Which Law school should I pick? So many factors...

(Rankings, Profiles, Tuition, Student Life, . . . )

Which Law School?

UConn $144k debt
11
12%
Rutgers Newark $108k debt, some connections
12
13%
Temple $133k debt
3
3%
FSU $99k debt, some connections
40
43%
Miami $105k debt, some connections
7
8%
St. Johns $70k debt, some connections
16
17%
Brooklyn $215k debt haha....
4
4%
 
Total votes: 93

curiousnole
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Re: Which Law school should I pick? So many factors...

Postby curiousnole » Sat Feb 18, 2012 10:32 pm

I really appreciate all of your opinions, although this is not exactly the information I'm looking for. I'd really like information on the actual schools that I inquired about. Here's the thing guys... I want to practice law... It is interesting to me. It's not just about the money. It's about following my passion. The legal market is bad, very very very bad. But I've talked to multiple lawyers who say that if you finish near the top of your class at a top regional institution then you should be able to get a job in that region. If I was not near the top of my class I would just drop out regardless of where I was because then I would know it obviously wasn't right for me. When you guys say, "just get a job in new york city," the regular job market in New York City sucks too, so getting a job that would even pay for the costs of living in NYC is actually pretty difficult in itself. I'd probably end up working at a fast food restaurant or something similar and I don't think I'd be happier doing that than furthering my education even though I'd have debt hanging over my head. In the latter scenario, at least I know that there is some hope according to practicing lawyers who are family friends (possible future employers). I'm not a dough eyed 0L who thinks I'll make 200k out of law school from Golden Gate, thus I did not need your opinion that I should retake etc... which is why I nicely asked for your opinions on THE LAW SCHOOLS and not whether or not I should go to them haha. What I am going to do is give it a shot and if I'm not in the top 20% after the first year, I'll cut my losses and drop out. The students from the 14 top law schools do not comprise every single position at every single law office in the United States contrary to many tlser's opinions. In fact, I have shown current lawyers a lot of your posts and they find them dramatically overly cynical and think they are probably due to bad PERSONAL experiences. The plural of anecdote is not data. One of them emailed this to me: "yes the job market is bad, the NY market is especially saturated with 9000 applicants looking for 2000 spots, but if you think about that, at least half of them are from terrible schools with no clout at all such as CUNY. I do completely agree that there are way too many shitty law schools putting out shitty applicants, but the top 100 really do not have this problem. If you are near the top of your class you shouldn't have a problem and I know I personally would consider an applicant in that position... We don't just look at stats and schools, it has a lot to do with the impression you give and how you present yourself." Obviously, this lawyer and possibly the others I have talked to have some distance from the market recent grads have to face(they are all over 35), but I still think there is some truth to what they are telling me. However, obviously there is some truth to your opinions as well. Although, I believe since this is a forum it is likely more concentrated with people with bad experiences (who have more time and more frustration) and thus does not really present an accurate 100% representation of the real experience. It is very possible you guys are very right and I should retake, but that isn't what I'm doing. I want to go and learn law.

That said... Can I get some actual opinions of the above listed law schools? I'd really really appreciate it.

Again, thank you all very much for your opinions. Please keep them coming.

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MTal
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Re: Which Law school should I pick? So many factors...

Postby MTal » Sat Feb 18, 2012 10:37 pm

If you attend any of these schools, chances are more likely than not that you will wind up jobless and massively in debt. There is no other way to put it.

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FeelTheHeat
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Re: Which Law school should I pick? So many factors...

Postby FeelTheHeat » Sat Feb 18, 2012 10:37 pm

First, you gotta break up the wall of text.

curiousnole wrote: But I've talked to multiple lawyers who say that if you finish near the top of your class at a top regional institution then you should be able to get a job in that region. If I was not near the top of my class I would just drop out regardless of where I was because then I would know it obviously wasn't right for me.


I didn't make it past here. There are so many flaws in this approach I wouldn't know where to start.

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dingbat
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Re: Which Law school should I pick? So many factors...

Postby dingbat » Sat Feb 18, 2012 10:38 pm

buckilaw wrote:Retake.

With your GF in med school in NY you should aim for a NY school. Idk if Columbia or NYU are out of reach but Fordham with a scholly seems like a decent option for your situation.


With an LSAT of 161 Fordham is unlikely and a scholarship is out of the question.

How good is the medical school your girlfriend is attending? If she's going to a top school, you shouldn't pressure her to transfer after a year.
If you definately want to go to law school and be with/near her go to St John's or Rutgers (you can be at your girlfriend's in under an hour, so no need to worry about how crappy Newark is - although ironside is perfectly fine)

If you didn't have a girlfriend, FSU or Miami woud be the obvious winners, so if you're ok with a distance relationship and unsure of of where you two want to settle, you should seriously consider those schools

---------------
Edit, took too long to write this and didn't see your last post.

Rutgers is a fine school if you want to end up in NJ. You could also be at your GF's place in under an hour
UConn is fine if you want to end up in CT
Brooklyn is better than St Johns, but not worth an extra $150k, if you're choosing between the two

iowalum
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Re: Which Law school should I pick? So many factors...

Postby iowalum » Sat Feb 18, 2012 10:50 pm

I understand your frustration with peoples' responses, but most of them are right.

I was in a similar situation - SO moved to another state and I had to decide if I was going to go to a bad school close or a decent one far away. I didn't want to take a year off either, I was very eager and knew I wanted to do law school, but doing it saved me upwards of $50,000. It's not that bad, I promise. Because I waited I will be going to a T25 school with a scholly and be able to continue to live with my SO.

Seriously. Think about the year off. I'm sure she would appreciate it too if you were able to go to a better school with less debt. If you don't want to hear this then go to FSU and suck it up.

curiousnole
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Re: Which Law school should I pick? So many factors...

Postby curiousnole » Sat Feb 18, 2012 10:59 pm

dingbat: She is working in a neuroscience lab at Mt. Sinai School of Medicine (18th ranked) next year and THEN she is going to med school and she will literally be able to go to med school where ever she wants (perfect grades, perfect scores, already published papers, years of experience doing the kind of neuroscience stuff that you see in science fiction movies haha). This is why she can move after the first year wherever she wants. Thank you for your very useful response.

MTal: I understand this. I understand what the chances are. In a world where I'll only attend law school if I stay in the top 20% of the class, what is your opinion? I just have difficulty believing that ranking near the top of a Rutgers class would leave me with a less than 50% chance of getting a job in New Jersey. Jersey folks are crazy about rutgers. Same for UConn in Connecticut. This is compounded by the fact that I have been told the complete opposite from a Rutgers grad in New Jersey (that is who I quoted above). You may well be right though. That said, do you have any opinions about the actual schools :)? campus? teachers? vibe? anything?

Feeltheheat: I'll try to break it up. I don't really think that logic is that flawed? let's say you commit 50k to see if you can do something, once you realize you can't, wouldn't it be more logical to quit doing it rather than spend another 100k? Keeping in mind that you feel you must take the original shot at it anyway?

By the way all. i still have to hear back from UF and UNC, although I doubt I will get into those places. But I do have a better than expected shot there because my former boss pulled some strings and my main LOR writer was a well respected professor from UNC.

Iowalum: I'll think about. I just don't think I can live in Tally my whole life and the other parts of Florida are really dominated by UF and UM.

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Chucky21
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Re: Which Law school should I pick? So many factors...

Postby Chucky21 » Sat Feb 18, 2012 11:03 pm

iowalum wrote:I understand your frustration with peoples' responses, but most of them are right.

I was in a similar situation - SO moved to another state and I had to decide if I was going to go to a bad school close or a decent one far away. I didn't want to take a year off either, I was very eager and knew I wanted to do law school, but doing it saved me upwards of $50,000. It's not that bad, I promise. Because I waited I will be going to a T25 school with a scholly and be able to continue to live with my SO.

Seriously. Think about the year off. I'm sure she would appreciate it too if you were able to go to a better school with less debt. If you don't want to hear this then go to FSU and suck it up.


I agree, this is a tough decision but you should seriously consider the financial implications of you going into debt with a good chance of not being employed. I know you don't want biglaw, but even the good gov't/pi jobs are tough to come by as there are people in the T14 who also want these jobs. Don't do yourself, and your SO a disservice by not waiting a year and potentially getting into a better school. I'm not in a committed relationship so I can't really give you any advice on a long distance relationship and whether to go to FSU or not, so I won't go there. But this is a professional decision, and you want to put your best foot forward, and quite simply the better school you go to, the better your foot is.

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zanda
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Re: Which Law school should I pick? So many factors...

Postby zanda » Sat Feb 18, 2012 11:10 pm

yup, can't recommend any of those

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Mr. Somebody
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Re: Which Law school should I pick? So many factors...

Postby Mr. Somebody » Sun Feb 19, 2012 12:41 am

curiousnole wrote:I really appreciate all of your opinions, although this is not exactly the information I'm looking for. I'd really like information on the actual schools that I inquired about. Here's the thing guys... I want to practice law... It is interesting to me. It's not just about the money. It's about following my passion. The legal market is bad, very very very bad. But I've talked to multiple lawyers who say that if you finish near the top of your class at a top regional institution then you should be able to get a job in that region. If I was not near the top of my class I would just drop out regardless of where I was because then I would know it obviously wasn't right for me. When you guys say, "just get a job in new york city," the regular job market in New York City sucks too, so getting a job that would even pay for the costs of living in NYC is actually pretty difficult in itself. I'd probably end up working at a fast food restaurant or something similar and I don't think I'd be happier doing that than furthering my education even though I'd have debt hanging over my head. In the latter scenario, at least I know that there is some hope according to practicing lawyers who are family friends (possible future employers). I'm not a dough eyed 0L who thinks I'll make 200k out of law school from Golden Gate, thus I did not need your opinion that I should retake etc... which is why I nicely asked for your opinions on THE LAW SCHOOLS and not whether or not I should go to them haha. What I am going to do is give it a shot and if I'm not in the top 20% after the first year, I'll cut my losses and drop out. The students from the 14 top law schools do not comprise every single position at every single law office in the United States contrary to many tlser's opinions. In fact, I have shown current lawyers a lot of your posts and they find them dramatically overly cynical and think they are probably due to bad PERSONAL experiences. The plural of anecdote is not data. One of them emailed this to me: "yes the job market is bad, the NY market is especially saturated with 9000 applicants looking for 2000 spots, but if you think about that, at least half of them are from terrible schools with no clout at all such as CUNY. I do completely agree that there are way too many shitty law schools putting out shitty applicants, but the top 100 really do not have this problem. If you are near the top of your class you shouldn't have a problem and I know I personally would consider an applicant in that position... We don't just look at stats and schools, it has a lot to do with the impression you give and how you present yourself." Obviously, this lawyer and possibly the others I have talked to have some distance from the market recent grads have to face(they are all over 35), but I still think there is some truth to what they are telling me. However, obviously there is some truth to your opinions as well. Although, I believe since this is a forum it is likely more concentrated with people with bad experiences (who have more time and more frustration) and thus does not really present an accurate 100% representation of the real experience. It is very possible you guys are very right and I should retake, but that isn't what I'm doing. I want to go and learn law.

That said... Can I get some actual opinions of the above listed law schools? I'd really really appreciate it.

Again, thank you all very much for your opinions. Please keep them coming.

The cynical posts here are usually not based on anecdotes, or at least they shouldn't be. They are based on employment stats which are damning for all these schools. Even the lawyers you talk to say you need to finish at the top of your class, so you have a 80-90℅ chance of failure. If you really have a passion for law Why not study for the lsat and decrease that to 60-70% (Ford Ham) or 40-50% (t14)? Your GPA is solid. It might be hard to find a good regular job in NYC but it wouldn't involve enormous debt either.

Also practicing attorneys can be the worst people to ask about the state of the legal market. Their perspective always tends to be outdated or delusional. The only type of person who might be more out of touch is pre law advisors

bobbyh1919
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Re: Which Law school should I pick? So many factors...

Postby bobbyh1919 » Sun Feb 19, 2012 12:46 am

You're not going to get a big breakdown of the schools you listed because they're all very similar schools that are just located in different markets. You're first going to have to be at the top of your class (your top 20% or bust idea sounds about right) and then convince employers that a kid from Florida is committed to practicing and living in NJ/CT/Philly/etc. They're going to think that you're in the state because you picked the school somewhat randomly out of a list of similarly ranked schools (and based on this thread and poll, they'd be right). It's an uphill climb that you don't need to undertake.

I'm generally not one to recommend a retake, but it's a good idea here.

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NYC Law
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Re: Which Law school should I pick? So many factors...

Postby NYC Law » Sun Feb 19, 2012 12:50 am

Rutgers looks fine to me if you don't mind working in NJ. It's only $9k more and is about on par with FSU as far as job prospects. Plus it's best in the state. That or FSU.

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goldenflash19
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Re: Which Law school should I pick? So many factors...

Postby goldenflash19 » Sun Feb 19, 2012 12:54 am

I would be willing to bet that the attorneys you've talked to graduated before the legal market went to hell. A lot of the cynical people on here are that way because of their own experiences. Also, graduating at the top of your class at a regional school is not as easy as it seems. Competition at regional institutions can be insane because a lot of your classmates will know that their own job prospects depend on ranking highly. It's really, really easy to get screwed over by the median. Money wise, FSU is your best choice. If you're not happy going there, then retake. You only get to go to law school once. Don't regret it.

curiousnole
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Re: Which Law school should I pick? So many factors...

Postby curiousnole » Sun Feb 19, 2012 1:18 am

One of the really tough things here is trying to quantify "job prospects." Obviously the stats the law schools themselves release are complete crap. I wish there was a way to really know job placement. For example, if top 20% at rutgers placed 50% of their grads in a 40-60k a year job. Something like that. Instead you look on sites like lawschooltransparency.com and they say things like *7% report, median income $150,000 ... I wish there was a way to really know these things.

You guys say the law job market is bad, lawyers i have talked to say it's okay, and everyone agrees that every job market overall is bad. So what are the real odds? Hard to say.

Doesn't every job right now offer a "good chance of not being employed?"

Would any of you mind stating your law school experiences (where you went, etc.)? your rank in the class? Your personal job search experience? I feel it would be much easier to thoroughly weight your opinions if I had this information and a lot of you have no information in your profiles (thus making me wonder if you yourselves went to terrible law schools, ranked poorly in your class, and thus made your road tougher, leading to a more negative attitude)

NYC LAW: I don't mind working in NJ. I know lawyers there and I have a lot of family there.

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johansantana21
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Re: Which Law school should I pick? So many factors...

Postby johansantana21 » Sun Feb 19, 2012 1:23 am

curiousnole wrote:One of the really tough things here is trying to quantify "job prospects." Obviously the stats the law schools themselves release are complete crap. I wish there was a way to really know job placement. For example, if top 20% at rutgers placed 50% of their grads in a 40-60k a year job. Something like that. Instead you look on sites like lawschooltransparency.com and they say things like *7% report, median income $150,000 ... I wish there was a way to really know these things.

You guys say the law job market is bad, lawyers i have talked to say it's okay, and everyone agrees that every job market overall is bad. So what are the real odds? Hard to say.

Doesn't every job right now offer a "good chance of not being employed?"

Would any of you mind stating your law school experiences (where you went, etc.)? your rank in the class? Your personal job search experience? I feel it would be much easier to thoroughly weight your opinions if I had this information and a lot of you have no information in your profiles (thus making me wonder if you yourselves went to terrible law schools, ranked poorly in your class, and thus made your road tougher, leading to a more negative attitude)

NYC LAW: I don't mind working in NJ. I know lawyers there and I have a lot of family there.


TTT Law schools depend almost entirely on deceiving prospective students on future employment.

What do unemployed law students and websites like lawschooltransparency have to gain from lying?

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NYC Law
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Re: Which Law school should I pick? So many factors...

Postby NYC Law » Sun Feb 19, 2012 1:26 am

I think people are just falling for the '99k' trap. There's virtually no difference in cost between the two schools and Rutgers is a decent school. I wouldn't count on biglaw or anything, but it's good enough that you can probably find something decent in NJ. Same thing as FSU for FL. Except the FL market really only caters to foreclosures, bankruptcy, and immigration. So at least in NJ you have a chance of doing something marginally less shitty.

curiousnole
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Re: Which Law school should I pick? So many factors...

Postby curiousnole » Sun Feb 19, 2012 1:31 am

unemployed law students don't have to gain from lying but it is often hard for people to overlook their own experiences when they are giving advice and their experiences may not always be representative of the experiences of some one else.

And I don't think lawschooltransparency is deliberately lying, they just use the same stats as the aba which are supplied by the law schools. I WISH lawschooltransparency had real numbers. then we wouldn't even be having this discussion lol. Do you really think St. John's median salary is 150k? --LinkRemoved--

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johansantana21
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Re: Which Law school should I pick? So many factors...

Postby johansantana21 » Sun Feb 19, 2012 1:33 am

curiousnole wrote:unemployed law students don't have to gain from lying but it is often hard for people to overlook their own experiences when they are giving advice and their experiences may not always be representative of the experiences of some one else.

And I don't think lawschooltransparency is deliberately lying, they just use the same stats as the aba which are supplied by the law schools. I WISH lawschooltransparency had real numbers. then we wouldn't even be having this discussion lol. Do you really think St. John's median salary is 150k? --LinkRemoved--


The median salary of reported employed students? Yes.

Unemployed students or students with 30k a year shitlaw jobs don't report their salaries to the school a lot of the time.

Also, do you know how medians work? Seems like you need to learn how self reporting surveys work and what medians are and how LST comes up with their data on schools.

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180asBreath
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Re: Which Law school should I pick? So many factors...

Postby 180asBreath » Sun Feb 19, 2012 1:36 am

"Feeltheheat: I'll try to break it up. I don't really think that logic is that flawed? let's say you commit 50k to see if you can do something, once you realize you can't, wouldn't it be more logical to quit doing it rather than spend another 100k? Keeping in mind that you feel you must take the original shot at it anyway?"

Damn, I couldn't imagine paying $50k without 100% confidence in my getting a J.D. from it (i.e. I could never start it without supreme confidence in finishing). But good on you if you have the money and the guts to do such a thing.

bobbyh1919
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Re: Which Law school should I pick? So many factors...

Postby bobbyh1919 » Sun Feb 19, 2012 1:38 am

You need to elaborate a bit more on your ties to these different areas. Law school is the wrong time to move across the country to attend regional schools. Unless you can actually convince firms that you're serious about settling down in any of these areas, cracking the local market will be difficult.

curiousnole
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Re: Which Law school should I pick? So many factors...

Postby curiousnole » Sun Feb 19, 2012 1:38 am

NYC Law: THANK YOU VERY MUCH FOR YOUR VERY HELPFUL AND FINALLY USEFUL INFORMATION! I WOULD HONESTLY TIP YOU IF I COULD! That is what I was thinking. It's not tremendous debt and people in Jersey really like rutgers. I feel like I would have a decent chance of getting a job there and being close to my girlfriend as well. Do you have any specific knowledge of rutgers itself? FSU actually worries me more because anywhere south of Tallahassee in Florida people just think UF is the be all and end all. Where'd you go?

curiousnole
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Re: Which Law school should I pick? So many factors...

Postby curiousnole » Sun Feb 19, 2012 1:43 am

I know how medians work. Obviously a bunch of data of only people who choose to report doesn't represent your actual chances in the job market... which was the point. I suppose they aren't "lying" but they are misleading and the information is completely useless. If they had the median of ALL of their grads, that would be useful info, but saying you have the median, and then putting in small print that only 20% reported is misleading and completely useless.

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NYC Law
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Re: Which Law school should I pick? So many factors...

Postby NYC Law » Sun Feb 19, 2012 1:46 am

curiousnole wrote:NYC Law: THANK YOU VERY MUCH FOR YOUR VERY HELPFUL AND FINALLY USEFUL INFORMATION! I WOULD HONESTLY TIP YOU IF I COULD! That is what I was thinking. It's not tremendous debt and people in Jersey really like rutgers. I feel like I would have a decent chance of getting a job there and being close to my girlfriend as well. Do you have any specific knowledge of rutgers itself? FSU actually worries me more because anywhere south of Tallahassee in Florida people just think UF is the be all and end all. Where'd you go?


UF UG, Fordham LS. So I have familiarity with both areas, and the FL legal market is abject shit. NY is where the legal hiring is and I'd want to be as close to it as possible. Most bigfirms throughout NJ are populated almost exclusively with Rutgers grads.

curiousnole
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Re: Which Law school should I pick? So many factors...

Postby curiousnole » Sun Feb 19, 2012 1:48 am

Ties would be a wealthy family(they've always taught me the value of a dollar and would not assist me with loans even though they could, so this doesn't affect my debt) with a few lawyers in it and a bunch of family who have friends who are lawyers who I've met and talked with.

Nothing in stone, but to say I'm not on a first name basis with 10+ different firm members would be disingenuous.

curiousnole
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Re: Which Law school should I pick? So many factors...

Postby curiousnole » Sun Feb 19, 2012 1:55 am

Thank you NYC LAW. Honestly, even though that's one of the worst schools on my list, getting a job is really all that matters. I can stand jersey, I have family there, and I have the most connections there. I've heard that same sort of relationship exists between UConn and Connecticut that exists between Rutgers and Jersey, do you know anything about this? (anyone else feel encouraged to jump in).

keg411
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Re: Which Law school should I pick? So many factors...

Postby keg411 » Sun Feb 19, 2012 1:02 pm

curiousnole wrote:Thank you NYC LAW. Honestly, even though that's one of the worst schools on my list, getting a job is really all that matters. I can stand jersey, I have family there, and I have the most connections there. I've heard that same sort of relationship exists between UConn and Connecticut that exists between Rutgers and Jersey, do you know anything about this? (anyone else feel encouraged to jump in).


UConn is pretty beloved in CT, but keep in mind that Hartford (where the law school) is a lot further from NYC then Newark is.

I still don't really understand why you won't consider waiting. A lot of people who go straight through tell me that they wish they took a year or so off and got WE. (As someone who took a lot of time off, I am a strong proponent of working).




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