Eight Hallmarks of a TTT Law School

Bitter Staff Columns, law school, Lawyer 29 Comments

Urban Dictionary defines a third-tier toilet (TTT) as a “pejorative term for law schools that are not prestigious.” The definition goes on to explain that any school that fails to rank in the Top 14 is not prestigious. Which, by that definition, means that Harvard is not a TTT, but Vanderbilt is. As a result, the TTT label is applied liberally to a range of law programs.  (UD)

Since we’re not sure who makes this shit up—and since the label seems rather arbitrary—we made our own list of factors that indicate an institution is a TTT.

1TTTroll Factory. Is your law school a thread on a law-oriented bulletin board?  If your law school produces so many comment trolls that your dean needs an RSS feed for sites like JDUnderground.com and AutoAdmit.com just to keep up with what dissatisfied alums are saying, it’s a safe bet that the school in question is a TTT.

2BidirecTTTional. If your school isn’t named Northwestern, tell your dean it’s time to pick a direction and stick with it. Come to think of it, you might want to leave directions out of it altogether. Yale doesn’t need to let people know where it’s located, which is why they decided against calling it Southern Connecticut College of Law.

3“Harvard of TTThe…”. There’s only one Harvard, and unless your school is in Cambridge, Mass., you don’t go there. So if your school bills itself as “The Harvard of the Midwest” or “The Harvard for People With Lousy LSATs,” you go to a TTT.

4Torts & TTTarts. Distracted by all the eye candy in your Contracts class? Did you get a classmate’s number while some poor 1L was trying to explain the Dormant Commerce Clause? Does the term “3rd party action” make people giggle?  If you answered yes to any of these questions—or if you even thought about forwarding this list to the cutie in your Evidence course—you’re definitely at a TTT.

5WhaTTT’s My Name?. Just because a school is named after a famous lawyer, it doesn’t mean it’s the school that lawyer would have gone to. In fact, naming a school after a well-known-but-deceased jurist is kind of like calling your Little League team The Yankees. Sure, that’s your name, but only the hopelessly naïve team mom believes there’s any real connection.

6What’s a TTT?. There’s an old saying poker players use: If you look around the table and you don’t know who the sucker is, it’s you.  Well, guess what, the same logic applies to law school. If 1Ls at your law school don’t know the term TTT, your school probably is one.  Because nobody knowingly signs up to attend a TTT.

7How Did You Hear AbouTTT Us?. Advertising is an important part of the global economy. Ads inform consumers, generate revenue for media companies, and (sometimes) amuse us. But ads aren’t for everything.  You don’t choose a doctor from a cable TV ad. And you don’t hire an accountant with a billboard, so why would you go to a law school you heard about on the radio? Sure, the jingle was catchy, but it’s a degree that costs over $100K, not a monster truck rally.

8#1 Bar Pass RaTTTe. Passing the bar is important. Very important. In fact, it’s so important that it should go without saying that a law school routinely turns out students who actually pass the bar. So, a law school that boasts about its pass rate is kind of like Toyota bragging that it makes cars capable of turning left.  Expecting praise for the obvious? That’s the hallmark of a TTT.

UPDATE: Some additional hallmarks left in the comments were so good that we couldn’t help but give them a shout-out.

  • If half your class thinks it will be in the top 10%, you go to a TTT. (BL1Y)
  • If you’ve ever had to argue that your school isn’t a TTT, you go to a TTT. (BL1Y)
  • If your school gave out CALI awards, you went to a TTT. (c_broski)
  • If only the top 10-20% had any shot at getting a summer gig via OCI, you went to a TTT. (c_broski)
  • If none of your classmates were the son or daughter of a well-known politician or dignitary, you went to a TTT. (c_broski)
  • If your school had classes specifically designed to help you pass the local bar exam, you went to a TTT. (c_broski)
  • If you never had a professor who wrote the book you used in class, you went to a TTT. (c_broski)

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  • Bill Dugan

    I am confused about #4 above; Torts & TTTarts . That one says if you have any good looking babes in your school, it’s a TTT.  What about the opposite???  Where I went to school, there was nothing but DAWGZ.  Seriously, they were all barkers.  Even though I was horny enough to bang a few, I knew these women were only good to keep me warm at night; NOT for the Long-Term.  Does that mean I went to a Tier ! school?  I never thought I did, but given how gross the women were, maybe I did.

  • BL1Y

    Bill: With logical reasoning skills like that, no, you did not go to a tier 1 school.

  • c_broski

    a few more: 1. if your school gave out CALI awards, you went to a TTT; 2. if only the top 10-20% had any shot at getting a summer gig via OCI, you went to a TTT; 3. if none of your classmates were the son or daughter of a well-known politician or dignitary, you went to a TTT; 4. if your school had classes specifically designed to help you pass the local bar exam, you went to a TTT; 5. if you never had a professor who wrote the book you used in class, you went to a TTT.

  • Craig

    #4 and #8 really hit home …  #9 – If you spend more time on Bitter Lawyer than doing school work and still can get good grades, you go to a TTT school …

  • BL1Y

    If your law school publishes a rankings list that puts itself in the top 20, you go to a TTT.  If half your class thinks it will be in the top 10%, you go to a TTT.  If you’ve ever had to argue that your school isn’t a TTT, you go to a TTT.  If you plan to transfer, you go to a TTT.  If you picked your school based on the city it’s in, and didn’t get into the top school in that city, you go to a TTT.

  • TTTrash

    BL1Y hit the nail on the head with “If you’ve ever had to argue that your school isn’t a TTT.”
    The beauty of attending a school that is clearly a TTT is that you never really have to discuss it.  You know you didn’t go to a top school and so does everybody else.  There is no point in bringing it up.  The top 10 associate who calls you on it is branded a snobby jackass and the TTT associate who dwells on it is a loser. 
    It’s kind of like going bald… I’ll never have to worry about the comb over, it will be hair one day and gone tomorrow.

  • Alex Hump

    Duge-meister, you’re my buddy, but trust me, you did NOT go to a tier 1, 2, or 3 law school.  I’ll keep the nane of such law school out of this post in order to protect the innocent.

  • Alex Hump

    I forgot to note that the Duge-meister is right about the women there.  They were clearly bottom of the barrel from a desirability point of view.  Most reminded me of Ms. Balbreaker from Porkey’s.

  • The Man

    Hey, Didn’t Dickman go to a TTT?
    Where the hell is Dickman these days? Back teaching at that toilet?

  • LinguisTTT

    The author of this article has some serious trouble with using “Your” and “You’re.” Isn’t it generally expected of lawyers to observe basic grammar rules, especially in professional writing?

  • Anonymous

    @ LinguisTTT,
    YOU’RE wrong. YOUR grammar skills are suspect.

  • Joey P

    Another hallmark of going to a “TTT” is being shielded from the “biglaw” jobs that you all complain about (hence the creation of this website).  The only way to make yourselves feel better is to say “hey, at least I didn’t go to a TTT.” I am a “TTT” grad and I work at a 3 attorney firm and have complete control over my life.  I make good money, and I still have time to spend with my family, girlfriend, and friends.  It doesn’t matter what school you go to as long as you’re happy with your life, and I’m not “bitter” like the rest of you guys.  Have a nice day you T14 gruntwork worker bees!

  • Anon


  • Anonymous

    Own it, Joey P. You go!

  • TTTrash

    I’m with Joey P.  I work at a 5 attorney firm in a western state.  I rarely (if ever) stay later than 5:00, I wouldn’t even know how to get in the building on a Saturday, and I can bail out to be with my wife & son pretty much at will. 
    I make enough money to be able to afford a mortgage on a new home, cars, student loan payments, and plenty of play time.  I’m sure a biglaw associates make more but not too much more and what good is it if they can’t enjoy it?

  • Dick Bird

    I am unfamiliar with the Tier System.  Can any one tell me what tier my school is:  Brooklyn Law School.  Is Fordham Law School any better?

    • Fallingdownstairz

      Well, Fordham is more famous, worldwide. And admission there is far more selective. However, many fine lawyers and judges (among them Geraldo Rivera) have come out of BLS. While admission to Fordham is basically impossible, admission to BLS is probably no piece of cake. Fordham, Columbia, NY Law School, Yeshiva, and NYU rejects apply to BLS, and Pace Law.

    • AllisoninWonderChains

      Dick Bird,

      Hmmm, troll much for BLS?

      Seems you have been trolling on a few sites against Fordham Law School, and you are here too! And all your comments about them giving their Lincoln Center Campus a 1.5 billion dollar make-over and putting up a new 300 million dollar law school just goes to highlight the level of your douchebaggery.

      Have you seen how utterly amazing that block looks now, and how well it flows with Lincoln Arts and Performance Center?

      I think the fact that the alumni are willing to foot that 300 million dollar bill shows exactly how strong the Fordham Law alumni are and how truly dedicated they are to their alma mater and its current students.

      Getting **dinged** from admission is no reason to go on some full-blown internet hate campaign…

  • Anonymous

    Dick, BLS is a TTT. Sorry.

  • BL1Y

    Joey: You’re not any better than the big law people.  You would have made the same choice if given the opportunity.  You’re just lucky you weren’t smart enough to get the shitty job.

  • Joey P.

    Bl1Y:  you’re absolutely right, I probably would have took the bait of the high salary and SA pampering if it weren’t for God blessing me with my modest intelligence, and I thank him for that.  Bottom line is:  if you to a T14 school, good for you.  It means you are gifted and bright and you will be rewarded with a biglaw job with a high salary and sports car.  Just be modest about your status, and do not belittle others with your “TTT” talk, besides the simple life is the happier one anyway.

  • T10 – V10

    The only thing worse than going to a TTT is going to a T14 and then getting laid off like a loser douchbag.  If mouth-breathers can keep their jobs and you can’t then you should throw yourself off the nearest bridge.

  • Magic Circle Jerk

    Other signs of TTT-dom
    1) People at your school do state court clerkships, not federal clerkships.
    2) Your school puts out rankings that artificially inflate its quality (see: CooleyTTT & the library volume ranking system)
    3) Your career services office encourages you to take contract attorney work so that they can report you as fully-employed after they’ve gouged $150k out of you.
    4) You know how Joan King is.

  • TTThomas

    (1) If your most respected alumnus has his face on a local billboard, you went to a TTT (2) If more than 90% of the professors at your school are graduates of that same school, you went to a TTT (3) If your school does not report its starting salary demographics, it is a TTT (4) If your school ranks high in Trial Ad or Legal Writing, but doesn’t even crack the USNWR top-100, it is a TTT (5) If your school is called University of (enter city name other than “Chicago”) Law School, it is a TTT (6) If the only published faculty member of your school is the dean and he or she requires every student to by their book as a 1L, you go to a TTT (7) If not one single NYC based, international law firm conducts OCI at your school, it is TTT (8) If your school’s part-time program or evening division is obviously a mechanism for the school to channel in even more poorly qualified applicants, it is a TTT (9) If JD underground depresses you, you go to a TTT (10) If you can’t pay off your loans in under 10 years, you got ripped off by a TTT.

  • TTT Victim

    If your school has more than 5 deans, it is a TTT.
    If your school calls “librarians” “professors” it is a TTT.
    If your school offers a certificate program in international law, it is a TTT.
    If your school gives “scholarships” to 50% of the incoming class, it is a TTT.
    If the only noteworthy members of your school’s “faculty” are visiting professors, you go to a TTT.

  • Razbow

    If your law school puts ALL the scholarship students in the same section AND strictly enforced its minimum grade stipulations for those scholly holders. You go to a TTT.

  • What’s Bad About State Schools?

    @TTThomas (5) Seriously bro? Michigan? California-Berkeley? Pennsylvania? Virginia? Texas? UCLA? Time to pull your head out of the sand.

  • CynM

    What’s Bad About State Schools? – you may want to reread TTThomas. He said University of {fill in CITY), not STATE.

  • Fallingdownstairz

    These blogs are a bunch of cwappiola. State bars cater to NO law schools. Schools with solid bar pass rates earn them. Most lawyers in America don’t go to Yale. Despite the fact that there are some hacks who eventually get weeded out, most are highly skilled practioners as mandated by the bar. The fact the many of them are unholy A-holes with no conscience goes with the territory.