Law School Discussion

Am I crazy?

Am I crazy?
« on: July 08, 2008, 03:38:20 PM »
Here's my story.  I'm currently at a low ranked law school in a mid-sized legal market, which also has three other law schools.  Only one of the law schools in the area is a T1 school.  At my current school, I've finished in the top 10%, had a significant merit scholarship, a fellowship position, wrote onto law review, and have a leadership position in a student organization.

But, I have recently applied to the T1 school in the same city.  Granted, this is not a T14 school, so we are not talking about one of the best.  I'm not a rankings or prestige kind of person, but I do want the best opportunities possible.  Is it crazy to give up everything I've worked for this year to pay more to attend a school in the same city?  Again, the T1 school isn't one that will give me national opportunities and I will likely be stuck in the area for a few years.  Other factors influencing my decision are that I don't really like the atmosphere at my current school, both students and faculty.  Also, I would like the opportunity to at least leave the current city at some point, which may not happen if i stay at my current school. 

The other big hurdle I may have to overcome will be during OCIs.  The city is currently flooded with graduates from my current school (essentially this is only because the school is a diploma factory).  However, there is a good chance that I will be interviewed by attorneys that graduate from my current school.  I'm afraid of running into attitudes such as "What, our school wasn't good enough for you?"  I have a PhD and my area of practice will be rather narrow, so I don't know how concerned I would be with the school bias.  I don't exactly know how I would answer any questions from these people in interviews, but I've also heard that this does happen during OCIs.  The best answer I can currently come up with is that I'm simply looking for the best opportunities possible. 

I've applied to a few other schools as well, but they are probably long shots.  so, am i crazy for moving across town and spending more money to probably get the same job i would get at my current school?

Re: Am I crazy?
« Reply #1 on: July 08, 2008, 03:47:22 PM »
All anyone can really do is relate his experiences, so here goes:

Completely striking out in the 1L summer market (both paid and unpaid), as top 10% T3, made me a prestige-whore convert.  I had a few employers be frank enough to state that my school name was prohibiting what might otherwise be a successful application/query.  So, for my money -- given that a school's name follows you for life -- I would probably transfer.

If you have had a good experience with your lower-ranked school, and you see that confirmed with people who are graduating today and getting the sort of jobs you want, maybe you'll stay.

As I've said before, it's not a system I agree with but them's the rules. 

Re: Am I crazy?
« Reply #2 on: July 08, 2008, 06:33:28 PM »
NEVER say anything negative about your old school in interviews or any professional settings. NEVER. If you do, it may come back to bite you in the rear.

Employers will know your new school is a step up from the old one. Your best bet is to say that you really liked the old school, but the new school had X clinic/professor/externship/classes/whatever that the old school did not have and you really wanted to take advantage of those things.

Also, talk to career services and other transfers ahead of you at the new school. Chances are your imagined scenario may have come up before.