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Author Topic: Need Advice about P/T versus F/T Law Program in NY  (Read 615 times)

stuckinmylife

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Need Advice about P/T versus F/T Law Program in NY
« on: January 08, 2011, 01:34:55 PM »
I just received a 167 LSAT score (95 percentile) that was higher than I expected after only 40 days of intense review.  I have a UGPA of 3.9 out of 4.0 and graduated in 2006 from a top 5 engineering school.  I also have a 3.7 GPA from Master's program from an Ivy League school.  I have 4.5+ years of work experience.

I know 167 LSAT and 3.9 UGPA can get me into a t-14 school like Cornell, but I want to still keep my current job while getting my law degree.  I currently have a low stress 45 hr/wk job that pays me around $90k per year with full benefits.  I really want to keep my job and all the benefits that come with it.  I was originally just planning to apply to Fordham P/T program, but with my LSAT score.  I'm seriously considering F/T t-14 schools.

I need people to give me advice.  I have listed the pros and cons of each decision:

P/T Fordham pro:
1. Keep my job. (4 yrs X 90 K ) = $360K
2. Continue to accumulate work experience.
3. Best P/T program in NY and 3rd in the nation.

P/T Fordham con:
1. Not a T-14 school. (Not really sure how this will affect job opportunities)
2. One extra year to get a JD. (4 years total)

F/T T-14 pro:
1. Higher ranking and more prestige.
2. Three years to get a JD.

F/T T-14 con:
1. Lose my job and medical benefits.
2. No steady cash income.
3. Stop accumulating work experience on my resume.

I need some input about my situation.  If you are going to Fordham or graduated from there, please put in your two cents also.  All comments will be appreciated.

MeganEW

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Re: Need Advice about P/T versus F/T Law Program in NY
« Reply #1 on: January 08, 2011, 06:36:46 PM »
Apply to schools that appeal to you* as well as Fordham's PT program.  With those numbers and your work experience, there's a good chance you'll receive good scholarship money from places like UIUC and BC.  You can then weigh those options against going to school part-time and/or use them to negotiate aid from other schools.

As for job prospects out of Fordham... if you're interested in BigLaw, it's one of the best outside of the T14.  Lots of top firms participate in OCI there.  One thing to consider, though, is that your last summer, if aiming for midlaw or biglaw, you will want to be a summer associate.  The pay will be decent, but I imagine once you leave your current job (for the summer gig), you won't be able to come back.  Just something to keep in mind when you're crunching the numbers.

I don't think your #3 con to a T14 is really relevant.  While legal employers do seem to like previous work experience, they don't expect you to work during law school.  In top legal jobs, PT programs are the exception, not the rule.  I imagine many non-legal employers recognize this as well.  You will, however, want to work/hold internships in the summers.

*seems like you're interested in staying in the Northeast, but you might want to throw Northwestern on your list.  It might be a bit of a stretch with your LSAT, but they pretty much require work experience and seem to love engineers.  They also placed a higher percentage of their class in BigLaw spots than any other law school last year.

Good luck and congrats!
Acceptances: UIUC, IUB, Fordham, W&L, OSU
WL: Notre Dame
Rejections: NYU, Northwestern

stuckinmylife

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Re: Need Advice about P/T versus F/T Law Program in NY
« Reply #2 on: January 08, 2011, 07:41:23 PM »
If you get top 3 (Harvard/Yale/Stanford), maybe go full time.  If you get the next three, (Chicago, Columbia, NYU) with money, crunch some numbers.  Anything else in the t-14 toss for Fordham PT unless it is near a full-ride.

You can purchase school insurance if you go full-time, so it is not that you will lose medical coverage, it is that you will have to pay more for it.  Might be a big cost factor if you have medical issues or family to support.  That should go in your calculations too.

I think my LSAT and GPA will be a reach for Columbia and NYU because my LSAT is below 25%-75% acceptance score band based on US news.  Of course a no string attached full ride scholarship from T14 will definitely justify giving up my current job.  I'm perfectly healthy and no dependents, but insurance is still a cost to consider nonetheless. 
From US News Stats, I think I'm a strong candidate for Cornell.
Thanks for the response.

stuckinmylife

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Re: Need Advice about P/T versus F/T Law Program in NY
« Reply #3 on: January 08, 2011, 08:03:37 PM »
Apply to schools that appeal to you* as well as Fordham's PT program.  With those numbers and your work experience, there's a good chance you'll receive good scholarship money from places like UIUC and BC.  You can then weigh those options against going to school part-time and/or use them to negotiate aid from other schools.

As for job prospects out of Fordham... if you're interested in BigLaw, it's one of the best outside of the T14.  Lots of top firms participate in OCI there.  One thing to consider, though, is that your last summer, if aiming for midlaw or biglaw, you will want to be a summer associate.  The pay will be decent, but I imagine once you leave your current job (for the summer gig), you won't be able to come back.  Just something to keep in mind when you're crunching the numbers.

I don't think your #3 con to a T14 is really relevant.  While legal employers do seem to like previous work experience, they don't expect you to work during law school.  In top legal jobs, PT programs are the exception, not the rule.  I imagine many non-legal employers recognize this as well.  You will, however, want to work/hold internships in the summers.

*seems like you're interested in staying in the Northeast, but you might want to throw Northwestern on your list.  It might be a bit of a stretch with your LSAT, but they pretty much require work experience and seem to love engineers.  They also placed a higher percentage of their class in BigLaw spots than any other law school last year.

Good luck and congrats!

Yes, I'm very interested in BigLaw.  If the current economic situation continues, I will not give up my job just for an internship in any BigLaw without any guarantee of full-time employment.  I don't want to lose my seniority or vested interest on my 401k plans.  I also know a college mate who gave up his job in a big construction firm for a summer internship in a law firm back in 2008.  He graduated from Seton Hall and the law firm didn't hire him in the end.  So, he really got screwed and had to go back to work as an engineer again for another company.  In general, these days it is best to hang on to what you have. 

The greatest dilemma for me is that I do not hate my current career.  I think I'm getting good pay and regular work hours.  Overtime work also gets premium pay.

I really don't want to risk my current engineering career for an unknown nascent legal career.  I'm working for a major publicly traded company also.  Maybe, I can find a legal position in the corporate hierarchy while going to law school P/T.

Thank you for your thoughts.

stuckinmylife

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Re: Need Advice about P/T versus F/T Law Program in NY
« Reply #4 on: January 08, 2011, 08:07:54 PM »
Thanks for the inputs so far!

I'm deciding to apply to the following schools right now:

NYU (reach)
Cornell (good chance)
Fordham P/T(high chance)
Benjamin Cardozo P/T (high chance)
Brooklyn Law (safety)

Not really interested in schools that I cannot drive to from NYC in 1 day.

Any other suggestions? Should I apply to Tier 2 or 3 schools in NYC just to negotiate good scholarship money?

MeganEW

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Re: Need Advice about P/T versus F/T Law Program in NY
« Reply #5 on: January 09, 2011, 09:41:02 AM »

Yes, I'm very interested in BigLaw.  If the current economic situation continues, I will not give up my job just for an internship in any BigLaw without any guarantee of full-time employment.  I don't want to lose my seniority or vested interest on my 401k plans.  I also know a college mate who gave up his job in a big construction firm for a summer internship in a law firm back in 2008.  He graduated from Seton Hall and the law firm didn't hire him in the end.  So, he really got screwed and had to go back to work as an engineer again for another company.  In general, these days it is best to hang on to what you have. 

The greatest dilemma for me is that I do not hate my current career.  I think I'm getting good pay and regular work hours.  Overtime work also gets premium pay.

I really don't want to risk my current engineering career for an unknown nascent legal career.  I'm working for a major publicly traded company also.  Maybe, I can find a legal position in the corporate hierarchy while going to law school P/T.

Thank you for your thoughts.
If you want BigLaw, the easiest way to get it (by far) is through a summer internship.  Some BigLaw firms do interview 3Ls to join their fall associate classes, but it's a very small percentage of firms for a very small number of slots.  While getting "no-offered" at the end of a summer internship is always a risk, it's a much smaller risk at certain firms.  The V25 firm I worked at did cut the number of slots in their summer class when the economy went south, but they still had a 100% offer rate at the end.  They pride themselves on their 100% offer rate because it means they can attract top candidates.
Here's a list compiled by Above the Law:
http://abovethelaw.com/2010/04/summer-offer-rates-vault-top-25-are-hot/
(Actually, the firm I worked for has a sub-100% offer rate on that list because it lists all offices, but the NY office had a 100% offer rate).

If you can get a legal position in-house at your current company, that's great.  For many corporate attorneys, that's living the dream because the money is decent and the hours are much better than firm hours.  But, while it's somewhat common to go in-house from a firm as an associate, it's less common/more difficult to go to a firm from a company unless you're pretty senior.

As for schools to add for potential aid negotiation, I'd add BC and BU.  They're also not far from NYC.  You probably don't need to waste an application on Brooklyn.  Fordham doesn't view it as a peer school, so it won't help you with aid negotiations, and your numbers and w/e can get you money at much better schools (assuming you haven't murdered anyone and don't come off as a raging a-hole in your applications...and even then...  ;)).
I think the Cardozo app is good for aid negotiations with Fordham, but I would caution against going there even if your negotiations prove unsuccessful (Fordham can be a little stingy...).  Before the downturn in the economy, Cardozo used to feed into NY BigLaw, but now many firms have stopped hiring from there because they've cut their class sizes.  It is now notorious for a gunner atmosphere because the majority of the class is competing for only a handful of jobs.  While you'll have a huge leg-up on them because of your resume (particularly if you're interested in IP), that type of learning environment does not sound at all appealing.
Acceptances: UIUC, IUB, Fordham, W&L, OSU
WL: Notre Dame
Rejections: NYU, Northwestern

stuckinmylife

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Re: Need Advice about P/T versus F/T Law Program in NY
« Reply #6 on: January 09, 2011, 12:02:48 PM »
Alright, new list:

Application that I will send out within 3 days
NYU (reach)
Cornell (good chance)
Fordham P/T(high chance)
Boston University (high chance)

Application that I will send out by next weekend:
Benjamin Cardozo P/T (high chance)
Brooklyn Law (safety)

Thanks about Boston U.  US news shows 60% grant for it.

There is a rumor out there that the law schools that you applied to can see your application status of the other law schools through the LSAC.  Is it possible for a school to find out where you got rejected, accepted, or waitlisted once you applied to it?