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Messages - Miami88

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I think most people - including me - on this forum would support a decision of taking a "lower ranked" school at a lower cost than a relatively more prestigous one at a higher one.

Also, my overview was just that, a generalization. Just because you go to a "lower ranked" school doesn't mean you will have a hard (or even harder) time finding work. You just need to understand that, if you aren't in the top of your class and are attending a school outside the T6, big law may not be a safe bet. There are plenty of people who graduate from lower ranked schools and are fully employed. Big Law is just one sector of the work force, and one that several lawyers get burned out in. In fact, the strong majority of lawyers out there didn't attend a Top 6 school and don't work at those firms. Again, you just need to get realistic and forceful with your job search. As Citylaw says, outside the very top law schools, finding work is far more dependent on YOU rather than the school on your resume. And even for top law school grads, they still need to work their butt off to find the work, the doors will just be a little easier to open.. that's all.

A few things to keep in mind in your decision when it comes to debt and picking a lower ranked school...

1) Look at the total cost of attendance, not just tuition Also, for public schools, check out the difference in cost for in state tuition and, if you aren't a resident, what it takes to bbecome one.

2) Deduct from the total cost of attendance your scholarship. These are the numbers you need to compare. You might get $100k from school A and $50k from school B. But if A's COA is $250k and school B is $100k, that makes the effective COA for each school respectively $150k and $50. Therefore, school B is the better option from a money perspective even though they gave you far less in scholarship.

3) Figure out what conditions, if any, the school has on your scholarship. Some schools, particularly the top schools, just require that you don't flunk out of college. Other schools require that you maintain a particular GPA. A 3.0 might not sound that bad, but also find out what percentage of students that is associated with. It might be that 80% of the class has a 3.0 or better, which isn't that bad. However, if a 3.0 is like, the 90th percentile, then you have to keep in mind that you might very well lose that scholarship come your second and/or third year.

4) Do take into account employment statistics both in general and, more importantly, in the region you want to work in. Going into $30k of debt for a school in Seatle v. $60k for a school in Miami might sound like a no brainer, but if you want to practice in Miami, you will be facing a very steep journey coming out of Seatle.

5) Make a decision on your own personal circumstances. No one on here can tell you X Debt for Y School is worth it or not. We are not in your shoes. Maybe you are 50 y.o. and have 3 kids... maybe you are 20 y.o. with $0 debt as is. Maybe your entire childhood was a mess because of debt issues. Maybe your family is loaded. Who knows. You need to decide for yourself if something is or is not worth it.

Good luck!

Check out:

For detailed data as to the above info and why they are saying that, take some time to check out

In terms of employment prospects, you can ROUGHLY view the US News rankings as the following

T3 - Yale, Harvard, Stanford
These schools offer you as close of a "guarantee" for a job post graduation as you can possibly get. You will have the best chances to get most any job in almost any region and the strongest shot for big name Fed. Clerkships. This is NOT 100%, but as close to it as you can get.

T6 - Columbia, UChicago, NYU
As strong as T3 for employment minus the Fed. Clerkship boost.

T14 - The rest of the T14
A significant notch below T6 employment stats with not that great Fed. Clerkship prospects (i.e. you will need to be at the top 10-20% of your class for a shot at a fed. clerkships). These schools also tend to lean their employment to broad regions (i.e. The Mid West, The South, the east coast, etc), however, if you have connections to another region (ie your undergrad's city or your hometown), you probably have a good shot at landing a job there. You prob. will have little to no issue finding work in a small to medium sized law firm no matter your class ranking (assuming you don't completely fail).

"Honorable Mentions" - Vandy, UCLA, etc.
A big notch below T14 but these schools have ok prospects for big law in the school's same city. Very good chances for small to medium sized law firms within the school's general region (state).

T14 - 120ish
For the most part, basically everyone (all 100+ schools) here are in the same/similar boat as far as employment stats are concerned. Sure, if you are at the top of your class at a top 30 school, you will prob. have a stronger shot at better paying work in your immediate region, but that's about it. Your best chances here (in general) at landing jobs are in the school's immediate region (i.e. same state for the higher ranked schools to the same county/city for lower ranked schools). Very difficult - if not near impossible - for big law, and fat chance for fed. clerkship. Good to okay chances for small/medium sized law firms.

Sub T120 - Some ranked and all unranked schools
Beware. Unless you have family connections for a small law firm, you may face an uphill battle for jobs. Your best bet will be to open up your own practice. Get creative, network, and work your butt off. You should do the prior no matter what school you go to, but even more so here.

That is an immense oversimplification and generalization of US Rankings. You shouldn't base a decision on the above. The above is just a simplified view of employment stats. Although employment stats have gotten much more transparent over the past few years, they are far from perfect. Just because you get into a T14 school, it doesn't mean you will get w/e job wherever you want it. Likewise, just because you go to an unranked school, it doesn't mean you will never get a job.

The general take away is this... the lower in rank a school gets, the more region specific it becomes. Further, the lower in rank a school is, debt becomes more and more of an issue. i.e. Going into $120k of debt for Harvard and wanting to get a job in New York might be worth it. However, going into $120k of debt for the University of Puerto Rico and wanting a job in Chicago probably is not.

So.. you should base your decision on attending a law school on 1) where you want to live afterwards, 2) the debt you will face, 3) your feelings about the particular law school, and 4) as a tie breaker, refer to ranking.

Choosing the Right Law School / Re: FSU v. FIU v. Ave Maria
« on: July 25, 2014, 04:45:13 AM »
OP has a full scholarship already at Ave Maria.

I misspoke, Citylaw is right... FIU and FSU both have about the same cost of attendance (assuming no or similar scholarships at both). They are each about $40k per year (20k for tuition and 20k for living).

assuming you are paying for your cost of living at all three places, you would save about $40k by staying at Ave Maria. That is not an insignificant number, but you need to figure out if FSU and FIU's benefits are worth it.

I agree with Citylaw, you shouldn't base your decision here solely on ranking. I mean, if everything was equal financially and you were going into this as a 1L and you could care less where you worked after and you had similarly strong vibes about each school, you could then use ranking as a good tie breaker. The reality is you would probably have a little easier time finding work coming out of FSU than Ave Maria in a general sense. However, those aren't your circumstances. I would transfer, again, if you have a strong desire to work in another schools specific region. If you want to work in Portland, however, each of these schools are going to be equally good and equally bad at helping you get a job there, so I would say go to the cheapest.

I guess what I'm saying is, we need more info. :)

Choosing the Right Law School / Re: FSU v. FIU v. Ave Maria
« on: July 24, 2014, 02:49:41 PM »
Where do you want to practice and in what capacity?

If you are planning to have your own practice in Naples, then I would just stay at Ave Maria. Anything else and I would recommend strongly considering the transfer.

I personally really like FIU. They have competitive employment prospects and for a fraction of the cost compared to FSU. FIU is also picking up traction. My hunch is they will be in the Top 50 within the next 10 years or so.

If you are dead set to work anywhere in North Florida or even in the South, I would say FSU. If you want to work in South Florida (other than the Naples area), I would say FIU. And if you are not sure of your future but want the best bang for your buck, I would also say FIU.

But those are just my gut reactions to a very general question. You need to think long and hard about your realistic goals and future needs. I would also recommend calling the schools up and speaking to them candidly about whatever your situation is. They may be able to shed light on the decision that we might not be able to.

Current Law Students / Re: Why Go?
« on: July 09, 2014, 07:30:42 AM »

Choosing the Right Law School / Re: Thoughts? Where should I go
« on: July 06, 2014, 04:47:03 PM »
Looks like a good list. I would apply to as many schools as possible. I would apply to even more reach schools and safety schools.

Well said Citylaw.

Between the two, FSU since you know you want to work in FL. Why have you narrowed it down to just those two though? I would second what Maintain said, expand your scope to UMiami, UF, and FIU. If you want to work specifically in Miami, strongly consider UMiami and FIU. If you want to live by Ft. Lauderdale, also consider Nova.

Like Maintain said, outside of the top 14 schools, where your law school is located will play a much more significant role in your job search. So, if you know you want to work/live in a specific area, go to a school that feeds into that market. Since you want to live in South Florida, I would recommend applying to all of the T14, Vanderbilt, Emory, and all of the Florida schools. Anything other than those schools would not really help you in your future job search.

Good luck!

Black Law Students / Re: Where is everyone?
« on: June 16, 2014, 04:03:19 PM »
Just saying... my perspective is much more positive...  ;D

Black Law Students / Re: Where is everyone?
« on: June 16, 2014, 12:13:14 PM »
Still around, still posting. But I would like to think the decrease in posts has to due with the vast responses to common questions we have already done....

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