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Author Topic: Florida Coastal or Washburn?  (Read 2567 times)

if it pleases the court

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Florida Coastal or Washburn?
« on: December 08, 2010, 08:36:52 PM »
Florida Coastal and Washburn Law have accepted me. Bottom line: which is the better school? I'm not interested in answers relating to the cities that the law schools are located in because, obviously, Jacksonville is better than Topeka, nor reading answers about which is less expensive because Washburn is a better priced by far, or "If you want to practice in Florida" type answers. I am simply interested in what anyone might know about the universities reputation, faculty, alumni, and career outlook for students. Thanks in advance.

bigs5068

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Re: Florida Coastal or Washburn?
« Reply #1 on: December 09, 2010, 01:23:09 AM »
Neither school is better than the other. At any ABA school you going to learn the same things, the ABA requires all ABA schools to teach the same subjects. No matter where you will take torts, contracts, civil procedure, criminal law, con law, etc. They are required by the ABA and no matter where you learn it the law is the same and Negligence in torts is duty, breach, causation damages whether you learn it at Harvard or Florida Coastal. Consideration in a contract applies equally and so on. In Elite type schools you get EXCEPTIONAL professors, but neither Washburn or Florida Coastal are elite schools. You should go to the school in the location you would rather live in, because outside of Kansas Washburn will not open many doors. While Florida Coastal will not open many doors outside of Florida.

There is another pro to Washburn in that it is cheaper and there is far less competition in Kansas. I think the only other school in State is University of Kansas. While Florida Coastal is behind UF, FSU, Miami, Stetson, and roughly equal to FIU, Barry, and Nova, so there is a lot more competition to deal with. If you wouldn't mind living in Kansas then go to Washburn if Florida is where you want to be go to Florida Coastal. I worked with a guy from Florida Coastal this summer and he was by far the best summer associate in our office. That goes more to his accomplishments rather than the school. Education is generally what YOU make of it and you can have an excellent legal career from either Washburn or Florida Coastal. You could also have a really sh***y legal career from either school. It is going to be mostly dependent on you and not the school.

if it pleases the court

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Re: Florida Coastal or Washburn?
« Reply #2 on: January 01, 2011, 08:28:24 PM »
Thanks for your feedback. Your answer helped me make an informed decision. I closed my eyes and silently asked myself, "Florida, or Kansas?", to which I answered out loud, "Florida.", and then I realized why I was feeling that Washburn was the better option. It was because I was still wowed by Washburn's higher ranking. The ranking was impeding me from doing what would make me happy, which is going to Florida Coastal. So, then I figured out why I should go to Florida Coastal, and these are the top two reasons I came up with: Firstly, because I want to live and work in Florida; second, because rankings really aren't everything, and if you don't go to a Top 20 school, then regional reputation and alumni connections often helps more than going to a non-Top 20 law school.

john4040

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Re: Florida Coastal or Washburn?
« Reply #3 on: January 02, 2011, 07:10:19 AM »
Second, Florida Coastal specifically prepares students for the Florida Bar Exam;

Take this off of your list of reasons.  Barbri (or other bar prep classes) prepares you to take the bar exam, not law school.

john4040

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Re: Florida Coastal or Washburn?
« Reply #4 on: January 07, 2011, 08:42:43 AM »
After OP messaged me about choosing a school based on the bar exam, I noticed that my response might be help other 0Ls put the law school / bar exam distinction into perspective.  Here is the same information I shared with him:

I understand your reasoning, however, much of the law that is tested on the bar exam is standard (exception: Louisiana and California).  Although it may help some, law school does not teach you how to take and pass the bar.  The bar involves memorizing black letter law and applying it to a narrow set of standard facts.   Law school's mission is to teach you how to "think like a lawyer."  In law school, the focus of your studies will not be the black letter law because teachers are more interested in hiding the ball, letting you think about and reason through what the law should be, showing you a case about what the law really is, and again discussing whether the law is appropriate given certain "hypothetical" instances (ridiculous instances that, seemingly, no individual could possibly think up, but that nevertheless occur in real life).  In sum, law school is about teaching you how to reason through issues of first impression; whereas, the Bar exam requires only that you know the law as it currently exists and applying that law to a monotonous set of facts.

Once again, I warn you not choose a certain school because of the bar exam pass rate or because it will "better" ready you for a particular state's bar.  Torts, contracts, criminal law, constitutional law, civil / criminal procedure, etc. are virtually identical (some are identical) across all states .  The exceptions to this rule, however, are Louisiana and California.

bigs5068

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Re: Florida Coastal or Washburn?
« Reply #5 on: January 07, 2011, 02:56:14 PM »
Although that is true I imagine being in the state you want to practice in will be of great assistance. I actually do not know this for sure, but I imagine you have to be in the state to take the state's bar. Had the OP gone to Washburn the hassle of flying to Florida, paying for a hotel, blah blah could rack up to a 1,000 trip. Even if the OP passed they would have no connections in Florida to begin with, because I imagine all the Florida law firms will look to Florida schools first. They may reach out to some of the Elite Schools, but I cannot imagine a firm in Florida reaching out to Washburn. If you have a place you want to live then go to law school there unless you have a chance at a T14 maybe top 25 school. Otherwise you are staying in that location/

john4040

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Re: Florida Coastal or Washburn?
« Reply #6 on: January 07, 2011, 03:39:16 PM »
Although that is true I imagine being in the state you want to practice in will be of great assistance. I actually do not know this for sure, but I imagine you have to be in the state to take the state's bar. Had the OP gone to Washburn the hassle of flying to Florida, paying for a hotel, blah blah could rack up to a 1,000 trip.

I'm doing this exact thing right now (studying to take another bar exam during my clerkship).  It's not easy or convenient, but it can be done.  My point was essentially that it is not necessary to go to law school in the state in which you ultimately take the bar.  (Especially since most states allow you to waive in after 5 years of law practice)

However, I generally agree with you:  Go for T14, if you can't get it, go to a cheap regional school.  If you want to practice in Utah, by all means, go to a law school in Utah or a surrounding state.  Just don't say that you chose Utah Law School because of its "great" bar exam pass rate in Utah or because it will "better" prepare you for the Utah bar.  That's just nonsense.  Instead, your primary considerations should be cost and location of the law school.

bigs5068

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Re: Florida Coastal or Washburn?
« Reply #7 on: January 07, 2011, 04:03:52 PM »
True with the exceptions of Louisiana & California like you said. I don't even think California is that different, but I know Louisiana is a Civil Law state and different from all the other states so if you want to go work there I would recommend a Louisiana School. I think we both have said this on other threads that any ABA school will essentially teach you the same things, which is how to think like a lawyer. Whether you go to Harvard or Cooley you will take Torts & read the Pellsgraf Case, Pennoyer v. Neff in Civil Procedure etc etc. Once you have gone through three years of that you will have a foundation for the law and then BarBri or one of the other organizations will help you pass the bar. No matter what geographic location you are in the Supreme Court cases you read in law school will be the same.

Framboise

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Re: Florida Coastal or Washburn?
« Reply #8 on: January 21, 2011, 11:48:26 AM »
Where can you see yourself living for the next 10 years?  There's no use in comparing Florida Coastal and Washburn.  They're T4's in separate markets with no overlap.  Topeka, Kansas or Florida?  I imagine you have no connections in Topeka (correct me if I'm wrong).  If there are no scholarships involved, I have to wonder if law school is even a smart choice at all for you.

jack24

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Re: Florida Coastal or Washburn?
« Reply #9 on: January 21, 2011, 11:57:51 AM »
Kansas only has two law schools: KU and Washburn.  A lot of Washburn grads to very well in the Topeka, Wichita, and Kansas City areas, but none of those markets are amazing, and it's tough for Washburn grads in the bottom half to find any type of job. (Many of them do, though.)

I think most employers in the area prefer KU grads, but Washburn is still pretty respected, especially for a bottom tier school.  A degree from Washburn doesn't help you much if you go outside of Kansas, so I'd plan on living in Kansas if you choose Washburn.
You wouldn't be limited to Topeka, but there are a lot of state government jobs in Topeka.   Plenty of Washburn grads find jobs in KC or Wichita, and I think those cities are much nicer than Topeka.

I don't go to Washburn, but I've worked with plenty of Washburn grads that are really good guys.  They all have jobs and it would probably be a good idea to talk to them.  Feel free to pm me with your email address and I can send it to them.