Law School Discussion


Which school to go to

University of Kentucky @ sticker
0 (0%)
University of Louisville @ sticker
0 (0%)
Northern Kentucky (Chase) w/ $8k/year
0 (0%)

Total Members Voted: 0

Voting closed: March 27, 2014, 01:21:02 PM

UK vs. UL vs. $NKU

UK vs. UL vs. $NKU
« on: March 13, 2014, 01:21:03 PM »
Hey everyone.  New to the forum but could use your alls expertise.  Deciding between Kentucky and Louisville at sticker and Northern Kentucky with $8k/year.  Will be paying for school through loans.  Any input would be appreciated. 

Re: UK vs. UL vs. $NKU
« Reply #1 on: March 13, 2014, 02:59:40 PM »
Let me first say that I don't live in KY, and I'm not personally familiar with the market or any of these schools.

That said, there are some basic things which apply to everybody.

First, the actual education you receive will be nearly identical at any of these schools. You'll learn the same rules, study the same cases, and have a similar academic experience at just about any ABA law school. That's the point of ABA accreditation; to create a predictable set of standards.

Second, think about what you want to do after law school. UK may have a stronger local reputation than the others, and that might allow greater mobility (at least within KY). On the other hand, maybe NKU is in your hometown and you plan on practicing there. In that case, the ability to stay local is important and should be considered.

Last, think about cost. You likely won't be courted by big firms in LA and NYC coming from these schools, and you need to consider the likely starting income and the debt you will accrue. If one school is going to be significantly cheaper than the others, that would be a MAJOR consideration for me. 

Re: UK vs. UL vs. $NKU
« Reply #2 on: March 15, 2014, 06:03:49 AM »
Thanks for the reply.  I do want to work in KY, preferably in one of the mid-size firms in Lexington or Louisville.  Although NKU is $8k cheaper a year their employment stats are pretty scary with only 44% finding Bar passage required jobs within 9 months and 11% are still unemployed and seeking.  UK's employment has them placing 78% of grads in bar required jobs with less than 2% looking for a job nine months out.  At what point does the scholarship from NKU outweigh its poor employment stats?  Once again thanks for any input.

Re: UK vs. UL vs. $NKU
« Reply #3 on: March 15, 2014, 07:45:25 AM »
When evaluating schools...

1) Scholarship money in of itself is not enough information. You have to deduct that from the total cost of attendance, creating your effective COA. The effective COA is what you want to compare. ex: school A gives you 100k while school B gives you 25 k. School A sounds amazing right now... however, if school A COA is 250k and school B COA is 50k, school B is 125k cheaper than school A.

2) General employment stats are also not enough information to base a decision on. You need to find out what % of grads are a) finding work in the region you want to work in; and b) finding work in the legal sector you want to work in. It is also beneficial to factor in information like total full-time long term % employed, underemployed, un-employed and still seeking work, % that snag clerkships, business work, advanced degrees, biglaw, public interest, etc. You may find that the "lesser" school is nominally the same as the "better" school.

3) You also want to compare realistic salary expectations for each school given the legal sector and region you want to work in. Also keep in mind any loan repayment programs that the schools may offer you.

4) It may also be beneficial to compare a realistic projection of how well you will do in the law school (class rank). Law schools are, to some extent, doing this already when evaluating your file. The LSAT and GPA are strong predictors for your performance as a 1L. You should take advantage of this as well. Check out law school predictor. You can find out the % of ppl that are at or below your LSAT/GPA combo. This is a loose prediction for your class rank. Also, as the LSAT has a 3 point standard deviation, input your upper and lower lsat band. Do the same for your GPA. You can then find out where you are under a best case and worst case scenario, and then expect to be somewhere in between.

5) Also compare things like environment, grading policies/curves, program concentrations, campus offering, network, etc.

6) You should then use all of this information to project a worst, best, and realistic case scenario for yourself at each school after you graduate. You want to find out how long it would take you to get out of your debt at either school.

So to answer your question, you want to go to the school that will satisfy your realistic goals while offering you a manageable debt load. You may find that both schools will get you this goal, however, the lower ranked one will allow you to get out of debt far quicker. Likewise, perhaps the higher ranked school offers you the ability to pay back the higher debt far quicker, and so maybe thatís the better option?

In the end, you need to do a lot more homework. Have realistic expectations, which requires you to see the entire picture, not just a number on US News Ranking.

Good luck!

Re: UK vs. UL vs. $NKU
« Reply #4 on: March 15, 2014, 09:10:41 AM »
Maintain you are amazing. You say you don't know anything about these law schools, but you comment any way.

Re: UK vs. UL vs. $NKU
« Reply #5 on: March 15, 2014, 05:12:14 PM »
Maintain you are amazing. You say you don't know anything about these law schools, but you comment any way.

I said that there are certain considerations which are applicable to ANY law student, such as cost, location and future goals. Would you actually disagree?

Re: UK vs. UL vs. $NKU
« Reply #6 on: March 16, 2014, 07:56:48 AM »
Maintain you are amazing. You say you don't know anything about these law schools, but you comment any way.


Re: UK vs. UL vs. $NKU
« Reply #7 on: March 16, 2014, 10:41:39 PM »
First realize any information you receive on this board or others is coming from anonymous internet posters and should be taken with a grain of salt, my post included.

With that said I think any 0L needs to consider the following factors (1) Location; (2) Cost; (3) Personal Feelings about the school (4) Understanding the reality of legal education; and last (5) Employment stats/U.S. News Rankings.

Each factor is analyzed to your situation below.

1) Location
It sounds like you have it narrowed down to the state, which is great. Many 0L's are looking at schools all over the country, but knowing Kentucky is the place for you is a big step in the right direction.

However,  between Highland Heights, Lexington, and Louisville are different cities and no matter what school you attend you will be living in that City for three years. Additionally, if you want to work in Lexington or Louisville you will be able to intern during law school at Lousiville firms if you attend Louisville. A 70 mile drive for an internship in Lexington would be tough.

If you prefer any of the three cities attending law school there might be the best bet. Odds are you will find employment near your law school and more importantly you are going to spend three years of the prime of your life around that campus.

2) Cost

Northern Kentucky
NKU offers in state tuition 15k per year and an 8k scholarship means 7k per year.

In-State 15k per year - 8k scholarship=7k per year x 3 = 21,00.

Living Costs:
10K living costs on campus x 3= 30,000
16k per year off campus x 3= 48,000
Law school is three years so total

NKU Total Cost
51,000 on campus
69,000 of campus.

18k per year in state x 3= 54,000

Living Costs
15k per year x 3= 45,000

Total Cost = 89,000.

In-State tuition 16k x 3= 48,000
Living costs 18,000 x 3 = 54,000

Louisville Total Costs:

Scholarship Conditions & Negotiation:
For NKU you need to pay attention to the scholarship conditions if any. Many schools require a 3.0 GPA, which was likely easy to get in undergrad, but most schools only allow 35% of their first year class to have a 3.0 GPA. This means there is a 65% chance you will not keep your scholarship for years 2 & 3. This N.Y. Times article explains the situation far better than I can.

Also do not be afraid to negotiate for scholarship money from Kentucky or Louisville. These schools want you to attend and they might take 5k off if you ask and say I am really considering Kentucky and vice versa.

Bottom line ask detailed questions about the scholarship at NKU and ask for more money from them and the other schools. You have all the leverage until you enroll in the school, but you are an over qualified student, which is the scholarship is being offered and don't be afraid to negotiate for more.

(3) Personal Feelings about School:

This is very important each school has a culture and feel to it. When I was a 0L I visited many schools some I hated others I loved, but those are my personal feelings. You may very well hate what I loved and vice versa. Therefore, it is very important you visit the schools talk to professors, admins, students, walk around campus and see what school gives you a good gut feeling. That feeling should be listened to it is $100,000 of your money, three years of your life, your legal career, and nobody knows better what works for you better than you.

(4) Reality of Legal Education

It is important to understand at any of these schools you will learn the same exact thing. Your first year will be Torts, Contracts, Property, and Civil Procedure. In these courses you will read Supreme Court Cases and they do not write separate opinions for different schools. At the end of the day the law is the law.

(5) U.S. News and Stats

If all else fails look at the magazine and employment stats, but remember that U.S. News is a for-profit, unregulated, magazine offering an opinion. They rank more than law schools and Albuquerque, New Mexico is the best place to live according to U.S. News. . I imagine you are not going to move to New Mexico based on this ranking.

Use the same logic when choosing your law school. A magazine saying something doesn't make it true.

As for the employment stats no school guarantees you a job and more importantly the actual accounting of graduates is terrible. After you get through law school, pass the bar, and are working 50-70 hours a week you are not going to say oh yea I am going to call up career services, fill out a detailed form, give them all my salary information etc, because you just have free time. There is no consequence to not responding to these surveys.

An additional point regarding employment stats is that NKU has a large part time program nearly half the students are part-time. Louisville and Kentucky do not have part-time programs. The typical part-time law student already has a job, interacts rarely with the school, and often does not find a "legal related" position, because they are not looking for one.

Bottom line each student has their own hugely individual story and on top of that if you finish in the bottom 10% at NKU you will struggle if your Valedictorian you will not. Essentially, whether you succeed in the legal field will have a lot more to do with you than the school you attend.

However, you environment, personal feelings about the school, and cost are going to make differences in your life and ability to succeed. Kentucky being ranked 87th will not matter in the long run.


Congrats on your law school acceptances it is great to have options. There is no, "right' answer and you need to balance all the factors of location, cost, and personal feelings about the school. Do not get to wrapped up in stats they are b.s. particularly when related to something as individualized as student success. Not every student wants the same thing. There will be those that want to help the homeless and others that want to make money at all costs. Nothing wrong either way, but you can measure those graduates the same way they are entirely different people.

Any of these schools will provide you with a great education and give you a ticket to a bar exam anywhere in the Country. Whether you pass the bar exam and succeed will be up to you.

Good luck on your decision and go visit these schools, talk to alumni, students etc. Remember anything on anonymous internet poster boards should be taken with a grain of salt. For all you know I am a crackhead in a public library or a Biglaw partner drunkenly rambling on an internet board. 

To get some real answers and insight you need to talk to real people about each school.

Re: UK vs. UL vs. $NKU
« Reply #8 on: April 11, 2014, 01:43:39 PM »
Just wanted to say thanks to everyone who replied.  After negotiating I was able to get a small scholarship to UK.  Although I will still be taking on roughly 20-30k more debt the employment prospects at UK (78% graduates with bar passage jobs nine months out) compared to NKU (44% graduates with bar passage jobs nine month) and my desire to work in Lexington have led me to choose UK (and the cheap student basketball tickets).  Go Cats!