Advice on choosing between schools?

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

Which law school should I attend?

Northwestern
8
42%
University of Minnesota
5
26%
George Washington
3
16%
Boston University
3
16%
 
Total votes: 19

AC1984
Posts: 6
Joined: Tue Oct 26, 2010 3:13 pm

Advice on choosing between schools?

Postby AC1984 » Thu Mar 31, 2011 2:44 pm

The following are the schools I am trying to decide between as well as the approx total debt I would graduate with:

Northwestern ($220,000)
University of Minnesota ($60,000)
George Washington ($120,000)
Boston University ($110,000)

I currently live in Washington DC but am originally from the Midwest (long, cold winters do not scare me) and have family/friends in the locations of all these schools. I'd ultimately like to end up living/practicing in the Midwest or DC area. Although I'm not ruling out trying to pursue Big Law that isn't what I'm really interested in. I'm looking to work for the government as a prosecutor or in a policy office, or with a non-profit focused on human rights and war crime prosecutions.

I'm fully aware of the importance of school rankings but the debt of Northwestern is terrifying, especially given the legal job market these days (I recognize that may change over the next few years but I'd prefer to hope for the best and plan for the worst). Minnesota has offered me a massive scholarship and combined with the low COL there is the clear front runner in terms of cost. Boston U and GW have both offered competitive scholarships as well but are more expensive in terms of tuition and COL.

Any thoughts or advice are welcome, thanks in advance!

User avatar
bk1
Posts: 18401
Joined: Sun Mar 14, 2010 7:06 pm

Re: Advice on choosing between schools?

Postby bk1 » Thu Mar 31, 2011 2:52 pm

Unless you want Minnesota specifically, UMinn is out. Since you don't want the northeast (e.g. Boston/NYC), BU is out.

Seems like a call between NU and GW. I'm not sure how much more NU makes you competitive for PI/gov jobs. It's hard to tell since only a small portion of their class does it (at least partially due to self-selection) whereas a decent chunk of GW's class does it.

I think I would err towards GW in this case (I would hazard that the jobs you are after are more plentiful, albeit also more competitive, in DC and that being in DC could be beneficial towards networking your way towards those jobs), but I'm not 100% sure.

AC1984
Posts: 6
Joined: Tue Oct 26, 2010 3:13 pm

Re: Advice on choosing between schools?

Postby AC1984 » Thu Mar 31, 2011 3:30 pm

Minnesota is that state specific? I've heard from several people it has a pretty good reputation throughout the Midwest. Obviously I understand it is no Northwestern or U of C but it seems to outrank other area schools like UW, Iowa, Indiana and UIUC. According to their placement numbers, they put a decent number of people outside the state.

Anyone else have an opinion on Minnesota? I know it isn't as "big" a name as the others but it seems to be relatively well ranked, comparable to GW and BU at least.

User avatar
bk1
Posts: 18401
Joined: Sun Mar 14, 2010 7:06 pm

Re: Advice on choosing between schools?

Postby bk1 » Thu Mar 31, 2011 3:35 pm

AC1984 wrote:Minnesota is that state specific? I've heard from several people it has a pretty good reputation throughout the Midwest. Obviously I understand it is no Northwestern or U of C but it seems to outrank other area schools like UW, Iowa, Indiana and UIUC. According to there placement numbers, they put a decent number of people outside the state.

Anyone else have an opinion on Minnesota? I know it isn't as "big" a name as the others but it seems to be relatively well ranked, comparable to GW and BU at least.


In 2005, 60% of UMinn's class stayed in Minnesota. I'm not saying it is impossible to leave, I'm just saying that there is a very good chance you will be in Minnesota (especially if you don't happen to get top grades).

Minnesota is relatively well ranked on USNWR, but that is because it throws a lot of scholarship money out to attract people and is also very friendly to splitters to help its medians. Minnesota's employment stats aren't even comparable to BU/GW, it just gets blown out of the water. Minnesota roughly equivalent to Wisconsin/Iowa/Indiana but worse than Illinois/WUSTL/ND.

User avatar
Veyron
Posts: 3598
Joined: Fri Jan 08, 2010 3:50 am

Re: Advice on choosing between schools?

Postby Veyron » Thu Mar 31, 2011 3:36 pm

bk1 wrote:Unless you want Minnesota specifically, UMinn is out. Since you don't want the northeast (e.g. Boston/NYC), BU is out.

Seems like a call between NU and GW. I'm not sure how much more NU makes you competitive for PI/gov jobs. It's hard to tell since only a small portion of their class does it (at least partially due to self-selection) whereas a decent chunk of GW's class does it.

I think I would err towards GW in this case (I would hazard that the jobs you are after are more plentiful, albeit also more competitive, in DC and that being in DC could be beneficial towards networking your way towards those jobs), but I'm not 100% sure.


GW only if you want the same worse job prospects as MN with 2X the debt.

User avatar
bk1
Posts: 18401
Joined: Sun Mar 14, 2010 7:06 pm

Re: Advice on choosing between schools?

Postby bk1 » Thu Mar 31, 2011 3:42 pm

Veyron wrote:GW only if you want the same worse job prospects as MN with 2X the debt.


That is really not true at all. $120k debt is manageable without biglaw/LRAP (though it is pushing it) and GW definitely has better prospects. I do agree that there is an argument to be made for GW not being worth the cost difference in this case, however with Minn there is a high chance of staying in Minn and if one isn't okay with that then the balance shifts towards GW.

User avatar
plenipotentiary
Posts: 616
Joined: Fri Sep 17, 2010 11:13 pm

Re: Advice on choosing between schools?

Postby plenipotentiary » Thu Mar 31, 2011 3:47 pm

I see the choice as being between MN and NW. GW and BU are both regional schools, so taking on double the debt to attend them over MN doesn't really make sense to me, especially given that you'd be happy in the Midwest. If you're going to take on a six figure debt load, go big and go to Northwestern.

User avatar
Veyron
Posts: 3598
Joined: Fri Jan 08, 2010 3:50 am

Re: Advice on choosing between schools?

Postby Veyron » Thu Mar 31, 2011 3:56 pm

bk1 wrote:
Veyron wrote:GW only if you want the same worse job prospects as MN with 2X the debt.


That is really not true at all. $120k debt is manageable without biglaw/LRAP (though it is pushing it) and GW definitely has better prospects. I do agree that there is an argument to be made for GW not being worth the cost difference in this case, however with Minn there is a high chance of staying in Minn and if one isn't okay with that then the balance shifts towards GW.


Right but UW gives you a greater chance of landing A job. That job will be in MN, but still, GW is top 20% or bust, the worst investment in the country considering COA.

User avatar
bk1
Posts: 18401
Joined: Sun Mar 14, 2010 7:06 pm

Re: Advice on choosing between schools?

Postby bk1 » Thu Mar 31, 2011 4:02 pm

Veyron wrote:Right but UW gives you a greater chance of landing A job. That job will be in MN, but still, GW is top 20% or bust, the worst investment in the country considering COA.


I'm assuming you mean UMinn and not UW, but you really are being hyperbolic about GW. Both schools' unemployed, employed part time, and didn't respond percentages total around 15% (GW is a bit lower, UMinn a little higher). GW has more part time, but Minnesota has more who are unemployed or didn't respond.

As I said, I do agree that it GW probably isn't worth $120k compared to $60k at UMinn, however $120k at GW isn't at the level of soulcrushing yet (possible to pay off in roughly 10 years with a salary around 50k/year) and if really prefers the DC to Minnesota I think it is clear to take GW over UMinn.

User avatar
Veyron
Posts: 3598
Joined: Fri Jan 08, 2010 3:50 am

Re: Advice on choosing between schools?

Postby Veyron » Thu Mar 31, 2011 4:06 pm

bk1 wrote:
Veyron wrote:Right but UW gives you a greater chance of landing A job. That job will be in MN, but still, GW is top 20% or bust, the worst investment in the country considering COA.


I'm assuming you mean UMinn and not UW, but you really are being hyperbolic about GW. Both schools' unemployed, employed part time, and didn't respond percentages total around 15% (GW is a bit lower, UMinn a little higher). GW has more part time, but Minnesota has more who are unemployed or didn't respond.

As I said, I do agree that it GW probably isn't worth $120k compared to $60k at UMinn, however $120k at GW isn't at the level of soulcrushing yet (possible to pay off in roughly 10 years with a salary around 50k/year) and if really prefers the DC to Minnesota I think it is clear to take GW over UMinn.


Sorry, yes, UMinn. And if you believe the bold, I have a buisness proposition I'd like to discuss with you regarding a bridge.




Return to “Choosing a Law School”

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: dianersg, MichiganHoosier, ND2018 and 8 guests