Tier 4, PACE Law school worth it for someone with my goals??

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Think_lax86
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Tier 4, PACE Law school worth it for someone with my goals??

Postby Think_lax86 » Mon May 31, 2010 12:53 pm

I chose to put this topic in the "Legal Employment" section because that is what my question ultimately comes down to. I don't want to practice BigLaw, work 100 hours a week, and working in new york city is something that I could really care less about doing. I am interested in environmental, specifically energy law and with the Obama administration making all these claims about new investments in sustainable energy initiatives, the country finally smartening up, and the already month long BP oil disaster, I feel that in the next few years lawyers who specialize in this field will be in high demand (at least I hope.) I got into Pace law school with a $14,000 scholy and if I live at home, my after school debt should be around $75-$80,000.

Like I said, I could care less about BigLaw work which is why Pace caught my attention. I simply would like to be able to pay off my student loans in at MOST 10 years (the IBR program is apparently a good deal for public interest lawyers) and possibly one day be making anywhere between $75-$100,000 working for the EPA or something like that.

What I am trying to figure out is has the recession completely destroyed this goal, and thus making Pace law school not worth the investment. I just read an article of a guy who graduated from Pace and is working at radio shack making $7.50 and hour. No thank you. He, however, wanted to practice BigLaw, though so I assume there are some subtle differences.

I have also contemplated retaking the LSAT to see if I can bump my score up in order to get more money from Pace or just get into a better law school and completely alter my prospective legal career path doing something more like corporate or BigLaw. But like I said Id rather be working in the environmental/energy law field. The stuff really interests me and I feel like I would be doing something morally respectable with my life (not saying corporate law isn't morally respectable, its just not for me, at least I dont think it is from everything I read and hear about the field.) I already took the LSAT 3 times... 2 years ago I got a 151, than this year I got a 157 and 159... I dont know if taking an additional year off to retake is a good idea but I dont know... I am also working as a manager for Target, which I thought might give me some good work experience being a "leader" etc. I am also interning for the district attorneys office this summer which will give me something else to put on my resume and work experience.

I am in a bit of a dilemma so any advice/suggestions/info or whatever is welcome... I also missed the Pace deposit deadline because I couldnt find the value in going to Pace so I just said F*ck it and decided to retake the LSAT in hopes of a score bump or completely chose an alternate career path. But after a few weeks of really considering it I think it would be a good investment and that I would really regret not doing it. But like I said, I just dont know if the investment is worth it. PLEASE HELP! Thank you in advance

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vanwinkle
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Re: Tier 4, PACE Law school worth it for someone with my goals??

Postby vanwinkle » Mon May 31, 2010 12:55 pm

If you could care less about working in NYC, then why do you want to go to a NYC law school...? I hope you realize that it's not going to be a very useful degree elsewhere in the country.

Living at home is not a good excuse to go to school somewhere. With these low-tier schools, they really have a very narrow local reach, and you need to go to school in the area you want to practice in. If you don't want to practice in NYC, don't go to Pace, period.

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merichard87
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Re: Tier 4, PACE Law school worth it for someone with my goals??

Postby merichard87 » Mon May 31, 2010 1:06 pm

I agree with the above poster, if you are going to go to a regional school it needs to be a region where you could find the job you want. I'm from Texas and I know energy is really big here and will probably get bigger with this BP mess so you might want to look at schools around the gulf coast. And also look at schools where the EPA does a lot of recruiting. I don't know much about Pace but from what I gather the NY market is basically made up of NYC so if you don't want to work there you need to look elsewhere

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Grizz
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Re: Tier 4, PACE Law school worth it for someone with my goals??

Postby Grizz » Mon May 31, 2010 1:37 pm

The "saving the environment" PI jobs are also really competitive; you can't just go to any 'ol law school. I suggest retake and reapply.

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98234872348
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Re: Tier 4, PACE Law school worth it for someone with my goals??

Postby 98234872348 » Mon May 31, 2010 1:39 pm

vanwinkle wrote:If you could care less about working in NYC, then why do you want to go to a NYC law school...? I hope you realize that it's not going to be a very useful degree elsewhere in the country.

Living at home is not a good excuse to go to school somewhere. With these low-tier schools, they really have a very narrow local reach, and you need to go to school in the area you want to practice in. If you don't want to practice in NYC, don't go to Pace, period.

People that graduate from Pace practice in NYC?

Who knew.

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megaTTTron
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Re: Tier 4, PACE Law school worth it for someone with my goals??

Postby megaTTTron » Mon May 31, 2010 2:00 pm

rad law wrote:The "saving the environment" PI jobs are also really competitive; you can't just go to any 'ol law school. I suggest retake and reapply.


+1

jaminben
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Re: Tier 4, PACE Law school worth it for someone with my goals??

Postby jaminben » Mon May 31, 2010 2:03 pm

-Another question: I've read that pace has one of the best environmental programs around, even though its tier 4 could someone still be pretty successful by going to pace?

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Grizz
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Re: Tier 4, PACE Law school worth it for someone with my goals??

Postby Grizz » Mon May 31, 2010 2:06 pm

jaminben wrote:-Another question: I've read that pace has one of the best environmental programs around, even though its tier 4 could someone still be pretty successful by going to pace?


Specialty program ratings don't translate to employment.

You're asking the wrong question, what is possible, not what is probable.

Think_lax86
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Re: Tier 4, PACE Law school worth it for someone with my goals??

Postby Think_lax86 » Mon May 31, 2010 2:16 pm

I said I could care less if I work in NYC or not... I want to go to Pace because I want to practice in NY, not necessarily NYC... theres a difference...

If I take a year off, i will have WE with some "leadership" credentials (granted it be Target, and lets be serious now), I will have a district attorney internship under my belt, and I will (optimistically) bump my score up 4-5 points on the LSAT....

Or is taking on about $75-$80,000 from a 4th tier law school with a highly ranked envi program in order to practice envi law, not so crippling of an endeavor?

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merichard87
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Re: Tier 4, PACE Law school worth it for someone with my goals??

Postby merichard87 » Mon May 31, 2010 2:19 pm

Don't go to a Tier 4 law school unless you have a guaranteed job lined up.

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Grizz
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Re: Tier 4, PACE Law school worth it for someone with my goals??

Postby Grizz » Mon May 31, 2010 2:27 pm

Think_lax86 wrote:I said I could care less if I work in NYC or not... I want to go to Pace because I want to practice in NY, not necessarily NYC... theres a difference...

If I take a year off, i will have WE with some "leadership" credentials (granted it be Target, and lets be serious now), I will have a district attorney internship under my belt, and I will (optimistically) bump my score up 4-5 points on the LSAT....

Or is taking on about $75-$80,000 from a 4th tier law school with a highly ranked envi program in order to practice envi law, not so crippling of an endeavor?


Year off by a long shot. Most T4s aren't worth it, even for free.

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happy187
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Re: Tier 4, PACE Law school worth it for someone with my goals??

Postby happy187 » Mon May 31, 2010 3:48 pm

merichard87 wrote:Don't go to a Tier 4 law school unless you have a guaranteed job lined up.


I've read this plenty of times on this board and honestly just don't buy it. For undergrad I passed on Penn State and went to a small school in TX, Sam Houston State University. A few years out of undergrad I worked hard networked right and I am doing very well for my self. I have decided to go to law school. It is my passion and I am going to a tier 4 school, STCL, with no regrets on paying sticker (less the 60% covered by post 9/11 GI Bill).

I have never been limited by the name on my Degree, and law school is no different imo.

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Grizz
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Re: Tier 4, PACE Law school worth it for someone with my goals??

Postby Grizz » Mon May 31, 2010 4:10 pm

happy187 wrote:
merichard87 wrote:Don't go to a Tier 4 law school unless you have a guaranteed job lined up.


I've read this plenty of times on this board and honestly just don't buy it. For undergrad I passed on Penn State and went to a small school in TX, Sam Houston State University. A few years out of undergrad I worked hard networked right and I am doing very well for my self. I have decided to go to law school. It is my passion and I am going to a tier 4 school, STCL, with no regrets on paying sticker (less the 60% covered by post 9/11 GI Bill).

I have never been limited by the name on my Degree, and law school is no different imo.


Undergrad =/= Law School

HTH

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happy187
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Re: Tier 4, PACE Law school worth it for someone with my goals??

Postby happy187 » Mon May 31, 2010 4:32 pm

maybe, but really i can't make this determination for myself until I graduate law school and start my search. this site is full of great information that I always take with a giant grain of salt. there are just too many factors (markets, job experience, law experience) to believe in statements like; "Don't go to a tier 4 school, you will never get a job".

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bk1
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Re: Tier 4, PACE Law school worth it for someone with my goals??

Postby bk1 » Mon May 31, 2010 4:40 pm

happy187 wrote:maybe, but really i can't make this determination for myself until I graduate law school and start my search. this site is full of great information that I always take with a giant grain of salt. there are just too many factors (markets, job experience, law experience) to believe in statements like; "Don't go to a tier 4 school, you will never get a job".


I find it rough to put down a 6 figure investment with the mentality that I would figure it while in the situation.

However, I think the point is go to the best school you can get into or to a lesser school if you have a scholarship for it. While many on these boards may decry T4 schools, if someone truly wants to a be a lawyer and a T4 is their only option then that person should go to the T4. I don't think people are trying to stamp out people's only options, but rather to point out that most people can get into somewhere better than a T4 if they put the effort forth, and that effort is worth it.

If you have a chance to getting into somewhere better than a T4 at sticker, you should take it even if it requires waiting a year and retaking/reapplying. The point is not to say that T1 grads are better than T4 grads, but to acknowledge that if a person can get into both, they should go to the stronger option.

Anonymous User
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Re: Tier 4, PACE Law school worth it for someone with my goals??

Postby Anonymous User » Mon May 31, 2010 5:27 pm

Any decent job in Env. Law is going to be ruthlessly competitive to get. Pace just isn't going to be a player there for an average student that is lacking heavy duty connections, like your dad runs an Enviro nonprofit and has agreed to hire you after LS.

Case in point: a friend of mine went to a tier 2/3 school, did well and even did a couple prestigious Enviro internships outside the state where the school was located. Result: he is now doing unpaid, volunteer legal work and living off family $ months after passing the bar despite having a killer resume, great work experience, etc.

Bottom line is that there are just too few good jobs in Enviro Law, and unless you're very well connected or going to a top top law school, you really have no chance at those jobs at all.

Law school is nothing like UG. Employers, even ones that traditionally hired from the bottom of the barrel are being ever more picky about the schools they hire from, grades earned in LS, etc. simply because there way, way more LS grads than jobs available for them.

savagecheater
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Re: Tier 4, PACE Law school worth it for someone with my goals??

Postby savagecheater » Mon May 31, 2010 6:29 pm

happy187 wrote:maybe, but really i can't make this determination for myself until I graduate law school and start my search.


...and then realize that you shouldn't have gone to a 4th tier program in the first place?

stjaba
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Re: Tier 4, PACE Law school worth it for someone with my goals??

Postby stjaba » Mon May 31, 2010 9:16 pm

Think_lax86 wrote:I have also contemplated retaking the LSAT to see if I can bump my score up in order to get more money from Pace or just get into a better law school and completely alter my prospective legal career path doing something more like corporate or BigLaw. But like I said Id rather be working in the environmental/energy law field. The stuff really interests me and I feel like I would be doing something morally respectable with my life (not saying corporate law isn't morally respectable, its just not for me, at least I dont think it is from everything I read and hear about the field.) I already took the LSAT 3 times... 2 years ago I got a 151, than this year I got a 157 and 159... I dont know if taking an additional year off to retake is a good idea but I dont know...


If I'm not mistaken, the LSAC usually only permits you to take the LSAT 3 times. I believe you can apply for a waiver if you get some sort of letter from a law school you're interested in applying to. I would do a little research in this area to confirm you can re-take though.

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Grizz
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Re: Tier 4, PACE Law school worth it for someone with my goals??

Postby Grizz » Mon May 31, 2010 9:22 pm

happy187 wrote:maybe, but really i can't make this determination for myself until I graduate law school and start my search. this site is full of great information that I always take with a giant grain of salt. there are just too many factors (markets, job experience, law experience) to believe in statements like; "Don't go to a tier 4 school, you will never get a job".


By the time you have to "make the determination for yourself," you won't be able to affect your marketability in any meaningful way. That is just silly.

Didn't say you could never get a job, but your chances improve exponentially if you go to a nationally recognized school or the best school in the market you want to practice in.

Think_lax86
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Re: Tier 4, PACE Law school worth it for someone with my goals??

Postby Think_lax86 » Tue Jun 01, 2010 12:30 am

First I would like to say thank you for the discussion so far, I really appreciate the advice even tho it may not be something I want to hear, it is something I am thankful for hearing...

Didn't say you could never get a job, but your chances improve exponentially if you go to a nationally recognized school or the best school in the market you want to practice in.


Pace is top third enviro law program in the nation... Does that mean my chances will be improved exponentially?

I am trying to take this forum and everything said on it "with a grain of salt" but its hard because I dont really know what to think of the people on this website... I dont know if you are all just extremely talented child prodigy's that have stellar GPAs and LSAT scores and get into top 20 law schools (I know this website is called top-law-schools for a reason). Or are you average people with average grades and average LSAT scores... The former seems to want BIGLAW, 100-200k jobs, corporate yuppy stuff... but the latter wouldnt really have this option because all the top law schoolers beat them out...

I am not looking for a BIGLAW, $200,000, 100 hour a week job... I am looking to excel in a field that I THINK suites my personality and interests and will hopefully pay me a nice salary for my extremely hard work ethic and ability to succeed...

I am an extremely hard worker, and as undergrad was winding down I really started to figure out how to do well in school and that if I want to be successful and do well, I needed to really put my all into it and focus... and it worked... I became really good at studying and reading and developed a passion for working hard and seeing exceptional results for my hard work (unfortunately I ended off with a 3.2 GPA but my last 3 semesters where all about a 3.9)... I like to read, I like to write, I majored in environmental studies and this area really interests me, especially policy and law (from what I have learned in my environmental law class). Call it optimistic naivety, but for some reason I feel like environmental lawyers are kind of like knights in shining armor. The kinds of work they do and the changes that ultimately result for litigation in areas like toxic torts, asbestos cases, brownsfield recovery, etc. just makes me feel like I can make a difference and really help people and the environment for the future. But than again maybe I just watched a Civil Action and Erin Brokovich one too many times...

I want a family, I want a life outside of work, but I also want a job that is challenging and that will allow me to wake up in the morning and be happy to know that I am changing peoples lives for the better and helping the environmental cause. I got into hofstra will $15,000 scholy which would put me at close to 130k debt after 3 years... I got into NYLS with 15k scholly which would put me at probably over 150k (but they have a program where you can study envi law at Vermont law school for a year which is the #1 law school in the nation)... I got waitlisted to St johns... denied from cardozo and fordham... still waiting on seton hall, rutgers-newark, and brooklyn law

If I take another year off to bump the LSAT up:
-I will have a year of work experience as a manager, and apparently law schools like to see work experience which shows "leadership" (granted I work at Target as a manager so lets not kid ourselves)
-I am starting my district attorneys internship tomorrow
-I MIGHT bump my score 4-5 points and get into the low-mid 160's but who knows

If I go to Pace now
-I will be going to a top 3rd envi law program
-i will be going to a tier 4 law school
-get out of law school at age 26 instead of 27
-dont run the risk of falling into that trap of advancing in a job until I just settle (target sucks so I hope not)
-come out owing close to $80,000 debt with unknown job prospects in law

My girlfriends dad is a judge and owns his own law firm... I dont want to say I have a job waiting for me because who knows what will happen with my relationship when I am in law school, but that is something to think about.

Thank you again for the comments and suggestions thus far...

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Grizz
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Re: Tier 4, PACE Law school worth it for someone with my goals??

Postby Grizz » Tue Jun 01, 2010 12:40 am

I will reiterate:

Specialty rankings (aka having a top 3 enviro program) don't mean jack.

Genuine saving the environment PI jobs are also incredibly competitive and prestige oriented. There is not some dearth of people that want to save the environment. The employers, generally, would love to have the T12 grad with an interest in the field and maybe some summer experience in the area rather than the Pace grad, even with the "top 3 enviro program." Sorry.

Not saying you can't excel in the field from Pace. But if you're grades aren't tippity top of the class, you may not even get a shot in, period.

Take the year off.

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merichard87
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Re: Tier 4, PACE Law school worth it for someone with my goals??

Postby merichard87 » Tue Jun 01, 2010 12:53 am

happy187 wrote:
merichard87 wrote:Don't go to a Tier 4 law school unless you have a guaranteed job lined up.


I've read this plenty of times on this board and honestly just don't buy it. For undergrad I passed on Penn State and went to a small school in TX, Sam Houston State University. A few years out of undergrad I worked hard networked right and I am doing very well for my self. I have decided to go to law school. It is my passion and I am going to a tier 4 school, STCL, with no regrets on paying sticker (less the 60% covered by post 9/11 GI Bill).

I have never been limited by the name on my Degree, and law school is no different imo.


I'm from Houston so I'm familiar with Sam Houston. As a matter of fact my uncle went to Sam for UG and then STCL and started his own successful practice. And the Houston market is a different beast. STCL has a pretty good reputation in the city and is not being overshadowing by 5 other law schools in the city.

Most people tell aspirants not to attend T4s simply because you put yourself at a disadvantage for finding work that pays more than $40k. No one is saying they won't find jobs just that they won't have the same opportunities as a T1 grad.

Think_lax86
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Re: Tier 4, PACE Law school worth it for someone with my goals??

Postby Think_lax86 » Tue Jun 01, 2010 8:29 am

so ive been on this website for a while now and i think i have come to 2 conclusions about law school. There is no reason to go, or at least a very small reason to go unless you:
(A) Get into a top 20, maybe a top 50 school but top 20 would be better; or
(B) You get into another lower ranked school but can go for free or barely any money at all

An additional note would be for option (B) would be also not to go unless you have some kind of job already lined up before you even go to law school (ie. father is a lawyers, your close family friends with lawyers, etc.)

Please correct me if I am wrong, but if I am not well than I guess dreams where made to be broken.

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romothesavior
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Re: Tier 4, PACE Law school worth it for someone with my goals??

Postby romothesavior » Tue Jun 01, 2010 8:47 am

I think your set-up is just about correct. You should go to the best school you can or you should minimize your debt at a lower ranked school, but even then, I wouldn't dip below T2 or maybe a cheap, solid T3 in the area you want to practice. There is no sense in getting a free law degree if the odds of getting a job are low. Hell, I'm going to a T20 (WUSTL) with a 2/3 scholarship, and I'm still incredibly nervous about job prospects and debt. The cut-off point where people are really "safe" is probably Harvard/Yale/Stanford (and while Chicago/Columbia/NYU students are probably still almost all safe for quality employment, there are some that will slip thru the cracks and it is certainly not safe for big law or prestigious PI).

And don't be intimidated by the people on here. I know I was at first too; the talent level of some of the people on TLS is incredible. But for the most part, everyone on here is friendly, helpful, and down-to-earth. I'm certainly not some child prodigy with a 170+ LSAT. In fact, I'll be the first person in my entire family to get a law degree. The majority of the people on here are just normal folks, and everyone is usually very helpful. As long as you are respectful and reasonable, most people will treat you with respect in return.

My advice: If you really want to practice law and you really want to do environmental law, take a year off. I know it is a hard thing to do and it may sting for a while or be embarassing to discuss with your friends and family, but it will pay huge dividends in the long run. Head on over to the LSAT forum on TLS and read Pithypike's guide to success on the LSAT, and pick up some LSAT study materials. Perhaps even enroll in a class, if you think that is how you learn best. If this is really what you want, then you need to put in LOTS of studying for this test and go out and make it happen.

Good luck!

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Grizz
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Re: Tier 4, PACE Law school worth it for someone with my goals??

Postby Grizz » Tue Jun 01, 2010 9:34 am

Think_lax86 wrote:Please correct me if I am wrong, but if I am not well than I guess dreams where made to be broken.


You asked for advice; Pace is a bad way to accomplish your goals.




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