Law School Discussion

Nine Years of Discussion
;

Author Topic: Another Tier 3/4 question  (Read 7036 times)

hellfish6

  • Full Member
  • ***
  • Posts: 25
    • View Profile
Another Tier 3/4 question
« on: August 24, 2008, 09:17:40 PM »
I know all the advice on not attending a tier 3 or 4 school because of the debt to future income ratio that is likely upon graduation.  I am in a unique situation where I will not have to pay tuition at a tier 3/4 school, the only loans will be for living expenses and what not.  I don't plan to work my life away in biglaw...I would rather work for a smaller firm with a decent income.  Is this situation worth attending a tier 3/4 school?

blueskies6

  • LSD Obsessed
  • *****
  • Posts: 6864
    • View Profile
    • http://lawschoolnumbers.com/blueskies6/jd
Re: Another Tier 3/4 question
« Reply #1 on: August 24, 2008, 09:25:35 PM »
While other people on here might disagree with this, my opinion is that if you don't have to pay for it and you'll be living in the area you want to live and get a job, go for it!!  UNLESS you live in an market flooded with higher ranked schools.  If you live in say, Boston, where you will be competing with Harvard, BU, BC, Northeastern, and on down, you might  be in a situation where people that are lower ranked in their classes might crowd you out in the smaller firms.  But, if you want live and work in Little Rock, Arkansas, I don't think you'll encounter any problems going to UALR for free.
awkward follows you like a beer chasing a shot of tequila.

blueskies6

  • LSD Obsessed
  • *****
  • Posts: 6864
    • View Profile
    • http://lawschoolnumbers.com/blueskies6/jd
Re: Another Tier 3/4 question
« Reply #2 on: August 24, 2008, 10:49:32 PM »
Another note- you should look at the firms that you would be considering and see how many people they hire from the school you're considering, just to give you an idea if this decision would be viable
awkward follows you like a beer chasing a shot of tequila.

big - fat - box

  • Sr. Citizen
  • ****
  • Posts: 800
    • View Profile
Re: Another Tier 3/4 question
« Reply #3 on: August 25, 2008, 04:17:56 PM »
If your "free" education is coming from a law school scholarship contingent on first year law school gpa, then I would think twice. Odds are you won't keep the money past the first year. Law school is not like undergrad as far as grading goes.

hellfish6

  • Full Member
  • ***
  • Posts: 25
    • View Profile
Re: Another Tier 3/4 question
« Reply #4 on: August 25, 2008, 05:18:22 PM »
My "free" law school comes from my veterans benefits.

clairel

  • Sr. Citizen
  • ****
  • Posts: 981
  • UChicago 3L
    • View Profile
    • Email
Re: Another Tier 3/4 question
« Reply #5 on: August 25, 2008, 06:15:40 PM »
the problem is that a "decent income" working for a small firm is not going to be $70,000 a year in most cases. biglaw pays around $100-160K....the next step down is often to $35,000-50,000 a year. so if you're comfortable earning that salary out of law school, tier 3/4 without loans should be fine.

DCLabor25

  • Sr. Citizen
  • ****
  • Posts: 128
    • View Profile
Re: Another Tier 3/4 question
« Reply #6 on: August 25, 2008, 08:11:48 PM »
While other people on here might disagree with this, my opinion is that if you don't have to pay for it and you'll be living in the area you want to live and get a job, go for it!!  UNLESS you live in an market flooded with higher ranked schools.  If you live in say, Boston, where you will be competing with Harvard, BU, BC, Northeastern, and on down, you might  be in a situation where people that are lower ranked in their classes might crowd you out in the smaller firms.  But, if you want live and work in Little Rock, Arkansas, I don't think you'll encounter any problems going to UALR for free.

I agree with this, as well as the point about whether or not firms and others recruit at the Tier 3/4.  Those are very important considerations.  I think some Tier 3/4's have better overall job prospects than others. 

I also agree with the previous poster that there are jobs paying $35-$50K and those paying $160K and not a lot in between.  But that being said, I don't think enough people consider the very real possibility that going to the higher ranked school does not automatically make you more likely to land the $160K job.  Yes, it's true for the T14, but not for everyone else.  On top of that, the prospect of taking out $125-$150K in debt is likely -- how you can pay back that sort of debt without a six figure salary is beyond me -- and the fact of the matter is that outside the T14, the majority of students do not get the $160K job.   

In short, I think aiming for the $160K job and taking out a ton of debt is a high risk/high reward option.  Opting for a full ride, no debt, and only making $50K might be a safer/much less reward option.  Of course, too, it's important where you might live -- $50K can take you much further in many areas (think midwest/rural/small cities) -- NYC, LA, Wash DC -- not so much. 

xferlawstudent

  • Sr. Citizen
  • ****
  • Posts: 608
    • View Profile
Re: Another Tier 3/4 question
« Reply #7 on: August 26, 2008, 12:48:33 AM »
Advice from a recent low T1 grad:  Go to a T14 if possible otherwise go somewhere offering you $$$ or a cheap in-state school.  I promise. 

hellfish6

  • Full Member
  • ***
  • Posts: 25
    • View Profile
Re: Another Tier 3/4 question
« Reply #8 on: August 26, 2008, 08:55:48 AM »
Advice from a recent low T1 grad:  Go to a T14 if possible otherwise go somewhere offering you $$$ or a cheap in-state school.  I promise. 

So, you're saying either go to a top 14 school, if that doesn't work, go to the least expensive one, even it's a T4?

SASS

  • Sr. Citizen
  • ****
  • Posts: 261
    • View Profile
Re: Another Tier 3/4 question
« Reply #9 on: August 26, 2008, 09:14:16 AM »
the problem is that a "decent income" working for a small firm is not going to be $70,000 a year in most cases. biglaw pays around $100-160K....the next step down is often to $35,000-50,000 a year. so if you're comfortable earning that salary out of law school, tier 3/4 without loans should be fine.

I don't think this is entirely accurate. The next step down from big law is not making 35-50,000 a year. This may be true for a small firm (10 or less attorneys) because they simply don't have the money for the high salaries. But midsize firms you can easily make between 50-80,000 and still have a life.

I agree with what people are saying for the most part. If you are in a legal market that is not flooded with higher ranked schools AND your school has a good local rep and you want to stay there, take the money and run. Make sure your school has a good rep though. I would not go anywhere that is consistently trashed by others.