Deciding Where to Go > Choosing the Right Law School

Santa Clara University vs. University of San Francisco

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CA Law Dean:

--- Quote from: Trex77 on March 19, 2013, 05:55:57 PM ---I am interested in agribusiness, which i know both these schools don't really offer, but everyone who I have talked to in this industry didn't go to school and concentrate in ag, they just got into it after graduation.

I would rather pay more to be happy then go somewhere that I loathed just to save some money

--- End quote ---

How about if I make your decision harder, not easier . . . welcome to the law school approach of making you think past what seem like the most obvious choices. In full disclosure, I am the dean of a CBE law school Monterey College of Law, so I am in no way unbiased . . . but hopefully, I can provide some additional considerations that might challenge the standard assumptions.

First, you should go to if you have not already done so and determine your "COA" . . . cost of attendance between the schools you are considering. The estimated cost of attendance for both of these schools (and McGeorge would be similar) is slightly higher than $70K per year for about a $210K total over three years. Unfortunately, that means that although you should be congratulated on receiving scholarship offers . . . what you have been offered is insignificant in the big picture. You didn't say how you will be paying for law school, but if it is through student loans, you will be graduating with a ten-year obligation of about $2K-$2.5K per month for ten years. This means the first $30-40K of your post-law school annual salary will be solely going towards your annual student loan debt. In this context, it is important for you to also have looked at the employment opportunities for agribusiness. You state that these schools are not known for graduates entering this field . . . so how will the alumni network help you, even if it is closely knit and engaged (as most law school alumni networks will be). Is anyone paying $100K for USF or SCU graduates in the agribusiness field? Because if you are not making $100K, after deducting your $40K student loan costs, living in SF on less than $60K is a pretty modest existance for the ten years after graduation.

If you want the blunt truth . . . all three schools that you are considering are relatively low-ranked in employment statistics. That should concern you . . . and your level of concern should be directly proportionate to the level of student debt (undergrad and law school) that you will have upon graduation.

Keep in mind that in SF, your competition will not just be your classmates from USF and SCU, but Stanford, Berkeley, Hastings, and any other top tier law school grad who wants to move back to SF to practice.

So here is another consideration. At the risk of being self-promotional . . . where do you think the largest agribusiness concentration is located in California? Monterey County! Whether it is lettuce, strawberries, artichokes, or grapes . . . some of the largest grower shipper companies in the world are here along the central coast.

Monterey College of Law is the only law school in the central coast agribusiness region. As an accredited, evening program . . . your goal could be to get started in agribusiness while attending law school in the evening and graduate with actual experience in the industry. Your consideration is how much more competitive would that make you? Keep in mind that MCL costs less than one-half of any of the three schools that you are considering . . . and since you would be working while attending law school, you can pay as you go and reduce much, if not all of the need to take out huge student loans.

OK, enough of the advertisement . . . it is just that with such a specific area of interest, and the dominance of that industry in the area surrounding our law school . . . I just wanted to provide an alternative for you to consider.

Good luck in your decisions . . . the fact that you are carefully weighing your options before you commit speaks well for your ultimate prospects.


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