Originally Posted by ConcernedParent
Indeed. But all fields demand excellence and competitiveness for the good jobs anyway. Engineers need GPA+school rep; say a 3.3+, and that alone from a good school puts them in the top 33% I'd imagine.
Getting into HYS is pretty baller no doubt, but I'm trying to rationalize how you can discount the opportunities that a "top" (if I had to pick an arbitrary cutoff point for prestige, I'd say t14 sounds like a nice number) law school can offer as long as you aren't somewhere at the bottom of your class.
A lot of firms set strict GPA/percentile ranks when they interview at a school. So you need to be well off of the bottom of the class to even get an interview, let alone an offer. That's the issue: you're competing against 200+ peers that are all type A, mostly cut throat, super smart kids at the top 14 schools. They, for the most part, all want to be in that top half of the class so you can't bank on just being smart will get you there. You need to kill yourself studying and even then you might not get it.
Then comes the crappy bimodal nature of law jobs. If you don't get into one of those firms that only want kids from the top 1/3 of your class, you are now faced with:
1) Getting a clerkship (harder than BigLaw in most cases...good luck)
2) Taking a public defender/other government job
3) Taking a small law job where you'll work just as hard as BigLaw but get way less money
4) Try for non-law firms as junior in-house counsel
5) Do copy work for a super small time lawyer making $15/hour
Only options 1 and 4 lead to more than $50k/year generally, and option 4 doesn't always and it's hard as hell to get for most lawyers just because the jobs are rare.
So, at a top school you either make it in the top 1/3 and get $160k/year or you get up with the above options, most of which lead to $50k/year jobs (low for what you put in and likely took out in loans).
So, would you take $200k in loans for a 33% shot at making $160k when the alternative is making what an average college grad is making 2 years out of school?
Replace that 33% with 5% or less for the majority of law schools.