The study was encouraging news for lower-tier law schools and their students. The ABA article said:
[T]he salary boost for achieving high grades more than makes up for the salary depreciation associated with attending a lower-ranked school. The study also found that lawyers who left law school with the lowest grades felt the least secure about their jobs.
The authors of the study, “The Secret of My Success: How Status, Prestige and School Performance Shape Legal Careers,” summarize how its findings contradict “conventional wisdom”:
The consistent theme we find throughout this analysis is that performance in law school--as measured by law school grades--is the most important predictor of career success. It is decisively more important than law school "eliteness." Socioeconomic factors play a critical role in shaping the pool from which law students are drawn, but little or no discernible role in shaping post-graduate careers. Since the dominant conventional wisdom says that law school prestige is all-important, and since students who "trade-up" in school prestige generally take a hit to their school performance, we think prospective students are getting the wrong message. (p. 2)
Those of you who chose law schools to be closer to home, or because you wanted more practical preparation for practice (a demonstrated strength of NSU's), feel good about your choice! You're likely to be more satisfied with your law school, and over a lifetime, you may well do better.
The yet-to-be-published study is by Richard Sander (UCLA Law) and Jane Yakowitz (Brooklyn Law). It looked at beliefs about the effects of the ranking of the students’ law school, grades in law school, and societal position. It then reviewed the literature and statistics on the effects of these three variables on lawyer career success. It also compared the effects of the factors using a regression model.