Pitt law a mistake? - want to practice on West Coast

(Rankings, Profiles, Tuition, Student Life, . . . )
danteamante
Posts: 16
Joined: Wed Nov 17, 2010 7:31 pm

Pitt law a mistake? - want to practice on West Coast

Postby danteamante » Fri Jul 22, 2011 11:34 am

This is my situation: my husband just began his three year residency in Pittsburgh (medical residency to be clear) and we will be in this city for a minimum of 3 years. I just finished an MA in Virginia and plan on attending law school but I do not want to be tied to the western Pennsylvania area for the rest of my life. I am originally from California and I cannot wait to go back.
I am currently debating whether or not I should go to Pitt law. My stats are way above the average for Pitt law (GPA 3.8, Masters degree from UVa, LSAT likely 166-170) so it would be likely that I would receive a generous scholarship.
Will going to a fairly regional school like Pitt make it impossible to find work on the West Coast?

Should I wait until my husband finishes his residency in Pittsburgh before applying to law school and then apply to schools in California? Would it be possible to get my JD from Pitt law and then do a 1 year LLM on the west coast?

I am not really interested in earning lots of money or having a super prestigious career but I want to practice law and not be unemployed. I am considering some form of public interest law.
Basically my question is: If my goal is to practice on the West coast would be it a huge mistake to go to Pitt law, even if I can get a large scholarship? Given my situation, what would be the best thing for me to do?

keg411
Posts: 5935
Joined: Tue Apr 21, 2009 9:10 pm

Re: Pitt law a mistake? - want to practice on West Coast

Postby keg411 » Fri Jul 22, 2011 11:38 am

Yes. Pitt law will not travel to the West Coast. You are going to have to wait for law school until after your husband's residency and you move somewhere that you want to be permanently (unless you don't mind being separate from your husband during law school, in which case, get your LSAT as high as possible and aim for Berkeley/USC/UCLA).

ran12
Posts: 1003
Joined: Sun Oct 31, 2010 4:28 pm

Re: Pitt law a mistake? - want to practice on West Coast

Postby ran12 » Fri Jul 22, 2011 11:39 am

You should just go to Pitt. Waiting 3 years to go to law school doesn't make sense when you consider that what you want will not really factor in as much. Basically you'll end up having to go where your husband gets a job. It's much tougher to go where you want as a doctor than as a lawyer. I know a lot of good doctors who went to great med schools who couldn't go from PA to NY b/c it's just not that easy for doctors to go whereever they want.

Considering the chances are that you won't have much say in where you're living in 3 years, you might as well get the JD at Pitt now esp. since you don't care about biglaw. If public interest is your goal, Pitt will be fine in most cases. LLM is pointless.

kehoema2
Posts: 135
Joined: Thu Mar 25, 2010 10:52 pm

Re: Pitt law a mistake? - want to practice on West Coast

Postby kehoema2 » Fri Jul 22, 2011 11:46 am

I don't usually do this, but you told us nothing about your stats (masters GPA and a predicted LSAT score which everyone loves).

Also, I did have a 166 and a high undergrad GPA and I think I got like 10k a year from Pitt so don't count on a generous scholarship. This was with out of state tuition. Law school numbers shows that Pitt does not throw around a lot of money

ran12
Posts: 1003
Joined: Sun Oct 31, 2010 4:28 pm

Re: Pitt law a mistake? - want to practice on West Coast

Postby ran12 » Fri Jul 22, 2011 11:48 am

kehoema2 wrote:I don't usually do this, but you told us nothing about your stats (masters GPA and a predicted LSAT score which everyone loves).

Also, I did have a 166 and a high undergrad GPA and I think I got like 10k a year from Pitt so don't count on a generous scholarship. This was with out of state tuition. Law school numbers shows that Pitt does not throw around a lot of money


Yea at most Pitt will prob give 20k/yr regardless of how overqualified you are.

danteamante
Posts: 16
Joined: Wed Nov 17, 2010 7:31 pm

Re: Pitt law a mistake? - want to practice on West Coast

Postby danteamante » Fri Jul 22, 2011 11:56 am

Let me clarify my stats:
Undergrad GPA = 3.87 - major was philosophy - University of Notre Dame
Masters GPA = 3.86
I scored a 165 and a 166 on the first two practice tests I took (under timed conditions and with little studying). I intend to study hard for a few months which ought to raise my scores considerably. I don't think that 166-170 is an unreasonable estimate for my real LSAT score.

User avatar
emciosn
Posts: 392
Joined: Thu Apr 02, 2009 3:53 pm

Re: Pitt law a mistake? - want to practice on West Coast

Postby emciosn » Fri Jul 22, 2011 12:02 pm

With at 165 on your first PT you should be able to get well above 170 with a few months of studying. I started quite a ways lower than you and I made it to 170. Is living apart for a could of years just not an option? I don't know much about east coast geography but are there and T14 schools that are a reasonable driving distance from Pitt?

Edit: I also don't think Pitt give you much of a shot at the west coast unless you have some serious connections. My advice: live apart for a little while or wait.

danteamante
Posts: 16
Joined: Wed Nov 17, 2010 7:31 pm

Re: Pitt law a mistake? - want to practice on West Coast

Postby danteamante » Fri Jul 22, 2011 12:07 pm

Unfortunately there aren't any better schools within a reasonable driving distance.

User avatar
emciosn
Posts: 392
Joined: Thu Apr 02, 2009 3:53 pm

Re: Pitt law a mistake? - want to practice on West Coast

Postby emciosn » Fri Jul 22, 2011 12:10 pm

danteamante wrote:Unfortunately there aren't any better schools within a reasonable driving distance.



And you don't want to do the long distance thing for a while? I probably wouldn't because it sucks but some people are better suited to it. Maybe if you do well at Pitt and get a good job in the area for a few years you can try to lateral to somewhere in Cali? Not sure how well this works but I would think it would be easier than trying to go straight to Cali out of law school. That would require you to stay in the Pitt area for a few years after your SO's residency is over.

User avatar
ndirish2010
Posts: 2950
Joined: Mon Dec 14, 2009 4:41 pm

Re: Pitt law a mistake? - want to practice on West Coast

Postby ndirish2010 » Fri Jul 22, 2011 12:10 pm

Hi fellow Domer! Your situation is interesting and difficult. If I were you, I would not waste that GPA on Pitt...it's a solid school if you go for cheap and want to work in Pittsburgh, but not for anywhere else. How opposed are you to living apart for a while? Maybe wait just a year and only live apart for 2 years? If you could get a full ride to Pitt, I might say go for it, but the others are saying that is probably unlikely....

MrAnon
Posts: 1615
Joined: Wed Aug 25, 2010 9:08 pm

Re: Pitt law a mistake? - want to practice on West Coast

Postby MrAnon » Fri Jul 22, 2011 12:13 pm

I am the biggest downer on law school and prospects around but I will say you should go ahead and go to Pitt. You have the time, you'll probably do well in the school, and people travel around a lot, so what? Its the idiot with a 2.9 and a 158 LSAT who should not move across country to attend Pitt. You are already there.

I will say however that you probably stand as good a chance finding public interest work without that law degree than you do with it. The law degree simply hems you into the lawyer job only group, which is a small subset of all the jobs out there. If you have an MA just shoot for a management position and forget taking on the extra debt, not worth it.

danteamante
Posts: 16
Joined: Wed Nov 17, 2010 7:31 pm

Re: Pitt law a mistake? - want to practice on West Coast

Postby danteamante » Fri Jul 22, 2011 12:16 pm

I would consider doing the long distance thing, but I don't think my husband would go for it. And both of our families would be appalled. We dated long distance for 4 years while he was in med school and I was finishing my undergrad/grad school and neither of us really want to do that again. But the alternatives are appealing either.

Case2L
Posts: 203
Joined: Sun Dec 10, 2006 1:05 pm

Re: Pitt law a mistake? - want to practice on West Coast

Postby Case2L » Fri Jul 22, 2011 12:19 pm

Shoot for Penn, at least you will be in the same state as your husband.

User avatar
emciosn
Posts: 392
Joined: Thu Apr 02, 2009 3:53 pm

Re: Pitt law a mistake? - want to practice on West Coast

Postby emciosn » Fri Jul 22, 2011 12:24 pm

Penn is like five hours away? Thats not that bad, you could see each other on the weekends I suppose. I would just be reluctant to go to pitt with those numbers. Its a decision that could have an impact on the rest of your life, or at least the next decade or so.

User avatar
5ky
Posts: 6384
Joined: Mon Oct 05, 2009 4:10 pm

Re: Pitt law a mistake? - want to practice on West Coast

Postby 5ky » Fri Jul 22, 2011 12:25 pm

Won't you have to follow your husband wherever he gets his job? You might as well just go to PItt, if that's the case.

User avatar
snapdragon
Posts: 766
Joined: Sat Jun 26, 2010 11:34 am

Re: Pitt law a mistake? - want to practice on West Coast

Postby snapdragon » Fri Jul 22, 2011 12:27 pm

Case2L wrote:Shoot for Penn, at least you will be in the same state as your husband.


I was going to suggest this, or splitting the difference / commuting. Unfortunately Pittsburgh is a really tough spot. Looks like the closest outside T1 schools would be OSU, Penn, GULC/GWU. But none of them are within a really easy driving distance (are there good transit options between Philly and Pitt? I'm thinking taking a train or something could be easier than trying to drive every weekend. Also, you could study on a train). I would personally still shoot for Penn and try to make the best of it, but I understand your hesitation. Depending on your time line, waiting til he's settled might be a better option.

User avatar
emciosn
Posts: 392
Joined: Thu Apr 02, 2009 3:53 pm

Re: Pitt law a mistake? - want to practice on West Coast

Postby emciosn » Fri Jul 22, 2011 12:30 pm

snapdragon wrote:
Case2L wrote:Shoot for Penn, at least you will be in the same state as your husband.


I was going to suggest this, or splitting the difference / commuting. Unfortunately Pittsburgh is a really tough spot. Looks like the closest outside T1 schools would be OSU, Penn, GULC/GWU. But none of them are within a really easy driving distance (are there good transit options between Philly and Pitt? I'm thinking taking a train or something could be easier than trying to drive every weekend. Also, you could study on a train). I would personally still shoot for Penn and try to make the best of it, but I understand your hesitation. Depending on your time line, waiting til he's settled might be a better option.


And just seeing each other on the weekends might not be a bad thing at all, especially if you can just take the train. You will both be pretty busy. I did just weekends with my SO my 1L year (rising 2L now) and things turned out just fine.

User avatar
emciosn
Posts: 392
Joined: Thu Apr 02, 2009 3:53 pm

Re: Pitt law a mistake? - want to practice on West Coast

Postby emciosn » Fri Jul 22, 2011 12:32 pm

5ky wrote:Won't you have to follow your husband wherever he gets his job? You might as well just go to PItt, if that's the case.


Wouldn't this make a better case for going somewhere like Penn? A school with a more national reach.

ran12
Posts: 1003
Joined: Sun Oct 31, 2010 4:28 pm

Re: Pitt law a mistake? - want to practice on West Coast

Postby ran12 » Fri Jul 22, 2011 12:32 pm

Splitting the commute/distance makes no sense at all. As a resident your husband is going to have very odd hours and as a law student, it's not in your best interest to be traveling back and forth during the weekend. He certainly can't commute. Considering that Pittsburgh is one of the best cities for medicine, in all likelihood, your husband will end up getting an attendee position there and you'll end up putting roots down in Pittsburgh. Like I said earlier, it's not really up to you or even your husband to an extent where you guys end up. It's where he can get a good job.

danteamante
Posts: 16
Joined: Wed Nov 17, 2010 7:31 pm

Re: Pitt law a mistake? - want to practice on West Coast

Postby danteamante » Fri Jul 22, 2011 12:38 pm

ran12 wrote:Splitting the commute/distance makes no sense at all. As a resident your husband is going to have very odd hours and as a law student, it's not in your best interest to be traveling back and forth during the weekend. He certainly can't commute. Considering that Pittsburgh is one of the best cities for medicine, in all likelihood, your husband will end up getting an attendee position there and you'll end up putting roots down in Pittsburgh. Like I said earlier, it's not really up to you or even your husband to an extent where you guys end up. It's where he can get a good job.


I agree that splitting the commute makes no sense since residents have crazy hours. However I don't think you are complete correct in thinking that doctors have little choice in where they practice. My husband will be an anesthesiologist and I have heard that it is fairly easy to find a position with a hospital almost anywhere. if not easy, it is certainly not impossible. There is a shortage of doctors in this country which is certainly not the case for lawyers.

User avatar
5ky
Posts: 6384
Joined: Mon Oct 05, 2009 4:10 pm

Re: Pitt law a mistake? - want to practice on West Coast

Postby 5ky » Fri Jul 22, 2011 12:40 pm

emciosn wrote:
5ky wrote:Won't you have to follow your husband wherever he gets his job? You might as well just go to PItt, if that's the case.


Wouldn't this make a better case for going somewhere like Penn? A school with a more national reach.


In a perfect world, sure. But a three year long distance marriage, one in law school and one in medical residency, sounds seriously like hell.

User avatar
emciosn
Posts: 392
Joined: Thu Apr 02, 2009 3:53 pm

Re: Pitt law a mistake? - want to practice on West Coast

Postby emciosn » Fri Jul 22, 2011 12:43 pm

It sound's like your husband will have some pretty good options in a few years and if you go to Pitt you will be essentially limiting those options. Going to a higher ranked school would give you more mobility as a couple. If you go to Pitt, after he is done with residency you will have this same problem again because he may want to leave Pitt but you can't because you have a regional degree.

If he just gets a baller salary maybe this won't be a problem. You can just do save the world type PI stuff for close to free wherever he goes and you law degree granting institution perhaps won't matter as much. In that case you may be happy you minimized your debt. All speculation.

ran12
Posts: 1003
Joined: Sun Oct 31, 2010 4:28 pm

Re: Pitt law a mistake? - want to practice on West Coast

Postby ran12 » Fri Jul 22, 2011 12:49 pm

danteamante wrote:
ran12 wrote:Splitting the commute/distance makes no sense at all. As a resident your husband is going to have very odd hours and as a law student, it's not in your best interest to be traveling back and forth during the weekend. He certainly can't commute. Considering that Pittsburgh is one of the best cities for medicine, in all likelihood, your husband will end up getting an attendee position there and you'll end up putting roots down in Pittsburgh. Like I said earlier, it's not really up to you or even your husband to an extent where you guys end up. It's where he can get a good job.


I agree that splitting the commute makes no sense since residents have crazy hours. However I don't think you are complete correct in thinking that doctors have little choice in where they practice. My husband will be an anesthesiologist and I have heard that it is fairly easy to find a position with a hospital almost anywhere. if not easy, it is certainly not impossible. There is a shortage of doctors in this country which is certainly not the case for lawyers.


I agree that as an anesthesiologist, your husband will have an easier time getting a job elsewhere but my original advice about going to Pitt Law still stands. Based on your career aspirations, it just makes more sense to go to Pitt esp since you're in Pittsburgh for 3 years. You don't necessarily need a degree from the region to go into PI or something of that sort. Also, it might be tougher to go to law school after waiting 3 years for various reasons.

danteamante
Posts: 16
Joined: Wed Nov 17, 2010 7:31 pm

Re: Pitt law a mistake? - want to practice on West Coast

Postby danteamante » Fri Jul 22, 2011 1:09 pm

I was hoping that there would be some agreement among everyone, but it seems that everyone has a different opinion.

Some more questions:

Is Penn at all generous with their aid? Penn is tremendously expensive compared to Pitt.

If I were to wait until my husband is done with residency, what type of jobs or activities would be help me remain a competitive candidate for law school? Apart from two years as a TA and various service projects I don't have any significant work experience.

Have any of you been in a similar situation, or have you known someone in a similar situation?

scammedhard
Posts: 642
Joined: Mon Apr 18, 2011 1:17 pm

Re: Pitt law a mistake? - want to practice on West Coast

Postby scammedhard » Fri Jul 22, 2011 1:11 pm

danteamante wrote:I am not really interested in earning lots of money or having a super prestigious career but I want to practice law and not be unemployed. I am considering some form of public interest law.
Basically my question is: If my goal is to practice on the West coast would be it a huge mistake to go to Pitt law, even if I can get a large scholarship? Given my situation, what would be the best thing for me to do?

The labor market for lawyers is going to remain in shambles for a long time. In my opinion, a Pitt Law degree is not employable anywhere outside of Pitt, and even more so in the West Coast. Considering what you have said about not wanting to live apart, and being unable to attend any other school, the cold, sad conclusion is that law school is not for you for the foreseeable future. Look into something else and save yourself lots of time and money.
If you have a 3.8X and can get a 17X, you should not waste those numbers in Pitt, even with a full-ride. Wait three years and re-evaluate law school then.




Return to “Choosing a Law School”

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: Baidu [Spider] and 7 guests