Environmental Law: L&C, DU, Northeastern?

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itsthewoo
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Environmental Law: L&C, DU, Northeastern?

Postby itsthewoo » Mon Mar 11, 2013 2:07 pm

What I know now:
Lewis and Clark - Accepted to JD and LLM program, waiting on $$ to be freed up for scholarship
University of Denver - Accepted, $21k annual scholarship ($41k annual tuition)
Northeastern University - Accepted, $20k annual scholarship

My ambitions:
Work for government or nonprofit organizations, possibly teach in later years; I accept that I may have to work for private companies before I can get to this point.

My perceptions:
- L&C will be the best straight-up option for environmental law as it ranks second nationally. I will likely have more freedom to get employed across the country in my desired field than any of the other schools.
- University of Denver will be the most financially affordable option unless L&C coughs up more money. Denver cost of living is low relative to Boston, and the $21k scholarship is half of the yearly tuition. However, DU doesn't offer any dual-degree programs, and though they are known for environmental law, they aren't nationally ranked for it.
- Northeastern will be pricey due to the cost of living in Boston. The perk of Northeastern, though, is that they give the option to apply for the MELP program at Vermont Law, which is ranked #1 for environmental law. I do not want to live in South Royalton for three years, so this seems to be a good alternative.

I'm still waiting on L&C to make my final decision, but I'd like to start getting an idea of where to direct myself. Thanks!

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francesfarmer
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Re: Environmental Law: L&C, DU, Northeastern?

Postby francesfarmer » Mon Mar 11, 2013 2:11 pm

People on this board agree generally that speciality rankings are meaningless. Please check out the employment data for each of the schools that you're considering. None of these schools will get you a job outside of their respective areas, and each of those markets are rather insular. Do you have ties to any of these areas?

http://www.lstscorereports.com/?school=lewisandclark
http://www.lstscorereports.com/?school=denver
http://www.lstscorereports.com/?school=northweastern

rad lulz
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Re: Environmental Law: L&C, DU, Northeastern?

Postby rad lulz » Mon Mar 11, 2013 2:13 pm

All those are terrible options at those prices

You're gonna be 6 figs in debt for a 50/50 shot of a legal job

Retake or don't go

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nickb285
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Re: Environmental Law: L&C, DU, Northeastern?

Postby nickb285 » Mon Mar 11, 2013 2:21 pm

Unfortunately, none of those schools are very good options.

Specialty law rankings mean very little in the grand scheme of things. Outside of the top 14 schools, you will likely only be able to get a job in the region in which you went to school, or another state to which you have ties (family, spouse, etc--and you shouldn't rely on those). L&C will not get you a job across the country, because even though they may have a couple good classes, all employers will see is that you went to a TT school on the other side of the country, and 150 of the other 200 applicants either went to school nearby or have some other reason that they want to be there. Even locally, specialty rankings mean very little--what matters is your grades and your ability to network. A top 10% student at UW, or a top 10% student at L&C who knows people, is always going to beat out a median student at L&C who took a couple enviro law classes, for any job including environmental advocacy (and if your response to this is "Oh, I'll just work hard and be in the top 10%," keep in mind that everyone thinks that, and 90% of them are wrong. Don't go to a school if you wouldn't be confident about your future at median). Furthermore, there are not that many of those jobs around--I too hope to do environmental advocacy law, but I accept that it's highly unlikely. If that were the only kind of law I were interested in, I wouldn't be going to law school. On top of all that, you may find out that you prefer another unrelated area of law, as many students in school do, and if you've made a decision based on enviro law specialty rankings you're going to be pretty screwed

Take a look at the reports here: http://www.lstscorereports.com/?r=schools . Schools all massage their numbers, overgeneralize, employ their own students, hype specialty rankings, etc, etc. At the end of the day, three things matter most in choosing a law school:
1. What are my chances that I'll have a job when I graduate school? For your three choices, it's 42.5%, 47.4%, and 48.9%, respectively. Yes, you're reading that correctly--not one of these three schools has more than 50% of their graduates employed in long-term, full-time, legal jobs within nine months of graduation.
2. What will be my total cost of attendance? Not just tuition and fees, but the cost of living, since you can't work much in law school, and the opportunity cost of that three years.
3. Where do I want to practice? Again, aside from T14 schools, you're pretty much limited to the region (and in some cases the state) where you go to school, so if you want to work in, say, Colorado, going to L&C or Northeastern is an even worse idea than it already was, and if you want to work in Colorado you should try for CU instead.

At the end of the day, what you need to do is retake the LSAT and apply to better schools with better prospects. I know that sucks to hear, but putting off school for one more year could mean the difference between a great career doing something you love, and hundreds of thousands of dollars in debt with no job as a lawyer and no way to pay off your loans. What are your numbers?

itsthewoo
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Re: Environmental Law: L&C, DU, Northeastern?

Postby itsthewoo » Mon Mar 11, 2013 2:29 pm

francesfarmer wrote:People on this board agree generally that speciality rankings are meaningless. Please check out the employment data for each of the schools that you're considering. None of these schools will get you a job outside of their respective areas, and each of those markets are rather insular. Do you have ties to any of these areas?

http://www.lstscorereports.com/?school=lewisandclark
http://www.lstscorereports.com/?school=denver
http://www.lstscorereports.com/?school=northweastern

What is the reasoning for that? I have checked the employment data, yes.

rad lulz wrote:All those are terrible options at those prices

You're gonna be 6 figs in debt for a 50/50 shot of a legal job

Retake or don't go

Suggested alternatives to going straight in?

nickb285 wrote:snip

Sorry that this cheapens the previous replies, but I appreciate how thorough this post was.

My numbers are 3.5/161 as a physics major.

timbs4339
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Re: Environmental Law: L&C, DU, Northeastern?

Postby timbs4339 » Mon Mar 11, 2013 2:30 pm

itsthewoo wrote:What I know now:
Lewis and Clark - Accepted to JD and LLM program, waiting on $$ to be freed up for scholarship
University of Denver - Accepted, $21k annual scholarship ($41k annual tuition)
Northeastern University - Accepted, $20k annual scholarship

My ambitions:
Work for government or nonprofit organizations, possibly teach in later years; I accept that I may have to work for private companies before I can get to this point.

My perceptions:
- L&C will be the best straight-up option for environmental law as it ranks second nationally. I will likely have more freedom to get employed across the country in my desired field than any of the other schools.
- University of Denver will be the most financially affordable option unless L&C coughs up more money. Denver cost of living is low relative to Boston, and the $21k scholarship is half of the yearly tuition. However, DU doesn't offer any dual-degree programs, and though they are known for environmental law, they aren't nationally ranked for it.
- Northeastern will be pricey due to the cost of living in Boston. The perk of Northeastern, though, is that they give the option to apply for the MELP program at Vermont Law, which is ranked #1 for environmental law. I do not want to live in South Royalton for three years, so this seems to be a good alternative.

I'm still waiting on L&C to make my final decision, but I'd like to start getting an idea of where to direct myself. Thanks!


You say you'll "accept" working for private companies. Let's get this out of the way now: being able to work as a lawyer for a private firm, especially one that represents corporations instead of individuals, is something to be thankful from coming from any of these schools.

timbs4339
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Re: Environmental Law: L&C, DU, Northeastern?

Postby timbs4339 » Mon Mar 11, 2013 2:30 pm

itsthewoo wrote:
francesfarmer wrote:People on this board agree generally that speciality rankings are meaningless. Please check out the employment data for each of the schools that you're considering. None of these schools will get you a job outside of their respective areas, and each of those markets are rather insular. Do you have ties to any of these areas?

http://www.lstscorereports.com/?school=lewisandclark
http://www.lstscorereports.com/?school=denver
http://www.lstscorereports.com/?school=northweastern

What is the reasoning for that? I have checked the employment data, yes.



Do you know how the specialty rankings are calculated?

rad lulz
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Re: Environmental Law: L&C, DU, Northeastern?

Postby rad lulz » Mon Mar 11, 2013 2:31 pm

itsthewoo wrote:
rad lulz wrote:All those are terrible options at those prices

You're gonna be 6 figs in debt for a 50/50 shot of a legal job

Retake or don't go

Suggested alternatives to going straight in?

Get a job bro and retake. Before you say "there are no jobs for me," realize that taking out 6 figs of debt for these schools is a life ruining decision. That level of debt practically necessitates big law to pay it off. You probably won't get ANY legal, job, much less a big firm job.
Last edited by rad lulz on Mon Mar 11, 2013 2:34 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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ManoftheHour
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Re: Environmental Law: L&C, DU, Northeastern?

Postby ManoftheHour » Mon Mar 11, 2013 2:33 pm

francesfarmer wrote:People on this board agree generally that speciality rankings are meaningless. Please check out the employment data for each of the schools that you're considering. None of these schools will get you a job outside of their respective areas, and each of those markets are rather insular. Do you have ties to any of these areas?

http://www.lstscorereports.com/?school=lewisandclark
http://www.lstscorereports.com/?school=denver
http://www.lstscorereports.com/?school=northweastern


northWeastern? Wtf...

09042014
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Re: Environmental Law: L&C, DU, Northeastern?

Postby 09042014 » Mon Mar 11, 2013 2:35 pm

Environmental law is a flame. There aren't many jobs and they don't go to TTT students.

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nickb285
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Re: Environmental Law: L&C, DU, Northeastern?

Postby nickb285 » Mon Mar 11, 2013 2:42 pm

itsthewoo wrote:My numbers are 3.5/161 as a physics major.


Dude, definitely retake. Play around with mylsn.info, it'll show you what your options are. For reference, here's what you're looking at now: http://www.mylsn.info/tf9aev . You've got a shot at a handful of T1 schools, all regional, and you'll likely get little or no money, which means huge debt that you may not be able to cover. But if you retake and bump, say, 8 points (which is what I raised my score from my initial diagnostic to the actual test after a short prep class and about a month-ish of studying), here's what you're looking at: http://www.mylsn.info/dvt2nq . A decent shot at Michigan on down, and money at most of the first tier.

Lord Randolph McDuff
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Re: Environmental Law: L&C, DU, Northeastern?

Postby Lord Randolph McDuff » Mon Mar 11, 2013 3:13 pm

Yeah speciality rankings don't really correlate to employment in the field. L&C Enviro rank directly correlates with what outside professors think about the Enviro profs at L&C. The only possible way this could help you is if you sucked up to a well cited Enviro prof at L&C, became best buddies, and got them to go to bat for you to people in the field and perhaps even credit you with a chapter in a book or something. The odds of this happening are shit.

Word of advice: I go to a school with a lot of environmentally conscience students/profs and the grads I see getting jobs in the field are 1) people that worked/volunteered for Enviro causes all through law school and maybe even before and 2) are earning less than 50k a year. For what that is worth..

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A. Nony Mouse
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Re: Environmental Law: L&C, DU, Northeastern?

Postby A. Nony Mouse » Mon Mar 11, 2013 4:15 pm

timbs4339 wrote:
itsthewoo wrote:
francesfarmer wrote:People on this board agree generally that speciality rankings are meaningless. Please check out the employment data for each of the schools that you're considering. None of these schools will get you a job outside of their respective areas, and each of those markets are rather insular. Do you have ties to any of these areas?

http://www.lstscorereports.com/?school=lewisandclark
http://www.lstscorereports.com/?school=denver
http://www.lstscorereports.com/?school=northweastern

What is the reasoning for that? I have checked the employment data, yes.



Do you know how the specialty rankings are calculated?

It's law profs - and only law profs, not practioners or judges - ranking the programs. So basically, a specialty ranking is law profs commenting on the scholarship of other law profs - not on whether the program actually prepares students to get jobs in that field. Now, admittedly, at a school with lots of profs in a given field you can take more classes in that field. But which classes you take is way down the ladder of things an employer looks for.

edit: or what Lord Randolph McDuff said.
Last edited by A. Nony Mouse on Mon Mar 11, 2013 4:17 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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Dr. Dre
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Re: Environmental Law: L&C, DU, Northeastern?

Postby Dr. Dre » Mon Mar 11, 2013 4:16 pm

Desert Fox wrote:Environmental law is a flame. There aren't many jobs and they don't go to TTT students.

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A. Nony Mouse
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Re: Environmental Law: L&C, DU, Northeastern?

Postby A. Nony Mouse » Mon Mar 11, 2013 4:24 pm

The interesting thing is that I have seen (anecdotally, of course - through stalking on LinkedIn and such) quite a lot of L&C and Vermont Law School grads in environmental law. I do think that their specialized programs actually carry a bit of weight, if only through self-selection (that is, people who go to those schools because they want to do environmental law may well be people who already have strong backgrounds in the field and valuable WE that gives them a leg up on people at other schools who decide they want to do environmental law). But the problem is we have no idea what percentage those people constitute of 1) all L&C/VLS grads or even 2) L&C/VLS grads who want to get into environmental law. Given how competitive these jobs are (in that there aren't many, and the government/PI orgs don't have any money so can't do a lot of hiring), you can't bank on getting one - and if you don't, the alternatives from L&C/VLS are just not. very. good. Whereas if you go to other schools with better employment outcomes, you can still gun for environmental law, and if you don't get it, you will have other, better options.

Shorter version: you do not need to go to a specialized program in environmental law to get an environmental law job, and these schools don't offer you much of anything else.

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hephaestus
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Re: Environmental Law: L&C, DU, Northeastern?

Postby hephaestus » Mon Mar 11, 2013 4:32 pm

Your goals (environmental gov work + teaching) are almost assuredly unachievable. You need to retake the LSAT and shoot for the T14. Try your gov piped team but go to a school that makes working in a firm a more realistic option.
If you really want to go to one of these schools, retake anyway to get more $$$$.

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mbw
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Re: Environmental Law: L&C, DU, Northeastern?

Postby mbw » Mon Mar 11, 2013 6:45 pm

I work in environmental law, and strongly suggest you reconsider your choice to go to any of these schools. My Barbri class was held at L&C, and there was extensive griping about the lack of job placement in either public or private orgs/firms. And you will not be able to take your degree elsewhere - L&C is a regional school. I understand people feel compelled to go to law school in order to save the world and all - but understand that your best chance of actually doing that through an established NGO/nonprofit is to go to a top school, not a school with a particular specialty ranking.




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