Law School Discussion

Full Scholarship...but I don't want to practice law there. Should I do it?

baileypicks24

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Update...

I called Akron's career planning department, and asked them to provide me with a list of every Akron law grad practicing in North Carolina, where I currently live. They were very helpful.

The response seems to be somewhat positive. Everyone working public sector (District Attorney, etc.) says there will be ZERO problem finding a job, and I should take the full scholarship. Small private practice lawyers had the same response, and repeatedly pointed out how helpful minimal law school debt would be. Biglaw lawyers were 50-50...the ones that were more positive had "Magna Cum Laude" next to their degrees. Other biglaw lawyers without the top grades said it would require lots of hard work. So it makes sense.

Basically, it seems like finding the biglaw job in the big city would be improbable. But small to mid sized firms would be within reach, as long as I spent my summers interning and networking back home. I was told to use my local address (where the firm is located), which would supposedly help.

Life's tough decisions. At this point, I'm leaning towards Akron, but I'm still not sure. Hmmm.... any other thoughts LSD? Help this poor young soul!  :D

If you choose Akron, get the Guerrilla Tactics book by Walton.  Your instincts that it will be on you to "do it yourself" out of Akron are correct.  That book is like the T3/T4 Bible.  Learn it, love it, live it. 

That being said, full ride?  #1 that's great for your debt load.  #2 always a nice bragging point in networking when people ask you why you chose your school "I liked the faculty, and was impressed by career services, and the full ride didn't hurt either."

Yes, you'll have to work a little extra to get the sort of job you want right out of school.  But, you'll also have a reasonable level of debt so that you actually can choose the sort of job you want, and not just whatever crap will pay the loan. 

The only other option I'd look at in your shoes would be Michigan State.  Yeah, it's got good upward movement.  And in four years, if it keeps its upward trend maybe it will be an even better choice, since it will have at least two more years of graduates landing firm jobs to bootstrap up the employment reputation.  BUT, it's kind of a gamble. 

Personally, I'd start loving on Ohio for the next few years.

Personally, I don't think you can beat a full-ride with a requirement that you'll have to be in the top 65%.  I really wouldn't want to be in Ohio either, but if the options are Ohio with no debt or Boston, etc. with full tuition costs and no difference in ranking (so, theoretically, no better chance at jobs), I'd definitely go with the money.  You'll have a lot more flexibility coming out without any debt.  And, from what I've read, the school you went to is most important for your first job.  After that, it's job performance/recommendations that carry the most weight.  You could get your degree in Akron, work for two years and then move to where you and your family want to live.  You won't have to be tied to Akron for life.  Good luck with your decision and congrats on the full-ride offer!

vap

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You could get your degree in Akron, work for two years and then move to where you and your family want to live.

Unless OP wants to take the bar exam again, he must practice 4 years waive in to North Carolina and 5 years to waive in to Texas.

http://www.ncbex.org/comprehensive-guide-to-bar-admissions/

You could get your degree in Akron, work for two years and then move to where you and your family want to live.

Unless OP wants to take the bar exam again, he must practice 4 years waive in to North Carolina and 5 years to waive in to Texas.

http://www.ncbex.org/comprehensive-guide-to-bar-admissions/

It's still a possibility.  If it were me, I think I'd rather have to sit for the bar again than stay in a place I don't want to be for an additional 2-3 years past getting some decent references/experience behind me.  But, good point on the bar requirements, I obviously didn't consider that in my response.

baileypicks24

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Unless OP wants to take the bar exam again, he must practice 4 years waive in to North Carolina and 5 years to waive in to Texas.

http://www.ncbex.org/comprehensive-guide-to-bar-admissions/

One may graduate from Akron, and directly proceed to take the NC bar in lieu of the Ohio bar upon graduation, no?

Unless OP wants to take the bar exam again, he must practice 4 years waive in to North Carolina and 5 years to waive in to Texas.

http://www.ncbex.org/comprehensive-guide-to-bar-admissions/

One may graduate from Akron, and directly proceed to take the NC bar in lieu of the Ohio bar upon graduation, no?

Check the scholarship requirements.  Some school scholarships make you take their states bar exam. But there's no reason you can't take two bar exams.

Unless OP wants to take the bar exam again, he must practice 4 years waive in to North Carolina and 5 years to waive in to Texas.

http://www.ncbex.org/comprehensive-guide-to-bar-admissions/

One may graduate from Akron, and directly proceed to take the NC bar in lieu of the Ohio bar upon graduation, no?

After checking out what StevePirates mentioned, you can definitely do that:

SECTION .0700 - EDUCATIONAL REQUIREMENTS
.0701 GENERAL EDUCATION
Each applicant must have satisfactorily completed the academic work required for admission to a law school approved by the Council of the North Carolina State Bar.
.0702 LEGAL EDUCATION
Every applicant applying for admission to practice law in the State of North Carolina, before being granted a license to practice law, shall prove to the satisfaction of the Board that said applicant has graduated from a law school approved by the Council of The North Carolina State Bar or that said applicant will graduate within thirty (30) days after the date of the written bar examination from a law school approved by the Council of the North Carolina State Bar. There shall be filed with the Secretary a certificate of the dean, or other proper official of said law school, certifying the date of the applicant's graduation. A list of the approved law schools is available in the office of the Secretary.

from the NC Board of Legal Education: http://www.ncble.org/

Have you decided which way you're going to go?

EDIT: it says nothing about having to graduate from a NC LS.  Just that you must graduate from an approved LS- I would be willing to bet that that means any school accredited or provisionally accredited by the ABA, but you'll definitely want to call the NCBLE so you're certain!

And just for the record, here are my alternatives...with tuition rates...

(T3) Michigan State - $30k/yr (part time, but could transfer)
(T4) South Texas - $29k/year
(T3) Suffolk - $40k/year (not an option. not affordable)
(--) Charlotte - $29k/year


Pick a school where you plan to practice law. Unless you can find a legal market that does not care where you attended school (Las Vegas is the only one I know of). There is a huge debate over prestige vs money. Honestly, where you go to law school is irrelevant if you don't plan to work for BigLaw. Your clients will never ask you where you went to school and most wouldn't know the difference if you told them. Only BigLaw recruiters care because they are innundated with applications from Harvard and Yale grads. They have no incentive but to take the best.

If you attend a T3/T4 school, it is true that your degree will not travel well, though until you get experience. Once you have three or four years of practice under your belt, it won't matter where you went to school as you will rise and fall on your experience. It is best, though, to attend a school where you plan to practice if you are not attending a T14 school. In this way, you can get interships at firms that you wish to apply to upon graduation. I would take a full scholarship if it were offered. You can always cut your teeth in that market and move when you have more experience. You would only have to take another bar.

Go to Akron.