Law School Discussion


Which school offers the best education?

Northern Illiniois University
John Marshall Law School
Southern Illinois University

"Which is the Best" -- Poll


"Which is the Best" -- Poll
« on: March 30, 2004, 10:29:09 AM »
These are 3rd and 4th tier schools, but they might be my ony option! I want to get into a different school, but having that one in this poll would be dumb b/c it is much higher ranked.

Re: "Which is the Best" -- Poll
« Reply #1 on: March 30, 2004, 06:05:07 PM »
hey hoops! i'm picking JM because i know that they have just as good a chance, if not better, than the other two schools for getting you into IP and some firms, i've seen, have hired a lot of grads from JM more than the other two schools in chicago. and these were big name firms, although i'm not sure if that's your ultimate goal; to get into on of those big name firms.

but good luck w/whoever you decided and what route you decide to go! :)

aj :)


Re: "Which is the Best" -- Poll
« Reply #2 on: March 31, 2004, 06:52:33 AM »

I'm not sure if IP is my game (with my undergrad degree it could be, but I just don't know for sure).  For me- cost is a major thing- so the publics look pretty sweet. JM is over $20,000 MORE per year. Just not sure yet!

Re: "Which is the Best" -- Poll
« Reply #3 on: April 02, 2004, 06:51:16 AM »
hmm.. that is a major consideration. well, best of luck as you choose! :)


Re: "Which is the Best" -- Poll
« Reply #4 on: April 02, 2004, 01:52:19 PM »
I won't vote for which one is 'better' because I don't know what you mean by "best."  If you mean quality of the education, 1) that doesn't really and 2) they're probably all the same.  If you mean job opportunities than I'd say John Marshall simply because of its location.  The Chicago firms are full of John Marshall grads.  There isn't much of anything in Southern IL except for the St. Louis suburbs and St. Louis has SLU and WashU and Mizzou, all higher ranked than Southern IL.  Nothern IL isn't really close enough to Chicago. 

But I got to tell you that if I were in your shoes I wouldn't go to law school if those were my choices.  I personally don't think any of them are worth the investment. 

Sure Chicago firms are full of JM grads but look at when they graduated.  Most graduated back in the day when there wasn't as much competition as there is today.  Now Chicago has what 8 law schools?  And a handful of good law schools within a few hours drive. 

If you're in-state in Illinois then Illinois is your best bet.  If you are dead set on going to law school, find out about transferring from of the three to Illinois.  Illinois will get you a decent job in Chicago after graduation and it's cheap. 


Re: "Which is the Best" -- Poll
« Reply #5 on: April 02, 2004, 02:48:08 PM »
I diagree with the investment idea you stated earlier. Sure Illinois would be the place to go, but that isn't an option - at least not now.

But I'm of the opinion that if YOU wouldn't go to law school if these were your choices, maybe YOU shouldn't go to law school at all. Don't you think it's silly to only go to law school if you are able to get into a Tier 1 school?  What does that say about your passion for the law and the education you would obtain?

I would like to graduate with the least debt possible, making two of these three choices, at the very least "options". But this isn't a poor investment- I was offered $$ at Southern, but even if I was paying the full tuition- it's like $7,000!!! How is $21,000 (aside from the opportunity cost) not worth the investment? I just don't get it-- please educate my pathetic 3rd Tier skull.

Re: "Which is the Best" -- Poll
« Reply #6 on: April 02, 2004, 03:19:19 PM »
What good is a "passion for the law" if you can't get a legal job?  Besides no one has a "passion for the law."  Do you know what lawyers really do?  Lawyers are some of the most unhappy people.  There are so many surveys showing that most lawyers are unsatisfied with their career.  Sure it'd be great to be on the Supreme Court debating equal protection but neither of us is going to end up being a supreme. 

I did financial analysis before law school and believe me I didn't have "passion for financial analysis" but I was good at it and didn't hate my job. I kind of liked it, really, but didn't have a 'passion' for it.  I feel the same way about the law.  I'm good at it and I won't hate doing it (if I'm paid well) but I don't have a 'passion' for it. 

You're forgetting about the opportunity cost.  You could work those three years.  You're losing three years out of the workforce. 

Why do you want to be a lawyer?  What kind of work do you want to do?  Do you feel you have a "passion for the law?"  If so, why? 


Re: "Which is the Best" -- Poll
« Reply #7 on: April 04, 2004, 03:56:12 PM »
I have more of a passion for education.  I want to learn as much as possible- after law school I'll want to learn something else to expand on my law education and or legal career.

No, I didn't forget about opportunity cost, as I mentioned it earlier, but even with my decent salary, I want law school for the education.

I realize that lawyers are upset and unhappy with their jobs in general, but maybe that's because too many people look into law school in the same manner you do - a simple cost analysis. You need to understand that there are people that wish to learn as much as possible. Usually, I do this on my own via the wonderful WWW, but law school is something different- it requires schooling. After law school- I'm going to pursue an MBA (probably part time) as that cost analysis would be crazy, and an MBA is much easier to do part time when compared to law school.

Why is it that you would like to go to law school? If you were good at financial analysis, you should have been pulling in a monster salary. If what you say is true (about you being good at financial analysis) and you are really interested in just the money (which may be an incorrect assumption) you should stay in the finance sector. There is much more potential profit and wages in finance. The best and most successful lawyers will never make as much as the most successful financial folk (that are in investments). Although I would assume you are looking to go into a combination of both law and finance.

Let me know what you're thinking...

Re: "Which is the Best" -- Poll
« Reply #8 on: April 04, 2004, 04:28:54 PM »
Don't go to law just for the education.  Law school isn't like other graduate schools.  It's a 'professional' school meaning that they 'train' you rather than 'educate' you.  Law school is about learning the law and applying it to specific cases.  It's about learning how to make arguments.  It's about learning how to write.  It's not 'learning' in the sense that you 'learned' in your American history class.  It's actually very 'mechanical' not 'intellectual.' 

I'm already in law school.  I'm a 3L.  Let me give you an illustration of how law school is 'working class' instead of 'academia.'  I'm studying tonight for a con law class, working on my outline.  I'm mapping out the law related to free speech, the nuts and bolts.  Figuring out what category to put the speech into to determine how much protection it's given.  It's like doing a word problem in math, very mechanical. 

I'm a psuedo-intellectual.  I love reading about history and philsophy.  It's my 'passion.'  But I'm from the middle class and have to support myself.  If I won the lottery I'd travel the world and take classes in art and literature.  That's not to say that I don't like the 'law.'  I do like the 'law.'  In fact, I'm good at it.  I like the step by step process.  And I like the theory behind it.  In fact, if I won the lottery I'd take some law classes too.  But like I wrote I'm middle class so I have to approach every major financial decision as a cost/benefit analysis.  Just like when I bought my car.  Law school is about a $200K investment.  That's one of the most significant investments you'll make in your life. 

One more thing, the lower ranked the school the less' intellectual' it is.  Lower tiered law schools are more 'functional' in the way they teach their students. 

But most importantly go to law school because you want to practice law, not for any other reason.  Do people go to med school for the education or to practice medicine? 

Re: "Which is the Best" -- Poll
« Reply #9 on: April 04, 2004, 08:48:56 PM »
One aspect you should also consider is the individual's character and the drive to succeed in any project one may have. While it is true that I have met attorneys who graduated from a tier-3 school in Florida just to end up as a contract attorney making $30 per hour at a small size firm, I also met attorneys who went to tier-4 schools and have risen to the position of partner at their respective law firms (not large ones though).
    As for why one becomes an attorney, or a doctor; money is a very valid reason for why one would pursue such a profession. However, we should not assume that is the only one, much less the best one. Why do I want to become an attorney? Because, after two years of volunteering with legal organizations and working for law firms, I can say that is something that I would actually enjoy doing to for a living.
    Speaking with attorneys and people who are either practicing medicine or studying for it, I learned that they do indeed want to help people. The main reason for why they require to make 100K or more is simply to pay the exorbitant debts they acquire in obtaining their BA and their MD degrees (and soemtimes a MA).
    If money really is the only motivation for pursuing a path, we would never had a Picasso or a George Orwell, much less any actors in Hollywood, most of them who certainly faced a few years of hardship before finally triumphing in their careers.
    I believe people pursue a career because that is something they will be happy doing. True, people may claim that they are unhappy with their jobs, but that could be due to the fact that they were uncertain as for what exactly they would like to do with their lives.