Law School Discussion

UW, BC, Fordham, USD, where to go?

UW, BC, Fordham, USD, where to go?
« on: March 13, 2013, 07:01:00 AM »
Hi, I'm an international student from South Asia. I have received JD admission from UW,BC,Fordham and USD. I cannot decide where to go. Can anyone give me some advice?
I haven't received BC and Fordham's package so I don't know about the scholarship.
Here's my consideration:
UW:  At first, the feeling of the city, Seattle, makes me put this school in my top choice. After talking with some American lawyers and professors, I realized that the reputation of UW is kind of limited within Northwestern part while the legal job market in Seattle might not be as good as that in NY or CA, especially for international students. I know the love in cherry blossom cannot be the only reason to choose a law school. I'm applying for the scholarship and will know the results by April.
BC:  Compared to UW, more people suggest me go to BC owing to the national reputation and great location. For me, west coast is my first choice. I'm not that into Northeaster part.
Fordham:  Kind of similar to BC. I have no idea about how different Fordham is from BC.
University of San Diego:  I'm granted 90% tuition scholarship. My consideration is the reputation determines the job opportunities will be limited with Southern California. I don't know Southern California's legal market for law graduates with Asian background. The first deposit of USD is April 1st. By the way, I like the city.
So that's that.
Many thanks for anyone who can help me. : )

Re: UW, BC, Fordham, USD, where to go?
« Reply #1 on: March 13, 2013, 08:01:46 PM »

First off realize whether you attend law school and where you attend it is a life altering decisions and anything you read from anonymous internet posters on this board or others should be taken with a major grain of salt my post included.

With that disclaimer I will give you some insight about choosing a law school. I think any OL should consider these factors in this order. (1) Location (2) Cost (3) Personal Feelings about the School (4) Reality of Legal Education (5) U.S. News (last NOT first)

I will analyze these factors below.

1) Location
Realize law school does not exist in a vacuum and the City you attend law school in will have a tremendous impact on your law school experience as well as your legal career. NY, Seattle, Boston, and San Diego are all very different cities. San Diego is perfect weather year round beaches nearby etc, but it is more a less a small town compared to the other cities you listed. NY has great history, but is crowded, expensive, and not a fit for everyone. Boston same as NY. Seattle is a unique city it rains constantly, but is clean and has some very successful industries, but it has nowhere near the culture or history of NY or Boston. The City you attend law school in will have a drastic impact on your life.

Honestly, if you love Seattle then you should probably go to law school at UW. You will be in the area of your law school for a minimum of three years during which time you will get an apartment, make friends, possibly enter into a romantic relationship, and build a life. 90% of law students end up working in the area they went to school alumni from UW will be in Washington State predominantly while alumni from Boston College will be in Boston etc. Employers in Seattle will hire from UW and you will get internships in the Seattle area. If you are attending Boston College you can not intern in Seattle during for 9 months out of the year and practically it will be difficult to get a place to live in Seattle during the summer or get out to Seattle for an interview so if you attend Boston College all your internships will be in Boston.

Aside from that you may decide being a lawyer is not for you a few years into your career, but you could establish a life in Seattle and maybe move onto something else. The area you live in is one of the most important factors in your life so don't forget that when choosing a law school.

2 Cost
Cost is something to consider as well and if you have a scholarship at USD then that is great.BUT beware of the scholarship conditions. Often there will be some condition of mainOn top of that graduating with 0 debt is awesome,taining a 3.0 or something, which is very difficult to do in law school. I am sure in UG you got a 3.0 with ease, but law school is very different. There is a curve and generally only 35% of students can have a 3.0. 100% of 1L's are convinced they will be in the top 35% of the class, but you don't need to be a math major to see 65% will be disappointed. So if there are conditions be ready to lose the scholarship it is always a possibility, but you can negotiate for better terms.

3. Personal Feelings About School
Each school has a culture to it and make sure it fits your style. When I was OL I visited numerous schools and while in law school I participated in multiple mock trial competitions. Each school had a culture to it and there were some I liked and others I didn't, but that is my personal opinion. For example I loved Notre Dame University I am a huge Sports Fan, I like College Towns, I am Catholic, etc. Loved the culture there, but you might be Mormon and love BYU, just on and on. The only person that can determine whether YOU will like a school is yourself. So I highly recommend visiting the schools talking to professors, admins, current students, etc.

If you visit Fordham and love it then that is something to consider if you visit USD and hate it then it will be along three years. However, the person that knows what you like best is yourself so trust your own gut instincts it is your life.

4. Reality of Legal Education
This may come as a surprise, but the education at every ABA school is the same. Your first year will consist of Torts, Civil Procedure, Criminal Law, Property, and Contracts. You might get Con Law & Crim Pro in Year 1 or Year 2 or some slight mixture of those courses, but you will take all of them. In these courses you will read Supreme Court Cases and the Supreme Court does not write separate opinions for different law schools. Instead whether you are at Denver or Washington & Lee you will read Palsgraff in Torts to learn proximate cause, You will read Pennoyer v. Neff in Civil Procedure to learn notice, You will read the hairy hand case in Contracts, so on and so forth.

So wherever you attend you will learn the same thing, which is why location and personal feelings about the school are so important.

5. Rankings
This is very important to realize and U.S. News is nothing more than a for profit magazine offering an opinion. They are more than welcome to offer an opinion, but they are not regulated by anyone and the formula used to rank schools make little to no sense. Furthermore, U.S. News ranks more than law schools for example they say Albuquerque, New Mexico is the best place to live. (link )

South Dakota is one of the top 10 places to retire in 2032 .

Are you going to move to New Mexico right now because a magazine said so? I hope not. Or are you going to start looking into property because U.S. News says it is the best place to retire in 2032? I hope not. They have reasons for the rankings, but making a life altering decision based on what a magazine says doesn't make a lot of sense. If had no desire to live in New Mexico I imagine this link did not push it to the top of your list. Therefore, use the same logic for law school. It is something to consider, but DO NOT make it the main basis of your decision.

Neither I or anyone else can tell you the right decision. If you had a crystal ball to know how it would turn out it would be easy. Maybe Fordham will be an awesome experience for you and USD will be awful, but all you can do is really look into the situation and get information from people with direct experience with the school. However, I strongly encourage you to not make a life altering decision based solely on what some unregulated for-profit magazine thinks.