Law School Discussion

Decision Time...

Decision Time...
« on: May 11, 2008, 02:36:32 PM »
Okay so I have a dilemma and I am hoping to get some opinions on the matter. I am moving to Southern California, there is no room to move on this. I have been accepted to schools which are not in the right area and have been waiting to hear from the CA schools I applied to. Yesterday I got a letter from La Verne with a $21,500 a year scholarship. That would make tuition there approx. $12,000 which is nice. I know they only have provisional accred. but I think I might be seriously considering it. I am waiting to hear from TJSL, where I am deferred, as well as Cal Western and Whittier although I don't think I have much of chance at those ones. The seat deposit is due June 15th and if I don't hear from the other schools before then I will be sending it in with the intention of transferring to TJSL or Cal Western later on. I know it's not a good idea to go to a school with the intention of transferring but the price is right and I don't want to put it off anymore. I am not interested in going to a T14 and I don't want big law. I just finished 5 years as an undergrad and I am ready to go to law school. I'm not taking the LSATs again, I have taken them twice and raised my score significantly the second time. So I guess I'm wondering what other people think, does it sound like a good idea? I know some people will say it's a horrible idea because La Verne is a T4 but for what I am looking for, does it make sense?


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Re: Decision Time...
« Reply #1 on: May 11, 2008, 03:00:29 PM »
I know very little about any of those schools, so I'll refrain from proffering any advice in that regard.  However, for other people to give their two cents, it could be helpful to know your career goals. 

So, other than "not biglaw" and a Southern Cali location, what are you looking for?

Re: Decision Time...
« Reply #2 on: May 12, 2008, 04:23:44 PM »
I'll take a stab at this. it seems like la verne presents a nice option for you, but you should do a bit more research on the school. From what I've seen, the attrition rate is terrible at the school. Also, as an OC resident, I can tell you that whittier is much better in terms of job placement than la verne, and that in itself is pretty sad. Furthermore, La Verne is not a T4 school. And lastly, as an OC resident, I can tell you that Le Verne probably places decent (at best) in Ontario and San Bernadino area, so you would really have to think about living there for beyond law school, just to get some experience at the least.

Whittier has a very high level of academic attrition, but it does manage to place decent enough in OC. Not for biglaw, but for gov't jobs and small firms. However, having worked with many Whittier grads (I've worked at a mid sized gov't firm) I can tell you that Whittier does a poor job of preparing students for the bar. Many of my former co-workers have tried taking the bar 4-5 times and failed. Looking at their stats, they have a 30% bar passage rate in 2008. Not so great...

As for TJSL and Cal Western, it seems like CalWestern is actually a decent school. The programs I've looked at there indicate that it is a school on the rise, that they have a good (not great) faculty, and really great programs. The fact that they are the 2nd best school in San Diego helps with job placement, as I've heard that many mid sized firms and even some large firms think highly of their grads (alumni connection).

As for TJSL, I have a friend who is a current 1L there. She is trying her best to transfer out, but as of yet I have no idea how she's doing. I echo your idea that it is not a great idea to enter a law school with the intention of transferring. If you do not make it, you would be stuck at a school that you had no real intention on staying at anyway. Also, law school is a very big investment, so you want to make sure you don't waste your money or your time. Good luck OP!

post edit: also forgot about this link

Re: Decision Time...
« Reply #3 on: May 14, 2008, 11:02:22 AM »
Okay...this seems like a no-brainer.  Of course, I expect some to disagree with what I'm saying, and that's fine.

Here is probably the best advice that you will get.  You have a problem.  You need to go to law school in August, but you'll be in Southern Cal for a while.  That doesn't matter.  Eliminate your temporary location from your calculation, as moving is probably not the most significant expense that you will incur, obviously.

Now that you're "aware" that your temporary location is not relevant, let's look at the relevant issues.  As you won't be going into biglaw or a T14/T2 school, let's consider your situation.  A Tier 3 school is essentially the same as a Tier 4 school, in terms of job prospects.  The USNWR and schools' statistics are accurate, but misleading, so don't go by them.  You're basically going to be a "poor" lawyer (not making the big bucks).  So this means that you should go to a school that will cost you the least in terms of overall cost, including tuition, cost of living, and whatever else there is.

If a school is provisionally accredited by the ABA, there is a possibility that the school could lose that ABA provisional accrediation.  That is a risk if you value being able to take the bar exam in any state.  If you wanna move to California later and practice there, you can't if provisional accrediation is lost.

So you would be gambling by going to a provisionally accredited school.  Even with the tuition discount, you're taking a risk.

The next step is pretty clear...find out if that school would be allowed to have its graduates take the bar exam in that school's state, if that school lost its provisional accrediation.  If that school would allow its graduates to take the bar exam in that school's state without ABA provisional accrediation, you would need to decide whether you would want to take the bar exam in that state alone, potentially.  If you would be okay with taking the bar exam in that state alone, if allowed, then go to that provisionally accredited school.  Cost probably matters the most in your situation.  If that school would Not allow its graduates to take the bar exam in that school's state without ABA provisional accrediation, don't even consider that school.

That is your answer.  It would require additional research on your part, but hey, it's only your future and debt ranging up to $200k.

Re: Decision Time...
« Reply #4 on: May 14, 2008, 04:38:33 PM »
Don't go to La Verne...whatever you do. If you check out their bar passage rate from the ABA stats it's something like 30%. Please don't even touch the school.