« on: July 31, 2013, 09:27:29 AM »
First realize I or anyone else posting on this board or others knows nothing about you, your situation, or what is best for you take any anonymous internet poster's advice mine included with a grain of salt.
With that intro I am a lawyer that has gone through law school and think there are some factors any 0L should consider and it should be done in this order (1) Location (2) Cost (3) Personal Feelings about the School
It sounds like you are not taking rankings into consideration, which is good particular for schools of this caliber U.S. News is a for-profit unregulated magazine offering an opinion which is not something you should make a life altering decision upon. I also hope you understand the education you receive at any of the three schools mentioned all of which are ABA approved will be similar. Legal education is pretty much the same across the board your first year will be Torts, Contracts, Civ Pro etc and whether your at New York Law School, Mercer, or Southern the Supreme Court will not have written a separate opinion.
Below is an analysis of why the factors matter.
It sounds like you understand the importance of location, which is good news. From your post I take it you have lived in Louisiana your entire life and I will you NY may be a bit of shock and difficult to adjust to. Additionally, you will not have your family or friends close by, which may result in homesickness and that combined with the rigors of law school can be a disaster. However, you may thrive in the new environment it depends on the type of person you are can you just go out and meet people or are you more shy and reserved. Those are things to consider.
From my post I also get the impression you want to be away from your family a bit and on your own and moving out of state for law school is a good way to do that. However, if you move to New York odds are you will remain in New York for the rest of your legal career. You will likely take the NY Bar, obtain internships in NY, NY Law School will have NY connections not Louisiana ones so on and so forth. The same logic applies to Mercer.
I would visit all the Cities if you haven't already and see what feels right.
Southern is one of the Cheapest law schools in America at only 10k a year for resident and 18k a year in living expenses, which is a good thing at NYLS you will pay 47k for tuition which is nearly 5 times a much as Southern and 23K in living expenses and I imagine that will be a bit higher living in NYC. You spread that out over three years and from Southern you will graduate with approximately 90k in debt while 225k in Debt and this is accruing interest at a rate of about 8% so you will have about 8k a year in interest accruing from Southern and about 20k a year in interest accruing at NYLS.
If you really want NY I would look into CUNY as well since their tuition is only about 10k as well and it would be significantly cheaper than NYLS.
I believe Mercer is a little more reasonably priced than NYLS, but still nowhere near as Cheap as Southern. I also imagine you could live with your parents at Southern saving you even more money.
3. Personal Feeling about Each School
A final factor to consider is how you personally feel about each school. As a 0L I visited many different schools and visited several more for mock trial competitions. Each school has a certain culture to it and whether you like the particular culture or not is a personal decision.
I would visit each school talk to professors, students, walk around the campus, etc and listen to your gut feeling about each school. I know there were some I visited that I wanted nothing to do with and others I loved, but you may hate the schools I loved. The school you attend will be 3 years of your life, 100k of your money, and your legal career so visit the schools and see which one feels right.