Law School Discussion

Nine Years of Discussion
;

Author Topic: Small Town Law  (Read 666 times)

Powers_79

  • Jr. Member
  • **
  • Posts: 6
    • View Profile
Small Town Law
« on: June 09, 2011, 05:23:19 PM »
I wonder if anyone can tell me if the statements made such as “The University of South Dakota is a good choice if you like the area and want to work in South Dakota” or similarly “Applicants will find the University of Wyoming an excellent choice if they choose to stay in Wyoming” are truly founded.  What I’m driving at is I’ve been accepted to a T4 school in the western states away from my home state.  I have no ambitions of “big law” and want to move back to my home state, possibly my hometown, and practice law either as a prosecuting attorney or in a small, private practice.  Does it really matter what school I go to regarding employment opportunities within the service are of similarly tiered schools (i.e. Idaho and Montana)?  I know that employment in the legal profession is down right now as whole and I’m not too concerned about that as all job markets ebb and flow.  I am fully aware of the need for attending a prestigious school if you choose to practice big law or have political ambitions; I’m just trying to determine if there is that much of a difference in small town America law.   

FalconJimmy

  • Sr. Citizen
  • ****
  • Posts: 684
    • View Profile
    • Email
Re: Small Town Law
« Reply #1 on: June 09, 2011, 09:42:16 PM »
This topic has been hashed out at length, but generally speaking, with lower tiered schools, they usually (or at least frequently) enjoy a little bit of home-field advantage.

For instance, a law school may be 4th tier in the national scheme of things, but in the town its located, there's a good chance that a lot of people in the profession went there.  So, it's regarded as being a competent local school, versus a not-very-good national school.

If you are sure you want to practice in a specific part of the country, and you aren't going to go to a top tier school, your best bet is always to attend a school in that part of the country.

If you come to that part of the country with a degree from a comparably-ranked school from across the country, it's likely that they'll just view it as you went to a school that's poorly regarded.  It's not likely they'll make the link and say, "Well, we like hometown U and faraway U is ranked about the same, thus they're equivalent".

To their way of thinking, hometown U is a good school.  Faraway U is a not-very-good school with a poor reputation.

Thane Messinger

  • Sr. Citizen
  • ****
  • Posts: 533
    • View Profile
Re: Small Town Law
« Reply #2 on: June 10, 2011, 06:59:58 AM »
For instance, a law school may be 4th tier in the national scheme of things, but in the town its located, there's a good chance that a lot of people in the profession went there.  So, it's regarded as being a competent local school, versus a not-very-good national school.


Conversely, and to reinforce Falcon's point, there are fairly significant downsides--both practical and placement--to attending a non-prestigious school outside an area in which you wish to practice.  It's less that they'll look down on the other school than that they'll simply not look at all.  If you know that you would like to practice in a certain area, it's a good bet to attend a law school in that area.  (Even attending a top-tier school can raise its own problems, not least in that it's assumed you're "supposed" to head to biglaw.)

By the way, small town law can be an excellent career, long overlooked in the gleam of biglaw.  For the right person and practitioner, it's a wonderful life.

Thane.

Powers_79

  • Jr. Member
  • **
  • Posts: 6
    • View Profile
Re: Small Town Law
« Reply #3 on: June 10, 2011, 12:07:04 PM »
Thanks for the replys.  I was hoping that it didn't matter that much, but suspected that in fact it was the reality. 

cvyarb

  • Newbie
  • *
  • Posts: 2
    • View Profile
Re: Small Town Law
« Reply #4 on: June 11, 2011, 05:07:54 PM »
I know a few people that attend U of South Dakota, if you have been accepted I suggest attending (based on what you described as your options).  I think it offers a quality legal education at a good price.

Thane Messinger

  • Sr. Citizen
  • ****
  • Posts: 533
    • View Profile
Re: Small Town Law
« Reply #5 on: June 12, 2011, 04:01:44 AM »
I know a few people that attend U of South Dakota, if you have been accepted I suggest attending (based on what you described as your options).  I think it offers a quality legal education at a good price.


Indeed so.  Most public law schools, especially the flagship ones for larger states, are a relative bargain.  The quality of education, believe it or not, is about the same at all law schools.  The differences have more to do with students and atmosphere (and students' reactions to the atmosphere) than with the school itself.