Thanks a lot moonchigger! Are you seriously considering environmental law? Where are leaning toward attending? Where do you want to practice?
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Messages - BigRig
I definitely give FSU College of Law strong marks for its Admitted Students Day and rank it highly in general as well. The admit day was highly organized and there was strong faculty, administration, and student representation. Facilities were excellent for the most part (wired and good technology throughout) although the library wasn’t anything to write home about. Classrooms were rather new, well lit, and comfortable. Student lounge was very nice and has a Starbucks in it (which is huge IMHO). Exterior of building is pretty with the rotunda and green serving as the most beautiful part of the school. The buildings surrounding the green (Law Review, Children’s Advocacy Center, Alumni Bldg., ..) offer nice southern charm as well.
There were about 50 students that attended (much less than Villanova which had over 100 for sure) and most of them seemed undecided (surprisingly, quite a few were from out of state). Overall, it seemed like a collegial, professional group with a southern edge that I’d enjoy going to school with save for a guy who asked the most ridiculous questions and made some very stupid comments on a tour. Apparently, FSU has over admitted in the past so the low number could be a result of their effort to cut down admits (I def. expected more admitted students). This bodes well for those who are borderline applicants or on the waitlist.
After a full day’s worth of activities I left feeling highly informed. I was very surprised to see such strong representation by current students; they set up tables outside on the green to discuss their many different student orgs and co-curricular activities. Activities seemed to be a very big deal here; Moot Court, Mock Trial, Law Review, Journals, and SBA all come to mind.
Being located in the state capital is a bigger deal than I had imagined. The Court of Appeals is across the street and Supreme Court judges interact with the College of Law quite frequently. I find this to be a huge advantage as I am interested in government/politics work at some point in law school. Many current students I talked to had taken advantage of this.
Professor Gey, who ran the mock class, was unbelievable in my opinion. I could have listened to him lecture for hours as he offered that unique mix of being informed and witty at the same time. Some older professors seemed a little more separatist but the faculty receives high marks overall.
The administration was the best I’ve encountered. All were highly professional, prepared, and accommodative. In particular, the career services lady seemed awesome. She offered a demonstration of their career services online database/application that seemed very cutting-edge. I am sure this is a reason their employment numbers look so good. The alumni network looked to be very strong not only in Florida, but the SE as a whole. New York, D.C. aren’t represented strongly, however. Also, Sharon Booker (dean for admissions) was great. She invited me into her office to discuss my options and basically assured me that the law school will do everything it can for its students if a problem arises (e.g. students coming from out of state who face uncertainty regarding residency transfer).
Their emphasis on “we’re competitive but not cut-throat” seemed a bit contrived, however, and students did not hesitate to explain their dissatisfaction with the curve (C-based). Nonetheless, it seemed like everyone really does work together to help each other out, which I appreciated.
The law school is completely self-contained except for financial aid, which is on main campus. Overall, I thought the campus was rather nice for a state school especially if you get out and walk around rather than drive by on Tennessee St. Parking looks to be a bit of a problem, but less so for law students owing to it’s proximity on the edge of campus. The Leach Center (gym/workout center) is really nice (although busy) and is about the only place I could see myself going on main campus. For the record, the women of FSU really are that good looking and friendly and needless to say, there’s not a lack of motivation at the gym or anywhere else for that matter. Thanks to Geoff for showing me around town and telling me places to go. He, myself, and several students I met at admit day def. had a great weekend partying.
Housing is very affordable in Tally although the closer one goes to campus the less nice are the options. I personally did not like the apartments across the street from the law school and will most likely be living in Polo’s on the Park – a 10-minute drive.
All current students I talked to seemed to have found summer opportunities although there were more students taking class over the summer than at Villanova, which is debatable as to whether that is a good idea or not.
All in all, FSU beat my expectations and is where I’ll be attending in the fall (barring any change to state law regarding residency transfer). While it might never fully escape the shadow of UF, I strongly believe FSU will continue to rise. And for those of us who are interested in more options than Big Law, I think it’s the best school in the state. I am excited to become a Nole and look forward to trouncing Miami on opening day.
Yes, I was at the admit day and there Friday as well when they took out students who were receiving the full scholarships. Yes, after 1L the scholarship recipient needs to have above a 3.3 to keep it going forward. Toledo knowingly gives out more of these full scholarships than will be renewed. The estimated % that will keep the scholarships (accounting for aptitude and what's at stake) is 50 - 60% according to Dean Closius.
I don't remember the exact details on the curve, just that they don't adhere to a strict curve. I think median grade in a prof's class is supposed to be around a 2.8. When a prof deviates too far from it, they need to offer an explanation. The Dean was very candid about the fact that all of those entering with a full scholarship will not keep it. He said he expected about 50-60% of those 1Ls on a full-ride to retain it for 2L. Hope this helps a bit.
I think it's a tough decision, don't just look at the rankings. I have a h.s. classmate who had to make the same decision as you and she chose Cincinnatti. Partly because we are from Toledo and she really didn't want to be there -- I believe she got a 1/2 scholarship at Cinci although her numbers are pretty similar. She was in the top 20% there her first semester and she has found a job working for some judge down in Atlanta after 1L. It sounds like her experience has been great. Personally, I have never visited Cinci, but from what I gather from looking at the ABA data both are equally as regional (65% in OH) and bar passage rates are equally high (90% ish). Of course, Cinci grads will dominate job market there, if that is where you want to live. Both full-time programs are very small for a law school although Toledo's part-time program might make the school feel bigger.
Honestly, I don't think your employment prospects will be significantly improved by attending Cinci alone. Top 20% @ Toledo and top 20% at Cinci will likely find the same opps. Check out facilities, visit with profs, examine what programs are offered and if they are of interest and see where you feel most comfortable.
I posted a review of my visit to Toledo under Review/Rankings section. PM me if you have any other questions.
« on: March 28, 2006, 06:51:08 PM »
I believe business refers to those graduates who've found industry employment (e.g. general counsel for some firm, consulting, etc.) rather than in private practice law firm, government, etc..
In the event that any LSDers are considering Toledo, I thought I'd share my experiences this past weekend at their Scholarship Reception and Admitted Students Day.
Overall, I must say that I was more impressed than I thought I would be. On Friday the College of Law wecolmed 10-15 students such as myself who've been offered a full scholarship. There were at least as many professors and students in attendance to highlight the school, their experiences, and answer questions. Afterwards, we all went to dinner in downtown Toledo at one of the nicest restaurants in the city. They really rolled out the red carpet, but were very honest at the same time. Dinner conversation was great (I sat next to Professor Closius - the previous Dean of the College of Law). I found him to be a very no nonsense, get'er done kind of guy, which I highly appreciate. He is very gung ho for pushing Toledo into a solid Tier 2 category (Median LSAT for full-time day is up to 159). There is a caveat to the whole full-scholarship offer that he was very candid about. Similarly to other schools, many of those scholarships extended for the first year will not be renewed (He seemed to believe 50-60% will hold on to it = maintain > 3.3 GPA). If you're in the top 20% at Toledo you'll have an excellent shot at finding placement in larger markets (Chicago, Atlanta, and Phoenix in particular). In Michigan and Ohio those in the top 50% will most likely find solid employment. The College made it a point to make clear that it does not teach toward the Bar in Ohio and Michigan and will continue to push its graduates to seek employment outside of the Midwest (SunBelt in particular). The Career Services people seemed personable and involved. About 40 firms recruit on-campus, >100 in their registry, and there are many efforts to coordinate alumni relations in 25 markets across the country. Jobs seem abundant after 2L, less so after 1L with school's externship program with judges, etc. making up for it.
Overall, the professors appeared to be exceptional and very student-oriented and are the strength of the school. The law school building itself facilitates for many encounters with faculty and it truly appeared as though the law students were friends with the professors as might be the case at a small liberal arts college. I was highly impressed by this. On Saturday, Professor Ben Davis offered up a mock class on international law. It was superior to the mock class that I sat in on at Villanova (which was very good).
The students also appeared to be quite intelligent, enthusiastic, involved, and excited to be there. Definitely not cut-throat but class rank is taken seriously by all. I will say, however, some of the students that showed up on Saturday at the Admitted Students Day did not seem to be of the same pedigree as those that went to dinner with me. Also, the students on the student panel on Saturday didn't make the best impression. I know that is judgmental but I am offering the honest feeling I got. From my experiences with students on Friday in combination with talking to a H.S. classmate who's a 2L, the student body nonetheless receives high marks. Guys...for the record, it might not have been a representative sample but the female law students that I ran into were quite hot. There were three at my dinner table alone. After meeting a girl named Tara, I find myself struggling to maintain objectivity. Seriously hot!
The facilities were a mixed bag. The school sits in a nice location, far removed from the undergrads and the exterior and surrounding grounds are nice. The law library is old, 70s-ish looking, with that pale yellow lighting -- this is a problem for me as I liked to study in the library during undergrad. One of two large lecture halls could be updated but all other classrooms, moot court, student lounges/offices are very nice/comfortable and updated with all technology. The student union (not a part of law building) is nice (has a starbucks too) and the athletic center is quite remarkable as well.
If I were in a serious relationship and absolutely knew where I wanted to work and what I wanted to do, I'd have no problem taking Toledo over all my other admits while busting my ass to perform at the top of my class, get on law review, and gain admission to the Order of the Coif. I would feel very prepared and confident that I could begin my career in any market that I would want to enter. However, I grew up and went to h.s. in Toledo and was quite excited to get away for undergrad and career. Coming back is a difficult choice as I've been away for 6 years and as an Economist realize the economic obstables in the Midwest and Toledo, in particular (although this is good for going to school there = cheap = more part-time work = $$ in law school).
I actually grew up down the street from the University and was not aware of all that it had to offer, which is a lot. Nonetheless, I do not like the Midwest, except for the friendliness, the Pistons, and some of the girls, and have especially grown to dislike the cold. As such, while I am confident that I'd receive as good of legal education/employment prospects as any other admit and would graduate with very little debt (assuming I perform at the top of my class which isn't going to be a cake walk), right now I cannot commit to attending.
Congrats Matt!! Awesome school- with you being from the NJ I cannot think of two better options for you. I am glad everything worked out. In-state at Rutgers seems tough to pass up, but go where you think you'll have the better overall experience.