Need help deciding between my final two schools

(Rankings, Profiles, Tuition, Student Life, . . . )

Which school would you suggest?

University of Denver (Sticker 35k)
35
76%
Stetson University (Sticker 31k)
11
24%
 
Total votes: 46

lawlec48
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Need help deciding between my final two schools

Postby lawlec48 » Tue Feb 16, 2010 1:20 am

Although my cycle is not quite completed, I am fairly certain the schools that I am still waiting upon a decision from will either be rejections or are safety schools that I would not choose over my two finalist: University of Denver and Stetson University.

My wife and I have been debating back and worth on which location and school we should choose, but we are left in a dead heat. We are going to visit each school in the coming two months to get a feel for the area and schools, which hopefully will make the decision for us, but I have a feeling we will still be in the same situation, with two choices that are equal in our minds.

I recently completed my MBA with an international concentration, so my intentions are to concentrate on corporate and international law, yes despite the fact that it is not a T14 and International Law is a mystical creature that was created by ADCOM's to lure in unsuspecting 0L's into the dreams of models and bottles. Both schools seem to have relatively good international law programs and opportunities and both locations are dream locations for my wife and I (Denver and Florida in general) as we are tired of our current abode (Wisconsin) so the fact that either school is only strong regionally does not factor into the decision. Even if the thoughts are sun versus snow, I'd appreciate thoughts, I'm sure my pro/con list has some less important.

Also, since I bombed my first two years of UG ten years ago, I doubt I will receive much if any scholarships, so we will base the discussion off of tuition sticker at both schools.

Any insight would be great, or simply vote, either way... thanks!

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sanpiero
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Re: Need help deciding between my final two schools

Postby sanpiero » Tue Feb 16, 2010 1:26 am

any way you can retake the LSAT? Neither of these options is a good investment for someone hoping to work in the private sector. That said, just because neither is a good investment doesn't mean you necessarily wouldn't be happy at whichever school you choose and firm you end up working with. If cost is to be disregarded, I'd say go to the school in whichever area you prefer. These regions are very different: culturally, climatically, etc. I'm sure you and your wife prefer one over the other, even if that preference is slight. The reason I say to choose based on your preferred region is because these schools place almost exclusively in their home regions. So, you will likely be spending 3 years at the law school and a number of years after school in whichever region you choose.

EDIT: grammar, explanation
Last edited by sanpiero on Tue Feb 16, 2010 1:33 am, edited 3 times in total.

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TTTennis
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Re: Need help deciding between my final two schools

Postby TTTennis » Tue Feb 16, 2010 1:29 am

Denver is a great city.

lawlec48
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Re: Need help deciding between my final two schools

Postby lawlec48 » Tue Feb 16, 2010 1:37 am

sanpiero wrote:any way you can retake the LSAT? Neither of these options are good investments for someone hoping to work in the private sector.


I have only taken the LSAT once, but I plan to attend in 2010 so that would be too late for this cycle. That being said, it would take a significant increase in my score to overcome my UG GPA which was beat to hell by LSDAS and my first two years of UG.

As far as the investment and the private sector, I understand the risks associated with the decision to pay sticker at a regional school with the understanding that I will need to rank high in my class to have opportunities even in the regions where both schools are located. A bad investment? Possibly, but I'm not nearly as debt averse as most entering students as I've been out of UG for over five years and have already amassed and reduced the massive debt that law school will shackle me with. I do luck out in that my wife will make decent money 50-60k while I'm in school, so my debt will be more or less limited to tuition + fees, and even a median salary in combination with hers will allow us to live comfortably. I'm the first person in my family to go to college, etc. and with my wife and I working as of right now, we make more than any of my family members as fresh college graduates, so I'm not expecting the riches... although that will not hurt my feelings if it comes to that, lol.

Thanks for the response.

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sanpiero
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Re: Need help deciding between my final two schools

Postby sanpiero » Tue Feb 16, 2010 1:37 am

Also, as corny as it may sound, I think you'll know which school/region is right for you after you visit.

lawlec48
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Re: Need help deciding between my final two schools

Postby lawlec48 » Tue Feb 16, 2010 1:39 am

sanpiero wrote:Also, as corny as it may sound, I think you'll know which school/region is right for you after you visit.


I hope your right!!!

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Grizz
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Re: Need help deciding between my final two schools

Postby Grizz » Tue Feb 16, 2010 1:43 am

Honestly, neither of these schools are anywhere near to being worth sticker or will probably do great things for you in intl. law. I only really know about Stetson out of these two. It's not worth sticker by a long shot, but this does not matter to you, so here goes:

Stetson is the fourth best law school in the state behind UF, FSU, and Miami. Stetson is hyper-regional in that its main market is metro-Tampa/St. Petersburg. Here, there are some decently sized law firms which could help you pay off your debts. You won't compete much with Miami folks, but UF and FSU are much more well-respected than Stetson throughout the state, Tampa/St. Pete included, so it is going to be incredibly difficult to get these jobs. Stetson does have some alums, but when even the top students from UF, the clear leader in the state, are feeling the economic crunch, Stetson grads are really getting hammered. The worst situation would be to graduate from Stetson with debt, then be barely able to pay it. If you get a job, there's a good chance you will end up working at lower local government job to start, if that's okay with you, but even entry-level jobs in the Tampa State Attorneys Office are hard to get. If you go here, plan to be in the tip-top of your class. Seriously.

I would honestly suggest retaking the LSAT and trying to get into UF or FSU if you are considering practicing in FL, no matter how bad your GPA is. Good luck.

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actuallybasically
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Re: Need help deciding between my final two schools

Postby actuallybasically » Tue Feb 16, 2010 1:47 am

Funny... I have applied to both these schools! But am waiting to take my LSAT Saturday in DC.

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actuallybasically
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Re: Need help deciding between my final two schools

Postby actuallybasically » Tue Feb 16, 2010 1:51 am

Rad Law... I really disagree with your negativity in this post. Did you know that Stetson is NUMBER ONE for litigation?

Look-- making a career for yourself with a law degree is UP TO YOU. It is not about regionality of a school or whatever. What I really cannot stand about so many people on these law school sites are how darn negative some of you can be. So condescending and just NEG-A-TIVE! If you can't go out and get in the kind of career you want to, on your OWN, without your school's connections, you are in trouble as a professional anyhow.

Stop being a Negative Nancy. Srsly!

lawlec48
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Re: Need help deciding between my final two schools

Postby lawlec48 » Tue Feb 16, 2010 2:18 am

actuallybasically wrote:Rad Law... I really disagree with your negativity in this post. Did you know that Stetson is NUMBER ONE for litigation?

Look-- making a career for yourself with a law degree is UP TO YOU. It is not about regionality of a school or whatever. What I really cannot stand about so many people on these law school sites are how darn negative some of you can be. So condescending and just NEG-A-TIVE! If you can't go out and get in the kind of career you want to, on your OWN, without your school's connections, you are in trouble as a professional anyhow.

Stop being a Negative Nancy. Srsly!


I agree that often times TLS posters can exaggerate the peril that is regionally based schools, but the information is not to be completely disregarded either. Obviously, law school and your law school profession are up to you, but generally the concensus that is drawn from many law school forums has merit and not bringing it to someones attention could be construed as sending an unknowing toddler into the busy street alone. I do agree though that there is a great deal of negativity on these boards but I respect rad law and thank him for his input as it seems as though in regards to Stetson he has more first-hand knowledge than I do about the legal market in Florida, regardless if it is slightly exaggerated or completely dead-on.

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Grizz
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Re: Need help deciding between my final two schools

Postby Grizz » Tue Feb 16, 2010 2:36 am

actuallybasically wrote:Rad Law... I really disagree with your negativity in this post. Did you know that Stetson is NUMBER ONE for litigation?

Look-- making a career for yourself with a law degree is UP TO YOU. It is not about regionality of a school or whatever. What I really cannot stand about so many people on these law school sites are how darn negative some of you can be. So condescending and just NEG-A-TIVE! If you can't go out and get in the kind of career you want to, on your OWN, without your school's connections, you are in trouble as a professional anyhow.

Stop being a Negative Nancy. Srsly!


As a lifelong FL resident, I can say the market is miserable and has gotten absolutely hammered in this economy. So no, it is not entirely up to you what kind of job you get. It is common knowledge that law is incredibly regional and prestige/numbers oriented, and you are subject to the vicissitudes of the market like anyone else. Unfortunately, though it is great that Stetson is #1 for litigation, it is still an unranked TTT and UF grads will still get most of the jobs before Stetson grads. I've been hearing from UF people anecdotally that even the top 10% from UF, the best school in the state, are having trouble and median UF students also are having a horrendous time getting jobs. Stetson is gonna get it even worse, considering UF's bigger alumni network and much better reputation. This is my honest advice. I am sorry if I you think I'm being excessively negative, but it is important to get this out there. Caveat emptor.

Even if I am being excessively negative, these are still terrible years for the legal profession. OP, I am glad you know some of the risks associated with going to Stetson. You can of course go to Stetson and be eminently successful, I am not denying that, but by all means, do your best to stand out number/ECwise or there is a great chance you will be in a low-paying job saddled with large debt right out of school. In past years Stetson did a lot better, and I sincerely hope it is going to get better for the future when you get out. I have just heard too many horror stories to be optimistic.

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You Gotta Have Faith
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Re: Need help deciding between my final two schools

Postby You Gotta Have Faith » Tue Feb 16, 2010 2:39 am

Unless you see a pressing reason to go to Stetson, I'd pick Denver.

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Shot007
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Re: Need help deciding between my final two schools

Postby Shot007 » Tue Feb 16, 2010 2:59 am

Go with Denver, a little more stable right now - and since u don't seem to care about the weather then its not a bad idea. Stetson is heavily overshadowed in its region especially ITE

jelizabeth88
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Re: Need help deciding between my final two schools

Postby jelizabeth88 » Tue Feb 16, 2010 3:14 am

heyyy, I grew up in Oshkosh and all my brothers went to UWO too! good luck!

waverider
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Re: Need help deciding between my final two schools

Postby waverider » Tue Feb 16, 2010 5:50 am

I'll go a different route.

Quality of life

I have lived both in Denver and in the Tampa area. For me Stetson wins by the long shot. The area, including the campus itself, are beautiful. The area is suprisingly cheap for its location.

Great beaches, Great nightlife (YBOR), Great weather. If I had to be regional stuck somewhere, that would be the place to be.

Prediction- one visit to stetson will make you forget about career prospects.

Take this with a grain of salt... I'm choosing not to go to Stetson (but I sure wouldn't pass it up for denver, which has its own career troubles)

If you go into either of these expecting big law, most likely you will be dissapointed. Thats not to say it won't happen.

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darknightbegins
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Re: Need help deciding between my final two schools

Postby darknightbegins » Tue Feb 16, 2010 6:12 am

I'd take the sunshine of Tampa over the cold of Denver. If you are tired of Wisconsin weather why go to Denver? Sure it will be warmer but you will still freeze your ass of in the winter. I'm not sure what the competition for Denver is in Colorado so you might be facing less competition in that state than in Florida.

As for the legal market, according to Forbes at least Boulder should be doing well through the recession. Not sure how University of Denver places there though. No clue if this is also good for the legal market.

http://finance.yahoo.com/real-estate/ar ... estate-buy

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Grizz
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Re: Need help deciding between my final two schools

Postby Grizz » Tue Feb 16, 2010 10:13 am

waverider wrote:Great beaches, Great nightlife (YBOR), Great weather.


Ybor is trashy and disgusting after about 11:30 pm on weekends, and I wouldn't go unless you 1) look like something out of a Jersey Shore promo, 2) Just turned 18 and can't go anywhere better, or 3) dress like a gangbanger. Even if you did fall into one of these categories, it is far enough away from Stetson (30 minute drive) to be almost a nonissue. Try South Howard or Channelside. Those are pretty far away, too, incidentally. Beaches are nice, but you will be busting your ass so much trying to make the top of your class that you will probably almost never go.


Prediction- one visit to stetson will make you forget about career prospects.

If you go into either of these expecting big law, most likely you will be dissapointed. Thats not to say it won't happen.


Always be conscious of career prospects; law is a professional school and a massive investment. You will almost assuredly not get biglaw if you come from Stetson. ITE, you will be lucky just to get "law."

I'm not saying Denver's gonna be much better, just that Stetson is gonna be rough.

Cestjustemoi
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Re: Need help deciding between my final two schools

Postby Cestjustemoi » Tue Feb 16, 2010 10:41 am

I have many many friends who went or are going to Stetson. Very few tell me they loved it. Most people go because they can't leave Tampa bay, it is very respected in Tampa. Gulfport is a miserable little neighborhood, St Pete in general is so so. Most my friends either lived in downtown st pete or south Tampa. If you choose to live in south Tampa you have the convenience of their downtown Tampa branch but the misery of the 275 commute to Gulfport whenever you need the main campus. For what it is Stetson is astronomically expensive. Unless you have a scholarship do not go here looking for a cheap choice. Ybor is only fun if your gay, south Howard is usually fun for everyone. Channelside is way overrated, except for spiltsville. I have lived in Tampa for quite some time and really enjoy it. My friend just moved from Tampa to Denver and he likes it as well. I would just go with your cheapest option!

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sanpiero
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Re: Need help deciding between my final two schools

Postby sanpiero » Tue Feb 16, 2010 10:47 am

lawlec48 wrote:A bad investment? Possibly, but I'm not nearly as debt averse as most entering students as I've been out of UG for over five years and have already amassed and reduced the massive debt that law school will shackle me with. I do luck out in that my wife will make decent money 50-60k while I'm in school, so my debt will be more or less limited to tuition + fees, and even a median salary in combination with hers will allow us to live comfortably.


Without knowing what you're making now I can't definitively tell you it will be a bad investment; I'm just very skeptical anytime I hear of someone planning to pay sticker at a T2 or below. Also remember that just because you have the cash to pay for it (which most matriculants don't have), doesn't make it a good investment. You could be investing the 50-60k in any number of potentially more profitable ways.

FWIW, if you think LS will increase your salary by say $20k, the $100k investment at a Stetson or a Denver makes much more sense.

lawlec48
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Re: Need help deciding between my final two schools

Postby lawlec48 » Tue Feb 16, 2010 12:35 pm

Once again, thank you for all the responses! Although I'm already considering most of the points being brought up, it is nice to re-prioritize them, and the local responses are great in terms of quality of life, which is my wife's biggest concern after me getting a job afterward. Feel free to keep the information and opinions flowing.

sanpiero wrote:
lawlec48 wrote:A bad investment? Possibly, but I'm not nearly as debt averse as most entering students as I've been out of UG for over five years and have already amassed and reduced the massive debt that law school will shackle me with. I do luck out in that my wife will make decent money 50-60k while I'm in school, so my debt will be more or less limited to tuition + fees, and even a median salary in combination with hers will allow us to live comfortably.


Without knowing what you're making now I can't definitively tell you it will be a bad investment; I'm just very skeptical anytime I hear of someone planning to pay sticker at a T2 or below. Also remember that just because you have the cash to pay for it (which most matriculants don't have), doesn't make it a good investment. You could be investing the 50-60k in any number of potentially more profitable ways.

FWIW, if you think LS will increase your salary by say $20k, the $100k investment at a Stetson or a Denver makes much more sense.


My salary after LS will (at median or slightly below median at both schools) will be a 20k improvement/year, which is one of the reasons that the investment doesn't not bother me. The 100k+ in additional debt in obviously a good amount to invest, but our plan is to have nearly all our debt paid off prior to LS from the sale of our home and penny-pinching, and following LS using either my salary or hers to live off and the other salary to go directly towards paying off LS debt.

Cestjustemoi
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Re: Need help deciding between my final two schools

Postby Cestjustemoi » Tue Feb 16, 2010 12:39 pm

sanpiero wrote:
lawlec48 wrote:A bad investment? Possibly, but I'm not nearly as debt averse as most entering students as I've been out of UG for over five years and have already amassed and reduced the massive debt that law school will shackle me with. I do luck out in that my wife will make decent money 50-60k while I'm in school, so my debt will be more or less limited to tuition + fees, and even a median salary in combination with hers will allow us to live comfortably.


Without knowing what you're making now I can't definitively tell you it will be a bad investment; I'm just very skeptical anytime I hear of someone planning to pay sticker at a T2 or below. Also remember that just because you have the cash to pay for it (which most matriculants don't have), doesn't make it a good investment. You could be investing the 50-60k in any number of potentially more profitable ways.

FWIW, if you think LS will increase your salary by say $20k, the $100k investment at a Stetson or a Denver makes much more sense.


Financially this is true however the personal utility you may also gain must be accounted for. If one of your life goals is to be a JD then there is a consumption aspect to this "investment" wealth does not bring accomplishments. Life is short make the decision in which you forsee the greater increase in utility be it financial or personal. All must be taken into account.

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gwuorbust
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Re: Need help deciding between my final two schools

Postby gwuorbust » Tue Feb 16, 2010 12:50 pm

I would think that if you could get your LSAT score up 3-5 points, then you may be be able to get into UF. The job prospects out of UF in FL are 100x better.

And while there weren't that many data points to compare to, it does seem that UF will take some major splitters:

http://florida.lawschoolnumbers.com/stats/0708/

And if you were to raise your LSAT about 11 points then you could prob throw an app at UVA ED.

I'd say the much improved job prospects from a jump in your score would be worth the time taken to study. Think if you could improve your LSAT to a 170+ and were able to get into a t1 or even UVA. Then your looking at the possibility of 160k jobs (or a good DA position or whatever) while at Stetson you'd better hope you can get a 50k job.

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BarbellDreams
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Re: Need help deciding between my final two schools

Postby BarbellDreams » Tue Feb 16, 2010 5:33 pm

These are extremely different regions so I cannot tell you where you'll have a better quality of life (thats up to your personality). What I can say is that I would pick Denver from a career point of view. ALthough terribly regional (although less so than Stetson, slightly anyway), Denver has a good amount of pull in the city, and Denver is a city of a decent size. Stetson doesn't really dominate anything. Denver has Boulder to compete with, but you will be guaranteed internships and clinics based on the fact that the school is recognized well in the city and has a good amount of alums there. Basically I would say you are in a much better position coming out with a JD from Denver in finding a job in Denver than coming out with a JD from Stetson and finding a job within FL.

shawty18ga
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Re: Need help deciding between my final two schools

Postby shawty18ga » Tue Feb 16, 2010 9:44 pm

Not to hijack the thread, but does anybody think Stetson would be worth it if a person received a full tuition scholarship and a stipend? Assuming that biglaw wasn't necessarily the goal, would the low debt make it worth it?

In other words, is the debt the biggest issue here, or are the career prospects that so bad that it wouldn't be worth it to go for free?

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Grizz
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Re: Need help deciding between my final two schools

Postby Grizz » Tue Feb 16, 2010 9:51 pm

shawty18ga wrote:Not to hijack the thread, but does anybody think Stetson would be worth it if a person received a full tuition scholarship and a stipend? Assuming that biglaw wasn't necessarily the goal, would the low debt make it worth it?

In other words, is the debt the biggest issue here, or are the career prospects that so bad that it wouldn't be worth it to go for free?


It would be worth it, but with the scores necessary to get that $$$, you could probably get into UF/FSU, which would be a lot better idea.




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