No BigLaw, no NYC/DC/LA/SF, Where to apply?

(Rankings, Profiles, Tuition, Student Life, . . . )
dihydrogenmonoxide
Posts: 37
Joined: Wed Sep 22, 2010 12:16 am

No BigLaw, no NYC/DC/LA/SF, Where to apply?

Postby dihydrogenmonoxide » Fri Sep 24, 2010 12:15 am

So if "Biglaw" means something like "a large firm at which I'd have to work 12+ hours a day", I absolutely do not want to work in Biglaw. I must have some semblance of a life. I don't care if that means I work at a "quality of life" firm, or do government work, or public interest. I just want to have a life, while hopefully making enough to pay down whatever debt I have and still make good money (say, $60k a year after debt payments), and hopefully have a job that is interesting a decent chunk of the time. I don't care at ALL about prestige, and don't want to live in NYC/DC/LA/SF due to various reasons (cost of living, my perception of the legal culture in those places, etc.)

With these facts in mind, do you think it would be more prudent of me to accept a no $ offer from a high T14 (other than HYS), a some money offer from a low T14, or a full ride from the best school in a city I'd like to live in (nothing lower than top 35ish in the last option)?

I have no further details because this is purely hypothetical (I haven't applied anywhere yet, or even taken the LSAT. I realize it is extremely presumptuous to think I could even get into a T14 without knowing my LSAT, but this is just hypothetical).

I mean, the standard wisdom around here seems to be "go to the highest ranked school you get into, period." But would that advice change given my goals? Are job prospects really as bad as some seem to suggest (i.e. if you don't go to HYS or get top 10% at CCN you will dig ditches for the rest of your life)?


I appreciate all advice!

User avatar
kalvano
Posts: 11720
Joined: Mon Sep 07, 2009 2:24 am

Re: No BigLaw, no NYC/DC/LA/SF, Where to apply?

Postby kalvano » Fri Sep 24, 2010 9:08 am

After the T14, stop worrying about the rankings to a large degree. Meaning that, if you decide you want to work in Louisiana, don't pass on a nice offer from Tulane simply because it's ranked 48 instead of 35.

Other than that, if you have T14 numbers, chances are you'll get a nice offer from some more regional schools. The T14 will open a lot of doors, not just Biglaw. More clerkship opportunities, more chances at the cooler jobs, etc. Don't pre-judge what you want to do before you even take the LSAT. You might get into school and love something that takes you into a very nice Biglaw job.

Having said that, if you decide you want to work in Dallas, Texas (for whatever unholy reason possesses you) and you get a nice offer from SMU, it might be worth taking 75% or 80% tuition there instead of sticker at Duke.

TL;DR - Take the LSAT and see what offers are available to you before you close off any doors.

User avatar
nealric
Posts: 2391
Joined: Fri Sep 25, 2009 9:53 am

Re: No BigLaw, no NYC/DC/LA/SF, Where to apply?

Postby nealric » Fri Sep 24, 2010 9:59 am

I'm always a bit worried when a prospective law student only wants to work 40 hours a week. This is not because I think every lawyer should be a workaholic who never sees their kids, but because getting established as a lawyer and developing a skill set requires a lot of hard work. You probably won't be on a 40 hour a week schedule in law school if you want to do well. Moreover, you will find very few jobs (biglaw or otherwise) for new lawyers that aren't going to require more than the average work week.

As far as picking as school, the rule of thumb is to go prestigious, go cheap, or go home. Minimize your debt- a full 200k loan load will swallow a 60k salary whole (as in you would have nothing left to live on unless you are on a 30-year payment plan). But be wary of lower ranked schools offering scholarships- those tend to be "teaser rates" that are designed to be yanked out from under you after 1L year unless you are at the top of your class.
Last edited by nealric on Fri Sep 24, 2010 10:40 am, edited 1 time in total.

User avatar
Patriot1208
Posts: 7044
Joined: Tue May 18, 2010 11:28 am

Re: No BigLaw, no NYC/DC/LA/SF, Where to apply?

Postby Patriot1208 » Fri Sep 24, 2010 10:18 am

Also, out of law school, you won't have a job that gives you 60k a year after debt payments (if you pay sticker). It'll be less or substantially more.

User avatar
Other25BeforeYou
Posts: 503
Joined: Sun Oct 05, 2008 1:19 pm

Re: No BigLaw, no NYC/DC/LA/SF, Where to apply?

Postby Other25BeforeYou » Sat Sep 25, 2010 5:48 pm

dihydrogenmonoxide wrote:I just want to have a life, while hopefully making enough to pay down whatever debt I have and still make good money (say, $60k a year after debt payments), and hopefully have a job that is interesting a decent chunk of the time.!

Do you mean that upon graduation from law school you want a job where your take-home pay is enough to cover loan payments and have 60K left to spend?

I'd wager 90% of those aiming for biglaw wouldn't if there were jobs out there that were interesting, provided time for a life, and left us 60K after making our monthly loan payments.




Return to “Choosing a Law School”

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 3 guests