Chapman over Southwestern to work in LA? No.
I think you should also consider what kind of law interests you at this point. It might be hard to figure that out right now, but the laws schools have different strengths. Southwestern is a good entertainment law school and has a lot of alumni practicing in that field. Chapman is good with tax, entertainment and business/real estate, and SF is good with public interest and IP (not as good as Santa Clara, but pretty good)... If you go to any of these schools, realize your probably not going to land big law unless you graduate in the top 5%, or top 30% for mid-firm. It is true that both the Bay area and LA/OC are very competitive because you compete with top CA and elite Ivy, but most of them are going to be employed in big firms so you probably won't compete with them as much. So I personally wouldn't worry about that too much if big law isn't a top priority. Another thing you should look at is the reputation of the schools and what they are doing to improve their programs.On a side note with UCI, I think it becomes a hinderance to Chapman becoming a Tier 1 school, but I really doubt that they will achieve that regardless of what happens. It will be hard enough for UCI to achieve that themselves in the next ten years. WWatch for their matriculation numbers to go down once they stop giving 100% scholarships to their students after their inagural year. There is no way they can keep up with UB, UCLA, Hastings and Davis until they build a real reputation after years of graduating alumni. Chapman faces the same problem, in that they do have quality students attending there but they are new and not as well known nationally, so they get screwed every year when someone from the faculty of Maine or some state 3000 miles away gives the school a 1.0 reputation on the USNWR rankings. So they will be limited on how "high" they can reach. But can they become a school that rivals Pepperdine/SD/Loyola? Very likely. Chapman law has a lot of money since its attached to a well funded university, has great facilities, some very well regarded faculty, and is matriculating better students each year. Their programs are also increasing in reputation. So they should be fine as a good regional school that will be a good recruiting place for mid-size firms, and play second fiddle to UCI in the long term, as well as the other elite schools.
Well, I just got accepted form the waitlist at Loyola, and a lot of factors are coming into play in now trying to decide between Chapman and Loyola. I don't want to screw myself as far as potential for first year salary might go, I do not want to work and would prefer not ot live in LA. I have 3 days to decide between Loyola and Chapman. Chapman has offered a 20% scholarship, its not a lot but it still bring my debt/tuition down almost $35k when considering going to Loyola at $40k a year. The living situation around Chapman is also MUCH better than Loyola. Some of you probably think it is a no-brainer, but some honest opinions as quick as possible would be greatly appreciated.