Government interest--what is too low/too costly?

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Thoughts?

Poll ended at Thu Apr 25, 2013 11:45 am

Indiana (120k)
0
No votes
Illinois (120k)
1
9%
Wake Forest (120k)
0
No votes
Arizona (75k)
2
18%
Richmond (60k)
8
73%
 
Total votes: 11

Nesnesitelna
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Government interest--what is too low/too costly?

Postby Nesnesitelna » Thu Apr 18, 2013 11:45 am

Hi all. I'm trying to make some fast decisions here with some seat deposit deadlines fast approaching. I've yet to hear from BU, BC, and oddly enough, Arizona State (grew up in Tempe), but I think I've more or less seen the extent of the offers I might receive.

I think my question is a mostly philosophical one. How far down is it worth going in ratings to save money? I know the standard response to questions like this one is simply "retake the LSAT." Not terrible advice; I could probably stand raise my score 3-4 points. However, the cost of being of out school for a year is such that it would outweigh that benefit in my calculus. Further, I'm fortunate enough that I'm graduating next month completely free of debt, and actually in a position to pay down a significant portion of law school costs without loans.

At this point, I'm leaning towards the John Marshall Scholars Program at the University of Richmond. 53 on USNWR isn't spectacular, and a 56% LST score isn't incredible. Yet as someone who is primarily interested in working in government, and as someone who would prefer to do so either on the East Coast or in Chicago (as opposed to Arizona), I'm not convinced this is a bad idea. Richmond has some interesting placements they advertise with the many courts in the city as well as the Federal Reserve branch there (my background is in finance), so I sense an alignment with my interests. My opportunities in Chicago would more come from family connections than what I would expect UIUC or IU to provide anyway, so I don't think I'm doing myself any harm there.

I visited Wake and was not terribly impressed, though I could certainly see myself attending and enjoying it. I've been to UA many a time and while I have nothing against it, I'm also not thrilled by the prospect of returning to the desert heat. I'm glad I'm not being asked to pay sticker anywhere, but I'm also not sure if I have a single offer that, relative to the rest of the price/rank regression, really punches above its weight. Anyone have any thoughts? Should I be negotiating with any of these schools?

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untar614
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Re: Government interest--what is too low/too costly?

Postby untar614 » Thu Apr 18, 2013 11:52 am

Nesnesitelna wrote:Hi all. I'm trying to make some fast decisions here with some seat deposit deadlines fast approaching. I've yet to hear from BU, BC, and oddly enough, Arizona State (grew up in Tempe), but I think I've more or less seen the extent of the offers I might receive.

I think my question is a mostly philosophical one. How far down is it worth going in ratings to save money? I know the standard response to questions like this one is simply "retake the LSAT." Not terrible advice; I could probably stand raise my score 3-4 points. However, the cost of being of out school for a year is such that it would outweigh that benefit in my calculus. Further, I'm fortunate enough that I'm graduating next month completely free of debt, and actually in a position to pay down a significant portion of law school costs without loans.

At this point, I'm leaning towards the John Marshall Scholars Program at the University of Richmond. 53 on USNWR isn't spectacular, and a 56% LST score isn't incredible. Yet as someone who is primarily interested in working in government, and as someone who would prefer to do so either on the East Coast or in Chicago (as opposed to Arizona), I'm not convinced this is a bad idea. Richmond has some interesting placements they advertise with the many courts in the city as well as the Federal Reserve branch there (my background is in finance), so I sense an alignment with my interests. My opportunities in Chicago would more come from family connections than what I would expect UIUC or IU to provide anyway, so I don't think I'm doing myself any harm there.

I visited Wake and was not terribly impressed, though I could certainly see myself attending and enjoying it. I've been to UA many a time and while I have nothing against it, I'm also not thrilled by the prospect of returning to the desert heat. I'm glad I'm not being asked to pay sticker anywhere, but I'm also not sure if I have a single offer that, relative to the rest of the price/rank regression, really punches above its weight. Anyone have any thoughts? Should I be negotiating with any of these schools?

Redo your calculus. What are these numbers? are they COAs?

Nesnesitelna
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Re: Government interest--what is too low/too costly?

Postby Nesnesitelna » Thu Apr 18, 2013 12:06 pm

untar614 wrote:What are these numbers? are they COAs?


Yes, sorry for not making that clear.

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untar614
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Re: Government interest--what is too low/too costly?

Postby untar614 » Thu Apr 18, 2013 12:16 pm

Nesnesitelna wrote:
untar614 wrote:What are these numbers? are they COAs?


Yes, sorry for not making that clear.


Does that include living expenses? So would that mean you either got a full ride to Richmond or have family you could live with?

Also, what are your stats?

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twenty
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Re: Government interest--what is too low/too costly?

Postby twenty » Thu Apr 18, 2013 12:17 pm

When I say these are all terrible choices I mean just that -- 60k COA is WAY too much for what basically results in a longer, more painful, more expensive MPA. You won't get LRAP, and you may not even get IBR.

If you're graduating school in a month, chances are you're under 27 years old. If this is true, you have no business rushing into a bad law school. Retake, even if you have to sit out this cycle.

Nesnesitelna
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Re: Government interest--what is too low/too costly?

Postby Nesnesitelna » Thu Apr 18, 2013 12:23 pm

untar614 wrote:Does that include living expenses? So would that mean you either got a full ride to Richmond or have family you could live with?

Also, what are your stats?


Yes, not quite full (8k in tuition), and I have a place I could live very inexpensively in Richmond.

My stats are not spectacular, 3.2 and 163 with superb recommendations. I think I benefited from a smaller, weaker applicant pool, and I'd be reluctant to bank on just getting a better LSAT score in the next cycle to boost my odds.

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Rahviveh
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Re: Government interest--what is too low/too costly?

Postby Rahviveh » Thu Apr 18, 2013 12:28 pm

Nesnesitelna wrote:
untar614 wrote:Does that include living expenses? So would that mean you either got a full ride to Richmond or have family you could live with?

Also, what are your stats?


Yes, not quite full (8k in tuition), and I have a place I could live very inexpensively in Richmond.

My stats are not spectacular, 3.2 and 163 with superb recommendations. I think I benefited from a smaller, weaker applicant pool, and I'd be reluctant to bank on just getting a better LSAT score in the next cycle to boost my odds.


The pools going to be just as small and weak next cycle. Employment data tends to lag so its going to be awhile before we start seeing an uptick.

Do you have a more specific idea of what you would like to do in government? FedGov? DOJ? Etc

Nesnesitelna
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Re: Government interest--what is too low/too costly?

Postby Nesnesitelna » Thu Apr 18, 2013 12:38 pm

twentypercentmore wrote:When I say these are all terrible choices I mean just that -- 60k COA is WAY too much for what basically results in a longer, more painful, more expensive MPA. You won't get LRAP, and you may not even get IBR.

If you're graduating school in a month, chances are you're under 27 years old. If this is true, you have no business rushing into a bad law school. Retake, even if you have to sit out this cycle.


Maybe I'm being unclear with what I mean by government jobs when I should just be saying public sector. That may not invalidate the MPA claim, but I'm not sure.

And about five years under, yes. Still, the opportunity costs of this year are non-negligible and the reality is I don't see a whole lot of productive options for the next year were I to forgo law school. I'm quite sure I know what I want to do (and my apologies if I've failed to elucidate that, I generally try and be vague to keep some anonymity), and I feel like all of these do offer me a path to that. Are these law schools really so bad? I'm skeptical.
Last edited by Nesnesitelna on Thu Apr 18, 2013 12:49 pm, edited 1 time in total.

Nesnesitelna
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Re: Government interest--what is too low/too costly?

Postby Nesnesitelna » Thu Apr 18, 2013 12:49 pm

ChampagnePapi wrote:The pools going to be just as small and weak next cycle. Employment data tends to lag so its going to be awhile before we start seeing an uptick.

Do you have a more specific idea of what you would like to do in government? FedGov? DOJ? Etc


DOJ would probably be ideal, likely with an interest in fraud or securities regulation (which I guess may be SEC), but I know if that market is like the opposite side, the sexy job everyone wants, and which has been massively over-saturated since '08, that's unlikely. I could also be very happy as a criminal prosecutor. Federal is a plus, but not necessary, at least right out of school.

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kay2016
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Re: Government interest--what is too low/too costly?

Postby kay2016 » Thu Apr 18, 2013 1:12 pm

IU probably won't get you to chicago. Don't go there (i'm hesitant to stop this sentence right here...) unless you want to live and work in Indiana.

There is a chance to get out, but I wouldn't be willing to risk it. That's why I'm not going there.

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untar614
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Re: Government interest--what is too low/too costly?

Postby untar614 » Thu Apr 18, 2013 1:12 pm

I'd look into the MPA and MPP options. Richmond only placed 8% in government jobs. Arizona did just over 11%. The other 2 are too expensive as you will have trouble paying down that debt. 'zona is the only one I could see making even a little sense, but only if you just wanted to do local stuff in arozona and stay there, and only for very low coa. For federal gov legal jobs, those are really hard to get into. You will need connections, either from going to a top school (non of these) or through networking, which a JD from Richmond won't help you do (and gives you less than 60% shot at any law job). If that's your goal, given these options I'd say your better off looking into non-law ways into gov't work, and if you want law later, come back with some nice government WE and connections and with time to work on that LSAT.

envisciguy
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Re: Government interest--what is too low/too costly?

Postby envisciguy » Thu Apr 18, 2013 1:31 pm

Richmond at any cost more than FREE is a bad investment and even then, it's still not a good decision. A Richmond grad will be competing for Va jobs with grads from UVA, W&L, and W&M. With the 56% LST score, you're admitting to yourself that there's almost a 50-50 shot you won't have a job. If that doesn't give you pause, I don't know what will.

Arizona is a decent choice if you wanted to stay in Arizona, but it doesn't seem like you do.

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Tekrul
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Re: Government interest--what is too low/too costly?

Postby Tekrul » Thu Apr 18, 2013 1:47 pm

Don't feel inhibited by your GPA if that was part of your consideration/calculus in not retaking. You have confidence in strong LORs and if your other application materials are strongly written, then you are not out of the running for much better schools. If you BRING it in the other parts of your app, you can sweep that gpa under the rug.

It seems like you have a strong idea of what you want to do. one year of waiting is a small price for better prospects in your life goal for bigfed.

paul554
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Re: Government interest--what is too low/too costly?

Postby paul554 » Thu Apr 18, 2013 1:58 pm

Get an MPA and sign up for ROTC. After two years as an officer apply for FLEP and have the military send you to school for free, or wait and use the GI Bill to go to school. Then either work as JAG or use military vet preference to get a Federal job (probably not as an attorney since how they apply vet preference is....tricky). Unless you want to retake that really is the only guaranteed way to work for the Federal government and not risk being unemployed/underemployed with debt.

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Re: Government interest--what is too low/too costly?

Postby timbs4339 » Thu Apr 18, 2013 4:08 pm

Nesnesitelna wrote:
ChampagnePapi wrote:The pools going to be just as small and weak next cycle. Employment data tends to lag so its going to be awhile before we start seeing an uptick.

Do you have a more specific idea of what you would like to do in government? FedGov? DOJ? Etc


DOJ would probably be ideal, likely with an interest in fraud or securities regulation (which I guess may be SEC), but I know if that market is like the opposite side, the sexy job everyone wants, and which has been massively over-saturated since '08, that's unlikely. I could also be very happy as a criminal prosecutor. Federal is a plus, but not necessary, at least right out of school.


You've identified the challenge. DOJ has been on hiring freeze for the past year or more. SEC also had a hiring freeze when I was a 3L (2011-2012). The honors programs at other agencies are not that extensive.

The bigger problem is that people who want to work DOJ or SEC (who are HYS-types with great grades who have no interest in biglaw) are now all applying to the OCC, FDIC, CFPB, FTC, NYAG, etc etc. Federal government work is highly prestigious with good pay and exit options. Every sector of entry-level employment has it's own hierarchy, and these jobs are like the biglaw (more like the top top of biglaw) for government hiring. There is also no shortage of biglaw associates with relevant securities or banking law experience who want to work at those agencies after 2-3 years.

Most likely, you will end up being a local prosecutor. Not a terrible job with that debt, but if you don't like starting out at the bottom doing criminal work it's going to be a problem.

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Re: Government interest--what is too low/too costly?

Postby Nesnesitelna » Thu Apr 18, 2013 6:14 pm

envisciguy wrote:Richmond at any cost more than FREE is a bad investment and even then, it's still not a good decision. A Richmond grad will be competing for Va jobs with grads from UVA, W&L, and W&M. With the 56% LST score, you're admitting to yourself that there's almost a 50-50 shot you won't have a job. If that doesn't give you pause, I don't know what will.


I guess I look at it like this: I don't see myself at the median. I think I can come out at or very near the top of my class at Richmond, or at UA, I interview very well, etc., in what sense am I not in control of my own destiny? 50-50 are horrible odds, but I wouldn't allow myself to just take those odds as such.

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Re: Government interest--what is too low/too costly?

Postby Nesnesitelna » Thu Apr 18, 2013 6:18 pm

timbs4339 wrote:[quote="Nesnesitelna"
Most likely, you will end up being a local prosecutor. Not a terrible job with that debt, but if you don't like starting out at the bottom doing criminal work it's going to be a problem.


This is something I feel I could be happy doing, and as long as that's not some kind of career dead-end, this doesn't sound bad.

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Re: Government interest--what is too low/too costly?

Postby WokeUpInACar » Thu Apr 18, 2013 6:31 pm

Nesnesitelna wrote:
envisciguy wrote:Richmond at any cost more than FREE is a bad investment and even then, it's still not a good decision. A Richmond grad will be competing for Va jobs with grads from UVA, W&L, and W&M. With the 56% LST score, you're admitting to yourself that there's almost a 50-50 shot you won't have a job. If that doesn't give you pause, I don't know what will.


I guess I look at it like this: I don't see myself at the median. I think I can come out at or very near the top of my class at Richmond, or at UA, I interview very well, etc., in what sense am I not in control of my own destiny? 50-50 are horrible odds, but I wouldn't allow myself to just take those odds as such.

Do you think the rest of the students at these schools aren't planning on working hard and being at the top of the class? Why do you think with an LSAT at the median and a GPA below the median that you are somehow better than your potential classmates at Richmond?

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Re: Government interest--what is too low/too costly?

Postby timbs4339 » Thu Apr 18, 2013 8:57 pm

Nesnesitelna wrote:
timbs4339 wrote:[quote="Nesnesitelna"
Most likely, you will end up being a local prosecutor. Not a terrible job with that debt, but if you don't like starting out at the bottom doing criminal work it's going to be a problem.


This is something I feel I could be happy doing, and as long as that's not some kind of career dead-end, this doesn't sound bad.


Yeah, that's fine and can lead to quite good prospects down the road, both civil and criminal litigation from what I've seen. With low debt it's not a bad deal.

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Re: Government interest--what is too low/too costly?

Postby Nesnesitelna » Thu Apr 18, 2013 9:44 pm

WokeUpInACar wrote:Do you think the rest of the students at these schools aren't planning on working hard and being at the top of the class? Why do you think with an LSAT at the median and a GPA below the median that you are somehow better than your potential classmates at Richmond?


Frankly, I interpreted the fact that my scholarship was increased unsolicited and I was invited to a special program after I let the first seat deposit deadline pass to mean that they aren't finding people with my numbers this cycle.

I feel I have reason to believe for my own sake that I'm a better student than my numbers suggest, but that's obviously not a valid argument, on this forum or for my own consideration.

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Re: Government interest--what is too low/too costly?

Postby kay2016 » Thu Apr 18, 2013 9:49 pm

Nesnesitelna wrote:
WokeUpInACar wrote:Do you think the rest of the students at these schools aren't planning on working hard and being at the top of the class? Why do you think with an LSAT at the median and a GPA below the median that you are somehow better than your potential classmates at Richmond?


Frankly, I interpreted the fact that my scholarship was increased unsolicited and I was invited to a special program after I let the first seat deposit deadline pass to mean that they aren't finding people with my numbers this cycle.

I feel I have reason to believe for my own sake that I'm a better student than my numbers suggest, but that's obviously not a valid argument, on this forum or for my own consideration.


Obviously, this forum is going to be a bit cynical given the legal market... Just consider it's riskier to overestimate your intelligence/work ethic/whatever, than to underestimate it. You've never been in law school before and it's a different beast than undergrad. You also don't know how many of your peers are maybe making the same calculation you are and are inevitably going to a lower ranked school to "have an edge".

I am going in with the mind set that I won't be one of the smartest students in my section, and am planning my debt level/everything around that and know and am happy with what my options will be postgrad... If I outperform, then I'll be pleasantly surprised and have more options than I thought and can pay off my debt even quicker..

Then again.. I like to be prepared for the worst case scenario. Always.




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