Help Choosing a school and why!

(Rankings, Profiles, Tuition, Student Life, . . . )

WUSTL (90k or more) v Illinois (105 k or more) v T14 options

WUSTL (90k or slightly more in scholly)
3
13%
Illinois (105 k or slightly more in scholly)
4
17%
ED T14 Next Cycle (UVA/NU/Mich ---> Gtown) and EA to Cornell + Texas
17
71%
 
Total votes: 24

TheSteelKid
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Help Choosing a school and why!

Postby TheSteelKid » Wed Mar 30, 2011 12:08 pm

I have a cancel, 165 and 170 on December LSAT. 3.25 GPA. Been waitlisted to T14's. I've been told I may still be able to ED Gtown but I don't really wanna ED there right now if I can wait and get either UVA/NU/Mich, which are better schools.

I am not particularly debt averse ($0 outstanding debt), and hence am considering the 45 k/year price tag for the prestige and big law employment opportunities of a better school.

I'm 24 and have been out of college for just about two years. I want to start law school in the fall to be honest but am willing to wait a year for a significantly better opportunity. I know that Transferring is incredibly difficult so I'm not banking on it.

As part of ED'ing next cycle I would retake LSAT this June and try to increase score.

In my year off I will either work overseas or work full time here in the States or part time and take some accounting classes.

I still may get another 5k/year from Wash U, so we'll see.

What do you guys think? I know WUSTL and Illinois are good schools, but theres a substantial drop in WLJ250 stats from T18 to these schools and from BU and BC as well.

Thanks for you input!

czelede
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Re: Help Choosing a school and why!

Postby czelede » Wed Mar 30, 2011 12:14 pm

I would retake and ED if you are comfortable with paying sticker for T14. A 2-3 point increase in your score could mean wonders for your cycle.

EDIT: ED to your choice of MVP/N, that is.

ballpop
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Re: Help Choosing a school and why!

Postby ballpop » Wed Mar 30, 2011 12:15 pm

With that GPA, it would be a fight to get into BU/any T14...maybe 2-3 pts could get you a good shot at NU or Gtown, but the latter isn't exactly killing it BigLaw wise

Are you biglaw or bust? Any regional preferences?

alumniguy
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Re: Help Choosing a school and why!

Postby alumniguy » Wed Mar 30, 2011 12:17 pm

Why do you want to go to law school? Do you really want to be a lawyer (i.e., you'd still be a lawyer if you could only pull in $60k at a small insurance defense firm) or do you want the prospect of biglaw and the supposed wealth that ensues? (I'm in biglaw and let me tell you that will $100k in loans, there is no wealth to be had - especially for the 50% or so of my fellow associates that don't make it past their 3rd or 4th year at a firm).

If it is the later, I would wait out this cycle and re-apply.

In today's legal hiring market, unless you go to a T-6, it is a gamble to go into so much debt for such unknown job prospects. As you get further away from the T-6, you chances go down considerably (obviously some of the T-14s place pretty well, but if you are bottom of the class you're likely not going to have multiple job offers to choose from). I presume you are well aware of the bimodal distribution of salaries for entry level lawyers.

If I were you, I would re-take, re-apply to T-14 and into the mid-20s and choose based on (i) amount of debt and (ii) % of students employed in NLJ250.

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nshapkar
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Re: Help Choosing a school and why!

Postby nshapkar » Wed Mar 30, 2011 12:23 pm

If you're okay with biglaw in Chicago, Illinois can land you a good job, but I'm sure you'll have to be top half of class. If you're okay with waiting a year, then go with the t-14 option.

TheSteelKid
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Re: Help Choosing a school and why!

Postby TheSteelKid » Wed Mar 30, 2011 12:36 pm

ballpop wrote:With that GPA, it would be a fight to get into BU/any T14...maybe 2-3 pts could get you a good shot at NU or Gtown, but the latter isn't exactly killing it BigLaw wise

Are you biglaw or bust? Any regional preferences?



I can't say that I'm BigLaw or bust, but I just want to give myself options you know? I'm not sure exactly what I want to do with my law degree and that uncertainty for me makes it even more important to go to a good school with good networking...

As far as regional preferences I'm not too picky, I can see myself in a lot of big cities (NY, LA, DC, Chicago, Philly) or even smaller ones like St. Louis or Pittsburgh, my home town.

alumniguy
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Re: Help Choosing a school and why!

Postby alumniguy » Wed Mar 30, 2011 12:39 pm

nshapkar wrote:If you're okay with biglaw in Chicago, Illinois can land you a good job, but I'm sure you'll have to be top half of class. If you're okay with waiting a year, then go with the t-14 option.


This may have been true before the downturn, but I'm guessing that Illinois is NOT placing 50% of its current students in "biglaw".

TheSteelKid
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Re: Help Choosing a school and why!

Postby TheSteelKid » Wed Mar 30, 2011 12:39 pm

alumniguy wrote:Why do you want to go to law school? Do you really want to be a lawyer (i.e., you'd still be a lawyer if you could only pull in $60k at a small insurance defense firm) or do you want the prospect of biglaw and the supposed wealth that ensues? (I'm in biglaw and let me tell you that will $100k in loans, there is no wealth to be had - especially for the 50% or so of my fellow associates that don't make it past their 3rd or 4th year at a firm).

If it is the later, I would wait out this cycle and re-apply.

In today's legal hiring market, unless you go to a T-6, it is a gamble to go into so much debt for such unknown job prospects. As you get further away from the T-6, you chances go down considerably (obviously some of the T-14s place pretty well, but if you are bottom of the class you're likely not going to have multiple job offers to choose from). I presume you are well aware of the bimodal distribution of salaries for entry level lawyers.

If I were you, I would re-take, re-apply to T-14 and into the mid-20s and choose based on (i) amount of debt and (ii) % of students employed in NLJ250.


Im choosing to study law as a straight up career move. I know a lot of law work is boring, and some will be interesting. But I think I'll be good at my job.

As far at the "bimodal distribution of salaries for entry level lawyers", are you referring to private firms verus gov't jobs and public interest?

Thanks.

TheSteelKid
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Re: Help Choosing a school and why!

Postby TheSteelKid » Wed Mar 30, 2011 12:41 pm

alumniguy wrote:
nshapkar wrote:If you're okay with biglaw in Chicago, Illinois can land you a good job, but I'm sure you'll have to be top half of class. If you're okay with waiting a year, then go with the t-14 option.


This may have been true before the downturn, but I'm guessing that Illinois is NOT placing 50% of its current students in "biglaw".



Illinois definitely isn't close to that number. NLJ says only 18% in BigLaw in 2010! I doubt even 50% of Illinois alum end up in Chicago, maybe they do though. But at best one half of them will have BigLaw. AT BEST.

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bk1
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Re: Help Choosing a school and why!

Postby bk1 » Wed Mar 30, 2011 12:46 pm

Deposit at Illinois (or WUSTL if you really like it better).

Take in June, if you get 172+ I say ED to NU. If you don't, then I'd be hesitant because you can strike out of the T14 pretty easily. That being said, if you don't mind waiting a year and manage the expectation that if you don't get a 172+ you will probably be stuck with the same offers next year I don't see any reason not to at least try either way.

TheSteelKid
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Re: Help Choosing a school and why!

Postby TheSteelKid » Wed Mar 30, 2011 12:47 pm

bk1 wrote:Deposit at Illinois (or WUSTL if you really like it better).

Take in June, if you get 172+ I say ED to NU. If you don't, then I'd be hesitant because you can strike out of the T14 pretty easily. That being said, if you don't mind waiting a year and manage the expectation that if you don't get a 172+ you will probably be stuck with the same offers next year I don't see any reason not to at least try either way.



This seems highly logical. Bravo.

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bk1
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Re: Help Choosing a school and why!

Postby bk1 » Wed Mar 30, 2011 12:47 pm

TheSteelKid wrote:Im choosing to study law as a straight up career move. I know a lot of law work is boring, and some will be interesting. But I think I'll be good at my job.

As far at the "bimodal distribution of salaries for entry level lawyers", are you referring to private firms verus gov't jobs and public interest?

Thanks.


Bimodal refers to the starting salaries being clustered around $160k and around $50k with only a very small amount of jobs paying salaries in between the two peaks.

Source: http://www.nalp.org/salarydistrib

alumniguy
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Re: Help Choosing a school and why!

Postby alumniguy » Wed Mar 30, 2011 12:52 pm

TheSteelKid wrote:
bk1 wrote:Deposit at Illinois (or WUSTL if you really like it better).

Take in June, if you get 172+ I say ED to NU. If you don't, then I'd be hesitant because you can strike out of the T14 pretty easily. That being said, if you don't mind waiting a year and manage the expectation that if you don't get a 172+ you will probably be stuck with the same offers next year I don't see any reason not to at least try either way.



This seems highly logical. Bravo.



I would also suggest that perhaps you find a paralegal type position (if possible) for a year. It will give you a REALLY good idea of what being a lawyer is all about. Certainly, you won't be doing true lawyer work, but in biglaw 1st years and paralegals often complete the same types of tasks.

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niederbomb
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Re: Help Choosing a school and why!

Postby niederbomb » Wed Mar 30, 2011 12:55 pm

TheSteelKid wrote:I have a cancel, 165 and 170 on December LSAT. 3.25 GPA. Been waitlisted to T14's. I've been told I may still be able to ED Gtown but I don't really wanna ED there right now if I can wait and get either UVA/NU/Mich, which are better schools.

I am not particularly debt averse ($0 outstanding debt), and hence am considering the 45 k/year price tag for the prestige and big law employment opportunities of a better school.

I'm 24 and have been out of college for just about two years. I want to start law school in the fall to be honest but am willing to wait a year for a significantly better opportunity. I know that Transferring is incredibly difficult so I'm not banking on it.

As part of ED'ing next cycle I would retake LSAT this June and try to increase score.

In my year off I will either work overseas or work full time here in the States or part time and take some accounting classes.

I still may get another 5k/year from Wash U, so we'll see.

What do you guys think? I know WUSTL and Illinois are good schools, but theres a substantial drop in WLJ250 stats from T18 to these schools and from BU and BC as well.

Thanks for you input!


I don't think you can retake unless you petition a school. I'm not sure how the lower T14 would view 4 LSAT's, but maybe someone can answer this question better than me.

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traehekat
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Re: Help Choosing a school and why!

Postby traehekat » Wed Mar 30, 2011 12:56 pm

Image

cubswin
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Re: Help Choosing a school and why!

Postby cubswin » Wed Mar 30, 2011 12:56 pm

Have you visited WUSTL or UIUC? I would do that before depositing, though you are cutting it damn close (at least with WUSTL. I don't know when UIUC's deadline is). WUSTL seems like it would be a more enjoyable place to spend 3 years, IMO.

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bk1
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Re: Help Choosing a school and why!

Postby bk1 » Wed Mar 30, 2011 12:56 pm

niederbomb wrote:I don't think you can retake unless you petition a school. I'm not sure how the lower T14 would view 4 LSAT's, but maybe someone can answer this question better than me.


This is a good point, I didn't even see the cancel.

You can take 3 LSATs every 2 years so if one of those tests was over 2 years ago than OP is good, otherwise he'll need a waiver from a school to take it a 4th time.

Generally I think the splitter friendly T14 schools (UVa/NU) aren't going to care too much about 4 LSATs.

alumniguy
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Re: Help Choosing a school and why!

Postby alumniguy » Wed Mar 30, 2011 1:02 pm

bk1 wrote:
TheSteelKid wrote:Im choosing to study law as a straight up career move. I know a lot of law work is boring, and some will be interesting. But I think I'll be good at my job.

As far at the "bimodal distribution of salaries for entry level lawyers", are you referring to private firms verus gov't jobs and public interest?

Thanks.


Bimodal refers to the starting salaries being clustered around $160k and around $50k with only a very small amount of jobs paying salaries in between the two peaks.

Source: http://www.nalp.org/salarydistrib


Yes, this is what I was discussing. Specifically, there appears to be this general idea that being a lawyer automatically leads to a nice comfortable life. IN MY OPINION, THIS IS JUST NOT THE CASE ANYMORE! Yes, some people will do tremendously well, but many lawyers end up in dead-end legal jobs and will probably opt out of the legal profession all together relatively early into their careers. This is especially true given that most law students simply have no idea what it means to actually practice law, let alone practice law in biglaw (I consider myself part of this group back in the day). Most jobs you have a good sense of what a career will be like (e.g., doctors, nurses, sales, etc.), but with law you don't really know what the job will look like until you are there.

There are just too many lawyers in the U.S., that is the real crux of the problem.

* * *

After thinking more about it, I don't think WUSTL or Illinois is a bad idea with such great scholarships. They are both great schools and you'll get a great education. Just realize that there are opportunity costs to going to law school. You will hopefully end up getting a good job straight out of law school, but if you don't the consequences can be dire given the debt load that most law students must take on.

TheSteelKid
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Re: Help Choosing a school and why!

Postby TheSteelKid » Wed Mar 30, 2011 1:04 pm

cubswin wrote:Have you visited WUSTL or UIUC? I would do that before depositing, though you are cutting it damn close (at least with WUSTL. I don't know when UIUC's deadline is). WUSTL seems like it would be a more enjoyable place to spend 3 years, IMO.



Ive already made the WUSTL deposit that is refundable by May 1st.

Illinois is due at end of April.

I haven't visited but am pretty darn confident I'll like St. Louis more than Urbana Champaign....I like real cities with legitimate diversity.

I do love golf and I know Illinois has a course...but during these three years of my life I'd rather be in city, all things considered.

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niederbomb
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Re: Help Choosing a school and why!

Postby niederbomb » Wed Mar 30, 2011 1:05 pm

Not to hijack the thread, but I have a question that might benefit the OP, too.

Would a 165/170/172 (for example) really outperform a 165/170 for MVPCCN by that much? I'm sure law schools are quite aware of score bands.

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bk1
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Re: Help Choosing a school and why!

Postby bk1 » Wed Mar 30, 2011 1:06 pm

TheSteelKid wrote:
cubswin wrote:Have you visited WUSTL or UIUC? I would do that before depositing, though you are cutting it damn close (at least with WUSTL. I don't know when UIUC's deadline is). WUSTL seems like it would be a more enjoyable place to spend 3 years, IMO.



Ive already made the WUSTL deposit that is refundable by May 1st.

Illinois is due at end of April.

I haven't visited but am pretty darn confident I'll like St. Louis more than Urbana Champaign....I like real cities with legitimate diversity.

I do love golf and I know Illinois has a course...but during these three years of my life I'd rather be in city, all things considered.


WUSTL's campus isn't in downtown St. Louis. Being around the WUSTL campus definitely feels like you're in a college town (albeit a decent sized one) rather than being in a metropolis. However it is only a 15 minute drive to downtown St. Louis itself.

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bk1
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Re: Help Choosing a school and why!

Postby bk1 » Wed Mar 30, 2011 1:07 pm

niederbomb wrote:Not to hijack the thread, but I have a question that might benefit the OP, too.

Would a 165/170/172 (for example) really outperform a 165/170 for MVPCCN by that much? I'm sure law schools are quite aware of score bands.


They're also quite aware of the fact that they only have to report the highest score to the ABA/USNWR.

TheSteelKid
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Re: Help Choosing a school and why!

Postby TheSteelKid » Wed Mar 30, 2011 1:07 pm

alumniguy wrote:
bk1 wrote:
TheSteelKid wrote:Im choosing to study law as a straight up career move. I know a lot of law work is boring, and some will be interesting. But I think I'll be good at my job.

As far at the "bimodal distribution of salaries for entry level lawyers", are you referring to private firms verus gov't jobs and public interest?

Thanks.


Bimodal refers to the starting salaries being clustered around $160k and around $50k with only a very small amount of jobs paying salaries in between the two peaks.

Source: http://www.nalp.org/salarydistrib


Yes, this is what I was discussing. Specifically, there appears to be this general idea that being a lawyer automatically leads to a nice comfortable life. IN MY OPINION, THIS IS JUST NOT THE CASE ANYMORE! Yes, some people will do tremendously well, but many lawyers end up in dead-end legal jobs and will probably opt out of the legal profession all together relatively early into their careers. This is especially true given that most law students simply have no idea what it means to actually practice law, let alone practice law in biglaw (I consider myself part of this group back in the day). Most jobs you have a good sense of what a career will be like (e.g., doctors, nurses, sales, etc.), but with law you don't really know what the job will look like until you are there.

There are just too many lawyers in the U.S., that is the real crux of the problem.

* * *

After thinking more about it, I don't think WUSTL or Illinois is a bad idea with such great scholarships. They are both great schools and you'll get a great education. Just realize that there are opportunity costs to going to law school. You will hopefully end up getting a good job straight out of law school, but if you don't the consequences can be dire given the debt load that most law students must take on.




Yes I know that this is the issue, it's like gambling. 10/15 k a year at a pretty good school versus 45 k at a very good school...play it safe or go for broke? It really is a gamble...but a gamble that has increasing odds commensurate with hard work and achievement. I know I will have regrets either way and the competitor in me is just searching for the best option, ya dig? The search continues though...

TheSteelKid
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Re: Help Choosing a school and why!

Postby TheSteelKid » Wed Mar 30, 2011 1:09 pm

bk1 wrote:
niederbomb wrote:Not to hijack the thread, but I have a question that might benefit the OP, too.

Would a 165/170/172 (for example) really outperform a 165/170 for MVPCCN by that much? I'm sure law schools are quite aware of score bands.


They're also quite aware of the fact that they only have to report the highest score to the ABA/USNWR.



Ya I think at this point I won't really be hurt much by dropping a point or two and could see significant gains with 2/3 point increase..

I think a lot of schools are mostly concerned with the top score and if you have a close cluster it should act as a defense mechanism again a fluke or cheating...they'll know you're legit.

alumniguy
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Re: Help Choosing a school and why!

Postby alumniguy » Wed Mar 30, 2011 1:09 pm

niederbomb wrote:Not to hijack the thread, but I have a question that might benefit the OP, too.

Would a 165/170/172 (for example) really outperform a 165/170 for MVPCCN by that much? I'm sure law schools are quite aware of score bands.


Yes, because law schools only need to report the highest LSAT score to USNews - so while there may be a lot of talk about a holistic approach to admissions, a 172 LSAT is likely going to command greater attention than a 170 because it will affect the median LSAT score.




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