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Messages - mnewboldc

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Choosing the Right Law School / Re: Brooklyn or St. John's?
« on: May 21, 2008, 12:07:01 AM »
Lily Grey,

I worked at a midsize firm which took quite a few of its associates from schools like SUNY Buffalo and Rutgers-Newark (we actually also had a partner from St. John's who I really liked... he had an M.A. from Columbia). I think that firms that are a little smaller, or pay a little less, tend to look for graduates from "non-T14" schools, though I remember being told distinctly from one of the partners, who graduated from Yale, to "go to the best school got into." That sentiment was echoed by an associate who'd graduated from Columbia. On my last day I was told by a litigation partner from American U. that it was a "mystery" what some partners made. Considering that firms are willing to pay signing bonuses upwards of $250,000 for former Supreme Court clerks (as opposed to a mere $50,000 for clerks at the next rung down), reputation might very well come into play here as a factor in how much firms pay their 1st-year associates. Baker & McKenzie, for example, lists 1st-year Associate pay as between "97,000-$125,000." I don't know what accounts for this variation, though I imagine prestige must be a factor in some way.

So maybe the question to ask yourself is: "where did these folks who are telling me to 'follow the money' wind up going to school? Are they from schools outside the top 20-30? What has their career track been?"

Choosing the Right Law School / Re: Brooklyn or St. John's?
« on: May 20, 2008, 10:28:41 PM »

Regarding the research you cited: unfortunately you appear to have limited your analysis to one factor - the number of graduates employed at "top 250 firms" - on that list. In that respect the two schools are tied. However, had you looked at the percentages of graduates who garnered judicial clerkships, or graduates who are unemployed, you'd find that my "fake" attorneys are correct: Brooklyn has more of the former, and fewer of the latter. St. John's also has a significantly higher rate of attrition than Brooklyn.

It's also worth noting, as per the ILRG, that graduates from BKLS make, on average, $24,000 more per year in private-sector starting salary than do their peers at St. John's.

Choosing the Right Law School / Re: Brooklyn or St. John's?
« on: May 20, 2008, 09:12:35 PM »
I was asking a similar question from the NY attorneys I worked with. They basically drew the prestige-rankings in the sand:

1) Columbia/NYU
2) Fordham
3) Brooklyn/Cardozo
4) St. Johns
5) New York Law/Pace

The gap between Brooklyn and St. Johns is pretty huge, though. Apparently they used to have a much better rep when Mario Cuomo was there. They're fallen pretty far since then.

At the same time, you should definitely ask Brooklyn to match your money or at least come close. If they can't, and considering that we're entering a recession, maybe following the money is the right decision.


Thanks for your response. Just checked out your LSN's... do you think it might be the case that Cornell cared only about UT because that was the school offering the least amount of cash among those to which you were admitted?

I went to Hastings' ASD and was impressed by their presentation. But a few words of caution:

1) as old and as "connected" as the school may be, they don't seem to have a lot of aid money... just about everyone gets a 7k scholarship, but only in exceptional cases do they go beyond this.

2) the finaid director said very clearly not to "count" on making a biglaw salary out of school.

3) California is in recession, and is thinking of a significant cut in its university education funding. How much this affects Hastings is uncertain - but you can probably expect higher tuition and lower financial aid.

4) Hastings is in many ways the Fordham of the West... in a good economy their graduates do well, and in a bad economy their graduates do not do so well. Remember that when the Japanese housing bubble burst, they were technically in recession for over a decade. The only reason that recession didn't last longer was the fact that ordinary citizens lacked credit card debt. So there's a good possibility that the U.S. will probably still be in a recession when graduating in three or four years.

Thanks for all of these responses. What if I added these two considerations:

-I have two younger siblings who lack a college fund, and parents who lack a retirement fund. One of these younger siblings will turn 18 the year I graduate from law school.
-Over the past year my father has been getting sick a lot, and taking time off from work as a result. Reasons for his bouts of sickness currently defy explanation. My mother hasn't worked full-time for 30 years and is more or less unemployable.

Would that change any of these responses?

I'd add to this discussion: not only does "prestige" of an undergrad institution matter little, but one's LSAT scores, with some outliers (aka, Berkeley/Stanford) are vastly far more important than GPA to law school admissions councils.

That said, not all undergrad programs are equal in their focus. You might consider going to LSAC's website and evaluating how those schools' graduates' "average LSAT" scores stack up against each other.

Choosing the Right Law School / Re: Need Help Deciding
« on: May 20, 2008, 05:27:12 PM »
Depending on what your personal goals are, Villanova offers a 4-year JD/MBA combo.

This isn't an uncommon option. However, 'Nova's B-School program is allegedly underrated, considering that quite a few former Wharton profs, who can open doors, are on the faculty.

Esp. at a low T2 school, and in a soft economy, that additional degree could eventually be the difference between getting a good gig out of school or not.

Was all set to go to Cornell. Then BKLS came back with a 3-year full tuition scholarship, and a housing stipend.

The Cornell scholarship comes with a "moral obligation" to repay - essentially making it an interest-free loan.

I will probably wind up practicing in New York City.

What would you do? Is Cornell worth turning down $140,000?

Also, do you think it's reasonable/unreasonable to ask Cornell for more money under the circumstances?

Any and all thoughts would be fantastic. Thanks.

Thanks - that's good to know.

I got one of those notices from Fordham yesterday, their deadline is the same as Cornell's, so I was worried I'd slipped through the cracks. Will follow up with Cornell tomorrow.

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