Law School Discussion

Willamette School of Law

Willamette School of Law
« on: June 09, 2005, 01:51:05 PM »
I am still trying to decide between Willmette Law School and Texas Wesleyan. I was hoping that if anyone has any information about Willamette they could share! Is there anyone out there who is planning to attend? Or already does and has some opinion of it? thanks so much for your help!

Re: Willamette School of Law
« Reply #1 on: June 09, 2005, 02:44:57 PM »
I don't know very much about Willamette except that I know someone who didn't make it past 1L because of the harsh curve.  However it looks like Texas Wesleyan has an even higher attrition rate (got the info from the LSAC site).  Other than that I would think it comes down to the usual question of "Where do you want to work?"  Hopefully other posters will have more specific info, but the Pacific NW is a great place to be, I think. 8)

Re: Willamette School of Law
« Reply #2 on: June 09, 2005, 04:02:38 PM »
I'm a 2L at Willamette; it's a great school.  Faculty quality is excellent, and the education you will receive is one of the finest in the nation.  Many students who have transferred after their 1L year to Tier 1 schools have said that the quality of education at Willamette is at least as good if not better. 

There is a rather harsh curve; the bottom 15% of each individual class (i.e. torts, property, etc.) has to get a C- or below.  But, my experience has been that it is not difficult to do well if you apply yourself.  I am near the top of my class, and feel that I still could have studied harder. 

Good luck! 

Re: Willamette School of Law
« Reply #3 on: June 10, 2005, 09:59:45 AM »
Thanks! Do you recommend preparing the summer before by reading books and outlines, etc.? Also, is there anything about Willamette you don't really like? You said that you found yourself able to do well, how much studying did you do? Thanks for all your help, I'm really nervous about starting and am trying to get as much info. as possible!

Re: Willamette School of Law
« Reply #4 on: June 10, 2005, 03:02:47 PM »
The fall book list isn't out yet, as of yesterday anyway, so you can't get your books yet...makes it hard to do the reading for class.  But, I do suggest perusing some of the supplements that various companies put out.  The first year class schedule is similar for most law schools; at Willamette your first term will be Torts, Criminal Law, Contracts, Civil Procedure, and Legal Research/Writing.  I would suggest picking up a black letter outline and/or examples and explanations for each of those classes except legal research/writing.  I really wish I had done this in the beginning (especially with Civ Pro) because then I probably would have had more of an idea of what was going on. 

The first term I did better than the second (which, actually, was pretty much standard from what I've heard); the first term I spent about an hour or so before classes started, and then I had a few breaks between classes during the day (anywhere from 1/2 hour - 1 1/2 hours) that I used to read/study; and then usually anywhere from 1-3 hours a night; and I always took one weekend day off, and usually one night during the week off.

The busiest time for me was the 3 weeks before finals, and then finals themselves.  The 3 weeks before finals were spent outlining (for those, like me and 90% of my class, who didn't outline as we went), and then the days between finals during the two weeks of finals is spent intensely studying for each of the finals. 

Hope that helps.  8)

Re: Willamette School of Law
« Reply #5 on: June 10, 2005, 06:52:32 PM »
Thanks so much, that absolutely does help, I really appreciate the suggestions for what to look at beforehand. One more question for you; I'm still really torn between Texas Wesleyan and Willamette. In Texas the cost of living is cheaper, so is everything, and the starting salary is listed as higher. Also, I can afford a MUCH nicer place to live in during law school, which I think would be nice since you spend so much time studying. However, Willamette is Tier 3, so therefore higher ranked, I've heard nothing but wonderful things about it, and my boyfriend would be closer (he's in northern cal.) and yes I know BAD reason, but I can't help but think about it. Do you have any suggestions on how to make this decision? Thanks again for your help, I REALLY appreciate it!!!

Re: Willamette School of Law
« Reply #6 on: June 13, 2005, 08:37:26 AM »
Where to go is really a personal decision, based on many different factors.  However, I can say that housing in Salem is really not that expensive.  I rent a nice 1 bedroom house with a full basement, hardwood floors, probably around 1100-1200 square feet total for $495 a month; and it's about 1/2 mile (at the most) from the school, has a nice little backyard, car port, etc.   

I'm confused when you say the starting salary is listed as being higher; do you mean the average starting salary after law school?  This is going to vary so much even at the same school; some people are going to go off and be Public Defenders for 30k or so a year, while others are going to do the big firm thing and make 100k starting out.  It's nearly impossible to determine what your salary is going to be solely on what law school you go to. 

And, the boyfriend thing isn't necessarily a bad reason.  Choosing a law school isn't just about what school is ranked higher, faculty, get through law school successfully, a lot of people also need an infrastructure of support.  As long as it doesn't become a distraction, I think that having somewhere to escape to once in awhile is a good thing.  Taking a Friday off for a three day weekend to go down there once in awhile isn't a bad thing; it may be what you need to recharge.  I took days off here and there to re-charge; as long as you make friends, there will be people who are willing to take notes for you, and vice versa.

I really don't know much about Texas Wesleyan, so I can't really give you a comparison of the two schools...oh, if you don't get a scholarship right away coming to Willamette, don't worry about it.  If you do well the first year, the Dean will probably award you one regardless of need/request.  Scholarship recipients have to maintain a 2.9 GPA, otherwise their scholarship gets taken away and given to those students who didn't get one coming in, but did well enough academically during the year to deserve one.  I was very surprised to get a letter awarding me 8k for next school year.   8)  Willamette really does take care of its students.  Let me know if you have any other questions.

Re: Willamette School of Law
« Reply #7 on: June 14, 2005, 10:52:13 AM »
Hi again, You do have a good point about starting salary...that everyone will be different and based on different things..I was just looking at what USNew's lists it as (but yes, I agree very subjective!) I actually just got back from visiting Salem OR. I left on Sat. and got back last night (Mon.) It was an absolutely Beautiful campus!  In fact, I think it is probably the nicest one that I have ever seen! The stream running through and the old style buildings really make it just wonderful. However, I was pretty disappointed with the town. I guess I've been spoiled living here, but it seemed kind of run down. The West side was much nicer and seemed to have promise, but overall I was really disappointed with Salem, I pictured something totally different. And as far as the living situations go, yes I noticed that rent is very cheap (which is really great for students, here it's about $1200 for a one bedrooom!) but I've been looking to purchase rather than rent, and I was very dissapointed in the house prices...for what it costs to buy a not very nice house in Salem, I can get a beautiful 2200 sq. ft. home in Fort Worth. At this point I'm leaning towards going to Texas, but I have heard nothing but GREAT things from every Willamette student I've spoken with. I really havn't had the opportunity to speak with many TWU students. I think that Willamette is probably a wonderful school that provides a great education, but I'm wondering if I wont be happy living there is it worth going?? The other thing is, I've read that most everyone stays in Washington and Oregon afterwards to work and the chance of coming to California is very very low. And although it's a better school, do you think that matters a lot between tier 3 and 4??? I spoke with my brothers best friend who is a 35 yr. old lawyer at a big firm and he said it doesn't matter at all...that once your out of the top 100 schools, they don't even look. I'm not sure this is true, but it's something to think about!! I really don't know what to do at this point! This is such a hard decision!!!

Re: Willamette School of Law
« Reply #8 on: June 15, 2005, 09:56:15 AM »
Yeah, the campus is really nice...the town itself is so so.  The more we live here, the more it grows on us, but there are areas that aren't so great.  There is a big meth problem in Oregon, and in Salem especially.  But, we really haven't experienced too many problems associated with it.  There is a lot to do in Salem/Oregon, you just have to be geared towards a Pacific Northwest mentality; there is a lot of opportunity for hiking, camping, canoeing, skiing, going to the beach, going to the Dunes, art shows/classes, etc.  Also, a lot of Willamette students live out of town a little ways, or even as far North as the Portland/Vancouver area.

As for rankings, I would say that once you get out of Tier one schools, you probably are looking at working regionally for a few years at least if you want to go Big Law.  So, if you want to go Big Law and 100k a year, graduating from Willamette you are probably going to be looking at Portland firms like Tonkon Torp, Stoel Rives, Schwabe, etc.  And, to do that, you're going to need to stay near the top of the class at least top 20-25%.  If you ultimately want to stay in Texas, you should probably think about going to Wesleyan.  Same thing if you want to work in California, if you aren't going to go to a top 50 school, choose one that's in the area you want to be in.  Most firms reserve a few spots in their hiring class for students from regional schools. 

If you want to work in CA, between Wesleyan and Willamette, I would probably choose Willamette simply because it's closer, and thus likely to get more name recognition.  I'm also biased, and don't feel that Willamette is a "typical" t.t.t. We had a few years of horrible classes that temporarily brought the bar passage rate down, and I think we get a bad rap in the US News rankings.  In terms of current bar passage rate, faculty excellence, student/professor ratio, etc.  we should be ranked a lot higher.  But, that's just my opinion.   ;)

Really, the most important factor is if you have decided where you want to ultimately work...figure that out, and then choose a school in that region.   8)

Re: Willamette School of Law
« Reply #9 on: June 19, 2005, 11:11:21 AM »
Hey, TortLover-

I'm a recently admitted 1L to be, and I'm wondering what insight you have into which parts of Salem are decent neighborhoods (i.e., not a strip mall, a la Keizer), convenient to Willamette? I'd like to be able to walk to campus and uhh... "downtown," but it seems like that type housing is somewhat scarce. Right now I'm focusing around Bush's Pasture and Court-Chemeketa (NW of campus). I'm pretty familiar with Salem, having grown up in Eugene, now living in Portland. Any suggestions? Are there any neighborhoods or buildings that seem to attract more law students than others?

Thanks in advance...