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Author Topic: CUNY vs. GGU  (Read 2655 times)

Kurt Cobain

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CUNY vs. GGU
« on: April 23, 2011, 07:27:40 PM »
Ok, so I'm down to these final two schools. I know CUNY makes sense from a financial and rankings standpoint, but I'm having a hard time picking because I'd like to eventually practice in California. Don't get me wrong, I love NYC, and I'd love to be there for the next 3 years, but if I don't pick GGU will I never be able to pass the California bar/get a job there? Thanks for any thoughts!

FalconJimmy

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Re: CUNY vs. GGU
« Reply #1 on: April 23, 2011, 07:51:02 PM »
If you don't mind me asking, why those two?

Of the two, I'd say your job prospects are much better with CUNY, but if you don't want to live in NY, that's really neither here nor there.

There are a LOT of law schools in California.  Why GGU?

You can pass the CA bar if you go to CUNY.  I don't think that's going to be a factor.  If you want a job in California, though, a few CA firms will recruit from GGU and it's not likely any will recruit from CUNY.

I guess if you MUST choose between those two, may as well go GGU, but I would be curious why you wouldn't want to go to some other schools in California.

bigs5068

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Re: CUNY vs. GGU
« Reply #2 on: April 23, 2011, 09:29:25 PM »
I am a 2L at GGU and I have really enjoyed the school up to this point. If you have any questions about GGU feel free to PM me.

That being said your decision should be based on where you want to end up. If you want to be in San Francisco then go to GGU and if you want to be in New York go to CUNY. One major difference between the schools is that CUNY has in-state tuition and it is only about 10K a year if you are a NY resident. GGU is 36k a year and if you get in state tuition at NY you will save yourself 78K over three years. I used to live in New York and I worked for quite a few lawyers that went to CUNY and were pretty happy with it. They were also happy with their low level of debt.

No matter what school you choose  both are ABA approved  and they will teach you the law. Upon graduation you will be able to take the bar in any jurisdiction, but odds are you will end up living close to your law school after graduation. At GGU San Francisco employers come in for OCI and I have gotten internships in San Francisco. Nobody from New York is coming to any school in the bay area and nobody in California is going to fly out to NY and that is why you generally end up near your school at graduation.  If California is where you want to end up then go to GGU. If N.Y. is where you want to end up go to CUNY.

Please do not take the rankings into consideration when choosing between these two schools. The rankings are horribly done and have basically not value outside of the top 50 schools. There is currently a 12 way tie for 84th place, which shows how accurate they are. They are publicly condemned by the ABA, AALS, and LSAC. The reason for this is that this is literally how the rankings work- a scantron rating a school from 1-5 is sent out nationwide and a judge in Nebraska checks a box for CUNY a school they have never dealt with before. Read this article from LSAC http://www.lsac.org/LsacResources/Research/GR/GR-07-02.pdf and you will understand the ridiculousness that is the U.S. News ranking system. If you were choosing between NYU and GGU the answer would be pretty obvious, but nobody cares if you attended the 114th best or 128th best school. For that matter nobody cares if you attended the 78th or 114th best school. You are either an elite school or your not.


Kurt Cobain

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Re: CUNY vs. GGU
« Reply #3 on: April 23, 2011, 11:39:51 PM »
Hey guys, thanks for the feedback. To answer some questions, I'm considering GGU because I would like to live/work in the Bay Area. I didn't get into any other schools in the Bay Area, so obviously my only option is there. And yeah, the tuition is a HUGE consideration for me. I also definitely want to get into public interest, so overall I just think CUNY makes the most sense for me. But that being said, I would like to end up in California. I would love to go to school in NY, and even start my career there, but EVENTUALLY I would like to work in SF. So I guess what I'm asking is, would I basically be stuck in NY forever if I don't go to school in CA? Or with some experience could I move out there and find a job?

And also, your posts are both implying that I would have no chance of starting my working career in CA if I go to CUNY, correct?

bigs5068

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Re: CUNY vs. GGU
« Reply #4 on: April 24, 2011, 12:21:07 AM »
If you are interested in public interest GGU has a lot of public interest programs. I don't know if all schools have the work-study program, but if you work for any government office D.A, Public Defender, Judge, etc GGU will pay you even if the organization can't afford to and this reduces your debt. I did that last semester at the Public Defender's Office and I got an additional 3,500 bucks. You could do that every semester and summer and earn 21,000 so that helps. GGU in a lot of ways is the CUNY equivalent in the Bay except for the tuition. GGU also has PILF, but I think all schools have that. It is a grant for public interest lawyers and bottom line is that GGU can open a lot of public interest doors in the Bay Area.

You have a chance to end up in the Bay Area if you go to CUNY and you have a chance of working in New York if you go to GGU. The Clippers also have a chance of making the playoffs every season, but they usually let me down.  :( However, if graduate from any ABA school you can pass the bar of any other state. Law school does not really prepare you for the bar. At any ABA school your first year curriculum will basically be the same and you will learn the same thing. In the given state you might pick up a few things, but the vast majority of the law you learn in law school applies nationally. In law school you generally read Supreme Court decisions and these apply to every single state. When you graduate from law school you will take BarBri or some other course in whatever state you want to end up in.

If you pass the bar in a state you can get a job as an attorney, but very few people in the Bay Area will have heard of CUNY and since Stanford, UCLA, USC, Berkeley, etc are already in the state along with 16 other ABA schools firms are generally going to hire from schools they have some familiarity with. That is not always the case and if you go to CUNY and pass the California Bar you can probably get a job in the Bay Area, but nothing glamorous at least not to start. There are exceptions to every rule of course last summer one of the coolest attorneys at my job went to Touro for Law School and he ended up in the Bay Area, but everybody else was from a Bay Area School. 

Aside from those doors there is just the practical aspect of location to consider. When you graduate from CUNY you will have a lot of debt and nobody in San Francisco is going to fly out to interview a CUNY graduate. You will also not be able to intern for any Bay Area Judges, Firms, etc while in law school.  After graduation somebody might be happy to talk to you if you fly out there, but you will be in debt and hoping to get a job it will be pretty inefficient to be flying back and forth for interviews. You will also have no network in the Bay Area at my school for example GGU students help each other out. I just got my friend a job at a place I worked at this semester and I know other people have done that for eachother. No student in CUNY will have a network in S.F. I could go on and on, but there are a number of hurdles you will have to overcome to get a job in the Bay Area if you go to law school in New York. If you know you want to be in the Bay Area go to school in the Bay Area. The same logic applies if you wanted to be in New York. Location is HUGE and if you know where you want to end up it helps to start out there.

I didn't have this realization until a week before starting law school and I was going to attend Michigan State. I have no desire to live in Michigan and I wanted to be in the Bay Area. A few lawyers talked some sense into me and said if you want to work in San Francisco then go to law school in San Francisco it is really that simple. Well whatever you decided good luck and if you have any specific questions about GGU I would be happy to answer them.

Zeratul

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Re: CUNY vs. GGU
« Reply #5 on: April 24, 2011, 01:04:31 AM »
If you are not receiving financial aid at either school you really need to evaluate whether it'll be worth the money to go to these schools. A few realities:

1. You will NOT be getting a biglaw job out of these schools. The most you can hope for is a decent midlaw job, but be very aware that you're taking on 6 figure debt for a slight chance at a job that pays 80k a year

2. There are schools in both markets that are considered much more reputable, but yet are having a lot of trouble finding jobs for their students. For GGU, they get muscled out by Stanford, Berkeley, Davis, Hastings, and to some extent UCLA / USC as well as any Bay Area local that goes out of state to a T14 hoping to come back after graduation. For CUNY, you're competing against a number of NYC feeder schools like Harvard, Yale, Columbia, Chicago, NYU, Penn, Michigan, UVA, etc.

3. Without a job, your legal training means jack. Before bigs comes back to respond you should ask whether he got a job through OCI (on campus interviews to hire associates). If you search the internt you will realize that OCI is the ONLY way to land a biglaw job (the ones that pay 160k). The midlaw market is then taken up by the above mentioned schools' students that struck out at OCI.

Reality sucks but your job prospects are dismal, so don't go to either school unless it's completely free

bigs5068

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Re: CUNY vs. GGU
« Reply #6 on: April 24, 2011, 01:35:31 AM »
It is very unlikely you will get a job a BIG LAW job from GGU and I could not agree more about Big Law job prospects. However, you can get a job as an attorney from GGU and many graduates start out making between 50-80k and it will take time to pay off the debt, but if you want to be a lawyer GGU works fine. You don't need a 160K a year paycheck to be happy and very few people anywhere get big law jobs. Not to mention the OP wanted to work in public interest law not Big Law. I know plenty of lawyers that went to GGU who are doing fine for themselves. I also know people from other law schools doing well for themselves. Whether you have a successful legal career or not depends much more on YOU than your school. However, some doors will be closed if you attend CUNY or GGU and you probably will not end up on the Supreme Court from either school.

The most important thing to consider is whether you want to be a lawyer, but I am assuming you already asked yourself that question. If you want to be a lawyer go to law school.  If you know where you want to practice law then go to law school in that location. Whatever law school you consider attending will be attacked by random people on the internet.  However, whatever you read on the internet including my posts should be taken with a major grain of salt. Just remember those that know the least know it the loudest and if you want to be a lawyer go to law school. Good luck again.

FalconJimmy

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Re: CUNY vs. GGU
« Reply #7 on: April 24, 2011, 10:34:30 AM »
And also, your posts are both implying that I would have no chance of starting my working career in CA if I go to CUNY, correct?

It's not impossible, but let's put it this way.  If you go to GGU and you get a job in the law, it is overwhelmingly likely that it will be a job in the Bay Area.

You'll know the area, network with the judges and other attorneys, learn the local landscape.  It's highly, highly likely that 40 years from now when you're ready to retire, you'll be in the Bay Area.

As for CUNY, I think it's a better school than GGU, but when you're talking about all but the best schools, their reputation is largely regional.  So, if you try to go to, say, Minneapolis, they've never heard of the place.  They'll hire a graduate from an unremarkable school they've heard of, first, and chances are those schools will be those that are geographically close.

I think if you go to a NY law school, chances are your first job will be somewhere in or near NY.  And then, as your career progresses, it will almost always be somewhere near NY. 

To go to San Fran, it'll be very, very difficult and may mean essentially starting again from zero.

If you are SURE you want to end up in the bay area, I think it'd be foolish to go to school in NY.

However, I'd also take a look at other northern and even some southern california schools. 

I have to walk a delicate line, here.  I'm not going to a highly regarded school, either (it's 4T), and I know I'm going to offend somebody when I say this, but GGU is not regarded as being a very good school. 

People can argue that it IS a good school, and it's a problem of perception, and maybe that's true.

However, perception is why you won't get a biglaw job out of GGU. 

Biglaw firms do sometimes reach down into T2 and T3 schools for new associates, but you have to really be high in class rank.  Like first in your class or close to it. 

So, personally, I'd pick a school in California, but I'd only go to GGU as a safety school.

FalconJimmy

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Re: CUNY vs. GGU
« Reply #8 on: April 24, 2011, 10:39:38 AM »
I didn't have this realization until a week before starting law school and I was going to attend Michigan State. I have no desire to live in Michigan and I wanted to be in the Bay Area. A few lawyers talked some sense into me and said if you want to work in San Francisco then go to law school in San Francisco it is really that simple.

Although you obviously know it already, you clearly made the right choice.  Seems like the OP is in the shoes you used to be in.  I agree, he should find a california school and preferrably a bay area school.

bigs5068

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Re: CUNY vs. GGU
« Reply #9 on: April 24, 2011, 02:32:58 PM »
Agree with pretty much everything you said. GGU is not some outstanding school and nobody chases you down, but I went out and applied for jobs and I have had an internship that has paid me every semester & summer. I got my summer job through OCI, but the OCI list at GGU is unremarkable and many of the positions required you to be in the top 20% to even apply, which I happen to be in.

No matter what school you go to the odds of getting a big law job through OCI or any job through OCI are minimal. Except for elite schools i.e. Stanford, Harvard, UCLA, USC etc. Every internship I have worked in has been filled with Hastings, Santa Clara, USF, and GGU grads. I have only worked with one person from Berkeley and nobody from Stanford. Big Law firms hire from top schools and the whole OCI big law process is relevant to those schools. The Big Law OCI process does not really happen at USF, Santa Clara, or GGU. Maybe it happens to the top 20% at Hastings and two Big Law Firms came to GGU OCI, but I don't know if they hired anybody. I interviewed with them and they were cool, but they said they had two spots and were were doing 80 interviews. It should noted that 80 interviews means they sifted through god knows how many applications before narrowing it down to 80 interviews for 2 spots.  This is the extent of the competition for any Big Law job and unless you are at Stanford or Harvard you probably are not going to be picked. I don't know if I would even want to do it in the first place.  I have found paying employment for every chunk of my law experience after 1L. I had a paying job during my 1L summer, this fall, this spring, and I will start another one this summer. I also got hired in another position for the fall of next year and I have honestly had no trouble finding paying legal work. I have been rejected plenty of times though, but all you need is one job. If you can't handle rejection don't go to a tier 2,3,4 school and don't be a lawyer period. If you can handle being turned down once in awhile losing a motion, case, etc then it will work out. I don't know of any lawyer that has won every case and every motion they have ever argued and you need to be able to handle that no matter what school you go to.

Here is an example of associates, partners etc at O'Melveny & Myers a reputable big law firm. To display how few people actually get hired in Big Law from non-elite schools ranking from low tier 1 to tier 4 schools.

Tier 2 school USF: 6 people from  http://www.omm.com/professionals/list.aspx?Schools=338641b5-5b1d-4323-95b2-c310cb7b1081

Tier 4 school GGU 2 people  http://www.omm.com/katinanordloh/

Tier 3 school New York Law School 5 people . http://www.omm.com/professionals/list.aspx?Schools=e6979257-650e-474a-ae9f-d825ea550e35

Low Tier 1 school University of Arizona 6 people. http://www.omm.com/professionals/list.aspx?Schools=709f8157-441b-4501-9902-ab4e8cfc4290

T14 School Georgetown to many to count: http://www.omm.com/professionals/list.aspx?Schools=b814db3d-d4dc-4684-b81c-03ee6eb9fcbf

T14 School Harvard to many to count: http://www.omm.com/professionals/list.aspx?Schools=ff705051-e098-4f25-920b-06383600e06b

The point being if Big Law is your goal then unless you are going to a T14 school you will be disappointed. Or if you expect anything to be handed to you from anything other than a T14 school you will probably be disappointed. If you go to the 38th, 72nd, 104th, 118th, or 181st best school whether or not you have a successful legal career will be on you. Even if you attend Harvard you will still have to do perform well to have a successful legal career, but it will be easier to get your foot in the door from Harvard than from CUNY or GGU. 

This website really breaks down actual salaries etc very well and shows that unless you are attending a TOP SCHOOL. There is not much difference lawschooltransparency.com. Tier 2 schools do not report much higher salaries than 4 schools and most of the graduates are not accounted for. This is just another showing that whether or not you succeed in the legal profession depends on YOU and not your school.