Law School Discussion

Nine Years of Discussion
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Poll

Two free rides... what do I choose?

CU Boulder
 16 (80%)
St. John's
 4 (20%)

Total Members Voted: 20

Author Topic: CU Boulder ($$$) vs. St. John's ($$$)??  (Read 3081 times)

Journeyman

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Re: CU Boulder ($$$) vs. St. John's ($$$)??
« Reply #20 on: April 10, 2007, 12:43:32 PM »
Check the admissions package
IU-B '10

Journeyman, I am dumbfounded as to how you got into IU and W&L with your numbers. 155 LSAT and you applied to Vanderbilt? Honestly?

deedeebarber

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Re: CU Boulder ($$$) vs. St. John's ($$$)??
« Reply #21 on: April 10, 2007, 04:41:18 PM »
Oh, and their football team bites the big one....that's what a crooked coach can do to ya. 

Hahaha, I'll note that and the hippies. However, my sister is/was a hippie so I'm used to them (and may become one :O) and my school (SUNY Albany) had a terrible D-II football team, so anything else would be an improvement.

I've been offered a full ride for all 3 years, provided I maintain a B average and take 12 credits a semester.

That is a pretty SWEET deal, I think they have a B or B+ curve, so you should be OK. One suggestion, just to cover your a$$, get all set-up as a CO resident as soon as you get here, if you loose your scholly, at least you can get instate if you have been here a year as a resident (I think).

Oh yes, in fact the scholarship says that it'll only cover my out of state tuition for one year, afterwards they'd only cover in-state tuition/fees. I'm sort of forced to become a resident, which I naturally planned to do anyway.

deedeebarber

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Re: CU Boulder ($$$) vs. St. John's ($$$)??
« Reply #22 on: April 10, 2007, 05:00:11 PM »
Hey hey guys... ANY advice, regardless of whether it's positive or negative, is welcomed... and Matthies is right, he's only giving his own perspective on it (which I asked for)... maybe it's right in general, maybe it's wrong in general, but it is just his perspective on things. No need to come down on him for that. Besides, he's highlighted a bunch of good things about going to CU, so he's actually helped me pick it.

deedeebarber

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Re: CU Boulder ($$$) vs. St. John's ($$$)??
« Reply #23 on: April 10, 2007, 05:16:31 PM »
Understood. If you think that's not the case, your opinion is as valid as his and I'd love to hear your take on it (i.e. Boulder isn't as hippy-ish as he made it out to be).

To tell the honest truth, I don't really care either way. My sister's a hippie (she went to a school in Boulder for undergrad), and even though I get annoyed by some stuff she does, I don't mind it nearly enough to make it an issue for whether I'm going to law school. I mean, after all, even with such a laid back atmosphere that has been described, this is still a tier 1 law school that's got a national reputation, people do have to work hard.

nowitzski

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Re: CU Boulder ($$$) vs. St. John's ($$$)??
« Reply #24 on: April 10, 2007, 06:47:07 PM »
University of Colorado School of Law (CU Law)

Quality:

Rankings
CU benefits greatly from the small size of the school, which helps them to be more selective and strengthens the quality of the class considerably.  I firmly believe that the 7 spot jump to 36th is part of a 3-5 year prestige/rankings climb related to the building upgrade.  The previous building was terrible, so bad that the ABA threatened to take away accreditation to the school.  The new building is just night-and-day better, and I think this difference will boost selectivity #s and overall rankings up to 25-30 range.  Perspective students may have opted for Utah or another regional school before, but a larger percentage will now consider CU. 

Finances
While the CU system is constantly in a state of financial crisis, some programs are mostly exempt from this problem.  The Physics department receives millions in govt grants.  The medical school is in the process of a multi-billion dollar expansion (a combo of free land, heavy donations and fed research dollars) The law school falls somewhere between the undergraduate system and these two examples.  I believe it is under funded, and that tuition will continue to rise to meet the considerable gap between CU and peer institution prices.  However CU has always pursued attainable goals without major spending initiatives, and there is no reason to believe that they will not continue to budget cautiously and successfully.  (If it helps, think of the Oakland As in baseball)

Recruiting
CU has always drawn some faculty from the “experience” track rather than the “academic” track that many Tier1 schools use.  This means that some profs are actually experts who played a major role in the topic they are teaching.  It also means that CU suffers for academic measures.  I recently emailed a CU law prof. on this topic, and he told me that they’ve shifted recently to the HYS law review, etc..method in an effort to improve peer rankings.  I expect new hires to improve in scholarly quality (and potentially decline in actual experience in the field) This should have a positive effect on CU’s prestige/peer rankings in USNWR.

I am totally unimpressed with their lame website and inexplicably outdated informational booklet.  Seriously, they built a new building, complete with a SCOTUS speech, and they can’t afford to include this in a shiny portion of the brochure?  Instead I see an artist rendition of the building and a one page flyer announcing faculty changes and the new location…poor form.  I think this is a good example of the trade off for a cheaper education.  I should also note that one of the assistant deans has assured me that website/promotional stuff is one of the top priorities of the administration.   

Job Opportunities:

Market
CU is mostly constricted to the regional market.  Denver, while a healthy legal city, has no especially litigious concentration of corporations.  Dallas has insurance.  Houston has big oil.  Denver has some banking, some land use, and some telco, but mostly there is no dominant economic force comparable to these other cities.  This means that biglaw opportunities are much smaller at CU than at say, UH or Fordham. 

The upside to this market is that while you’ll make less money (+/- $75,000 salary is typical) you will also have a much lighter billing load than the biglaws in DC or NYC.  A Denver law firm may ask for 1800 hours billable where a Houston firm would ask for 2000 and a NY firm would ask for 2200 and a majority stake in your soul.

Placement
My understanding of the breakdown is this:
Top 5% - great shape for top jobs in the City. $100,000 - $125,000
Top 10% - great shape for six figure jobs, solid chance at V100 satellites in Denver
Top 25% - can land a good job at one of the large but not international firms (Brownstein, Ragonetti, etc..)
Top 50% - This is where the $75,000 salary comes in to play – midsize firm, sometimes we’re talking out of Denver market
Below – not easy, need connections or spend a few years in govt (DA, PD, Gov offices)

This distribution is probably similar to other regional schools like Utah and Denver.  The difference is that the graduating class is much smaller, so there are fewer poorly placing graduates each year entering the market. 

Networking
As a smaller school, CU’s network is not on par with many peer (and top 25) schools.  USC and Notre Dame are very famous for their outreach programs, CU does not have this kind of benefit.  However, like any market, several large firms like CU grads, several have CU partners.  DU has many more lawyers in the Denver market, which boosts networking potential and helps with fundraising.  CU does not have these advantages, but there are thousands of CU grads (undergrad, graduate,etc..) in Denver, and hundreds of lawyers as well.

Facilities:

The Law school has been relocated from Norlin Quad – which is essentially the heart of CU, to the south part of the campus.  This was a very wise move.  While it’s been noted that the new building is a huge upgrade, it is also a smart relocation.  The south part of campus is somewhat removed from the undergraduates and the keystone lite on the lawn atmosphere.  It is near the Kittredge dorms, which are best at CU, and usually go to some of the best undergraduates (somewhat more tame).  This relocation allows students to feel somewhat removed from the crush of the undergrads, but still a part of Boulder (1 mile from the hill, 2-3 from Pearl St.)  Also, the parking is better. 

deedeebarber

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Re: CU Boulder ($$$) vs. St. John's ($$$)??
« Reply #25 on: April 10, 2007, 08:02:47 PM »
Wow, thank you for the wonderful insights guys.

What I gleaned from the above is that I should expect to stay in the Rocky Mountain region, unless I'm at the top of the class and can thereby take my credentials out of state.

While I would prefer to go to a big legal market like CA or NY, I think I might forget that once I'm in CO. I might fall in love with the state and stay there permanently. I'm speaking from a very limited perspective (at least when it comes to living in the U.S., I spent 5 years abroad in a South Asian country) as I've only lived and know New York.

I'm more than willing to expand my horizons. And CU still seems like a nationally recognized school, which leads to my next question-

How did CU get to be ranked so high? The question might seem elementary given the information already disseminated, however I would like to know what specifically about CU's reputation as a law school has pushed it into the top 40.

deedeebarber

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Re: CU Boulder ($$$) vs. St. John's ($$$)??
« Reply #26 on: April 10, 2007, 09:14:48 PM »
BTW when you get here send me an IM and I'll introduce you some of the networking events in town I go to on a regular basis. Inns of the Court, bar association lunches, a weekly breakfast I go to with a few judges etc. It helps if you know what area of the law you want to practice, but its not critical.

The legal market in Denver, while of a decent size, in small in the respect that everyone knows everyone else in the bar (or it seems like that). I have gotten all my job offers just from knowing people, never had to worry about OCI or mass mailings. In fact every offer I have had was from people asking me if I was interested in working for them either from knowing me personally or me being recommended by someone I know in the local bar. Thus I think you have more options the more people you know.


Certainly, I'd love to be plugged into the pipeline in the area, especially considering I'm going to be a stranger to the area.

One thing, how hard is the Colorado bar to pass?

nowitzski

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Re: CU Boulder ($$$) vs. St. John's ($$$)??
« Reply #27 on: April 11, 2007, 11:02:20 AM »
BTW when you get here send me an IM and I'll introduce you some of the networking events in town I go to on a regular basis. Inns of the Court, bar association lunches, a weekly breakfast I go to with a few judges etc. It helps if you know what area of the law you want to practice, but its not critical.

The legal market in Denver, while of a decent size, in small in the respect that everyone knows everyone else in the bar (or it seems like that). I have gotten all my job offers just from knowing people, never had to worry about OCI or mass mailings. In fact every offer I have had was from people asking me if I was interested in working for them either from knowing me personally or me being recommended by someone I know in the local bar. Thus I think you have more options the more people you know.


Certainly, I'd love to be plugged into the pipeline in the area, especially considering I'm going to be a stranger to the area.

One thing, how hard is the Colorado bar to pass?

According to ABA survey of 2005, CU has a 87% pass rate.

nowitzski

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Re: CU Boulder ($$$) vs. St. John's ($$$)??
« Reply #28 on: April 11, 2007, 11:06:05 AM »
The only things I would add or differ with your critique is on the Denver legal market. Its larger than many assume (and larger than I thought before I came here). There are two major industries you did not mention, natural resource extraction (oil, gas, mining) while there is plenty of that in the surrounding states, Denver seems to be where many companies are HQ. The insurance industry, Denver has a large insurance presence. They also have a lot of tech, mainly because Denver invested heavily is a tech corridor that attracted companies with infrastructure and tax abatements. As well CO in general has a large environmentalist subculture with many such organizations HQ’d here, or with large presences in the state.

One more thing to consider is the 10th Circuit court is in Denver, thus there is a large presence of firms that do regional federal work, where there would not be in cities that don’t have one. There are a surprising number of “big law” type regional offices here offering 100k plus starting salaries.

I also agree CU’s boost is largely from the new Building, DU got a similar boost, but that’s starting to drop off.

Personally I chose DU over CU soley becuase of a program offered by DU that CU lacked, and my intrest in that very small subset of the law. But there are plenty of law jobs out there in Denver to satisfy most people from either school.

You are correct in that there are segments of oil/gas, tech, etc..in the Denver market, and that it is a regional seat for courts/federal agencies, I guess my overall point is that where one industry creates literally billions in revenue for law firms (like Oil&Gas in houston) Denver doesn't have this kind of monster industry to support biglaw jobs.  I know there are biglaw regional offices, but many are not very large and hire few associates, especially compared to their other offices in LA/DC/NYC/Houston/Chicago...

deedeebarber

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Re: CU Boulder ($$$) vs. St. John's ($$$)??
« Reply #29 on: April 12, 2007, 03:55:28 PM »
So, everything's done. Sent in all the forms, the $200 seat deposit (I took a $750 hit for the non-refundable deposit at St. John's however), I even bought a parking permit for next year (right next to the Wolf Law building... nice).

I'll be joining you Coloradoans this Fall. Thanks for helping me make my decision. When I made it I felt much less apprehensive because of the insights I read up on here.