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Author Topic: Vermont Law?  (Read 1346 times)

Matthughes2

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Vermont Law?
« on: May 21, 2012, 01:22:48 AM »
Hey ya'll. What's the consensus on Vermont Law?

I applied and was accepted five years ago when I was finishing up my BA. I declined to attend and went and started a career in politics, and now I'm ready to go back. I've got a little more perspective on things now, and I feel like law school would be a good investment now that I'm going for reasons beyond "well I just graduated and it seemed like the natural next step".

The thing about VLS is that it seems insanely expensive for such a low-ranking school, and I'm not sure what people's career prospects look like when they graduate. I'm from Vermont originally, the remoteness of the school and the smallness of the legal market in VT don't bother me. I plan on moving back to Vermont in due course, so the prospect of going to a regional school doesn't bother me either. The cost does, though.

Any perspective on the VLS experience from anyone? Is it worth it? Do they tend to offer enough financial aid to offset the cost? Is the curriculum worth a damn? Any thoughts are appreciated.

mh

legend

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Re: Vermont Law?
« Reply #1 on: May 21, 2012, 02:16:09 PM »
I will address each question individually.

COST
The reality is law school and eductaional costs in every field have gone up outrageously. It appears they are 40k a year http://www.lsac.org/LSACResources/Publications/official-guide-archives.asp , but if you look at the majority of ABA schools 40k per year is about the average cost of most schools.

There are a few ABA schools that offer in-state tuition, which are phenomenal deals CUNY, Florida International, Florida, Florida State, South Dakota, North Dakota and there may be a few others. Outside of the 10-20 in-state tuition schools 40k is pretty standard for an ABA law degree.

It does appear that you can get a substantial scholarship with a 155 LSAT or above. http://vermont.lawschoolnumbers.com/applicants these numbers are from anonymous sources, but lawschoolnumbers is generally pretty accurate. You could also call the admissions office and ask what their merit scholarship policy is.  You should also ask what the conditions on merit scholarship are often it is something along the lines of a 3.0 to keep the scholarship, which is very difficult for law students to maintain and majority of students lose their scholarship for years 2 and 3. Not all schools do this, but ask because it can cost you 40-80k. This NY times article does a better job explaining the merit scholarship system than I can. http://www.nytimes.com/2011/05/01/business/law-school-grants.html?pagewanted=all

THOSE ARE JUST SOME NUMBERS, BUT I TAKE YOUR REAL QUESTION IS WHETHER OR NOT IS WORTH IT.
No you can easily obtain student loans to pay for law school and the interest rate is not terrible between 6.8% and 8.5% fixed and there are all kinds of different repayment plans if you get federal loans. Still 120k is a lot of money and if you have no desire to be a lawyer it would be a huge waste of money and time. If being a lawyer is something you really want to do it can be a good investment. No law school anywhere guarantees you will earn even a dime as a lawyer or pass the bar. Whether you succeed in this business or not is heavily dependent upon you, and your the only one who truly knows how bad you want to be a lawyer. On top of the tuition money don';t forget you will be losing three years of income so the financial investment is even greater than the tuition payments.

I didn't attend Vermont, but I attended a law school that cost a lot money and paying the loans is back is not fun. I do love my job as a lawyer now although the first 2 years out of school were not glamorous to say the least. It is a tough profession that requires a lot of patience, but if you can handle I think it is a very rewarding career.


Curriculum

As far as the curriculum I am sure Vermont is fine. The reality is every school from Harvard to Cooley teaches you the same exact thing. In your first year you will take Torts, Civil Procedure, Contracts, Criminal Law, Con Law, Property, & LRW or some variation on that. In Torts you will read the Palsgraff case, Civ Pro Pennoyer, etc no matter what school you attend that will be your first year curriculum. As an ABA school Vermont entitles you to sit for the bar in any state and the reality is once you have your J.D. and pass the bar you have the same license that someone that went to Harvard does.

Also if your from Vermont and want to practice law in Vermont I imagine the only law school in Vermont has all the connections in the state. Most judges there likely went to Vermont law school and most lawyers in Vermont also attended so if your goal is to end up in Vermont going to school there will likely be a good decision.

Conclusion:
Nobody knows better than you what the right answer is. There all kinds of things on the internet from anonymous internet sources including me, which should be heavily scrutinized. The reality is whether or not to attend law school is a highly personal decision that has different results and ramifications for each individual. You know better than anyone what works best for you and really sit down and ask yourself how bad you want to be a lawyer and if it is really worth the cost. If it is something you really want to do and Vermont is where you want to work things will probably work out ok. However, there are no guarantees. Good luck to you whatever you decide.

Matthughes2

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Re: Vermont Law?
« Reply #2 on: May 21, 2012, 05:45:18 PM »
That's great intel, thanks so much...those numbers confirm a lot of what I'd been suspecting. I was accepted by VLS once on the strength of a 3.3 GPA and a 153 LSAT, don't recall what aid I was offered. I'm not worried about my chances of being re-accepted (VLS has a 66% acceptance rate, they love their money), just the financials. It appears from those numbers that the financial aid offered, not just within my score range but in general, may be substantial enough to get me through those three years (assuming I'm reading that grid properly).

I spent a lot of time in the last few weeks justifying that debt burden to myself, and what it comes down to for me is that, yes, I do want to be an attorney. I have no starry eyed delusions about saving the world or righting wrongs. I want to practice law. If I want to feel good about myself, I'll do some volunteer work. I feel like I'm going for the right reasons--maybe not the "right" reasons, in terms of idealism, but the right reasons to assume a potentially crushing debt burden. And I want to do well at school, also. I don't want to waste my time and end up in the bottom 25% of my class. I feel like there's no reason to not try if you're planning on attending a tier 3 school.

Anyways, thanks for the input. I'll do some research and talk to some folks I know who are there/went there and see what they think. And I appreciate you being objective about it. I have a lot of friends who graduated law school in the last 2-3 years and they're all being really pessimistic about it. I appreciate them being real with me, but it's nice to hear someone tell me that you get out of it what you put into it.

Anti09

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Re: Vermont Law?
« Reply #3 on: May 23, 2012, 02:57:50 PM »
For the love of God, don't pay sticker at a TTT like Vermont.  Their employment statistics are absolutely horrible.  There is no scenario where it makes sense to drop $240k on a school that only places 45% of its graduates into full time legal jobs (with no associate salary information provided), and where a full 23% are completely unemployed. 

fortook

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Re: Vermont Law?
« Reply #4 on: May 28, 2012, 05:59:00 PM »
I was just wondering the answer to this question.  Thing is, oddly, VLS may not have a market in VT.  The cost and remoteness makes me suspect VLS is one of those regional schools without a region, like Wiedner Harrisburg.

I had a friend who went there.  Where was he from and where is he practicing?  KY and GA, respectively.

I'd look up where attorneys in firms in VT went to law school.  I suspect most did not go to VLS.  Probably the NE in NE lower tuition state schools, like Maine or UConn or maybe even FP.

My friend loved going there though, but the cost- Good God. GL.
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Matthughes2

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Re: Vermont Law?
« Reply #5 on: May 29, 2012, 01:13:03 PM »
Yeah, I have actually been laying a little groundwork in that sense, checking out local firms in Woodstock and Monty and over the river in Hanover. Enough, I'd say, of the associates/partners at those firms came from VLS that I'm not TOO worried about the chances of talking my way into some sort of internship in the area. Plus, my uncle practices in Enfield so at least I've got that going for me.

It's funny you bring that up, because I was just talking to a friend from VT (he's trying to hook me up with a job on a campaign up there) about my chances of breaking into the legal market in such a small area, and he made the great point that the opportunities are limited but if you're ambitious and show promise, they're accessible. He also used the phrase "human scale" to describe VT (we both grew up there, so we're not just talking turkey) which I thought was apt--there's not tens of thousands of people competing for every laurel or feather for your cap, so if you show ambition and promise it's possible to see doors open to you.

I made the point that VLS in particular turns out a ton of feckless enviro crusaders and other assorted do-gooders. I have no interest in that. It's not that I don't want to see the world saved, I just don't particularly care for the idea of dropping 200 granny on a JD so I can get paid $35,000 a year to lose every case I try. My point being, the areas of law I'm interested in practicing are a little more accessible and lucrative than are the areas of a particular VLS graduate. I don't know if that means I should NOT go to VLS or if that means that VLS is a kind of inspired, corkscrew pitch of a decision for me. But I guess we'll see.

Anyways, I told myself I can only justify going if I get a substantial amount of aid ("substantial" being yet to be defined, probably something like 1/3-1/2 off first year merit) and that means I have to crush, absolutely conquer, the LSAT. And I have a plan, a plan that involves me being just miserable and endlessly mired in practice tests for the next three months. I made a bombass spreadsheet and everything. Wish me luck.

Anti09

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Re: Vermont Law?
« Reply #6 on: May 29, 2012, 01:36:13 PM »
Anyways, I told myself I can only justify going if I get a substantial amount of aid ("substantial" being yet to be defined, probably something like 1/3-1/2 off first year merit) and that means I have to crush, absolutely conquer, the LSAT. And I have a plan, a plan that involves me being just miserable and endlessly mired in practice tests for the next three months. I made a bombass spreadsheet and everything. Wish me luck.

Dude you should not be going to Vermont for any less than free.  Did you not look at the website I posted?

For the love of God, don't pay sticker at a TTT like Vermont.  Their employment statistics are absolutely horrible.  There is no scenario where it makes sense to drop $240k on a school that only places 45% of its graduates into full time legal jobs (with no associate salary information provided), and where a full 23% are completely unemployed. 

You say you want to be a lawyer?  Well, if you attend Vermont, your odds are that more likely than not you will not find any long-term legal job.  Did you read what I just wrote?  Read it again.  Unless you are going there for free and don't mind the very possible outcome of wasting three years of your life for a degree you'll never use, do not attend Vermont Law. 

Matthughes2

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Re: Vermont Law?
« Reply #7 on: May 29, 2012, 01:45:21 PM »
Yeah, I read what you posted, I just didn't respond because it wasn't helpful. If you have something for me besides "don't", feel free to chime in.

Anti09

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Re: Vermont Law?
« Reply #8 on: May 29, 2012, 03:32:17 PM »
Yeah, I read what you posted, I just didn't respond because it wasn't helpful. If you have something for me besides "don't", feel free to chime in.


fortook

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Re: Vermont Law?
« Reply #9 on: May 29, 2012, 04:19:01 PM »
Aww, be nice. His path is likely more difficult than that of a HSY grad, but its still doable. T1s aren't on the table for everyone. You need to understand that.

If I were you OP, I'd look into Maine. Not just because I like Maine as an institution (the fact that the fluctuate between T2 and T4 means they don't care about rankings- a huge intellectual and functional advantage for them).  Plus there are a few more things Maine has going for it. I'm not sure if they have much of a market in VT, though.

Where do the majority of VT lawyers go?  I realize that because its VT there will be a hodgepodge, that can be good and bad.  The observations you made are true of most less populated areas. Connections are the key.  Personal connections.  Is networking more difficult at a school like VLS? Probably.
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