Career and Salary Prospects at Rutgers Newark and Stetson

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SubwayatNight
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Career and Salary Prospects at Rutgers Newark and Stetson

Postby SubwayatNight » Mon May 02, 2011 7:11 am

Dear Message Board,

I am having a difficult time deciding between Rutgers (Newark) or Stetson (St. Pete / Tampa). I have no scholarship offer at either (so far) but I do have the option of getting immediate in-state tuition at Rutgers at about $23,000. Stetson would be sticker price of about $33,000.

Long term I would be happy living in either place so the question boils down to career and salary prospects (to pay down my debt). I estimate my debt at Rutgers, including cost of living, would be about $90,000. Stetson I'm looking at around $110,000.

I heard my goal should be to try to land a job that has a yearly salary comparable to my student loan debt. That means I would need a salary close to those figures, which doesn't seem practical for either. According to TopLawSchools.com the median salaries for Rutgers is $116,000. However, on this forum people seem very skeptical of such numbers. It seems many people project something under $70,000. Maybe less. The median at Stetson in '08 was $84,000.

Assuming I'm in the middle of my class, which school could I reasonably expect to have a yearly salary closer to my approximated debt? Also, which school would give me more opportunities long-term?

Sincerely,
David

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gwuorbust
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Re: Career and Salary Prospects at Rutgers Newark and Stetson

Postby gwuorbust » Mon May 02, 2011 8:35 am

Nobody ever wants hear this. But there is a reason it is so often said, and that is because it is the rational response to a bad situation: retake and reapply.

First, I do not really understand these two schools? Stetson is not going to get you beyond FL small-law. Rutgers is for Newark. Where do you want to end up?

Second, regardless of where you want to end up neither school is great decision at that price. Rutgers is the better choice IMO because the FL market is saturated and at Stetson you will probably be coming out with 120k+ of debt. I think you would be lucky to get a 50k job from Stetson. The likely outcome would be unemployment or leaving the legal field. Sound crazy? Recent study showed that less than 50% of graduates at some t1s get legal employment. That number is almost assuredly lower for lower ranked schools.

Are you willing to bet 120k on a 33% that you will make 50k per year? I hope not. And if you are, just be aware that betting 120k on black or red in vegas would have a better chance of improving your SOL.

mrwarre85
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Re: Career and Salary Prospects at Rutgers Newark and Stetson

Postby mrwarre85 » Tue May 03, 2011 6:44 pm

gwuorbust wrote:
Recent study showed that less than 50% of graduates at some t1s get legal employment. That number is almost assuredly lower for lower ranked schools.


You mean at graduation, right? If not I'd really appreciate a citation/link. Thanks.

Also, last year at Stetson only 15 kids were known to be making more than 55k. There was 322 in that class.

4.6%

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bk1
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Re: Career and Salary Prospects at Rutgers Newark and Stetson

Postby bk1 » Tue May 03, 2011 6:49 pm

mrwarre85 wrote:
gwuorbust wrote:
Recent study showed that less than 50% of graduates at some t1s get legal employment. That number is almost assuredly lower for lower ranked schools.


You mean at graduation, right? If not I'd really appreciate a citation/link. Thanks.

Also, last year at Stetson only 15 kids were known to be making more than 55k. There was 322 in that class.

4.6%

He's referring to this article: http://www.tnr.com/article/87251/law-sc ... georgetown

What the article says is that at some T1's, only about half of graduates get full time, permanent, legal employment. For example, Hastings says that that percentage is 60% (--LinkRemoved--), but the article's author notes that some graduates lie about whether or not they are full or part time and often say that their employment is permanent when in fact it is temporary. So yes, things are really bad out there.

SubwayatNight
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Re: Career and Salary Prospects at Rutgers Newark and Stetson

Postby SubwayatNight » Tue May 03, 2011 8:24 pm

Also, last year at Stetson only 15 kids were known to be making more than 55k. There was 322 in that class.

4.6%


Can you provide a source for this please? Also, a lot of people seem to have access to salary data that I have not been able to find. Do you have any other resources for salary data post-graduation for all schools? What is the credibility of these? Is it based only on students who report their numbers or do employers contribute as well? How recent is it?


mrwarre85
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Re: Career and Salary Prospects at Rutgers Newark and Stetson

Postby mrwarre85 » Tue May 03, 2011 9:23 pm

SubwayatNight wrote:
Also, last year at Stetson only 15 kids were known to be making more than 55k. There was 322 in that class.

4.6%


Can you provide a source for this please? Also, a lot of people seem to have access to salary data that I have not been able to find. Do you have any other resources for salary data post-graduation for all schools? What is the credibility of these? Is it based only on students who report their numbers or do employers contribute as well? How recent is it?


If you are going to law school and plan to pay 100k to do so, please consider spending the $12.99 or whatever it is to see the full employment numbers from usnews. just google usnews and surely you can figure it out from there.

SubwayatNight
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Re: Career and Salary Prospects at Rutgers Newark and Stetson

Postby SubwayatNight » Wed May 04, 2011 8:53 am

Thanks for that link TheFactor. But it's left me a bit confused. According to the Law School Transparency site, which is based on US News numbers, reported known salaries from the Rutgers '09 class (34.6% of the class) range between $100,000 and $160,000. It also confirms that over 90% of those reporting had found employment within 9 months. Stetson ranges between $47,750 and $92,000. Am I reading this wrong? It seems to contradict some of the information I've read and have been told on this message board, especially with regard to Rutgers. If I'm not understanding the charts correctly can someone explain it?

I have been giving heavy consideration to some of the suggestions I've read on this and other boards regarding waiting another year and retaking the LSAT. I took it once and scored 156. However, I should note my undergrad GPA was 3.02 and I think that will always keep me out of tier 1 schools unless I somehow break into the upper 160s (unlikely) or unless I prove myself as a 1L. The reason I think I was able to get into Rutgers was because I applied based on my work experience rather than my numbers (a somewhat unique application option). I spent three years working in the Ohio legislature and almost two years abroad as an English teacher. By the way - props to Rutgers for offering something like this on their application.

What I'm getting at is if I hold off on law school another year so I can re-take the LSAT I'm not sure if I'll be in much better a situation even if I manage a higher score. I'm also thinking if I go to school now and manage to do well my first year then maybe I could get a merit scholarship for my second year or even transfer somewhere with better prospects. That would serve the same goal of retaking the LSAT, i.e. getting a scholarship or getting into a school with more solid prospects (the scholarship being the preferred goal). By the way - even if I took the LSAT and managed a 165 and a large scholarship somewhere for my first year I would still have to do really well that first year in order to keep the scholarship for the second. Somewhere within my rambling is there sound logic? What am I overlooking?

I would hate to talk myself out of law school for the second time (I decided not to do it five years ago because of the specter of debt). But working in the legislature made me want to do it even more. It's never been about making money. It's just something I would find fulfilling. If I don't do it now I am worried I'll never do it. Plus if I wait much longer my age may start becoming a factor with employment prospects.

Thanks to everyone for taking the time to help me with your thoughts and opinions. I am considering all of it.

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Wholigan
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Re: Career and Salary Prospects at Rutgers Newark and Stetson

Postby Wholigan » Wed May 04, 2011 9:17 am

SubwayatNight wrote:What I'm getting at is if I hold off on law school another year so I can re-take the LSAT I'm not sure if I'll be in much better a situation even if I manage a higher score. I'm also thinking if I go to school now and manage to do well my first year then maybe I could get a merit scholarship for my second year or even transfer somewhere with better prospects. That would serve the same goal of retaking the LSAT, i.e. getting a scholarship or getting into a school with more solid prospects (the scholarship being the preferred goal). By the way - even if I took the LSAT and managed a 165 and a large scholarship somewhere for my first year I would still have to do really well that first year in order to keep the scholarship for the second. Somewhere within my rambling is there sound logic? What am I overlooking?


I would submit that what you're overlooking is that you'll have about a 5% chance of getting scholarship money in 2L or being able to transfer out if you go now, and if you wait a year, re-take and get scholarship money, you will have a 50% chance of keeping your scholarship with an average stip.

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ebo
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Re: Career and Salary Prospects at Rutgers Newark and Stetson

Postby ebo » Wed May 04, 2011 9:23 am

SubwayatNight wrote:What I'm getting at is if I hold off on law school another year so I can re-take the LSAT I'm not sure if I'll be in much better a situation even if I manage a higher score. I'm also thinking if I go to school now and manage to do well my first year then maybe I could get a merit scholarship for my second year or even transfer somewhere with better prospects. That would serve the same goal of retaking the LSAT, i.e. getting a scholarship or getting into a school with more solid prospects (the scholarship being the preferred goal). By the way - even if I took the LSAT and managed a 165 and a large scholarship somewhere for my first year I would still have to do really well that first year in order to keep the scholarship for the second. Somewhere within my rambling is there sound logic? What am I overlooking?

Don't ever, ever, go to a law school with the expectation you'll do well enough in 1L to transfer to a better school.

CanadianWolf
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Re: Career and Salary Prospects at Rutgers Newark and Stetson

Postby CanadianWolf » Wed May 04, 2011 9:26 am

Lawschool transparency is unreliable guesswork at best. Good intentions, but poor results due to an overwhelming lack of participation by ABA accredited law schools.

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Patriot1208
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Re: Career and Salary Prospects at Rutgers Newark and Stetson

Postby Patriot1208 » Wed May 04, 2011 9:46 am

CanadianWolf wrote:Lawschool transparency is unreliable guesswork at best. Good intentions, but poor results due to an overwhelming lack of participation by ABA accredited law schools.

lolwut?

All law school transparency does is breakdown the statistics and give you the facts. They don't say "Only 25% of this class made greater than 115k" they say "Only 25% of this class is known to make 115k due to statistics that we have". That isn't unrealiable guesswork. You can make the claim that the schols are flat out lying but I doubt that is true, instead they work to fudge their statistics to make them opaque. Law school transparency clears some of that up for us. It's entirely possible that actually 30% of the class is making 115k and not 25% but it's generally unlikely considering what we know from selection bias with these surveys and the fact that we know schools HOUND those known to have good jobs to fill out the surveys.

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Patriot1208
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Re: Career and Salary Prospects at Rutgers Newark and Stetson

Postby Patriot1208 » Wed May 04, 2011 9:58 am

SubwayatNight wrote:Thanks for that link TheFactor. But it's left me a bit confused. According to the Law School Transparency site, which is based on US News numbers, reported known salaries from the Rutgers '09 class (34.6% of the class) range between $100,000 and $160,000. It also confirms that over 90% of those reporting had found employment within 9 months. Stetson ranges between $47,750 and $92,000. Am I reading this wrong? It seems to contradict some of the information I've read and have been told on this message board, especially with regard to Rutgers. If I'm not understanding the charts correctly can someone explain it?



First, your wrong that 34.6% of the class range from between 100k and 160k. 100k is the 25th percentile meaning that ~75% of those 34.6% are making between 100k-160k. When looking at the salary range we see that that 25.95% are making in that range. Also, it says that 8.65% are known to be making less than 100k. It doesn't give us a range for that, but it seems very likely that the majority of that is around 50k. Then you get .5% getting clerkships which pay between 45-60k. And the rest are unknown.

A couple things to note, in the class of 09 25% were making around the salary you want. The rest weren't. That means 75% of the class wasn't making a salary you'd be happy with. We also know that schools regularly report people being employed full time who have jobs that don't require a JD. Northwestern made up jobs in their offices just to report kids as being employed. Since we just had the recent article stating that half of one t1 school didn't have jobs at graduation that required JD's it's plausible that something like that would happen at rutgers too. A quarter of the kids get decent jobs, a quarter get shitlaw jobs, and a half struggle to find anything.

It's also up for debate but a lot of people will tell you that hiring is worse now than it was for the class of 09. This is because hiring for private sector is mostly done through OCI which happens fall of your 2L year, which means it happened before the recession for this class.

Just some things to keep in mind.

SubwayatNight
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Re: Career and Salary Prospects at Rutgers Newark and Stetson

Postby SubwayatNight » Wed May 04, 2011 11:49 pm

Thanks for your explanations.

Just to be clear - it would be 25.95% of those reporting who received starting salaries of over $100,000? That would equate to about 11.34% of the class overall making that much in their first year. Right? Stetson's numbers are much lower with a median percentile of $55,000 in '09, but far fewer grads reported (26.3%).

I just got an email back from Stetson about my request for a scholarship and I was declined due to my numbers. She said, "Your credentials are good, but your 156 and 3.02 are low for the typical scholarship range. Students with scholarships are usually in the low to mid-160s and higher and upper 3s." The part about the "higher and upper 3s" referring to GPA is what worries me about waiting and retaking the LSAT.

Would I be wrong in not retaking the LSAT because I think my GPA will just hold me down? I feel like the only way to overcome my GPA is to demonstrate my ability in law school rather than show I can get a higher LSAT score. I don't mean to assume I would even do well enough to get a scholarship after my first year but I do mean that such a scenario might be my only way to get money in a tier 2 school.

I would submit that what you're overlooking is that you'll have about a 5% chance of getting scholarship money in 2L or being able to transfer out if you go now


Wholigan, what are you basing the 5% chance of getting a scholarship after the first year on? Is there a source that show statistics for that? If so, maybe I can look at schools with a higher probability of getting a scholarship after the first year. I would like to know where Stetson and Rutgers fall in that.

I should also note that Akron, Capital and Toledo all offered me generous scholarships. Akron in particular would have covered the cost of tuition (off the top of my head it was around $19k?). I turned all three down because I was worried about graduating from a lower tier school and not being able to even find a job, let alone one that would pay over $50k per year. I also heard that it was very difficult maintaining some of those scholarships beyond the first semester or two. Was I mistaken in thinking that way? Should I reconsider somewhere like Akron or Capital where I could get scholarships?

rose711
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Re: Career and Salary Prospects at Rutgers Newark and Stetson

Postby rose711 » Wed May 04, 2011 11:59 pm

OP: how much did you prepare for the LSAT? Are you convinced this is the highest score you can get? How much did you work on your Personal Statement and LORs? How much advice did you get in deciding where to apply? All of these aspects of your application might be able to be improved by getting advice and help from this forum.

There is a thread here for splitters - people with high LSAT and low GPAs. This might give you some idea of your chances.

viewtopic.php?f=7&t=132923&hilit=splitter+thread

You would have to improve on the LSAT, but if you think that is possible, then you are better off studying hard and taking it again.

You are asking all the right questions here.

mrwarre85
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Re: Career and Salary Prospects at Rutgers Newark and Stetson

Postby mrwarre85 » Thu May 05, 2011 3:44 am

SubwayatNight wrote:Thanks for your explanations.

Just to be clear - it would be 25.95% of those reporting who received starting salaries of over $100,000? That would equate to about 11.34% of the class overall making that much in their first year. Right? Stetson's numbers are much lower with a median percentile of $55,000 in '09, but far fewer grads reported (26.3%).

I just got an email back from Stetson about my request for a scholarship and I was declined due to my numbers. She said, "Your credentials are good, but your 156 and 3.02 are low for the typical scholarship range. Students with scholarships are usually in the low to mid-160s and higher and upper 3s." The part about the "higher and upper 3s" referring to GPA is what worries me about waiting and retaking the LSAT.

Would I be wrong in not retaking the LSAT because I think my GPA will just hold me down? I feel like the only way to overcome my GPA is to demonstrate my ability in law school rather than show I can get a higher LSAT score. I don't mean to assume I would even do well enough to get a scholarship after my first year but I do mean that such a scenario might be my only way to get money in a tier 2 school.

I would submit that what you're overlooking is that you'll have about a 5% chance of getting scholarship money in 2L or being able to transfer out if you go now


Wholigan, what are you basing the 5% chance of getting a scholarship after the first year on? Is there a source that show statistics for that? If so, maybe I can look at schools with a higher probability of getting a scholarship after the first year. I would like to know where Stetson and Rutgers fall in that.

I should also note that Akron, Capital and Toledo all offered me generous scholarships. Akron in particular would have covered the cost of tuition (off the top of my head it was around $19k?). I turned all three down because I was worried about graduating from a lower tier school and not being able to even find a job, let alone one that would pay over $50k per year. I also heard that it was very difficult maintaining some of those scholarships beyond the first semester or two. Was I mistaken in thinking that way? Should I reconsider somewhere like Akron or Capital where I could get scholarships?


If you specifically want Stetson, you might be right. I was hoping to get $$$ and go there, but even though I was way over their 75% LSAT they flat out told me I wouldn't get any $$$ because of my GPA. FWIW, my gpa was similiar to yours. They are not splitter friendly in terms of $$$, and you will find that most schools aren't. Seems like a lot of big 10 schools are, though. Indiana and Iowa for sure. They are out there check out lawschoolnumbers.com to see for yourself.

SubwayatNight
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Re: Career and Salary Prospects at Rutgers Newark and Stetson

Postby SubwayatNight » Thu May 05, 2011 4:31 am

Thanks for the thread for splitters Rose. It was helpful.

To answer your questions, I am fairly confident I could break 160 and perhaps even top out at 165 but I doubt I have much more than that in me. I prepared four to five hours a day for about four months. Basically my prepping involved reading all the LSAT guidebooks and taking one practice test a day as well as reviewing my answers. My average scores on approximately 40 tests was around what I got (mid-150s). My highest ever I think was a 164 (lots of coffee that morning). I didn't take an LSAT prep course since I was and still am abroad and I wasn't interested in online classes.

I got tons of advice and strong LORs from friends and former co-workers back home, many of whom are lawyers / state representatives and people in state government. They made me fully aware of the financial situation I would be putting myself in but they encouraged me to move forward if it was still something I wanted to do despite the financial burden. To paraphrase my mentor, he said more education is never a bad thing but just be aware of the difficult time grads are having finding jobs. He used his son as an example. He graduated from Capital and simply couldn't find a job for quite some time. (My other friend, by the way, transferred out of Capital to Ohio State and she claimed she just needed to be in the top 10% of her class to do that. She said they put a lot of emphasis on her work in the legislature prior to law school. Does anybody have a source for transfer statistics?)

Shifting the topic back to the salary prospects at Stetson and Rutgers, it appears Rutgers is quite strong relative to Stetson on the law school transparency site. To take it further, I compared Rutgers to other schools I was interested in they still outperformed many salary wise, at least based on those who reported (usually around 40%). This even includes schools like American and Ohio State which are much higher ranking schools. I suppose this is because of the NYC market seeping into some of higher ranking students' numbers but I've read from multiple sources that whole region in the NJ, Philly, NYC area always has a strong legal market if that's what you want to get into.

Ideally I would have a scholarship to help minimize the cost but I am becoming more comfortable with the choice of Rutgers at sticker and less towards Stetson. At least at Rutgers I should be able to find something, even if it's only $50k or $60k and not in the legal field. Worst case scenario is I could go back to Ohio and probably find a job around that salary in lobbying or a state agency, live modestly and pay down the debt over ten years. When I worked there before I made just $35,000 and was able to save about $1,000 a month. A ten year loan payment for $120,000 would be just over that at around $1,400. Do these numbers and expectations sound reasonable? What am I overlooking or not factoring? I know it's based on an assumption that I could go back and find a job that pays at least $50k but even in the worst of times back home I saw positions paying more than that available if only I had a law degree.

I appreciate everyone's help with this huge decision. With your help I will feel more comfortable I examined all the angles of this.

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Wholigan
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Re: Career and Salary Prospects at Rutgers Newark and Stetson

Postby Wholigan » Thu May 05, 2011 10:14 am

SubwayatNight wrote:
I would submit that what you're overlooking is that you'll have about a 5% chance of getting scholarship money in 2L or being able to transfer out if you go now


Wholigan, what are you basing the 5% chance of getting a scholarship after the first year on? Is there a source that show statistics for that? If so, maybe I can look at schools with a higher probability of getting a scholarship after the first year. I would like to know where Stetson and Rutgers fall in that.

I should also note that Akron, Capital and Toledo all offered me generous scholarships. Akron in particular would have covered the cost of tuition (off the top of my head it was around $19k?). I turned all three down because I was worried about graduating from a lower tier school and not being able to even find a job, let alone one that would pay over $50k per year. I also heard that it was very difficult maintaining some of those scholarships beyond the first semester or two. Was I mistaken in thinking that way? Should I reconsider somewhere like Akron or Capital where I could get scholarships?


It's based on the fact that law schools are not going to throw money at you for 2L year when you weren't on scholarship in 1L, unless it's to prevent you from transferring. And you will have to be around top 5% or higher from Rutgers to have a shot at a meaningful transfer. Check transfer apps if you need statistics for that.

Also, I'm not quite sure I understand the logic in turning down $$$ to Akron, yet considering Stetson at sticker. I'm not intimately familiar with either, but I seriously doubt Stetson has anything to offer that Akron doesn't except nice weather. Plus you have political connections in Ohio who might be able to help you find a job. That said, Rutgers is a much better value at sticker than most T2s, although I don't know if it's worth sticker. Also, I don't know how you'll get out of there with only $90k in debt at sticker, unless you are eating into some serious personal savings.

SubwayatNight
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Re: Career and Salary Prospects at Rutgers Newark and Stetson

Postby SubwayatNight » Thu May 05, 2011 8:04 pm

Also, I'm not quite sure I understand the logic in turning down $$$ to Akron, yet considering Stetson at sticker. I'm not intimately familiar with either, but I seriously doubt Stetson has anything to offer that Akron doesn't except nice weather.


Would you have done Akron for money over Rutgers at in-state sticker? At the time I was choosing between those two since Stetson initially waitlisted me. My concern about Akron was and is it's low ranking, low prospects, lack of notable programs, weather and location, location and it's location. I also did a bit of research about Akron's scholarships, including on this site, and it became clear to me that it might be difficult and overly stressful to maintain that scholarship beyond even the first semester, let alone the first full year. They have a pretty difficult first year and rigid GPA requirement. I came to view their scholarship offer as sort of a hook to get me in then once I was there I would end up paying sticker for a low ranking school in a terrible, terrible location. (My hometown is very near to there so I'm familiar with the area). This may explain the unusually high attrition rate there. Meanwhile, Stetson is in another league in many categories, not just weather and location (though those are big factors for me). Stetson consistently has one of the top rated writing and trial advocacy programs in the country. It's also typically in the tier 2 range, but it just dropped into tier 3. It also is in the middle of the pack in the Florida market and places extremely well in Tampa whereas in the Ohio market you're pretty much shot unless you go to OSU, Cinc., or Case and even then it's tough. It's ironic to compare an Ohio school to a Florida one because Florida is where many of the Ohio job prospects have been going.

It's based on the fact that law schools are not going to throw money at you for 2L year when you weren't on scholarship in 1L, unless it's to prevent you from transferring. And you will have to be around top 5% or higher from Rutgers to have a shot at a meaningful transfer. Check transfer apps if you need statistics for that.


I found a solid source to support this for you. I contacted the admissions officer at Stetson who has been extremely helpful. I explained the situation to her and asked her straight out if my GPA would be too low to qualify for any sort of merit scholarship and she basically said yes:

"This is quite the dilemma. Your GPA is just too low to be honest. It is not just based on LSAT."

I went on to ask her about qualifying for a scholarship based on my 1L performance and she said, "Assume you enroll and you earn Dean’s List after first year performance, you would qualify for merit funding. Dean’s List is top 5%. We have other scholarships, but those are the most generous, depending on the alumni giving of course."

So it does appear my GPA is probably too low to qualify for scholarships at Stetson likely regardless of LSAT and this may be an indicator at other similarly ranked schools, although that part hasn't been confirmed. So waiting another year to increase my LSAT 5-10 points might to little to nothing, at least at Stetson. We also learned that Whooligan's first year top 5% number to qualify is accurate, at least at Stetson. Again, this is also could be indicative of other schools in the same range as well but I haven't confirmed that yet.

At this point I think I'm staying with my initial decision and choosing Rutgers at in-state sticker. I would still like more resources on salary info though (the real reason for this thread). How can I get in touch with some of the recent grads? Someone mentioned Facebook to me. Is that practical? Isn't there another source other than US News and the schools themselves for salary data?

David




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