Law School in Texas or Out of State?

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hobie2515
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Law School in Texas or Out of State?

Postby hobie2515 » Sat Jan 28, 2012 12:21 am

If anyone has any input I would greatly appreciate it. I've been out of UG for 3 years. Since then I have been working as a Landman for an small but rapidly growing oil company in Midland, TX. I've planned on going to law school and I have roughly $30,000 now saved up. My UG GPA is a weak 3.28 and my LSAT is a so-so 162. However I have excellent recommendations from three partners at the company and my work experience has been meaningful.

I have gotten into Tech with a substantial scholarship (I'd be paying $2500/year tuition), Univ of Houston, Univ of Colorado and Univ of Florida. I would much prefer to live in Colorado or Florida however the job prospects/potential seem so much better in Texas. I like the oil/gas industry and wouldn't mind that kind of practice, thought I'm open for other areas.

Should I go out of state, pay higher tuition and risk the job market or should I stay in Texas with the lower tuition rates and better chances for prospects. Furthermore, should I go to Tech with essentially no debt or U of H and wind up with close to $80,000 in debt?????

nonprofit-prophet
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Re: Law School in Texas or Out of State?

Postby nonprofit-prophet » Sat Jan 28, 2012 12:29 am

hobie2515 wrote:If anyone has any input I would greatly appreciate it. I've been out of UG for 3 years. Since then I have been working as a Landman for an small but rapidly growing oil company in Midland, TX. I've planned on going to law school and I have roughly $30,000 now saved up. My UG GPA is a weak 3.28 and my LSAT is a so-so 162. However I have excellent recommendations from three partners at the company and my work experience has been meaningful.

I have gotten into Tech with a substantial scholarship (I'd be paying $2500/year tuition), Univ of Houston, Univ of Colorado and Univ of Florida. I would much prefer to live in Colorado or Florida however the job prospects/potential seem so much better in Texas. I like the oil/gas industry and wouldn't mind that kind of practice, thought I'm open for other areas.

Should I go out of state, pay higher tuition and risk the job market or should I stay in Texas with the lower tuition rates and better chances for prospects. Furthermore, should I go to Tech with essentially no debt or U of H and wind up with close to $80,000 in debt?????


Check the job prospects out of tech. Without looking at them, i'd say if you are dead set on going to law school, the 80k houston degree is probably a better bet. Doing really well at tech doesn't give you much, but doing well at UH gives you a decent shot at Houston big law

Edit: All that being said, I would definitely think for a long while about the risks of going to UH/law school in general.

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hobie2515
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Re: Law School in Texas or Out of State?

Postby hobie2515 » Sat Jan 28, 2012 12:42 am

I can understand the risks of attending U of H. Quite frankly the debt frightens me however the earning potential is certainly more than Tech, which I can appreciate. However it seems like Tech would be a zero risk option. I won't be accumulating debt and if I perform so horribly that there are literally no attractive options after 3 years, I can always return to the company. Worst case I simply lose 3 years of my life right?

nonprofit-prophet
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Re: Law School in Texas or Out of State?

Postby nonprofit-prophet » Sat Jan 28, 2012 3:12 am

hobie2515 wrote:I can understand the risks of attending U of H. Quite frankly the debt frightens me however the earning potential is certainly more than Tech, which I can appreciate. However it seems like Tech would be a zero risk option. I won't be accumulating debt and if I perform so horribly that there are literally no attractive options after 3 years, I can always return to the company. Worst case I simply lose 3 years of my life right?


well three years of earnings is a pretty significant loss. I would say that Tech is definitely not risk free. The question is: is that loss of income worth such a small shot at making good money?

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kalvano
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Re: Law School in Texas or Out of State?

Postby kalvano » Sat Jan 28, 2012 4:15 pm

Where in Texas do you want to work? Don't go out of state for school, certainly. But the market you want into will determine where you go.

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hobie2515
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Re: Law School in Texas or Out of State?

Postby hobie2515 » Sat Jan 28, 2012 5:25 pm

I think my order of preference for work location would rank as follows...

1) Austin
2) San Antonio
3) Houston/Corpus
4) Dallas
5) West Texas

Austin is the runaway favorite but I understand it might be tough to crack that market with UT. San Antonio and Houston/Corpus are a close #2, #3. I know U of H has an edge in Houston but it's such a huge market I wouldnt think there would be nothing available for Tech grads??? I'd be ok with living in or around Dallas I suppose and West Texas is dead last as I don't see myself settling down in this area...

nonprofit-prophet
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Re: Law School in Texas or Out of State?

Postby nonprofit-prophet » Sat Jan 28, 2012 5:35 pm

hobie2515 wrote:I think my order of preference for work location would rank as follows...

1) Austin
2) San Antonio
3) Houston/Corpus
4) Dallas
5) West Texas

Austin is the runaway favorite but I understand it might be tough to crack that market with UT. San Antonio and Houston/Corpus are a close #2, #3. I know U of H has an edge in Houston but it's such a huge market I wouldnt think there would be nothing available for Tech grads??? I'd be ok with living in or around Dallas I suppose and West Texas is dead last as I don't see myself settling down in this area...


Austin and San Antonio probably won't happen. Their legal markets are super small. If you want houston, definitely go to UH. Though I should note that I've assumed that you want firm work. Is that the case?

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kalvano
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Re: Law School in Texas or Out of State?

Postby kalvano » Sat Jan 28, 2012 5:39 pm

Austin has such a tiny legal community that it is virtually impossible to gain work there, simply because so little work exists. Same, to a large degree, for San Antonio. But it sounds like South Texas is your preferred area. In that case, go to UofH.

My only hesitation in saying that is that Tech is actually not a bad TTT school, in Texas. It leans more towards the D/FW area, but I honestly don't know that UofH is worth tens of thousands more than Tech. I hope some people with better knowledge of the Houston-area market can weigh in, because I know Tech just started a new D/FW program in which their students can live and work in D/FW and get credit for doing so. I'm not saying Tech is the best option, I'm just saying I'm not sure UofH is worth 8 times the money. What stipulations are attached to the money from Tech?

Aside from that, if you'd rather live elsewhere, then go to school elsewhere. CU is gorgeous.

Lord Randolph McDuff
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Re: Law School in Texas or Out of State?

Postby Lord Randolph McDuff » Sat Jan 28, 2012 5:45 pm

your auto reject at CU (below both medians). could be a sign from god that he wants you to go there? seriously, unless URM CU basically does not take someone who is below both their medians. this is true even though the school has a rep for "looking beyond the numbers" more than most places.

impressive acceptance. tell us about your ap?

MrAnon
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Re: Law School in Texas or Out of State?

Postby MrAnon » Sat Jan 28, 2012 6:12 pm

Do not give up your job. Go to tech at night. Forget about Fl and Co (are you nuts??). Houston might be a better school but you need to hold onto that job so do tech. If Tech understands you'll have that job when you graduate they would probably be willing to wave stips if any. The purpose of stips is to make sure employable people are carried through school.

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hobie2515
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Re: Law School in Texas or Out of State?

Postby hobie2515 » Sat Jan 28, 2012 6:18 pm

Diverse military background, from 6-19 lived in 22 countries. African American father and Latino mother. Helped organize numerous volunteer/aid programs while in school. 3 years work experience for Oil and Gas company. Involved with numerous programs in Midland. I know my numbers aren't great, but the other credentials obviously factored into it.

nonprofit-prophet
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Re: Law School in Texas or Out of State?

Postby nonprofit-prophet » Sat Jan 28, 2012 6:36 pm

hobie2515 wrote:Diverse military background, from 6-19 lived in 22 countries. African American father and Latino mother. Helped organize numerous volunteer/aid programs while in school. 3 years work experience for Oil and Gas company. Involved with numerous programs in Midland. I know my numbers aren't great, but the other credentials obviously factored into it.


You currently work in oil and gas? Stay put. Probably better than the options you may have coming out of tech.

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MBshine22
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Re: Law School in Texas or Out of State?

Postby MBshine22 » Sat Jan 28, 2012 9:08 pm

hobie2515 wrote:If anyone has any input I would greatly appreciate it. I've been out of UG for 3 years. Since then I have been working as a Landman for an small but rapidly growing oil company in Midland, TX. I've planned on going to law school and I have roughly $30,000 now saved up. My UG GPA is a weak 3.28 and my LSAT is a so-so 162. However I have excellent recommendations from three partners at the company and my work experience has been meaningful.

I have gotten into Tech with a substantial scholarship (I'd be paying $2500/year tuition), Univ of Houston, Univ of Colorado and Univ of Florida. I would much prefer to live in Colorado or Florida however the job prospects/potential seem so much better in Texas. I like the oil/gas industry and wouldn't mind that kind of practice, thought I'm open for other areas.

Should I go out of state, pay higher tuition and risk the job market or should I stay in Texas with the lower tuition rates and better chances for prospects. Furthermore, should I go to Tech with essentially no debt or U of H and wind up with close to $80,000 in debt?????


You seem to have analyzed your costs, but are you considering expected returns?

- US news ranks UofH Law #56 overall. They report that 75% of grads are employed by graduation, with an average starting salary (private sector) of 100k. UofH specializes in healthcare and intellectual property law - ranking #6 in both. Thus, if you focus your education in either of those fields you could easily have a higher chance of employment, receive a higher wage, and be competitive in more markets than just Huston's.

- US news has Texas Tech ranked at #117. Tech declines to report the percentage of graduates known to be employed at time of graduation. That is a good indication that those graduates struggle to find work. Moreover, those that are able to find work report an average starting salary of 82k (private sector) - nearly 20k less than UofH. Tech Law has no reported specialties.

Do some simple expected value calculations w/ the numbers. Your first year working after graduation @ UofH: ($100,000)*(75%)= $75,000; expect 75k first year out from UofH. For Texas Tech, since they refuse to report the percentage of students employed by graduation you gotta speculate. If you're super optimistic, say it's 75%: (82,000)*(75%)= $61,500. However, I believe it's closer to 50% (or lower), so realistically only expect about $41,000 your first year out. With some further research you should be able to find out how the salaries change after first year, allowing you to project total income for, say, three years after graduation. Incorporate these numbers, along with your cost of school (no need to include forgone wage since it will be the same for both school's), into a total expected value equation. Use the results to compare the schools. My guess is that UofH will be the winner.

Since you express concern about job-markets/likelihood-of-employment in your post, you probably want heed these numbers. If you expect to find employment right out of school, it can be inferred that your chances are much better with UofH than with Tech. (Even though Tech doesn't report a %, any school that doesn't report is likely hiding something; a high employment percentage is very attractive to applicants and worth boasting about). And not only are you less likely to get hired right out of Tech, but when you do get hired, you can expect to earn significantly less than you would coming from UofH. However, this is all a very personal choice and numbers should not be decisive in everyone's case. There are intangibles that are ignored by those equations, like how much you like the school's location/facilities, student teacher ratio, and lots of other personal things I can't even begin to mention here. All I'm saying is: don't just focus on the cost of school. Although attending UofH will put you further into debt than Tech, the expected return calculations could indicate you'll pay off your debt faster and make more money in the long run if you go there. It's the same reason some kids choose to pay full freight at Harvard rather than take a big scholarship at a lesser school - expected return on investment.

*Edit* - Follow this link to view an article about Law School as an investment from the Univ. of Vanderbilt, if you truly want to be scientific (a.k.a smart) about this: http://papers.ssrn.com/sol3/papers.cfm? ... id=1497044

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hobie2515
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Re: Law School in Texas or Out of State?

Postby hobie2515 » Sun Jan 29, 2012 1:52 am

Alright, so I have created an excel spreadsheet which breaks down two schools. I've formatted it so you can enter your estimated loans and rates, starting salary, estimated percent of income used for loan repayments and estimated annual growth of salary. Simply put in those those numbers and it breaks down over a 32 year period how much you would earn vs. how much you would spend on loans.

For example, I plugged in conservative numbers, U of H vs Tech, starting salary of $80,000 vs $75,000 (I know the actual numbers would probably represent a larger discrepancy). I used an annual salary growth of 3% and 13% of annual salary was used for loan repayments. And the icing on the cake, I had zero loans and debt for Tech and over $100,000 for U of H. Long story short, after 32 years of working, U of H still brought home slightly more bacon.

So it would seem, even a slightly better salary grossly outweighs a smaller one, despite large loans and all. I can provide this spreadsheet to anyone who is interested. It's actually pretty good and you could possibly use it for other debt comparisons in your life...

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hung jury
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Re: Law School in Texas or Out of State?

Postby hung jury » Sun Jan 29, 2012 3:20 am

Have you tried negotiating aid with Houston? A little aid would go a long way.

80k of debt is pretty significant but Houston will give you a much better chance of a good job, especially since you're open to doing energy work in the Houston market and appear to have a good background for it. If you have to return to your old job, can you manage the 80k debt without too much burden? And are you certain you can return or find similar employment? If so, I vote Houston, with the standard TLS caveats that it is a tough legal market and 80k of debt + opportunity costs is a big investment. And neither school is likely to carry you to San Antonio or Austin, so I'd be thinking more of your Dallas v. Houston preferences.

Good luck.




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