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Author Topic: Concentration vs overall quality?  (Read 737 times)

Duodora

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Concentration vs overall quality?
« on: March 27, 2008, 01:14:51 AM »
This (or some form of it) has probably been asked before--but the search function doesn't seem to be working...or I'm just being stupid...

But--I'm very interested in environmental law--I know law students change their minds, etc. etc. etc. but right now--I'm pretty focused on that.

I've noticed that a lot of the "best" environmental law schools are not T1, and I was wondering--what are your opinions of choosing a law school based on one concentration, or choosing the overall better school?

Additionally--I've been doing some cost comparisons, and some of the T1 schools are wicked expensive, and the chances for scholarships are slim to none.  Especially planning on going into environmental law, where salaries are lower than other branches of law, would the extra debt from going to a higher level law school pay off?

Thanks!

Connie

camarogirlj

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Re: Concentration vs overall quality?
« Reply #1 on: March 27, 2008, 09:02:39 AM »
I was faced with this exact same situation also with environmental law.  After talking with some people you'll hear the "go to the best school you possibly can regardless of cost" opinion and perhaps that is right and if you can afford to then go for it. 

However, I looked at individual schools and many of them that aren't ranked in the top 10 environmental have environmental journals, certificate programs, and even environmental law clinics.  Some of the faculty can be well-known in the field.  I'm choosing a T2 with one of these programs over a lower-ranked school like Vermont. 

Florida State has the 10th ranked environmental program and Oregon is ranked as well, but I decided those two were too far away for me right now, but they are good options.  South Carolina has the best option in my opinion - the offer a T2 school, decent scholarships, and environmental coursework & journal, with a MSEL dual degree option with Vermont.  You can get the "better" law school and spend a summer in Vermont, do some distance learning and also hold a degree from the #1 env school.  I spoke with an attorney who did just that and he says that employers are always impressed/looking for that extra concentration. 

All that being said, I'm choosing one of my cheaper schools that offer a good environmental program because I want to work for the gov't/non-profit org and we both know those jobs don't pay $120,000 to start!  Hope this helps a bit and if I can answer any specific questions just ask.  Good luck!

Sergio

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Re: Concentration vs overall quality?
« Reply #2 on: March 27, 2008, 12:27:35 PM »
I'm interested in environmental law and I am also looking at schools with decent coursework in the area and a journal.  So it's like a tie-breaker for me between schools of similar rank.

Duodora

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Re: Concentration vs overall quality?
« Reply #3 on: March 27, 2008, 10:31:58 PM »
Thanks for the suggestions!

camarogirlj is definitely right--the NPO's aren't going to pay a lot...and I'm going to be paying for all of law school through loans (or if I'm lucky scholarships...) Graduating with a $120,000 debt, and then get a job earning $30,000 or $40,000 and struggling to pay it back.

Connie

bruinbro

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Re: Concentration vs overall quality?
« Reply #4 on: March 28, 2008, 04:53:44 PM »
This (or some form of it) has probably been asked before--but the search function doesn't seem to be working...or I'm just being stupid...

But--I'm very interested in environmental law--I know law students change their minds, etc. etc. etc. but right now--I'm pretty focused on that.

I've noticed that a lot of the "best" environmental law schools are not T1, and I was wondering--what are your opinions of choosing a law school based on one concentration, or choosing the overall better school?

Additionally--I've been doing some cost comparisons, and some of the T1 schools are wicked expensive, and the chances for scholarships are slim to none.  Especially planning on going into environmental law, where salaries are lower than other branches of law, would the extra debt from going to a higher level law school pay off?

Thanks!

Connie

Unless the difference between the two schools in negligible, you should choose overall quality of the law school over a concentration area.
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AmericanGunner

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Re: Concentration vs overall quality?
« Reply #5 on: March 28, 2008, 04:58:32 PM »
One good compromise might be IU-Bloomington. I know they're in the middle of Tier 1, but you can get a dual degree from one of the best schools of environmental and public affairs in the country. Combine a mid-30s ranked law school and a number 2 or 3 SPEA school, and you could have a winner.

Harvard and UW-Seattle and Boalt Hall are also very good at the above combination (law and SPEA), but some are easier to get into than others.

You'd just have to deal with Hoosier sports fans, but if you're into sports, it could work out for you. ;-)
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billymahogany

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Re: Concentration vs overall quality?
« Reply #6 on: March 28, 2008, 10:27:30 PM »
If you know you want to pursue environmental law as a specialty, just make sure whatever school you end up attending has environmental law classes.
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