Tuesday, August 25, 2009

NYTimes Piece on Law Firm Hiring at Elite Schools

The NYTimes has a piece tomorrow titled "Downturn Dims Prospects Even at Top Schools". It doesn't say much that astute students on the prowl for jobs don't already know, but it's still worth a read. Part of the piece profiles two law students, one at Penn and the other at N.Y.U., who are trying to score a job working at a large firm. As the title suggests, it's not exactly for the faint of heart:

After he lost his job as a television reporter two years ago, Derek Fanciullo considered law school, thinking it was a historically sure bet. He took out “a ferocious amount of debt,” he said — $210,000, to be exact — and enrolled last September in the School of Law at New York University.

“It was thought to be this green pasture of stability, a more comfortable life,” said Mr. Fanciullo, who had heard that 90 percent of N.Y.U. law graduates land jobs at firms, and counted on that to repay his loans. “It was almost written in stone that you’ll end up in a law firm, almost like a birthright.”

With the cost of law school skyrocketing over the years, the implicit arrangement between students and the most expensive and prestigious schools has only strengthened: the student takes on hefty debt to pay tuition, and the school issues the golden ticket to a job at a high-paying firm — if that’s what the student wants.

. . .

On a recent Friday afternoon, Mr. Fanciullo sat at home waiting anxiously for his first callback after four days of interviews. Firms customarily called within 48 hours, he explained.

“You almost bank on the big firms hiring you because they’re really the only ones who can help you pay your debt,” he said, his mind already skipping forward to a situation he didn’t choose to articulate. “Quite frankly it would be an absolute disaster. I don’t know what I’d do.”

So, uh, maybe since the schools can't issue a "golden ticket" anymore, they should drop that hefty tuition like it's hot. Or, at least educate future generations of students that their chances of landing an six-figure job are not as high . . . Also, what do we think about this "customarily called within 48 hours" language? Some firms take much longer, and sometimes firms put candidates on "hold", waiting to see if the people to whom they have originally offered callbacks take them (cue the "who in their right mind would turn down a callback in this economy" meme?)

6 comments:

Anonymous said...

I got a callback over a week after the OGI interview. Ditto for several friends. So stellar reporting there by NYT, as usual. Skew the facts to make them fit the angle of your story, and hope your readers are too dumb/ignorant to figure it out.

Anonymous said...

i agree, 4:05. that is why i only get my news from glenn beck.

Anonymous said...

Yeah, if there's one publication that immediately pops in my mind for "skewed reporting," it's the New York Times... Good to see we both ate our crack this morning.

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