Celebrating 10 years! 2007-2017

Trap law schools

Paul Campos has a definition of law schools that are "trap l vohod04/13/17
I wouldn't pay sticker for an NFL game, let alone law school jesssmith92304/13/17
It used to be that T15-25 were the trap schools. I would co disappearedattorney04/14/17
UVA, Michigan, and Cornell are traps now? Let's not be ridic trollfeeder04/14/17
I guess it depends on the context. If you do well at these s 6figuremistake04/14/17
This... If you ain't got big lawl and you got over 150-200k triplesix04/14/17
I'm 150k in debt and non big law. I'm on PAYE with a good jo yankeebirdie04/18/17
I wouldn't call these places "trap" schools in the same sens ejs201704/14/17
Most of my classmates from a T6-T14 and I absolutely believe disappearedattorney04/16/17
which school you went to? mrlollipop04/18/17
sunynp interveningrights04/14/17
Any school that doesn't guarantee biglaw and pay of sticker irishlaw04/14/17
How about Santa Clara grads from the late 80's to early 90's municipald104/14/17
A lot of old Santa Clara of counsels and partners in the Bay irishlaw04/14/17
Santa Clara seems to still do exceptionally for their grads cargo04/14/17
I get the feeling that Santa Clara does "well" because many irishlaw04/14/17
When I worked at tech firms, lots of JD type roles got their trijocker04/14/17
Am i remembering the wrong school? I thought SCU's grads we inho2solo04/16/17
Boston University, Notre Dame, GW, Emory, BC, USC hairypalms04/14/17
All correct, but I'd add SMU, W&L and WUSTL to this list of tdkerabatsos04/14/17
All private and public charging over 40k in top50. I fell triplesix04/14/17
I graduated from WUSTL, and agree w/ its status as a trap sc bucwild04/14/17
Sure, WUSTL may be a trap school, but it's one of the better john0904/16/17
Being "one of the better law schools" is, by definition, wha disappearedattorney04/18/17
Not joking: - HYS - A strong regional school in the geog superttthero04/16/17
Easy. The "good" law schools in the 15 - 50 range that dece themapmaster04/18/17
UT Austin has national reach. I personally know attorneys fr bizzybone131304/24/17
Hence why UT is in the t14 now... trollfeeder04/24/17

vohod (Apr 13, 2017 - 11:28 pm)

Paul Campos has a definition of law schools that are "trap law schools.". The criteria are:1 very expensive. 2. Desirable location. 3. Superficially attractive employment and salary statistics. (the trap concept gas to do with a sports metaphor that I don't understand or care about- something about a game being harder to win than it seems on the surface just comparing two teams.)

Trap schools are schools that look good enough on the surface that reasonably prudent students will attend at sticker- but end up in financial disaster anyway.

He nominates-USC Fordham and George Washington as examples of this trap. Some commentators think Minnesota might also be included.

Thoughts? If you are thinking about attending one of these schools would you pay sticker?

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jesssmith923 (Apr 13, 2017 - 11:46 pm)

I wouldn't pay sticker for an NFL game, let alone law school. If your numbers are good enough to get into a top LS, they should be good enough to get money from a strong regional school. General rule, sticker only even maybe HYS, no more than 100k for T6, below 60k for rest of T14, no more than 20k for anything below.

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disappearedattorney (Apr 14, 2017 - 12:26 am)

It used to be that T15-25 were the trap schools. I would contend that T7-14 are now trap schools.

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trollfeeder (Apr 14, 2017 - 7:13 am)

UVA, Michigan, and Cornell are traps now? Let's not be ridiculous.

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6figuremistake (Apr 14, 2017 - 9:30 am)

I guess it depends on the context. If you do well at these schools, you should be fine - assuming you didn't go crazy with the debt, but I don't think I'd want to graduate in the bottom half of even most T-14 schools (particularly if I paid sticker).

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triplesix (Apr 14, 2017 - 9:40 am)

This... If you ain't got big lawl and you got over 150-200k of debt... Good luck buddy. You will get a decent job, sure, but 60k with that debt is obnoxious. By the time your career takes off, it will balloon to even more money. With the debt like that you need cash flow first day of graduation otherwise paying that debt is a fool's errand. Law school requires for everything to go perfect, otherwise you fuked your life over while playing big law lottery. It is true that many will recover bc they come from well off families or pure smarts/luck but they are losing best years of their lives and family favors to pay for old law schools hags lifestyles.

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yankeebirdie (Apr 18, 2017 - 7:40 pm)

I'm 150k in debt and non big law. I'm on PAYE with a good job making near six figures. WOuldnt have this opportunity without law school

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ejs2017 (Apr 14, 2017 - 10:01 am)

I wouldn't call these places "trap" schools in the same sense that you may refer to a T25 to T50 or almost any school beyond that. They still have great national reputations and I still see Michigan grads prominently placed all around the country.

However, the playing field has levelled to such a degree that a lot of grads from these schools are now finding themselves in the same boat as their less prestigious fellow grads. Reading about T6 grads working document review and eDiscovery is truly jaw-dropping. It wasn't that way 15 years ago.

Knowing the highly attenuated life span of Biglaw careers and the cost of school, I don't know why anyone would choose to go to law school without a full ride any more. I don't know why anyone would choose to go to college without a full scholarship seeing how even STEM grads are struggling. Seeing how people start to game the system beginning in middle school I worry about my two kids' futures.

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disappearedattorney (Apr 16, 2017 - 2:44 pm)

Most of my classmates from a T6-T14 and I absolutely believe we went to a trap school, based on our personal experiences. And of course you can find many alumnae of my school having fantastic legal careers. But that's not the right metric. You should really be looking at long-term career outcomes and the percentages who do well. More than half of my class has left the law. Less than 10% has made partner at BIGLAW (and that's nonequity). That sure looks like a trap to me.

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mrlollipop (Apr 18, 2017 - 1:20 am)

which school you went to?

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interveningrights (Apr 14, 2017 - 1:07 am)

sunynp

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irishlaw (Apr 14, 2017 - 1:18 am)

Any school that doesn't guarantee biglaw and pay of sticker is a trap school imo. Berkeley can't even get 50% of their kids in the door.

I always laugh at old biglaw associates who graduated in the 80 early 90s and have since moved on. I told one my stats back when I was interviewing (Notre Dame top 10%) and he was telling me I'd get an offer from almost every Biglaw firm (I got 2 lucky).

This guy graduated with no honors from Cardozo (Dropping out for a semester to run a night club in Miami) back in 1992 and was hired by a V10.

He would never make it now, not even close.

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municipald1 (Apr 14, 2017 - 1:21 am)

How about Santa Clara grads from the late 80's to early 90's? It's like they went to a different law school.

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irishlaw (Apr 14, 2017 - 1:29 am)

A lot of old Santa Clara of counsels and partners in the Bay, almost no associates. Truly a different world.

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cargo (Apr 14, 2017 - 1:41 am)

Santa Clara seems to still do exceptionally for their grads who pass the bar. I've come across more recently employed Santa Clara grads in Nor Cal than maybe any other local law school.

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irishlaw (Apr 14, 2017 - 1:44 am)

I get the feeling that Santa Clara does "well" because many of their students have connections or worked at tech firms and get hired back once they earn their degree.

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trijocker (Apr 14, 2017 - 7:17 am)

When I worked at tech firms, lots of JD type roles got their start in something else, say marketing, patent agent, contracts. Then while at the firm they went to SCU part time at night, while the tech firm paid some or all of their tuition. Then they climbed up the ladder at tech firms and continued to hire other SCU grads for roles. Or people who worked in some lower level function at tech firms would get their adult children law jobs at the tech firms, even if the kid went to an east coast school that wasn't ranked that well.
Most of the time I saw grads from highly ranked schools they were in Biglaw, not in house.

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inho2solo (Apr 16, 2017 - 2:57 pm)

Am i remembering the wrong school? I thought SCU's grads were only like 33% employed in LTFT JD-required jobs, the last several classes?

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hairypalms (Apr 14, 2017 - 8:23 am)

Boston University, Notre Dame, GW, Emory, BC, USC

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tdkerabatsos (Apr 14, 2017 - 8:40 am)

All correct, but I'd add SMU, W&L and WUSTL to this list of key offenders as well.

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triplesix (Apr 14, 2017 - 9:03 am)

All private and public charging over 40k in top50.

I fell victim for this brand of scum. Pass me some prep H, I am still hurting.

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bucwild (Apr 14, 2017 - 10:21 am)

I graduated from WUSTL, and agree w/ its status as a trap school. WUSTL is probably the worst trap because it has a stigma against it in it's hometown b/c many employers assume WUSTL grads don't want to stay in St. Louis.

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john09 (Apr 16, 2017 - 9:12 pm)

Sure, WUSTL may be a trap school, but it's one of the better law schools. WUSTL's employment stats for the Class of 2016 are quite impressive and are better than the stats for UCLA, UT, Fordham, GW, BU, BC, and USC. And WUSTL, gives out tons of scholarship money to most students. So, I think WUSTL is one of the better schools out there considering job prospects and debt.

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disappearedattorney (Apr 18, 2017 - 7:33 pm)

Being "one of the better law schools" is, by definition, what it means to be a "trap school."

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superttthero (Apr 16, 2017 - 9:46 pm)

Not joking:

- HYS
- A strong regional school in the geographic area you want, in first tier, that is less than $50k in total cost to you (including bar expenses), that you pay or borrow.

Anything else is a trap. For some the trap is just the dream of being a lawyer..

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themapmaster (Apr 18, 2017 - 9:18 pm)

Easy. The "good" law schools in the 15 - 50 range that deceitfully and inaccurately market themselves as law schools with a national reach, in an self-interested attempt to boost their US News Ranking and recruit out of state students with good stats, but not stats good enough to get into T14.

These law schools will peddle a promotional video which features a graduate that did get a biglaw or other such high-end job in a far away, distant place. No mention of the truth, which is that while it does occur, this is the exception, not the norm. Sadly I am a graduate of such a law school. I learned the hard way that after T14 or T16, rankings matter not. Was too naive to buy that advice when I was given it before law school.

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bizzybone1313 (Apr 24, 2017 - 7:28 pm)

UT Austin has national reach. I personally know attorneys from there that work all over the place: NYC, Washington DC, Chicago and of course Texas. In fact, I know of more people that work outside of Texas than in Texas.

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trollfeeder (Apr 24, 2017 - 10:47 pm)

Hence why UT is in the t14 now...

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