Law School Discussion

U. San Francisco vs Golden Gate

U. San Francisco vs Golden Gate
« on: April 24, 2013, 03:10:52 PM »
So it's my dream to live in the Bay Area and work with Human Rights Law. I've been accepted to both U. San Francisco (no scholarship) and Golden Gate ($30k scholarship). U. San Fran has the better academic/clinical/networking connections to Human Rights but I'm going to graduate with WAY more debt if I choose to go here. My question is this: is it smart to forfeit a law school with the ideal program in favor of a scholarship at a school that does not have EXACTLY what you want to do with law but will save you a boat load of money in the end?

Any advice will be highly appreciated! Thank you!

Re: U. San Francisco vs Golden Gate
« Reply #1 on: April 28, 2013, 02:51:45 PM »
As a bay area attorney I think I can give you a little insight, but also realize that I or anyone else on this board is nothing more than an anonymous internet poster that knows nothing about you, your situation, or what is best for you so take my advice and anyone else's with a major grain of salt.

With that intro I think you have the most important equation of selecting a law school down, which is selecting the location. If you want to live in San Francisco or the Bay area then attend these schools I know plenty of successful grads from both Golden Gate and USF.

One thing few 0L's realize is that what you learn at an ABA school is exactly the same. Whether you attend USF, Golden Gate, Stanford, Harvard, your first year will consist for Torts, Contracts, Civil Procedure, Property, Criminal Law, and Con Law. In these courses you will read Supreme Court cases and those justices do not write separate opinions for different schools you will read Pennoyer v. Neff for example in Civil Procedure a case from the 1800's and you will learn about Notice. In Torts you will read Palsgraf to learn proximate cause, Contracts Hadley v. Baxendale for contract remedies, etc etc.

You will have the opportunity for a few electives here and there, but those courses will make very little difference in your career. The location is what really matters and there are no shortage of human rights and other public interest legal jobs in the Bay Area which are open to both GGU & USF students. The Human Rights element means very little and you will realize law school is quite generalized you can't really specialize until you have been out in the legal world for a few years and you usually end up in something you never would have thought.

Keep your goal of Human Rights, but realize a schools' reputation for a specialty program means very little since at absolute most you could take 3-4 courses in the area. So there really is NO IDEAL program they are all the same particularly USF & Golden Gate they have many of the same professors.

Having a 30k a year scholarship from GGU is awesome and getting out with as little debt as possible is the ideal situation. However, you need to pay close attention to the conditions of these scholarships. Typically they will require you to maintain a 3.0 GPA. As an undergrad I imagine you achieved a 3.0 without trying, but law school is a whole different ball game. First off there is the curve typically only 35% of the class can have a 3.0 at the end of first year and you lose the scholarship for 2L & 3L this is common at law schools throughout America.

However, like 100% of law students you will think your special and will work really hard and easily finish in the top 35%, but at every ABA school students are smart, hard-working, and motivated, which means there is a 65% chance you will lose the scholarship.

I do not know the specific requirements of your GGU scholarship, but it is very important that you ask. If you have essentially a full ride and all you need to do is maintain good academic standing then GGU might be the way to go, but really grill them on the conditions.

Personal Feelings About School
I have been to both campuses multiple times and think they are both fine schools, but they give off a different vibe.  I personally like GGU a little more since it is in the heart of downtown and students tend to be friendlier, but USF is a beautiful campus and in far less crowded area of San Francisco. Many of the professors you have will be the same whether you attend GGU, Hastings, or USF the same people teach Sylvester for Contracts, Keane for Con Law, etc so again the academic quality will not be much different, but the administration, buildings, general feel are unique to each schools.

I highly recommend visiting both schools a few times and really seeing, which one feels right nobody knows better than yourself what suits you best so really listen to yourself. Do not listen to anonymous internet posters, or a for-profit, unregulated magazine offering an opinion like U.S. News.

I know nothing about you or what the best decision is and no right answer will pop up. Both schools are ABA accredited and will allow you to sit for the bar exam and give you a solid education, but whether you succeed in the legal profession will be up to you.

If you have more detailed questions about either school feel free to PM me.

Re: U. San Francisco vs Golden Gate
« Reply #2 on: June 08, 2013, 07:53:14 PM »
Here's something to consider:
If you are set on working in Human Rights Law you might qualify for a student loan forgivenesss program  such as   If so, the amount of your student loan might not be a deciding factor. I'm not saying that all human rights lawyers or yourself if you become one  would qualify for this, just that you should check it out carefully. Good Luck.