Deciding Where to Go > Choosing the Right Law School

UK vs. UL vs. $NKU

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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. 

Maintain FL 350:
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. 

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.

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!

Maintain you are amazing. You say you don't know anything about these law schools, but you comment any way.


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