American University School of Public Affairs vs. Suffolk Law

(Rankings, Profiles, Tuition, Student Life, . . . )
User avatar
romothesavior
Posts: 14772
Joined: Fri Jun 26, 2009 4:29 pm

Re: American University School of Public Affairs vs. Suffolk Law

Postby romothesavior » Tue Apr 23, 2013 5:09 pm

treenapolits wrote:From the logic that has been applied above, it seems that there is no point in anyone attending law school unless they are looking to work for a large corporation or law firm just focusing on money making. I beg to differ.

That's not even close to what I said. Did you even read what I wrote?

Perhaps it would be helpful if you explained to us the top of job you are trying to land, because I have no clue what an "international women's lawyer" is.

User avatar
deuceindc
Posts: 247
Joined: Thu Feb 14, 2013 2:11 pm

Re: American University School of Public Affairs vs. Suffolk Law

Postby deuceindc » Tue Apr 23, 2013 5:15 pm

treenapolits wrote:Lawyers can and do work on victim advocacy and public interest law, and as a result of these fields being underfunded, having an MPP in addition to a JD may provide me more job options and the possibility of working as a public interest lawyer in addition to policy worker.


Can you give an example of a person who has this job?

There are a few intersections of law and policy, but as far as I know this isn't one of them.
Last edited by deuceindc on Tue Apr 23, 2013 5:17 pm, edited 1 time in total.

treenapolits
Posts: 55
Joined: Mon Apr 15, 2013 4:40 pm

Re: American University School of Public Affairs vs. Suffolk Law

Postby treenapolits » Tue Apr 23, 2013 5:16 pm

.
Last edited by treenapolits on Mon May 06, 2013 6:24 pm, edited 1 time in total.

User avatar
cinephile
Posts: 3469
Joined: Sun Jul 18, 2010 3:50 pm

Re: American University School of Public Affairs vs. Suffolk Law

Postby cinephile » Tue Apr 23, 2013 5:17 pm

treenapolits wrote:Lawyers can and do work on victim advocacy and public interest law, and as a result of these fields being underfunded, having an MPP in addition to a JD may provide me more job options and the possibility of working as a public interest lawyer in addition to policy worker.


It will provide LESS opportunity to you. I know I've said it before, but I'll say it again. Almost every single job wants either a lawyer or a non-lawyer. By doubling up, you're convincing both types of employers you're not committed to them and their mission. Spend some time reaching out by email to the types of places you want to work and ask them these questions, I can guarantee you that 1) they're not interested in students from non-elite schools like American and 2) they'll tell you that the dual degree isn't in your interest and 3) that specializing as a law student is meaningless and specialty rankings are meaningless.

People who are in law school or have recently graduated are trying to give you the benefit of their experience. And you don't want to listen. You're making your choices on what you wish were true. Good luck with that.

treenapolits
Posts: 55
Joined: Mon Apr 15, 2013 4:40 pm

Re: American University School of Public Affairs vs. Suffolk Law

Postby treenapolits » Tue Apr 23, 2013 5:19 pm

.
Last edited by treenapolits on Mon May 06, 2013 6:22 pm, edited 1 time in total.

User avatar
deuceindc
Posts: 247
Joined: Thu Feb 14, 2013 2:11 pm

Re: American University School of Public Affairs vs. Suffolk Law

Postby deuceindc » Tue Apr 23, 2013 5:27 pm

treenapolits wrote:Deuceindc,

I don't have a specific idea of a person who holds both jobs - what I meant was, I could potentially part time both positions. Policy and law overlap significantly in women's advocacy because in order to legally advocate for women victims, they must first be referred to an advocate. There are other overlaps, and since I haven't been to law school yet I don't have the information of what specific jobs would exist in either field.


What does that mean?

I would pick advocate (represent women in court) or policy worker (analyze policies for compliance with womens' rights) because "It is better to whole-ass one thing than to half-ass two things".

User avatar
romothesavior
Posts: 14772
Joined: Fri Jun 26, 2009 4:29 pm

Re: American University School of Public Affairs vs. Suffolk Law

Postby romothesavior » Tue Apr 23, 2013 5:31 pm

treenapolits wrote:The job I am interested in focuses on expanding legal rights for victims of sexual assault and domestic violence, as well as working on policy and cooperation on improving access to services for victims, as well as advocating for them within the legal system. This is an issue in the United States as well as internationally, as 1/3 of all women worldwide will experience domestic violence or sexual assault in their life. Since that's a lot of women, this is a very important issue to me and I will work to alleviate it by any means necessary. Other than this interest, I don't want to go to law school - which is why it's important to me to not only be in D.C., where numerous nonprofits that influence world policies exist to make connections with, but also to study public interest law at a school with a large focus on international studies and women's law.

I will hopefully not have to pay anything for the schools (JD and MPP at American), and might be stuck with some debt.

Do you have a better law school in mind for this goal?

See, I don't think law school is the path for you at all. The goals you have are very noble ones and it's absolutely critical work both here and especially abroad. But if that's what you want to do, then you should just go get a job in the field. Why waste four years and take on the debt? Just go work for those interests now.

Public interest and policy jobs, and especially international public interest and policy jobs, are 1) highly competitive and 2) generally want to see previous substantive experience. In general, the type of work you are interested in doesn't require four years and a ton of money for a law degree. If, after a few years in the field, you decide that you do want to go back and get your JD for career reasons, law school will always be there, and you can do the JD then.

As for a better law school for your goals, Harvard, Yale, and Stanford are head and shoulders above the rest, and there will be a noticeable drop. If you insist on being on D.C., then Georgetown with scholarship or maybe GW on a full ride. American is a complete dump, and your odds of achieving these goals with an American degree are not good. Like I've said before, I go to a much better school than American, at a school with a similarly-strong bent towards international public interest work (lots of programs abroad, especially in Africa). Guess how many American-born JD students I know going overseas to work in public interest jobs? Zero. Not one. Maybe there are a couple in our class that I just don't know, but it is an exceptionally small number. You are talking about wasting four years and a lot of money on a pipe dream.

If this is what you want to do, just go get a job and work for a few years, and if you think you'll need a JD to accomplish the policy/legal side of things, then go to a really prestigious law school like HYS. This American idea is a horrible plan.

treenapolits
Posts: 55
Joined: Mon Apr 15, 2013 4:40 pm

Re: American University School of Public Affairs vs. Suffolk Law

Postby treenapolits » Tue Apr 23, 2013 5:36 pm

Hi romothesavior,

Thanks for the great post. When you say that you don't see a lot of students working internationally, it isn't an issue to me - it seems like those who live in a country are best suited to work with the people who live there, rather than an American who may not know about there cultures coming there to "Save them." If I were to work with international organizations it would most likely be from the United States. In addition the United States has plenty to work on itself, in order to provide an example of effective policies and cultural values worldwide.

Also, do you mind sharing what school you go to? Many schools do not have a large number of students placing in public interest, and others do.

User avatar
romothesavior
Posts: 14772
Joined: Fri Jun 26, 2009 4:29 pm

Re: American University School of Public Affairs vs. Suffolk Law

Postby romothesavior » Tue Apr 23, 2013 5:51 pm

I go to WUSTL. Not exactly a mecca for public interest, but there is certainly a large PI contingent here, many of them with similar interests to what you want to do.

I would just be cautious if I were you. Don't just blindly assume that a JD or this public affairs degree will be a good investment and make you more coveted by employers. Also don't assume that you will be fine because you don't want big firm work or even necessarily lawyer work. The jobs you are talking about are every bit as competitive (maybe even more so) than working at a firm. And I highly doubt your legal degree is going to get you a seat a the policymaking table, especially from a school like American.

I definitely don't want to deter you from you goals, because its a great area to pursue and we need people like you doing it. But you need to do your homework (i.e., not just digest the BS the schools, your pre-law adviser, or anyone else is feeding you about the value of the degree) and make sure the course you are charting to obtain those goals is a viable one. I'm not convinced it is.

I'm a firm guy myself, so I can't give you much more advice than that. There are some great public interest folks on TLS though so hopefully they can give you more of an idea of what you're up against and what you need to do than I can. Best of luck.

Ti Malice
Posts: 1955
Joined: Sat Mar 03, 2012 2:55 am

Re: American University School of Public Affairs vs. Suffolk Law

Postby Ti Malice » Tue Apr 23, 2013 7:54 pm

treenapolits wrote:From the logic that has been applied above, it seems that there is no point in anyone attending law school unless they are looking to work for a large corporation or law firm just focusing on money making. I beg to differ.


That's not what anyone has said. The point of attending law school is to get a full-time long-term job that requires bar passage -- an outcome that the schools you have so far mentioned do a criminally awful job of delivering for their students. And if you don't feel like you actually need a law degree for what you want to do, the intelligent decision remains the same: do not take on a quarter-million dollars of debt to obtain a law degree from a law school that offers some of the worst job placement rates in the country.

BigLaw is not on my radar at all. But I've done everything I can to put myself in the best position to get the kind of job I want after law school. You seem to have this idea that public interest jobs are easy to come by. You could not be more wrong. Many of these jobs are far harder to get than any firm job. Hiring is insanely competitive. I can roll out of bed hungover and smelling of vomit here and still get a BigLaw job. I'm going to have to work my ass off and get lucky to get the kind of lower-paying work I actually want.

The fact that you still think AU is the "top public interest law school" in DC indicates to me that you'd likely rather persist in (for now) comfortable self-deception than to critically and disinterestedly gather information about whether it's actually an objectively sound decision to fully debt-finance attendance at any of these schools. No one here has any interest in keeping you from doing good things in the world. Well-informed people here actually just want to help you avoid financial suicide by getting you to understand that these schools are lying to you and that the outcomes you want are effectively unattainable if you attend them. You will be lucky to get any JD-required work at all. Do you honestly believe that nearly two thirds of the graduates of AU are voluntarily foregoing lawyering work altogether instead of working in public interest jobs? There are hundreds of 3Ls at AU who would kill someone with a kitchen knife to have the kind of work lined up that you're dreaming of.

(Excuse iPhone typos, etc.)

Edit: A little late to the table after Romo's post, but I'll leave it up so you can hear from someone who's not looking for BigLaw at all. The big firm-seeking posters have been dead-on in their advice.

User avatar
worldtraveler
Posts: 7662
Joined: Mon Oct 15, 2007 4:47 am

Re: American University School of Public Affairs vs. Suffolk Law

Postby worldtraveler » Tue Apr 23, 2013 8:35 pm

treenapolits wrote:Hi romothesavior,

Thanks for the great post. When you say that you don't see a lot of students working internationally, it isn't an issue to me - it seems like those who live in a country are best suited to work with the people who live there, rather than an American who may not know about there cultures coming there to "Save them." If I were to work with international organizations it would most likely be from the United States. In addition the United States has plenty to work on itself, in order to provide an example of effective policies and cultural values worldwide.

Also, do you mind sharing what school you go to? Many schools do not have a large number of students placing in public interest, and others do.


These are some of the most competitive jobs to get after law school, and there are lots of students at top law schools interested in issues of violence against women.

If you want to go into this field, you need experience before law school. Many of my classmates worked in domestic violence shelters, as sexual assault counselors, as program administrators at NGOs, etc. I can't think of a single person without experience who actually went into the field.

The jobs are generally underfunded, and finding a paying job upon graduation is extremely difficult. That is why everyone is telling you to either go to a more prestigious program or don't go.

MrAnon
Posts: 1615
Joined: Wed Aug 25, 2010 9:08 pm

Re: American University School of Public Affairs vs. Suffolk Law

Postby MrAnon » Tue Apr 23, 2013 8:43 pm

AU public affairs is nothing special. The people who come out well are those who already have had good positions on the Hill or are currently working. If you are applying to suffolk then this doesn't sound like you.

timbs4339
Posts: 2733
Joined: Sat Apr 02, 2011 12:19 pm

Re: American University School of Public Affairs vs. Suffolk Law

Postby timbs4339 » Tue Apr 23, 2013 10:11 pm

treenapolits wrote:Hi romothesavior,

Thanks for the great post. When you say that you don't see a lot of students working internationally, it isn't an issue to me - it seems like those who live in a country are best suited to work with the people who live there, rather than an American who may not know about there cultures coming there to "Save them." If I were to work with international organizations it would most likely be from the United States. In addition the United States has plenty to work on itself, in order to provide an example of effective policies and cultural values worldwide.

Also, do you mind sharing what school you go to? Many schools do not have a large number of students placing in public interest, and others do.


Unless you want to be an ADA prosecuting criminal domestic abuse cases, American is not going to get you the jobs you think are out there, in the US or internationally. There are not very many of those jobs and they go to people from elite schools with prior work experience (internships don't count). You have neither.

You seem to have a lot of misplaced trust in what these schools are pitching. Strong enough to overcome what these current law students and lawyers are telling you is the way the world really works outside the glossy brochures and the impressive sounding programs. That's the wrong attitude to have when you're about to drop 250K on a school with 35% placement.

Ti Malice
Posts: 1955
Joined: Sat Mar 03, 2012 2:55 am

Re: American University School of Public Affairs vs. Suffolk Law

Postby Ti Malice » Tue Apr 23, 2013 10:40 pm

timbs4339 wrote:You seem to have a lot of misplaced trust in what these schools are pitching. Strong enough to overcome what these current law students and lawyers are telling you is the way the world really works outside the glossy brochures and the impressive sounding programs. That's the wrong attitude to have when you're about to drop 250K on a school with 35% placement.


Esto.

treenapolits
Posts: 55
Joined: Mon Apr 15, 2013 4:40 pm

Re: American University School of Public Affairs vs. Suffolk Law

Postby treenapolits » Tue Apr 23, 2013 10:52 pm

Well, I guess I just think that with an MPP/MPA degree from the top public affairs school in DC as well as a JD, I can be in the top 35%. I have already been offered 3 public interest management jobs in the past 6 months without even having applied for them or sought them out.

I would be delighted to be an ADA prosecuting domestic violence cases, though looking at guiltless abusers every day and watching them walk away regularly would be hard at first. Do you think of this as a less than desirable job?

Hopefully there would be opportunities for job experience in the summer, or if internships aren't good enough, I could even work part time or take a year off if you think it's that pertinent to have significant experience before attending law school (in order to get a job after law school).

timbs4339
Posts: 2733
Joined: Sat Apr 02, 2011 12:19 pm

Re: American University School of Public Affairs vs. Suffolk Law

Postby timbs4339 » Tue Apr 23, 2013 11:14 pm

treenapolits wrote:Well, I guess I just think that with an MPP/MPA degree from the top public affairs school in DC as well as a JD, I can be in the top 35%. I have already been offered 3 public interest management jobs in the past 6 months without even having applied for them or sought them out.

I would be delighted to be an ADA prosecuting domestic violence cases, though looking at guiltless abusers every day and watching them walk away regularly would be hard at first. Do you think of this as a less than desirable job?

Hopefully there would be opportunities for job experience in the summer, or if internships aren't good enough, I could even work part time or take a year off if you think it's that pertinent to have significant experience before attending law school (in order to get a job after law school).


What makes American the top public affairs school in DC? How does this translate into jobs? Genuinely curious to hear your reasoning. Here's an thought: I go to the top ranked Space Law school in the country. There are zero jobs in Space Law. See my problem?

You do understand that the 35% statistic does not even begin to break down what those jobs are, right? They may all be working 1-5 person personal injury firms for all you know. That's much more likely then the career you seem to want, which is basically one of the most competitive types of PI jobs out there.

Oh, and you know that 100% of your classmates at American will also have a JD, right? I hope that was a typo.

Actually a DA is a very desirable job and being a DA in a large city will likely be a long-shot from American.

Pertinent work experience is basically a prerequisite for what you want to do. Take a year or three off and retake.

treenapolits
Posts: 55
Joined: Mon Apr 15, 2013 4:40 pm

Re: American University School of Public Affairs vs. Suffolk Law

Postby treenapolits » Tue Apr 23, 2013 11:25 pm

Space law... :lol:

treenapolits
Posts: 55
Joined: Mon Apr 15, 2013 4:40 pm

Re: American University School of Public Affairs vs. Suffolk Law

Postby treenapolits » Wed Apr 24, 2013 9:57 pm

So, regardless of the value of a public affairs degree, what is it that you feel American lacks in educational quality? Is it worse than other law schools (which are not in the top tier)?

User avatar
romothesavior
Posts: 14772
Joined: Fri Jun 26, 2009 4:29 pm

Re: American University School of Public Affairs vs. Suffolk Law

Postby romothesavior » Wed Apr 24, 2013 10:06 pm

treenapolits wrote:So, regardless of the value of a public affairs degree, what is it that you feel American lacks in educational quality? Is it worse than other law schools (which are not in the top tier)?

Its not so much the educational quality that's lacking. You'll learn the same stuff just about anywhere, even at Tier 4 law schools. Its the job placement that's lacking. American has really poor job placement. There are many tier three and four schools that outplace it by a pretty wide margin.

treenapolits
Posts: 55
Joined: Mon Apr 15, 2013 4:40 pm

Re: American University School of Public Affairs vs. Suffolk Law

Postby treenapolits » Wed Apr 24, 2013 10:44 pm

The way I see it, the job placement for American is higher in D.C. than it is for an out-of-state third or fourth-tier law school. Does this sound reasonable, or would you recommend wasting away, I mean, living in another city? I also got into St. John's with a full ride.

prāna
Posts: 32
Joined: Wed Apr 24, 2013 10:19 pm

Re: American University School of Public Affairs vs. Suffolk Law

Postby prāna » Wed Apr 24, 2013 10:48 pm

ImNoScar wrote:
treenapolits wrote:American University School of Public Affairs is ranked #8 in the country for public affairs. Do you mean long-term, full-time legal jobs?

I think he meant American law. Do the MPA.

treenapolits
Posts: 55
Joined: Mon Apr 15, 2013 4:40 pm

Re: American University School of Public Affairs vs. Suffolk Law

Postby treenapolits » Wed Apr 24, 2013 10:49 pm

To clarify, I recently got into both American Law and the MPA/MPP program - planning to do both.

User avatar
romothesavior
Posts: 14772
Joined: Fri Jun 26, 2009 4:29 pm

Re: American University School of Public Affairs vs. Suffolk Law

Postby romothesavior » Wed Apr 24, 2013 11:04 pm

treenapolits wrote:The way I see it, the job placement for American is higher in D.C. than it is for an out-of-state third or fourth-tier law school. Does this sound reasonable, or would you recommend wasting away, I mean, living in another city? I also got into St. John's with a full ride.

I think people have been very explicit in what they recommend. You're really grasping for validation despite a chorus of people saying not to go, and providing pretty thorough explanations for why not.

treenapolits
Posts: 55
Joined: Mon Apr 15, 2013 4:40 pm

Re: American University School of Public Affairs vs. Suffolk Law

Postby treenapolits » Wed Apr 24, 2013 11:13 pm

I guess the reason I am grasping for validation to go to American is because it appears to have the most advanced study of women's rights law in the nation and/or world, with the most advanced law degree available, as well as with the longest history to go along with it (only school founded by women, as a women's law school when other law schools in D.C. would not admit women). Since that's the main interest I have in studying the law, there really isn't any other option that appears as supportive for me in that field. Also since it is in D.C. that is a selling point for me.

For whoever asked here are some examples of a job. http://www.victimrights.org/about-vrlc/staff-bios

timbs4339
Posts: 2733
Joined: Sat Apr 02, 2011 12:19 pm

Re: American University School of Public Affairs vs. Suffolk Law

Postby timbs4339 » Wed Apr 24, 2013 11:38 pm

treenapolits wrote:I guess the reason I am grasping for validation to go to American is because it appears to have the most advanced study of women's rights law in the nation and/or world, with the most advanced law degree available, as well as with the longest history to go along with it (only school founded by women, as a women's law school when other law schools in D.C. would not admit women). Since that's the main interest I have in studying the law, there really isn't any other option that appears as supportive for me in that field. Also since it is in D.C. that is a selling point for me.

For whoever asked here are some examples of a job. http://www.victimrights.org/about-vrlc/staff-bios


We're telling you that this doesn't matter, because there is really no way of judging the quality of "education" between schools. It's not like law students from all across the nation take a "women's rights law" bar exam and employers can see which school's students got the best scores. The only objective measure we have is employment prospects, and the employment prospects from American objectively suck.

Vermont Law School is the top school for "Environmental Law." Tons of people go off to Vermont to study environmental law assuming that this means employers will want to hire them. But if you want to work in Environmental Law, you should to to YHS, and then CCN, and then MVPB, because the firms or the EPA are not hiring from Vermont no matter how highly they are ranked in environmental law. In fact, you can go to those schools and not take a single environmental law class and end up working in environmental law. What your school is known for has almost no relevance to hiring.

It just doesn't work like you think it works. I could write ten more paragraphs explaining why, but I'll just say that you need to trust the opinions of people who have a much better grasp of the difference between a legal education and actually being able to get a job.




Return to “Choosing a Law School”

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: Bing [Bot] and 6 guests