« on: January 13, 2017, 01:21:35 PM »
I appreciate your response, and being as close to home as possible is definitely a strong consideration.
Just to clarify though, I do not plan to stay in the house with my wife. Even with Stetson (the closest) being three hours away, there is no way that I could commute there. My wife wants to stay where she is so that she has support while I go through the stresses of law school. I would be looking to commute only on the weekends two or three times a month.
I could still do this at UF, being four hours away, but they would be more expensive since there is no scholarship.
I was hoping to hear from some lawyers or other interested parties in Florida weigh in on whether the UF was worth the drawbacks. Or if I am stupidly underestimating a great opportunity at Stetson. I feel like it is the latter, but there are three good options overall.
When I applied to all three, I expected to only be accepted by one. Lucky me. I guess this is a good problem to have.
So here's the gist- Stetson is a good school, but is decidedly "less good" than UF and FSU in Florida, and while both UF and FSU can place regionally (Atlanta, etc.) Stetson doesn't.
Now, let me be more specific. Stetson does have an excellent advocacy program (trial team, classes). But that's ... not a whole lot. Florida basically has the following legal markets-
Tampa (incl. St. Pete, Clearwater)
Other S. Fla. that is not Miami (think W. Palm Beach, Boca, etc.)
Tallahassee (esp. for government jobs)
SW Florida (Naples, Ft. Myers)
Every where else (from Daytona to Lakeland).
UF and FSU both have excellent reputations throughout the state. They place everywhere. You can't go wrong with either. I'd give a slight edge to UF, for reasons, but it's slight enough that money, etc., could easily make FSU a better option.
Stetson is much more of a gamble. Ignoring the GPA requirements (but don't ignore them completely; Stetson, IIRC, curves on a 2.9-3.0 scale, so there isn't the GPA inflation you might remember from undergrad), I would still view Stetson as a distant choice. IMO, it's only a good choice for the following reasons-
1. You have money to burn and you didn't get into UF or FSU. Yes, a rich kids school.
2. You already know that you will be going into advocacy.
3. You want to practice in the Tampa market.
I say this not to slight Stetson, but to be realistic. There are Stetson grads that are some of the finest advocates that I have met. Stetson has great connections in Tampa, and there are some Stetson grads throughout the state. But the simple fact of the matter is that you have to do better at Stetson do get an equivalent chance for a job than you would at UF/FSU. If you don't have a particular reason to go there, don't.
I would finally add (pace what I wrote above) that if you ever hope to practice out-of-state, then UF/FSU are known, if for no other reason than the rankings and the football teams. People will assume (out of state) that Stetson is a hat.