Law School Discussion

I know this has been asked over and over but


I know this has been asked over and over but
« on: July 16, 2003, 03:38:16 AM »
what to choose?  I am considering a career change at this time due to a lot of factors.  I am also a working mother but I will be attending law school full-time and we're going down to one income while I do so.

I'm fairly constricted to the local schools here, but since I live in Los Angeles, it's not as bad as it could be.  My practice LSAT scores are putting me in the 98-99th percentile, so that's not a problem, and I had a 3.7 GPA.

So my dilemma is in what law schools I want to focus on getting accepted to.  I know that a lot of emphasis is placed on the Tier system, but how important is it for corporate law?  I don't want to be a prosecutor, I don't want to be a judge.  So those considerations are lessened.  I am looking at the joing JD/MBA program, as I definitely want to pursue corporate law, especially as an in-house lawyer.  One local program at Pepperdine offers a FULL tuition reimbursement if your scores are high enough, but it's a Tier 3 school.  However, I could also (maybe) get into USC or UCLA which are Tier 1 schools, but neither offer the joint program that I want.  Additionally, I would have to pay full-tuition for both of those universities.

What would you do in this situation?  Would you still go for the gold and try to get into the highest ranking law school possible, or would you accept a less-competitive school that is free and offers a more compatible program?  Does the Tier ranking affect your jobworthiness as much in corporate law?




Re: I know this has been asked over and over but
« Reply #1 on: July 16, 2003, 07:21:02 AM »
I was in your shoes last year, giving up my full-time job to rely on my husband's salary only while attending law school.  I have children, and it was not an easy decision.  I was able to work part-time and go to school full time after receiving a full tuition scholarship at a fourth tier school as opposed to going to a top 10 law school where I'd have to pay and could not work at all (because it's farther from my home).  I did extremely well, and I'm very comfortable at my school.  However, I applied for a transfer to a higher ranked school, and if accepted, I will give up my scholarship to go to the other school.  I now realize that law school pedigree is very important whatever field you go into.  It is even more so when the economy is not very good.  You need to make the best choice for your family and future.  Whatever you decide, I wish you lots of luck.


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Re: I know this has been asked over and over but
« Reply #2 on: July 16, 2003, 02:29:10 PM »
School prestige (not necessarily rank) is very important to law firm employers - and most people start out in the law firm before going in-house because in-house employers tend only to look for experienced lawyers.  You'll find that it's much easier to get big law firm jobs from the top schools.

Even more imporant than school prestige, however, are law school grades.  Unfortunatly you really have no way of predicting how you'll do in law school - it all depends on how everyone else did, and whether you're brain was going full rate on exam day.

The corporate-law vs. criminal or litigation distinction doesn't seem to be that important in terms of hiring criteria.  Private vs. public makes a big difference though (easier to get public or government jobs).

The money thing...
personally, I'd say that should be your most important consideration.  With your scores and grades, you can attend law school without risking much (without loans at all - depending on where you go).  Without the burden of huge loans, you can take a little longer to find a job - and be a little more picky about getting something you like.

Plus - local schools' reputations are more valuable in the local context.  For example, I'm sure Pepperdine has lots of alumni in LA, and LA firms will probably interview there more than they would a school like BU - which is a good but not elite school - in a far away city.

Honestly, I'd take the more prestigeous school - but that's because my judgement is clouded by the prestige (and because I know that UCLA is really cheap for what you get - if you live in CA).  A more reasonable choice would be to take the money, study hard, and end up in the same place you would have at the other school, but with less debt.


Re: I know this has been asked over and over but
« Reply #3 on: August 03, 2003, 05:52:51 PM »
I would go with UCLA.  You don't really need an MBA to do corporate work (most corp lawyers don't have one), and it will be much easier to get a corporate job from UCLA/USC than Pepperdine.  

Pepperdine's a beautiful campus, but placement is important.  You should have a good chance at UCLA, and their in-state tution shouldn't be that bad.  You may even get some money from them (or USC).  

While you'll probably do well at either program, there's no guarantees (especially when you have other responsibilities), and it's much easier to be average coming from UCLA or USC than Pepperdine in terms of finding good work.  


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Re: I know this has been asked over and over but
« Reply #4 on: August 17, 2003, 08:03:50 AM »
This is true, an MBA is not necassary to become a good corporate attourney.  However it will give you an extra edge in the applicant pool for corporate positions.  With those numbers you could be admitted into just about anyone of those local schools including UCLA, USC, also UC Hastings and possibly Stanford.  I do not know my way around CA so these others may not be local.  Reagrdles, with those qualifications and the prestige of Stanford is exemplary.  Good luck, and have fun!