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Author Topic: Only got accepted to Tier 3 and 4 schools, should I even bother?  (Read 3469 times)

MidgetFoot

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I have a wife and child and we live in Washington DC and we want to stay in DC. I was accepted to U of Baltimore and UDC. I've heard that the DC market is one of the toughest legal markets to gain employment in. The question is should I even bother with law school in this case? I'd rather not incur a huge debt for a unmarketable JD from a low tier school. I've went to TLS and JDU and heard mostly bad things about non-T50 schools.

Thanks

Changed Name

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Re: Only got accepted to Tier 3 and 4 schools, should I even bother?
« Reply #1 on: March 17, 2009, 11:16:26 PM »
The answer to this question depends on factors wholly personal to you.

Some would argue that, no matter what, attending a T3 or T4 is never worth it.

That may or may not be true depending on your situation.

For example, if your desire is to be a lawyer, and you've determined that attending school will not be too much of a financial burden (because (1) you have a scholarship or (2) you're just independently wealthy), then maybe attending a T3/T4 isn't a bad choice for you.

If, however, your sole ambition is to graduate making the top dollar salary at a big D.C. firm, you may want to reconsider the T3/T4 route.  Not to say that it's not do-able, it's to say that the odds will be stacked against you.

So, the answer to your question (and the answer to all law school questions) is:  it depends.

But to be helpful, answer these questions:

(1)  Do you want to be a lawyer for the sake of being a lawyer and wanting to practice law?

(2)  Are willing to take on the debt associated with the schools you are considering (note:  this may be no debt)?

(3)  Are you aware of the types of jobs that most of the students from the schools you're considering actually end up getting?

(4)  Would you be OK with one of these jobs?

In the alternative, if you could afford to wait another year or two, you might consider re-taking the LSAT.  This is never an option anyone wants to hear especially after being accepted anywhere.  But, the merits of this position should be considered.

It's not that hard to do better on the LSAT for anyone (unless you already scored above a 175).  It takes practice and familiarizing yourself with the questions, and above all, learning to think the way the LSAT wants you to (which they deem to be "like a lawyer (or law student, more appropriately)."  A better score can pay dividends, namely in two ways:  (1)  admission to "higher ranked" schools and (2) scholarship money.

I hope my thoughts can help you think about the question in a more beneficial manner. 

HoneyBunch

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Re: Only got accepted to Tier 3 and 4 schools, should I even bother?
« Reply #2 on: March 18, 2009, 12:09:48 AM »
You might find this interesting, but the Princeton Review has a section on their website that notes the average starting salary for particular law schools.  I know you should probably only take this with a grain of salt, but still...

I've added a few schools you didn't mention, just for the sake of comparison....

According to the site, the average starting salary of a Columbia grad is $145,000...not too shabby.

The average starting salary for a U of Baltimore grad is $62,670.

The average starting salary of a UDC grad is $55,250.00...however, in-state tuition is only $7,350!  That's very affordable!

And the average starting salary of a Cooley grad is $47,500.

So...take that as you may.

SASS

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Re: Only got accepted to Tier 3 and 4 schools, should I even bother?
« Reply #3 on: March 18, 2009, 12:21:32 AM »
Don't go to a T4 if you want to work in DC. The market is very competitive. There are so many great schools in and around DC on top of the fact that it is a major market so it attracts top students from all over. Why would any employer waste their time with a T4 when they have so many better alternatives?

Retake the LSAT. Get into one of the top DC schools if you want to have doors opened as opposed to climbing uphill only to find some doors will never be open to you.

no634

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Re: Only got accepted to Tier 3 and 4 schools, should I even bother?
« Reply #4 on: March 18, 2009, 12:40:57 AM »
You might find this interesting, but the Princeton Review has a section on their website that notes the average starting salary for particular law schools.  I know you should probably only take this with a grain of salt, but still...

I've added a few schools you didn't mention, just for the sake of comparison....

According to the site, the average starting salary of a Columbia grad is $145,000...not too shabby.

The average starting salary for a U of Baltimore grad is $62,670.

The average starting salary of a UDC grad is $55,250.00...however, in-state tuition is only $7,350!  That's very affordable!

And the average starting salary of a Cooley grad is $47,500.

So...take that as you may.

Salaries are generally based on voluntary/self-reporting, so they are generally inflated.

nealric

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Re: Only got accepted to Tier 3 and 4 schools, should I even bother?
« Reply #5 on: March 18, 2009, 12:46:50 AM »
Quote
You might find this interesting, but the Princeton Review has a section on their website that notes the average starting salary for particular law schools.  I know you should probably only take this with a grain of salt, but still...

I've added a few schools you didn't mention, just for the sake of comparison....

According to the site, the average starting salary of a Columbia grad is $145,000...not too shabby.

The average starting salary for a U of Baltimore grad is $62,670.

The average starting salary of a UDC grad is $55,250.00...however, in-state tuition is only $7,350!  That's very affordable!

And the average starting salary of a Cooley grad is $47,500.

So...take that as you may.

Those starting salary averages are actually quite misleading for lower ranked schools because of the bimodal distribution of new lawyer salaries and the generally low response rate among graduates. What happens is that 1/2 the class reports (generally the top half). The very top makes 160k (market rate at large firms), while the students who were merely good make more like 35-40k. You then end up with an average of 55-60k. Also note that those average starting salaries don't count those who are unemployed (of which there will be many at a lower ranked school).  

To the op: Changed name had a pretty good response. My general thought is that it only makes sense to go to a T3/T4 law school in a major market if you want to be a lawyer above all other careers (and truly understand what the practice of law entails) and are not concerned with money.
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MidgetFoot

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Re: Only got accepted to Tier 3 and 4 schools, should I even bother?
« Reply #6 on: March 18, 2009, 06:31:28 AM »
Thanks for the responses everyone. I'll wait and see what kind of $$$ I'm offered. If my scholarship is chump change, then I'll wait until next year. I only have one more chance on the LSAT because I have a cancel (I was ill) and a 157. Although I want to be a lawyer, I'm not going to possibly jeopardize my family in order to get there.

yongsoo

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Re: Only got accepted to Tier 3 and 4 schools, should I even bother?
« Reply #7 on: March 23, 2009, 02:22:43 PM »
for what it's worth, when I worked in D.C. last summer, I met 4-5 UDC students. They were not very happy people and had nothing good to say about most of their professors.

There are a few professors that are, allegedly, blatantly biased towards other students, and the dean looks the other way because those professors are a bit more noteworthy than the rest.

2008safire

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Re: Only got accepted to Tier 3 and 4 schools, should I even bother?
« Reply #8 on: May 02, 2009, 03:50:52 PM »
IMO you should wait and retake your LSAT, UDC and Baltimore just don;t seeem like they are worth it> I would also recomend that next time around if you are a URM, you should definite try Howard, they have a huge alumni base and great job placement.