Law School Discussion


Which school offers the best education?

Northern Illiniois University
John Marshall Law School
Southern Illinois University

Frustrated With Law School Rankings

Frustrated With Law School Rankings
« on: April 28, 2004, 05:32:42 AM »
I am a part-time law student finishing my third year at "middle of the road" law school. I'm not an idiot but I didn't pay a great deal of attention to school rankings prior to selecting my school. As for undergrad., I graduated magna cum laude (3.7/4.0) from a highly-ranked state school and scored a not-so-great-but-ok-I-guess 159 on the LSAT. I made the decision to attend my school primarily because I initially received a full-tuition merit scholarship and could attend part-time while working full-time to avoid accumulating debt that approached the level of our current national deficit. I was a little over-confident and managed to lose the scholarship after the second year, placing myself well within the happy pool of up-coming graduates whose debt is approaching the oh-so-horrifying six digit figure. I've alternated between doing extremely well in law school (when the professor is remotely engaging) to rather poorly when the professor is as as intriguing as bingo night with my incontinent grandmother. I've gotten the best grade in several classes and advanced to semi-finals in Appellate Advocacy. My problem is that I am an intelligent, driven and accomplished student but feel dramatically restricted in the post-grad "opportunity" (i.e. job) realm based merely on my school's non-top-50 status. Am I just being pessimistic? I am so sick of seeing top 10/50, etc. lists plastered all over the place. I could have gone to a first tier school but couldn't manage to not bring in income and pay for school for three years. I feel like a second-class citizen and it angers me. I know that employers look at more than a school's rank but I feel unfairly classified. Any comments?

Re: Frustrated With Law School Rankings - Help!!!
« Reply #1 on: April 28, 2004, 08:35:29 AM »
i wanted to know what school you're at now, but i'm not sure i want to drudge up anymore bad feelings for ya. but i do have some light at the end of your tunnel! depending on which state you're in and which firms you're looking at, what a lot of them look at are really your grades and your activities and what you tried to 'accomplish' so-to-speak in law school.

i worked for a big national firm here in phx a year ago and i asked one of the recruiters what they looked for in law students when they were hiring for either summer or perm positions. she said the main thing she looked at were grades, then activities (i.e. law review, moot court, etc.), then the school you went to although she truthfully told me they do look at rankings. but when i left in the summer (i was only doing a paid internship in a policy group w/in the firm), one of the summer clerks they had just hired was from a T4 on the east coast. also i was just looking at a firm in chicago's web site and i was seeing a lot of people from a regional T4 school in a big firm. so i hope this makes you feel better! :)


Re: Frustrated With Law School Rankings
« Reply #2 on: April 28, 2004, 02:41:20 PM »
AJ: Thank you for your kind sentiment. Your post is encouraging. I don't often review published school rankings but when I have occasion to think about them, I sometimes end with tangential ranting! I feel like there are simply so many factors about schools that are not included in the analysis. Statistics based on limited criteria that almost exclusively reflect written test scores are so unidimensional in terms of the picture they present to the world. They're insulting. I would like the opportunity to be judged on my own merit, rather than on the basis of a *number* assigned to a school I selected mostly out of financial necessity. Yikes! I'm still ranting, aren't I? As Woody Allen would say, "it's nothing a little prozac and a polo mallet can't cure...":) Thank you for the recruitment tips! -- Bugg

Re: Frustrated With Law School Rankings
« Reply #3 on: April 28, 2004, 04:18:52 PM »
it comes w/the territory, bugg. lol ;) no worries about the rank...i meannn...rantings. (lol!) ;D my advice to you? call the school yourself and talk to someone there and ask them about the #s published along with other things. for example, i was thinking that i wanted to go to NWern, right? but when i went to a law school forum? i was so ready to run far far FAR away from that school! i was even wishing they weren't in chicago of all places! that's my home housing a school like that! lol and besides, they'll be glad you talked to them and not just went based on what some magazine said.

good luck bugg. ;D


Re: Frustrated With Law School Rankings
« Reply #4 on: May 03, 2004, 02:10:44 PM »
I pretty much did the same thing. I was accepted to a couple of highly ranked schools, but was offered scholarships to ones not so highly ranked.  After visiting the law schools and weighing my pros and cons, I decided to opt for a lower tier school.  I just got a better overall impression during the visit and the scholarship money always helps.  If you do well and stay in the top percentage of your classes, you will most likely find good employment opportunites upon graduation.

Re: Frustrated With Law School Rankings
« Reply #5 on: May 03, 2004, 02:29:18 PM »
I really do appreciate the positive feedback. I'm sure everything will work out fine in the end. If I had chosen a higher-ranked school at the expense of my scholarship, I'm sure I would be lamenting about all of the extra debt instead. When finances are an issue, it makes the decision difficult! It is definitely comforting to hear I'm not the only person in the world to choose finances over prestige. :-)