Law School Discussion

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Messages - Maintain FL 350

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101
There's good, solid info available here but it's less sensational and with fewer juvenile insults than other forums. Maybe that's what people actually want: insults and whining.

102
FYI Maintain. Hofstra's student-faculty ratio has dropped from 15.1 to 18.2. Thats about a 20% drop.

That means a 1L course would go from having 100 students to having 120 students. I doubt if that makes much difference.

But I agree with you that Hofstra is overpriced.

103
Citylaw brings up some great points that definitely require consideration.

Here's the thing:

No matter what you've read, heard, or surmised, you are not prepared for how difficult the first year of law school is. You're just not. I'm not saying that as a criticism, nor is  intended to reflect on your abilities. The fact is you can't be truly prepared because it is unlike any other academic endeavor you've attempted.

Your life will pretty much be class, study, sleep, repeat. Your fiancÚ is also not prepared for how much of your time will be taken up with school. When you get home you won't be hanging out watching movies and chatting with her. You'll be reading and briefing 15 cases, pouring through a hornbook trying to get ready for the next morning. That's if you're not at the library until 10 PM.

I was married when I went to law school. Even though my wife is a lawyer and she knew what to expect, it was still a strain on our relationship. And that was living in a city with a support network of family and friends.

I believe that it is possible for people to do law school and a relationship, but you should have a very open, honest discussion beforehand about the ramifications. Make sure your fiancÚ understands the level of commitment that law school requires and is on board.

104
Are you serious? Larger classes are okay? Not getting the classes you need is okay? Do you think tuition is going down? When you lose a significant number of teachers the quality of the education goes down.

I think you're making some assumptions here.

There is nothing in the article to suggests that Hofstra students are not getting the classes they need. As far as class size, no, I don't think it's a big deal. This isn't kindergarten and you don't need the teacher to hold your hand. Law students should be intelligent enough to succeed whether the class has 100 students or 10. 

Tuition is a different story, as I think almost ALL law schools are insanely overpriced.

105
As a general rule, I agree with Citylaw that if you want to live in Miami you should go to law school in Miami. I think this is true for the vast, overwhelming majority of students.

Additionally, I think the rankings scheme is a crock (as Supreme Court justice Alito recently said).

However, there are exceptions to every rule. Michigan is one of the very few law schools (along with Harvard, Yale, Stanford, and few others) that can legitimately boast about a national reputation. A law degree from UM will be carry weight in L.A., NYC, WDC, or Miami.

Is it worth the expense? That I can't answer, but I do think your situation is a little different from someone who is trying to decide between say, FIU/Miami and a higher ranked (but not elite) school. It's a tougher decision, IMO.

One thing to keep in mind, though, is that after a couple of years your degree will be subordinate to your experience. No institution's name alone can carry a career indefinitely.

106
That could very well be the case. But my point is, so what? That doesn't mean that Hofstra is now offering an inferior education.

Again, do you assume that U Chicago now sucks or that Cooley is now awesome?

Having fewer professors isn't necessarily detrimental. It might mean larger classes or fewer electives, neither of which is a big deal in my opinion. Then again, it might not. For example, there is no reason that a professor cannot teach Property and Wills and Trusts. Small law schools do this all the time and it works fine.

As far as electives, I think most of them are a waste of time anyway. Does anybody really need "Animal Rights Law" or "Water Law" to pass the bar? Electives mostly serve as a way to charge more tuition.

I don't think anyone would claim that Hofstra is an academic powerhouse, but you have to look at this stuff in context. For example, has Hofstra had a corresponding drop in enrollment? 

107
The University of Chicago topped the list, losing an even greater percentage of fulltime faculty than Hofstra. Thomas Cooley, on the other hand, added more fulltime faculty than all but two schools including Columbia.
 
Should I now assume that Cooley is a better school than Chicago?

That's the problem with these kinds of lists. People clutch their pearls and get the vapors without looking at context. I don't know why Hofstra reduced it's faculty and apparently neither does the article's author, as no reason is given. Two obvious reasons come to mind: the drop in law school applicants an the advent of part time faculty.

There is a huge trend (at all levels of academia) towards hiring part time faculty. Part timers are cheaper, don't get benefits, don't get tenure and (on the positive side) bring some real world experience to the classroom. When a fulltime professor retires now, they are likely to be replaced by two adjuncts.

Hofstra may very well be offering the exact same number of courses as before, taught by adjuncts instead of fulltime faculty. The article is incomplete and without context.

108
Maintain FL 350, I received a 2/3 tuition scholarship from University of Miami with the condition that I remain in the top half of my class. I tried to get more money or, at the very least, removal of the condition based on my other offers (which were the same amount of aid with no conditions from top 20 schools), however, they basically (and, sadly, somewhat smugly) said no. I in turn withdrew my application. I already have plenty of ties, education, and a few years of work experience in Miami, so I am not overly worried of trying to "break into the region/market."

Yes, that is somewhat surprising. I would've thought a 75-100% scholarship with easy stips ("good standing") was in order.

Look, Michigan has a huge reputation. There are very few schools that can truly claim national reputations, and Michigan is one of them. A good friend of mine went there and it definitely helped him land a Biglaw job in California. However, he once told me that he wished he had accepted a full scholarship from another school instead because his current job does NOT require an elite pedigree, and if switches jobs again his prospects will be based on his experience rather than his degree. So again, it really just depends on what you want to do.

If you already have solid connections in the Miami area, I have to think that a degree from Vanderbilt + connections is worth basically as much as a degree from Michigan + connections. At that point, the connections are the crucial factor and the degree is icing on the cake.

75k is lot of scratch and for me, personally, that would be the deciding factor. But you need to do what's right for you, and maybe the mythical siren's song of Ann Arbor is just too powerful!

 

109
These are all great schools, and I don't think you can really go wrong with any of them.

Location
Always a huge factor. Each of these schools has a big enough rep that you can probably score job interviews in Miami based on pedigree alone. However, even coming from these schools, big firms will still want high grades and at least some relevant experience.

Perhaps ten years ago a degree from any of these schools would have meant a nearly guaranteed high paying Big law position. Now, you will be expected to compete for those dwindling number of jobs with many other applicants who have equally impressive pedigrees. However, you will be able compete.

With smaller firms and government offices a degree from these schools can be a huge advantage.

Cost
Of these three schools, Michigan definitely has the greatest cache. Is that worth the extra money? I don't know, only you can answer that. It's important to understand that even graduating from one of these powerhouses it is still entirely possible that you won't be making $150,000 to start. You've got to do a cost/benefit analysis based on your own needs.

Other options?
It's always good to examine all possibilities. One thing to at least consider is that if you have the numbers to get into Michigan you might be able to score a full scholarship to someplace like UF or Miami. Depending on your long term goals, graduating from a solid regional school with zero debt may not be a bad plan.

Again, these are all very well respected schools. I tend to be very debt adverse, and always encourage people to think about what it really means to pay $2000 per month in non-dischargeable debt. Good luck and congratulations with whatever you decide!

110
Just to expand a bit on Citylaw's comments:

165 is a very good LSAT score, and you can definitely get accepted to a number of schools based on that score. If you need to stay in the Boston area, I would look into UMASS-Dartmouth and Roger Williams in addition to the schools Citylaw listed.

As a splitter you've got to be flexible, because admissions are a less predictable.

Lastly, before you drop over a $100,000 on law school you need to commit yourself to rebuilding your study habits. In undergrad you can put in minimal/non-existent effort and still get a passing GPA. That is NOT the case in law school.

Law school requires self discipline and motivation, and you cannot procrastinate. I don't know what factors led to your 2.02 GPA, but you need to get that issue under control before attempting law school. Your LSAT score indicates intelligence, but in law school that won't be enough. You'll need a very strong work ethic too, or else you will soon be far behind the curve trying to play catch up. In my experience, people in that position often failed out.

Something to consider.

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