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Author Topic: Public interest and law school prestige.  (Read 2079 times)

bastage

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Public interest and law school prestige.
« on: March 01, 2004, 03:52:28 PM »
Need some guidance here.
Some people say to attend the highest ranked school that accepts you because the higher rank will afford you more opportunities in 3 years.
What if you don't want to go BIGLAW though? What if you want to work in public interest. If a lower ranked school offers you a ton of money to attend their school, wouldn't it be in your favor to take the money, given that your starting salary will be rather low (i.e. you won't have to pay back a huge amount of loans)?
Also, can't you *try* to do very well and then get a LLM from a higher ranked school?

sagemenscircle

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Re: Public interest and law school prestige.
« Reply #1 on: March 01, 2004, 07:24:42 PM »
2 different points here: a somewhat lower ranked school offering "tons" of money is definitely preferable to a somewhat more pretigous school that does not, but probably not better than one MUCH higher prestige.
2nd, if you are POSITIVE  that you want to do public interest law then I am inclined to agree that a decent Tier 2 school with money would be a wiser choice than a Tier 1 school without.
My real question here is: what makes you so positive? Have you talked with public interest lawyers? Many law students change their mind about what type of law they want to practice after they actually get into school. I would hesitate to limit my options if I were you. Nonetheless, money is a consideration.
My assumption is that the range of schools to you depends on your LSAT (primarily) and GPA (secondarily) unless you are a URM. Thus, the range of schools open to you are more limited if your LSAT doesn't put you in the top 14 (mine doesn't). If you are extremely high ranked in your LSAT and GPA, then I would severely question your decision to commit solely to one type of law at this point when other opportunities obviously exist.
If not, go to the best school you can afford. There are no significant differences really between schools ranked say, #40-60, and if one offers the money, take it.
Finally, your work performance has the most effect upon post-grad options, as well as alumni connections and location. Very difficult to move up, however, easy to move down.
"Est unusquisque faber ipsae suae fortunae"
Every man is the architect of his own fortune.
Appius Claudius

bastage

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Re: Public interest and law school prestige.
« Reply #2 on: March 01, 2004, 11:28:22 PM »
Thanks for the input.

I've been accepted to some third tier schools with decent money offered. I'm still waiting to hear from some 2nd tier schools and I've been waitlisted at one.

I think I'm in the same position many people are. I read these boards and it seems that people are rather pessimistic about job prospects coming out of third and fourth tier schools. I am interested in Legal Services right now, and you're correct that may change. I also don't want to straddle my wife and I with hundreds of thousands of dollars in debt attending a second tier school. It's just a tough decision, but I want to be a lawyer, so I better decide.

stillwaiting

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Re: Public interest and law school prestige.
« Reply #3 on: March 02, 2004, 12:25:31 AM »
just curious...what exactly is an LLM.. how is it distinct from/related to a JD?

Ivy_Hopeful

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Re: Public interest and law school prestige.
« Reply #4 on: March 02, 2004, 02:40:31 AM »
An LLM can be described the short way and the long way...

The short way (depending how fancy and correct you want be at the term)
an advanced degree (to be worked on after and/or during a concurrent JD) known as the in the American (English) terminology as
"Master of Laws"

and in the latin tongue (the original language of many terms in the law such as certain writs like habeas corpus- bring the body forth, or amicus curae- fried of the court /brief/) known as (more or less) 
"Lauraite Law Master" (lauriatte(sp?) being the latin term ofcourse)

The long and short of it is that the LLM (typically but not alwys) is a way to further legal scholarship after a JD in particular area of the law and in hopes of becoming  legal professor or scholar as such. SUch programs as the top schools (Yale Stanford, Harvard etc) only allow a handful of people to be LLM students and must specialize in an area (example being Stanford accepting only LLM's interested in policy and governance). Other schools however do offer a broad LLM degree for those simply wishing to further unspecific areas of legal scholarship and other schools (plus the ones mentioned) still even offer a MSL (ALIAS Master of the Studies of Law) for those who are interested to be specialize in IP (intelectual property) law and high-tech (and the sort) legal scholarship. The LLM admissions is highly competitive as well, but by that time you have very well delat with such rigors while in law school (to some extent at least). 

and then the JSD (Juris Science Doctorate) or SJD the Doctor of Jurisdicial Sciences. If you want to know more on this let me know..i've been around the research room LOL!

Hope this helps you out (I may have gone past your immediate origional question just a tad, eh, what are ya' gonna do?
IVY_Hopeful
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Ivy_Hopeful

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Re: Public interest and law school prestige.
« Reply #5 on: March 02, 2004, 02:41:43 AM »
If that doesn't sum up what you are looking for let me know...
IVY ;D
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stillwaiting

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Re: Public interest and law school prestige.
« Reply #6 on: March 03, 2004, 12:57:35 AM »
Thanks !!! I was wondering that and asked around but noone really seems to know... interesting, I didnt realize there were so many options--I dont think many people do. Thank you for the explanation though and good luck with everything!

Ivy_Hopeful

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Re: Public interest and law school prestige.
« Reply #7 on: March 03, 2004, 03:10:10 AM »
You're welcome, anytime!  ;D
Winners: Cooley w/$, UDM
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LSD Debut UGPA 3.651 Final UGPA 3.894 / LSAT October 1st, 2005: 141

bastage

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Re: Public interest and law school prestige.
« Reply #8 on: March 03, 2004, 02:27:06 PM »
Just wanted to let you all know some more advice I received today.
Talked with a director of Legal Aid, and he told me, unless you're going to Harvard, Yale, Stanford, go to school in a region you want to practice in and where the debt load will be the lowest. If you're interested in BigLaw, this may not be the best advice, but if you're interested in Legal Services, keep the debt as low as possible.
Mentioned a quote from a Constitutional Scholar that taught at UT Austin, when asked why he didn't teach at Yale or Harvard where they where coveting him. He said, "You make your own prestige".
Thought that was good advice for those of us not going to the top schools.

stillwaiting

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Re: Public interest and law school prestige.
« Reply #9 on: March 03, 2004, 04:06:38 PM »
a little perspective for those of us who are discouraged with the big name schools... thanks !!