Essentially the two investigated if JDs from elite law schools had a better shot of landing on their feet later in careers when there was trouble. In that situation, the negative development was that their law firm had folded. The answer was: yes.
Only about 20 percent did true laterals, that is find jobs at comparable or better law firms. But, all did get jobs.
That was unexpected. The conventional wisdom is that an elite degree opens the first few doors. After that, you're on your own. And we all know tales of graduates of the T-10 who, after being forced out a brandname law firm, were unable to find any job practicing law. Some then tried hanging out a shingle, usually without much success. The two games are very different.
Now we have documentation that the brand equity of a degree from an elite school doesn't decline with time. The aura remains. So does the power of that school's network, eager to help. After all, they are protecting the investment they made in their own degree.
In his commentary, Patrice hammers the brutal reality that hard work practicing law probably won't make up for the deficit of not attending a T-10. That's just the way the game is played. Therefore, unless you are admitted into a T-10, you might re-think investing your time and money in law school.
There are exceptions, of course. Your family in Virginia might have been running a personal injury law firm for more than a century. You will always have a job there. Or, you are well-connected in your geographic location and attend a local law school. Business will be thrown in your lap.
There are no longer any absolutes about how to succeed on any career path, including law. But, there are perils which are knows. It's smart to factor them into decision-making when you come to those forks along the road.