How Is Law School Like the NFL Draft?
Here’s a smart take on the current state of law schools from Jonathan Tjarks over at Policymic.com. It’s a rather depressing look at how the odds are similarly stacked against law school grads and college football players. After opening with a nice reference to Sudhir Venkatesh‘s study of the economics of crack from Chapter 3 of Freakonomics, Tjarks’ piece boils down to the following analysis:
Admittance into a top-14 law school, like a scholarship from a top-10 college football program, is the culmination of a lifetime of striving. Of the over 100,000 high school seniors who play football, fewer than 3,000 sign Division I letters of intent. Similarly, the top 25% in Harvard Law’s 2009 class had an average GPA of 3.95 and a LSAT score of 175, which puts them in the 99th percentile of the over 100,000 test takers each year.
Yet, despite overcoming nearly impossible odds, each group still has the toughest test of their lives ahead of them — each other. NFL teams rarely draft players not at the top of the depth chart, even at powerhouses like Texas or Oklahoma. And even at Harvard or Columbia Law, “Big Law” firms — those with the coveted $160,000 starting salaries — don’t reach too far below the median class rank when selecting first-year associate.