New Mexico Law

(Rankings, Profiles, Tuition, Student Life, . . . )
bchirco
Posts: 93
Joined: Tue Jun 08, 2010 6:20 pm

New Mexico Law

Postby bchirco » Thu Jan 17, 2013 1:22 pm

Hey all,

I was wondering what everyone's thoughts on UNM law were. I love the area and you just can't beat that awesome environment NM offers! I was hoping to either practice in NM, Arizona, Colorado, or Cali. I understand that my chances in Cali are non-existent with UNM however, I wouldn't mind practicing in NM for a few years and then transferring to cali once I got some experience under my belt. I would only have to pay half tuition at NM so I thought it made sense. I wanted to get some input however.

Thanks!

BeautifulSW
Posts: 582
Joined: Fri Jul 09, 2010 11:52 am

Re: New Mexico Law

Postby BeautifulSW » Thu Jan 17, 2013 2:53 pm

I graduated from UNM Law in 1986 and have made my career largely working for the State of New Mexico in various legal capacities.

UNM Law is a lot more expensive than it was when I went but it still runs about one-third the tuition of most other schools (in-state). However, it's hard to get in unless you are a New Mexico resident AND have significant ties to the state so keep that in mind.

New Mexico is not over-lawyered outside of Santa Fe and maybe Albuquerque and work is available to the patient even in those cities. A UNM degree sells well in the State but I think you will find that it doesn't carry much weight in neighboring states. If you want Colorado, UC Boulder is a better bet. Likewise UA and ASU in Arizona. Possible exception is El Paso, Texas ( a VERY cool city in my opinion but that's a matter of taste.) New Mexico law salaries are lower, maybe much lower, than you would expect elsewhere for similar work. Don't come here with a J.D. from somewhere else and $140,000 in student loans and expect to prosper unless you get in with the federal government. (Well, or if one of the IBR-type plans applies to you I guess).

Cost of living is about the national average, higher in more desirable places, lower in the more rural areas.

Good luck!

User avatar
somewhatwayward
Posts: 1446
Joined: Wed Sep 30, 2009 5:10 pm

Re: New Mexico Law

Postby somewhatwayward » Thu Jan 17, 2013 3:16 pm

BeautifulSW wrote:I graduated from UNM Law in 1986 and have made my career largely working for the State of New Mexico in various legal capacities.

UNM Law is a lot more expensive than it was when I went but it still runs about one-third the tuition of most other schools (in-state). However, it's hard to get in unless you are a New Mexico resident AND have significant ties to the state so keep that in mind.

New Mexico is not over-lawyered outside of Santa Fe and maybe Albuquerque and work is available to the patient even in those cities. A UNM degree sells well in the State but I think you will find that it doesn't carry much weight in neighboring states. If you want Colorado, UC Boulder is a better bet. Likewise UA and ASU in Arizona. Possible exception is El Paso, Texas ( a VERY cool city in my opinion but that's a matter of taste.) New Mexico law salaries are lower, maybe much lower, than you would expect elsewhere for similar work. Don't come here with a J.D. from somewhere else and $140,000 in student loans and expect to prosper unless you get in with the federal government. (Well, or if one of the IBR-type plans applies to you I guess).

Cost of living is about the national average, higher in more desirable places, lower in the more rural areas.

Good luck!


Regarding the bolded, only 62% of the UNM c/o 2011 is employed. I would think that if there were jobs available for the people who are currently unemployed, they'd be taking them.

I agree that UNM probably won't get you outside NM, especially to CA, even after a few years of experience (assuming you get a job out of UNM....looks like you have a 60% chance of employment). The reason CA will be especially hard is bc it is already packed with a glut of law schools, and it is a desirable location. Many T14 students who are aiming for CA can't get it, so you can imagine how far down the list UNM grads are.

UNM is not a terrible choice bc at least it is the only law school in the state. However, there aren't a whole lot of jobs there as you can see from the employment numbers....a little better than a coin flip's chance of landing a job. I would only go there if you can get the cost down A LOT. Are you in-state? Remember that you will have to pay cost-of-living in addition to tuition, so even with a full tuition scholarship you can still owe more than $50K (including interest) if you have to take out loans for cost-of-living.

bchirco
Posts: 93
Joined: Tue Jun 08, 2010 6:20 pm

Re: New Mexico Law

Postby bchirco » Thu Jan 17, 2013 4:12 pm

somewhatwayward wrote:
BeautifulSW wrote:I graduated from UNM Law in 1986 and have made my career largely working for the State of New Mexico in various legal capacities.

UNM Law is a lot more expensive than it was when I went but it still runs about one-third the tuition of most other schools (in-state). However, it's hard to get in unless you are a New Mexico resident AND have significant ties to the state so keep that in mind.

New Mexico is not over-lawyered outside of Santa Fe and maybe Albuquerque and work is available to the patient even in those cities. A UNM degree sells well in the State but I think you will find that it doesn't carry much weight in neighboring states. If you want Colorado, UC Boulder is a better bet. Likewise UA and ASU in Arizona. Possible exception is El Paso, Texas ( a VERY cool city in my opinion but that's a matter of taste.) New Mexico law salaries are lower, maybe much lower, than you would expect elsewhere for similar work. Don't come here with a J.D. from somewhere else and $140,000 in student loans and expect to prosper unless you get in with the federal government. (Well, or if one of the IBR-type plans applies to you I guess).

Cost of living is about the national average, higher in more desirable places, lower in the more rural areas.

Good luck!


Regarding the bolded, only 62% of the UNM c/o 2011 is employed. I would think that if there were jobs available for the people who are currently unemployed, they'd be taking them.

I agree that UNM probably won't get you outside NM, especially to CA, even after a few years of experience (assuming you get a job out of UNM....looks like you have a 60% chance of employment). The reason CA will be especially hard is bc it is already packed with a glut of law schools, and it is a desirable location. Many T14 students who are aiming for CA can't get it, so you can imagine how far down the list UNM grads are.

UNM is not a terrible choice bc at least it is the only law school in the state. However, there aren't a whole lot of jobs there as you can see from the employment numbers....a little better than a coin flip's chance of landing a job. I would only go there if you can get the cost down A LOT. Are you in-state? Remember that you will have to pay cost-of-living in addition to tuition, so even with a full tuition scholarship you can still owe more than $50K (including interest) if you have to take out loans for cost-of-living.


Thanks for the feedback guys. I have saved a significant amount of money for COL and partial LS, so I won't need any additional loans for living. I am not a NM resident unfortunately. What attracted me to the school was the atmosphere and the fact that I wouldn't have a problem working in NM for a while. I would consider the actually living expenses to be less than average, but that's because i'm from San Diego where a regular 600sq ft apartment is $1.5k That being said, I don't know if I'd want to stay there permanently. It sounds like I need to retake the LSAT and aim for t14 or UCLA/USC/Hastings (My gpa is garbage so stanford/UCB are out). I just thought that it might be a good option given my situation.

BeautifulSW
Posts: 582
Joined: Fri Jul 09, 2010 11:52 am

Re: New Mexico Law

Postby BeautifulSW » Thu Jan 17, 2013 4:30 pm

You'd think so, wouldn't you? But getting folks to move from Albuquerque or Santa Fe to someplace like Hobbs is very difficult to do even if they're unemployed.

It's like a smaller version of trying to convince Northeasterners to leave the Boston/NYC area. But there ARE law jobs in parts of New Mexico that we have trouble filling.

Well, hm. There is something else I've noticed, though, down here on the Border...our local State agencies are beginning to get applications from schools like Columbia so maybe it's gotten worse in the last year or so.

User avatar
ndirish2010
Posts: 2951
Joined: Mon Dec 14, 2009 4:41 pm

Re: New Mexico Law

Postby ndirish2010 » Thu Jan 17, 2013 4:37 pm

Wouldn't it be pretty hard for an outsider to come in and get a job in New Mexico by simply going to UNM?

BeautifulSW
Posts: 582
Joined: Fri Jul 09, 2010 11:52 am

Re: New Mexico Law

Postby BeautifulSW » Thu Jan 17, 2013 4:42 pm

Yeah, you know, it might be hard. There is a concern sometimes that the "outsider" isn't really committed to staying here and will leave as soon as something "better" comes along. (It's happened to me and I didn't like it myself, in fact.)

bchirco
Posts: 93
Joined: Tue Jun 08, 2010 6:20 pm

Re: New Mexico Law

Postby bchirco » Thu Jan 17, 2013 4:56 pm

ndirish2010 wrote:Wouldn't it be pretty hard for an outsider to come in and get a job in New Mexico by simply going to UNM?


That's a very valid point. Something I didn't really consider. So essentially, UNM is better for NM residents with ties that want to remain in NM?

BeautifulSW
Posts: 582
Joined: Fri Jul 09, 2010 11:52 am

Re: New Mexico Law

Postby BeautifulSW » Thu Jan 17, 2013 6:38 pm

That might be a bit oversimplified. A UNM grad from out of state would probably be in a better position to find work here than someone from out of state with a degree from some run-of-the-mill school. I don't think a UNM degree offers any advantage here over a degree from, say Stanford. Rather the reverse. But New Mexico is a very large state with a very small population. There's a lot of individualism and variety so I'm slow to give any general rules. How you come across to an interviewer is the most important thing.

I do think, though, that the decision to attend UNM Law pretty much means that you've chosen to make your life here. Not a bad thing by any means; I've been very happy here. But New Mexico isn't for everyone. You might want to live here a year or two doing something non-legal before you make up your mind.

bchirco
Posts: 93
Joined: Tue Jun 08, 2010 6:20 pm

Re: New Mexico Law

Postby bchirco » Thu Jan 17, 2013 10:06 pm

Yeah, pretty true. I know the general consensus at TLS is to retake for T-14 or $$$; which is not a bad thing. I just figured it may be a good opportunity to look into UNM.

andythefir
Posts: 398
Joined: Mon Jul 05, 2010 1:56 am

Re: New Mexico Law

Postby andythefir » Tue Feb 26, 2013 8:19 pm

Sorry to bring this thread out of nowhere, but I thought I could contribute some recent on the ground experience.

ndirish2010 wrote:Wouldn't it be pretty hard for an outsider to come in and get a job in New Mexico by simply going to UNM?


In my own job search in New Mexico every single interview asked about my parents and where I went to high school. I was interviewing with the "big" firms (think 80 attorneys, starting out $70-80k), so my experience may have not been representative. New Mexico is by far the most insular place I've ever been, and even having been born there and my whole family still living there I still got grilled about my ties.

BeautifulSW wrote:
Regarding the bolded, only 62% of the UNM c/o 2011 is employed. I would think that if there were jobs available for the people who are currently unemployed, they'd be taking them.

I agree that UNM probably won't get you outside NM, especially to CA, even after a few years of experience (assuming you get a job out of UNM....looks like you have a 60% chance of employment). The reason CA will be especially hard is bc it is already packed with a glut of law schools, and it is a desirable location. Many T14 students who are aiming for CA can't get it, so you can imagine how far down the list UNM grads are.

UNM is not a terrible choice bc at least it is the only law school in the state. However, there aren't a whole lot of jobs there as you can see from the employment numbers....a little better than a coin flip's chance of landing a job. I would only go there if you can get the cost down A LOT. Are you in-state? Remember that you will have to pay cost-of-living in addition to tuition, so even with a full tuition scholarship you can still owe more than $50K (including interest) if you have to take out loans for cost-of-living.


This actually captures a couple of important points. First, the 60% employment is at least partially due to UNM grads trying to take their degree out of the state and failing. I personally know several UNM law grads trying to make it in DC (they have a weird pilot program in DC) and finding nothing. Second, there are only a handful of "big" firm jobs in the state, and there are lots of people coming home from higher-ranked schools to grab those few jobs. Finally, a lot of UNM law grads refuse to go to the boonies, but if you were willing there are jobs in the far-flung parts of the state.

BeautifulSW
Posts: 582
Joined: Fri Jul 09, 2010 11:52 am

Re: New Mexico Law

Postby BeautifulSW » Wed Feb 27, 2013 1:23 pm

Yet the boonies (and brother, they really ARE boonies, too) are where the real money is being made. Oil and gas development is happening big time in Lea County like it hasn't since the '80s. There's work out there, public and private, if you are willing to go.

Re: ties. Unsurprisingly, the first law job is the hardest to get. Once you have a law job in New Mexico, though, it gets easier to get the next one. A fairly common pattern is to take a job in some incredibly remote area, stay for three years or so, then move to the more civilized parts of the state.

EDIT: Thought I'd mention that I worked in Hobbs, Lea County, myself some years ago, before the current boom. If you've never lived in the middle of an oil field, you don't know what you've missed...

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

Re: New Mexico Law

Postby Lord Randolph McDuff » Wed Feb 27, 2013 2:32 pm

62% full time JD required doesn't mean you have only a 62% chance of being a lawyer. Elitist on TLS disagree. Pay them no mind because they have no idea what they are talking about.

Their logic is flawed because they attend Columbia or Penn where 97% of students want to graduate and work in JD required jobs. They assume everyone is like them, that we would have all sold our souls for a Penn degree if we were smart enough, and that all law schools are like theirs, because "who would go to law school and not want to be a lawyer." They do not understand the culture at state schools like UNM.

Saying that you have a 62% chance of finding employment assumes that 100% of your class is looking for JD required work. Your chance at JD required work is higher than 62% because you will not be competing with 100% of the class-- there will be students with a very wide range of employment goals, inside and outside of JD required work, and even a percentage who will decide by the end of 2L that law sucks and they will now be getting a JD/MBA, going back to their old job, or yes, even having a family. No one has any idea what your chances are of getting full time JD work from this school. The truth is, it is at least 62%, but realistically higher. Of course, the salaries are still low, but please do not let yourself be mis-led that going to UNM Law will not get you a job by people who have never stepped foot in New Mexico. Considering you are the pro-active type who creates an account on TLS, I'd say you're chances of employment are pretty good. GL

Edit: Also, to the "ties" guy, big firms of 80 plus attorneys would absolutely grill someone about ties if they just bolted the state to attend a law school in NY or Cali. Considering only a small handful of UMN grads work at firms that large, and that, in contrast to yourself, UMN grads have essentially no options outside of work in NM, I don't see how your anecdote is relevant to this thread. Finally, I apologize to anyone considering UNM Law who is browsing this thread-- what I've said might bring on an onslaught from the mega-posters who attend T20 schools. They take their assumptions very seriously..
Last edited by Lord Randolph McDuff on Wed Feb 27, 2013 4:20 pm, edited 2 times in total.

User avatar
Rahviveh
Posts: 2271
Joined: Mon Aug 06, 2012 12:02 pm

Re: New Mexico Law

Postby Rahviveh » Wed Feb 27, 2013 3:37 pm

Lord Randolph McDuff wrote:Saying that you have a 62% chance of finding employment assumes that 100% of your class is looking for JD required work. Your chance at JD required work is higher than 62% because you will not be competing with 100% of the class-- there will be students with a very wide range of employment goals, inside and outside of JD required work, and even a percentage who will decide by the end of 2L that law sucks and they will now be getting a JD/MBA, going back to their old job, or yes, even having a family. No one has any idea what your chances of getting full time JD work is from this school. The truth is, it is at least 62%, but realistically higher. Of course, the salaries are still low, but please do not let yourself be mis-lead that going to UNM Law will not get you a job by people that have never stepped foot in New Mexico. Considering you are the pro-active type who creates an account on TLS, I'd say you're chances of employment are pretty good.

There's probably some truth to this post, but what makes you think these phenomena are more common at state schools than they are at T14's? What makes you think people at T14's are less likely to self-select out of JD required jobs?

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

Re: New Mexico Law

Postby nickb285 » Wed Feb 27, 2013 3:51 pm

ChampagnePapi wrote:There's probably some truth to this post, but what makes you think these phenomena are more common at state schools than they are at T14's? What makes you think people at T14's are less likely to self-select out of JD required jobs?


I would actually say that's likely the case, simply because state schools are going to have a significantly higher percentage of "going to law school because I don't know what else to do/I like to argue/my mom said I'd make a good lawyer" students than the T14s. Someone who has the numbers to get into a T14 is either a) extremely gifted or b) much more likely, dedicated enough and has done enough research to seriously look into what it takes to go to law school and to make it as a lawyer. There are certainly some of both categories in state schools, and there are certainly some people at T14s going because they don't know what else to do, but it seems logical that the ratios are much different.

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

Re: New Mexico Law

Postby Lord Randolph McDuff » Wed Feb 27, 2013 4:14 pm

nickb285 wrote:
ChampagnePapi wrote:There's probably some truth to this post, but what makes you think these phenomena are more common at state schools than they are at T14's? What makes you think people at T14's are less likely to self-select out of JD required jobs?


I would actually say that's likely the case, simply because state schools are going to have a significantly higher percentage of "going to law school because I don't know what else to do/I like to argue/my mom said I'd make a good lawyer" students than the T14s. Someone who has the numbers to get into a T14 is either a) extremely gifted or b) much more likely, dedicated enough and has done enough research to seriously look into what it takes to go to law school and to make it as a lawyer. There are certainly some of both categories in state schools, and there are certainly some people at T14s going because they don't know what else to do, but it seems logical that the ratios are much different.


Pretty much this. I don't know-- generally T-14 students are better, more serious students. Go figure. The difference isn't really seen so much in the top half of the class. It is more obvious at the bottom.

But Champagne makes a good point-- I didn't mean to suggest that there are not T-14 students that self select out. I would only suggest that it takes exponentially more work and life planning to gain admittance to Penn than UNM Law, and that the later group may feel far less committed to their current path. I welcome your thoughts from your perspective.

User avatar
A. Nony Mouse
Posts: 22885
Joined: Tue Sep 25, 2012 11:51 am

Re: New Mexico Law

Postby A. Nony Mouse » Wed Feb 27, 2013 4:19 pm

nickb285 wrote:
ChampagnePapi wrote:There's probably some truth to this post, but what makes you think these phenomena are more common at state schools than they are at T14's? What makes you think people at T14's are less likely to self-select out of JD required jobs?


I would actually say that's likely the case, simply because state schools are going to have a significantly higher percentage of "going to law school because I don't know what else to do/I like to argue/my mom said I'd make a good lawyer" students than the T14s. Someone who has the numbers to get into a T14 is either a) extremely gifted or b) much more likely, dedicated enough and has done enough research to seriously look into what it takes to go to law school and to make it as a lawyer. There are certainly some of both categories in state schools, and there are certainly some people at T14s going because they don't know what else to do, but it seems logical that the ratios are much different.

Oh, I think there are plenty of people who go to elite undergrads who have the numbers to go T-14s and who go to law school because they don't have any idea what to do. Tons and tons and tons of people (I went to school with them). I do think the general point that not everyone is going for JD-required jobs is true, and I would bet there's some correlation between going T-14 and going for JD-required (in part just because of cost - the standard idea that if you're going to pay $200K for law school, you need a high-paying job; UNM in-state is $15,098/yr). But I don't think it's as great as correlation as this suggests. (But this isn't really about UNM Law, sorry!)

BeautifulSW
Posts: 582
Joined: Fri Jul 09, 2010 11:52 am

Re: New Mexico Law

Postby BeautifulSW » Wed Feb 27, 2013 6:59 pm

I went to UNM 25 years ago because it was incredibly cheap, I was older than the average and had a family, I lived near Albuquerque, and I knew I wouldn't be leaving the state. It never entered my mind to apply anywhere else. As it worked out, the school apparently thought "incredibly cheap" wasn't cheap enough so they paid a third of my total tuition. Between that and my GI Bill benefits, I got through with only a tiny amount of debt.

At no time did I consider whether a big firm might hire me. They didn't but because I had so little debt it didn't matter in the least. A state salary was ample. Now, of course, the calculus might be different. My point is only that people choose the schools they choose for lots of different reasons.

User avatar
jone7007
Posts: 88
Joined: Fri Jun 29, 2012 6:06 pm

Re: New Mexico Law

Postby jone7007 » Wed Feb 27, 2013 7:33 pm

I live in the southwest of New Mexico. I have met many lawyers here who attended Texas Tech.

BeautifulSW
Posts: 582
Joined: Fri Jul 09, 2010 11:52 am

Re: New Mexico Law

Postby BeautifulSW » Thu Feb 28, 2013 12:00 pm

Yes indeed, and I know a few of them. Tech is a perfectly good school that sells particularly well in Eastern New Mexico. Being from UNM myself, I would say that Tech is the place New Mexicans go when they can't get into UNM Law. But the Tech grads I know would say the opposite. :)




Return to “Choosing a Law School”

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 3 guests