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Author Topic: How much do "tiers" matter?  (Read 4371 times)

katfife

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How much do "tiers" matter?
« on: June 25, 2004, 07:13:06 PM »
I am an incoming 1L this fall.  I did fairly well on my LSAT's (161) and was accepted by several schools from tier 2-4 with various scholarship opportunities.  In the end, however, money won out and I opted to accept a full-tuition from a newer (and lower tier) law school.  Was that a totally dumb decision???  The school is Ave Maria Law in Ann Arbor, MI.  I know they have great bar stats from last year (thier first graduating class), and while bar passage rates are clearly vital... I know there is a lot more to it.  If you are not going to a tier one anyway, does it really matter that much which school you choose?  HELP!!!

sarahz

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Re: How much do "tiers" matter?
« Reply #1 on: June 25, 2004, 07:52:42 PM »
It totally matters which tier you are in...yes, people in 1st tier schools can have it the easiest but the difference between a 2nd and 4th tier school when it comes to job placement, average salary is HUGE!  its prob. to late to change anything now but you should have been asking these questions when you first applied!  Sorry to sound harsh but you prob. made a silly decision!

michelle

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Re: How much do "tiers" matter?
« Reply #2 on: June 25, 2004, 08:46:55 PM »
I agree with sarahz... unless you graduate at the very top of your class, make law review, and become a top editor on law review... but, even then, graduating at a higher tier school would have gotten you many more opportunities....

The upside is that the salary differential decreases as you get more and more experienced as a lawyer.  In other words, a graduate from a tier one would make significantly more money than a lower-tiered graduate for the first 5ish years out of law school but, as you prove yourself as a skilled lawyer, the relative salary differential will decrease significantly....

Also, if you plan on practicing law locally, then taking a lower ranked school isn't necessarily a bad idea.

If you are regretting your decision, it probably is too late.... but its always worth trying to call the admissions office of schools at which you were accepted.  A lot of schools are still moving people off their waitlists, and they might want to take you (a more qualified candidate) than someone they did not accept right away... A long shot, but what do you have to lose?

If that doesn't work, you can always take a year off (and maybe work as a paralegal) and reapply later...

Good luck!

davial0

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Re: How much do "tiers" matter?
« Reply #3 on: June 26, 2004, 12:16:23 AM »
Also another thing Ave Maria is only has provisional accredidation, so it is possible that the school will not recieve full ABA approval, and this means that you may not be able take the Bar in any state other than MI

rainmkr07

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Re: How much do "tiers" matter?
« Reply #4 on: June 28, 2004, 09:34:22 AM »
I don't think this was a good decision.

I was in a similar boat.  I had to pick between a #86 school (tier 2) and a tier 4 new school (Florida Coastal).  Hofstra offered little money, Florida offered lots of money.

But 2 things helped me choose.  1. Hofstra starting salary is $80-100k. 2. Florida is $40-50k.  And the second thing was that new schools have a very (very) small alumni network.  Older, higher tier schools tend to have many more alumni, and that larger network seems invaluable when it comes to finding a job and moving "up the ranks."

eracism

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Re: How much do "tiers" matter?
« Reply #5 on: June 28, 2004, 10:00:31 AM »
kat:

Some people are very obsessed with "tier" status.  I don't think that we have enough information on you and your choices to give you a straight yes or no answer.  The truth is that it depends.  What schools were you accepted into?  What do you what to do?  Where do you want to do it?  How much, if any, family support will you receive?  Congratulations on the scholarship!

katfife

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Re: How much do "tiers" matter?
« Reply #6 on: June 28, 2004, 12:30:44 PM »
Ouch!  Well... thanks for the input, that was what I was looking for.  As for the last posting, asking for more info.... I realized after I sent that that I prob. should have added in a few more details (sorry ;)).  I do not have any family cash flow, rather, I have under-grad debt flow.  My area of interest is actually peace studies/negotiations or something to do with humanitarian aide or policy.... so while I plan on studying my ass off for the bar exam to make sure I pass it, I do not necessarily want to practice law.  My thinking was that since I have zero financial support from anyone but my local lending company and am not planning to go in to "big" law that obtaining a law degree from a newer institution wouldn't be as impactive.  Though a top school would def. give me more opportunities, I didn't think I'd be shooting myself in the foot.  Wrong???

scottys

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Re: How much do "tiers" matter?
« Reply #7 on: July 01, 2004, 11:53:44 AM »
What is Ave Maria ranked as anyways?  I can't seem to find it, and I am kind of curious because I am in the same situation as well. 

katfife

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Re: How much do "tiers" matter?
« Reply #8 on: July 01, 2004, 12:35:06 PM »
bottom of the ladder... it is still pending approval from the ABA. so far they are way beyond schedule from what i understand, and thier first grad. class (2003) scored better than any other law school in michigan on the bar.  i know going to a school that isn't certified yet is dangerous, but i looked in to it, and they seem to really have thier stuff together.

mannumberfour

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Re: How much do "tiers" matter?
« Reply #9 on: July 03, 2004, 08:01:27 PM »
Don't do it!!!  Wait a year if you have to.  A fourth tier is a waste of your three years.  You get what you pay for when those crappy schools lure you with a free deal.