Where should I start?

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auburnbelle89
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Where should I start?

Postby auburnbelle89 » Wed Jan 18, 2012 10:33 pm

I thought I would see what TLS's collective wisdom had to say.

To keep it short, I have been accepted to a wide variety of schools as a reverse-splitter (see profile for details). When I entered the cycle, my goal was to go to as highly ranked a school I could while keeping the cost manageable (for law school that is). However, my cycle has gone a bit better than I imagined. Now, I feel like I have to pick between ranking and money. I am looking to begin negotiating for more money, but I'm not sure where to start.

Ultimately, I'd like to end up in D.C., ATL, or Charlotte or another decent-sized city in the Southeast. I also have ties to South Carolina, which puts it up on the list as well. I feel like the immediate response will be the standard "retake, reapply" advice. While normally I'd agree, I've already taken the LSAT 3 times. Though I underperformed from my practice tests (averaging around 169/170), I don't think waiting a couple of years and reapplying would help me much. There isn't much I can do with a history degree, and I honestly can't think of anything else I want to do with my life. Sitting out for a low paying job and sleeping on my parents' couch isn't really what I was looking for, but if you think that is the best option, I'm willing to listen.

I have yet to hear from 4 schools (2 reaches, 2 that i most likely will be accepted to without $), but here is where I am so far. (Amounts are per year)

UVA - Sticker
William and Mary - $14k
Iowa - Full Tuition
W&L - $22k
Wake - $20k
UNC - awaiting scholarship info
Alabama - no $, but in-state tuition
South Carolina - in-state tuition

I am also in at Baylor (with $30k) and America (no $ yet), but I have pretty much ruled these out after the UVA acceptance.

I am interested in thoughts/advice about where I should be leaning, but I am mainly interested in how to begin the scholarship negotiation. My initial thought is to begin seeing if W&L, Wake, and W&M will offer more money (hopefully around 75% tuition at least), and then see if I can get a bit from UVA. I know UVA was a reach, which makes me hesitant to try to negotiate some $ from them. I have also thought about using the Iowa $ and trying to get one of its peers to match it.

I am not leaning toward a particular school at the moment. Ideally, I would like to be weighing the options between a W&M/Wake/W&L with substantial money and UVA at sticker or with a little $. Right now I have a hard time justifying around $120k in debt from somewhere like Wake verses $220k in debt at UVA with significantly better employment options.

Also, I'd like to get thoughts on when to start withdrawing from schools I know I won't be attending.

Thus ends my ramble. Do your thing TLS.

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Nelson
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Re: Where should I start?

Postby Nelson » Wed Jan 18, 2012 10:48 pm

Given your desired practice region and that list of schools, I would pick UVA. But I'm a 0L with no experience with 200k in debt.

A full ride or close to it at one of the southern flagship state schools would be the risk averse option if you could negotiate with one. I don't think the other VA schools are worth the money.

Incubateus
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Re: Where should I start?

Postby Incubateus » Wed Jan 18, 2012 10:50 pm

With regard to all of your options. Alabama and South Carolina aren't worth it. Unless UNC goes full tuition, it wouldn't be worth it. Wake would still leave you with some debt and thus not worth it (for both UNC and Wake it assumes that you would be willing to not practice in NC). W&L and William and Mary are about equal, and are good options assuming that you are semi-debt-averse. If it were my choice to make I would be between UVA and Iowa. Little to no debt out of Iowa could be excellent -- it would be highly dependent on what kind of law you want to practice and where you want to work). UVA at sticker will provide more options and higher salaries, but obviously more debt.

So if you aren't dead set on biglaw, you should probably lean towards Iowa.
If you are, lean towards UVA.

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Nelson
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Re: Where should I start?

Postby Nelson » Wed Jan 18, 2012 10:52 pm

Incubateus wrote:With regard to all of your options. Alabama and South Carolina aren't worth it. Unless UNC goes full tuition, it wouldn't be worth it. Wake would still leave you with some debt and thus not worth it (for both UNC and Wake it assumes that you would be willing to not practice in NC). W&L and William and Mary are about equal, and are good options assuming that you are semi-debt-averse. If it were my choice to make I would be between UVA and Iowa. Little to no debt out of Iowa could be excellent -- it would be highly dependent on what kind of law you want to practice and where you want to work). UVA at sticker will provide more options and higher salaries, but obviously more debt.

So if you aren't dead set on biglaw, you should probably lean towards Iowa.
If you are, lean towards UVA.

Iowa is an insane choice if OP wants to work in the south. I'm not even sure why it's on the list.

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JoeMo
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Re: Where should I start?

Postby JoeMo » Wed Jan 18, 2012 10:57 pm

If you're looking to practice in the Southeast it's a no brainer that you should go to UVA.

You also need to know that UVA won't negotiate with you based on the offers you have. You would need to have an offer from Michigan or HYSCCN in order to negotiate money at UVA. And except for the full ride at Iowa the other offers are pretty comparable already so you'd have a really hard time trying to get them to even match Wake's.

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Doorkeeper
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Re: Where should I start?

Postby Doorkeeper » Wed Jan 18, 2012 10:57 pm

1. You don't have to send in your deposit until April, so you have some time to think about this decision. You don't have to send the deposit into UVA tomorrow, or even in the next month, or even in the next two months. You have time. What I'm getting at with this, is that if you think you have it in you to take the LSAT again, I would seriously consider looking into some good employment options for a year and re-take the LSAT. UVA at sticker is nice, but a 4.0/170 would bring UVA with $20k per year, at least. I know looking for work is difficult, but think about what you're interested in and pursue it for maybe two months. See if anyone bites. Don't take some menial, shitty job to re-take the LSAT, you'll be miserable and you won't do well. But if you can find something that leaves you content when you come home at night, you'll have the time to study again.

2. Unfortunately, none of the schools you have gotten into are a peer with UVA. That is seriously going to be a problem in getting any money from them. However, you can use W&L, Wake, and W&M against each other to raise their money. See how far you can go. Don't be afraid of negotiating.

3. What do you want to do with your law degree? If you want biglaw, UVA is going to be hugely better compared to your other options. However, if you want to be in a small practice in VA or the South, well then the difference diminishes. If you want something in the public sector or non-profits, look to see if any of these schools have any sort of loan repayment program. That could be a big difference in your debt load.

4. Drop Alabama, South Carolina, Baylor, American and UNC (unless it gives you a lot of $$).
Last edited by Doorkeeper on Wed Jan 18, 2012 10:58 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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JoeMo
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Re: Where should I start?

Postby JoeMo » Wed Jan 18, 2012 10:57 pm

Nelson wrote:
Incubateus wrote:With regard to all of your options. Alabama and South Carolina aren't worth it. Unless UNC goes full tuition, it wouldn't be worth it. Wake would still leave you with some debt and thus not worth it (for both UNC and Wake it assumes that you would be willing to not practice in NC). W&L and William and Mary are about equal, and are good options assuming that you are semi-debt-averse. If it were my choice to make I would be between UVA and Iowa. Little to no debt out of Iowa could be excellent -- it would be highly dependent on what kind of law you want to practice and where you want to work). UVA at sticker will provide more options and higher salaries, but obviously more debt.

So if you aren't dead set on biglaw, you should probably lean towards Iowa.
If you are, lean towards UVA.

Iowa is an insane choice if OP wants to work in the south. I'm not even sure why it's on the list.


Agreed, Iowa is only a good choice if OP wants to practice in Iowa.

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auburnbelle89
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Re: Where should I start?

Postby auburnbelle89 » Wed Jan 18, 2012 11:11 pm

Thanks for the advice so far.

To answer some questions, Iowa is only on the list for negotiating purposes. Though I love the idea of attending a strong regional school for free (except for CoL), I have no desire to leave the south and really don't see myself in the midwest at all.

I'm not pushing for biglaw (although it would be necessary if I attended UVA at sticker), but if not that I'd ideally like to end up at a mid-size firm in a larger southern city. I'd like the option of going to DC, but I think I'd be happy in other cities as well.

tarp
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Re: Where should I start?

Postby tarp » Wed Jan 18, 2012 11:25 pm

I'm not sure if you've ever been to D.C., but it is most definitely not a southern city.

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Nelson
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Re: Where should I start?

Postby Nelson » Wed Jan 18, 2012 11:27 pm

auburnbelle89 wrote:Thanks for the advice so far.

To answer some questions, Iowa is only on the list for negotiating purposes. Though I love the idea of attending a strong regional school for free (except for CoL), I have no desire to leave the south and really don't see myself in the midwest at all.

I'm not pushing for biglaw (although it would be necessary if I attended UVA at sticker), but if not that I'd ideally like to end up at a mid-size firm in a larger southern city. I'd like the option of going to DC, but I think I'd be happy in other cities as well.

TCR is to work for a few years before law school and figure out what you really want to do, but if you aren't willing to do that then go to UVA.

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romothesavior
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Re: Where should I start?

Postby romothesavior » Thu Jan 19, 2012 1:38 am

Nelson wrote:TCR is to work for a few years before law school and figure out what you really want to do, but if you aren't willing to do that then go to UVA.

Yep, this. Either go to UVA or take a few years off. Sorry to see someone wasting a 4.0 when they PT'd around 170, but UVA is a great catch with a 163.




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