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Author Topic: Need advice re Chicago schools  (Read 1095 times)

ChicagoLaw18

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Need advice re Chicago schools
« on: December 01, 2008, 02:51:42 AM »
I'm torn and just looking for opinions...

Quick background:  I am from Chicago, and my family, friends, and boyfriend all live in Chicago.  My 10 year plan is to graduate, gain a few years of experience working in the private sector, and then open my own corporate/real estate solo practice.  I have a decent UGPA from a top 10 public university but a mid-150s score on the LSAT(retaking the LSAT is not a realistic option for me).

So my realistic options are:

1.  Kent/DePaul PT
Pros:  most highly ranked options, location, proximity to job prospects
Cons:  expensive, would need to find a day job in bad economy (as I would be attending PT-evening)

2.  John Marshall FT (Chicago, $30k+ + expensive living for 3 years)
Pros:  can graduate in 3 years, location, proximity to job prospects
Cons:  expensive, lower rank than Kent/DePaul

3.  Northern Illinois (Faaaaaar suburb of Chicago, $12k + cheap living for 3 years)
Pros:  can graduate in 3 years, cheap (would graduate debt-free), maybe better chance of graduating higher in class
Cons:  location, lower rank/possibly weaker reputation in Chicago

Taking into account my longterm career goals and assuming I would graduate in the middle of my class at any of these schools, would my post-graduation career prospects be the same coming out of all of these schools?  Though my heart tells me to stay in Chicago to be near my family and friends (and culture!), my brain and blood pressure like the idea of graduating without debt!

Any opinions?

DrLazarus

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Re: Need advice re Chicago schools
« Reply #1 on: December 01, 2008, 11:32:51 AM »
Disclaimer:  This is going to be blunt.  Please don't misconstrue as malicious/mean.

Go to whichever of Kent, Loyola or Depaul -- if you get into multiples, go to the one that gives you the most cash with the most amenable GPA restrictions. 

If you don't get in to one of those schools, don't go to law school.  If you do get in to one of those schools but don't get any money, seriously consider whether it makes good economic sense to go to law school.  And, no matter what you decide, if you go (to any of the listed schools) and don't make, at least, above the median after first year, consider dropping out.
Michigan 2010.  Brr.

Quail!

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Re: Need advice re Chicago schools
« Reply #2 on: December 03, 2008, 02:09:10 AM »
Barring absolutely ridiculous circumstances, retaking the LSAT should never be out of the question.  I'll be more blunt than the poster before me:

Kent/Loyola/DePaul are the only schools out of those that you should consider going to.  But be wary of going even to those.  I know several people from those schools, a number of whom are top of class, LR types, that don't have jobs lined up for the summer, and firms are barely even talking to them.

Be careful, especially with how much debt you take on.
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andie4575

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Re: Need advice re Chicago schools
« Reply #3 on: December 03, 2008, 11:00:42 PM »
Hey I just wanted to say I'm in a very similar situation with these schools.  I realize John Marshall and Northern are wayyy lower in the rankings than Depaul/Kent/Loyola but is there really that much of a difference in employment options?  I guess I'm just wondering because I'm strongly considering Northern for obvious financial reasons, and if there isn't a huge difference, I wouldn't want to be an extra 150k in debt. I don't have any helpful info to add really but I just wanted to say you're not alone!! And good luck with your cycle!
 

Quail!

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Re: Need advice re Chicago schools
« Reply #4 on: December 05, 2008, 01:56:19 AM »
Hey I just wanted to say I'm in a very similar situation with these schools.  I realize John Marshall and Northern are wayyy lower in the rankings than Depaul/Kent/Loyola but is there really that much of a difference in employment options?  I guess I'm just wondering because I'm strongly considering Northern for obvious financial reasons, and if there isn't a huge difference, I wouldn't want to be an extra 150k in debt. I don't have any helpful info to add really but I just wanted to say you're not alone!! And good luck with your cycle!
 

Between Northern and John Marshall, probably not so much, except that you can network a whole lot more at JM and work during the year.

Between JM/Northern and Depaul/Kent/Loyola?  Yes, it's a big difference.
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contrarian

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Re: Need advice re Chicago schools
« Reply #5 on: December 05, 2008, 02:22:23 AM »
Loyola/Kent/DePaul if you can get in.  If not Northern.  Graduating debt free vs. 30-60,000 in debt will make a big difference. 

It's unlikely from all of the schools that you'll be graduating into a $150,000/yr job.  Even from the K/L/D you'll need to be in the top 10-20% and judging by your LSAT you're going to be competing with people who've proven themselves better able to do well on test. 

I don't agree that with the previous poster to just give up if your options are JMLS or Northern.  Your goal is to go into solo practice in 5-10 years, and if you build yourself a solid reputation, are able to generate business for yourself then you can do pretty well for yourself, and you won't be working for someone else (always a ++, and for some people a willing trade off from earning $$).

Also, if you go into solo practice doing consumer law or small business, nobody really cares about your pedigree.  More often than not you get your business from referrals, so just doing well and having a solid reputation will mean much more than your pedigree.  Of course, doing well when your younger to get into a good school probably correlates highly to being able to perform well later in life.

The poster who just told you to give up made a pretty arrogant and ignorant statement, IMHO.  If you're not looking for big law, realize the law degree will not be the ticket to instant wealth for you but it's something you want to pursue then go do it. 



DrLazarus

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Re: Need advice re Chicago schools
« Reply #6 on: December 05, 2008, 10:08:38 AM »
The poster who just told you to give up made a pretty arrogant and ignorant statement, IMHO.  If you're not looking for big law, realize the law degree will not be the ticket to instant wealth for you but it's something you want to pursue then go do it. 

I tried to include a disclaimer to avoid anyone thinking what I wrote was arrogant or malicious.  It really wasn't said in that tone...and it especially wasn't ignorant.  I don't know about you, but I'm actually (a) a law student who's (b) worked at a large firm and (c) gone through the employment search process (in both Chicago and a more insular, secondary market).  I've got plenty of friends at lower ranked schools and am aware, at least anecdotally, of the differences between schools in employment prospects.

ESPECIALLY in Chicago, jobs from Northern and JMLS are tough to come by.  The OP did say that, eventually, she wanted to hang her own shingle, but only after working for a few years in the private sector.  Which means she'll need to find a job, and unless you are a top dog at either of those schools, it's going to be tough.  Even at K/L/D, you have to be up there in your class, but not quite as high. 

Moreover, if she did get a full ride from either of those schools, be very careful -- I've heard horror stories about JMLS's scholarship requirements.  Either way, all of my original advice applies.
Michigan 2010.  Brr.

Quail!

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Re: Need advice re Chicago schools
« Reply #7 on: December 05, 2008, 01:51:38 PM »
The OP did say that, eventually, she wanted to hang her own shingle, but only after working for a few years in the private sector.  Which means she'll need to find a job, and unless you are a top dog at either of those schools, it's going to be tough.  Even at K/L/D, you have to be up there in your class, but not quite as high. 

Ding.
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