Law School Discussion

Help & Advise please

Help & Advise please
« on: February 25, 2004, 06:59:38 AM »
Hello everyone

I am an undergrad student in my mid 20's, married w/ no children. I'd like to pursue a law degree & have the opportunity to attend a local low tier public school (assuming I did well on LSAT) I don't know how far my GPA would take me because I don't want to spend the $$ to attend a higher tiered school & I have the husband issue (We cannot move for work reasons) I have asked a prof who is an atty & he is under the impression if I attend a low tier school I'll be stuck w/ a worthless degree

I don't really know a lot about what is out there & wonder if this prof is just bitter about their own career or are they giving me a reality check.


Re: Help & Advise please
« Reply #1 on: February 25, 2004, 07:46:22 AM »
There are few absolutes in life.  There are also plenty of examples of people who went to lower tiered schools and are now extremely successful.  As long as your school is ABA approved, you are fine.  Just make sure you do well, wherever you go.  Also look at employment statistics for the school, like median salary, % employed.

Re: Help & Advise please
« Reply #2 on: February 25, 2004, 01:57:51 PM »
I've heard similar things as to what that attorney told you, both from students and attorneys. But as Nathanielmark stated, there are still attorneys who didn't attend 1st or 2nd-tier schools who are doing fine! Even the attorneys who have expressed their frustration that firms seem to favor those students who either attend high-ranking schools or who rank high in their class and have advised me to go to the best school I can are doing well.

I do think it's a bit risky, though, to go to a lower-tier school, especially in this job economy because students from higher-tier schools probably have more of an advantage now than ever.

However, I think it also depends on where you live. For instance, I live in an area where there aren't really that many high-ranking law schools and where not a lot of people go away to high-ranking law schools and come back to work...which means the firms around here will be hiring the graduates from these area schools, mainly.

I'd advise you to go to the best school you can get into, afford and attend (in that is it in a convenient locale) and to make the best grades you can.

Re: Help & Advise please
« Reply #3 on: February 26, 2004, 09:45:34 AM »
Don't base your decision on what one attorney told you about a school.  The legal proffession often can be territorial about schools. Ask people who went to the school you are considering. Do a Martindale Hubbell search and see what people from that school are doing.  If you are going to a school where you live and you plan to stay put long term it will matter less than if you plan to be mobile.

Even a non-ABA school may have a good reputation in a local area.  Schools like Birmingham and Nashville have 70 years of graduates practicing in a small region and many of them do well. This is very true in small towns and for those who are interested in solo or small firm practice. In these cases your personal reputation will matter more than your schools reputation. The mass population that needs a lawyer doesn't look at US News and World Reports rankings.  They ask friends or the yellow pages.

Decide if the school fits you not if it fits someone's definition of a good investment.

Good Luck.

Re: Help & Advise please
« Reply #4 on: February 28, 2004, 05:06:11 PM »
First, the previous posts are correct, there are plenty of successful attorneys from Tier 2-4.See some of my posts to other boards above to get an idea. It's a little hard to give you specific advice because you have not said which specific schools you are considering. So, it is hard to say how big the gap between their rankings are. In general, I favor lower priced public schools over higher priced private schools. But without more specifics, that is highly generalized.

Re: Help & Advise please
« Reply #5 on: February 28, 2004, 10:51:15 PM »
Just because you can't afford a private school doesn't mean you can't go to a good school! Some of the best ranked schools in the country are public, like U of Michigan or Berkeley.
I'm going to go to an expensive 1st-tier private school but I would have prefered to go to a "cheap" school like Berkeley!

Re: Help & Advise please
« Reply #6 on: March 01, 2004, 03:21:55 PM »
Depends on the area that you want to practice in.  Law schools have reputation in their individual regions.  Unless you're wanting a top 10 firm, don't discount the local law schools.

Each law school gives you opportunities to excel in other areas, that offset perhaps the ranking of the school. If do very well and graduate in the top 10% of your class, have moot court and law review experience, you will stick out from a 3rd tier or top tier that graduated low with no 'extra curricular' law related activities.

Karen W.

Re: Help & Advise please
« Reply #7 on: March 01, 2004, 06:04:52 PM »
It depends what region you are in.  If you are in a big metro area then those firms will want big names, but if you want to practice in a smaller city - then the regional schools do carry weight.  I am from PA - my father is a lawyer and since I am going back to school I have been talking to lots of local lawyers. It is interesting that in a smaller area - Harrisburg PA - they really don't care where you went to school - not nearly as much as you would think.  The older lawyers do the hiring and they are not up to date with the rankings.  For instance locally most lawyers thought Penn State and Widener at an equal level - which they are not.  I find that lawyers want to support their school.  So if you go to a local school and want to practice there then the lawyers will have gone to that school also and will be happy to hire you.


Re: Help & Advise please
« Reply #8 on: March 02, 2004, 11:02:49 AM »
Leave the hubby.  I'll put you through school and you can support me in my old age, but you'll have to get through school quickly.   ;)