Law School Discussion


« Reply #20 on: April 10, 2014, 10:15:29 AM »
On the flip side I was also recently notified that I made the University of Michigan wait list. Woo hoo! (I guess) If accepted, I have to decide if I want to go further in debt in order to attend a school with a national reputation. I do love my two regional powerhouses in FIU and FSU but all of the old guard lawyers tell me to attend Michigan if I get in. Realistically the only place I would want to live in besides Florida/Southeast is NYC so I don't know if that would be worth it.

« Reply #21 on: April 10, 2014, 03:26:49 PM »
Several notes...

1) Although I have read far too many admissions books (credible admissions books!) than I would like to own up to and have met with several hiring attorneys in Miami (from big law firms to businesses), I am in the same exact throws of 0L life as you - applying to law school. So, I would place faarrr more weight on posters who have more experience (i.e. CityLaw, Maintain, etc.)

2) That is fantastic news regarding UMich.! In general, I would pick UMich over FIU/FSU. They also have a nice tuition repayment program. (fyi - we may be classmates come August.) :)

3) I am born and raised in Miami and lived in LA for several months. LA traffic is by no means comparable to Miami. I mean, if you live really close to work/school in LA, you are okay for the most part. But if not, you are completely screwed. Miami is only miserable for about 1-2 hours out of the day on weekdays. LA is only tolerable for 1-2 hours out of the day on weekends... :/

4) I half agree with CityLaw regarding employment stats. I think the way you use employment stats, like rankings, is what is important. Like CityLaw mentioned, obsessing over which school has 2 or 3% more point in ____ is ridiculous. The point I was trying to make was that, for being 60+ points apart in US News Rankings, the end result (a jobs) is staggeringly similar. In fact, basically all schools outside of the top 20 have basically similar employment stats (for the most part, once you get to the real bottom end it gets fugly). Yes, some schools have more pull in specific regions or sectors than other schools, and that is what you want to focus more on: what region you want to work in and in what legal sector. Can you make an argument that FSU is better for xyz employment stat reason, sure, but only nominally so. The exception, as you mentioned F.D., is with government work. If your goal, as I've mentioned before, is to work for the government in the state capital, FSU is by far the go to school. However, if you just want a private sector law job in Miami, FSU's large government presence 10 hours away is not going to help you in the same way as FIU will. Just the ability to network in Miami for 3 years will help you tremendously...

5) Employment stats to me, then, are not seen in absolute terms (x school has y % in z sector), but rather in relative terms (x school is basically the same as the other 100 schools - or x school is FAARRRRR stronger in every category as y school). This is why posters like CityLaw say ranking isn't as big of a factor as you may think (nor employment stats). For the vast majority of schools, the employment prospects are just about the same. The only real difference is the regional pull and networking ability of a school. The general consensus is if you want to work in a specific city, you go to the school with the most pull in that city. These tend to be schools that are nearby/in the city OR top elite schools (T14 - and even then there are regional biases).

6) All that said, it sounds like your mental state entering FIU, given your other offers, would be a negative one (if not, then at least a not so positive one). This is absolutely the last thing you want. This will lead to self doubt, lack of drive, poor grades, etc. If you feel a strong connection and pull with FSU and a negative one towards FIU, I would go with FSU. This is the enviromental, emotional, psychological part of your decision - and perhaps one of the more imporant ones.

In sum, you will be fine no matter which one you pick. Just have realistic expectations both while in school and after it.

Good luck and congrats!

« Reply #22 on: April 10, 2014, 09:25:32 PM »
As a preface let me say again that both Miami88 and CityLaw have been great in giving me the feedback that I need during this arduous process. I know I was just splitting hairs when it came to the difference in employment stats between FIU and FSU, I just really want to convince myself that one school is better than the other so that I can make a clear headed and easy decision. Fact of the matter is that I still cannot but I am slightly leaning towards FSU for a variety of reasons. 1. The peace and calm demeanor of Tallahassee should allow me to focus on my studies better 2. The cost of living leads to less money spent on gas, groceries, etc. (although I would be saving more by staying at home) 3. This consequently leads to cheaper happy hours for when I need to blow off some steam 4. I firmly believe Tallahassee is the best college town in Florida. Now FIU is a great institution and I was perfectly happy going there until I realized that I could go back to my alma mater that I am a proud graduate of.

To not give you guys too much of an easy time I have come up with some counter points: although FIU would offer the obvious "networking" advantage being located in Miami don't you think that some employers would be intrigued by an FSU grad after seeing a thousand resumes with FIU, UM, St. Thomas, Nova, etc. on them? Wouldn't some attorneys recognize that I am loyal and willing to contribute to the firm in the long term because of my willingness to receive my Bachelors and JD from the same institution? Also wouldn't I have a broader alumni network to tap into if I attended FSU because it was founded in 1966, whereas I would have to essentially "blaze my own trail" if I graduated from FIU because it was founded in 2002?

On another note yes Miami88 if I got accepted to Michigan I would probably go because it would be an opportunity that I would regret to pass up on. Michigan has an outstanding entrepreneurship/law program which I am highly interested in. Only problem is that I got "waitlisted" so they literally told me that I have from now until August to play blindfolded pin the tail on the donkey until I find out. Kind of makes me regret not applying to more top schools because I didn't think that my 157 LSAT score and 3.45 GPA were up to their standards. I do however have an outstanding resume, solid writing samples, and represent a "minority". At the end of the day  I don't need a fancy ivy league/top 20 degree to boost my self esteem or to make jobs appear out of thin air, I'm just going to do what I always have done which is use my own determination and resilience to separate myself from the competition.  I am perfectly fine and happy practicing in Florida or somewhere else in the Southeast with a relatively low burden of debt as a graduate of either FIU or FSU.

Another note for Michigan is that I have never experienced "Michigan" type cold weather. From what I hear about other residents of the Midwest is that Michigan is cold for even Ohio/Minnesota standards. Being a Florida native for the last 20 years I am not sure how I would deal with that and how it might impact my psychological well being. The coldest weather I have been in is about -10 degrees Celcius because I was in Europe at the time.

Citylaw I will make a note to check out that movie because like Miami88 I have been devouring admissions/first year/intro to law books in my quest to find the right school for me, yet I still have not found an answer. Oh yeah Miami88 if we both do make it to Michigan we will have to swap info to see if we can find suitable living arrangements.

« Reply #23 on: April 11, 2014, 12:44:19 AM »
Miami and City Law: You are giving out terrible advice. Employment stats do matter. Law schools have radically different employment outcomes. The ABA just released the class of 2014 employment report. Golden Gate University had a 22.4% employment in FULL-TIME/LONG-TERM IN BAR-PASSAGE-REQUIRED JOBS (EXCL. LAW-SCHOOL-FUNDED JOBS) in comparison to South Texas which had a 67.0% rate. Are you seriously going to tell me its just as good to go to GGU as ST.  If GGU was the only school I got into I wouldn't go because of its employment rate. FIU had a 59.6% while Florida State had a 69.6%. That looks like a big difference to me. Check the employment stats on LST before you choose a law school.

« Reply #24 on: April 11, 2014, 02:09:07 AM »
Functional it is good you are working in a firm.

I really think you should go into courtrooms and see how it works in practice. The name of a law school will not come up once, and I strongly encourage any incoming law student to attend court hearings.

Also watch lawyer walks into a bar it profiles several graduates as they study for the bar. You can see the various personalities and you look up where each of them ended up. Some succeeded others did not and I am sure while watching the movie you will like some of the individuals and dislike others, and you will not care what school they attended.  t From my observation that is how it works in the real world at the end of the day you get along with certain people or you don't. 

From your posts it really seems like your leaning towards FSU and your gut is telling you that is the school, which is great. I really encourage you to listen to your and not cloud your head with stats, whether employers will think you are loyal by staying at one institution, etc, etc. You can get yourself way off course by over thinking and one of the main things to remember when you start law school is not to over think. Keep things simple it is much easier said than done, but it is how you succeed.

Again, take any advice here with a grain of salt, but it really seems like FSU is what you want so why fight it?

Remember however, that neither FSU, FIU or any law school guarantees you a job and it is up to you whether you succeed.  Go visit the FSU law school campus right now and talk to 3L's I am sure a month before graduation most of them have nothing lined up and are freaking out this is the way law school has worked for years, but in a year from now most of them will have passed their respective state bars and starting their careers, but it takes time.

In the end I  I am sure you will do fine at any school, but it seems like FSU is your choice.  I wish you the best of luck in your pursuit of a J.D.

« Reply #25 on: April 11, 2014, 12:15:45 PM »
What CityLaw said. It sounds like your heart is with FSU. Follow it!

As for the UMich waitlist - make sure to visit the school asap if you havent already. Make your presence known and be in regular (once every few weeks or so) contact with them. If UMich is your top pick, let them know in explicit, concise, non-hyperbolic language.

Good luck my friend!

« Reply #26 on: July 15, 2014, 02:59:13 PM »
Again many thanks to all the people on this forum your advice has been invaluable. To bring a little closure to this thread I am going to share with you all some information. I have ultimately decided to matriculate at FSU law. After much bickering and squabbling they finally caved into my demands and gave me $7k to go towards my tuition. This does help the burden of my student loans tremendously and makes me not feel so bad for turning down FIUs $10k. I do still have to pay for all of my living expenses in Tallahassee but that is insignificant when compared to any decently large city in the US. This will be manageable because I have saved a couple thousand during this off year working. After visiting FSUs campus I felt like it was a very collaborative atmosphere compared to that of FIUs. Note I am not putting down FIU it is a great school in its own regards I just felt more in tune with the spirit of FSU law. As for all the haters from UF saying that FSU doesn't have any big law connects well just looking at the short list of big law firms in the capital: Greenburg Traurig, Akerman Senterfitt, Gray Robinson, etc. I think there can be valuable connections made in Tallahassee in both the private sector and the public sector. Now I don't even plan to work in one of these sprawling mega firms anymore after learning about the quality of life for your average junior associate. What I plan to do is spend the rest of my adult life working within the legal system and at some point hopefully I can retain enough clients to open up my own firm and finally be able to call myself boss.

I am still on the UMich waitlist but I have never been one to torture myself over something that might not materialize. If they do accept me within the coming weeks I would have some reconsidering to do. School starts on august 25 and if they reach out to me after then I hope they have a good replacement lined up. Looks like it's Tallahassee for me in August!

PS sorry for the crappy grammar writing these rants on an iPhone is not proofreading friendly


« Reply #27 on: July 15, 2014, 04:47:30 PM »
I used to be on the other camp on this, but you know what, debt sucks.
If you can get into any Michigan school other than cooley odds are you have a 160 lsat. That is a free ride at cooley. Take the zero debt.
Employers may laugh at the degree, but you will have a spotless creditscore.

« Reply #28 on: July 15, 2014, 04:59:17 PM »
Congratulations, FSU has a good regional reputation and the debt won't be too bad (comparatively).

I used to be on the other camp on this, but you know what, debt sucks.
If you can get into any Michigan school other than cooley odds are you have a 160 lsat. That is a free ride at cooley. Take the zero debt.
Employers may laugh at the degree, but you will have a spotless creditscore.

Seriously. I really don't think the average 0L has any idea what it means to be $150,000 in debt, or how low the chances are of scoring a high paying Biglaw job as a new graduate.

The fact is, the vast majority of even T1 law grads will not be making all that much more than their T3-T4 counterparts to start. I know tons of T1 grads who work at small firms and govt offices and are saddled with huge debt. Several of them have told me that they wish they had just taken a full ride another school. 


« Reply #29 on: July 15, 2014, 07:16:59 PM »

"A little to late to do the right thing now"