Seton Hall vs. American

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

Tuition paid, COL debt only, for DC/NY/NJ:

American University
11
92%
Seton Hall University
1
8%
 
Total votes: 12

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SnapSnapSnap
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Seton Hall vs. American

Postby SnapSnapSnap » Sat May 05, 2012 12:43 am

Trying to help out a friend (no, really, I swear) decide which law school to attend. 160/3.0, non-URM, 2 years W.E. in nonprofit management, other softs are average.

No UG debt, parents are paying LS tuition, he will only be in debt for COL and lives pretty frugally ($50K total?). Total debt might be slightly higher at American (higher COL in D.C.) but he isn't terribly worried about it because he literally has no other debt. He would prefer to work in DC or NY/NJ in some type of business/corporate law, but isn't biglaw-or-bust. Born and raised in California, no significant ties to either region but planning to settle on the east coast long-term.

American is higher-ranked and is right in D.C., but he worries about having to compete with GULC/GW/GMason students for jobs. NJ, on the other hand, only has 3 law schools, all of which are T2 so he feels the competition there might not be as fierce for decent jobs. However, he's worried that with next-door NY as saturated as it is, much of their "overflow" from higher-ranked schools might be coming to NJ; does anyone know if this is the case? Also, looking at where graduates are working, American does seem to be a more portable degree than Seton Hall.

He's looked extensively at job stats for both, and found that:
For American, the unemployment rate was around 1/3 (scary), but the results for the other 2/3 of the class were decent. Many are working in private practice, some in 51+ firms. It seems to be straightforward hit-or-miss.
For Seton Hall, the unemployment rate was just under 1/4 (still scary, but better), but the results for the other 3/4 were meh. Lots of very small firms, local/state clerkships, and the dreaded "Business and Industry" (translation: retail). So it seems there is a better chance of being employed from Seton Hall, but a lower chance of being "gainfully" employed. Does that make sense?

He is dead-set on attending this year, so please no retake. Thanks in advance for any insight you can offer!

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quiver
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Re: Seton Hall vs. American

Postby quiver » Sat May 05, 2012 12:55 am

SnapSnapSnap wrote:American is higher-ranked and is right in D.C., but he worries about having to compete with GULC/GW/GMason students for jobs.
It's even worse than that: students from every T14 are trying to work in DC as well. DC is generally considered one of the toughest markets and American is playing 16th fiddle.

SnapSnapSnap wrote: However, he's worried that with next-door NY as saturated as it is, much of their "overflow" from higher-ranked schools might be coming to NJ; does anyone know if this is the case? Also, looking at where graduates are working, American does seem to be a more portable degree than Seton Hall.
There is some evidence of this happening. Given what I said above, my educated guess is that American is more portable by necessity than by choice.

Job prospects from either aren't great, especially with no east coast ties. This may be a situation where he should choose based on fit.

timbs4339
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Re: Seton Hall vs. American

Postby timbs4339 » Sat May 05, 2012 10:23 pm

SnapSnapSnap wrote:Trying to help out a friend (no, really, I swear) decide which law school to attend. 160/3.0, non-URM, 2 years W.E. in nonprofit management, other softs are average.

No UG debt, parents are paying LS tuition, he will only be in debt for COL and lives pretty frugally ($50K total?). Total debt might be slightly higher at American (higher COL in D.C.) but he isn't terribly worried about it because he literally has no other debt. He would prefer to work in DC or NY/NJ in some type of business/corporate law, but isn't biglaw-or-bust. Born and raised in California, no significant ties to either region but planning to settle on the east coast long-term.

American is higher-ranked and is right in D.C., but he worries about having to compete with GULC/GW/GMason students for jobs. NJ, on the other hand, only has 3 law schools, all of which are T2 so he feels the competition there might not be as fierce for decent jobs. However, he's worried that with next-door NY as saturated as it is, much of their "overflow" from higher-ranked schools might be coming to NJ; does anyone know if this is the case? Also, looking at where graduates are working, American does seem to be a more portable degree than Seton Hall.

He's looked extensively at job stats for both, and found that:
For American, the unemployment rate was around 1/3 (scary), but the results for the other 2/3 of the class were decent. Many are working in private practice, some in 51+ firms. It seems to be straightforward hit-or-miss.
For Seton Hall, the unemployment rate was just under 1/4 (still scary, but better), but the results for the other 3/4 were meh. Lots of very small firms, local/state clerkships, and the dreaded "Business and Industry" (translation: retail). So it seems there is a better chance of being employed from Seton Hall, but a lower chance of being "gainfully" employed. Does that make sense?

He is dead-set on attending this year, so please no retake. Thanks in advance for any insight you can offer!


I hope his parents can truly cover tuition and will not be dipping into retirement or home equity.

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SnapSnapSnap
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Re: Seton Hall vs. American

Postby SnapSnapSnap » Sun May 06, 2012 2:08 am

Trust me, money is not an issue. It's not a stereotypical rich, well-connected, bourgeoisie family, but they won tens of millions from a foreign government in a wrongful death suit (his grandfather, long story) a few decades ago. The money has been handled well, they paid off their mortgage and live very modestly. Almost all of that money has been gainfully invested, and currently his parents are living off it for (early!) retirement in addition to their own sweet gov't pensions but there is PLENTY for LS tuition, this is chump-change for them. He is not relying on it long-term (buying a house, "not having to work", etc) and he currently supports himself 100% but his parents are fully capable and willing to pay LS tuition. They are not the types to be able to hook him up with a job after graduation, but no, there are no significant sacrifices or risks for his folks.

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kapital98
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Re: Seton Hall vs. American

Postby kapital98 » Sun May 06, 2012 2:25 am

quiver wrote:
SnapSnapSnap wrote:American is higher-ranked and is right in D.C., but he worries about having to compete with GULC/GW/GMason students for jobs.
It's even worse than that: students from every T14 are trying to work in DC as well. DC is generally considered one of the toughest markets and American is playing 16th fiddle.


I seriously want a list of the "toughest" legal markets in the U.S. Every thread I see, going from SF, NYC, DC, down to smaller markets are "one of the toughest markets."

Somebody, just give me a list. I'll stick by it and not bother anyone again with talk over "tough" legal markets.

Note: Saying all legal markets are tough is not an adequate response to which are the "toughest."

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Mike12188
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Re: Seton Hall vs. American

Postby Mike12188 » Sun May 06, 2012 2:33 am

kapital98 wrote:
quiver wrote:
SnapSnapSnap wrote:American is higher-ranked and is right in D.C., but he worries about having to compete with GULC/GW/GMason students for jobs.
It's even worse than that: students from every T14 are trying to work in DC as well. DC is generally considered one of the toughest markets and American is playing 16th fiddle.


I seriously want a list of the "toughest" legal markets in the U.S. Every thread I see, going from SF, NYC, DC, down to smaller markets are "one of the toughest markets."

Somebody, just give me a list. I'll stick by it and not bother anyone again with talk over "tough" legal markets.

Note: Saying all legal markets are tough is not an adequate response to which are the "toughest."


Pretty sure people mean DC is the toughest major market. Im sure smaller markets like NJ or SF are tough but for different reasons (ties, size, etc.)

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SnapSnapSnap
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Re: Seton Hall vs. American

Postby SnapSnapSnap » Sun May 06, 2012 2:43 am

kapital98 wrote:
quiver wrote:
SnapSnapSnap wrote:American is higher-ranked and is right in D.C., but he worries about having to compete with GULC/GW/GMason students for jobs.
It's even worse than that: students from every T14 are trying to work in DC as well. DC is generally considered one of the toughest markets and American is playing 16th fiddle.


I seriously want a list of the "toughest" legal markets in the U.S. Every thread I see, going from SF, NYC, DC, down to smaller markets are "one of the toughest markets."

Somebody, just give me a list. I'll stick by it and not bother anyone again with talk over "tough" legal markets.

Note: Saying all legal markets are tough is not an adequate response to which are the "toughest."



I think the problem is that the term "tough" operates in two different ways when referring to legal markets. First, you have the metro areas that are desirable to live in, have a substantial legal demand but are jam-packed with better-qualified/pedigree candidates. Second, you have areas that are "tough" because there is frankly little demand for lawyers and preference is given to local kids. My guess is that there is little in between. Full disclosure: I'm an 0L and therefore don't know anything about anything.

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rayiner
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Re: Seton Hall vs. American

Postby rayiner » Sun May 06, 2012 2:47 am

kapital98 wrote:
quiver wrote:
SnapSnapSnap wrote:American is higher-ranked and is right in D.C., but he worries about having to compete with GULC/GW/GMason students for jobs.
It's even worse than that: students from every T14 are trying to work in DC as well. DC is generally considered one of the toughest markets and American is playing 16th fiddle.


I seriously want a list of the "toughest" legal markets in the U.S. Every thread I see, going from SF, NYC, DC, down to smaller markets are "one of the toughest markets."

Somebody, just give me a list. I'll stick by it and not bother anyone again with talk over "tough" legal markets.

Note: Saying all legal markets are tough is not an adequate response to which are the "toughest."


NYC is not the toughest legal market. DC, SF, and Chicago are TCR, for different reasons.

wfudeacons2005
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Re: Seton Hall vs. American

Postby wfudeacons2005 » Sun May 06, 2012 12:08 pm

Between the two, go to American. Seton Hall has enough trouble getting employment in New Jersey and at least American will offer some geographical flexibility. He probably should have focused a bit more on public schools like W&M, UMD, Temple, RU, and UConn though so he would have similar average job prospects in the region and also not cost his parents a small fortune.

dissonance1848
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Re: Seton Hall vs. American

Postby dissonance1848 » Sun May 06, 2012 12:12 pm

Retake, or don't go. Given the WE, shoot for a 173+ and go for NU, or WUSTL with serious scholly.

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SnapSnapSnap
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Re: Seton Hall vs. American

Postby SnapSnapSnap » Sun May 06, 2012 12:28 pm

wfudeacons2005 wrote:Between the two, go to American. Seton Hall has enough trouble getting employment in New Jersey and at least American will offer some geographical flexibility. He probably should have focused a bit more on public schools like W&M, UMD, Temple, RU, and UConn though so he would have similar average job prospects in the region and also not cost his parents a small fortune.


Thanks for the reply. He's currently WL'd at W&M, but refused to apply to RU because it's ranked lower than SHU. I tried explaining that outside of T20ish, the rankings are super volatile and change from year to year, but I got nowhere. :?

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SnapSnapSnap
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Re: Seton Hall vs. American

Postby SnapSnapSnap » Sun May 06, 2012 12:33 pm

dissonance1848 wrote:Retake, or don't go. Given the WE, shoot for a 173+ and go for NU, or WUSTL with serious scholly.


Thanks, but retaking isn't an option for him. He retook once and scored 160/159, which was in his PT range. This is after a prep course (diagnostic was 149) Money isn't an issue (parents are paying tuition with the change they find between their couch cushions) so there's no pressure to get a "serious scholly". I think if paying for school were an issue it might light a fire under his butt to retake, but he's set on going this year and is only concerned with job prospects after graduation.

timbs4339
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Re: Seton Hall vs. American

Postby timbs4339 » Sun May 06, 2012 12:53 pm

SnapSnapSnap wrote:Trust me, money is not an issue. It's not a stereotypical rich, well-connected, bourgeoisie family, but they won tens of millions from a foreign government in a wrongful death suit (his grandfather, long story) a few decades ago. The money has been handled well, they paid off their mortgage and live very modestly. Almost all of that money has been gainfully invested, and currently his parents are living off it for (early!) retirement in addition to their own sweet gov't pensions but there is PLENTY for LS tuition, this is chump-change for them. He is not relying on it long-term (buying a house, "not having to work", etc) and he currently supports himself 100% but his parents are fully capable and willing to pay LS tuition. They are not the types to be able to hook him up with a job after graduation, but no, there are no significant sacrifices or risks for his folks.


Ok, than it seems like it's a form of conspicuous consumption for his family, a way of buying entry into the upper middle class. That's actually a really interesting story and surprising to see they took good care of the money. My relatives would have blown it all within a few years.

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observationalist
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Re: Seton Hall vs. American

Postby observationalist » Sun May 06, 2012 12:54 pm

Don't let your friend fall prey to false employment statistics... the stats you provided above are inaccurate. If you look at what we really know about the job stats from both schools, you find that there is likely much higher risk of coming out of either with no full-time legal job and no real way to make use of the degree. I also wouldn't say that money isn't an issue, since a probable outcome from either school is that he comes out with about 50K in debt and finds a job that pays less than that and that may not require the law degree.

American Class of 2010 (source: --LinkRemoved-- )
54.3% Employment Score (jobs that can reasonably be tied to the degree but still don't necessarily represent positive outcomes, which means all Bar Passage Required jobs except for short-term firm gigs and solo practitioners)
only 15.6% of the class known to be making $58K or more
only 20% of the entire class reported a starting salary, meaning your friend has virtually no way to know what the true median or average salaries are for graduating students.


Seton Hall Class of 2010 (source: --LinkRemoved--)
70% Employment Score (on the surface this looks much better than American's outcomes, but 30% of the class were in state or local clerkship opportunities which, while requiring bar passage, may in reality offer very limited chances of securing legal employment after the clerkship; this score also includes 17 grads who were listed as working at law firms but were listed not as attorneys but rather clerks, paralegals or unknown)
only 12% known to be making 85K or more in private sector, and 23% known to be making $45K or more in the public sector (the way schools currently report means you can't calculate using the same salary as American provides above, but it's possible Seton Hall grads actually made out better on average)
only 28% in long-term firm jobs

Even after discounting for the lower-than-average debt your friend will have after law school, he should still be evaluating whether there is a better way to spend three years that doesn't offer such a small chance of job security, decent salaries or meaningful work. If possible keep him away from looking at the rankings as being indicative of job prospects outside of the top 10-20 law schools, because in reality they're not. Best of luck to your friend in making a decision.

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flem
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Re: Seton Hall vs. American

Postby flem » Mon May 07, 2012 9:13 am

SnapSnapSnap wrote: but he's set on going this year and is only concerned with job prospects after graduation.


If that's his concern, then he really should retake or not go. Job prospects from these places are abysmal.

It's great he's going to come out debt free, and that gives him more freedom. But if his end-goal is landing a decent gig that requires bar passage, he may as well flip a coin coming out of these places.

59% of American grads landed full time, JD required employment according to this article. If clerking for a traffic court is his end goal, Seton Hall is an excellent choice.

I don't mean to be cynical. Job prospects from these schools are just terrible. He'd just be pissing his family's money away if these are at sticker price.

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kapital98
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Re: Seton Hall vs. American

Postby kapital98 » Tue May 08, 2012 1:34 am

flem wrote:
SnapSnapSnap wrote: but he's set on going this year and is only concerned with job prospects after graduation.


I don't mean to be cynical. Job prospects from these schools are just terrible. He'd just be pissing his family's money away if these are at sticker price.


You are being cynical and without justification. I'm sure if he said he had a great job lined up with his family you would still say, "BUT WHAT IF THAT DOESN'T WORK OUT???" Give me a break...

On a brighter note: At least all the "sky is falling" TLS types have seemed to slowly be replaced by more reasonable people over the last two years.

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stillwater
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Re: Seton Hall vs. American

Postby stillwater » Tue May 08, 2012 8:45 am

kapital98 wrote:
flem wrote:
SnapSnapSnap wrote: but he's set on going this year and is only concerned with job prospects after graduation.


I don't mean to be cynical. Job prospects from these schools are just terrible. He'd just be pissing his family's money away if these are at sticker price.


You are being cynical and without justification. I'm sure if he said he had a great job lined up with his family you would still say, "BUT WHAT IF THAT DOESN'T WORK OUT???" Give me a break...

On a brighter note: At least all the "sky is falling" TLS types have seemed to slowly be replaced by more reasonable people over the last two years.


So you are suggesting the alternative: waltzing blithely into it with only the justification that OP wants to go this year?

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flem
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Re: Seton Hall vs. American

Postby flem » Tue May 08, 2012 8:52 am

kapital98 wrote:
You are being cynical and without justification.


wut

35% of American grads had NO LONG TERM EMPLOYMENT 9 MONTHS AFTER FUCKING GRADUATION. I'd say my cynicism regarding American, a school that will cost his parents 150K in tuition alone, is justifed. Seton Hall is similarly expensive and has 25% of grads with no long term employment.

kapital98 wrote: I'm sure if he said he had a great job lined up with his family you would still say, "BUT WHAT IF THAT DOESN'T WORK OUT???" Give me a break...



Then he could go to the local TTT for super cheap and not piss away 6 figures of his parents money.

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observationalist
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Re: Seton Hall vs. American

Postby observationalist » Tue May 08, 2012 9:49 am

flem wrote:
kapital98 wrote:
You are being cynical and without justification.


wut

35% of American grads had NO LONG TERM EMPLOYMENT 9 MONTHS AFTER FUCKING GRADUATION. I'd say my cynicism regarding American, a school that will cost his parents 150K in tuition alone, is justifed. Seton Hall is similarly expensive and has 25% of grads with no long term employment.

kapital98 wrote: I'm sure if he said he had a great job lined up with his family you would still say, "BUT WHAT IF THAT DOESN'T WORK OUT???" Give me a break...



Then he could go to the local TTT for super cheap and not piss away 6 figures of his parents money.


tflem's right about telling your friend to look at the data on this one. You can ignore fleming's [slightly] inflammatory remarks all you want, but please make sure your friend is aware of the risks according to the data we currently have. If he doesn't have a great job lined up with his family after law school - in which case his risk analysis is a lot different than most applicants - then he should be prepared to accept the risks of not obtaining legal work and certainly not full-time legal work coming from either school. He needs to be willing to accept the possibility that he will be somewhere between 50-70K in nondischargeable debt in three years and have no better job prospects than he has right now. If he looks at the numbers and is ok with that level of risk (which he might very well be), then there's no reason why he can't spend the next three years learnin' the law.

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flem
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Re: Seton Hall vs. American

Postby flem » Tue May 08, 2012 9:59 am

I don't mean to be inflammatory, I just think it's really irresponsible to have your parents finance a legal education at a school that leaves you more than a 1/3 chance of landing no full time employment - let alone legal employment.

It's great he's going to be relatively debt free and that gives him a ton of freedom. As someone who wishes they were in this position, I would make sure that the money my parents spent would at least be worthwhile.




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