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Author Topic: Mercer Law 2L taking questions  (Read 7274 times)

vap

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Mercer Law 2L taking questions
« on: December 23, 2008, 08:29:43 PM »
If anybody has questions about Mercer, I'm happy to answer.  

In the meantime... (and I could elaborate on any of these issues if you like)

Pros
1.  Nationally recognized legal writing program (courses are taught by tenure and tenure-track professors; 8 graded credit hours over 3 semesters; and a legal writing certificate program)
2.  Award-winning, unique curriculum (including required ethics course for 1Ls; "intro to law" course, which acclimates 1Ls to reading/briefing cases and taking a law school exam during the week before regular classes begin; upper-level 1 credit hour required courses including client counseling, negotiations, and statutory interpretation).
3.  Great profs (both in my opinion, and recognized by student survey ranking from Princeton Review)
4.  Small, close-knit student body with a student to faculty ratio of about 13:1.
5.  Many large scholarships (including about 6-10 each year that include living stipends).
6.  Large endowment (a semi-old study by Leiter ranks it fourth in the country after adjusting for number of students and COL).

Neutral
1.  Location in Macon.  Lots of people don't like the city, but I personally enjoy it.  It's a small Southern town with a decent amount of infrastructure (about 100K people in Macon, 350K in surrounding areas).  Traffic can sometimes be bad, and it's crime rate is above the national average (last time I checked).  People are generally nice here.  It's about 80 miles Southeast of Atlanta.

Cons
1.  Private tuition rates, which are much higher than resident tuition at GSU and UGA.
2.  USNWR typically ranks it third or fourth in the state.

Paralegal2Atty

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Re: Mercer Law 2L taking questions
« Reply #1 on: December 28, 2008, 09:28:58 PM »
Thanks for the information. I've applied to Mercer and am awaiting a decision. It's good to know the pros, cons and indifferents. I plan to attend the Open House in February and look forward to learning more about the school and Macon area.

vap

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Re: Mercer Law 2L taking questions
« Reply #2 on: December 29, 2008, 12:58:20 AM »
Sounds great.  If you have any questions about Mercer, fire away.  If you'd like to meet in person during your trip, let me know.

lawness

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Re: Mercer Law 2L taking questions
« Reply #3 on: December 29, 2008, 03:20:50 PM »
I have a question. I live in Atlanta and have applied to Mercer. Are there many people from Atlanta that commute to Macon for school?

vap

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Re: Mercer Law 2L taking questions
« Reply #4 on: December 29, 2008, 06:41:01 PM »
I have a question. I live in Atlanta and have applied to Mercer. Are there many people from Atlanta that commute to Macon for school?

Commuting is an option, and I've known several people who did this last year.  I certainly wouldn't say many people do it, though.  To state the obvious, it's probably easier if you live in the southern part of the city or close to the freeway.  The work in during 1L year isn't overbearing, so it's doable if you have good study habits.

However, rent is cheap here, so it might not cost you much more to rent a room in a 2 or 3 bedroom house in Macon and commute to Atlanta on the weekends, assuming gas prices go back up.  I know at least one person who does this.

For example, 160 miles round trip at 25 mpg with $3.00/gallon gas 4 days a week would cost you $307 a month (4 days a week assumes you will make one round trip to go home for the weekend regardless of whether you get a room here).  If you come for a visit, the admissions office maintains a book that has local ads by people who own houses close to the law school.  These are generally pretty good deals.  After I started, I think they might have made this info available online to prospective or admitted students.  Even places farther out in North Macon aren't bad

Paralegal2Atty

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Re: Mercer Law 2L taking questions
« Reply #5 on: December 29, 2008, 08:05:03 PM »
That answers one of my questions about housing close to the school. I am non-trad, married and would rather have a quiet, safe place to live. It's nice to know that options are available and at least online, cost of living seems relatively low.

What was the deciding factor of your choosing Mercer over other schools you were considering?

Thanks again for all your insight. It is very helpful.

vap

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Re: Mercer Law 2L taking questions
« Reply #6 on: December 29, 2008, 11:09:30 PM »
What was the deciding factor of your choosing Mercer over other schools you were considering?

My final decision came down to Iowa and Mercer.  I decided between these two schools by looking, in my opinion, at the three most important factors: cost, employment prospects, and location.  Unfortunately, my discussion might not be that relevant to your own decision, but I'll go ahead and discuss why I chose Mercer over Iowa.  If you'd like to list the other schools you are considering, I'd be happy to talk about how I think Mercer stacks up against them.

As another caveat, I should mention that most of the "pros" I listed in the first post weighed in in the back of my mind when I chose Mercer.  Also, I didn't realize how great Mercer's legal writing program or it's unique curriculum was until after I started school here. 

Cost vs. Employment Prospects
Iowa was going to put in me in debt for about $120K, but I received a generous scholarship at Mercer.  Cost was important to me because I did not have a strong desire to work for a big firm.  When I chose Mercer, I was hoping to either work as a judicial clerk, work for a DA/PD office, state or federal government office, or start my own firm (if not right away, then sometime).

I did not think Iowa's employment prospects so much outpaced Mercer's that it was worth the extra money.  Generally the higher federal clerkship placement, the better the school is for clerkships.  I looked at judicial clerks from both schools and found that for a five-year period, on average Iowa placed about 4.7% of its students in federal clerkships while Mercer placed about 3.5% of its students in federal clerkships.  I didn't think the 1.2% difference was significant.  Further, although I was not particularly interested in biglaw, I didn't think Iowa's biglaw placement warranted spending the extra money (12-15% from Iowa's class at NLJ 250 firms vs. 6-8% from Mercer's class).

Location
I like Mercer's location in Macon, Georgia, and Atlanta is a large legal market with a strong business presence.  Macon is the hub for the Middle District of Georgia.  As such, it has the federal offices you would expect: U.S. District Court and U.S. Attorney's Office.  Macon and the surrounding area also has a plethora of state offices and medium to small firms.

lawness

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Re: Mercer Law 2L taking questions
« Reply #7 on: December 30, 2008, 07:53:29 AM »
Thanks. I am actually married and own a condo in Atlanta. My wife's work is in Atlanta, so Atlanta would be my home base. I guess I could rent a room, which I did not know would be available. I live in Midtown Atlanta and close to the highway, so I guess I just have to weigh my options when I get accepted. Thanks for the insight though.

vap

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Re: Mercer Law 2L taking questions
« Reply #8 on: December 30, 2008, 09:01:32 AM »
Thanks. I am actually married and own a condo in Atlanta. My wife's work is in Atlanta, so Atlanta would be my home base. I guess I could rent a room, which I did not know would be available. I live in Midtown Atlanta and close to the highway, so I guess I just have to weigh my options when I get accepted. Thanks for the insight though.

Yep, the folks I know who rent rooms and go home on weekends are married with kids and own property in northern suburban Atlanta, so maybe the would have a longer commute than you.  Commuting would be possible, but three hours a day is a lot of time during 1L (assuming that's the time it takes for a round trip commute).

lawness

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Re: Mercer Law 2L taking questions
« Reply #9 on: December 30, 2008, 11:22:48 AM »
yeah...I know. When I get in, I'll look for a room to rent.