« on: October 13, 2009, 11:41:18 AM »
I've basically got the exact same questions and issues. I would love BU and BC. Visited both and would be thrilled to be accepted by either. BU is just a bit better in my eyes with the more urban location. I also visited Northeastern and I like the area it's in as well, but I feel it would be a big gamble to attend Northeastern. Public interest law is not the only area that I'm looking at in terms of employment. I would like to have biglaw as an option. With the current market, Northeastern would be a major hindrance to that as far as I'm concerned. It's the fourth best law school in Boston, so what would compel hiring partners to even reach into its graduate pool when searching for new associates/summer associates? Add to that, it doesn't rank or have grades/GPAs and it does not have a strong national reputation, it's got its cards stacked up against it.
The student bloggers at Northeastern help provide some context as to the usefulness of the co-op program. One past blogger was hired by Bingham McCutchen after doing a co-op there and that did surprised and slightly reassured me that Northeastern students had a shot in Boston biglaw. She answered my questions in an honest way, though, and said that it's very tough for her class finding jobs and that she was very lucky. Kind of echoing the national trends.
And, although Northeastern is "tier 1" as you put it by virtue of it being in the top 100 (it dropped from 88 to 94 this past year...what's up?), I think the "official" tier 1 cut off is 50, so it's really Tier 2.
All in all, I think the co-op program offers a distinct advantage in that you come out with half of your law school time as full-time legal work experience. It can be a major boost. If you want to look outside of Boston if BU and BC are unattainable, I can suggest what I'm doing and that is looking at Drexel. It offers the same drawbacks as Northeastern, though. Low--or in Drexel's case, no--U.S. News ranking and it's overshadowed by better law schools in the same city. UPenn and Temple. Drexel also has a co-op program and when I read about it, I started to become suspicious in the back of my mind of the potential that co-op programs are a gimmicky tactic that lower-ranked schools use to try to get people. I wonder if anyone else here has thoughts on that.