Law School Discussion

Emory or WashU for Tfer

Emory or WashU for Tfer
« on: July 12, 2013, 09:02:30 PM »

My brother was accepted at WashU and Emory as a tfer student. Both schools are offering grant money (pretty comparable packages +/- 4k). I've noticed that both schools are similarly ranked. Does anyone have any insight as to what school might be the best choice? I know for a fact that he would like to end up in D.C. following law school. Which school has a better pipeline to D.C.? Any thoughts would be appreciated.

Re: Emory or WashU for Tfer
« Reply #1 on: July 12, 2013, 11:20:23 PM »
If his goal is to end up in D.C., he should look into transferring to a local school: Georgetown, GWU, American, George Mason, etc.

As between Wash U and Emory, I doubt if one has better connections to D.C. than the other. Frankly, showing up in D.C after law school and having to compete with the multitudes of local talent who have had three years to network is not an enviable situation. I would advise your brother to make every effort to secure internships in D.C. and make connections.

Re: Emory or WashU for Tfer
« Reply #2 on: July 17, 2013, 08:25:05 AM »
Maintain makes some good points, which I will expand upon. Additionally, the decision your brother is going to make is going be a life altering choice and whatever any anonymous internet poster says on this board or others should be taken with a grain of salt. With that said I am an attorney and do think there are some factors that any law student should consider when choosing what law school to attend and there are additional considerations for transferring.

A transfer student like a OL should in my opinion consider the following factors in this order. (1) Location (2) Cost (3) Personal Feelings about the School and whether transfering is appropriate is something else to consider. (4) What they want out of their legal career (5) Last and Least U.S. News Rankings and then he should understand the reality of legal education. I will analyze these factors in more detail below.

1) Location
This far and away the most important factor when choosing a law school and as your post indicates he wants to end up in D.C. If he attends law school in Seattle or Atlanta the door to D.C. it will be difficult to obtain employment in D.C. If he really wants to work in D.C. he should attend law school in D.C. plain and simple. There are no shortage of law schools in that area and employers are not going to actively recruit some kid in Seattle or Atlanta when there are 1,000's of people applying for jobs right in front of them.

I review resumes and grant interviews and when I see someone from out-of-state I don't usually interview them. I don't want to spend money to fly someone out first and foremost I am in the Bay Area and there are numerous law schools right here why would I fly someone out from Iowa? Additionally, is the applicant serious will they really be able to move their whole life from Iowa to the Bay Area again why risk them flaking after flying them out etc when there are no shortage of quality applicants right here. The same is true with D.C. so I don't think either school will help your brother find employment in D.C. Instead attending law school in D.C. will allow him to build connections in D.C. and make employers look at him more closely.

Other factors to consider are that Atlanta and Seattle are two very different cities. I don't know where your brother is currently attending school either and law school does not exist in a vacuum the pros and cons of each City will impact his life for the next two years. Will the constant rainy weather of Seattle depress your brother? Will he fit into Southern Culture in Atlanta? These are real questions particularly because odds are if he attends Washington or Emory he will stay in that location. He will get an apartment, study for the bar in the state he graduates law school from etc. He is also likely to get into a romantic relationship, which might bind him to the area upon graduation. So those are factors to consider.

2) Cost
Emory is 45k per year 26k for living expenses according to LSAC if your brother can get residency in Washington State tuition at UW is only 26k and living costs are only 18k. Even at an out-of-state rate tuition at UW is only 40k.

Therefore it is possibly your brother could save 54,000 by attending Washington over two years if he gets residency and he will save a total of 26k over two years even if he doesn't get residency so the 4k per year package isn't much of a consideration. Either way Washington is significantly cheaper and I assume he is getting loans so there is interest on this money, which makes it even more significant.

Bottom line Washington will be cheaper so that is a factor to consider.

(3) Personal Feelings about School and Transferring:

Every school has a culture to it and as 0L and mock trial competitor and even as an attorney I go to various law schools all the time. There are many I like and others I hate, but those are my feelings plenty of people love the places I hate and vice versa.

If your brother is set  on transferring he should visit both schools talk to students, professors, tour the campus, and see what school feels right for him. What feels right for him is highly personal and the only way for him to know is by visiting the schools.

With that it sounds like your brother is thriving at his current school if he is able to transfer up he was likely in the top of the class and has probably made friends etc. Law school is a lot like high school and if he transfer to these schools as a 2L the social clicks etc will be formed. If he is moving out-of-state to these schools where he doesn't know anybody it could be a tough two years for him and his grades may slip etc. IF your brother is extremely outgoing and social that may not be an issue, but many transfer students struggle the majority I know regret their decision to transfer, but there are many people that were pleased with it.

If his current law school is in D.C. and he wants to end up there it would be an additional reason not to transfer. Additionally, if he stayed at his current school usually the top 10% or so students transfer and his class rank will then shoot up, which will be attractive to employers. He could also negotiate for scholarship money from his current school

-Got to go finish this later-

(4) Professional Goals

Re: Emory or WashU for Tfer
« Reply #3 on: July 17, 2013, 05:58:52 PM »
(4) Professional Goals:
What does your brother want to do in his legal career? If he wants BigLaw or Clerkship then I think Emory has a bit more prestige than UW, but biglaw is hard to come by and most people hate it. If your brother wants to be a Public Defender or City Attorney he may want to stay at the school he is attending and negotiate for scholarship money. There are a lot of career paths in the legal field, but if your straddled with outrageous debt it can limit opportunities.

U.S. News Rankings

You mentioned ranking as a factor in your post, but please realize U.S. News is a for-profit and unregulated magazine offering an opinion nothing more. It should not be the basis of a life altering decision. To illustrate this U.S. News ranks more than law schools and has ranked Albuquerque New Mexico as the #1 place to live see here they had their reasons none of which are crazy, but you are probably not going to move to Albuquerque because U.S. News ranked it #1 making the life altering decision to move to a new city based on a magazine would seem a bit crazy.

Making the life altering decision of what law school to attend based on what a magazine says makes as much sense. The U.S. News formula makes little to no sense and I personally have no idea what difference in rank there is between UW and Emory nor do I care. Both schools are fine and UW being 38th and Emory being 46th would make no difference especially since the numbers will change next year and it would be not be surprising at all if the lower ranked school was ranked higher next year when your brother is a 3L.

Bottom line do not place much stock in the rankings when choosing a law school.

Reality of Legal Education

Your brother finished his 1L at an ABA school I have no idea which one he attended, but I am sure he learned about personal jurisdiction in the International Shoe Case, he learned proximate cause in Palsgraf, and he learned Notice in Pennoyer v. Neff.

The reality is that at any ABA school you will learn the same thing law school is reading Supreme Court cases and understanding them. The Supreme Court does not write separate opinions for each law school and whether your brother stays where he is, Emory, or UW he will more or less learn the same thing.

When he graduates whether from his current school, UW, or Emory he will then signup for Kaplan or Barbri and study with law students from across the country for a bar exam for a few months. Then he wil be in a room with thousands of other law students from across the country taking a bar exam and if he passes he is a lawyer. If he doesn't he will have to retry none of the schools will guarantee passage or a job it will be up to him to pass the bar and succeed as a lawyer.

This is a huge decision and if his ultimate goal is to end up in D.C. he should get as close geographically to D.C as possible so Emory would be better than UW. If his current school is in D.C. then he would probably be better off staying there.

However, if he is not hell bent on practicing in D.C. UW is significantly cheaper than Emory and the debt is real. However, he can likely command scholarship money from his current school and that may be an option.

There is no right answer, but it should be a simple matter of the 4k scholarship and U.S. News ranking that makes this huge decision. I wish your brother good luck in his legal career.