Specialty law schools

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DeeCee
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Specialty law schools

Postby DeeCee » Thu Dec 16, 2010 2:23 pm

What do you guys think about specialty law schools? I mean like Vermont and Pace for Enviro law, etc. Should ranking overshadow specialty?

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Re: Specialty law schools

Postby QandAphorism » Thu Dec 16, 2010 2:27 pm

DCLaw11 wrote:What do you guys think about specialty law schools? I mean like Vermont and Pace for Enviro law, etc. Should ranking overshadow specialty?



I don't think ranking should overshadow anything. Take Duke's entrepreneurship law specialty, for example. Do you think one would be better served if that's the direction they were looking to go by going to UVA over Duke? No way. Ranking shmanking - US News is a business as well, btw.

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DeeCee
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Re: Specialty law schools

Postby DeeCee » Thu Dec 16, 2010 2:34 pm

That's how I feel (sort of). I'm interested in Enviro law btw, but I can't help thinking, would a school like Pace, where I could get a full scholly be better than a T30, where I'd get a little scholly but not a lot. I'm thinking in that case the T30 would set you up for better connections.....but am I wrong?

I hate how the money decisions overshadow desires, but it is what it is with law.

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Re: Specialty law schools

Postby paratactical » Thu Dec 16, 2010 2:40 pm

DCLaw11 wrote:That's how I feel (sort of). I'm interested in Enviro law btw, but I can't help thinking, would a school like Pace, where I could get a full scholly be better than a T30, where I'd get a little scholly but not a lot. I'm thinking in that case the T30 would set you up for better connections.....but am I wrong?

I hate how the money decisions overshadow desires, but it is what it is with law.


You are partly wrong. If you don't mind being unemployed, getting a full ride to Pace is the right choice. But if you want to get a job, environmental law is a very risky thing to shoot for because there just aren't many jobs that focus on the hippie side of it and those jobs go to grads from the top schools who have already been doing nonprofit work in the field. Environmental law, "international law", a lot of these specialty programs are just marketing schemes the schools use to try to lure people into paying too much money for an education that will not get them employment. It's not a terrible idea to go to a school you want to go to for free, but you have to wager that you might not end up protecting forests and the like.

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DeeCee
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Re: Specialty law schools

Postby DeeCee » Thu Dec 16, 2010 2:47 pm

DCLaw11 wrote:You are partly wrong. If you don't mind being unemployed, getting a full ride to Pace is the right choice. But if you want to get a job, environmental law is a very risky thing to shoot for because there just aren't many jobs that focus on the hippie side of it and those jobs go to grads from the top schools who have already been doing nonprofit work in the field. Environmental law, "international law", a lot of these specialty programs are just marketing schemes the schools use to try to lure people into paying too much money for an education that will not get them employment. It's not a terrible idea to go to a school you want to go to for free, but you have to wager that you might not end up protecting forests and the like.


LOL--How did you know I want to save trees??? I am currently at a very hippie grad school btw.......

Seriously though, my dream is to go into government or the like, and I am into environmental advocacy that does not involve tying myself to a tree or anything. I like to do things the legal way and I take baths, contrary to half of my peers in grad school :D . However, I am trying to figure out the best course of action. I too am afraid of grim employment aspects by going to a T2 / T3 in lieu of T30, no matter what the money situation. Do you think in this instance it is always wise to pick the T30, no matter what the extra cost?

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Re: Specialty law schools

Postby Lawquacious » Thu Dec 16, 2010 2:51 pm

I think T30 is better than Pace with full-scholly, but if they have a particular program you are really interested in it makes sense to weigh that in the mix.. Most people on here seem to indicate the specialty rankings should be generally disregarded. I think obviously the overall quality of the law school is more important to consider than a special program (for one thing since you will still be taking all the basic required law courses wherever you go), but there definitely are lowly-ranked schools that have particular strengths and garner professional respect for their specialties.

One other thing to consider (which I didn't really take much account of in the application process) is how much cost of living debt contributes to overall debt. Since I am not planning on working while in law school (other than summers) I am racking up a lot of COL debt that is comparable to tuition debt itself. I'm on scholarship now (not full but more than half), but have realized that even if I had taken a full-scholarship at a lesser school I probably would have ended up owing a relatively similar amount as compared to if I stay here for 3 years- that school is in an area with a much higher COL. A full scholarship sounds great, but if it doesn't include COL (which I think almost none of them do) then there can still be considerable debt regardless of the savings in tuition. Less crushing in comparison with owing tuition + COL? For sure, but then the additional tuition could possibly be made up for in a higher starting salary that is likely out of a much higher-ranked school (still far from guaranteed these days). I think there can be advantages of going either way on this issue though, and that things are a lot less clear-cut than they are often made to sound on TLS (where there is a very strong prestige bias).

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Re: Specialty law schools

Postby paratactical » Thu Dec 16, 2010 2:56 pm

DCLaw11 wrote:LOL--How did you know I want to save trees??? I am currently at a very hippie grad school btw.......

Seriously though, my dream is to go into government or the like, and I am into environmental advocacy that does not involve tying myself to a tree or anything. I like to do things the legal way and I take baths, contrary to half of my peers in grad school :D . However, I am trying to figure out the best course of action. I too am afraid of grim employment aspects by going to a T2 / T3 in lieu of T30, no matter what the money situation. Do you think in this instance it is always wise to pick the T30, no matter what the extra cost?


:lol: Well, first off, I would apply broadly. I'd apply to the lower ranked schools and see what kind of money they offered me. I would look at the organizations that you want to work for and see where the attorneys that work for them went to school. I would also try to consider if I could get gainful employment in the field I wanted and take two years off before law school. If you can take a few years to work before law school, it seems to really help people with post law school employment. I would tend to go for a T30 in an area that you could imagine living so that if you had issues with getting the job you wanted, you will have a better chance of find a job that will work for you.

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Re: Specialty law schools

Postby AreJay711 » Thu Dec 16, 2010 3:10 pm

paratactical wrote: Environmental law, "international law", a lot of these specialty programs are just marketing schemes the schools use to try to lure people into paying too much money for an education that will not get them employment.

International law certainly exists for grads of HY and some from the rest of the t14. I know a partner at a firm that has done some pretty amazing things that might be considered dealing with "international law". The real misunderstanding is that what that entails is just general corporate stuff with international parties and a program in it is mostly pointless. He has successfully sued a country for some kind of sovereign debt issue but I agree people are getting a little ahead of themselves preparing for work the MIGHT do as partner at a V5 firm.

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Re: Specialty law schools

Postby paratactical » Thu Dec 16, 2010 3:12 pm

AreJay711 wrote:
paratactical wrote: Environmental law, "international law", a lot of these specialty programs are just marketing schemes the schools use to try to lure people into paying too much money for an education that will not get them employment.

International law certainly exists for grads of HY and some from the rest of the t14. I know a partner at a firm that has done some pretty amazing things that might be considered dealing with "international law". The real misunderstanding is that what that entails is just general corporate stuff with international parties and a program in it is mostly pointless. He has successfully sued a country for some kind of sovereign debt issue but I agree people are getting a little ahead of themselves preparing for work the MIGHT do as partner at a V5 firm.

I am aware of this, but when schools bill "international law", they talk about the Geneva convention, not international business stuff. The latter is still corporate law, it just has an internationl aspect. I go patent law that relates to international patent applications quite frequently, but that's not called "international law"

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Re: Specialty law schools

Postby Renzo » Thu Dec 16, 2010 3:36 pm

paratactical wrote:I am aware of this, but when schools bill "international law", they talk about the Geneva convention, not international business stuff. The latter is still corporate law, it just has an internationl aspect. I go patent law that relates to international patent applications quite frequently, but that's not called "international law"


QFFT. There is plenty of "international" legal work if that's what you want to do--so long as you mean helping a Spanish bank issue bonds in America, or helping a Chinese company buy a South African mine.

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Re: Specialty law schools

Postby DeeCee » Thu Dec 16, 2010 4:32 pm

Lawquacious wrote:I think T30 is better than Pace with full-scholly, but if they have a particular program you are really interested in it makes sense to weigh that in the mix.. Most people on here seem to indicate the specialty rankings should be generally disregarded. I think obviously the overall quality of the law school is more important to consider than a special program (for one thing since you will still be taking all the basic required law courses wherever you go), but there definitely are lowly-ranked schools that have particular strengths and garner professional respect for their specialties.

One other thing to consider (which I didn't really take much account of in the application process) is how much cost of living debt contributes to overall debt. Since I am not planning on working while in law school (other than summers) I am racking up a lot of COL debt that is comparable to tuition debt itself. I'm on scholarship now (not full but more than half), but have realized that even if I had taken a full-scholarship at a lesser school I probably would have ended up owing a relatively similar amount as compared to if I stay here for 3 years- that school is in an area with a much higher COL. A full scholarship sounds great, but if it doesn't include COL (which I think almost none of them do) then there can still be considerable debt regardless of the savings in tuition. Less crushing in comparison with owing tuition + COL? For sure, but then the additional tuition could possibly be made up for in a higher starting salary that is likely out of a much higher-ranked school (still far from guaranteed these days). I think there can be advantages of going either way on this issue though, and that things are a lot less clear-cut than they are often made to sound on TLS (where there is a very strong prestige bias).


Thanks for your help. I have not taken into consideration the COL, but that is a great point to make. White Plains (Pace) is quite expensive, and most of the top cities are as well. I will not be working while in Law School, so I will also rack up COL. I appreciate you viewpoint, as prestige is not of utmost importance to me, but I do understand that I need to get into a good school with good connections, hence a higher ranked school.

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Re: Specialty law schools

Postby mrwarre85 » Thu Dec 16, 2010 4:36 pm

paratactical wrote:
DCLaw11 wrote:That's how I feel (sort of). I'm interested in Enviro law btw, but I can't help thinking, would a school like Pace, where I could get a full scholly be better than a T30, where I'd get a little scholly but not a lot. I'm thinking in that case the T30 would set you up for better connections.....but am I wrong?

I hate how the money decisions overshadow desires, but it is what it is with law.


You are partly wrong. If you don't mind being unemployed, getting a full ride to Pace is the right choice. But if you want to get a job, environmental law is a very risky thing to shoot for because there just aren't many jobs that focus on the hippie side of it and those jobs go to grads from the top schools who have already been doing nonprofit work in the field. Environmental law, "international law", a lot of these specialty programs are just marketing schemes the schools use to try to lure people into paying too much money for an education that will not get them employment. It's not a terrible idea to go to a school you want to go to for free, but you have to wager that you might not end up protecting forests and the like.


A bit cynical, but maybe correct.

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Re: Specialty law schools

Postby DeeCee » Thu Dec 16, 2010 4:37 pm

paratactical wrote:
DCLaw11 wrote:LOL--How did you know I want to save trees??? I am currently at a very hippie grad school btw.......

Seriously though, my dream is to go into government or the like, and I am into environmental advocacy that does not involve tying myself to a tree or anything. I like to do things the legal way and I take baths, contrary to half of my peers in grad school :D . However, I am trying to figure out the best course of action. I too am afraid of grim employment aspects by going to a T2 / T3 in lieu of T30, no matter what the money situation. Do you think in this instance it is always wise to pick the T30, no matter what the extra cost?


:lol: Well, first off, I would apply broadly. I'd apply to the lower ranked schools and see what kind of money they offered me. I would look at the organizations that you want to work for and see where the attorneys that work for them went to school. I would also try to consider if I could get gainful employment in the field I wanted and take two years off before law school. If you can take a few years to work before law school, it seems to really help people with post law school employment. I would tend to go for a T30 in an area that you could imagine living so that if you had issues with getting the job you wanted, you will have a better chance of find a job that will work for you.



I also think your advice is good. I currently am in grad school and I have had internships, research work, and volunteer work in the environmental field, so I'd prefer not to take time off, but I understand your point. Attending a T30 in a good area seems like the overall consensus here.

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Re: Specialty law schools

Postby Grizz » Thu Dec 16, 2010 4:51 pm

Renzo wrote:
paratactical wrote:I am aware of this, but when schools bill "international law", they talk about the Geneva convention, not international business stuff. The latter is still corporate law, it just has an internationl aspect. I go patent law that relates to international patent applications quite frequently, but that's not called "international law"


QFFT. There is plenty of "international" legal work if that's what you want to do--so long as you mean helping a Spanish bank issue bonds in America, or helping a Chinese company buy a South African mine.


QFT. My aunt does intl. tax from out of her office in a TTT market lulz.

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Re: Specialty law schools

Postby Grizz » Thu Dec 16, 2010 4:52 pm

DCLaw11 wrote:
DCLaw11 wrote:You are partly wrong. If you don't mind being unemployed, getting a full ride to Pace is the right choice. But if you want to get a job, environmental law is a very risky thing to shoot for because there just aren't many jobs that focus on the hippie side of it and those jobs go to grads from the top schools who have already been doing nonprofit work in the field. Environmental law, "international law", a lot of these specialty programs are just marketing schemes the schools use to try to lure people into paying too much money for an education that will not get them employment. It's not a terrible idea to go to a school you want to go to for free, but you have to wager that you might not end up protecting forests and the like.


LOL--How did you know I want to save trees??? I am currently at a very hippie grad school btw.......

Seriously though, my dream is to go into government or the like, and I am into environmental advocacy that does not involve tying myself to a tree or anything. I like to do things the legal way and I take baths, contrary to half of my peers in grad school :D . However, I am trying to figure out the best course of action. I too am afraid of grim employment aspects by going to a T2 / T3 in lieu of T30, no matter what the money situation. Do you think in this instance it is always wise to pick the T30, no matter what the extra cost?


Most of the jobs in enviro are in regulatory compliance aka helping people mess up the environment for money. There as not a ton of jobs in the hippie side of things. Make sure you're cool with possibly getting a job in which you don't save the environment. And don't pay attention to specialty rankings.

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Re: Specialty law schools

Postby NYC_7911 » Thu Dec 16, 2010 5:01 pm

I'm in a similar position (grad school and work experience in the environmental field). When I first started researching schools, I naturally came across Pace, VT, and L&C. But after a relatively minimal amount of research, it became pretty clear that more doors would be open to me at a higher ranked school, with or without an e-law focus. In addition, I don't want to limit myself to the field of e-law, for several reasons (granted this may not be the case for you). One reason is that most of the jobs are not save-the-trees in nature (no pun intended), and another is that I want to go into LS with an entirely open mind and see what catches my attention. I was concerned that if I went to a specialty school, even if doing so DID help my job prospects (doubtful), I would be locked into a particular field. How much truth there is to that, I don't know, but those are a couple of my reasons.

All this said, I do wonder whether there is a threshold at which it's not worth paying sticker at a particular school (say, anything in T3, T4, just to pick a random line in the sand). In other words, if you know you're interested in e-law, is there a point below which having a slightly higher ranking won't make that much of a difference, so you might as well go with the specialty? Edit: Even if this were the case, I don't think it would apply for T30. L&C is the highest ranked of the e-law schools at 60-something.
Last edited by NYC_7911 on Thu Dec 16, 2010 5:04 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: Specialty law schools

Postby Grizz » Thu Dec 16, 2010 5:03 pm

NYC_7911 wrote:All this said, I do wonder whether there is a threshold at which it's not worth paying sticker at a particular school (say, anything in T3, T4, just to pick a random line in the sand).


HYSSCCN are worth it. That's about it.

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Re: Specialty law schools

Postby NYC_7911 » Thu Dec 16, 2010 5:05 pm

rad law wrote:
NYC_7911 wrote:All this said, I do wonder whether there is a threshold at which it's not worth paying sticker at a particular school (say, anything in T3, T4, just to pick a random line in the sand).


HYSSCCN are worth it. That's about it.


Shrug -- I'm fortunate enough to be in that lot, but even most people on TLS wouldn't go that far.

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Re: Specialty law schools

Postby Sentry » Thu Dec 16, 2010 5:17 pm

rad law wrote:
NYC_7911 wrote:All this said, I do wonder whether there is a threshold at which it's not worth paying sticker at a particular school (say, anything in T3, T4, just to pick a random line in the sand).


HYSSCCN are worth it. That's about it.

Harvard,Yale,Stanford,SMU?

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Re: Specialty law schools

Postby Aqualibrium » Thu Dec 16, 2010 5:26 pm

I've said this before in another thread, so I'll just copy/paste:

It's often said on TLS that you shouldn't go to a school because of XYZ program. I don't think it's ever really explained though. After going through the job hunt process, working at a firm, and seeing them call in professors to consult, I think I can explain it a bit.

The fact of the matter is, employers aren't coming to look for students at xyz school because of the great xyz program. Most firms won't care what programs the school has or what classes you take...that's just reality. Having a great XYZ program often indicates only that there are professors at the school who are regarded as among the best in their respective fields. Firms will seek out those professors to consult on various matters, but again, they won't be coming there to find students.

Generally, the only way you benefit from this is if you develop a relationship with that professor, and they call someone up on your behalf. I don't think I have to explain why it isn't a good idea to go to a school with the hope that some professor that is an expert in their field will take a liking to you and fast track your career. Do I?

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Re: Specialty law schools

Postby mrwarre85 » Thu Dec 16, 2010 5:35 pm

Aqualibrium wrote:I've said this before in another thread, so I'll just copy/paste:

It's often said on TLS that you shouldn't go to a school because of XYZ program. I don't think it's ever really explained though. After going through the job hunt process, working at a firm, and seeing them call in professors to consult, I think I can explain it a bit.

The fact of the matter is, employers aren't coming to look for students at xyz school because of the great xyz program. Most firms won't care what programs the school has or what classes you take...that's just reality. Having a great XYZ program often indicates only that there are professors at the school who are regarded as among the best in their respective fields. Firms will seek out those professors to consult on various matters, but again, they won't be coming there to find students.

Generally, the only way you benefit from this is if you develop a relationship with that professor, and they call someone up on your behalf. I don't think I have to explain why it isn't a good idea to go to a school with the hope that some professor that is an expert in their field will take a liking to you and fast track your career. Do I?


Unless that speciality ranking is in trail advocacy, and you have a great moot court record and want to work in a DA's office. But, wha your post makes a lot of sense.

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Re: Specialty law schools

Postby mrwarre85 » Thu Dec 16, 2010 5:36 pm

rad law wrote:
NYC_7911 wrote:All this said, I do wonder whether there is a threshold at which it's not worth paying sticker at a particular school (say, anything in T3, T4, just to pick a random line in the sand).


HYSSCCN are worth it. That's about it.



That's nuts to me. It is not crazy to go into a 100k debt if you can have a very reasonable chance at 60k a year for the next 35 years, doing exactly the kind of work you value.

Aqualibrium
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Re: Specialty law schools

Postby Aqualibrium » Thu Dec 16, 2010 5:38 pm

mrwarre85 wrote:
Aqualibrium wrote:I've said this before in another thread, so I'll just copy/paste:

It's often said on TLS that you shouldn't go to a school because of XYZ program. I don't think it's ever really explained though. After going through the job hunt process, working at a firm, and seeing them call in professors to consult, I think I can explain it a bit.

The fact of the matter is, employers aren't coming to look for students at xyz school because of the great xyz program. Most firms won't care what programs the school has or what classes you take...that's just reality. Having a great XYZ program often indicates only that there are professors at the school who are regarded as among the best in their respective fields. Firms will seek out those professors to consult on various matters, but again, they won't be coming there to find students.

Generally, the only way you benefit from this is if you develop a relationship with that professor, and they call someone up on your behalf. I don't think I have to explain why it isn't a good idea to go to a school with the hope that some professor that is an expert in their field will take a liking to you and fast track your career. Do I?


Unless that speciality ranking is in trail advocacy, and you have a great moot court record and want to work in a DA's office. But, wha your post makes a lot of sense.



Still doesn't matter that much...Especially considering odds of you making the moot court or trial add team, odds of you being good enough for anyone to pay special attention to you, etc.. etc...

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paratactical
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Re: Specialty law schools

Postby paratactical » Thu Dec 16, 2010 5:39 pm

mrwarre85 wrote:That's nuts to me. It is not crazy to go into a 100k debt if you can have a very reasonable chance at 60k a year for the next 35 years, doing exactly the kind of work you value.

If you can make 60k out of UG after a few years of work without having to go into any more debt, it sure is crazy.

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Re: Specialty law schools

Postby mrwarre85 » Thu Dec 16, 2010 5:43 pm

Aqualibrium wrote:
mrwarre85 wrote:
Aqualibrium wrote:I've said this before in another thread, so I'll just copy/paste:

It's often said on TLS that you shouldn't go to a school because of XYZ program. I don't think it's ever really explained though. After going through the job hunt process, working at a firm, and seeing them call in professors to consult, I think I can explain it a bit.

The fact of the matter is, employers aren't coming to look for students at xyz school because of the great xyz program. Most firms won't care what programs the school has or what classes you take...that's just reality. Having a great XYZ program often indicates only that there are professors at the school who are regarded as among the best in their respective fields. Firms will seek out those professors to consult on various matters, but again, they won't be coming there to find students.

Generally, the only way you benefit from this is if you develop a relationship with that professor, and they call someone up on your behalf. I don't think I have to explain why it isn't a good idea to go to a school with the hope that some professor that is an expert in their field will take a liking to you and fast track your career. Do I?


Unless that speciality ranking is in trail advocacy, and you have a great moot court record and want to work in a DA's office. But, wha your post makes a lot of sense.



Still doesn't matter that much...Especially considering odds of you making the moot court or trial add team, odds of you being good enough for anyone to pay special attention to you, etc.. etc...


Going to a higher ranked school is a safer bet because its slightly less imporant that you stand out. Some places, maybe UT in Texas, are so well regarded that you could probably limp out and still work at any DA office in the state.

I think going at life with the attitude that you are going to be successful is generally a good thing though.




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