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Widener U School of Law / Re: Widener TAP 2013
« on: May 08, 2014, 10:40:25 PM »
I do not know anything specifically about Widener, but I think the program makes sense for those that really want to attend law school.

It is my understanding that TAP compromises of students without sufficient numbers to be accepted into most law schools. However, the numbers are not necessarily indicative of success in law school or legal education.

On the first day of law school your GPA/LSAT means nothing to perfectly I cannot even remember what my LSAT score was.

At my school a few bragged about their LSAT score since it was well above the median etc, but two of those people ended up failing out of law school. You could score 180 on the LSAT if you do not study or are not capable of writing a law school essay you are not getting through 1L or passing the bar.

TAP seems like a program that tests these skills and if you get through the program you will likely do well in law school and pass the bar.

Widener U School of Law / Re: TAP Harrisburg 2014
« on: May 08, 2014, 10:28:54 PM »
Realistically I imagine Widener wants you to succeed remember at the end of the day law school is a business and they need tuition money.

I am completely unfamiliar with Widener, but I imagine this program is a way to see if people are capable of putting in the work required for law school. I am sure Widener would love every student in TAP to perform well and pay tuition for three years, but ABA schools need to be sure there students are capable of passing the bar.

I do think a situation of commuting an hour & half for this program is not a good idea. To succeed in law school and the legal profession you need to be all in and 1.5 hour daily commute on top of the rigors of law school is not a good combination.

You can just pay the deposit at both schools and hold your spot.

Granted you will use between 300-$1,000 dollars, but keeping your option open is certainly worth that.

When I was a 0L I put deposits down at three schools and obviously two of those three I did not end up attending. Every school has a number of people on their waitlist and they are more than happy to take a few hundred dollars from you for nothing.

With that said pay the deposits at both schools so you have time to visit them and make the right choice.

Good luck to you.

Excellent post and just to clarify relationships can and do work in law school, but add on long distance and the fiancÚ being faced with opportunities at graduation 1,000 miles away  and does not have a great chance of success.

Would it be possible to defer your choice until she finishes school or for her to transfer and complete her degree at the school you attend.

If your relationship with her is a #1 priority I think a lot of very difficult obstacles are being placed in front of you. Law school first year is insane and there were about 20 people in my first year section in 1L in long distance relationships and that all broke-up except for one and the girl transferred back to her homestate to be with her husband, because they were going to break up.

Essentially so many things will be changing for both of you so fast if your not on the same page a lot of difficult choices will come up. For example you have no idea where you will end up 1L summer and if she is completing a degree program she has no idea what opportunities will come her way. 

Hypothetically let's say you are attending Michigan and she visits you in November and with both of your South Florida Backgrounds she says holy s*** it is minus 0 I cannot live here and your stressed out with 1L finals unable to really pay much attention to her.  She is frustrated and a few months graduates  from her grad school program and is offered her job in Miami. She is then left with the choice of moving to Michigan where you have no job, she has no job, you have law school friends, but she will never completely fit in with that group,, then she can also endure subzero temperatures for half the year as well.  Or she can stay in Miami and obtain her dream job and leave it up to you to transfer back, which will likely result in you moving back to Miami or breaking up.

You may have survived long-distance relationships with her before, but there will be a lot of choices coming up for both of in different locations and one of you is going to have to make a major sacrifice, but it appears both of you are very motivated people. I saw this happen in my 1L class about 20 people were in long-distance relationships and everyone single one ended except one girl transferred law schools to be back with her husband.

Every incoming law student thinks they will be in the top 10% of their class, be offered a job exactly where they want, none of their relationships will be impacted etc, etc. I hope you are in the top 10% at whatever school you attend, get multiple job offers in Miami for 1L and post grad, and your relationship is stronger than ever due to the law school experience.

However, the reality is if you attend Georgetown, Vanderbilt, or Michigan while your fiance is attending Grad School in Miami your relationship will probably end. If you choose a law school and both move together it can work, but I would have little hope in the relationship actually surviving past first year of law school unless you transfer back to Miami for 2L. Again, I sincerely hope I am wrong, but you can see all the choices that will be laid out and problems arising leaving your relationship undecided.

Additionally, odds are you will not get a 1L job offer in Miami if you attend Georgetown, Michigan, or Vanderbilt. If you attend Georgetown your 1L will probably be in D.C, Michigan in Michigan, Vanderbilt in Tennessee. Most firms do not go out of their way to recruit 1L's for summer unless you are in the top of your class and there is a 90% chance you will not be in the top 10% and a 50% chance you will be in the bottom half of your class. Nothing personal against you, but just the reality as everyone in law school is extremely smart, hard working, and motivated.

Additionally, if your relationship ends while your in law school it can be very bad for your academic performance. If you get the call she is staying in Miami while your studying for finals it will have a negative impact on your performance.  If you finish in the bottom half or 25% of the class your options will be limited post-graduation.

One of the main reasons I post on this site is because I was in your exact situation 5 years ago. I was engaged and living in San Francisco both my fiance and I wanted to continue living in San Francisco, but I was accepted to Michigan for law school. I was thrilled to be accepted to such a prestigious and highly ranked school as an idiotic 0L I thought both of us will just move to Michigan and everything will work out.

As the days grew closer and the reality of moving to Michigan and my fiance having absolutely no plan for what she was going to do there tensions started to grow. I then called a few actual lawyers in the Bay Area and explained my situation and they all gave me the same advice if you know where you want to live at graduation attend law school there. My Dad also said if your fiance really is important do not make her follow you somewhere where she has minimal options. If my fiance just wanted to be a housewife it would have worked out, but she is a motivated person and obtained a very high paying awesome job in the Bay Area, which helped us significantly while I was in law school.  In your situation your fiance also appears to be a motivated person she is in grad school and seems to be very independent if you move her to Ann Arbor Michigan, or some other city where she is just a tag-along to all your law school friends it is unlikely to go well.

Again I hope I am wrong about all of this and everything works out awesome for you. However, I would say the following are your best options assuming your fiance is a #1 priority.

1) Recontact FIU and see if you can enroll I am sure they will be happy to take you in. The law school I ended up in attending in San Francisco let me back in after I rejected them remember they are businesses and more than happy to have a qualified student come in and pay tuition.

2) Defer your admission for a year until you and your fiance can move to whatever City together and develop a life simultaneously and make the choice together.

3) If attending the law school you want is the #1 option then choose Michigan, Georgetown, or Vanderbilt, but do not expect your fiance to end up following you to any of these places.

4) Again, if you want really want to end up in South Florida/Miami attend law school in South Florida or Miami.

I wish you the best and do remember I am nothing more than an anonymous internet poster who has never met you, your fiance, or knows the first thing about you so take my advice with a grain of salt. I would recommend applying the above thoughts to your situation and considering the reality of the situation where you are in Tennessee, Michigan, or D.C. while your fiance is awaiting graduation from a masters program in Miami.

Good luck on your decision whatever you do will end up working out and again you should be very proud of your acceptances to these schools.


There is no right answer, but Rutgers is 25k per year while Seton Hall is 46K per year, which means over three years you will pay 63k more to attend Seton Hall than Rutgers assuming you have in-state residency.

You should also visit both schools and walk around the campus, talk to professors, students, admins, etc and see what school feels right for you.

Also remember that at either school you will learn the same exact thing. At any ABA school you will learn the basics of the law and Rutgers, Seton Hall, or any ABA law school will provide you with a quality legal education.

If I was you, which I am not I would favor Rutgers since I do typically don't think paying $63,000 more for more or less the same thing is a good idea, but to each their own.

Good luck on your pursuit of a legal education.

Boblaw I am happy to hear you have put some thought into where you want to reside.

However, if you are going to move across County I highly recommend coordinating the move with your fiance at the same time so you arrive in Ann Arbor, Nashville, or D.C. at the same time. You have been able to handle long-distance relationships previously, but law school is a life altering event particularly first year and it will change you. It will be good if you and your fiance experience the change together instead of her moving out during your first semester finals when you will be freaking out.

I also encourage both you and your fiance to visit Vanderbilt, Michigan, and Georgetown together and see how both of you feel about each school and City. If you arrive on the Michigan Campus and love it, but she has no desire to live in a college town it could result in a lot of issues moving forward.

The simple fact is each school and City will give you a feeling and one will feel right hopefully for both of you, but the only way to know what feels right is to visit the schools, talk to professors, admins, walk around the campus, the neighborhood around the campus, and explore the City itself.

You could listen to internet posters, magazines, etc, but the simple fact is these magazine internet posters etc know nothing YOU or YOUR relationship.  It is true looking at articles, blogs, and internet posters is a lot easier than visiting these campuses and experience these places yourself, but I strongly encourage you to spend some money on plane tickets and take time for both you and your fiance to explore these campuses together.

Also move together do not put yourself in a situation where she will come at a later undefined point while you deal with the rigors of law school. Maybe your relationship is different, but I never saw the long-distance relationship end well for any of my law school classmates.

Again, these are excellent choices and you should be very proud of your admission to such elite institutions, but in my anonymous internet poster opinion I think the best thing you can do is schedule a trip with your fiance to each of these schools and together come to an agreement on where both of you will be spending the next three years.

I wish you the best of luck in your pursuit of legal education and I am sure you will make the right choice.

Something sticks out in your post is that you want to live in South Florida with your family and your fiance's family. If that is what you want then you should attend law school in South Florida or as near South Florida as possible.

Many law incoming law students myself included as a 0L do not take into account the realities of location and realistically when choosing a law school in my anonymous internet poster opinion you should consider the following factors in this order. (1) Location; (2) Cost; (3) Personal Feelings about the school; (4) Understanding the reality of legal education; and (5) last and certainly least U.S. News Rankings.

Your goal is to end up in South Florida where your family and fiance's family reside. If you attend any of these schools you will not be able to easily access South Florida. Additionally, is your fiance going with you and if so what will she do in Michigan for example and how will you handle sub-zero temperatures?

The point is many incoming law students myself included back when I was at that stage do not realize law school does not exist in a vacuum although law school is difficult life happens. If your fiance moves to Michigan where there are no jobs away from her family and in an area where she has no friends what will she do? She will likely get depressed and upset causing you to do poorly in school and damaging your relationship. No maybe you have friends and job opportunities and it has been a well hatched plan between you and your fiance where you want to live, but I am guessing you are the typical incoming law student that thinks law school will be all consuming and making the decision more complicated than it needs to me I know I did as a 0L.

First priority sounds like your family and your fiance so think of how the location of the school you choose will impact those relationships.

Aside from the relationships realize that if you attend any of these law schools you it will be impossible for you to intern in South Florida for 9 months of the year, because you will not be able to drive or fly daily to South Florida from Michigan, Tennessee, or D.C instead if you attend Michigan you will make connections in the Midwest. Tennessee in Tennessee D.C. and D.C.

Additionally, you will have to take a state bar exam and if you attend Michigan odds are you will take the MI exam, Vanderbilt Tennessee, D.C = D.C..

Final fact to consider is Ann Arbor Michigan, Nashville Tennessee, and Washington D.C. are very different cities and you will be living in Subzero temperatures in Michigan, which being from South Florida you have likely never experienced.

Bottom line if your overall goal is to keep close to your family, fiance, you love South Florida, and want to end up in South Florida then attend law school in Florida. South Florida i.e University of Miami or Florida International University, which has an amazingly cheap tuition rate for in-state residents, Florida and Florida State also have extremely cheap-in-state tuition rates. University of Miami does not, but if you went there for undergrad maybe you will be comfortable there .

If you are in-state Florida Resident you have three of the best cost options for law school in America. Florida International University, Florida, and Florida State all offer extremely cheap tuition rates.

University of Florida 18k per year x 3= 54k in tuition 

Florida State 18 k per year x 3= 54 k in tuition

FIU 16k per year x 3= 48k in total tuition

University of Miami does not offer the cheap tuition.

Your current schools

Vanderbilt 46k per year x 3= 132k in total tuition

Georgetown 46k per year x 3= 132k in total tuition

Michigan 49k per year for non-resident= 137k in total tuition.

At this point the three schools you have listed are nearly three times more expensive and more than 1,000 miles away from the area you want to settle in and again what is your fiance going to do? At this point of the analysis if your goal is to minimize your debt and end up in South Florida then none of the three schools you have listed are better options than Florida, Florida State, or FIU.

(3) Personal Feelings About School:

Assuming you are going to choose from the three in your list is important to realize that each law school does have a culture and some you will like others you will not. To each their own, but the only way to know if you will like the culture of a school is to visit the school talk to professors, admins, walk around the campus etc.

I would highly recommend you do this to any school you are seriously considering and I would encourage you to visit Florida, Florida State, and FIU as well.

(4) Reality of Legal Education
At any ABA school you will learn the same exact thing your first year will consist of Torts, Contracts, Civil Procedure, Property, and Crim Law. In these courses whether at FIU, Georgetown, Michigan you will read Supreme Court Cases and the Supreme Court does not write separate opinions for each school. You will read Pennoyer v. Neff in Civ Pro to learn about notice; Palsgraf in Torts to learn proximate cause etc; etc.

At the end of three years you will then sign up for the BarBri or Kaplan Bar Review Course hopefully you end up taking the Florida exam it may not happen if you do not attend law school in Florida and then you will study for the exam with law students around the country and after a few months of agonizing studying you will sit in a giant auditorium taking the bar exam and if you pass you have a license to practice law if you do not pass your not a lawyer. The school you went to will have no real impact on whether you pass the bar exam it will have everything to do with your own motivation and ability to handle pressure.

(5) U.S. News
Remember this is nothing more than a for-profit unregulated magazine offering an opinion. Many law students use the  magazine to make the life altering decision of where to attend law school and forgot to use common sense I hope that is not the case with you. U.S. News Ranked Albuquerque, New Mexico as the best place to live would you move there because of that?

I would not and I would hope your not moving 1,000 miles away from your fiance and your family because some magazine says X school is better.


I am an anonymous internet poster so \take my advice with a grain of salt along with advice received from other posters on this board, but I do encourage you to apply common sense to your situation.

If your goal is to live in South Florida and not accumulate debt attend one of the in-state tuition law schools in Florida. You will remain close to your family, fiance, friends, and be in the City you want to live in. Additionally, your debt load will pay 1/3 of what you would at the schools on your list.

I would really reevaluate your decision overall and make sure you have thought about the location angle and what your fiance will do if she moves to one of these cities or if you are planning on doing the long distance relationship/law school situation that did not work out for a single law school classmate of mine.

It is a tough decision, but really think about what you want and apply common sense do not over think the situation and I think you will come to the right decision. I know it is a very difficult time and I nearly made from stupid decision when I was 0L, by not using common sense and over thinking. 

Good luck and congrats on your law school acceptances they are very difficult schools to get into.

Below is a response to each of your questions, but do remember I and everyone else on this board or others is nothing more than an anonymous internet poster so take any advice you receive here from myself or other posters with a grain of salt.

(1) IP Law & Location:
First I have to ask what do you know about IP law and why do you want to work in it? I ask this first and foremost, because when I first attended law school I thought I was interested in IP law, but turns out I took one class and thought it was awful most likely because I had no technical background prior to going into law school, and I ended up loving litigation.

If you really want to work in IP law you pretty much need to have a science background to obtain employment in the IP field. If you do not have that then odds are you will not like IP law and even if you do will not be able to compete with law school graduates with technical backgrounds regardless of what school you attend.

If you do have a tech background then I suppose Santa Clara would offer you more opportunities, because Santa Clara is the only school in the South Bay, which would provide you more internship connections  down there. In San Francisco you would be competing with GGU, USF, Hastings, and Boalt students (Boalt has easy BART access to SF so I do realize in it is not actually in SF.)

So the short answer to that question is #1 if you do not have a tech background do not make a decision on what law school to attend based on it possibly being located in a better area for IP law, because odds are you will not like IP law and you will not get hired in it so any intangible hypothetical should not be involved in making the life altering decision of what law school to attend.

If you do have a tech background then you may want to consider Santa Clara, but there is a strong chance you still may have an interest in IP law and if you really wanted to work in IP CalTrain, Bart, 101 or 80 Freeway can get you anywhere you want in the Bay Area and again it should not be a major factor in your decision.

Rankings and Hiring:
Very few employers care about ranking particularly the difference between GGU, USF, Santa Clara, Hastings. If you were saying Stanford v. GGU then yes that would have an impact, but none of the other schools are elite enough to provide a Pedigree that will wow anyone.

Many students that are no employable due to their own shortcomings like to blame their law school, the economy, their parents, the guy at Walgreen's any excuse other than making changes in their own life to accept responsibility for themselves.

I can guarantee you there are 1,000's of successful grads from GGU, USF, Santa Clara, and Hastings and 1,000's of failures. The reality is whether you succeed in the legal profession will have a lot more to do with you than the name of the school printed on your J.D.

Something I recommend you do to see this in real life is attend a few court hearings. 400 McCallister Street (Civil Court) or 850 Bryant Street (Criminal Court) watch lawyers in action some will be amazing, others mediocre, others terrible. You will not hear anyone's law school mentioned once in court and some people will have it others will not. Any of the schools you have been accepted to will provide you with a basic understanding of the law, a bar exam ticket, and the tools to succeed in the legal profession, but it will be up to you pass the bar exam and then apply what you learned in law school to the real world.

One final note on the rankings is that it is a for-profit-unpublished magazine offering an opinion. According to U.S. News New Mexico is the #1 place to live here is the citation. . Are you going to move to New Mexico because U.S. News says it is #1?

Probably not it would be a little ridiculous to make a life altering decision of moving to a city based on what some magazine said. For many incoming law students however, myself included when I was 0L think making a life altering decision of where to spend three years of their life, $100,000 of their money, and the stepping stone of their legal career is a good idea. I can assure you it is not particularly because rankings change every year for no reason, because the formula makes no sense.

As example University of San Francisco was a top #100 school and they didn't even rank past top 100 when I was applying to law school. U.S. News started ranking to the top #150 and University of Francisco has now dropped 50-60 spots. You went to undergrad there was their some rebellion at the law school? Did anything at all change?

Conversely when I was a 0L I received a full scholarship to University of Tulsa law school, which was an unranked tier 4 school this year they are #72. I did not end up attending USF or Tulsa, but theoretically had I chosen the higher ranked school USF six years ago I would now have a degree from the lower ranked school by far.

Here is the chart for the last 6 years showing how drastically law school rankings change year by year.

Overall Conclusion:

Rankings should play a very minimal role in your decision if all else fails use it, but very few if any legal employers will say wow he went to Santa Clara hire him; GGU hire him; Hastings hire him; USF hire him; you will have to interview, stick out, and do the right things that will be up to you.

I recommend visiting each school and seeing what school feels right. Also consider cost and make sure to NEGOTIATE for more scholarship money and better conditions. A 3.0 GPA stipulation from any of these schools will be hard to maintain and make sure you know what you are getting into there. Here is a New York Times Article that explains how it works.

Good luck on this very important decision, but remember it is your life altering decision do not let a magazine make it for you.

I am familiar with all of these schools and each one will give you a high quality legal education. 

One thing to careful about with the scholarships at any of these schools though is the stipulations. I believe all of them require a 3.0 GPA to maintain your scholarship, which is very misleading to incoming law students. Law school is a lot different than undergrad and I believe at each of these schools only 35% of the class can have a 3.0 at the end of first year, which means there is a 65% chance you will lose your scholarship at Santa Clara or GGU. You can negotiate for better conditions, but you need to and should  bring it up if you are attending a school based on the scholarship.
I have visited and been on all four of these campuses multiple times and I have strong feelings about each one some positive and some negative.  My two cents USF has a beautiful campus and I like the neighborhood; Santa Clara is in San Jose South Bay, which is not an area I like and I feel there is a smugness from that school; Hastings is an ugly campus in the heart of the Tenderloin and my least favorite of all the schools; GGU is probably the ugliest of all the campuses; but it is in downtown San Francisco and probably has the most supportive student environment.

However, those are my opinions and what I as an anonymous internet poster thinks should have no bearing on your life altering  $100,000 3 year commitment. With that I strongly encourage you to visit each school talk to professors; admins; students; alumni; walk around the campus; the neighborhoods; and after each visit your gut will give you a feeling.

Of these four schools there will be one you do not like I guarantee that as they all have different cultures, but listen to your own gut when visiting the school nobody knows what you will like best better than yourself.

As to the quality of education at any of these schools or any ABA school for that matter you will learn the same exact thing. Your first year will consist of Torts; Contracts; Civil Procedure; Property; and Criminal Law; and you will read Supreme Court Cases. At many of these schools you will have the same professors.

Peter Keane for example has and does teach Constitutional Law at Hastings; Golden Gate; and University of San Francisco. Hastings Bio for Keane;
GGU Bio for Keane

Michael Zamperini has and does teach Torts at Hastings and Golden Gate. Hastings bio and GGU bio

I could provide endless examples, but these schools are all interconnected and the education you receive will for all intents and purposes be identical. After three years you will then end up in cramed BarBri course with students from each school then take the California Bar Exam in an even more crowded Convention Center. If you pass the California Bar you are a lawyer regardless of the school you attended and any of these schools will provide you with a bar exam ticket and the legal knowledge to pass the exam.

One difference between the two schools is that Hastings and Golden Gate have very active mock trial teams while USF and SCU do not. Mock Trial competitions are one of the unique things that some schools offer and if litigation is something you are really interested in then Hastings or GGU might provide more opportunities than SCU or USF.

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