I'm not familiar with Mercer. Is it nationally recognized? I have yet to sit for the LSAT, so I don't have "number" but my UG is about 3.55 Public NE University
Quote from: JDat45 on December 10, 2008, 07:21:43 PMI'm not familiar with Mercer. Is it nationally recognized? I have yet to sit for the LSAT, so I don't have "number" but my UG is about 3.55 Public NE UniversityAs for T2 and T3 schools, it's about as "nationally recognized" as you can get because none of those schools are really nationally recognized for legal studies, IMO. I really only think of T14 schools as being truly "national" schools. It's a T2 school, so it has mainly a regional appeal - last I checked, about 70-80% of students are from Georgia. Naturally, most students stay in state, but people from out of state are generally successful in returning to their home state. Legal professionals in the Southeast will know about it. I knew several 3Ls last year (outside top 15%, no journal) that secured work outside GA and outside their home states prior to graduating. Top 15% usually get on-campus interviews with Atlanta biglaw (although the firms go down as far as 25%). About 10-15% of my classmates have offers from law firms paying the market rate in Atlanta (and it might be better in a better economy). I am not working for a firm my 2L summer, but I'm interning with a U.S. Court of Appeals judge outside the 11th Circuit. During my 1L summer I interned for a state supreme court judge and U.S. District Court judge outside Georgia. I am hoping to clerk for a judge after graduating and will probably not practice in GA.It's a small private school (my class has 140). Students have one small-section course in addition to legal research their first semester (either criminal law or contracts). There is a mentoring program; first-year students are paired up with a faculty member, and students have optional 2L or 3L mentors. Upperclassmen are especially approachable and willing to give outlines. When I was a 1L, upperclassmen usually offered outlines and study materials without my asking, and I return the favor (I also gave out copies of my exam answers, and my classmates helped me get old exam answers for a few students this year).Mercer has a unique professionalism program. First-year students take a graded 3-credit ethics course while third-year students take the traditional professional responsibility course. Mercer's legal writing program is ranked by U.S. News as #1 in the country. This stat is not really useful for finding employment, but I can attest that the legal writing program here is great. Students take legal analysis and legal research in the first semester, legal research and legal writing in the second, and legal writing in the third (8 total credit hours). All legal writing classes are taught by tenure or tenure-track professors who publish on legal writing topics. I think the program is excellent, but then again I have no basis for comparison except for stories I'm told by other students. Mercer also provides students with the option of taking legal writing classes every semester of law school and pursuing a legal writing certificate program. Mercer has a business school and offers joints J.D./MBA programs and MBA certificates.Professors are approachable and emphasize both theory and real-world application. For example, in addition to learning about discovery in my civil procedure class, we also drafted complaints, answers, 30(b)(6) deposition notices, document requests, and subpoenas. Princeton Review (student surveys) has ranked Mercer in the top 10 in the "professors rock" category. One of Brian Leiter's (UTexas law professor) studies from a few years ago showed that Mercer's endowment is one of the largest in the country (top 20 raw numbers, top 4 when adjusted for # of students and cost of living). As such, it recruits and retains solid professors and staff, not to mention it is generous with scholarship money. Some of the faculty members have a band, and they played twice last year to raise money for several extra students to receive public service summer work stipends. This year the faculty played 1Ls in softball.The city of Macon is about 100,000 people with a metro population of 350,000. It's 80 miles from Atlanta. It's the hub for the Middle District of Georgia, and as such it has the federal government offices you would expect (U.S. Attorney's Office, U.S. District Courts, etc.). It's also close by an Airforce Base, which presents several unique legal opportunities (outside the typical local firms, DA offices, PD offices, legal aid offices, etc.). Living expenses are cheap. The undergrad university has a great basketball team and holds numerous other events. Although several people told me the city has a reputation for having more crime than usual, neither I nor anyone I know has had problems. I like the city; and it factored into my decision to attend. It's a charming southern town, and it has a huge cherry blossom festival every spring.I think the pros of the school outweigh the cons, especially if you have a scholarship. But, I wouldn't want to give a one-sided view. Although students are extremely friendly, they study a lot. However, this will probably be true at most T2 and T3 schools, especially private ones. There are limited jobs, so students work very hard to do as well as possible with grades (Princeton Review has them in the top 20, I think, for # of hours of study per day in their self-reported student surveys). The school only has one main journal, the law review. It also has a the Journal of Southern Legal History, but I'm not sure how students are selected for that. The law review is mostly grade-on, and no more than 5 students (3% or a little more of class) are allowed to write-on to the law review. Therefore, if you want to be on a legal journal, getting higher grades might be more important at Mercer compared to some other schools that have mostly write-on memberships. Moot court membership is not determined until after the 3rd semester, which means 2Ls interviewing for jobs in the fall will not know if they are on moot court. Also, because of the unique legal writing program, 1Ls typically do not have writing samples until the middle of the second semester. However, my experience has been that 1L writing samples are not very important - only one place asked me for a writing sample as a 1L (out of 10 interviews). The writing certificate program, which is a good draw for the school, has a lottery, so every year there are some students who want to do it but are precluded. Usually only about 5 students are precluded, but this year the waitlist had 25 people (although, I'm not sure how many of those have already gotten off the waitlist). Finally, scholarships do not apply to summer courses, including internships for school credit.Those are some of the major pros/cons I can think of right now, but if you have any questions feel free to PM me.
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