Law School Discussion

what tier should I be looking at?

what tier should I be looking at?
« on: March 25, 2012, 11:35:18 PM »
what tier of specific LS should I be looking at?

US citizen
GPA 3.36 (upward trend last 4 semester 3.7+)
LSAT 161

I graduated from Accounting in a top Public Latin American research University ranked 15 overall (it reached 5 overall in whole American continent once... when we had nobel prize winners etc.  :( now we're just going backwards).

I will include in my application my work experience which include entry level work in accounting and  special work done for a reputable US university. I have also done humanitarian work  (not because of LS.. I've been doing it my whole life), traveled to 25 countries and 60 cities around the world and live abroad for months.

I want to attend the best possible law school in the US and moving is not a problem. I really need to start narrowing down my possibilities in the US and if they are worth it because I can go to a local LS for free (yes for free) here where I live.

I would really like to hear suggestions.

Thanks in advance 


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Re: what tier should I be looking at?
« Reply #1 on: March 26, 2012, 10:57:26 AM »
I think your making a mistake that many 0L's do by considering U.S. News law school tiers as the most important thing. A 3.7 and 161 are probably good enough to get into low tier 1 or tier 2 schools, but at some point the tiers don't matter. Also realize U.S. News is nothing more than a for-profit, unregulated, magazine offering an opinion. The schools ranks change drastically year by year. I graduated in 2007 and my school was in the 70's when I started then went into the 90's then went into the 90's my second year out of tier 2 for my 3rd year then back to the mid 80's a year after graduation.

I will tell you nothing changed at the school when these drops and rises occured. I guess techincally it went down every year I was there so maybe I was single handedly responsible for it, but it's more realistic that nobody cares and knows about the difference between 70-80.

Location and Cost are usually more important to consider than what the tier of a school unless you are dealing with Harvard, Yale, Stanford those type of schools, which with a 3.7 & 161 are probably out of range.

I noticed you can go to school for free, which is great, but I assume you have a scholarship and if that is true you need to very careful about the conditions on them. this article does a good job of explaining it. Essentially a school will say all you need is a 3.0 to maintain your GPA, which you assume is easy you got a 3.7 in undergard after all, which is what most law students received. However, you are not familiar with law school grading and usually only 35% of the class can maintain a 3.0 after first year. This means there is a 65% chance of losing the scholarship, because about 99% of ABA law students are smart and hard working. 100% of them are sure they will be in the top 35%, but your an accoutning major and you can see how the math works on that. So just be careful about conditions.

Reality of legal education is that realistically it is all the same. You literally take the same courses, use the same textbooks, from school to school. The prestige makes some difference in finding a job, but not as big as many think particulalry when distinguishing between low tier 1 and 2/3/4 schools. Nobody cares the location matters much more in those situations. For example University of Washington is a fine school, but New York, San Francisco, L.A, Chicago employers aren't going to reach out to Washingotn. New York already has NYU, Columbia and 5 other schools in their own backyard, and they might go out of their way for Harvard, Stanford, Yale, but not University of Washington.

The same logic applies for all of those San Francisco has Boalt and Stanford plus 5 other bay area schools. L.A. has USC and UCLA, Chicago has University of Chicago and Northwestern as well as an abundance of schools. The list goes on so if you wanted to work any of those locations you would be better of going to school in those locations. If you wanted to work in Washington then go to Washington. It really is that simple.

Good luck

Also remember I am only an anonymous internet poster as is anyone else on this board or others you may read so don't take it to seriously.

Re: what tier should I be looking at?
« Reply #2 on: March 26, 2012, 02:01:51 PM »
The "scholarship" I'll have if attend this Law School is irrevocable (although I may be kicked out for very poor performance). It has been earned by my parents both retired professors. They only way I would have to pay for something is if I turn 27 and I'm still in law school (very unlikely). Even then, I would only have to pay about 2k a year.

The Law School is rank #1 in the region but If I attend this school I think it would be very difficult for me to move around the US and practice law some place else if I ever want to move from here.

I have 2 options.

1. Stay where I live study and go to law school for free. I'll probably won't be able to more around the continental US.

2. Attend a respectable US law school, have more career opportunities and carry 100k of debt for a good while.

I'm starting to lean towards the first option because it seems going to respectable Law Schools in the US has only regional benefits.


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Re: what tier should I be looking at?
« Reply #3 on: March 26, 2012, 02:39:09 PM »
In my personal anonymous internet poster opinion as someone who knows nothing about you or your situation, I would think option 1 would be more desireable. Law school tuition is outrageous and if you can get out debt free that is a huge advantage. Remember that 100k is accruring interest as well so it ends up being a lot more than that.

As for respectable schools, the reality is very few schools have national appeal. Almost all law schools outside the T-14 serve their regions, and even in T-14 land a UCLA grad is more likey to find employment in California than New York and an NYU grad is more likely to find employment in New York than UCLA.

As far as respectable schools the reality is the education is more or less the same everywhere. I have seen really good lawyers from about every law school in the country. I also was in numerous mock trial competitions during my law school career and some schools I never heard of kicked ass. While some schools I expected a lot more from weren't that impressive. The same has been true in my limited experience as a litigator. From my viewpoint success at least in litigation has a lot more to do with the person opposed to the school they went to.

However, it is a really hard decision and hopefully whatever you decide it works out for the best.