Choosing between VA schools

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

Which VA school?

W&M
14
39%
W&L
17
47%
Richmond
5
14%
 
Total votes: 36

lawlskewl22
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Choosing between VA schools

Postby lawlskewl22 » Sun Mar 25, 2012 1:03 pm

Options:

1) W&L with $25k/year
2) W&M in-state plus $4K/year
3) Richmond: John Marshall Scholars Program ($30k/year)

Living expenses will be roughly the same at all schools...probably a little higher in Richmond. Will be living with an SO so availability of work/things to distract him is a factor but he is generally flexible with whichever I choose.

I want to work in Richmond/Hampton Roads. Right now, I am interested in working as public defender or for the Commonwealth Attorney's office, but that could change after I experience some other areas of the law.

Any input, especially from those familiar with the VA market, would be great.
Last edited by lawlskewl22 on Mon Mar 26, 2012 7:29 pm, edited 2 times in total.

coocookuhchoo
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Re: Choosing between VA schools

Postby coocookuhchoo » Sun Mar 25, 2012 1:20 pm

I joined the forum to ask almost this exact same question. My choice is specifically between W and L and W and M. I am especially interested in what people think in light of the new us news rankings - W and M dropped to 35 and W and L rose to 24. I'm mostly interested in reputation - lay reputation and within the law community. I've only seen the past couple years of rankings - who is traditionally on top? Is it likely that WM will bounce back after this year? Does it even matter? I've visited both schools and really loved them, so I don't really care about differences in location and all that. I am out of state (Maryland), but with scholarships they cost about the same (20 to WL, 8 to WM). For what it's worth I want to work in DC.

lawlskewl22
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Re: Choosing between VA schools

Postby lawlskewl22 » Mon Mar 26, 2012 9:59 am

Anyone with input?

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JCFindley
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Re: Choosing between VA schools

Postby JCFindley » Mon Mar 26, 2012 10:11 am

lawlskewl22 wrote:Options:

1) W&L with $25k/year
2) W&M in-state sticker
3) Richmond: John Marshall Scholars Program ($30k/year)

Living expenses will be roughly the same at all schools...probably a little higher in Richmond. Will be living with an SO so availability of work/things to distract him is a factor but he is generally flexible with whichever I choose.

I want to work in Richmond/Hampton Roads. Right now, I am interested in working as public defender or for the Commonwealth Attorney's office, but that could change after I experience some other areas of the law.

Any input, especially from those familiar with the VA market, would be great.


The W's have slightly better reps in VA but IF you like Richmond specifically it is not a bad school for the local area. and I would factor in the total cost vs the other two.

As far as the SO thing goes, have you been to Lexington? There is really NOT a lot to it. If the SO likes hiking and roaming the mountain trails, it is a wonderful place. If not, it would be a long three years. Employment wise not a lot there but minimum wage stuff. They do have a drive in theater though, so that's kind of cool..... The CoL is dirt cheap too....

W&M is commute-able to the greater Norfolk area but would the SO job make up for the sticker cost?

Richmond is Richmond.....

Near Lexington....... (yeah, maybe not a reason to decide on a LS but keeping the SO happy is why I didn't put in an app there.)
--ImageRemoved--

lawlskewl22
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Re: Choosing between VA schools

Postby lawlskewl22 » Mon Mar 26, 2012 10:19 am

I have been to Lexington and really enjoyed it, but I was only there for a few days. I can see how it could get rather boring for 3 years. He loves outdoor activities, hiking and trails, so that aspect would be nice, but I doubt he'd be able to find work. He doesn't necessarily need a job from a financial aspect, because he currently works mostly from home (hence his ability to pick up and move), but it would help him meet people and get out of the house, and a little extra income never hurt. However, I doubt he'd take anything that he didn't love and he may not find that in Lex.

Also, we are not married so he's not financing anything but half of living expenses. That certainly makes things cheaper but tuition is all me, so that's something to consider.

Richmond is a neat city and my family is there and in Hampton Roads, so that's a plus, but I don't know too much about the reputation of the school/job prospects. It's lower on the food chain and I can't decide if the other schools are worth the extra money or not.
Last edited by lawlskewl22 on Mon Mar 26, 2012 10:21 am, edited 1 time in total.

mighttransfer
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Re: Choosing between VA schools

Postby mighttransfer » Mon Mar 26, 2012 10:20 am

I think that this is a tougher choice than one might think at first blush. To the extent that you're certain that you want to work as a public defender/commonwealth attorney, you need to focus on minimizing debt. In that respect, UR Law would be an excellent choice because of its low cost (for you) and solid job placement in the Richmond PD office (not so sure about commonwealth attorney placement). If you feel that you may be interested in working at a firm (particularly a big one), then WL/WM might be better options.

PM me if you have more specific questions. I am quite familiar with VA law schools and the Richmond/Hampton Roads markets.

Also, with respect to your SO's general welfare, Richmond is the clear winner. Williamsburg and Lexington offer littler in terms of social life and employment opportunities. Richmond, by contrast, has a lot going on.

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ap613
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Re: Choosing between VA schools

Postby ap613 » Mon Mar 26, 2012 11:19 am

Have you tried to negoatiate with W&M? I am making a similar choice and got less money at W&L and UR, but some money (albeit very little) from W&M and I'm in-state. If you are 100% positive you want CA/PD in Richmond then I'd go to UR w/ the JM. If there is any doubt you're probably better off choosing the cheapest between W&M and W&L and if they're about the same then whichever you like better after visiting.

lawlskewl22
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Re: Choosing between VA schools

Postby lawlskewl22 » Mon Mar 26, 2012 4:11 pm

ap613 wrote:Have you tried to negoatiate with W&M? I am making a similar choice and got less money at W&L and UR, but some money (albeit very little) from W&M and I'm in-state. If you are 100% positive you want CA/PD in Richmond then I'd go to UR w/ the JM. If there is any doubt you're probably better off choosing the cheapest between W&M and W&L and if they're about the same then whichever you like better after visiting.


I tried to negotiate (contacted Dean Shealy) and got shot down. They said they would reconsider later with new information such as final grades, but I won't have those until may and I have to make a decision before that.

I went for a tour/class visit last week and loved it, so I am kind of considering contacting her again with continued interest about attending and a second request for $$ but I am not sure if it will work or just be annoying.

lawlskewl22
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Re: Choosing between VA schools

Postby lawlskewl22 » Mon Mar 26, 2012 7:29 pm

Well this is crazy, but W&M is now in-state plus $4k/year. Second negotiation attempts apparently work!

mighttransfer
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Re: Choosing between VA schools

Postby mighttransfer » Mon Mar 26, 2012 7:39 pm

Well, W&L would still be slightly cheaper, but it's really a toss-up as b/t W&L and W&M. I still think that UR is a strong choice if you're set on public defense.

lawlskewl22
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Re: Choosing between VA schools

Postby lawlskewl22 » Mon Mar 26, 2012 7:45 pm

mighttransfer wrote:Well, W&L would still be slightly cheaper, but it's really a toss-up as b/t W&L and W&M. I still think that UR is a strong choice if you're set on public defense.


The only thing is that I really don't know if I'm 100% with that goal. Right now it seems like what I want to do, but I want other options open. I don't think UR will preclude me from anything, but I do think W&L/W&M will offer more options. I am just not sure if the options justify the price.

mighttransfer
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Re: Choosing between VA schools

Postby mighttransfer » Mon Mar 26, 2012 7:54 pm

lawlskewl22 wrote:
mighttransfer wrote:Well, W&L would still be slightly cheaper, but it's really a toss-up as b/t W&L and W&M. I still think that UR is a strong choice if you're set on public defense.


The only thing is that I really don't know if I'm 100% with that goal. Right now it seems like what I want to do, but I want other options open. I don't think UR will preclude me from anything, but I do think W&L/W&M will offer more options. I am just not sure if the options justify the price.


I agree with your basic points (i.e., that UR won't preclude you from anything but that WM/WL will provide greater options). To the extent that you're concerned with having biglaw/midlaw options, the increased price at WM/WL would be worth it. I can't speak directly to employment prospects from those two schools, but I do know that UR students have been struggling to obtain jobs with such firms. Since you're not set on PD work, I think that your choice should come down to WM and WL, as both will provide overall superior employment prospects than UR. As between those two schools, it's probably a toss-up. Visit both and see which you like better. Both are great options for VA. That said, Williamsburg surprisingly has much more going on than Lexington in terms of social life and proximity to better places. So if you're boyfriend's happiness is a tie-breaker, you might want to go with WM.

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ap613
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Re: Choosing between VA schools

Postby ap613 » Mon Mar 26, 2012 8:00 pm

Congrats on your better offer from W&M. W&L is still like what 7k / yr cheaper? I think it just comes down to which you prefer, cheaper option W&L or what's best for your boyfriend which would probably be W&M. Really depends on what he does but opportunities in Lexington will be limited whereas from Williamsburg he could commute to Richmond or Norfolk which would cover just about anything.

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crysmissmichelle
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Re: Choosing between VA schools

Postby crysmissmichelle » Mon Mar 26, 2012 8:04 pm

If you want to practice in Richmond, UR is the way to go. . .especially with the JM Scholars program. It is a great program and a great school and the placement prospects in Richmond are very good.

Have you visited all of the schools?

I did not visit W&L, but visited WM and did not enjoy it. . .My visit to UR made me decide to attend. . .and I'm happy I did.

mighttransfer
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Re: Choosing between VA schools

Postby mighttransfer » Mon Mar 26, 2012 8:16 pm

crysmissmichelle wrote:If you want to practice in Richmond, UR is the way to go. . .especially with the JM Scholars program. It is a great program and a great school and the placement prospects in Richmond are very good.

Have you visited all of the schools?

I did not visit W&L, but visited WM and did not enjoy it. . .My visit to UR made me decide to attend. . .and I'm happy I did.


I'm glad that you enjoyed your visit and decided to attend UR. But what makes you conclude that UR's employment prospects in Richmond are "very good"? What kind of employment prospects are you talking about (i.e., firm, public interest, clerkships, etc.)? If you're talking about employment with law firms, then I'm afraid that you're mistaken.

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crysmissmichelle
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Re: Choosing between VA schools

Postby crysmissmichelle » Mon Mar 26, 2012 8:40 pm

The bar is lowered by poor employment from all of these law schools. . .however, Richmond has very good clerk placement rates and the graduates I know from previous years are happily employed. . .while I don't know every person who graduates from UR, I find it (anecdotally) comforting that my friends and acquaintances have found jobs. . .

If you look at the bios at the major Richmond Firms, UR is VERY WELL represented. . .as well as the smaller firms. I personally have an area of law that I'm already interested in and in the process of my clinic experience I've met several recent (practicing) Richmond grads. . .at law firms.

When I attend judicial observations, again, I see Richmond grads prosecuting and defending. . .(Henrico and Chesterfield Counties. . . )

I'm not sure whether you are currently attending Richmond or not, but the hostility in your post seems a little misplaced. I made a simple statement reflecting my own observations.

I have personally lamented the lack of paying 1L summer jobs. . .so it's not like I'm kidding myself. . .

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ap613
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Re: Choosing between VA schools

Postby ap613 » Mon Mar 26, 2012 9:03 pm

I don't think above poster was being hostile, I think the confusion stems from the fact that he was talking about mid/biglaw options coming from W&M and UR and there is a difference there. Look at 2010 data for each school because UR hasn't released 2011 data yet.

% Working in a law firm: W&M 40.9%, UR 31.4%
% Working in firm over 100 attorneys: W&M 20%, UR 5%

Of that, % at a firm of over 500 attorneys: W&M 9.1%, UR 1.4%

W&M 2010 Data
UR 2010 Data (LinkRemoved)

mighttransfer
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Re: Choosing between VA schools

Postby mighttransfer » Mon Mar 26, 2012 9:03 pm

crysmissmichelle wrote:The bar is lowered by poor employment from all of these law schools. . .however, Richmond has very good clerk placement rates and the graduates I know from previous years are happily employed. . .while I don't know every person who graduates from UR, I find it (anecdotally) comforting that my friends and acquaintances have found jobs. . .

If you look at the bios at the major Richmond Firms, UR is VERY WELL represented. . .as well as the smaller firms. I personally have an area of law that I'm already interested in and in the process of my clinic experience I've met several recent (practicing) Richmond grads. . .at law firms.

When I attend judicial observations, again, I see Richmond grads prosecuting and defending. . .(Henrico and Chesterfield Counties. . . )

I'm not sure whether you are currently attending Richmond or not, but the hostility in your post seems a little misplaced. I made a simple statement reflecting my own observations.

I have personally lamented the lack of paying 1L summer jobs. . .so it's not like I'm kidding myself. . .


I'm really not sure why you think my post is hostile. I am legitimately glad that you enjoyed your visit and decided to attend UR (it is a great school). I simply questioned your basic assertion because it is ill-informed; doing so doesn't make me hostile. But at any rate, you're correct about two things: first, that UR grads are very well-represented in Richmond firms; and second, that UR has good clerkship placement (state clerkships; not so much with federal clerkships). I don't dispute that second point. But regarding OP's current dilemma (i.e., whether to choose UR over WM/WL), what matters is a school's CURRENT placement/prospects. Accordingly, the fact that UR is well-represented among Richmond firms is less important than how UR CURRENTLY places in the Richmond market. To be sure, having a strong alumni network in a given city is important. And UR has a strong alumni network in Richmond. The problem is that OCI at UR is incredibly weak, and Richmond firms currently aren't hiring a significant portion of UR students. Sure, some UR students will find employment with the top Richmond firms; however, those students are inevitably the top students (e.g., Hunton only interviewed top 5% at UR for 2L summer positions). Outside the top 10%, it is extremely difficult to find biglaw/midlaw employment from UR. I really don't mean to fight with you. I just think that your assertion that employment prospects from UR in Richmond are "very good" is misleading because law firm prospects from UR are weak. Also, I don't go to UR.

Also, ap613 is correct; I was/am talking about biglaw/midlaw.

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crysmissmichelle
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Re: Choosing between VA schools

Postby crysmissmichelle » Mon Mar 26, 2012 9:42 pm

Yes, my apologies, I have no interest at all in big firms..and my current placement working in one has only reinforced that feeling....

TyrodTaylor
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Re: Choosing between VA schools

Postby TyrodTaylor » Tue Mar 27, 2012 2:55 pm





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