I would like some clarification-what is the difference between a top law school and a national law school? I know about the tier system but I read somewhere that some schools cater to a niche market and that makes them a national law school. (HBCU,schools that have a religious connection like Ava Marie) Does that really make a difference or are these schools really still just regional?
while rankings seem linear, in truth law school "value" is not.
If you mean that the choice is a highly individual thing, I absolutely agree with you. Making a knee-jerk pick based solely on USNWR is ludicrous.Situations are different. For me, an acceptance letter to Yale would mean very little other than a pat on the back. I am debt averse at my age and assuming a $150K debt is absolutely not an option.
Morten,Very well put. I would put a very general hypothetical age at about 30 for taking the debt plunge. I could see myself jumping at HLS/YLS if I were 15 years younger. If BIGLAW were my focus, I could see a 33yr old being competitive as a potential associate, even with a few years of post-BA/pre-JD experience. A 40 year old? Ummmmmmprobably not. The same would hold true if academia was the goal. Even though the salaries are lower, that additional 15 years would make a difference. Unless you have a mattress stuffed with $100s from that little side trip to Nicaragua.....servicing a debt gets harder as time goes on.Thane.....I think you just got called out by Morten! LOL
PS: As to a Top 3 (or 5-10) or Not Top 3 (or 5-10) school, while the aversion to debt is admirable and wise, Morten's point is likewise fair: for a 30-something--and even for a 40- or 50-something--the vocational and self-actualization boosts are often worth it. You're quite right that it's not likely as an associate at a traditional firm (and at 40+ who would want that?!) . . . but I've known three non-trads who just about walked into partnerships, mostly with boutique firms. And for many there might be a different point: if debt is "buying" a law school education and credential, the real question is whether that purchase is a good purchase, for you. ("You" specifically, whoever you are.) There are multiple sides to that equation, and ego can well be part of the final answer. Money is clearly important, but shouldn't always drive the decision (within reason).