Final Hours: study in Pittsburgh for Philly work?

(Rankings, Profiles, Tuition, Student Life, . . . )
User avatar
smartin
Posts: 115
Joined: Thu Aug 27, 2009 3:40 pm

Final Hours: study in Pittsburgh for Philly work?

Postby smartin » Thu Apr 29, 2010 1:09 pm

I have to decide by tomorrow.

I have finally come to understand the key issue with my indecision:
I want to work in Philadelphia but I want to go to the University of Pittsburgh for law school.

Pitt would be cheaper for me to attend (by 25k total) and I'm more comfortable with the neighborhood surrounding the school than my other choice, Temple. It also has a smaller student body in the J.D. program, which I like.

But I'm a Eastern PA girl and, while I can be happy in Pittsburgh for three (or even five) years, I don't want to settle down in Western PA.

The rule of thumb I hear repeated on this site is go to school where you want to practice. I know I'm setting my self at a disadvantage by not going to school in Philly, but how significant of a disadvantage? It's not like I'm saying "I want to practice in San Fransisco or Atlanta but I want to go to school in Pittsburgh." This is an overcome-able disadvantage, right?

BTW, I'm not interested in BigLaw. I want to go into PI/Government work.

keg411
Posts: 5935
Joined: Tue Apr 21, 2009 9:10 pm

Re: Final Hours: study in Pittsburgh for Philly work?

Postby keg411 » Thu Apr 29, 2010 1:14 pm

Did you go to ASD? One of the guys on the panel at Pitt said he was looking for work in Philly and didn't appear to be too successful at it (and that's unpaid 1L work). If you definitely want Philadelphia, go to the Philadelphia school. It will make your life easier.

waxloaf
Posts: 103
Joined: Tue Jan 26, 2010 6:17 pm

Re: Final Hours: study in Pittsburgh for Philly work?

Postby waxloaf » Thu Apr 29, 2010 1:22 pm

if you want philly, go to temple

User avatar
smartin
Posts: 115
Joined: Thu Aug 27, 2009 3:40 pm

Re: Final Hours: study in Pittsburgh for Philly work?

Postby smartin » Thu Apr 29, 2010 1:23 pm

keg411 wrote:Did you go to ASD? One of the guys on the panel at Pitt said he was looking for work in Philly and didn't appear to be too successful at it (and that's unpaid 1L work). If you definitely want Philadelphia, go to the Philadelphia school. It will make your life easier.



No, I visited both schools but neither during ASD.

I can't get over the fact that, one, I felt more comfortable at Pitt in general, and, two, debt is a huge issue for me. I already have 20K in undergrad loans and the chance to go to law school for under $100,000 in the red seems too good to pass up.

User avatar
JuTMSY4
Posts: 265
Joined: Sat Jun 27, 2009 3:40 pm

Re: Final Hours: study in Pittsburgh for Philly work?

Postby JuTMSY4 » Thu Apr 29, 2010 1:24 pm

I am (was) in a very similar boat. For me, my Pittsburgh option was about 10k cheaper than my Philly option...so not as significant in cost difference as you. I actually found Pitt's scholarship to be excellent leverage and if I weren't so attached to Philly/eastern PA (much like you) I'm sure I would have loved going to LS there (I really liked it)

But I had to evaluate my reasons for going to law school and part of that was to live/work in eastern PA/Philly (and even South jersey) and not really western PA at all. The opportunities and happiness I could attain by virtue of region were enough to make my decision. Sure Pitt is ranked marginally higher, but as we all know, its irrelevant and definitely at a disadvantage in Philly over Nova/Temple/RU-C and maybe even disadvantaged in central PA -> east against PSU (and Widener, I suppose)

So in the end, I just couldn't rationalize taking a mildly better cost offer (I'm very price sensitive) versus my happiness and connectivity to other regions (literally, transportation wise).

May I suggest a Pros/Cons list...seriously
Last edited by JuTMSY4 on Thu Apr 29, 2010 1:26 pm, edited 1 time in total.

03121202698008
Posts: 3002
Joined: Fri Jul 17, 2009 2:07 am

Re: Final Hours: study in Pittsburgh for Philly work?

Postby 03121202698008 » Thu Apr 29, 2010 1:25 pm

Pitt barely places in Philly...and everyonen I've ever heard if had connections. Pitt doesn't even place that well in central PA.

User avatar
smartin
Posts: 115
Joined: Thu Aug 27, 2009 3:40 pm

Re: Final Hours: study in Pittsburgh for Philly work?

Postby smartin » Thu Apr 29, 2010 1:27 pm

blhoward2 wrote:Pitt barely places in Philly...and everyonen I've ever heard if had connections. Pitt doesn't even place that well in central PA.


Who would want to work in central PA? ;) I'd take Pittsburgh over Pennsly-tucky any day.

reverendt
Posts: 499
Joined: Mon Sep 10, 2007 10:56 am

Re: Final Hours: study in Pittsburgh for Philly work?

Postby reverendt » Thu Apr 29, 2010 1:29 pm

If you know you want to work in Philly I think you should go to Temple (and I say this as a Pitt 2L who loves the school and the city).
Jobs are hard enough to get these days WITH the "hometown school advantage."
You'll make connections in Philly at Temple that you won't get at Pitt. And while there's probably some employers who are Pitt-grad heavy, the majority probably like to take grads from Temple and 'Nova.
The 25K shouldn't be too big a deal in the grand scheme of things...
That said, if you seriously think that you will be significantly more comfortable at Pitt to the point where you think you will perform noticeably better there....that might be a game changer.
Short of that, go to Temple.

User avatar
smartin
Posts: 115
Joined: Thu Aug 27, 2009 3:40 pm

Re: Final Hours: study in Pittsburgh for Philly work?

Postby smartin » Thu Apr 29, 2010 1:30 pm

JuTMSY4 wrote:I am (was) in a very similar boat. For me, my Pittsburgh option was about 10k cheaper than my Philly option...so not as significant in cost difference as you. I actually found Pitt's scholarship to be excellent leverage and if I weren't so attached to Philly/eastern PA (much like you) I'm sure I would have loved going to LS there (I really liked it)

But I had to evaluate my reasons for going to law school and part of that was to live/work in eastern PA/Philly (and even South jersey) and not really western PA at all. The opportunities and happiness I could attain by virtue of region were enough to make my decision. Sure Pitt is ranked marginally higher, but as we all know, its irrelevant and definitely at a disadvantage in Philly over Nova/Temple/RU-C and maybe even disadvantaged in central PA -> east against PSU (and Widener, I suppose)

So in the end, I just couldn't rationalize taking a mildly better cost offer (I'm very price sensitive) versus my happiness and connectivity to other regions (literally, transportation wise).

May I suggest a Pros/Cons list...seriously


My list of Pros and Cons came out equal -- really. I've been thinking about this for two straight weeks. I started breaking out in hives yesterday.

Thanks for your post, I'm glad to see someone in the same boat.

User avatar
JuTMSY4
Posts: 265
Joined: Sat Jun 27, 2009 3:40 pm

Re: Final Hours: study in Pittsburgh for Philly work?

Postby JuTMSY4 » Thu Apr 29, 2010 1:40 pm

smartin wrote:Who would want to work in central PA? ;) I'd take Pittsburgh over Pennsly-tucky any day.


As a former resident, I take offense to that

But seriously, I blanketed all the T2 and up schools in PA/NJ to see what my best offers were. and Pitt came back with a really good offer (I'm assuming you got Scholarship Waitlisted followed up by an offer, given that the deposit date has already passed).

I was already considering Pitt from my talk during an LSAC forum, but when I considered where I wanted to be 10 years from now, the answer was a bit clearer.

I understand your reservations about the area. Temple and RU-C are both in crappy areas. For me, this was less of an issue given my UG experience (not in philly, but in a bad neighborhood in another city). I wouldn't let this assuage you.

That being said, comfort is something I can adapt to, if this isn't the same for you, than the above poster is right to give you pause. Beyond comfort and cost, consider your career path from both schools (and not just region based).

I'm trying to do my best to give you my take on the situation and how i handled my decision without influencing you. Really, I don't think we know enough about you, but frankly, anything else worth discussing is all too personal for a public website
Last edited by JuTMSY4 on Thu Apr 29, 2010 4:20 pm, edited 1 time in total.

User avatar
smartin
Posts: 115
Joined: Thu Aug 27, 2009 3:40 pm

Re: Final Hours: study in Pittsburgh for Philly work?

Postby smartin » Thu Apr 29, 2010 2:07 pm

JuTMSY4 wrote:
smartin wrote:Who would want to work in central PA? ;) I'd take Pittsburgh over Pennsly-tucky any day.


As a former resident, I take offense to that

But seriously, I blanketed all the T2 and up schools in PA/NJ to see what my best offers were. and Pitt came back with a really good offer (I'm assuming you got Scholarship Waitlisted followed up by an offer, given that the deposit date has already passed).

I was already considering Pitt from my talk during an LSAC forum, but when I considered where I wanted to be 10 years from now, the answer was a bit clearer.

I understand your reservations about the area. Temple and RU-C are both in crappy areas. For me, this was less of an issue given my UG experience (not in philly, but in a bad neighborhood in another city). I wouldn't let this assuage you.

That being said, comfort is something I can adapt to, if this isn't the same for you, than the above poster is right to give you pause. Beyond comfort and cost, consider your career path from both schools (and not just region based).


I'm only picking on central PA because I love.

I was accepted with a scholarship outright, I just asked for more time and they gave me till the end of April.

And by "comfort" I don't really mean that North Philly is a "not-nice neighborhood." Like, I live in a not-touristy area of DC. I have bars on my windows and there is a bitter war going on in the "O" Street Crew right now. I'm used to being on the edge of the 'hood, as it were. I mean, I just felt more comfortable on campus -- there seemed to be more vegetarian-friendly options to grab lunch around the Pitt campus and the buses are free. SEPTA only gives a 10% discount. Small things like that add up to QOL.

User avatar
nyjfanjmk
Posts: 59
Joined: Wed Feb 17, 2010 7:56 am

Re: Final Hours: study in Pittsburgh for Philly work?

Postby nyjfanjmk » Thu Apr 29, 2010 3:00 pm

I also was in a very similar situation, and picked Pitt over Rutgers-Newark despite having far more familiarity with the New York/New Jersey area than Western PA. My rationale was that it's better to go to a school in an environment where I can see myself doing well over the course of three years, with less distractions. Doing well in law school ultimately opens more doors down the road, and if you "have" to stay in Western PA for a few years until you can try to find a job elsewhere, it's an investment in your future. Also, I'm a firm believer that if you really, really want a job in Philly, you'll get one, you just might have to work harder than others in finding one.

User avatar
BarbellDreams
Posts: 2256
Joined: Thu Mar 19, 2009 6:10 pm

Re: Final Hours: study in Pittsburgh for Philly work?

Postby BarbellDreams » Thu Apr 29, 2010 3:09 pm

If you are 100% set on Philly and feel like you will not be happy if you were forced to start out in Pittsburgh then I would go to Temple. This is coming from someone who is planning on attending Pitt next year. I love the school, but I understand the argument against it as well. You always have to think of the possibility that , while Pitt dominates its own market, the market itself isn't terribly large and jobs are hard to come by. Outside the top 25% or so I feel like you will have a hard time finding quality work for your 1L summer. Philly offers a larger market but with more competition. If you think you can feel comfortable with Philly then go there, if you think you liked Pitt so much your grades will be better, then go there. Grades are what matter here so that should weigh in on your decision.

User avatar
smartin
Posts: 115
Joined: Thu Aug 27, 2009 3:40 pm

Re: Final Hours: study in Pittsburgh for Philly work?

Postby smartin » Thu Apr 29, 2010 3:16 pm

Thanks for the input so far, everyone.

And I think I could be happy in Pittsburgh for a few years after graduation, too. I just don't see myself settling down and raising kids one day in Western PA (I am talking 8-10 years in the future) so I don't want to be locked-in.

keg411
Posts: 5935
Joined: Tue Apr 21, 2009 9:10 pm

Re: Final Hours: study in Pittsburgh for Philly work?

Postby keg411 » Thu Apr 29, 2010 3:41 pm

smartin wrote:Thanks for the input so far, everyone.

And I think I could be happy in Pittsburgh for a few years after graduation, too. I just don't see myself settling down and raising kids one day in Western PA (I am talking 8-10 years in the future) so I don't want to be locked-in.


smartin, law is regional. You will very likely be locked in for a LONG time in WesternPA if you go to Pitt. This is where you will make connections during school. If you are set on Eastern PA, you should go to Temple (and if you're not comfortable with Temple, and got into 'Nova, go there even if you got more $ from Temple).

Normally, I'm extremely debt averse. But region you want to practice >>>> cost. If you're willing to give up Eastern PA, then you can save money. But you don't seem willing to do that.

User avatar
smartin
Posts: 115
Joined: Thu Aug 27, 2009 3:40 pm

Re: Final Hours: study in Pittsburgh for Philly work?

Postby smartin » Thu Apr 29, 2010 4:21 pm

keg411 wrote:
smartin wrote:Thanks for the input so far, everyone.

And I think I could be happy in Pittsburgh for a few years after graduation, too. I just don't see myself settling down and raising kids one day in Western PA (I am talking 8-10 years in the future) so I don't want to be locked-in.


smartin, law is regional. You will very likely be locked in for a LONG time in WesternPA if you go to Pitt. This is where you will make connections during school. If you are set on Eastern PA, you should go to Temple (and if you're not comfortable with Temple, and got into 'Nova, go there even if you got more $ from Temple).

Normally, I'm extremely debt averse. But region you want to practice >>>> cost. If you're willing to give up Eastern PA, then you can save money. But you don't seem willing to do that.


Law is regional yes, but what do you define as a region? It seems like you define based on the greater, metro area as opposed to a geographic region. On this forum I have seen region defined as broadly as "southeastern united states" to as marginally as "Chicago." I figure it fits somewhere in between -- not on a city level but not as on a multi-state level.

keg411
Posts: 5935
Joined: Tue Apr 21, 2009 9:10 pm

Re: Final Hours: study in Pittsburgh for Philly work?

Postby keg411 » Thu Apr 29, 2010 4:38 pm

"Regional" tends to be the legal market that the school is in; the further down in the rankings you go, the smaller this area tends to be.

Look, I think you are looking for a reason to go to Pitt. If I were you, I would call up Pitt and ask them to put you in touch with alumni in the Philly area and students that are currently trying to work in the Philly area and see if they can give you an answer. You need to do whatever you can to get a straight answer out of them before you choose. Because if you go to Pitt and aren't at the top of the class, there is a huge chance that you will be "stuck" there. The students at Temple/Nova/RU-C and even Drexel are going to have networking opportunities in Philly that you will not have. They will have the bulk of their alumni networks there.

Is it absolutely impossible? No. If you are willing to do the extra work and take the extra time to go to an "out of region" school, then you're certainly welcome to, but just know it will not be easy and you are starting yourself at a disadvantage.

Look, I liked the atmosphere at Pitt too. I got stuck in traffic leaving just to stay the extra time at ASD. It seems like a great school and there is a great group of TLS-ers going there. But at the end of the day, you were accepted to a school that fit your career goals better - this isn't undergrad. You don't go where you think you will have more "fun".

User avatar
smartin
Posts: 115
Joined: Thu Aug 27, 2009 3:40 pm

Re: Final Hours: study in Pittsburgh for Philly work?

Postby smartin » Thu Apr 29, 2010 7:42 pm

keg411 wrote:"Regional" tends to be the legal market that the school is in; the further down in the rankings you go, the smaller this area tends to be.

Look, I think you are looking for a reason to go to Pitt. If I were you, I would call up Pitt and ask them to put you in touch with alumni in the Philly area and students that are currently trying to work in the Philly area and see if they can give you an answer. You need to do whatever you can to get a straight answer out of them before you choose. Because if you go to Pitt and aren't at the top of the class, there is a huge chance that you will be "stuck" there. The students at Temple/Nova/RU-C and even Drexel are going to have networking opportunities in Philly that you will not have. They will have the bulk of their alumni networks there.

Is it absolutely impossible? No. If you are willing to do the extra work and take the extra time to go to an "out of region" school, then you're certainly welcome to, but just know it will not be easy and you are starting yourself at a disadvantage.

Look, I liked the atmosphere at Pitt too. I got stuck in traffic leaving just to stay the extra time at ASD. It seems like a great school and there is a great group of TLS-ers going there. But at the end of the day, you were accepted to a school that fit your career goals better - this isn't undergrad. You don't go where you think you will have more "fun".


I don't know where you got "fun" from or how anything I said could be interpreted as choosing based on "fun." (Totally unrelated but I didn't choose my undergrad based on fun. I can count the number of parties I went to on one hand and spent most Saturday nights doing homework like did the majority of my classmates.) Three considerations are going into this decision: employment opportunities, total indebtedness, and quality of life. Fun and friends are no where to be seen.

Out of curiosity, where did you deposit?

User avatar
beach_terror
Posts: 7256
Joined: Tue Dec 01, 2009 10:01 pm

Re: Final Hours: study in Pittsburgh for Philly work?

Postby beach_terror » Thu Apr 29, 2010 7:54 pm

Had a similar decision to make. Pitt's total COA for me was the equivalent of just tuition at Villanova for me. I want to work in or around Philadelphia. After researching the number of Pitt grads who practice in Philly, it was a no brainer. Pitt is great in Pittsburgh, but it isn't in Philadelphia.

I'm deposited at Villanova, and while Pitt seemed like a great place, I know I'm making the right decision.

The University of Pittsburgh
Pittsburgh (1415)
Philadelphia (177)

Villanova
Philadelphia Co. (1459)
Montgomery Co. (503)
Chester Co. (314)
Delaware Co. (239)

Temple
Philadelphia Co. (1825)
Montgomery Co. (455)
Bucks Co. (210)
Delaware Co. (157)

Those are attorneys that went to each school, that practice and passed the bar in PA. Hopefully this helps some.

keg411
Posts: 5935
Joined: Tue Apr 21, 2009 9:10 pm

Re: Final Hours: study in Pittsburgh for Philly work?

Postby keg411 » Thu Apr 29, 2010 9:21 pm

smartin wrote:I don't know where you got "fun" from or how anything I said could be interpreted as choosing based on "fun." (Totally unrelated but I didn't choose my undergrad based on fun. I can count the number of parties I went to on one hand and spent most Saturday nights doing homework like did the majority of my classmates.) Three considerations are going into this decision: employment opportunities, total indebtedness, and quality of life. Fun and friends are no where to be seen.

Out of curiosity, where did you deposit?


Since you don't want to work in Pittsburgh, I figured it 1) the cost and 2) you liked the atmosphere at the school more. Second = more fun.

I'm heading to Rutgers-Camden; cheap and I'm from here. I was deciding at the end between the Newark and Camden campuses and chose Camden because I decided I'd prefer the Philly area to the NYC area. Pitt was great, but at OOS it was just too much money for me (without the job prospects being any better than at the RU schools) and when push came to shove, I have legal connections in NJ and none in Western PA (though I do have family out there).

User avatar
superflush
Posts: 1305
Joined: Sun Oct 26, 2008 3:45 am

Re: Final Hours: study in Pittsburgh for Philly work?

Postby superflush » Fri Apr 30, 2010 6:06 am

smartin wrote:I have to decide by tomorrow.

I have finally come to understand the key issue with my indecision:
I want to work in Philadelphia but I want to go to the University of Pittsburgh for law school.

Pitt would be cheaper for me to attend (by 25k total) and I'm more comfortable with the neighborhood surrounding the school than my other choice, Temple. It also has a smaller student body in the J.D. program, which I like.

But I'm a Eastern PA girl and, while I can be happy in Pittsburgh for three (or even five) years, I don't want to settle down in Western PA.

The rule of thumb I hear repeated on this site is go to school where you want to practice. I know I'm setting my self at a disadvantage by not going to school in Philly, but how significant of a disadvantage?


It is pretty clear that if you want to work in Philly that Temple would be the better career choice. However, it is completely understandable that you'd want to go to Pitt over Temple. It would be cheaper and it seems as you would be much happier going to school there. It really only comes down to whether you'd be completely unhappy if you were stuck working in Pittsburgh.
nyjfanjmk wrote:My rationale was that it's better to go to a school in an environment where I can see myself doing well over the course of three years, with less distractions.

This too. There is definitely something to be said about doing what is best for you now, and seeing where that takes you. You would just have to be okay with the fact that you might not be able to get a job in Philly, and would be working in Pittsburgh.




Return to “Choosing a Law School”

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 1 guest