Washington & Lee vs. William & Mary

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

Which School Would You Attend?

Poll ended at Wed Aug 08, 2007 2:05 pm

William & Mary
15
83%
Washington & Lee
3
17%
 
Total votes: 18

evanstep
Posts: 6
Joined: Sun Aug 05, 2007 1:52 pm

Washington & Lee vs. William & Mary

Postby evanstep » Sun Aug 05, 2007 2:04 pm

Alright... so I'm one of those 'no one in my family has ever gone to grad school, nor do we know many lawyers, so I'm in the dark here' students. Here's my predicament (any advice/opinions appreciated!):

I was accepted to William & Mary right off the bat - for the last three months, I've come to terms that I'll be attending school there in another three weeks.

Last week, Washington & Lee, who had formerly waitlisted me, offered me admission, along with a scholarship that would make the cost of tuition identical to that of William & Mary. My confusion thus set in.


Historically, W&L has ranked higher than W&M (oh, the joys of US News). In addition, I like the atmosphere of Lexington, VA more than Williamsburg, VA (I'm an avid mountain biker, not a big drinker, and can easily survive without a mall nearby).

However, at the same time, I find that most everyone goes to law school to get a job - and a well paying job at that. Starting salary is essentially the lone category for which W&M kicks W&L's butt. Along that same line, I'd like to work in DC when I graduate - which, I feel, W&M may give me an edge in.


But - I don't know! If you were in my shoes - wanting to work in DC, not sure what type of law you wish to practice, and looking for the best law school experience possible, which school would you choose?

Thanks, in advance, to anyone who can offer some much needed insight!



- Evan

( I have until Wednesday to decide, so, like I said, I appreciate any help I can get )

un3r3stimat3d
Posts: 21
Joined: Mon Jun 11, 2007 6:47 pm

Postby un3r3stimat3d » Sun Aug 05, 2007 2:10 pm

(I'm an avid mountain biker, not a big drinker, and can easily survive without a mall nearby).


Williamsburg has some pretty scenery to bike through, Washington and Lee is a bigger drinking school than William and Mary from what I've heard, and there's definitely no mall in Williamsburg. Probably would have to go to Richmond or norfolk for mall shopping (hour drive).

That said, go where you'd be happiest. Seems to me like you've told yourself W&L>W&M. If so, go there. Either place would be a good choice, I don't really know very much about either schooll.

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Grad_Student
Posts: 367
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Postby Grad_Student » Sun Aug 05, 2007 2:18 pm

http://www.prelawhandbook.com/law_schoo ... __raw_data

If you look here you will see Washington & Lee is ranked 26 and William & Mary is ranked 32. There isn't much different between the two. Washington & Lee has a smaller student to faculty ratio which may mean smaller class sizes, that could put some play into it but not much.

I'm an avid mountain biker

As a former downhill racer, I say go with Washington & Lee, the terrain that close to the mountains has to be amazing.

un3r3stimat3d
Posts: 21
Joined: Mon Jun 11, 2007 6:47 pm

Postby un3r3stimat3d » Sun Aug 05, 2007 2:25 pm

The ranking that was just posted by Grad_student is a little off. It's just the most recent US News rankings, except the 2 schools are REALLY ranked 25 and 31, not 26 and 32. The problem is that whoever transcribed them skipped from 24 (Iowa) to 26 (Fordham, Illinois, W&L) without a 25. Messes up the rest of the list. Like Grad_student said, however, there's very little difference between the schools' rankings. Class profiles are almost identical (WM slight edge on GPA, W&L very slight edge on LSAT). W&L has a small edge for reputation. What is nice about W&L is that it looks to have the 4th best faculty/student ratio of the whole list. I don't know how that transfers into class sizes, but it's something to consider. Employment numbers appear to be comparable. W&M has 2 fewer points that W&L, probably mostly due to a slight reputational difference and the class size. If class size is important to you, go to W&L. If not, think about how much reputation and setting matter to you, and then chose. Good luck.

gsingh
Posts: 1
Joined: Mon Apr 09, 2007 11:15 pm

Postby gsingh » Sun Aug 05, 2007 2:25 pm

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Last edited by gsingh on Mon Sep 21, 2009 4:38 pm, edited 1 time in total.

joebruin2.0
Posts: 28
Joined: Sun Mar 04, 2007 7:53 pm

Postby joebruin2.0 » Sun Aug 05, 2007 2:54 pm

W&M... two generals vs. a King and Queen!!!

jk. I do love the generals

Fly
Posts: 52
Joined: Wed Jul 04, 2007 11:52 pm

Postby Fly » Sun Aug 05, 2007 3:11 pm

I was talking to an ex-recruiter for a Washington firm who teaches at my undergrad, and he has a better impression of William and Mary than Washington and Lee. It slightly confused me, as the data seems to suggest that they would be quite similar. But, he said that if he saw two identical candidates, he would pick the W&M candidate over the W&L candidate. Again, I'm confused as to why, but I'm just letting you know what he said.

un3r3stimat3d
Posts: 21
Joined: Mon Jun 11, 2007 6:47 pm

Postby un3r3stimat3d » Sun Aug 05, 2007 7:46 pm

Fly--that does seem weird. You'd expect equal or slightly in W&L's favor given that their reputation scores are a little higher. It might be too anecdotal, but W&L is smaller, and W&M is a very old school (one of the oldest I believe), so that might help with its prestige.

evanstep
Posts: 6
Joined: Sun Aug 05, 2007 1:52 pm

Postby evanstep » Sun Aug 05, 2007 8:01 pm

It's nice to see I'm not the only one who sees the choice here as a bit of a paradox. The two schools are essentially shadows of one another.


They should have bullies who show up at your door to 'help' make these decisions for ya, if ya ask me! Thanks for all the help so far. You guys are great. Keep it coming :)


(The earlier assumption was pretty on point - I am leaning towards w&l, despite already having a class schedule/books for w&m - it's hard to ignore that it's been hovering around the top 20 for the last umpteen years. Granted, everyone says to ignore the rankings, but even this site shows that it's hard to actually do that!

Fly
Posts: 52
Joined: Wed Jul 04, 2007 11:52 pm

Postby Fly » Sun Aug 05, 2007 9:46 pm

For what it's worth, it looks like W&L performs better in clerkship placement, but W&M does better with Vault 10 placement.

Sources:
http://lawfirmaddict.blogspot.com/
http://lawclerkaddict.blogspot.com/

I think it would be difficult to make a good argument suggesting that one school is fundamentally better than the other. I'll ask my professor why he had such a negative view of W&L. He seemed to lump it in with schools like American, which doesn't quite seem warranted. I'll report back here if he has anything interesting to say.

joebruin2.0
Posts: 28
Joined: Sun Mar 04, 2007 7:53 pm

Postby joebruin2.0 » Sun Aug 05, 2007 10:54 pm

If I was in your position I would stick with W&M. If the biggest thing causing second thoughts happens to be rankings... well just remember that rankings can be fickle little creatures. Example being UNC-Chapel Hill. I'm sure many students took it over schools not ranked as well just to have it do a nosedive in this years US News (not that I give any weight to the actual rankings). Be happy with W&M, good school (ok more than just "good"), great location- plenty of biking trails, and the mall is actually in Newport News about 15 minutes away.

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Grad_Student
Posts: 367
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Postby Grad_Student » Mon Aug 06, 2007 3:06 am

Sorry about my confusing rankings. I will have to say that you DO already have your course schedule and books and I, personally, would be hard pressed to give up after I was semi-settled. Like you said, the schools are basically a shadow of one another with real little difference between them. If you feel settled and comfortable with W&M, I'd stick put.

patentlaw
Posts: 62
Joined: Thu Jan 11, 2007 9:29 am

Postby patentlaw » Mon Aug 06, 2007 8:28 am

W&L seems to place more students into the South, while W&M goes to DC and the North, at least more so than W&L. From what I've heard, W&L has a great reputation in the South.

Personally, I'd choose W&L, unless you're really into Colonial Williamsburg.

Fly
Posts: 52
Joined: Wed Jul 04, 2007 11:52 pm

Postby Fly » Mon Aug 06, 2007 3:29 pm

I did e-mail my professor, and here's what he has to say (it sort of adds on to what patent said):

"W&L is a traditional southern school with all that implies. It is not nearly as progressive in the teaching of law as William & Mary and George Mason."

This bit of info and patent's contribution are enough to convince me to definitely choose W&M over W&L, but that's because I have absolutely no desire to work in the South. The only reason I would go to a VA school would be DC placement.

Eremite
Posts: 22
Joined: Wed Oct 04, 2006 5:57 pm

Postby Eremite » Tue Aug 07, 2007 4:00 pm

I noticed the median income discrepancy as well. Has anyone ever heard a reasonable rationale for this figure?
Last edited by Eremite on Wed Aug 08, 2007 12:24 pm, edited 1 time in total.

evanstep
Posts: 6
Joined: Sun Aug 05, 2007 1:52 pm

Postby evanstep » Wed Aug 08, 2007 11:36 am

thanks to everyone for their input - y'all rock. i ended up siding w/ the poll, after all. go tribe.

joebruin2.0
Posts: 28
Joined: Sun Mar 04, 2007 7:53 pm

Postby joebruin2.0 » Wed Aug 08, 2007 1:41 pm

Yeah... GO TRIBE!!!

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Rainmaker11
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Postby Rainmaker11 » Thu Aug 16, 2007 6:32 pm

Hey everyone this is my first post.

The income discrepancy between the two schools might be that W&L grads tend to gravitate towards the south which has a lower cost of living which could mean lower starting salaries. That is my best guess since these schools seem remarkably similar.

mz253
Posts: 319
Joined: Thu Mar 25, 2010 11:18 pm

Re: Washington & Lee vs. William & Mary

Postby mz253 » Sun Oct 17, 2010 6:50 pm

i just realize that W&L has a median LSAT of 166. That's really really high for its placement.... any idea why?




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