Law School Discussion

Deciding Where to Go => Choosing the Right Law School => Topic started by: lablankita on March 17, 2013, 09:52:00 AM

Title: Drexel or Loyola LA
Post by: lablankita on March 17, 2013, 09:52:00 AM
I was born and raised in the Philadelphia suburbs, so I applied to almost all of those area schools (temple, Villanova, Penn, Drexel). I have not heard back from Penn yet, but I got into the other three and got more money than I can reasonably turn down from Drexel. I know that Drexel is a TTT school and is new, but I have several family connections to the Philadelphia Biglaw community and one of them is saying that Drexel is doing all the right things to be a serious contender in the Philadelphia market. I went to admitted students day and liked the school and the people I talked to.

As I am writing this, I am in Los Angeles looking at a few schools. It is my first time visiting the area and the only time I will have to visit before I have to make a decision. I have acceptances from Chapman (with comparable money to what I got from Drexel) and Loyola (with less money) and am waiting to hear back from Pepperdine. I was hoping that I would not like the city so that this would be an easier decision, but I really do like it. I am considering the area because I am interested in entertainment law. I know that this is a changing field and is not about representing celebrities anymore, and I am more than okay with that because I am genuinely interested in the entertainment industry and have taken some related pre-law courses, so I feel like I know as much about what I'm getting into as anyone in my position could. I don't really have any personal or business connections in California; the only person who I would know out there is my boyfriend, who lives in the same city as I do now and would move with me. I don't think I can negotiate a whole lot more from Loyola without getting more money from Pepperdine. My uncle in Philadelphia Biglaw tells me that going to Drexel does not necessarily mean that I can never, ever leave the Philadelphia market later in my career if I do well enough, but I feel like being here during law school will open more doors for me into that industry.

I have less than a month left to make this decision and it's so difficult. Can anyone offer any advice?
Title: Re: Drexel or Loyola LA
Post by: Maintain FL 350 on March 18, 2013, 11:06:47 AM
I can't really tell you what to do, per se, because where you choose to attend law school is a highly personal choice. Nonetheless, I live in LA, went to law school here, and worked in the entertainment industry for a while. Perhaps I can offer some insight on the local market.

Generally, you should go to law school in the area in which you want to live, unless you have the opportunity to  attend a highly prestigious national school. It is much easier to obtain internships, clerkships, and other positions locally. If you have the reputation of an elite national school behind you, like Harvard, well, that's different. But if you attend a local/regional school like Drexel it might be very tough to land entertainment related internships in LA. Conversely, if you want to live in Philly, it might be difficult to make connections if you attend an LA school. 

Even in a big metropolitan areas like LA and Philly, law can be a very local, insular business. I've seen tons of examples of students from small, locally reputable (but not nationally known) schools easily beating out applicants from higher ranked out of state schools. The ability to make connections and to network is highly valuable, and it's tough to do that from three thousand miles away.

Loyola and Pepperdine both have good reputations in CA, with an advantage to Loyola, in my opinion. Lots of attorneys in the entertainment field are Loyola and Southwestern grads, as well as UCLA/USC and Pepperdine. All of these schools offer various internship opportunities and alumni connections with the studios or firms, and offer courses in entertainment law. If you attend school in Philly, you will have to find a way to compete against the local talent from these schools, which may be difficult.

Your uncle is right, in that attending Drexel will by no means permanently prevent you from practicing elsewhere. Drexel is ABA approved, and qualifies you to take the bar in any state. The question is simply one of difficulty. No matter what city we're talking about, whether its LA, Philly, Dallas, whatever, it is very difficult to show up after graduation in a new city in which you have no connections and to compete for jobs against local students who have had three years to develop a network and gain experience. This is especially true if you are not graduating from a prestigious national school, as you won't be able to rely on your pedigree alone to open doors. That doesn't mean it can't be done, but be realistic about the obstacles you may face.   

Additionally, if you really are interested in entertainment, you will need to pass the CA bar exam. This is no small task, as it's considered the toughest in the nation. Take a look at the CA bar pass rates from out of state schools, and take that into account.   

Title: Re: Drexel or Loyola LA
Post by: Anti09 on March 19, 2013, 12:10:25 PM
Drexel has abysmal employment data - 43% of C/O 2011 found work as a lawyer.  Additionally, it's lack of an alumni base is very troubling.  Be very skeptical when people tell you it is "doing the right things" to be a major player, because its employment data certainly does not reflect this.

http://www.lstscorereports.com/?school=drexel&show=chars

Loyola is actually worse.  42% of C/O 2011 got laywer jobs.  Additionally, the CA legal market is in absolute shambles, and the thought of targeting CA without ties is terrifying.

http://www.lstscorereports.com/?school=loyola&show=chars

Do not attend either of these schools for any less than a full-ride scholarship.  It is more likely than not you will never work as a laywer coming out of either school.  Your best option is to retake the LSAT and try to get into Temple on a full ride.
Title: Re: Drexel or Loyola LA
Post by: Maintain FL 350 on March 19, 2013, 01:33:08 PM
It is more likely than not you will never work as a laywer coming out of either school. 

What an utterly absurd claim. Either your lack of critical thinking is appalling, or you find it necessary to exaggerate to make your point. Either way it diminishes your credibility.   

Your statement is based solely on LST's data, which is nothing more than a regurgitation of LSAC's data for the most recent year available (2011). This data was collected nine months after graduation and has not been updated.

Most LLS students will graduate in May and pass the bar in November. The employment data is collected in February, only three months after bar results are released. At that point, 42.7% were employed in fulltime, long term legal jobs, and something like 56% overall. There is no data available for the subsequent months and years. 

Think about it: if only an additional 7.4% of the LLS class of 2011 gains long term legal employment, then the number becomes 50.1%. At that point it is in fact more likely than not that a LLS grad will work as an attorney, and your claim is refuted. I think common sense dictates that far more than an additional 7.4% will eventually find legal employment.

Can you provide data which proves that more than 50% of LLS grads will never be employed as attorneys? Of course not.

Does any of this mean that the LA market is in great shape, or that people won't struggle? No, not at all. It's a difficult market and it's tough to find your first job.

This is, however, a great example of how people misunderstand employment statistics. You can't use such scant data to extrapolate years into the future and support your claim that most LLS will "never" work as attorneys. It's an unsubstantiated claim, at best.   
Title: Re: Drexel or Loyola LA
Post by: Anti09 on March 19, 2013, 04:20:12 PM
Oh right, I forgot that 40% employment 9 months after graduation is totally acceptable.  OP, I retract my statement - feel free to attend either of these top notch legal institutions.

The nature of legal hiring is such that if you do not find work within one year, the chances that you ever will drop off dramatically.  This is not an absurd claim, it's common sense.  Would you, as an employer, be tempted to hire someone who was not able to obtain gainful employment after looking for an entire year?  There is likely a reason they have not been employed yet - poor grades, interviewing skills, etc.  That is not going to change 9 months, one year, or ten years after graduation.  The longer you are out of the job market, the less relevant your degree becomes, and the less likely it is an employer is willing to take a chance on you.

Even if, as you (baselessly) claim, 7% of grads manage to find work after those 9 months, that doesn't change the fact that the employment data from Drexel and Loyola is absolutely abysmal.  You have no more data than I do; you just simply assume that some of these students must find work, eventually, they just have to.  Obviously, I cannot definitively "prove" that they will never find work, since proving a negative (particularly concerning the future) is impossible.  But, by the same token, you have offered no data to suggest that these unemployed grads will ever find legal work - that data simply doesn't exist (to my knowledge), so we must draw inferences from the data we have.

The only difference between you and me is that you prefer to attach undeserved optimism to the employment outcomes at these schools, while I prefer to take a conservative (and in my opinion, much more realistic) approach.  Less than half of the legal class of 2011 found legal employment, (http://www.nalp.org/uploads/Classof2011SelectedFindings.pdf) a trend that shows no signs of reversing.   Given that these schools cost hundreds of thousands of dollars which, if financed by loans, is never dischargeable, I'd prefer to be on the safe side.  If you have no reservations about dropping $200k+ on a school with a 40%, 50%, or 50.1% chance of employment, that's your prerogative.  But it is still an objectively risky decision, financially and professionally, that will end in abject failure for a significant portion (if not the majority) of the class.
Title: Re: Drexel or Loyola LA
Post by: Maintain FL 350 on March 19, 2013, 05:41:55 PM
Oh right, I forgot that 40% employment 9 months after graduation is totally acceptable.  OP, I retract my statement - feel free to attend either of these top notch legal institutions.

You're attempting to obfuscate the argument by attributing to me a point that I never made. I am making no claims whatsoever about the acceptability of employment trends for either school. I think we'd both agree that 42.7% is low.

I am simply pointing out that a very specific claim made by you (that it is more likely than not that a LLS grad will never work as an attorney) is unsupportable. The raw data required to substantiate such a claim does not exist. Unless you can provide at least some evidence to support your claim, it makes more sense not to believe you than to believe you. 

You're correct that some inferences can be drawn from the existing data. Clearly, the job market is bad, and people are having a hard time finding work. This data has to viewed in context, however. Most people, especially from non-elite schools, are not truly competitive in the job market until they pass the bar. This means that many grads have only been seriously competing for three months when the employment data is collected. In this market, that's nothing.

You're looking at one snapshot in time, nine months after graduation, and assuming that it will never change. I, too, am making assumptions, but my assumptions are based on experience in the Los Angeles market. It's not far fetched to assume that some people will obtain employment more than three months after passing the bar.

Here's why:
42.7% does not represent the total percentage employed. It only represents those who have passed the bar on their first attempt, and are in fulltime, long term positions. Others who are employed in short term or part time positions are still practicing law and building up experience. Some of those positions will mature into job offers, and others will act as a platform for the new attorney to network and gain experience, thus increasing their chances of securing long term employment.

To your point regarding those who have not found employment within a year, there is a huge difference between someone whose resume has a year-long blank spot and someone who has, say, worked as a volunteer at the DA's for a year and has done a dozen trials. That person has a decent shot at getting a job, but shows up in the LSAC report as unemployed.

Since many people use part time and volunteer positions to gain experience and improve their overall marketability, it's not a stretch to assume that they will gain fulltime employment or go solo. It just may not happen within three months of passing the bar. It's a reasonable assumption based on experience, and I see it happen all the time.
   



Title: Re: Drexel or Loyola LA
Post by: livinglegend on March 20, 2013, 01:37:54 AM
Maintain just ignore Anti (somehow it always gets off point and stats get discussed, which have no bearing to the actual question being asked by the OP). Maintain you have offered good advice, which I will elaborate on

First off as I always say remember that everyone posting on this board or others is nothing more than an anonymous internet poster that knows nothing about you, your situation, or what is best for you so take anything you read with a grain of salt. Particularly when you consider that anyone can post on this board and claim to be whoever they want I could say I am the Dean of Harvard Law School, a Big Law Partner, a law student, etc I or anyone else can claim to be anything and whatever bad advice or lies I tell will not result in any sort of repercussion against me. Therefore I cannot stress enough the importance of taking all advice mine included on boards such as this with a major grain of salt.

With that piece of information I will give the following advice, which I think is helpful for OL's when choosing a law school. I believe any OL should base their decision on the following factors in this order (1) Location (2) Cost (3) Personal Feelings about the school (4) The Reality of Legal Education (5) Lastly and truly lastly U.S. News rankings. I will analyze these reasons below.

1. Location

(I need to go, but I will update this later)
Title: Re: Drexel or Loyola LA
Post by: jack24 on March 20, 2013, 08:40:38 AM
While I think Anti is probably too cynical about this topic, the job market is pretty tough.  That said, if you are getting huge scholarship offers, (offers you can maintain throughout three years) then you likely have advantages over your peers and the job market stats should not be as concerning. 
Going to Drexel at full price would probably be a mistake if you had a "big-law or bust" attitude.

Your family connections probably know more about the Philadelphia market than anyone on here, but I will offer the following:

Ballard Spahr is a big law firm with an office in Philadelphia. 

They have 2 attorneys from Drexel, 44 attorneys from Penn, and 24 from Villanova.

This is anectodal, of course, but it's not a good sign for Drexel in terms of Philadelphia BigLaw.

Now, if you were planning on starting your own firm or if you had a set-in-stone job lined up, I'd say going to Drexel for free is much better than going to Penn at full price.  If your goal is big law though, Penn may be the better option.



Title: Re: Drexel or Loyola LA
Post by: Maintain FL 350 on March 20, 2013, 09:25:36 AM
Jack and Legend both make good points.

None of the schools discussed here are nationally elite institutions, and you won't get a job based on pedigree alone. Minimizing debt should be a major factor in your decision. Also, you should be realistic about your chances of landing a biglaw position, and be prepared to take a lower paying job. Remember, even if by some chance you get into Penn you're not guaranteed a biglaw position.

Anti did provide one good piece of advice: consider retaking the LSAT and getting a scholarship at Temple. I'd add to that, and say if you can get a full ride with reasonable stipulations at any local school (Widener, maybe some of the NY/NJ schools) it might make more sense than a huge debt from Drexel or LLS. 

Title: Re: Drexel or Loyola LA
Post by: Anti09 on March 20, 2013, 12:17:30 PM
Maintain just ignore Anti (somehow it always gets off point and stats get discussed, which have no bearing to the actual question being asked by the OP).

You are an idiot if you think employment statistics are irrelevant to OP's decision.  They should be far and away the number one most important criteria for anyone choosing to go to law school, followed closely by cost and location.  But of course, you have all but admitted to posting on this board for the sheer purpose of shilling whatever bottom-barrel CA law school you hail from, so your opinion can be effectively discounted immediately and in its entirety. 
Title: Re: Drexel or Loyola LA
Post by: Maintain FL 350 on March 21, 2013, 01:03:55 PM
One other factor that has to be taken into account when evaluating employment statistics:

My law school, like many law schools with large part time/evening programs, had a significant number of people who graduated in December. The employment surveys for the December grads were collected in February, at the same time as the May grads. Most (if not all) of the December grads spent December, January, and February studying for the February bar as opposed to looking for a job. Their post grad employment data, however, gets counted with the previous academic year in which they graduated.

Considering that only two and a half months pass between graduation and data collection, this could significantly affect the statistics for the entire year's graduating class.   
Title: Re: Drexel or Loyola LA
Post by: jack24 on March 22, 2013, 09:19:28 AM
One other factor that has to be taken into account when evaluating employment statistics:

My law school, like many law schools with large part time/evening programs, had a significant number of people who graduated in December. The employment surveys for the December grads were collected in February, at the same time as the May grads. Most (if not all) of the December grads spent December, January, and February studying for the February bar as opposed to looking for a job. Their post grad employment data, however, gets counted with the previous academic year in which they graduated.

Considering that only two and a half months pass between graduation and data collection, this could significantly affect the statistics for the entire year's graduating class.   

What is your point?  Are you just arguing that it may not be as bad as law school transparency says?   Okay, maybe it's not.  But you know what else the employment statistics don't reflect?  The number of attorneys who leave the law after two years and the number of attorneys who live paycheck to paycheck and the number of attorneys who hate their jobs. 

If you look at the data, it's pretty harrowing.    Enrollment in law schools has finally started to drop.  While this is fantastic news, the legal picture is still brutal.   The industry isn't really growing.  It shed 2,400 jobs in january of 2013. http://www.abajournal.com/news/article/legal_industry_loses_2400_jobs_in_january

The BLS estimates that the legal industry will add about 7,000 new lawyer jobs per year over the next ten years.   Unfortunately, we have been added about 53,000 newly licensed attorneys in 2009.   40 years ago, there were only 16,000 law grads per year.   So even if we estimate that 80% still practice law, that means that retirements are only leading to about 12,800 open spots per year (if they are actually retiring, and if their work isn't just being absorbed by their firms).   

It's reasonable to assume that we need less than 25,000 new lawyers each year until the boomer lawyers really start to retire.   In the 2011-2012 cycle, there were 44,366 who enrolled at ABA ranked schools. 

Look at this lawyer surplus analysis by state.  The chart is interesting. http://economix.blogs.nytimes.com/2011/06/27/the-lawyer-surplus-state-by-state/

Do you really think the ABA's employment estimate, that only 55% of ABA grads have full-time legal work is that far off? 

This is an absolutely brutal time to go to a T3, but at least enrollments are dropping.   Hopefully more lawyers will retire in the next decade.  But computers and machines will probably take up the slack.

Title: Re: Drexel or Loyola LA
Post by: Maintain FL 350 on March 22, 2013, 10:37:35 AM
What is your point?  Are you just arguing that it may not be as bad as law school transparency says?   

Yes, that is my only point and nothing more (or less) should be read into it. Employment statistics, like all raw data, should be viewed critically and within context. I come from a scientific background, and learned a long time ago that your final results are only as accurate as the data you collect. It's difficult to account for all variables, but this particular variable might affect the accuracy of the results. That's all.

My broader point, and the reason I responded to Anti's claim, is that the purpose of the data can be misunderstood. The numbers are based on voluntary self-reporting nine months after graduation. As far as I know, the numbers are not subsequently revised to reflect those who obtain employment after the reporting date.

This leads me to believe that the statistics are not designed to provide a platform upon which future projections of employabilty can be divined. Absent some evidence to the contrary, these numbers appear to have limited durational value and their accuracy probably diminishes the farther you get from the reporting date. This is not a flaw in the model. It's simply not intended to produce long term prognostications.

The statistics are accurate as far as they reflect the employment of participating graduates at that point in time. That is, X% of reporting grads were employed/unemployed at the time they voluntarily responded, period. But people should make an effort to understand the purpose, methodology, and inherent limitations of data collection before attempting to extrapolate these results beyond their intended parameters. It's a huge mistake to do so.

For example, if School X has a nine month employment rate of 50%, that does not mean that you automatically have a 50% chance of ever becoming a lawyer if you attend that school. No model can account for the personal attributes that greatly affect an individual's probability of securing employment. Some people have a 100% chance because they're brilliant and personable, and others have a 0% chance because they're immature fools. By making such claims, one is attributing characteristics to the model which it was never intended to address. Such conclusions will almost always be wrong.

As far as the overall employment outlook, I agree with you, Jack. It's bad, especially for those who have just graduated and are looking for their first job. I graduated from a non-prestigious law school in the state with the worst legal employment market (CA) within the last couple of years. Trust me, I don't need anyone to tell me how bad the market is. I also know, however, that those who continue to develop their skills and connections after law school, are willing to be flexible, and don't waste time pursuing jobs for which they're unqualified stand a good chance of eventually finding employment. 

   
Title: Re: Drexel or Loyola LA
Post by: livinglegend on March 25, 2013, 09:49:10 PM
Getting back to my update

First off as I always say remember that everyone posting on this board or others is nothing more than an anonymous internet poster that knows nothing about you, your situation, or what is best for you so take anything you read with a grain of salt. Particularly when you consider that anyone can post on this board and claim to be whoever they want I could say I am the Dean of Harvard Law School, a Big Law Partner, a law student, etc I or anyone else can claim to be anything and whatever bad advice or lies I tell will not result in any sort of repercussion against me. Therefore I cannot stress enough the importance of taking all advice mine included on boards such as this with a major grain of salt.

With that piece of information I will give the following advice, which I think is helpful for OL's when choosing a law school. I believe any OL should base their decision on the following factors in this order (1) Location (2) Cost (3) Personal Feelings about the school (4) The Reality of Legal Education (5) Lastly and truly lastly U.S. News rankings. I will analyze these reasons below.

1. Location
Realize that law school does not exist in a vacuum although you will be busy in law school life still happens. From your post it sounds like you do not know a soul in Los Angeles other than your boyfriend who may or may not end up moving out to California with you.

Therefore, you are going to be in an all new City in law school away from your family and there is a high likelihood your boyfriend may not end up moving out with you and there is a potential for dealing with a breakup, in a new city, away from everything you know, and dealing with the high stress of 1L. Some people can handle that, but others cannot you know yourself far better than I do.

Then it is also possible your boyfriend will move out with you, but if he does he will find a job and it will be unlikely you will ever leave L.A. During three years of law school assuming you stay together he will build a career that will be difficult to leave, you will make connections in L.A, get an apartment, make friends, etc. In the end you will probably not move back to Philadelphia, which if family is important to you is something to consider.

On top of the Los Angeles and Philadelphia are very different cities. I am from L.A. and have been to Philly a few times for one thing you will need a car if your living in L.A. can you afford that on law school loans? I don't know maybe your parents will help or your boyfriend has money saved up you know the situation better than I do.

On top of that really consider your relationship with your boyfriend how important is that to you? I saw plenty of people in my 1L think they could manage the long-distance relationship during 1L, but it almost never worked out. If this is a serious relationship just realistically think how it will work out. Your boyfriend will be moving to L.A. I don't know if he has a job now or something waiting for him in L.A, but when push comes to shove will he really leave everything in Philadelphia behind to follow you across the country for you to attend law school and him to struggle to find a job in the highly competitive marketplace that is L.A?

As for your uncle's advice he is right if you attend any law school you will not be stuck in a market, but the reality is if your in L.A. you will take the California Bar and get a job in L.A. you will be busy and you will probably never getting around to taking the Pennsylvania Bar and even if you do it will be very difficult to find employment across country when there are numerous schools in Pennsylvania already why would they fly someone out from L.A? Conversely why would someone in L.A. want to hire someone from Philadelphia when there are 7 law schools in L.A. already. Maybe if you were attending Harvard, Yale, Stanford, or a school of that caliber cross-country recruiting would make sense, but an L.A. firm is not looking to hire Drexel Grads and a Philadelphia firm is not looking to hire Chapman grads.

Just really consider the realities of location when choosing your school particularly when moving cross country I cannot stress how important this is.

2. Cost
You mentioned scholarships and that is great, but what are the conditions attached to them? Often times a law school will say maintain a 3.0 to keep your scholarship and most OL's naively believe it will be a cakewalk to get a 3.0, but that is NOT how it works. Law school grading is much different and the curve is strict generally only 35% of the class can have a 3.0 and I know like 100% of OL's you will believe your special and will certainly be in the top 35%, but in law school everyone is smart, hard-working, and motivated so there is a 65% chance you will not be in the top 35% and lose your scholarship for year 2 and 3. I think this NY times article does a good job explaining the conditions. http://www.nytimes.com/2011/05/01/business/law-school-grants.html?pagewanted=all&_r=0

3 Personal Feelings About School

This is important and it sounds like you are visiting the campuses to get a feel for the schools. As you have probably noticed the culture of schools feel a little different I know when I was a OL there were some schools that felt like a fit and others that didn't. These were my own personal feelings though for example I really liked Chapman and Pepperdine, but didn't like LMU. This was my own personal opinon and you may have felt the opposite I like the smaller towns of Malibu and Orange opposed to being in the heart of L.A. I also loved the beach view of Pepperdine and I could go on and on, but it is important to realize I am NOT you. Just because I liked Pepperdine doesn't mean you will. I know it is a religious school and maybe your atheist, maybe you have very sensitive skin and the malibu sun will burn you alive, the list goes on and on so it is very important to feel out these schools talk to professors, admins, and see what school feels right. Remember this is a life altering decision and opposed to letting internet posters tell you what is good for you consider your own experiences it is you who will be living with the decision and nobody knows better than you what works best for yourself.

4. Reality of Legal Education
I will let you in on a secret the reality is all legal education is the same. Your first year at any ABA school will consist of torts, civil procedure, contracts, property, and criminal law. They may offer criminal procedure or con law in year 2 or move one of the other classes to year 1. You will also take Evidence, Wills & Trusts, Corporations, Remedies, in your later years.

The reality is the law is the same in your first year you will read Palsgarff in Torts and Justice Cardozo in the 1930's didn't write separate opinions for each law school.  Instead proximte cause is established, which every lawyer nation wide knows about. In Civil Procedure you will read Pennoyver v. Neff again the court in the 1800's didn't write a separate opinion for different caliber law schools instead the notice requirement is established.  So there really isn't a "better education" there may be some professors that are more engaging than others, but the reality is you will do most of the studying and be learning the law through supplemental resources like Barbri, Emmaneul's Outlines, etc.

This is why it is so important to consider location, cost, and personal feelings about the school as these will make far more of a difference than alleged difference in the quality of education. If you are homesick in L.A. after breaking up with your boyfriend in a school you are uncomfortable with the most lively professor won't be able to knock negligence into your head.

5. U.S. News Ranking
Realize that this is a for-profit unregulated magazine offering an opinion and should NOT be the basis of a life altering decision. They also rank more than law schools for example New Mexico is the #1 place to live (link) http://money.usnews.com/money/personal-finance/real-estate/articles/2009/06/08/best-places-to-live-2009

Are you going to move to New Mexico because U.S. News says so? I hope not although there are likely some great reasons for their ranking packing your bags solely because U.S. News ranked something #1 doesn't make a lot of sense, but for some reason law students literally make life altering decisions and attend law schools based on this magazine DO NOT BE ONE OF THOSE PEOPLE. If this were U Penn v. Chapman then rankings might make a difference, but nobody cares about the difference between Chapman and Drexel in the rankings they are both fine schools, but Chapman is probably 90th and Drexel 105th nobody cares at that point.

Conclusion:
This is literally a life altering decision particularly whether you move across country or not. Law school is difficult and if you are person that can pop into a new area and make friends easily then L.A. might be a great fit. Conversely if you are a shy reserved person that is very concerned about maintaining your relationshp with your family and boyfriend then L.A. might end up being a disaster. I don't know you and neither does anyone else offering advice anonymously on the internet so really consider all your personal attributes and what you want as you know better than anyone else.

The education for all intensive purposes is the same and not worth your personal happiness whether you attend Drexel, Chapman, Loyola, or Pepperdine you will learn the same exact thing then take Barbri when you graduate and hope to pass the bar. Good luck whatever you decide.