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Reviews, Visits, and Rankings / Any current elon students?
« on: May 22, 2011, 09:39:02 AM »
Are there any current Elon students who can tell me about the law school? How are the professors? How is the library? What is off campus housing like? How much is it?

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I know that many of your want to work in Big Law. You aspire to a top T14 school where you think you will have a great career and make enough money to pay off your law school debts. Let me share a recent story
that I heard yesterday.

I was sitting on the plane next to a gal who attended University of Taxas and worked for a large law firm in Texas. The law firm have had already two rounds of layoffs.
Most of those layed off were those that didn't meet the budgetary goals of 45 chargable hours per week. Be advised that to get 45 chargable hours, you really need to work at least 60-70  hours per week or more.

They were going to have another big round of layoffs when the staff voted en masse to allow a 20% pay cut if the firm would not lay anyone else off.Since the starting
salary for new lawyers was $160,000, they could still live on $128,000.

The partners thought about this and rejected the staff's proposal as being the result of "loser mentality." If you want to work in Big Law, you should at least know
what you are getting into for the rest of your life!

Also note, my purpose for posting this is NOT to dissuade you from working in Big Law or becoming a lawyer. That isn't my business. I just want you to know what you will be getting into.

I

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I just visited University of Miami with my son,who has an interest in it. I really wanted to like it since my son has relatives here and because it has a good ranking. In addition, it is supposedly strong in estate planning and tax, which interested my son the most.

At first glance, UM seems quite good. It has very decent rankings. It has a lot of offerings. In fact, it even has a course in "online gaming." and I am not kidding about that. It also has a great college environment. Moreover, most faculty graduated from top schools. The facilities such as gyms, cafeterias etc. were also great as were the nearby surroundings in Coral Gables. They also have a supposedly good reputation in south Florida. Moreover, you can probably get admitted with a 3.2+ GPA and  about 157 on the LSAT, which isn't bad for a top 60 school. However, everyone on our tour was a bit discouraged from what we saw and from what the tour guide said. Why?

First, UM is fairly expensive at $37,000 in tuition alone. Moreover, they are a bit cheap in scholarships giving out 22 merit scholarships out of 400 students.

Secondly,I really didn't get the feeling that the school was very student centered. For example, we went into several classrooms that had over 125 seats. The tour guide frankly admitted that UM tries to get as many students into a class as the room holds! In fact, each seat was numbered! Miami definitely had that "diploma mill" feeling.

Third, our tour guide noted that career services was fairly awful at the school. She was a JD and still was giving tours,which should tell you something. In addition, their passing rate on the bar was just above average for the state.

Finally, although UM is known for its graduate tax and estate planning graduate programs, most of these courses are not available to undergrads without professional permission. Oddly, the undergrad concentrations that UM boasts about have nothing to do with either estate planning or tax. They emphasize programs like international law, business and financial law,and immigration law . Whoever does their marketing and concentration planning should be fired.

In addition, most law school buildings looked like they had been there for 30 years. Most were old and needed some renovation. I didn't get the classy feel that I got at Stetson.

Personally, we also did check out Florida and Stetson. Frlorida really impressed us with much lower tuition and very high quality offerings. They even seem to have smaller class sizes.  We didn't thoroughly investigate Florida since I didn't think my son would get admitted there.

Stetson seemed a lot better than we expected with a top notch advocacy program and elder law program and being very student- centric. In fact, a law school professor told me to check out Stetson because it was known to be very student friendly. Sadly, Stetson is almost as expensive as Miami, although it is cheaper by about $7000 per year,and doesn't have the overall ranking that either Miami and Florida have. I really did get a "southern school" feel from Stetson. Everyone was very nice and helpful. We even got to meet with the Deans of the programs that interested my son. Stetson requires a bit less than Miami for admission. you could get in with the same 3.2 and a 155 on the LSAT.

In addition, Stetson has some remarkably designed buildings both inside and outside since they took over the property from a prior upper class, luxury, resort hotel. Although I also got a resort feel from Stetson but more  of a lower key feel than that of Miami.

Alhtough I loved the beach area located near Stetson, there certainly isn't as much to do as in Miami unless water sports is your priority. I also got the feel that Gulfport, where Stetson is located, is a bit "hickish."

Bottom line: Miami does have a good rankings and nice environment and so does Florida. However, I would personally recommend Stetson or Florida over Miami from what I saw .

Your take may be different than mine.

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We visited University of Miami and Stetson for my son. Miami is much higher ranked ( top60) while Stetson is a tier 3 school. I really wanted to like Miami for many reasons. First , we had relatives there to serve as a support system for my son. Secondly, it is in...well.... Miami. Both the weather was fabulous and the school felt like being in a country club.
Third: Admission was surprising not that hard compare to other top 60 schools.
Fourth: Although tuition isn't cheap, it is not as bad as some schools caugh...Syracuse...caugh.
Fifth: They had a large number of offerings. Heck, they even had a course in online gaming, and I am not kidding about this.

However, as a result of our tour, everyone was a bit disappointed with Miami. Why?

First, Tuition at $37,000 isn't cheap and Miami is stingy with scholarships. They give out 22 full scholarships among 400 students.

Second, Miami had very large student faculty ratio at 16.5/1. We saw classrooms that had 125+ seats in them and they were numbered! The tour guide noted that Miami tries to fill up each seat too.  I got a real dipoloma mill feel from them.
Moreover, their career services isn't  good. For example, our tour guide was a JD and was giving tours. What does that tell you?
Although I liked the library, it really wasn't modern or recently renovated. Overall , I didn't get a warm fuzzy feel from Miami.

We then went to see Stetson. I was not prepared to like the school because of its tier 3 rankings. Moreover, I found Golfport to be a bit "hickish." However, I did change my mind after the tour. First, everyone was very friendly and accomodating. We even were able to meet the head of the elder law department who generously gave us as much time as we wanted. Stetson also had a very strong trial advocacy program and relatively cheaper tuition. I also got a more nurturing feel from them. 

Moreover, Stetson occupies facilites that were previously used as a luxury, elegant hotel. It is quite unique and also has a real resort feel to it. Moreover, Stetson is $7,000 less per year  than Miami and has a lower room and board cost.
Stetson did, however, have a mediocre Student faculty ratio too;however class sizes are maxed out at 70. I certainly didn't get the same diploma mill feel as I did in Miami. Also, their upper level classes average 25 or less. I was also particularly impressed with Stetson's new,state-of-the-art courtrooms. I can believe that their high ranking for their advocacy program is well founded. They obviously put a lot of time and money into this program.
Check them out. maybe your take will differ.
















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