insidethetwenty wrote:We need a good troll-off between Observationalist and somebody from Texas, ITT, stat.
[Apologies (not really) for the lack of brevity. Law of Entertainment Industries was cancelled so I'm writing this before heading home to cook up some sweet potatoes and keep working on a neverending paper.]
I actually like a lot of the TLS posters from UT and worked with a bunch of the 3Ls last summer who were all a lot of fun to hang out with, so I will not engage in some sort of rank warfare. But the two schools are very different socially. The similarities between Austin and Nashville (cheap, good weather, lots of music, tendency to bump into famous musicians at coffee shops) don't translate into what it's like to attend the schools themselves because the makeup of the student body is too different. Vandy Law puts together about 190 students from around the country and sends them back off around the country (with about 30-35% staying anywhere in the south, including TX*). UT has double the number of students per class and keeps 75% of them in the state after graduating. I'm not pointing this out to raise a self-selection argument about which school places better or could place better in some other market; I'm saying that this translates into a big difference in culture. There are more Texans at UT Law than there are U.S. law students and international LLMs at Vanderbilt. And if you believe (as I do) that TX at least somewhat resembles an autonomous region with its own unique culture, then the difference is even more pronounced. (You can say the same thing about the south, although I've had a woman in Oxford, Mississippi tell me to "go back up to my Yank school in Nashville," so take broad generalizations about the south with a grain of salt.) For culture questions, just go visit both and see which one suits you better. You Texans out there are incredibly friendly and I've very much enjoyed my 3 years living down south between here and Houston, so take my trolling FWIW.
Also, ask the schools for some current employment info. If I've observed anything from talking to the 1Ls this year and comparing them to my class or the class before ours, it's that decreased job prospects directly translates into a more stressful environment. It helps to know what you're getting into and prepare accordingly, but schools need to do a better job at conveying this to prospectives. Our call for better transparency in employment reporting is definitely not a criticism unique to UT. Every school is more stressful to attend this year than the year before, which is why anyone considering law school should try and get current employment stats on Class of 2010 and 2011 job placement. Once you've got acceptances in hand you can leverage for information on how the 2Ls and 3Ls are holding up. Reports from UT, Cornell, Duke, GULC and Vandy are all coming out differently right now, and some of them are unfortunately less inclined to tell you the reality than others. G'luck finding the right fit and asking the hard questions.
One comment on transitioning to Nashville from the northeast: We got 4 inches of snow a few weeks ago and the city was shut down for as many days... over 90 people were admitted to the ER that weekend with sledding-related injuries. Maybe southerners aren't less educated than people in other parts of the country, but they definitely don't know how to drive or sled in the snow.