Law School Discussion


Which school should I choose?

Washington (St. Louis) $18,000
1 (12.5%)
UC Hastings $10,000/yr so far
0 (0%)
Illinois $11,300/yr
2 (25%)
Michigan State $30,000/yr
3 (37.5%)
Pepperdine $15,000/yr
2 (25%)
Washington and Lee $15,500/yr
0 (0%)
Miami $20,000/yr
0 (0%)

Total Members Voted: 7

Which school should I choose?

Which school should I choose?
« on: February 28, 2012, 12:30:44 AM »
Alright, so I've got a little dilemma on my hands and I'd appreciate any feedback:

What do I choose?
My top two choices are Washington University in St. Louis and UC Hastings.

Washington offered $18,000 and Hastings offered $10,000 so far on top of whatever else they will send out sometime next month.
I plan on visiting both in March. What scares me about Washington is the midwest in general (I'm a Cali boy) and what scares me about Hastings is the 49% employment at graduation as compared to Washington's 88%. Any suggestions?


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Re: Which school should I choose?
« Reply #1 on: February 28, 2012, 03:37:59 PM »

First thing to understand is that no right answer to this question exists. Each law school offers there own pros & cons, but one thing I noticed right away is that you have applied to schools all over the country. One thing to realize is location is one of the most important things to consider when choosing a law school. If you are from California and want to be in California then go to school in California. It really is that simple unless of course you are going to a Harvard, Yale, or a school of that caliber. None of the schools you mentioned are anywhere near that level.

Remember the school you choose is where you will spend 3 years of your life. I see your scared of the midwest remember you will be there for 3 years and if you go to law school in San Francisco, Texas, New York, Michigan, etc you will in very diffierent cultures. Law school does not exist in a vacuum you will live in that city for three years. If you are born and raised in California and have never dealt with Below 0 temperatures it will be difficult to deal with, which is something to consider if you go to the midwest. If you are gay then don't expect a city in Texas to change their values for you. If you are ultra right-wing conservative don't expect San Francisco to change. The city you live in for three years will definetly impact your educational experience so think about that very carefully when choosing.

I knew very few people that get internships outside the location of the school they atteneded and therefore when you graduate you will have been in X city for three years and have all your connections in X city. Not to mention the reality of over three years you get comfortable in X location. If you go East Lansing you will have made friends, connections, have an apartment, all that stuff, which might be hard to leave. Especially because you will be in a lot of debt, which will make it even more difficult to up and move after graduation. If you really can't stand a certain city then don't go there, because at graduation it will be hard to leave when you have accumulated a lot of debt. Aside from that employers know schools in their region not outside of it. Oregon employers know Oregon schoools, Michigan employers know Michigan schools, so and so on. I am guessing a degree from Michigan State won't carry much weight in California there are already 20+ ABA schools here, and that results in them having 0 reason to look to a mid-level school in Michigan. Be very wary of that Tier 4 schools in the location they are located in fair far better in that locale than any out of area low Tier 1 or Tier 2 school

As for the employment rates produced those numbers are usually so manipulated that they are of no value. Employed could be a fry cook at Mcdonald's or Big Law associate. I don't where the 49% at Hastings is coming from unless they were actually honest and only counted employed in the legal field, which would be comendable of them, but by doing the right thing they look bad. You will see a lot of this behavior by law schools, whcih is truly unfortunate. If you do the right thing by reporting accurate statistics nobody comes if you lie and manipulate them people come. I wish the ABA would set some kind of guidelines for this and even law school grades, which schools manipulate.

The data is so manipulated that it has become meaningless as have the rankings. They might have some clout, but really employers don't much credence to a Tier 2,3,4 school. They  simply don't know or care about the difference, especially considering the rankings change drastically year by year. Consider the ranking to some degree, but realize it is just an unregulated magazine offering an opinion nothing more.

I see you receieved several schlarship offers and that is great. However, be careful because the conditions on these are often very difficult to meet. Often a school will require you to maintain a 3.0, which sounds easy, but law school is different. Many schools only allow 35% of their first year class to have a 3.0 at the end of first year. This mean there is a 65% chance you will lose the scholarship. It is no insult to you, but students in law school are smart & hard working and the difference between an A or C can be very minimal. This N.Y. times article does a good job explaining it.

So when looking at the scholarships pay close attention to the conditions. Also do not be afraid to ask how many students lose them at the end of first year. If they evade this question be very skeptical. When I asked most schools were forthcomign about it, but some dismissed the question which did not set well with me. Remember law school is a business and your a paying customer make sure you get all the facts before locking yourself into a 3 year 100k committment.

On top of the scholarships look at the cost of the schools. There are few in-state tuition schools i.e. CUNY, FIU, to name a few that offer you an ABA degree for about 10k a year. You could have a 30k scholarship a year that you could easily lose and then pay sticker the whole time. At these state schools with low tuition you don't have to worry about scholarship conditions and losing out on 60-80k of scholarship money you didn't expect. So bottom line do the math check each schools tuition rate out, which can easily be done on LSAC, calculate the Cost of Attendance v. Scholarship and determine what you will pay if you lose the scholarship.

Those are just a few considerations that many 0L's don't take into consideration. Law school is a life changing event, but there is no right answer to the question of what school to choose. The reality is all ABA schools teach you the same thing, but location, cost, prestige, do have an impact on your educational experience. I do have some personal experience with some of the schools you listed so if you want to Personal Message me feel free. Good luck to you.

Re: Which school should I choose?
« Reply #2 on: February 28, 2012, 06:59:36 PM »
I will do that. Thank you for all your input.