Advice -- Money vs. Location

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KJDTiger
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Advice -- Money vs. Location

Postby KJDTiger » Mon Apr 16, 2012 1:46 am

Hello,

Here's my dilemma, when I applied to law schools, I sort of just applied wherever I thought I had a chance at getting money, with the thought that I would narrow it down to where I'd have the least debt. I've done this successfully, but now here is the issue...

I want to live and work in Texas, which I am told is very biased toward Texas schools. The only Texas school that gave me any amount of scholarship was South Texas College of Law (they're offering me half tuition, Texas Tech gave me in state, wait listed at Houston).

Another school I applied to, University of Nebraska, is offering me a full ride. I do not want to live or work in the Midwest.

So here's the thing, if I go to South Texas, I will have a better chance of getting a job in Texas (at least Houston) but it is unranked (4th Tier) and I will have an extra $50K-ish in debt. Nebraska is 2nd Tier, but does not have a great regional name (when I talked to some lawyers in Texas, they had no idea Nebraska even had a law school). I've been told it would not be impossible to get a job in Texas with a Nebraska degree, but it would be much harder, to the point that I would probably have to resign myself to working in Nebrasa or elsewhere in the Midwest (nothing wrong with that, I just prefer the South).

Any thoughts? Should I go to the "better", cheaper school and just hope I can make it South? Or should I go to the unranked, more expensive school where I can start making Texas connections immediately?

Thanks in advance

bdole2
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Re: Advice -- Money vs. Location

Postby bdole2 » Mon Apr 16, 2012 1:49 am

Neither is a good option. Only go to Nebraska if you want to work in Nebraska. Only go to South Texas if you hate your life and want to punish yourself.

What is your GPA / LSAT? Would you consider retaking the LSAT?

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bk1
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Re: Advice -- Money vs. Location

Postby bk1 » Mon Apr 16, 2012 1:53 am

It seems like you haphazardly went through the law school application process considering the way you're talking about it now. Nothing wrong with that, but you probably made a lot of mistakes. I did pretty much the same thing first time I applied to law school. You probably haven't maximized your LSAT. You probably haven't leveraged schools against each other. You may have not put together the most cohesive application. Etc, etc.

Your options have bad employment prospects and don't line up with your goals. You should probably retake the LSAT and reapply next cycle with a more focused application strategy that targets schools that have decent employment prospects and line up with your goals and where you can get scholarship money that justifies attending. Check out http://www.lawschoolnumbers.com for chances at various schools. Check out lawschooltransparency.com for job prospects at those schools. Check out the LSAT forum on this site for tips on doing well on an LSAT retake.

KJDTiger
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Re: Advice -- Money vs. Location

Postby KJDTiger » Mon Apr 16, 2012 1:56 am

Undergrad GPA: 3.31 (3.26 when I applied)
Master's GPA: 3.44
LSAT: 160

Do you think with my low GPA, retaking the LSAT would really make much of a difference? My hope had been UHouston, but when I visited, I actually sort of hated it, so I haven't been doing much to get off of the wait list.

bdole2
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Re: Advice -- Money vs. Location

Postby bdole2 » Mon Apr 16, 2012 2:00 am

KJDTiger wrote:Do you think with my low GPA, retaking the LSAT would really make much of a difference?


Yes.

If you want to practice in Houston you may have to learn to love UH. Although I wouldn't pay sticker for it, so you will definitely need a better LSAT score. With a 170+ you might also have a shot at UT.

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bk1
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Re: Advice -- Money vs. Location

Postby bk1 » Mon Apr 16, 2012 2:01 am

Seems like an extra 2 points would be a lock for UH (http://houston.lawschoolnumbers.com/stats). That being said, just gaining admissions to UH doesn't make it worth it. I wouldn't take out more than around 30-35k/year in loans to go to UH.

KJDTiger
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Re: Advice -- Money vs. Location

Postby KJDTiger » Mon Apr 16, 2012 2:17 am

Ok, so thoughts on this plan...

Plan on retaking the LSAT, send LOCI to UH, but I still plan on starting in the fall, so I put my deposit in at...?...and just keep my fingers crossed on UH.

Basically, if it hypothetically comes down to Nebraska or South Texas, which is the lesser of two (apparent) evils?

bdole2
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Re: Advice -- Money vs. Location

Postby bdole2 » Mon Apr 16, 2012 2:19 am

KJDTiger wrote:Ok, so thoughts on this plan...

Plan on retaking the LSAT, send LOCI to UH, but I still plan on starting in the fall, so I put my deposit in at...?...and just keep my fingers crossed on UH.

Basically, if it hypothetically comes down to Nebraska or South Texas, which is the lesser of two (apparent) evils?


Don't do it. Consider reapplying for next fall.

rad lulz
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Re: Advice -- Money vs. Location

Postby rad lulz » Mon Apr 16, 2012 2:22 am

.
Last edited by rad lulz on Wed May 29, 2013 12:22 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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hookem7
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Re: Advice -- Money vs. Location

Postby hookem7 » Mon Apr 16, 2012 3:59 am

If you got a 160 and have a master's, there is no reason to think you can't make a 165+ and have better options like UH with a little money or SMU

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romothesavior
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Re: Advice -- Money vs. Location

Postby romothesavior » Mon Apr 16, 2012 9:46 am

Nebraska is the better option, but you should plan on staying in Nebraska or the nearby states. IIRC, something like 80% of Nebraska grads stay in Nebraska. I posted the data in another thread so I'll see if I can find it, but it is on their website. If you have any qualms about staying in Nebraska, don't go.

Please take this to heart:
bk1 wrote:It seems like you haphazardly went through the law school application process considering the way you're talking about it now. Nothing wrong with that, but you probably made a lot of mistakes. I did pretty much the same thing first time I applied to law school. You probably haven't maximized your LSAT. You probably haven't leveraged schools against each other. You may have not put together the most cohesive application. Etc, etc.

I agree with all of this. OP, law school is the biggest investment of your life because it will (more than anything else you can do right now) determine your future career and earning. You can't count on good grades, being a good attorney, meeting the right people in your career, getting "lucky," etc. What you can control is where you go to school. Retaking the LSAT and taking a year off is absolutely the credited move here.

Please, don't sell yourself short. One year of your life is not a big sacrifice considering the huge payoff involved. I went straight through K-JD and it worked out for me, but there are times I wish I had taken a year or two off to retake, work, and then go to a better school or go to my current school for free. So many people have done this on TLS, and none of them regret it (just ask bk). In this tough market, you have to put yourself in the best possible position to succeed, and that means studying hard, retaking the LSAT, and reapplying.

Good luck OP.

CanadianWolf
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Re: Advice -- Money vs. Location

Postby CanadianWolf » Mon Apr 16, 2012 10:17 am

In light of your career goals & school options, you should retake.

However, if you have to select between South Texas & Nebraska, then at least you're going in with your eyes wide open.

woeisme
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Re: Advice -- Money vs. Location

Postby woeisme » Mon Apr 16, 2012 10:22 am

Are you from Texas? Do you have demonstrable ties there? If so, then Nebraska is the lesser of the two evils. If not, South Texas might make more sense. But like others have said, don't attend either at this juncture... you really should retake the LSAT.

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b.gump81
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Re: Advice -- Money vs. Location

Postby b.gump81 » Mon Apr 16, 2012 10:39 am

Why is tech not an option? It has low COA and decent placement in the state in which you want to practice. I don't understand why this has become a choice between an expensive school with absolutely horrible job prospects and a free ride to a school that won't bring you back to Texas.

I still think a retake should be seriously considered, along with applying earlier next cycle. At the very least you will get more money from tech.

KJDTiger
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Re: Advice -- Money vs. Location

Postby KJDTiger » Mon Apr 16, 2012 3:06 pm

I have to say, I appreciate all of the responses. I'll try to address the issues presented and I definitely don't mind more input.

I am finding that the advice I'm being given on this board is completely different from what I've heard from lawyers, professors and law students that I've spoken with (both from Texas and from Missouri, which is my home state).

To those wondering why I wrote off Texas Tech: It came down to misinformation, I'm guessing. I was told, when I was first considering law schools and trying to figure out where to apply, that after the top 100, rank doesn't really matter. So basically, third vs. fourth tier isn't that important because you're not going to be getting the top jobs anyway. So when it came down to South Texas and Tech, I prefer Houston over Lubbock and South Texas would be $7,000 less a year. I will admit, I did not get a chance to visit Tech, but by all accounts, Lubbock is a pretty awful place to live. I really liked South Texas when I visited (both the people and the facilities were wonderful) so it seemed like a no brainer to me, but again, I'm thinking I might have been misled.

Another point, I guess I didn't realize South Texas is that horrible of a school. To me it seemed like an affordable option (again, with the scholarship) in a good legal market. I'm not looking at big law (I'm more interested in immigration and non-profity stuff), so I wasn't that intimidated by the fact that UH would take all of those jobs. You all are acting like ST is a death sentence to a legal career, which is not what the lawyers I've spoken to in Houston have implied (both ST alums and not). I have a very good friend at UH who told me ST friends of hers are getting internships and jobs, though she admitted it seems to take them longer and they usually aren't at the top firms or anything. I knew going in that it wasn't a top ranked school and that I would have less job prospects, but I'll admit, I'm a bit taken aback by your reactions. (I may also be somewhat naive, I suppose)

As for Nebraska, it does place mostly in Nebraska. When I spoke with an immigration law professor there, however, he said that he's had several students move south (I know, I know, the exception, not the rule) and that, because law is a meritocracy, I may have to start out in Nebraska (or Missouri...or Kansas...etc) but that if I can become successful there, I can move elsewhere without as much of an issue. I know someone made the point that you shouldn't rely on things like luck or assuming you'll be stellar, so if I decide to go to Nebraska, I may be resigning myself to a life in Nebraska.

In regards to retaking the LSAT: I'm not sure if that's really the best course of action. I guess my big fear would be delaying school for another year and then what if I'm unable to test higher? On practice tests, I usually only tested around a 155, so I'm not even sure how I did so well the first time. If I drop these scholarships to reapply and then not get in to UH again, it would seem like a waste, especially if I then didn't get as high of scholarships the second time. This is probably me just being neurotic though.

Again, thanks for all of the advice. Any more would also be appreciated. I'm really torn about what to do now.




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