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Topics - Marc03

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I've finally narrowed my choices down to 22nd ranked Minnesota vs 46th ranked SMU. I'm a Texan and will likely want to return upon graduation. I've been able to put the weather difference to rest, since I believe my choices are "very hot" vs. "very cold". It now just comes down to which school will offer me more opportunities as well as which school I'd be happier at.

+ historically ranked in the top 20 ever year, with the exception of the newest rankings that put it at 22.
+ most recent data says that 25% of it's graduates attained clerkships this past year (twin cities is home to 8th circuit courts)
+ nearly 50% of the class took positions as clerks or NLJ250 associates
+ nearly 90% of graduates have jobs before graduation
+ small opportunity to "transfer up" to a t14 should I somehow have an incredible first year
+ big 10 sports (I'm a college sports junkie)
+ greater odds of finding prestigious summer work for both 1L and 2L summers which would assist with total debt
- far from the rest of my family
- quite possible out of reach of my UG's incredible alumni network
- slightly more expensive
- places extremely well in the mid-west and D.C., but not much history in TX

+ location in Dallas puts me in the same city as my father and close to the rest of my family in Lubbock, TX
+ despite the lower ranking, their avg. overall starting income is above $100k, due mostly to it's location in Dallas
+ Dallas is home to many of my close college friends as well as alumni which would help with networking
+ all of my favorite sports teams are Dallas teams: Cowboys, Mavericks, Stars, Rangers
- Will always be seen as distant second-class to UT grads in the state of TX. The same could be said of UMN, but to less of an extent
- Only the top 25% can realistically expect to find NLJ250 jobs, and only a small percentage attain clerkships
- prospects are fantastic in Dallas, but they bottom out if I try to venture outside of the area.

so yeah, that about breaks it down. I don't think I can really go wrong with either, but I should be prepared to be stuck in Dallas (not a bad place to be stuck) for at least a little while if I decide on SMU.

anyway, thanks in advance for any opinions. I'll probably ask the same question over at TLS and maybe I can land some golden nugget of an opinion that will make it all clear for me.

Here's a bit of background:
-Live in Lubbock (west Texas)
-Almost all of my family lives here except my father who lives in Dallas
-Brother will likely be attending Texas Tech Law this fall (he's deciding between that and Baylor).
-Would "probably" like to work in TX, but do not want to limit myself based on my school
-The amount of debt is a HUGE deal for me as I do not want to be handcuffed into a job due to loan payments
-I owe $36k from undergrad so that will be added to total debt upon graduation from law school

So yeah, I have narrowed it down to these four schools that pretty much run the gamut from 20's to "TTT". My top three priorities are proximity, total cost, and quality of education.  I view all three as equally important.

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