Law School Discussion

Deciding Where to Go => Acceptances, Denials, and Waitlists => Topic started by: shannonmh on January 24, 2011, 11:29:20 AM

Title: New England Law Boston?
Post by: shannonmh on January 24, 2011, 11:29:20 AM
I was just accepted into New England Law in Boston. Still waiting to hear back from Widener and St. John's. I can't find much online about New England Law reviews... Is it a good school? Also got into Barry University and Florida Coastal but may decline those for New England...
Title: Re: New England Law Boston?
Post by: BikePilot on January 25, 2011, 12:43:13 PM
Is this the school you are referring to?  New England School of Law (NESL - http://www.nesl.edu/ )?

I attended an event there once, nice location and facilities.  I don't know much about the academics.  I went to dinner afterward with a group of students from the school and most seemed to be having a lot of trouble finding work. 
Title: Re: New England Law Boston?
Post by: bigs5068 on January 25, 2011, 02:09:45 PM
As someone happily attending a lower ranked school I will give some advice. To answer the first question I am sure NESL or any of the schools you listed are "Good." Any ABA school will do a good job teaching you the law, but there are other schools that will do an outstanding job of teaching you the law. I would say Barry, Florida Coastal, NESL, and the other schools you listed will do a good job. However, you are going to be in competition for jobs particularly in Boston with people that attend the outstanding schools like Harvard. Still NESL will likely teach you the law sufficiently to pass the bar and if you are really committed you will find employment, but it will not be easy. You will likely be rejected by some places based on your school's name alone. This will not happen in the majority of cases, but it will happen from time to time. I imagine that would be especially true in the Boston area.

Barry & Florida Coastal are not in huge legal markets from what I understand. FCSL is the only school in Jacksonville and I do not imagine people across the country are flooding into the Jacksonville market. Based on that it might be easier to find employment at FCSL or Barry. These are just hunches from some second year law student in California who has never been to Florida.

Another huge consideration is cost. If you are interested in living in Florida I might consider FIU. It is a state school with really cheap tuition if you happen to be a Florida resident. I believe Barry & FCSL are in the neighborhood of 30k annually while FIU is only 10k. Attending FIU will save you 60k opposed to those other schools and I don't think any of those schools will impress, but you will have less debt, which is huge. Particularly considering if you are taking out loans your debt is accruing interest at approximately 8%. If you take out 100k in loans you will be adding 8k a year to it by not spending a penny. FIU is in Miami though and you will be competing with University of Miami, Florida, Florida State, and I imagine a good chunk of people from elite schools nationwide consider working in Miami.

The most important thing above all else is go to school in a location you want to live in. If Boston is where you want to be then go to NESL. If Jacksonville is where you want to be FCSL. New York then St. Johns. etc None of the schools you listed have national appeal and there is a very strong possibility that wherever you go is where you will end up living for several years. If you are considering a tier 2,3,4 school I really think this should be the breakdown in deciding a school. Again, this only my opinion and I am second year law student, which means I don't really know very much so it take it with a grain of salt. Anyways, here is my breakdown.

1. LOCATION, LOCATION, LOCATION.

2. Cost if you can attend a state school or get a substantial scholarship to a certain school then take it. 

3. Check out this website to see what students are really making from given schools lawschooltransparency.com. Realize the ABA & U.S. News standards for counting employment are not very good. In that working for starbucks counts as employment just as much as being managing partner of a huge law firm. This site looks a little more in depth at the reality of salaries.

4. If there is any special program you are interested in the take it into consideration. If you want to do Criminal Litigation and the school has several courses in that it might be a good fit. As an example my school on top of having Criminal Law & Procedure, which I imagine every school has we have advanced criminal practice, criminal litigation etc that enhance your knowledge in that particular area. You can look at this at any schools course schedule and see if the elective offerings they have are of interest to you.

5. Finally consider the rankings as the 5th option and if the school is top in it's region then move this up higher. For example if you want to move to Nebraska then go to University of Nebraska. It is top in it's market I imagine Idaho is the same thing. On the flip side even if a school is moderately ranked like University of San Francisco for example it is 5th in it's own market so any national ranking it has is moot. People in the bay look at the ABA schools in the following order Stanford, Berkeley, Hastings, Santa Clara, USF, GGU. I think USF is 86th nationally right now, which is tier 2 and decent, but being 5th in it's own market does not help it much. On the flip side a school like Idaho or Wyoming I imagine is in the tier 3/4 range, but they are number 1 in the market. So the opposite is true. Well those are just ramblings and maybe you can take something of value out of it.

Good luck.



Title: Re: New England Law Boston?
Post by: BikePilot on January 25, 2011, 02:25:57 PM
Just a note, location probably matters a lot for some types of practice and many schools.  Its essentially irrelevant to biglaw hiring from what I've seen.  DC firms hire Stanford grads, SF firms hire HLS grads and vice versa.  No one really goes to HLS 'cause they wanna practice in Boston (some do practice in Boston though of course) and I'd guess the same is true of Stanford and the bay area.  Bay area firms might chose Stanford first, but the rest of Big's ranking is way off base (for big law) because firms are totally happy to hire from anywhere geographically.  For example, I don't think anyone would dispute that an HLS grad has a better shot at biglaw in SF than a GGU grad. Big law is its own world though and maybe small-law or local government positions give preference to local students.

All that said, I haven't met a NESL grad in biglaw yet (but i am fairly new to biglaw) and if as a NESL student you'd be largely limited to the Boston area (I don't know if this is true) you might be in trouble as Boston is probably one of the most competitive legal environments in the country.  There are loads of good to great law schools in New England and other than NYC Boston is really the only other city worth living/working in for most people.  Its also a pretty awesome city.  Between BU, BC and HLS alone there are probably more qualified, new law grads right there in the city than the local market can absorb.
Title: Re: New England Law Boston?
Post by: bigs5068 on January 25, 2011, 02:46:57 PM
I don't think location matters for Biglaw either. I do not think there are many tier 3/4 grads working in Biglaw. If that is someone's goal then attending a tier 3/4/ school is a bad idea. If someone wants to be an Assistant District Attorney or something along those lines then location matters. That seems more along the line of employment tier 3/4 grads can expect.

I think if you go to a t14 school your degree is national and you can go anywhere so as you said. This makes location a moot point. Everyone knows about Harvard, but outside of San Francisco and even inside of it GGU is not that well known. If I were to go New York and say I went to GGU I woudl be willing to bet 90% of people would never have heard of it. On the flip side if someone from Cardozo or Touro came to San Francisco nobody would have heard of it.

Columbia, Stanford, Berkeley, NYU, Harvard, etc are known everywhere. So as you said location is a moot point. The OP is probably not considering those schools and for tier 2/3/4 students I think location is one of the most important things to consider. This is essentially because that is where you are going to end up working. To confirm I checked out LSAC I only looked at two schools, but I imagine the same thing would apply. University of Akron's employment stats indicate 79.5 of graduates are employed in state. While 11% of Harvard grads were employed in state. Essentially if you are choosing a school that is not nationally known you are likely going to be tied to that location. There are exceptions of course, but a degree from Akron, GGU, Santa Clara, Hamline, etc is not that portable and you will likely be in the area you graduated from.
Title: Re: New England Law Boston?
Post by: the white rabbit on January 26, 2011, 02:22:15 AM
I was just accepted into New England Law in Boston. Still waiting to hear back from Widener and St. John's. I can't find much online about New England Law reviews... Is it a good school? Also got into Barry University and Florida Coastal but may decline those for New England...

What do you mean by "a good school?"  Is a school that teaches you enough to pass the bar "a good school" (as bigs seems to suggest)?  Are you looking for a school that will provide a good return on investment in terms of your earning capacity?  Are you exceptionally wealthy and just looking for a degree to hang on your wall?  I know it seems a little silly to ask, but the answer to your question depends on what you mean by "good."
Title: Re: New England Law Boston?
Post by: bigs5068 on January 26, 2011, 09:15:49 AM
In the long and I mean long run New Law it will probably pay off, if the OP really wants to be a lawyer. It is nowhere near the caliber of school either you or Bikepilot attended and there is no disputing that. However, money is not always everything either. I started doing this internship this semester and I really enjoy it. I made more money in summer doing other work I found enjoyable, but what I am doing is helping people that cannot afford legal assistance deal with family law problems. This is not glamorous work by any means. It is at the courthouse and every morning there is a line out the door of people that need help. They generally really need it. Some people are off their rocker, but the majority are just parents trying to help their kids and they don't know what to do.  They are stoked to hear from anyone that has even the slightest about what they are talking about. GGU has provided me with the knowledge to help them and it is a good feeling. Particularly, since I myself dealt with quite a bunch of b.s. when my parents split up. I do get some money for doing this, but not very much. However, I do feel really good helping these people and the vast majority of them are extremely thankful. I could not do this if I was not in law school.  That is just an example of a tier 4 degree working out for someone.

I am well aware that me or the OP are unlikely to sit on the Supreme Court or become a partner at White & Case or anything. BikePilot works in Biglaw and imagine you do as well. I don't think a degree from GGU will ever open that door for me or the OP or any number of tier 2/3/4 grads. However, there is a lot of opportunity to help people out there if you are willing to do it. You are not going to get rich either and unfortunately law school is ridiculously expensive. So that creates quite a dilemma. However,  GGU has taught me how to do deal with a lot of things I face there and hopefully they have taught me enough to pass the bar as well. The bottom line is tier 2,3,4 schools teach you more than how to pass the bar and you can find employment etc.

However, the reason many tier 2,3,4 grads are disappointed is because they have unrealistic expectations and don't get the info. When the OCI came up at my school there were several people upset that no Vault 100 firms were coming in. I did not say anything, but in my mind I was thinking where do you think you are? A few employers signed up, but they were mostly public interest organizations. 3 Biglaw firms did come, but there are 226 students at my school. Only 3 big law firms showed to interview with no guarantee of a spot. You had to be in the top 15% of the class for career services to send your resume. So if BigLaw was your goal when coming in you have been severely disappointed.

Anyways, when I came to my visit for school I asked what to expect and they told me the honest to god truth. "Nobody is going to roll out the red carpet for you, but you can find work. Come to this school if you really want to be a lawyer." Very succinct and honest statement, but many people that come to tier 3/4 schools don't ask these questions. They expect things to just work out and then at graduation they say nobody told me that xyz would not happen. Then sites like JDunderground get formed.
Title: Re: New England Law Boston?
Post by: louiebstef on January 26, 2011, 10:14:55 AM
Bigs,

Very well put, IMO.  Obviously I cannot give even as much advice as you do, being a 0L.  What I do have, is quite a bit of experience and other successful careers behind me.  You know what they say about hindsight.  It's true.  My own experiences have led me not to want BigLaw, and all the money and crap that goes with it.  Luckily, my age and debt aversion won't even allow BigLaw onto the radar.

I will most likely either attend a T3/T4 here in Florida (Stetson/FIU), or if very lucky pay the very low tuition at FSU/UF.   I came to these conclusions for many of the same reasons you state.  Depending on my LSAT score, I might have an outside chance at some $$ from mid/lower T1's.   I have decided that if the relative cost (with scholly $$) is similar to UF/FSU, I will consider them.  Retired military officers, especially "war veterans" are at a distinct advantage for employment in the public sector--in any location.  I believe as long as I can be in the top 25-30% or so, I should be able to find something.   I have even had feelers from a couple of the small-midsize firms I have worked with here locally, so small-firm law is not out of the question for me, either.

OP should follow their gut.  The very last thing one wants is to make a hasty decision that results in a mountain of non-dischargeable debt.  If BigLaw is your target, then aim at the T-14 and prepare for the payments.  If not, there really are other options. 
Title: Re: New England Law Boston?
Post by: shannonmh on January 26, 2011, 11:03:28 AM
Thank you everyone for your advice!

By "good" school I mean that I want to graduate feeling that I obtained a good education. I attended a small Undergraduate University and I feel like the small school atmosphere had some subpar professors and that I did not walk away with a worthwhile education, just a BA in Communication. New England Law Boston is a smaller school and since that is the school I am leaning towards, it worries me. 
Title: Re: New England Law Boston?
Post by: Kurt Cobain on January 26, 2011, 03:05:23 PM
I got accepted there too! I'm from Boston, and they do have a good local rep, so I'm considering it. It is a lower-ranked school though, so what the previous posters said will still apply despite it's good local rep.
Title: Re: New England Law Boston?
Post by: bigs5068 on January 26, 2011, 07:07:44 PM
Thank you everyone for your advice!

By "good" school I mean that I want to graduate feeling that I obtained a good education. I attended a small Undergraduate University and I feel like the small school atmosphere had some subpar professors and that I did not walk away with a worthwhile education, just a BA in Communication. New England Law Boston is a smaller school and since that is the school I am leaning towards, it worries me.

I am guessing that NESL will meet your expectations. First off any ABA school will teach you the basics i.e. consideration in a contract, how to use Westlaw, citations, Civil Procedure, the list can go on. The ABA requires all ABA schools to abide by a code and you will likely have the same first year curriculum that Harvard does. I had another post on here and it does seem the second/third year required courses vary considerably, but for the first year it is basically the same. In essence you will learn the building blocks of the law no matter where you go.

Then at any ABA school there will be at least a few professors that have significant experience and can really help you if you seek it out. If you are in Boston I imagine many professors from elite schools teach at NESL as well. That is very common in San Francisco the same professors teach at all the Bay Area schools. Why wouldn't they? If you knew Contract law really well why not get paid 4x for holding a few classes in each location.

On top of all that you can get work experience while in school. If you are at a lower ranked school that is the key. There are numerous organizations that are more than happy to receive help from law students at least in the Bay Area. I do not know the rules in Boston, but in California if you take evidence you can make arguments in REAL LIVE COURT ON BEHALF OF CLIENTS. I have gotten to do that a lot and it is helpful to the organization and to me. If there is some basic hearing, which even a tier 4 ::) student can handle then it is helpful to them. It is also great experience for you. Despite what some people may say courts allow tier 4 students in the door. Often times they do great jobs. Even more wild is that there are tier 4 grads that are JUDGES! I know wild. I have argued in front of judges that went to GGU. If you read sites like J.D. underground this type of thing is impossible, because nobody can be hired from tier 4 schools ::). However, I have met many working GGU grads and it is a tier 4 school. I am even paid to do things and I have several friends that graduated and obtained jobs.

Bottom line is if you want to learn the law and be a lawyer then NESL will likely work out. Be vary wary of the cost and be certain it is something you want to do. Also do not expect any handouts along the way you will have to fight for everything you get, but basically unless you go to a T14 school you are going to have to do that anyways. Well again good luck.
Title: Re: New England Law Boston?
Post by: alpeters on January 31, 2011, 01:49:34 PM
i was accepted there too, but after some serious research I dont think its worth the money.  Widener on the other hand has a great reputation and I know many graduates from Widener who are doing extremely well for themselves.
Title: Re: New England Law Boston?
Post by: BikePilot on January 31, 2011, 05:48:20 PM
Elite professors don't teach at all if they can help it - sad but true. I think you are more likely to get a larger number of practicing attorneys teaching at adjuncts at NESL than you are to get spill over from HLS etc.  This may well be a good thing though.

The ABA sets (very) basic minimum standards, this shouldn't be understood as the same thing as drafting a set 1L curriculum. For that matter even if two professors use the same casebook, they can easily have an entirely different approach and create a very different learning experience.

Big is totally right that you can usually appear in court as a student (true in Mass anyway) with various qualifications of course and, as I would hope would be obvious, it doesn't matter what law school you attend in that respect.  Most local state-court judges will come from schools well outside the T14 as will most advocates who practice in those courts.  Many, though maybe not most federal judges will come from T14 schools and most federal appellate judges and scotus justices will come from T14 (or even T3) schools. Like most careers, there's a huge variety in legal practice. Lawyers handle billion-dollar mergers between companies that impact hundred of millions of Americans and lawyers handle suits that arise from fender benders.
Title: Re: New England Law Boston?
Post by: politicolaw on February 01, 2011, 07:53:07 PM
I don't think I'd call New England a small law school really. LSAC records 400 matriculating, I'd estimate more mid-sized. And, they seem to have a full range of opportunities in such a major city. The only thing to worry about would be cost and competition I would imagine..
Title: Re: New England Law Boston?
Post by: 2numero3 on February 14, 2011, 01:19:24 PM
I visited NESL last Saturday for a Diversity Day program and was slightly impressed.

The location is nice and a short walk from the T right around the corner from Suffolk.  The students on the panel all seemed to enjoy going there and the 2 3L's on the panel were concerned about finding a job but felt confident they would find one after the pass the Bar examination.  The career services head also mentioned about about 80 to 85% of the class of 2010 were employed.  Another thing, NETWORKING was way emphasized during the weekend. It's how many of their students find their jobs/internships/clerkships.

The 4 alums were all proud of the school they went to. 2 own their own practice [one started in the Brooklyn DA office or somewhere like that - I forget the exact position], 1 works for the DA, and the other [a 2010 graduate] snagged a job right after graduation at some large firm in Boston [I forget the name though].

The professors spoke highly of the school and were definitely trying to "sell" the school to you. All in all, I think it was a nice building, students were nice, the faulty/staff were also very nice. I suggest visiting if you can
Title: Re: New England Law Boston?
Post by: like_lasagna on February 14, 2011, 09:35:50 PM
Harvard
Boston College
Boston University
Northeastern
Suffolk

At best, you're going to the 6th best law school IN BOSTON.

That's not taking into account competition from just about every law school in the northeast, just about all of whom will rank ahead of you because they went to a better school.
Title: Re: New England Law Boston?
Post by: wiseman on March 03, 2011, 12:07:51 AM
Shannon i am in the same situation. I have also been accepted into nesl, barry and fcsl. I have also not decided where i will be attending next fall. I have been doing a lot of research and i must say that i am extremely skeptical of florida coastal. It has a poor reputation, even in jacksonville. It sounds to me like it is exactly the type of stereotypical, conoetitive school that i do not want to go to. Given that it accepts everyone, i am sure that many of the student going there have no business attending law school. For me, that means that i am going to be surrounded by a bunch of nitwits. Though it is not my only fear, i cannot imagine being assigned to a group project with people that do.t know what they are doing. That may seem like an odd thing to say but there are so many considerations when choosing a law school. First, thw cost
Title: Re: New England Law Boston?
Post by: wiseman on March 03, 2011, 12:17:01 AM
Shannon, i have also been accepted to nesl, barry and fcsl. From my research (which has been extensive) it seems to me that fcsl is out. It is surrounded by negativity. Everywhere i have looked has said it is a very poor school. It is overpriced, conpetitive and phony. The fact that so many people are willing to bash the schook speaks volumes of its credibility. I also dislike that it is a for profit schook. I received a 15 thousand a year scholarship and will be declining in the next few days. On ther other hand nesl and barry are viable options. Nesl is the lowest ranked in boston but it will allow me to get a job when i graduate. It will npt be easy though. I will need to place well in my class. I am also waitlisted at suffolk, unh and maine. Waiting to hear back from maine. Hope this helps at all. Just wanted to give you some feedback from someone in a similar position. As far as my dilemma goes...... does anyone know anything about barry? If i were to graduate fron barry could i get a decent job in nh? One that will allow me to repay my loans, undergrad and law school? Also, how can i get off a waitlist? Should i send my deposit to my safety and keep my hopes up for the schools im waitlistwd at or just focus on the safety? Thanks for any help
Title: Re: New England Law Boston?
Post by: MikePing on March 03, 2011, 09:04:06 AM
Definitely send your seat deposit for your safety. 

About your waitlist schools, have you contacted them to find out:

How long is the wait-list?
What percentage of students on the wait-list are ultimately admitted?
Are wait-list students ranked? If so, ask where you are ranked?
When are final decisions regarding the wait-list made?

Have you told your first choice that they are your first choice?

Do you  have any new information that would help your application?  If so, supplement. 
Title: Re: New England Law Boston?
Post by: bigs5068 on March 03, 2011, 03:00:13 PM
I don't think FCSL is as bad as anyone said. I considered going there and ended up not attending, but random people on the internet discrediting it is not a good reason to make your decision. There is all kinds of negativity on the internet about almost every law school. The for profit thing, well I don't know what you need to do to be considered non-profit. My school is a non-profit, but they charge more than Florida Coastal so what does non-profit really mean? I truthfully don't know it seems like a label people stick on things and everyone is ok with it.

This is pretty good website to determine your employment prospects. Lawschooltransparency.com unlike U.S. News or even the ABA they list real salary information. U.S. News or the ABA count being managing partner in a mega law firm as employment and being a fry cook at McDonald's as employment. Both are counted equally so that statistics they keep should be viewed with a bit of skepticism.

Although the employment statistics are suspect any ABA school is failry difficult to get into. In regards to the one posters comment about the people being nitwits etc I think you need a reassessment of what you are getting into. Any ABA school requires you to have a bachelor's degree and generally to graduate with at least a 3.0 and get at least a 150 on the LSAT, which is the top 50% of college graduates that performed reasonably well in college and had the motivation to take the LSAT. At any ABA school the vast majority of people are pretty smart. There are a few people that don't belong there, but the majority of people at any ABA school are smart, motivated people convinced they will be in the top 10% of their class at the start. When you have 100% of people thinking they will be in the top 10% well you don't need to be a math major to see how that plays out for 90% of people.

The bottom line is if you want to live in Jacksonville FCSL would be the best bet of any of the schools you listed. If you wanted to be in Orlando then Barry would be the best. One final point is that at any ABA school you are going to learn the law. When you start school you are going to essentially learn the same exact thing as every other law student the first year. I believe almost every ABA school has this curriculum for the first year. Contracts, Torts, Civil Procedure, Property, Criminal Law, Legal Writing & Research. There is some variation but those are the classes 1L's at Harvard and FCSL take. In these courses the same textbooks are used and the Supreme Court opinions you read do not change if you read them in Harvard's library or FCSL's. Pennoyer v. Neff will be the same case no matter where you learn it. Consideration in a Contract will be the same. The UCC will be the same and so will the Constitution.

There is no doubt Harvard is the better school, but in reality you will be learning the law at either school and reading opinions, statutes, etc that you will have to interpret and figure out how to apply. The point of this long rant is that you should not listen to criticisms from anonymous sources on the internet, because they are completely unfounded. Lawschooltransparency does a pretty decent job of posting actual facts, that can help you can make an informed decision. I woudl also recommend looking at law firms and finding people that attended the schools you are considering. Ask these people about their experiences generally people that actually went to the school can give you a pretty good idea about the pros and cons of the places you are considering. I did that as a 0L and it was eye opening to read the positive experiences graduates from a variety of schools had. The majority of people posting negative comments about law schools have never set foot in a law school or even set for the LSAT. Always remember to consider the source you are hearing information from. I am only a second year law student and I have a tremendous amount to learn, but I know that when I see a ridiculous criticism of any ABA school that it is suspect.
Title: Re: New England Law Boston?
Post by: wiseman on March 04, 2011, 10:06:11 AM
Thank you both for replying to my post. I really appreciate the help.

All of the schools i am waitlisted at do not rank their waitlist. They also do not know the percentage of students that make it off the list. All of them said something like "it's tough to say" when asked about it. The waitlists are also not ranked. Simply put, i have no idea how the porcess works because they akl said that they just start pulling files after the first deposit deadline. They would not openly discuss their process with me. The final students will be added from the waitlist shortly after the july deposits are collected. A few more may be added after the orientation but it is unlikely. So far i have tried to familiarize myself with the schools and admissions staff. I have added supplemental material in the form of letters of recommendation and evalutions. I have also toured umaine. I will be attending an open house at unh and scheduling a tour at suffolk. I dont know that there is anything else i should do. Probably not. The admissions staff knows who i am so hopefully they liked me an that is enough to pull my file over the others. I have also told all of them that they are my first choice. I figured it may be q white lie but it is a good marketing strategy.

I do have to say that i was not impressed by umaine. The building  was a dump and the admissions staff i met with did not seem qualified. They didnt really know how to hold a conversation. Hard to explain i guess. I toured nesl and it was a far better experience. The building and library were leaps and bounds above umaine. I know the building isnt a good way to judge the institution and its academic program but i was shocked at the difference. Umaine is a tier 3 and nesl is a tier 4. You would never know it visiting their campus. I will be sitting in on a class or 2 at each. Hopefully that will allow me to better judge what type of education i will be receiving.

As far as fcsl goes...... i am sorry if i sounded immature. I did not mean that i will jot be attending fcsl based solely on what some random internet forum post said. What i mean is that there are too many risks for me to take to go there. It also sounds like i would need to live in jacksonville to find a job. I plan on working in nh or mass after graduation. My point was that i dont feel that fcsl is a prestigious school. It almost looks to be a transitional school. I just dont trust it and i dpont believe that i will receive a good formal education if i go there. I really wanted to go there too. They even gave me a scholarship. It sounds like everyone gets a scholarship though. So im really not that special  haha
Title: Re: New England Law Boston?
Post by: bigs5068 on March 04, 2011, 12:49:20 PM
It sounds like you are doing everything right. There is not much more you can do other than visit the school, supplement your application, and make some contacts with the admissions officers. If you want to practice in New England or New Hampshire then UNH/Franklin Pierce not sure what it is called now, NESL, or Suffolk are your best options. One thing to realize is that the tier 3/4 label makes absolutely no sense. As you stated you thought NESL was better than Maine. You probably did much more research than U.S. News & World report does. You visited the school and interacted with students, admissions officers, faculty etc.

 You woudl think U.S. News would do something along those lines, but they do nowhere near that much work. Instead the formula quite literally works like this. 60% of a schools ranking is based on Lawyers/Judges from across the country marking a scantron of Excellent, Very Good, Good, or marginal. A judge in South Dakota checks the Good box for Florida International one year having never been to Miami or meeting a student from the school, but he checks a box that is 60% of the schools ranking. The next 20% is based on employment 9 months after graduation, which would make perfect sense. EXCEPT what does employed mean? Fry cook at McDonald's employed, unpaid legal intern that is employment as well, Managing Partner at X Mega Law Firm also counts as employment and neither the ABA or U.S. News sees any problem with counting Fry Cook at Mcdonald's or Managing Partner at a law firm as equal. I think there is a slight disparity between those two jobs, but that is just me.

To round out the remaining 20% of their ranking, I believe 2.5% is based on percentage of applicants accepted. So what do law schools do with this? Send out tons of fee waivers to people they have absolutely no intention of admitting. This way they can reject a bunch of people with 2.6 GPA's and 142 LSATS. Again, there is no measurement of the qualify of applicant they rejected just pure numbers. The ABA does track the numbers of the applicants, but that would be to much work for U.S. News they are trying to sell magazines at a profit remember.

Then irrelevant things like a school's bar passage rate make up you guessed it 2% of a school's ranking. I personally think passing the bar is pretty important and so does every State in America, because you can't practice law without passing the bar, but what does that matter?  Then LSAT makes up 10%, which is completely legitimate.

Then Undergrad GPA makes up the rest, but this is manipulated as well. Again, U.S. News fails to look with any depth at the numbers in front of them. The LSAT is a uniform so it cannot be manipulated as is the bar exam so those would seem to be good criteria to base a school's ranking on, but they make up 12%. Undergrad GPA on the other hand is completely susceptible to manipulation, because a 4.0 in underwater basket weaving is better than a 2.9 in Molecular Biology according to U.S. News. Does U.S. News distinguish between majors? Again, no they fail to look with any depth at what they are publishing. I benefited significantly from this and received a ton of scholarship money from several schools for having played college basketball. This was my transcript.

Varsity Basketball A
Theory of Basketball A
Fundamentals of Basketball A
Principles of Basketball A
Varsity Conditioning A
Weightlifting A

These were all 1 unit classes, but put that together over 8 semesters and 48 FREE A's. Does U.S. News care that they are complete B.S. no. Some other guy busting his ass in a chemistry lab to pull a 3.2 does not get the scholarship money, because U.S. News does care that he actually learned something in college. All they care about is my inflated GPA. As a result of this essentially bogus formula tier 2/3/4 schools change positions frequently every year and I believe right now there is a 14 way tie for 93rd place. A school like University of San Francisco over the past 4 years has gone from 73rd, to tier 3, to 84, to the 14 way tie in 93rd place. Do you what changed at the school over those 4 years? You guessed it NOTHING. It miraculously gets worse and improves while retaining the same professors, course offerings, etc. For all the reasons I stated above the ABA and AALS on their website expressly say DO NOT LISTEN TO THE RANKINGS. U.S. News is a unregulated magazine that publishes whatever they want. They are not guided by anything, except a desire to sell magazines. They have a 1st amendment right to give their subjective unfounded opinions on things. Unfortunately, people take these rankings as if they are gospel, but they literally bogus look at the facts.

The point of that whole rant is that you really should not take U.S. News Ranking seriously. Certainly Harvard, Yale, etc are phenomenal schools and the elite schools can be properly ranked. However, outside of the top 25 or so schools there is no way to reliably measure the schools. It sounds like you are looking at tier 3/4 schools, which will provide you with a good education. Not a Harvard one, but a good education. NESL, SUFFOLK, FRANKLIN PIERCE/UNH can all open up doors for you in Massachusetts or New Hampshire. Wait-lists suck, but it sounds like you have a good impression and rapport with NESL and they accepted you. It might be best to just go with them if that is the location you want to live in. I got accepted into Franklin Pierce and nearly attended the school. I was really impressed with everyone I dealt with there and I have a friend that attended Suffolk and enjoyed it. Can't say anything personally about Maine or NESL, but any school that keeps ABA accreditation is reputable. Good luck to you.

Title: Re: New England Law Boston?
Post by: like_lasagna on March 06, 2011, 06:59:47 PM
bigs: It's not about learning the law. It's about getting a job. People at higher prestige schools have a much better shot @ that.
Title: Re: New England Law Boston?
Post by: bigs5068 on March 06, 2011, 07:16:17 PM
There is no doubt going to a more prestigious school helps, but I don't think there are many schools that prospective employers consider "prestigious". Harvard, Yale, Stanford, NYU, etc are certainly prestigious and if you are capable of getting into those schools pack your bags and go! You will have a lot more opportunities going to  schools in the T14.  However, there are only 14  T14 schools. The majority of lawyers come from the other 186 ABA schools. I don't think there is much difference in prestige between Gonzaga and Hofstra or University or San Francisco and Southwestern. The list goes on and on the majority of these schools will teach you the law pretty much equally. Every ABA school is based on the Harvard method started in the late 1800's and if you graduate and pass the bar you know approximately the same as every other person who passed that year. 

If you pass the bar and have a Harvard degree you are in a pretty good spot. Most Harvard grads or T14 students get more than one job offer. Going to a tier 4 school I have turned down jobs, so I can only imagine how many opportunities come to a T14 grad. There simply are not enough T14 graduates to fill the numerous vacancies that exist in America. Most T14 students go into BigLaw if that is your goal then go to a T14 school. The majority of D.A., Public Defender, Medium, Small firms etc do not have Harvard Grads working there. Bottom line is there are a large number of jobs if you graduate from an ABA school and pass the bar.  If you go to a truly "PRESTIGIOUS" school in the T14 you are set. If you go to New England, Suffolk, Franklin Pierce, Northeastern, or any of the other mid level schools in Boston I don't think there is much of a difference in employment opportunities. In the Boston area I am speculating Harvard grads get top priority. NYU & Colombia Grads also get a look, but outside of those I don't think any other "PRESTIGIOUS SCHOOLS" are present. I might be missing one or two in the area, but very few schools have enough PRESTIGE to guarantee you a walk in the park.