Tuesday, December 18, 2012

A few more points about the Seto partnership study

Because this morning's post was getting too long, I didn't mention a few other things worth mentioning in re Ted Seto's study of big firm partnership patterns.

The article begins with this anecdote:
As a professor, I often talk with applicants about how to realize their life goals. I recall one student in particular, who was attempting to choose between Vanderbilt and the school at which I teach—Loyola Los Angeles. His ambition was to become a big-firm partner in Los Angeles. As students often do, he chose the higher U.S. News & World Report-ranked school. When he graduated from Vanderbilt, he was unable even to get an interview in Los Angeles. Had he attended Loyola, his paper credentials and performance at Vanderbilt suggest that he would have graduated near the top of his class. If he had, his chances of getting an offer from a large Los Angeles firm would have been quite high. Again, based on the results of the study reported in this article, I can explain why. Hiring by national law firms is astonishingly local. There are very few truly national law schools. Vanderbilt is not an established LA feeder school. Loyola is.
A couple notes about this:

*Notice the subtle conflation in this account between getting an entry-level associate offer and becoming a partner.  Only a tiny percentage of Loyola grads -- about one out of every 70, i.e., less than a half dozen per graduating class -- who graduated from the school between 1986 and 2001 were partners with big Los Angeles firms in 2010.  (This is the case even though the large majority of Loyola grads -- 111 of 162 -- who were partners with big firms were partners in Los Angeles firms). And there's reason to suspect that these odds are growing worse, given the massive changes in big firm culture over the past 25 years.  It would be interesting to compare, for example, the outcomes for people who graduated from non-national law schools in the late 1990s to those of graduates from the late 1980s in regard to making partner at national firms.  Unfortunately Seto doesn't differentiate the data within his cohort by year of graduation, and he has refused at least one request to share that data.

*The assumption that someone who is admitted to a high-ranked school can be predicted, on the basis of "paper credentials," to finish near the top of his class at a lower-ranked school is actually contradicted elsewhere in the paper:

The only universal measure of student quality is entering LSAT scores. Undergraduate GPAs vary quite widely among undergraduate schools. GPAs at public schools are systematically lower than at private schools. Schools also differ in the amount of grade inflation they are willing to tolerate. A law school’s entering GPAs will depend in part on the mix of schools from which it recruits. Lower entering GPAs may merely mean that a school recruits more heavily from rigorous or public undergraduate institutions. But LSAT scores themselves only account for a small portion of the variance in first-year law school grades.  (emphasis added)
Seto does add that the student's "performance at Vanderbilt" also suggests he would have finished near the top of the class at Loyola, but if this is meant as an argument for the proposition that someone who finishes near the top of the class at a semi-elite school such as Vanderbilt will have worse odds of securing either an associate position with or a partnership in a large Los Angeles firm than someone near the top of the class at Loyola, that argument needs to be backed by far more evidence than is provided by the tiny percentage of Loyola grads who become partners with big Los Angeles firms. Obviously there's a huge self-selection bias at work in any analysis of this type: my guess is that median number of people in any Loyola class who would list becoming partners with big Los Angeles firms as a prime career objective runs into the dozens, while the same figure for the typical Vanderbilt class is likely to be very close to zero.

Seto's paper is already being seized upon by law schools looking to hornswoggle impressionable 0Ls with preposterous statistics.  My favorite example so far is from California Western's web site:

In the most recent issue of Journal of Legal Education, Loyola Law School professor Theodore P. Seto provides the first-ever review of which law schools produce the most partners at the nation's top 100 law firms, listing the top firms nationally and in the country's top 10 cities, including San Diego.

California Western School of Law outperforms most other Southern California schools, ranking third among all law schools in educating partners at the city's biggest firms. This underscores Seto's finding that hiring and partner selection by national law firms is largely local, with location trumping national ranking in the selection of law firm leaders. Of the top 10 schools graduating San Diego's big firm partners, only three are outside California (Harvard-5, Georgetown-8, Michigan-9).

Seto's goal in producing this research is to assist prospective law students seeking to make practical choices in where to study law. This goal aligns with California Western's approach, encouraging students to consider not only why they want to study law, but where. More than half of California Western alumni practice in Southern California. California Western's physical proximity to leading law firms, courts, and government offices makes it an ideal place to study, with many students walking to and from internships, clerkships, and pro bono work. Students often joke that you can pick out a third-year students downtown because they are wearing a suit and a backpack.
All this is based entirely on the fact that a grand total of thirteen of the approximately 4550 people who graduated from California Western between 1986 and 2001 were partners with San Diego-based NLJ 100 firms in 2010.  And those thirteen graduates represent exactly half of all California Western graduates from those years who were big firm partners anywhere in the United States in 2010. That is, your odds of becoming a big firm partner if you graduated from Cal Western from the mid-1980s through the 1990s were about 200 to 1, although those are probably a lot better odds than those available to current graduates, see supra.

I suspect we'll see many similar deployments of Prof. Seto's contribution to the literature, as law schools stare down the barrel of collapsing applications and suddenly shrinking tuition pools.






78 comments:

  1. Seto's piece = misleading statistics intertwined with mindless academic jargon. In other words, he and all the other law professors who still claim law is worth it are scrambling to cover their asses by going into full bullshit mode.

    ReplyDelete
  2. I wonder what is really going on here. Is Prof. Seto trying to get attention by publishing a counter-intuitive "study" in a journal? Is he a useful idiot for Loyola's administration? Does he honestly believe that not controlling for class size is acceptable?

    It is said that we should never ascribe evil motives to someone's behavior when mere incompetence adequately explains that behavior. This situation seems to be leaning toward evil, but I don't know Prof. Seto. Perhaps he really is as stupid as he sounds, but for now I'm going with liar.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Note that, according to the critique LP linked to, everyone who peer-reviewed this article pointed out the problems with failing to control for class size, and Seto ignored them.

      Delete
    2. And the journal published it anyway. No need for serious review of any of these articles.

      Delete
    3. He's evil. He knew that the approach was wrong, but he went right ahead and did it. He's a goddamned snake-oil tout.

      Delete
  3. Interesting Question ?December 18, 2012 at 11:51 AM

    "More than half of California Western alumni practice in Southern California. "


    The question is, practice "what"?

    Not law, I fear.

    According to LST, only about 1/3 of CalWest's recent grads are practicing law at all (in SoCal or anywhere else).

    ReplyDelete
  4. "That is, your odds of becoming a big firm partner if you graduated from Cal Western from the mid-1980s through the 1990s were about 200 to 1...


    As Willy Wonka says, "Strike that; reverse it."


    (That is to say, did you mean odds of becoming a partner are 1 in 200?) (Or, "odds against" becoming partner are 200 to 1?)

    ReplyDelete
  5. I really don't get it. Law school doesn't teach you to practice law and doesn't even teach you how to pass the bar exam yet where you went to law school is a big deal about whether you I'll get hired at all, much less make partner someday.

    Consider a surgeon who has a wonderful reputation doing open heart surgery on kids. Who cares if he went to med school at Alabama? He is going to have Harvard-educated doctors beating down his door to operate on their kids. Yet in law, it is all about where you went to school? really a sad comment on the "profession".

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. It's not completely different in medicine. To become that great pediatric cardiac surgical expert, the doctor had to have gotten into one of the best cardiac surgery residencies.

      Going to Podunckie School of Medicine doesn't get you that residency...

      Delete
    2. Unless the residency is at the Podunckie School of Medicine Hospital.

      At one time Alabama was one of the leaders in open-heart surgery. I don't know what their ranking is now but in would guess pretty good.

      My point was that intelligence, skill, talent, and ability count in medicine. Apparently not at all in law.

      Delete
    3. What's Podunckie about UAB?

      Anyway - I don't necessarily disagree, but think it's more a matter of degree than difference in kind.

      I do disagree with the final "not at all" assessment in law. People do make it just fine in law.

      Just not anywhere near as many as we're graduating.

      Delete
    4. Not a thing wrong with Alabama. I am a SEC school graduate myself. Can't wait for the Notre Dame game.

      Delete
    5. One should also consider the fact that law-schools are geared towards the socio-economic situations of it's state, and sometimes even County. Medical eduaction is universal. In other words, How would a TTT law graduate be equipped to handle Million dollar big corporate lawsuits, if a harvard/stanford graduate naturally trained for it. And now consider what difference it makes if a doctor from some medical school somewhere in the midwest would be less equipped to perform open-heart surgery than some graduate from a New York medical school?

      Delete
    6. I for one will be eternally grateful to the University of Texas Law School for slamming their door in the face of George Bush, whose family later bought his way into the Harvard MBA program.

      I really don't know whether to laugh or cry at the rest of your post.

      Delete
    7. It is obvious that the social graces and manners conferred by the Ivy League, and a few select other schools, just cannot be replicated anywhere. Consider the young Princeton student whose mother, a Princeton alum who gave millions of dollars to Olde Nassau Hall, was accused of beating and raping a Princeton coed. After a remarkable soft-shoe Princeton did..........diddly squat. See how it works? You just can't teach this flair and élan at any old school!

      Delete
    8. Well, there was the TTT law school that recently had one student charged with stalking his girlfriend, another with filling a false police report, and a third charged with breaking and entering - a dean's office, after hours no less.

      No, wait, that was the University of Virginia Law School. Otherwise, I am sure the students would be capable of handling those million dollar law suits upon graduation, whereas graduates of the lesser schools.....no way!

      Delete
    9. Don't forget that family connections also got "Baby Doc" Bush into Yale.

      Delete
    10. "Unless the residency is at the Podunckie School of Medicine Hospital."

      Oh, are the hearts at Podunckie easier to perform surgery on? Maybe they have training wheels attached?

      You people are pathetic, truly.

      Delete
  6. (re-posting info another commenter provided under the "Picture This" post.)

    Article discussing law school reform generally and mentioning LST's paper, this blog, and Tamanaha's book:

    http://management.fortune.cnn.com/2012/12/18/does-law-school-have-a-future/

    The LST paper "The Crisis in Legal Education: Dabbling in Disaster Planning" is here and was also published in the Michigan Journal of Law Reform:
    http://papers.ssrn.com/sol3/papers.cfm?abstract_id=2188668

    ReplyDelete
  7. I can't believe this professor is "astonished" at how local law placement is - just another example of how little people know about the reality of getting a job. Law professors love to tout their great programs, but the reality is that they know nothing about getting people jobs.

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    Replies
    1. It is indeed local in that someone coming out of Loyola has hardly any chance of finding anything outside Los Angeles. Not that her chances of finding anything in Los Angeles are very good either.

      Delete
  8. Also, I am waiting for Vanderbilt's reply to this article. I'm sure they will have something to say about it.

    But he doesn't say if the kid got a job somewhere which would have been better than if he had attended Loyola.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Vanderbilt shouldn't even dignify it with an answer.

      Delete
  9. I am alum of Seto's school, and practice tax law, which is Seto's substantive area.

    A year ago or so, when this piece of thinly veiled piece of trash propaganda initially began to circulate, I implored Seto, through comments in various blogs (including his own) covering the article, to be careful about the incorrect message the analysis sent (especially with respect to the "choose Loyola over Vanderbilt if you want to be a big law partner in L.A." bull crap, which is ridiculous on its face for obvious reasons I will not re-hash here).


    Prof. Seto - you are embarrassing us individually and professionally and you've done our institution a great disservice. I, as an alum, appreciate your cheerleading, but the truth, in my mind, is more important than self interest, which is why I've been critical of my alma matter across the blogs on numerous topics over the years, precisely because I love Loyola so much and have seen it deviate from its core values in precisely the way that your article reflects.

    If you want to become a big law partner in L.A., Loyola should not be on your list, and in the current environment, nor should UCLA or USC for that matter, any more than they should for proposes of say, becoming president of the United States. Let's be honest. And Seto knows it, which is what pains me the most.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Why would Seto write this if he knows it is garbage? Please explain.

      Delete
    2. Because he can get away with it.

      Delete
    3. Troll papers = tons of SSRN downloads = higher ranking in Seto's "professors ranked by SSRN downloads" ranking that he publishes on taxprof blog.

      It's that simple.

      Delete
  10. Light day on the Contract Work train. Thought I'd pop my head in and see what has been happening on this blog. It is as depressing as ever, I'm afraid. Good luck to you all. I'm going to the grocery store in an effort to accomplish something meaningful with this downtime. (Oh, and happy holidays as well.)

    ReplyDelete
  11. On another note, Seto was just awarded a Chair at Loyola, according to a mailer I just got (begging for more money, of course). Our donation dollars hard at work. The gettin's still good for Seto!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Which chair? I hope that it is an electric one.

      Delete
    2. And don't ever give them a goddamn cent.

      Delete
    3. To be fair, he's a very good tax professor.

      Delete
    4. No, he is not a good professor. He is knowingly publishing misleading data. He was warned not to publish this data. He went ahead.

      No good professor would lie to students like this.
      No decent scholar would publish such corrupt data.

      Delete
  12. I am mortified that my law school is boasting about its ranking by Seto.

    www.bu.edu/law/news/jle2012/

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Boston University just became a toilet in my book.

      Delete
  13. It is easier to say how this student might have done once you know how he performed at Vanderbilt. There is no way anyone should be attending Loyola banking on being top of the class.

    By the way- the tuition is around $43,000 for a year at this school .

    ReplyDelete
  14. How can they not be willing to share the data?

    This is just more typical law school lying about the numbers.

    My hope is that continuing bullshit like this is only going to bolster the arguments of plaintiffs claiming schools have been lying.

    ReplyDelete
  15. Prof. Campos, I have one criticism of your reference to odds.

    The chances of any particular student's becoming a partner have to do with a lot more than the school's proportion of graduates who become partners. Connections, wealth, and status play a big role. Many people going into even the most highly regarded law schools have effectively zero chance of becoming a partner in any real law firm (two-person eat-what-you-kill operations don't count), however well they may do in law school.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. The dirty little secret is that everything in private practice is eat what you kill.

      Delete
  16. Once stingy corporate clients have called BS on the billable hour scam, the house of cards was exposed.

    ReplyDelete
  17. CWSL Alum here ('09).

    $200 in my checking account and not feeling to bullish on my chances of making Partner anytime soon.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. But at least your chances are ever so much better than those of someone near the top of the class at Vanderbilt.

      Delete
  18. As we all know, big law is extremely incestuous (I.e., it's tough to get in without previously having been in, and the way to get in, typically, is through summering at a big firm).

    Thus, going to an institution that increases your chances of getting a summer job at a big firm is imperative, and more or less a prerequisite to the discussion of "making partner."

    At Vandy, roughly 1 in 3 were successful in getting hired in big law, even in the toughest big law hiring environment on record.

    Vandy
    http://www.lstscorereports.com/?school=vanderbilt

    At Seto's prestigious Loyola Law School Marymount of Los Angeles or whatever the hell they call themselves these days, on the other hand, one's chances of securing that essential and coveted invite through the big law velvet ropes (i.e, a summer job and subsequent offer) was 1 in 20.

    Loyola
    http://www.lstscorereports.com/?school=loyola

    That's right: Vandy = 1 in 3 got big law, and at Loyola = 1 in 20.

    Oh, did I mention that the two schools' F’ING TUITION IS about THE SAME, and that the average Loyola grad carries MORE non dischargeable student loan debt than Vandy, notwithstanding the clear disconnect in career prospects?

    Shhhh! That scum bag Seto doesnt' want you to think about that. I digress, my apologies.

    I have no empirical data on this point, I admit, but if you peruse the job openings for laterals at most big firms, they explicitly REQUIRE PRIOR LARGE FIRM EXPERIENCE.

    So if you get a job akin to what the majority of what Loyola grads get (and these are the lucky ones) it's a part time or non-permanent bullshit gig at some fly by night "firm" of less than 25 attorneys, you ain't gonna lateral there, EVER.

    Sorry folks, just to reiterate, you ain't EVER going to move from a shit job like that what Loyola grads can expect to a cushy 5th year partnership track associate position at Latham. It does not happen any more frequently than lightning striking twice in the same place.

    So, to sum it up:

    1. To even contemplate becoming a big law partner, you've got to get A JOB at a big law firm in the first place. Let's not put the cart before the horse.

    2. It is extremely tough to get into big law, particularly now in the current environment. As such, you've got to increase your chances of getting in: Vandy 1 in 3, loyola 1 in 20.

    3. Laterals for non-big law to big law do not occur with enough frequency to warrant taking a chance on loyola.

    Seto knows this, but hey he's got bills to pay, so sign up for a loyola law degree!

    Any questions?

    ReplyDelete
  19. Seto's shameless "study" glaringly reveals how critical the Big Law Lie is to the Law School Scam. Without such visions of sugarplums dancing in their heads it would be impossible to lure naive 22-year olds to take out six-figure loans to finance administrator and faculty salaries. The myth must be kept alive at all costs - even intellectual honesty. The smell of desperation and death is in the air.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. We need to debunk the Biglaw myth. There are posters on TLS who have just started in biglaw and are wondering how long they can take it. One person, a poster that law prof has linked to, posted about how to manage your sleep hours. He explained how you can manage on about 5 hours a night for a long time that way.
      Another poster described how they manage by maintaining a rigourous schedule that includes working out every morning unless he had less than a couple of hours of sleep and making sure to sit in sunlight to get vitamin D.

      Someone said it best: biglaw is two 80,000 a year jobs- not one great $160,000 job.

      I see posters on TLS who want biglaw but have no idea what it means. They ask naive questions like can we start really early so we can go home earlier than everyone else. They completely do not get it, but they see the salary and think they will be rich.

      Delete
    2. My phone won't let me paste the link. It is in a thread called what is biglaw really like"

      Delete
  20. @ 12:30 PM

    I too went to the Pico Union Law School (Loyola LA) for 1 year, then after externing at Stanley Mosk in Downtown LA and speaking with numerous judges, as well as attorneys about what my job prospects were if I continued to stay at Loyola Law school (this was in the summer of 2010, I was in the middle of the class), I dropped out, it was the smartest decision of my life. Loyola LA is probably one of the biggest trap schools, it obviously is not a Tier 4, but in a market such as LA, which is already over saturated, Loyola grads are competiting with higher ranked USC, UCLA, Stanford, & Ivy grads that choose LA, so yah, attend Loyola LA if you want to waste 3 years of your life, get a job that maybe pays at best $80,000 and toil 70 hours a week.

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    Replies
    1. T5 grad here, unemployed. I would be happy to work 70 hours a week to earn $80,000. I am sitting here with no job, no work, piles of rejections from jobs, and do not want to be a solo practitioner. Am open to all paying jobs and in this market I would be lucky if my T6 law degree were worth $80,000. I also have a BA from one of the top 5 schools in the country. Still unemployed. My top law degree is a scam.

      Delete
    2. Dude, they are almost all a scam. That is the point we need to get people to understand. There are not nearly enough jobs and way too intense competition.

      I don't know what to advise you, but keep your head up. It isn't you- there just aren't jobs.

      Delete
    3. What is incredible is that I have legal experience that is relevant to a lot of business jobs. The jobs do not require a JD, but use the exact same knowledge that I have acquired through years of working as a lawyer. None of these non-legal jobs will interview me. I have not landed a single interview in spite of many applications.

      Same with JD jobs that are not exactly the same as my experience. I have some relevant experience for these JD jobs, but no success in landing interviews.

      There are not openings for JD jobs with my experience, except a handful at the very junior level. The junior jobs will not look at me even though I would grab any one of them.

      This is a horrible trap. If it were only me, and I did not have many similarly situated colleagues, I would think I am the problem. But many of my colleagues are in the same boat, and none want to try to set up a small law firm. Honestly, many of them are not from top schools, but they do have lots of BigLaw experience as I do.

      Delete
    4. I'd advise you to team up with the poster that always talks about up or out policies at law firms. The two of you could mount a campaign against it together. I think the first step is that you need to keep posting your story on every post whether it's relevant to the post or not. That will really get your message out.

      Delete
    5. Lower your expectations. $80k for 70 hours was known as "practicing law" for the last generation. That is a fantastic outcome these days.

      Now, try $50k for 70 hours. That's not an exaggeration. And there would be plenty of takers if it didn't cost so damn much to go to law school.

      Law schools love Big Law. It's their marketing tool. No one would go to Loyola LA if the marketing pitch was, "come here, pay $150k+ in tuition, and have a 50% chance of getting a job that pays $50k, if, and only if, you pass the bar."

      Delete
  21. Only a very small minority of Loyola grads will get a job that pays $80k p.a. these days.

    ReplyDelete
  22. There is no question that law schools are local. The job market is bad enough so that it is not clear that Stanford is a good choice if you plan to live on the East coast. There is a surplus of people from other top schools on the East coast already.

    The real point is how bad the odds are of being able to stay in an environment that is high paid and exciting - BigLaw - and that accounts for more than one fifth of the highest paying jobs in the legal profession.

    The question people ought to be asking is where do the other lawyers go, and how many of them are unemployed.

    It is rapidly becoming clear that my experience and that of most of my peers is probably typical. A law degree from a top school will lead a lot of people into the abyss of unemployment or solo practice, with no escape route.

    It stinks. I am so sorry I went to a top law school. No debt mind you, but also no ability to earn a living and too old to start a new profession. It stinks.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. accounting or science undergrad/grad background?

      how old is "too old?"

      Delete
  23. When I attended DePaul in the late 1990s they had the law profs telling us it was a "national" school.

    That and we should be grateful, sont be obsessed with rankings like U of C is. After all just look at the life of the homeless man on the corner. Wezkre doing better than that. True story.

    ChicagoDePaul

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. If DePaul is "national", which law school is not "national"?

      Delete
  24. The papers and op eds by people like Seto and Dean Mitchell show their authors are not capable of honest, rigorous thinking. That is what thinking like a lawyer is supposed to mean.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Yes, lawyers are known for their honesty.


      lol

      Delete
  25. Here is ALL you need to know about why Seto writes so many troll articles on the topic of law school job prospects.

    http://taxprof.typepad.com/taxprof_blog/2012/12/ssrn-.html#more

    16,000 junk downloads.

    ReplyDelete
  26. It's really sad to see Seto, who is an outstanding professor and highly intelligent person, demean himself in this manner. Now that you got your Chair in exchange for whoring out your name, please leave these articles to an other professor Seto.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Agreed. Seto is an excellent teacher. Sad to see him write an article like this.

      Delete
    2. I agree an excellent teacher.

      Maybe he's doing it for the Church? All those law schools he lists as underrated are urban Catholic law schools with many tough competitors, some with lower sticker prices.

      Delete
    3. Please see my post below. Any professor who is capable of such dishonesty can not be a good professor. His piece is designed to directly entice students to spend 6 figures to attend his school.

      I honestly think he must have some anti-social pathologies if he thinks publishing this paper was a good idea.

      Delete
  27. OK kids, here it is in a nutshell from someone who has been out of law school for a few years:

    If you want to be a partner in a big firm you need to get hired as an associate. You will work 80-90 hours per week, have no life, and most likely you will get fired within a few years. If against all odds you make partner, you will still work 80-90 hours per week (like winning a food eating contest where the prize is more food) and if at any time you are not bringing in enough business you will be forced out.

    If you want to work as a government lawyer, you may be fortunate enough to get a federal job. If so you will make a decent income (high five figures or eventually just over six figures) but these jobs are very hard to get. Jobs with state or local government agencies are just as hard to get, and generally top out in the upper five figures.

    If you work in a small firm or as a solo, you will make decent money if you are a great entrepreneur and talented at sales and networking. At a small firm you will sooner or later need to develop your own practice or move on to something else. If you are an introvert or not a great salesman you will go broke as a solo.

    Sorry kids that it the way it is.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I disagree with the claim that you cannot win in small practice as an introvert because there are some great areas of small, niche practice that specifically cater to introverts. I work exclusively with specialist physicians, and I can tell you that they appreciate speedy, high-quality work recommended by a colleague and are not drawn in by a schmoozy sales pitch. I have found the same to be true of programmers I've worked with--they are not impressed by a sales pitch and may even resist being wrangled. Perhaps there is a common thread running through both client bases; an introvert client will not necessarily appreciate (and may even shun) an extrovert attorney. I completely agree with the assertion that you have to be entrepreneurial to succeed in small practice on all the points mentioned above, but you can do so as an introvert if that is an advantage in your field.

      Or maybe I am just telling myself this to quell my fears that as an introvert, I will not be successful in practice in the long term...

      Delete
    2. As a 40-something lawyer in practice for almost 20 years I can echo what BamBam said, and add that the market is so much tighter now than when I started that even being "a great entrepreneur and talented at sales and networking" is no longer a guarantee of success. Which furthers begs the question: if you possess or can develop these skills, why go to law school in the first place? Save the inflated tuition costs and lost three years and start a business in a field that is not oversaturated.

      Delete
  28. I had a bad day today at work. Just a lot of hassles, annoying subordinates, micromanaging board members, etc.

    Then I came onto this blog, and I feel a lot better.

    I did an MBA part time at a local state school when I was in my late 20s . I paid about about 4K for the ENTIRE program - $600-$700 or so a semester for ~6 semesters.

    My first job afterward paid 110K, which was about 30K more than I was making before I enrolled.

    I should really send them a check.

    ReplyDelete
  29. "That is, your odds of becoming a big firm partner if you graduated from Cal Western from the mid-1980s through the 1990s were about 200 to 1..."


    Seriously? I like those odds!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I think Paul has created a hypothetical where the Cal Western graduate has actually placed a bet on eventually becoming a big firm partner. They payout on the bet would be 200 to 1, while the odds would be 1 in 200.

      Delete
  30. $50,000 would be a good outcome for a junior level or starting lawyer in a small area and maybe for a new practice in a more costly area.

    In New York City, where BAs garner $45,000 to $60,000 and secretaries are hired at over $40,000, it would be an awful outcome for anyone who is neither starting out or starting a practice.

    For an experienced lawyer with several years of BigLaw and strong academics, $50,000 in the private sector would be a disaster as an ongoing salary which is capped at that level.

    ReplyDelete
  31. To those who claim Seto is a good professor. I vehemently disagree. The first thing a professor should do is not mislead the students who trust him into a worse life position. A professor has a primary moral obligation to be truthful to his students.

    Seto has blatantly betrayed that trust in the furtherance if his own monetary gain.

    If a practicing lawyer lied to clients relying on his advice to the same extent as Seto is lying to students who trust him, he would be disbarred. There is no question that a lawyer caught lying about potential outcomes that are unattainable by clients will lose their license to practice.

    I don't understand why there is no sanctioning organization that requires professors to not lie or manipulate statistics.

    What Seto has done is morally wrong, and if there was anyone in charge who cared about truth being given to students, he would be severely sanctioned.



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  32. Law prof: please do a post considering their all and ethical obligation a teacher has toward a student . I feel that no one cares about this aspect of the relationship. Students are more than just consumers buying a product. They are relying on their professors to be truthfu.

    Is everyone in law so jaded that this relationship no longer has meaning? Am I the only one who feels shocked that a professor would actively publish " research" known to him to be actually dishonest? At least the dean at Illinois who lied about statistics and falsified data had the shame to try to hide his crime. Seto is joyfully parading his lies to the world and crediting himself every time another person reads his discredited work. He truly has no shame. He deserves to be sanctioned by someone.

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    1. I meant the moral and ethical obligations.

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  33. Beyond the glaringly obvious procedural problems with sample size, Seto also has ignored other pretty obvious factors.

    I went to Vanderbilt. I would be shocked if more than a dozen people in my law school class had any interest whatsoever in going to a biglaw firm in L.A. It's been a few years now, but most of my classmates at the top end of the class had their sights set on NY, DC or Chicago. A very significant portion of the class settled on other cities. Vandy sent plenty to Atlanta, Nashville and Charlotte, some to midsize cities like Birmingham or Little Rock, or other places in the South. They also sent some to Texas, or to midwestern cities like Louisville or Indianapolis.

    The folks with dreams of going back to California from Vandy (I can only think of one from my class--and he went to the Bay Area, not LA) generally came from California in the first place and thus had a local tie.

    Otherwise, most people with admissions numbers that would put them in the Vanderbilt range had not one, but two other very similarly ranked schools that WERE LOCATED IN LOS ANGELES. Obviously most folks in Vandy's target GPA/LSAT range with dreams of LA biglaw probably were smart enough to figure out that the straightest path there for them was to attend either UCLA or USC.

    So Seto is basically playing a trick. He focuses on a non-T14, but still highly ranked school with a small class, that does very weel in it's own geographic region and has an infintesimal amount of students that would even pursue LA biglaw in the first place, then compares them with his own school, where the students have something approaching zero options of Biglaw anywhere OTHER than Los Angeles (and only the lottery winners of the class have that).

    I don't know what Seto has against Vanderbilt, if he targeted them because of Law School Transparency, or, more disturbingly, if he just continued running numbers until he found some that produced a narrow outcome that he wanted.

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