T20 schools with LA Big Law placement besides UCLA/USC?

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Lehmanbro42O

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T20 schools with LA Big Law placement besides UCLA/USC?

Postby Lehmanbro42O » Sat Feb 10, 2018 4:04 pm

3.7 | 169 -- Fall 2018

Right now I have my sights set on LA Big law. My family, friends, and roots are there. However, I did my ugrad at UCLA and am not eager spend 7 years at this school. I love my friends that will still be there, but I would prefer to depart from undergraduate culture and take a break from west los angeles life for a bit. My goal is to finish no lower than top 10% of my class and I fear I will become distracted in this environment-- I have seen this happen with a few [very smart] friends that got sucked back into their prior circles and had a little too much fun 1L year, leaving them with sub par gpa's. I believe I will be in a better position to fully focus on studying and performing in a different location.

What schools would be my best options with this goal in mind? I have applied to nearly all the T20's, minus Georgetown, Cornell, NYU. Would a school like UT with $$ be too risky?

(I am not retaking and re applying-- I appreciate and understand the logic but I am not doing it)

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Re: T20 schools with LA Big Law placement besides UCLA/USC?

Postby Gitaroo_Dude » Sat Feb 10, 2018 6:04 pm

UCLA 1L here. I think you need to take the realities of the LA Biglaw market into account before making any of these assumptions.

There were 339 2L SA positions in LA last summer. Now, USC and UCLA each send roughly 40% of their classes into biglaw, so conservatively let's say they sent 180 students into those positions. Loyola and other local schools like Pepperdine will send like another 30-40 students total.

So that leaves around 125 or so SA positions in LA. Now take into account that there will be Berkeley and Stanford students coming to summer too. I have no idea how many, but let's be conservative and estimate they send 50 combined students to LA. That leaves us with 75 summer spots left. Now take into account the rest of the T13 students who are LA locals looking to get home. Again, let's be conservative here and say that the other combined eleven schools will send 40 students to LA. We have somewhere around 30 SA spots left for UCI students, UC Davis students, UC Hastings, USD, and all the other bazillion CA schools, plus all the other T20 schools fighting over a handful of spots.

You are taking a huge gamble to attend WUSTL, Vandy, or UT with the goal of landing LA biglaw if you only look at raw numbers.

But you're also making a big mistake on setting your goal of being Top 10% at a T20. I am right around Top 10% at my school, and there is a HUGE amount of luck that separates the general Top 33% student from the Top 10% student. To illustrate the point: I was awesome at proximate cause in Torts last semester but not quite as strong on duty. Our essay on the Torts final was all proximate cause; I rocked it to the point the professor chose my essay as the model answer. Had I gotten an essay on Duty I would have done well but not great. Pure luck on the Prof selecting my favorite element of negligence. In Contracts, our problem involved figurines/collectibles. I'm pretty familiar with figurine culture and was therefore able to make a lot of novel arguments about figurine collector behavior and how that'd relate to calculating damages; my prof really liked the arguments and I got an A on that exam. Had our question been on something like calculating damages for a surgical operation, I'd have written decent arguments but not as strongly as I did for the topic we got. Again, lots of luck. In short, DO NOT SET YOUR GOAL AS TOP 10% at any T20 school. Your peers will largely be just as bright as you if not brighter, and it is largely impossible to predict who will get Top 10% versus those who fall just outside into the Top 25-Top 33%. Hard work is necessary but never sufficient fro breaking into the Top 10% of students. Sacrificing your health and happiness to achieve that will almost assuredly hamper your chances of doing very well.

Also I think your approach of isolating yourself will not necessarily lead to better grades. I had a blast in first semester and was relatively pretty involved in extra-curricular activities + socializing and I think that was a big reason I did well. You may find that cutting yourself off from your social circle is in fact a hindrance. My biggest source of stress first semester was a long-distance relationship, not coursework. Being around people who keep you happy is important during 1L.

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Re: T20 schools with LA Big Law placement besides UCLA/USC?

Postby curry1 » Sat Feb 10, 2018 8:47 pm

Gitaroo_Dude wrote:UCLA 1L here. I think you need to take the realities of the LA Biglaw market into account before making any of these assumptions.

There were 339 2L SA positions in LA last summer. Now, USC and UCLA each send roughly 40% of their classes into biglaw, so conservatively let's say they sent 180 students into those positions. Loyola and other local schools like Pepperdine will send like another 30-40 students total.

So that leaves around 125 or so SA positions in LA. Now take into account that there will be Berkeley and Stanford students coming to summer too. I have no idea how many, but let's be conservative and estimate they send 50 combined students to LA. That leaves us with 75 summer spots left. Now take into account the rest of the T13 students who are LA locals looking to get home. Again, let's be conservative here and say that the other combined eleven schools will send 40 students to LA. We have somewhere around 30 SA spots left for UCI students, UC Davis students, UC Hastings, USD, and all the other bazillion CA schools, plus all the other T20 schools fighting over a handful of spots.

You are taking a huge gamble to attend WUSTL, Vandy, or UT with the goal of landing LA biglaw if you only look at raw numbers.

But you're also making a big mistake on setting your goal of being Top 10% at a T20. I am right around Top 10% at my school, and there is a HUGE amount of luck that separates the general Top 33% student from the Top 10% student. To illustrate the point: I was awesome at proximate cause in Torts last semester but not quite as strong on duty. Our essay on the Torts final was all proximate cause; I rocked it to the point the professor chose my essay as the model answer. Had I gotten an essay on Duty I would have done well but not great. Pure luck on the Prof selecting my favorite element of negligence. In Contracts, our problem involved figurines/collectibles. I'm pretty familiar with figurine culture and was therefore able to make a lot of novel arguments about figurine collector behavior and how that'd relate to calculating damages; my prof really liked the arguments and I got an A on that exam. Had our question been on something like calculating damages for a surgical operation, I'd have written decent arguments but not as strongly as I did for the topic we got. Again, lots of luck. In short, DO NOT SET YOUR GOAL AS TOP 10% at any T20 school. Your peers will largely be just as bright as you if not brighter, and it is largely impossible to predict who will get Top 10% versus those who fall just outside into the Top 25-Top 33%. Hard work is necessary but never sufficient fro breaking into the Top 10% of students. Sacrificing your health and happiness to achieve that will almost assuredly hamper your chances of doing very well.

Also I think your approach of isolating yourself will not necessarily lead to better grades. I had a blast in first semester and was relatively pretty involved in extra-curricular activities + socializing and I think that was a big reason I did well. You may find that cutting yourself off from your social circle is in fact a hindrance. My biggest source of stress first semester was a long-distance relationship, not coursework. Being around people who keep you happy is important during 1L.


This post is generally good — just to add some data to the mix, in the past two years ~30 HLS 2Ls per year have summered at market-paying firms in LA/CC based on internal data. If gitaroo's ~339 number holds true, that means that ~10% of the SA positions in LA are taken by one out-of-state law school – HLS. When you pair that with UCLA+USC+Stanford+Berkeley, there are very few positions floating around for other schools.

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Re: T20 schools with LA Big Law placement besides UCLA/USC?

Postby Gitaroo_Dude » Sun Feb 11, 2018 12:58 pm

curry1 wrote:This post is generally good — just to add some data to the mix, in the past two years ~30 HLS 2Ls per year have summered at market-paying firms in LA/CC based on internal data. If gitaroo's ~339 number holds true, that means that ~10% of the SA positions in LA are taken by one out-of-state law school – HLS. When you pair that with UCLA+USC+Stanford+Berkeley, there are very few positions floating around for other schools.


Thanks, this adds great context to my spitballing. OP, if anything this should further solidify how difficult is will be landing a biglaw job in LA from a non-LA T20 school (excluding T13 schools here of course).

My numbers on the spots being filled by T13 students is probably far too low; based on Harvard alone the non-CA T13 schools are probably gonna take up at least 50 2L SA spots. You're looking at somewhere between 10-20 spots left over for every non-T13 + UCLA/USC student to fight over, with UCI probably taking up a good amount of the left overs.

If anyone is curious, I got the data on 339 SA spots in LA from NALP. Not sure I can link it on here without the mods removing it, but it was titled "Summer Program Trends: 2014-2016."

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Re: T20 schools with LA Big Law placement besides UCLA/USC?

Postby Lehmanbro42O » Sun Feb 11, 2018 2:27 pm

Thanks for the detailed response. I follow and generally agree. I’m just curious as to whether or not a student with better gpa from a school like Georgetown or UT would be able to bump an SC/Davis student, as opposed to these spots being filled in by those schools you mentioned before these out of state grads get looked at.

I get that things can happen and it’s a side topic of course, but do you really believe that the difference between top 1/3 and top 1/10 is attributable pretty much mostly to luck? I’m hesitant to agree. If this were the case you would likely very inconsistent grades semester to semester. You also wouldn’t be able to find correlations between certain variables within the sub groups at various performance levels, which as I understand it, is not the case. There’s a strong correlation to top performance in the class with things like relatively high lsat performance compared to your class (I’ll try to find the lecture where I saw this explained). Seems like there are a number of determining factors at play besides luck in the division between good and great. I think shooting for top 10% of the class, with the understanding that things can and do happen, is a fine goal and I’m not ditching it (not to say I’m not thankful for your advice and input).

So for T13 schools? Would a T10 school w/ $ be just as good or better than Ucla/usc with $$?

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Re: T20 schools with LA Big Law placement besides UCLA/USC?

Postby Lehmanbro42O » Sun Feb 11, 2018 2:44 pm

These responses are great though and these numbers do paint a much better picture of the situation.

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Re: T20 schools with LA Big Law placement besides UCLA/USC?

Postby mrlawguy » Sun Feb 11, 2018 2:45 pm

Lehmanbro42O wrote:3.7 | 169 -- Fall 2018

Right now I have my sights set on LA Big law. My family, friends, and roots are there. However, I did my ugrad at UCLA and am not eager spend 7 years at this school. I love my friends that will still be there, but I would prefer to depart from undergraduate culture and take a break from west los angeles life for a bit. My goal is to finish no lower than top 10% of my class and I fear I will become distracted in this environment-- I have seen this happen with a few [very smart] friends that got sucked back into their prior circles and had a little too much fun 1L year, leaving them with sub par gpa's. I believe I will be in a better position to fully focus on studying and performing in a different location.

What schools would be my best options with this goal in mind? I have applied to nearly all the T20's, minus Georgetown, Cornell, NYU. Would a school like UT with $$ be too risky?

(I am not retaking and re applying-- I appreciate and understand the logic but I am not doing it)


I think the other poster here has made many good points. Let me add this. Retake.

The fact of the matter is that the vast majority of T13 schools place into the East Coast. This may be a self-selecting bias, but I don't think that's necessarily the case. The career advisors at those schools are primarily familiar with sending kids to New York, and there will be less CA interviewers who come to those campuses purely because LA firms market very heavily to the top students at the top CA schools (it's probably a mix of convenience and cost).

This means that even if you go to Columbia, unless you did so well that employers are doing fighting to have you, you may have trouble getting back into the LA market.

I also concur with the general wisdom that you cannot predict how well you'll do in your first year of law school. The fact is, (1) your class will be made of people that, on average, are exactly as smart as you (2) there is an asymmetry of knowledge on how to do well in law school between people who have family/friends/s.o.s who have done 1L and those who don't have these resources (this will work against you on the assumption that you don't have someone close to you who has recently attended a top law school and done well).

I scored a 171 (by the way I massively under performed my PTs because I'm a shitty test taker) and thought I was going to rock it out of the park my first year, but I struggled my first semester before picking up the game and doing well second semester. I got the offers at OCI, but I very well may not have had (like the other poster mentioned, you need luck on those exams).

Thus, my suggestion is, retake and go to the school that gives you the most money within the T13 + UCLA/USC. Moreover, take into consideration that if you are going to school outside CA, you may not make it back to LA. This is what I did, and I don't regret having passed on the most prestigious schools. All the scholly money also protected me when I got back poor grades my first semester. One less thing to worry about.

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Re: T20 schools with LA Big Law placement besides UCLA/USC?

Postby Lehmanbro42O » Sun Feb 11, 2018 3:04 pm

Why would you suggest a retake if UCLA/USC is the most rational target anyway? You think a 2/3 point bump (I was PTing 172ish) is worth it money wise when I’ve already fully committed and applied for this cycle? There’s simply no way I’m getting over $40k more from Ucla or USC, even with a 172 and I don’t think taking a year off, sacrificing more of my life/earnings is worth that extra money. I think I would need 175+ And a lot of luck with my gpa for HYS. With all due respect, thats a reach and I’m not doing it. 169 is fine for $ from SC or LA. My GPA isn’t going anywhere and my life experiences over the next year aren’t gonna dramatically impact my law school applications. I simply don’t have the option to suspend working and studying for the lsat rigorously again anyway.

FWIW, I also actually have a number of immediate family members who (semi) recently finished 1L, as well as at least 5 friends that finished 1L top 1/3 or more from UCLA. Idk if that helps tip the scale in favor of it or not. Thanks for your input.

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Re: T20 schools with LA Big Law placement besides UCLA/USC?

Postby Gitaroo_Dude » Sun Feb 11, 2018 3:30 pm

Lehmanbro42O wrote:Thanks for the detailed response. I follow and generally agree. I’m just curious as to whether or not a student with better gpa from a school like Georgetown or UT would be able to bump an SC/Davis student, as opposed to these spots being filled in by those schools you mentioned before these out of state grads get looked at.


Hmm, I think generally yes with the following caveats. One, the GT/UT student will need LA ties, but you have them so that isn't really worth discussing.

I think a strong candidate from GT/UT will beat out pretty much any Davis student, and many UCI students. The problem I'd worry about is the strong UCI candidate; like Top 25% or so with LA ties. Given how few spots would be leftover, I think a lot of LA firms might find it easier to just get the UCI student through OCI than looking at UT/GT students who are mailing in their app.

I'm only a 1L so I can't speak to any of this in great detail; but I don't think LA firms would look at Davis/UCI students first THEN looking at out-of-state students. I imagine it's probably done simultaneously. I just think the UCI student has the advantage of being able to network with the firms here and of having OCI, and those marginal advantages probably loom large in fighting it out over the small number of LA summer positions.

I get that things can happen and it’s a side topic of course, but do you really believe that the difference between top 1/3 and top 1/10 is attributable pretty much mostly to luck? I’m hesitant to agree. If this were the case you would likely very inconsistent grades semester to semester. You also wouldn’t be able to find correlations between certain variables within the sub groups at various performance levels, which as I understand it, is not the case. There’s a strong correlation to top performance in the class with things like relatively high lsat performance compared to your class (I’ll try to find the lecture where I saw this explained). Seems like there are a number of determining factors at play besides luck in the division between good and great. I think shooting for top 10% of the class, with the understanding that things can and do happen, is a fine goal and I’m not ditching it (not to say I’m not thankful for your advice and input).


I think luck plays a large role in diving those two groups up, but not just the kind of luck I described about fortuitous test-day topics. The other big (probably bigger) consideration is that some students are just going to naturally "get" law school and particularly law school exams. And that looms so large because it's generally impossible to tell who those people are until you get first semester grades back. But it's luck in the sense that some people just have that natural gift and others won't, and that is going to skew the curve. The great equalizer is that taking law exams is (generally) a learnable skill, so it offsets some of that. But there will be a small group of people with an innate advantage, and since those people will generally work hard it means everyone else is handicapped in a sense.

There is also the luck of which professors you get. Certain students will better understand a particular professor's idiosyncrasies. Like, I really got what my Torts professor wanted, but didn't have as great a feel for my CivPro professor. If you get one or two profs you don't gel with, that'll impact your grades adversely. Same goes with Legal Writing; a particular section's writing instructor may grade more harshly, etc.

Then there's the luck of your draw on the section you're placed into. I personally haven't seen this play out but have heard students at different schools (including my own in a previous year) speak of top heavy sections where you have an abnormal amount of students who "get law school" and skew the curve. In 1L all your grades are only curved against your section mates, not the 1L class as a whole, so on the margins a top-heavy section would be an unlucky draw. Though I think schools generally do a good job spreading students around to prevent this from happening. I just note it as a possibility.

This isn't an exhaustive list, but merely meant to illustrate that there are SO MANY FACTORS that go into law school success that have nothing to do with the amount of work you put in.

LSAT is generally a strong indicator but once you get to this level of law school, I don't think there's any difference between a student with a 169 or a student with a 165. They probably have the same aptitude for the material.

I should clarify: shooting for Top 10% is a fine goal (pretty much everyone wants that). I wouldn't have the expectation of ending up Top 10% and building my law school goals around that.

So for T13 schools? Would a T10 school w/ $ be just as good or better than Ucla/usc with $$?


Would depend on total Cost-of-Attendance. But with a 169/3.7 my expectation is that you'll get close to a full-ride at USC, and that that is both a financially reasonable option and also works very well for your goals. Unless you got a good amount of money from Berk, I just don't think any school outside the T6 is going to be better for you than USC with $$$ given your goals. Like, I just don't think Cornell or Northwestern with $ will be any better for you than USC with $$$.

Which is why I don't think a retake is necessary. You're going to have at least one GREAT option for your goals. I'd probably just take that. I get the desire to go to school out-of-state (I had the same too and was 99% sure I'd attend Vandy all the way up 'til April last year) but I think for your career, staying in SoCal or at least CA in general is the best move.

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Re: T20 schools with LA Big Law placement besides UCLA/USC?

Postby Gitaroo_Dude » Sun Feb 11, 2018 3:42 pm

One other point: I get the impression that the two schools you're considering heavily are GT and UT (correct me if I'm wrong).

Of those two I think GT probably will place better in LA, because the GTTTown stigma aside it still has a national reputation with attorneys. I was at a Gibson Dunn event last week (for the LA office) and was speaking with an associate who got his JD at GTown. The problem is that GTown is expensive AF and not gonna do any better for the job hunt than USC when it comes to LA. So you'd be paying way more money to enjoy DC only to have to hustle much more to get home to LA.

With UT I honestly have no idea how many people they even place here. I would suggest you browse the firm profiles for LA offices and see how many, if any UT grads made it out here. Maybe reach out to them and ask how they managed to do it. I imagine that it'll be a greater struggle from UT than GT though. But UT would probably be cheaper with your grades. So it's a toss-up.

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Re: T20 schools with LA Big Law placement besides UCLA/USC?

Postby Lehmanbro42O » Sun Feb 11, 2018 4:34 pm

This isn't an exhaustive list, but merely meant to illustrate that there are SO MANY FACTORS that go into law school success that have nothing to do with the amount of work you put in.

Okay yeah, these things make sense. I read it a little differently than saying these sorts of things were what you were referring to.

I don't think there's any difference between a student with a 169 or a student with a 165.

The fact that I scored better on this test than nearly 75% of people at UCLA gives me a lot of security and joy in this harsh world and I'm not gonna throw that out now, so I won't be internalizing nor accepting this information.

I should clarify: shooting for Top 10% is a fine goal (pretty much everyone wants that). I wouldn't have the expectation of ending up Top 10% and building my law school goals around that.


That's fair. Honestly, 3.4 from UCLA/USC (3.0 median assuming) would have me smitten. Top 10% is great but I also have no idea how I will perform in the law school environment.


Would depend on total Cost-of-Attendance. But with a 169/3.7 my expectation is that you'll get close to a full-ride at USC, and that that is both a financially reasonable option and also works very well for your goals. Unless you got a good amount of money from Berk, I just don't think any school outside the T6 is going to be better for you than USC with $$$ given your goals. Like, I just don't think Cornell or Northwestern with $ will be any better for you than USC with $$$.


I'm getting the idea that this is likely the best option. I may just still be in the state of romanticizing the idea of exploring a new place at a new school and having it all work out fine, but its not looking like that's a very rational aim. I don't think Cal will accept me and if they do they'll probably give me $25k tops total. If USC gave me $$$ then I would be in an extremely good place. I really do hate USC and everything it stands for but they are a great school for LA.

I also will do a search for UT grads in LA firm. That's a good idea, thank you.

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Re: T20 schools with LA Big Law placement besides UCLA/USC?

Postby Lehmanbro42O » Sun Feb 11, 2018 4:55 pm

Also, just curious, what is the GTown stigma? I've never heard of it.

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Re: T20 schools with LA Big Law placement besides UCLA/USC?

Postby Gitaroo_Dude » Sun Feb 11, 2018 5:07 pm

Lehmanbro42O wrote:The fact that I scored better on this test than nearly 75% of people at UCLA gives me a lot of security and joy in this harsh world and I'm not gonna throw that out now, so I won't be internalizing nor accepting this information.


If it makes you feel better, I had a 168, and am well above median here. So consider that one anecdotal data point towards proving LSAT performance correlates with law school performance. :lol:

I'm getting the idea that this is likely the best option. I may just still be in the state of romanticizing the idea of exploring a new place at a new school and having it all work out fine, but its not looking like that's a very rational aim. I don't think Cal will accept me and if they do they'll probably give me $25k tops total. If USC gave me $$$ then I would be in an extremely good place. I really do hate USC and everything it stands for but they are a great school for LA.


I will go against TLS dogma and say that if you'd actually hate attending USC, I would not go there. And I mean not just cross-town rivalry kind of hate, but if you'd be legitimately unhappy attending because of the environment there or something deep seated it might not be worth attending. Obviously this is just my approach and take it for what its worth, but I found that loving my school helped me perform better throughout the semester and impacted my grades. If a school brings you down that could very well negatively impact your grades.

Also I think you're probably gonna get into Cal with your numbers, so that's always an option, though it's true they're stingy as hell.

Lehmanbro42O wrote:Also, just curious, what is the GTown stigma? I've never heard of it.


Oh, I am speaking exclusively of how TLS likes to make fun of GTown by calling it GTTTown and noting its fall from the T14. It (was) an easy punching bag on here, but overall it's still a good school as long as your goals are realistic and you can attend affordably.

I would say PM if you have any questions in the future or once you have scholarship offers in hand, but that'll be difficult now that PMs are removed. I'm on Reddit though and the site-that-must-not-be-named so feel free to reach out to me there too if you want to discuss in more detail.

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Re: T20 schools with LA Big Law placement besides UCLA/USC?

Postby mrlawguy » Sun Feb 11, 2018 7:17 pm

Lehmanbro42O wrote:Why would you suggest a retake if UCLA/USC is the most rational target anyway? You think a 2/3 point bump (I was PTing 172ish) is worth it money wise when I’ve already fully committed and applied for this cycle? There’s simply no way I’m getting over $40k more from Ucla or USC, even with a 172 and I don’t think taking a year off, sacrificing more of my life/earnings is worth that extra money. I think I would need 175+ And a lot of luck with my gpa for HYS. With all due respect, thats a reach and I’m not doing it. 169 is fine for $ from SC or LA. My GPA isn’t going anywhere and my life experiences over the next year aren’t gonna dramatically impact my law school applications. I simply don’t have the option to suspend working and studying for the lsat rigorously again anyway.

FWIW, I also actually have a number of immediate family members who (semi) recently finished 1L, as well as at least 5 friends that finished 1L top 1/3 or more from UCLA. Idk if that helps tip the scale in favor of it or not. Thanks for your input.


It's impossible to give exact numbers because it varies by cycle, but in my experience (through having negotiated with school and talking with friends), it seems as though each point on your LSAT can equate to tens of thousands of dollars in scholarship money. This is because the schools are playing a giant numbers game with each student they admit. They are trying to hit certain target numbers for GPA and LSAT. There's more people with high GPAs then high LSATs, so by having a 173 with a low GPA for instance, they can really boost their LSAT numbers and balance out any GPA weakness by just admitting high GPA students with decent LSAT scores (e.g. mid to high 160s). Thus the difference in value between a 168 and a 171 is huge (just like the difference between a 171 and 173).

At the end of the day, you're an adult, and it sounds like you've already made up your mind. So, you do you. But just keep in mind that $20k isn't $20k if you're taking out loans. It's $20k + compound interest. Being on the wrong side of compound interest can kill you. I'll also note though that I'm super financially conservative and don't believe that there is a law school in this country that is worth attending for over $40k total cost.

If you've got rich parents who will pay for all this stuff, then the analysis could be different.

Having friends and family who can teach you how to law school is actually a major advantage. Significantly more so then your LSAT score IMO. Best of luck.

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Re: T20 schools with LA Big Law placement besides UCLA/USC?

Postby taxman128 » Sun Feb 11, 2018 8:08 pm

"I really do hate USC and everything it stands for"

Why?

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Re: T20 schools with LA Big Law placement besides UCLA/USC?

Postby Gitaroo_Dude » Sun Feb 11, 2018 8:28 pm

mrlawguy wrote:It's impossible to give exact numbers because it varies by cycle, but in my experience (through having negotiated with school and talking with friends), it seems as though each point on your LSAT can equate to tens of thousands of dollars in scholarship money. This is because the schools are playing a giant numbers game with each student they admit. They are trying to hit certain target numbers for GPA and LSAT. There's more people with high GPAs then high LSATs, so by having a 173 with a low GPA for instance, they can really boost their LSAT numbers and balance out any GPA weakness by just admitting high GPA students with decent LSAT scores (e.g. mid to high 160s). Thus the difference in value between a 168 and a 171 is huge (just like the difference between a 171 and 173).


In general I agree, but for USC I don't think a 170+ is worth any more $ than a 169. Both are way above their 75th percentile LSAT and are probably fungible.

A retake is only gonna help if they shoot for T13 with $$, and if they wants LA they're already going to have good options with their current numbers.

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Re: T20 schools with LA Big Law placement besides UCLA/USC?

Postby mrlawguy » Sun Feb 11, 2018 8:50 pm

Gitaroo_Dude wrote:
mrlawguy wrote:It's impossible to give exact numbers because it varies by cycle, but in my experience (through having negotiated with school and talking with friends), it seems as though each point on your LSAT can equate to tens of thousands of dollars in scholarship money. This is because the schools are playing a giant numbers game with each student they admit. They are trying to hit certain target numbers for GPA and LSAT. There's more people with high GPAs then high LSATs, so by having a 173 with a low GPA for instance, they can really boost their LSAT numbers and balance out any GPA weakness by just admitting high GPA students with decent LSAT scores (e.g. mid to high 160s). Thus the difference in value between a 168 and a 171 is huge (just like the difference between a 171 and 173).


In general I agree, but for USC I don't think a 170+ is worth any more $ than a 169. Both are way above their 75th percentile LSAT and are probably fungible.

A retake is only gonna help if they shoot for T13 with $$, and if they wants LA they're already going to have good options with their current numbers.


Maybe you're right. But, it sounds to me like OP hasn't gotten a fully ride offer from SC. If SC doesn't offer a full ride to a 3.7/173, who gets them? I recall getting a full/near full ride from SC when I applied (after a couple back and forths with negotiations).

Lehmanbro42O

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Re: T20 schools with LA Big Law placement besides UCLA/USC?

Postby Lehmanbro42O » Sun Feb 11, 2018 9:51 pm

I have a bad impression of USC. There’s a general arrogance that seems to exist there that’s absent from the Westwood. It’s dressier, way more bmw’s, and just a general culture of trust fund kids. Really not my vibe.

Also, Mrlawman, I haven’t heard back from Ucla or usc so I don’t know what kind of money we’re talking. Thanks for the retake advice.

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Re: T20 schools with LA Big Law placement besides UCLA/USC?

Postby StephArizona » Mon Feb 12, 2018 2:00 pm

Gitaroo_Dude wrote:UCLA 1L here. I think you need to take the realities of the LA Biglaw market into account before making any of these assumptions.

There were 339 2L SA positions in LA last summer. Now, USC and UCLA each send roughly 40% of their classes into biglaw, so conservatively let's say they sent 180 students into those positions. Loyola and other local schools like Pepperdine will send like another 30-40 students total.

So that leaves around 125 or so SA positions in LA. Now take into account that there will be Berkeley and Stanford students coming to summer too. I have no idea how many, but let's be conservative and estimate they send 50 combined students to LA. That leaves us with 75 summer spots left. Now take into account the rest of the T13 students who are LA locals looking to get home. Again, let's be conservative here and say that the other combined eleven schools will send 40 students to LA. We have somewhere around 30 SA spots left for UCI students, UC Davis students, UC Hastings, USD, and all the other bazillion CA schools, plus all the other T20 schools fighting over a handful of spots.

You are taking a huge gamble to attend WUSTL, Vandy, or UT with the goal of landing LA biglaw if you only look at raw numbers.

But you're also making a big mistake on setting your goal of being Top 10% at a T20. I am right around Top 10% at my school, and there is a HUGE amount of luck that separates the general Top 33% student from the Top 10% student. To illustrate the point: I was awesome at proximate cause in Torts last semester but not quite as strong on duty. Our essay on the Torts final was all proximate cause; I rocked it to the point the professor chose my essay as the model answer. Had I gotten an essay on Duty I would have done well but not great. Pure luck on the Prof selecting my favorite element of negligence. In Contracts, our problem involved figurines/collectibles. I'm pretty familiar with figurine culture and was therefore able to make a lot of novel arguments about figurine collector behavior and how that'd relate to calculating damages; my prof really liked the arguments and I got an A on that exam. Had our question been on something like calculating damages for a surgical operation, I'd have written decent arguments but not as strongly as I did for the topic we got. Again, lots of luck. In short, DO NOT SET YOUR GOAL AS TOP 10% at any T20 school. Your peers will largely be just as bright as you if not brighter, and it is largely impossible to predict who will get Top 10% versus those who fall just outside into the Top 25-Top 33%. Hard work is necessary but never sufficient fro breaking into the Top 10% of students. Sacrificing your health and happiness to achieve that will almost assuredly hamper your chances of doing very well.

Also I think your approach of isolating yourself will not necessarily lead to better grades. I had a blast in first semester and was relatively pretty involved in extra-curricular activities + socializing and I think that was a big reason I did well. You may find that cutting yourself off from your social circle is in fact a hindrance. My biggest source of stress first semester was a long-distance relationship, not coursework. Being around people who keep you happy is important during 1L.


Just wanted to say thank you for this post. While my situation is different I think the universal truths here are true!



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