Law School Discussion

Deciding Where to Go => Choosing the Right Law School => Topic started by: redacted on September 21, 2007, 10:45:29 PM

Title: Okay, I'll step up. Texas 1L taking questions.
Post by: redacted on September 21, 2007, 10:45:29 PM
Shoot.
Title: Re: Okay, I'll step up. Texas 1L taking questions.
Post by: botbot on September 22, 2007, 11:03:48 AM
Angry at all about the chance at falling to 19 in the rankings?
Title: Re: Okay, I'll step up. Texas 1L taking questions.
Post by: Don Karnage on September 22, 2007, 02:07:33 PM
Is there a lot of student satisfaction with Texas? Do the students love their school?
Title: Re: Okay, I'll step up. Texas 1L taking questions.
Post by: Shark Week on September 22, 2007, 02:44:52 PM
How hot is it? Be honest.
Title: Re: Okay, I'll step up. Texas 1L taking questions.
Post by: redacted on September 22, 2007, 07:55:50 PM
Working backwards.

For the first few weeks it was unbelievably hot.  To compensate, the law school must keep the thermostat at 59 degrees.  But I can already feel it cooling down, and I can't wait until February.  I don't think the temperature/weather is anything but a positive.

Along the same lines, I am new to Austin.  I think you'll quickly find that people from Austin or have experiences with Austin (by and large) absolutely love it.  I am definitely not an exception.  I think the best way to describe the Austin vibe would be to imagine taking any of the major college towns in the country (Madison, Ann Arbor, Chapel Hill, Berkley, etc.) and dropping it in the middle of Texas.  You get all the benefits of the college town (cool bars, interesting people, progressive politics, tons of arts, etc.) and all the benefits of Texas (amazing food, incredibly nice people, etc.).  If you think you'd hate living in Texas, you might not hate living in Austin....  But at the same time the Texas feeling isn't gone (football's a huge deal, I just got back from the Rice blowout).

The only redhed I know has initials K.S.

I think UT, USC, Vandy, WUSTL, and UCLA will take up the space between the top 14 and 20 for quite some time.  But, and obviously I'm biased, I think that if any of the schools has a chance to crack into the top 14, it is UT.  The survey scores are the hardest factor to game, and UT is in solid shape there.

Anything else?  Hope I can be of help, generally I'm very happy with my choice (if any of the regulars are around, I was choosing between UT, USC, and WUSTL ($$$)).

Edit: I missed a question.  A lot of student satisfaction has to do with job placement, and I obviously have no experience with that.  But I can say that my group of friends is very impressed with our profs, social lives, mentor/society program, etc.  So as a 1L only a couple months in, I'm quite satisfied.
Title: Re: Okay, I'll step up. Texas 1L taking questions.
Post by: redacted on September 22, 2007, 08:23:55 PM
What part of Austin is the school in?  Do most students live near the campus?  I know Austin has a relatively low COL compared to other major cities, but how much rent do you think the average law student pays there?

UT is kind of a second downtown a couple miles north of the actual downtown.  There's plenty of stuff going on right around campus.  The law school is on the northern edge of campus (just west of the corner Dean Keeton and Medical Arts).  Fire up google maps and it isn't hard to see what I'm talking about....  I have a condo which I'm renting for about 700/month a couple of blocks from the law school.  I'm in the relatively expensive Hyde Park area, which is fantastic because it so close to school and such a chill place to live, but is a little on the expensive side.  I'd say I pay a little above average.
Title: Re: Okay, I'll step up. Texas 1L taking questions.
Post by: redacted on September 22, 2007, 08:30:05 PM
I don't go to UT Law but I would love to if I can get in (praying for my LSATs next Saturday). But seriously, I would boldly stake the claim that Austin is one of the greatest cities for a student (if not the greatest). Yes, I am biased but seriously, the weather is great. The social scene is awesome. The music scene... we are known as the Live Music Capital of the World. Every band WILL come to Austin on their tour. The food... you can't get any better than Tex-Mex. And the whole atmosphere is very accepting and very chilled out. There so many local businesses that it would take years for someone to go to all the different restaurants. If you walk into almost any building, everybody is wearing sandals and a t-shirt. The idea or notion of suit and tie is almost unheard of in most places... of course this doesn't mean its lacking for professionalism. Its the capital city of Texas and rightfully so, politics and the law are huge here.

The only problem with this city is everybody loves it too much. Almost nobody wants to leave Austin when they graduate and only do so with reluctantly. And I think maybe because of this, there is year around construction but thats expected in any growing city. So be warned: if you come to Austin, you will not want to leave. 

Good luck on the exam, I haven't quite made it to that point yet, but I definitely can see it happening.

Also, you still out there botbot?  I'm curious why you're so sure about the rankings drop...
Title: Re: Okay, I'll step up. Texas 1L taking questions.
Post by: Meliss1086 on September 22, 2007, 09:20:29 PM
I'm an undergrad at UT, so I can't comment on the law school. Here's my overview of the city/campus, though.

Cost of living in Austin is pretty low. I rent a 1 bedroom apartment 3 miles north of campus (10 minute bus ride) for $500 a month.

Campus is 14 blocks from the famous 6th street, and most of the major law offices fall between 1st and 12th. Austin has branches of Akin Gump, Fulbright and Jaworski, and Vinson and Elkins. It's also the state capital, so there are a lot of opportunities for people interested in politics or public policy.

City transportation is very reliable, though you do have to ride with all the crazy hobos. Even though every city has these types, Austin's are weirder- the city's unofficial motto is "Keep Austin weird". Most of the buses run from 7am through 11pm.

As far as safety goes, campus is pretty safe. I've walked around campus at 1 or 2 am and felt perfectly safe. You wouldn't want to leave your laptop sitting  unlocked in the library while you went to the bathroom, though.  There are areas of Austin you should avoid living in (Riverside, Oltorf, West Campus or anywhere east of 35 basically). No one is ever surprised to hear about "another murder" on Riverside.

You can't go wrong with Austin if you're looking for entertainment. As some previous posters mentioned, Austin is the "live music capital of the world" and you can find almost any genre of music in a live performance on a weekend. Austin also has a unique location in that it's in the heart of the hill country, surrounded by lakes, and filled with parks. There are parks less than a mile from the heart of downtown that are really great for running, volleyball, picnics, taking dogs, etc. There's no shortage of coffee shops/bookstores/movie theaters (The student union finally got around to giving us a Starbucks!). You'll never starve in this city- there's tons of restaurants within a stone's throw of campus. Pluckers, anyone?

The weather: It's hot. Really hot. Really humid. I grew up in Texas, so I've lived here for 2 decades, and it's still hot. You don't ever get used to it. It just sucks your desire and ability to complain about it away from you. Winters are great though. Most people BBQ over Thanksgiving/Christmas. We get about 2 weeks of real coats and scarves type weather, and any other time you can get away with a sweatshirt.

Also, Austin is expanding really quickly. In the north, the Domain was recently built (There was a NYTimes article about this). It's a multi-million dollar shopping area with everything from Apple to Dooney and Burke to Tiffany's. The city is really becoming a mixture of "hippy liberal potheads" and "conservative black tie affair industry barons". It really just makes the city more unique and interesting because there's something here for anyone.

And there's just something about being a Longhorn that makes you happy to be here. I imagine that even law students take pride in watching Texas football and have fun tailgating behind the stadium.  :) Like Redacted said, you get to live in Texas without having to actually *live in Texas* (read: Austin is in the only county in the state that voted pro gay marriage. Also, our local transvestite hobo "Leslie" regularly gets 11% of the mayoral vote).

Not that I've said all this- I love Austin for college, but I couldn't imagine living here my whole life. It's my opinion that the city caters a little too much to the Longhorn crowd, which is great when you're still in school, but gets old over time.

Hope this helps!
Title: Re: Okay, I'll step up. Texas 1L taking questions.
Post by: utexas2010 on September 22, 2007, 10:24:30 PM
Couldnt agree more with Mwliss1086, its a great city for college students but all the adults here seem to be obsessed with the longhorn culture...kind of sad haha but its a great city although Im trying to get uot of Texas asap.
Title: Re: Okay, I'll step up. Texas 1L taking questions.
Post by: tonyp on September 22, 2007, 11:00:00 PM
All of the adults are obsessed with Longhorn culture?  I'm not really sure what this means.  Folks are certainly obsessed with Longhorn football, I'll grant, but that's a handful of Saturdays in the fall.
Title: Re: Okay, I'll step up. Texas 1L taking questions.
Post by: utexas2010 on September 23, 2007, 01:48:10 AM
im saying you see UT everything everywhere, 40 year old men driving around campus acting like thier 20 and they are students, i see homeless ppl with UT shirts on on a daily basis, there is a difference between being proud and being obsessed and it seems like Austin is obsessed with UT (due to thier lack of sports teams probably), all in all its just a school and I personally dont want to be living in a place where a school is the center of attention or the biggest accomplishment of the city ( im from Houston so maybe thats why I see things this way) but I reccommend Austin for a younger active student looking for a broad range of social activities
Title: Re: Okay, I'll step up. Texas 1L taking questions.
Post by: tonyp on September 23, 2007, 08:11:54 AM
There was a barfull of orange t-shirts on the way to dinner tonight.  A car out front had a "Da Horns" vanity plate.

Did it make you just a teeny bit wistful for the ATX?

I personally dont want to be living in a place where a school is the center of attention or the biggest accomplishment of the city

It's probably harder to appreciate while you're on campus every day, but life in Austin as a non-student is vastly different from life as a student.  That said, Austin is not a "real city" in the sense that Houston, NYC, Chicago, etc. are.  This appeals to some and turns off others.

However, the whole question is largely mooted by the fact that there's a lot more demand among UT grads to stay in Austin than there are opportunities for them to do so, particularly with respect to the law school.
Title: Re: Okay, I'll step up. Texas 1L taking questions.
Post by: Meliss1086 on September 23, 2007, 11:21:30 AM
I just answered questions that aren't law school specific  :)

(1) Is there any decent public transportation at night?  Are the taxis reasonably priced or easy to flag down?  How spread out is the city/law students/nightlife?
Public transportation in Austin is a city-wide bus system. After peak work hours, the metro goes (from what I would guess) is 50 lines to 4 or 5. There is, however a E-Bus that goes from campus to 6th street and back and a Night Owl bus that goes up from downtown to the far north. These are the ones I'm familiar with.  The only experience I have with taxis is calling them for people who get too drunk to drive when they're at the restaurant I work at. They usually arrive promptly, even though we're not in the entertainment district of the city. The city is a lot spread out than most. From just north of campus (where a lot of students live) to the other edge of downtown (Town Lake/1st St), I'd say it's maybe 2 or 3 miles or a 15 minute bus ride. From Riverside Dr. (where a lot of students live) to campus (downtown is in between them) it's usually a 15-20 minute bus rude. Austin is very car-friendly though. Campus does not have a lot of parking, but the metro is a much better way to get to school, anyway. That's one benefit to having a city revolve around UT- most of the major metro routes have a stop on or near campus.

(3) How "pretty" is the city?  Can you compare it to some others?
Downtown is really nice. The skyline isn't that impressive (other than the Frost Tower), but from the ground level, the city is very easy to get around and is quite visually appealing. There are more sketchy parts of the city, but downtown and campus do a good job of keeping things pretty nice. And like I said in a previous posts, there's a lot of green space on the outskirts of downtown and really gorgeous lakes a short drive away (short as in 10-20 minutes).
Having lived in Houston for most of my life, I can say that Austin is much prettier, with much more to do in a smaller space.

(4) How does becoming a Texas resident work?  Can I go to UT for 1 year and then become a resident, and get in-state tuition the next two years?
I believe this is the case, but I don't know for certain. My understanding has been that if you have a permanent address in Texas for one year you become a "resident". I may be wrong though, so I'd suggest checking with UT directly.
Title: Re: Okay, I'll step up. Texas 1L taking questions.
Post by: saradsun on September 23, 2007, 06:14:51 PM
im saying you see UT everything everywhere, 40 year old men driving around campus acting like thier 20 and they are students, i see homeless ppl with UT shirts on on a daily basis, there is a difference between being proud and being obsessed and it seems like Austin is obsessed with UT (due to thier lack of sports teams probably), all in all its just a school and I personally dont want to be living in a place where a school is the center of attention or the biggest accomplishment of the city ( im from Houston so maybe thats why I see things this way) but I reccommend Austin for a younger active student looking for a broad range of social activities

Huh, doesn't sound any different than living in Nebraska  8)
Title: Re: Okay, I'll step up. Texas 1L taking questions.
Post by: lawgrad07 on September 24, 2007, 12:52:25 AM
I just graduated from UT Law.  I can say that I love Austin.  It can get hot, but I don't think of it as THAT hot or THAT humid.  Of course, I grew up in Phoenix (hot) and later worked in Houston (humid).  I was accepted into #15, and I graduated from #18.  That is a bit of a downer, but I don't think it makes any difference.  It is by far the best law school within a very large radius.  I am an adult, and I am married with a family, and I don't know that Austin "caters" to Longhorn fans.  People are supportive, but it's not CRAZY like OU fans ripping UT fan's balls off and everything! 
Title: Re: Okay, I'll step up. Texas 1L taking questions.
Post by: botbot on September 24, 2007, 08:16:06 AM
I don't go to UT Law but I would love to if I can get in (praying for my LSATs next Saturday). But seriously, I would boldly stake the claim that Austin is one of the greatest cities for a student (if not the greatest). Yes, I am biased but seriously, the weather is great. The social scene is awesome. The music scene... we are known as the Live Music Capital of the World. Every band WILL come to Austin on their tour. The food... you can't get any better than Tex-Mex. And the whole atmosphere is very accepting and very chilled out. There so many local businesses that it would take years for someone to go to all the different restaurants. If you walk into almost any building, everybody is wearing sandals and a t-shirt. The idea or notion of suit and tie is almost unheard of in most places... of course this doesn't mean its lacking for professionalism. Its the capital city of Texas and rightfully so, politics and the law are huge here.

The only problem with this city is everybody loves it too much. Almost nobody wants to leave Austin when they graduate and only do so with reluctantly. And I think maybe because of this, there is year around construction but thats expected in any growing city. So be warned: if you come to Austin, you will not want to leave. 

Good luck on the exam, I haven't quite made it to that point yet, but I definitely can see it happening.

Also, you still out there botbot?  I'm curious why you're so sure about the rankings drop...

Poor instate crop this year that hurt the LSAT medians relative to other schools. 
Title: Re: Okay, I'll step up. Texas 1L taking questions.
Post by: redacted on September 24, 2007, 03:06:05 PM
I don't go to UT Law but I would love to if I can get in (praying for my LSATs next Saturday). But seriously, I would boldly stake the claim that Austin is one of the greatest cities for a student (if not the greatest). Yes, I am biased but seriously, the weather is great. The social scene is awesome. The music scene... we are known as the Live Music Capital of the World. Every band WILL come to Austin on their tour. The food... you can't get any better than Tex-Mex. And the whole atmosphere is very accepting and very chilled out. There so many local businesses that it would take years for someone to go to all the different restaurants. If you walk into almost any building, everybody is wearing sandals and a t-shirt. The idea or notion of suit and tie is almost unheard of in most places... of course this doesn't mean its lacking for professionalism. Its the capital city of Texas and rightfully so, politics and the law are huge here.

The only problem with this city is everybody loves it too much. Almost nobody wants to leave Austin when they graduate and only do so with reluctantly. And I think maybe because of this, there is year around construction but thats expected in any growing city. So be warned: if you come to Austin, you will not want to leave. 

Good luck on the exam, I haven't quite made it to that point yet, but I definitely can see it happening.

Also, you still out there botbot?  I'm curious why you're so sure about the rankings drop...

Poor instate crop this year that hurt the LSAT medians relative to other schools. 

Source?  I'll answer more questions later...
Title: Re: Okay, I'll step up. Texas 1L taking questions.
Post by: botbot on September 24, 2007, 03:31:04 PM
Not going to link to all the school's websites.

New medians =

GW - 3.75 GPA and 167 LSAT
Vandy - 3.74 GPA and 167 LSAT
UCLA - 3.72 GPA and 167 LSAT
W&L - 3.62 GPA and 166 LSAT
UIUC - 3.60 GPA and 166 LSAT
USC - 3.60 GPA and 166 LSAT
UT - 3.60 GPA and 166 LSAT

Reputation survey should still favor UT, will be interesting to see what happens I guess.
Title: Re: Okay, I'll step up. Texas 1L taking questions.
Post by: tonyp on September 24, 2007, 05:13:42 PM
Reputation survey should still favor UT, will be interesting to see what happens I guess.

Reputation survey may suffer if the population surveyed takes notice of all the high-profile defections we've had in the past year or two (Bobbitt, Mann, Reese, Laycock, Cleveland, to name a few).

The faculty is not terribly happy with Sager as dean, from what I've heard.
Title: Re: Okay, I'll step up. Texas 1L taking questions.
Post by: tonyp on September 27, 2007, 10:24:05 AM
Since redacted is slacking, I'll fill in a couple of the gaps:

(2) Do the law students get together a fair amount?  Do they socialize at all with undergrads or other graduate students?  Are there ... Intramurals?  Speakers?  Tailgaiting? Happy hours?  Parties?  Bar outings?  etc..

The law students are incredibly social.  Being (a) old, (b) married, and (c) employed, I've had little opportunity or energy to do more than wish my liver were younger.  The one caveat is that as far as I can tell, the community is somewhat insular.  (The facts that UT is huge and the law school is somewhat remotely situated within the northeast corner of campus probably contribute to this.)  Events among the law student population seem to greatly outnumber joint events with other groups of students.

Quote
(3) How "pretty" is the city?  Can you compare it to some others?

Austin is sometimes compared to Portland, OR.  I think Portland's a little "prettier," but the vibe is similar.  In terms of appearance, I also see some parallels with Pittsburgh--hills, trees, river, compact downtown, distinct university neighborhood--though Pittsburgh is quite a bit larger than Austin.

Quote
(4) How does becoming a Texas resident work?  Can I go to UT for 1 year and then become a resident, and get in-state tuition the next two years?

It used to be the case that becoming a resident while in school was just about impossible.  However, there are some rumors that the rules are being liberalized, and that it may be possible to gain residency after the first year if you buy real estate, work part time, or (as has been mentioned) marry a Texan.  Most folks aren't in a position to do any of these, but if buying a condo is a possibility, it's worth investigating this further with the UT residency office.

Quote
(5) Do you think you could live in Austin and really enjoy it for 3 years after graduation?  Do you know how enjoyable the law jobs there are (i.e. Miami jobs are known to be very laid back, NY works you to death).
I don't think I could handle any other city in Texas besides Austin ...

I've been here for over 14 years.  I've visited lots of other places, but to me, after weighing all the various factors in the balance (cost of living, weather, aesthetics, dining, activities, etc.), this is where I prefer to be.  Without knowing more about what you're looking for, however, it's difficult to say whether my preferences are well correlated with yours. 

It should be noted that the entry-level legal market in Austin is intensely competitive.  Top 10%+LR won't absolutely guarantee you a job in Austin, whereas it would give you your pick of jobs in just about any other market you could name.  This is not to say that it's impossible to stay--some do.  But I gather that it requires quite a bit more work to arrange, as well as possible sacrifices in terms of the type of work you do or firms you do it for.
Title: Re: Okay, I'll step up. Texas 1L taking questions.
Post by: Ulfrekr on September 27, 2007, 11:14:03 AM
I love Austin, and that makes UT a big draw for me. However, I do keep hearing that it can be very difficult to find employment in Austin after graduation. I wouldn't want to live anywhere else in Texas, but I assume that a UT degree goes farther in TX than elsewhere. So I guess my questions are- are UT grads who can't find employment in Austin generally able to find employment elsewhere in the nation, or is a UT degree somewhat limiting in terms of location? And is it easier to find employment in Austin with a degree from a somewhat more prestigious school, or is UT generally favored, and the difficulty of finding a job simply due to low demand?
Title: Re: Okay, I'll step up. Texas 1L taking questions.
Post by: dac on September 27, 2007, 08:40:04 PM
How much will it hurt me in the application process to be "out-of-state" with numbers only around UT's medians?
Title: Re: Okay, I'll step up. Texas 1L taking questions.
Post by: tonyp on September 27, 2007, 09:03:22 PM
So I guess my questions are- are UT grads who can't find employment in Austin generally able to find employment elsewhere in the nation, or is a UT degree somewhat limiting in terms of location? And is it easier to find employment in Austin with a degree from a somewhat more prestigious school, or is UT generally favored, and the difficulty of finding a job simply due to low demand?

On the first point, the marketability of a UT degree (at least with respect to OCI) is directly proportional to how well you do within the class.  Folks in the top third haven't had much trouble getting callbacks at biglaw firms  in NY or CA (don't know much about Chicago, and DC is reportedly a far tougher market to get into than any of the above).  Top half plus a (decent) personality will probably get you into a number of firms in Dallas or Houston, though BigTex is pickier.  OCI doesn't seem to do much good for folks in the bottom half.

As to the second, there's some evidence (I'm thinking of the posts of MindTheGap, a Chicago 3L who's occasionally around here) that Texas firms will reach deeper into the class at HYSCCN than UT.  Hardly a remarkable proposition.  As for Austin in particular, though, I'm guessing that a middle-of-the-class Harvard grad is probably in the same boat as the top 10%+LR UT grad--a good shot, but not a lock.  The primary issue with Austin is that it's simply a small market, though not as small as it used to be.  IP shops in particular have been expanding here over the past few years (with Fish growing at probably the fastest clip, going from a half dozen attorneys to 30 in about two years). 
Title: Re: Okay, I'll step up. Texas 1L taking questions.
Post by: redacted on September 29, 2007, 08:17:32 PM
Forget everything in this thread, just go to Kansas State Law...
Title: Re: Okay, I'll step up. Texas 1L taking questions.
Post by: Meliss1086 on September 29, 2007, 08:38:25 PM
 :(
At least OU lost too?