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Author Topic: Choosing between T4's  (Read 6248 times)

jst1225

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Choosing between T4's
« on: May 12, 2011, 04:45:41 PM »
Hi everyone,

I find myself with quite a hard decision to make.  My choices for school have come down to Western New England and Roger Williams.  I was also accepted to suffolk and maine but neither school offered me any money whereas WNE is offering 22k a year and RWU 18k a year.  I was advised by many people to consider the schools that offer me the money because as far as job recruiting goes there is not much difference in hiring between T3 and T4 schools and 50K in debt is alot less then over 120K in debt in the future.  I guess my question is, which school should i choose?  RWU ends up being roughly 10k more over the 3 years, not that much of a difference.  At the moment I am leaning more toward WNE, as one of my best friends will be a 2L there next year and I can see that being of some benefit.  He is also the school parliamentarian and could most likely get me involved in the student government, which is something I would very much like to do.  The location factor is what seems to be making this a harder decision for me.  During undergrad I spent a great deal of time in the bristol RI area as I dated a girl who went to RWU.  I know the area well, it's beautiful and I really enjoy the atmosphere of the town and school.  Springfield on the other hand is not as nice of an area, although the suburban area that the school is situated on is very appealing to me along with the atmosphere of the school itself. 

Any input from anyone on these boards would be greatly appreciated. Thanks!

bigs5068

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Re: Choosing between T4's
« Reply #1 on: May 12, 2011, 08:37:05 PM »
Of course you did everything you could do.. We have all heard it from everybody poor you. Go to law school if you want to be a lawyer, but as the poster above said doing well doesn't guarantee you a job YOU have to look for it and I don't think any school except maybe Harvard or Yale has job offers thrown out them. Minimize your debt because the school you attend outside of the ELITE schools doesn't matter. YOU will have to go out and apply to hundreds of jobs even if you are Order of the Coif top 10% etc. Nobody hands out jobs to anyone at any level you have to go out and find it.

To the TTT graduate you have a lot of nice accomplishments and I am sure you will get a job in time, but YOU have to look. No law school guarantees you a job even if you are the top performer and certainly not a tier 3 school it is an uphill battle and with all your accomplishments I imagine you were smart enough to realize that when you started. You will also have to work your ass off and make sacrifices to start a career just like any other field. I know tier 1 graduates that have not even passed the bar yet after 4 tries so it is not your TTT school's rank. The legal profession is hard to get into and getting a career started takes a LONG time. It is not graduate 100K a year job and judge in one year.

jst1225

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Re: Choosing between T4's
« Reply #2 on: May 13, 2011, 08:14:55 AM »
Bigs,

I honestly want to say thank you..  After i started this post yesterday I was stressed beyond belief and really REALLY second guessing my decision to go to school after reading post after post after post about the horror of the "TTT" schools.  Its funny that you ended up posting in here because before i read this i stumbled across an older post from last year in which you had alot of input.  Maybe your just saying what I want to hear, but its nice to see that not eveyrone on here is just negative beyond belief in regard to the lower tier schools.  I honestly have no aspiration to do BigLaw, thats not for me.  I have a profound interest in the legel system and as such really want to attain an education in it and strive my hardest to make a proffession from something I actually enjoy.   Since you seem to have a good, level, head on your shoulders I would really appreciate your input in my dilemma.  WNE has been around longer and as such has a larger alumni network (most MA lawyers outside of the boston area hold JD's from WNEC)  than RWU.  I guess my real toss up is between going somewhere that I would have a close friend who is more then willing to be a mentor, so to speak, for me as he is a year ahead and live in a nice, but not overly amazing area (downtown springfield is not so nice although the area around the school and the school itself is very pleasent).  At RWU I have happen to know the area very well, and enjoy the culture of that town alot and really think its a bueatiful place, although RI is not somehere i'd necessarily want to live after graduation.  I guess I'm leaning more toward WNE at this point since I have a "mentor", somewhat enjoy the area, and plan to live and hope to practice in MA when all is said and done.  That being said, I would still like to hear any input you may have. (excuse any grammatical errors, im still on my first cup of coffee) Thanks

Hamilton

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Re: Choosing between T4's
« Reply #3 on: May 13, 2011, 08:40:41 AM »
These horror stories are not made up BS, you SHOULD second guess your decision.  Instead of only listening to the people telling you what you hope to hear, you would be well served to listen to the words from people telling you what you don't hope to hear.  These messgae boards may be the place for some basic info and to develop your line of inquiry, but you need to get out into the real world and talk to people in practice.  You could very easily find local grads from these schools by going through the state bar - they would be glad to talk to you and give reliable feedback on pros and cons.  A life decision should not be made based on the words off an anonymous internet message board.

...I was stressed beyond belief and really REALLY second guessing my decision to go to school after reading post after post after post about the horror of the "TTT" schools. 

jst1225

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Re: Choosing between T4's
« Reply #4 on: May 13, 2011, 12:02:36 PM »
I have based my decision to even consider attending law school from current students and recent grads;  Ironically enough from the two schools i find myself deciding between.  I have not heard one bit of negativty from any of them save the workload (obviously something i expect as it is). Infact they have had nothing but positive things to say.  Its when i came online to do some more research that I find all this negativity and downtalk about lower tier schools.  I have no unreal expectations and wish to make a profession from something that I am interested in.

bigs5068

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Re: Choosing between T4's
« Reply #5 on: May 13, 2011, 02:23:29 PM »
They are not horror stories they are REAL life the same would be true if you graduated from college or an MBA program or any form of higher education getting job and starting a career will be difficult in any field period. In the legal field going to a tier 3/4 school  doesn't make the road easier, but no law school  guarantees you anything not even Harvard. If you want to be a lawyer you should take responsibility and accountability for yourself.  The guy who posted and deleted talked about his class rank and working for some judges in law school and apparently people are supposed to be lined out the block to hire him? Uh no that is not the way it works. The one thing anyone that complains about law school employment etc on sites like JDunderground never seem to do is take any accountability for themselves. If you are sitting on an internet website complaining about how unfair everything is for you then you are going to be a shi**y lawyer, because if you can't handle your own problems how can you expect someone else to pay you to handle their problems?. The legal profession is intense it is not sitting around talking about how smart you are. People don't go to lawyers to talk about their law school experience they go to get problems fixed. Whether it be a murder, foreclosure, bankruptcy, divorce, whatever it might be these are not trivial things in these people's lives. If you tell them well I went to U.S. News 48th best school they probably aren't gonna give a sh**.  Instead they want to know how their problem can be solved and if you can solve . If you things don't go your way on a step they don't hear you complain that the other attorney is being nice, or the judge is making it difficult, they want a result. If you want to be a successful lawyer whether you went to Harvard or Cooley you have to get results and if you do then you will be a good lawyer. If you don't you will be a sh**y lawyer.

Honestly,  the lack of accountability law students have for themselves is simply astonishing. Any law student that graduated from an ABA school made the decision to go to law school after doing reasonably well in undergrad probably 3.0 or better. Then they do reasonably well on the LSAT at least in the top 50 percentile of people that actually took the test and this means they are reasonably intelligent people. They write a personal statement describing how successful, ambitious, and resilient they are. A law school admissions committee then says ok you can come to our school and as far as I can tell law schools don't threaten you into attending. They say you seem to be an intelligent and motivated person and if you want to pay us to educate you then we will let you. We will not guarantee a successful legal career or even that you will graduate. They assume that you have a ounce of common sense and a shred of accountability for yourself and if that is an outrageous expectation then I guess law schools are terrible evils places, but I guarantee you no law school anywhere says we guarantee you will pass the bar and get a great job. Not even Harvard would guarantee that hence Harvard does not have a 100% bar passage or employment rate. How well you do in a profession is largely up to YOU. If you want to be a lawyer then you really need to be accountable for yourself and the fact that people bi**h and moan on internet forums about how unfair it is likely the reason they are not finding employment and not their school. I would never want to hire someone to handle something important like defending my kid from prosecution, handling a divorce, suing a doctor that cut my leg off,  so and so on the law is SERIOUS s***. Nobody sees a lawyer for shi** and giggles they come to get a problem solved and if an obstacle like applying to jobs is to difficult how can you EVER expect to be a competent attorney. Finding jobs happens everyday, but it is HARD! to find a job and it sucks to look for work. Looking for a job is more than sending out a few resumes a week. Anytime I have looked for a job I have been at a computer 10 hours a day applying to anything I am remotely qualifed for. I have found work in a week before, but I remember when I first graduated from college with my prestigious no name undergraduate degree it took me 8 frustrating and scary weeks, but I eventually got a good job. I never blamed my school for anything it was my responsibility to figure my own life out and I did. When I graduate from law school and hopefully pass the bar the same obstacle will be present, but it will be a little easier because if you think there are to many people J.D's out there well the amount of people with B.A's in political science is SIGNIFICANTLY higher. If you think there are no jobs for lawyers the amount of jobs looking for recent college grads with an emphasis in political science is not exactly staggering. 

The OP seems to get that going to a tier 3/4 school is not going to be an easy road. Common sense tells you that and I can't imagine RWU or NESL of law saying all your dreams will come true as soon as you get a J.D. from our university. My school told me when I "asked' nobody is going to roll out the red carpet for you, but you can get a job. That seems to the case for my friends that are 3L's graduating right now. Many got jobs many did not. I am not surprised that the people that found jobs did and the people that haven't found jobs haven't. Whether or not YOU succeed is up to YOU not your school. A law degree gives you the bare minimum qualification to be a lawyer, but what you do from there is up to shockingly YOU.

To the OP one thing to be careful about is the conditions on the scholarship you have been offered. I asked questions about the conditions unlike these people at my school http://www.nytimes.com/2011/05/01/business/law-school-grants.html. Wanting to go law school and realizing schools probably just hand out 50,000 dollars without some strings attached I asked questions and they told me to keep a 3.0 you need to be in the top 35% of the class in your first year. This meant I had a 65% of losing the scholarship, but I asked that question and found out. Unlike the people who again as college graduates who wrote personal statements outlining how great they were take no accountability for themselves. The law school tricked them, but explicitly saying you need to a keep 3.0 in their scholarship letter, which is what mine said. Through the grapevine and again common sense I had heard grading is different in law school and I figured keeping a 3.0 in law school is probably not the same as undergrad seeing that only 35% of the class can keep a 3.0 made that quite clear. I took accountability for myself and asked a question. So I urge you to do the same and make sure you fully understand the conditions of the scholarship and if only 35% of the class can keep a 3.0 there is a 65% chance you will lose and this is because anyone at an ABA law school is intelligent. You will need to work your butt off to keep it and even if you do work your but off you might fall short. Again that is life you take a risk and even if you work hard things might not work out perfectly.

I suppose you could go work at McDonalds never fail at anything because you never took a risk and that is the safe route. Or you can take a risk law school might be yours and it might go horribly wrong or it might go wonderfully nobody can really say, but YOU can make a big impact on how it turns out. Good luck to you!

Hamilton

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Re: Choosing between T4's
« Reply #6 on: May 13, 2011, 03:27:41 PM »
Nobody is suggesting to not ever try anything for risk of failure.  However, there is a difference between calculated risk and foolish gamble - the individual has to decide where that line is.  Me buying a $5 lottery ticket is a calculated risk, a homeless mother with a baby to feed and on her last $5 - it's a foolish gamble.  Folks need to look at the time and money commitment balanced with their personal desires and decide whether law school is calculated risk or not.  Isn't it pathetic though to even have to have THAT conversation?

I have posted before, if I had to do it over I would not have wasted the time and money on my T4 law school.  I'm one of the lucky ones though - I still have a great career and am not financially ruined.

I suppose you could go work at McDonalds never fail at anything because you never took a risk and that is the safe route. Or you can take a risk law school might be yours and it might go horribly wrong or it might go wonderfully nobody can really say, but YOU can make a big impact on how it turns out. Good luck to you!

bigs5068

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Re: Choosing between T4's
« Reply #7 on: May 13, 2011, 03:53:49 PM »
There are a lot worse ways to spend time and money than education. You learn things in education that you might not even realize. I am sure what you learned in law school helped you in some way shape or form to your current career. Those lessons were money better spent than the millions of people that  lost well over 100k in the stock or housing market. The people that lost 100k there have nothing to show for it. At least you have a law degree and if you want you can become a lawyer whenever you want. Education lasts a lifetime and the things you learn in any form of education often can't be measured in dollars and cents. It sounds like you regret going to law school and that is the way it goes. I am sure somebody in your class is glad they went and again it is largely up to the individual. There are huge risks in any form of education, but if you want to be a lawyer and yes people really do want to be lawyers then you HAVE to go to law school.

I think we both agree going to law school because you want to get rich or don't know what else to do is a bad idea, but there are some people that want to be lawyers. I personally remember my reason basketball had ended and I was not going to the NBA and not going to make any long-term living playing basketball, but I had to do a mock trial to get a paralegal certificate and being in a courtroom and arguing and the competitiveness was the same kind of feeling I got playing basketball. I said to myself well there are a lot more jobs for lawyers than professional basketball players out there. Up to this point I have really enjoyed law school and working in law firms so far. I think the main reason for this is I wanted to be a lawyer and I didn't do it because I had nothing else to do. If you do something because it is what you really want to do whether it turns out great or not then it is probably a good use of time and money. Some people go to law school for the completely wrong reasons and it doesn't work out. To say going to a tier 4 school is ALWAYS a waste of time and money is just unfounded. It sounds like it didn't work out for YOU, but that doesn't mean it can't work out for others. It can and often does, but law school is NO guarantee. It is hard, time consuming, expensive, and if you don't really want to be a lawyer then there are much better ways to spend 3 years of your life and 100k.

If you want to be a lawyer then the time, cost, and difficulty are worth it. It should noted that anything in life worth doing does not come easily and nothing in life is guaranteed. To the OP and anyone choosing a tier 4 or any  law school for that matter know what you are getting into. Getting a J.D. doesn't entitle you to anything if get a law degree you will join the other 1 million or so American's with a J.D. From that point you will have to work your ass off to succeed and it is very possible things will not work out for you despite your best efforts. On the other hand it is possible things will go great. You don't know unless you try, but as you stated you should assess the risks and rewards for anything you do. So go to law school if you REALLY WANT TO BE A LAWYER. Then the time and expense will probably be worth it. If your doing it because you liked an episode of law & order, graduated from college and feel like putting off job hunting for more years then you are not making the best use of 3 years of your life & 100k.

john4040

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Re: Choosing between T4's
« Reply #8 on: May 14, 2011, 09:35:11 AM »
I'm not going to write some screed like Bigs.  Suffice it to say that Bigs and I have never seen eye-to-eye on the issue of lower tier schools.  Legal jobs are extremely hard to come by.  The further down in the USNWR rankings you go, generally, the more difficult it is to find a legal job.  Several shifts in the legal profession have made things particularly difficult for lawyers. The USNWR rankings are not helpful when comparing School # 43 to School #89 when those schools are in entirely different markets.  However, the rankings become incredibly useful when comparing schools in the same market and from tier-to-tier.  Like it or not, law is a prestige-driven profession.  Legal employers want the best and brightest they can find.  The USNWR rankings often provide a convenient method for them to sift through the millions of law students and lawyers.  When employers aren't looking at the rank of your school, they're usually scrutinizing your class rank.

I entered law school in 2006.  During that time, the legal profession was booming and law school was the rational thing to do.  Today, that is simply not the case.  When you can't find a legal job, don't say that you were never warned.  Good luck.

bigs5068

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Re: Choosing between T4's
« Reply #9 on: May 14, 2011, 08:00:06 PM »
Law school was the rage in 2006 now it is not. All professions have ups and downs including the law right now is not a great time, but all industries swing and the beauty of having a law degree is it lasts for a lifetime. My dad was an aerospace engineer for example and during the 70's & 80's building missles and jets was all the rage this thing called the cold war was going on. When that ended in the early 90's basically his entire department was laid off and nobody was getting hired. It was difficult there was Iraq I which improved business a little, but after 9/11 missiles were in again and the government contracted with Boeing, Lockheed Martin etc a lot more than they had been.

That is just an example of an industry having an up and down the legal field is down right now. Main reason is people are reluctant spend money there was this whole GLOBAL recession and lawyers get involved when people make deals etc. That is slowly coming back, but over the last few years it has been bad. Graduating from law school in 2008-2009 was like graduating with an aerospace engineering degree after the cold war ended it was a bad time, but military spending increased and the people that graduated in the early 90's did find jobs, but not as soon as they woudl have liked. The legal field is not 100% recovered by any means and this moment in time the most guaranteed way to make money is to be a U.S. Citizen and know Arabic, but in a few years that is likely to be in demand.  The whole point of the rant is that all industries have their ups and downs and the law is no different. If you want to be a lawyer then you have that option for the rest of your life and in a 40 year career the industry is certain to have ups and downs and so is any other profession.

As far as choosing between the two schools I have no idea about east coast schools so I won't pretend to have a "right" answer. I suppose RW might be better because it is the only law school in Rhode Island, but I know it is a very small state so I have no idea how big the market is. I can't imagine that many people have a strong desire to pass the Rhode Island bar so you might have less competition than in Massachusetts where this school called Harvard exists along with Boston College, Suffolk, Boston University, Northeastern, Western New England, and I feel like there is another school there. The competition will be more fierce and Western New England falls well behind Harvard, Boston College, etc. You can find a job, but it will be a lot more competitive so based on those reasons I would choose RW, but I am a random person on the internet in San Francisco who has never been to Rhode Island or Massachusetts.