SMU vs BC, Fordham, W&M, etc....

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sdmelzer
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SMU vs BC, Fordham, W&M, etc....

Postby sdmelzer » Tue Feb 05, 2013 8:12 am

Although at this point any comparison between schools is theoretical for me (waiting for offers), I am interested in the reputation of SMU vs schools ranked higher. Let me preface with just a little bit about me. I'm from North Carolina. I visited Austin and Dallas a year ago and fell in love - I would love to work in Texas. I have weak connections (fiance's brother works in Austin). Interested in biglaw.

I am looking for thoughts on SMU's prospects against schools like BC, Fordham, W&M, USC, etc. After reading a lot of material on the forum, I couldn't see a concensus on the viability of SMU. And I am not talking about SMU at sticker - I'm talking at least 1/2 scholly. Some people claim that the Texas market is fantastic and SMU grads can do well despite its lower ranking. Some claim otherwise. Although I *may* have been able to get in UT, they would assuredly have given no money. Thus, unless it is in relation to SMU, please leave UT out of the discussion.

tl;dr

Is SMU a viable option (not at sticker)?
How is the current Texas market?
Would I be better off at another school?


EDIT - Chance me at UT this late in the cycle.
Last edited by sdmelzer on Tue Feb 05, 2013 5:48 pm, edited 1 time in total.

nebula666
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Re: SMU vs BC, Fordham, W&M, etc....

Postby nebula666 » Tue Feb 05, 2013 9:16 am

SMU isn't a bad choice if you want to work in Dallas and have a good scholarship. All of the schools you mentioned are better for Biglaw, except W&M, but I wouldn't go to any of them at sticker. If you really want to work in Texas, I would retake for $ at UT.

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Aberzombie1892
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Re: SMU vs BC, Fordham, W&M, etc....

Postby Aberzombie1892 » Tue Feb 05, 2013 9:54 am

Order of those schools for big firms:

USC
-
BC
-
Fordham
-
SMU
-
-
-
W&M

However, none of those schools are particularly good for big law, and your decision among them should not be made based off of those prospects. I would recommend that you pick 2 cities where you would want to work out of Los Angeles, New York, Dallas, and Boston, and go the cheaper school out of the schools in those 2 cities. I wouldn't consider W&M at this point for a variety of reasons, not least of which that it doesn't have a home market (I would probably consider Richmond over W&M, given Richmond's proximity to a large city).

Or

You could give us the cost of attendance at each school, and we could give you advice directly concerning the cost of the degree from each school. However, none of them are work $100K+ worth of tuition, regardless of your goals.

Slevin Kelevra 2011
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Re: SMU vs BC, Fordham, W&M, etc....

Postby Slevin Kelevra 2011 » Tue Feb 05, 2013 10:17 am

Aberzombie, you should probably back up statements like that with facts. Not necessarily disagreeing with you.

I'll help:
http://www.law.com/jsp/nlj/PubArticleNL ... 2543436520

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StylinNProfilin
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Re: SMU vs BC, Fordham, W&M, etc....

Postby StylinNProfilin » Tue Feb 05, 2013 10:28 am

If ur goal is Dallas biglaw, SMU is a decent option at 1/2 price. places around 10% in big law. However UT dominates the market and places ~25% in biglaw. Everyone is going to tell you to retake and go to UT at a discount. None of these other schools well get you into Dallas.

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sdmelzer
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Re: SMU vs BC, Fordham, W&M, etc....

Postby sdmelzer » Tue Feb 05, 2013 10:36 am

StylinNProfilin wrote:If ur goal is Dallas biglaw, SMU is a decent option at 1/2 price. places around 10% in big law. However UT dominates the market and places ~25% in biglaw. Everyone is going to tell you to retake and go to UT at a discount. None of these other schools well get you into Dallas. Did u apply to UT? If you got into USC u'd probably be looking at least a little money from UT.



Unfortunately retaking is not an option - I already burned my attempts. I just REALLY suck at standardized testing. I studied and studied using the methods on TLS and always get held up on something the day of the test. Even PTing at 168 consistently, I've accepted that 164 is what im stuck with.

I did not apply to UT because I don't think it is worth sticker price being an out of stater. I assume its like a 5% chance they would offer the kind of money that would make me reconsider.

I'm assuming that SMU will give me pretty good money - if they don't then I won't even consider them.

StylinNProfilin wrote:If ur goal is Dallas biglaw, SMU is a decent option at 1/2 price. places around 10% in big law. However UT dominates the market and places ~25% in biglaw. Everyone is going to tell you to retake and go to UT at a discount. None of these other schools well get you into Dallas.


This is pretty much what I have been thinking. It comes down to whether or not I want to risk hitting that top 10%.

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kalvano
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Re: SMU vs BC, Fordham, W&M, etc....

Postby kalvano » Tue Feb 05, 2013 10:57 am

Why do you want to work in Dallas? Have you lived here over the summer? Spent any appreciable time here? Dallas is pretty miserable May - October, and if you have no compelling reason to be here and no experience with the weather and everything else, then you're going to have a hard time selling potential employers on yourself unless your grades rock.

A 164 will get you money at SMU, depending on when you applied.

Top 10% at SMU will get Biglaw.

Top 20% - 25% will have a chance at Biglaw.

Top 33% will have a shot at good smaller firms around.

Outside that, best of luck.

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sdmelzer
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Re: SMU vs BC, Fordham, W&M, etc....

Postby sdmelzer » Tue Feb 05, 2013 12:13 pm

kalvano wrote:Why do you want to work in Dallas? Have you lived here over the summer? Spent any appreciable time here? Dallas is pretty miserable May - October, and if you have no compelling reason to be here and no experience with the weather and everything else, then you're going to have a hard time selling potential employers on yourself unless your grades rock.

A 164 will get you money at SMU, depending on when you applied.

Top 10% at SMU will get Biglaw.

Top 20% - 25% will have a chance at Biglaw.

Top 33% will have a shot at good smaller firms around.

Outside that, best of luck.



I have been there several times, but am more familiar with Austin. How would you compare the two? And in terms of the weather, I have always been during the summer or fall.

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kalvano
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Re: SMU vs BC, Fordham, W&M, etc....

Postby kalvano » Tue Feb 05, 2013 12:20 pm

Dallas is different than Austin. I guess if I had to make a rough comparison, Dallas is more like L.A., and Austin is more like Berkley.

But I wouldn't worry about Austin because you're not going to get a legal job there.

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sdmelzer
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Re: SMU vs BC, Fordham, W&M, etc....

Postby sdmelzer » Tue Feb 05, 2013 1:31 pm

kalvano wrote:Dallas is different than Austin. I guess if I had to make a rough comparison, Dallas is more like L.A., and Austin is more like Berkley.

But I wouldn't worry about Austin because you're not going to get a legal job there.



Ya I realize that Austin is pretty much an impossible legal market. I mean I'm not deadset on Texas, I just like the idea of a warm climate as opposed to the North. But if prospects up there are superior, I will follow the opportunity.

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kalvano
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Re: SMU vs BC, Fordham, W&M, etc....

Postby kalvano » Tue Feb 05, 2013 2:09 pm

Dallas has a pretty good legal market. I don't think it's the best one out there, but it's better than a lot of others. If you can attend SMU and not pay too much, it's definitely not a terrible choice. It has its flaws, but it's a good school in a good market. I don't think that any of the schools you listed are so incredibly better than SMU that SMU immediately goes into the trash heap.

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tfer2222
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Re: SMU vs BC, Fordham, W&M, etc....

Postby tfer2222 » Tue Feb 05, 2013 2:31 pm

kalvano wrote:Dallas has a pretty good legal market. I don't think it's the best one out there, but it's better than a lot of others. If you can attend SMU and not pay too much, it's definitely not a terrible choice. It has its flaws, but it's a good school in a good market. I don't think that any of the schools you listed are so incredibly better than SMU that SMU immediately goes into the trash heap.


Yeah, this entire decision comes down to where you want to be. A top SMU student is usually going to have an edge over the USC, BC, and definitely Fordham student that tries to get a job in Dallas. I actually know of a BC student with good grades who had Dallas ties who tried really hard to get into the market and couldn't. He was always got the vibe they were wondering "Why BC if Dallas was your goal"

Its important to remember that outside of the T14, the market your school is in is way more important than the rankings.

And, for what its worth, being top 10% (even 15% +LR) at SMU, you pretty much get every single Dallas big law interview you want (preselect OCI), and its NOT hard to get offers (if you're not socially inept, and you have some sort of a connection or reason to be in Dallas / Texas).

In Dallas, you aren't competing with a ton of non-t14 Northeastern or California schools. You're competing with basically just UT and t14.

Obviously you can't rely on being top 10%, but i think its worth providing some perspective. At any of these schools, you're going to need to do really well to get big law anyway.

If you want to work in the northeast - BC or Fordham. If you want to work in CA - USC. If you want to work in Dallas (with perhaps some opportunity in other parts of Texas, but not Austin) - go to SMU or retake and get UT.

I wouldn't pay a lot for any of these schools, though. None of them provide good odds of big law, thats for sure. (if "good" odds at big law ever really did exist)

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sdmelzer
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Re: SMU vs BC, Fordham, W&M, etc....

Postby sdmelzer » Tue Feb 05, 2013 3:24 pm

Thanks guys. Very useful advice given here. I appreciate it!

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sdmelzer
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Re: SMU vs BC, Fordham, W&M, etc....

Postby sdmelzer » Tue Feb 05, 2013 5:33 pm

What do you guys think my chances are at UT if I threw them an application this late in the cycle? I think I would consider them at sticker but don't want to waste $75 for an auto-reject since according to lsn they make most of their admits by February.

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StylinNProfilin
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Re: SMU vs BC, Fordham, W&M, etc....

Postby StylinNProfilin » Tue Feb 05, 2013 7:23 pm

I dont think ur auto-reject, probably looking at a WL. But yeah ur probably looking at sticker if you get in. I dont think UT is worth it at out of state sticker.




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