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Where should I go next fall? / Re: I need some help deciding
« on: March 02, 2014, 01:54:11 PM »
First congrats on your acceptances it is nice to have choices. As to your question I think any incoming law student should consider the following five factors in this order when choosing a law school.
 (1) Location
(2) Cost
(3) Personal Feeling about School (
4) Understanding the Reality of Legal Education
 (5) Last and Least U.S. News Rankings.

I will analyze why each of these factors are important below, but do remember anyone on this board or others myself included are nothing more than anonymous internet posters that know nothing about you, you personal situation, or what is best for you so take it all with a grain of salt.

Factors to Consider

It is important does not exist in a vacuum and you are going to spend a minimum of three years of the prime your life in the location you attend law school. On top of that where you end up going is likely where you will end up if you go to law school in South Carolina you will likely take the South Carolina Bar. Additionally ,you are going to make friends, possible get into a romantic relationship, have an apartment, etc and you will build a place for yourself over three years that will be hard to leave. Therefore, if you cannot stand a City/State do not attend school there because you will spend three years and moving from the state/city after school will be difficult.

You should also consider your own personality and personal situation. If your from Philadalphia will you be comfortable away from your family in South Carolina? Have you left home before? A myriad of things to consider it is nice to have people around outside of law school that can support you, but if you have a personality that can easily adapt to a new environment it will not be a big deal, but only you know that about yourself.

I knew a number of people in law school that came from out of state and some adapted great others grew very homesick.

Bottom line location is very important and Oklahoma City, Jacksonville, Philadelphia and D.C. are all very different places.

2) Cost
I see you have a number of scholarship offers, which is awesome, but two things to look at are (1) What are the actual tuition costs and (2) What conditions do you need to meet to retain your scholarship.

As for number South Carolina is only $21,000 per year if your a resident, but 42,000 per year for a non-resident. You should find out what is necessary to retain residency because $21,000 per year is actually cheaper than Oklahoma City with a scholarship.

Look up the actual tuition of each school here

Conditions are also important to understand typically a school will require you to maintain a 3.0 to keep your scholarship or rank in the top 35% or something like that. As an incoming law student you likely got a 3.0 without trying in undergrad or are certain you will easily finish in the top 35%.

However, law school is very different everyone is smart, hard, motivated, and truly believes they will finish in the top 10%, but you do not need to be a math major to see 90% of them will be wrong. Also law school is graded on a curve and typically only 35% of first year students can have a 3.0 GPA, which means there is a 65% chance in that situation you will not keep your scholarship for years 2 and 3.

This New York Times Article does a better job explaining the system than I can

With that remember you can negotiate for more money, better scholarship conditions, etc remember law school is a business and your a customer. Get the best deal you can.

3) Personal Feelings About School
It is very important to visit the schools talk to professor, admin, students, get a feel for the campus, and surrounding area and see if it is a fit for you. When I was a 0L I visited a number of schools some I liked others I hated. Once I was in law school I participated in a number of mock trial competitions and visited and interacted with more schools. Again, some I liked others I hated, but you may love the places I hated and hate the places I loved.

How you personally about a school is something only you can answer so visit the schools and see what feels right. I am sure some of these schools will rub you the wrong way and others will feel right it is important to listen to those gut feelings.

4) Reality of Legal Education
It is important to realize legal education is the same at any ABA school. Your first year will consist of Torts, Contracts, Property, Civil Procedure and you will read Supreme Court Cases. The Supreme Court doesn't write separate opinions for different schools and for all intents and purposes you literally learn the same thing at every school. There are a few electives that might be different and a few state laws that differ, but BarBri and Kaplan the bar prep companies you will inevitably pay to prepare you for the bar accept anyone from an ABA school and then you learn the law of "X" state you are preparing for.

5) U.S. New Ranking
Remember U.S. News is a for profit, unregulated magazine, offering an opinion. Nothing more nothing less and this should not be the basis of a 3 year and $100,000+ commitment. Maybe if you were considering Harvard v. South Carolina the rankings might matter, but realistically all the schools are fine, but nobody is going to say wow a Catholic/South Carolina/Widener/ etc grad hire him ASAP.

It is important to realize whether you succeed in the legal profession will have a lot more to do with your drive, work ethic, and ability to get things done than the school you attend.

There is no "right" answer as to what law school to attend, but you should visit each school and determine where you want to live. Also evaluate the costs and scholarship conditions to get out with as little debt as possible.

Congrats again your acceptances and good luck as you pursue a legal career.

Could not agree more it is not a profession you should do because you care about the Client, making a difference, etc if money is main goal, which there is nothing wrong with that then you probably will not enjoy your legal career. There are a frankly much better ways to make money than going to law school, but the knowledge, power, and ability to change things with a law degree is priceless if you really want to be a lawyer.

Law School Applications / Re: My Chances w/ Georgetown? Any advice?
« on: February 28, 2014, 01:47:58 AM »
Georgetown is a great school and I sincerely hope you get a 173 LSAT, but a practice LSAT is practice. I know many people in your position myself included as 0L get ahead of themselves and start thinking about the school they will attend etc. It is kind of exciting.

However, realistically what should focus on is getting an LSAT score once you have a real LSAT score and your GPA is officially done you will know your options. If you get a 173 LSAT and have a 3.81 GPA your chances are solid and just an FYI is a great site to see what numbers will get you into what school.

With all that said something to really understand is that any ABA law school will teach you the law and give you the skills to become a successful lawyer. It is true schools like Georgetown, Harvard, Yale etc will open the door to Biglaw, but I know a number of Harvard grads who worked at Biglaw hated it and went on to work at a D.A., Public Defender, City Attorney etc where you don't need the Harvard Degree to work, but they have a lot more debt.

A lot of incoming and current law students get very racked up in the rankings and attending the "highest ranked" school, but the reality is no matter what school you attend you will read Supreme Court cases and learn the same thing the law is the law period. The Supreme Court does not write separate opinions for different law schools.

Anyways, just focus on getting your LSAT score then you can know your options. Once you have the score think about the location you want to attend school, consider the tuition costs, and visit schools to see, which one is a fit for you. When I was choosing I visited a number of schools some were great to me others sucked, but that was my personal opinion you could very well love the schools I hated and vice versa.

Good luck on the LSAT and your pursuit of a legal career.

These outrageous tuition rates are not limited to law school. Education everywhere has become so overpriced it's ridiculous, I think the ease with which Federal Student  Loan money is handed out is creating the problem. Schools are just doing what they can nothing wrong or even immoral about it. Every school and institution anywhere can stand to have more money so why not raise tuition rates if money will just be handed to the students.

Well plenty of people have found legal work and sorry things aren't being handed to you.

You can use the BYU Intercollegiate job bank, which is a great source to find legal work across America.

Username jobfind
password cougarjobs

As for graduating from a Tier 1 school that really doesn't mean anything no school anywhere guarantees you a job. You have to show why you are valuable to get hired the legal profession is not a charity.

Go out there and make it happen. People like Belva Ann Lockwood the first woman lawyer and Macon Boling Allen the first black lawyer overcome a hell of a lot more obstacles than your dealing with.

About 5.9 Billion in this world would trade places with you right now, and whether you succeed has a lot more to do with you than the legal profession or the law school you attended. If you want to blame society, the legal profession, your law school, etc go ahead, but plenty of recent grads are doing fine, but they put in the work and deal with plenty of rejection.

Where should I go next fall? / Re: FIU VS FSU LAW
« on: February 26, 2014, 01:05:36 AM »
I would say a preliminary e-mail just to throw it out there. Say something along the lines of you are really trying to decide between FSU and FIU. See if they bite on that schools really want to fill their seats and if they can get you in for an extra 5k or something then great.

If they don't bite on that then schedule a school visit, which you should do no matter what and bring it up. You might also want to do a site visit at FSU as well if they offer you some additional scholarship money you can say FSU just offered me 5k extra, which has started to change your mind.

There is no "right" way to do it  or any guarantee you will get additional money. All you can really do is use your best judgment and be persistent.

Good luck.

Interesting info.

Is the $2,500 fee per student or the total amount for the school?

Nice chart.

It is crazy how much legal education and any form of education has risen. The CBA schools can work for the right person as can ABA schools, but 60 to 160k to read some law books is crazy.

I am curious CBA schools have to pay a registration fee to the California Bar?

Law School Applications / Re: REJECTED, ETC. TODAY
« on: February 21, 2014, 12:49:29 AM »
Well written post I think Monterey College of Law can work for the right student, but as CA Law Dean says do not expect Cravath to come recruit you and offer you $160,000k out of law school. If law students have realistic expectations it can be a great career.

Where should I go next fall? / Re: South Florida law schools
« on: February 17, 2014, 08:30:35 PM »
I think the reality is that the law school you attend is given a lot more attention than it deserves. Miami is a fine school as is FIU and another ABA school. When I was in law school I was caught up in rankings, etc, but once I entered the real world I realized how trivial it all is. Obviously Harvard, Yale, Stanford etc will open doors, but I cannot imagine to many firms or agencies in Miami will simply a hand job to a someone from Miami instead of FIU.

The legal profession is a pretty much like anything else results matter. If you finish in the bottom of 25% of the class at Miami, have no internship experience, didn't participate in any activities, no professor relationships employers will not be knocking your door down. That same fact pattern goes for any law school.

If you finish in the top 10%, were a mock trial champion, law review, great relationships with professors, etc you will have a lot of doors open for you no matter what law school you attend.

However, even if you are top of the class etc you will have to open the doors and that means applying to jobs, dealing with some rejection etc. Very few firms or agencies simply say he went to X school hire him. Cravath and some of the major firms do that with Ivy League Gradus, but the Miami District Attorney will not say oh Miami Law School hire him/her.

I really think any student is better off getting out with as little debt as possible unless they are going to attend Harvard, Yale, Stanford, Columbia or a school of that caliber that is nationally known. Otherwise don't pay $100,000 dollars more to attend the 47th opposed to the 74th best school nobody really cares.

Just some advice from an anonymous internet poster so take it for what it is worth.

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