Thursday, February 16, 2012

You can help this child get a summer associate position with Sullivan & Cromwell

 Or you can turn the page.
From: Columbia Law School <annualgiving@law.columbia.edu>
Date: Wed, Feb 15, 2012 at 4:25 PM
Subject: Give a student the chance at a dream job
To:


With $85 a month, you can get eight movie tickets, seven buckets at the driving range, six manicures -- or you can give a Columbia Law School student the chance at a dream job through our Early Interview Program. 






 
 

This missive was forwarded to me yesterday by a CLS alum who was not amused: 
A school with Columbia's endowment and tuition levels can't pay for its own interviewing program?  This reads like one of those ads for sponsoring a starving third world child.  For just $85 a month, I can help a poor Columbia law student find a job!  I wonder if I will get personalized letters from"my" law students reporting on their lives to me.

Equally pathetic is the way in which this ad compares options:  I could buy martinis, manicures, or movie tickets--or I could support a Columbia law student's job quest!  If I had the graphic skills, I would photo shop this into a brochure from UNICEF or similar charity.  For $85/month, how many children could I feed, vaccinate against polio, treat for malaria, etc?
 A few notes:

(1) Somebody gets paid a lot of money to come up with stuff like this.  For instance, Michigan Law School's development director earned a salary of $214,000 last year.

(2) The logic behind this appeal must be that enough CLS alums have picked up on the anxiety regarding the state of the legal hiring market that it's worth trying to tap into that anxiety when shaking the money tree (BTW Columbia's published employment and salary statistics are, in terms of transparency, pretty ludicrous, at least in the context of the emerging new normal, in which elite law schools are actually expected to cough up some useful information).

(3) The Early Interview Program is a gigantic four-day cattle call held at a midtown hotel in mid-August, at which hundreds of students do thousands of interviews with big law firms.  CLS also offers a more conventional OCI program at the school itself, running from mid-September to mid-November, but I get the impression from the school's web site that this pre-semester meet market is the "main" OCI event (CLS students or alums are encouraged to elaborate in comments).

(4)  My correspondent informs me that this program existed in the late 1970s, but at the time it was held at the law school, with some of the interviews being held in professors' offices.

(5) Moving this thing off campus -- I understand NYU does something similar --costs the school (aka its students) a huge pile.  Columbia has close to 1000 2Ls and 3Ls, and apparently it's common for people to do 15 or 20 interviews, or more, so the school must have to rent a good part of a midtown hotel for four days at the height of tourist season. And for what? So that midtown firms don't have to board the Nellie and head upriver to Morningside Heights? So that CLS professors -- most of whom are nowhere near the law school in mid-August -- don't have to open a few of their inner sanctums to contaminating incursions from the servants of Capital?

I suspect this is just another thing that elite law schools do because they have more money than they know what to do with -- although not so much that they don't have to be constantly hitting their alumni up for even more.

In and of itself it's a small thing. But in the bigger picture it's a perfect illustration of why the single most absurd aspect of contemporary American legal education is how administrators and faculty simply take it for granted that "a first-rate legal education is expensive." (For a devastating critique of this attitude see this). Yes indeed it is, especially when you're constantly blowing money on stuff whose only real practical function is to advertise how rich (excuse me, "elite") you really are.





























80 comments:

  1. http://www2.guidestar.org/FinDocuments/2010/135/598/2010-135598093-073f1890-9.pdf

    According to page 1, line 12 of Columbia University's 2010 Form 990 data, the pigs raked in $3,645,880,259 in revenue - for the tax year ending June 30, 2010. For the prior year, they received $3,088,224,119 in total revenue.

    On lines 20-22, you will note that "The Trustees of Columbia University in the City of New York," a.k.a. Employer ID 13-5598093, had $11,018,079,749 in total end of year assets - offset by a mere $2,602,978,857 in end of year total liabilities.

    If the university had $8,415,100,892 in net assets, at the end of that tax year, then they can afford to pay for such programs. Then again, the swine realize that they can rely on their "prestigious" name brand in order to roll in more donations. After all, they don't want to dip into that $8.415 BILLION endowment.

    Not bad for a supposed "non-profit" institution, huh?!?! (In the end, this is simply a political designation/legal construct/legal fiction for the purposes of taxation.)

    ReplyDelete
  2. Good god. They have no shame.

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  3. http://abovethelaw.com/2009/09/disturbing-message-about-the-legal-job-market-from-columbia-law-school/

    Hell, back on September 23, 2009, Elie Mystal at ATL wrote an article entitled "Disturbing Message About the Legal Job Market From Columbia Law School." Here is a sampling:


    We all know about the difficult legal job market facing current law students. But is it so bad that J.D. candidates would have been better off never going to law school in the first place?

    "At Columbia Law School — the fourth best law school in the country according to U.S. News — is suggesting that job seekers crash the undergraduate job fair. A tipster puts it this way:

    Recruiting is bad this year, as you know, but CLS is just highlighting it by recommending we attend an UNDERGRADUATE career fair. It says it is open to all, and that is true, but when you look at the actual companies and organizations coming to the career fair the vast majority require only a bachelors, and none want a law degree specifically. Great to know that $200k+ and 3 years of lost opportunity cost can leave you in the same position as if you never went in the first place.

    Isn’t having a J.D. supposed to enhance your job prospects?"

    If the fourth best law school in the United States is resorting to these embarrassing measures, imagine the overall job market. When "law professors" mention that the job market is something they could not anticipate, then they are either idiotic, lying, or numb to reality. This article was from nearly two and one half years ago. There have been PLENTY of similar stories and situations, at high-ranking U.S. law schools.

    The schools and administrators have been AWARE of the job market for several years, at least. Yet, they continued to KNOWINGLY accept large first year class sizes - in the hope that no one would catch on to the shrinking legal job market - until after they dropped down their tuition dollars.

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  4. It might be appropriate here to also point out that Columbia is one of the 3 largest real property owners in Manhattan (along with NYU and the Catholic church). All that tax free property, so little space to hold recruiting events...

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  5. When I attended CLS 15 years ago, OCI was held on campus at teachers college. Renting a hotel is a complete waste, but the problem is that in the law school game, a school's primary asset is prestige. And in games of prestige, perception can easily become reality. The perception of prestige is like a self-fulfilling prophecy.

    So that if Fordham starts renting a fancy hotel for OCI, NYU has to follow suit, and then CLS. If Columbia does't do it, it runs the risk that BIGLAW hiring partners will start to think that maybe NYU is more prestigious.

    The upshot is that law schools like Columbia are locked in a silly game where the object is to waste lots of money in status competitions. To make matters worse, Columbia's administration is profiting handsomely from this arms race so there's no incentive to negotiate a treaty, so to speak.

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  6. WhenI was at Georgetown in the early 90s they used to rent the hotel across the street - but then the new law school had no facilities and it was a 4/9 panhandler walk to the Metro.

    MacK

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  7. All of the employers who show up for Cooley's OCI seem to fit comfortably into the conference room.

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  8. So does $85 fund 11 interviews, or is it the $1,000? I only ask, because $85 for 11 interviews seems like a decent deal (less than $8 per interview). Still entirely disgusting, but at least interviews cost less than movie tickets if that's the case. If 11 interviews cost $1,000, then that's horribly overpriced, and the infographic in the email is disgustingly misleading.

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  9. This HAS to be a joke. I don't believe it's real.

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  10. After reading this, I had the best laugh all week!

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  11. I mean, just look at the name of the contact person. It's obviously a spoof.

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  12. NYU's OCI is done in one of the dorms, before students have moved back in at the end of the summer. That is definitely the main event, and I never heard about an off campus cattle call.

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  13. It's not a spoof. Joanna Hootnick is a real Columbia employee. Here is her contact page on Columbia's employee directory:

    http://wwws-db.law.columbia.edu/lawnet/directory/employees/pub/findInfo.act?employeeId=24383

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  14. Wow, we always assumed employers ponied up the cost to rent rooms. Guess I was wrong.

    Tbf, CLS had about 280 employers (including the many regional offices) attending EIP my year. And while EIP at the Doubletree is a madhouse I do not think the campus has the facilities to accommodate this many employers (some employers take up two floors). The location in Times Square is prestige whoring by the school, but the concept of off-site EIP seems to work well especially when people are flying in.

    My main problem with EIP is that it is a glorified resume drop. CLS uses a lottery system. This is partially an attempt to signal to peer schools, students, and employers that they are a Truly Prestigious Law School that can place their students into any firm in the country regardless of messy, un-prestigious things like grades (although UVA seems to do just fine with a preselect). But what it means in practice is everyone gets really stressed out and cabs down to the Doubletree, only to learn the interviews are the same 20 minute formulaic Q&A session, with the first question every time being "I need your transcript." Then people obsess about whether they are getting callbacks based on information like how long it took the partner to ask "so, do you have any questions for me?" And of course, there are the people subtly bragging about their 1L grades by telling you what firms they have interviews with.

    Like Fall 1L finals the whole thing is just a bizarre experience.

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  15. LawProf: Is there any evidence that spreading knowledge about the true state of legal education (or idiotic fundraising schemes like these) is affecting gifts to law schools?

    RPL

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  16. You should point out how many transfer students Columbia has taken since the recession started. They, more than most schools, are increasing the pool of lawyers. And people who start out in lower ranked schools, do very well and then get jobs and graduate at Columbia are counted in Columbia's hiring stats. But it distorts the picture for incoming students.

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  17. hahahahahahahahahahahahahaha

    This is so absurd I hope that Above the LAw picks up on this. The person who came up with this should be fired immediately. Can you imagine giving up martinis...or a manicure... to support this program? Just kidding, I give money monthly to my favorite charity, Doctors Without Borders. They help people worldwide and won a Nobel Peace Prize for there efforts. I would give up a lot for those truly helping the most desperate people, but not a penny for this nonsense

    I also like the idea that the economy is so terrible that students have to do, horrors, 20 interviews just to get a job. How many CLS students get 20 interviews? How many don't get anything out of OCI?

    Is this the definition of #firstworldproblems?

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  18. their not there..sorry.. I was laughing so hard when I posted I made a mistake with that one.

    this is so hilarious.. I appreciate the break from the usual depressing status of the law school scam with a look at some of the most absurd aspects.

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  19. oh yes - it is real

    http://www.linkedin.com/pub/joanna-hootnick/4/55b/b39

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  20. I wonder how many interviews Ms. Hootnick's salary could fund every year.

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  21. How about tugging at our heartstrings with sad little pictures of law professors and administrators?

    ----

    Meet Charlie. Charlie is a law school dean. His only joy in life is his simple half million dollar salary.

    Charlie is sad right now because he knows that people are criticizing his law school as a scam. For only $85 per month-- the price of 8 martinis--you can bring a smile to Charlie's face-- and others like him-- by helping fund a recruiting event at a swank hotel. Even if the recruiting event does not yield actual jobs for students, it looks good. And that is exactly what Charlie needs right now. Please, please help.

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  22. From her linked in profile, it looks like the creator of this beauty hasn't held a single job for more than a year and a half. She was a steal by Columbia from NYU. I'm sure NYU missed her terribly. She did work as a paralegal before getting into donor management though!

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  23. btw - who says the Doubletree is glamourous? Why not go for the W?

    They should use Teacher's College. It is a beautiful building though it is crumbling a little bit.

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  24. This is all too true, I'm afraid. I was LawProf's correspondent--a fact I'm happy to admit because I plan to write personally to the Dean and Ms. Hootnick to explain why I will *never* give a penny to CLS again. Of course, that won't bother them much because I haven't given them money for years--ever since I learned that they've never improved their legal writing program. This one has me still laughing (and crying) the morning after.

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  25. @8:19, thanks for the entertainment. Sally Struthers should get on this - stat.

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  26. "With $85 a month, you can get eight movie tickets, seven buckets at the driving range, six manicures ... "

    Who goes to the movie theater eight times in one month? They're forgetting to include the costs of popcorn, nachos, Coke, etc., which will cost more than the admission itself. And, let's not get started with added features like 3-D, fake IMAX, etc.

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  27. Regarding using the dorms, keep in mind CU generally has an extensive summer housing program -- for ESL students, tour and student groups, and a bunch of other programs. Those dorms which might be suitable for this event are actually likely to be occupied by paying bodies.

    Regarding the information posted about CU's finances, those figures may be misleading -- most of those assets are tied up in real estate, so it's possible that the University might have a cash flow problem even though it's perfectly solvent. It is also currently undertaking a major campus expansion (basically doubling its lands by building a series of buildings in Hamilton Heights), which is an enormous construction project that might further complicate the cash flow situation. Not an apology, just some context -- there's still no excuse for either not being able to fund this interview program, nor squandering the money on a hotel if you truly can't afford it.

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  28. law school teaches you to think like a lawyer... lolololololololololol


    Anyway, I’m glad to see shit like this. All we’re seeing is the further proletarianisation of workers from all classes. I’m glad because I don’t think significant positive change from the status quo will ever happen until severe financial/economic and/or ecological change happens. I’ve given up on the little/small victories/positive advances here and there and then their eventual rollback.

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  29. CLS has a lot of nerve circulating this shameless solicitation for cash. I would rather use the $85 to hire a hooker to perform felatio on me by the St. Marks Hotel.

    If CU is having cash flow problems, they should raise tuition and fees. I am not giving a dollar more to these land baron schools. Fuck them.

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  30. @8:00 writes: "You should point out how many transfer students Columbia has taken since the recession started. They, more than most schools, are increasing the pool of lawyers. And people who start out in lower ranked schools, do very well and then get jobs and graduate at Columbia are counted in Columbia's hiring stats. But it distorts the picture for incoming students."

    As one of the 90 people scammed into leaving what is usually a full ride in order to take on $51k + NYC living expenses per year for no job (aka "transfer students"), I can assure you that this is not the typical state of affairs.

    The more usual scenario is as follows: we have no jobs, which is why we were so desperate to "move up" in the first place. After transferring, we obviously can't do OCI at our old schools, we're damaged goods at Columbia's OCI (and EIP is a total joke), Columbia doesn't do anything to ameliorate the situation, and we get screwed.

    Sorry if that was somewhat ungracious, but I have three months until I graduate $155k in debt with no real job ($115 more than w/o Columbia). And I can't talk about it to anyone without hearing subtle (or not-so-subtle) remonstrances that I must be doing something wrong because I'm going to such a great school.

    So to hear how Columbia students -- and especially Columbia *transfer* students -- have it easy just sets my teeth on edge a little. And just to preempt the obvious: #firstworldproblems

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  31. So, is this not as bad as what Pitt is doing for school donations from students even before they pass?

    Look at the comment posted here:
    http://insidethelawschoolscam.blogspot.com/2012/01/disaster-of-technology.html?showComment=1328128023761#c8432929312004658550

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  32. *90 of us per year, around 180 total.

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  33. Someone smarter and with more energy than I should start to create a database of law school administrators and instructors, charting their salary and benefit increases 2007-current. Yes, I'm assigning that. The UM development salary increases is all you need to see why arguments that legal education is inherently expensive is so ridiculous. Where else would a person in that field doing what they do get 1/2 of that salary? And for a public entity? Insane. I graduated from Oklahoma University School of Law. We currently continue to employ the prior dean in an emeritus status. Both he and the new dean make over $25,000 a month. In OK. Which is dirt cheap because there ain't a high demand to live on top of this red dirt. Of course, the prior dean did so much in terms of raising standards, building additions, and reputation. So I guess it was worth it. The trickle down effect and all that...

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  34. JoblessColumbia3L, could you email me? Thanks.

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  35. Excuse me Ms. Hootnick. Given that as an attorney, I eat poorly, rarely sleep and work 18 hour days, I don't consider my gym membership (when I have time to use it) a luxury. In fact, going to the gym 3 times a week is probably keeping me from having a cardiac infarction. So no, I am keeping my gym membership. Go tell the University Trustees to sell off some real estate on the West side if they are so concerned for their students' well being.

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  36. Hi 10:30. I work at OU Law. As staff. Both of the deans (current and emeritus) earn more in one month than I make in an entire year. I was wondering when our wonderful institution would pop up in the comments here...

    Frankly I'm scared to post here at all for fear of being discovered/outed/fired. I can tell you, the view from the inside is sickening. Yesterday the profs sent around emails linking to Leiter's article on the "hatchet job" on law schools by Segal. Look at our new website. Notice what's missing? Employment data. It was there on the old version of the website, which was taken down a few weeks ago.

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  37. I know it has been said, but it bears repeating.

    Law Prof, what you are doing here is more important than 99.999% of legal "scholarship."

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  38. @10:30a.m.

    Debating whether to go to OU Law, though leaning strongly against at the moment.

    However, I'm wavering because the alternative path isn't clear. I have a good shot at working with my Dad at his firm if I go through with it. Any advice/words of wisdom are appreciated re: your experience, job prospects etc.

    I honestly check this site every day just to feel better about deciding NOT to go to law school. I have a pseudo-science/business degree. Limited technical skills. And a decent amount of experience in a super-niche field most employers don't understand or see as real work (politics).

    The prospect of figuring out what I really want to do (since I've been on autopilot for most of my adolescent, young adult life) and then getting the requisite skills to do that -- and in this economy -- is scary.

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  39. @10:50

    I got invited to the Facebook group class of 2015. That's actually a clever idea. I also got a couple phone calls inviting me to visit to help me make my decision. I got my acceptance letter in Nov. or Dec and still haven't replied...

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  40. @10:50 - I don't blame you at all. And I'm not surprised one bit to hear that conventional and conservative ideas are dominating the school considering the area or the fact (as has been noted here over and over) that their livelihood (luxurious livelihood) depends on maintaining the status quo. I did notice the complete lack of employment statistics. I would already consider having your post deleted (even though that sounds pathetic).

    @10:52 - There has already been so much discussed about decisions to go to law school that I'm not sure I can add much. Your dad being a lawyer with potential employment opportunities is a large factor in the analysis. Words of wisdom? Expect a quintessential "state school" experience with all the trappings of an "in crowd" (see: rich kids who have family connections), no attention given to those outside that crowd or students outside the top 10% in terms of employment help (I was top 1/3 after 1L) or administrative support, and generally an incredibly stressful first year followed by two years where it feels like your back in undergrad (maybe why I dropped in rank? felt good then, really stupid now). Your history other than your familial relations sounds incredibly familiar. Dubious degree qualifications. No other life plan. My feelings are very hard to pin down. I'm now in the lawyer trap - paying back my loans doing a job I don't necessarily like at all. However, I'm also the kind of person to conclude, "that's why they call it work". Some of those feelings can probably be attributed to growing up around people who didn't enjoy their jobs, so it was hard for me to visualize anything else. Employment prospects are also hard to pin down. I think I can say with a fair degree of certainty, that barring getting a job at a big firm in OKC or Tulsa, or help from your parents, you will be getting on IBR (yes, it adds to the problem of law schools feathering their nest, but now that I'm out, good god, what would I have done without it?) and not feeling much better off than you were while in school. I don't hear about mass unemployment from my class, I think that is mostly due to geographic area (which has a large effect on salaries as well). I'm getting that certainty using NALP statistics and anecdotal information from friends. FWIW, my friends that don't come from well off families are pretty uniformally unhappy, it seems to make a gigantic difference. I fell ass backwards into a government job and foresee 10 years of biding my time to get that loan forgiveness (not exactly the picture of happiness). I have 120k in public loans yet pay only $250/month. You can't get one of those sweet union jobs here in The Heartland, so you take your underserved perks where you can get them (feel a need to say I'm not union bashing; just referencing the sweet gigs discussed on this blog a couple days ago). You should have a much better idea about what lawyers do and whether you would want to do that. My final answer: don't go to school until you have a very specific plan.
    My gripe is less about my situation, and more about every school's public message that their rapidly increased costs have beneficial effects for the academic and employment success of their students and graduates. That's a lie.
    #firstworldproblems

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  41. Why doesnt Columbia ask the law firms to pay for the rooms?

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  42. ^ These days, I hate seeing education advertisement from any school. Which sucks because its all over the place, on buses, trains, bill boards, junk mail, etc… and its always the same… some bs-feel-good PR message with some quasi-ethnic-racial face staring back at me with a smile.

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  43. I really don't see what's wrong with this. If I were a CLS grad doing well as a biglaw associate (or god willing, partner) I would be happy to donate to my alma mater so other students can have the same opportunity.

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  44. CLS OCS has a reputation for being awful beyond even your typical law school's useless OCS. They constantly blame the unemployed students for being unable to get jobs, and chant the mantra that the recession hasn't affected CLS students- it's admissions's fault for apparently admitting dozens more students who can't interview. They are basically just crossing their fingers and hoping the market gets back to a place where everyone in the class can get a job without needing any help at all.

    If they need to fund EIP, they should start by cutting fat from that office and other bloated administrative departments that do nothing.

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  45. Well thank goodness I got into HYS then.

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  46. @ 12:52-- That's because you don't appreciate the value of snark

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  47. JoblessColumbia3L, please post what LawProf asked you to email him about.

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  48. For $85 and two bags of grain, you can fund the appetizer table at the 4 star hotel for these needy law students while they hunt for their $160,000 jobs doing M&A in New York City.

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  49. terry malloy said...
    Law Prof, what you are doing here is more important than 99.999% of legal "scholarship."

    =============================

    I agree with Terry 100%. IMO Paul Campos has risen to become the most respected and admired law professors in the USA. I cannot name a single law professor in the USA that I admire more.

    Keep up the good work Paul

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  50. OT -- this may be of interest to Law Prof and those who read him:

    "Lawyers Without Law School Degrees?"

    A Teleforum Sponsored by the Professional Responsibility & Legal Education Practice Group of the Federalist Society

    Professor John O. McGinnis*
    George C. Dix Professor in Constitutional Law
    Northwestern University School of Law

    Wednesday, February 22, 2012
    at 2:00 p.m. (EST)
    888-752-3232

    No registration is necessary.

    ReplyDelete
  51. Holy crap. Give a Columbia student his dream job? Are you serious? Hell, at least half of us dreams of just getting A job!

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  52. LawProf: Slightly off topic. You linked to the placcement stats of Culumbia and Virginia and both show 75 percentile and median salary of exactly $160,000, the same as George Washington, which you blogged about a few days ago. I checked and so does Penn. Three of these cite the same exact figure three years running. Fishy?

    RPL

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  53. Why is it fishy to you? It's the going rate at Amlaw 100 firms.

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  54. terry malloy said...
    Law Prof, what you are doing here is more important than 99.999% of legal "scholarship."
    ====================

    I bet there are many law professors that are extremely jealous of Paul Campos. Deep down they all know he is right and wish that they had done this blog first.

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  55. @ 3:19: Totally agree, and as far as I am concerned they can all suck it.

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  56. 3:15. That was a question, not an answer. But I will say that while I would expect median salaries to be pretty close together, seeing the exact same median at multiple institutions over multiple years over which reporting rates and other variables vary seems pretty unusual. For example, although $160 K may be the norm for Am Law 100 firms at least in my experience, which is a bit dated, there were slight variations in starting salary both between firms in different cities and even within firms with offices in high cost and low cost locations.

    RPL

    RPL

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  57. You just know that every law professor is seething with jealousy when Paul Campos gets quoted in the WSJ or the NYT. Brian Leiter starts punching holes in walls from the unfairness of it all.

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  58. Every member of every class does not make Amlaw 100. So it is not statistically possible for the average or median to be $160,000 if that is the going rate. All it would take is one single person to report a lower number to make that change.

    They all report that number because they have to so as not to look weak compared to others in the top 14. The data cannot support that number, even at HYS.

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  59. @4:01. Actually, $160k is super, super standard for Biglaw in major markets. And at the top law schools, most people who feel comfortable reporting their salaries (or even have a yearly *salary* to report) will have Biglaw jobs in major markets.

    And median does not mean "average" -- it means (in essence) "the middle number of the data set."

    So, it is not at all surprising that all these schools report medians of $160k. But that number is meaningless unless you know the size of the data set -- i.e., what percentage of the class has both (a) long-term legal employment and (b) reports a salary. This percentage is often shockingly low (and in many cases goes unreported entirely).

    For instance, at LawProf's school, only 39 out of 183 students (21%) reported salaries at jobs in private practice: http://www.colorado.edu/law/details/graduateDetails.htm

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  60. The reporting at HYS is much higher, well over 90%.

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  61. Stat 101:
    **because math is scary**

    *Mean, Median , Mode, and Range.

    Mean: The average in a data set

    ex.: 200 students graduated from Dickie Law.

    15 of them got 160k - big law
    25 of them got 80k - mid law
    75 of them got 40k - shit law
    85 of them are unemployed.

    Add all the salaries up and divide by 200.

    That is the mean average salary of a Dickie Law Grad.


    Median: the middle value in a data set.

    Take the numbers above and line them up. Pick the one in the middle. That's your median average salary of a Dickie grad.

    Mode: The most frequent value in a data set.

    15 of them got 160k - big law
    25 of them got 80k - mid law
    75 of them got 40k - shit law
    85 of them are unemployed.

    0 is the most frequent value in this data set.

    85 out of 200 grads of Dickie Law are unemployed. Therefore, that's the mode of a Dickie Law grad .

    Range

    The maximum value vs. minimum value in a data set.

    Ex.: The salary range of a Dickie law is 160k.

    160k - 0k = 160k

    __________________________________________
    __________________________________________

    Conclusion:


    In my personal opinion, the problem with law school stats is that they don't show the mode distribution of salaries of law school grads. Rather, when they publish a number - they only post the mean average salary of a BigLaw/ MidLaw lawyer( If they're honest about it at all. Mostly, they pick the Mean Average among the BigLaw poster boys and publish it.)

    When 0Ls look at those numbers, they think that their outcomes are within those numbers.

    Thus, it becomes a nearly impossible task to get an accurate picture of the reality of this profession.

    Because if students saw those numbers, they would be able to calculate the percentages and make a more informed decision. (80% of Dickie Law grads had a bad outcome)

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  62. To be fair, 40K shitlaw as a starting job wouldn't be a bad outcome if Dickie Law charged a reasonable amount for tuition. In-state tuition at 10K per year might be reasonable. This would probably be comparable to the tuition vs starting salary ratio for social workers, for example.

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  63. "Dream job?!?"

    What the fuck is so dreamy about the practice of law? Wake the fuck up lemmings. This isn't Boston Legal or L.A. Law.

    Want to know what I did on my first day of the practice? Fresh off of a clerkship, I secured a job with a 30 lawyer firm. I thought I had made it. I was supposed to start on a Monday. On the Saturday night before I was to start my big time lawyer job, I get a call from the partner that hired me. He called me at 9:30PM to tell me to go to the 101 Precint to bail out some clients from jail. It turns out the clients were 6 hookers and a madam. I got the judge on the phone and bail was set. I thought I was a hero. Wrong, I had to drive these hookers back to the "brothel." During the drive they kept complaining about how I did a lousy job in keeping them there for over 2 hours. They kept asking what I was going to do about the cops that were getting "freebies" and the merchandise (e.g., dildos, a T.V., and a leather couch) they allegedly stole from the brothel. When I dropped them off at the brothel, the madam was supposed to pay a retainer fee in cash. I went into the brothel where there were more working girls inside with johns. I am in there waiting around like a putz drooling while watching these "ladies" walk around in lingerie when the cops come in like gangbusters and arrest everyone, including me. The cops thought I was a fucking john and charged me with solicitation and engaging in prostitution. I wound up in jail before I started my first law firm job. I got shitcanned on Monday afternoon when I didn't get bailed out of jail until 10AM on Monday. The firm was calling me and left messages on my voicemail asking why I hadn't shown up on my first day. I should have known my career was in the shitter from that day. And these fuckers at CLS are asking for alumni money to set up these spoiled prestige whores in a dream job? My fucking heart cries out for them.

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  64. Why do you think mode is a better number? $10 per hour, $11 per hour...I'm sure there's a wide variance in starbucks pay among different locations. Mode will probably still be $160K.

    I also find it stunning how clueless people are about basic stats.

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  65. This blog has made me feel better about not donating to my law school. Had I received a scholarship I might feel different, but knowing a lot of my classmates paid significant less than I did makes me feel like I've already paid my share.

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  66. They need to show a scatter plot with one dot for every reported salary. This will show you everything you need to know in one image, including the sample size.

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  67. This is a set up to be perpetually unsatisfied with the data provided.

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  68. To 6:02PM:

    You made a very good point there. 40k would be reasonable with a reasonable tuition (10k a year or less) going with it and it would not be a bad outcome at all under those circumstances.

    However, I am assuming Dickie Law charges the market rate and with that assumption, 40k is a bad outcome.

    To 6:14 pm :

    That sounds so absurd that it must be real.

    To 6:21 pm :

    You are right, a strict interpretation of the mode distribution of the data set would be problematic.

    The answer is to add flexibility to it by tweaking the mode distribution and including ranges in it.

    Ex.:

    Less than 30k
    Between 30k and 50k
    Between 50k and 65k
    Between 65k and 80k
    Between 80k and 100k
    Above 100k

    Thus, students pursuing an advanced degree would be added to a diff. category. The following could be included as well:

    Separate categories for full time and part time jobs
    Separate categories between legal and non-legal employment.

    What I proposed is far from perfect but it is a start. Quite frankly, it cannot get any worse than it is now.

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  69. I think what you're talking about is a frequency chart. ;)

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  70. Hey columbia, f*ck you.

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  71. What looks really suspicious is that not only are the 75th percentile and the 50th (median) the same for some of these stats but the 25th is also the same.

    That can happen for several reasons, one of which is that everyone is employed at this level--another is that the data comes from a small fraction of the population, which happens to be those in Big Law.

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  72. This blog saved me! I gave up looking for a job and am now a stay at home mom. At least my "boss" is easy to handle.....law school was a mistake! I could have done this job six years ago and with 150k less in loans....i hope my son never goes to law school....

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  73. Dear Columbia Law:

    I imagine someone from your school is browsing the comment sections of this blog, just to gauge everyone's reaction to Ms. Hootnick's clever ad. Now that I have your attention, I would like to offer my services as Ms. Hootnick's replacment, since, like most legal grads, I will never get a legal job. I figure at least I could get paid to write clever little ads to help other poor law school grad suckers get jobs.

    Why should you hire me? Because Ms. Hootnick's ad has one fatal flaw: it fails to have pictures of vulnerable kids. Everyone knows the reason the Christian Children's Fund ads are so successful is because of the sad pictures of suffering children, not the words.

    So, what could I do for you? I could add sad pictures to the solicitation above. Just think how much more sympathetic your ad would be if you added a couple of sad pictures of recent grads in horrible jobs. Think - a picture of a law grad working as a janitor with a broom in hand, with the words, "this law grad could have been a lawyer, if he had had your $85 a month to help him get interviews."

    Or, you can have a picture of a retail worker working at Target or at some of the various places that my law school grad friends really work. How would you like to have a law grad working at Wal-Mart? I have that! Or, what about Home Depot - already got someone in mind for that. And don't worry about having to pay modelling fees: there are so many recent grads in such positions, we wouldn't have to pay them to model - they are the real thing and can ad a touch of authenticity to your ad. If you're not too picky about the school that they come from, I can get you an assortment of sad, depressed, recent law grads working in horrible jobs to make your ads more compelling and authentic.

    I imagine that you will want to contact me immediately regarding my offer. Don't wait too long, though. If I am lucky enough to get a job offer from Target as a cashier (I'm hoping I'll have better luck with that than Bl1Y did) I might not be around next week to help you tweak that ad to make it more sympathetic. So, don't delay and call me today! (Before I get stolen by Target!)

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  74. IMHO 8 movies a month is a LOT to give up

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  75. It's very easy to see how a bunch of schools could all report their median salary is 160k.

    Take school XYZ
    1. 400 graduates, but only 99 report salaries
    2. Of those 99 that report, most report because they have good jobs. So of those 99, 50 report a 160k salary
    3. 49 report a salary ranging from $8.00/hr to 140K.
    4. But because we're talking about the MEDIAN (the midpoint of all the salaries), the MEDIAN salary is 160k.

    Overall reporting a MEDIAN will tend to skew things upwards, because it has been demonstrated that those who report tend to have high salaries.

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  76. Re $160,000 median & 75 percentile across multiple years.

    I started this thread and it elicited a number of interesting posts. I think the recurrance of exactly the same median and 75 percentile figure across multiple years and multiple schools in diverse regions of the country indicates that the actual data posessed by these schools about the top of the hiring pyramid is far more fragmentary than it appears. Although it is possible to have such a distribution it is possible only if a large percentage of the top end graduates, as in substantially all, make exactly $160K. A more normal distribution, say $158 - 162K, will produce slight variations between 75 percentile and median and also between schools. And I don't believe virtually every reporting graduate who was at or above the median at four schools in four different markets made exactly the "going rate" at the AmLaw 100/250.

    Why not? Well, I have no evidence. But I worked in what is now an AmLaw 100 firm for 20 years and can offer some observations. First, the "going rate" was never uniform among different cities and regions. Never. There were always regional variations. Second, there were always variations within markets. Some firm always bumped up the rate by a couple of thousand and some other firm always lagged behing. Always. My experience is a bit dated; perhaps things are different now. I doubt it. The modern AmLaw 100/250 firm is not the monolith it may appear to outsiders. Most are actually cobbled together from various mergers, practice group acquisitions, lateral hires and expansion attempts and have offices in markets all over the county which have diverse cultures and histories. There is more variation within firms than there was when firms all tried to imitate Cravath. Many of these firms are no longer internally consistent when it comes to starting salary -- they don't pay the same starting rate in New York City, Ann Arbor and Exit 144 New Jersey.

    So where does the famously uniform $160K come from? I don't know but can make some suggestions. Law students and lawyers are, as LawProf has pointed out, a status obsessed bunch and it could be that the graduates making less that the published "going rate" are unwilling to admit it. Certainly law firm partners are reluctant to admit that they make less that their firm's published average "profits per partner." (I'm sure you are shocked.) It also may be that placement offices are supplementing incomplete data with public information -- i.e. Jane was hired by an AmLaw 100 firm, the "going rate" at AmLaw 100 firms is $160K, therefore Jane makes $160K. And if this is the case it is a real problem, because the AmLaw rankings have had roughly the same effect on law firm reporting that the US News rankings have had on law school reporting.

    In conclusion, I am very suspicious that we know a lot less about outcomes at the top end of the hiring market that we think we do.

    RPL

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  77. Well at least Columbia has done some things for some grads- putting them into paid fellowships, etc. NYU did ABSOLUTELY NOTHING. They also have an over bloated administration and they also blamed and slandered students if they didn't find jobs right away. They are the worst offenders. I think I made that pretty clear the last time they called me for donations. I haven't heard from them since....

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  78. 30%-40% of NYU Law class of 2010 was unemployed at graduation. They tried to cover it up. In my case, they never even bother to ask if I was employed or not, but I am sure they counted me as employed in their statistics.
    I am praying that someone commences a lawsuit against these "elite" schools soon.

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  79. "30%-40% of NYU Law class of 2010 was unemployed at graduation"

    That HAS to be wrong.

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