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Messages - Citylaw
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« on: April 03, 2015, 12:11:00 AM »
Excellent posts above and as for the comment about TLS realize that anything you read on the internet comes from anonymous internet posters so take it with a grain of salt. However, that includes my post and the ones above. Michael Scott explains it best : ) https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kFBDn5PiL00
a little humor for you.
With that intro I think any law student should consider the following five factors. (1) Location; (2) Cost; (3) Personal Feelings about School; (4) Understanding the Reality of Legal Education and (5) Last and Least U.S. News Rankings. Here is a good article analyzing these factors http://www.legalmatch.com/choose-the-right-law-school.html
Below is a brief analysis of the five factors to your situation. (1) Location:
You are living in the East Bay and considering a cross country move. As Maintain said would you be happy drafting wills & defending DUI's in St. Louis? That might happen more importantly even if you get you dream job out of law school would St. Louis be a place you want to spend the rest of your life? Or at the very least a minimum of three years?
I live in San Francisco and it's awesome I just got offered an awesome job in Sacramento doing the exact kind of work I wanted, but I didn't want to move to Sacramento and turned it down. On paper it sounded great to me, but in reality leaving the Bay Area is not what I wanted. Or you just thinking these schools sound good, but not really thinking about where you want to live? Being happy with the City you live in is one of the most important things to consider. 2) Cost
As Loki mentions cut costs and be wary of the scholarship conditions. Also, look at the actual tuition of each school.
Saint Louis University for example offers in-state tuition if you get residency at $26,000 per year $36,000 per year out-of-state.
Case Western is a flat $44,000 a year.
So if you get in-state tuition at SLU even without a scholarship your paying $78,000 in tuition vs. $132,000 in tuition at Case Western. I think many students assume all schools cost the same, but they vary. In that scenario even if Case Western gave a $15,000 a year scholarship you would still pay less at SLU. So just look at the actual tuition costs. This page from LSAC provides info on every school's rates. 3) Personal Feelings about School:
When I was a 0L I visited numerous schools and when I was in law school I did numerous mock trial competitions and visited even more schools. What I realized is that each school has a culture to it some I loved others I hated, but that is just me. For some reason I loved South Texas Law School, I was pissed off when I got sent to that Mock Trial Competition instead of the Chicago one I had been to the year before, but I just loved everyone I met at the school and the pride that had in their litigation team etc.
Other schools like Hastings aren't my cup of tea. In the heart of the Tenderloin, dirty, students in a bad mood etc just doesn't do it for me. There are plenty of people that love Hastings and they are letting us use their basketball gym for the San Francisco Bar Association Lawyer League so Hastings isn't all bad, but that school and me would not be a fit. However, you might love it and the only way for you to know if a school is a fit for you is to visit, talk to students, professors, alumni, work around campus, the neighborhood etc. Typically your gut will give you a good or bad feeling about a place and your gut knows more about you than anyone else. 4) Reality of Legal Education:
At any ABA school you will read Supreme Court Cases and take Torts; Contracts; Civ Pro etc during your first year. You will read Pennoyer v. Neff to learn notice; Palsgraf to learn proximate cause; Hadley v. Baxendale to learn contract remedies and the hairy hand case of Paper Chase fame as well.
To sum it up any ABA school will teach you the law and after you graduate you will then take BarBri or Kaplan to help you pass the bar. 5) Rankings:
Remember that U.S. News Rankings is nothing more than a for profit magazine offering an opinion. They are doing nothing wrong by offering an opinion, but it should not be the basis of a life altering decision.
U.S. News Ranks Alberqueue New Mexico as the #1 place to live. I am sure New Mexico is great, but I imagine you are not going to apply to University of New Mexico, because U.S. News said it is the best place to live. It would be crazy to move to a City because a magazine said it was #1 right? Yes it would be.
It is also crazy to make a 3 year, $100,000+, career changing decision on where to attend law school based on a magazine as well. Use it as a tiebreaker perhaps and for entrainment, but don't let the rankings play a big factor in your decision. Conclusion:
From my understanding of your post you want to be in the Bay Area. If you want to be in the Bay Area attend law school in the Bay Area and see what if anything you can do to reduce costs. If you move to St. Louis for law school it will be hard to get back to the Bay after. Not impossible, but difficult.
Good luck with everything and congrats on your acceptances.
« on: April 03, 2015, 12:01:22 AM »
Good response and I think we agree on a lot of issues. However, we have gotten completely off topic from OP's question. Although I find the debate is interesting and enjoyable it proves my overall point that making life altering decisions such as where to attend law school based on internet boards is not a good idea.
You and I are discussing our thoughts about law school in general, which is clearly something we both have thought about. However, it does little to address OP's question.
With that I would like to continue our off topic debate with two responses to your last post.
1) Law School as an Investment:
First and foremost if your attending to law school to get rich, don't. If money is your number one priority there are better options out there.
On to the next point, education in general is a long term investment and in the short term law school is not a good investment. However, if you graduate law school at 27 and pass the bar you can have 40-50 years to work as an attorney and that can easily translate into $100,000-$200,000 additional income. However, in the short term that $100,000-$200,000 when your first job is paying between $40,000-$60,000 does not look good. However, after a few years of practice your salary increases and increases. Most lawyers typically pay off their loans in their mid 30's maybe even early 40's. However, after that is done and multiple years of experience have accrued you can bill $300-$400 an hour. However, getting to that point takes years.
There is no statistic out there that will show law school being a good investment 5 years after graduation. Even if you make $160-$180 k right out of law school. You will likely be unable to pay your loans off in five years. However, after 5 years the loans are gone and if you continue practicing you can make a pretty solid living.
This is not unlike the debate of whether to attend undergrad or not. When I graduated high school several of my friends got jobs as loan officers at banks making $40,000 a year with no educational debt and it seemed like they were rich off their asses. While my other friends and I were accruing debt and working part-time broke as hell. Even a few years after graduation from undergrad those friends were still making more, but 10 years as a loan officer is not exactly exciting and without a B.A. they could not advance.
Eventually, all my friends and me the one guy went to law school made far more than $40,000 while the other guys were still in their spot. Granted over the past 10 years they collectively have made more money as the 7 years I spent in school I was not making $40,000 and in fact accruing debt. So let's say the gained $500,000 on me, but I have far more doors open for the next 40 years of my life than they do.
So that is the debate with education whether it be law school or any other form. In the short term education does not pay off in the long-term it does.
2) Finding Jobs Out of Law School More on the Person than the School:
One of my firmest beliefs is that no matter what school you attend whether you succeed or fail has far more to do with you than the school you attend. I am sure at your school as at mine there were some classmates that you would not trust to feed your cat let alone represent you in court. Then there were others that you knew would succeed.
You can have all the stats in the world, but I am sure at your law school there were some people that would show up late, have excuses for everything, not turn things in on time, not study and blame everyone except themselves for their problems. Those kinds of people exist at every school and cannot find jobs, which has far more to do with them than the school they attended.
Contrary to that every single ABA school has produced numerous successful lawyers, but again that has a lot more to do with the individual than the school.
Law school and education is an investment and like any investment it can fail miserably, succeed greatly, or do just fine.
Law school is not a guarantee of anything and all any ABA school will provide you is the opportunity to take the bar exam and become a licensed lawyer. If you obtain a license to practice law what you do with it well have far more to do with you than the name of the school on your diploma.
« on: April 02, 2015, 12:51:00 AM »
I think the difference between us is I give people more credit than you do.
I agree if someone thinks they are going to attend Whittier and be in the top 5% because they are special and expect to Transfer to UCLA and get a BigLaw job then there is a 99% chance that student will be disappointed.
I think the issue that you are addressing and is legitimate is that to many students have unrealistic expectations. However, Whittier or any other ABA law school can be a great fit for a student that goes in with the right expectations. I will also strongly disagree with your statement that if you attend Whittier you will likely not be an attorney. By definition if you graduate from law school and pass the bar your attorney and there will always be firms at the very least looking for appearance attorneys. If your expecting to be arguing in front of the Supreme Court from Whittier then the odds are low, but there is plenty of legal work out there. Criminal Defense, DUI Defense, Foreclosure Defense, Litigation, etc our typical things a Whittier Grad might do. If a Whittier Grad is expecting to be doing tax reform legislation right out of law school it is unlikely.
Again, to draw a basketball analogy going to Whittier is like playing at a low division 1 school. Let's use Robert Morris University as an example. Robert Morris was a 16 seed in this year's NBA tournament, which is awesome for those players. However, I would be substantial sums of money that nobody on Robert Morris will be playing in the NBA. Many of these Robert Morris players however, can make a living playing basketball. If they really wanted to pursue basketball as a career they could play in Europe or become high school or junior college coaches. Maybe one might even make his way to becoming a Division 1 basketball coach somewhere, but the odds of that happening are low. So you can make a living off basketball, but the odds of making a living through the NBA are highly unlikely. The players at Robert Morris are aware of this, but love the game of basketball enough to pursue it despite knowing they will not be going to the NBA. They will likely not even make as much money as they could in other professions, but they love the game and if they can make a living off it awesome.
Whittier is like playing at a low division 1 school. You can make a living as a lawyer, but it is highly unlikely biglaw will be an option. However, as I mentioned above there are plenty of legal opportunities, but these are not the glamorous positions, but if you really want to be a lawyer it can be a great opportunity.
So basically go to law school with realistic expectations. Do anything in life with realistic expectations that is really where the issue is with law school and all education really. Many law students enroll thinking they will be millionaires and that society owes them something, because they went to law school. That is not the case you have to work your ass off to succeed in the legal profession and if your going to a school like Whittier you are going to have to work even harder, but it can be done.
« on: April 01, 2015, 01:41:13 AM »
First and foremost realize that anything you read on this board or others comes from anonymous internet posters so anything you read my post included should be taken with a grain of salt.
With that out of the way congrats on your acceptances.
Now to answer your question. I believe any law student should consider the following five 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 least U.S. News rankings. Here is a good article explaining the factors to consider. http://www.legalmatch.com/choose-the-right-law-school.html
Below is a brief application of those factors to your scenario. Location:
You are on the right track with Southern California schools both Whittier and Cal Western will give you opportunities in Southern California, but obviously Cal Western will give you more opportunities in San Diego. Whittier will open doors in Whittier/L.A.
However, ask yourself what City you like more. L.A. and San Diego are not drastically different cities, but they are not the same either. Whichever, school you attend is where you will spend a minimum of three years of your life so make sure it is the City you want to be in. 2. Cost
Congrats on the scholarship at Whittier, but one thing to consider are the scholarship conditions. I imagine the conditions are a 3.0, which sounds easy, but in law school it is very difficult to get a 3.0. At most schools only 35% of students can get a 3.0, which means there is a 65% chance you will not get your scholarship years 2 & 3.
You can also negotiate scholarship money with Cal Western. Tell them Cal Western is your first choice, but Whittier is offering you $30,000 a year so they might give you $15,000 or so a year. You have everything and nothing to lose by asking for money. 3. Personal Feelings About School:
I strongly encourage you to visit both schools and walk around talk to people etc. Each school has a culture to it and whether you like the culture or not is a highly personal decision. 4. Reality of Legal Education
Whether you attend Whitter, Cal Western, etc you will learn the same thing. You will be reading Supreme Court Cases and the Supreme Court does not write different opinions for different schools. At the end of graduation you will then take BarBri or Kaplan for Barprep and pack into a room with thousands of other law students taking the bar exam. Whether you pass the bar or not has a lot more to do with you than the school you attend.
5. U.S. News Ranking:
This is a for-profit unregulated magazine offering an opinion. U.S. News is doing nothing wrong by offering their opinion, but it should not be the basis of a life altering decision.
I know nothing about you and cannot possibly tell you what school is best for you. Also, no matter what you choose you will never have a for sure decision and you will have second thoughts.
Congrats again on your acceptance and good luck on your pursuit of a legal education.
« on: March 31, 2015, 07:21:21 PM »
Again, I disagree if you pass the bar from an ABA school you are a licensed attorney and if work at you will find a job.
You can be the number #1 student at Whittier if you don't pass the bar your not working as a lawyer. However, even if you graduate #1 at Whittier and pass the bar you will still have to apply for jobs and nothing will be handed to you. However, it is and can be done.
I think most of your points are valid and I am in no way saying Whittier is a fantastic school and anyone enrolling should go in with realistic expectations, but I think you are making it sound way worse than it actually is. The truth is to get into an ABA school you need to obtain a bachelors degree and typically have obtained at least a 3.0. Then you need at least a 150 on the LSAT. The majority of the population is not capable of doing either of those things and getting into an ABA school is an accomplishment.
I will draw an analogy to basketball with March Madness going on. If you are 6'6 you are in the top of population in height and probably have a chance to play college basketball. However, there are thousands of other 6'6 guys out there and you will have to succeed. Being 6'6 is like going to Whittier or some low school you are smart, but it is not that impressive.
If you are 7'2 you are in the elite of height and have an extremely strong chance at playing college basketball and drawing NBA scouts. Being 7'2 is like going to Harvard the doors will be more open.
However, there are plenty of 7'2 guys that don't make the NBA and plenty of 6'6 ones that do.
However, I feel like you are making it sound like Whittier is like being 5'1 and there being almost no chance of success and that is where I disagree, but again there is no argument that Whittier is not a top school, but if you go in with the right expectations it can be a good choice.
« on: March 31, 2015, 05:57:21 PM »
Again, Whittier does not have great bar pass rates, but my point is you attend law school and pass the bar you will have opportunities.
Whittier has a 42% bar pass rate and you are saying 50% of Whittier Grads 9months out of graduation have jobs. So again my point is if you graduate from an ABA law school and pass the bar odds are you will get a job as an attorney.
If you are attending Whittier the odds of you passing the bar are less, but 100's of Whittier Law School Grads pass each year. The honest truth is no law school outside of Wisconsin guarantees bar passage and no law school guarantees a job.
If the OP attends any of these schools and passes the bar they will have opportunities. If they attend law school and fail out they will not get a job. If they attend law school and half ass it finishing in the bottom 25% of the class and half assing it their first time around and the bar and failing. Not many job opportunities will be available.
« on: March 31, 2015, 05:21:11 PM »
Again I think we agree in principal, but I think you are greatly exaggerating how bad other schools are.
You keep using the statistics, but they are not a good guide. You literally cannot be employed as an attorney at graduation from law school. (The exception being Wisconsin or Marquette, because the State of Wisconsin offers these two schools the degree privilege.)
However, whether you attend Stanford or Whittier and graduate in May of 2010 neither of these graduates can be employed as a lawyer until Mid-November when the California Bar Results are released.
The reality is whether you attend Whittier or any of these schools the real challenge will be passing the bar. If you pass the bar from these schools you will have options, but many of the lower level schools have low bar passage rate and very few if any employers will offer you a job until you pass the bar.
Nobody is saying Whittier is some great academic institution, but you can certainly become a licensed and employed lawyer. However, you need to have realistic expectations.
« on: March 30, 2015, 08:30:09 PM »
Yea many schools will simply offer you merit based scholarships based upon UGPA/LSAT.
LSU is only $18,000 for in-state tuition, which really isn't that bad.
« on: March 30, 2015, 06:22:41 PM »
Whittier is one of the least regarded of the 200 ABA schools and if you are expecting a BigLaw or Federal Clerkship job right out of law school then it will not work. However, you can definitely get a job as an attorney from Whittier or any other ABA law school assuming you pass the bar.
Again, I place very little faith in job statistics. First and foremost if you don't pass the bar your not getting a job as a licensed attorney and whether you pass the bar or not has a lot more to do with the individual than the school. Additionally, you will need to hustle to get your first job out of Whittier or any of these schools and your first job might be in a small firm, public defender, d.a., etc office.
I think that is fundamental difference in our positions. From what I gather you work in Biglaw and went the clerkship route and if that is the goal then honestly none of these schools are a good investment. However, many people have no desire to work in Biglaw and the majority of legal jobs are not Biglaw.
So to the OP can you get a paying job as a lawyer from Whittier? Yes. Your only option will not be hanging out your own shingle either, but that is of course an option. Here is a list of 244 Super Lawyers from Whittier doing quite well. http://lawschools.superlawyers.com/law-school/Whittier-Law-School/fad6f702-84c4-102c-aca4-000e0c6dcf76.html
I even know several Superior Court Judges that went to Whittier you can succeed at Whittier, but nothing will be handed to you and some doors will be closed. However, if your goal is to work at a firm like Cravath they will not hire you out of Whittier or any of the schools your interested in.
Whittier will provide you with a quality legal education as will any ABA school. After three years you will sign up for the bar exam and use BarBri or Kaplan to pass. Plenty of people from UCLA, Whittier, USC, etc do not pass the bar and whether you pass or not will have a lot more to do with you than the school you attend.
If you pass the bar your a licensed lawyer and you will have options, but again if your goal is to work BigLaw or go through the recruitment process Tom Cruise did in the firm do not expect that any of these schools. Instead watch the Rainmaker with Matt Damon and that is a more likely look at your first year or so coming from these schools.
Just a huge John Grisham fan and he is doing quite well for himself coming out of Mississippi Law School a non-top 100 school.
« on: March 30, 2015, 05:06:18 PM »
Loki makes a great point and I do think it is best to take some time off to work prior to law school. Many people that go straight from senior year of undergrad, which is pretty low key to the intensity of 1L would be in for a rude awakening. However, if you have already worked or taken time off and everything is in place then I would recommend delaying.
As for Loki's comments about the schools not being good, I partially disagree. In my opinion ABA law school will provide you the tools to succeed. Would Harvard open more doors than Whittier? Yes obviously.
However, I do think at any ABA law school you can recoup your investment. Law schools can range from $150,000-$200,000, but you will be a licensed lawyer for 20-30 years and education is a long-term investment after 5 years of being a lawyer from any school your income will go up significantly. When you first graduate from law school and have very little money to your name $100,000+ in debt and struggling to find your best job it will seem like a terrible investment, but you will find your first legal job. Assuming, you perform somewhat competently your career will grow.
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