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Messages - Marc03

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1
Where should I go next fall? / Re: Help - Notre Dame v. UC Hastings?
« on: July 19, 2008, 01:20:04 PM »
Your decision sounds VERY similar to mine (replace Hastings with SMU, ranked 46, in Dallas).  For me, it came down to three main points.

1. Finish middle of class at SMU vs. middle of class at ND:  hands-down ND.  Bottom line is that everyone wants to finish at the top, but statistically speaking most of us are going to be in the middle. Regional school local job prospects are good, but the market falls off a cliff after a certain segment at the top of the class.

2. Access to national markets: hands-down ND. Regional schools are great for their region.  ND on the other hand, not only places well in TX if I choose to return (places well in CA too actually) but it also grants me access to markets in NY, Boston, Chicago, D.C., etc.

3. Looking for a place where students enjoy their time attending: once again, hands-down ND.  I don't know much about Hastings, but most lower t1/t2 schools are relatively cut-throat out of necessity and competition for job spots.  After speaking with a handful of friends from my undergrad who attended SMU Law, it seemed consistent.  Everyone is essentially competing for the same spots.  After speaking to ND Law alumni, there was an overwhelming feeling of having loved attending ND.  That said everything, in my opinion.  ND isn't as cut-throat as other similar schools for a couple reasons - first the students are not ranked, so there is a bit of alleviated pressure there, and second the students come from all across the nation and the result is that you do not end up competing with your entire class over jobs in the same region.

I don't know if that's helps you or not, but asking those questions made my choice much easier.

Marc

2
General board for soon-to-be 1Ls / Re: ND Class of 2011!!!
« on: June 26, 2008, 12:38:33 AM »
Count me in.

3
Law School Applications / Re: Accepted TODAY !!
« on: June 25, 2008, 05:29:16 PM »
I almost forgot, in at Notre Dame!    :D

got the news by phone call on 6/23

4
hmmm...

tier 3 - $36k or less
UMN    - $150k give or take. 

$115,000 is a lot of money

my unbiased two cents...   :D

5
Oh, and congrats on a great cycle there Marc03!  You and I have pretty similar numbers...  Hopefully all those jerkies with their high uGPAs won't know what hit them!   :D

haha, heard 'dat.

but seriously, thanks and big congrats to you too!  These are hard choices, but I'm grateful to have them.  I knew that SMU would be in there 'til the end since I love Dallas, but I had to narrow down UMN vs. UIUC and went with Minnesota in the end for a few reasons:
- I'm a bit older (26) so I didn't want to live in a small college town full of 19-21 year olds.  I enjoyed their company for the seven years (a little too much, obviously) I spent in undergrad ;).
- Minnesota is very conscious of the fact that they're out of the top 20 for the first time in a very long time and they have a brand new dean coming in July whose main focus for improving the ranking is centered around improving placement numbers (dolla dolla bills y'all) and national placements. This was as opposed to UIUC who does not have a dean at the moment and that scares me.
- He seems to have great ideas on improving the school and, in doing so, the rankings.  The prospect of possibly graduating from a school in the teens is always appealing.
- UIUC gave me more money (25k vs. 15k) but they're much higher cost of attendance (check newest numbers) made is pretty much a wash.
- Most importantly, however, is that if I attend UMN, my older brother will be attending there as well.  He was just accepted this past Friday and is visiting at the moment.



6
I think any fears regarding UMN's placement numbers are unfounded.  But at the same time, you should be realistic.  It's a great school that is well respected throughout the midwest and is at least recognized by major firms in other larger markets.  There were two figures that stuck out to me when researching UMN - a) the relatively high clerkship percentage given their ranking (25% this past year) and b) 88% employment rate at graduation.  Whether they or cooked numbers or just plain misleading, 25% and 88% are very respectable.

If you are into a decent t1/high t2 that is in the region you want to work, then by all means take that offer.  If you are not sure where you are going to want to work, then I'd say that UMN at least offers you a bit of name recognition nationally.  I decided to eliminate UIUC mostly because they seem to be a Chicago market feeder school.  The part that scared me away the most, was the tales of only the top quarter getting top quality jobs with the rest seemingly taking what they could get.  If I had a desire to work in Chicago (which I do not) then I would certainly have already chosen UIUC as it is a great option for that goal.

In the interest of full disclosure, I am now deciding between Minnesota and SMU (friends and family in Dallas).  A lot of my decision will depend on whether or not my brother enjoys his Minnesota visit this week. 

7
I've finally narrowed my choices down to 22nd ranked Minnesota vs 46th ranked SMU. I'm a Texan and will likely want to return upon graduation. I've been able to put the weather difference to rest, since I believe my choices are "very hot" vs. "very cold". It now just comes down to which school will offer me more opportunities as well as which school I'd be happier at.

Minnesota:
+ historically ranked in the top 20 ever year, with the exception of the newest rankings that put it at 22.
+ most recent data says that 25% of it's graduates attained clerkships this past year (twin cities is home to 8th circuit courts)
+ nearly 50% of the class took positions as clerks or NLJ250 associates
+ nearly 90% of graduates have jobs before graduation
+ small opportunity to "transfer up" to a t14 should I somehow have an incredible first year
+ big 10 sports (I'm a college sports junkie)
+ greater odds of finding prestigious summer work for both 1L and 2L summers which would assist with total debt
- far from the rest of my family
- quite possible out of reach of my UG's incredible alumni network
- slightly more expensive
- places extremely well in the mid-west and D.C., but not much history in TX


SMU:
+ location in Dallas puts me in the same city as my father and close to the rest of my family in Lubbock, TX
+ despite the lower ranking, their avg. overall starting income is above $100k, due mostly to it's location in Dallas
+ Dallas is home to many of my close college friends as well as alumni which would help with networking
+ all of my favorite sports teams are Dallas teams: Cowboys, Mavericks, Stars, Rangers
- Will always be seen as distant second-class to UT grads in the state of TX. The same could be said of UMN, but to less of an extent
- Only the top 25% can realistically expect to find NLJ250 jobs, and only a small percentage attain clerkships
- prospects are fantastic in Dallas, but they bottom out if I try to venture outside of the area.

so yeah, that about breaks it down. I don't think I can really go wrong with either, but I should be prepared to be stuck in Dallas (not a bad place to be stuck) for at least a little while if I decide on SMU.

anyway, thanks in advance for any opinions. I'll probably ask the same question over at TLS and maybe I can land some golden nugget of an opinion that will make it all clear for me.

8
Reviews, Visits, and Rankings / Re: National Appeal?
« on: May 19, 2008, 02:29:54 PM »
yes, Tulane is the clear choice if you're looking to do well in the south and it really should not be a tough decision.

As far as national schools outside of the t14, there are only a couple of truly "national" schools based on employment statistics:
Notre Dame, Vanderbilt, and then you might be able to make a case for WUSTL.

That is NOT to say that degrees from UT, UCLA, USC, etc do not travel well, just that most of those graduates stay in the area (probably mostly due to self-selection).

9
any other insightful comments and/or baseless opinions?  :P

10
Here's a bit of background:
-Live in Lubbock (west Texas)
-Almost all of my family lives here except my father who lives in Dallas
-Brother will likely be attending Texas Tech Law this fall (he's deciding between that and Baylor).
-Would "probably" like to work in TX, but do not want to limit myself based on my school
-The amount of debt is a HUGE deal for me as I do not want to be handcuffed into a job due to loan payments
-I owe $36k from undergrad so that will be added to total debt upon graduation from law school

So yeah, I have narrowed it down to these four schools that pretty much run the gamut from 20's to "TTT". My top three priorities are proximity, total cost, and quality of education.  I view all three as equally important.

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