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

Lord Randolph McDuff
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Re: Best LS for Small Town West

Postby Lord Randolph McDuff » Mon Nov 19, 2012 8:25 pm

Tiago Splitter wrote:
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.


He isn't going to get a job in a small town out west unless he is either from there, meaning his hometown in Arizona and that's it, or he goes to a regional school and stays in the area. Recommending he go T-14 is literally the only recommendation that would assuredly send him in a direction he claims he isn't interested in. Shit, I'd take a full ride at Chicago over a full ride at UW, but if OP wants to work in a small law firm/gov in Wyoming he would be better suited going to UW. Everyone in Caspar, Cheyenne, and Laramie thinks the University of Wyoming is a fine school, and oh by the way they don't have any openings because they all hired their interns from UW. Just how it is.

OP, for example, think of how many people from NW desire to get a job in Durango, CO. Now think of networking in Durango from NW. Now think of the look on the faces of judges and lawyers in Durango when you tell them you "went to NW because it was a better school than CU/UA/ASU." --- If you want small-law, try to go to law school for free/cheap near where you want to work. You gotta try to meet people during the semester/summers, and it will help if you make friends with a bunch of your classmates bc they will supply referrals for you. This can't be understated. These things can pretty much only be accomplished from a regional school... GL

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

Re: Best LS for Small Town West

Postby Lord Randolph McDuff » Mon Nov 19, 2012 8:29 pm

LSTfan wrote:I grew up in a small town similar to what you are talking about and know a few people who work as lawyers there. From their experience, you are most likely going to be hanging a shingle and going it solo. This means you will be scrounging for your own clients and paying your own way right out of school.

That said, you need to go to whatever school pays you the most money, and then plan on practicing in a small town in that state.

Re: the prestige of UCLA/USC, it's pretty much irrelevant. Consider who your clients will be -- do you honestly think any of them even know that UCLA is ranked higher than Boulder, which in turn, is ranked higher than New Mexico? Before you got serious about applying to law school, did you know? Unless you are talking about something like Yale, the average non-lawyer isn't going to have any clue about the relative rankings of any public school between 15-150.


Exactly. Plus, ha, the kind of clients you get as a solo would probably think you were a prick for going to Yale. So unfair but come one, think of who your clients would be right out of law school in Pueblo, CO. They could give a fuck about preftige. They will go with the guy/gal they like who is the cheapest. The guy with 100k debt and fancy ties from that "east coast frat school" probably isn't getting the 800 buck divorce.

cowtown87
Posts: 12
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Re: Best LS for Small Town West

Postby cowtown87 » Mon Nov 19, 2012 9:13 pm

All the above on going local has definitely sunk in, I really thought in every instance T14 would trump local. It's good to know otherwise. Having to go solo out of LS if I can't find a local gig sounds tough but since going local is what I want I'll suck it up. Taking as many clinics, bar courses and advocacy related classes sounds like what my schedule will look like. I think my ag experience and personal background will help with work in those towns too. I could go back to AZ too if I went to USC or whatever, I think growing up and going to UG here will help me sell myself to firms around here. The other states not so much.

I'm going to see what happens with this cycle and the December LSAT before I decide whether or not I want to push off school. I figure if I don't get a full ride with low to no stipulations at U Arizona, ASU, UC Davis, or CU Boulder I'll wait until next year and reapply with better numbers plus W/E and another couple grand in the bank. With my relatively substantial savings and benefits I figure I can go to almost any of these schools without taking on debt, but I want to keep my savings up especially since I may be faced with going solo and may need a good amount of startup capital.

I may even take the LSAT a third time regardless of what my score is. I figure if I can get a 176 or higher like I was PT'ing at I can go almost anywhere in the T50 on stipend and scholarship assuming they take me seriously.

EDIT: I'm really going to reassess my career goals. Sounds like going small is tougher than I thought. Might start out in Tucson or Fresno, then move onto the tiny towns.

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

Re: Best LS for Small Town West

Postby 20160810 » Mon Nov 19, 2012 9:34 pm

cowtown87 wrote:All the above on going local has definitely sunk in, I really thought in every instance T14 would trump local. It's good to know otherwise. Having to go solo out of LS if I can't find a local gig sounds tough but since going local is what I want I'll suck it up. Taking as many clinics, bar courses and advocacy related classes sounds like what my schedule will look like. I think my ag experience and personal background will help with work in those towns too. I could go back to AZ too if I went to USC or whatever, I think growing up and going to UG here will help me sell myself to firms around here. The other states not so much.

I'm going to see what happens with this cycle and the December LSAT before I decide whether or not I want to push off school. I figure if I don't get a full ride with low to no stipulations at U Arizona, ASU, UC Davis, or CU Boulder I'll wait until next year and reapply with better numbers plus W/E and another couple grand in the bank. With my relatively substantial savings and benefits I figure I can go to almost any of these schools without taking on debt, but I want to keep my savings up especially since I may be faced with going solo and may need a good amount of startup capital.

I may even take the LSAT a third time regardless of what my score is. I figure if I can get a 176 or higher like I was PT'ing at I can go almost anywhere in the T50 on stipend and scholarship assuming they take me seriously.

EDIT: I'm really going to reassess my career goals. Sounds like going small is tougher than I thought. Might start out in Tucson or Fresno, then move onto the tiny towns.

Full ride at any of the schools you mentioned would be ideal for your goals. I'd addUtah to the list too and see if they'll give you some cash. Also, if you're going to go higher rank, I think Texas might be your best bet. It's good enough to give you T14 caliber options, but doesn't have a fancy name that might turn off small town employers.

crit_racer
Posts: 756
Joined: Thu Dec 30, 2010 12:15 pm

Re: Best LS for Small Town West

Postby crit_racer » Tue Nov 20, 2012 12:21 am

So much of this is going to depend on where you get in and with what money. You should apply to all the schools you mentioned and see who bites and how much they give.

This is also very dependent on exactly how committed you are to small town work. A lot of people go into LS thinking they want one thing but end up wanting another. If you think there is even a small possibility that you might change your mind, then you should keep your options open.

Also, definitely apply to Texas

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

Re: Best LS for Small Town West

Postby cowtown87 » Tue Nov 20, 2012 11:18 am

Just to be clear I already applied to all of the schools in my poll. I'm sending an app to U Texas this week.

I'm retaking the December LSAT just to see if I can do better than my 170. I'm PT'ing close to 180 consistently now so I hope I can bring it up. If this happens I'll reapply next cycle with higher grades and work experience to try and get more cash or get into better schools.

I'll make a new thread when I start getting responses back from the schools I applied to.

Now that I've heard how hard it is to find work in a small town I think I'll work in a larger city first and see if I can get on with a small town DA/PD or firm later. I'm assuming this means I should go to UCLA/USC and get work in a city like Phoenix since I'm from Arizona and went to UG here so ties aren't a problem. Then I can move on to a smaller town later.

Am I right in thinking that UCLA would dominate over ASU in Phoenix with my ties?

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RVP11
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Re: Best LS for Small Town West

Postby RVP11 » Tue Nov 20, 2012 11:37 am

What kind of work would you do in Phoenix? If you're gunning for small-town DA/PD/firm later, just take the full ride to UA or ASU.

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

Re: Best LS for Small Town West

Postby cowtown87 » Tue Nov 20, 2012 11:46 am

I'm being stupidly speculative, but seeing how you basically have to solo in a small town I'd probably gun for "biglaw" or "midlaw" in Phoenix and rake in the money for a few years until I could quit and go back home or out to a small town in Arizona and just bankroll my own shop or try and transition to DA/PD. The latter probably won't work out but I wouldn't mind hanging a shingle down the road.

At least for biglaw I can't be misinformed when it comes to UCLA/USC prestige beating out local for a market like Phoenix when you have deep ties.

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

Re: Best LS for Small Town West

Postby Lord Randolph McDuff » Tue Nov 20, 2012 3:07 pm

cowtown87 wrote:Now that I've heard how hard it is to find work in a small town I think I'll work in a larger city first and see if I can get on with a small town DA/PD or firm later. I'm assuming this means I should go to UCLA/USC and get work in a city like Phoenix since I'm from Arizona and went to UG here so ties aren't a problem. Then I can move on to a smaller town later.


LOL. You changed your career goals in the span of 24 hours based on what you read on an internet chat room. I fucking love America.



cowtown87 wrote:Am I right in thinking that UCLA would dominate over ASU in Phoenix with my ties?


I'm highly skeptical that UCLA, USC, UT would be better for Phoenix big law than ASU. My take has always been that there is real ledge at 14, whether we like it or not. I really don't know though. Can you email the three schools and ask for alumni contact who are working in Arizona? Or you could just try a search on superlawyers or the like. People are actually pretty friendly. I dunno maybe firms in phoenix would go 25% down the class at UCLA and only 15% down at ASU. No idea.

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skers
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Joined: Thu Jun 03, 2010 12:33 am

Re: Best LS for Small Town West

Postby skers » Tue Nov 20, 2012 5:38 pm

I don't really see the point of going to a UCLA/USC if you want to practice in a small town. That's a lot of debt to take on that probably won't be recouped easily in small town law. You'll probably nab quite a bit of $$ at a mountain west flagship, but keep in mind (as others have said) that hiring is tough in these areas.

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

Re: Best LS for Small Town West

Postby cowtown87 » Tue Nov 20, 2012 5:49 pm

LOL. You changed your career goals in the span of 24 hours based on what you read on an internet chat room.


I would be lying if I said this board plus some knowledgable PMs didn't influence me... But I actually ended up calling my grandfather and emailing some lawyers back home to see what they thought. The ones who got back to me told me that my plan to work in a small town is basically a non-starter because there just isn't enough work to justify getting a fancy degree from USC or UT and then rough it for peanuts. Most of them work as ranchers or own businesses for their "real" jobs and essentially practice on the side. Many made their money in Phoenix or ABQ before coming back home to settle down. They all echoed what I heard here i.e. to go for the best school I can get into for the least amount possible and go from there. Most also said to put off my school plans for a year or two and see what I can do with my LSAT and GPA plus make some more cash before leaping.

I'll get on Superlawyers to see how many UCLA/USC/UT grads end up at the top firms in AZ. I'll try giving the schools a shout too, thanks for that suggestion. I definitely need to do more research but since I just applied I figure I have time.

Interesting point on the schools outside of the T14. Compared to what I went through to get my current job offer though the legal hiring process looks whack. Tough to believe that there is a real difference between a T20 and T14 for hiring but looking at LST its true. Its all so bizarre looking to an outsider.

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

Re: Best LS for Small Town West

Postby LSTfan » Tue Nov 20, 2012 10:11 pm

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