« on: October 05, 2007, 06:40:41 PM »
Congrats to you, especially given the determination you've shown by going back to school. I finished my undergrad in my late twenties as well. But germane to this thread is the fact that I, too, was dinged by (almost) every school to which I applied - except for JMLS.
You have every reason to be excited about your acceptance. 20% of IL judges attended JMLS, including two of the current seven on the IL Supreme Court. There are partners who attended JMLS at every prestigious big firm in the city, many JMLS alumni have started their own successful firms, and others are doing everything in between. The professors at JMLS, at least for the first year courses, are excellent, and provide a very practical (and often "bar-oriented") legal education.
The top 10% of your class will be comprised of smart, extremely hard-working students, who will eventually get great (biglaw, or top government) jobs (the top 5% sooner; the next 5% might take a while). The next 10% (i.e. top 20%) down will be fairly smart, pretty hard-working students, who will eventually get decent (midlaw, or midling government) jobs. The bottom 80% (not all, but most) will be a rather unimpressive bunch, and I really have no idea what they end up doing for a living.
I jumped ship after my 1L year at JMLS for a top 30 school and summered at at V30 firm, to which I will return after graduation. However, please know that I was very lucky. Everyone starting law school assumes they'll be at the top - but most are profoundly disappointed. Hell, I was only in the top 15% after 1L at JMLS; I know people who were higher ranked than me who chose not to transfer out, and do not have a post-graduation job lined up.
Now is the time to seriously ponder what it will be like to take on more than $100k of debt. I have two bits of advice:
1) Do your very best in your first semester (of course, this advice applies to any law student). If you rank very high (i.e. no lower than top 10%), appeal to the school for a generous (or increased) scholarship. Whether or not they agree to give it to you (they offered me an extra $1,000 per semester to stay!), you will have a serious choice to make: to transfer or not to transfer. I would strongly recommend UIUC, if you are able (that's not where I go). It will cost you a lot less, and give you vastly better opportunities than Loyola, Kent or DePaul. (For that matter, don't even consider DePaul - it's only marginally better than JMLS for job prospects.) I don't know if Northwestern takes transfers after only one semester, but in any event, you would need to be the top student in your class to have a shot.
2) I firmly believe that JMLS is superior to Northern IL University (the other school that admitted me on the first go around). However, given its low cost, you might want to give NIU some serious thought.
Again, congrats. Don't let people online get you down about attending a Tier 4 school. You are going to a law school, you will graduate and pass the bar, and become a lawyer. Just don't lose sight of the fact that you will be paying at least $1,000 per month on your student loans after graduation, a burden which only the top 10% of JMLS grads (speaking optimistically) will be able to shoulder with ease. Best of luck.