« on: April 13, 2011, 05:15:58 AM »
I live in San Diego with my boyfriend and donít plan to move in the foreseeable future. (This means I would be commuting to UCI; itís about an hour and fifteen to an hour and a half. My parents live nearby, though, so I could crash with them as often as I liked.) I also want to practice in San Diego after I graduate, and Iíve heard that, given a desire to work here, USD is ďbetter than Harvard.Ē I want to do public interest law; I think Iíd like to work as a public defender, and/or work for the ACLU, Lambda Legal, etc. Someday I might like to teach law, not necessarily in a tenure-track position, but maybe as an adjunct while working in private practice.
Attending USD would definitely be easier. Itís a fifteen-minute drive from my current apartment, which I love and want to stay in. Iím a little above their average in terms of grades and LSAT (3.8 and 166), so Iíll likely rank pretty high in my class. Things like law review and order of the coif would be less competitive. (Actually, UCI wonít even have an Order of the Coif chapter for many years after I graduate.) Upon graduation, Iíd have a vast alumni network in the area to help land a job; in the last few years (the ones when there wasnít a hiring freeze, anyway) close to half of all public defenders hired in San Diego came from this school. They also have an awesome mock trial team, ranked 16th in the country, which Iíd love to join. I definitely want to spend a good chunk of my career in court, not just behind a desk, and this would be good experience.
However, I just attended ASD there, and wasnít exactly dazzled by the mock class. The professor kind of stammered her way through the lecture, and the reading assignment was a scanned pdf that was so grainy, it was difficult to read. By contrast, both the mock class at UCIís ASD and the real class I sat in on at UCI really captivated me. I also got a great vibe from the faculty who sat on the panel, and of course, Dean Chemerinsky. Thereís no question in my mind that UCIís faculty is superior, and of course, so is their student-faculty ratio.
UCI represents risk, as itís not yet accredited or ranked, but also potential rewards, as it seems to be on track to be not only accredited, but ranked in the top tier, perhaps even in the top 20. There are fewer clubs to join, but more that I could start. I would be a much more average student at UCI, given my numbers, and given that and the newness of the school, Iíd have to work a lot harder. But the chance to be a part of something so great almost from its inception is almost irresistible.
I should add that Iím very lucky not to have to worry about money in making my decision. Iíve got scholarships from both schools (40% from UCI, $38k/year from USD) and I have some money coming from my grandparentsí estate that will pretty much cover the rest.
I have to notify UCI by Friday, although thereís no deposit, and USD by the end of the month. What should I do?