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Messages - HURLEY- L.S.D.

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Incoming 1Ls / Re: Widener Harrisburg
« on: April 16, 2005, 09:30:31 PM »
If I had a choice, I would go to Wilmington.  I haven't been to the actual campus, but I live 30 mins south of Harrisburg and have been there plenty of times.  I think the access to the beach, tons of courts, and Dover Downs would seal the deal for me towards Wilm.

Harrisburg, isn't anything to brag about.  They do have a minor league team, and the state capital offices are all there (about 15 mins from the campus), but it's still Harrisburg.  It is like sending your buggy to pimp my ride....there is only so much they can do to it.

How far from the beach is the Wilmington campus? 

Any more details from the conferance at Widener would be much appreciated.   :)

Here are a couple questions I have off the bat:

1.  Did the pretentious "poster boy" have anything interesting to say regarding how well Widener prepares students for good jobs, and whether hard-working students can get above a 3.2 GPA their first year?  What else did he mention?

2.  What is the overall Brandywine valley like, and what is it like around Widener?  Is it trendy, with places like Starbucks, Barnes & Noble, and Nordstrom's nearby? 

3.  After reading this thread, and attending the whole day at Widener, did you hear anything that might contradict or confirm anything I've mentioned?  If I'm either off base or right on target, then I'd like to know.  I'm still considering attending.

It is an ABA law school and when you graduate you will have a JD - what you do from there is on you.

So man up and do what you need to do - life is a series of choices - so choose well.


I really don't want this to turn into an argument, so I apologize if anything said here has annoyed you.  I agree with you that life is a series of choices, but my goal is to have a series of GOOD choices.  That means making decisions off the best facts, and so I've called around, researched, interviewed people, and even posted on this discussion board.  These are all avenues to building a total picture, and in the end, hopefully, I'll have a realistic view of the facts and make my final decision accordingly.  If that is what you mean by "choosing well" then we are on the same page.

You and I would strongly disagree about Widener being " ABA law school and when graduate will have a JD - what do from there is on [me]".  It is a comforting thought, but there are lawyers out there looking for jobs, and some of them can't even affort to pay their loans + rent.  But I think that I see where you are going with it and I respect your opinion.

I wouldn't hold your breath. Even the current students I know never say anything nice about the school. :-\ I think it is what it is.. Maybe you should just go with your gut rather than trying to ignore it or search for justifications. -just some honest advice.

And that is just what I plan to do, so you are pretty much preaching to the choir.  I am, however, willing to admit that trusting my gut hasn't always panned out to be the best decision in the past, and that my perception isn't always reality.  It is still early enough in the game where I can ask questions based on my gut instincts, and see if the facts line up.  That is what this thread is for, and I started it before the May 1st deposit deadline for a reason.   ;)

One of the other hopes I had for this thread is that those who are going to Widener and thus, "biting the bullet", would provide some of the thoughts they turn to in order to keep themselves in high spirits about attending Widener.  Anyone who decides to attend must at least see some of the problems we've brought up, and I'd like to know what caused them to overlook these issues.

Hurley: You are really grasping for anything that will make you feel better about going there aren't you?

So far, I don't think you've convinced yourself. :-\

You hit it on the bullseye Phanatic, and that is why I started this thread. 

I'm throwing all of these thoughts out there in the hope that someone who knows more about this school than I do will login and blow me away.  It is a weird feeling, because it is one of the few times where I've actually begged for someone to refute my arguments and convince me to do something that I will do if the reasons are solid enough.  So far, I haven't heard anything good, but I still have an open ear.

I'm willing to give Widener a shot, but it seems that the more details I get the less interested I am in their philosophy of education.  I have a growing disrespect toward them, but like I said, I still have an open ear. 

And I agree with both of you.  I was wrestling to go back and forth between the pros and cons, and I suppose that what I should have said was that if they were located elsewhere in the country they might have better placement opportunities for their graduates and a stronger reputation locally as well.  This, of course, would be on account of them being the only law school in town.  I go on in the next sentence to say that the whole thing was just a theory anyway, and the reality is that they are not doing so well in the reputation and placement categories.

Now, as for grade curves I can totally see where fooseball is coming from because I have gone into that mode on many occasions while looking at Widener's programs.  I hate how they run things, and it definitely smacks of a trap for qualified students who might be able to transfer out.  I don't know if they trying to snag people's money for a couple years or anything like that, and it would seem that they would want to get people to graduate and pass the bar because that would help them build a stronger alumni network and thus earn even more $$$.  From what I've seen though, their current policies are really working against them, and their alumni are either purposely giving less each year, or they can't find jobs that pay well enough to provide extra funds to donate.  Either way, I'd say that Widener has some very serious thinking to do when it comes to planning how they will strategize over the next few years. 

They need a more robust career-services office, which functions with the tact, brilliance, and dedication that a corporate PR firm does.  They need a stronger vision for their school, because they frequently talk about their location in the catalogs, and they sell their program based on how much opportunity and culture that whole Wilmington/Philly/NY area is, but they never tell me why I should attend their school.  Contrast this to Yale's catalog, which opens with a question about how to build a world-impacting legal program.  Now THAT is a hook, and many other schools in the 2nd, 3rd, and 4th tier have at least attempted to provide a compelling reason why I should attend their school.

I know that I have a lot of "bottom lines" when it comes to discussing Widener, but here is another one.  If I were the Dean of Widener Law, the couple questions I would be asking myself are, "What makes our school unique, and how can we emphasize our strengths, work on our weaknesses, and get off this dreaded 4th tier as soon as possible!?!"  Widener has lived on the 4th tier for years now, and nothing convinces me that they have even thought of doing anything about it.

If any Widener administrators are reading this thread, please do something about the problems we are bringing up. 

Choosing the Right Law School / Re: I'm a DUMBA&%!!!!!!!
« on: April 15, 2005, 02:20:26 AM »
Actually, the question I have is whether you wife's salary would indeed place you into a different "need-based" bracket and thus lower the amount of your scholarship.

For one, the only info that the school can determine this from is your last year's income, as it was reported on your FAFSA.  So, that should buy you a year of 75% aid right off the bat.  Second, you could talk to a tax attorney and/or financial consultant and see whether you can shield some of that income from being recognized by the law school.  For example, you could place a certain percentage of the money into retirement accounts, or find out what that state's version of the "Shawshank Redemption Financial Gift to Spouse" is. 

The bottom line is that you need to think like a lawyer here and not take the law school's word on scholarships as the end all and be all.  There are always loopholes, possibilities, and ways to accomplish you goals.  So, when you hit the wall you weren't thinking outside the box, that's all.

Well, not to be "lawyer-ish", but my biggest question is whether he has the right to sell her stuff like that.  She must have some entitlement to it, even though they are married.  I don't know what the law is concerning this, but I certainly wouldn't want to get caught in the middle of it all if the auction is real and there is some family heirloom in the box.

Law School Admissions / Re: post undergrad options
« on: April 15, 2005, 02:08:14 AM »
It seems that most of the major job recruiters do their hiring in the fall for the following year, and that is a bit frustrating for those deciding what to do now.

Its just something to keep in mind.  Like Lanya said, the career services office would have more info on this.

Choosing the Right Law School / Re: Chapman Law School
« on: April 15, 2005, 01:36:03 AM »
I agree with you to ther point where Chapman has the 'desire' to ascend.  They didn't, however, even make it into the tier 3 on the new 2006 USNews rankings, even after all of their effort. 

I don't doubt that they will eventually make it into the tier 3 though, perhaps even by next year.  At that point they will buck up against the reality that many tier-3 and tier-2 schools are all vying to get into the tier-1, and the competition is fierce.  So fierce, that I doubt Chapman's methods of buying quality students will get them that far, because the bank account will dry up at some point, and they will need to restructure their program to make it a thriving intellectual environment.  They also need to do something about their housing situation.

I do see Chapman being a serious contender, however, and it seems that they have the drive, location, and money to at least jump a tier or two over the next 5 years.  It will be interesting to watch.

Now, is there any other "hook" besides their ascent to higher ranks? 

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