As a 2005 Seton Hall grad, I'd like to inform all of you of my experience at this school.
First off, my 1 L year at SH in 2002-3, the tuition was 24 K. I had a small (5 K) scholarship and no undergrad debt. By my last year (2005) tution was up to about 27 K. I essentially paid what was "sticker" at the time, as I lost the 5 K after second semester of my 1 L year.
I mention this only because many will flame me for paying "sticker," but understand that TLS, the "scamblogs," and hundreds of major media articles were not around in late 2001 when I was applying to law schools. There was little info about SH Law on the internet, or law school placement in general. Remember, most homes still had 56 K dial-up internet back then- it was just a totally different environment. Also, what I paid in "sticker" then is what you'd pay today with a 50% ride, as tuition is now up to 46 K a year.
From my experience there is NO DOUBT that SH "stacks" scholly people in certain sections to take away the $$$. In my section alone there was a gal w/ a full ride (168 LSAT), and many others with Ivy undergrads and full or damn-near full rides. Not only do they stack the brightest kids together, they also give them the hardest-grading profs. For example. Sara Waldeck, known as "C-minus Sara", and Mark Denbeaux aka "D+ Denbeaux."
Waldeck is esp. tough because she doesn't give "standard" exams. Our Property exam was a photocopy of a NY Times article about software piracy. She merely instructed us to "apply what we learned in class to the article."
Many people ended up with c's and even d's, so many in fact that she had to hold a post-exam conference to explain what she was looking for in the exam. Turns out she wanted people to make the comparison to software "running free" over the internet as opposed to being "captured," like the fox hunt in Pierson v. Post (google that famous case).
Needless to say, this was pretty absurd and trashed a lot of GPA's (not mine, I saved my bad grades for Con Law the following semester). I offer it only as an example that hard work doesn't equal success in law school. Sheer luck plays a far larger role than you can imagine.
Another depressing thing about SH is that no one really wants to be there. The first week of school is more like a funeral, with many people bummed that they couldn't make it into Fordham or a semi-prestigious school along those lines. I didn't meet a single classmate who was excited about being at SH. It's in a pretty lousy area (though not dangerous, lots of cops around) but almost everyone commutes and there's little to no "campus" feeling. After class, most people get in there cars and drive home to the NJ burbs. Hoboken and the other towns around SH are simply far too expensive in rent etc to be realistic on a student budget.
Don't be fooled by the slightly above avg. Article III court placement. This can be explained by the fact that a lot of SH kids have major-league connections- five of my classmates had fathers who were Federal judges, and needless to say all of them got placed just fine regardless of grades. There are "trust fund babies" aplenty at SH, to the extent where anyone from a working-class background will DEFINITELY feel out of place. Think "Alex P. Keaton" types, who for whatever reason didn't rank high enough on the LSAT to get into a real law school.
Another thing about the school is that it's almost 100% white- almost in kind of a "creepy" way.
As for placement, Seton Hall does a terrible job with OCI. Hell, the dean Patrick Hobbs cares so little about the students that he "moonlighted" as the undergrad athletic director for all of last year. This type of self-aggrandizement is endemic among the SH profs and admins. Almost all the profs have side gigs and cancel classes constantly, as if their 250 "professor" gigs were a part-time job! Forget anything in NYC- those jobs were almost impossible to get even in '05, and they're even harder now.
What might surprise you is that you can also pretty much forget the decent NJ firms like McCarter, Lowenstein, Sills Cummis et al. In this bear market those places can get Ivy-leaguers, so they've pretty much stopped hiring from schools like SH. In fact, they've stopped hiring altogether in McCarter's case:http://www.abajournal.com/news/article/ ... r_program/
You can also forget legal aid and assistant DA jobs- the state is beyond broke and those places aren't hiring either. Here are some fairly recent articles on the NJ legal "market":http://articles.philly.com/2010-08-14/n ... ewer-cases
Things are so bad that only 60 of 100 people who wanted to work for FREE at the NJ AG's office got placed:http://blogs.findlaw.com/strategist/200 ... teers.html
(btw the hiring freeze is still on- I have a friend in this program).
Hell, even the "Traffic Court Clerkships" (as the NJ superior court clerkships are jokingly called) are now getting Ivy-league resumes:
I just think you should all be made aware of these facts before entering Seton Hall. I deeply regret my decision to attend the school (and law school in general), and most of my former classmates feel the same way. Most are trapped in dead-end temp jobs doing doc review, which is a rapidly dying area itself. When I graduated those jobs paid 35/hr + OT after 40 hours, so at least you made $$$ to be bored, mistreated, and doing dead-end work without health insurance or any stability.
Now those jobs are paying 25-30 an hour, the OT is long gone, and projects are few and far between.
Seton Hall was never a good school, but going there in the current economy is almost a suicide mission. Expect to start at 35-45 K at a small firm in NJ if you're lucky enough to even get a gig, since most of these shops want people with at least a couple years of experience (and can get them in this economy).