Law School Discussion

School Rank or Class Rank?

"V"

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School Rank or Class Rank?
« on: January 08, 2006, 01:39:36 PM »
What do you guys think matters more when graduating?

Is it better to go to a moderate school where I may rank higher in class standing, or a higher ranked school where I may be only mediocre in class ranking?

I have been fortunate to be accepted to a top 20 school, and expect to hear back from my other schools, mostly top 75-100 rank, + a tier 2. If I go to the top 20 school, I will (hopefully) graduate, but perhaps not in the top 10-25 percent. Whereas in a lower ranked school, I would certainly feel more confident about being able to rank higher, make law review, etc.

If all schools reply equally in terms of scholarship, what would you recommend given my choice? I'm currently leaning towards the higher ranked school... but I'm just a 'hi-yuk' Oregon country boy, and I have no idea what to expect when facing a top 20 school competition...

Re: School Rank or Class Rank?
« Reply #1 on: January 08, 2006, 01:44:02 PM »
It's almost universally accepted that you should go to the best school you can, unless a school that offers similar opportunities puts out some serious cash. Most law firms won't even interview at schools lower than Tier 1, and being #1 in your class at Cooley doesn't look as good as being last in your class at Harvard, since the firms are largely paying for name anyway.

A.

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Re: School Rank or Class Rank?
« Reply #2 on: January 08, 2006, 01:47:22 PM »
It's generally a bad decision to choose a school because you think you'll rank higher there.  I've heard of several people doing this and regretting the decision when they end up in the middle of the class.  Your ranking will be determined solely by the exams you take at the end of the semester.  Just because you did better on the LSAT than your peers at the lower-ranked school does not mean that you will write better exams than they will.  It's best to go to the highest ranked school into which you are admitted.

mxpocc

Re: School Rank or Class Rank?
« Reply #3 on: January 08, 2006, 01:59:55 PM »
It's generally a bad decision to choose a school because you think you'll rank higher there.  I've heard of several people doing this and regretting the decision when they end up in the middle of the class.  Your ranking will be determined solely by the exams you take at the end of the semester.  Just because you did better on the LSAT than your peers at the lower-ranked school does not mean that you will write better exams than they will.  It's best to go to the highest ranked school into which you are admitted.

Agreed. LSAT does not determine rank in class.

And to answer OP's original question--you need a combination of both, although I'd say that class rank is a bit more important (probably a 60/40 relationship). Obviously, while all Harvard grads are going to get jobs somewhere, the ones at the top will also, obviously, have more options than the ones at the bottom.

Re: School Rank or Class Rank?
« Reply #4 on: January 08, 2006, 02:39:37 PM »
If you don't mind me asking what are the two schools you are trying to decide between?  Most likely I would say go to the local school (I'm not a ratings whore) but I would like to know who we are comparing.

Re: School Rank or Class Rank?
« Reply #5 on: January 08, 2006, 03:02:33 PM »
I actually grew up in Portland and would say just go to L&C.  It has a very good rep in Portland and a lot of firms hire out of there.  I have heard Willamette doesn't give very much money but who knows.  Considering you want to move back to Portland after you get your JD I would suggest just staing in town to get it.  Did you apply to Washington?  Seems like that would be a good option for you also.

mxpocc

Re: School Rank or Class Rank?
« Reply #6 on: January 08, 2006, 03:05:25 PM »
if you've never entertained the thought of working somewhere else (even if only temporarily), then go to lewis and clark. otherwise, if it's POSSIBLE that you might enjoy an opportunity to work and live somewhere else for a time given the right job opportunity, then probably UIUC.

I don't think you could go wrong, though. if you're more comfortable staying at home that may result in a better ranking in your class, since you'll have little adjustment outside law school to make. with that said, I moved to an unknown place to start law school, and I was so busy studying it didn't matter that my surroundings were unfamiliar. i think it helps that Iowa is in a small, college town, though--and that's exactly with UIUC is in.

Re: School Rank or Class Rank?
« Reply #7 on: January 08, 2006, 04:12:28 PM »
Go with Illinois. If you have ties to the area, any smaller firms will be happy to take a grad from across the country. At 75, L&C won't really help, especially when compared to going with a Top 20 school. On the off chance you don't want to end up there, Illinois degree will travel farther.

Re: School Rank or Class Rank?
« Reply #8 on: January 08, 2006, 05:11:35 PM »
I would say that if you are 100%+ sure that you want to stay where you live now, then I would say to go to the local school provided they give you lots of $$$$, i.e., cheaper tuition. However, as others have said, if there is any remote chance that you may want to move elsewhere ever, then go to the better ranked school.


pass36

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Re: School Rank or Class Rank?
« Reply #9 on: January 08, 2006, 07:28:07 PM »
Well, just to put my two cents in as another Oregon country boy who (hopefully) will have some of the same decisions soon:

I would get an application off to U.W.  Can't hurt and could give you more options.  Just don't take my scholarship! (kidding)

UW and UIUC are pretty closely "ranked" but U.W. has much more appeal in the NW.  Probably more than LC, although you may be able to make more Portland connections from L.O. than Seattle.  But you keep about the same national options as UIUC.