Seattle (36K) vs. Chicago-Kent (30K)

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Saint Yankee
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Seattle (36K) vs. Chicago-Kent (30K)

Postby Saint Yankee » Tue Feb 07, 2012 11:48 am

Both have top legal writing programs with concentrations in Environmental/Energy Law. With a goal of becoming an Environmental Contract Attorney for the government, any advice on either of these schools, especially regarding job prospects?

From what I have read, Kent posts a higher employment and bar passage rate, but as everyone on this forum knows, these numbers don't mean much...

Also, anyone else considering either of these schools for similar reasons?

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20130312
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Re: Seattle (36K) vs. Chicago-Kent (30K)

Postby 20130312 » Tue Feb 07, 2012 11:55 am

Where do you want to work? Are there any stipulations on the scholarships?

Saint Yankee
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Re: Seattle (36K) vs. Chicago-Kent (30K)

Postby Saint Yankee » Tue Feb 07, 2012 11:59 am

I would work in either city. I also know that there are National Laboratories near both places which is where I would like to end up - and adds to the confusion.

The Kent scholarship is guaranteed all three years and may increase substantially if I place in the top 10%. Seattle's offer requires that I stay in the top 25% after the first year with no prospect of an increase.

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20130312
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Re: Seattle (36K) vs. Chicago-Kent (30K)

Postby 20130312 » Tue Feb 07, 2012 12:08 pm

Saint Yankee wrote:I would work in either city. I also know that there are National Laboratories near both places which is where I would like to end up - and adds to the confusion.

The Kent scholarship is guaranteed all three years and may increase substantially if I place in the top 10%. Seattle's offer requires that I stay in the top 25% after the first year with no prospect of an increase.


Well, Chicago based on the stips alone, but that might not be a good option if you don't already have Midwest ties. Where do you have ties?

Saint Yankee
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Re: Seattle (36K) vs. Chicago-Kent (30K)

Postby Saint Yankee » Tue Feb 07, 2012 12:17 pm

Boston. I was accepted to Suffolk, but with no money I'm not even considering it.

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Grizz
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Re: Seattle (36K) vs. Chicago-Kent (30K)

Postby Grizz » Tue Feb 07, 2012 12:27 pm

Because you don't have ties to Seattle, I recommend NOT going there. But Kent with only a $30k scholarship is insane too. It's just another also-ran in the Chicago crowded market. Also specialty rankings are worthless. Also enviro work for the govt is insanely competitive, even from top schools. Retake or don't go.

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thexfactor
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Re: Seattle (36K) vs. Chicago-Kent (30K)

Postby thexfactor » Tue Feb 07, 2012 12:33 pm

retake is the best decision.
However, if you want to take a 10% gamble at biglaw for 30k it's not the worst decision in the world. Just make sure you will be able to walk away if you aren't in the top 20% or so of your class.
IMO the gpa stipulations is actually a good thing. You wouldn't be able to find a job outside of the top 25% anyways from those two schools. the school helps you make the correct decision of droping out.

Saint Yankee
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Re: Seattle (36K) vs. Chicago-Kent (30K)

Postby Saint Yankee » Tue Feb 07, 2012 12:38 pm

The good news is that I do have ties to the Department of Energy. I've been working for DOE for the past three years and most of that time was spent writing and negotiating environmental impact statements and contracts for a new nuclear facility.

The reason I chose Chicago and Seattle (also Maryland and Oregon) is because they are close to federal laboratories/env agencies. However, from the look/sound of things, Chicago seems to be the better option.

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Grizz
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Re: Seattle (36K) vs. Chicago-Kent (30K)

Postby Grizz » Tue Feb 07, 2012 12:40 pm

Legal hiring at big fed is basically nonexistent now, and that is unlikely to change. If you've already got a job at the DOE, I'd keep that.

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thexfactor
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Re: Seattle (36K) vs. Chicago-Kent (30K)

Postby thexfactor » Tue Feb 07, 2012 12:41 pm

Grizz wrote:Legal hiring at big fed is basically nonexistent now, and that is unlikely to change. If you've already got a job at the DOE, I'd keep that.


+1

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Bronck
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Re: Seattle (36K) vs. Chicago-Kent (30K)

Postby Bronck » Tue Feb 07, 2012 12:42 pm

Grizz wrote:Legal hiring at big fed is basically nonexistent now, and that is unlikely to change. If you've already got a job at the DOE, I'd keep that.


+1, especially if these are your best options. Because to be perfectly honest, these aren't very good options.

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Re: Seattle (36K) vs. Chicago-Kent (30K)

Postby Saint Yankee » Tue Feb 07, 2012 12:46 pm

I will keep it - part time. And if I absolutely cannot find a job after school (yes, we all know that is a possibility), I can fall back on that.

What is your basis for the comment that legal hiring with the feds is nonexistent? Are you seeking similar placement? My experience/communication with DOE attorneys is that they are actively pursuing LEED-certified attorneys and having a specialized goal with substantial background weighs significantly in their hiring process.

Any knowledge on this or gov't. placement from Kent (or Seattle)?

MrAnon
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Re: Seattle (36K) vs. Chicago-Kent (30K)

Postby MrAnon » Tue Feb 07, 2012 1:19 pm

You are the one who knows the federal attorneys in this area. Where did they go to school? Ask them where the last 4 grads they hired went to school. But like others are saying DO NOT QUIT YOUR JOB. Just keep working there and try to transition over into legal. And stay in the area you are in now. Don't move. Especially for a lower T1 or T2 school.

Saint Yankee
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Re: Seattle (36K) vs. Chicago-Kent (30K)

Postby Saint Yankee » Tue Feb 07, 2012 1:32 pm

Area doesn't matter. I am working for DOEs site-office in New Mexico, from Boston.

Like I said, just trying to get feedback on these schools, and specifically their employment prospects. From the attorneys that I spoke with, there were only a handful from T14. Others came from schools like UNM, Maryland, and UC-Boulder.

I plan on keeping my job throughout law school - probably should have mentioned that in the OP.

CanadianWolf
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Re: Seattle (36K) vs. Chicago-Kent (30K)

Postby CanadianWolf » Tue Feb 07, 2012 1:36 pm

Between the two options, Chicago-Kent is the easy answer because there are no stipulations. Seattle's top 25% requirement is too onerous.

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skers
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Re: Seattle (36K) vs. Chicago-Kent (30K)

Postby skers » Tue Feb 07, 2012 2:06 pm

I would only go to Kent if you have significant savings or an SO who could get a job in Chicago that would the additional COA not covered by scholarship.

There was a dude on Kent Law Review who didn't get a job until he went to ATL. A member of my family went to Kent with IP secure and extensive WE in engineering and struggled to find anything before the market crashed.

seattlegirl
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Re: Seattle (36K) vs. Chicago-Kent (30K)

Postby seattlegirl » Thu Feb 16, 2012 12:14 am

I went to Seattle U last year and transferred to a Chicago school this year, so I know a little about both cities (and 1 of the schools that you are considering). It sounds like you are planning on going part-time (which I think is a wise idea). Going part-time means that by definition, you will be decreasing your risk (because you will be making money while you go to law school). Both of the schools you are considering are T2 schools. What going to a T2 school means is that you will have regional, not national reach (i.e. initially at least, you will probably be practicing in the area of the country that you went to law school). So, I really think that the decision for you should be where geographically you want to end up (at least in the short-run). If you want the Pacific Northwest / Seattle, go to SU. If you Chicago / the midwest, go to Chicago-Kent.

While the top 25% stipulation at SU sounds daunting, it really isn't that bad. I mean it might add a little pressure, but SU is one of only 2 schools in the city whereas Chicago-Kent has a boatload of competition from many other schools (incl. 2 T14 schools in the city itself)...so the pressure will likely be relatively similar at both schools (because if you aren't top 25% at Chicago-Kent, it will probably be really hard for you to get a legal job outside of the DOE - where you have strong ties / will be working during school).

And while some posters have suggested that you retake the LSAT, I think that you have to figure out what is best for you with regard to that. Do you want law school now, or do you want to wait longer before going to law school? Also, if you are like me and stink at standardized tests, it might just be better for you to just go to one of these law schools, study really hard, learn how to take law school exams (I recommend trying to learn this BEFORE going to law school because nobody teaches you this in law schools...and law school exams are different from any other type of exam I have ever taken), and get good grades. I think this is especially true in your case because you have a good fall-back position of a job with the DOE already.

Also, something else that you should really keep in mind when making your decision. Ties matter A LOT in Seattle, but I think ties matter a little less in Chicago because it is a bigger legal market; so, if you think that you want / know that you want Seattle, you should go to UW, SU, or a T14. Having said that, the Seattle legal market is really small, so getting a job from SU is really hard (Seattle is very desirable to live in, and the number of summer associates for the whole city is much smaller than some law firms in Chicago take on in 1 summer associate class).

Just so you know, what I have found matters in getting a job seems to be: 1) where you go to law school + 2) Grades + 3) work experience (not necessarily in this order...I think work experience plays a pretty big role...but in order for this work experience to matter, you have to get access to employers...and it is this access to employers that is hard to get from a regional school).

Hope this helps. Best of luck to you in planning your studies!

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skers
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Re: Seattle (36K) vs. Chicago-Kent (30K)

Postby skers » Thu Feb 16, 2012 12:30 am

There's some solid advice in what the dude above says, but it's abjectly retarded to define the top 25% stipulation as not that harsh. It's impossible to predict where in the class you will end up and top 25% is certainly not something to just dismiss.




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