Law School Discussion

Nine Years of Discussion
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 1 
 on: Today at 04:37:45 PM 
Started by samoagl - Last post by loki13
Heck, let's do the comparison of Whittier v. Ole Miss.

Ole Miss (assuming in state tuition)-
Tuition and fees: $14.6k a year
Cost of living: $19.1k a year
28.5% of grads secured jobs by graduation.
More than 63% of grads had jobs that required a JD.
More than 80% of grads were employed in full-time jobs.

Whittier:
Tuition and fees: $42.4k
Cost of living: $28.8k
3.8% of grads secured jobs by graduation.
26.7% of grads had jobs that required a JD.
42.9% of grads were employed in full time jobs (some had part time- nearly 1/2 of grads were unemployed in the long run).

So, comparing the two, and without taking into account inflation:
Ole Miss will cost you ~$101,100 to graduate all told. That's new debt. In exchange, you'll probably work in Mississippi (bad), but you stand a very good shot of being employed in the legal field, and a pretty decent shot at having a good job by graduation. Heck, even though it's Mississippi, you can make pretty good money.

Whittier will cost $213,600 to graduate all told. In exchange, you have a darn good shot at being unemployed. And if you get a job (which may be hard) you'll be making less money, with more debt, than a grad from Ole Miss. Admittedly, the Mississippi factor is huge.

But this illustration is why state schools can be such a bargain if you know you want to practice in that state. By the way- many of the politicians, judges, and other power players in Mississippi will have Ole Miss connections. You can repeat this exercise with many states. This is an example of why ranking aren't everything. Sure, if I wanted to practice BigLaw in NYC, I wouldn't want to to law school at Ole Miss... that would be a difficult jump (although easier than Whittier). But if I knew I would be happy practicing in Mississippi, that would be an attractive option.

 2 
 on: Today at 04:11:00 PM 
Started by samoagl - Last post by loki13
"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."

Also wanted to note this- no, Ole Miss is not Harvard. But the undergrad is pretty good (for the South). And it is a Top 100 law school (albeit barely). It's also the top law school in Mississippi, it's the top state school in Mississippi (sorry, state), and it's an incredible value if you're paying in-state tuition.

If you're going to practice in Mississippi, it is definitely the school to go to. Period. In fact, it's one of the reasons that ranking (outside of the T14) are of limited value. The top state school for a state, in many areas, is often one of the best schools to choose if you're going to practice in that state, and is a bona-fide requirement if you're going into politics or, heck, just need the networking.

So, Ole Miss and Whittier are not really comparable.

 3 
 on: Today at 11:15:38 AM 
Started by samoagl - Last post by loki13
"Where I would disagree with Loki is on the idea of Whittier (or any other school) being a legal scam."

Technically, what I wrote was, "They are really close to what one might call a legal scam." I wrote that, and I stand by it. they prey on low-information young adults, saddling the vast majority of them with debt they will never have a chance of paying off. Is it possible to get a degree from Whittier and a career in the law? Sure. But the odds are stacked against you. Way against you. Less than 4% of Whittier grads have a job when graudating, and longer term, almost 50% of Whittier grads are unemployed. Let that sink in- because of the 50% (or so) that are employed, 1/2 are employed in jobs that don't require their JD.

And even succeeding at Whittier is unlikely to put you in a job that will repay your debt. Remember- you will need to finish in roughly the top quarter of your class just to get that PD or City Attorney job. You are paying Harvard prices for a "You want fries with that?" outcome.

Yes, I agree that it's not, technically, a scam. AFAIK, the lawsuits against these types of schools failed (as I agree they should have- there's a sucker born every minute, and people are free to make bad choices). Numbers, such as the ones I just cited, are available if you look and don't depend on the glossies from the admissions office.

But, again, I would recommend lighting that money on fire first. At least you'd have the pleasure of watching it burn, and you'd have three years to do something else.


 4 
 on: Yesterday at 11:33:53 PM 
Started by calgal27 - Last post by DeltaBravoKS
So you've done one year at NWCU and plan on transferring to a California Bar accredited brick and mortar school?

Do you care to let us know why?  Was NWCU a test to see if you could stick with it before spending money on B&M?  Did you move to a location where a B&M is that you previously couldn't travel to in a reasonable time?

I'm not being critical (as some on here do).  I'm just curious as to why the switch?

 5 
 on: Yesterday at 08:30:09 PM 
Started by jfavs124 - Last post by Citylaw
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.

 6 
 on: Yesterday at 07:16:52 PM 
Started by jfavs124 - Last post by Maintain FL 350
I don't know about any Louisiana-specific scholarships, but generally the biggest discounts you can get are tied to your GPA/LSAT.

Do you already have a final GPA/LSAT?

I

 7 
 on: Yesterday at 07:10:27 PM 
Started by samoagl - Last post by Maintain FL 350
I would just add a couple of points:

A school like Whittier may or may not be alright depending on the student's goals. I know several Whittier grads who are PDs, local govt attorneys, small firm practitioners. If that's your goal, then Whittier may be an alright choice. As Citylaw said, however, if your goal is Biglaw then you better look elsewhere.

As far as debt, Whittier is about the same price as most private law schools which is to say it is too expensive. I'm not sure why Whittier grads would necessarily accrue more debt than other California law students. The tuition and cost of living is high all over CA.

That said, Whittier does seem to have some unique problems that go beyond the general tight job market that all T4s deal with in CA.

One is location. This used to be an asset for Whittier, but now I'm not so sure. When Whittier moved from LA to OC in the 90s they were the only ABA school in the county. (Western State was still only Cal Bar approved at that time). Now, OC has Western State, Chapman, UC Irvine and Whittier. That makes the competition for both quality students and jobs tighter.   

Additionally, Whittier's past problems with the ABA are still pretty fresh in a lot of people's minds. That can't help when it comes to looking for a job. I applied to Whittier when I was looking at law schools, but decided early on that regardless of what they offered I would not attend. I talked to too many people who warned me away. (Also, I visited the campus and thought it was ugly. Perhaps a small issue, but still...)

Where I would disagree with Loki is on the idea of Whittier (or any other school) being a legal scam. The tuition, bar pass rates, employment rates, and anything else you want to know about any ABA school is readily available. No one is forced to go to law school. Quite to the contrary, people ask the law schools to please let them attend.

Whittier isn't lying to anyone about anything. If they were, this would be an entirely different discussion. Schools like Whittier give people a chance to become lawyers when no one else will. If the students squander their chances by not studying or not looking into the legal market first, I don't have a lot of sympathy.

At some point, aren't college educated adults responsible for their own actions?

 8 
 on: Yesterday at 06:22:41 PM 
Started by samoagl - Last post by Citylaw
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.





 9 
 on: Yesterday at 06:01:49 PM 
Started by samoagl - Last post by loki13
CITYLAW!!!!!! (In the voice of KHAN!!!!!)

We continue our debate, I see. ;)

Whittier is not a good school. It is, in fact, a pretty bad one. I'll be more explicit- it's one of the worst. Whittier has one of the highest average debt loads of any law school for its graduates. Conversely, Whittier has one of the worst job placements of any law school, period.

So, to put it more simply- Whittier makes students take on a lot of money, and the vast majority of them graduate with no ability to puruse a career in the law. They are really close to what one might call a legal scam. Now, that said, you will get your JD. Maybe you hang up a shingle.

But I would rather tell people to burn their money than attend Whittier. Because not only will you have wasted that money, you will have wasted three years of your life. Or, instead of burning that money, use it to buy a house. Get started in life.

Or attend any other law school. Whittier is right there with the Cooleys of the world. Don't do it.

 10 
 on: Yesterday at 05:06:18 PM 
Started by samoagl - Last post by Citylaw
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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