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Author Topic: Seriously considering the $ at a T3 vs. admission at a T1 (JAG)  (Read 7420 times)

gratif

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My greatest fear is that I’ll “settle” for a “decent” job and be secure but unhappy a la Peter Gibbons from Office Space.  All through college, I didn’t care about my future and partied 4-5 nights a week.  Hence, these are the options that a 2.7 GPA and a decent LSAT score net me:

USNews Rank/School/Cost of Degree
32 Wisconsin …….….$34.5K …(acceptance hopefully pending)
37 Indiana ………….$60.0K …(+25.5K scholarship)
37 George Mason ….$73.5K  …(offer pending)
60 Kent ……………..…….$90.0K …(acceptance pending)
60 Tennessee ………..$63.0K …(+9K scholarship)
70 Loyola-Chicago .. $90.0K …(waitlisted)
70 Nebraska ……..…….$61.5K …(deferred)
80 Depaul ……….……..$42.0K …(+45K scholarship)
Tier 3 Akron ……….…..$66.0K ...(acceptance pending)
Tier 3 Arkansas ……..$25.5K …(+30K scholarship)
Tier 4 St. Thomas ….$15.5K …(+60K scholarship)
Tier 4 Hamline ……..….$10.5K …(+68.4K scholarship)
Tier 4 Valpo ………..…..$81.0K …(offer pending)
Tier 4 DC-Clarke …..…$42.0K …(offer pending)

If I get into Wisconsin, all bets are off.  In-state tuition FTW.  But right now I’m leaning towards St. Thomas.

Conventional wisdom says that my decision should be limited to Wisconsin, Indiana, and George Mason. Period.  Law school is a long term investment, and employment opportunities directly correlate with the perceived size of the program’s male private part according to USNews.  I’d have to graduate at the top of my class to even have a shot at competing with the average grads of the aforementioned law schools.

The typical law student’s decision making process is as follows:
-HAY I THINKS IM PRETTY SAMRT
-I don’t have a hard-science background, so med school is out. 
-Going to grad school for English (or history etc.) doesn’t appear to make fiscal sense.
-Law school, here I come!

…and then they go to the best school they can get into with aspirations of having the biggest swinging lawyer male private part, with pretty much no clue what the actual practice of law is about.  This thread sums up my reservations about being a lawyer.


My reasons (/rationalizations) for going to law school are as follows:
1. The abovementioned reasons, with a political science major
2. I was a total ****off in undergrad, and squandered a chance to excel in school
3. I want to wind up a professor
4. Law school will make me a better writer (see 3); it’s like Strunk & White’s on crack
5. It’ll distance me from my undergrad performance for applications to master’s and PhD programs

...and the JAG plan, as follows:

Making General as a JAG is pretty much unheard of, but Colonel is just a notch down and a very respectable goal.  JAG pay is more than livable, with 30 days paid vacation, 10 federal holidays, no insane billing hour requirements, and a sizeable pension at age 45.



The Air Force is conducive to the pursuit of my long term goals.  While they do offer tuition assistance, this is a perk, not a reason for joining the military.  More importantly, I see visible promotion opportunities that should imbue me with the ambition to set and achieve short-term goals.  Furthering my education isn’t merely condoned, it’s encouraged: commitment to personal development is a serious consideration when it comes time for promotional review.

My fantasy life goes a little something like this:

Before I leave the service I’d have landed a stints orienting new JAGs (teaching operational law & the UCMJ), and teaching ROTC.  Throughout my military career I’d be committed to furthering my education.  This includes working towards an LLM, a master’s, a PhD, and assorted PME (Professional Military Education; it’s a temporary training assignment and usually involves relocating).  Some personnel even get assignments where their “job” (with full military pay) is obtaining an advanced degree.  Such postings are ultra-competitive and it’d be foolish for me to expect, but hey, it’s my fantasy.  I should plan on part-time night programs. 

My education should be both interesting and useful.  While I might enjoy teaching political philosophy upon retirement, Aristotle has no practical application for the military.  Maritime Law or International Aviation Law could lead to some increased responsibilities, but ideally I could study something that’d tie the total package together.  Maybe I could go for broke and pick something like establishing constitutional democracies in multi-ethnic societies, and get involved in that hopeless nation-building business.  On retirement I could teach undergrad courses like “culture & politics” and “noobie constitutional law.”



My questions are thus:
-Should I take on the debt and go to the best school I can get into? 
-Am I blind to the (harsh?) reality of what military life will entail?

afer1500

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Re: Seriously considering the $ at a T4 vs. admission at a T1 (JAG)
« Reply #1 on: March 26, 2007, 08:53:56 AM »
How realistic is it for a person with no military exp. to be able to join JAG right after graduation?

CoxlessPair

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Re: Seriously considering the $ at a T4 vs. admission at a T1 (JAG)
« Reply #2 on: March 26, 2007, 10:54:55 AM »
How realistic is it for a person with no military exp. to be able to join JAG right after graduation?

Short answer: depending on the branch, it's hardly uncommon. With the exception of people who went ROTC in college/went to one of the military academies, no law students will be active military. A number of my friends are former military but none of them show any interest in going back into it.

Thus, you have lot of wet behind the ears law students who are looking to serve in a JAG capacity. They are hiring you as a professional as well as a solider, they cannot hold it against you that you are new the military (USMC does not apply to anything I am saying). You can take part in the summer clerk programs with the AF/USA as a civilian for your 1L/2L summers which will no doubt help your candidacy come your interview as a 3L. 

The impression from my friends currently in JAG/my interviews this fall, is that a lot of newly minted JAGs are enjoying their first experience in the military.
Air Force JAG Corps

afer1500

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Re: Seriously considering the $ at a T4 vs. admission at a T1 (JAG)
« Reply #3 on: March 26, 2007, 10:57:22 AM »
How realistic is it for a person with no military exp. to be able to join JAG right after graduation?

Short answer: depending on the branch, it's hardly uncommon. With the exception of people who went ROTC in college/went to one of the military academies, no law students will be active military. A number of my friends are former military but none of them show any interest in going back into it.

Thus, you have lot of wet behind the ears law students who are looking to serve in a JAG capacity. They are hiring you as a professional as well as a solider, they cannot hold it against you that you are new the military (USMC does not apply to anything I am saying). You can take part in the summer clerk programs with the AF/USA as a civilian for your 1L/2L summers which will no doubt help your candidacy come your interview as a 3L. 

The impression from my friends currently in JAG/my interviews this fall, is that a lot of newly minted JAGs are enjoying their first experience in the military.

Will I be subject to the same physical conditioning programs and regimens?

MisterManager

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Re: Seriously considering the $ at a T4 vs. admission at a T1 (JAG)
« Reply #4 on: March 26, 2007, 11:10:22 AM »
i would think about taking St Thomas very carefully...especially when u also have $$$ from IU. Compare the difference in the $$$ versus starting salary and percentage employed after graduation.

I wouldnt blame you for taking money at a t2 instead of no money at a high T1....but taking $$$ in a T4 over $ in a T1. I could see that turning into a decision you will regret your entire life.
I always keep it real and i call no man mister.

ptown

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Re: Seriously considering the $ at a T4 vs. admission at a T1 (JAG)
« Reply #5 on: March 26, 2007, 11:20:14 AM »
How realistic is it for a person with no military exp. to be able to join JAG right after graduation?

Short answer: depending on the branch, it's hardly uncommon. With the exception of people who went ROTC in college/went to one of the military academies, no law students will be active military. A number of my friends are former military but none of them show any interest in going back into it.

Thus, you have lot of wet behind the ears law students who are looking to serve in a JAG capacity. They are hiring you as a professional as well as a solider, they cannot hold it against you that you are new the military (USMC does not apply to anything I am saying). You can take part in the summer clerk programs with the AF/USA as a civilian for your 1L/2L summers which will no doubt help your candidacy come your interview as a 3L. 

The impression from my friends currently in JAG/my interviews this fall, is that a lot of newly minted JAGs are enjoying their first experience in the military.

Will I be subject to the same physical conditioning programs and regimens?

yes, generally.  I know mostly about the Army as that is the branch I intend to aim for, so all my perspectives will be geared toward what I know about the Army.  You attend an initial army indoctrination course, followed by 12 weeks at UVA for UMCJ training, then another 12 weeks at BOLCII field training.  There you are put in with all direct-appointment officers including those from OCS, ROTC, and West Point.

The advice that I got from a friend who is currently in BOLC is that the school doesn't matter so much.  You can view a list of appointments on the Army site, and it is clear that JAG runs the entire spectrum of schools from Yale to Cooley.  The main things are to have stand-out activities like moot court or LJ, obviously good grades, and have enthusiasm for the Army, besides obviously needing to pass all the physical, health, and security requirements for any officer.

Most JAGs do not have military experience.  I don't have anything to back this up, but I think I saw somewhere that 90% are direct-appointment no-prior service.

If you are concerned about physical requirements and such, I would seriously reconsider.  If you are planning on making a career, chances are you are going to be deployed (I understand moreso in the Army than AF, but still likely).  You have to qualify on weapons just like anyone else, and you will be going to the "office" everyday with kevlar, a sidearm, and an M4.  If one is concerned about physical demands, I would think this would be an issue as well.  
Missouri 1L

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Quail!

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Re: Seriously considering the $ at a T4 vs. admission at a T1 (JAG)
« Reply #6 on: March 26, 2007, 11:21:09 AM »
Don't fool yourself - it's not like there is no competition for JAG.

Go to the T1 schools, don't hedge your bets on finishing in the top 5% of a T4 class.
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ptown

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Re: Seriously considering the $ at a T4 vs. admission at a T1 (JAG)
« Reply #7 on: March 26, 2007, 11:23:22 AM »
to the OP, I would choose Indiana or at least DePaul.  If you don't make JAG, who knows you may even develop a health problem or be in an accident leading to disqualification, I would definatly go for at least a T2 to fall back on, since you have the opportunity.  Going to a t4 over a t2 for a difference of ~30k I think is putting too many eggs in your basket.
Missouri 1L

"I was discriminated against during the college-testing process because I come from a culture that is opposed to filling in circles completely and with firm pressure."

queencruella

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Re: Seriously considering the $ at a T4 vs. admission at a T1 (JAG)
« Reply #8 on: March 26, 2007, 11:31:50 AM »
to the OP, I would choose Indiana or at least DePaul.  If you don't make JAG, who knows you may even develop a health problem or be in an accident leading to disqualification, I would definatly go for at least a T2 to fall back on, since you have the opportunity.  Going to a t4 over a t2 for a difference of ~30k I think is putting too many eggs in your basket.

I agree. $60K is still going to be on the lower end in terms of debt and if JAG doesn't work out, you'll still have a lot of great career opportunities available to you. It seems like you're putting your eggs into one basket assuming you'll make it to JAG regardless of school, when that may not be the case. Paying back $60K of loans will be doable even on a smaller salary.

Rule of Reason

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Re: Seriously considering the $ at a T4 vs. admission at a T1 (JAG)
« Reply #9 on: March 26, 2007, 03:28:30 PM »
OP should consider the terms of the scholarship offers too.

I almost applied to some of the T3's and T4's up in MN just b/c of all the financial aid they gave... and if DePaul's is contingent on being in the top 3rd and all you have to do at Hamline or St. Thomas is not die, then that's maybe something worth considering.

NOt that I'm proposing this as secure and useful evidence, but my sister says St. Thomas is full of preppy rich kids who drive around nice cars etc... well, at that rate, maybe student-to-student networking can pay off some huge dividends there re: jobs (and you wouldn't have to worry about winging it and getting a job that jerked you around etc...)