UW-Madison vs. higher ranked schools

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

Which school should I attend?

UVA (sticker, COA $48,000/yr )
8
36%
Wisconsin (COA $20,000/yr, no stips)
12
55%
W&M (COA $14,000/yr, B stip)
0
No votes
Iowa (COA $0/yr, top third stip)
1
5%
Illinois (COA $20,000/yr, no stips)
1
5%
 
Total votes: 22

cleverusername
Posts: 2
Joined: Wed Feb 29, 2012 11:05 pm

UW-Madison vs. higher ranked schools

Postby cleverusername » Wed Feb 29, 2012 11:22 pm

So I've narrowed my list of schools down to those included in the poll (the poll includes total yearly COA for each, tuition AND living costs). Ultimately I want to practice in Wisconsin, either in Madison or Milwaukee. I'm not biglaw or bust, and I'd consider myself to be moderately debt-averse.

My gut is telling me to go Wisconsin even though it's the lowest-ranked school on my list because of its obvious proximity to my target markets, no bar exam, close to family, love Madison, etc. However after months of law school forum stalking I'm concerned about my job prospects from there, even for those markets. I consider $20,000 a year to be a manageable COA considering how much I love the area, though I AM concerned about debt (I'm considering trying to negotiate for more money but as I'm OOS, they're not known for being very generous with scholarships, and they've already brought me down to in-state tuition I'd say the chances of that working are doubtful).

Does anyone have any insight or advice? If I'm delusional in my thinking here please let me know.

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bk1
Posts: 18406
Joined: Sun Mar 14, 2010 7:06 pm

Re: UW-Madison vs. higher ranked schools

Postby bk1 » Wed Feb 29, 2012 11:29 pm

W&M/Illinois/Iowa are easily off the list since there is no reason to take any of them over UW for Wisconsin. I think it comes down to UW vs UVA.

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topper10s
Posts: 67
Joined: Mon Sep 26, 2011 5:51 am

Re: UW-Madison vs. higher ranked schools

Postby topper10s » Wed Feb 29, 2012 11:32 pm

I got a schollie from UW with what I assume are lower numbers given you're in at UVA. Perhaps if you showed UW a sincere interest in attending they would throw some your way?

tennisking88
Posts: 655
Joined: Thu Jul 21, 2011 1:15 am

Re: UW-Madison vs. higher ranked schools

Postby tennisking88 » Wed Feb 29, 2012 11:35 pm

topper10s wrote:I got a schollie from UW with what I assume are lower numbers given you're in at UVA. Perhaps if you showed UW a sincere interest in attending they would throw some your way?


This. Also, Wisconsin.

Edit: if you're 100% set on being in Wisconsin after graduation, there is no contest here. You would go to the best school in the state, and not have to take the bar. Try to negotiate a bigger scholly. If you are NOT set on living in Wisconsin, UVA.

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Gail
Posts: 977
Joined: Thu Nov 10, 2011 11:11 am

Re: UW-Madison vs. higher ranked schools

Postby Gail » Thu Mar 01, 2012 12:29 am

Madison is king in Wisconsin. Everyone loves the Badgers. Only competition is T14 with connections for "big"law and Marquette for fall-backs.



Plus that whole not having to take the bar thing is pretty sweet.

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Panther7
Posts: 455
Joined: Mon Sep 28, 2009 5:34 pm

Re: UW-Madison vs. higher ranked schools

Postby Panther7 » Thu Mar 01, 2012 12:48 am

cleverusername wrote:So I've narrowed my list of schools down to those included in the poll (the poll includes total yearly COA for each, tuition AND living costs). Ultimately I want to practice in Wisconsin, either in Madison or Milwaukee. I'm not biglaw or bust, and I'd consider myself to be moderately debt-averse.

My gut is telling me to go Wisconsin even though it's the lowest-ranked school on my list because of its obvious proximity to my target markets, no bar exam, close to family, love Madison, etc. However after months of law school forum stalking I'm concerned about my job prospects from there, even for those markets. I consider $20,000 a year to be a manageable COA considering how much I love the area, though I AM concerned about debt (I'm considering trying to negotiate for more money but as I'm OOS, they're not known for being very generous with scholarships, and they've already brought me down to in-state tuition I'd say the chances of that working are doubtful).

Does anyone have any insight or advice? If I'm delusional in my thinking here please let me know.


As a UW student, if you have interest in practicing in Madison/Milwaukee, you should be at UW, no questions asked. I wouldn't even blink at it, especially since you're not desperate for BigLaw. Equal rankings at UVA/UW, you'll probably have better luck with UW. The connections are just already there... those firms look to Marquette and UW to fill their ranks for the most part. It might even be worth your time to look at Marquette if you want Milwaukee, those firms hire them well beyond their ranking since they are the local law school. See if you can get some money from them. Not having to take the bar.... is far more awesome than you can possibly imagine.

rad lulz
Posts: 9844
Joined: Sun Feb 19, 2012 10:53 pm

Re: UW-Madison vs. higher ranked schools

Postby rad lulz » Thu Mar 01, 2012 4:09 am

Since you don't seem dead set in big lulz and VERY set on practicing in Wisco, I'd go to Wisonsin.

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tww909
Posts: 247
Joined: Mon Nov 09, 2009 12:41 am

Re: UW-Madison vs. higher ranked schools

Postby tww909 » Thu Mar 01, 2012 7:11 am

i generally agree with the prevailing opinion ITT. wisconsin seems like a perfectly reasonable choice.

the only danger is the following:

roughly 25% of the class at UW ends up in jobs that are not JD required. that means that for most of those people, practicing law, particularly in a law firm, is likely to never happen. furthermore if you have any interest in clerking, UW places between 0 and 1 Art. III clerks each year. there is an effort on the part of some members of the faculty to change that, but there is a momentum to clerkship placement, and regardless it will be challenging. on the other hand something like 15% at UVA clerks.

basically what i'm saying is this: if you are median at UW you will have to work very very hard to find a job post graduation practicing law in wisconsin. if you are median at UVA you will have to work hard to find a job, but will likely be able to practice law somewhere, though maybe (perhaps even most likely) not wisconsin.

your calculation should be based more on whether or not you absolutely want to be in wisconsin or you absolutely want to practice law.

an additional word of warning. while we all love madison, it can be a challenging market with median grades. there aren't a ton of jobs in madison, particularly in small/mid sized firms, and you will likely have to widen your search to the whole state if you are at median. if you have connections to the fox valley or eau claire or wausau and wouldn't mind working there that's a good thing. if, being out of state, you just like madison, you should be careful.

also by 20k/yr COA are you actually meaning cost of attendance or tuition? because you reference them bringing it down to in-state, and 20k is about where tuition is at. if you mean 20k tuition per year, you need to factor in cost of living to that equation. COA = Cost of Living + Tuition.

so i don't mean to put you off things. wisconsin is genuinely a wonderful place. i went to undergrad there, spent my first year of law school and first summer there (i've since transferred), and i miss it tremendously. but it's not all rainbows and candy canes even if you want to work in wisconsin and don't care about big law and someone needs to be saying that.

edit - feel free to PM me if you have any questions you want a personal take on. i'm happy to help.




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