Better Market, Florida or Georgia?

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Better Market, Florida or Georgia?

Postby Loyant » Wed Jun 09, 2010 11:24 am

I have been trying to decide which market, either Florida or Georgia, is the more attractive option for the future. Although I have found many different points of discussion on TLS, I have not found a discussion considering all of the points that I consider relevant, outlined below:

First, I am a transfer student with applications out to UF and Emory. I am anticipating an acceptance to both because I finished my tier 4 1L year in the top 5%, and possibly the top 2%. I also have significant professional work experience. I am a Florida resident, so I understand that if I intend to practice in Florida, I should choose UF. I have personal reasons to stay here, such as family, and I do like the state.


I look at 11 law schools in Florida, pumping out tier 4 students, and I look at the state of our economy in Florida, which is heavily dependent on the housing industry and tourism, and I have to wonder if Atlanta and Emory is a wiser choice for the future. Some points for explanation:

    -The Florida bar has over 3 times the active membership as the Georgia bar.
    -The Florida law schools are producing roughly 2,300 students per year to roughly 1,000 in Georgia.
    -Although there appears to be roughly 2X as many job postings in Florida, the biggest market in Florida is Miami which I have no intention of practicing in.
    -From my research it appears that Georgia's economy is overall doing better than Florida, and Atlanta continues to be a strong secondary market.
    -I have a wife and child and I have no intention of accepting a position at biglaw so that I can still know my family.
    -I understand that a degree from Florida has very little play out of the state.
    -I understand a degree from Emory has some play throughout the southeast.
    -Florida tuition is $15,000.
    -Emory tuition is $45,000.

So I am faced with two choices: go to UF and try for a Florida job outside of Miami and pay very little tuition, or go to Emory and open up my job prospects around the southeast but pay close to $60,000 in -additional- tuition.

Can you help me decide, TLS gurus? Would my refusal to work at biglaw mean that the tuition at Emory would destroy my earning power? Or is this counterbalanced by the regional job opportunities afforded by Emory?

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Re: Better Market, Florida or Georgia?

Postby Regionality » Wed Jun 09, 2010 1:19 pm

Yowsers, you are in quite the unique predicament.

Is it out of the question that you'd receive a scholarship as a transfer applicant to Emory?

My understanding about UF is that it dominates the Florida market, so even if there are a lot of T4 grads being pumped out, most of them won't be getting jobs at all and your degree from UF will dominate throughout Florida (and especially if you're not interested in Miami law at all).

In-state tuition at UF is a GREAT deal and the 45k at Emory is, IMO, too much to pay especially if you're not interested in BigLaw. If you are perfectly happy practicing in mid/northern florida, a cheap degree from UF is the BEST way to go. In fact, it's awesome.

I vote UF. And congrats on kicking ass at your T4 school!

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Re: Better Market, Florida or Georgia?

Postby Loyant » Wed Jun 09, 2010 1:29 pm

Regionality, thanks for the reply. It is my understanding that transfer students never get scholarship offers, ever.

As I have been contemplating this further, I started to wonder if the UF (Ranked #2/#3) LLM program in Taxation may be worth inclusion into the calculus. If job prospects continue to be very bad in 2012 I could try to fallback on the UF Taxation LLM. My business background was fairly involved with taxation and contractual law.......


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Re: Better Market, Florida or Georgia?

Postby CanadianWolf » Wed Jun 09, 2010 1:32 pm

The Univ. of Florida School of Law is the better choice for you.
Florida's LLM in Taxation has been well respected for decades, along with NYU & Georgetown.

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