Law School Discussion

Nine Years of Discussion
;

Author Topic: Question on Tiers...  (Read 2538 times)

HRoark81

  • Sr. Citizen
  • ****
  • Posts: 116
    • View Profile
Re: Question on Tiers...
« Reply #10 on: July 28, 2007, 09:54:35 AM »
There seems to be some confusion.  Your question was "why are tiers important," and I answered that question.  Your emphasis is on why tiers are unimportant to you, and I agree that, for your purposes, you made a wise choice (I understand the sacrifice that turning down UPENN must have been).  Nevertheless, I think that the other posters and I have answered pretty well why tiers are important generally, even though they may not mean much in particular cases.

galex

  • Sr. Citizen
  • ****
  • Posts: 111
    • View Profile
Re: Question on Tiers...
« Reply #11 on: July 28, 2007, 10:04:38 AM »
I've never understood why students outside the T14 or Tier 1 keep harping on this in the first place.  If it hadn't been for sites like this, you probably would have been perfectly happy with your law school choice.

Yes, some people are snobs on this board.  It'll be like that in practice too.  It'll probably get worse, not better, over time.  Yes, T14 students have more options for employment.  But if you're truly happy with your law school choice and it was the best/only option for you, there's no reason to be worried about what other people think.  

Gwiz

  • Sr. Citizen
  • ****
  • Posts: 154
  • Can't Touch!
    • View Profile
Re: Question on Tiers...
« Reply #12 on: July 28, 2007, 10:11:47 AM »
I think you made a good decision based on your needs, and your goals.  :) What they think on this board does not matter.  You really shouldn't concern yourself with snobbery.  That is the norm for any profession, and in all walks of life. If that bothers you you're going to have a tough time in everything you do.  I'm sure the rest of them could care less about what you think of thier choices. 

I didn't pay attention to the ranking until I got acceptances.  I based my choices on my personal goals.  I'd say about 10% of the Profs at my school whent to my school, and maybe 20% Harvard, and Yale.  Everyone where I live (Philly) went to Temple, Villanova, Dickinson, and Penn in that order of choice.  I was told by close friends who are practicing attorneys in big law, and solo to avoid Penn if I want to be a big shot in Philly.  Mind you I'm a non-trad as well, so my situation is somewhat unique.  I already have an established business, and a legal client list for when I graduate (If I go solo right away).

The best business managers will look beyond the school you went to, read your sample writing, and insist on meeting you.  I wouldn't want to work with or for someone who's dumb enough to assume I am intelligent just because I went to a T14 (or for non lawyers - L.S.).  That's bad mojo.


I wanna be a gunner when I grow up.

HRoark81

  • Sr. Citizen
  • ****
  • Posts: 116
    • View Profile
Re: Question on Tiers...
« Reply #13 on: July 28, 2007, 05:27:45 PM »
Another thought.  If you are unconcerned with rankings, why did you apply to Penn, given that you don't know anyone in Philadelphia?  And why did you kick and scream and agonize over the decision, if everything you say seemed to make the decision an easy one?  Maybe you really are seeking validation for what many consider a poor choice.

amanda

  • Newbie
  • *
  • Posts: 0
  • I love YaBB 1G - SP1!
    • View Profile
Re: Question on Tiers...
« Reply #14 on: July 28, 2007, 07:37:31 PM »
In reading through these posts, there seems to be a HUGE emphasis on the tier ratings of the schools.  It's almost a snobbery that goes on and it confuses me.

I am going to be honest here.  I am admitted to a T4 school (was T3, but dropped this last year).  The school is Willamette University.  Willamette has a huge and powerful reputation in Oregon.  Several US Senators, Reps, Federal Court Judges, and 2 current Oregon Supreme Court Justices are alumni.  Willamette has wonderful intern/externship opportunities with county/state/and large private firms.  Their ADR program is ranked 6th in the nation.  Oh, and did I mention that they are the oldest university west of the Mississippi.  Their facaulty are graduates of Harvard, Yale, Stanford, and so on and most have actually practiced law.

Yet, I have had several people on boards look at the tier rating and urge me to look at other schools.  I am wondering why that is?

In addition, several posters have turned their noses up at Cooley and other schools in the T4 ranking.

I guess my point is that the law is a competitive occupation and it is very elite.  There are limited seats available, with only about what 190 law schools in the nation.  Many people never make it into law school because they cannot get accepted.  So why the snobbery?

I actually chose Willamette over a Tier 1 school.  Why many have asked?  Because I am a single mom and I need help with my daughter.  My family is here, not in Pennsylvania.  My daughter comes first. And frankly, I have no intentions of leaving the Pacific Northwest, so it makes sense to go to a regional school.

Anyway, can someone explain the snobbery to me?


Let me say first off that I think your decision was right for you, given your goals and circumstances.  However, you should definitely be seeking (and recieving) a full-ride from Williamette if you were admitted to Penn.  It would be dumb not to demand this in the face of your options -- and make sure they know you were admitted to a top 10 school. 

The tier system is basically USNews' attempt to provide a rough guideline to the differentials in quality between different schools.  This relates to faculty quality, reputation, placement, and student body quality.  While highly imperfect, it does provide a rough idea of where schools fall in terms of national reputation / overall quality. 

The tier system is somewhat misleading in that there is a big difference between the top 14 or 15 schools and most of the the rest of the first tier.  The top 14/15 are national programs, the next 10-15 are perhaps semi-national, and the remainder are basically simply strong programs in their respective regions. 

You could call this snobbery, but the truth is that the law is a competitive profession.  GPA isn't a perfect measure of intelligence or ability, but it does tend to show how disciplined you tend to be, and how hard you're willing to work.  LSAT isn't a perfect indicator of intelligence either, but it does tend to indicate one's relative abilties in certain areas important to the study of law.  Combined, these two factors do a decent job in predicting law school success, and it's therefore not surprising that firms will consider a student body with higher LSAT's and GPA's more qualified than others. 

For these reasons, it's generally advised that you attend the "best" (highest ranked) school in desired region.  If you want complete flexibility, you should attend the (best possible school in) the T14.

There are, of course, exceptions to the above rule.  Minor rankings differences may overshadow the fact that two schools are actually equally respected in a given market.  (Sometimes, the lower-ranked school may actually be more respected, for various reasons.)  The rankings do a poor job of measuring local reputation, and therefore some 4th tier schools may actually be quite decent, and place quite well locally, while others are jokes.  (There's a reason that Cooley gets ragged on so much -- their LSAT median is about 10 points lower than Williamettes.) 

And for someone like you, it may in fact make far more sense to attend the local law school, as opposed to a T10.  As long as the school places well in the kinds of jobs you want, that's all that really matters.

(However, as noted, you should be looking at a full-ride at most schools if you were accepted into a T10.  And I've gotta think that Oregon was yield-protecting you when they dinged you.  Did you make clear how sincere your interest was, your family situation, and the fact that they were your first choice?)

I don't think your choice was a bad one at all, given your situation.  I simply think you should be sure you get big scholarship money.  However, it should also be noted that differentials in quality, reputation, and placement are very real.  And they don't just apply to biglaw, they apply to middlelaw, and to most jobs, to some extent.  This doesn't mean that some students at T4 schools aren't more capable than some students at T14 schools.  (And class rank still matters to some degree, of course.)  It just means that these are realities to consider when deciding what you want on your resume. 

(The person who said Temple was better than Penn for Philly biglaw must have been high, I think.)

Contract2008

  • Sr. Citizen
  • ****
  • Posts: 930
    • View Profile
Re: Question on Tiers...
« Reply #15 on: July 29, 2007, 05:01:43 PM »
Assuming this is for real....

For your daughter, for a better financial future for her and you, you should choose PENN.  I hope you do know that PENN is one of the top 14 law schools and an IVY. It's ranked better than Michigan, Boalt, Cornell, Duke, Georgetown, and UCLA just to name few nationally recognized schools.

Sparkz1920

  • Sr. Citizen
  • ****
  • Posts: 165
    • View Profile
    • Email
Re: Question on Tiers...
« Reply #16 on: July 30, 2007, 09:25:09 AM »
Do whats best for you. If you feel that this is a good decision for you, then go for it.

But the rankings do mean something. I myself am not a rankings whore. I too will be attending a T4 school and if i choose to transfer, it wont be to boast that my school is ranked in the such n such place, but moreso for jon opportunities. I could care less about a ranking. I would simply do it for employment opportunities.

Also, check out your school and see how many students find jobs in your region and what type of jobs are there. Instesd of going by what everyone else says, talk to alumni and current students. I spoke to a person who attends the school i will be attending and he said there are a number of students who have taken on summer positions in ATL and Chicago as well as clerkships.

littlelisalaw

  • Jr. Member
  • **
  • Posts: 9
    • View Profile
    • Email
Re: Question on Tiers...
« Reply #17 on: July 30, 2007, 12:13:55 PM »
Thank you very much for all the answers.

I actually had not paid a whole lot of attention to rankings or tiers before, so it was an honest answer.  I have lived around Willamette my whole life and when I said I was going to law school, everyone always asked, "Willamette, right?  That's great.  They have a great reputation!"  Call me naive, but I knew there were Ivy league schools like Harvard, Yale, and such.  I honestly applied to UPENN just to see if I could get in and I actually flew out and visited the campus, taking my daughter.  That was what clinched my decision.

Amanda---Thank you.  I had not thought about Oregon turning me down for that reason.  My thought was to just bust my ass at Willamette and go for a transfer.  Oregon's clinical program with the DA's office in Eugene is why I applied there to begin with.

Prestige, biglaw, and all that is really not why I am getting my law degree.  I have a feeling that my idealism (what is left of it) is about ready to get stomped out of me. 

The truth is that I have been having all kinds of doubts about attending law school and the choice I made, which is what prompted this post. Thanks again for the encouragement and opening my eyes a bit. ;)

Sparkz1920

  • Sr. Citizen
  • ****
  • Posts: 165
    • View Profile
    • Email
Re: Question on Tiers...
« Reply #18 on: July 30, 2007, 12:18:33 PM »
Thank you very much for all the answers.

I actually had not paid a whole lot of attention to rankings or tiers before, so it was an honest answer.  I have lived around Willamette my whole life and when I said I was going to law school, everyone always asked, "Willamette, right?  That's great.  They have a great reputation!"  Call me naive, but I knew there were Ivy league schools like Harvard, Yale, and such.  I honestly applied to UPENN just to see if I could get in and I actually flew out and visited the campus, taking my daughter.  That was what clinched my decision.

Amanda---Thank you.  I had not thought about Oregon turning me down for that reason.  My thought was to just bust my ass at Willamette and go for a transfer.  Oregon's clinical program with the DA's office in Eugene is why I applied there to begin with.

Prestige, biglaw, and all that is really not why I am getting my law degree.  I have a feeling that my idealism (what is left of it) is about ready to get stomped out of me

The truth is that I have been having all kinds of doubts about attending law school and the choice I made, which is what prompted this post. Thanks again for the encouragement and opening my eyes a bit. ;)

Same with me. That is definitely not what i will be going into. The oay is good, but i wnt even have time to spend it.

juliemccoy

  • Sr. Citizen
  • ****
  • Posts: 1632
  • Treat??
    • View Profile
Re: Question on Tiers...
« Reply #19 on: July 30, 2007, 01:01:30 PM »
If you're not sure you want to go to school this fall, you need to decide soon before you end up in debt for nothing. Of if you are on scholarship, you end up jobless for nothing.

I admire you wanting to do the right thing for your daughter... I think if you were seriously considering a legal career, Penn would be an obvious choice. You'd find the childcare help you needed and your daughter would adjust to a new place. It might be harder in the short term, but the long term rewards stand to be much higher.

Williamette is a good local choice, however, and a good choice for practicing law in your region, though. You and your daughter have the emotional benefit of being in a familiar place and local family support.

Once you have graduated and practiced for a good number of years, where you went to school matters a lot less. What you have done in the time since matters more. The opportunties coming out of Williamette will not be as great as Penn, but you certainly are in an under-served legal market. So the opportunities for a local grad in this market would be greater than a more saturated location like Chicago or NYC.

Good luck with your decision whether or not to attend Williamette this fall. That is the most important decision factor at this stage in the game-- and one you need to make for yourself.
Vanderbilt 2010