Law School Discussion

Tier 4?

Tier 4?
« on: March 03, 2017, 04:43:38 PM »
I am looking at some Tier 4 schools since that is all I can manage. I have heard some negative, some positive. If I am not looking at going to big law firms and just aspire to my own private practice, am I still at a disadvantage? Some people have tried to discourage me completely while an attorney I know said it really doesn't matter what school you go to, depending on your expectations.

loki13

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Re: Tier 4?
« Reply #1 on: March 06, 2017, 09:59:57 AM »
I am looking at some Tier 4 schools since that is all I can manage. I have heard some negative, some positive. If I am not looking at going to big law firms and just aspire to my own private practice, am I still at a disadvantage? Some people have tried to discourage me completely while an attorney I know said it really doesn't matter what school you go to, depending on your expectations.

There is no easy answer, here. Or, as any attorney would say, "It depends."

Let's take three "Tier 4" schools (I don't know if they are all Tier 4 currently, but generally have been): UMaine, Suffolk, and Florida Coastal.

These are three very different schools. All of them are "tier 4" in the sense that the applicant pool tends to have lower scores (uGPA + LSAT), they don't have great placements (BigLaw, good firms), and they aren't well-respected nationally.

But they are also very different-
UMaine is the only law school in Maine, and the state law school. If you want to practice in Maine, if you want to be a Maine attorney ... well, it's a fine choice. Maine does have some transplant attorneys (highly ranked New England law schools), but there is nothing wrong with going to State U if you want to practice in that state.

Suffolk is fine if you want to take a job in Boston- not a white shoe job, but one of the other legal jobs in the Boston market (PD, prosecutor, government, smaller firm, etc.).

Florida Coastal, on the other hand, is "classic" Tier 4. For profit, low standards, and competing in an oversaturated legal market. There are 11 law schools in Florida, and it might be the worst. That said, you can still pass the bar, or transfer, or do well out of Florida Coastal!

It's just probabilities. Tier 4 schools give you fewer options. And you have to do better at a Tier 4 school to get an equivalent position than you would at a higher-tier school; your competition might be less, but there is far less margin for error.

As practicing on your own- all you have to do is pass the bar. It is certainly doable, but most people struggle in solo practice without a few reps or some connections.


Re: Tier 4?
« Reply #2 on: March 06, 2017, 11:09:26 AM »
I agree with Loki, location is everything.

Two additional points:

When you say that T4 is all you can "manage", are we talking about geographic and/or time restraints (perhaps you need a part time program?), or are we talking very low GPA/LSAT.

If it is the latter reason, and depending on just HOW low your numbers are, you may want to step back for a minute and rethink law school. There are T4s that will accept someone with a 148, and I think those applicants might want to rethink their decision. If you have a 155 and the only school nearby is a T4, well, that's a different story.

Second point is regarding solo practice. I don't know if you have any experience with a solo practice, but it is VERY difficult to set up shop straight out of law school without at least some prior experience. You should try to get hired at a firm or govt office first.