I have been accepted into both Univerity of Miami (2nd tier) and Florida International University (4th tier).I am quite interested in public interest law and am aware of the low salary prospects in this field. I can't help but believe that I should attend a FIU at 12K/year rather than a 35K/year school. I'ld just like to confirm that I will be able to find a job in public interest law.Does this assumption make much sense to anyone else?
Here's what I can tell you. I graduated last year from FIU in the top ten in my class. I got a job in St. Louis making more than I was offered in Miami, and was employed before graduation. While I am only paying $300 a month in loans for my FIU education, my friends who went to private schools are paying three times that each and every month. They, with a few exceptions, don't make a dime more than I do, and in some instances make even less. The school was great, the professors were great, and it prepared me to pass the bar on my first shot. Trust me, as a practicing attorney and not a soon-to-be law student like most posters here; unless you are going to a top 25 school, it doesn't matter.However, if your ego needs a certain diploma and you don't mind an extra 100K in debt, go for UM.
I was born and raised in the area, and was always interested in the idea of returning (comperable wages, cheaper housing, 4 seasons, etc.). I sent out resumes and interviewed with the hope of returning. One firm flew me up for an interview, and another firm had me come up and interview on my own dime. I took a position with the first firm. Not becasue they flew me up, but because it was the best fit for me.I practice primarily in Complex, Jones Act, and FELA Litigation. We are a small firm, but handle cases in Missouri, Illinois, Indiana, Tennessee, Kansas, Virginia, Ohio, Florida, Texas, Colorado, Michigan and every so often, points further west.I have to add that not all my classmates, nor those of other schools, have been as lucky. The primary comment I heard while taking both my bar exams (Missouri and Illinois), was that most bar takers had not found work. These are people from multiple states and from mulitple schools across the "ranking" spectrum.In my honest opinion, my success at finding employment had most to do with:A) life experience (prior military, etc)B) Work done while in law school (clinics, internships, etc)C) Class rank (work your butt off and study hard)D) Timing (right resume on the right desk at the right time)My success at finding employment had little to do with:A) Where I went to school (No one interviewing me even commented on it)B) Who I knew (I didn't know anyone at any of the firms that interviewed me)
I would recommend Miami. If you do ultimately pursue a PI career, you can switch your government loans to the income sensitive repayment plan and after 10 years, your loan will be discharged (as long as you stay in PI). Furthermore, if you change your mind for some reason, Miami will provide you with better options in private practice.