California is where I will end up because of current connections and such...if i have to ill get stellar grades and apply to EVERY firm in the bay area...but my I am moving to get away from California for a few years...I got into USC and Hastings but chose not to go to either for many reasons (also neither gave me significant scholarships).
My main concerns center around a fear of having a J.D. but struggling to get a job. I want to make the right choice for career advancment. Im hoping to place in the top 1/4 at both schools but I do want some cushion if i decide to relax slightly.
How is the social setting at Emory ( the whole campus as well as the law school)? Diverse,relaxed, conservative...?
Remember this: 90% of the class wants to be in the top 10% of the class. I am not where I wanted to be in the class, I am working to change that, but there are NO guarantees that you will get good grades. You have to remember at most law schools you are competing against others for grades. The forced curve forces a professor to limit the amount of good grades they can give out. You are competing against people who have never got a bad grade in their life, who were valedictorians, who scored approx the same as you did on the lsat, who are extremely intelligent, this is what makes law school hard, your work product, no matter how good it is in the grand scheme of things, if it is not better than your classmates, then you are not going to get that A, A-, etc. Out of Emory you will not "struggle" to find a job. Like I mentioned, you will get a job, it might not be the big firm job that everyone on this board seems to think is the only thing worth living for, but you will get a job. Also, on a side note, I had a long discussion with my property professor today and after she graduated law school she went and worked for Sullivan & Cromwell in NY, a mega firm that is the quintessential "Big Law" that most of the posters speak about so lovingly on this board. She said it was miserable. She said that when her and the other associates would go out to lunch, they would look at the city workers who were paving the sidewalk in front of their building and be jealous of them. Be jealous that they didnít work till 1am every night 6.5 days/week and were able to be outside for more than an hour a day. Granted, some people love that kind of lifestyle and want to make the $160k/year that these firms pay to do that. But that is not for me, I could never imagine working till 1am 6 nights a week, no thanks, I want a family and enjoy life. Others will scoff and look down at others who are not practicing "Big Law" and that's all right, b/c I could care less. I want weekend trips, I want to see my kids at night when I get home. Now I know it is not like this everywhere, but at these big firms in these big cities, that is how it is -- donít let them fool you, they get their moneys worth. Now I will step down from my soap box.
Social Scene at Emory - Emory does a great job of putting together a diverse class. About 2/3 have work experience, but most are in their mid to late 20's. I would say the student body leans a little to the left, but that doesnít mean there are not conservative students here. There are a ton of students groups from ones based on race to one that is just about eating. The city of Atlanta is generally liberal -- inside the perimeter. However, outside the perimeter it is conservative. The law school sticks to itself basically, it is not far from central campus and students often go there for lunch and such, but there is not much intermingling of the law school and the rest of the Emory school's. However they did have a law school/med school mixer last semester, but I wasnít able to go. The students work hard, but donít take themselves too seriously.