Law School Discussion

SLU vs. Case Western (and other schools)


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Re: SLU vs. Case Western (and other schools)
« Reply #10 on: April 02, 2015, 02:05:54 PM »

That's an interesting bit. That said, you might want to get back to that friend. For example, very few BigLaw firms that I am familiar with have their associates immediately practice in a single group (maybe litigation/transaction). Your first year is often spend floating with various partners.

Second, I went back at looked at my two BigLaw firms that I worked at; neither Health Care practice had an SLU grad. That doesn't mean they don't necessarily find a place, but almost all of them were T14. Ask your friend if his firms recruits for that practice at SLU; his answer might be illuminating one way or the other.

One thing I want to emphasize, and I think he covered in his third paragraph, is that while health care law is specialized, it's just... law. My first year, I did a lot of IP law. I never took IP law of any kind. You just pick up what you need to know. I also did a fair amount of litigation involving securities. Again- I had to pick it up.

Look, I don't want to rain on his parade; many schools are fantastic in certain subjects, but that, and five bucks, get you a cup of coffee at Starbucks. You want to work in BigLaw? Then at any of these schools, you're looking at the very top of your class, law review, etc.

If your passion is health care law, then, by all means, follow it to SLU. The professors there may have connections. You may be able to hook on with a mid-size or boutique firm in that area. Follow your passion. You should be aware that the actuality of law is often very different than what people believe going in. Health law is NOT about a passion for medicine and a desire to help people- it's about making sure that institutions stay compliant with relevant regulations. It's about deciding if a particular release is HIPAA compliant. And so on. Unfortunately, the practice of law can often be orthogonal to helping actual people (unless by actual people, you mean large institutional clients).

Re: SLU vs. Case Western (and other schools)
« Reply #11 on: April 02, 2015, 02:18:44 PM »
Those are all very good points.

I doubt his firm would hire specifically from SLU as he went to school near Atlanta (Georgia State perhaps? I heard they have a good health law program too).

As for what you said about law just being law, I agree. And you or City may have mentioned it many times as well; you study the same nonsense in nearly every school, particularly in the first year, and then for whatever you need to take the Bar.

My DREAM (and I say that with emphasis on the dream part) is to be a federal justice. Will that happen from a transactions/litigation point of view in health law? Most likely not. But I want to be able to be the lawyer that fights for what real justice is: I want to prosecute the abusive doctor, as well as the abusive patient for that matter. I want to protect people from shady insurance practices, as well as making sure that people have adequate coverage.

Hell for all I know I may end up being a god forsaken lobbyist fighting obscene healthcare costs in DC. Who knows.

All I know is that above all else, I'll feel like I'm doing SOMETHING if it involves both healthcare/medicine and the law. I'm hoping either a fancy school or SLU will help me achieve that. BigLaw doesn't interest me anymore than speaking with a lawyer who's ego may develop its own gravitational field does. I'm trying to become one of those lawyers that changes the public perception of them and the law in general.

It's just figuring out where the hell to go to make that happen is driving me insane, hahahaha


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Re: SLU vs. Case Western (and other schools)
« Reply #12 on: April 02, 2015, 02:29:40 PM »

I would like to key on this-

" BigLaw doesn't interest me "

No worries. Then whatever you do, minimize the cost of law school. If you're not working BigLaw, then you're not going to be making a great salary out of law school (depending on market, we're talking 30k-80k, public on the low end, private mid-size on the high end). High debt will absolutely kill you. That said, this is a career you're building, you're young (I assume), and you'll be fine if you have realistic expectations. But minimize those costs.

" I want to prosecute the abusive doctor, as well as the abusive patient for that matter. I want to protect people from shady insurance practices, as well as making sure that people have adequate coverage."

From what you're describing, it sounds very much like you have an interest in being a Plaintiff's Attorney! That's litigation, btw. Something you might want to think about when you get to law school.

 "It's just figuring out where the hell to go to make that happen is driving me insane"

One step at a time. Just figure out what school you're going to. Once that decision is made, you'll find that other things will tend to fall into place.

Re: SLU vs. Case Western (and other schools)
« Reply #13 on: April 02, 2015, 02:46:09 PM »
Fair points Loki.

I'm 23 (just turned so this past December). Litigation does sound like what I want to do, and yet I feel I would be more efficient and calmer behind a desk (transactions and such?)

Yeah I would honestly be very happy starting out making 60-80k. I can transition into BigLaw if I feel like I'm up to it and I have the skills to back it up. I'm in no rush with that regard.

As for costs.....SLU makes the most sense in that case. And yet I still wonder if Hastings or W&L would offer me better prospects even with far larger debt (though I hate to think about it when I haven't even yet been accepted).

Re: SLU vs. Case Western (and other schools)
« Reply #14 on: April 02, 2015, 04:02:56 PM »
Hi Phantom,

Your friend sounds like he has a good grasp of the healthcare law market. It's nice to have a springboard like that on which to bounce off ideas. There are a couple of important issues that I think you should research.

1) How many SLU grads actually end up working in Healthcare Law, and who are they?

If healthcare law is primarily the domain of BigLaw, then I assume that hiring is quite competitive. Even graduating from a top ranked program, will you be competing with T14 grads? Is this an area where the SLU grads who do get hired are top 10%, law review, etc?

2) If you don't get a job in healthcare law, will you be happy defending DUIs and drafting wills in St. Louis?

I'm not trying to be nasty here at all, but this is a legitimate question. If you graduate middle of the pack at SLU and don't get picked up for a healthcare job, you'll probably take whatever you can get. Trust me when I tell you that the vast majority of law students do not end up in their desired field straight out of law school.

In closing, I'm not trying to either dissuade or encourage you towards any decision. This is YOUR decision. I generally believe, however, that it is a mistake to chose a law school based on a very specific desired outcome, ie; being a healthcare lawyer/environmental lawyer/prosecutor, whatever.

The reason is this: despite what exposure you may have already had with healthcare law, the practice of law is almost always very different than what people imagine. It's hard to explain, but the work you will do as a healthcare lawyer will focus on things like contractual terms, civil procedure, federal statutes, and corporate governance. Healthcare will likely only be tangentially involved as the subject matter of the disputed contract, for example.

If you go to law school, go with the desire to be LAWYER, period. Not a healthcare lawyer, but a lawyer. There is a very good chance you will be doing something entirely different with your career, and you don't want to be stuck with a job that you hate.

Just my two cents. Good Luck with everything, and I really do hope that you find the career you're looking for!

Re: SLU vs. Case Western (and other schools)
« Reply #15 on: April 02, 2015, 04:27:01 PM »
Thank you Maintain, I'll certainly keep those things in mind. It's not easy for me to enjoy lawyering as a general business; many aspects of the law disgust me with how it's handled (plea bargains, for example). But wherever I go, I'll be sure to keep an open mind, just like any good med school student treats rotations.

Even if I'm behind a desk all day looking over documents (btw, is document review a reasonable entry law job?), if I'm making a difference and making a living, I'll keep pushing ahead.

I really appreciate you guys being open and reasonable in discussing this stuff. People on TLS make you feel like utter garbage for having anything below a 3.5+ with a 170+ LSAT. Literally, I'm seeing people get accepted to incredible schools with incredible awards, and everyone STILL reacts as though they're taking a cheap knockoff online law course.

So cheers for not making people feel like garbage for what otherwise can be considered great personal achievements.

Re: SLU vs. Case Western (and other schools)
« Reply #16 on: April 02, 2015, 09:11:00 PM »
Excellent posts above and as for the comment about TLS realize that anything you read on the internet comes from anonymous internet posters so take it with a grain of salt. However, that includes my post and the ones above. Michael Scott explains it best : ) a little humor for you.

With that intro I think any law student should consider the following five factors. (1) Location; (2) Cost; (3) Personal Feelings about School; (4) Understanding the Reality of Legal Education and (5) Last and Least U.S. News Rankings. Here is a good article analyzing these factors

Below is a brief analysis of the five factors to your situation.

(1) Location:
You are living in the East Bay and considering a cross country move. As Maintain said would you be happy drafting wills & defending DUI's in St. Louis? That might happen more importantly even if you get you dream job out of law school would St. Louis be a place you want to spend the rest of your life? Or at the very least a minimum of three years?

I live in San Francisco and it's awesome I just got offered an awesome job in Sacramento doing the exact kind of work I wanted, but I didn't want to move to Sacramento and turned it down. On paper it sounded great to me, but in reality leaving the Bay Area is not what I wanted. Or you just thinking these schools sound good, but not really thinking about where you want to live? Being happy with the City you live in is one of the most important things to consider.

2) Cost
As Loki mentions cut costs and be wary of the scholarship conditions.  Also, look at the actual tuition of each school.

Saint Louis University for example offers in-state tuition if you get residency at $26,000 per year $36,000 per year out-of-state.

Case Western is a flat $44,000 a year.

So if you get in-state tuition at SLU even without a scholarship your paying $78,000 in tuition vs. $132,000 in tuition at Case Western. I think many students assume all schools cost the same, but they vary. In that scenario even if Case Western gave a $15,000 a year scholarship you would still pay less at SLU. So just look at the actual tuition costs. This page from LSAC provides info on every school's rates.

3) Personal Feelings about School:
When I was a 0L I visited numerous schools and when I was in law school I did numerous mock trial competitions and visited even more schools. What I realized is that each school has a culture to it some I loved others I hated, but that is just me. For some reason I loved South Texas Law School, I was pissed off when I got sent to that Mock Trial Competition instead of the Chicago one I had been to the year before, but I just loved everyone I met at the school and the pride that had in their litigation team etc.

Other schools like Hastings aren't my cup of tea. In the heart of the Tenderloin, dirty, students in a bad mood etc just doesn't do it for me. There are plenty of people that love Hastings and they are letting us use their basketball gym for the San Francisco Bar Association Lawyer League so Hastings isn't all bad, but that school and me would not be a fit. However, you might love it and the only way for you to know if a school is a fit for you is to visit, talk to students, professors, alumni, work around campus, the neighborhood etc. Typically your gut will give you a good or bad feeling about a place and your gut knows more about you than anyone else.

4) Reality of Legal Education:
At any ABA school you will read Supreme Court Cases and take Torts; Contracts; Civ Pro etc during your first year. You will read Pennoyer v. Neff to learn notice; Palsgraf to learn proximate cause; Hadley v. Baxendale to learn contract remedies and the hairy hand case of Paper Chase fame as well.

To sum it up any ABA school will teach you the law and after you graduate you will then take BarBri or Kaplan to help you pass the bar.

5) Rankings:
Remember that U.S. News Rankings is nothing more than a for profit magazine offering an opinion.  They are doing nothing wrong by offering an opinion, but it should not be the basis of a life altering decision.

U.S. News Ranks Alberqueue New Mexico as the #1 place to live. I am sure New Mexico is great, but I imagine you are not going to apply to University of New Mexico, because U.S. News said it is the best place to live. It would be crazy to move to a City because a magazine said it was #1 right? Yes it would be.

It is also crazy to make a 3 year, $100,000+, career changing decision on where to attend law school based on a magazine as well. Use it as a tiebreaker perhaps and for entrainment, but don't let the rankings play a big factor in your decision.

From my understanding of your post you want to be in the Bay Area. If you want to be in the Bay Area attend law school in the Bay Area and see what if anything you can do to reduce costs. If you move to St. Louis for law school it will be hard to get back to the Bay after. Not impossible, but difficult.

Good luck with everything and congrats on your acceptances.

Re: SLU vs. Case Western (and other schools)
« Reply #17 on: April 02, 2015, 09:51:37 PM »
I was going to concur with Maintain. My only added notes-

Watch out... Scalia in the house!!!

Re: SLU vs. Case Western (and other schools)
« Reply #18 on: April 03, 2015, 08:44:44 AM »
Thank you for your response City. I would like to clarify something for you guys regarding the location nuance I'm dealing with.

I would LOVE to be comfortable going to school in the Bay Area. Which is why I've sent Santa Clara an email asking for more scholarship aid (they only offered 10k/yr with a 3.0 (or B- average in their school) stipulation). I'm waiting to hear back. I'm also waiting to hear from Hastings, and I have a phone interview with W&L on the 16th.

SLU, while not in the Bay for sure, offered me half tuition for 3 years, with a 2.1 GPA stipulation, and they're considering possibly raising it after I emailed them as well. If I go to SLU I would be staying 4 years for a MHA most likely, so any additional aid I get for the first 3 definitely helps.

So basically, while SLU isn't the place I'd want to work initially, they appear to offer me a better education (from the options I have so far) at least regarding what I want to focus on my 2L and 3L years. They're also cheaper.

If Santa Clara manages to near match the scholarship for SLU, I'll most likely go there, because I DO appreciate the importance of location. Otherwise, can you guys honestly recommend Santa Clara over SLU?


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Re: SLU vs. Case Western (and other schools)
« Reply #19 on: April 03, 2015, 09:03:12 AM »

FYI, my reading of the policy at SCU is that their curve policy is that ~50% of their students will fall beneath the curve you list. Maybe more, maybe less (it depends on how they do it per class), but that's a good guideline.

Be careful. Let me repeat- ~50% of the class in a given first year subject will be getting below a B-.

"Otherwise, can you guys honestly recommend Santa Clara over SLU?"

No. But location isn't as important to me as cost. While I think you should pursue your dream, I also think you should focus (as has been mentioned) on the real possibility that you will change your mind or focus, or just not be able to practice in the niche you desire. Would you be as happy being a prosecutor in Missouri or Illinois as you would be staying in California? Writing out wills? Or whatever you end up practicing in? I think of it as an adventure- but location matters. Do not go to SLU thinking you will be going back to Cal soon... or, necessarily, at all. You might, and you can set that as a goal, but as CityLaw, Maintain, and I have explained- unless you finish at the very top of your class (which can happen, but is unlikely), AND you reach out and make the connections yourself (which you have a shot at doing since you can say you are from there), you will not be returning to Cal. It's good to have that goal and work toward it (just like Health Law), but make sure you understand the reality.