for it and implicitly agreeing and saying, without investigating, that Arnold is an EEEEEW! without even going to my blog!

    I agree too!

    My blog is hidden for a while while I update it, but I am surprised at how easily I fooled you!

    Do you belong to the Pickwick Club?

    And what kind of a lawyer or would be lawyer are you if you do not investigate and see what the hell my post title was all about?



    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Eeeeeeeeeeewwwwwwwwwwwww (etc)September 10, 2012 at 3:55 PM

      "And what kind of a lawyer ...not investigate and see what the hell my post title was all about?"

      JDP, you've missed the point. I was tossing jokes you missed. Anyway, enjoy your drunk.

      Delete
  27. @3:55PM

    Whew! Glad you weedled your way out of that one and saved your career!

    As far as alcoholism goes it is a disease and not a laughing matter.

    You sound kind of cruel to laugh at someone who admits to a drinking problem and is asking for help.

    In fact, I wrote to the AA worldwide about my problem and got 3 replies.

    All three told me to go to local meetings, and in the past I asked by email to talk to someone on the telephone from the Garden City NY intergroup and never heard a word in reply.

    I can go through the whole process in a storyline and copy all the lawyers here.

    I will ask to talk to a local alcoholic, and will let everyone know if anyone gets back to me.

    And keeping it all Anon of course, which is what the commenters around here like to be too as if they are all a bunch of recovering drug addicts or alcoholics from the legal industry from school to tomb.

    Very telling.

    Let me say it another way: The very premise of this blog is two professors that are not Anon.

    The commenters are by and large Anon. and not all, of course.

    And so, what are the Anon people afraid or ashamed of?


    As for me I am so deep in Federal Loans I feel like I am now the property of the public and that my law school grades and bar exam grades are now public property.







    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Eeew (yeah, me again)September 10, 2012 at 4:27 PM

      "You sound kind of cruel to laugh at someone who admits to a drinking problem and is asking for help."


      John, you don't understand what I'm saying here. Tons of us lawyers have drinking or other dependency issues.

      That doesn't mean we can't admonish or even tease each other from time to time.

      As far as what you've done yourself in this regard (other than denial which is MY technique), I wouldn't know. It's not as if I follow all your postings (except for tonight when I happen to be here with bated breath.

      All that said, I repeat something I said above. You're clearly a smart guy. Friggen' harness that, man.

      Delete
    2. Um, you aren't keeping your participation in Alcoholics Anonymous Anonymous if you are posting here, viewable to the entire world, that you are going. Touro must have covered that in one of the classes that you took.

      Delete
    3. "As for me I am so deep in Federal Loans I feel like I am now the property of the public and that my law school grades and bar exam grades are now public property."

      Just remember, it is a fiat currency. Think about it.

      Delete
  28. None of this is surprising. In my very experienced class at a very top law school, a lot of people are doing things that you would not expect of graduates of a top law school. The employment statistics for my class are horrible, especially if one is not a white male.

    I am lucky because I am old enough to have graduated when there was a demand for my services. I also have a marketable skill set, although I would do better if my practice were in other hotter areas.

    My classmates are more and more becoming unemployed. You can call it retirement, but it is not. It is being fired. Many of these people were superstars.

    I think the problem in this profession is just the instability of jobs, even if you get that first job. This is a relatively new phenomenon.

    While I have been able to work with my top degree, I have not always been able to work at the type of employer (large firm, not in house) or in the location (large city, not suburban) that I wanted. My classmates have for the most part fared worse than I have.

    I think you are doing a great service on this blog providing really important information that would not otherwise be readily accessible on the market place. People like me (good science and math students from top undergrad schools with good records) are going to opt for law less and less now that they know the score. With the information I have now, if I were a college graduate looking for a career, I would not touch law with a ten foot pole.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Eeeeeeeeewwwww... WTF?September 10, 2012 at 4:37 PM

      "In my very experienced class at a very top law school, a lot of people are "


      Sorry, dude(tte), you lost me right there.

      Can't credit anything following.

      Delete
  29. EEEEeeeeeeeeeeeeeeWWWWWWWWWWWWwSeptember 10, 2012 at 5:05 PM

    Study Shows Why Lawyers Are So Smart: http://online.wsj.com/article/SB20000872396390444230504577615443664768610.html"

    So, what, this study says my IQ would be even higher if I'd ever bothered to have studied for the LSAT before getting a 178 the first time, cold??

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. If Lawyers were really so smart, wouldn't they stay away from law school?

      Delete
  30. So my friend tried to caution his nephew against the law school scam. The kid went anyway to UVA class of 2014. He made law review and is sitting on six offers after OCI [for $3k/week in NYC & DC & Chicago] for summer 2013. Now the whole family is convinced my friend was crazy to badmouth law school. Ironic...

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. These are all offers for at best short-term jobs. A second real shakeout comes when people age out of BigLaw jobs and in house jobs magically disappear on those who have them for any reason or no reason. Then the nephew is sitting on a worthless degree.

      Delete
    2. Yeah, that degree that allows some kid with god knows what major to gross $1 million in five years becomes worthless if it doesn't lead to 35 years of employment.

      Delete
    3. I got street cred with my in-laws by calling the housing bubble and telling them would happen before it did. That only worked because it was so obvious that it was a classic financial bubble that there was no way I was going to be wrong. Thus, I gained a lot of credibility.

      When you try to make general predictions about the of outcome of a T14 student, remember that you are betting on red or black on a roulette wheel.

      And, since your friend's nephew got the job, your friend lost all credibility.

      Such is human nature. Don't stake your reputation on a coin flip.

      Delete
    4. Also make sure that the kid doesn't pick a firm that no offers summers. He sounds like he did very well for himself though, DC is one of the toughest markets in the US.

      Delete
    5. See my other reply which ended up at the bottom of the thread here. Sorry about that.

      Delete
  31. You may be right but not everyone fails.

    He is also debt free so that's a plus for him.

    Time will tell.

    ReplyDelete
  32. Chapter 6. Doubt

    "I know. I know." She said. "That will be a good start. The job will be a good start. Allstate will be a good start. And you won't be swinging a paintbrush with a bunch of trash mouthed, illiterate dirt-bags. I agree with all that. But still, you will still be just a low level claims officer with Allstate, and where else can you go from there? Law degree or not? Insurance companies have very rigid, corporate structures, and once you are pigeonholed into a department you are stuck there. In fact, they will be doing you a huge favor if they take you on after having seen how your law degree has scared away all the other places you have tried to get a job with. No corporation is impressed by a law degree or wants someone bouncing around inside their corporate structure with one. Especially a degree from a lower tier law school."

    "How do you know that?" I asked.

    "I don't." She said. "But where do all those resumes that you send out end up? It's like they fall into a black hole. You don't even get a form letter, or an e-mail, or a postcard in reply. It must be because of your law degree. The letters JD must be scarlett letters, and the kiss of death. You tried Cablevision, Verizon, Geico, State Farm, Hospitals, an Oil Refinery, Paralegal Postings, bank teller jobs, Paint Store manager jobs, Burger King and McDonalds manager jobs, car dealerships, Corporate Compliance jobs, and on and on, and no one wants to even talk to you. Why don't you just leave the law degree off the resume from now on?"



    "But then I gotta explain what I was doing for the three years I was in law school." I said. Do you want me to lie?"



    "No of course not." She said. "I don't want you to lie. But what the hell is going on?"

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. At least you have different modes of performance art.

      That's a plus.

      What you need are fans and a way to monetize your blog.

      Delete
  33. Law does work for a small percentage of people who get biglaw.

    How much debt does that kid have? He isn't clearing a million in 5 years and he may not be lasting in biglaw for five years.

    His career may only be 2 years or so in biglaw.

    Of course, he could be one of the people who stays and moves up the pyramid, but the odds are that he won't.

    You need to understand the career at a biglaw firm before you start counting the money you are going to bring in.

    I don't know about DC, but in NYC, the take home is about $93,000 for the first year after taxes. Most kids are maximizing paying down their six figure debt, person who is just starting in biglaw posted that she owe $250,000 principal on her loans. She is probably looking at $3,000 a month for 10 years to repay her loans. She isn't going to last for 10 years in biglaw, at least very very few people do, she may be lucky.

    So consider how lucky these kids really are in this lottery. You have to look at how short the time is in biglaw, how insecure the job is because the partners will no offer or layoff people (White and Case just laid off a first year who had just started in corporate because they are slow, and that is just one person that has been laid off) at any time if they don't need the associates.

    Assuming that this kid will clear a million in five years is not based on the reality of what the majority of biglaw associates will make.

    He might beat the odds, he might become a partner, but there is no way to know that in advance. He has a greater shot of being out after 2 or 3 years. And where will he go then?

    ReplyDelete
  34. Yes, of course, he's doomed because law school is a scam and anyone who goes is a fool...blah, blah, blah...

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. No he should follow his dreams and go! No one can stop him if he really wants to be a lawyer. If he's a winner and not a loser like everyone who comments here, his winning personality will create legal work. People will see he's a winner and suddenly change their minds about giving another attorney $300/hour to do shit a monkey could do more efficiently.

      Delete

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