Saturday, June 19, 2010

Every School is a TTT

A comment over on JJD’s blog caught my eye:

“As someone who attended (and did well in) a very "elite" school, I can personally assure everyone here that their employment figures are deceptive and manipulated.

It's not just the TTT's that are doing it. Most of the graduating class did not get decent jobs. My friends are mostly unemployed, doing part-time work with a stipend, or are trying to join the military.”

I’ve sounded this same theme on boards and comments on my fellows' blogs. It’s time we all realize: most schools are putting up TTT numbers these days. Double-digit unemployment and lack of prospects are no longer problems unique to TTTs. Okay, even I can admit that not "every" school is a TTT. But in this economy, plenty of highly-thought-of T1 schools are sending their graduates out and over a cliff. This metastasized rot has penetrated deep into the first tier, tinged the T14, and is even now lurking outside the gates of Harvard Yard.

TTTs get a lot of bad rap, and deservedly so. They ought to get a hundred times more, and then all be closed down, their facilities stripped bare and sold off to help recoup some of their victims’ tuition dollars. But as anyone at a “better” law school will tell you, things are hardly much different higher up the USNews ladder. Recently we’ve heard from 2010 Georgetown grads about how miserable their prospects from this T-14 are. We’re seeing students in the top third at 34-ranked Fordham wind up unemployed. The Wall Street Journal told us about 2010 grads from number 11 Northwestern who are unemployed and moving home to live in the basement. And these are grads who "had the grades," and were high-paid summer associates a year before. It is NOT merely the "slackers" or "wash-outs" who are being hung out to dry.
We’ve even heard from Harvard grads who didn't get a job. And no, you are not guaranteed a "good job" even coming out of vaunted Harvard.

These first-tier students are representative of the classes of 2009, 2010, and onward. They are largely unemployed or underemployed. One of the Georgetown students even surfaced on a law school blog, and noted that he tried to bring up the fact that the school lies and misrepresents its data, during the interview session. SURPRISE! It never made it on the air!

Apart from these examples, what do we have to rely on? Surely, oil-slick deans at other T1 schools will claim, these mainstream-media-documented examples are just outliers. Everything is just rosy-pink at other 20s-ranked schools, at other T-14 schools. Right? Right. Enter the scam-buster:

“Because a substantial portion of students at T14s are NOT getting full-time non-stipend positions (my guess is between 40 and 80 percent of non-HYS students are in this terrible bracket), but it's impossible to verify. This is not limited to the bottom of the class but extends to good students.

Even in the T14 it's an insane gamble. The jobs aren't there to justify the time or tuition. You can dream all day about how the T14 students are all getting pampered like Tom Cruise at the beginning of "The Firm," but it just isn't so.

Outside of T14 and you're looking at a total disaster. Vanderbilt? Boston College? GWU? UMinn? Those kids pay the same tuition you did and face a similar fate.”

Now before you pro-law school shills start attacking all of this as anecdotal, I must repeat: what else do we have? Data from schools CANNOT be relied on. All we can do is look at schools like Northwestern (11), Georgetown (14), Vanderbilt (17), Minnesota (22), and Fordham (34), and extrapolate. If these GOOD schools can't get grads, who are at LEAST in the top half of the class, ANY job, then what does that say? Alternatively, where is all the "good news" about how hiring is brisk, grads are all happy and content, and everything is peachy in law school land? There are none. Law school land looks like New Orleans after the hurricane, with well-qualified, elite grads left stranded on rooftops.

Let's revisit that commenter. 40-80% of non-HYS students. In other words, outside of the top three schools in the country, you may well have a 50% chance or higher of not finding meaningful employment. I’ll second the call that outside of the T-14 is a total disaster. We’ve seen number 17-ranked Vanderbilt students sounding the alarm about phony employment statistics and a lack of job prospects. UMinn (no. 22) just graduated a class where only a third of students are employed, in any capacity. To every law school shill or delusional 0L who thinks that just avoiding the “TTTs” will save them and still provide robust employment prospects, think again. Every law school outside of a HANDFUL of top schools is putting up TTT numbers these days.

“Things will turn around by 2013 or 2014,” 0Ls and law schools will claim. Sure they will, son. If you’re totally confident in that, gamble your 100k. Just remember that even before the recession, the bottom 2/3 of the class at 20-40 ranked schools were pressed for jobs. Things are unbelievably bad out there. Beyond-description bad. I try to pepper my jeremiads with actual evidence and stories from the trenches, but these 0Ls and law school cheerleaders are quick to write it all off.

So, I will end this post with a call for news from the first tier. Things are really bad in the first tier, but there are still surely some people getting good jobs (especially high in the T14). For every T1 grad who has a biglaw position or a nice clerkship, there are going to be embittered, scammed grads.

2010 grads from T1 schools, what is the view from your school? Where are you working? Is it a real, salaried, full-time position? Volunteer work? Deferred? Hourly doc review? For students still enrolled, how did summer employment turn out for you and your classmates? If, as our detractors claim, there is more good than bad out there, we should be inundated with rosy news. The WSJ and NPR must just be plain wrong to report on the dearth of legal employment. As these shills so often claim, scambloggers are just bitter, and we've got it all wrong. So here we go: let's prove us all wrong.


  1. Harvard is a TTT. Just ask anyone at Yale.

  2. Stategic default. Bring down the Student loan packaged bonds, the CDO, CDS and derivatives based upon student loans.

  3. Mass default is not a bad idea. They can't get after all of us.


    NALP reports that 44,000 new JDs were pumped out in 2009 - for 28,901 jobs where bar passage was required. So, does that mean that the 15,099 "losers" simply couldn't hack it?

    And the NALP also notes that 10 percent of all jobs reported are part-time; that solo practioners add 2.9% to the overall employment rate of 88.3%; and that nearly 25 percent of all jobs - including private practice positions - were reported as temporary positions. So, how many of these people will soon join the ranks of the losers?

  5. I know two guys who started at lower ranked schools on full rides, got great 1L grades, and then transferred in to T-14 and T25 schools. They both recently graduated. Both said transferring was a mistake. They both thought that having a degree from one of the best 14 or 25 law schools in the country would justify paying an extra 100k. So now instead of graduating with zero debt and no job prospects from a T2 school, they are looking at 100k in debt and no job prospects from top ranked schools.

    One of them said transferring was the biggest mistake he made in his life, as he is now preparing to move back in with his parents.

    The other just doesn't want to talk about it.

  6. See, he said TRANSFERRING was the biggest mistake in his life, NOT going with a full ride!

    Up your guard, Nando is going to try to take a dump on your head.