Law School Discussion

Help me choose: Drexel ($$$) vs Rutgers N ($$) vs Brooklyn ($$$)

I'm from New Jersey, and I want to practice in Philadelphia, New York City, or New Jersey, in order of preference. I am interested primarily in litigation / trial advocacy, prosecution for the government, or maybe family law or child advocacy, but I'm not dead set on that yet. I have no interest in "biglaw".

Scores: 3.1 GPA (I goofed around in undergrad) and 164 LSAT, so no top law schools for me, but I have some decent options.

Of the schools I've been accepted to for Fall 2012 my decision has come down to the following:

1) Drexel (Earle Mack) where they're giving me $30K out of the $33K tuition for three years with no catch,

2) Rutgers Newark with $12,000 scholarship package per year, contingent on maintaining a 3.0, that brings the cost to $13K/yr with in-state (or a full ride to Rut-Cam but Camden is the a-hole of the Northeast and the Rowan thing is troubling), and

3) Brooklyn Law with a $47,000 scholarship for the first year (out of 48K/yr tuition), and renewable for years two and three provided I stay in the top 80%, but rent is very expensive.[/b]

I'm also really hoping for Temple, who I'll hopefully be getting a decision from this week. If I'm accepted there, it jumps to the top of my list.

My parents have offered me a zero interest loan for the first two years of law school, which they will forgive in five years if I am actually a lawyer. I'm not bragging but that's my financial situation: I'll only be in debt for the third year's tuition.

Can you guys help me decide? If anyone else was also in the position of deciding between two or more of these schools, how did you make your decision and why did you rule out the ones that you did?


  • ****
  • 200
    • View Profile
Re: Help me choose: Drexel ($$$) vs Rutgers N ($$) vs Brooklyn ($$$)
« Reply #1 on: April 25, 2012, 05:14:16 PM »
First off there is no right answer to this question no matter what school you choose there will always be a question of "what if x" and also anything you read from anonymous internet posters like me on this board or others should be taken with a grain of salt. This is a highly personal decision and you will be living with it for 3 years, and your entire legal career.

With that said I think there are 4 real things to consider, and you can throw in rankings as a tie breaker in the 5th one.

The four main things are 1) Location 2) School Culture and how you feel about it 3) Cost 4) Specialty Programs -Then rankings distant 5th use as tiebraker

Philly, New Jersey, Brooklyn are similar places, but they have their differences. First question is which one do you like more odds are you will get an apartment, significant other, friends etc in that location and after 3 years of law school you will probably end up staying in Jersey, NYC, or Philly depending on which school you choose. I realize these are fairly close so it is not the same as people saying U of Miami v Minnesota, but even at this distance odds are you will end up in the city you went to school in. So choose the one you like the most. If you love NYC and hate Philly then go to Brooklyn. If your an Eagles Fan and love Philly you should probably head to Philly.

This is very important. Each school has their own culture to it and whether you like that culture or not is a highly personal decision. When I was choosing I love some schools and hated others. Nothing against the individual schools it was just my preference what I hated at one place you might have loved. So visit these schools talk to students, professors, and administrators. Sit in Law school cafe see how students interact with eachother and you may hate it or love it. The only who can answer that question is you.

You actually got some pretty good deals, but the Rutgers one is probably misleading.

A 3.0 in law school is nothing like in undergrad. This article does a good job explaining it. . You assume getting a 3.0 in law school will be easy I mean you got a 3.1 goofing off in undergrad, but that is not how it works in law school. Only 35% of the class generally can have a 3.0 at the end of the semester and there is a 65% chance you won't be in the top 35%.

I was confused do you need to be in the top 20% or not be in the bottom 20%? You said be in the top 80% and it is not like law schools to keep it that liberal so I'm assuming it means be in the top 20%, but I could certainly be wrong it is 47,000 x 3 years= About 150,000 bucks so be absolutely clear on it. The cost of living is expensive though as you correctly noted.

No conditions is great deal.

A word of caution so many law students our very excited to get these scholarships and don't ask detailed questions about the conditions like the people in the article I sent. There is literally hundreds of thousands of dollars on the line so be sure to ask detailed questions about the scholarships and conditions. The people in the article complained, but they were smart enough to get into law school and you need some accountability for yourself don't make the mistake of not asking questions about conditions when that much money is on the line.

If you really know what you want to do or have some idea look at the course schedules on the school's website. Or what programs they have for me I ended up at a school that did a lot of mock trial competitions, which I participated in a lot and helped me out a great deal in my career etc. If that happens to be what your after see what their litigation centers are like, what competitions they go to, how hard is it to get on a team etc. Or if there are clinics your interested in Tax for example if that is your deal see if they have it. List goes on and on, but only consider that if you really have a particular interest. If you don't that is fine when I was 0L I never though about litigation, but my school randomly had that and it turned out well. Most 0L's and most lawyers really don't know exactly what they want to do, and it is ok if you don't right now either.

These are very flawed, but if everything else is equal at the end you can have this unregulated  private-for-profit magazine make the decision for you. I don't know how much weight it holds, but if everything equal saying 84th is better than 94th is easy. Probably not the best way to make your decision, but it is easy.

---Finally remember this is your decision I am just some random  person procrastinating  typing stream of conscious on the internet that knows nothing about you, your situation, your likes/dislikes, so and so on.  You will probably read a blog post about each of these schools where someone trashes these schools and another where the school is praised by someone. A law school experience is different for everyone and use your gut when making the decision. It is your life and there is no right answer to this very difficult question.

I hope everything works out and congrats on the acceptances and scholarships.