That is an honest and fair assessment excellent post CA Law Dean.
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Messages - Citylaw
Good to hear you visited both campuses and one gave you the right gut feeling that is one of the most important things to consider when choosing a school.
I would probably just forget about Michigan at this time and focus on getting ready for FSU and as for whoever is telling you FSU or FU is better for Biglaw they are full of it, the reality is whether you make it into Biglaw has a lot more to do with your connections, personality, etc.
Congrats on your decision and good luck in your pursuit of a J.D.
I must have misread.
The attrition is absolutely to boost bar passage rates and certainly schools make money off 1Ls as teaching Civ Pro; Torts; etc can be taught by any professor.
Many of these schools have high attrition rates and expect a number of students fail, but Cooley would be ecstatic if all their 1L's performed amazingly well on their first year exams and had 0% attrition.
Groundhoug what schools have a minimum fail out rate?
I know there are plenty that are rumored to such as Golden Gate; Cooley; Florida Coastal; etc, but I actually read their student handbooks and there is nothing that requires anyone to fail out in their curve and again I cannot see why any school would want to fail out students they believe are capable of passing the bar.
Law schools are a business and if a qualified student is paying tuition what benefit is there to dismissing them?
In response to ShonMi yes going to law school, because you like to argue or think it is like the movies is not a good reason to attend law school.
Doing anything because you see it on T.V. is likely to lead to disappointment. I work with police officers all the time and a substantial part of their time is writing reports and getting ridiculous phone calls not full on swat team raids like the movies make it out to be.
The law is no different than any other profession it has it's pros and cons, but I think law school unlike other professions makes people think all they have to do is get a degree and then people will fight over them, but that is far from the case if you graduate and pass the bar you are minimally competent to practice law. Being minimally competent in any profession does not result in $100,000 salaries and a cush office, you have to earn it.
I actually think attrition is a good thing and despite rumors no school anywhere would impose a mandatory kick out rate. I have heard rumors about a number of schools that are required to kick out 25% of the first class, but that makes no sense why would a school want to kick out paying students? The answer is they don't, but they do have some ethical obligation to dismiss a student they know has no chance of passing the bar.
I think part of the problem today is everyone is to nice and nobody wants to dismiss an poor performing student. These poor performers in law school unsurprisingly often do not pass the bar or squeak by the bar, but are just not employable as attorneys. I am sure anyone of us that attended law school can think of a few classmates that you would not trust to feed your cat your let alone represent you in an important legal matter.
Here is an interesting article posted by Maintain FL on the subject http://www.thefacultylounge.org/2013/02/what-has-happened-to-law-school-attrition.html.
Many nursing schools are well over $100,000 dollars and plenty of lawyers find work from non-top 20 schools.
A license to practice law is a lifelong investment and most lawyers do quite well if they stick with it for five plus years.
Why does anyone bother to go to college? You lose four years of income and it often costs $100,000, but again education is a life-long investment same as law school.
The earning potential for attorneys is very high, but you need to be good much like anything else. Are jobs difficult to find in nursing, business, law, cops, bus-drivers, etc? Yes.
If there is some guaranteed way to make $100,000 + dollars without any sacrifice please let me know.
If your family member is passionate about the law it could be a great fit and the more important reason to go to law school is the ability you have to make positive changes. Simply put there are an abundance of reasons to attend law school and abundance of reasons not to, which is pretty much the case for any decision.
There is rarely a right answer applying this to your post what filed instead of law what should this family member pursue?
That sounds like a good stable number.
I think many schools ABA/CBA or otherwise would be wise to cap the number of students admitted each year. 35 admitted students seems quite reasonable good luck with the upcoming academic year.
I think you might want to narrow the list down to some extent and as all other posters mentioned consider geography also consider actual tuition at individual school if you want to keep your debt down. As for the MA in International Relations I don't know if any school offers that and if you want to keep your debt down putting more money into a Master's Program might not be advisable?
I guess the question is what do you think obtaining an MA in International Relations will do for you?
With that said I believe any student should consider the following factors when choosing a law school. (1) Location (2) Cost (3) Personal Feelings about the school; (4) Understanding the Reality of Legal Education; and (5) Last and Least U.S. News.
Each factor applied to your situation is analyzed below.
This is the most important factor in my opinion since wherever you attend law school you will spend a minimum of three years and more importantly the rest of your career. On your list you have schools in L.A., Florida, New York and Washington State frankly you are all over the place and I encourage you narrow down where you want to be.
If you attend USC you will live in L.A. for three years, obtain internships in L.A, make friends in L.A, etc and L.A is a fine place a lot to do, many beautiful people, beautiful beaches, beautiful weather on the pro side con heavy traffic, phony people, high cost of living, and if your someone fro rural Iowa it might not be a good fit for you. If your from L.A. have family in L.A, friends in L.A, etc then maybe U.S.C is a great fit.
I cannot tell your background from your post, but realize wherever you go life is still going to happen and having friends and familiar surroundings is important. Also having some idea of where you want to live is important if you want to live in the the beautiful, but isolated forests of Eastern Washington Gonzaga all the way. If you want to live in L.A. U.S.C, but that is a personal choice and one to consider.
It appears you understand the importance of keeping your costs down, but it is important to realize many schools offer in-state tuition, which is often better than scholarship money. For example CUNY is $10,000 per year in tuition, South Dakota is $6,000 per year in Tuition, University of Florida, Florida State, and Florida International are all at $14,000 per year.
You can attend Syracuse and get a 25,000 scholarship, but the tuition if $50,000 so your still paying a lot more in tuition than at those state schools. It is also important to understand that scholarships in law school are not guaranteed and almost every school imposes strict conditions to keep them. Typically you need to have a 3.0 GPA, which sounds easy enough, but law school is much different than other forms of education as there is a strict curve typically only 35% of the class can obtain a 3.0 after first year. This means there is a 65% chance you will lose your scholarship as 100% of students at any ABA law school are smart, hard-working, motivated and think there is no way they will finish outside of the 35%, but 65% are wrong every time. This New York Times Article does a excellent job explaining the system.
3) Personal Feelings about the School:
Each school has a culture to it and whether you like that culture is something only you can answer. For any school you are serious about I encourage you to visit the campus, talk to professors, admins, walk around the neighborhood and determine if the school is right for you.
I visited many law schools and some I like others I hated, but you may very well like what I hated and hated what I liked. It is a completely subjective opinion and your life and you are in the best position to determine what is best for you.
4) Reality of Legal Education:
At any ABA school you will receive a quality education and learn the same thing as you will be reading Supreme Court cases and the Supreme Court does not write separate opinions for different schools. In your first year you will have (1) Torts; (2) Civ Pro; (3) Contracts; and (4) Property in Torts you will read Palsgraf to learn proximate cause, Pennoyer v. Neff in Civ pro to learn about Notice; Haxendale v. Badley in Contracts to learn remedies etc.
Geography may come into play somewhat as you will focus more on New York Law at Syracuse, Washington Law at Gonzaga, and California Law at USC, but any ABA school gives you the same foundation.
As for the MA perhaps a law school out there will let you do both, but I don't know what an MA in International Relations will help you accomplish in the legal field. I imagine there are some differences between in MA programs, but I do not believe any ABA law school at least first year will let you take any outside courses.
5) U.S. News:
As you seem to already understand nobody in the real world cares about this. I couldn't tell you where the schools on the list you have are ranked. I know Michigan State has a good basketball team, but I don't know if it is "ranked' higher than Stetson nor do I or the vast majority of legal employers care. Michigan State will open more doors in Michigan and Stetson will open more doors in Florida.
What some for-profit unregulated magazines opinion is of the two schools matters very little.
There is no right answer, but I encourage you to ask yourself what the MA will accomplish. Also why is Michigan State your top choice? Do you want to live in Michigan? I have nothing against Michigan State and I am sure it is a fine school, but what factors are making it your top choice.
Also review each schools actual tuition rate and review lawschoolnumbers.com to see how much each school offers in scholarship money.
I also encourage you to register and attend an LSAC forum here is a list of the ones this year. http://www.lsac.org/jd/choosing-a-law-school/law-school-recruitment-forums. If you attend these events you will get a number of fee waivers and more importantly interact with people from the school, which will give you a bit of a glimpse into the school. I attended one and obtained 30 fee waivers and met with representatives from a number of schools some schools I was into rubbed me the wrong way, some schools I was not into impressed me, and I also discovered a number of schools I never considered.
As an additional FYI here is a solid article explaining how to choose a law school. http://www.legalmatch.com/choose-the-right-law-school.html
Good luck on your pursuit of a legal education.
It is to bad journalism has become what it is, but the bottom line is to make profit and in this day and age you can find anyone you want to agree with you. The 60 year old white males watch Fox News who think the world's falling apart. College Kids watch the Daily show to think they know everything and are smarter than 60 year olds watching fox news.
U.S. News Ranking and World Report does the same thing their job is to make a profit not provide an accurate guideline for various law school, hospitals, or other items.
Perhaps one day people will actually want more in depth analysis, but until that day comes and people are content to stay in their bubbles were everyone agrees with them media outlets have no incentive to deliver quality journalism and people are informed through Comedy Central and Fox News.