Law School Discussion


« on: May 21, 2008, 12:35:03 AM »
I am facing a bit of a dilemma: I was originally accepted at Georgetown and wait-listed at UCLA.  I put down my tuition deposit at GULC, but  I just found out that I was accepted to UCLA from the waitlist.  I was raised in the San Francisco Bay Area and did my undergrad in northern CA as well, so would get the in-state tuition break at UCLA but I am also very open to studying in a new place.  Any opinions on how these two school compare?  Is there really a significant difference in job prospects between schools ranked 14th and 16th?  Any opinions on the atmosphere at each location?  Any thoughts would be appreciated!

« Reply #1 on: May 21, 2008, 11:29:55 AM »
if you're planning on staying in California forever, you should probably take the tuition break.  UCLA is still Top 20 (although I'm quickly learning the vast differences between T14 and even 15).  If you go to UCLA you should have excellent CA job prospects and pretty good national job prospects, so in all likelihood you wouldn't be kicking yourself later if you decided on UCLA.  But, if you're wanting to go somehwere else to practice or you're interested in politics outside of California, I would go on and attend Georgetown.  Nothing beats a T14 for flexibility.  In your case though, the lower debt and the option of a Top 20 might be equally as good, especially if you're going to be staying in california forever.  Hope that helps!

« Reply #2 on: May 21, 2008, 12:12:45 PM »
I was faced with the same decision two years ago.  I chose UCLA because of the tuition break and I DO plan to practice outside of CA after graduation.  Based on my peers' and my own experiences with job searches (now this is purely anecdotal, so take it with a grain of salt), UCLA might even give us an edge in large non-CA markets.  Firms want diversity.  New York firms get tons of GULC applicants, but comparatively few UCLA applicants who are serious about practicing outside of CA.  Conversely, CA firms get tons of UCLA students who absolutely plan to stay in-state after graduation.  I know a few people who place below the median who had great luck with New York firms and less than stellar responses from CA firms because their diversity gave them an edge in the former market, but they were one of many vying for LA-based firms.  Of course, no one really knows hiring partners' exact rubrics in assessing candidates, but I honest to God believe this whole T14 business exists only in online discussion boards.  Hiring partners do not set an arbitrary prestige cutoff between the 14th and 15th schools (at least, as far as I've seen and experienced).  Obviously they will treat similarly ranked candidates from Harvard and UCLA very differently.  But GULC and UCLA?  I really don't think so.  If you want the change of scenery and the experience of living in DC for a few years, GULC might be a great option.  But if you're judging by job prospects alone?  I don't believe the differential outweighs the difference in tuition.  Again, this is not based on hard scientific evidence, but my own experiences and perceptions.  Take what you will.

« Reply #3 on: May 21, 2008, 12:59:41 PM »
Thanks so much for the responses-- helping my decision along I think.  Poscratinator-- if you have a sec-- how have you liked studying at UCLA so far?  Do you like your peers/professors?  How helpful has the career center been/what do you think about the alumni network so far?  Also, kind of random, but does UCLA have study abroad programs?

« Reply #4 on: May 21, 2008, 01:14:51 PM »
Prefacing this with the fact that I went to UCLA, I would agree that average person would say that GULC has a edge in national prestige.  My opinion however is that each law school edges out the other on their respective coasts. 

Even though GULC has an edge in biglaw placement, many west coast firms, like Latham, actually prefer UCLA grads. In terms of clerkship and academia possibilities, the schools are about even.  GULC gives you an edge if you want to go into politics and the federal government.  UCLA probably has the edge for public interest because it has a solid program and lower tuition.

There is a vast difference in the feel of both schools I believe.  GULC is a standalone school which is not near the undergrad campus.  The neighborhood is not the greatest.  UCLA is always sunny and nestled between Bev Hills, Bel Air and Brentwood.  It's also a central part of the main campus.  A popular pastime of mine and my friends during law school was going to the Wooden gym after class to play ball and check out the undergrad hotties.  I don't think same can be done at G-town.

Bottom line, my opinion is they are close enough that it would perfectly reasonable for someone to choose based on cost, intended practice location and personal fit.