Monday, October 16, 2017

First Tier Trap: Northwestern University Pritzker School of Law

Tuition: If you have a heart condition, then it may be best if you skip this paragraph entirely. For everyone else, take a deep breath before reading the following sentence. Full-time tuition for the Northwestern University JD program is $61,784 – for the 2017-2018 academic year! That number is for a single year of “legal education.”

I’m sure the “professors” and deans will tell you that this is a great investment. If you are not from an extremely wealthy family – or you do not have a full scholarship - then you have no business attending such an expensive in$titution of “higher learning.” Plus, it is still not Yale, Stanford, or Harvard. In fact, it is the second best law school in the city of Chicago!

Estimated, Total Cost of Attendance: According to the same page, the total budget for the current school year will amount to $87,150. Yes, you read that correctly. That is simply outrageous. Do you have that money in your couch cushions? Again, if your family is incredibly wealthy, then I suppose you will be okay with attending this school.

The school provided the following figures: room and board add another $14,040 to the total; personal costs amount to $2,610; and transportation an additional $1,584. Seeing that actual law students will require living expenses for the entire year – and not a mere nine months – we will prorate those three items. Health insurance, books, and loan fees will remain unchanged – and those areas reach $7,132.

Prorating room and board, personal expenses, and transportation, we reach a more accurate total cost of attendance figure of $93,228. Remember, this is for a single damn year of law school. At a minimum, you need to be sure that a Biglaw position is a certainty – before even applying to this school. And since those jobs do not tend to last that long, even that is not a good enough reason to take on such levels of non-dischargeable debt.

Rankings: After that essentially insurmountable cost of attendance, this has to be the greatest and most magnificent law school in the entire country, right?! Not so fast. US “News” & World Report lists Northwe$tern Univer$ity Pritzker $chool of Law as the 10th best law school in the United States. It shares that rating with Duke University. In contrast, the University of Chicago is ranked as 4th highest in the land.

Employment Placement Statistics: Let’s take a look at the school’s Employment Summary for 2016 Graduates. You will notice that there were 249 members of this class. Of that figure, a total of 231 reported working in full-time, long-term positions. That is an effective employment rate of 92.8 percent. By the way, eight of those were in jobs that were funded by the law school or university.

Counting those in full-time, short-term jobs and part-time positions, 236 members of this school’s Class of 2016 were employed in some capacity – within 10 months of receiving their JDs. That equates to 94.8% of the cohort. In sum, this “top ten” law school did not provide great results for everyone in the class. And at such ridiculous costs, this is unacceptable. Imagine if you bought a brand new Audi or Jaguar, and within a few months, it stopped running. At least then, your car would still be under warranty.

Under the Employment Type subheading, you will see that 168 graduates from this class reported working in private law firms. Only two of these JDs were employed on a part-time basis. Seven landed employment in firms of 251-500 attorneys and 142 secured jobs in offices with more than 500 lawyers. That means that 59.8 percent of this class found employment that would pay enough to allow the law grad to reasonably repay their law school debt. Again, that is less than 3/5 of the graduating class.

Average Law School Indebtedness: US “News” lists the average law student indebtedness - for those members of the Northwestern University JD Class of 2016 who incurred debt for law school - as $154,923. By the way, only 65% of this school’s 2016 graduating cohort took on such foul debt. Keep in mind that this amount does not even include undergraduate debt – and it also does not take accrued interest into account, while the student is enrolled.

On the positive side, while the law school was ranked 10th best in terms of reputation, the school’s 2016 graduating class was only the 15th most burdened by additional law school debt, on average. And it has sole possession of the latter honor. Also, fully 35 percent of this class did not take on any student loans for law school. Now, good luck competing against those rich kids for the best law jobs out there.

Conclusion: In the final analysis, the cost of attendance at Northwe$tern Univer$ity Pritzker $chool of Law is prohibitive. While it seems that a fair amount of students land Biglaw jobs, ask yourself if you want to be in the position of having to stay in a large, white shoe law firm for several years. And as others can attest, that is certainly not all in your control. If you don’t make partner relatively quickly, i.e. if you do not bring in big business for several consecutive years, then you can expect to be kicked to the curb within 3-5 years.

Does anyone think that the typical JD who either quit or got canned from a “prestigious” job within a few years will be able to waltz into a similar post, with no problems? Other large law firms will see you as damaged goods, even if you went to the second best law school located in Chicago. Lastly, remember that fully 35% of the class did not incur any education loans to pay for law school. How do you figure that you will be able to compete against those rich students for the best available jobs?


  1. To be fair, at least Northwestern acknowledges the ridiculous costs of tuition, and have taken steps to try to soften the blow for undergrads to some extent.

    For grad school students, not so much, as discussed above for law school. Remember, these are the guys who tried to foist non-law-degrees onto the public because fewer people wanted to buy an expensive, declining credential, even from Northwestern...

  2. Is that the most expensive law school tuition in the country? I graduated from law school in 2005 and tuition then was north of $20K and the students thought it was too high then.

    1. Exactly - I remember my school raising tuition with a smile in 2004, 2005 and thinking "Good God, how much higher can it go?"

      Apparently, I had no low, sell high, pull the ladder up behind you as you go, let the suckers that come after you deal with the mess. That is the lesson of higher education, folks, and of law school in particular.

  3. My ex husband got his law degree from this school. He graduated in '98. And his student loan was $90k back then. The idiot couldn't find a job making much more than $55k. It was hard for us financially for a long while. I'm so glad I left him for a doctor. And I'm happy I never had any kids with him. Last I heard he still had student loans to pay.

    1. IF this is a true story what happened to womans lib? You need to attach yourself to some guy based on income and not love?

    2. The problem of being unable to make a living with a law degree is one that you cannot mask behind terms like "love". If you cannot get a job and pay for rent or food and your life is devoted to an unsuccessful job search, what type of life are you offering a partner? If one party in the household has an income, you can make it. If neither party has an income, love is not going to pay the rent or for food. Are you going to go on welfare and food stamps for love, when one party in the relationship has an elite law degree that they cannot use anywhere?

    3. It's not a true story, although it certainly could be, and similar situations abound. But be realistic. Why should anyone, of whatsoever gender, want to be stuck with a heavy and almost insuperable financial burden on account of marriage? Relationships will fail, and do, because of a spouse's ill-advised decision to go to law school. And usually it's not a debt of $90k and an income of $55k; it's a much larger debt and a considerably smaller income from a job unrelated to law, or no income at all. Remember too that even the vaunted jobs paying $160k are unlikely to last more than three or four years and will consume almost every waking hour with quasi-secretarial work.

  4. Check out the cost of attending Northwestern’s law school compared to the med school. According to the Northwestern Feinberg School of Medicine admissions page, tuition is $55,000 per year. The total cost of attendance is $85,000. Given the costs of training med students, and the salaries of physicians, the tuition may be reasonable. Med school requires expensive facilities and a broadly skilled faculty. A med school requires a microbiology lab, anatomy (cadaver) lab, pathology/histology lab, and mock patient rooms to see standardized patients and learn how to perform an H&P. The school needs pathologists, infectious disease docs, neurologists, cardiologists, pulmonologists, nephrologists, gastroenterologists, endocrinologists, hematology/oncologists, and biochemists to teach the core curriculum. The school must be associated with a teaching hospital so students can learn from surgeons and assist with surgeries, learn from OB/GYN docs and assist with labor and deliveries and other procedures, and round on patients with IM, Peds, and Psych. There is only so much space in an OR or on a team that rounds on patients in the hospital. So a school can’t admit a lot of students to bring in more tuition dollars to absorb all of the costs. Nevertheless, many of these students will go onto earn salaries in the low six figures. The future cardiologists, neurosurgeons, and orthopedic surgeons will go onto earn salaries in the high six figures. The medical school grads will be able to repay their student loans.

    Inexplicably, the law students at Northwestern are charged more in tuition for their education than the med students. Law school consists of packing as many students as possible into a lecture room so that a law “professor” can use the Socratic method to teach them to “think like a lawyer.” How in the hell is that more costly than training med students? And what is the payoff? As Nando pointed out, when you graduate from Northwestern, you get to work 3-5 years at a firm such as Mayer Brown, working 80 hours per week, making $150,000-175,000 a year. You then get kicked to the curb and the firm hires another Northwestern grad to take your place. Where do you go then? You could work for Crook County or the City of Chicago law department, covering up police brutality and shootings of black teens. But the city and county are broke. Good luck avoiding one of the many scandals in Chicago and collecting a pension when you retire.

    1. First year out of residency, and my sister is making $300k a year as an ER doc. Law was a huge mistake for me...

    2. I have a degree from T5 law school and earn about a quarter of that with no health insurance or retirement benefits after years of looking unsuccessfully for a job. My undergraduate degree is from one of the most prestigious universities in the United States. I have spent my career working very hard.

      The first year big law jobs are like a Ponzi scheme in the sense that if you have more than 10 years experience and are not working in big law, you are unlikely to be able to stay in a blg law job and unlikely to be able to get a new job that pays even half of that. You don't meet the requirements for most high paying legal jobs. It is the same as before the Civil Rights Act of 1964 when you could be not hired because of your race or religion. Having worked for too many years to meet the requirements for a job is a characteristic you cannot change.

      Most of the in house positions are filled by younger lawyers coming out of big law. Those leaving big law when they are older have limited or no opportunities.

      Even if you have a job in a law firm, they are not going to let you go out and do the type of client development work that you really need to do for years to have a chance of developing a practice. You need financial support and lots and lots of unpaid marketing time if you are not in an established big law firm to have a chance of getting work. Try working for free half your time just to try to sell your services. The results of getting legal work are in no way guaranteed in a very oversaturated market.

      The other thing is that a lot of the sophisticated work is done at big law firms. It is very hard to get that type of work if you are at a firm no one has ever heard of. Lawyers are no longer needed to do unsophisticated work, and there is little need for lawyers any more to do unsophisticated work.

      Emergency medicine has a big demand relative to the supply of doctors trained in that area and a ready source of funds to pay for that demand. Law has a limited demand relative to the supply of lawyers and no ready source of funds to pay for legal services, outside of big corporations, which use mostly big law firms or hire younger lawyers directly out of big law to work in house. Problem is that you need to be in big law to get the in house jobs, and that mostly applies to young lawyers. Older lawyers out of big law or otherwise (say after age 50) mostly cannot find full-time, permanent legal jobs.

      The likelihood is that if you go to a top law school, you are going to be unemployed or severely underemployed in the prime years of your career with really poor earnings and likely no employer paid health insurance or income to pay for health insurance, and retirement benefits at all other than Social Security.

      Doctors are able to stay in the same high paying jobs for their careers, for the most part. They have stable jobs, unlike lawyers. Doctors earn enough to save for retirement over a long period of time, unlike most lawyers, and actually have the means to retire at age 65 for the most part if they want to. Most lawyers do not earn enough to retire at age 65 and have to keep working until they drop dead to support themselves.

    3. Emergency medicine has its share of DOs and US citizens who went to medical school in the Caribbean. None of these people were in the top half of the medical school applicant pool. They are earning high incomes and have relatively stable jobs.

      Imagine being an experienced attorney who graduated from a T14 or T6 or T3 law school and finding out after working in big law many years that your income is capped at about $50,000 a year or even less after paying family health insurance charges because there are too many experienced lawyers and there is too little work for them.

      That happened to me.

      No information is out there on this problem of very poor post-big law placement after 20 years or so.

    4. So glad I didn't leave my sales job for law school. I took the LSAT 4 years ago and I scored a 173. Probably not good enough to get me into Northwestern. But I would have been able to get into at least a top 20.

      I had applied to only 3 schools through LSAC. But I never followed up on any of them. I remember getting letters and emails from like 20 other schools telling me they'd waive my application fee. A few even read like scholarship offers if I just would add them to my list of schools.

      Something about the pressure made me think that I was being given the hard sell by used car dealers. I made $90K last year in a tough sales job. It's not for everyone. But it's something I'm good at and enjoy. I'm just grateful I listened to my gut and avoided law school. Best of luck to the rest of you.

    5. If you are good at sales, you are golden. There are lots of areas in sales where you can make hundreds of thousands of dollars a year eventually, setting up your own shop or at least your own group of salespeople. You really don't need law school.

  5. Not sure I'd want to be paying that kind of student debt balance down even if I landed biglaw out of Northwestern. That's just too much debt even for an elite school. Good on them that they place over 50% of their grads in big firm jobs. But the fact is that large law firms exploit the shit out of junior associates knowing they have that big loan payment to make every month.

    Just see what happens when you're unable to make that unrealistic billable hour quota with the shitty clients they dish out on you while the partner-track associates get the easy gigs. Oh, did I mention that nepotism is rampant in this shit business?

    And good luck if you don't land a biglaw gig carrying over $200K in student loan debt. You might as well join the military and hope they'll end up picking up the tab.

    Be careful, kids. Be very careful...

  6. Biglaw associate is not as great as it sounds. My uncle graduated from a TTT in the mid 1980s. He was near the top of his class. Landed a Biglaw gig in LA. I just remember he was drunk all the time. He was divorced several times by his early 30s too. He's been in and out of a lot of high end rehab places. I wouldn't wish that on anyone. His story made it so I didn't consider law school. I went into property management and I'm glad I did.

  7. All of these law schools carry extreme risk. The business model of relying on up or out jobs for placement of lawyers does not work any more because there are only 25 years of jobs to go around, based on first year placement in JD-required jobs. As someone who has spent huge amounts of time unsuccessfully looking for a job from a much more elite law school, it is clear that these degrees are junk after one ages out of big law and big in house. Women are done in their early 50s, men a little later, and minorities may be done soon after they walk in the door.

    The other problem is that law firms don't have enough work. How do you think your career will fare if you don't have enough work?

    Law is a very marginal career, and the severe oversupply has made it much more marginal Anyone who goes to Northwestern today is an idiot.

    1. What do you mean by there's only 25 years of jobs to go around?

    2. There are only 620,000 establishment jobs for lawyers in the US as per the Bureau of Labor Statistics. The remaining 150,000 lawyer jobs are for solos who do not work for establishment-based law firms. There are about 150,000 of the latter category, and they are probably paid very little on average, as per IRS data.

      NALP has reported about 25,000 first year jobs for lawyers in the last few years. If you do the math and divide 620,000 overall jobs by 25,000 jobs taken by first years, you get just under 25 years of jobs.

      After that, a lawyer needs to either drop down to low paid solo status, find a new career or retire.

      Of course, in reality, some lawyers last longer than 25 or even 35 years.

      The bottom line is that the structure of the legal profession forces older lawyers out of the profession long before retirement. The median age of lawyers finishing law school is well under age 30, and most lawyers want to work more than 25 years, and do not want to be solos. You just don't have enough jobs and it gets much, much harder to work each year a lawyer gets more experienced with these numbers.

      One problem with solos is that there are 1.3 million licensed lawyers and you have the many or most lawyers not in the 620,000 employed group mostly competing for legal work and applying to the open establishment jobs.

      Some lawyers voluntarily work part-time or temp, but many involuntarily work part-time or temp because they cannot get full-time, permanent work.

  8. Holy fuck. No school is worth that for all three years, nevermind one.

    Last week, five thugs jumped a Northwestern Law Student and divested him of his belongings. Apparently, $100k does not provide you with security on campus. Go figure.

  9. By Old Guy's ranking (, Northwestern falls into Tier 3—the lowest tier of schools that are in principle worthy of consideration. My description of Tier 3: "Rich kids are likely to consider these insufficiently prestigious. Others should not even apply without a fee waiver and should not enroll without a large discount, probably at least 50% off; even then, the risk of a bad outcome would loom large."

    I still consider that classification accurate. With a 50% discount, which is more than most matriculants can expect, the bill (including accrued interest on student loans) would exceed $150k, which is a hell of a lot of debt to assume even for a school with relatively good prospects of employment. Debt of that size would be manageable on the vaunted $160k salary that many graduates of Northwestern do get. But by no means does everyone get that salary, and the entry-level jobs that do pay that much tend to vanish in three or four years, without being replaced by similarly remunerative positions.

    Do not attend Northwestern.

  10. I liked being an associate in big law. I worked hard, but I got paid for it.

    Now I earn less than the lowest entry-level public school teacher in my city in spite of spending probably 800 hours over the last two years on an unsuccessful job search.

    The job market for post-big law attorneys with more than 20 years of experience is dead.

    I have plenty of company - hordes of unemployed lawyer colleagues formerly in big law all desperately and unsuccessfully searching for work.

  11. There was a time when attending an elite law school like Northwestern was a no-brainer. That’s not the case anymore. Sure, this school gives you a pretty good shot at big law. You have a pretty good shot at beating the house in blackjack on any given hand too. Would you walk into a casino and bet $250 K in borrowed money on a single hand of blackjack? Even if you get big law, you may washout before you can pay off your student loans. Bottom line, I would be very leery of attending Northwestern if I had to pay full freight using loan dollars.

  12. I think only a Pritzker can afford the tuition at Northwestern Law.

    1. For those unfamiliar with the Pritzker name, take a look at this page:

      "The Pritzker Gift "in Motion"

      In October 2015, J.B. Pritzker (JD ’93) and his wife, M.K. Pritzker, made an historic $100 million gift to the Law School, the largest single gift ever to any law school. Their primary intention was to help ensure that the brightest students could get a legal education at one of the top law schools in the country, regardless of ability to pay. In addition, they hoped to focus attention on the changing legal landscape and how to best prepare the next generation of highly marketable lawyers -- creative, constructive problem-solvers armed with entrepreneurial and multidisciplinary skills, resolutely committed to social justice and the rule of law."

      Now, check out his Forbes profile below:

      Jay Robert (J.B.) Pritzker
      Real Time Net Worth – as of 10/17/17: $3.4B+

      • Jay Robert "JB" Pritzker, an heir to the Hyatt Hotel fortune, runs private equity firm Pritzker Group with his brother Anthony ("Tony").
      • The Pritzker Group owns and runs industrial firms, particularly in the packaging sector. It also has a stake in Elon Musk's rocket firm SpaceX.
      • The firm was an investor in startup Dollar Shave Club, which was purchased by Unilever for $1 billion in July 2016."

      Some selected stats:

      Age: 52
      Source Of Wealth: hotels, investments
      Self-Made Score: 3 (largely inherited)
      Rank on Forbes 400: 219 (as of 2017), 207 in the U.S. (also as of 2017)

      The author of the piece below even uses a Pritzker as the example for the 3rd category of billionaires:

      "3: Inherited fortune and helping to increase it marginally: Penny Pritzker"

      Do you think that this man needed a law degree in order to be a “success”? Or perhaps did his family’s Hyatt Hotel fortune set him up nicely, so long as he didn’t become a drug addict? He is currently running for governor of Illinois. According to his Wikipedia entry, he is an “American venture capitalist, entrepreneur, philanthropist, and private business owner based in Chicago.”

    2. So this rich kid and his wife gave $100M to third-tier trap school Northwestern "to help ensure that the brightest students could get a legal education at one of the top law schools in the country, regardless of ability to pay".

      Let's see, now. Northwestern this year enrolled 215 students, 35.9% of whom got at least 50% off the insanely high tuition of $61,784. If each one of those students had received from Pritzker's funds a scholarship (this actually could be called a scholarship, unlike the usual scam-school discount) sufficient to cover tuition, which was certainly not the case, the discount would have come to $4.8M, which is just a bit shy of the usual 5% pay-out on an endowed scholarship. Realistically, perhaps only 3% or even less of that money went to scholarships for "the brightest students". What about the rest of the money?

      It seems likely that the Pritzkers have merely enabled Northwestern to transfer much of the monstrous bill to the many students who get no discount at all, or only a small one.

      I don't have the details, however, so I may be wrong.

  13. First-year enrollment at third-tier trap school Northwestern has fallen more than 20% over the previous six years. LSAT scores have also fallen somewhat, from 166/170/171 to 163/168/170 over the same period. That 170 is this school's last real claim to prestige, and you can bet your ass that the admissions office is struggling to keep that score from sliding—apparently by offering fat discounts at the top end and skimpy ones down below. You can also bet that Northwestern's decision to accept the GRE had to do with bringing in people with perfectly green money but no inferior LSAT score that would show up in the data. Once that 170 turns into 169 or 168, Northwestern will find itself in the unhappy company of UCLA, Georgetown, and the Univershitty of Texas.

  14. I thought Northwestern decided to accept the GRE for admissions. Now that is sad.

  15. The amount of tuition and fees Northwestern/Pritzker charges is unconscionable.


    On August 7, 2017, the university issued a press release labeled "Northwestern to accept GRE for law school admission." It was written by Hilary Hurd Anyaso. Read the following portion:

    "Northwestern University Pritzker School of Law will allow all J.D. applicants starting in fall 2018 to submit either the Graduate Record Examination (GRE) or the Law School Admissions Test (LSAT) for admission the following year (fall 2019).

    This decision was made after careful evaluation, including a study conducted in conjunction with the Educational Testing Service (ETS), the organization that administers the GRE. In accordance with American Bar Association (ABA) Standards for Legal Education, the study assessed whether the GRE is a valid predictor of first-year academic performance at Northwestern Law. Results showed that the GRE is, in fact, a strong predictor of first-year performance at Northwestern.

    “At Northwestern Pritzker School of Law, we are firmly committed to meeting the evolving needs of the profession, and this means constantly evaluating the law school experience,” said Daniel Rodriguez, dean and Harold Washington Professor at Northwestern Law. “This includes our curriculum, where we have established relevant new programs, concentrations and courses, our student support infrastructure, including financial aid, and also student admissions and recruitment.”

    Over the past year, the University of Arizona College of Law and Harvard Law have made similar announcements.

    The GRE evaluates qualitative and quantitative skills comprehensively and is broadly accepted by thousands of graduate and professional degree programs, from biochemistry to philosophy.

    “Gaining access to GRE test-takers, many of whom are engineers, scientists and mathematicians, could benefit Northwestern Law and the legal profession at large by diversifying the applicant pool,” Rodriguez said. “Additionally, the GRE is offered a number of times throughout the year and in locations worldwide, making it easily accessible for prospective students.”

    Focus on the phrase "gaining access to GRE test-takers." Why not just accept a well-written, two page essay from undergrads majoring in engineering, chemistry, or math, explaining why they would like to be lawyers? Perhaps, you could merely waive them into the law school, as long as their UGPA is above a 2.9. It would not affect your incoming LSAT numbers - and it wouldn't further "burden" the applicants, with the cost of a GRE or other admi$$ion$ exam.

  17. Experienced lawyers post-big law are forced in the worst jobs if they want to work at all. Just heard about one today in response to an ad.

    Most full-time permanent jobs have experience limits of 6 years (in fact probably 10 years). Everybody else is applying to the few jobs without advertised experience limits, which easily have more than 100 applicants per job. So the hordes of experienced lawyers like myself looking for work post-big law are not getting full-time permanent legal jobs or even interviews with elite degrees and elite law firms and maybe even a current job that may pay poorly and have poor opportunities.

    So what happens? The few major organizations that need lawyers for more menial tasks set up temp jobs. They last no more than 6 months, pay no more than $50 an hour, and cap hours of work anywhere between 15 and 40, depending on the company's needs eat week. The job carries no employee benefits. Based on about 20 hours of work a week, this job pays all of $23,000 for six months.

    That job is going to be very competitive to get with all the post-big law lawyers out of work. The lawyer who gets it may not work for a year or more after that job ends, because it is so hard to get work.

    Oh, yes, the job is not going to last more than six months because the company's guidelines require them to hire a new temp lawyer to not have the same temp lawyer long term, which can cause legal problems.

    Congratulate yourself on going to Northwestern Law. See all you have to look forward to.

    You can be a wannabe temp lawyer making a fraction of what a recent college grad makes for years after your big law stint out of Northwestern ends.

    1. One of the commenters above mentioned that DOs and US citizens who went to med school in the Caribbean are earning high incomes and have relatively stable jobs compared to older experienced lawyers from T14s with Biglaw experience. That is absolutely correct. DOs and Caribbean grads cannot get into the competitive medical specialties like neuro surgery, orthopedic surgery, or dermatology. But they are getting into the less competitive specialties like internal medicine. After completing an internal medicine residency, many of them go on and complete a fellowship in cardiology or gastroenterology – some of the highest paying medical specialties. Interventional cardiologists, the specialists that perform percutaneous coronary interventions to treat myocardial infarctions (they stick a catheter into the femoral artery and snake the catheter through the blood vessels to the coronary artery that is obstructed), can earn close to seven figures a year. Even if the DO or Caribbean grad does not complete a fellowship, they can still have a great career as a generalist. Many hospitalists earn the same salary as a Biglaw associates, while only working a 7 on 7 off schedule.

      If you have a high enough LSAT score to get into a trap law school like Northwestern, you are smart enough to go into engineering, programing, get into a highly ranked MBA program, or go to med school. Don’t make the mistake of going to law school. A career in medicine would give you the opportunity to help people and save lives. There are a wide variety of specialties that you could pursue depending on your personality. If you like working with your hands, you could become a surgeon. You could excise tumors or perform emergency appendectomies. If you are an introvert, you could become a pathologist or radiologist. If you like kids, you could become a pediatrician. If you are interested in technology, interventional radiology is a growing specialty. They are using imaging to perform less invasive procedures, such as tumor ablation. All of the specialties give you an opportunity to make a difference in someone’s life. These career paths are far better than working as a temp lawyer.

    2. I spoke with my radiologist son in 4th year of residency, headed to a fellowship next July 2018. He mentioned a night owl job from 9 p.m., to 7 a.m. working one week ON and two weeks OFF. A 17 week work year at $320,000.00 or so.

    3. The math is not favorable for lawyers coming out of big law. Last I looked, there were about 120,000 big law jobs and 64,000 in house jobs for lawyers. If big law is putting out over 5,000 lawyers a year due to up or out, you don't have 5,000 in house jobs opening up each year for those lawyers. You would need in the range of 200,000 in house jobs opening each year for the up or outers to be able to go in house.

      Government hiring of lawyers has not grown nor has small firm hiring grown from what we know.

      You are dealing with up or out putting talented lawyers mostly into a black hole of future unemployment and underemployment.

      For anyone who made $300,000 a year or more in big law at the top of their career for a very short time, and now is not even close to breaking the $100,000 range, and has no health or retirement benefits at work, the up or out business model is not only broken.

      The up or out scheme is a fraudulent scheme where full disclosure is desperately needed of the horrific employment outcomes for lawyers in their 40s, 50s and 60s.

      The only way to break an inevitable cycle of failure that lawyers suffer as they age is to drastically reduce law school enrollment, so there are 40 years of real establishment jobs for lawyers.

      if you divide 620,000, the number of establishment lawyer jobs, by 40, the number of years most people need to work to have a career, you get 15,500. That is the number of real jobs for each class of working lawyers in the US.

      If you allot 25,000 of those jobs to newly minted lawyers, as has been the case recently according to NALP, you have only 5,000 to 6,000 jobs left for older law school classes of lawyers. That is a chilling number with 43,000 lawyers or more graduating in many recent law school classes.

      The other 150,000 solo lawyer jobs, mostly very low paid, only add on average 3,750 jobs a law school class. If they only pay $50,000 a year or less for private practice, it is not clear that a law degree is economically viable for anyone in the solo track for years, even with full scholarship, because of the opportunity cost of spending three years in law school. College grads are now getting $50,000 a year right out of college with benefits.

      The question about medicine, now that most new doctors are not self-employed, is whether they can actually work until age 65 or 70, if they want to, and have enough money on average saved for retirement, so they have retirement benefits of say 70% of their working income. If the answer to that question is yes, there is a night and day difference between medicine and law. Most lawyers are not able to work in an establishment job until age 65 or 70 and very few lawyers are retiring with 70% of their working income, or anything close to that, even adding Social Security benefits.

      There needs to be better disclosure of what happens to the older law school classes, when they hit their 40s, 50s and 60s, because the supply of lawyers and numbers of lawyer jobs are so imbalanced at that experience level.

  18. When we get into the T14 or thereabouts, I part ways with your thinking. I generally agree with it and certainly as to lesser law schools and diploma mills. But Northwestern? Is there are risk a graduate won't be successful? Absolutely. There is a risk, but life entails risk.

    Most graduates are successful and land high-paying jobs. Does the bottom 15% struggle? Sure. Who wants to hire the worst of the lot for anything? I wouldn't at my firm. Still, no one should be going to law school just "because." If you don't like writing, and you don't like problem-solving, and to a lesser degree if you don't like public speaking, you probably shouldn't go. Transactional law requires a different skillset, but people still shouldn't go to law school just "because" even if they get into a top one and are well-credentialed. Not so much because you won't be well compensated, but because you won't enjoy your job.

    1. Long term employment outcomes from even the top law schools are not great. Many people out of work, unemployed or underemployed. Too many lawyers and too little work.

      You are just looking a stats for newly graduated lawyers. Those stats are much, much better than for lawyers later in their careers.

    2. Yes, there is some truth to that. People who do not prove competent in Biglaw, do not develop the right skill set, and/or who don’t forge the right relationships will struggle with exit options. Getting into a good school diesn’t Mean you’r ‘done,’ there are only do mNy good long term options and some can’t or won’t keep moving the ball forward.

  19. The world doesn't need any quacks either. Only if you are qualified should you become a Doctor.

  20. The bottom line is that the market will only pay for skills that are employable and in-demand. Lawyering is not in demand. Too many lawyers and not enough paying clients to absorb the labor supply. Want a good job with solid prospects upon graduation? Go to school for a degree in the healthcare field or data science/data analytics. I'm starting an online master's in Applied Business Analytics from BU in the Spring. Total cost will come to just over 35k while Big Data jobs continue to increase in number year-over-year. Tons of other universities are doing the same thing now - not just the U of Phoenix diploma mills, but legitimately reputable universities.

    For a fraction of the cost, you can get a master's online in a field that's actually in high-demand, without having to pay $160k in non-dischargeable debt for a law degree which carries zero prospects.


    On August 7, 2017, Joe Patrice authored a strong ATL piece entitled “Northwestern Officially Accepting the GRE.” Take a look at this opening:

    "The other shoe has officially dropped.

    After teasing a move to accepting the GRE in the local paper of record, Northwestern is joining Harvard and Arizona in accepting the GRE in the admissions process. Applicants for the 2019 school year will be able to take either the LSAT or the GRE.

    This move comes after Northwestern’s internal review — conducted in conjunction with ETS, the folks behind the GRE — demonstrated that the GRE performed as well as the LSAT in predicting first-year law school success. That’s all the ABA requires out of an entrance exam. For now.

    Is it time for the LSAC, the entity that’s held a monopoly on law school admissions testing for years, to start freaking out yet? The answer, of course, is yes.

    The LSAT monopoly over law school admissions was, like most monopolies, fraught with inefficiencies. There aren’t enough testing centers? Who cares, we’re a monopoly! There aren’t enough administrations throughout the year? Who cares, we’re a monopoly! The games section is merely an exercise in memorizing a few simplistic tricks that ultimately offers no insight into student competence? Yeah, still a monopoly.

    But along came the GRE and schools are starting to wake up to the fact that it’s not — no matter what some critics here at Above the Law might think — a test written in crayon. It offers more testing locations, more administrations, and if a law school wanted a fair test of someone’s analytical reasoning, the GRE offers this thing called “mathematics” that does the trick.

    The mere presence of a challenger is already reaping benefits for the consumer. The LSAT has dropped its limit of tests an applicant can take in a year and there may be some additional testing dates in the future. Baby steps.”

    In the end, it is sickening to see law schools such as Harvard and Northwestern accept the GRE for admission. Low-ranked ABA schools will rely on that decision by those augu$t in$titution$, in order to justify accepting other exams for entrance to their particular cesspool. When supposed top ten law schools make such a TTT move, it makes it that much easier for the bottom feeders to engage in that conduct.

  22. The first Rockefeller to become rich wasn't born rich.


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