Sunday, June 9, 2013

Law School Advisory List: One Guy's Opinion

A commenter recently suggested looking at individual schools:
I think it might be time to start attacking specific schools, otherwise 0L's will say "at least I'm not in Cooley, I'm in University of X, so I'm OK". 
I agree.  So, for clarity's sake and as a treat for our Sunday afternoon readership, here is a full list of American (non-Puerto Rican) law schools (I think) with the probable reaction yours truly (and not OTLSS - this isn't Above the Law for God's sake) would give to a prospective student enrolling in those institutions, in crude alphabetical order.

You can take this as one guy's opinion, but the point is that if you want to argue there's a difference between T4 and T7, fine, go ahead.  Neither is a good option, and if I'm ever on the other side of the hiring table, you're getting an escalating minus if you enroll in any school in T4-T7 in 2013 or beyond.

1st Tier:  [Enthusiasm]  "Good for you!"


2nd Tier:  [Passive approval] "Sure, go to law school."

New York U.

3rd Tier:  [Concern/Caution/Conditional Approval]  "Are you sure?!"  Followed by  "You're from there, right?" and/or "Please tell me you got a huge discount."

Arizona State
Boston Coll.
Boston U.
Brigham Young
Cal-Los Angeles
Florida State
George Washington
Georgia State
Nevada-Las Vegas
New Mexico
North Carolina
North Dakota
Notre Dame
Ohio State
Penn State
Rutgers (either)
South Carolina
South Dakota
Southern Cal
Wake Forest
Washington U. (STL)
Wayne State
William & Mary
West Virginia


4th Tier:  [Logos level]  "NO.  Don't do that.  I can reason with you, right?  Let me explain this..."

Arkansas-Little Rock
Case Western
George Mason
Lewis & Clark
Michigan State
Missouri-Kansas City
New Hampshire
Northern Illinois
San Diego
Santa Clara
Seton Hall
Southern Illinois
St. Johns
St. Louis
Texas Tech
Washington & Lee

5th Tier:  [Ethos level]  "NO.  Don't go.  Don't just take my word for it, look at all these books and news articles.  Almost no one who has any objectivity is telling you this is a good idea."

Cal-Irvine (prov. accred)
Florida A&M
Loyola-New Orleans
Mass-Dartmouth (prov. accred)
Mississippi COL
NC Central
Northern Kentucky
Nova Southeastern
Ohio Northern
San Francisco
Seattle U.
South Texas
St. Mary's
St. Thomas (MN)
Texas Southern
Texas Wesleyan-AM
William Mitchell

6th Tier:  [Pathos level] "NO.  NO NO NO.  You are walking into a machine gun of tragic donkey shit!  STOP!  Are you fucking serious?"

Golden Gate
LaVerne (prov. accred)
New England
New York Law School
Oklahoma City
Roger Williams
St. Thomas (Fl)
Western New England
Western State
-All established state-accredited institutions

7th Tier:  [start sobbing uncontrollably while running for shelter]

Ave Maria
Concordia (seeking accred.)
Duncan-LM (seeking accred.)
Florida Coastal
Savannah (seeking accred.)
Thomas Cooley
Thomas Jefferson
-All unaccredited institutions


  1. Well done. The Seton Hall Law toilet should be ranked below rutgers. Settton Hall Law is americas most rottten toilet!

    1. Seton Hall costs twice as much as Rutgers with roughly similar job output results.

    2. Seventh tier? Don't you know that proud, grateful Thomas Jefferson law school grads strongly object to their fine law school's reputation "being treated like a pinata"?

      Even but even if you're top tier, you're gonna end up bottoming for some firm.

      If you win the lottery.

    3. Ole! Ole! Ole!

  2. Why do you have W & L so low? It's 26th in us news.

    1. Hopefully that was a sarcastic comment? It has one of the worst divergences between its US News ranking and its employment outcomes.

    2. The question should be why US News has W&L so high, not the other way around.

      To make it to The Third Tier on these rankings, you need low cost, solid employment results, or some other reason to affirmatively take you up there. W&L is the third-best school in its own state (at best), costs a ton, and has dreadful employment results. The fact that the name holds some cachet cannot save its <50% employment results and high cost.

      In fact, I would rank W&L 5th in its own state. Both Richmond and George Mason have better claims to the Third Tier than W&L - cheaper, slightly better employment outputs, much higher placement in Virginia itself. Richmond actually places better in federal clerkships, and Mason places better in government/public interest.

      The fact that US News ranks W&L higher than W&M is one of the more absurd things about the list (and there are a lot).

    3. W&L - rich, white, spoiled legacy families. They probably have a major investor in US News as a grad of that racism academy.

    4. No, I didn't know. thanks for the info.

    5. Racism academy? Really?

  3. A bit harsh on Duke (and maybe Northwestern & Cornell), I think.

    I'm not sure that a ranking that brackets Duke alongside Arkansas-Fayetteville, Arizona State and Rutgers, for example, is very helpful.

    1. I see the risk on all three as unduly high. Duke would be the best candidate to move up, but on all three, you're basically betting 250-300k that you'll be in the ~50-60% who get BigLaw or federal clerkship. All three are behind some other school in their target metro area, and none of the three seem to be definitively ahead of the mid-level schools in their own backyard. I think they're now at the point where I'd need a discount to endorse going there.

      Actually, it was more likely I would move Michigan down than move any of those three up.

      The second part of your statement shows a massive problem with prestige-based rankings, IMO. For a great many prospective law students, Arkansas, ASU, and Rutgers are all much better "bets" (or investments, whatever) than laying 300k on Georgetown or even Duke.

    2. Meh. You know that law school is a scam, right?

      If anything, it's not harsh enough on these schools.

      And Duke is a massive rip off too. Didn't they have some kind of huge tuition hike that caused a stir recently because the dean sent a letter to everyone claiming that they could not deliver a quality education for less?

    3. I agree that the disparity between the t14s in the 2nd and 3rd tiers is arbitrary (Duke in the 3rd tier and VA in the 2nd? Really?) and diminish the credibility of these otherwise laudable rankings. Maybe it seems petty but these rankings need to at least make common sense in order to be accepted.

      I say this as someone that 100% agrees that all of these schools are a total rip-off.

    4. ATL's "output-based" rating had Duke at #6.

      But yes, all law schools are a scam and/or a rip-off -- some to a greater extent than others, but every last one of them.

  4. You're crazy about Northwestern. That's gotta be at least in 2d tier.

  5. I agree with 10:24AM. Seton Hall should be at least in the 6th tier.

  6. Why let Bob Morse and US "News" set the tiers? Remember when the dolt mentioned that he was going to assign rankings to the third tier, and then a few months later, Dummy said there were only two tiers. I am tempted to write Fifth Tier Drake, even if Third Tier Drake is better understood.

  7. I am surprised that any quibbles about even these rankings. I am surprised that anyone defends any of these schools as deserving a better spot. Con Law had it right. If you did not go to the top 10, you probably should not have gone at all. This list reflects reality better than most, even if it stings some of us.

    1. With you on that - even here, in the heart of the scam believers, we have pettiness about where schools rank.


      Do you all really not get this shit? Why are you still trying to defend your schools as being the exceptions to the toilet rule? Because yeah, your school really worked for you! That's why you're here and not on "Inside the Law Career Money Machine" blog.

    2. ^ Fuck you!!! Drexel deserves to be WELL into the fifth tier, or maybe even the fourth tier!!!


    3. My terlet law school was actually ranked higher in this tier system that I imagined it would be!!! Woo!!!

      Not that this is anything to brag about, though...or that it matters in the final analysis. 90% of students shouldn't be going, for a variety of reasons.

  8. Do e-books generally get media appearances? In other words, Could Cooper and Messinger get a PR/Literary agent to book television and radio interviews?

    Also newspaper book reviews?

    1. What's a newspaper?

    2. Anon 2:16 -

      I have used agents before, to dismal (i.e., non-existent) results.

      As with most things in life, including law schools, the 80/20 rule is really more like a 98/02 rule: Only the tippy-top get the goodies, while the rest scrounge. As to reviews, it's highly NYC-centric, and focused on known media darlings. I have considered spending a large chunk of change, out of pocket, for something like this, but the idea (especially with Con Law) continues to come down to: What would that accomplish?

      In this case, the audience is students of all ages, including especially those considering . . . or, more likely, *assuming* they will attend . . . law school.

      And, as Millennial deliciously explained, the traditional media are hardly the best route to this audience's mind.

      Thus, my request as to word-of-keyboard. If everyone here were to post a short note on three message boards ("If you're even thinking of going to law school, read this first . . . [link to book]."), and even one-in-ten of those were forwarded or reposted to other groups, that would be a real achievement.

      Here are the links:


  9. Abandon All HopeJune 9, 2013 at 3:41 PM

    Add two more tiers and you'll have the Nine Circles of Law School Hell.

    I guess attending Yale could be considered Purgatory for law school debtors in a state of grace.

  10. I used to work with someone (not at a legal job, obviously) who'd graduated from JMLS-Atlanta a year previously and was waiting for the results of her second attempt at the GA bar. She was hoping to hang a shingle with a fellow grad if she passed. She was about sixty years old, $80k in debt with no savings left except for her home.

    1. I here a lot about older people and their huge loan sums. For them, does it really matter? They will get three years of deferment, and after that they can make the min. payment until they die. They know they will never pay it off, so why would they care? They could go back for multiple art history degrees while they are at it. Student loans should have an age limit. And people need to stop listening to these foolish sayings like "Smart is the new rich", "Retool, Retrain, Reinvent yourself", and "Start a Business". We are in midst of a massive change in how this country and world value labor. If I had a college age child, I would buy them a couple versions of Rosetta Stone (spanish and chinese), teach them power point, and have them forget about degrees.

    2. 3:53, you are an idiot...

      ...because Rosetta Stone is a bigger scam than law school.

      Learning Spanish? Why? So they can move to South America and do what exactly?

      And Chinese? Dude, that economy is built on more phoney stats and lies than law schools are.

      My advice to my kids is this: go to college, but go smart - pay as little as possible. Have concrete career plans and stick to them. But be flexible too, and remember that if (and when) the US economy rolls over and dies, you need to forget all the flag-toting patriotic bullshit and run. Old Glory isn't going to pay your bills when you get old. Go where the opportunities are, because these days, you're no further away from me than any computer in the entire world.

      Forgetting about degrees is an extreme knee jerk reaction. The world is changing, but it's always been changing. We're just at an age (and with access to such large amounts of information) that we see what's going on. But this is no different from any other periods in history. Except those cunt baby boomers who are fucking shit up for us all.

      Man, I should go into the coffin business, building extra fat boomer coffins, but on the side running "" where I, as a funeral director, pour your mailed-in cups of piss all over the body as I shut the lid.

      Now that's a million dollar idea. Two million dollars if I included a bonus "shit" option.

    3. Wow. You do realize most boomers are akso victims of the financial - housing scam, right?

  11. LSTC, please continue with this idea - it could be developed in a far more serious manner and be a useful tool. Perhaps not so many tiers, just a "yes, go to this school if you get in," a "yes, go if you're paying under 50% tuition", a "yes, go if you're getting it for free," and "never go to this school."

    Tier 1, three schools? Tier 2, maybe the top 10. Tier 3, maybe the good schools in the top 25. And tier 4 the rest.

    Or even simpler - yes, yes if cheap, and no. A traffic light system? Red, yellow and green?

    I'm seeing some good ideas coming through this site again. Kickstarted advertising, simple rankings, the new book, etc. I'm sensing a renaissance in scamblogging.

    1. A few thoughts:

      Sticking with four tiers is likely the only path to getting even a tiny bit of "mind share." One might have 7 tiers, 9 tiers, 13 tiers, or 27, but any such effort almost certainly feeds students back to the comfy home of U.S. News. The effect may well be counter-productive (although it *is* fun).

      Consider instead: Tier 1 High; Tier 1 Mid; Tier 1 Low; Tiers 2, 3, 4.

      Advice to any:

      "Don't even think about 3 or 4. Just don't." (Love the comments beside the tiers.)

      "While you're at it, don't even think about 2 either."

      "Think about Tier 1 Low only if free and you've a damned good reason." Etc.

      Tier 3 above is too broad, in my opinion. State schools are in a different category for in-state students than would be true in a private school. The main point is valid, but as we see, we would have incessant bickering over this school or that. (And, for the record, I think the cost of even in-state tuition is outrageously high for what it should be, given how law schools are actually run.)


    2. Modification:

      1. Tier 1 Elite: Harvard and Yale. (Yes, Stanford fans will have a heart attack.)

      Advice: This from Morten Lund, author of three excellent books for new lawyers (the "Jagged Rocks of Wisdom series): "Go. If you get into HYS, go. Sell a kidney if you have to, but go." [Lund is a Yalie. Okay, I'll throw in Stanford, and maybe Chicago, to this. But not really.]

      2. Tier 1 High: Maybe the next 3-4 (and of course 12 want to be in there, but don't let 'em in). Some, like Chicago and Stanford, are almost almost like Harvard-Yale. Almost. But not quite. H-Y have a three-century head start. It happens.

      Advice: Now we're talking. Taking on debt is probably a reasonable bet, just as before. But you're still going to have to place well, and you're going to have to challenge what you think you know about "school," "classwork," and so on.

      3. Tier 1 Mid: The rest of the T14.

      Advice: Same, mostly, but for a job you are REALLY going to have to do well. This means doing NOTHING like everyone else does. No notes, no color-coding, no bad behavior, no gunning. Outline from before day one, and start taking practice exams the first month. (Yes, really.) And keepa' you mouth a' shut.

      If you breath the words, "Are you kidding?! I'm going to get drunk and high the entire summer!! Everything we need to know, our law professors will tell us!!!" . . . you need not only not to go, you should join the military. Enlisted. Marines. Volunteer for everything. That might knock some sense into you.

      4. Tier 1 Low

      Advice: "Think about Tier 1 Low only if it's free, or nearly so, and you've a damned good reason. And if you do go, tattoo the statement as to "What to do and How to do it" in reverse DaVinci-style on your forehead. Memorize it it Latin. Do not do what every other law student is doing."

      Tiers 2, 3, 4.


      "Don't even think about 3 or 4. Just don't." (Love the comments beside the tiers.)

      "While you're at it, don't even think about 2 either.

      If you think "It's only three years, get an MBA, instead."

      There *is* a Tier 5, now that I think of it: Unaccredited, state-accredited, and provisionally ABA accredited programs.

      Advice: "Run, don't walk. No, I will not talk with you about this further. Officer . . . !"

      I might just have to use this somewhere. = : )


    3. You are being too charitable by including Georgetown in your Tier 1 Mid category. When you scrub the school-hired from their employment data, it's clear that GULC is far worse than any other schools in the so-called T14.

    4. Anon 6:49 -

      I wouldn't argue for or against any specific ranking, as anything below Harvard-Yale is essentially hair-splitting. (And Harvard-Yale only because everyone "knows" it to be so.) One could justify moving any school up or down one category, and there is nothing truly objective to argue against (or for) such a position.

      I of course would argue with Texas being in Tier 1 Elite, but, sigh, no one will lissen'. = : )


    5. Texas hasn't been in Tier 1 ever since Leiter left...

  12. At sticker price, only the first tier could debatably make sense, for me at least. Why is Chicago there anyway, it should be lev2.

    At 50% off, I'd consider half of tier 2 before ultimately rejecting it.

    H and Y are more elite training schools than law school.


    1. The thing with Chicago is that it has a really small class size in one of the bigget markets outside of NYC without a real peer school. You end up with basically 1/4 of the combined students of Columbia/NYU competing for a lot more than 1/4 of the jobs.

    2. This can cut both ways, as we see with Yale. The result, generally, is that smaller elite schools can be and are even more selective, and so they have even more of an egghead reputation. Not bad, and potentially helpful for top students who might might qualify for a teaching position. But large elite schools maintain that general elitist thrust while also commanding a larger mind-share of the profession. Again the Harvard-Yale duo is the model. One might throw Stanford on the Yale side.

      But at any level below those two/three, honestly, we're back to angles-on-pinheads. This too is fun for folks such as we, but hardly Earth-shattering in terms of a definitive placement.


  13. What about rankings for specialty programs? Eg vermont's award winning environmental program.

    Also, how do you score it if a law school has a cookie truck, like Drexel?

    1. Anon 8:06 -

      Specialty, schmeshelty. These are exceptions proving the rule. (The rule being "Specialty, schmeshelty.") If one has a master's in, say, geology, plus five years' experience in some environmental capacity, and goes to Vermont, and intends to stay in New England, and does well, then . . . okay.

      For anyone else (and for *everyone* else), employers will take a top grad of a Tier 1 (of any flavor) any day. VLS does have a pretty campus, I must admit. Maybe there's oil under there. Fracking, anyone . . . ?


      PS: Many students yearn for the hot ticket (or any ticket) of the day. Consider, however, that the only private employers hiring for environmental law tend to represent defendants (or their administrative equivalent). Consider too that getting into a governmental position will be equally difficult.

    2. I don't think the question was meant seriously.

    3. Ah. I suppose the cookie truck should have clued me in.

      (And I was wondering where that truck was when *I* was in school. = : )

  14. Success in law is determined by making money practicing law. Yes, helping people too... but ultimately, it's about saving the clients money, too. Law is job- and money-driven.

    Too many lawyers chasing too little --and decreasing-- work.

    The schools can't create a legitimate need for lawyers. They can't create legitimate jobs. Arguing over which school is less of a toilet is like arguing over how many angels can dance on the top of a toilet seat.

    There's no need for any more lawyers at the present time. And there may not be for some time. The law economy has rolled over and died. So don't go to law school. The law degree won't buy you a job. Move out of the country and make a living by your wits.

    1. Anon 8:10 -

      One way this is trickier (and more horrible for recent graduates) is that it's not a static contest. Employers will simply discount anyone of the current generation; they will favor the elite of next year's batch.

      And despite all this, the trend in all of society is toward more regulation, law, rules, you name it. So, while the private market has been decimated, the demand (albeit highly constrained) is there.

      [Don't get me started. If 90% of all JDs and MBAs over the past 40 years to have started businesses instead, our nation would by now be twice as wealthy. Sure, most would have failed, but that's okay too. And it's hardly worse than what's happened for most of such grads.]

      Radical? Me?! = : )


  15. OK Thane, I plugged the book on a rather prominent forum.

    1. Merci, Anon 5:04.


    2. Anon 5:04 -

      I should have added that this is the real challenge, and it's one Cooper and I are taking seriously (despite other distractions, such as jobs and, for me, replacing a water heater yesterday).

      For all, whatever groups you're in, if the opportunity presents itself, guide 0Ls to this (and Campos' book, Tamanaha, etc.), for them to at least *see* the arguments.

      For those who absolutely, positively will not be deterred, the advice switches (in my opinion) from dissuasion to an unyielding insistence that they not be lazy (mentally more than physically) and *prepare* for what they're about to do. Law school certainly won't help them in this regard, much as that cuts against 16 years of assumptions.

      Thus Planet Law School and my own prelaw book (Law School: Getting In, Getting Good, Getting the Gold), as well as a small handful of others (Law School Undercover, by Professor X; Law School Fast Track, by Derrick Hibbard).

      [Spoiler alert: I did have a hand in the latter two, and only tangentially in PLS, which is why I recommend them. Subjective? Perhaps. But there it is.]

      If each of us were to write one post a day, wherever, the message might be heard, dissuading two-thirds and truly helping the other third.

      Again, thank you,


  16. Columbia and NYU have trouble in rankings because they are much too darn big. Columbia and NYU with their huge classes are failing a large percentage of their grads. Several years out, few have real legal jobs. If they were the size of Yale, Stanford or Chicago, their placement success in the long term might be acceptable. Now - do you want to be a real estate broker, baby sitter or dog walker? Go to Columbia and NYU and there is a good chance you will end up there by age 50 because these schools have glutted the New York job market with their grads. Their older grads are unemployed and unable to get real legal jobs in huge numbers.

    1. There's no need for any more lawyers. And may not be for some time. The law economy rolled over long ago. It's now died.

      Don't go to law school. Any law school. The prestige-level of the school issuing the degree won't buy you a job or won't bring you cases.

      Reminds me of movies about the Titanic. As the ship sinks, desparate passengers frantically race to the higher decks, hoping to escape the rising water. "I'm now on D deck! I'm so much better off than those cretins on A deck!"

      Spoiler alert:

      The ship eventually sinks, leaving all those who didn't bail out in lifeboats to die in the freezing water. Making it to the tippy-top of the ship's stern only prolonged their lives for 30 minutes.

    2. People who have Columbia and NYU degrees, are older and cannot find any work are stuck. The law experience does not prepare them for any other type of job for most lawyers.

      It is like being on the Titanic, but what do you do if you have one of these degrees, years of big law experience or U.S. Attorney's office and you cannot find work - any work? Your experience is not good for any other job because there are too few legal jobs and too few paying clients by a long shot and the non-legal jobs that bear any relation to your legal experience require you to have done that same job, but at a more junior level?

      Do you go back to your college and beg for an internship if you are over age 45? How well do you think that is going work where the interns and their bosses are all in their 20s?

      What do you do with a Columbia or NYU Law degree that produces the options of solo practice, unemployment or, if you can get it, unskilled labor by the hour or completely on commission?

      You are screwed with your Columbia or NYU Law degree.

    3. Correct. The law degree has a number of problems:

      1.) Right now, there are esentially no jobs (i.e., people/entities wanting to hire someone to fulfill a role) and hence the ranking of the school issuing the law degree is moot.

      2.) The traditional fall-back of solo practice is sweet in the mouth yet very, very bitter in the stomach. You can easily create your law firm in a day, and poof, you're now the senior partner. You're master of your own business. Now read number (1) again. Law is a service business.... and you gotta get paying clients (i.e., those who have a need for your services and who can/will pay). The fact that potential employers have all clamed-up kinda suggests that the market is in a coma and there's not a lot of fertile ground for a new business.

      3.) If you perchance get a job, your 'career' with your firm is likely only several years in duration. After which, see (2).

      4.) All the law degree will eventually get you is 'prestige.' Meaning that you can tell people your were/are a laywer, and that you 'have your own firm.' Play it up big... brag... rattle on about your cases and war stories. Exaggerate. Some people may be be impressed with you.

      The issue for your life is: WILL YOU BE IMPRESSED WITH YOU? Do you want, "I went to Stanford Law" on your headstone? If so, rock and roll.

    4. There are certain individuals who have the presence and inherent ability to persuade people. These people are born to be be trial lawyers, not made and it doesn't matter where these people have gone to school. Put them in a Courtroom and they will clean up. Granted, most trial lawyers are Journeymen, but there are the few, the best . .who will make a killing in the law.

    5. I've read comments here that even graduates from Top 14 law schools are having trouble finding jobs. Perhaps the advice should go:

      Tier 1: Congratulations, hope you got a discount.
      Tier 2: Hope you got a substantial discount.
      Tier 3 (and below): RUN, RUN AWAY.

    6. Problem is the huge difference between the junior level job market and the experienced job market. The experienced job market is almost non-existent in many practice areas. There is also the phenomenon of huge abrupt job losses that is ongoing in the legal profession and limited hiring going on.

      There is a big big phenomenon of lost lawyers going on here. It undercuts the rankings of all these law schools. It turns out that even with a Yale Law degree, the best most or at least many people will be able to do is a solo several years down the road. No one is hiring the bulk of experienced lawyers to fill any type of role.

      That is where the wholesale fraud comes in here. For a lot of people, you make it as a solo, or you are unemployed - even with the top 3 or top 7 or top 14 law degree. These are not good options for most people and do not enable most people to make a satisfactory living.

      Sure, Harvard and Yale have better outcomes than the rest, but is still a lottery as to whether you will be able to make a living as an experienced graduate of any of these schools. This is fraud because of the huge numbers of experienced lost lawyers who simply cannot make a living as solos or find paying work as lawyers.

    7. Just to answer 6:16 - I went to law school when it was cheap. My family paid every dime. It was the worst decision of my life, and the worst decision for many of my classmates. I could have done anything - I was a good math and science student from one of T5 universities undergrad.

      Even for free, many and perhaps most of my T3,7 14 law school classmates do not have real legal jobs and cannot get real legal jobs. Our law degrees are worthless, and do not provide a bridge to any type of skilled employment. The longitudinal outcomes for even the top schools going many years down the road suck. This career in no way takes most people anywhere close to retirement. Most people are unemployed long before then, even from the top schools. The answer is - even if it is for free - if it is lottery that most people lose and that leaves most people jobless, it sucks. If you are a young person, still employed, and reading this, do not say I did not warn you when are my age or even 10 years younger and you cannot get any type of job with your T3,7 or 14 law degree.

    8. I have been reading these scam blogs for the last month or so and find them fascinating . . . BUT . . .I can't speak for the younger guys or how difficult it is to find work, nor do I doubt the law school scamming going on (our country is built on scamming others for a profit), but as a Boomer, I don't know any experienced lawyers not working unless they WANT to be retired. When you are experienced you are an asset to another lawyer who has a busy practice, but may not want to take the time to train a new guy. Also, experienced Lawyers generally have networks of clients for referral sources of new clients. And of course, most of us have made it one way or the other or else we would have been out of law long, long ago.

      As for making a living in the law, I am solo, and this year will be my BEST year ever. All based on contingent fees for cases I worked up and won. I practice in Florida. Sue an insurance company on a coverage issue and you get paid your fee FROM the insurer. It can be a fee well into six figures no matter how small the amount at issue. Beat a Proposal to Settle a case and the insurance company may well be paying you a large fee no matter how small the underlying case. Pick up a good P.I. case, and you never know what cases will turn out well, and you can make a lot of money that way also . . assuming of course you are willing and able to try cases.

      Its not a lost cause out there. If a few young guys get together, pool their resources, etc., it can not be impossible to make it although it may be hard. But its always been hard.

    9. "Pick up a good P.I. case, and you never know what cases will turn out well, and you can make a lot of money that way also "

      Ooooh - where do I get me one of them good PI cases?!??!

      Good gravy. Assuming what you write is an accurate portrayal of reality (it isn't - statistics show there's a massive exodus of lawyers every year), how in the hell can you justify borrowing 200k+ just to enter a field where " If a few young guys get together, pool their resources, etc., it can not be impossible to make it although it may be hard."

      It's not just a poor market for services. It's also crippling debt and 7+ years of adult life. With those odds, why choose law over other "you can make it but it's hard" fields like restauranting or plumbing or dog walking?

    10. The poster also assumes most older law grads have litigation experience. For many people that would not be the case. It would be quite hard to pick up a PI case many years out of law school and run with it for someone who has practiced in other areas for their whole career.

      The people I know who are almost all big law veterans, including a number of former partners, and many of them are unemployed. Maybe it is matter of age and the guy who is commenting at 3:05 PM is a lot younger than us. I see the unemployment at all ages though of people who include those who sailed through college and law school with top records and who are physically attractive and very personable. It seems that the problem is an acute surplus of lawyers, and that the up or out system produces an acute surplus of lawyers, including booted partners, counsel and associates who cannot find other work. It also seems that many in house lawyers have lost their jobs through what may be a system similar to up or out or simply firing a large percentage of the workforce each year in house.

      Yeah, it looks like you are better off if you are a solo and can generate enough of your own business to make a good living. No one can really screw you the way so many lawyers are screwed in large law firms and in house today.

    11. Just for what its worth, I am in my latter 50s and see going another two years or so before retirement. I think I was fortunate in solo because I concentrated in Maritime law, Jones Act and 905 (b) cases under the Longshore Act, which most lawyers didn't know what to do with . . .which always resulted in a few cases a year to make a big financial difference. Trying to find something that sets you apart is the best way to go. Most of my work was/is contingency. When I started out in mid law out of my TTT law school, I learned to detest the billing requirements. One reason I went the contingency route. The other, you are not limited to an hourly rate. Any lawyer can learn the Rules of Evidence and how to litigate. But I would not wait until middle age to do so of course. There a few lawyers I know in very small practices who are regularly making into seven figures per year based on their PI practices.

    12. "Trying to find something that sets you apart is the best way to go."

      You betcha.

      But today, that's not Maritime law, Jones Act and 905(b) cases under the Longshore Act.

      And do you think the number of US-justiciable injured maritime workers is growing or shrinking?

      It was good back then.

    13. Good question. In our parts, the Federal Courts are enforcing arbitration agreements for workers from third world countries under the New York Convention, which means many of the cruise line workers are screwed . . they have to arbitrate in Panama or whatever. Not sure yet how they will go or what kind of money arbitrators will award. There are still American workers who get hurt on tug boats, supply boats, barges, oil rigs in the Gulf, whatever that can be great cases. So, to some degree there are not as many great cases, at least from the cruise lines, but otherwise there are still lots of Lawyers in Houston, New Orleans and Florida, and I assume Philly and New York who are still cleaning up on these cases.

  17. The ranking is flawed because the ranker does not have much experience on a local basis. Just like I couldn't rank all the NY schools, I would expect anyone from NY to know how to rank Texas schools. Putting South Texas College of Law in the same category as Texas Southern University is absurd.

    South Texas has been known to produce a very competent class of lawyers. They get released into the Houston market, and we see them everywhere.... literally everywhere. The are hired regularly with no qualms whatsoever on the part of local employers.

    A remotely accurate survey would require a team of people who are familiar with local markets. There are extremely few schools who cater to the national market, and we know their names. The rest are largely a bunch of unknowns to most of us, and "national" perceptions don't matter.

    1. Jeff, I think the point of these "rankings" is lost on you.

  18. It's not like you win even if you get into that first tier. You're still stuck practicing law. Biglaw is awful, and unless you're connected you're probably not going to get into a government agency or in house at a corporation. I guess if you become a law professor that works too, but you need HYS for that, so only 3 options, plus you need to make top 2% usually.

  19. Weird Chicago trolling. It's not on the same level as HYS, and the grade cutoffs from elite firms are much more similar to CN than they are to the true elites. An admitted student would be foolish to turn down YHS for Chicago, as they would be to turn down YHS for Columbia or NYU.

    1. No. Would make sense to turn down Stanford for Columbia if you want to work on the East coast. Very hard to get an East coast job from Stanford.

  20. Amen to the list. Roger Williams is overpriced and the Dean (who is being forced to step down after enrollment plumetted 30%, debt of students skyrocketed, and the school lied about its employment rate) is a notorious self promoter who was rejected from the other 10 places he applied to.
    Scholarships are lousy, faculty very uneven, and unless you enjoy boating and polo, the environment is a country club with no diversity on the faculty and loads of pending lawsuits.
    Steer clear and find a lower tier school in a real city with real job prospects.

  21. Campbell is awful 200k for a 50/50 shot at law employment...but it is okay...they are a Christian School...

  22. Campbell is awful 200k for a 50/50 shot at law employment...but it is okay...they are a Christian School...