Choosing a law school for the west coast.

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jnward13
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Choosing a law school for the west coast.

Postby jnward13 » Wed Feb 22, 2012 8:02 pm

Hi all,
So it's getting close to some deadlines, and I'm getting a bit nervous. I finished my undergrad at Cal, and am hoping to eventually practice back in the Bay area, although I did apply nationwide and wouldn't mind practicing for a bit if I end up elsewhere. If I stay in California, I have the options of University of the Pacific, Golden Gate, Santa Clara, likely University of San Francisco, and probably several other similarly ranked schools. I was also accepted to University of Illinois (much higher rankings-wise), Villanova, Seton Hall, Loyola Chicago, Chicago Kent and UDenver. All schools are offering similar large scholarships that cut the tuition by around a third.

Would it be a better choice to choose the lower-ranked schools in California or the higher-ranked schools further away? I don't necessarily want to go into biglaw so I'm not too worried about that. If anyone can offer an opinion I'd appreciate it as I'm pretty muddled at the moment. Thanks!

(Also, I don't really want to hear "Don't go to any of those!". I'm going. Thanks!)

Edit: Additionally, I'm not averse to trying to transfer, but also not banking on it, if that affects anything.
Last edited by jnward13 on Wed Feb 22, 2012 8:12 pm, edited 1 time in total.

pdeturk
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Re: Choosing a law school for the west coast.

Postby pdeturk » Wed Feb 22, 2012 8:04 pm

jnward13 wrote:Hi all,
So it's getting close to some deadlines, and I'm getting a bit nervous. I finished my undergrad at Cal, and am hoping to eventually practice back in the Bay area, although I did apply nationwide and wouldn't mind practicing for a bit if I end up elsewhere. If I stay in California, I have the options of University of the Pacific, Golden Gate, Santa Clara, likely University of San Francisco, and probably several other similarly ranked schools. I was also accepted to University of Illinois (much higher rankings-wise), Villanova, Seton Hall, Loyola Chicago, Chicago Kent and UDenver. All schools are offering similar large scholarships that cut the tuition by around a third.

Would it be a better choice to choose the lower-ranked schools in California or the higher-ranked schools further away? I don't necessarily want to go into biglaw so I'm not too worried about that. If anyone can offer an opinion I'd appreciate it as I'm pretty muddled at the moment. Thanks!

(Also, I don't really want to hear "Don't go to any of those!". I'm going. Thanks!)


In that case, go where you want to practice.

jnward13
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Re: Choosing a law school for the west coast.

Postby jnward13 » Wed Feb 22, 2012 8:10 pm

pdeturk wrote:
jnward13 wrote:Hi all,
So it's getting close to some deadlines, and I'm getting a bit nervous. I finished my undergrad at Cal, and am hoping to eventually practice back in the Bay area, although I did apply nationwide and wouldn't mind practicing for a bit if I end up elsewhere. If I stay in California, I have the options of University of the Pacific, Golden Gate, Santa Clara, likely University of San Francisco, and probably several other similarly ranked schools. I was also accepted to University of Illinois (much higher rankings-wise), Villanova, Seton Hall, Loyola Chicago, Chicago Kent and UDenver. All schools are offering similar large scholarships that cut the tuition by around a third.

Would it be a better choice to choose the lower-ranked schools in California or the higher-ranked schools further away? I don't necessarily want to go into biglaw so I'm not too worried about that. If anyone can offer an opinion I'd appreciate it as I'm pretty muddled at the moment. Thanks!

(Also, I don't really want to hear "Don't go to any of those!". I'm going. Thanks!)


In that case, go where you want to practice.


Even though the rankings in Illinois are so much higher than any of the other options?

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rinkrat19
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Re: Choosing a law school for the west coast.

Postby rinkrat19 » Wed Feb 22, 2012 8:13 pm

All schools outside of HYS are regional to some degree, ranging from "somewhat regional" for the rest of the T14 to "you will not get a job outside this city" for most of the TT/TTT/TTTT.

You are unlikely to get a job in the Bay Area with a JD from Pacific, GG, Santa Clara or USF. ("unlikely" meaning your chances are like 15-20%)
You are virtually guaranteed to not get a job in the Bay Area from Illinois and the other schools, but you're more likely to get A job, anywhere. ("more likely" meaning 25-40%)

So would you rather have a very slim chance of getting a job in your dream area, or a slightly better chance of being employed at all, but probably not in your desired location?

jnward13
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Re: Choosing a law school for the west coast.

Postby jnward13 » Wed Feb 22, 2012 8:21 pm

rinkrat19 wrote:All schools outside of HYS are regional to some degree, ranging from "somewhat regional" for the rest of the T14 to "you will not get a job outside this city" for most of the TT/TTT/TTTT.

You are unlikely to get a job in the Bay Area with a JD from Pacific, GG, Santa Clara or USF. ("unlikely" meaning your chances are like 15-20%)
You are virtually guaranteed to not get a job in the Bay Area from Illinois and the other schools, but you're more likely to get A job, anywhere. ("more likely" meaning 25-40%)

So would you rather have a very slim chance of getting a job in your dream area, or a slightly better chance of being employed at all, but probably not in your desired location?


Interesting. Do you think this would change for schools such as Hastings or Davis?

Additionally, let's say that I am able to rank quite highly among those lower tier California schools I mentioned. What would my prospects be then?

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rinkrat19
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Re: Choosing a law school for the west coast.

Postby rinkrat19 » Wed Feb 22, 2012 8:26 pm

jnward13 wrote:
rinkrat19 wrote:All schools outside of HYS are regional to some degree, ranging from "somewhat regional" for the rest of the T14 to "you will not get a job outside this city" for most of the TT/TTT/TTTT.

You are unlikely to get a job in the Bay Area with a JD from Pacific, GG, Santa Clara or USF. ("unlikely" meaning your chances are like 15-20%)
You are virtually guaranteed to not get a job in the Bay Area from Illinois and the other schools, but you're more likely to get A job, anywhere. ("more likely" meaning 25-40%)

So would you rather have a very slim chance of getting a job in your dream area, or a slightly better chance of being employed at all, but probably not in your desired location?


Interesting. Do you think this would change for schools such as Hastings or Davis?

Additionally, let's say that I am able to rank quite highly among those lower tier California schools I mentioned. What would my prospects be then?
Hastings and Davis have slightly better employment stats than those schools, yes. Still a big gamble. I would only attend either on huge scholarships.

If you end up at the tip top of your class at almost any school, you can probably land a pretty decent gig, maybe even biglaw. But there's literally a 99% chance that won't happen. Everyone would like to think they're going to get great grades, but the laws of mathematics say that 50% of the class finishes below median (and at those schools, you need to be a hell of a lot higher than median).

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bk1
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Re: Choosing a law school for the west coast.

Postby bk1 » Wed Feb 22, 2012 8:27 pm

Take a look at lawschooltransparency.com and see how many people from NorCal schools get full time jobs as lawyers.

USF/SCU = roughly 25% chance at a full time job as a lawyer.
UCD/UCH = roughly 60% chance at a full time job as a lawyer.

Davis/Hastings are much better, but they also cost almost $200k in loans if you don't get scholarships to them. If you want to work as a lawyer, you shouldn't go at all to USF/SCU because 3/4 of the time you aren't going to be one. You also shouldn't go to Davis or Hastings unless they give you a boatload of scholarship money since your chances of getting a salary that justifies $200k debt is quite low.

I agree with rinkrat in that you should really look elsewhere. The Bay Area is pretty fucked (even moreso than the legal market in general). Go to someplace that gives you a decent chance at being a full time lawyer and that won't cost you 6 figures in debt.

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red_owl
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Re: Choosing a law school for the west coast.

Postby red_owl » Wed Feb 22, 2012 8:30 pm

bk1 wrote:Go to someplace that gives you a decent chance at being a full time lawyer and that won't cost you 6 figures in debt.


Everyone heed this advice.

rad lulz
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Re: Choosing a law school for the west coast.

Postby rad lulz » Wed Feb 22, 2012 8:40 pm

Retake or don't go due to the reasons BK gave.

jnward13
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Re: Choosing a law school for the west coast.

Postby jnward13 » Wed Feb 22, 2012 8:41 pm

bk1 wrote:Take a look at lawschooltransparency.com and see how many people from NorCal schools get full time jobs as lawyers.

USF/SCU = roughly 25% chance at a full time job as a lawyer.
UCD/UCH = roughly 60% chance at a full time job as a lawyer.

Davis/Hastings are much better, but they also cost almost $200k in loans if you don't get scholarships to them. If you want to work as a lawyer, you shouldn't go at all to USF/SCU because 3/4 of the time you aren't going to be one. You also shouldn't go to Davis or Hastings unless they give you a boatload of scholarship money since your chances of getting a salary that justifies $200k debt is quite low.

I agree with rinkrat in that you should really look elsewhere. The Bay Area is pretty fucked (even moreso than the legal market in general). Go to someplace that gives you a decent chance at being a full time lawyer and that won't cost you 6 figures in debt.


So you're saying Illinois is the best choice then? I've been waitlisted at Hastings but I'm not sure what my chances are of getting in off the waitlist.

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splitbrain
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Re: Choosing a law school for the west coast.

Postby splitbrain » Wed Feb 22, 2012 8:44 pm

If you want to work in the bay area, your choices are Santa Clara and USF at those levels.

Stay far far away from Golden Gate...if you need more info as to why, then do some forum searches.

You should absolutely try to get in to Davis and Hastings, even if they are reaches with your numbers. Understand that debt is a huge enemy at all of these schools and you'd need to work hard to achieve success, or even have a shot at it. Even if Hastings is a reach for you, graduates are still struggling to find work.

On a sidenote, it sounds like you're putting too much stock in rankings and not doing enough research into specifics such as employment results (including rates, salaries, positions, and geographic locations).

taxman128
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Re: Choosing a law school for the west coast.

Postby taxman128 » Wed Feb 22, 2012 8:45 pm

jnward13 wrote: I'm going.


why?

rad lulz
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Re: Choosing a law school for the west coast.

Postby rad lulz » Wed Feb 22, 2012 8:48 pm

jnward13 wrote:
bk1 wrote:Take a look at lawschooltransparency.com and see how many people from NorCal schools get full time jobs as lawyers.

USF/SCU = roughly 25% chance at a full time job as a lawyer.
UCD/UCH = roughly 60% chance at a full time job as a lawyer.

Davis/Hastings are much better, but they also cost almost $200k in loans if you don't get scholarships to them. If you want to work as a lawyer, you shouldn't go at all to USF/SCU because 3/4 of the time you aren't going to be one. You also shouldn't go to Davis or Hastings unless they give you a boatload of scholarship money since your chances of getting a salary that justifies $200k debt is quite low.

I agree with rinkrat in that you should really look elsewhere. The Bay Area is pretty fucked (even moreso than the legal market in general). Go to someplace that gives you a decent chance at being a full time lawyer and that won't cost you 6 figures in debt.


So you're saying Illinois is the best choice then? I've been waitlisted at Hastings but I'm not sure what my chances are of getting in off the waitlist.

You get any money from UIUC?

jnward13
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Re: Choosing a law school for the west coast.

Postby jnward13 » Wed Feb 22, 2012 8:50 pm

splitbrain wrote:If you want to work in the bay area, your choices are Santa Clara and USF at those levels.

Stay far far away from Golden Gate...if you need more info as to why, then do some forum searches.

You should absolutely try to get in to Davis and Hastings, even if they are reaches with your numbers. Understand that debt is a huge enemy at all of these schools and you'd need to work hard to achieve success, or even have a shot at it. Even if Hastings is a reach for you, graduates are still struggling to find work.

On a sidenote, it sounds like you're putting too much stock in rankings and not doing enough research into specifics such as employment results (including rates, salaries, positions, and geographic locations).


Yes, I've applied at both and been waitlisted at Hastings. We'll see about that I suppose.

I have been trying to look at information like that but the data offered by USNW is hard to run through.

jnward13
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Re: Choosing a law school for the west coast.

Postby jnward13 » Wed Feb 22, 2012 8:50 pm

rad lulz wrote:
jnward13 wrote:
bk1 wrote:Take a look at lawschooltransparency.com and see how many people from NorCal schools get full time jobs as lawyers.

USF/SCU = roughly 25% chance at a full time job as a lawyer.
UCD/UCH = roughly 60% chance at a full time job as a lawyer.

Davis/Hastings are much better, but they also cost almost $200k in loans if you don't get scholarships to them. If you want to work as a lawyer, you shouldn't go at all to USF/SCU because 3/4 of the time you aren't going to be one. You also shouldn't go to Davis or Hastings unless they give you a boatload of scholarship money since your chances of getting a salary that justifies $200k debt is quite low.

I agree with rinkrat in that you should really look elsewhere. The Bay Area is pretty fucked (even moreso than the legal market in general). Go to someplace that gives you a decent chance at being a full time lawyer and that won't cost you 6 figures in debt.


So you're saying Illinois is the best choice then? I've been waitlisted at Hastings but I'm not sure what my chances are of getting in off the waitlist.

You get any money from UIUC?


Yep about 1/3 off tuition. I think I can leverage it into more, but that's it for now.

rad lulz
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Re: Choosing a law school for the west coast.

Postby rad lulz » Wed Feb 22, 2012 8:53 pm

jnward13 wrote:Yep about 1/3 off tuition. I think I can leverage it into more, but that's it for now.

If you're taking out full loans, I'd pay, max, like 80k for UIUC. If you can't do that, I'd hold off a year and retake.

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bk1
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Re: Choosing a law school for the west coast.

Postby bk1 » Wed Feb 22, 2012 8:56 pm

jnward13 wrote:So you're saying Illinois is the best choice then? I've been waitlisted at Hastings but I'm not sure what my chances are of getting in off the waitlist.


Illinois is a peer school of UCD/UCH. You shouldn't go to any of them unless they give you a substantial scholarship. UIUC's sticker price is $195,000 (and that's before you factor in any interest). You don't want biglaw, which is fine, but you need biglaw to pay off sticker price at UIUC/UCD/UCH.

Even though you don't want to hear it, all of your options suck at the moment. If you can't retake to get a decent scholarship to UCD/UCH/UCI then go a T2 school that places decently on a large scholarship that does not have stringent scholarship stipulations.

If you can get at least 25k/year from UIUC (ideally 30k+/year) then go there. It would require the same kind of money to make UCD/UCH/UCI worth it. Ideally you'd be able to use UIUC scholarship money as leverage to get that kind of money from UCD/UCH/UCI, but if not then UIUC if they give you enough money.

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splitbrain
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Re: Choosing a law school for the west coast.

Postby splitbrain » Wed Feb 22, 2012 9:09 pm

Yeah it actually sounds like negotiating the scholarships is your next step, then see what your options are...

jnward13 wrote:Yes, I've applied at both and been waitlisted at Hastings. We'll see about that I suppose.

I have been trying to look at information like that but the data offered by USNW is hard to run through.


You can pull info directly from the school's websites but you can also e-mail the schools and ask about alum in areas you want to work.

jnward13
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Re: Choosing a law school for the west coast.

Postby jnward13 » Wed Feb 22, 2012 9:27 pm

splitbrain wrote:Yeah it actually sounds like negotiating the scholarships is your next step, then see what your options are...

jnward13 wrote:Yes, I've applied at both and been waitlisted at Hastings. We'll see about that I suppose.

I have been trying to look at information like that but the data offered by USNW is hard to run through.


You can pull info directly from the school's websites but you can also e-mail the schools and ask about alum in areas you want to work.



I assume negotiation like this usually happens before your put down your first deposit? If so that's cutting it close they want it in about three weeks ugh.

jnward13
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Re: Choosing a law school for the west coast.

Postby jnward13 » Wed Feb 22, 2012 9:33 pm

bk1 wrote:
jnward13 wrote:So you're saying Illinois is the best choice then? I've been waitlisted at Hastings but I'm not sure what my chances are of getting in off the waitlist.


Illinois is a peer school of UCD/UCH. You shouldn't go to any of them unless they give you a substantial scholarship. UIUC's sticker price is $195,000 (and that's before you factor in any interest). You don't want biglaw, which is fine, but you need biglaw to pay off sticker price at UIUC/UCD/UCH.

Even though you don't want to hear it, all of your options suck at the moment. If you can't retake to get a decent scholarship to UCD/UCH/UCI then go a T2 school that places decently on a large scholarship that does not have stringent scholarship stipulations.

If you can get at least 25k/year from UIUC (ideally 30k+/year) then go there. It would require the same kind of money to make UCD/UCH/UCI worth it. Ideally you'd be able to use UIUC scholarship money as leverage to get that kind of money from UCD/UCH/UCI, but if not then UIUC if they give you enough money.



Is Illinois really viewed on that same level? Probably my California bias but mentally I'd put UCD/UCH a bit higher. Anyways, UIUC has offered me what I think is a pretty good deal, around 20k, guaranteed all three years, guaranteed not to raise tuition, free books.

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splitbrain
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Re: Choosing a law school for the west coast.

Postby splitbrain » Wed Feb 22, 2012 9:34 pm

Honestly, negotiating might involve eating that deposit (not that it necessarily has to).

I think some scholarship money generally opens up when people who already received scholarship offers effectively withdraw by missing the deposit deadlines.

Anybody else have any insight about that? I just know what I've gleaned from those negotiation threads (including one applicant's negotations that went on through the beginning of summer).

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Dignan
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Re: Choosing a law school for the west coast.

Postby Dignan » Wed Feb 22, 2012 9:35 pm

jnward13 wrote:
pdeturk wrote:
jnward13 wrote:
(Also, I don't really want to hear "Don't go to any of those!". I'm going. Thanks!)


In that case, go where you want to practice.


Even though the rankings in Illinois are so much higher than any of the other options?

Just to reiterate what others have said, the rankings don't really matter in your situation. You want to work in California. Unless you get into a school with strong national placement, you should go to law school in California.

If we were talking about the University of Chicago or Northwestern, this would be a different conversation. But we're talking about the University of Illinois. Walk into a random San Francisco law office and ask the lawyers if U of I is ranked 25th, 55th, or 85th. You will get lots of blank stares.

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bk1
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Re: Choosing a law school for the west coast.

Postby bk1 » Wed Feb 22, 2012 11:21 pm

jnward13 wrote:Is Illinois really viewed on that same level? Probably my California bias but mentally I'd put UCD/UCH a bit higher. Anyways, UIUC has offered me what I think is a pretty good deal, around 20k, guaranteed all three years, guaranteed not to raise tuition, free books.


Illinois is a peer of UCD/UCH. In CA, obviously UCD/UCH will play much better. In the midwest, UIUC will play much better. UIUC is still going to cost you $135k even with your scholarship. Not to mention that that $135k doesn't include CoL during the summer and interest that will accumulate while you're in school. More likely you're looking at $150k in debt by the time you graduate. That isn't going to be easy to pay off on a $40-60k/year salary. As I said above, I honestly don't think UIUC justifies more than $100-120k in debt. I would try and see if UIUC will cough up at least 10k/year more.




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