Thursday, April 19, 2012

Learning to Excel

I posted a link to the new ABA employment numbers on TLS yesterday, and some clever person transformed them into a handy Google document.  (Update: see also this very useful bar graph).  The categories are percentage of graduates with long term employment of all types nine months after graduation (legal and non-legal; both federal and state judicial clerkships are counted as long-term employment in the ABA numbers), percentage of grads with jobs with firms of more than 50 lawyers + federal clerkships, percentage of grads with jobs with firms of more than 250 lawyers + federal clerkships, and then a catch-all category (51+/Fed/PI/Academia/Government) that tries to include every graduate who got anything resembling a legal or quasi-legal non-temp job other than with a small (less than 50 lawyers) firm.

The data are worth browsing at length, and I'm just going to flag a couple of points.

(1) Given law school reporting methods, "long-term" employment is in one sense a meaningless category, while in another it can be revelatory.   It's meaningless in the sense that Yale and Drake have almost exactly the same outcome in the category (90.34% and 89.51% of 2010 grads with long-term employment as of 2/15/2011).  But  Drake's numbers are based on 54.5% of its grads listing themselves as working either as solos, with firms of ten or fewer lawyers, or in "business and industry," (trans: retail) while Yale has 4.4% of its class in these categories, all of whom with the exception of one grad are in the business and industry category, which at Yale means McKinsey rather than Home Depot.  Schools 7-15 ranked by percentage of graduates with long-term employment nine months after graduation:


So in the sense of being a positive indicator of something "long-term employment" is obviously a meaningless metric.

(2) In another sense -- as a red flag -- "long-term employment" percentages are revelatory.  Look at some of the schools where somewhere between one in five and two in five grads don't have "long-term employment" nine months after graduation, keeping mind that this category includes every paid form of employment, legal and non-legal, that does not have a definite term of less than one year (again judicial clerkships count as long-term):

George Washington
Wash U St. Louis
Boston U
Boston College
Notre Dame

These are all "top 30" schools -- six are in the top 20.  At all of them, a huge percentage of the graduating class is functionally unemployed nine months after graduation.  What seems to be happening at these sorts of schools is that a big percentage of the class isn't getting any sort of real legal job, but continues to hang on in the hope of doing so, while at the Drakes and Tulsas large numbers of people either take $40K jobs with three-lawyer family law firms or simply give up on a law job altogether and enter "business and industry."

Of course there are a lot of low-ranked law schools with horrible "long-term" employment numbers as well, which I would gather means that at those schools even the $40K small firm job isn't an option for most of the class.

(3) These stats put an exclamation point on how few law graduates are getting jobs that even arguably justify taking out $125K in high interest non-dischargeable loan debt (this is roughly the mean educational debt load for this spring's graduating law school class).  Such jobs are largely limited to the 50+ lawyer firm plus federal clerkship category -- indeed in this regard that category is no doubt over-inclusive -- yet a total of 25 law schools sent even 30% of their 2010 class into such jobs. Meanwhile the median percentage for all law schools in regard to what might be called the percentage of graduates who had what would be acceptable salary outcomes relative  to the current average cost of law school attendance was 8.75%.


  1. I know everybody is all doom and gloom, but it is interesting to see how well some schools did in the 250+Fed category...
    USC 37%
    Fordham 33%
    Boston U 32%
    Notre Dame 28%

    Somehow I thought things were much worse at those schools.

  2. This is the LawProf that I know and love. Calculated, rational, and persuasive.

  3. Do the statistics count people who go into academe? There is a lot of law-professor-bashing here, but it's not such a bad career option for those willing to jump through the necessary hoops.

    It's not all sunshine and rainbows, but there is a good deal of job security and the hours tend to be flexible. It's also nice to spend time with young, energetic people before they become jaded and cynical.

  4. The legal profession jumped the shark in 2006.

    And anyone who enrolled AFTER September 13, 2008 (i.e., when the wheels officially fell off the American economy), deserves no sympathy.

    So Class of 2011, congrats, you're the last sympathetic law graduates. Those who follow you are blind fools.

  5. 7:09, you're an asshole who deserves no sympathy.

  6. I might push that date back a little further. With the amount of blind panic in the air in 2008 and the relative lack of push to expose the scam even then, I'd say enrolling after 2009 or 2010 is a more accurate year for the sympathy meridian.

    I've also got to admit I'm shocked how poorly my alma mater (GULC) places. 48% of grads in acceptable employment?!?! Guess I wasn't alone after all in failing to achieve the dream.

  7. These numbers are horrible, just horrible. I find it depressing. The only good news is that I don't have to take it personally anymore for the reasons why I cannot find a job.

  8. The 8.75% figure in relation to cost may be the most clear-cut, anyone can grab on to this, statistic yet in terms of spelling out how responsible law schools are for the damage being done to their graduates. And costs continue to increase..."let's keep it lower than 6% increase this year, no one will get too worked up about that" - your average law school administrator.

  9. 7:14, I agree. By the fall of 2009, all applicants knew or should have known what a racket the profession had become.

    So I feel for the May 2012 grads, and maybe May 2013. I just wonder what the people who plan to enroll this September are thinking.

  10. The only word that comes to mind is "carnage." The financial carnage that law schools are producing among young, deluded would-be go-getters is just staggering. 9% of 44,000 students are receiving "acceptable" outcomes. It's profoundly depressing.

  11. I think a lot of the lower ranked schools are smaller so I don't think we can say only 9% of all law students are getting acceptable outcomes. I would be curious to know what that percentage is if somebody wants to run the numbers.

  12. Any recent Emory grads want to sue their shitty overpriced lawschool?

    Please indicate your willingness to be a named Plaintiff against Emory and I will file suit against them.

    I've waited long enough.

    Emory is overpriced and a piece of shit. I can only imagine the HORROR some of you are facing.

    Do not fear, I am a "legit" attorney in the North Fulton area and this needs to come to light, RIGHT NOW.

    I'm ready to sue them for negligent misrepresentation, intentional fraud, false advertising etc. etc. etc.

    Thanks for the responses. Time to take some REAL ACTION.

  13. As a "top 30" law school grad that seriously explored an academic career track, I can confidently report that it is almost impossible for a graduate outside the "top 10" to obtain a slot. The legal profession's usual elitism is magnified 100-fold amongst professors, most of whom came from the very top schools and believe that T10 attendance is the key and perhaps only marker of intellectual worth. I graduated top 5% of my class, law review, publication, etc., which means your typical HLS grad regards me as dog that learned a particularly clever trick. You might pat a clever dog on the head, you certainly won't invite it to share your office space.

  14. @9;07am

    When I was at GULC 20 years ago the late Jack McNeill, who was a friend and inter alia both General Counsel at the Pentagon and a Georgetown grad asked one of Areen and Edelman's bright little minions (an ass't Dean) why GULC never hired any of its own graduates, but just Yalies "oh ... we found one that was qualified recently" she replied. Of course said Yalie was too stupid to note that McNeill was a GULC graduate and that her comments about Georgetown grads not been up to the job of law professor at GULC landed like a lead balloon.


  15. I actually count 7 of those law schools inside the top 20. I think Washington just snuck in there in 2012.

    Maybe the Atheist Atlanta Lawyer forgot the words of the Emory law professor who spoke at the graduation ceremony last year - "Get over it."

  16. I'm looking forward to your next item discussing the fact that the fees on the LSATs are sky-rocketing, as are the other fees associated with applying to law school, all because of a "drop in the volume of applications."

  17. Edit, mine @ 9:48: The fall in volume of applications + sky-rocketing fees was featured in today's National Law Journal.

  18. And we STILL don't have salary information for these "long term" jobs.

  19. So 65% of Brooklyn Law grads get "long term employment."

    How many morons will interpret this as "I have a 2/3 shot of getting a good job out of Brooklyn?"

    This is more fraud by the ABA and the TTT Deans who run it while making $500k per year.

    All applicants want to know before applying to a law school is "what percentage of graduates get a job worthy of the time and tuition investment?" For Brooklyn, that number IS NOT 65%. Not even close.

  20. @nyc/7:04 a.m.:

    The employment statistics also don't indicate how many unemployed students are unemployed because they hit the MegaMillions jackpot, or were struck by lightning and left in a coma.

  21. Meanwhile asshole Schweitzer will blame any applicant who reaches the above inference, and state that had they looked carefully up Brooklyn's asshole they would have seen it is a TTT where at most 5%-10% of grads get jobs worthy of the tuition.

    What a fucking shitfest.

  22. @9:07--"as a dog who has learned a particularly clever trick"? Oh,come on.

  23. A regular reader of this blog and I would like to share a good piece I found today in the WSJ. It talks about student loan debt more generally and its implications for young adults today. Worth a read if you haven't already.;_ylt=A2KLJkw6YJBPrBwApAaiuYdG;_ylu=X3oDMTQ0ODdhbm01BG1pdANGUCBQZXJzb25hbCBGaW5hbmNlBHBrZwM4ZTc3MWEyNC1mYjI3LTM5MjUtYjg0ZC04NzZiYmY4ZTcwNzQEcG9zAzUEc2VjA01lZGlhU2VjdGlvbkxpc3QEdmVyAzYyMDYwMjExLThhM2ItMTFlMS1hN2RlLThjZjUwNzkzZjI4Mw--;_ylg=X3oDMTFvdnRqYzJoBGludGwDdXMEbGFuZwNlbi11cwRwc3RhaWQDBHBzdGNhdANob21lBHB0A3NlY3Rpb25zBHRlc3QD;_ylv=3

  24. State supreme court clerkships and even boutique (less than 50+ attnys) firms are also much more likely to be obtainable from the top schools. Yale sent 7 grads into state clerkships and Harvard 26. These aren't low paying jobs by any means- NY COA clerkships start off at about $75,000 for recent grads- higher than the federal courts. Meanwhile, Suffolk sent 8 into state clerkships and Quinnipiac 7. But I bet you'll find the former are with state supreme courts and the latter with trial courts or even traffic courts or other administrative courts.

    In terms of firms, there are a lot of very elite plaintiff's side and civil rights firms that the top schools feed into. They may not pay a starting salary as high as biglaw but some would argue the experience and client contact makes it worth it.

  25. @11:50 a.m.:

    So you don't believe that this is substantially true?

    It's for the HYS graduates to think the big thoughts for $100k+ and 25 hours a week. It falls to us lesser beings to dwell on small things like the actual practice of law.

  26. No, I do not think HYS graduates see other graduates as dogs learning to do clever tricks. And lots of HYS graduates practice law.

  27. 1:22,
    I think he's referring specifically to how professors see non-HYS graduates.

  28. @ 12:20

    Wow, what a bunch of right-wing lunatic comments to that article.

    But again, what else could one expect from WSJ readers?

  29. @1:38, read another article on Yahoo!. The one about how a new video kind of proves Border Patrol killed a guy while he was handcuffed. Then read those comments. It ain't just WSJ bro. Then read an article about Sudan and it's hard not to come to the conclusion that sane, rational, caring, people are a disappearing minority. Who knows? Maybe it's actually been worse up until this point. Law students/grads being abused is way down the list of horrible things happening. But we're vocal and informed. Sort of anyway.

  30. I looked at the spreadsheet referenced in this posting. The most important stats on the spreadsheet can be found under the 51+/Fed/PI/Academia/Government tab. These are the jobs that tend to justify the cost of attending law school. The percentages shown should not be surprising to people familiar to the law school scam. They should give prospective and current students something to think about, though.

    The takeaway should be this - almost no one should go to law school. The financial risk is too high. The rewards are almost non-existent outside the top few schools. The schools ranked 66-197 place less than 30% of their students into acceptable employment. This means that 66% of ABA accredited schools give you a less than 30% chance of having a decent job 9 months after graduation.

    There is no way to soften what this data reveals. There simply are not enough jobs out there to come anywhere close to justifying the number of graduates law school pump out. There is a point where the reality law students face can no longer be dismissed with references to personal responsibility and networking and canards about the versatility of a law degree.

    If law schools are going to keep enrolling students and taking loan money, they need to be required to make clear disclosures to 0Ls. They should be required to present all incoming students with the percentage of their graduates for the past several years who are employed in the 51+/Fed/PI/Academia/Government category. Then they should be required to present their incoming students with their projected student loan debt for all three years. That would create something close to transparency regarding the potential risk and reward of law school.

    Maybe this is too optimistic, but I would imagine that only the specialest of special snowflakes would still sign up for TTTT law school if they were told up front, "Your projected loan debt is $150k. You have a 9% chance of getting a job that will justify the cost of attendance."

  31. "I looked at the spreadsheet referenced in this posting. The most important stats on the spreadsheet can be found under the 51+/Fed/PI/Academia/Government tab."

    Good point. Can someone please redo the spread?

  32. @3:51 PM - click on the "Google document" link in the first paragraph of this posting. A spreadsheet will open. At the bottom of the spreadsheet are a number of tabs you can click. Click the tab that says 51+/Fed/PI/Academia/Government, and you will see the percentages.

  33. I have been out of law school for 12 years and my gut tells me that it was this bad back then. ALL of us had trouble finding jobs. The data attached to this article is just depressing. I am no longer angry, I am just fucking scared. Absofuckinglutely scared.

    I am gonna print this out and go down to my law school and show these numbers to them. Asshole liar scumbag cheats.

  34. 7:13 AM 7:09 AM Is somewhat right.
    In 2007 the rumblings of unemployment and layoff were beginning to be hear across campus. Students asked their Deans about what they were hearing and those who were at T10 LS were assured that they were quite safe and the problems were only with the lower tiered LS..

    The T10 LS now find to their dismay that they too are not immune to this backlash.

  35. "The takeaway should be this - almost no one should go to law school. The financial risk is too high. The rewards are almost non-existent outside the top few schools. The schools ranked 66-197 place less than 30% of their students into acceptable employment. This means that 66% of ABA accredited schools give you a less than 30% chance of having a decent job 9 months after graduation."

    Which essentially means that you could shut most all of them down. No doubt that many of the 30% that are getting jobs were likely the same students that got bribed to attend with full scholarships, and many could've attended higher ranked schools.

    In any event, I can't see a scenario in which more than 100 or so law schools might be viable in the long term....and even then most of them would have to slash enrollments anywhere from 20-50%.

  36. 7:13 here, I'm not saying T10 grads won't have trouble finding jobs, but I think a little more sympathy is warranted. The cut off for sympathy should not be 2008, and I think for T10 grads the sympathy should continue. If you don't agree, then you have been away from the pressures of undergrad and law school for too long. These are some of the smartest people in our society, and their skills are going to waste. We should be sympathetic and angry.

  37. Please read this. Even if you don't like me or think I'm a humbug, I think it is very important that the Campos Blog readers see the documents I have scanned and posted online just now and here:

  38. JD Painter:

    Why didn't you go to HYS?

    Seriously, all this whining is ridiculous. Anyone who goes to a non-HYS school deserves whatever poverty they land in. I'm going to HYS next year and I'll come out of it smiling, or I'll kill myself.

    This is what you get for slacking off in college/not being smart enough to get a better LSAT.

  39. @6:00 Go back to TLS you pathetic lemming.

  40. I'm a lemming because im going to HYS?


  41. @6:00 PM.

    How very progressive of you. This is 21st century America. Absolutely pathetic. I don't believe that that attitude, one of sneering condescension for their fellow human beings is the majority viewpoint at the elite law, but we have a ways to go.

  42. You're going to HYS? Yeah...........

  43. I'm not a progressive by any means, so thank you do that.

    Look, I worked hard to get my 175 and 3.9. If you can't get your LSAT above a 160, shouldn't you KNOW you're not headed for a glamorous life in elite law firms? And researching the TTTs, shouldn't you KNOW you'll be screwed coming out?

    Seriously, no sympathy at all.

  44. T Money -

    Nice comment, that's it in a nutshell.

  45. No way you got a 175 with TTThose reasoning skills, go back in your box you TTTool.

  46. @6:24 p.m.:

    Hopefully your hard work will lead to an above-average finish in 1L competing against people with comparable numbers, and an opportunity to capitalize on a good OCI interview for which you were well-prepared, and an opportunity to distinguish yourself as a junior associate en route to becoming an equity partner.


  47. "These are some of the smartest people in our society, and their skills are going to waste."

    That's not jut a problem at top 10 schools. A lot of TTTs pull in smart people who could be working in other fields, either 168+ LSAT kids they threw the scholarship money at to lure them away from the Virginias and Cal-Berkleys of the world, or the engineer/accountant/etc. who has 8-10 years of expertise and decides to go to law school for "professional betterment."

    Even at a TTT, the top 10% of students are going to be in the top 2-3% of society in terms of work ethic and intelligence. And yet HR people view them as toxic while employing utter idiots.

  48. Its disappointing that law schools don't do more to evaluate the character of an individual (as medical schools might do, say during their interview process). To think that individuals like 6:00pm might be the future business or political leaders of our country is very frustrating. The elitism and condescension expressed in his statements reflect a degree of both naivety and hyperindividuaism that are responsible for the continued decay of our society as a whole.

    But that's more or less what happened once law school became almost entirely a game of numbers. Take the LSAT once and get a 168 and you're just intellectually too inferior to get into a school like Harvard. But wait 3 months, retake the test and jump up by 6 points to a 174, and suddenly the admissions committee reviews your application from an entirely different perspective. You've gone from auto-reject to likely admit and have done nothing really meaningful to change the fundamental nature of your candidacy for law school. So law schools prioritize accepting immature brats with exceptional test taking skills over individuals with meaningful work and life experiences.

  49. Look, this is what I've always said (I'm 6:00).

    Cream always rises to the top. It doesn't matter what the standards for getting into law school are. No matter what the rules of the games are, by and large the winners will be the same--the people with the raw intelligence and drive to win.

    This means that if you don't win, you lacked the raw intelligence and drive. It's as simple as that. I understand that the playing field is not exactly equal, but I grew up in a working class family and I managed (yes I know there are people coming from much worse backgrounds than me that have their chances destroyed by the circumstances of their birth).

    7:26, I fail to see the problem with either elitism or hyperindividualism. The former has become a curse word for reasons that escape me (what's wrong with saying someone smarter than you is smarter than you?), and the latter is basically the founding principle of our country.

    Bottom line is, if you can't get into HYS, and don't look at the employment statistics, you have no one to blame but yourself. If you can't get into HYS, look at the stats and go to a TTT anyway, you have no one to blame but yourself.

  50. 8:09:

    Social Darwinism.

  51. Also don't see anything wrong with Social Darwinism, but this is not the appropriate term here. These people are going into debt because of ill-informed choices they made (yes I know law schools are lying, but come on, this blog is out there, TLS is out there, the NYT is out there, and people are STILL applying to TTTs).

  52. wow. you seriously suck ass.

  53. Look, make some arguments to the contrary please. Here's what I'm saying:

    Why are you going to TTTs instead of HYS?

    Because you can't get a good LSAT.

    Why can't you get a good LSAT/GPA?

    You're not smart enough to/you didn't work hard enough in college.

    Why didn't you research the employment stats at TTTs?

    When it comes down to it, everyone has to take responsibility for their own actions.

    No one is equal, there's no use pretending we all are. Some of us are smarter, some are harder working, etc., and there's nothing wrong with that. What IS wrong is when people pretend they'll get biglaw jobs out of TTTs DESPITE ALL THE EVIDENCE TO THE CONTRARY.

    Not everyone CAN have a biglaw/academia job, and not everyone should. If you want them, go to HYS. If you can't too bad, don't go to law school. I don't understand why this is so hard to get.

  54. 8:27,

    Let's say I agree with your assessment. My question is what value do the Harvard/Yale/Stanford academics provide to the world? With the exception of those extremely few that will go on to teach at HYS schools, why should society sustain a huge financial burden to sustain them? Since most of the people they are teaching will not benefit from it because they are meidocre, why should those meidocre people and the rest of society fund HYS academics not teaching at HYS schools?

    This kid posting this crap is why America is on its knees. Society grants these people power based on a standardized test, which overwhelmingly favors the rich, and they can contribute nothing in return. Even if they are smarter than everyone, instead of being forced to produce, they are told they are entitled to power. By the time they realize that they are useless from a production point of view, they appease the truly mediocre (not some kid with a 170 as opposed to 174 LSAT) with government bribes stolen from people that managed to become productive inspitec of this fucked up system.

  55. 8:51,

    I have no desire whatsoever to enter academia. My goal is to make partner at any big firm that will have me and reap the (monetary) profits, retire in my late 50s and enjoy the rest of my years, perhaps working for a non-profit, perhaps as a judge, perhaps just gardening and volunteering at legal aid.

  56. If that goal doesn't work out, I honestly don't know where life will take me. Maybe a government job? Maybe in-house?

    Never academia.

    You can be sure of that.

  57. 8:56

    So, are you funding HYS with student loans? Are they publicly funded? Why should I support that, given that you want to fuck the mediocre public?

  58. You should support it because I'm going to pay back those loans with interest, because I will most likely have a job that allows me to pay back the loans.

  59. Ok, lets think about this in a context bigger and see if we can figure out how you (as big as you are) fit back into the equation. What does the nature of legal education (unsustainable debt levels, poor job prospects out of even top 20 schools, a nation funding all of this through tax dollars) mean for the country as a whole? Even someone as unabashedly selfish as you must realize that the structure of the legal economy and education system as it stands today is fundamentally flawed. And, one day, as a result of the current system of legal education, you will be paying the price (either through higher taxes as you pick up the bill for students who can't pay it back, or through a sinking economy as America's consumer base falls apart, or through lower purchasing power as the dollar is devalued due to national debt-levels). To think that you are somehow removed from the consequences of the crisis in legal education is a reflection of your naivete. How do you get into Harvard and not have a clue about the broader ramifications of a social issue like this one? Do you really think you will end up in some insulated world where the consequences of this won't have an impact on your life? Having scored a 175 on the LSAT you should at least be good at making deductions, right?

    Also, don't be so pretentious as to forget that there is no way that HYS grads can account for the entirety of the legal market, nor should they. Lots of Americans need basic legal services on a day-to-day basis, and the vast majority of lawyers going to a non HYS were able to go out and work and fulfill those services. Once upon a time they graduated from school with less debt and could find legal jobs serving families, small businesses, and communities, yet still pay back the cost of their education on 30k or 40k a year. These days that is almost impossible, as even strong state schools cost nearly $100,000 in COA. As a result, the cost of legal services are going up to the point where they are becoming prohibitively expense to the individuals that make up the majority of the American population (like the working class family from which you come). At the same time, the individuals who do wish to actually work for these communities are being burdened by an unrealistic debt load--even if they succeed and find jobs, the financial positions they find themselves are incredibly challenging. The price for failure (not finding legal work) is tremendous, the burden of success (ie finding meaningful legal work that happens to not pay six-figures) is almost as bad. You dismiss these people as not working hard enough or not scoring as high on a standardized test as you are, but many of these folks (who got into schools like UCLA, Minnesota, UC Boulder) are bright young people with 160+ LSATs and strong GPAs who represent the top 80-90% of Americans in terms of intellect and educational achievement. Yet, despite all that, they are struggling to make a niche for themselves within the profession.

  60. @9:17,

    A fair and reasonable response. Godspeed and good luck.

  61. "Law school is not the problem. I think its the cost of law school that’s the problem," he says. "Would I spend the same amount of money again? Probably not. Would I go to law school again for a much less amount, probably so."

    * * *

    "You’re misled. They don’t have reliable statistics when they present how much money you will make when you get out," he says. "You’re not told that the top 10 or 20 percent plus maybe a handful of other people who have connections will get these big firm jobs and everyone else is just thrown the wolves."

  62. Dear 6:00:

    First, I encounter lawyers with you attitudes fairly often, and they are very unpleasant to be around. So, you might want to work on that, if you want to be popular (which is an immensely valuable thing to be).

    Second, I would recommend scaling back on the arrogance and getting a little bit of humility. Congratulations on getting into a HYS and on dreaming big (though, personally, I've never wanted a career on the big-firm partner track, but it takes all kinds). At the same time, you haven't even graduated yet, and you shouldn't count your chickens before they hatch. Even people who have everything going their way can screw up, or develop medical problems (either physical or mental), or have family emergencies, or have trouble at work. Your confidence comes off as a little delusional and, honestly, a little naive.

    Third, sympathy (or at least empathy) is a valuable thing for its own sake. Moreover, a just society works for more than the very top. I personally don't mind the idea of elites existing (except our current elites perform very poorly), but a just society has to work for people beyond the elites as well, for a wide variety of reasons (you might want to read Rawls, Mill, and some other people who have written on these issues).

    Also, even if you don't care about justice, widespread prosperity is valuable because it leads to better GDP growth, more innovation, and more social stability. So, yes, even if you're only self-interested, you should be concerned if our society is churning out people who are deeply indebted, unable to pay off those debts, and who are working in unproductive fields.

    And, finally, just to be clear--none of this is sour grapes or envy on my part. I got a better LSAT score than your 175 and I got the job that I wanted. But, I don't kid myself into thinking that I'm the only thing that matters, and I also don't kid myself that my success up to this point has involved a lot of luck (and that, with just a touch of bad luck, it could all come tumbling down).

  63. To the 6:00/8:27 HYS duche - in your world any chance that people exist tha score 175/3.9 but *aren't* admitted to HYS for whatever reason, be it schools attended, ethnicity (either because of minority status or in lieu of it), what their fater does for a job, political leanings, etc. Do you actually think *all* the special 175/3.9 snowflakes get into HYS?

  64. 6:01,

    Thanks for the comment. I've read plenty of Rawls and Mill, and I vehemently disagree with both of them. I'm more of a Nozick kinda guy.

    Believe me, I have plenty of humility. I know a good job is far from guaranteed, even from HYS. I am not joking at all when I say that if I DO strike out, I will seriously contemplate suicide. So, here's to hoping it works out.

    I know I came off as a bit harsh, but I'm a nice person, especially to people I consider equal or superior. I AM deeply concerned about those highly indebted and unemployed JDs TTTs churn out, that's why I was expressing my frustration that they SHOULDN'T GO.

  65. I know I came off as a bit harsh, but I'm a nice person, especially to people I consider equal or superior.

    But to those you consider "inferior" ... ?

  66. "See, the sad thing about a guy like you is in 50 years you're gonna start doin' some thinkin' on your own and you're gonna come up with the fact that there are two certainties in life. One, don't do that. And Two, you dropped a [two] hundred and fifty grand on a fuckin education you coulda got for a dollah fifty in late charges at the public library"

    Seriously, HYS, the real world is going to break you. Good luck.

  67. Many of the wealthy, men like Warren Buffet, admit to the place of luck in their success. Being in the right place at the right time is not something you overcome by being smart. We can't all go back in time to invent the Microsoft operating system. Nor could Bill Gates have turned it into what he did without luck. Someone getting into Harvard Law School is not successful or particularly interesting. They are just getting into a school. Success is measured by what you build, including your reputation for building.

    Here's Buffet on wealth:

    Gates also says his success was in part luck. Other men like Steve Jobs, before his death, said the same.

    I think the only people who don't believe luck plays a role in who gets what (just in terms of being born in the replace and right time) are either the ideologica or the truly delusional.

    Speaking of political theory- the classic theory is that man is a social animal. That means that we have to depend on others for our success. Anytime you got to depend on others- having the right people around you matters. Finding those right people is not a science of just getting into the right school. Its the luck of clicking with them and being able to sustain the relationship and having chosen the right people to form bonds with (which you can't know before hand).

    If success were all just a science, everyone would be able to do it because it would come down to a formula that we all can plugin like saying 2+2=4, but its not like that.

  68. People please, this HYS dude is nothing but a troll. Even if he is attending HYS (I seriously doubt so), he has no better guarantees that he'll get that Big Law job than T10 kids had when they began law school in 2007, 2008, 2009, etc. The legal market is not getting better, quite the contrary. Just let this lemming be blindingly confident like so many others have done, only to realize a few years later "I guess those guys were right."

  69. I assure you I really am attending.

    The job isn't a guarantee, but it seems pretty damn likely, even based on c/o 2011 results. But like I said, if I strike out, I can always jump off a bridge somewhere.

    8:06: that was a stupid line from a stupid movie, and his retort was very apt: "Yea, but you'll still be a janitor here when I'm driving by with my kids on a skiing trip." (not the exact quote but that's the gist)

    The degree is inherently valuable--it doesn't matter what you learn there as long as you don't fail.

  70. But like I said, if I strike out, I can always jump off a bridge somewhere.

    Here's hoping.

  71. Re: Jumping off bridges

    Please, this is not something to joke about. People are killing themselves because there is no way out for them.

    @HYS, maybe the TTT attendees should have known better, but does this mean that they should be lifelong failures at 25? Be careful who you judge. You never know what the future holds for you, esp. if you are planning on being saddled with 150+k of non-dischargable debt.

    Good luck.

  72. So, you're siding with the douche from Good Will Hunting. Your values are absurd, if you have any.

    I take back my good luck. I hope the world breaks you.

    When you come looking for a job at my shop, try to remember that arrogance and desperation is a rancid perfume.

  73. Just wait until this troll discovers the randomness of grading;cheerfully hope that 'suicide is painless" for him.

  74. Ok, HYS "attending-a law school tour." Suicide jokes aside, what will you do if you find yourself with over 150K in debt and no job? I know the chances of not getting one might seem remote to you know, but you surely have a better plan than jumping off a bridge. Why should tax payers have to pay to clean that shit up?

  75. Oh I didn't say they should be lifelong failures, but the decision to attend a TTT is not a good decision, we call all agree on that.

    What I'm saying is, the people that WENT to the TTTs and now find themselves jobless need to stop whining and take responsibility for their actions. They need look for jobs (legal and non-legal), and start making better decisions in the future, instead of all this incessant whining.

    There are no suicide jokes, my sink-or-swim philosophy applies to myself as well. If I DO find myself unable to get a job at a law firm, I would rather die ten times than have to live with the shame and disappointment.

    and 8:59, grading randomness is yet another reason to go to HYS...there are no real grades there.

  76. Please clarify the part about being a lifelong failure. As I understand it, you do IBR and pay 10% (maybe 15%?) of that portion of your AGI that is above the poverty level for 25 years and then the balance is forgiven. That doesn't seem that bad to me.

  77. What about T14 grads that paid sticker, worked hard in LS, and can't find a job? Do they get you your sympathy Mr. Might-Be-Jumping-Off-A Bridge-in-3-Years?


    Please add this link - to the post. It includes a bar graph that provides more detailed information and a visual representation of the discussion. It comes from the same Top Law Schools forum post.


  79. wow the new graph is really helpful. Thank you!

  80. @HYS - Why is it you suggest that a TTT or TTTT graduate in dire straights should buckle down, "take responsibility for their actions," get any job they can find, pay back their debts, "and start making better decisions in the future, instead of all this incessant whining," while reserving for yourself the binary choice of Winning The Big Law Lottery or "if I strike out, I can always jump off a bridge somewhere"?

    Your view for the future is two paths. The first is overcoming the long odds against success in law. The second is forcing your parents to bury their child. That is not the rugged individualism (or whatever you called it) you seem to aspire to. That is extreme narcissism.

  81. I don't think it's arrogant to say that the odds of getting a firm job out of HYS aren't very long. In fact, they're very good.

    And you may be right about the narcissism, so I apologize for my hypocrisy. What I'm trying to say is, I will do everything I can to succeed (including getting into HYS). So far, I'm on track. If I fall off, I can't fathom how depressed I would be.

  82. I think HYS is a troll. Let's all move on to another topic...

  83. "If I DO find myself unable to get a job at a law firm, I would rather die ten times than have to live with the shame and disappointment."

    There are so many things wrong with this that it's hard to know where to begin. Just to throw one out there: This guy seems to think he knows all about personal responsibility, given that he keeps lecturing everybody else about it. It seems to have escaped him that suicide is the ultimate in failing to take personal responsibility. Rather than facing the shame and disappointment that he might not be as great as he thought, he's perfectly willing to impose the much worse, horribly worse, guilt and shame of his suicide on his family and friends. That's so much more responsible than facing up to his problems.

    All of this is not to mention that failing to get a big firm job = reason to kill self is just so, so . . . pathetic? Immature? Twisted? Words fail me. I'm assuming that this guy is young, and I can't help thinking what his parents would think of these statements. As a parent myself, I am trying to raise my daughters to be kind, thoughtful, ethical people who work hard and do their best. If I ever found them expressing sentiments like these, I would seriously wonder what the hell I had done wrong.

  84. 10:50,

    Let's not forget that the bad outcome is thankfully small, as I do have a good shot at a good job after all.

    And not to criticize your parenting, but sometimes your best isn't good enough. What if you try your best and still don't succeed? Is that OK? The answer is no, it's not. You have to keep trying, do better than you best.

    But if you truly, truly can't do any better, you have to settle. But my personality and all my work up to this point has made that choice unthinkable. I'm not going to settle for poverty after 20+ years of hard work and climbing the ladder. It's really an all-or-nothing game at this point, and sometimes I regret that, but mostly I think my mentality is what's propelled me this far so far.

    And no, my parents were not monsters. I was brought up with the same "do your best, believe in yourself spiel", and we've had serious conversations about how they think I should just be "happy". But happiness isn't enough anymore. The bar is set so high because of the inherently bimodal legal profession.

  85. @11:08

    "happiness isn't enough anymore. The bar is set so high because of the inherently bimodal legal profession."

    ...or you could, I don't know, not go into the inherently bimodal legal profession?

    Look, I am a striver too. I graduated summa from an Ivy. I've been in the 99th percentile on every standardized test I ever took. I completely understand your drive, because I have (or at least had) a great deal of it myself.

    But I realized I wasn't sure which path to Master of the Universe I wanted to take after I graduated, so I thought I'd work while I made up my mind. And I started to realize that there's a lot to be said for being able to leave the office while it's still light outside some days, to go out with (and have) friends, to have a life. I came to understand that my earlier ambition -- not gone, but moderated -- was actively getting in the way of my future and my self. And it was only coming from me.

    You need to understand you've set an impossibly high standard for arbitrary reasons. The world will not end if you don't become an attorney. *Your* world will not end if you don't become an attorney. Being an attorney will not make you better than anyone else. In fact, all your talent, drive, and intelligence -- I'm assuming they're real -- do not make you better than anyone else, either, because people don't work that way.

    Elitism masks a lot of insecurity, but it's ultimately baseless. You have an overwhelming sense that you're better than everybody else, but that doesn't even mean anything unless you get specific. Better *at what*? Smarter? Smarter in what dimension? Spatial, social, emotional, verbal, mathematical intelligence...? Anyone who thinks they're the best at everything has a woefully diminished view of the realms of human activity, and nothing guarantees the skills you have are more important than others’. Once you forgive yourself for not having the ones you don't, for being a person, with all the limits that come with, you'll hopefully learn to forgive others too, and accept that skills and intelligence are separate from their worth as thinking and feeling beings who deserve dignity and freedom from pain.

  86. cont'd <<

    Turn it around this way: everyone else thinks they're as important as you & that they have as much a right to be on top. The people you disdain who went to TTTs? They're taking the same gamble as you, just on longer odds. They just have to be luckier than you. Why should you disdain them for taking the same bet at longer odds? They happened to score lower on a deeply flawed standardized test? It's easy to say that gamblers who win their bets made great decisions and ones who lose them made poor ones, but it's pretty weak analysis. You and they are playing the same game, and you aren't even sure of your odds yet either.

    Who are you trying to impress by transcending mere happiness, what is it you want to achieve? In eighty years no one's going to stop in awe at your grave site. Out of love, hopefully; but not awe. That only happens if you *do something* worth remembering (and no, making partner doesn't cut it).

    You're on the path to achieve everything you have worked for all these years, and make yourself and everyone around you completely miserable in the process. Please, think about this before you matriculate.

    Who am I kidding, you won't listen. If you could, you wouldn't've come in here like you did. But one last thought. Even if you ignore everything else I've said, you might find this useful, so listen up. Once you're out of school, jumping through arbitrary hoops doesn't help you. HYS may get you a seat at the table, but if you want to sit near the head, you need to be the guy who brings business into the firm. The secret of the working world is this: the hardest job in any organization is finding people to pay you. You do that by making people like you and trust you. I hope you're better at it than you've shown here.

  87. "HYS may get you a seat at the table, but if you want to sit near the head, you need to be the guy who brings business into the firm. The secret of the working world is this: the hardest job in any organization is finding people to pay you."

    Thank you for this. I know very much what you mean, and I know that once I get out of school, the rules of the game change again. I hope I'll be able to keep up and keep winning.

    I appreciate your long response, and I do agree with most of it. I have these thoughts all the time--"why don't I just do something I'll enjoy, make decent money, and be happy?" But the truth is that all my friends and family (not to mention myself) have high expectations for me now, and to fail now, give up everything I've worked for for so long and take a mediocre desk job somewhere would disappoint an awful lot of people, most of all me. This is the reason for the talk of suicide and such. I truly feel that I only have one path forward, and if I stray even a little from it, it's over.

    "Elitism masks a lot of insecurity, but it's ultimately baseless. You have an overwhelming sense that you're better than everybody else, but that doesn't even mean anything unless you get specific. Better *at what*?"

    This I will respectfully disagree with. Our society has two objective standards for measuring "better": power and money. And I believe working at a law firm and (hopefully) making partner is a path to both those things. Of course this is discounting things like moral goodness, which is subjective and not NECESSARILY mutually exclusive with being a biglawyer.

    For what it's worth, I do hope I can bring myself to change my priorities one day. But for now, I can't describe to you the hunger I feel for that prestigious Wall Street job. I dream about it, day and night, and if I don't get it...well I don't want to think about that. For now at least, I'm going to continue doing everything I possibly can and more to achieve it, and I don't think that's wrong.

  88. @12:56

    What prize do you win for being "better"? I'd like to think I would do something besides feed my own narcissism if I was in a similar position. Things may be very lonely at the top.

  89. prestigious Wall Street job

    Ha. I can say, from an office that overlooks wall and broad street, that you have no idea what you are talking about, and have set as your goal something you do not fully understand. You sound like an immigrant recounting tales of American streets paved with gold.

    Man, the future is going to hurt. Worse still, your lack of empathy will drive away the people you need to help you through the hardships ahead.

  90. I think money and power bring their own rewards. The former can let you buy things you need/want and take care of loved ones, the latter is good for its own sake--numerous studies have shown that powerful people are less likely to have physical and mental problems, are happier, etc.

    And as I mentioned, society marks those things as desirable, I would feel like I've "won" if I had those things, and that would make me happy.

    Isn't that what we're all after?

  91. @1:25

    What's so terrible about your job?

  92. Wow HYS. Just wow. Well, at least we all get a glimpse into the mindset of a future bloodsucking vampire squid - if he's lucky. Interesting and sad.

  93. @1:28,

    There is nothing terrible about my job. But you are unlikely to get a job like mine. First, I don't think people will like you. If people don't like you, you will not move ahead in a wall street law firm, bank, hedge fund, etc. Wall street is a client business, and most of the clients aren't HYS grads. Second, wall street isn't what it used to be. It is an industry that exists at the caprice of the Federal Reserve. The beard stops easing pallets of cash into the banking system and the music stops. Watch Margin Call.

    My advice, learn how to mimic human emotions.

  94. @2:01

    I'm very likable IRL, don't worry. I've worked at quite a few client businesses over summers and gotten good feedback (including one bulge bracket).

    The internets bring out the worst in everyone.

  95. Damn Tiercelet, you knocked that one out of the park. For some reason it reminds me of this, from John Updike's essay about Ted Williams' last at-bat:

    "For me, Williams is the classic ballplayer of the game on a hot August weekday, before a small crowd, when the only thing at stake is the tissue-thin difference between a thing done well and a thing done ill."

  96. @12:56

    "Our society has two objective standards for measuring 'better': power and money."

    You're discounting more than just moral goodness, here. Or, rather, that isn't something to write off lightly. A lot of people with a lot of power and money are widely held in contempt for what they've done to get there -- things like tricking financially or otherwise vulnerable people into unfavorable mortgages, committing fraud and getting away with it, treating their business partners shamelessly and faithlessly.

    And again, you're talking about a specific * somewhat tautological definition of "better", which is "having higher social status in a manner detached from any specific community." That social status won't necessarily carry over. In many communities, some random guy on Wall Street is likely less respected than the local priest -- but like all types of "better," it always depends on the context. You cannot detach social status from the society conferring that status. At a national level we try to treat money as a proxy for that status, but it really isn't. Nobody visits the graves of rich people to think about how much money they had; we remember their works more than their ownership.

    And status is specific, too. I have immense respect for the surgeon who fixed my foot. I have contempt for the surgeon who screwed up my girlfriend's. Both are surgeons, both make a ton of money... but respect is a social relationship. It isn't generic or commodified in a way that can be traded. Money's only a proxy for respect, because respect happens between people, and people aren't interchangeable.

    Ultimately, the respect that you get depends on the people you want respecting you. I would caution you that if you want the Wall Street job, you're going to be always in the company of other people who have the exact same job. The job won't buy you any status with them, while it may actually hurt your status in the eyes of the people who aren't them. And it will continue to be a treadmill as you try to race with the other partners for more money, just to establish who is "better." The people you will know won't be impressed, and the people you want to impress now, well, you may wind up no longer knowing each other if the hours are miserable enough or if you let your actions and attitude be governed by an outsized idea of how impressive you are.

  97. Wow, this guy is a fucking piece of American-made work.

    I'm 7:26 from last night. What you seem to miss, troll, is that there are a wealth of people who COULD get into HYS and do just fine there, but choose a different path, either due to location or money or a particular specialty. The point isn't that we're refusing to recognize your brilliance, it's that you just aren't brilliant. There's no problem with elitism (e.g., "Despite your claims, I am obviously smarter than you"), but there is a problem with unfounded elitism. What you see as the triumph of rugged individualism is nothing more than an overemphasis on prestige and reputation (and a willful ignorance of actual, objective quality) caused by our perverted academic/corporate culture.

    I would LOVE to be your therapist when you realize that you're fodder for the machine like everyone else.

  98. Just read through the thread; tierclet's responses are spot-on, and would be a useful guide to my generational chums who grew up like the kids in the TV shows who think life summarily ends if they can't get into Stanford/Harvard/etc. How blissful that they've been drugged by propaganda.

    Also, I want to add that if you really want to be a big-shot attorney, as others have stated you will need a strong client base. You know who those clients (or their general counsel) will be? With a few exceptions, they'll be the type of people who didn't score 170+ on the LSAT and demand that everyone to go HYS to be worth a damn. If you legitimately believe yourself better than them based on you admission into a social club, they will not be in your book of business for very long.

  99. Hey HYS (6:00 and 8:27)

    I am you worst nightmare - a partner who has an aversion to hiring HYs - because in general I have found them to be poor lawyers with inflated egos. Worst, my wife - who has a resumé that would make you wet your britches - turned down Harvard because of the high asshole quotient when they wooed her - and picked UVa instead (and yes she hated the frats and sororities.)

    Seriously, Harvard and Yale tends to graduate asswipes - so much so that "He's Harvard, but just an asshole" is good news. They also tend to turn out crummy, lazy lawyers - people who do not do the basic hard work. And they are jerky - firing a Haaavahhhd or Yawlie is actually pleasurable - and the best bit is how their peers usually back the firing (they see an advantage in being the last one standing.) Yes, you cannot trust a Harvard grade in general, but you should really worry if you went to Harvard....

  100. LOL and yet HLS remains the top-rated school according to hiring partners and law firms...

    I don't think I'll interview at your shitlaw shop anytime soon.

    It's one thing to disparage my personal feelings and attitudes (which I admit are warped and unhealthy), but quite another to trash talk a school that even scambloggers respect as one of the best.

  101. Off topic: UVa is a great school.

    But, then, I am biased.

    Bruh Rabbit

  102. Also, let me repeat

    None of the people who I know who have actually made it, and none of the people who are in press who speak of having made it (Buffet, Jobs, etc) talk like HYS

  103. Here's the problem. Harvard and Yale attract some students that might rightfully be considered "genius-level" talent. These people separate from the pack, even at Harvard and Yale. We've all heard stories about this. During the John Roberts confirmation hearings we heard one of his classmates talk about a schoolmate that was terrified he was in over his head and couldn't compete. He did just fine of course, and the classmate remarked that his problem was simply that he'd been studying with Roberts, who was not typical or average in any sense, and based on this comparison, felt like he was out of place.

    This isn't unique, as you hear stories about professors recognizing talent early--Barack Obama and Mitt Romney being a couple of additional examples.

    But because there may be a handful of true genuis-level talents in the class does not mean everyone with a Harvard, Yale or Stanford degree is a genius.

    Mortgages used to be a sure bet because they were only extended to the most responsible borrowers. The reasoning got skewed in the housing crisis. It was the responsible folks at the beginning that gave mortgage-backed securities their attractive qualities. The fact that a mortgage is extended to someone does not confer upon that person financial responsibility.

    In the same way, the fact that a true genius gravitates toward HYS does not mean that those schools are overflowing with folks head and shoulders above the rest. It's not the conferring of the degree that bestows brilliance on the recipient.

  104. This blog has an inordinate interest in HYS and other elite schools. It is as if every problem in the world can only be talked about through the lives of the relatively well off. And really, MacK, who cares if you have a prejudice against HLS people, instead of letting each person show what he or she can and cannot do? Does that tendency to prejudice apply in other cases, with people of different races, genders or religions? Or is it just schools? UVA is a great school that graduates people who go on to do great things. Harvard is a great school that graduates people who go on to do great things,too.

  105. Some of you commenters are too inexperienced to understand the real world. In the real world, many lawyers from many different schools are successful. There is not a high percentage of HYS grads even among partners at many top law firms. The partners come from all over. Think the most popular person in your high school class. Not the person who went to Harvard. Sort of the way it works in the real world.

  106. There is some sort of assumption among at least some and perhaps more than some people who attend very top schools that this will propel them to the top of the legal profession and society. Does it happen with some superstars? Yes. Think the guy who everyone thought was a genius in high school. Who ran for president of the class. Or think the woman who did it all and got into great schools.

    However, by and large, going to great schools does not guarantee a great career. If you mean partner in a big law firm that lasts a lifetime or general counsel and high level government jobs and floating around at the top of society- that is not the case for even most HYS grads. As Elie notes in Above the Law, Harvard graduates football field sized classes. Its grads are not all at the top. Yes, they have a better chance at entry level jobs, perhaps, but the advantage of a top law school is leveled by factors such as social skills that are not measured by the law school one goes to. Social skills are hard to measure in the grading or even admissions process to school. They factor in immensely in one's success in life.

    HYS Law simply does not mean you have the top social skills in the legal profession. The likelihood is that people from many other schools will have those social skills and that is why you see grads of so many different law schools at the pinnacle of the legal profession.

    So stop congratulating yourself on your prestigious degree and think about how you are going to compete with that guy or gall who has the eyes and ears of your boss because his or her social skills are great.

    Guess what- your boss probably did not go to HYS, and once you get hired will not care one iota that you did.

  107. The advice I would give to people who are considering law school: Are you a person that other people will flock to for advice. Do your peers trust you with their work and want to work with you. Do you have a history of building strong relationships with your peers and others. Are you a good sales person? Can you go out on the street and sell your services. Do you have the personal strength to hold yourself out and sell.

    If the answers to these questions are honestly yes, you want to consider going to law school, even to a not highly rated law school If the answers are no, a highly rated law school will help you get a job, but your career prospects in law will be limited.

  108. A few weeks ago on Henderson's The Legal Whiteboard there was a post about a study showing that graduates of regional schools make partner at a greater rate than graduates from HYS, certainly Y. H has the greatest number of partners in big firms, but the rates favor graduates from other schools. Why? The National Law Journal did story called Too Good for Big Law? There are a number of theories, but the suggestion is that HYS people decide earlier on to do other things. They have more opportunities to make the break and do other things. They tend to be more well off than students in other schools and more of them can afford to bail, too. I know that throughout my law school years our professors urged students to do things besides go to law firms. It was never sold as a Holy Grail. Graduates from regional schools have the incentive to stick it out, because this is their big chance and they take advantage of it.

    There's a real schizophrenia on this site, with commenters suggesting on one hand that HYS people can't cut it in firms and on the other saying that firm work is mindless drudge work that does not make it worth anyone's while to shoot for the 160k in big law. Why would it be a surprise that many HYS people after spending a few years there to pay down loans, would not want to continue doing that if they can do other things. That was the case with people who were at my law school during my time there.

  109. 3:46

    "There's a real schizophrenia on this site, with commenters suggesting on one hand that HYS people can't cut it in firms and on the other saying that firm work is mindless drudge work that does not make it worth anyone's while to shoot for the 160k in big law."

    It's called sour grapes.

  110. Is that you, HYS 0L (Mr. "sour grapes")? As someone who did HYS and who has succeeded in biglaw, I can say that your ilk are the reason my law school experience was miserable. You may have a good shot at getting in the door at biglaw, though it's far from guaranteed.. and you will find that even a lower tier firm in the top 100 will cause you a lot of emotional angst, as you won't measure up well with many of your classmates, most of whom don't have working class backgrounds to handicap them. However, with your attitude, it's hard to imagine you not pissing off some partners--you've already pissed off several on this blog. If you get flushed out of biglaw after a couple years with 100K+ in debt what then? Time to ruin the lives of your family and friends with your selfish suicide? You were too busy working on your LSAT and GPA to grow up and become a person. Hope there's still time for that.

  111. The emphasis on the top of the top law schools may be overemphasis on this site. It is simply not true that all or the majority of successful lawyers even went to a T14. Sometimes it is hard to get a handle on the person's success. Someone who made a lot of money may actually retire early and work at a new start up. They may show up at their home address. We really need long-term employment statistics that go the length of the average legal career to judge law school outcomes fairly. My top law degree has not been as much a ladder to great success as some of my peers who seem to survive not on their top law degree but their ability to know the "right people". This blog is too focused on early employment outcomes and just has no data on career-long outcomes. My guess is the ratios of successful lawyers are much higher, the better rated the schools. However, you will find many suprises- people from schools that are being sued who literally make millions of dollars as lawyers. I have seen it. As a graduate of a top school, I sure wish a top school meant always being favored job-wise over someone who went to a lesser school. You can look the part, act the part, be incredibly smart, have a great resume, and guess what- the people who get along best with the bosses, know how to deal with people on an expert level, are the ones who make it, and the name of the law school falls out of the equation. In other words, the law school gets you a job, but in no way determines performance on the job. That is based on soft skills that no law school can measure. You are born with it. A few people have it, and most don't. If you don't have the soft skills of the top 1% od the population, Harvard and YLS will not get you to the top of the profession.

  112. "There's a real schizophrenia on this site, with commenters suggesting on one hand that HYS people can't cut it in firms and on the other saying that firm work is mindless drudge work that does not make it worth anyone's while to shoot for the 160k in big law."

    That's not a "schizophrenia," or even a contradiction. Often, the first few years at a large firm are spent doing drudge work: repetitive interrogatories, securities forms, contract review, memoranda about arcane procedural points, etc.

    "Making it" doesn't mean being able to do the early grunt work. "Making it" means being accepted into the Partner club a decade later. I could see that HYS graduates are less equipped to make it to partner, especially at the non-cream of the crop firms. The non-t14 grads who wind up at those places are almost always top 5% gunners who got ahead in law school by being meticulous and culling favor with the faculty. The t6/t14 grads who wind up there (and not as CA clerks or at firms like Cravath) were more in the middle of the class, and likely never had to schmooze a professor to guarantee not getting curved out. There's a trait of survivorship that, I'm guessing, the HYS grad doesn't have.

  113. Some people clearly have it and some don't. The point is where you went to law school is not exactly correlated with being successful as a lawyer. Some people at the tops schools have this sense of "I'm from top schools. I am superior to anyone who is not from a top school." What I thought when I was young. I found out the hard way. If you are Mr. or Ms. Popularity, made it into the best crowd in every school, then you have a good shot. If not, double Harvard is not going to get you to the top. It is very important to assess your skills before you go to law school. I knew that others had better social skills than I did. That mitigated against my being a great success in this profession.

  114. It is a contradiction to the extent that people present Big Law as something that is both desirable and difficult to achieve and maintain and then say, as has been said,that it involves work that a trained monkey can do and that it is work that no well-adjusted person would want to do. The arguments are designed so that HYS people will be put down no matter what. As people have said, all this attention to HYS is immaterial. Those schools are not going to disappear, and they will continue to do what they do and how they decide to do it.


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