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Author Topic: PLEASE HELP...chicago vs. san diego  (Read 2047 times)

mkmoss033

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PLEASE HELP...chicago vs. san diego
« on: April 07, 2011, 08:45:37 PM »
Ok. Im new to this and I'm looking for a little help choosing a law school. The two schools that I'm seriously considering are thomas jefferon where i'll have a 60k scholarship (housing grand included) or move to chicago and attending either depaul or chicago-kent (still waiting to hear back). Depaul is offering me 32k, which isnt much but it's something. I'm also waiting to hear back from southwestern, a tier 3 but I really don't want to live in LA. But again its a tier 3, better than a tier 4 for the most part. My primary issue is I'm a little hesitant to pass on Depaul since it's a tier 2 and go to thomas jefferson which is a tier 4. I'm not nieve in thinking that a T2 will offer many more career prospects than a T4 however, Depaul seems to have a  a pretty solid reputation within the chicago area, and I can definitely see myself living there. Whereas Thomas Jefferson is one of three law schools in the san diego area and is ranked the lowest of the three. It competes with Univ. of San diego and Cal western which in my opinion cal western should be viewed as equal but Univ. of san diego a T2 may put me a disadvantage....so....please someone help....any thoughts??

p.s. I have no real ties to chicago, I've just always seen myself living in a big city. When I visited i did enjoy the environment and being in the city, however, I'm from california and I would leaving my family, friends, and boyfriend to move to chicago by myself.

MikePing

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Re: PLEASE HELP...chicago vs. san diego
« Reply #1 on: April 08, 2011, 11:43:12 AM »
The most important factor in your decision should be where you want to live/practice. 

Scholarship students tend to be at the top of the class (but not always).  Those in the top 25% of a law class, who get some legal experience while they are in school, don't usually have too bad of a time finding work (even at T4).  There are exceptions, obviously, but I would say that the preceding statements are 80% accurate.   

If you have no ties to a city, firms will be more cautious in hiring you.  They don't want to invest that money in a new associate only to have them get homesick.  So the more ties you have to an area, the better. 

I hope these thoughts help.  Let us know what you decide!

FalconJimmy

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Re: PLEASE HELP...chicago vs. san diego
« Reply #2 on: April 08, 2011, 05:37:06 PM »
Those in the top 25% of a law class, who get some legal experience while they are in school, don't usually have too bad of a time finding work (even at T4).  There are exceptions, obviously, but I would say that the preceding statements are 80% accurate.   

That's encouraging.  i hope you're right.

mkmoss033

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Re: PLEASE HELP...chicago vs. san diego
« Reply #3 on: April 09, 2011, 12:44:37 AM »
Thanks for the advice. Because I have no family in chicago, I actaully think I may want to eventually move back to california to practice. I may practice in chicago for a few years following law school but ultimetly I can see myself retuning to Cali. Also, San diego has a very small legal market so my fear is going and being unable to find employment in san diego. In which case I would be forced to move north where I'll be coming from a T4 and competing with schools like UCLA, USC, Loyola, southwestern, and chapman etc...Which are all better the Thomas Jefferson.

bigs5068

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Re: PLEASE HELP...chicago vs. san diego
« Reply #4 on: April 10, 2011, 03:00:57 PM »
Ok. Im new to this and I'm looking for a little help choosing a law school. The two schools that I'm seriously considering are thomas jefferon where i'll have a 60k scholarship (housing grand included) or move to chicago and attending either depaul or chicago-kent (still waiting to hear back). Depaul is offering me 32k, which isnt much but it's something. I'm also waiting to hear back from southwestern, a tier 3 but I really don't want to live in LA. But again its a tier 3, better than a tier 4 for the most part. My primary issue is I'm a little hesitant to pass on Depaul since it's a tier 2 and go to thomas jefferson which is a tier 4. I'm not nieve in thinking that a T2 will offer many more career prospects than a T4 however, Depaul seems to have a  a pretty solid reputation within the chicago area, and I can definitely see myself living there. Whereas Thomas Jefferson is one of three law schools in the san diego area and is ranked the lowest of the three. It competes with Univ. of San diego and Cal western which in my opinion cal western should be viewed as equal but Univ. of san diego a T2 may put me a disadvantage....so....please someone help....any thoughts??

p.s. I have no real ties to chicago, I've just always seen myself living in a big city. When I visited i did enjoy the environment and being in the city, however, I'm from california and I would leaving my family, friends, and boyfriend to move to chicago by myself.

I was in this exact same situation last year and thought exactly as you did that the rankings matter, but they mean absolutely nothing when dealing with tier 3,4 and low tier 2 schools. I am from California as well and was going to attend Michigan State because it was tier 2. I have no ties in Michigan and it honestly would have been the WORST decision of my life. I stayed in California and attend GGU a tier 4, which has gone great for me. I now realize that nobody knows the difference between Depaul or Southwestern. Depaul works fine in Chicago and Southwestern works fine in L.A. Thomas Jefferson works fine in San Diego. The rankings are an absolute mess and by the time graduate a tier 4 can be a tier 2 and a tier 2 can be a tier 4. The formula is literally done like this. Judges from across the country fill out a scantron rating a school from 1-5. Some judge in Nebraska that has never been to San Diego and never met anyone that attended or work at Cal Western or USD checks a box that is it. University of San Francisco has gone from 73rd, to tier 3, to 86th, to currently in a 14 way tie for 96th place I believe.

Read this article regarding the rankings directly from LSAC. http://www.lsac.org/LsacResources/Research/GR/GR-07-02.pdf. It will tell you to not place much value in the rankings. There are elite schools if you said options were Harvard or Cal Western it would be a pretty easy decision, but nobody outside of L.A. knows anything about Southwestern and nobody outside of Chicago really knows much about Depaul.

There is no right answer to your question, but in my limited opinion when choosing schools this should be the criteria you consider.

1. Location-If you want to be in San Diego go to school in San Diego. No matter where you go you are going to compete with top schools, but you can make it happen. It is a difficult road for everybody and there are no guarantees, but if you want to live in California after graduation and you graduate from Depaul nobody will have heard of it out here. People in San Diego are much more likely to hire people from San Diego schools. The professors will know people in San Diego and Career services will have ties in San Diego. Depaul will have a lot of that in Chicago. I find it very unlikely that with 20 law schools in California anyone is going to go to Depaul to hire somebody. On top of that you will work in San Diego in internships etc learn the local rules of court there and work for lawyers in the area that other people know. Location is a huge factor and going somewhere blind based on rankings is not a good idea and I thank god everyday I did not do that. Three real attorneys talked me out of it the week before I was set to move and I strongly encourage that you talk to some lawyers at firms you might like to work at.


2. Cost-If TJSL is offering you that much money and you want to live in San Diego then it might be worth it. I don't see USD having that much prestige over TJSL or Cal Western. I worked with a girl who went to USD and said she hated it and I have a friend that graduated from USD has a good job and loved it. I also have a friend that attended TJSL and loved it. Law school is basically what you make of it and you should just go to the location you want to live in and get out as cheaply as possible. TJSL seems to be offering you that.

3. Just remember any ABA school teaches you the same thing more or less. You are going to read Supreme Court cases and the Supreme Court doesn't write special editions for tier 2 schools. The law is fairly uniform and no matter what ABA school you learn it at it will be up to you be good at your job.

I apologize this rant is to long, but I was in a very similar situation a year and a half ago, then I realized how ridiculous the rankings are. Remember they are not regulated by the ABA or any organized group. They are some private magazines subjective opinion and not something you should base a life altering decision on. Good luck to you.



Morten Lund

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Re: PLEASE HELP...chicago vs. san diego
« Reply #5 on: April 10, 2011, 04:49:36 PM »
I will refrain from opining on the law schools in question, and instead offer this obvious gem:  Chicago and San Diego are two very, very different places.  I have lived in urban Chicago, suburban Chicago, and suburban San Diego (and obviously have some experience with urban SD as a result).  Those are all entirely different living environments, in just about every conceivable way. 

You indicate in your OP that you are Californian with no particular ties to Chicago - hopefully you have visited the city, particularly during winter.  Many SoCal folks are shell-shocked by the weather alone (others don't seem to mind).  And the weather, frankly, is the least of the differences.

I concur with other posters that all of the schools you mention appear to be geographically limiting.  As a result, you could be making a very long-term commitment to either SD or Chicago by your choice of school.  I would encourage you not to do so without properly investigating both locales as best you can.

But, either way, good luck - they are both great places to live, IMO.

basil

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Re: PLEASE HELP...chicago vs. san diego
« Reply #6 on: April 11, 2011, 01:16:51 PM »
DePaul is a better school, and Chicago is a great city if you can stand the weather.  There was an unfavorable article in the Sunday NY Times a few months ago about a Thomas Jefferson graduate who couldn't find a job.  Be careful, some law schools misrepresent their hiring statistics to US News, so you might check with the American Bar to see what their (much better, much more detailed, more scientific) statistics are.

Also, a much better (more statistical, scientific) ranking of law schools (than US News) is "Judging the Law Schools" at http://www.cooley.edu/rankings/overall2010.html.

Overall,everything else being equal, it is best to go to law school where you want to practice.

bigs5068

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Re: PLEASE HELP...chicago vs. san diego
« Reply #7 on: April 11, 2011, 03:38:41 PM »
All law schools have people that don't find jobs. It is not some schools that misrepresent their hiring statistics is all of them. A fry cook at Mcdonalds is employed and so is a managing partner at a mega law firm for U.S. News purposes they count equaly. Most people seem to realize that if you spent 100k and 3 years of your life on a law school education that being a McDonald's fry cook should not count for employment purposes, but U.S. News doesn't look that deeply into it.

This website http://www.lawschooltransparency.com/clearinghouse/?school=thomasjefferson actually lists salary info for most schools, but as you will notice almost every school does not have actual salary numbers for the majority of their students. It is all a misrepresentation really and I don't why the ABA and LSAC have not attempted to get more accurate information. Also one student having a hard time finding a job is not something to base your decision on. If the guy is going to the paper to complain about how unfair everything is then that is the reason is unemployed because he is bi**hing and moaning instead of putting the work to find a job. No matter what school you go to the competition will be intense for employment and this applies equally to all professions.