University of Washington or USC

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confusedprelaw
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University of Washington or USC

Postby confusedprelaw » Wed Apr 18, 2012 6:20 pm

Hey everyone,

So, I've been having a pretty tough time deciding between UW and USC. I was accepted into a dual degree program at UW (JD/MHA) whereas I was just accepted into the JD program at USC. I'm currently finishing up my graduate degree (MPH) and will be entering law school in the fall. The one thing I'm not evaluating is cost/tuition as I expect to graduate with $0 debt, fortunately.

Therefore, the primary thing I looked at was the geographical location, where I have a slight preference for Seattle over LA; but, that advantage is mitigated by the fact that I have ties to the southwest and none to the northwest. There are many other small things I could consider, but they all seem to be a wash other than comparing a JD to a JD/MHA.

Am I making the right decision in selecting UW? Or are there employment factors out of USC that outweigh any benefit from UW? Am I right in assuming both schools lead to jobs that are equally unportable? Am I wasting my time in getting an MHA? I'd appreciate all the help I can get! Thanks!

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flem
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Re: University of Washington or USC

Postby flem » Wed Apr 18, 2012 6:27 pm

confusedprelaw wrote:
Am I making the right decision in selecting UW? Or are there employment factors out of USC that outweigh any benefit from UW? Am I right in assuming both schools lead to jobs that are equally unportable? Am I wasting my time in getting an MHA? I'd appreciate all the help I can get! Thanks!


1) Hard to say
2) I think so
3) Yes
4) Yes
5) You're welcome

Seattle is known to be exceptionally tough to break into, so keep that in mind. If you really want it, roll the dice. If you're more risk averse (as I would be with your options) I'd hit up USC.

Congrats on no debt brah, that's awesome.

rad lulz
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Re: University of Washington or USC

Postby rad lulz » Wed Apr 18, 2012 6:32 pm

What kind of job do you want to get.

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crossarmant
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Re: University of Washington or USC

Postby crossarmant » Wed Apr 18, 2012 6:36 pm

All things considered, no debt, and a preference for the PNW... Go with UW. You won't have to worry about paying down an absurd amount of debt either ways, you don't need a firm gig. So since money is not really an issue, base your decision on quality of life. If you have a preference for working in Seattle, go to UW. USC will net you SoCal, but if you prefer the PNW it won't particularly bring you back up there. Enjoy Seattle and you time there.

fogcue2
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Re: University of Washington or USC

Postby fogcue2 » Thu Apr 19, 2012 12:05 am

Some return questions
why do you need potentially 3 graduate degrees?
-seems like overkill
how are you doing this with no debt?
-if you have rich parents and are planning to be a professional student, pick a city you haven't been to before and have some fun...or better yet just travel the world instead of having them pay for more school
-if you have some how lucked out in some other fashion to avoid any debt and have some other reason for the multiple degrees then you probably don't fit into the big law or bust mentality of TLS and should seek advice elsewhere...

confusedprelaw
Posts: 61
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Re: University of Washington or USC

Postby confusedprelaw » Thu Apr 19, 2012 10:37 am

rad lulz wrote:What kind of job do you want to get.

I feel like that's probably I should figure out rather than entering law school, exploring options. I like the idea of entering hospital administration, because it's familiar and something at which I would excel. However, I'd like some of the more challenging aspects of working in a law firm, specifically in health or IP law, even though some of the daily tasks can be a chore. Then, there's this remote dream I have that I could be an entertainment lawyer of sorts; or perhaps my MHA/JD can leverage me into an academic position in some health department.

why do you need potentially 3 graduate degrees?

You're right -- it probably is overkill, especially considering the overlap of the MHA and MPH. I sincerely believe that should I want to do hospital administration/health law in some fashion, the MHA offers enough unique courses to make it worthwhile.

how are you doing this with no debt?

Supportive parents and siblings. I couldn't imagine shouldering this debt on my own, and if I did, considering my academic standards, law school probably wouldn't have been a realistic option for me (at least not from a t50). I probably don't fit with the big law or bust mentality, but I am curious about pay scales from smaller firms. I'm sure most of you have seen the other threads with detailed employment data, and USC blows UW out of the water in all aspects.

Therefore, what sorts of opportunities are there for raises? Suppose I start at a firm (2-10 attorneys) making ~70K. How much could I realistically expect my salary to be within 5 years? And should I factor in what the job market is going to be like when I graduate? My guess is that should I attend USC (and presumably graduate '15), the market would be more saturated than it is if I attend UW (and presumably graduate '16 w/ both degrees). LA will certainly have more opportunities considering the robust market, but will WA close the gap?

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No13baby
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Re: University of Washington or USC

Postby No13baby » Thu Apr 19, 2012 10:41 am

Do you have any ties to Seattle? It's very insular, and even if you go to UW you'll be fighting an uphill battle for jobs since most of their students are local.

confusedprelaw
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Re: University of Washington or USC

Postby confusedprelaw » Thu Apr 19, 2012 10:51 am

No13baby wrote:Do you have any ties to Seattle? It's very insular, and even if you go to UW you'll be fighting an uphill battle for jobs since most of their students are local.


I've heard this several times, but I'm still not quite sure if I understand it. I don't have any ties to Seattle, but I'm guessing a lot of students who are entering law school at UW don't have legal ties in the area. Do employers just discriminate based on state residency or is there something else? I know the way that the JD/MHA program works, I'd be technically deferring my JD for a year, so would that give me enough time to establish those ties/get on the same page as most of the locals? What would I need to do in order to establish those ties?

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Samara
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Re: University of Washington or USC

Postby Samara » Thu Apr 19, 2012 10:57 am

$70k at a small firm right out of law school? Check you bimodal salary distribution, bro.

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flem
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Re: University of Washington or USC

Postby flem » Thu Apr 19, 2012 10:58 am

confusedprelaw wrote:
I've heard this several times, but I'm still not quite sure if I understand it. I don't have any ties to Seattle, but I'm guessing a lot of students who are entering law school at UW don't have legal ties in the area. Do employers just discriminate based on state residency or is there something else? I know the way that the JD/MHA program works, I'd be technically deferring my JD for a year, so would that give me enough time to establish those ties/get on the same page as most of the locals? What would I need to do in order to establish those ties?


Invent a time machine, make sure you're born there or go back and attend UW for undergrad.

Just kidding. Kind of.

Do you have extended family there? Are you/will you be married? Those are helpful.

Ties aren't some sort of make or break thing in your job hunt, but in tough to break into markets, it helps you out - possibly significantly. If you're not from Washington state, you're going to need a compelling reason to be there, otherwise employers might think of you as a flight risk. A compelling reason to stay there is something like a wife/family/etc, not "I'm a cool bro who just really likes Seattle". Given relatively equal factors, they're going to take the hometown bro over you most times. It's just one of the things you can stack in your favor before going to law school.

Ties are a factor that can only work in your favor if you have them, and only work to your disadvantage if you don't.

Also, your estimate of a 2-10 man firm making 70K is totally unrealistic. 40-60K is the norm on that end, probably closer to the 40K mark. Tough to estimate future earnings, because it's different if you land in a quality small firm with opportunities for advancement or if you land in some insurance defense/DUI practice mill that's going to offer you 45K with no benefits.

confusedprelaw
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Re: University of Washington or USC

Postby confusedprelaw » Thu Apr 19, 2012 11:09 am

flem wrote:
confusedprelaw wrote:
I've heard this several times, but I'm still not quite sure if I understand it. I don't have any ties to Seattle, but I'm guessing a lot of students who are entering law school at UW don't have legal ties in the area. Do employers just discriminate based on state residency or is there something else? I know the way that the JD/MHA program works, I'd be technically deferring my JD for a year, so would that give me enough time to establish those ties/get on the same page as most of the locals? What would I need to do in order to establish those ties?


Invent a time machine, make sure you're born there or go back and attend UW for undergrad.

Just kidding. Kind of.

Do you have extended family there? Are you/will you be married? Those are helpful.

Ties aren't some sort of make or break thing in your job hunt, but in tough to break into markets, it helps you out - possibly significantly. If you're not from Washington state, you're going to need a compelling reason to be there, otherwise employers might think of you as a flight risk. A compelling reason to stay there is something like a wife/family/etc, not "I'm a cool bro who just really likes Seattle". Given relatively equal factors, they're going to take the hometown bro over you most times. It's just one of the things you can stack in your favor before going to law school.

Ties are a factor that can only work in your favor if you have them, and only work to your disadvantage if you don't.

Also, your estimate of a 2-10 man firm making 70K is totally unrealistic. 40-60K is the norm on that end, probably closer to the 40K mark. Tough to estimate future earnings, because it's different if you land in a quality small firm with opportunities for advancement or if you land in some insurance defense/DUI practice mill that's going to offer you 45K with no benefits.


That makes sense -- thanks for the explanation about "ties," it clears up a lot of things. I know my estimate of 70K was off, but I couldn't imagine taking a law job that's <60-70K. I figure that should I go the MHA route, that would be my baseline salary with my previous experience/qualifications. So maybe I was wrong in saying a firm with 2-10 attorneys, but somewhat higher.

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flem
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Re: University of Washington or USC

Postby flem » Thu Apr 19, 2012 11:14 am

confusedprelaw wrote:
That makes sense -- thanks for the explanation about "ties," it clears up a lot of things. I know my estimate of 70K was off, but I couldn't imagine taking a law job that's <60-70K. I figure that should I go the MHA route, that would be my baseline salary with my previous experience/qualifications. So maybe I was wrong in saying a firm with 2-10 attorneys, but somewhat higher.


Note the two spikes. Keep in mind that the 40-60K spike is smaller than it actually is, since bros making 160K are way more likely to report their salary than are the 40-60K earners.

confusedprelaw
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Re: University of Washington or USC

Postby confusedprelaw » Thu Apr 19, 2012 2:26 pm

Thank you everyone for your help! I think it became abundantly clear to me that the route I should take is USC, so thanks for pointing me in the right direction.




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