Best option for SF bay area given these circumstances?

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masked kavana
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Best option for SF bay area given these circumstances?

Postby masked kavana » Wed Jan 25, 2012 1:50 am

I'm a non-traditional student that is looking to attend law school this fall (just turned 30 and will just be graduating from UG this May)

My family (fiancé, baby and I) would like to either remain in or come back to the SF bay area following law school.

So far I've been admitted to:

W&M ($6k/yr. just don't flunk out stip)
L&C (11k/yr. 2.95 stip.)
UMinn ($23k/yr.)
USF (30k for first year, non-renewable)

I'm on reserve at Cornell and am still waiting on Stanford, Hastings and Berkeley.

I don't see myself getting into any of the T-14 as I have a low split (2.52/167 even with an updated 4.0 fall 2011 semester)

USF's job placement scares the hell out of me and going to W&M may actually be cheaper than attending Hastings...

So barring a miracle Cornell acceptance what is the next best option?

Thanks for your help!

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The Brainalist
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Re: Best option for SF bay area given these circumstances?

Postby The Brainalist » Wed Jan 25, 2012 2:13 am

I'm curious about how committed you are to living in the bay area. Job prospects aren't that good from USF. Even if you get a job, the bay area is expensive and the public elementary/high schools aren't good. If it were me, and I had to care for a child, unless I had a lot of family support (meaning parents or grandparents who will actually provide free daycare), I would start looking at a more family friendly city that happened to have a much better and cheaper law school (such as St. Paul/Minn/UMinn).

What about Santa Clara U?

pillowpet
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Re: Best option for SF bay area given these circumstances?

Postby pillowpet » Wed Jan 25, 2012 5:39 am

How about uc davis?

santa clara is probably a better option than usf and should offer u a similar scholarship package. Also, it would be a good place for a family.

ryemanhattan
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Re: Best option for SF bay area given these circumstances?

Postby ryemanhattan » Wed Jan 25, 2012 6:42 am

Hopefully Hastings will bite. And you should send apps out to Davis, Santa Clara. I wouldn't take that USF offer... it's just not enough money given that you really need to be in the top of your class there for legit job prospects. Hastings at sticker is a gamble too, but a much, much better one.

There is Golden Gate as well. It's a T4 but of the two people I know who went there, one is doing exactly what she wanted to do with it (PI) and the other transferred to Boalt and is now also doing work that he loves. This is a very small sample size and should probably be ignored.

I'm in a very similar situation as you, but w/ gf, no fam, so a larger margin for error. Having said that, I'm thinking about retreating to Denver (lots of family there, ties to legal community) post law school (or possibly for law school) unless I get into Berkeley. Massive loans + expensive real estate is intimidating.

Even if I snag Berkeley, I feel like it will be a half victory:
Solid quarter million dollars debt, once you pay it off with interest. Presumably you want to buy a house in the Bay Area. If house prices rebound before then, you're somewhat screwed. If they don't, the economy at large continues to struggle and job prospects sink, and you're potentially screwed. I'm 32 now, would be a bit more cavalier if I was 24.

USF, Pacific, Santa Clara are just not worth sticker, or anything more than 100k debt. I wouldn't step to any of those three unless tuition were around 10k/ year.

If you want to stay in the Bay Area, don't even think about W&M over Hastings.
L&C, Minn seem like ok options.

good luck!

masked kavana
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Re: Best option for SF bay area given these circumstances?

Postby masked kavana » Wed Jan 25, 2012 12:46 pm

Thanks for all of the replies! I def did apply to Santa Clara but their jobs numbers aren't looking so great either. It really sucks that the sf region is so hard to break into and leaves only a couple of schools worth going to.

Will take everything into consideration.

Thanks again!

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mrtoren
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Re: Best option for SF bay area given these circumstances?

Postby mrtoren » Thu Jan 26, 2012 10:53 am

masked kavana wrote:Thanks for all of the replies! I def did apply to Santa Clara but their jobs numbers aren't looking so great either. It really sucks that the sf region is so hard to break into and leaves only a couple of schools worth going to.

Will take everything into consideration.

Thanks again!

California as a whole is in toilet. It was recently ranked the WORST run state in America based on debt per capita, unemployment, percentage without health insurance, and percentage living below the poverty line. My state, Illinois, is right above California so I'm fleeing to the East Coast for school and work. It can be tough to leave your family behind, but 25 years on IBR isn't an acceptable compromise to stay. If you want to go to law school you may have to make some sacrifices.

Minneapolis is a fantastic city; my mother was born and raised there. It has a high quality of living, fairly low cost of living, and is family friendly. With $23K from UMinn, you should jump on it right away. You'll probably be able to afford to fly back regularly after landing a decent job.

imjustjoking22
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Re: Best option for SF bay area given these circumstances?

Postby imjustjoking22 » Thu Jan 26, 2012 2:07 pm

mrtoren wrote:
masked kavana wrote:Thanks for all of the replies! I def did apply to Santa Clara but their jobs numbers aren't looking so great either. It really sucks that the sf region is so hard to break into and leaves only a couple of schools worth going to.

Will take everything into consideration.

Thanks again!

California as a whole is in toilet. It was recently ranked the WORST run state in America based on debt per capita, unemployment, percentage without health insurance, and percentage living below the poverty line. My state, Illinois, is right above California so I'm fleeing to the East Coast for school and work. It can be tough to leave your family behind, but 25 years on IBR isn't an acceptable compromise to stay. If you want to go to law school you may have to make some sacrifices.

Minneapolis is a fantastic city; my mother was born and raised there. It has a high quality of living, fairly low cost of living, and is family friendly. With $23K from UMinn, you should jump on it right away. You'll probably be able to afford to fly back regularly after landing a decent job.


Eh, I wouldn't write of CA based on that- CA the state is struggling, but business in CA is doing well in many respects, and the legal jobs in northern CA are definitely there.

Also, I have a lot of family in Minnesota, and job prospects are definitely not better there overall.

mertle
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Re: Best option for SF bay area given these circumstances?

Postby mertle » Thu Jan 26, 2012 5:02 pm

If you're already in CA, I say you stay. It's hard enough for people to get in to this state and it has the most difficult bar for a reason. Law school will be what you make of it and I think that even at USF you'll be able to accomplish what you'd like to do. You may just have to work harder at it than a student at Hastings or Boalt would have to do. The bar area has tons and tons and tons of job openings and a lot of money that gets thrown around. You'd be in a good spot with a JD from any of the accredited schools even if the job you get doesn't require it. Affordable housing is not difficult to find especially if you have a car and are willing to commute.

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bk1
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Re: Best option for SF bay area given these circumstances?

Postby bk1 » Thu Jan 26, 2012 5:20 pm

To put it bluntly, you're screwed. CA schools are GPA-whores.

1. You're not getting into a T14 with those numbers. Even if you could get into a T14 by retaking, it wouldn't be Berkeley or Stanford and you'd be paying sticker, so you'd basically be banking on biglaw or LRAP to cover sticker price. Bay Area biglaw is tough to get meaning even from a T14 that you might get, you would need good grades to swing it. Basically if you chose a T14 at sticker you would likely need to be okay with working in NY if you place a high priority on paying off your loans (since NY biglaw is the easiest to get). Not to mention that even from the T14 you have a decent chance of not getting biglaw. It would be a lot of risk even if you could retake and swing it.

2. You aren't getting USC/UCLA. Even with a retake you won't be able to swing these schools.

3. You *might* get Davis or Hastings (though it's still highly unlikely). That being said you likely wouldn't get any scholarship money. Since these schools are insanely expensive (the same as private schools), they are awful options at sticker considering they aren't that great for biglaw and only place about 2/3 of their class into full time, bar passage required jobs.

4. SCU/USF are horrendous schools. They place only 25% of their grads into full time, bar passage required jobs. This is likely because of the Bay Area legal market, but in any case I wouldn't recommend these schools even at free. *Maybe* you could go to one of them on a full ride and drop out if you're not at the tippy-top of your class, but you have to be okay with that plan and willing to follow through on it in the likely event that your grades aren't excellent. Even doing that plan basically seems like a bad idea since 3/4+ of the time you are just going to be in the same place that you started and have spent 9 months going to school for nothing.

It's not a pretty situation wanting to be a lawyer in the Bay Area. Honestly I would suggest either (a) being okay with living in another area (which would be required by any of the options you listed since none of them will even close to guarantee your return to the Bay Area) or (b) not go to law school.




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