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Author Topic: Deciding amongTier 3/4 Schools  (Read 1420 times)

greengirl10

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Deciding amongTier 3/4 Schools
« on: February 11, 2010, 01:40:00 PM »
Please weigh in, but also consider i'm aware of the issues at the schools (ex: golden gate previously on probation), and the prospects of coming out of a tier 3/4 school. Thanks in advance.

Background:
-undergrad science degree
-spent 3 years in gov't env. agency

Plans/Hopes:
-interested in public interest law, specifically environmental law
-would like to work for non-profit or gov't
-ok with leaving law school with degree and returning to gov't work similar to prelaw school (there are a lot of lawyers running around here that don't actually practice but have jobs i'd like)

In:
Golden Gate (25,000/yr) in honors lawyering program, environmental law scholars program
Wayne State (0/yr)
Capital Law (10,000/yr)
Thomas Jefferson (14,000/yr)

dramaticpaws

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Re: Deciding amongTier 3/4 Schools
« Reply #1 on: February 11, 2010, 08:42:30 PM »
Where do you want to live? I think that will narrow down your choices. You know with a T3/4 your degree won't be mobile. In my opinion, I would pick the one that would offer you the least debt coupled with a place you would want to live, and then weigh the strengths of their PI/Env law programs. Good luck to you.

greengirl10

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Re: Deciding amongTier 3/4 Schools
« Reply #2 on: February 12, 2010, 01:53:00 PM »
I'm not entirely sure where i'd like to live or i'm not that concerned about it. I'm from the midwest, so the weather aspect doesn't bother me. I'd be happy in CA or Detroit, large city or small.

I do know that i'll have to be in the same city for at least 2 more years post grad b/c my husband will be getting his Ph.D. (we've applied to schools all over the country)

Thanks for your insight, my thoughts are similar to yours.

Would anyone agree that there's not much difference between going to say, Wayne State and Golden Gate? Wayne State is ranked higher, but still not very high and doesn't have some of the env. opportunities i'd get at GG. I have the understanding that once you're in tier 3/4 territory, ranking matters less. I'm factoring in the idea that you should go to the best law school possible, however, my best is not that great (lol), so does that advice still apply to me?


dramaticpaws

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Re: Deciding amongTier 3/4 Schools
« Reply #3 on: February 12, 2010, 08:09:13 PM »
CA or Detroit... you must be from around Detroit to say that. I don't have a problem with that, I've lived in the metro area since '06 and call me crazy but I like it here. Maybe I'll see you at Wayne in the fall, that's where I'm leaning towards going. It sounds like we have similar backgrounds. I got a BS in geology and have been working in the wonderfully boring world of regulatory compliance consulting for four years. I have been told by lawyer friends that env. law isn't really hiring these days. As such, I'm leaning toward IP and I guess Wayne is supposed to have a decent IP program. You could try to (tactfully) leverage your scholarship offers with Wayne to see if they want to pony up some dough.

Contract2008

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Re: Deciding amongTier 3/4 Schools
« Reply #4 on: February 14, 2010, 04:30:02 PM »


Plans/Hopes:
-interested in public interest law, specifically environmental law
-would like to work for non-profit or gov't
-ok with leaving law school with degree and returning to gov't work similar to prelaw school (there are a lot of lawyers running around here that don't actually practice but have jobs i'd like)


What kind of agency/government do you work at right now that has lots of lawyers running around?  Do they do legeal work or work that can be done by non-attorneys?

petermharrington

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Re: Deciding amongTier 3/4 Schools
« Reply #5 on: February 14, 2010, 11:27:30 PM »

I'm surprised you got waitlisted at Suffolk. Maybe they're hesitant to offer you an acceptance letter because they doubt your legitimate interest in going there.

Thane Messinger

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Re: Deciding amongTier 3/4 Schools
« Reply #6 on: February 15, 2010, 02:40:49 AM »
Please weigh in, but also consider i'm aware of the issues at the schools (ex: golden gate previously on probation), and the prospects of coming out of a tier 3/4 school. Thanks in advance.



Greengirl -

This might be out-of-place, but have you considered Vermont?  With a background such as yours, that might be the perfect fit.  And, uniquely, in that area and with your expertise, the school's ranking becomes relatively less important.  (This is true both going in and coming out.  If one is applying with a genuine expertise and interest that meshes with the faculty's, that will often make the difference in a marginal--and sometimes less-than-marginal--application on the numbers.  Likewise, in a job hunt a school with a known expertise will draw nationally, even if it's not otherwise a national school.  Beware, however, many of those jobs are going to the defense side.)  Vermont is known nationally for its environmental programs, and almost certainly punches above weight. 

There are others, but I'm afraid that exhausts my knowledge in that area.  (And the specialty lists can be only marginally helpful there too.  To have this sort of pull, a law school needs to have devoted a LOT of time and money to a specific area.  At least a decade and several endowed chairs, plus several more brilliant newcomers, adjuncts, and extra staff and clinics.  Few law schools can do or have done this, so avoid being pulled in by a "flash in the pan" with just a handful of specialists.) 

If you've already deferred a year and are on the fence, it might be worth a visit to South Royalton, conversations with the dean and as many faculty as you can find, and another year.

Thane.

Thistle

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Re: Deciding amongTier 3/4 Schools
« Reply #7 on: February 15, 2010, 05:49:06 PM »


Plans/Hopes:
-interested in public interest law, specifically environmental law
-would like to work for non-profit or gov't
-ok with leaving law school with degree and returning to gov't work similar to prelaw school (there are a lot of lawyers running around here that don't actually practice but have jobs i'd like)


What kind of agency/government do you work at right now that has lots of lawyers running around?  Do they do legeal work or work that can be done by non-attorneys?


i work at DOI, and they tripped over themselves to hire me because of my law degree, even though i am not practicing law for them per se.

i wanted to work for the feds though, and that was my aspiration through law school, so....ymmv depending on your career goals.
non ex transverso sed deorsum


JD

greengirl10

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Re: Deciding amongTier 3/4 Schools
« Reply #8 on: February 19, 2010, 05:58:03 PM »
What kind of agency/government do you work at right now that has lots of lawyers running around?  Do they do legal work or work that can be done by non-attorneys? I'm currently at a state version of EPA. A lot of these lawyers I talk about are in upper management positions relating to compliance and enforcement. Legal Work? Administrative agencies, such as a state epa, enforce administrative law. Every day I determe whether x is violating a law (or rule). We work with AG's office in developing cases. Post degree, I could do more policy work, writing rules, etc.

This might be out-of-place, but have you considered Vermont? 
I did consider Vermont, but there are no opportunities for husband there. I also wasn't too thrilled about the size of the city.

BikePilot

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Re: Deciding amongTier 3/4 Schools
« Reply #9 on: February 20, 2010, 04:01:03 PM »
I think the advice about looking at a school in the region where you want to live is sound.  Pay specific attention to the faculty in the area of your interest as well - this can vary wildly and won't always track rankings all that well. If for example a former director of the state envio agency you want to work for is now teaching at a law school in your local area that could be a huge benefit to you. I'm not sure, but I get the impression that relative ranking means a lot less the lower you get.  For example, there's a dramatic difference between yale and UVA and they are only 10 spots apart, but the difference between 90 and 100 is probably minimal (and for better or worse, people outside the immediate region probably won't have heard of the schools).
HLS 2010