Law School Discussion

Current law students - post your reasoning!

Re: Current law students - post your reasoning!
« Reply #10 on: June 17, 2008, 05:30:50 PM »
I'm from Appalachia and I only applied to schools in the South. I went to college in the heart of the midwest and knew it wasn't for me, at least for a long time. So that limited my region.

The school I actually chose to go to was a last minute add on to my applications. But it was a good school, and in my range of schools where I was a 50/50 (stupid low-ish gpa!)

I also knew I wanted to live in a city, which knocked out a couple decent schools I got into (like Mercer)

Also, the city I am attending school in is similar to a city I've been living in the past several years in terms of pop. size, culture and atmosphere. I don't think anyone should spend three years of their life somewhere they hate just because of the name they'll have on their degree.

Re: Current law students - post your reasoning!
« Reply #11 on: June 17, 2008, 06:51:36 PM »
Very interesting....

Betsy,  what factors do you think would have changed your mind if they had been different?  More scholarship money at another school?  Something more intangible?  Any advice you can give to someone who's getting ready to go through that process?

Andrew, I'm a bit confused about the logical jump from going to only CA schools to Boston.  What made you consider Boston so heavily and so suddenly?  As above, any advice you can give to someone starting the application process?

To both of you, how important do you think your personal statements were to your successes?

If Duke had offered me more money, or Virginia let me in from the start and offered $$, it would have been harder.  I love North Carolina, and Virginia is a top school, laid back, and VERY strong in my region.  I would have been even more tempted by Columbia than I was by NYU.  If any of the T14 had offered me the same scholly as Vandy (if the cost of living/tuition was reasonable), I probably wouldn't have been able to resist; although I like being near my family, it was far from my top consideration.  To be honest, there's probably more that would have changed my mind, but now I'm so set on Vandy, I can't see the other side.  Although I can say that it was all about my ideal debt:employment prospects ratio.

I think my personal statement was pretty good, if I do say so myself :) ; I worked on it for a while and got several personalized comments on it.  I wrote about the cultural attitude in Moldova, its contagious nature, and how I had to get over myself and my version of the attitude and make the best of what I had.  It had a little self-deprecation to it, but overall, it was positive.  It would not have made a good impression if I hadn't given myself time to take a week or two of break between revisions; the original version was not very impressive.

Where are you thinking about applying?

Re: Current law students - post your reasoning!
« Reply #12 on: June 17, 2008, 07:03:03 PM »
In no particular order....
George Mason
Rutgers (Both)
Case Western Reserve
U of Louisville


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Re: Current law students - post your reasoning!
« Reply #13 on: June 17, 2008, 10:04:41 PM »
Got into my reach/fantasy school 3 weeks after I applied  ;D
Sent in my deposit no questions asked.

Miracles do happen.


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Re: Current law students - post your reasoning!
« Reply #14 on: June 18, 2008, 06:31:19 AM »
I applied to 12 schools, got into 11, got scholarships from maybe 8 or so, so it was a big decision.  I wasn't really attached to any of the schools when I applied, I simply chose schools that I wasn't completely adverse to.  I started weeding them down based on money (there goes Penn and Harvard), then started to plan my visits.  I had visited UChi while I was in Chicago for my NW interview, and didn't get good vibes at all, so that was out.  Since I was working at the time, I didn't have enough vacation time to visit everywhere that I was interested in.  That knocked out UVA, since I think Charlottesville is somewhere you definitely have to visit to see if it will work for you.  I visited Mich for admit weekend and loved everything about it, from the school to the people to Ann Arbor.  However, I also really liked Columbia.  Eventually they were knocked out of the running because of money and because I didn't like it as much as Michigan.  In the end, my decision came down to Michigan versus NYU with similar scholarships.  I chose Michigan because of all the great stuff it had going for it.  I realised that the only reason I was considering NYU so strongly was because of it's rank (well, and NYC), and that wasn't enough for me.  Everything else about Michigan and AA, from the people to the quality of life, seemed so much better, based on my visits.  Also, both the NY schools seemed so NYC-centric, which was a turnoff since I already knew that I didn't wanna work in NYC.

A year later, I know I made the right choice.  I thoroughly enjoyed (not just endured) 1L.  I have an interesting summer job and I know that I'll have great prospects for next year.  Everything about Michigan lived up to the hype, imo.


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Re: Current law students - post your reasoning!
« Reply #15 on: June 18, 2008, 07:08:07 AM »
OK, Michigan troll Pt. 2.  Pikey and I are a tag team.

My husband and I were dual-income, living in DC.  So when I considered going to law school, we immediately liked the idea of going to a college town, some place where the reduction in income would be less painful.  My husband's company allows him to telecommute, so location wasn't an issue in that respect.  I threw Harvard in as a reach and then later Columbia when I found out about its housing.  Reject and waitlist respectively (though I later found out Columbia's housing wouldn't have worked for us anyway).  Other than that, Michigan, UVA, and Duke were my top choices from the beginning.  Oh, and I applied to Georgetown PT in case our house didn't sell and I had had to keep working.

So, I got similar merit scholarship offers from all three of those, with a bit larger scholarship at Duke and in-state tuition at UVA (so UVA would have been cheapest, then Duke, then Michigan).  I visited Duke as an individual and Michigan and UVA during ASWs.  My Duke visit was first, and I really enjoyed it.  I'm sure I would have been happy there. The people were nice, the JD/LLM in international law really intrigued me, and North Carolina is a great place to live.

Next, I went to Michigan's ASW (with pikey, etc.) and fell absolutely in love.  I got the chance to meet tons of current students and loved the diverse perspectives and experiences they brought.  They really put on a great program with lots of panels and opportunities to meet people.  I felt that everything I wanted from the JD/LLM at Duke I could get out of Michigan, even if I had to figure out my own path a bit more (like finding my own summer job in Europe, which normally Duke arranges for you to do the second half of your summer after the mandatory summer institute you do as part of the JD/LLM).

I tried hard to go to UVA's ASW with an open mind, but it was really hard, because I was so high on Michigan.  And it didn't help that we had oddly beautiful weather in Ann Arbor and then a couple weeks later freezing rain in Charlottesville.  Plus I had a cold and stomach unpleasantness at the same time at UVA.  That aside, I just didn't feel the same connection with people at UVA.  They seemed a bit more homogenous to me.  And as gorgeous as UVA's facility is, I think that being from the south and having gone to a large southern university made it seem like more of the same, whereas Michigan's gothic style felt truly special.

So in the end, once I had picked out a few top choices based on "logical" factors... great job prospects, lower cost of living... it was a choice of the heart.

I really enjoyed 1L (OK, definitely not every minute of it), and I'm happy with my choice.  Call me crazy, but I love law school!

Re: Current law students - post your reasoning!
« Reply #16 on: June 20, 2008, 09:44:04 PM »
I was going though this last year so have had a year to reflect I suppose. My main criteria for choosing a law school were 1) very high probability of being able to land a big law job and pay off debt. 2) decent place to be from to get a clerkship. 3) places well in academia. 4) fun place that would fit with my personality, 5) strong probability that I will be able to find courses and faculty in the specific areas of law I am most interested in, 6) large and vibrant student body/alum base because networking is half the game.

Based on those criteria, there were four schools in the running. UVA, Chicago, Stanford and HLS.

I liked UVA, but it could be a hindrance for entering legal academia. Professors were sort of hit and miss. Some great, some not so great.

I really liked the overall style of the Chicago faculty and am a big fan of several of their faculty members. I wasn't crazy about the location of the school and while they do pretty well with academia the other options are better still, especially considering that my undergrad was at a big state school.

Stanford was a ton of fun, really nice people, great weather and overall my favorite place to live of the bunch. The law school though was pretty small and i wanted more faculty options and a larger student base.

HLS hit most points for me. Huge faculty without any significant holes in any major area of law. Huge alum and student base. Places very well in academia, places very well for clerkships, you probably couldn't fail to land a big law job if you tried. Cambridge isn't my favorite place in the world, but its not a terrible place to study. The surrounding hood is certainly safer for my wife than that around Chicago. I was just a bit unsure when I made my choice, but now I'm totally happy with the choice. HLS has been even better than I expected and I get treated like a rock star just for going here (seriously, law firm dinners and cocktails at expensive restaurants virtually every night of the week are the norm, even as a 1L). The resources available are just astounding. My section was totally awesome with lots of great people, we had two Justices visit our classes and almost all our professors have been total rock stars (we are talking SG, OLC, MASJC Justice etc) and in general life has been very good ;)