Washington & Lee vs UF/FSU

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Ant1her0
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Washington & Lee vs UF/FSU

Postby Ant1her0 » Thu Feb 23, 2012 4:56 am

I am leaning Washington and Lee and I'm essentially trying to validate my thought process here. I am and always have been a Florida resident but my parents recently split up. My Dad was the one with the connections in Florida and without him I don't think the fact that I've lived here holds any real advantage aside from instate tuition. No one will be opening any doors into the hidden job market for me here in FL.

Washington and Lee offered me a 75k scholarship, FSU sent me a merit based form recently but I imagine it won't be much (Florida schools just don't pay much), and UF has been pretty silent aside from generic brochure-type e-mails.

After the scholarship W & L becomes my cheapest option even with my instate tuition at FSU/UF. Lexington is about 55 minutes east of where my Dad is in WV. He does forensic accounting and various tax work at a cpa/investment firm and his best friend handles the investing (does well for himself and knows some people). W & L would then offer me the advantage of being closer to people who could provide me with network opportunities outside of what law school can offer me.

Florida was absolutely obliterated by the housing bubble, and it's my understanding that the market is pretty saturated. I've heard that if you HAVE to stay in FL then you should choose UF, but if you have cheaper/better options OOS then you should take them.

I have no preference when it comes to picking a place to live and practice. Most of the people I hung out with left FL for job opportunities elsewhere so I don't mind leaving. With all that said, is there ANY reason for me to pick a FL school over a pretty solid offer from W and L?

Thanks for helping me out.

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tyro
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Re: Washington & Lee vs UF/FSU

Postby tyro » Thu Feb 23, 2012 5:16 am

Ant1her0 wrote:I have no preference when it comes to picking a place to live and practice. Most of the people I hung out with left FL for job opportunities elsewhere so I don't mind leaving. With all that said, is there ANY reason for me to pick a FL school over a pretty solid offer from W and L?

Well your ties to FL are much clearer and this would be helpful during interviews if you went to UF/FSU. If you choose W&L I feel like firms in the region might be skeptical and think you will end up wanting to return to FL. The thing about your Dad moving to WV makes sense but you should work on putting together an even stronger pitch for why you are moving from a completely different region and wanting to start over in this new location. Also, definitely use your W&L scholarship to negotiate a better offer from the FL schools. I would be pretty cautious about taking W&L unless you can put together a stronger argument for why you won't be likely to return "home" after graduating.

Ant1her0
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Re: Washington & Lee vs UF/FSU

Postby Ant1her0 » Thu Feb 23, 2012 5:50 am

Yes, the employer skepticism is the only thing I could think of that could be problematic. If I was asked that in an interview I would say that when I was choosing a school I was also choosing a geographical area to practice. Virginia provides me with the proximity to my Dad without forcing me to live in a much smaller state like WV. The relationships I have forged over my three years at Washington and Lee and in Virginia are stronger than any I have left behind in Florida. If I wanted to live in Florida then I'd have attended a Florida school like UF and I'd have tried to take advantage of the networking opportunities within that state during my time in law school. Choosing to invest three years of my time receiving a legal education and networking in VA would have been counterproductive and a waste if all I wanted to do is leave, and I don't believe in wasting my time or yours. I was never really invested in the state of FL -- only the friendships I enjoyed while I was there. Those friends are gone because life, school, and work have taken them elsewhere. I'm really just looking for a fresh start away from the drama my parents' separation created and to establish myself someplace new and I'd like that place to be here in VA.

I don't know if that's a powerful enough argument for skeptical employers, but that would be my general pitch. I could probably convey it much better in person. If I go to Washington and Lee I will not think twice about coming back here. I even prefer the cold, lol.

I can try to negotiate with the Florida schools, but they just don't have much money to throw around. UF considers itself the Harvard of the South, so approaching them with a better offer from a better school can be an uphill battle. I don't really know what else to call it, but as a Florida resident I have had a front row seat to pretty insane levels of arrogance emanating from G-ville. There are UF fans around here who have never set foot in any university that would tell me I'm crazy for turning them down for anyone, and there are people applying there that believe it.

Negotiating couldn't hurt, but do you think in my circumstances convincing employers I want to stay in VA would be an issue for me? You'd hope that selling them on the truth wouldn't be that difficult, but maybe that's naive.

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tyro
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Re: Washington & Lee vs UF/FSU

Postby tyro » Thu Feb 23, 2012 6:37 am

Ant1her0 wrote:Negotiating couldn't hurt, but do you think in my circumstances convincing employers I want to stay in VA would be an issue for me? You'd hope that selling them on the truth wouldn't be that difficult, but maybe that's naive.

Tomorrow you'll probably get a response from someone like bk1 who is more of an expert but these are just some quick thoughts:

Try to put yourself in the shoes of firm recruiters and keep in mind that people might read the recent split up and your dad's situation as an instability factor if you're going to include that later in your pitch. Also be aware that this is more than a year down the road though so things could change. The ties thing is big because firms are looking to hire people who they feel will almost certainly produce a return on investment and they don't want some dude who might end up having family issues or become home sick. It sounds kind of silly but it makes sense if you think about how many people they interview for a single SA slot. Also, selling them on the truth is the best way to go obviously because this is your life and your career, but the truth is not always easy to believe so you have to pick and choose your strong points and make it as real to them as it is to you. I mean, ask yourself why you really want to move to this new region.

Ant1her0
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Re: Washington & Lee vs UF/FSU

Postby Ant1her0 » Thu Feb 23, 2012 7:10 am

Those are all good points. Maybe I should just include the proximity to my Dad and play down the separation and play up why I want to be there. I really just do not want to deal with the economic situation in Florida right now. There aren't a ton of legal jobs (esp. since gov't hiring isn't happening as often) and there are plenty of areas drying up and hurting aside from those looking to practice law.

I have other reasons besides economic concerns (since the struggles ITE are occurring elsewhere) for wanting to leave Florida, but I really do not want to live here. However, I don't know what good it would do to hop out of one frying pan only to fling myself into another if strong ties to the area are important. I just have a hard time envisioning myself being happy going to a Florida school and living here for the rest of my life.

timbs4339
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Re: Washington & Lee vs UF/FSU

Postby timbs4339 » Thu Feb 23, 2012 10:39 am

Remember that you will largely be interviewing for jobs during law school (after your first year). You won't have three years to develop a network.

Absolutely do not talk about your family situation during the job interviews. First of all, your parents splitting up is not uncommon. Second, if you want to argue your school choice reflects your choice in a geographical practice area you need to elicit why that area is different from others in a professional sense (is the legal industry different there? are clients different? are their particular industries that their clients tend to come from that you have a background in?).

lexreg
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Re: Washington & Lee vs UF/FSU

Postby lexreg » Thu Feb 23, 2012 10:56 am

Most post-JD jobs these days come as a result of placements in the two summer opportunities during your studies. Though some are influenced by the name recognition of the institution, most are interested in the content of your studies, your own experience, and evidence of your personal intellectual engagement (GPA, courses, etc.).

Lots of folks are intrigued by W&L's new third-year curriculum which gives you much more practical experience in the law and less "book learning." Courses there are involved with real people in trouble, with cases in Europe, Asia, and Africa. Students learn more closely in the Socratic "at the knee" style with respected legal scholars. Focus more on your passion and less on the possibilities and the opportunities will handle themselves.

Go with W&L.

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romothesavior
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Re: Washington & Lee vs UF/FSU

Postby romothesavior » Fri Feb 24, 2012 12:55 pm

Ant1her0 wrote:Those are all good points. Maybe I should just include the proximity to my Dad and play down the separation and play up why I want to be there. I really just do not want to deal with the economic situation in Florida right now. There aren't a ton of legal jobs (esp. since gov't hiring isn't happening as often) and there are plenty of areas drying up and hurting aside from those looking to practice law.

I have other reasons besides economic concerns (since the struggles ITE are occurring elsewhere) for wanting to leave Florida, but I really do not want to live here. However, I don't know what good it would do to hop out of one frying pan only to fling myself into another if strong ties to the area are important. I just have a hard time envisioning myself being happy going to a Florida school and living here for the rest of my life.

You are thinking about this the right way, which is good. It is understandable that you might want to leave your current location, but you are taking a huge gamble by relocating to attend another fairly regional school for law school, and especially at the cost.

What about the possibility of retaking the LSAT and trying to either 1) get a better scholarship or 2) go to a better school with a bit more reach? Vanderbilt with money seems like a good school for your current situation.

Ant1her0
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Re: Washington & Lee vs UF/FSU

Postby Ant1her0 » Fri Feb 24, 2012 4:58 pm

Just a quick question for romo -- are you saying that w and l is too expensive even after the 25k a year offer? It puts tuition a little under 16k a year, which is cheaper than instate sticker at fsu/uf. I actually just visited fsu after not enjoying my trip to uf. I am supposed to hear about fsu schollys by march 15. Should I just pick the cheapest offer after that?

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romothesavior
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Re: Washington & Lee vs UF/FSU

Postby romothesavior » Fri Feb 24, 2012 5:04 pm

Ant1her0 wrote:Just a quick question for romo -- are you saying that w and l is too expensive even after the 25k a year offer? It puts tuition a little under 16k a year, which is cheaper than instate sticker at fsu/uf. I actually just visited fsu after not enjoying my trip to uf. I am supposed to hear about fsu schollys by march 15. Should I just pick the cheapest offer after that?

You're looking at 100k+ in debt (tuition + COL), which is still a lot. I will have a little under 100k debt from WUSTL and it is still scary, and I feel like I got lucky. I wouldn't want to have to service that debt with a non-biglaw job. It's certainly not the worst decision you could make, but it is still a big risk considering you have less than stellar ties to the market you'd be moving to. You have some, but they're not great. The cost and lack of lonstanding ties would be a huge concern for me, but you probably have a better idea of what they look like than any of us do.

W&L probably has some reach, but where do you really wanna work? Where are you targeting other than not Florida? WV?

Ant1her0
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Re: Washington & Lee vs UF/FSU

Postby Ant1her0 » Sat Feb 25, 2012 12:20 am

I am less turned off to FL after spending time visiting FSU, but the only thing I'd prefer to do is stay along the east coast. FL/GA/SC/NC/VA are all states I could envision practicing in because all of my ties fall along the South/Mid-Atlantic areas.

Is there any reason why W and L would be vastly more expensive for me than FSU? FSU at sticker charges 601.10 a credit hour, so for two 15 credit semesters tuition comes to $18,303/yr. W & L after scholly makes it $15,900/yr. Lexington has a very cheap COL and Tallahassee is also pretty affordable as well. I will hear about my merit scholarship from FSU in the next 15 or so days and there's also the possibility that I'd receive need-based aid.

My question is what sort of offer should I be looking for from FSU to consider picking them over W & L? As it stands right now public school tuition (pre-scholly) is actually more expensive than my W & L offer. If W & L is not worth 15.9k a year for tuition than I doubt you'd say FSU is worth 18.3k a year, right?

I'm sorry if I'm being a little redundant or explaining things poorly -- I'm just trying to make the best decision for me and I really appreciate the responses.




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