George Mason vs University at Buffalo

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George Mason vs University at Buffalo

Postby JAGX » Sat Feb 05, 2011 5:27 pm

So, I have a difficult choice to make, I was recently accepted into George Mason, and as you all know, they are a Tier one school around rank #42. The tuition is around 35k for out of state, and it is notoriously hard to adjust to in-state status, so I won't count on that.

In tier three, I have been accepted into the University at Buffalo, with a 15k tuition (after a 5k scholarship). As a bonus, this is my home town, so it's close and I have a minor network of contacts and obviously family in the area, but there aren't too many jobs out here.

So what advice would the good people of this forum have for me? Going out of state would cost me about 60k more to attend George Mason, and I would not have any family or contacts in the area. But, I would be going into a 'better' school with supposedly better job prospects and a better salary. UB, on the other hand, is close to home, and is very inexpensive. It may even be easier to get into the coveted top 10%, since the competition may not be as stiff. However, the average starting salary is of course lower, and the school name is not as well recognized (although I don't know how well Gorge Mason is either).

I'm not really sure what type of law I want to practice (leaning towards criminal) and I don't have a regional preference of where I want to live, although I prefer the suburbs... I was also considering academia, but I'm not sure how GM would serve me, and I'm not sure how difficult legal academia is to get into. I've also read that Tier one schools outside of the t25 aren't really worth the out of state cost? And I also have heard that GM is only a 'regional' school, with competition for the regional job market being very stiff due to the other good schools in the Virginia/DC area.

What should I do and what factors should I consider?

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Re: George Mason vs University at Buffalo

Postby jwrash » Sat Feb 05, 2011 9:04 pm

To be honest, neither one is a great option. I'd start by trying to negotiate more money from Buffalo, but it's going to be hard to secure employment, from either school, that would justify the debt you will incur.

Also, getting into academia from either of these schools will be impossible.


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Re: George Mason vs University at Buffalo

Postby BlueDiamond » Sat Feb 05, 2011 9:06 pm

pretty sure 5k a year is the highest UB goes isnt it?

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Re: George Mason vs University at Buffalo

Postby pjo » Sat Feb 05, 2011 9:13 pm

Go to Buffalo. Ask yourself this: "if GMU wasn't tier one, would I consider it?" From the sound of your post, you would probably say no. It seems like Buffalo has a lot going for it in your case (close to family, much cheaper -- and actually fairly reasonable price). The only thing you keep saying about GMU is that it is tier one and about it's ranking. In all honesty though, it's ranking is fairly meaningless, because after the T14, T20 etc. all schools are regional. You don't have a preference for region (which actually favors Buffalo because COL in Bufallo is way less than DC/NoVA). Plus if you want to do criminal work, you should probably keep your debt low because most entry level jobs like that don't start out with too high of a salary. Also noted, academia is probably out of the picture from both these schools (or to put it another way, your chances are equally as bad). Buffalo is definitely a better option.


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Re: George Mason vs University at Buffalo

Postby DeweyWins » Sat Feb 05, 2011 9:16 pm

JAGX wrote: I was also considering academia, but I'm not sure how GM would serve me, and I'm not sure how difficult legal academia is to get into.

Legal academia is very, very difficult to get into and there's a tiny chance you'll have even a shot at it from either school but FWIW, GMU tends to place a lot better than its rank would suggest. After Chicago it probably has the best profs for Law & Econ, if you're interested in that.


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Re: George Mason vs University at Buffalo

Postby tarp » Sun Feb 06, 2011 4:14 am

Keep in mind that GMU has a very unique form of legal scholarship attached to it... the "law & economics" type of bullshit that consists of casebooks like Epstein's Torts (look it up on Amazon to read reviews that criticize it) where it seems like half the cases are opinions from Judge Richard Posner... one of the least likable judges on the federal appellate bench. Seriously, half of your casebooks will be written by Chicago professors, even though much better casebooks exist that are used by most other law schools. GMU professors want to avoid all the progressive legal theory espoused in run-of-the-mill casebooks and want to brainwash students into thinking legal decisions should be made based on economic theory - the maximization of wealth. So of course, since GMU uses casebooks that spend a lot of time talking about economic theory rather than law, it is almost impossible to find supplemental materials that are keyed to the books, since probably only 2 law schools (Chicago and GMU) use them. Oh, also, GMU law students tend to gush over Antonin Scalia.

But yeah, Buffalo is a much better choice for you. It's local, it's a LOT cheaper, you have scholarship money, you want to practice criminal law, neither school will give you a shot at academia, and I can guarantee you the quality of legal education you get at Buffalo will be superior to the education at George Mason.

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