« on: December 12, 2005, 11:48:06 AM »
I think that you should go to just about the best school you can get into. That's not to say that I would choose a school ranked 60 over one ranked 85 though. Chances are those schools aren't truly that different. If I could have gotten into a significantly higher ranked school I would have gone to it. Still that said, job prospects are probably fairly similar amongst most schools out of the top 25 or so. Certailnly the top 10-14 are a completely different story, opportunity abounds for them. Is there a real difference in a T3 v. T4 school, sometimes yes sometimes no. There a decent T4 schools, there are some pretty lousy ones as well, look at bar passage rates, job placement, etc. I went to Toledo because I didn't get into any other school that was significantly better. My tuition is only 12K per year, this is important to me. Despite what people may say many law students, especially average ones at average schools will only start out at 40-70K a year. I want to be able to pay off my loans, so Toledo was a somewhat appropiate choice, I really liked Penn St., could see myself living there for some time, but all things considered Toledo was my best option.
My advice is consider where you want to live, how much you are willing to spend (is there an affordable public school), and what the schools strengths and weaknesses are. This is actually something you can figure out by visiting and looking at the raw numbers. Make a decision based on those things. If you get into a T3 and T4 and you fell so so about the T3 and maybe don't really want to live there, but the T4 is a place you love, and maybe they threw a little money at you, and they have respectable placement, then they might be your best bet. Don't let rankings be anything more than a baseline for targeting possible schools you would apply to, and don't apply to schools that you can't honestly see yourself going to.
A little story... We meet with the Dean at the end of our first semester before scheduling for spring, and she asked me a few questions about where I would like to practice, etc., etc. I have family in Charlotte and told her I am considering going back to Michigan or going to Charlotte, then she began to tell me of a placement program they have in Charlotte's prosecutors office and other Charlotte Alumni. Bottom line, there will be opportunity even at a school ranked 50, 85, or 130, it just depends on how hard you work. Avoid schools like Cooley, Nova, and some others and you'll be fine.