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Author Topic: This forum has scared me, should I go?  (Read 1914 times)

brettoni

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This forum has scared me, should I go?
« on: December 08, 2011, 10:54:36 AM »
I'm in the process of applying for law schools, and I had heard how bad the market was, but I thought that was MOSTLY people from the tier 3 and 4 schools who paid a bunch of money and then got a law degree from schools most people have never heard of. Obviously it is more difficult to get a job in one of the tier 2 and 1 schools as well since it is a recession and everything, but is it so much more difficult as to not be worth it? Another question, Where does tier 1 end? Where does tier 3 start? I'll give you more details: I currently go to FSU, I'm applying to Uconn, Cordozo, Temple, Seton Hall, Wake Forest, UNC, FSU, UF, Stetson, Miami, American University, and George Mason. I have a 50 percent chance of getting into FSU, UF, Cordozo, American, and George Mason. UNC is more of a reach for me because they accept so many instate residents, and Wake is in that same boat, UConn same. Temple would likely accept me with maybe a bit of money, same for Seton Hall, same for Miami, same for Stetson. I have yet to visit any of these schools and I'm sure this will play a big factor so feel encouraged to add your two cents about any of the above colleges. Here are my thoughts: FSU, and UF are a lot cheaper (since I'm in state), but they aren't as lucrative as the Northeast or DC schools. I also don't want to live permanently in Tallahassee or Gainesville. This would lead me to Miami, since it is a big market city. They may give me money, and I'd love to live there (I've been to miami many times), BUT they are very expensive, just as expensive as the bigger schools and their rank isn't exactly fantastic. Stetson would almost definitely give me money, but they are my safety school and I doubt I'd get a job after attending there. Wake and UNC are great schools and they are the highest ranked schools I'd likely be accepted to, but I worry about their smaller markets? Is this a legitimate worry for the prospective job market? They are also very expensive, though no more expensive than a lot of the other schools I've listed. I'd also like to live where they are located after law school. The DC schools are pretty unfamiliar to me and I'm really just shooting them a flier, they are very expensive, but I figured there would be a better job market in DC. Same sort of thing with the north east schools I applied to, although I do know those areas better and I was born up there. Do these larger markets actually lead to a better chance of getting a job? Or does it lead to more competition and make it tougher to get a job? Am I actually better off in a smaller market like North Carolina? What if I get into a place like Temple or Seton Hall with money, and then also a school like UConn or Cordozo? Which makes more sense? At what point does it become worth it? Any help would be appreciated. I wish there was a way to know the REAL job placement statistics 

brettoni

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Re: This forum has scared me, should I go?
« Reply #1 on: December 08, 2011, 03:35:45 PM »
Thank you very much for the detailed response, it was quite helpful. That perspective on Miami is rather interesting. Despite their past Miami is no longer really an athletic power and they've been close to the top 50 in academics the past decade or so, so it is interesting to hear that someone not from the area doesn't really know that they are a much better school than FIU. It really gives a lot of credence to your point about the rankings not meaning much and your general point about the regions.

john4040

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Re: This forum has scared me, should I go?
« Reply #2 on: December 08, 2011, 03:41:19 PM »
Rankings are a very valuable tool if used from tier to tier.  The top 14 schools in the country all have very large on campus interview programs.  Generally, the higher ranked the school, the more employers are willing to come to the school to hire.  Once you get outside of the top 14 schools, however, the rankings start to matter less.  Nevertheless, if you've picked out the market you wish to be in, you can then use the rankings to decide which school is the best in the state.  Usually, the schools outside of the top 25 or so are known as "regional" schools because they supply the market for attorneys in that state and in a limited amount of surrounding states.  Assuming you'll be going to a school outside the top 14, I recommend that you pick the highest ranked school in the state (or second highest, if there is a top 14 in the state) so that the regional employers are more likely to pick you up.


You may not know the difference between SMU and Texas Wesleyan, but I guarantee you that legal employers in Texas and surrounding states sure do.

brettoni

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Re: This forum has scared me, should I go?
« Reply #3 on: December 08, 2011, 03:51:50 PM »
So would it be better to be from one of the top 2 schools in one region (like florida or north carolina) or like the 5th-7th best school in a bigger market (new york)?

john4040

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Re: This forum has scared me, should I go?
« Reply #4 on: December 08, 2011, 03:57:37 PM »
So would it be better to be from one of the top 2 schools in one region (like florida or north carolina) or like the 5th-7th best school in a bigger market (new york)?

Depends on what you mean by "better."  Which state would you like to practice in?

If your object is to work in Florida, go to the school in Florida.  If you want to work in New York, go to the school in New York.  NOTE, HOWEVER, that I wouldn't go to the 4th best school in ANY state.  Just my preference, but, you better make sure you perform damn well (top 10 students) if you pick the 4th ranked school (or worse) in any state.

brettoni

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Re: This forum has scared me, should I go?
« Reply #5 on: December 08, 2011, 03:59:29 PM »
My family is from New York, my parents are retiring in North Carolina soon, and I love Florida... So the locations are basically a wash. It's really about the job market for me

john4040

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Re: This forum has scared me, should I go?
« Reply #6 on: December 08, 2011, 04:03:52 PM »
My family is from New York, my parents are retiring in North Carolina soon, and I love Florida... So the locations are basically a wash. It's really about the job market for me

If they're all a wash, I would pick the #1 or #2 ranked schools in either North Carolina or Florida, rather than a 5th or (God forbid) 7th ranked school in New York.

Think about it this way:  If you pick the #6 school in New York, no legal employer in New York is going to be impressed - and, you'll be competing DIRECTLY against students from 5 higher-ranked schools.  If no employers in New York are impressed, surely, no one outside of New York will be impressed either.  Now, let's look at the # 2 school in Florida.  Employers in Florida will know the school and are much more likely to be impressed.  Though those employers in Florida are impressed, more than likely, no one outside of Florida (and the bordering states) will be impressed.  At least in the second scenario, you've impressed the firms in your home market. 


Now look... let me add this.  What I'm saying shouldn't be misconstrued as telling you to go to the #4 school in Florida instead of the #5 school in New York just because 4 is less than 5.  If faced with a situation like that, it's obvious that the New York market is much larger than the Florida market, so, the #5 school in New York would probably be a better choice.  OK?  In those instances where it's a close call, you need to determine how many attorneys are employed per year in that market and see how many students the law schools ahead of yours are pushing out on a yearly basis.

brettoni

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Re: This forum has scared me, should I go?
« Reply #7 on: December 08, 2011, 04:36:42 PM »
Thank you very much for your input!

john4040

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Re: This forum has scared me, should I go?
« Reply #8 on: December 08, 2011, 04:57:16 PM »
No problemo.  Just remember that, if you're not in the top 14 schools, barring "special" circumstances (e.g., strong connections with other attorneys, family business is a client, years of prior work experience in the field, Affirmative Action, etc.) you'll need to be around top 1/4 or better to crack that six-figure starting salary (assuming that's what you want).

john4040

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Re: This forum has scared me, should I go?
« Reply #9 on: December 09, 2011, 12:35:27 PM »
Good post above by Bigs.  I second his sentiments - with the caveat that I'm one of those that believes that the rankings become more or less irrelevant in the 3rd and 4th tiers.