Should I go to University of Idaho?

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Shotline
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Should I go to University of Idaho?

Postby Shotline » Wed Oct 06, 2010 9:49 pm

Hello everyone,

I am currently living in central Idaho and have decided that after already having a career in computer and running my own business (which I lost due to the economic turmoil) I have decided that I want to go to law school.

I am thinking of U of Idaho law school because I will get in state tuition and as it is closer to where I am now it will be easier to move my family there (wife and two kids).

I only have an associates right now so I will have to do undergrad first. When I was in school 16 years ago (I am 44 right now) I had a 3.65 gpa and I scored 158 on an lsat practice test without studying at all. I don't think I will have any problem maintaining at least a 3.5 gpa in undergrad and can probably bring up my lsat 3-5 points with some studying. If I can do that I believe that opens up many other law schools to me. My concern is my family and money. Being as old as I am I am concerned about finding a good paying job after graduation. Also, I don't really want to stay in Idaho to practice law but would if that was necessary.

So, can anyone offer some advice?

Is U of Idaho really a bad choice if I don't intend to practice in Idaho?

As I will be 50 before completing law school, do I really have a chance of getting a decent job?

If I go to another school outside of Idaho, how can I pay for it?


I am sure I have more questions but any advice that can be offered to the above would be helpful.


Thanks.

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bk1
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Re: Should I go to University of Idaho?

Postby bk1 » Wed Oct 06, 2010 9:51 pm

Yes it is a bad choice if you don't want to work in Idaho.

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Excellence = a Habit
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Re: Should I go to University of Idaho?

Postby Excellence = a Habit » Wed Oct 06, 2010 10:02 pm

I do not have any firsthand knowledge of the difficulties that older people face as law school applicants and then as law school graduates/job applicants, but I have read on this board that they are extensive. I would do substantial research into career opportunities for those starting a legal career in their 50s before deciding to make the financial investment involved in paying for law school/not having an income for 3 years.

Also, I think you could reasonably expect your score to go up more than 3-5 points from your diagnostic, if you put in a lot of preparation. The LSAT (especially the logic games section) is a learnable test to a certain extent (there are a lot of strategies that will significantly improve your score if you employ them), and in my experience (mainly from reading about people's LSAT progress on TLS) most people can improve their score by close to ten points from their diagnostic.

Shotline
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Re: Should I go to University of Idaho?

Postby Shotline » Wed Oct 06, 2010 10:36 pm

Excellence = a Habit wrote:I do not have any firsthand knowledge of the difficulties that older people face as law school applicants and then as law school graduates/job applicants, but I have read on this board that they are extensive. I would do substantial research into career opportunities for those starting a legal career in their 50s before deciding to make the financial investment involved in paying for law school/not having an income for 3 years.

Also, I think you could reasonably expect your score to go up more than 3-5 points from your diagnostic, if you put in a lot of preparation. The LSAT (especially the logic games section) is a learnable test to a certain extent (there are a lot of strategies that will significantly improve your score if you employ them), and in my experience (mainly from reading about people's LSAT progress on TLS) most people can improve their score by close to ten points from their diagnostic.


That is encouraging to hear about the LSAT score. I think I can greatly imporve but wanted to be conservative in my estimate.


Upon doing further reading, it seems that most 3T and 4T schools are regional in nature. From what I have read on the school profiles here, they all seem to indicate that finding employment in the state the school is in is easier than going out of state.

Even University of Utah's profile indicates that going there is only a good idea if you plan to practice in Utah and they are ranked #43.


Is this accurate?

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dresden doll
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Re: Should I go to University of Idaho?

Postby dresden doll » Wed Oct 06, 2010 10:54 pm

Shotline wrote:Even University of Utah's profile indicates that going there is only a good idea if you plan to practice in Utah and they are ranked #43.


Is this accurate?

Yes. Believe them when they say it. Only a handful of LSs have national reach.

Shotline
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Re: Should I go to University of Idaho?

Postby Shotline » Wed Oct 06, 2010 11:23 pm

dresden doll wrote:
Shotline wrote:Even University of Utah's profile indicates that going there is only a good idea if you plan to practice in Utah and they are ranked #43.


Is this accurate?

Yes. Believe them when they say it. Only a handful of LSs have national reach.



Then the question becomes, how does one choose a law school? I am not trying to be argumentative, but does everyone just go to a school near where they plan to practice? What about lawyers who relocate to other states? Or is it just a matter of that unless you plan to go for the big brass ring and work for a top tier firm that where you went to school is less important?

I really would like to become an attorney as I am very interested in law. But, given my age I need to make sure that it is the right decision for me.
Thanks for the input everyone, I appreciate it.

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northwood
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Re: Should I go to University of Idaho?

Postby northwood » Wed Oct 06, 2010 11:37 pm

There are many different ways people decide where to go to school. Some people put a higher preference on rankings ( either national, or for fields of law that they are really interested in). Others pick a region or two that they know they want to live and work in and apply to only those schools. Some choose based on the cost of attendance and any scholarship, financial aid, or other expenses.

ITs much easier to go to school in the area where you want to end up- and network, as you will be in the community, and able to make a good impression to more people.

I think there is a big difference in how people make this decision from those who are making a career change, as to those going to law school straight from undergrad.

In your case, you should talk this over with your family. With kids in the picture, it gets tricky super quick. There are other jobs in the legal field that may interest you ( but you dont need to go to school as long for). YOu need to do 2 years undergrad, and 3 years of graduate work.... thats 5 years without having a career, assuming you go to school full time. If you go at night, then it will take longer. im not trying to persuade you to make a decision, but just trying to help. ( I'm sure you have many conversations and thoughts about this before making the post). Talk to lawyers in the field, and your family to help you make this big decision. If you are not sure where you want to live, figure that out, then go from there.

Best of luck and know that whatever you decide to do, it will be for the best interests of you and your family

nateaway
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Re: Should I go to University of Idaho?

Postby nateaway » Wed Oct 06, 2010 11:52 pm

dresden doll wrote:Then the question becomes, how does one choose a law school? I am not trying to be argumentative, but does everyone just go to a school near where they plan to practice? What about lawyers who relocate to other states? Or is it just a matter of that unless you plan to go for the big brass ring and work for a top tier firm that where you went to school is less important?

I really would like to become an attorney as I am very interested in law. But, given my age I need to make sure that it is the right decision for me.
Thanks for the input everyone, I appreciate it.


its not that once you graduate you're stuck there forever. You're just stuck there until you work long enough to be a real actual functioning lawyer with skills and references and hopefully some manner of reputation. That said it can often times be difficult to move terribly far away (say east coast as opposed to denver) from an insular market like boise where many firms won't have any contacts and in a similar vein you will have trouble meeting "ins".

Shotline
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Re: Should I go to University of Idaho?

Postby Shotline » Thu Oct 07, 2010 1:12 am

nateaway wrote:
dresden doll wrote:Then the question becomes, how does one choose a law school? I am not trying to be argumentative, but does everyone just go to a school near where they plan to practice? What about lawyers who relocate to other states? Or is it just a matter of that unless you plan to go for the big brass ring and work for a top tier firm that where you went to school is less important?

I really would like to become an attorney as I am very interested in law. But, given my age I need to make sure that it is the right decision for me.
Thanks for the input everyone, I appreciate it.


its not that once you graduate you're stuck there forever. You're just stuck there until you work long enough to be a real actual functioning lawyer with skills and references and hopefully some manner of reputation. That said it can often times be difficult to move terribly far away (say east coast as opposed to denver) from an insular market like boise where many firms won't have any contacts and in a similar vein you will have trouble meeting "ins".



I have no allusions of being able to work in a top tier firm and making a ton of money at this point in my life. I am currently a sheriff's deputy working in a county jail in Idaho. I have a good background in computers after a 15 year career. I bought a business in Idaho because I was burned out on the computer industry and wanted a change. I lost the business and took the deputy job just to get a paycheck. I sit in court several times a week with the inmates and get to watch lawyers and judges at work. After watching them for two years I decided that I could probably do a better job than the lawyers I was observing. I have the impression that being a lawyer is a pretty stable profession and the law is interesting to me and I also think I would be good at it.

My ultimate goal is to be able to make a decent living and be able to send my children to college without them having the same worries that I am having about money. I am willing to work in Idaho for a few years but don't want to be confined here due to the school I went to. So, I hope to be making around $80,000 within 3 years of passing the bar.

Are my goals realistic?

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ryleez
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Re: Should I go to University of Idaho?

Postby ryleez » Thu Oct 07, 2010 1:17 am

A jump of more than 3-5 points is not at all out of the question either. With a month of studying I was able to increase my score by about 10 points. A 168 would open a lot of doors for scholarship money in the Mt. West schools.

Shotline
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Re: Should I go to University of Idaho?

Postby Shotline » Thu Oct 07, 2010 1:27 am

ryleez wrote:A jump of more than 3-5 points is not at all out of the question either. With a month of studying I was able to increase my score by about 10 points. A 168 would open a lot of doors for scholarship money in the Mt. West schools.


That is another question as well, what about scholarships? Although I have a family, my wife is very supportive of me going to law school. She is very flexable on where we live while I attend school. So, the question becomes one of money and again my age plays an important part. I figure I will have 10 to 20 years to be able to practice law. I don't want to spend all that time repaying loans. So scholarships would help greatly.

How does one determine if they will be able to get scholarships?

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Excellence = a Habit
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Re: Should I go to University of Idaho?

Postby Excellence = a Habit » Thu Oct 07, 2010 1:29 pm

Shotline wrote:
ryleez wrote:A jump of more than 3-5 points is not at all out of the question either. With a month of studying I was able to increase my score by about 10 points. A 168 would open a lot of doors for scholarship money in the Mt. West schools.


That is another question as well, what about scholarships? Although I have a family, my wife is very supportive of me going to law school. She is very flexable on where we live while I attend school. So, the question becomes one of money and again my age plays an important part. I figure I will have 10 to 20 years to be able to practice law. I don't want to spend all that time repaying loans. So scholarships would help greatly.

How does one determine if they will be able to get scholarships?


http://www.lawschoolnumbers.com

^^ Search for applicants from recent cycles with similar GPAs and LSATs to you (or to your predicted LSAT score), and see what scholarships they were offered at the schools they applied to. Or try http://www.hourumd.com for pure statistical probabilities - based on data from LSN, but they take out all the context. The disadvantage of these sources for you is that there won't be much data at all on applicants who have been out of school for as long as you have, but it's better than nothing.

shastaca
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Re: Should I go to University of Idaho?

Postby shastaca » Thu Oct 07, 2010 1:47 pm

Anecdote:

My father has a friend who was mid forties, went to Idaho Law, passed the bar, and is now back working where he was before only for less pay due to the business downturn. He says that if he'd stayed, he probably would be making his old wages still.

So three years of no pay, Idaho law degree, and less pay...right now he truly wishes he hadn't gone that route.

He did love his time at Idaho law though. . .

GoBroncos22!
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Re: Should I go to University of Idaho?

Postby GoBroncos22! » Thu Oct 07, 2010 4:22 pm

I go to BSU currently, and Idaho is a BIG prospect for me-just sent in my app a few days ago-cause I wanna stay in Idaho. I think that if you want to work in Idaho specifically, unless you are comin from like top10, you would be stupid NOT to go to Idaho. Now, if you want to work anywhere else, that changes. I heard the northwest is pretty friendly to Idaho grads, but to a limited extent. i havnt heard of many people takin their idaho JD much further than this though

asmj07
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Re: Should I go to University of Idaho?

Postby asmj07 » Wed Oct 13, 2010 12:27 pm

shastaca wrote:Anecdote:

My father has a friend who was mid forties, went to Idaho Law, passed the bar, and is now back working where he was before only for less pay due to the business downturn. He says that if he'd stayed, he probably would be making his old wages still.

So three years of no pay, Idaho law degree, and less pay...right now he truly wishes he hadn't gone that route.

He did love his time at Idaho law though. . .


shastaca, what industry was your father's friend working in prior to (and I guess after) law school?

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stephan75th
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Re: Should I go to University of Idaho?

Postby stephan75th » Thu Oct 14, 2010 11:51 pm

My uncle went to the U of Idaho for law school and now he's the city attorney in Spokane, WA. Not bad at all

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A'nold
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Re: Should I go to University of Idaho?

Postby A'nold » Tue Oct 19, 2010 8:47 pm

1. Talking about working about Spokane as the "great thing" that can come out of a U of I degree is going to scare people away. :wink:

2. Dude, there are many things you need to consider with making this "career change." Right off the bat, you need to readjust your idea that you will be making 80k three years out of law school, especially coming from Idaho. I would bet that that kind of wage would be hard no matter where you go being near 50 years old. Many older student I know are either trying to get promoted within their current industry or are planning to hang a shingle.

As for Idaho: it is definitely a mixed bag. There a few good professors, some o.k. ones, and some REALLY awful ones. You will never find a more rundown law school besides maybe PCL. The administration does not look after its students and the grading is extremely prejudicial to one section each year traditionally. One year, they had a lazy adjunct professor give one section all A's and the administration just let it go and the median GPA ballooned over the other section's, basically screwing over half of their student body for jobs, LR, etc. They got rid of the professor but did nothing to help the students that were wronged. They do not have an "official curve" but some professors curve to like a 2.68 or a 2.45 while the other professors curve to a 3.0. Often times, the professors with easier curves are found in the same section for whatever reason. The career services office is one person and NO ONE is recruiting at that school. She gives you the NALP and sends you on your way. There is 0, and I mean zero, OCI in Moscow. U of I, from what I have seen, is not very highly regarded, even in Idaho and many of the students are jaded and want to get out ASAP.

The traditional benefits of U of I were its low cost and small class size. However, tuition is rising sharply.

Idaho approved for a school, Concordia I believe, to open shop in Boise. Students are sure to flock there over U of I. Nobody in Idaho wants to live in Moscow. They would easily choose Concordia as a non-accredited option to stay in Boise. Trust me, I've heard it a million times.

If you do decide to apply, play hard ball BIGTIME with scholly negotiation. If you can score a 160 or above, make them give you at least 7k in addition to your in-state status.

I would say that in any given year, half the class (and this is being generous) will not become attorneys. It's just the sad reality of coming from that school, especially ITE. Good luck!

asmj07
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Re: Should I go to University of Idaho?

Postby asmj07 » Tue Oct 26, 2010 2:30 pm

A'nold, I know you were fortunate enough to transfer to UW this year, and that's fantastic. I guess I take issue with your claim that everyone at UI is miserable and desperate to escape. The current law students I know are a pretty happy bunch and although they are realistic about their job prospects, they don't quite paint the dismal portrait that you do.

As someone who plans to stay in this area after law school (I'm tethered for various reasons), I don't think it's such a terrible option. I know you have a good reputation on these boards, so I do believe what you're saying and appreciate the dose of realism, but you don't speak for the entire school.

Also, for those who do desire to work in Boise, 3 years ago OCI was more robust. Several of the Boise firms that normally recruit at UI didn't visit a single campus last year (per NALPDirectory), so I don't know if the current OCI issues are indicative of how things are going to look in 2 years.

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thexfactor
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Re: Should I go to University of Idaho?

Postby thexfactor » Wed Oct 27, 2010 9:05 am

wow i didnt realize how far Moscow ID was from Boise. 6 HR drive. I also didnt realize how close Moscow is to Pullman WA, site of Washington State University.

asmj07
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Re: Should I go to University of Idaho?

Postby asmj07 » Wed Oct 27, 2010 12:25 pm

I was surprised by the Moscow-Pullman closeness as well. It takes less time to drive to Pullman than it used to take me to drive to the grocery store from my house in my former town.

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A'nold
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Re: Should I go to University of Idaho?

Postby A'nold » Mon Jul 18, 2011 10:52 pm

asmj07 wrote:A'nold, I know you were fortunate enough to transfer to UW this year, and that's fantastic. I guess I take issue with your claim that everyone at UI is miserable and desperate to escape. The current law students I know are a pretty happy bunch and although they are realistic about their job prospects, they don't quite paint the dismal portrait that you do.

As someone who plans to stay in this area after law school (I'm tethered for various reasons), I don't think it's such a terrible option. I know you have a good reputation on these boards, so I do believe what you're saying and appreciate the dose of realism, but you don't speak for the entire school.

Also, for those who do desire to work in Boise, 3 years ago OCI was more robust. Several of the Boise firms that normally recruit at UI didn't visit a single campus last year (per NALPDirectory), so I don't know if the current OCI issues are indicative of how things are going to look in 2 years.

Dude, I know about 70 2L's at the school and I can tell you there are very few that are not jaded about the school and their job prospects. In fact, many of these students were some of the most downer, dreary, pessimistic, killself types I've ever met. It's like one big bitch fest there. Sure there are nice people, but I'm telling you guys (and maybe this is different for different class years) that the class of 2012 at least were not happy to be in Moscow and were counting down the days to leave.

ocbrody
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Re: Should I go to University of Idaho?

Postby ocbrody » Mon Jul 18, 2011 11:47 pm

--ImageRemoved--

Other than the fact that it took 9 months for that reply, I totally agree with you that Moscow sucks. If the OP is still out there/still cares/still alive I could share why I chose not to be in the Idaho entering class this fall.

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El_Gallo
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Re: Should I go to University of Idaho?

Postby El_Gallo » Mon Jul 18, 2011 11:56 pm

ocbrody wrote:Other than the fact that it took 9 months for that reply, I totally agree with you that Moscow sucks. If the OP is still out there/still cares/still alive I could share why I chose not to be in the Idaho entering class this fall.


Do share.

And how about this hypo. UW, BYU, or UI with partial-full scholly for a guy that wants to practice in idaho.

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rinkrat19
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Re: Should I go to University of Idaho?

Postby rinkrat19 » Tue Jul 19, 2011 12:14 am

asmj07 wrote:I was surprised by the Moscow-Pullman closeness as well. It takes less time to drive to Pullman than it used to take me to drive to the grocery store from my house in my former town.

Back in the day, the drinking age in Washington was lower than in Idaho. There were a LOT of accidents on that 9-mile stretch of highway.

FWIW, I like Moscow. I've never lived there, but I've visited there a billion times and there are definitely worse places in the middle of nowhere.

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RaleighStClair
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Re: Should I go to University of Idaho?

Postby RaleighStClair » Wed Aug 24, 2011 2:24 pm

rinkrat19 wrote:
asmj07 wrote:I was surprised by the Moscow-Pullman closeness as well. It takes less time to drive to Pullman than it used to take me to drive to the grocery store from my house in my former town.

Back in the day, the drinking age in Washington Idaho was lower than in Idaho Washington. There were a LOT of accidents on that 9-mile stretch of highway.

FWIW, I like Moscow. I've never lived there, but I've visited there a billion times and there are definitely worse places in the middle of nowhere.




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