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Author Topic: Tier 3 with full ride or Tier 1 with no money  (Read 3789 times)

ravon1983

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Tier 3 with full ride or Tier 1 with no money
« on: December 11, 2008, 02:25:29 PM »
Those of us who aren't independently wealthy or get a full ride at a T1 school are faced with a choice...

Take the full ride at a lesser ranked school Tier 2 or Tier 3 or take out 150k of loans to go to Tier 1. Faced with the uncertainty of the state of the economy when we graduate from law school this questions becomes quite important.

T1 with loans or lesser ranked school with full ride?

What do you all think?









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Re: Tier 3 with full ride or Tier 1 with no money
« Reply #1 on: December 11, 2008, 02:52:33 PM »
I am facing somewhat of a similar decision, only my decision involves tier 2 versus upper-tier 1.  Basically, I could go to Michigan for sticker (probably), Vandy for some scholarships (probably), or Kentucky for a really big scholarship (probably).  I am leaning toward (though not entirely sold on) Vanderbilt.

I don't think there is one right or wrong answer, and, contrary to popular board belief, I don't think you are dooming yourself to a lifetime of regret if you do choose the tier 3.  There is something to be said for avoiding debt.

You have to figure out what you want to do and where you want to do it.  You want to have big bucks and big hours with big law?  Go tier 1.  You want the security of having no debt, but the lack of the prestigious name on your resume?  Go tier 2/3/4.  You have to figure out what is best for you, regardless of what anyone on a message board or anywhere else tells you that you should do.
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Re: Tier 3 with full ride or Tier 1 with no money
« Reply #2 on: December 11, 2008, 03:37:55 PM »
I think there are quite a few people like that on this board.  People have various reasons for making the decisions they do- that is what this board is (should) be all about... it's all about getting other perspectives.
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itzjulz

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Re: Tier 3 with full ride or Tier 1 with no money
« Reply #3 on: December 11, 2008, 03:45:34 PM »
Well, the reason I ask is that I was offered a full-ride at my safety school Wayne State Law in Detroit. I am from Detroit and would have no problem having a career in Detroit. I applied to other "match" schools in the region (Iowa, Ohio St, Illinois, Indiana) and several reach schools outside the region (BC, Fordham, UVA). I have gotten into Iowa and it's likely that ill get into the rest of my match schools. I doubt I'll get into my reach schools, but if I do I certainly will not get any money. However, as much as I would love to go the best school I can get into, the idea of graduating from law school debt free is nice.

If you plan on staying in the Detroit area, Wayne is a great option - There are lots of alums who are now prominent judges and other high-ranking officials - and I personally know of alums from the law school who even teach at University of Michigan.  I went to WSU for undergrad - I now live in Chicago, and I don't really want to end up with a career that forces me to stay in Michigan, but I am keeping Wayne on my list of options - mostly due to the scholarship $$$ I am expecting/hoping for.

My disadvantage is that I'm really interested in entertainment and media law, and Wayne's electives in that area are definitely lacking.  In my case, I'm considering taking the scholarship money and then going to a more prestigious school for an LLM specific to entertainment law.  But otherwise, it's not a *bad* school, especially if you're going to stay in the area.  You might be at more of a disadvantage if you go to another school out of state, and then try to come back to MI for work.

This year is also the first year with the new dean - Robert Ackerman, who is a HLS grad, and from what I know so far, may have some good ideas to bring to the table, especially if you're interested in alternative dispute resolution.  If that happens to be your thing, let me know. I might have some names or contacts for you :)

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Re: Tier 3 with full ride or Tier 1 with no money
« Reply #4 on: December 11, 2008, 03:55:41 PM »
You want to have big bucks and big hours with big law?  Go tier 1.  

this isn't quite accurate.  median at most tier 1 schools will not get you BIGLAW! jobs.

No.... but median at tier 1 will get you a heck of a lot closer to big law than median at tier 3.
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vap

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Re: Tier 3 with full ride or Tier 1 with no money
« Reply #5 on: December 11, 2008, 10:43:06 PM »
You want to have big bucks and big hours with big law?  Go tier 1.  

this isn't quite accurate.  median at most tier 1 schools will not get you BIGLAW! jobs.

No.... but median at tier 1 will get you a heck of a lot closer to big law than median at tier 3.

If you are talking about vanilla T1, then no.  Maybe some people around median at top 25 or so schools.  Median at Iowa is not closer to biglaw than median at generic T3.

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Re: Tier 3 with full ride or Tier 1 with no money
« Reply #6 on: December 11, 2008, 10:57:55 PM »
Well, the reason I ask is that I was offered a full-ride at my safety school Wayne State Law in Detroit. I am from Detroit and would have no problem having a career in Detroit. I applied to other "match" schools in the region (Iowa, Ohio St, Illinois, Indiana) and several reach schools outside the region (BC, Fordham, UVA). I have gotten into Iowa and it's likely that ill get into the rest of my match schools. I doubt I'll get into my reach schools, but if I do I certainly will not get any money. However, as much as I would love to go the best school I can get into, the idea of graduating from law school debt free is nice.

I was in a similar situation, deciding between Iowa (about $100-120K debt) or Mercer ($0-5K debt).

I chose Mercer, and I am relieved.  Not having to worry about debt really takes the pressure off.

Best piece of advice I got when deciding where to go:  Choose the school based on the assumption that you will graduate at the median of the class.

Median at Iowa does not have great job opportunities, especially if you want to leave Iowa.  If you are planning to practice in Detroit, I'd go there.  I'd much rather graduate median of the class from a T3 debt-free than Iowa with +$100K debt.

studymaster

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Re: Tier 3 with full ride or Tier 1 with no money
« Reply #7 on: December 12, 2008, 11:53:39 AM »
Take the full ride at a lesser ranked school Tier 2 or Tier 3 or take out 150k of loans to go to Tier 1. Faced with the uncertainty of the state of the economy when we graduate from law school this questions becomes quite important.
This old saw is worn out. The economy is always uncertain 3 years down the road. There is always a danger of recession or depression. Anyone who thinks otherwise should open a history book. I do not think the current economic predicament should inform your choice about what school to go to when you may very well be inthis career for decades (and even if you leave the field, the school name will stick with you).
It is whispered that soon, if we all heed the call, the piper will lead us to reason.

legalese_retard

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Re: Tier 3 with full ride or Tier 1 with no money
« Reply #8 on: December 12, 2008, 12:32:19 PM »
I am facing somewhat of a similar decision, only my decision involves tier 2 versus upper-tier 1.  Basically, I could go to Michigan for sticker (probably), Vandy for some scholarships (probably), or Kentucky for a really big scholarship (probably).  I am leaning toward (though not entirely sold on) Vanderbilt.

I don't think there is one right or wrong answer, and, contrary to popular board belief, I don't think you are dooming yourself to a lifetime of regret if you do choose the tier 3.  There is something to be said for avoiding debt.

You have to figure out what you want to do and where you want to do it.  You want to have big bucks and big hours with big law?  Go tier 1.  You want the security of having no debt, but the lack of the prestigious name on your resume?  Go tier 2/3/4.  You have to figure out what is best for you, regardless of what anyone on a message board or anywhere else tells you that you should do.

While I commend you for not blindly following the Rankings in picking a law school, make sure you really look at where you want to be after law school (aka having options). I know you said you don't care about Biglaw, but there is more to going to a prestigious law school than persuing biglaw. I knew tons of people at my law school who thought they were going into community service or becoming an activist or a politican after law school. Then they got enticed by the money and prestige of the big law firms and have placed their initial goals on hold. I also knew someone who wanted to go straight from law school to a smaller firm and then raise a family. She is now a clerk for a federal judge.

While having no debt is the best option after graduation, you must also look at future opportunities that you haven't even considered that may only be available at UMich as opposed to Vandy. What if you want to be judicial clerk for a circuit court of appeals or even SCOTUS? What if you want to work for a law firm in London? What if you want to work for an Obama-like administration at the White House (if you haven't noticed, most if not all of the attorneys Obama considered went to a T-10 law school). What if you graduated in the bottom half at Vandy? If you graduated bottom half at Michigan, I can guarantee that you will still have several job opportunities to pick from. What if you have a spouse that needs to move to NYC or San Francisco or Japan? Which degree will is more recognizable and more respected?

Vandy and other lower ranked schools are great and I'm sure there are several of its grads who could smoke a Michigan grad out of a courtroom or a corporate negotiation. But in the end the brand name of your degree could shape your future. A Timex will keep better time than a Rolex, but the status symbol of a Rolex will always trounce a Timex. You have NO idea where you will or want to be in the next 5-10-20-50 years from now. Harriet Miers was lambasted for "only" to SMU Law (in addition to having no judicial experience) when she was nominated for SCOTUS. Even if she had a superior judicial records, she didn't have the papers to become a SCOTUS justice or even a SCOTUS law clerk. Several big law firms who are laying attorneys off will sometimes do it on the basis of pedigree. If you have two attorneys who work equally hard, have good hours, and personality but one graduated from Cooley and the other went to Harvard, I'm sure the firm would rather have that Harvard resume on their firm's website. The legal world is a prestige whore....get used to it.

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Re: Tier 3 with full ride or Tier 1 with no money
« Reply #9 on: December 12, 2008, 01:05:07 PM »
Vandy and other lower ranked schools are great

Yeah, the fact the Vandy is only the 15th ranked school in the country is very alarming.

I appreciate your response because I really think you tried to give me a well-thought out opinion.  However, the point of my original post is that each person should do what is best for them.  For me, considering that I am from the South and moving to Nashville in a week, my wife has an internship with a hospital in the area beginning in January, and I love Nashville and have no desire to ever live in the North/ Midwest, Vandy is a very good match for me.  I don't consider Vandy a Timex... maybe a Citizen (and I like Citizens...).

A Timex will keep better time than a Rolex

I doubt this statement, but I'm going to take your word for it.
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