« on: August 04, 2009, 12:44:48 AM »
I don't see how the NLJ placement stats (or the employment stats in general, excluding academic attrition and transfers) support choosing MSU. MSU's 3% NLJ placement, compared to Cooley's 0%, doesn't justify the transfer, IMO.So the question is, would you stay at Cooley with LR, Moot Court, and a 25% scholarship, or would you jump ship to MSU and have none of that?
Cooley. I think the $20K less debt, law review, and moot court turn the table on the lower reputation. And this isn't even considering the unknown possibilities, all of which are unlikely at MSU: higher class rank due to transfers, law review editorial board, publishing note/comment, moot court board, high placement at moot court tournament, good references/letters from 1L professors, social networks gained through moot court / law review / 1L year. Job prospects from both schools will not be great.
MSU's marginally better employment prospects don't justify the jump, in my opinion. At least with law review and moot court at Cooley, your friend has some credibility. She'll be a nobody at MSU. Better to be a big fish in a small pond rather than just another fish in a slightly larger pond. If your friend was transferring to some random tier 2 or tier 1 school, the move would probably be worth it. But I don't see the move being worth $20K, law review, and moot court.
After learning more from her about MSU and transfer students, I'm beginning to swing this way too. I'm not sure that I'm convinced—I still have this worry that, in five years, when experience begins to eclipse education, having Cooley on her resume could be a game breaker—but I'm definitely torn on what to recommend.
The latest things I've learned: MSU doesn't allow transfer students to earn latin honors at graduation and, if her interpretation of the student handbook is correct, they don't allow transfer students to graduate with regular honors either (I'm iffier on whether this interpretation is correct). They also don't give transfer students an official rank (something about only allowing them to have an unofficial "comparison" ranking. Not sure if it would go on a transcript or not).
She met with MSU's Dean of Academics today and didn't come away feeling good about transferring but also didn't feel like he really had much information. I've encouraged her to set up a meeting with the woman in the admissions office who oversees transfers, as I figure that she may have better info and, perhaps, might be more willing to pull strings for things like moot court (if there are any strings to pull).
I've also encouraged her to set up meetings with a couple professors at Cooley. All of the advice that she's received from people with JDs so far has come from people who graduated from Cooley. I'm not sure that they provide the most unbiased advice. She's had a few professors that she really respected there, though, who come from more reputable schools (Illinois, Michigan, etc) and who, according to her, have a reputation of being very honest and upfront with potential transfer students (two of the four she's going to try to talk to have encouraged friends of hers to leave while encouraging others to stay, and the other two have a good reputation for this kind of stuff). Here's hoping she gets some good advice . . .