Law School Discussion

SLU vs. Case Western (and other schools)

Re: SLU vs. Case Western (and other schools)
« Reply #30 on: April 03, 2015, 04:08:12 PM »
Those two things are where the division lies. I very deeply wish to remain in California and work here, but the cost is clearly cheaper in SLU.

I could have gotten into GG and probably McGeorge fairly easily with decent awards. I did base my applying there in part on their course offerings, and in part based on how others seem to have perceived them.....which wasn't exactly in a shining light.

The more I'm looking at the class of 2013's employment stats, the more I'm realizing that 60-70% employment in JD required/preferred positions, with about average/above average Bar passage for California.....Santa Clara isn't too bad, right? The debt is shoddy for sure, but if I have most of my friends and contacts in California, and I know the State and area far better (I went to UCSC)....doesn't it make sense to go through with USC?

If you guys can't tell, my emotions and fighting with my logic a great deal. You two are like the little spirits on my shoulder right now, hahahaha

Re: SLU vs. Case Western (and other schools)
« Reply #31 on: April 03, 2015, 06:06:34 PM »
I was in a similar situation to you years ago. I was living in the Bay Area and wanted to stay in the Bay area, but I was accepted to "better" schools in areas I didn't want to live in.  At the time University of Nebraska was ranked something like 60th I have come to realize how much it changes now and I was pretty set on attending University of Nebraska, because U.S. News said it was better and statistics etc said it was the better choice.

However, I spoke with several bay area attorneys my friends directed me to as I was really struggling with moving to Nebraska and they gave me this very simple advice.  The best way to get a legal job in the Bay Area is to attend school in the Bay Area.

I did that and it was the best decision of my life. If you want to be in the Bay Area attend law school in the Bay Area. As a practicing attorney I know numerous attorneys from Berkeley, USF, Santa Clara, Hastings, Golden Gate, Davis and McGeorge all working at the same firm and even playing on the Bar Association of San Francisco Basketball League I mentioned.

Come down to Hastings Basketball Gym on Tuesday night and you will see a bunch of lawyers from every different school playing basketball together and the last thing that is ever discussed is our law school rank, employment prospects, etc.

I know many 0L's myself included years ago understandably over think and over analyze the school they attend. If your ultimate goal is to end up in the Bay Area don't attend law school in St. Louis.  St. Louis and Case Western have very little influence in the Bay Area nobody ever thinks about those schools here not that they are bad, but why would an employer here want to play someone out from St. Louis or Case Western and talk to professors out there when there are numerous law schools in the Bay Area.

I also don't know if this is true of other cities, but the professors at Golden Gate, Hastings and USF are pretty much the same.

Jon Sylvester teaches Contracts at each school
http://law.ggu.edu/faculty/bio/jon-sylvester
http://www.uchastings.edu/academics/faculty/facultybios/sylvester/index.php

Peter Keane teaches Con Law at each school
 https://www.uchastings.edu/academics/faculty/facultybios/keane/index.php
http://law.ggu.edu/faculty/bio/peter-keane


I could honestly make a long list of professors that teach at each of these schools. Hastings, GGU and USF are in a 2 mile radius of eachother and Jon Sylvester is a genius he knows every rule of contracts and is taught to pay at each school. Promissory estoppel is the same at Hastings as it is at USF so why not get paid three times the amount for repeating yourself.

I honestly encourage you to talk to some of these professors that teach at each school. Most are very upfront and honest at happy to talk to a OL. Each school in the Bay Area has it's pros and cons, but any of them can open doors. The one thing I would highly advise against is attending school in St. Louis or Cleveland if your ultimate goal is to end up in the Bay Area.

Good luck whatever you decide.
 

loki13

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Re: SLU vs. Case Western (and other schools)
« Reply #32 on: April 04, 2015, 07:03:45 AM »
"Also the employment statistics for SCU seem to be far different on their site (ABA approved?) than the source you used (LST?)"

The stats are the same (NALP-reported); LST just does a more thorough job with them. What many people learned, to their horror, in the last ten years, is that law schools were artificially goosing the numbers to look good to prospective students and to US News. Common examples include, but are not limited to:
1. Reporting students hired part-time by the school itself as hired in JD positions (this was somewhat common, and some schools would do this for 5-15% of the class..... SCU employed 4.3% of its graduating class in 2013);
2. Reporting students working intermittently (even students who worked one research job in nine months and then gave up) as hired in JD positions;
3. Reporting students hired in non-JD positions as part of their employment;
4. Reporting students who were unemployed as sole practitioners;
5. Counting yanked offers as employed;
6. Not trying very hard to get salary information- since this is self-reported, only the successful students would self-report, and you'd get curves that would show a decent likelihood of that $160k job (sure, if you realize that 20% of the students reported their salary, and those were the successful ones);
7. and so on. Heck, sometimes they just, um, fudged the self-reported numbers.

In essence, this allowed all the schools from Yale/Harvard down to Cooley/Whittier to appear to have roughly the same employment profiles- not the same, but in the ballpark. This appearance, which was never true, completely unraveled to the public in 2008. So places like LST try to parse these numbers a little better. I find that, with a few exceptions, the employment score listed there is a good, ballpark figure for the actual employment figures. However, you can also look at the full numbers on that website. But, to put it more bluntly, SLU, on average, has better outcomes than does SCU.

Turning to CityLaw's post, I both agree and disagree with him (as I have, often). On the one hand, I continue to think that his thinking betrays far too much pre-2008 thinking. Let's take Golden Gate, for example. You mentioned you wanted to be a federal judge. Now, that's pretty unlikely. But not a single GG U graduate received a federal clerkship in the 2013 class. Not one. Over 40% of their graduates were long-term unemployed. That's nearly unconscionable. Their average admittance for LSAT was below 150. They have an 8% school-funded rate, and even that doesn't help their job numbers that much. Now, does that mean you can' succeed out of GG? No. Some do. But the odds are very much stacked against you. I wouldn't go there unless they gave me a free ride, and I lived in the area. And I'd still hope to have better options. But that's me.

But he is right that if you want to practice in California generally, and the Bay Area specifically, you shouldn't go to SLU. You should go to a Cali or Bay Area school. Period. 100%. I am with Maintain in this- I've seen far too many people screwed, and (personally) I am flexible in locations, so I think debt is a bigger issue than location, but I know for some people it's like the real estate mantra (location, location, location). In which case, minimize your costs as much as possible and be realistic. Good luck.

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Re: SLU vs. Case Western (and other schools)
« Reply #33 on: April 04, 2015, 07:23:46 AM »
To give you a quick idea on how to compare outcomes with employment scores of schools mentioned:
GG: 22.4%(incl. school funded)
USF: 34% (incl. school funded)
McGeorge: 36.2% (incl. school-funded)
Hastings: 41.6% (incl. school-funded)
SCU: 42.4%
SLU: 50.5%
Case Western: 58.6%
Stanford: 87.6% (incl. school-funded)

As you can see, schools tend to separate into bands (IMO). I'd be extremely wary of schools in the 20-30% range. For me, that's a no go, no matter what. I would probably be very wary of the schools in the 30-40 band. One interesting thing to note, for you, is that SCU has a better outcome profile (barely) than Hastings, with the exception of federal clerkships.

But I will again, reiterate, that it is how you do at the school. If you're going to be a superstar at law school, it is likely you will be a superstar at any law school. To me, the concern is for the people that believe in themselves, but don't realize that they won't finish in the top 5% of their class. If you're not going to do really well, in the current legal environment, taking on *any debt* to go to a school like GG, USF, or McGeorge is exceptionally risky.

Re: SLU vs. Case Western (and other schools)
« Reply #34 on: April 04, 2015, 02:36:22 PM »
Just curious, what would you guys consider a more favorable option:

$50k debt from someplace like GGU, or $200k debt from someplace like SCU?

Considering that it's highly unlikely that you'll be working in Biglaw or a federal clerkship from either school, I'd probably take the money. If someone graduates in the bottom half of their class from someplace like SCU, are their post-grad options really that much better? Enough to justify the cost?

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Re: SLU vs. Case Western (and other schools)
« Reply #35 on: April 04, 2015, 03:11:23 PM »
"$50k debt from someplace like GGU, or $200k debt from someplace like SCU?"

Neither? If you're talking 50k in tuition debt alone (not to mention Cost of living, eating, etc).

In the current environment, the employment stats of a GGU are pretty bad. But I also couldn't recommend ever going into 200k debt to go to SCU. So....

I guess if a person has their heart set on being an attorney, was aware of the possibilities, thought about their options (not just the debt, but the three years of their life), took it super seriously (in other words, treated it like a job, worked their behind off to network and take advantage of everything the school offered etc.), understood the opportunity cost (you could spend the three years doing something else, or getting a different degree, without the debt), then, sure. Why not? You might not get a BigLaw job straight out of GG, but if you do well, you can get a JD and start your career path. If those were the two options (as opposed to waiting & retaking the LSAT, maybe considering other options) then I would go with GGU. But you'd have to really want to be an attorney.

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Re: SLU vs. Case Western (and other schools)
« Reply #36 on: April 04, 2015, 03:17:38 PM »
(To give you an idea, GGU's stats are comparable, but technically worse, than Cooley's. These are schools where, if you're taking any amount of debt... plus the time (three years of your life)... then you're really taking a chance. Yes, I know they give opportunities to people who both didn't do well in undergrad AND didn't do well on the LSAT, but the sad fact is that most people who have major issues on both those counts are not going to be great in law school or as a practicing attorney. There are exceptions, of course, but... if those are the schools you are thinking of attending, it might pay to make absolutely sure you know what you're getting into.)

Re: SLU vs. Case Western (and other schools)
« Reply #37 on: April 04, 2015, 04:00:03 PM »
Yeah, I more or less agree.

I was just thinking about how many people I know who have been in his conundrum. Most people aren't really trying to decide between say, UCLA and GGU. But lots of people who didn't have the numbers to get into Berkeley or UCLA are trying to decide between schools like Loyola and Santa Clara at full cost, vs. GGU, Southwestern, etc at a huge discount.

For someone in that position, who has decent grades and a decent LSAT score, it's seems like the discounted JD should at least be seriously considered. That person might very well possess the skills to succeed, and won't be hampered by the crippling debt.   

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Re: SLU vs. Case Western (and other schools)
« Reply #38 on: April 05, 2015, 09:16:03 AM »
Maintain,

I'm in agreement with you. I think, though, that we *both* emphasize the conditions on scholarships. A lot of these "free rides" may not be so free after all. Yes, they work for some people, but I've also known far too many people who have gotten suckered into them, finished just below the cutoff, and had to decide what to do (after already spending a year and taking out loans for their living expenses).

But I agree with you in one key aspect; absent special circumstances (for example, parents paying the tuition or going to one of the state schools were the full freight is actually *really* discounted for in-state, and you're getting in-state), I would never, ever recommend going full freight once you move past the t14 considering current tuition costs. Assuming reasonable scholarship conditions, full tuition scholarships at even a GG, SW > nothing at other schools, provided the 0L understands what they will need to do to succeed and their likely options at graduation.

Re: SLU vs. Case Western (and other schools)
« Reply #39 on: April 06, 2015, 10:24:26 AM »
I want to counteract the statistics argument by Loki and point out why I think they are not a great factor to use in the life altering decision of where to attend law school. As Loki accurately points out the difference between NALP/ABA statistics and Law School Transparency Statistics differ greatly. That is because statistics can be manipulated.

Are the NALP/ABA stats 100% accurate? No,  the schools have an incentive to "Juke the Stats" gotta love the Wire. Conversely, Law School Transparency an organization that essentially seek funding to point out how wrong the NALP/ABA stats are have incentive to Juke the Stats to prove their point. It is almost like Watching Fox News and MSNBC they will report the story, but in one story Obama is a hero in the other he is a Muslim Terrorist.  For the most part you can apply common sense to get the real scoop on  politics and the same is true when choosing a law school.

Golden Gate is a fine school as are all ABA schools, but it is certainly not Stanford or Harvard as I assume you already knew. If you finish in the bottom 25% of the class at Golden Gate, which there is a 25% chance will happen you may really struggle with the bar and finding employment. Again, as Loki points out law school is a risk.

There are hundreds of satisfied students from every law school each year and hundreds of dissatisfied ones. The reality is you finish in the bottom half of the class odds are you will struggle to start your legal career and there is a 50% chance you will be in the bottom 50%. If you finish in the top 10% at any school you odds are you will have a good chance at starting your legal career, but there is only a 10% chance you will be in the top 10%. Additionally, there is no way to know how you will do and going to law school may be the best decision of your life or the worst.

If we knew how things would turn out life would be pretty easy.

One way as everyone points out to minimize risk is reducing debt. However, without question be wary of scholarship conditions this New York Times Article does an outstanding job explaining the system. http://www.nytimes.com/2011/05/01/business/law-school-grants.html?_r=0

A 3.0 in law school is very difficult to get 1L all incoming law studnets particularly ones with numbers good enough to get law school scholarships assume a 3.0 will be a walk in the park, but it isn't. However, ask admissions officers the tough questions how many students keep the scholarships, what are the curves, etc. They will not lie if you ask them directly, but if you just assume everything will be ok and you don't ask they won't tell you either.

Again, if you ultimate goal is to in the Bay Area attend law school in the Bay Area. I would honestly talk to some of the professors that teach at multiple ABA schools in the Bay Area. They will give you the pros and cons of each school and there are pros and cons to each.

Good luck with your decision.