Law School Discussion

California law schools


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Re: California law schools
« Reply #10 on: March 04, 2004, 11:49:17 AM »
This is how I currently see my situation...if it were down to Cal Western, Thomas Jefferson and Southwestern I'm not sure which to pick.  I think that Southwestern is the best school with the best employment prospects.  However, I think I'd like San Diego more than LA, so I was leaning towards Cal Western.  Also think if I had to end up living in one of those places for the rest of my life I'd prefer San Diego. 

How competitive do you feel you are as far as jobs in LA, having to go up against UCLA, Loyola, etc grads?  Have you done OCI or much with Career Services yet?  What is the calibur of firms that come to do OCI?  Is Career Services helpful?

Ok, that's all I have for now.  Thanks!


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Re: California law schools
« Reply #11 on: March 04, 2004, 03:03:13 PM »
. . . by the way, I meant "were" instead of "where" in the previous post.  I don't want my failure to proofread to reflect poorly on my lovely school. ;)

In all honesty, I haven't done much with career services.  The reason is I already have a good job, and I'm a partner of a startup technology LLC on the side.  Down the road, I'll likely end up doing the general counsel and IP/contract/business litigation thing for our LLC.

I guess I'm not too concerned about competition from any of the local schools.  Many of these schools are "ranked" higher, but for my purposes this means relatively little. A potential employer is generally going to consider what he needs, and whether you bring a better deal to the table than the other guy.  With due reverence to the other schools, the difference in ranking between Southwestern and anywhere else is not enough to diminish what I'll be offering in total. 

But many students don't share my perspective.  So to them, getting into the highest-ranked school is the end game.

Southwestern is a solid school with a good reputation.  I've had nothing but a positive experience so far in terms of the quality of education, faculty, peers, facilities, and challenge.  This school was a great fit for me.

I believe most of the major firms in LA now recruit directly at SW. Career services has been very helpful whenever I have visited them. If you contact them, I'm sure they will be happy to provide you a list of these firms.

Good luck. ;D

I don't get it -- why are you going to choose Cal Western over USD
« Reply #12 on: March 05, 2004, 03:34:47 AM »
To Becca:  Why would you choose Cal Western over USD or TJSL?  Cal Western was just about to get their ABA pulled a couple weeks back.  From the sounds of it, they have very poor management.  I would like to be sure that my law school will still exist in 20 years. 

I have decided to go to work and go to school in San Diego, and possibly live in Tijuana.  USD is the prudent choice, hence my 1st choice.  Not much selection in S.D. for law schools and thus my 2nd choice is Thomas Jefferson (TJSL).  I am not even applying to Cal Western.  I should get into USD.  ALthough I know that I will be taking a gamble with TJSL even though they are CURRENTLY garnering a well-respected reputation.  Still they are a new school, small, and private -- there is not telling whether they will still be around in 5, 10, 20 years.

To LP4Law:  I am in the same boat as you. Although I feel confident about getting into a top 25 school like UCLA, USC, or Berkeley, my career is too valuable to pass up.  I don't want to be a professional attorney so much as I would like to be able to serve as general counsel for the companies that I will be starting in the near future.  I am definitely an entreprenuer.  Plus, I need to live in San Diego. 

Good luck to all of you.



Re: California law schools
« Reply #13 on: March 05, 2004, 08:36:02 AM »
I've heard this Cal Western getting their ABA pulled thing on these message boards.  I believe the school getting threatened with ABA removal is WESTERN STATE, which is in Fullerton, California.  Hopefully somebody clears this up, so incorrect info does not get on this board.  I believe Cal Western was not in danger of losing their ABA at any time, at least recently. 
To Becca:  If you like the vibe at Cal Western better, then you should go there.  Especially if they give you money, and USD doesn't.  However, do keep some things in mind.  According to the data provided by LSAC, in 2002, the attrition rate for Cal Western was near 30 percent, i believe.  That is almost double that of USD.  This may indicate some negative things about the quality of education at Cal Western, or maybe a killer curve.  Also, the unemployed (But looking for work) precentage of graduates at Cal Western was almost 20 percent!!!  That is among the worst I've seen at any school.  USD is around 6 percent, which is pretty normal for a good 2nd tier school.  Remember, even in San Diego, it's not just TJSL of USD students you'd be competing with.  San Diego is a very ATTRACTIVE place to live, and thus firms will tempt quality students from UCLA, USC, Southwestern, Loyola, Stanford, etc... (All the quality schools all over California.)
With all this mind, going to USD may give you some more leeway with jobs, while if you go to Cal WEstern you may have no choice but to graduate top 10 percent, make law review, and really pound the pavement.
Hope some of this helps...


Re: California law schools
« Reply #14 on: March 06, 2004, 01:34:48 AM »
You're 100% right about the loss of ABA accreditation - WESTERN STATE might lose theirs, but CAL WESTERN is in no danger.

CAL WESTERN is in San Diego.

WESTERN STATE is in Fullerton (Orange County), and it's one of only two for-profit law schools accredited by the ABA (along with Florida Coastal).


Re: California law schools
« Reply #15 on: March 07, 2004, 11:10:58 PM »
FYI, it was insufferably hot in California today.  I live in Orange County.

Re: California law schools
« Reply #16 on: March 08, 2004, 10:21:04 AM »

  I've heard all the talk about USD, it's ranking, job placement, bar passage, yadda yadda. I just like the feeling over at Cal Western a lot better. As a native San Diegan I know a few people in town and the managing partner of one of the bigger law firms there. When I spoke with him he indicated that as long a performance at Cal Western was good I should not really have a problem getting a job in town. He said the real difference was the national reputation of the schools and that if I wanted to work in L.A. I might have a tougher time. General consensus seems to be that your pedigree matters the most for your first job and after that it is contacts and performance that matters.
  I've got the first job lined up-USMC JAG corps so I'm not too worried about that. I talked to the Dean at Cal Western last week and she said that they had a bar prep class that had a passage rate over 85% for the students that took it.
  Bottom line, the facilities are better, the sutdents are older (little more life experience) and if I don't go into debtor hell for law school maybe I can take jobs later that I want instead of just trying to pay the bills. I'm not really interested in top 10 firm work, I think I want to do more legal aide type stuff...make a difference and not just a name.
  Both schools will get you hired somewhere, and if you study hard enough I think most of us will pass the bar. The attrition may also be due to the fact that the students are older and have more obligations rather than poor faculty or tons of competition.
  Good luck to everyone on deciding. Go with the gut. :)

For Becca
« Reply #17 on: March 08, 2004, 12:12:56 PM »
My two cents:

Don't trust ratings, don't trust the gut.

Trust the numbers. 

Compare graduation and 9-month employment statistics for both USD and Cal Western. 

Check to see what percentage of the faculty are Ivy Leaguers.

See what the average starting salaries are for both schools.

Compare estimated total cost/benefits differential between the two schools counting estimated salaries for 5 years after graduation.  For example, if Cal Western gives you a 50% tuition scholarship for all 3 years and USD doesn't (assuming each school costs $28k per annum), but then USD gives you a $10k salary advantage per year for the first 5 years of employment after graduation, then USD has a slight edge by about $8,000; that's a healthy down payment for nice Beemer if you're into that.  If Cal Western gives you a full ride, obviously Cal Western get the nod.

This is assuming of course that over time, success in the legal profession becomes more and more dependent upon performance rather than pedigree. 

Good luck.