Law Students > Transferring

Cooley + Law Review/Moot Court/etc. or MSU with Nothing?

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marsius:
(I'm passing this question along for a friend)

A friend of mine is a 1L at Cooley and has okay, but not great, stats all around (Decent LSAT and UGPA, lured to Cooley by a scholarship, top 22%). With her numbers right now she's got a presumptive invite to Cooley's law review prereq (they make students take an additional writing class before they get on LR) and an invite to the moot court class. She was also admitted as a transfer to Michigan State University (T3).

MSU apparently isn't super nice to transfers. To do law review you need to participate in the write-on competition in the spring, and you can't even participate in that unless you have their two writing classes or get a waiver (which, if I understood her right, isn't available until after you're accepted). She's missed this year's competition, and apparently she can't do next year's because she'll only have a year left. She says that moot court is basically closed off as well.

She doesn't care where she gets a job, as long as she gets one. Cooley with law review would apparently do okay within Michigan, but, as I think we all are aware, the school isn't really respected outside of the Midwest.

What would you guys do if you were in her situation?

I tried breaking it down into a pro/con.

Staying at Cooley
Pros: Law review. Moot court. Decent placement in Michigan. So many people transfer out that her GPA (and rank) will probably shoot up next year.
Cons: It's probably the most derided T4 in the country. Little employment prospects outside of Michigan and almost zero outside of the midwest. Having to hide your diploma in shame.

Transferring to MSU
Pros: It's not Cooley. Has been on the rise since merging with MSU (I think it'll probably settle as a low T2, somewhere near DePaul). National name recognition.

Do you guys have any other thoughts? What would you do if you were in her situation? ???

big - fat - box:
Your friend should have applied to more schools. Class rank and 1L gpa are everything in the transfer process, it has nothing to do pre-law stats.

How much is the scholarship at Cooley for ?

As far as the law review/moot court thing at Cooley, do these classes mean your are automatically on LR or moot court afterwards? Or do they mean that you have to THEN write on/compete after you take the classes?

MSU is known for it's sports teams but that's not the same as being known for it's law school. MSU doesn't have good job prospects outside of MI and the midwest either.

Cooley isn't that respected in MI. Law review at Cooley might push her ahead of some other candidates for jobs in the midwest but I wouldn't think it would be a lock for anything b/c the economy is so bad in MI and the midwest right now. To top it off, top 22% is good, but really not that impressive to a lot of employers who are inundated with a ton of apps for what little positions are available. Don't forget we're talking Cooley here.

Your "friend" is in a really tough spot here. I don't think transferring to MSU would be a good idea unless the scholarship she has at Cooley is very small.

Here's what I would do:

1) See if there is a way to take a 1 year leave of absence from Cooley, then apply for transfer status at several other schools well in advance of the deadline. She'll have to call several schools and ask if they would go for this. Where does your friend have residency? If she has residency in a state that has a decent in-state law school(s), she needs to find out if she would be competitive for admission there. During her time off from school she should get a legal job of some sort, even if that means working as a paralegal or working in retail and doing an unpaid internship on the side.

2) Visit at another school during her final year of law school. This might be difficult. I do not know what Cooley's policy on visiting students is and she'd have to apply to visit. It isn't that hard to get accepted as a visiting student SOMEWHERE, the problem is always trying to coordinate it with your "home" law school. The goal should be to visit her third year at a reputable law school in an area of the country where the economy isn't as bad as in the midwest, where she could try to network for a post-grad job. A downside is that she would have to pay full sticker price for her third year. If Cooley does agree to it, she'd have to find some way to do her law review duties off site (assuming she gets on and Cooley allows that). Moot court would be out.

vansondon:
I would transfer to MSU.

marsius:

--- Quote from: vansondon on August 03, 2009, 06:47:53 PM ---I would transfer to MSU.

--- End quote ---

I think I'd do MSU too (meant to put that in the original post).


--- Quote from: big - fat - box on August 03, 2009, 06:44:51 PM ---Your friend should have applied to more schools. Class rank and 1L gpa are everything in the transfer process, it has nothing to do pre-law stats.

How much is the scholarship at Cooley for ?

As far as the law review/moot court thing at Cooley, do these classes mean your are automatically on LR or moot court afterwards? Or do they mean that you have to THEN write on/compete after you take the classes?

MSU is known for it's sports teams but that's not the same as being known for it's law school. MSU doesn't have good job prospects outside of MI and the midwest either.

Cooley isn't that respected in MI. Law review at Cooley might push her ahead of some other candidates for jobs in the midwest but I wouldn't think it would be a lock for anything b/c the economy is so bad in MI and the midwest right now. To top it off, top 22% is good, but really not that impressive to a lot of employers who are inundated with a ton of apps for what little positions are available. Don't forget we're talking Cooley here.

Your "friend" is in a really tough spot here. I don't think transferring to MSU would be a good idea unless the scholarship she has at Cooley is very small.

Here's what I would do:

1) See if there is a way to take a 1 year leave of absence from Cooley, then apply for transfer status at several other schools well in advance of the deadline. She'll have to call several schools and ask if they would go for this. Where does your friend have residency? If she has residency in a state that has a decent in-state law school(s), she needs to find out if she would be competitive for admission there. During her time off from school she should get a legal job of some sort, even if that means working as a paralegal or working in retail and doing an unpaid internship on the side.

2) Visit at another school during her final year of law school. This might be difficult. I do not know what Cooley's policy on visiting students is and she'd have to apply to visit. It isn't that hard to get accepted as a visiting student SOMEWHERE, the problem is always trying to coordinate it with your "home" law school. The goal should be to visit her third year at a reputable law school in an area of the country where the economy isn't as bad as in the midwest, where she could try to network for a post-grad job. A downside is that she would have to pay full sticker price for her third year. If Cooley does agree to it, she'd have to find some way to do her law review duties off site (assuming she gets on and Cooley allows that). Moot court would be out.

--- End quote ---

I included her prelaw stats because it's consistent with her 1L stats—good, not great. If I understand it correctly, being in the class is usually a guaranteed spot on LR. There's supposedly a grade requirement in that class but it sounds like just about everyone gets it.

I already suggested taking a leave of absence and visiting another school. She shot the first one down and apparently Cooley bans visiting, so the second is out too. Also, as for the residency issue—good question. She's Canadian but has dual citizenship, but I'm not sure what state she has residency in. I know that her parents are in Washington right now, but they're apparently planning to move back to the Great White North. She has made it clear, though, that she wants to work in the States.

You did, however, hit on two of my issues in trying to give her advice: 1) All things being the same, MSU likely has better job prospects, especially in a bad economy, but, in the grand scheme of things, MSU isn't really that much of a step up; and 2) though she'd be giving up a scholarship, I think it's only 25%, so MSU would only end up being about ~$10,000 more a year (she countered that her scholarship could jump to 50% depending on her grades in the next couple terms).

All the background info is just that—background. I agree that she should have applied to more schools (based on the transferapps yahoo group she could have had a decent shot at much of the lower T2), but it doesn't matter, because she is where she is.

She's made it sound like moot court and LR are a lock at Cooley and nonexistent for her at MSU. So the question is, would you stay at Cooley with LR, Moot Court, and a 25% scholarship, or would you jump ship to MSU and have none of that?

I personally lean towards transferring. MSU, no matter the quality of the school itself, doesn't have the stigma attached to its name that Cooley does. As a result, even if the early prospects suck, if she builds up a decent amount of experience, then her job prospects should pick up three years out or so. If she stays at Cooley, LR or not, she'll still always have that name on her resume, and I think that a lot of potential employers would refuse to give her a chance based solely on that. It seems like somewhat of a tossup to me, though, hence why I've brought the question to you guys.

Also, as an aside, as much as everyone loves the tongue-in-cheek "friend" routine, it's not a joke. I'm not trying to hide or pretend. I'm male, a US citizen, and am headed to a T1 in DC. She's female, has Canadian and US citizenship, and is trying to choose between East Lansing and Lansing. Sticking to that question would be nice.

big - fat - box:
It really is a tossup. Why is she unwilling to take a 1 year leave of absence? That would seem to be the best idea. It would give her an extra year to wait out the crap economy and also get a year of legal work experience. If she has dual citizenship, there is no work visa issue.

In a perfect world your friend would have gone to a Canadian law school, saved a load of dough, then gone to an American law school for a foreign lawyers' LLM if she wanted to work in the states.

Getting a continuing student scholarship at MSU isn't something to bank on. Especially with looming big $$$ debt and a crappy job outlook in the Midwest, MSU students are going to be really gunning for those.

No matter what your friend does, she would be wise to get out of the midwest for her 2L summer internship and make connections somewhere that will hire a fresh Cooley or MSU grad.

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