Law School Discussion


« Reply #10 on: February 25, 2014, 12:44:05 PM »
Again thanks for the additional insight Citylaw. In these tough economic times it is crucial to get as much money as you can from whatever institution you enroll in. I am definitely going to try to squeeze a few more bucks out of FIU but how do you think would be the best way to do this? Through the phone? I know you mentioned email, but I was also wondering if an in person visit to the Financial Aid center would be better? 

« Reply #11 on: February 25, 2014, 09:20:56 PM »
I'd say, it depends. It depends on your financial circumstances and, most importantly, how you handle negotiations. If you can negotiate on the spot and leverage pathos, go for it. If its not something you are used to, I'd say email. This way, you have more time to formulate exactly how you want to phrase something.

« Reply #12 on: February 25, 2014, 10:05:36 PM »
I would say a preliminary e-mail just to throw it out there. Say something along the lines of you are really trying to decide between FSU and FIU. See if they bite on that schools really want to fill their seats and if they can get you in for an extra 5k or something then great.

If they don't bite on that then schedule a school visit, which you should do no matter what and bring it up. You might also want to do a site visit at FSU as well if they offer you some additional scholarship money you can say FSU just offered me 5k extra, which has started to change your mind.

There is no "right" way to do it  or any guarantee you will get additional money. All you can really do is use your best judgment and be persistent.

Good luck.

« Reply #13 on: March 03, 2014, 08:54:44 AM »
Thanks for the feedback. I am going to give a call to both institutions to see if I can schedule a visit for some face to face scholarship negotiations. Wish me luck!

« Reply #14 on: April 08, 2014, 07:20:57 AM »
So guys sorry for doing a total 180 degree turn but this application process has been confusing and full of ups and downs. I visited FSU law this past weekend for admitted students day and the campus is much larger and well equpped than FIU Law's campus. The faculty also seems to be slightly more qualified, with many teachers coming from the nation's top legal institutions. Although FIU's dean comes from Harvard and has many connections, FSU's dean comes from Texas and seems to have just as many hookups within the state of Florida. The student body also was very receptive with everyone willing to answer any questions I had about the law school and its opportunities. I am aware that you all preach that rankings do not matter but it seems like FSU has a better reputation throughout the state and is more regionally recognized. FIU on the other hand is a great institution, but it is only really recognized in South Florida. Bottom line is when I graduate I feel like FSU can give me job opportunities all over the state and maybe in another southeastern state such as Georgia whereas if I go to FIU I will be forced to stay within the confines of South Florida. The decision is not final yet because I still need to weigh out the financials but for now I am leaning towards another three years in Tallahassee.

« Reply #15 on: April 08, 2014, 01:17:14 PM »
As usual, I'm only an anonymous internet poster. You should assume that I and other posters on this forum are by no means qualified to comment. You should simply take our perspectives as just that, a perspective. Factor this in to your end decision with your own judgement...

It's not that ranking doesn't matter - it's that ranking on its own is almost arbitrary. A school's US News rank is based on several factors, some of which are extremely legitimate (employment statistics) while other factors are extremely elitist and minimally impactful on a graduate's career (selectivity). US News ranking are a great place to start your research and could potentially be used as a tie breaker, but it should not be the primary basis of your decision - particularly if the difference in ranking is minimal.

If we look up the important things (employment statistics, debt load, and realistic salary expectations) we see that, although FSU certainly is a stronger university relative to FIU, it is really only nominally so. Here is a side by side comparison...

Full Time-Long Term Employment Rate: 65%
Underemployment Rate (part time, temp jobs, etc.): 18%
Unemployed and still seeking work 9 months out: 3%
Class Size: 187

Fed. Clerkship: 1%
Big Law: 6%
Public Interest/Gov.: 30%
Business: 9%

Starting Salary Range (25-50-75th Percentile): $45-55kish
Debt: Approx. $120kish


Full Time-Longer Term Employment Rate: 57%
Underemployment Rate (part time, temp jobs, etc.): 14%
Unemployed and still seeking work 9 months out: 3%
Class Size: 155

Fed. Clerkship: 1%
Big Law: 3%
Public Interest/Gov.: 16%
Business: 8%

Starting Salary Range Avg.ish: $45-55kish
Debt: $65k-ish (as you noted before, you have a $5k scholarship and will have minimal living costs)

As far as regional placement, FSU will help you out the most in Tallahassee, Florida cities on the Gulf Coast, and to some extent in some of southern states (GA, AL). FIU will help you out most (and really only) in Miami-Dade. As the employment and salary stats are extremely similar, the debt load is half, and you had mentioned you really are looking to work in Miami, FIU really seems like the go to school between the two. If you, on the other hand, really disliked FIU's environment and are looking to work in the state capital, and don't mind the extra $60k worth of debt, I would then lean more towards FSU.

Again, ranking is a good general guide, but not enough to base your decision on.

Also, did you get an extension on FIU's deadline? I think their's was on April 1. If you didn't, then your decision may be an easy one at this point. :)

Good luck!

« Reply #16 on: April 09, 2014, 06:14:42 PM »
As always I appreciate the quality and timing of your input Miami88 the facts you are telling me are both relevant and applicable to my situation. I do however have some inquiries about the facts you cited. Firstly, you kind of oversimplify the difference between the employment statistics of FIU and FSU. For example, the Big law and public interest/gov. hiring percentages of FSU are double of what they are for FIU. This makes a difference because the size of FSU is comparable to that  of FIU whereas the University of Florida is much larger than both these institutions. I know were all pre law or current JD students but I am going to do some basic math so bear with me. If there is an average class size for FSU is 187 and 6% of their grads land a big law (big bucks) gig that would be 11.22 students from that class. Now FIU has an average class size of 155 with 3% of their grads landing a big law gig which would make it 4.65 students out of that graduating class landing jobs at a big law firm in Florida. I don't know whether to count that .65 as a roundup or a shorter FIU student (think 4" and less student) landing a big time gig. I am aware that FSU's class sizes are marginally larger but shouldn't I go with the school that offers more jobs straight up? What's the point of going to law school if your scared of the competition?

Another aspect of this discussion that I have to consider is what type of law school experience do I want? Sure I can play it safe and stay at home and have mommy and daddy do my laundry and cook all my meals while going to FIU but if I go to FSU I can be my own man and worry about my own business. Not to mention that I live with two other brothers here so it would be virtually impossible to study at home in Miami, I would practically be relegated to exclusively study at FIU law's campus. If I went to FSU I would have my own 1 x 1 apartment where I can control all the variables and live far away from the undergraduate part of campus where all the crazy Saturday football shenanigans would be going down. On top of that there is virtually no commuting in Tallahassee, everything is within a 15 minute drive. I know I previously said that FSU is not giving me financial aid but the actual truth is that I find out mid April whether they are going to give me some moolah or not. Although I would prefer to practice in Miami it is not the be all end all of why I want to go to law school. This city is great but there is a mind numbing amount of traffic to get around anywhere, its expensive, overcrowded, and a lot of people here are straight up rude and always in a rush. There are plenty of gorgeous cities in Florida such as Tampa, Orlando, Jacksonville that I probably would not mind exploring after graduation. I work 7 days a week to save up for law school where I aim to have 10k straight cash for wherever I decide to attend. So yeah FSU would put me in the hole significantly more than FIU but if I land a sweet gig and almost certainly have a better law school experience wouldn't that count for something that you cannot put a price on?

Either way thanks for the help guys as you can tell I been stressing over this for the last half of 2013 and all of 2014 but I think of it as training for law school haha!  ::)

« Reply #17 on: April 09, 2014, 06:19:01 PM »
PS I paid my $200 deposit for both schools so its all gravy when it comes down to deciding time. I am aware that as soon as I decide where to go I should inform the other school so that a waitlisted student could get his preferred school.

« Reply #18 on: April 09, 2014, 09:54:39 PM »
Functional Drunk do not put so much emphasis on statistics they mean very little in the real world. At least in my anonymous internet poster opinion.

I really encourage you to go into a courtroom and watch how law in the real world works. Very few law students see it first hand and you will realize how serious the situations are. If you are prosecuting a murder suspect and the family of the murdered individual is in the background they could give two sh**ts about what law school you went to. You are either going to put the murderer or away or let him go loose.

Conversely if your defending a murder suspect the person is either going to be spending life in prison or have their freedom. It is on you in those situations as the lawyer to get the result and the name of the school you attend will mean nothing.

In the Civil arena the same is true you are either going to get the client their result or you won't. I lost in court today, and I made mistakes, which have nothing to do with my school I put to much faith in a witness who in the end was a liar. I didn't catch it no law school could have prepared me to deal with that it is a lesson I will remember moving forward.

Federal Clerkships 3%; Big Law Jobs 6%; it doesn't mean anything whether you get a BigLaw job or not will depend on you filing out all the paperwork; networking; drafting a kick ass cover letter; nailing the interview etc; etc. In the legal profession your success depends on you not the same of your school.

99% of students might pass the bar at X school, but they all busted their ass to pass. If you sit on your ass and do not study you will fail the bar and that 99% will not matter.

The second portion of your response regarding whether you want to live in Miami or Tallahassee is what you should consider. The family dynamic being present or not is a huge decision your parents and brothers will be in your life every day. That could be a good or bad thing I have no idea what the dynamic with your family is or how close you are to them.

You also seem to hate traffic I was born and raised in L.A., which is the same as Miami I never want to go back to living in that it is awful. I believe you also attended FSU for undergrad and if you enjoyed your time maybe you want to live it up in the College Town.


(1) I really encourage you to watch a movie called "lawyer walks into a bar" it documents several law students from UCLA, Loyola Marymount Law School, Western State Law School, and an unaccredited ABA School as they study for the bar exam. You see how little the name of the schools matter during that insanely stressful period in any law student's life. The real world of being a lawyer is 10x more intense than that.

(2) Do not even look at Stats anymore really consider the realities of where you want to live for the next three years. The small college town where you went to undergrad away from your family or the big City of Miami with your family nearby. Neither choice is right or wrong, but those are real things to consider. Whether 6% or 7% of the class got a federal clerkship is b.s. and has no applicability to you.  7% of people got a clerkship maybe 6 of those people were related to Federal Judges and they could have attended Timbuktu State and obtained the job. At the end of the day each individual has their own path and whatever other students did at X school has nothing to do with your life.

I can't emphasize it just don't use numbers and rankings etc in your decision. As a 0L I know I did this, but having been a lawyer for awhile now I have seen enough "experts" testify to anything. The reality is you can make statistics say whatever you want them to say or find plenty of people to tell you FSU is awesome and plenty of others that will tell you FSU is awful. Same with FIU and any other law school or academic institution in the world.

Case in point 44 Yelp Reviews for Florida International University plenty of 5 stars; plenty of 1 stars; all for various reasons. 

You only have 6 Yelp Reviews for Florida State and there are 4 five stars; 1 one star; and 1 two star. 4 people loved it and two hated it. They all have various reasons one guy claims the Chilli's is full all the time and he doesn't like it. That is his reasoning another poster hated the exercise department. At the end of the day everyone will have their reason for liking or disliking something.

What matters in this three year; $100,000; career altering changing is "YOU" what do you want. It is a question only you can answer by evaluating the realities of Miami v. Tallahassee. There is no right or wrong answer, but you will regret choosing one school over the other based on a statistic that means nothing.

That is my two cents as an anonymous internet poster so do with it what you will. Good luck in making this difficult decision.


« Reply #19 on: April 10, 2014, 07:09:06 AM »
Again thank  you for the prompt response CityLaw. Well you are right, I do have very little experience working in a courtroom legal setting per se but I already have had an internship for two legislative sessions in the Capitol in Tallahassee at a lobbying firm, and I currently work at a maritime law firm in Miami. As you can imagine I do not plan on being that 1% that does not do *&^% to pass the bar exam let alone try at law school. I am going to have to try because I am not a trust fund baby and I am not going to an elite level school. That being said, it is hard for me to comprehend that rankings do not matter. In my narrow minded 0L head all I can see is FSU #1 in Florida, FIU #4 in Florida by a significant margin. I have a few buddies going to St. Thomas law school (unranked) in Miami and a plethora of other friends trying to be attorneys that did not get into FSU but got into FIU. Essentially I feel like if I pass up on FSU I would be settling and although my performance at FIU would dictate what type of job I would land, in the back of my head I will always know that I could have had a magical experience in Tallahassee but I bypassed that because I was scared of a little debt.

City Law, I am glad that you can commiserate with me  when it comes to the big city traffic. I have visited LA once and let me tell you that your traffic is significantly worse than ours, I guess I am just being whiny. I just feel like Tallahassee has a much more laid back mentality that would dissipate my stress levels whereas in Miami I would have to worry about a million other things besides school. On a random note I find it intriguing that FIU has 44 yelp reviews whereas FSU only has 4 Yelp reviews. Is FIU disseminating propaganda? or is FSU suppressing information? I guess I am just too cynical for these review websites.