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Author Topic: Actually choosing a tier 2 over a tier 1- DU is that impressive  (Read 4601 times)

Pub. Interest gal

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So, I have been obsessed these last few weeks with trying to decide between going to a top 20 law school, and going to Denver (#78) who is offering me a full ride.  I spent the $300 this weekend to go visit Denver and see if it was worth flying in the face of the standard advice and not going to the best ranked school I got accepted to.  I have to say, I was blown away.

My experience at Denver was AMAZING! The class I sat in on was as intense and intelligent as any I have seen. The professor was amazing- witty, engaging, and asked tough questions- all while having a nice rapport with the students.  Even better- there wasn't that edge to the students that I saw at so many other schools. One student struggled with an answer and the student next to him helped him out with out making him even look like he didn't know the answer.  Everybody was so friendly and welcoming.  Even just a few weeks before finals they were still VERY willing to talk with me, open and honestly about their experiences. 
I spoke with one of the Deans and some of the faculty and they all seemed so willing to help students in any way imaginable.  They talked about the clerk program and the efforts they go to to help place students and about the new employment law program (meaning a more cohesive group of classes, seminars, internships, etc) for students. On top of a great pubic interest law program, and IP program as well, they are really trying to develop their resources the help all students, whatever brand of law that appeals to them. They discussed testing techniques and professors willingness to let you take past exams and grade them for you, all just in an effort to help you better adjust to law school.  They all seemed very focused on student's success.
Talking with the students it was clear how much they like school, but are also able to enjoy life.  Intramural teams are everywhere, the moot court team placed 18th in the nation (just two from being one of the 16 that gets send to world competitions in Australia).  Throw in the incredibly building (brand new with the highest technology and craftsmanship), and I am sold. :)

So, for those of who might be in a similar situation to myself, and are trying to decide what is worth paying for and how much a difference the rankings actually make in the education you receive- hopefully my experience helps!

jgruber

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Re: Actually choosing a tier 2 over a tier 1- DU is that impressive
« Reply #1 on: April 14, 2004, 01:21:58 PM »
Full ride, supportive atmosphere, public interest emphasis....

Sounds like a no brainer for your situation.

NerdyLaw

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Re: Actually choosing a tier 2 over a tier 1- DU is that impressive
« Reply #2 on: April 14, 2004, 01:25:48 PM »
Do you want to work in/near Denver? The big upside of a top 20 school is being able to work anywhere. I am in the same situation, trying to decide if I want to work near the T2 school offering more money than the T1.
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nathanielmark

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Re: Actually choosing a tier 2 over a tier 1- DU is that impressive
« Reply #3 on: April 14, 2004, 01:59:29 PM »
Im curious, which is the top 20 school you will be turning down?

jbshane

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Re: Actually choosing a tier 2 over a tier 1- DU is that impressive
« Reply #4 on: April 14, 2004, 02:04:48 PM »
Second time today that I'm agreeing with NJLawGuy: do you want to work in Denver?  Since you're not from Denver (which I'm assuming to be the case since you paid $300 to get there - if you are from Denver, that must've been one expensive bus ride), or if you don't have any roots in Denver, all the money in the world and/or a great environment shouldn't persuade you to go there.  In my opinion, going to the top 20 school and taking on the debt would be worth it.  I had no idea UDenver even had a hockey team until they won the Frozen Four last weekend, let alone a law school.  Going to a top 20 school will follow you around for the rest of your life.

bruiser

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Re: Actually choosing a tier 2 over a tier 1- DU is that impressive
« Reply #5 on: April 14, 2004, 02:18:13 PM »
Congrats Pub!!!  The main thing is to go a school that is a match for you!  BRAVO :)!!  And here's to that full ride!

prettylily

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Re: Actually choosing a tier 2 over a tier 1- DU is that impressive
« Reply #6 on: April 14, 2004, 02:28:06 PM »
I would take the money and the supportive atmosphere.  What good is a top 20 school if you're not in an environment where you feel you can succeed.  JMHO.

As for working in a specific place, you can do so from any law school pratically.  It's just a matter of timing.  Will you be able to work in a place right away or a year later?  But, if you don't have a huge debt load, you'll be able to have more options, which I think is more important. Again JMHO.

thechoson

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Re: Actually choosing a tier 2 over a tier 1- DU is that impressive
« Reply #7 on: April 14, 2004, 02:35:53 PM »
Totally depends on the top 20 school, in my opinion. If it's a top 14, which will give you flexibility to practice anywhere, then I'd say go to there. 

Now I know common wisdom is to go to the highest ranked school, no matter what.  While most of the time this probably rings true, I also think it depends on your personal makeup.  Most law students and lawyers are the aggressive, take a chance, work hard types.  Many of us have the guts to take out 150k in loans, and most of us can deal with paying this off once we get in the work force.  However, there are many of us who just cannot stand the idea of having that much debt, no matter how much money we make.  remember, you just don't know how life is going to turn out, and debt is always a bad thing.  So I think this decision is truly a personal one for pub interest girl.  You should decide what your priorities are and go from there.  Do I think paying all that extra money to go to a top 20 school is worth it?  Maybe.  But do I also think by going to a tier 2 school over the other option would make you a failure?  Of course not.

Also, there is the personal makeup of people, once again.  I can imagine that there will be people that shrug off the massive debt (once again people, think of 150k.  Just look at that number.  Let it sink in. It is a LOT of money to be in debt) and study well and get on with life.  I know people that will kill themselves thinking of all that debt while in law school, and that will become a distraction.  If you are the latter, then you should really look at what your priorities are.

So anyways, I am going on and on... good luck to you Pub Interest Girl!

jbshane

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Re: Actually choosing a tier 2 over a tier 1- DU is that impressive
« Reply #8 on: April 14, 2004, 02:37:38 PM »
Just an example of a lack of flexibility in location post-law school.

A current partner in my firm grew up in Boston, went to undergrad here and went to New England School of Law (admittedly not the best law school).  He could not get a job in Boston post-graduation - he couldn't even get an interview.  This is after going to school in Boston and graduating with some sort of Cum Laude designation.  He was forced to move to Michigan for 10 year to begin his legal career.

Essentially, the lesson I've learned from him (and a few others) is that you either go to a top law school or you go to school where you want to work.  He chose the latter and even that didn't work out for him - and it took him 10 years to get back to where he wanted to be in the first place.

I know that this may sound hypocritical.  I got into Davis and waitlisted  at GW, and I'd probably choose Davis over GW if I got into GW even though GW is 20 and Davis is 33.  In my opinion 20 & 33 is a whole lot closer (and in my mind negligeble) than, say, 18 & 78.  Going from 20 to 33 is going to be a slight change. Going from 20 to 78 is a huge change.

stillwaiting

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Re: Actually choosing a tier 2 over a tier 1- DU is that impressive
« Reply #9 on: April 14, 2004, 05:13:07 PM »
Congrats on the full ride & on finding a school that you love!! That is really great. You know what? everyone will offer u different advice but no one really knows for sure, there is no exact formula for getting that perfect job no matter where you go to law school. If you are happy & feel comfortable where you are, you will do well; and when you do well you will more often than not end up with a job you like. Even if you were to take that top 20 offer, you have no idea if you would even get any more interviews than at the tier 2. So basically if you are more comfortable at the tier 2 school, whether for $$$ reasons or curriculum or simply because you like the type of students who attend, i say go for it and you will be just fine. so you have to work in denver a few years, big deal you might actually love it- and even better you will be debt free after really enjoying your experience at law school.