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Author Topic: Top 100 vs. tier 3.  (Read 1232 times)

scooby21322

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Top 100 vs. tier 3.
« on: July 27, 2006, 01:24:28 PM »
As far as employment opportunities are concerned, how big of a difference does a top 100 school make compared to a tier 3.  According to the LSAC calculator, I have the scores to get into most law schools excluding the top 30 or 40, but I could get significant scholarships at some of the lower ranked schools.  Any input?

lawnecon

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Re: Top 100 vs. tier 3.
« Reply #1 on: July 27, 2006, 02:26:24 PM »
It depends. The "Top 100" covers a broad range of schools, and there are plenty of schools that jump back and forth between the low second tier and the third tier (Syracuse, Catholic, DePaul, Marquette, etc.) Most of these school tend to be a bit better than the permanent third tier schools and those that are on the border between 3 and 4.

It's hard to say - I turned down a third tier school with a half tuition scholarship (Syracuse) to pay the full boat to attend Villanova (currently #60). It wasn't necessarily because Nova is much better ranked, but because it's a stronger contender in the Philly/mid-Atlantic area. Syracuse, on the other hand, doesn't feed directly into any major city. Graduates do get jobs in NYC, but there's a lot of competition from better regarded schools in the city.

I think location should be a prime concern. If you're interested in working in NYC and you get a great scholarship from New York Law School and nothing from say Villanova or UConn, you'd probably be wise to head to the lower ranked school. If it's between no money at Fordham and some assistance at NYLS, it's a tougher call. If you want big law, it's probably better to go to the best school you can into in the region you want to work (not necessarily based upon US News rankings).
Villanova Law School Class of '09

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scooby21322

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Re: Top 100 vs. tier 3.
« Reply #2 on: July 27, 2006, 02:43:40 PM »
Ok, that brings up a few more questions.  First, where would rankings that would be a good determinate other than U.S. News be?  Also, how do the rankings effect job opportunities other than Biglaw?  Although I'm not ruling that idea out, I think I'm more intrested in something such as a lobbying firm.  I'm really into politics, but not really Ecstatic about the pay that the government provides. 


Lawnecon, I see that you crossed Richmond off your list.  Any reason why?  I am looking into applying there. 

lawnecon

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Re: Top 100 vs. tier 3.
« Reply #3 on: July 27, 2006, 03:12:17 PM »
Ok, that brings up a few more questions.  First, where would rankings that would be a good determinate other than U.S. News be?  Also, how do the rankings effect job opportunities other than Biglaw?  Although I'm not ruling that idea out, I think I'm more intrested in something such as a lobbying firm.  I'm really into politics, but not really Ecstatic about the pay that the government provides. 


Lawnecon, I see that you crossed Richmond off your list.  Any reason why?  I am looking into applying there. 

Well, I don't know if there are any set "official" rankings for how well a school is regarded in a certain region, but there usually is an informal pecking order in a city or region that might not precisely reflect the US News rankings. For example, in LA (according to many folks on this board), Southwestern has a better reputation than Pepperdine. Even though Pepperdine is ranked 80 something and SW is third tier. In DC, some people say Catholic has a better network of alumni than the much higher ranked American. However, usually, the US News ranking are pretty accurate.

The rankings tend to be most important in regard to big law, and you'll have to go to a pretty elite school (or have an amazing career) to have a shot at academia. Also, some of the better public interest sorts of jobs tend to prefer candidates from better school (the ACLU comes to mind). If you just want to work for a small firm in your home town, it probably doesn't matter too much (though regional name recognition could help). I don't know too much about lobbying.

I decided not to stay on the Richmond waitlist because Villanova is a better school with access to a larger region. Richmond is nice, but you pretty much have to stay in the area at least for a little while after graduation.
Villanova Law School Class of '09

"I don't believe in nothing, no more - I'm going to law school!" Jimbo Jones (The Simpsons)

queencruella

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Re: Top 100 vs. tier 3.
« Reply #4 on: July 27, 2006, 03:20:32 PM »
Keep in mind that a lot of schools at the bottom of the top 100 pop in and out of tier 3 as well. Just because you're going to a school that is ranked 90 this year doesn't mean it will still be 90 when you graduate. It's much better to go to a tier 3 in an area you'd like to live in for a while than to go to a lower tier 2 school somewhere you're not as interested in.  In addition, a T3 in an unsaturated market may have a stellar reputation there, while a lower tier 2 competing in a market with tier 1's and high tier 2's is probably not going to take you as far.

Towelie

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Re: Top 100 vs. tier 3.
« Reply #5 on: July 27, 2006, 03:28:40 PM »
Most employers won't know whether a school is a lower ranked T2 or a T3. Just make sure you go to a school that has a good reputation in the area you want to practice in.
Penn Law '09

scooby21322

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Re: Top 100 vs. tier 3.
« Reply #6 on: July 27, 2006, 04:12:19 PM »
What about low tier 1 vs tier 2?  There is a small chance I could make it into a school in the bottom of the top 50 (again, according to the lsac calculator). 

syracuse1L

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Re: Top 100 vs. tier 3.
« Reply #7 on: July 27, 2006, 04:21:09 PM »
After speaking with plenty of law students, recent law grads, and a few law professors; here's what I think.  Once you move beyond the 'elite' schools, the top 15 or so, there is a lot of parody out there.  When I talk to people or hear of their experience at BYU, George Mason, American, Syracuse, etc... it's all about grades and connections.  The actual difference between a school ranked 30 and a school ranked 90 is going to be pretty marginal once you get beyond your personal performance and the things you directly control.  At the end of the day, it doesn't matter if you graduate from that #30 school or the #90 school, what matters is where you are relative to your class rank, and what connections you have made.  I think the admissions process does a good job of freaking everyone out too much about rankings, as does the USNWR.... That being said, I would still avoid the bottom feeder schools like the plague

Towelie

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Re: Top 100 vs. tier 3.
« Reply #8 on: July 27, 2006, 04:21:48 PM »
What about low tier 1 vs tier 2?  There is a small chance I could make it into a school in the bottom of the top 50 (again, according to the lsac calculator). 


Tier 1 and tier 2 are way too broad in determining a general ranking for a school. The only comparison you could make would be the bottom tier 1 schools vs. the upper tier 2 schools, but what you should realize is that a bottom tier 1 school could, by the time you graduate, become a top tier 2 school and vice versa.

Penn Law '09

lawnecon

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Re: Top 100 vs. tier 3.
« Reply #9 on: July 27, 2006, 04:23:21 PM »
What about low tier 1 vs tier 2?  There is a small chance I could make it into a school in the bottom of the top 50 (again, according to the lsac calculator). 

Once again, a few spaces isn't going to make a difference. If you go to UConn (50) over Temple (58) because of US News but you want to work in Philly, you're not making a wise decision. Your best move outside of the top 14 is to find the region or a region where you'd like to work and go to the school with the best reputation if you want to work for one of the better firms or take the money at a lesser regarded school if prestige is less of a concern to you.
Villanova Law School Class of '09

"I don't believe in nothing, no more - I'm going to law school!" Jimbo Jones (The Simpsons)