« on: April 19, 2009, 08:23:56 PM »
Well, since a TJ 3L has thrown in their two cents, I suppose I will too.
I'm a 3L at CWSL. The single biggest point you should draw from "Almost There"'s post is that most of the students at both TJ and CWSL are fairly loyal and happy with their school. I know that I like my school a lot, and think it's better than TJ. I also know a few kids at TJ who feel exactly opposite.
I think the biggest practical distinction between the two is bar passage rate vs. curve-out.
Cal Western has higher forced attrition, and a better bar passage rate.
TJ lets the bottom group stay, and has a lower bar passage rate.
It's not hard to see that it's the same group of people who wind up non-licensed. CW makes the cut after one year, TJ will let you get your JD which is worth... eh.. you can call yourself Dr. So n' So if you want.
Test relatively well? Then great odds are it doesn't matter much to you which school you go to.
TJ is moving into a new building, so that oughta be a good boost for the school. I don't know what they'll do to fill the 8 stories, but I'm sure they have a plan. Have CW and USD levelled? Well, USD's ranking seems to be kinda sinking, and Cal Western hasn't really done anything earth shattering lately, but the numbers at CW trend up. Will moving into a new building make TJ a new school? Only time will tell. I'd be excited about it if I were a TJ kid.
California Western has a good career services office, which helped me choose CW over TJ (and USD actually). Cal Western has a crapload of programs with UCSD which don't really add any value if you're going to law school to be a lawyer, but if you're an academic dilettante then it's pretty cool. Admin at CW is very engaged in helping people succeed. The Dean knows me by face and name, and that's not because I'm cool, it's because they care. They are however, very inflexible about the curve and attendance, which is a drag.
There are always rumors at both schools about "big ground breaking things that will change things forevar", but yeah.
Odds are whichever school you go to, if you work hard, and realize VERY early the importance of networking, you'll be fine. Of course, I'm biased, so I think that you should pick CW.
I'm a 3L, outside of the top 10% (inside the top 15%), wrote onto Law Review, got a Fed. District Judge externship. I am not worried about job prospects on the lower end of the employment spectrum. I am hopeful that I can move up the food chain and land a judicial clerkship, but if not, public service here I come.
Employers in SD tend to hire from the school they went to. I (and four other CW kids) lost out on a job to a TJ kid, the hiring attorney was a TJ grad. I beat out several USD and TJ students for another job, the hiring attorney was a CWSL grad.
In my opinion, all of the schools in SD are regional. They all produce students who are incredibly insecure about their prospects, so it makes for pretty heated propagandistic rivalries. But as time goes by, and people graduate, the San Diego market has room for good attorneys regardless of their school. So, go to CW, but if you don't I'm sure you'll be just fine too.
Just don't go to USD, I heard they have cooties.