Law School Discussion

please help!! lewis & Clark vs UW madison

please help!! lewis & Clark vs UW madison
« on: June 05, 2015, 10:37:11 AM »
Cost of tuition is 9,000 more total for UW Madison. So a 3000 a year difference. I would also have to pay rent. At Lewis I would have a place to live for pretty much free. I ultimately want to have options when I graduate and want to possibly live in oregon.

The Ranking is so different!!! So the question is could I do well going to UW, graduating and moving to Portland? Since madison is better ranked than all three schools there. Madison does have the draw of not having to take the bar upon graduation so if I end up not finding a job in Portland I can always fall back on that.

Re: please help!! lewis & Clark vs UW madison
« Reply #1 on: June 05, 2015, 11:23:52 AM »
Rankings are largely irrelevant other than perhaps the distinction between T14/T20, top 50, top 100, and the rest.

If you want to be in Oregon, go to Lewis & Clark. If you want to be in Wisconsin, go to UW. It's that simple. Neither are going to travel well and you'll likely be stuck in those markets.

In the grand scheme of law school, $9k is nothing. Not having to pay rent in Oregon is a huge advantage, IMO, but if you just can't see yourself practicing there, don't do it.

Re: please help!! lewis & Clark vs UW madison
« Reply #2 on: June 05, 2015, 11:27:09 AM »
First and foremost realize that anyone posting on this board or others is nothing more than an anonymous internet poster that knows nothing about you or your situation and has likely never attended or even been on the campus of any school you might bring up. So take anything you read here or on other boards my post included with a major grain of salt.

Before I go into much analysis if you want to live in Oregon go to law school in Oregon, keep it simple. However, for a detailed analysis read below.

With that intro I think you are making a common mistake of caring about the rankings. This is something I did as 0L, but it it is not a good idea to let a for profit unregulated magazine be the basis of a life altering decision. U.S. News has ranked Albuquerque, New Mexico as the best place to live. . I imagine you are not going to move to New Mexico, because a Magazine said it was the best place to live.  Use the same logic when making a $100,000+, three year and career altering decision. You can use U.S. News as a tie breaker, but do not let it be the basis of your decision. If you were talking Harvard v. Lewis &Clark then maybe rankings matter, but both of these schools are perfectly fine and will provide you with a solid education as well any other ABA school.

One final point as to why rankings should not matter is that they change drastically year by year, based on nothing. The rankings are based on random people filling out scan trons there is no science behind it.  Here is a chart showing the rankings of the schools over the past 6 years. Lewis & Clark was 58th in 2012, but this year it is a 9 way tie for 94th. So the graduating class that enrolled in the 58th best school is now graduating from the 94th best.

Wisconsin was 28th best in 2012 and now it is 35th. They will change year by year by the time you graduate it is entirely possible that Lewis & Clark will be ranked higher than University of Wisconsin and I can guarantee you that nobody will care what either is ranked.

So with that tie raid about the rankings these are the following factors in order of importance,  I think any law student should consider when choosing a law school. However, I am a guy on the internet who has gone to law school and am a practicing attorney however I like anyone else on these anonymous internet boards could be a crackhead in a public library or the Dean of Harvard Law School. 

Here are the factors I think are important and if it makes sense to you then apply them to your situation, if you think it is crazy then more power to you.

(1) Location
(2) Cost
(3) Personal Feelings about School
(4) The Reality of Legal Education
(5) Last and Least U.S. News Rankings.

Here is a good article summarizing these factors. and I will offer a brief analysis of each below.

(1) Location:
If you want to live in Oregon then go to law school in Oregon. Don't make it complicated, but below is a detailed analysis if you choose to read it.

Portland Oregon and Madison, Wisconsin are very different places and the City you attend law school is likely where you will end up. Friends, Family and a support group are important for law school as are your personal tastes in a City. Portland is a large urban and hippie City and Madison Wisconsin is a college town. If your into Vegan Diets and Bike Riding Oregon might be a better place for you and if your into College Football and a small community feel Madison. Although, law school is a difficult you are going to spend a minimum of three years of the prime of your life at the school you attend. If your goal is not to be in Portland or Wisconsin then don't attend either school.   Professors and your school will have alumni faculty connections near the school, you will get internships in the City your school is located in and you will be more prepared to take the state bar of the school you attend. One side note is that Wisconsin offers its graduates the degree privilege so you automatically pass the Wisconsin Bar if you graduate from Marquette or UW. No other school or state offers that, which is a huge pro particularly if you want to live in Wisconsin.

Not to mention Midwest Weather v. West Coast weather is very different and to sum it all up law school does not exist in a vacuum all the things happening on or around you during law school will drastically impact your life and where you want to live is a question only you can answer. I live in San Francisco and I love it, but plenty of reasonable people would hate living in a big City. I would hate living in a small town, but plenty of people do and U.S. News knows nothing about you or what you want so don't let it make the highly personal decision of what City to live in for you.

(2) Cost
Law School is expensive and although the rankings change year by year whatever you pay for law school does not change. $9,000 is great, but if you live in Oregon I imagine you are not a Wisconsin Resident and will have to pay out-of state tuition, which appears to be $40,000 per year , but if the school says it is $9,000 then that is what is, but confirm that.

It looks like Lewis & Clark charges $40,00 as well, but you will have free rent, which is nice.

Add up the total costs and see what is cheaper and use that as a factor, but get detailed statements from the schools don't just assume X amount is what you will pay.

(3) Personal Feelings about School:

Each school has a culture to it and the neighborhood it is located in is where you will be spending at least three years of your life. You should also talk to professors, students, alumni and see how people feel about the school. Again, I live in San Francisco and Hastings Law School is a well respected school in the area, but it is in the heart of the dirtiest most crime ridden part of San Francisco and it is in an area I hate being in, but plenty of people love the school that is my subjective opinion.

Visit both schools and see what you think. If you have been to Wisconsin and don't want to see the school before you visit then certainly do not attend. If you are able to visit Wisconsin and love it then consider it, but if you think it is to expensive and time consuming to fly to Madison think of you will feel during law school when you are separated from everyone you know in Oregon.

(4) Reality of Legal Education:

At any ABA Law School you learn the same thing. You will read Supreme Court Cases and the Supreme Court does not write separate opinions for different schools nor does the law change if you attend the 84th or 148th best school. Abortion is legal, because of Roe v. Wade you can't go into a court and say I went to Harvard please prevent this woman from getting an abortion my school is ranked higher than opposing counsels.

Your first year will consist of Torts, Contracts, Civil Procedure etc nobody where you go, but the one pro to Wisconsin is that you automatically pass the bar and don't have to take BarBri etc, but you will be in Wisconsin and not licensed in Oregon. If you want to be a lawyer in Oregon then Lewis & Clark will be far better at teaching you the minor nuances of Oregon Law.

(5) Rankings
I already gave the rant, but please do not move to Wisconsin because a magazine said it was the 35th best school. If you like want to use a tiebreaker then choose Wisconsin, but don't separate yourself from your friends, family, the place you want to live, to develop relationships in a state you don't want to be in, because a magazine said so.

I am a guy on the internet and I could not possibly know what is best for you, but if you want to be in Oregon go to law school in Oregon.

Good luck and congrats on your acceptances.

Re: please help!! lewis & Clark vs UW madison
« Reply #3 on: June 05, 2015, 11:53:05 AM »
If you want to live in Oregon, go to Lewis & Clark. Period.

Very roughly speaking, where you go to law school will dictate where you can find a job. This is, of course, reductive - but is generally a decent way of looking at things.

Yale/Harvard and a few other T14: Global pull
T14: National Pull (although some have much better pull in certain regions than others - i.e. GTown has its best pull in the east coast, while Columbia is going to have strong pull even on the West Coast).
T100: Regional-State-County Pull
Rest: County-City Specific Pull

For example, Harvard can get a job literally anywhere. Northwestern can help you get your foot in the door anywhere in the US, although it will have its strongest pull in the mid-west. Vanderbilt can help you get a job in the south, although the best pull in TN. UF in Florida, although the best pull in north florida. UMiami in south florida, although the best pull in Miami. FIU in Miami-Dade. etc. It will be extremely difficult for an FIU alum to find work in New York. But an FIU (ranked 102) alum will have a far easier time finding work in Miami than a USC (ranked 20) alum.

In other words, if you know you want to work in Oregon, your best bet at finding work is to either go to a school in Oregon or go to a T14 law school. This does not mean that you will not be able to find work in Oregon if you go to UW, just that you will be fighting an up-hill battle - especially if you don't have any other connections to Oregon.

Now, if you really don't care where you work, I would strongly consider UW. You will likely have a stronger shot and getting a stronger job in Wisconsin if you go to UW than if you went to LC and tried to get a job in Portland.

Finally, the cost difference is nominal. Really, in the grand scheme of things, $9k - even after interest - is a drop in the bucket.

Re: please help!! lewis & Clark vs UW madison
« Reply #4 on: June 05, 2015, 12:11:25 PM »
Great post Miami and if you want to live in Wisconsin I don't think there is a better school to attend than Wisconsin. It is the best school in the state and you don't have to worry about taking the bar exam, but if want to live in Oregon Wisconsin is far from the best option.

Willamette will open more doors in Oregon than Wisconsin will.

Re: please help!! lewis & Clark vs UW madison
« Reply #5 on: June 05, 2015, 05:18:55 PM »
If you go to a Wisconsin school you can avoid the bar exam. Even if you want to practice out of state, just practice in state for a few years first.

Seeing how some states are down to a coin toss or less on bar pass rates lately.........factor that in.

Re: please help!! lewis & Clark vs UW madison
« Reply #6 on: June 06, 2015, 11:35:30 AM »
The major points of your question have already been addressed, and I agree. If you want to live in Portland, L&C. For that matter, Willamette or Gonzaga would also be preferable to UW, in my opinion.

This is a great example of why the rankings do such a disservice to so many law school applicants. The rankings give the erroneous impression that all law schools (and thus, their graduates) will be evaluated according to rank only, without considerations for location and local reputation.

Here's the thing that a lot of 0Ls don't get: there is a HUGE difference between an elite school and a "good" school. Harvard and Yale are elite, and a Harvard/Yale pedigree is universally recognized as badass. UW is a good school, no doubt about it. We've all heard of it, and we all know it offers a solid legal education. According to USNWR (and a bunch of 0Ls on the interwebs), it should also be considered "better" than say, L&C.

The problem is that although it's good it's not elite, and once you get away from the elite schools rankings are subject to local distinctions.

So, if you're applying for a job in Portland no one is going to go "Oh my God, Wisconsin! They're ranked #31! That's way better than L&C! I'm hiring the Wisconsin grad based on pedigree and rankings alone." Not gonna happen. If you were comparing L&C with Harvard, Stanford, or even say, Virginia, then yes, the pedigree alone would be decisive.

A L&C grad with relevant local experience, connections, and a degree from a well respected local law school will have a distinct advantage over an out of state grad with a good but not exactly elite law degree.

Does that mean that a UW grad can't get hired in Portland? Of course not, but you'd have to seriously hustle and make your own luck.

Something else to SERIOUSLY consider. It looks like you'd be paying close to full price at either school. Have you looked into starting salaries in Portland and the Midwest? Can you afford to service that kind of debt on an average salary? If not, you need to be looking at scholarships and possibly even reapplying and waiting a year. I used to live in OR, and starting salaries at small/mid/govt were not great. 

Re: please help!! lewis & Clark vs UW madison
« Reply #7 on: June 06, 2015, 08:55:55 PM »
If you go to a Wisconsin school you can avoid the bar exam. Even if you want to practice out of state, just practice in state for a few years first.

Seeing how some states are down to a coin toss or less on bar pass rates lately.........factor that in.

I wouldn't go to law in WI just to avoid the OR bar exam, though. That's an awful long time to sit in the snow waiting to return to the rain. You'd be better off just preparing hard for the OR bar.

Besides, does WI even have reciprocity with OR? You may have to take the bar anyway. 

Re: please help!! lewis & Clark vs UW madison
« Reply #8 on: June 10, 2015, 11:06:20 AM »
Even if Oregon has reciprocity with Wisconsin actually doing all the paperwork etc for finalizing reciprocity is a pain in the ass and odds are you will have job offers and built a life in Wisconsin if you attend Wisconsin, which will be hard to leave.

You will likely not have any job offers in Oregon if you attend Wisconsin. You can move to Oregon and eventually get a job, but it will be a pain in the ass and you could have done all the legwork in law school in Oregon if you attend Lewis & Clark.

So as I think everyone agrees if your ultimate goal is to end up in Oregon go to Lewis & Clark.

I was admitted to Marquette back in the day and the automatic bar passage was temping, but realistically Wisconsin is not the place for me. However, if you have friends and love Wisconsin etc then there is no better school to attend than Wisconsin if you want to live in Wisconsin.

Re: please help!! lewis & Clark vs UW madison
« Reply #9 on: June 11, 2015, 07:26:41 PM »
I stand by my "don't sit the bar exam if you don't have to" post

Remember EVEN IF you want to move to another state to practice post graduation, if you are already licensed in WI then you can do "licensed in any state" type temp jobs and make a few extra bucks while in the limbo of post exam but waiting for results (or god forbid repeating exams)