Law School Discussion

Deciding Where to Go => Acceptances, Denials, and Waitlists => Topic started by: Tintan on February 18, 2010, 11:53:04 PM

Title: U of Minnesota vs. UC Hastings
Post by: Tintan on February 18, 2010, 11:53:04 PM
Which law school has a better reputation in Los Angeles?
Title: Re: U of Minnesota vs. UC Hastings
Post by: reez on February 19, 2010, 12:23:00 AM
I know nothing about LA, but I know the answer to your question is Hastings.  As a general rule: if you're outside the top 10, the local school is always going to have the better rep.  I know Hastings is in SF, but I think the rule still applies.

Advice you didn't ask for: Minnesota's higher ranking gives you a better shot at Biglaw.  But it's incredibly marginal.  So if you want to work in LA, you need to go to a California school so you'll be nearer the relevant small- and midlaw firms.  (Ideally, you should pick an LA school.  I'd try to talk you into it, but it's 2010 and you're considering going to a T40 law school, so I assume that you're impervious to sound logic and rational thought.)
Title: Re: U of Minnesota vs. UC Hastings
Post by: Tintan on February 19, 2010, 11:01:08 PM
Great answer!

How about U of Minnesota with a $15,000 scholarship vs. Loyola (LA) with no scholarship?...assuming I'd like to end up in LA.
Title: Re: U of Minnesota vs. UC Hastings
Post by: mbw on February 20, 2010, 08:46:09 AM
I had to make this decision last year.  Wasn't an easy one.  Good luck!
Title: Re: U of Minnesota vs. UC Hastings
Post by: reez on February 21, 2010, 07:07:23 PM
Great answer!

How about U of Minnesota with a $15,000 scholarship vs. Loyola (LA) with no scholarship?...assuming I'd like to end up in LA.

I don't know the answer to that one.  I think your goal should be to minimize your debt as much as possible--the job market sucks and will continue to suck, and the paying back 150k of loans on a 60k salary sounds terrible.  But at the same time, Minnesota really does handicap your ability to get back to LA.  Then again, Loyola's job prospects are (reportedly) truly terrible.

I don't know, man.  Your options aren't terrific, to be honest.
Title: Re: U of Minnesota vs. UC Hastings
Post by: bigs5068 on February 21, 2010, 11:00:14 PM
Oh my GOD! Loyola's job prospects are not terrible, you are an idiot for even saying that. People baffle me on this website by talking trash about schools they know nothing about, people get jobs from any ABA school. I worked for Cooley Grads who were doing quite well for themselves.

To the OP if you want to end up in L.A. then go to school in L.A. and don't get caught up in the rankings. The rankings are total B.S. law school is what you make of it.  It sounds like you want to end up in L.A. so go to school in L.A. it as simple as that. Even if you don't get into USC or UCLA there are some really good schools such as Loyola, or Pepperdine which is honestly the most gorgeous campus of all time that you get inot. You could even get a full ride at Southwestern or Chapman. Honestly if your goal is to be an attorney in L.A. then go to school in L.A.
Title: Re: U of Minnesota vs. UC Hastings
Post by: reez on February 21, 2010, 11:40:54 PM
Honestly if your goal is to be an attorney in L.A. then go to school in L.A.

If his goal is to be an attorney in LA, he could probably get a degree online.

If his goal is to have a lucrative legal career reflective of the terrific amounts of time & money he'll invest in a JD, then he should choose a law school at which his probability of securing a high-paying associateship is maximized.  This requires a more nuanced approach than, "I know guys who went to Cooley and got rich!"  I assume I don't need to explain how absurd that sort of reasoning is.
Title: Re: U of Minnesota vs. UC Hastings
Post by: petermharrington on February 22, 2010, 01:57:09 AM

I don't doubt that there are successful Cooley grads out there.  But they entered a much different job market than at present.  It's a saturated market with a never ending supply of new JDs. 

No offense but you need to withhold your opinion until you test the waters yourself in the real world.  You may find that it's not as promising as you may have hoped.

Title: Re: U of Minnesota vs. UC Hastings
Post by: Jamie Stringer on February 22, 2010, 06:30:35 AM
Great answer!

How about U of Minnesota with a $15,000 scholarship vs. Loyola (LA) with no scholarship?...assuming I'd like to end up in LA.

The answer is: use the U of M scholarship as leverage with Loyola to get some money.
Title: Re: U of Minnesota vs. UC Hastings
Post by: bigs5068 on February 22, 2010, 09:30:10 AM
Certain it is a tougher market, but people make it. My point about the Cooley grads was to not worry about rankings, they are just U.S. News subjective opinon of schools based on god knows what. If this person wants to live in L.A. then they should go to school in L.A.  I was born and raised in L.A. and worked for O'Melveny & Myers a huge international firm headquartered in L.A. Guess what geographical location most of the lawyers that work in the L.A. office went to school in.  BIG SHCOCKER L.A. most of the lawyers at the L.A. office went Pepperdine, Loyola, Chapman, UCLA, USC, and actually a lot went to Southwestern.

Maybe I was to harsh by calling someone an idiot I apologize for that, but my point is if you want to live in a certain location then go to school there. Think of it this way if this person goes to Minnesota or Hastings and they want to work in L.A. for their 1L or 2L summer to make a connections, how are they are going to interview? It will be a pain in the ass particuarly if they are in Minnesota. With 10 law schools in L.A. and 20 in California do you really think L.A. firms are looking to the midwest for graduates? The person will have to fly out on their own dime for interview pay for a hotel room and even if they get hired find a new place in L.A. under time pressure which is pretty difficult to do on a month to month basis, because most landlords want years leases out there. Then YOU MUST HAVE A CAR TO LIVE IN LA so they have to drive cross country if they even have a car, or buy one in L.A. then what do they do with it after the summer is over? Then god forbid before they get hired the firms wants them to have a second or third interview three country trips will hit your wallet pretty hard. 

Hastings is closer, but Hastings Grads work in San Francisco. Obviously, some leave, but the point is firms in L.A. are not going to scour the country when they have multiple law schools at their doorstep.  If this person really desires to live and work in L.A. then they should go to school in L.A. On top of that if they want to live in is L.A. then live there now, why wait three years to move to the city you want to live in.

As a sidenote about Hastings it is kind of in the Ghetto I actually just picked up my girlfriend from the BART last night and Hastings was right next to it, it is shocking how shady it is just two blocks from the school. It is a GREAT SCHOOL though I am not taking anything away from it, just in a bad neighborhood.
Title: Re: U of Minnesota vs. UC Hastings
Post by: petermharrington on February 23, 2010, 12:47:11 AM

I think you need to reserve your judgment until you actually graduate from law school yourself.  A lot of people out there aren't making it.  They're switching careers and doing whatever they can to defer their loans. Believe me.

Just because you were able to land a paralegal job at a prestigious BIGLAW firm doesn't mean that they'll also hire you as a graduate.  There's a big difference between working as a paralegal at a BIGLAW firm like Sullivan & Cromwell or Cravath versus being hired as an associate there.

And despite what you may think, the pedigree of your law school has a lot to do with whether you get hired by a BIGLAW firm or not. It really is a big deal despite what you want to make it out to be.

I really don't think you're in a position of authority here on the matter. I really don't think you know what the hell you're talking about to be quite honest.  No offense.

Title: Re: U of Minnesota vs. UC Hastings
Post by: bigs5068 on February 23, 2010, 11:11:11 AM
You are absolutely right regarding BIG LAW I have no desire to do BIG LAW ever again, my goal is to be a lawyer in San Francisco. Therefore, I went to school in San Francisco going to Golden Gate absolutely closes some doors and I will probably never work in Big Law with a degree from a Tier 4, I am not trying to argue that. For what this person posted it sounded like they wanted to live in L.A. and be a lawyer. If that is the case they should go to school in L.A. If they want to work in Big Law then they probably should go to Hastings or Minnesota, but the odds of them ending up in L.A. are decreased greatly if they go to either of those schools.

Minnesota is a great school and they will have a way better chance of landing a BIG LAW job in the Midwest maybe in cities like Chicago or Minneapolis, but California employers are not going to stop in their tracks for someone from University of Minnesota.   California is not lacking prestigious law schools UCLA, USC, Stanford, Hastings, Davis, and there is a long list they are really not going to look to the Midwest to recruit from the 22nd best school when they have many great schools in state that was my point.  

Really it depends on what what the OP's goals are, if it is to work  in Big Law and nothing else then Minnesota might be the best choice, but they will probably end up in the Midwest. Or if they want to do Big Law in the Bay Area then Hastings might open the door for that. Certainly Hastings will offer a better chance of employed in L.A. than Minnesota does, but I wouldn't say either school gives you a great shot at working L.A.

It sounded like the OP wanted to work and live in L.A. and the best way to do that is to go to school in L.A. If they go to LMU or Pepperdine the odds of BIG LAW are minimal, but they will find reputable employment in the L.A. area from either of those schools.

Not everybody wants to work in Big Law and the OP said nothing about working in Big Law. The OP simply asked what school had a better reputation in L.A.  The obvious answer to that is L.A. schools even lower ranked ones, will have more connections in L.A. than a fairly well ranked school out of state like Minnesota.  Obviously, U of M will carry more weight than Western State or La Verne even in L.A.. However, if you are looking solely for employment in the L.A. area and you are choosing between Loyola Marymount or U of M the answer should be obvious, LMU will open more doors in Los Angeles than Minnesota will.  U of M will certainly open more national doors nationally and give you a shot at BIG LAW than LMU will, but look to the call of the question before saying I don't know what the hell I am talking about.

Title: Re: U of Minnesota vs. UC Hastings
Post by: petermharrington on February 24, 2010, 02:20:20 PM

You make some good points.  And I didn't mean to discount your intelligence.  You're obviously a bright and knowledgeable guy.

I just think that you should withhold judgment until you test the waters yourself post-graduation.  This rotten economy has really taken its toll on the legal sector. 

I think that the USNWR rankings are more in play now than ever due to the competitiveness of any and all legal jobs. 
Title: Re: U of Minnesota vs. UC Hastings
Post by: bigs5068 on February 27, 2010, 12:23:09 PM
You are right I am not an expert in the legal field I am a first year law student and can only speak about my personal experience.  When I was deciding between law schools I was stupidly caught up in the rankings, granted I was not deciding between Harvard and Yale. Rather Michigan State, Gonzaga, and Golden Gate. MSU and Gonzaga are higher ranked the GGU, how U.S. news came to that conclusion I don't know.  What makes Gonzaga 100 and GGU 132??? it is beyond me. However, I was really caught up in the rankings though and nearly made a horrible decision. Had I gone to either of those higher ranked schools, my fiance would have been out of luck for job prospects in East Lansing or Spokane. Instead we moved to SF and she has a GREAT JOB! and it has made financing way easier.  I also had no desire to live in either Michigan or Washington post graduation.  I am sure had I gone to MSU I probably could have gotten a job somewhere in Michigan where I have no desire to live. Had I gone to Gonzaga I probably could have gotten a job in Washington, but I love California and it is where I want to live. Employers in the Bay won't care that I went to the 100th best school that they never heard of, opposed to a school ranked slightly lower in their immediate area.  The professors and career services at Golden Gate have connections in San Francisco.  They don't have much pull outside of the Bay, but the Bay is where I want to live and I think that is pretty much what you fill find at any T-4 school.


I agree the recession is certainly having an effect on the legal market, particularly BIG LAW. People are trying to cut costs and most of the times you don't need a Harvard attorney do get what you need. Some people and business would be content to deal with a cheaper attorney who went to a T-4 than a Stanford attorney charging 3 times as much. I have met a a lot of solo practitioners and small firm GGU alum and they are doing fine. Obviously, they are not making 300,000 a day or anything, but they are surviving doing a job they like in an area they want to live. They will not sit on the U.S. Supreme Court or be the next President and I think they realized that when they went to a tier 4. 

Certainly BIG LAW is more concerned than ever with reputation, but even if you go to Harvard and so on at least at OMM they weren't really actively recruiting, when I left no matter what school you were going to they were not really hiring.  Obviously, I can't speak for BIG LAW everywhere or even other offices of OMM, but just my own personal experience at one BIG LAW firm. I honestly think a lot of the outrageous lifestyle lawyers, bankers, stockbrokers, were living are kind of on the way out, because they are the reason we got into this mess in the first place.

Certainly, there are exceptions and I am sure there are people who have recently been hired at a BIG LAW firm. I am not trying to say it is not possible, just harder than usual and people considering law school, should focus more on location than ranking.  The main reason is that unless you are in the T14 you are probably going to work in your school's location. As you said I am a first year law student and I have not tested the waters at all and I don't go to a T-14 so I could be completely wrong.  They are just my observations on my limited experiences.   

Title: Re: U of Minnesota vs. UC Hastings
Post by: blackberry123 on May 22, 2010, 03:51:16 AM
At the end of the day the better choice, even within the T14, but especially elsewhere, is generally to go to school where you want to practice. Often people who play it a different way get locked into a job market that they weren't really interested in. Law degrees are (at least straight out of LS) are less portable than you might think.