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General Board / Re: FSU in-state vs. Nova Southeastern scholarship
« on: June 02, 2014, 08:27:40 PM »
This is always a tough decision and I have posted on this board before that I believe any 0L should consider the following factors in this order when choosing a law school. (1) Location; (2) Cost; (3) Personal Feelings about the School; (4) Understanding the reality of legal education; (5) Last and least U.S. Rankings. Here is an article explaining these factors

In addition I will apply these factors to your decision, but remember to take any advice you receive from anonymous internet posters on this board or other my post included should be taken with a grain of salt.

1. Location:
From your post it is my understanding you live and work in Ft. Lauderdale and your fiance just got a job in Ft. Lauderale. Your family is in Fort Lauderale and you work at a law firm in Ft. Lauderale, which leads me to heavily favor you staying in Forth Lauderdale.

You have family, friends, a fiance and connections where you are so why move six hours away?

Many law students myself included back when I was a 0L forgot to use common sense and assume law school will be so difficult that they will not have time for anything. As a law student, however doesn't go anywhere you will want to socialize with friends, be with your fiance, have the support of your family, and be around a supportive environment. 

If you really want to move to Tallahasee and that is your ultimate goal then go to FSU, but it sounds like you think it might open a door to some government position. This does not sound like a good reasoning to turn your life upside down.

Your fiance is also an important consideration and in all honesty long-distance relationships are hard enough without the strain of law school and everyone I knew that started law school in a long-distance relationship either broke up or ended up transferring back to a school where their partner was. If you break up with your fiance during law school it will obviously impact your academic performance and again life happens in law school so based on the facts in your post I would lean heavily in favor of Nova.

2) Cost
Now the scholarships can be a little misleading finishing in the top 60% of the class is not as easy as it sounds. Everyone in law school is smart, hard-working and motivated and not one person believes there is any way they will not finish in the top 60% of the class, but 40% are wrong. This means there is a 40% chance you will lose your scholarship years 2 and 3. Here is a solid NY times article on the subject.

With that said you are in a great position to use your FSU acceptance to negotiate for more scholarship money and more favorable conditions. Tell Nova you are really torn between FSU and Nova and would like additional assistance and more favorable terms possibly simply good academic standing to maintain your scholarship. You have nothing to lose by asking for this and everything to gain and with your acceptance into FSU it is not unforeseeable that you could choose FSU providing you with excellent bargaining power. However, if you do not use this bargaining power the school will not do it for you.

Assuming nothing changes I do not think paying 50k more to move away from your friends, family, fiance and support network is a good idea.

3) Personal Feelings about the School:
This is a very important factor and perhaps FSU would win out on this one. Each school has a unique culture to it and whether that culture is a fit for you is a question only you can answer. When I was a 0L I visited a number of school some I hated others I loved, but those were personal opinions you may have hated the ones I loved and loved the ones I hated.

I strongly encourage you to visit both schools talk to professors, admins, students, walk around the campus, walk around the neighborhood etc and see how you feel about the school. On campus visits are an invaluable experience and can provide far more insight than an anonymous internet poster like myself. This is a 3 year, $100,000, career and life altering decision and for such a large decision taking the time to visit the school is a good idea.

4) Reality of Legal Education:

You will receive a quality education at FSU, Nova or any ABA law school. The reality is that for all intents and purposes you learn the same exact thing at any ABA school. Your first year will consist of Torts, Civ Pro, Property, Contractors and LRW. In these courses you will read supreme court cases and the supreme court does not write seperate opinions for different schools.

You will learn proximate cause by reading the Palsgraff case in Torts, Notice requirements in Pennoyer v. Neff in Civ Pro, contract remedies in Hadley v. Baxendale etc.

In addition the law does not change from school to school it is the same thing. After three years of law school whether you attend Nova or FSU you will enroll in a bar prep course likely BarBri or Kaplan and be packed into a room with hundreds of other law grads from across the Country all freaking out about the Bar Exam. After months of intense studying you will be in an auditorium and take the bar exam along with students from every law school in the Country and if you pass your a lawyer if you do not pass your not a lawyer. Any ABA school will provide you with the tools to pass the bar exam, but it will be up to you to execute it.

(5) U.S. News Rankings:
Remember that U.S. News is nothing more than a for-profit unregulated magazine offering an opinion, which ranks everything. According to U.S. News Albuquerque, New Mexico is the best place to live. . I imagine your not planning on moving to New Mexico based on a magazine article, but many law students think making a life altering decision based on what a magazine ranks X school is a good idea. Unless you were talking about Harvard, Yale, Stanford all schools you do not need U.S. News to tell you are good schools it is not a good idea.

Knowing nothing about you other than your post I would strongly encourage you to attend Nova. The primary reason is the location it sounds like you have an excellent network there and no particular desire to live in Tallahassee. If your ultimate goal is to live in Tallahassee then I would vote for FSU, but I get the impression that you think FSU having a higher ranking is the real reason you are thinking about moving 6 hours away from your friends, family, fiance and paying $50,000 more in tuition. In my experience this rarely turns out well, but it is your life.

If I were you I would use the FSU admission to my advantage and negotiate for more money with Nova and better scholarship conditions.

Good luck whatever you decide I know it is a very tough decision, but remember to use common sense when making your decision and in your legal career. Many law students and lawyers over complicate matters, which leads to bad results. Do not let a bunch of numbers and stats distract you from what is right for you. Whether you succeed in the legal profession has a lot more to do with you as an individual than the name of the school on your diploma.

Black Law Student Discussion Board / Re: Possibilities
« on: June 02, 2014, 07:54:21 PM »
That is a great summary and it really is unfortunate how many people fail to use common sense when choosing a law school. When your in 0L or law school bubble it seems so important, but the reality is real lawyers are not paying attention to the rankings they have staffing needs etc. The majority of firms can only afford to recruit locally the San Diego D.A.'s Office is going to do OCI at the San Diego Law Schools and maybe L.A. ones. There is no way they are going to do OCI at Iowa, Kansas, or Idaho even if those schools are far higher ranked than Thomas Jefferson and Cal Western.

Black Law Student Discussion Board / Re: Possibilities
« on: June 01, 2014, 12:12:08 PM »
Exactly it is not even necessarily the top 14 there are just some schools that are recognized nationally as elite schools. If Harvard was ranked dead last by U.S. News it would still open more doors than Cooley if it was ranked #1.

I did not need U.S. News to tell me Harvard, Yale, Stanford and Columbia are top notch schools.

Black Law Student Discussion Board / Re: Possibilities
« on: May 31, 2014, 07:06:37 PM »

Also, as has been mentioned, rankings beyond the top 14 schools do not matter. I had a friend break a lease and move to another state to go from the #62 law school to be at the #52 law school.  Ironically, the graduates from her old class at the #62 ranked school wound up with jobs while she graduated with no job offers.  Moral of the story, rankings outside of the nationally recognized top 14 schools really do not matter. 

It is crazy how many students make that mistake I almost did the same thing, which would have resulted in giving up $80,000 in scholarship money. Thankfully, people talked some sense into me more importantly I imagine the #52 school your friend transferred to is now ranked #62 and the school they transferred from is #52.

For any potential law student reading this board I just want everyone to use common sense when making the life altering decision of where to attend law school and not make a life altering decision based on a magazine. Harvard is a good school and would be well regarded if U.S. News ranked them dead last.

To take Burning Sands example there is no #52 or #62 ranked school this year, but 3 school tied for 51 and 3 schools tied for 61.

Schools Ranked 61st in 2014  and past five year rankings.
61*   56*   58*   61*   72*   65*    Temple U (PA)    -
61*   68*   89*   84*   86*   94*    U of Arkansas-Fayetteville    -
61*   76*   69*   77*   60*   71*    U Miami (FL

Schools Ranked 51st in 2014 and past five year rankings
51*   54*   51*   56*   64*   65*    Baylor U (TX)    -
51*   64*   76*   60   72*   65*    Pennsylvania State U    -
51*   53   58*   67*   86*   77*    U Richmond (VA)

I guarantee you Miami Grad will have an easier time finding employment than a Baylor Grad in Miami despite being ranked 10 schools lower.

You can also see how drastically rankings change from year to year. The class that entered Richmond in 2010 was attending the 86th best law school then graduated from the 51st.

If someone enrolled at Miami n 2010 they enrolled in the 60th best school when they graduated in 2013 it was 76th then a year later it was back to 61.

I guarantee nothing significant changed at any of these schools and it is just terrible to see people make life altering decisions based on this magazine. U.S. News is not at fault for this they are a magazine offering an opinion, but people need to be smarter.

Law School Applications / Re: Just Getting Started
« on: May 29, 2014, 11:34:50 PM »
At the OP be aware the legal profession is full of negativity and really whenever anyone tries to achieve anything it is often met with negativity, speculation or doubt.

The purpose of the post is to tell you a thick skin is necessary in the legal profession, but if you have that it can be a very rewarding career. Good luck in your educational pursuit.

Distance Education Law Schools / Re: July 2013 Bar Exam Results
« on: May 29, 2014, 10:04:09 PM »
Perhaps there was a miscommunication certainly some people are not capable of passing the bar no matter how hard they try. Perhaps they cannot handle the pressure of the exam, cannot grasp the concept of IRAC, which is not tested on the LSAT etc.

My point was simply that passing the bar is easier for some and harder for others. There are people no matter how hard they try will not be able to pass.

M / Re: Monterey College of Law
« on: May 29, 2014, 01:07:44 AM »
Great work happy to hear your students are succeeding and entering the legal profession as licensed attorneys.

Distance Education Law Schools / Re: Did you apply to ABA and CBE?
« on: May 29, 2014, 01:01:44 AM »
That is an interesting question I honestly never considered CBE schools when I was applying, but I was an idiot as a 0L and thought rankings etc mattered.

Knowing what I know now I might have considered a CBE school and gotten out with much less debt to end up in the same spot a licensed lawyer in California.

Distance Education Law Schools / Re: July 2013 Bar Exam Results
« on: May 29, 2014, 12:59:50 AM »
I think there is no question that an ABA grad is more likely to pass the bar exam than a CBA grad and someone who obtained a 180 LSAT score is more likely to pass the bar than someone who scored 150. It is entirely possible however, for both to pass, both to fail, or the 180 LSAT Harvard grad to not pass and the 150 LSAT CBA grad to pass.

At the end of the day whether you succeed or not in anything is up to the individual, but some people have an easier road to success than others. If you have the raw intelligence to score a 180 on the LSAT the road will be easier for you than someone who despite their best efforts achieved a 145 LSAT score.

Law School Applications / Re: Just Getting Started
« on: May 29, 2014, 12:55:33 AM »
I would recommend to not get ahead of yourself and instead focus on one thing at a time. The only thing to focus on at this point is your LSAT score. If you score a 180 your getting into a number of law schools if you score 140 your not getting into an ABA school.  If your somewhere in the middle, which is what will likely occur start worrying about the other factors, but you could have a 4.0, the greatest personal statement in the world, etc if you do not have an LSAT score your not getting into law school.

Many potential students in your position myself included put time and energy into irrelevant things and focusing on the other questions prior to taking the LSAT is irrelevant.

As for actual study tips again keep it simple and take as many practice LSAT scores under timed conditions as possible. The first few times your performance will not be great, but like anything else the more you practice the more you will improve.

I see many posters and potential incoming students ask the same question, but remember to not over complicate matters. Keeping things simple is very difficult, but it is how you succeed in the legal profession.

I think this quote sums it up. “Any darn fool can make something complex; it takes a genius to make something simple.”

Good luck in your pursuit of a legal education.


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