Best LS for Small Town West

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

Which school is best for small town mountain west/CA work?

UCLA
14
44%
USC
0
No votes
UC Boulder
6
19%
U Arizona
3
9%
ASU
1
3%
U New Mexico
2
6%
UN Las Vegas
1
3%
U Utah
1
3%
U Davis
2
6%
UC Hastings
2
6%
 
Total votes: 32

cowtown87
Posts: 12
Joined: Mon Nov 19, 2012 1:17 pm

Best LS for Small Town West

Postby cowtown87 » Mon Nov 19, 2012 1:44 pm

I'm a senior at a flagship state U. I just finished sending in all of my apps, didn't ED to any of my schools. I'm a double ag/econ major, and I've been in the National Guard now for close to three years and am about to wrap my active drilling period up. I'm 24.

My stats: LSAC GPA 3.47, LSAT 170. Non-URM, semi-interesting life story and solid softs. I choked on the LSAT, I had been PT'ing in the mid-high 170's. I plan to retake depending on my cycle outcomes. I can put off school for another year or two, not a big deal.

Which of the schools that I applied to are the best for finding work in a small town in the mountain west/CA? I understand that minimizing cost will be key, and any work I end up doing will be toilet law most likely, but that's what I want to do anyway. I'm from a small town in AZ, and I really want to find work in a place like that again. I'm talking about Yuma, Flagstaff, Bullhead City, Carson City, Durango, Gallup, Needles... You get the picture. The schools I applied to are above in the poll bar. I can communicate in Spanish semi-fluently [read, write, speak], important for those towns.

What are my chances of getting in? I'm assuming all but UCLA/USC are on lock, but what about scholarships?

I'm guessing UCLA/USC, but would depleting my savings just to attend one of them over say ASU or UC Boulder be worth it? I don't think I'll need to take out any loans, I'm on scholarship here and haven't used my benefits yet plus I've built up some solid savings. Anything left over would hopefully be covered by scholarships or some minor family contributions. Thanks.

User avatar
bk1
Posts: 18408
Joined: Sun Mar 14, 2010 7:06 pm

Re: Best LS for Small Town West

Postby bk1 » Mon Nov 19, 2012 1:46 pm

Cheapest state school in the state you prefer. You're not going to get a lot of reach from one state to another so you need to pick a state. I would suggest picking the state that you have the strongest ties to.

User avatar
rinkrat19
Posts: 13915
Joined: Sat Sep 25, 2010 5:35 am

Re: Best LS for Small Town West

Postby rinkrat19 » Mon Nov 19, 2012 1:47 pm

NM, reading fail. :oops:

(but basically what BK said)
Last edited by rinkrat19 on Mon Nov 19, 2012 1:48 pm, edited 1 time in total.

User avatar
bk1
Posts: 18408
Joined: Sun Mar 14, 2010 7:06 pm

Re: Best LS for Small Town West

Postby bk1 » Mon Nov 19, 2012 1:47 pm

rinkrat19 wrote:How do we know what schools you applied to, sparky? :P

(but basically what BK said)


The poll...

cowtown87
Posts: 12
Joined: Mon Nov 19, 2012 1:17 pm

Re: Best LS for Small Town West

Postby cowtown87 » Mon Nov 19, 2012 1:56 pm

Figured that would be the case, I just wasn't sure if UCLA/USC were so much better than the others that they would trump say UC Boulder on a reasonable scholarship. Most ties to AZ/NM, but not sure if I want to go back to the border where I was. Even Yuma seems like a metropolis compared to my town.

UCLA/USC, if I were to get into one of them, doesn't reach into other states like Nevada/NM? I had assumed they would.

User avatar
twenty
Posts: 3153
Joined: Wed Jan 11, 2012 1:17 pm

Re: Best LS for Small Town West

Postby twenty » Mon Nov 19, 2012 1:58 pm

With the LSAT score you have + potentially better in December, I wouldn't be too surprised to see USC on down dishing out some serious cash. That said,

I'm talking about Yuma, Flagstaff, Bullhead City, Carson City, Durango, Gallup, Needles...


...means you're going to end up needing to put out a shingle rather than count on ANY sort of employed work. Instead of picking a state first, apply to any and all of these schools (ideally with fee waivers. :P ), and pick your state based off which school gives you the most money.

My gut tells me you'll end up at Davis, USC, or ASU.

cowtown87
Posts: 12
Joined: Mon Nov 19, 2012 1:17 pm

Re: Best LS for Small Town West

Postby cowtown87 » Mon Nov 19, 2012 2:04 pm

Since it's still early, I was thinking of throwing out an app to U Texas this week. Good idea? I don't know how portable the degree would be to the west if I were to get in, since it's a peer school of UCLA/USC anyway.

Also, if I were to score more along the lines of my PT LSATs in December [say 173-5], would it be worth throwing an app Berkeleys way?

I feel like going to UCLA/USC/Berkeley would be like taking out an insurance policy, in that if I changed my mind about small town law [unlikely, but still] and decided to go for small or midlaw in Fresno/Bakersfield/Tucson I'd have that opportunity still unlike had I gone to say UNM for close to free. I doubt I'd want to stay in San Fran or LA, FWIW.
Last edited by cowtown87 on Mon Nov 19, 2012 2:16 pm, edited 2 times in total.

Lord Randolph McDuff
Posts: 1587
Joined: Wed Jun 08, 2011 4:37 pm

Re: Best LS for Small Town West

Postby Lord Randolph McDuff » Mon Nov 19, 2012 2:14 pm

If Durango I'd go to CU. Flagstaff do Arizona or ASU. If you want options across the whole Mt. West then any of the Mt. West schools will give you a chance, but the majority of your opportunities are going to be in the state where your school is located. CU may be slightly better, but that has got to be a secondary consideration.

Try to figure out where exactly you want to practice and go to that school.

I'm not going to vote in your poll because it is meaningless. The current results only suggest that 3 UCLA students logged on to your thread. Always like that on TLS.

User avatar
nickb285
Posts: 1500
Joined: Mon Jul 16, 2012 4:25 pm

Re: Best LS for Small Town West

Postby nickb285 » Mon Nov 19, 2012 2:23 pm

What McDuff said. I'm in a similar boat (I don't want small town, but I'm hoping for the Mountain West--SLC is choice #1 but I'd also be okay with other cities) so I basically just threw out apps to every school except Idaho (nowhere in Idaho sounds very appealing) in the Mountain West, plus any other school that gave me a fee waiver mostly for the purpose of negotiating with the schools I'm hoping to get into. If you don't care too much whether you wind up in Flagstaff, Cortez, Moab, or Ely, then just throw apps everywhere and see who gives you the most money.

andythefir
Posts: 391
Joined: Mon Jul 05, 2010 1:56 am

Re: Best LS for Small Town West

Postby andythefir » Mon Nov 19, 2012 2:26 pm

Grew up in New Mexico, went to UNM undergrad then to Notre Dame Law, absolutely no problem getting back even without amazing grades.
It's important to note that you definitely can't group NM in with the rest of the southwest, every single interview I had asked me where I went to high school. Great grades from a great school can open things up for you but the state is definitely suspicious of everyone who hasn't spent their whole life there. Also, NM has maybe 4 sizable firms that have classes of 2-4 each and UNM law has roughly 110 kids gunning hard for those spots. Definitely not a market you can fall into.

cowtown87
Posts: 12
Joined: Mon Nov 19, 2012 1:17 pm

Re: Best LS for Small Town West

Postby cowtown87 » Mon Nov 19, 2012 3:16 pm

I had kind of forgotten about Idaho, I wouldn't mind living there but U ID isn't the greatest school so I never applied.

I'm really surprised that USC/UCLA isnt TCR. But it does make sense to go where you want to work. I'll ask one of the attorneys my family works with back home about the merits of USC vs ASU/UA. Would attending Berkeley change things? I don't think I'm competitive for Cal as of now, but getting my GPA and LSAT up may make me.

The more I think about it, the more I want to hold up on making decisions until I retake. Unfortunately I've already applied to the schools listed, but I think bumping up that score a little more would really help with scholarship money and acceptances should I not be satisfied this cycle. Also, I'm taking a bunch of cake classes this year so that GPA should be going up to around a 3.57 or higher by graduation judging from my pre-finals grades in my courses.

Hell, I'm in no rush so I may retake the LSAT another time after December if my score isn't more than 2 points higher. That way I can work in my field and save more money up.

Does it matter if you get into schools, decline to attend, then reapply a year or two later with a higher GPA and LSAT? Will they care that I declined to matriculate last time around? Not offer as much $$? I doubt it, but I don't know for sure.
Last edited by cowtown87 on Mon Nov 19, 2012 3:19 pm, edited 1 time in total.

User avatar
twenty
Posts: 3153
Joined: Wed Jan 11, 2012 1:17 pm

Re: Best LS for Small Town West

Postby twenty » Mon Nov 19, 2012 3:18 pm

McDuff, the poll asks which school is best for working in Mt./California/Etc. All these schools are pretty much peer, EXCEPT that UCLA is an objectively better school than the others. It's obviously not that cut and dry; there's scholarship money, tuition, COA, and so forth, but even if the advantage one would get by going to UCLA over another regional school, the advantage is there nonetheless.

OP: I wouldn't bother putting in an app to Berkeley. Your GPA isn't high enough, and you're not going to get enough money from them to justify the price for small town solo practice even if you did get it.

EDIT> I realize I'm about to get stormed by aspies. Let me make this abundantly clear. UCLA is a better school than UC Davis, and Berkeley is a better school than UCLA. Your likelihood of getting employed by a medium-sized law firm in a medium-sized town definitely goes up if you went to a better school. HOWEVER, given OP's career goals, it makes lots of sense to take ASU with 75k over UCLA at sticker.

cowtown87
Posts: 12
Joined: Mon Nov 19, 2012 1:17 pm

Re: Best LS for Small Town West

Postby cowtown87 » Mon Nov 19, 2012 3:31 pm

Note: I don't mean to keep harping on and on about UCLA/USC/Cal. I think reading TLS and scamblogs has etched into my brain the notion that you have to go to a top school, even if you don't want biglaw/midlaw/citylaw. I reflexively think "they can't REALLY mean that ASU is better for me than UCLA, even though I want small town law."

Craziness.

User avatar
Tiago Splitter
Posts: 15471
Joined: Tue Jun 28, 2011 1:20 am

Re: Best LS for Small Town West

Postby Tiago Splitter » Mon Nov 19, 2012 4:20 pm

I'd say get that GPA and LSAT up and apply throughout the T-14 (along with the rest of the schools you listed) next year. You might not be that far off from Harvard if you can dominate the LSAT, and between military benefits and scholarships you could be going to several schools in the T-14 for very low cost. UCLA and USC are quasi T-14's in that they place primarily into a large market and going there isn't going to give you any advantage in getting a job in a small city in Arizona when compared to places like Northwestern and Berkeley. But those latter schools will give you better fallback options, so if the price is the same you might as well take the T-14.

Lord Randolph McDuff
Posts: 1587
Joined: Wed Jun 08, 2011 4:37 pm

Re: Best LS for Small Town West

Postby Lord Randolph McDuff » Mon Nov 19, 2012 4:38 pm

twentypercentmore wrote:McDuff, the poll asks which school is best for working in Mt./California/Etc. All these schools are pretty much peer, EXCEPT that UCLA is an objectively better school than the others. It's obviously not that cut and dry; there's scholarship money, tuition, COA, and so forth, but even if the advantage one would get by going to UCLA over another regional school, the advantage is there nonetheless.

OP: I wouldn't bother putting in an app to Berkeley. Your GPA isn't high enough, and you're not going to get enough money from them to justify the price for small town solo practice even if you did get it.

EDIT> I realize I'm about to get stormed by aspies. Let me make this abundantly clear. UCLA is a better school than UC Davis, and Berkeley is a better school than UCLA. Your likelihood of getting employed by a medium-sized law firm in a medium-sized town definitely goes up if you went to a better school. HOWEVER, given OP's career goals, it makes lots of sense to take ASU with 75k over UCLA at sticker.



He said small town. also what is a median sized town? Also no, in a mediam sized town you get a job based on who you know, just like in a small town. Seems to me you are transferring what you know of big law hiring to all hiring. Very different really. There are no art 3 clerks or Biglaw in small towns. Small towns are filled with locals from the local schools. Where I'm from, people look down on big names schools. Even without that idiocy, you get business in small towns based on connections. It does not take a genius to do family law/crim defense.

UCLA and USC are better for art 3 clerks and Biglaw. Small law is a totally different ball game, and OP wants small law.

What the guy from NM said I've heard before. Crazy ties. I think going to the local school UMN is a good connection though. Dunno ask others. I know CU is a good connection for Colorado, and I'd imagine other mt west states are more similiar to Colorado than NM, but I'm basing that off very little.

Whoever said Harvard is nuts. Why pay 250k to do small law? Plus zero connections...

Go to the local school close by where you want to live. Maybe to what that other guy said and apply broadly and go where you get the huge scholarship. GL

cowtown87
Posts: 12
Joined: Mon Nov 19, 2012 1:17 pm

Re: Best LS for Small Town West

Postby cowtown87 » Mon Nov 19, 2012 4:41 pm

I'll let this cycle play out and see what my scholarship numbers and acceptances look like, but depending on the December retake and grades from this semester I may just wait and reapply next fall. I have an offer for an ag related job next year in one of the small cities I mentioned, and several other interviews coming up. If I work for a year, make some cash, network in that town, and then reapply with W/E and better grades/LSAT I think I may end up happier then just rushing off to school.

Also, the more I think about it the more I would like to be able to go to Berkeley or UCLA just for the prestige factor, even if it won't necessarily help find a job in a small town/city compared to going to CU Boulder etc. Although fat cash from CU or Davis would for sure sway my decision, I'm not a prestige blinded idiot.

Removing the small town bias I have re: jobs for minute, would going to a school like NW or Michigan over say USC be a good move, given my career goals in the west? I assumed that those schools wouldn't place well in the Mtn. West or CA.

User avatar
Tiago Splitter
Posts: 15471
Joined: Tue Jun 28, 2011 1:20 am

Re: Best LS for Small Town West

Postby Tiago Splitter » Mon Nov 19, 2012 4:45 pm

Lord Randolph McDuff wrote:Whoever said Harvard is nuts. Why pay 250k to do small law? Plus zero connections...

Go to the local school close by where you want to live. Maybe to what that other guy said and apply broadly and go where you get the huge scholarship. GL

I'm assuming this guy can get enough scholarship money/government grants to make it worthwhile.

As for small-town law your analysis makes sense if we assume OP has one small town in mind, or at least a somewhat limited geographical area. But he doesn't. Since there is no school that excels in getting you into small town law in every small town in the entire Mountain West, it's impossible to recommend a single school.

User avatar
20160810
Posts: 19648
Joined: Fri May 02, 2008 1:18 pm

Re: Best LS for Small Town West

Postby 20160810 » Mon Nov 19, 2012 5:17 pm

Legal hiring in small towns is... rare. There just isn't a lot of work for lawyers outside of major cities, and what there is doesn't pay much. You have to be ready to end up as a DA, or working as the assistant at Law Offices of Dirk Johnson, Esq. doing personal bankruptcies and DUIs. Further, these types of entities don't usually hire at law schools the way large firms or major government offices do, so looking at which schools place where (which focuses on OCI) is kinda here nor there. If you're set on going this route, it's gonna be all about networking. 100%.

TLDR: Follow the money. That 170 should be good for a full ride somewhere in the Top-50.

cansohei11
Posts: 22
Joined: Tue Oct 04, 2011 3:03 pm

Re: Best LS for Small Town West

Postby cansohei11 » Mon Nov 19, 2012 5:35 pm

I'm trying to get a job in a small town right now as a 3L from a T50 school. It's tough, and I'm actually from said small town.

I'm not from the SW, but I'd imagine it would be hard trying to find a job in a small town. Especially in one as small as Needles CA or something. Not being from that town is also going to be a huge hurdle to overcome.

I did what SBL recommended OP do, i.e. go to a T50 for free. I'm a little unsure if that was the best idea, but I'm certainly sweating a lot less than if I had taken on a ton of debt just to go to a T20 and end up in the same position as I am now. I understand that OP wouldn't have to take out money to go to a T20 like USC, but having that cash cushion instead of blowing it on higher tuition could be a huge help.

Seriously think about waiting until next year to go. A GPA over a 3.5 or 3.6 and LSAT in the mid 170's could open the doors to a full ride at UC Davis or USC and make it worthwhile to attend those schools, not to mention the possibility of going to Berkeley should you want to fulfill that desire for prestige. You may even get some kind of living stipend on top of a full scholly to go to a school like Colorado or New Mexico with those numbers. Think about it long and hard.

EDIT: Going to a school like Berkeley is EXACTLY like taking out pricey insurance in my mind. It allows you to cultivate fallback options that you wouldn't have from a school like Colorado. You pay for it, sure, but it may be worth it.

cansohei11
Posts: 22
Joined: Tue Oct 04, 2011 3:03 pm

Re: Best LS for Small Town West

Postby cansohei11 » Mon Nov 19, 2012 5:50 pm

Note, for what you want to do, I wouldn't take NU or Michigan over Berkeley or UCLA. Even if you changed your mind and went for biglaw/midlaw in the Mtn West, Berkeley/UCLA would likely be better choices based on hiring patterns and OCI.

User avatar
20160810
Posts: 19648
Joined: Fri May 02, 2008 1:18 pm

Re: Best LS for Small Town West

Postby 20160810 » Mon Nov 19, 2012 5:54 pm

Also, I don't know about the other towns you mentioned, but I know Gallup pretty well and the idea of being a lawyer in a place like that is insane as a starting goal. There are maybe 10-15 lawyers in the entire town.

cowtown87
Posts: 12
Joined: Mon Nov 19, 2012 1:17 pm

Re: Best LS for Small Town West

Postby cowtown87 » Mon Nov 19, 2012 6:06 pm

I've ridden rodeo in Gallup, and spent some time there. It's not so big and not that nice, but I feel comfortable in places like that. I grew up dryland ranching, so anywhere in the four corners I feel at home. I prefer places like that to SF or LA, even though SF/LA are undoubtedly nicer.

How is it insane as a starting goal? Just no work or angle to get in on the tiny "market?"

My job would be working for a major food producer in the field [likely in a place like Gallup]. I could network while working there for a year or two, making a name for myself so that I could come back every summer to work.

andythefir
Posts: 391
Joined: Mon Jul 05, 2010 1:56 am

Re: Best LS for Small Town West

Postby andythefir » Mon Nov 19, 2012 6:12 pm

You may be able to work the summers in the Gallup prosecutor/public defender office and may get hired permanently in one of those offices around the state (they have very high turnover rates) but the only firms that have any kind of summer associate program are all in ABQ/Santa Fe.
The problem is that when there are only 15 lawyers in a town you can never know when 1 of those spots will come on the market.

cowtown87
Posts: 12
Joined: Mon Nov 19, 2012 1:17 pm

Postby cowtown87 » Mon Nov 19, 2012 6:19 pm

I wasn't sure what SBL meant, but I get it. Is being from a town like Willcox or Springerville good enough for NM firms? Those are right on the AZ/NM border.

PD/DA would be great in one of those small towns. Not necessarily Gallup, I'm not dead set on a town yet, but would like being there. My grandfather was the sheriff, then attorney [not DA] for a small town in the four corners. He's one of the reasons I want to be a lawyer. Loved watching him argue cases.

EDIT: I never mentioned where I went to UG. I'm at a flagship in one of the four corners states.

LSTfan
Posts: 81
Joined: Sat Nov 03, 2012 3:05 am

Re: Best LS for Small Town West

Postby LSTfan » Mon Nov 19, 2012 7:06 pm

.
Last edited by LSTfan on Tue Mar 12, 2013 11:05 pm, edited 1 time in total.




Return to “Choosing a Law School”

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: Baidu [Spider] and 5 guests