Law School Discussion

Nine Years of Discussion

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 on: March 26, 2015, 02:50:42 PM 
Started by Htown - Last post by Citylaw
Good advice all around and I think you are making one of the most common 0L mistakes one I myself made and thinking to much about rankings.  You are looking at schools all over the place  L.A, Washington, Texas, St. Louis, Colorado etc.

If you attend Houston I am assuming you are from Texas and your goal is to be in Texas, but that is just an assumption. However, one of the most important things to consider when choosing a law school is it's location. L.A. and Boulder Colorado are very different places and the reality is wherever you attend law school is likely where you will end up living. Colorado will not open many doors in Texas and Houston will not open many doors in Colorado.

One school I was always impressed with in Mock Trial Competitions was South Texas Law School in Houston. If you want to be a litigator it really is a good school and you probably get substantial scholarship money there. That is something to consider, but as everyone says don't plan on transferring and choose a school in the area you want to live in. If you want to live in Texas after graduation there are about 10 schools there and go to school in Texas.

This is a pretty good article explaining how to choose a law school.

 on: March 26, 2015, 02:28:45 PM 
Started by LeonelDoctor - Last post by LeonelDoctor
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 on: March 26, 2015, 02:16:44 PM 
Started by Mdw426 - Last post by Citylaw
Solid posts above, but my overall advice is for each individual person to take their own feelings into account. All four people that have chimed in on this thread attended law school and are working as lawyers, and none of us are in complete agreement. In all likelihood the four of us have very little common with the OP.

For all I know OP is a Transvestite and a Transvestite student might have a harder time fitting in at Harvard or Yale than a school in San Francisco.  Although, BYU is a great school I would not recommend Provo, Utah. There can be a lot more to choosing a school than prestige. For the typical white male/female straight out of undergrad sure Harvard, Yale, Stanford if those doors are open go for it.

Another example would be if we are talking about a 44 year old non-traditional student with a family. That person should not attend Harvard, Yale, or Stanford.  First making your family move to attend law school is probably not a good idea. Even if there is no family consideration very few big law firms are hiring 47 year old associates and that student would be better off going to a regional school getting out with as little debt as possible and opening their own firm.

Again, location does matter as well. I am a City Attorney and we have had Harvard, Yale, graduates apply for positions with us, but we are in California and government agencies don't have budgets to fly people across the country for interviews nor are we going to offer someone a job that doesn't live locally.  In politics, which attorney work many cities want people from the area not some person out of nowhere.

Would I as a typical white male with few family connections chosen  Harvard, Yale, Stanford over any other school? Yes I would have, but there are plenty of people with different goals, expectations and wants. Of course use common sense, but each persons law school experience is highly personal and I strongly believe whether someone succeeds as a lawyer has a lot more to do with them than the school they attended. However, there are plenty of lawyers out there that believe credentials are the most important.

To the original question it looks like OP wants to be in Pennsylvania, and I strongly believe any of these schools will give you the opportunity to succeed. If you are not that entrepreneurial and want the clerkship/big law route then Penn will open the most doors for jobs.

If you are more of a hustler and really just want to start your own firm then getting out with as little debt as possible is a good option.

Also, if possible try to negotiate a scholarship with Penn tell them you are very impressed, but X school is offering you a full ride they might throw $5,000-$10,000 a year your way. Worst thing they say is  no and your in the same position your in now.

Good luck. 

 on: March 26, 2015, 01:05:11 PM 
Started by Htown - Last post by Maintain FL 350
Please keep in mind that my comments are based on your statement that you want to work in TX.

None of the schools were discussing are what I'd call elite. Wash U is the highest ranked, but I have no idea what kind of pull it has in TX. My guess is that it would be viewed as a good school, but not the kind of place where you can rely on pedigree alone to open doors in TX. The same would go for the other schools on your list. I'm not sure that it would necessarily carry any more weight than Baylor or UH.

Once you get away from the elite schools, you really need to consider location and cost. In my opinion, you would be far better off attending a TX school if you want to practice in TX.

Don't base your decision on this. It probably won't happen.

A huge factor. I know that you are probably eager to start school, but here is a thought. What about reapplying to schools like SMU, Texas Tech, Texas Wesleyan, St. Mary's, etc., and seeking a big scholarship? A free (or at least significantly discounted) degree from one of these schools may be more beneficial than huge debt from UH. Just a thought.

 on: March 26, 2015, 12:49:50 PM 
Started by Mdw426 - Last post by Maintain FL 350
I have a lot of respect for the above posters, both offer good advice.

However, when the discussion devolves into Cooley vs. Harvard we enter the theater of the absurd. How many students are actually faced with such a stark choice? Is anyone who has been accepted to Harvard actually contemplating Cooley, or any other school outside of the T14? Surely there are a handful of such cases, but it seems rather pointless to make such comparisons.

Personally, I think anyone who gets accepted to Harvard would be crazy to turn down the opportunity unless it was to take advantage of a full ride at another well known school. If you've read any of my previous posts then you know that I am VERY skeptical of the rankings and encourage people to examine all facets of their available options.

Nonetheless, a degree from Harvard/Yale/Stanford is so instantly recognizable as badass that it will be a boon to the job applicant regardless of geographic location. Even if your goal is to be a PD in Maine or Lansing, the Harvard degree will help. The debt is another issue.

A far more realistic scenario (and one which has the potential to adversely affect many more prospective students), is when someone is debating between Low Ranked School at Discount vs. Mid-Ranked School at Full Price. This is where the rubber hits the road.

How many of us know people who wanted to work as attorneys in say, California, but turned down a scholarship to the local T4 in order to attend a non-elite, out of state school because it was ranked higher? Huge mistake, IMO.

So, do rankings matter? Yes, especially at the top. But as others have stated, once you get into the great blurry mass of the other 190 or so schools that are not elite, you better prioritize cost and location over rankings.

 on: March 26, 2015, 09:49:48 AM 
Started by Mdw426 - Last post by loki13
"There are scenarios where Cooley is better than Harvard. This is few and far between and 99% of the time not the case and if you want to go the Clerk-Big Law etc path it is 100% not true. However, not everyone wants the Big-Law clerkship path and if you want to work for a solo attorney in Lansing Michigan they will be more likely to hire someone from Lansing law school than flying a Harvard Grad out."

I agree. Judge credibility of people. Let's take this bon mot. Cooley, for example, places less than half of its graduates in long-term employment. It places less than 1/3 (22.9%) of its graduates in employment that requires a JD... that's any job. Public defender. Sole practitioner. Anything. Combined, it places less than 1% of its class in any sort of clerkship of BigLaw job. Think about that for a second. But wait, there's more!   And the graduates of the Cooley are the lucky ones (maybe?). Because Cooley is notorious for failing out students in its first and second year, and their conditional scholarships.

Harvard graduates 87% of its students into jobs that require a JD (some, supposedly, take their Harvard JD into other positions, like my friend who then went to DC). 73% (!!??!!) go to clerkships or BigLaw. If you want it, you'll get it. And if you really want to be a PD in Lansing after Harvard- guess what, you can have that, too! Which is certainly aren't guaranteed if you decided to attend Cooley (see above).

What about costs and fees? Harvard costs 10k more per year. So that's 30k over three years. That's called an investment. In not getting totally screwed by a nearly worthless degree.

Go to websites like lawschooltransparency, and see what the real numbers are. Treating this as some sort of mystical decision does students a disservice. Like any investment in your future, this is a decision that should be fact-based, not made up because you liked one admission department's dog and pony show better than another's, or because you talked to a grumpy 2L at one place who was editing a cruddy law review article on a non-bagel day and a sunny 3L at another place who was blowing off their "Law & Pottery" class.

And this gets to the heart of my disagreement with Citylaw. It's not that his advice is necessarily bad (yes, location and cost are the two most important factors, and USNWR ranking are, mostly, useless, other than identifying the general groupings of schools). It's that it's so general as to be both useless and misleading.

 on: March 26, 2015, 03:52:39 AM 
Started by Imadiackmal - Last post by Imadiackmal

 on: March 25, 2015, 10:00:07 PM 
Started by Mdw426 - Last post by Miami88
For all you know we are all using the same screen name and hired by Law School Discussion to disagree to generate content.

...exactly what a Law School Discussion employee would say.... MARTHA MINOW!!!!

 on: March 25, 2015, 09:07:03 PM 
Started by Mdw426 - Last post by Citylaw
Feel to disagree with me.

All I can say to the OP is remember this will be one of the biggest life choices you ever make. You can listen to internet posters or go out and talk directly to real people.  There is no bad advice on this thread, but talk to people in person and you can judge their credibility first hand.

This is a very big decision and there is no absolute. There are scenarios where Cooley is better than Harvard. This is few and far between and 99% of the time not the case and if you want to go the Clerk-Big Law etc path it is 100% not true. However, not everyone wants the Big-Law clerkship path and if you want to work for a solo attorney in Lansing Michigan they will be more likely to hire someone from Lansing law school than flying a Harvard Grad out.

If you want the traditional law school path then Penn will open the most doors, but I do not know you or anything about you. If your goal is to open your own firm right out of law school get out with as little debt as possible. Frankly the possibilities are endless and having never met you or knowing the first thing about OP I will not tell him/her that X school is the absolute right choice. Use the factors I mentioned as well as the other posts on this board as preliminary info, but the best information comes from people you can talk with face to face.  You cannot do with that with myself, Miami88, or Loki13. For all you know we are all using the same screen name and hired by Law School Discussion to disagree to generate content. That is not the case, but maybe it is there is nothing wrong with saying anything you want on this board or others.

 on: March 25, 2015, 04:39:55 PM 
Started by Mdw426 - Last post by Miami88
But no, I'm not the Dean of Harvard Law School.

... precisely what the Dean of Harvard Law School WOULD SAY, MARTHA MINOW!!!

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