Lewis & Clark v. Illinois (UC) - Am I crazy?

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8minutesofarc
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Lewis & Clark v. Illinois (UC) - Am I crazy?

Postby 8minutesofarc » Tue Mar 30, 2010 2:49 pm

I'm currently debating between Lewis & Clark and UIUC. I get the feeling that I'm crazy for even considering L&C, but here are the factors that are relevant:

My dream job would be to go into academic law, but I realize how hard that is. I'm in academia right now (as a grad student) and really like it, but I'm in philosophy and there are absolutely no jobs. If I go into law and fail at being an academic, I'll at least have other options (hence the switch).
If I don't go into academia, I'd go into environmental law/P.I. (and hopefully be happy doing it).
I really would like to live in Portland and practice out in the Northwest.
It'll cost me around $135K for Illinois, and around $150K for L&C (although the L&C number may go down once they reconsider some scholarship stuff).

So... the advantages of L&C are that it's in Portland, and they have a strong reputation in the stuff that I'll probably end up doing. Illinois puts me into a much better position for the dream job, but I think that may be a pipe dream... plus, I'll save around $15K (though that could change).

The obvious difference is that L&C is just not as well-regarded in general as Illinois... so... anybody have any advice? Am I completely crazy for even considering L&C?

(P.S., I may have other options; I applied everywhere ridiculously late and still have a few places to hear from.)

singingvontrapp
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Re: Lewis & Clark v. Illinois (UC) - Am I crazy?

Postby singingvontrapp » Tue Mar 30, 2010 3:10 pm

You crazy

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sophistry
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Re: Lewis & Clark v. Illinois (UC) - Am I crazy?

Postby sophistry » Tue Mar 30, 2010 3:27 pm

By "academic law" do you mean "law professor"? If so, those are generally held by T14 grads (HYS specifically). If you want to have any chance at that, go to Illinois and maybe even try to transfer up.

As a general rule, you'd be totally crazy to take a tier 2 school over Illinois. If you really want a job in the northwest, go to Illinois and spam both Seattle and Portland firms for your summer after 2L to get connections.

Also, maybe it's just my luck, but every successful attorney I've spoken with is NOT practicing the kind of law they thought they would when they entered law school. So in my opinion, attend the best school possible and take it from there.

EDIT: Btw, L&C is a great school. The campus is gorgeous. But it simply doesn't have the prestige of a T30.

8minutesofarc
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Re: Lewis & Clark v. Illinois (UC) - Am I crazy?

Postby 8minutesofarc » Tue Mar 30, 2010 5:31 pm

sophistry wrote:By "academic law" do you mean "law professor"? If so, those are generally held by T14 grads (HYS specifically). If you want to have any chance at that, go to Illinois and maybe even try to transfer up.

As a general rule, you'd be totally crazy to take a tier 2 school over Illinois. If you really want a job in the northwest, go to Illinois and spam both Seattle and Portland firms for your summer after 2L to get connections.

Also, maybe it's just my luck, but every successful attorney I've spoken with is NOT practicing the kind of law they thought they would when they entered law school. So in my opinion, attend the best school possible and take it from there.

EDIT: Btw, L&C is a great school. The campus is gorgeous. But it simply doesn't have the prestige of a T30.


Thanks for the advice. I do mean law professor. I figure that there's very little chance of being one out of Illinois, but it's still a possibility. I may go there and try to transfer up.

I'm currently leaning toward Illinois, but I haven't turned down L&C yet... for some reason I'm having a hard time turning that place down (mostly because I expected it to be the best place I got in when I applied... I applied really late and had an undergrad GPA below 3.0).

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ccs224
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Re: Lewis & Clark v. Illinois (UC) - Am I crazy?

Postby ccs224 » Tue Mar 30, 2010 6:00 pm

sophistry wrote:
EDIT: Btw, L&C is a great school. The campus is gorgeous. But it simply doesn't have the prestige of a T30.


Except in the two programs they are known for, environmental and animal law. I've also been looking at L&C versus higher ranked schools for environmental PI work and have spoken to a few professors at those higher ranked schools. I've been surprised that almost all of them have brought up Lewis and Clark without prompting. They've noted that it has the best program for environmental and animal law, but also that it isn't so great outside of that. Not sure how that will work out in academia.

lrcolvin
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Re: Lewis & Clark v. Illinois (UC) - Am I crazy?

Postby lrcolvin » Tue Mar 30, 2010 6:08 pm

I kno what you mean. I fell in love with Lewis and Clark and I thought that I wanted to go there. But I got into William and Mary and American and it just doesn't stack up to them.

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Jerome
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Re: Lewis & Clark v. Illinois (UC) - Am I crazy?

Postby Jerome » Tue Mar 30, 2010 7:09 pm

UIUC all the way. You never know if you'll actually end of liking environmental law as much as you think, and in everything else, Illinois beats LC hands down. Portland is a very cool city, but the quality of Illinois should settle the decision, I think. Nothing will keep you from a Portland job if that is what you really want at the end of the day, so long as you do well enough in school to be portable.

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IAFG
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Re: Lewis & Clark v. Illinois (UC) - Am I crazy?

Postby IAFG » Tue Mar 30, 2010 7:14 pm

neither of these schools are going to get you to your real goal. they just aren't. when LS admissions are so transparent, unlike liberal arts grad school admissions, retake the LSAT and go to a better school that might actually get you to legal academia.

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UFMatt
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Re: Lewis & Clark v. Illinois (UC) - Am I crazy?

Postby UFMatt » Tue Mar 30, 2010 7:29 pm

OP, I understand your thinking. I also would like to practice law in Portland or Seattle, but I didn't apply to any schools in that region. Instead I'll be going to an east coast T20 at half price and intend to gun for summer positions in the Pacific NW. Looking at associates and partners at firms in Portland, I see many with east coast degrees.

I passed on L&C due to ranking (i.e. I'd be set for the Portland market, but might be stuck there) and passed on Washington due to their stinginess with scholarship money.

In regards to legal academia, your odds fall off a cliff beyond Yale and Harvard. At least Illinois would give you an outside shot.

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IAFG
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Re: Lewis & Clark v. Illinois (UC) - Am I crazy?

Postby IAFG » Tue Mar 30, 2010 7:33 pm

UFMatt wrote:OP, I understand your thinking. I also would like to practice law in Portland or Seattle, but I didn't apply to any schools in that region. Instead I'll be going to an east coast T20 at half price and intend to gun for summer positions in the Pacific NW. Looking at associates and partners at firms in Portland, I see many with east coast degrees.

I passed on L&C due to ranking (i.e. I'd be set for the Portland market, but might be stuck there) and passed on Washington due to their stinginess with scholarship money.

In regards to legal academia, your odds fall off a cliff beyond Yale and Harvard. At least Illinois would give you an outside shot.

OP might not be crazy, but you sure are. you want to place in PacNW, but are going to a regional school on the east coast instead? madness, utter madness.

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romothesavior
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Re: Lewis & Clark v. Illinois (UC) - Am I crazy?

Postby romothesavior » Tue Mar 30, 2010 7:39 pm

If you really want to stay in academia, would you consider an undergrad professor job? If so, maybe a dual JD/PHD would be the way to go. I have a professor at my current school who has a JD and a philosophy PhD, and he has the opportunity to teach a wide variety of topics (from Metaethics to an evolution seminar to Constitutional Law to Appellate Legal Reasoning). Having a JD/PHD would make you pretty marketable as a professor, and I'd imagine it would allow you to teach a wide variety of courses as well. And FWIW, this guy is the best prof at my school and I practically worship him. I think a big reason he is such a great prof is because of his diverse academic background.

But if you are looking for law school academia, I'd say your chances from either school are slim to none. Take a look at even the lowest of the TTTT schools. Their professor pedigrees are extremely impressive, and it is very difficult to even get looked at for a law prof job if you aren't from T14 (and even then, there is a strong preference for T6).

I vote UIUC.

singingvontrapp
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Re: Lewis & Clark v. Illinois (UC) - Am I crazy?

Postby singingvontrapp » Tue Mar 30, 2010 7:46 pm

If you want to be an academic, you are probably better off spending three years working as an adjunct while trying to produce a handful of polished papers for publication. Publication > All in the academic job market. Going to a second-rate or even third-rate law school as a sort of backdoor path to academia seems impractical at best, insanity at less than best.

8minutesofarc
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Re: Lewis & Clark v. Illinois (UC) - Am I crazy?

Postby 8minutesofarc » Tue Mar 30, 2010 8:40 pm

I should point out that I don't really expect to find work in legal academia. I'd like to do it, but I get the importance of pedigree in the field, and I'm not sure I can get into a good law school at this point, regardless of what I do. The whole point of getting the J.D. over the Ph.D. is that, when I fail at finding academic work, I at least have a fall-back, and one that I'd be perfectly happy doing.

IAFG wrote:neither of these schools are going to get you to your real goal. they just aren't. when LS admissions are so transparent, unlike liberal arts grad school admissions, retake the LSAT and go to a better school that might actually get you to legal academia.


I considered that, but I think my undergrad grades pretty much rule me out at top law schools. I already have a pretty decent LSAT score (171), but my UG grades are just terrible. (There's a story about why they're terrible, but I'm not sure how much that helps; if I were an admissions offer I'd rather take the person who didn't have to explain their grades than the one who did.)

romothesavior wrote:
If you really want to stay in academia, would you consider an undergrad professor job? If so, maybe a dual JD/PHD would be the way to go. I have a professor at my current school who has a JD and a philosophy PhD, and he has the opportunity to teach a wide variety of topics (from Metaethics to an evolution seminar to Constitutional Law to Appellate Legal Reasoning). Having a JD/PHD would make you pretty marketable as a professor, and I'd imagine it would allow you to teach a wide variety of courses as well. And FWIW, this guy is the best prof at my school and I practically worship him. I think a big reason he is such a great prof is because of his diverse academic background.

But if you are looking for law school academia, I'd say your chances from either school are slim to none. Take a look at even the lowest of the TTTT schools. Their professor pedigrees are extremely impressive, and it is very difficult to even get looked at for a law prof job if you aren't from T14 (and even then, there is a strong preference for T6).

I vote UIUC.


Thanks. I've considered the JD/PhD route. I even applied to a few programs. I'm already pretty old though, and I'm not sure I want to be in school until I'm 35. My only (real) JD/PhD option at this point is Wisconsin, and if I'm going to go from there to academia, I might as well forego the JD and get the PhD, and I'd prefer to get a JD and practice over getting just a PhD.

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jcl2
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Re: Lewis & Clark v. Illinois (UC) - Am I crazy?

Postby jcl2 » Wed Mar 31, 2010 5:51 pm

IAFG wrote:
UFMatt wrote:OP, I understand your thinking. I also would like to practice law in Portland or Seattle, but I didn't apply to any schools in that region. Instead I'll be going to an east coast T20 at half price and intend to gun for summer positions in the Pacific NW. Looking at associates and partners at firms in Portland, I see many with east coast degrees.

I passed on L&C due to ranking (i.e. I'd be set for the Portland market, but might be stuck there) and passed on Washington due to their stinginess with scholarship money.

In regards to legal academia, your odds fall off a cliff beyond Yale and Harvard. At least Illinois would give you an outside shot.

OP might not be crazy, but you sure are. you want to place in PacNW, but are going to a regional school on the east coast instead? madness, utter madness.


+1
And is half price at your T20 actually much cheaper than UW would have been (you can get in-state after 2 years)? It is weird that you didn't even apply.




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