Decisions, decisions...

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Jcolt07
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Decisions, decisions...

Postby Jcolt07 » Wed Apr 04, 2012 3:55 pm

Last weekend, I visited the only two schools I am considering attending. While I don't plan on working in Big Law, Texas does have the obvious advantage with all the doors the UT name can open. At Wesleyan on the other hand, I have a 22,000 dollar scholarship for the first year, and another 22,000 split between years 2 and 3, should I remain in the top 15%. I am going to assume that I will not be in the top 15% after year 1 (I like to think in worst case scenario terms.) Living with my uncle in Fort Worth, I will have zero living expenses, besides food, auto insurance, and gas. At UT, I will pay 29,000 per year in tuition, and full living expenses. Based on the loans I've been "awarded" for year 1, I'll come out with roughly $130,000 in debt. At Wesleyan, if I lose the scholarship, I will come out with no more than $60,000 in loans. On top of that, I've got $30,000 dollars in undergrad loans. Do I bite the bullet and go to UT, or do I go the less expensive route, potentially hamstringing my employment opportunities? Is the cost of graduating from UT worth the risk of getting stuck with all that debt should I not be able to find a job anyway? It should also be noted that I will most likely be working for a couple of oil and gas lawyers in South Texas, if they are still around in 3 years. If not, I would like to find a job in the Dallas/Fort Worth area. Also, my uncle has a dirt bike track and a putting green in his back yard... Just sayin'. Lol/JK/Kind of... I like the DFW area so much more than Austin. I feel I would enjoy going to school there more than in Austin, but if UT is the appropriate choice (I feel it is until I get more opinions on the matter,) I can suck it up for 3 years.

I realize, under normal circumstances, UT is the "no-brainer" choice. Yet, It is hard for me to get passed the insurmountable mountain of debt I will be taking on. I appreciate any advice and input that will aid me in making this decision.

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Doorkeeper
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Re: Decisions, decisions...

Postby Doorkeeper » Wed Apr 04, 2012 3:58 pm

Neither option is particularly great at these prices, but if you want to have good odds at placing in the Texas market, it seems like TLS consensus here is that you should go to UT. That being said, does UT have a LRAP system that you might be able to take advantage of if you don't go the biglaw route?

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Lincoln
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Re: Decisions, decisions...

Postby Lincoln » Wed Apr 04, 2012 3:58 pm

UT

in2win
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Re: Decisions, decisions...

Postby in2win » Wed Apr 04, 2012 4:00 pm

either way your going to be in substantial debt, so why not go to the school where you might actually get a job upon graduation

bdole2
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Re: Decisions, decisions...

Postby bdole2 » Wed Apr 04, 2012 5:55 pm

I can't tell you for sure that UT is the right choice, but I can tell you for a certainty that Wesleyan is the wrong choice. Did you apply to SMU?

t14fanboy
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Re: Decisions, decisions...

Postby t14fanboy » Wed Apr 04, 2012 6:03 pm

UT, don't go, or retake/reapply.

Jcolt07
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Re: Decisions, decisions...

Postby Jcolt07 » Wed Apr 04, 2012 6:34 pm

No word from SMU or U of H yet. No rejection letters, so I'm assuming I've been wait-listed. Is Wesleyan really that terrible? I got a pretty good vibe at their ASD, although that's what they're supposed to do. And I've been surfing the web looking at firms in DFW and they're are quite a few Wes grads. I would prefer SMU over Wes of course, just a few thoughts.

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FryBreadPower
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Re: Decisions, decisions...

Postby FryBreadPower » Wed Apr 04, 2012 6:37 pm

t14fanboy wrote:UT, don't go, or retake/reapply.

bdole2
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Re: Decisions, decisions...

Postby bdole2 » Wed Apr 04, 2012 7:18 pm

Jcolt07 wrote:No word from SMU or U of H yet. No rejection letters, so I'm assuming I've been wait-listed. Is Wesleyan really that terrible? I got a pretty good vibe at their ASD, although that's what they're supposed to do. And I've been surfing the web looking at firms in DFW and they're are quite a few Wes grads. I would prefer SMU over Wes of course, just a few thoughts.



Yes Wesleyan really is that bad. And yes their ASD is designed to make you want to go there. And those Wes grads either graduated 5+ years ago or were in the top of their class. I would wait until you hear back from SMU. But as it stands either UT or don't go.

Jcolt07
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Re: Decisions, decisions...

Postby Jcolt07 » Wed Apr 04, 2012 7:20 pm

Sound advice. Thank you very much.

busted
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Re: Decisions, decisions...

Postby busted » Thu Apr 05, 2012 12:54 am

I'm beyond confident that all the txwes grads this guy is finding are not all top of their class or graduated 5+ years ago. Txwes grads make up 20% of the Tarrant County Bar and I believe about 10% of the Dallas Bar. That's a noticeable percent of attorneys in the fifth largest metropolitan area in the country with graduating classes around 200-250 per year.

That doesn't mean everybody rolls out of txwes with a six figure job right out of school. Almost nobody does. Maybe nobody does. A lot of students aren't employed until after bar results come out and median salary comes in around $50k (based on what is reported to career services, so the real number is much lower). Lots of people (in the bottom half of the class) do not find jobs or find garbage work. It is definitely possible to land a median-rate job ($60-70k) in DFW if you are in the top 20-25% of the class (although it may still take you several months to get it). There's a lot of people there who have familial connections to law firms or large businesses and that's how they get their jobs, but they are not the only people picking up paychecks.

The monolithic view on TLS is that you must go to the best school you can get in or there's no point in even trying. That's not a great strategy unless your goal is to get into biglaw or midlaw. Yes, having a JD from a prestigious school will always help but as the OP points out, the price tag is normally much larger. School debt is serious cash. The financials should be a big part of the decision. I strongly disagree with the idea that you should always go to the best school you can just for the sake of improved opportunity. While I will agree that people change their minds about the kind of law they want to practice they should at least have an idea of what kind of firm they want to work for (at least size-wise). If you don't know why you are spending five or six figures of money to get a degree you should probably figure that out first before you commit the time and money. There are other ways to make $100k without taking on that kind of debt.

If OP wants to practice in a small oil & gas firm in the Fort Worth area, going to txwes makes a lot of sense. There are a lot of those firms in the area. OP would have opportunities to intern and network to come out of school with a job. Txwes is a dump and if you just follow the school's advice you'll have a compelling career selling insurance or serving coffee somewhere. But he or she could also go to UT, get shit grades and end up doing the same thing with a lot more debt.

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bk1
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Re: Decisions, decisions...

Postby bk1 » Thu Apr 05, 2012 1:01 am

busted wrote:I'm beyond confident that all the txwes grads this guy is finding are not all top of their class or graduated 5+ years ago. Txwes grads make up 20% of the Tarrant County Bar and I believe about 10% of the Dallas Bar. That's a noticeable percent of attorneys in the fifth largest metropolitan area in the country with graduating classes around 200-250 per year.

That doesn't mean everybody rolls out of txwes with a six figure job right out of school. Almost nobody does. Maybe nobody does. A lot of students aren't employed until after bar results come out and median salary comes in around $50k (based on what is reported to career services, so the real number is much lower). Lots of people (in the bottom half of the class) do not find jobs or find garbage work. It is definitely possible to land a median-rate job ($60-70k) in DFW if you are in the top 20-25% of the class (although it may still take you several months to get it). There's a lot of people there who have familial connections to law firms or large businesses and that's how they get their jobs, but they are not the only people picking up paychecks.

The monolithic view on TLS is that you must go to the best school you can get in or there's no point in even trying. That's not a great strategy unless your goal is to get into biglaw or midlaw. Yes, having a JD from a prestigious school will always help but as the OP points out, the price tag is normally much larger. School debt is serious cash. The financials should be a big part of the decision. I strongly disagree with the idea that you should always go to the best school you can just for the sake of improved opportunity. While I will agree that people change their minds about the kind of law they want to practice they should at least have an idea of what kind of firm they want to work for (at least size-wise). If you don't know why you are spending five or six figures of money to get a degree you should probably figure that out first before you commit the time and money. There are other ways to make $100k without taking on that kind of debt.

If OP wants to practice in a small oil & gas firm in the Fort Worth area, going to txwes makes a lot of sense. There are a lot of those firms in the area. OP would have opportunities to intern and network to come out of school with a job. Txwes is a dump and if you just follow the school's advice you'll have a compelling career selling insurance or serving coffee somewhere. But he or she could also go to UT, get shit grades and end up doing the same thing with a lot more debt.


This would be a legitimate post if we were talking about a half decent school like UH or SMU. But we're not. We're talking about Texas Wesleyan, a school where over 60% of the class fails to get a full time job as a lawyer. If you want to actually be a lawyer, you shouldn't go to such a shitty school.

The clear choice between these two is UT. Though the real answer is:

t14fanboy wrote:UT, don't go, or retake/reapply.

JasonR
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Re: Decisions, decisions...

Postby JasonR » Thu Apr 05, 2012 1:10 am

Texas Wesleyan is one of the worst law schools in the country. Do not even think about going there. Your cost-benefit analysis is egregiously off. That this is even a question for you literally blows my mind. My brains just shot out both my ears and oozed down the walls. Thanks for that.

t14fanboy wrote:UT, don't go, or retake/reapply.

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2014
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Re: Decisions, decisions...

Postby 2014 » Thu Apr 05, 2012 1:45 am

busted wrote:I'm beyond confident that all the txwes grads this guy is finding are not all top of their class or graduated 5+ years ago. Txwes grads make up 20% of the Tarrant County Bar and I believe about 10% of the Dallas Bar. That's a noticeable percent of attorneys in the fifth largest metropolitan area in the country with graduating classes around 200-250 per year.

Being a member of the bar =/= being gainfully employed. I'm sure a non trivial number of those 20 and 10%s respectively paid their way through bar prep, got admitted and then went on to work a non-legal job. Additionally, like most/all TTT's a good amount of grads try (generally unsuccessfully) to open up their own firm when they realize no one wants to hire them and they are included in the bar membership numbers as well as a school's employment numbers.

busted
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Re: Decisions, decisions...

Postby busted » Sat Apr 07, 2012 1:44 pm

2014 wrote:
busted wrote:I'm beyond confident that all the txwes grads this guy is finding are not all top of their class or graduated 5+ years ago. Txwes grads make up 20% of the Tarrant County Bar and I believe about 10% of the Dallas Bar. That's a noticeable percent of attorneys in the fifth largest metropolitan area in the country with graduating classes around 200-250 per year.


Being a member of the bar =/= being gainfully employed. I'm sure a non trivial number of those 20 and 10%s respectively paid their way through bar prep, got admitted and then went on to work a non-legal job. Additionally, like most/all TTT's a good amount of grads try (generally unsuccessfully) to open up their own firm when they realize no one wants to hire them and they are included in the bar membership numbers as well as a school's employment numbers.


While I agree with you that some people fall into these categories can you substantiate the allegation that "a non trivial number" falls into this description?

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Gail
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Re: Decisions, decisions...

Postby Gail » Sat Apr 07, 2012 2:16 pm

I met a guy who graduated from Texas Wes. with a full ride, URM + military experience. He came from Milwaukee, after graduating, he worked as a PD and enjoyed that and I'm not sure why he left, but he did. He then hung his own shingle up in Milwaukee.


That doesn't sound good to me. URM + Military experience + Full ride and the best that he could do was PD > single practice in the state from which he came?

He's doing alright for himself, it seems. Makes enough moeny to pay his bills and be happy. But I can tell he had a real rough go of it.

Jcolt07
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Re: Decisions, decisions...

Postby Jcolt07 » Sun Apr 08, 2012 5:20 pm

Thanks for all the input folks. I'm fairly certain I'm going to UT. My rationalization for the extra debt is that I won't be limiting myself to small firm work if I'm not in the top 10% like I would have to be at Wesleyan. While big law doesn't interest me right now, that could change and I want the opportunity to be there if I decide to act on it. So much money though... I wish there were other careers that paid as well that I am actually interested in. My life goal is to have enough to live comfortably and still be able to enjoy my outdoor hobbies. A BBA in Finance alone isn't going to cut it from what I can tell.

JasonR
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Re: Decisions, decisions...

Postby JasonR » Sun Apr 08, 2012 6:01 pm

Good to see you're coming around.

By the way, you would need to do a lot better than make the top 10% at Texas Wesleyan to have a number of semi-appealing options. More like top 1-2% at the least. This isn't 2007, and again, it is one of the very least respected law schools in the entire country.




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