Law School Discussion

Rankings whores.

Re: Rankings whores.
« Reply #50 on: March 20, 2006, 02:43:27 PM »
Cool. It seems like you've put a lot of thought into your decision. Good luck at 'Bama!

On a more general level... I think that you're probably underestimating the prestige factor. But even assuming that your degree only matters for a couple of years, these years will determine where you get your first job, which in turn will determine your future opportunities.  Obviously your skills are paramount wherever you go to school, but it's not for nothing that students fight so hard to get into the T14.

Re: Rankings whores.
« Reply #51 on: March 20, 2006, 02:48:03 PM »
Cool. It seems like you've put a lot of thought into your decision. Good luck at 'Bama!

On a more general level... I think that you're probably underestimating the prestige factor. But even assuming that your degree only matters for a couple of years, these years will determine where you get your first job, which in turn will determine your future opportunities.  Obviously your skills are paramount wherever you go to school, but it's not for nothing that students fight so hard to get into the T14.

Thanks for the input, and I definitely understand your point of view on this.  I realize that there aren't that many people out there who would turn down Vandy to go to 'Bama.

JamesD

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Re: Rankings whores.
« Reply #52 on: March 20, 2006, 02:51:47 PM »
Nobdoy ever suggested that rankings be disregarded entirely.  I simply suggested that one can make a decision about law school based on factors other than rankings, average salary, etc.

Why Tulane?  I already went to college.  I don't need 'the college experience' all over again.  Virginia is a great school, and I'm sure I could spend three years in Charlottesville, where I would have a lovely time.  But Charlottesville is a bit too pretty for me. 

I'd rather go to law school in New Orleans, get a part-time job in the city, and spend my years at Tulane both earning my JD and working in the community. 

I've been out of school for two years though... so my perspective may be a bit different than that of those who come straight from UG.

Re: Rankings whores.
« Reply #53 on: March 20, 2006, 02:55:43 PM »
Wow. That's awesome, and very generous of you. I'm sure you'll be very busy!

And I would say this certainly qualifies as a "special reason" for discounting rankings.

Erapitt

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Re: Rankings whores.
« Reply #54 on: March 20, 2006, 02:56:49 PM »
JD, just make sure you look at how expensive the cost of living is in Tulane.  Do what you want, its ultimately your decision and good luck with it.  I am part of the party that thinks you are insane to turn down UVA, but hey, its your life ya know?

JamesD

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Re: Rankings whores.
« Reply #55 on: March 20, 2006, 03:05:14 PM »
I just think its funny how so many people caution me; they make dire predictions about my job prospects following law school.  They act like I'm throwing caution to the wind, and - essentially - committing career suicide.  They think I'm clueless.  Thats bull.  Tulane is a good school.  It is very well respected, particularly in the south.  Same goes for Bama. 


Re: Rankings whores.
« Reply #56 on: March 20, 2006, 03:05:36 PM »
The thing is, most faculty you talk to tell you flat out that they don't teach you the law, you do that yourself.  They simply provide you with the questions to help you get there.  A lower ranked school means less competitive students.  In a world where you are graded on an absolute curve that can make a major difference in the quality of ones' education.

Er, have you ever thought that some students at the higher ranked law schools went to easier or lower ranked ugs, which helped them obtain a higher gpa and admittance to such a ls.  Lower ranked schools doesnt mean students are less competitive... southwestern in la is considered among the most competitive.  The students at lower law schools might think they have to compensate for such a lowly ranking when they are looking for jobs, esp in major cities such as nyc, dc, la, etc.  Im also not so sure htat a curve determines the quality of education.  Its just a method of grading, which is distinctly different from the method of facilitating information to students.  However, i think heavy competition can f up such a method as students will interact less, which hinders the spread of ideas.

Also, some ppl want to say the rankings are based on quantitative factors.  This isnt really the case.  Educational quality is more of a qualitative factor.  Instead the factors are qualitative, but are reported in a quantitative way and can be derived in a quantitative method such as the faculty citations that tcs mentioned.

With respect to the ppl who arent ranking whores, choosing a school predominately on the cost is prolly just as silly as basing it predominately on ranking.  Even if you want to go into pub service, plenty of programs exist to aid in the repayment of loans.  Allowing cost to determine where you go is a risk averse tactic as well.  The best example of that ties in the rankings and the cost thing I can think of is going to UFlorida over UMiami.  Both schools are practically the same in many respects.  (based on lsac data) lsat is about the same over the mid 50%, but gpa is higher for uf.  However, starting sals are better out of miami and placement is slightly better too and cost of living surprisingly is better in miami than orlando (where i think the highest % of uf gards go), but not by much according to http://about.salary.com/costoflivingwizard/
Academically, miami is considered better too by princetonreview.com (albeit a bit outdated).  This just goes to show that a school ranked 41 and a lot cheaper, might not be a better choice than a school ranked 73 with the higher price tag.

Furthermore, choosing uf or umiami is definately a better choice than #19 UMinnesota if you want to live in fl, and thats a huge jump in rankings and a significant price diff between the UMs.  Thats even taking into consideration the bigger law firms in fl

Re: Rankings whores.
« Reply #57 on: March 20, 2006, 03:20:38 PM »
I used the cost of living calculator and found that a $125,000 salary in New York will get you as far as a $60,000 salary in Birmingham, Alabama.  $60,000 just happens to be the median starting salary for UA grads in private practice.  So what's the difference?

Re: Rankings whores.
« Reply #58 on: March 20, 2006, 03:30:57 PM »
I used the cost of living calculator and found that a $125,000 salary in New York will get you as far as a $60,000 salary in Birmingham, Alabama.  $60,000 just happens to be the median starting salary for UA grads in private practice.  So what's the difference?

You want to work in Birmingham.  For your particular case Alabama over Vanderbilt etc. isn't foolish, but for most other people looking for degree portability (and wishing to make the risk-averse decision) it would be.

I never actually said that I wanted to work in Birmingham -- just trying to prove the point that these starting salary numbers are subject to a lot of factors.  Firms in Birmingham don't have to pay as much of a starting salary because the cost of living is so low (and, at least for UA grads, most of them are graduating with relatively little debt); firms in New York do.

We'll all have to make a decision where we want to live at some point, whether we like it or not.  Getting a degree that "travels well" just delays that decision for three years.

JamesD

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Re: Rankings whores.
« Reply #59 on: March 20, 2006, 03:59:10 PM »
No soapbox.  Just an explaination of my motivations for attending Tulane over UVA.  I'm not telling anybody else where to go or what to do; I'm not acting like my decision is objectively any better or worse... I'm just saying that its a better choice for me, and explaining why.  I'm just not interested in the college experience anymore.  I'd rather be working in the community.  Why does that mean I'm up on a soapbox?

And I've made it very clear that if I wanted to do BIGLAW or be a law professor, I'd be making a different decision.  In fact, while I'm fairly set on Tulane, I can't entirely rule out UVA because there might be the option to work on capital cases as a 2L, along with the option to pursue a joint degree.  How is that soapboxing?

And the truth is, I feel horrible that I've obsessed over this decision and felt like it was so important and dramatic.  Yes, its important.  But when I consider my decision about law school... and how I stress about it... in relation to the real problems that so many other people face... I feel like its almost laughable.