The biggest differences lie in the quality of the students, it seems. At "top" schools, the students all seem much more serious about being there, smarter (and therefore nerdier, at the Tier 4 schools the girls were all hot and the guys arrogant frat-boy types where at Notre Dame and Illinois most of the people were acne-covered nerds, foreigners, and overzealous overachievers who eventually get very annoying). Another difference is that at the Tier 4 schools, there were typically only 4 or 5 people (out of 60 or 70) answering questions voluntarily, whereas at Illinois & ND many different members of the classes (same size) were giving opinions and being called upon. As far as the Faculty, at the Tier 4 schools, they seemed to be less "in charge" of the class, and let the students express their (usually stupid) opinions. At Illinois & ND the professors came off so intellectually superior (though still friendly) that the people were careful about racing to voice some dumb opinion they have. Both Tiers' faculty seemed accessible and "knowledgable enough." All in all, if the only full-rides you get are from Tier 4 (or even some Tier 3) schools, I would recommend going to a highly ranked in-state school (depending on what state you're in) or biting the bullet and paying out to go to a Tier 1 private or public that has reasonably low tuition ($23,000 versus $32,000). If you get a full ride from a Tier 1 or near Tier 1, as I did, I'd recommend putting it in your top 5 choices, visit, and consider it very seriously. When it all comes down to it, there are really five factors to consider in what you want in a law school: 1) Geography: Is this a place I could live for a minimum for 3 years, and realistically 6 to 7 years? 2) Specialized Programs: Does this school offer a concentration that I'm attracted to, or does it cater to mostly, i.e., corporate law, when, i.e., I want to go into Public Service? 3) Cost: Can I afford this school's tuition, given the area of law I want to practice and the debt I have already taken on? How much does it cost to live in the area around the school (this can vary by as much as $10,000 per year from school to school) 4) Gut Reaction: When I visited, did it just "feel" right? --Consistently going with your gut feeling is a talent well valued when put into action, and finally, 5) Job Prospects: Does this school host on-campus interviews? Does the admissions office seem to have a lot of JD's from their own school working there, suggesting that these people couldn't find jobs and for USNEWS & WORLD REPORT sake they hired them to list a higher percentage of the most recent class as having jobs? There are some Tier 3 schools that do a better job finding their students jobs than some top 25 schools--the best thing to do is ask students or very recent graduates about this (go on martindale.com and look up recent graduates from the law school in question). HTH
It is clear that you're biased towards Cooley because it's your only option. Quit following up my posts--it adds visual clutter while people are trying to read meaningful posts.P.S. Here's a glean of insight: I don't really care about whether these people take my posts seriously, and everytime you drone on for six paragraphs about why you don't like them, I'm laughing my ass off knowing that you're never going to get that 15 minutes back. Way to go. Quote from: A_guy on December 01, 2004, 12:48:03 PM
I have basically the same question. I have been accepted at Georgetown and Michigan, and feel good about my chances at UCLA, Vandy, USC and GW. But I know that I could get a large scholarship from other places I applied to like Pepperdine, ASU, or even UNLV. I am from Las Vegas and would eventually like to end up here as a law professor or judge after some years in practice, although for now I want to get out of this town. Do I take the prestige and the accompanyting debt load, or go debt free with a lesser paying job? The small firm I work for right now already offered me a position after school, so I am confused. Please help with your wise comments.