Choosing a Law School - Mountain West

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sasquatchsam
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Choosing a Law School - Mountain West

Postby sasquatchsam » Mon Apr 22, 2013 10:29 pm

Hello all! I am planning on applying to attend law school in the fall of 2014 and I want to get some input on which schools the TLS community would recommend. I would like to practice law in the Boise area. I am a Boise State alum and my family (as well as my wife's family) is located in Boise. My goal is to work in big law (at least as big as can be found in Boise) and also to do Pro Bono work for an international non-profit organization based in Idaho so an emphasis on international law might be something to consider when giving school suggestions.

Currently, I am prepping for the June LSAT. My diagnostic was a 171 and my last three practice tests have been 171, 172, and 177. Hopefully this trend stays consistent and I am able to obtain a 175+. My UGPA is 3.97. I have worked as a paralegal for the last 2 years following graduation. Lots of volunteer work.

I anticipate some may suggest aiming for T14 schools. Although I am open to this possibility, my main concern is that since I anticipate being employed in Idaho, the advantage gained from going to a T14 will be minimal. My wife will be graduating as an RN and her employment prospects are also a concern. Moscow might not be the best option for this reason. In addition, I would like to stay in the Mountain West region in order for easy travel back to Boise for my wife's sake.

Thanks in advance for your suggestions!

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dr123
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Re: Choosing a Law School - Mountain West

Postby dr123 » Mon Apr 22, 2013 10:34 pm

big money at Utah would probably be a good bet esp w/ the proximity to Boise.

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rinkrat19
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Re: Choosing a Law School - Mountain West

Postby rinkrat19 » Mon Apr 22, 2013 10:36 pm

sasquatchsam wrote:Hello all! I am planning on applying to attend law school in the fall of 2014 and I want to get some input on which schools the TLS community would recommend. I would like to practice law in the Boise area. I am a Boise State alum and my family (as well as my wife's family) is located in Boise. My goal is to work in big law (at least as big as can be found in Boise) and also to do Pro Bono work for an international non-profit organization based in Idaho so an emphasis on international law might be something to consider when giving school suggestions.

Currently, I am prepping for the June LSAT. My diagnostic was a 171 and my last three practice tests have been 171, 172, and 177. Hopefully this trend stays consistent and I am able to obtain a 175+. My UGPA is 3.97. I have worked as a paralegal for the last 2 years following graduation. Lots of volunteer work.

I anticipate some may suggest aiming for T14 schools. Although I am open to this possibility, my main concern is that since I anticipate being employed in Idaho, the advantage gained from going to a T14 will be minimal. My wife will be graduating as an RN and her employment prospects are also a concern. Moscow might not be the best option for this reason. In addition, I would like to stay in the Mountain West region in order for easy travel back to Boise for my wife's sake.

Thanks in advance for your suggestions!
The advantage would not be minimal. It would be the difference between needing top grades from Idaho just to get ANY job in the miniscule Boise legal market, and being able to get median grades and still have the pick of all the jobs.

I'm not saying you MUST go to Yale and take out six figures in debt, but a full-tuition ride to something in the Columbia-Penn range is a high probability. Plus your wife would be more able to find work in NYC/Chicago/Bay Area/etc.

Utah might be a reasonable middle ground.

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dr123
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Re: Choosing a Law School - Mountain West

Postby dr123 » Mon Apr 22, 2013 10:37 pm

If you can handle the whole honor code thing, I'd seriously consider BYU.

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romothesavior
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Re: Choosing a Law School - Mountain West

Postby romothesavior » Mon Apr 22, 2013 10:38 pm

dr123 wrote:big money at Utah would probably be a good bet esp w/ the proximity to Boise.

I would probably suggest the California schools for cheap, or UW or Utah for cheap? Idaho is tough to advise for because I really have no clue who places well there. Hard to even really get that info, maybe talk to some local attorneys? But even that can be unhelpful since a lot of attorneys are clueless on the job market.

If you are set on returning there or being in the area, I'd think that going for cheap would be the way to go vs. dropping big debt on a T14 out east or something. But if you can get a scholly to the T14, that'd be hard to turn down.

jkay
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Re: Choosing a Law School - Mountain West

Postby jkay » Mon Apr 22, 2013 10:43 pm

Are you LDS? Full ride BYU.

But seriously, if those are your stats, you can go anywhere you want, and many places for COL. The real question is what will get you back to Idaho.

If you don't want to go to Idaho, Utah, or BYU, I have to think you might as well go to the highest ranked school that will give you $$$$. If you go to a T14, you can probably score a gig at the new Boise law school.

Take the LSAT and then make further plans.
Last edited by jkay on Mon Apr 22, 2013 10:44 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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AMilfordMan
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Re: Choosing a Law School - Mountain West

Postby AMilfordMan » Mon Apr 22, 2013 10:43 pm

sasquatchsam wrote:Hello all! I am planning on applying to attend law school in the fall of 2014 and I want to get some input on which schools the TLS community would recommend. I would like to practice law in the Boise area. I am a Boise State alum and my family (as well as my wife's family) is located in Boise. My goal is to work in big law (at least as big as can be found in Boise) and also to do Pro Bono work for an international non-profit organization based in Idaho so an emphasis on international law might be something to consider when giving school suggestions.

Currently, I am prepping for the June LSAT. My diagnostic was a 171 and my last three practice tests have been 171, 172, and 177. Hopefully this trend stays consistent and I am able to obtain a 175+. My UGPA is 3.97. I have worked as a paralegal for the last 2 years following graduation. Lots of volunteer work.

I anticipate some may suggest aiming for T14 schools. Although I am open to this possibility, my main concern is that since I anticipate being employed in Idaho, the advantage gained from going to a T14 will be minimal. My wife will be graduating as an RN and her employment prospects are also a concern. Moscow might not be the best option for this reason. In addition, I would like to stay in the Mountain West region in order for easy travel back to Boise for my wife's sake.

Thanks in advance for your suggestions!


With that GPA and your strongest LSAT score, Stanford is a distinct possibility. However, given your desire to end up back in Boise, I think Stanford would likely be overkill and expensive. That being said, I would still apply and hope for a scholarship. Without $$$ from Stanford, I would look at Berkeley with serious scholarship money or Washington with a near full ride.

Given those three scenarios, Washington with a full ride is my pick. It's a brand that (I believe) is well known in your region, and would probably have the lowest cost of attendance after scholarships. Having next to no debt from a well known school in your neighborhood would be my choice.

This is just my opinion, maybe someone from closer to your home market could weigh in on the specifics of the region.

sasquatchsam
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Re: Choosing a Law School - Mountain West

Postby sasquatchsam » Mon Apr 22, 2013 11:19 pm

Thanks for all of your responses. In answer to a few questions regarding BYU, I am not LDS but I do have a conservative religious background and don't mind the honor code. I have hear rumors that having a JD from BYU can be a double edged sword. It can open doors but also shut some in your face. Does anyone have experience with this or am I simply taking anecdotal evidence too seriously?

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RaleighStClair
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Re: Choosing a Law School - Mountain West

Postby RaleighStClair » Mon Apr 22, 2013 11:48 pm

What an interesting situation. Are you 100% set on Boise?

I'm in the PNW and know some lawyers in Boise who have told me that UI is the way to go if you want to practice there. However, you would certainly be "wasting" your numbers by going there, even for a full ride. With that being said, I agree with the above poster that you should attend a T14 or strong regional for cheap, if possible. It would suck to go to Idaho, end up at median and be unemployed for someone with your pre-LS stats.

1. Stanford
2. Boalt with $$$
3. UW (full or near full ride) *I'm actually a little bit shaky on recommending this one because I'm not positive about its reputation in Boise, but it's so close in proximity and such a strong regional school that I couldn't leave it out*
4. BYU or Utah (full or near full ride)
5. Idaho (full ride and make damn sure you get good grades).

ETA: CU-Boulder is known is Boise as well. But as with 3 through 5 above, only go with big money. Good luck!

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nickb285
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Re: Choosing a Law School - Mountain West

Postby nickb285 » Tue Apr 23, 2013 3:05 am

I would go for a mix of portability and low debt. Idaho is not a bad school for what it is, but Moscow is the middle of friggin' nowhere and like you say that could impact your wife's job. I would suggest UW except that they're notoriously stingy and probably won't give you the money that someone with your numbers can get elsewhere. I'd also rule out HYS since they'll cost a lot and even if you get what biglaw there is in Boise, it's not going to pay NYC/LA salaries. My suggestions in order would be:

1. Berkeley with a hefty scholarship OR USC/UCLA for full-ride or close OR UW if you can actually get a full-ride or close.
2. CU-Boulder, Utah, or BYU for free.
3. Idaho, with full ride AND cost of living stipend. Idaho's not a bad choice but with your numbers you shouldn't be paying them a dime for it.

Re: BYU's honor code, I can't speak to Boise directly but given what friends who live in Boise have told me about the culture there I imagine it's probably similar to Utah--most firms, particularly larger firms, will want to avoid the appearance of bias either for or against Mormons/BYU and having gone there won't affect your chances much. Smaller firms, you'll get the Mormon Network in play for hiring, but there's also a chance (particularly if you wind up working for a boutique firm of people who come from out of state/out of the region) that you'll get some firms who'd rather have an employee who doesn't turn up their nose at those who aren't LDS--which, rightly or wrongly, can be the perception of anyone who attended BYU. However, even most non-Mormon lawyers have no problem with BYU grads, since they're generally responsible, squeaky clean, active community members, all that good stuff, so in the end it's probably neutral or a net benefit.

However, I would strongly suggest spending a little while in Provo before committing to the honor code. It's one thing to choose not to drink/smoke/whatever; it's another thing entirely to be surrounded by both a school that forbids (under threat of discipline up to and including expulsion) you to do so, and by the people who choose that environment.

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RAWR
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Re: Choosing a Law School - Mountain West

Postby RAWR » Tue Apr 23, 2013 9:16 am

Just make sure you're not terribly fond of your beard, in case you're not able to get a "beard exception."

https://honorcode.byu.edu/content/obtai ... beard-card

Your numbers are pretty top notch if you hit 175 (as your practice tests indicate you should). There are certainly T20/25 schools who would give you a full ride, and that would all but ensure that you get your pick of jobs upon your return. Don't forget you have your 1L and 2L summers to make and maintain connections in the area you wish to work.

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yarsten
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Re: Choosing a Law School - Mountain West

Postby yarsten » Tue Apr 23, 2013 10:58 am

1. Kill the LSAT
2. Have a child (if you don't already)
3. Receive extremely generous need-based aid from HYS
4. Profit

Seriously though, for me H was the cheapest T14 option because of the above. PM if you want details.

sasquatchsam
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Re: Choosing a Law School - Mountain West

Postby sasquatchsam » Tue Apr 23, 2013 2:01 pm

nickb285 wrote:I'd also rule out HYS since they'll cost a lot and even if you get what biglaw there is in Boise, it's not going to pay NYC/LA salaries.


I had been considering this as well. However, the COL is also amazingly low in Boise. I purchased a brand new home last year and my total payment is less than $700/month. I haven't worked the numbers but it might actually be easier to pay off student loans making 80k in Boise than 150-200k in LA.

rinkrat19 wrote:The advantage would not be minimal. It would be the difference between needing top grades from Idaho just to get ANY job in the miniscule Boise legal market, and being able to get median grades and still have the pick of all the jobs.

I'm not saying you MUST go to Yale and take out six figures in debt, but a full-tuition ride to something in the Columbia-Penn range is a high probability. Plus your wife would be more able to find work in NYC/Chicago/Bay Area/etc.

Utah might be a reasonable middle ground.


Maybe this is a naive assumption, but it seems like it would be easier to get top grades at Idaho than median grades at a T14 school. Even if it is a wash, being able to stay in close proximity to family as well as utilizing the 3rd year program in Boise might tip the scales in favor of Idaho.

RAWR wrote:Just make sure you're not terribly fond of your beard, in case you're not able to get a "beard exception."


No beard so I am good on that front 8)

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rinkrat19
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Re: Choosing a Law School - Mountain West

Postby rinkrat19 » Tue Apr 23, 2013 2:03 pm

sasquatchsam wrote:Maybe this is a naive assumption, but it seems like it would be easier to get top grades at Idaho than median grades at a T14 school.
Yes, this is naive. Grades are a serious crapshoot. It's best to assume you'll be median.

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NoodleyOne
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Re: Choosing a Law School - Mountain West

Postby NoodleyOne » Tue Apr 23, 2013 2:04 pm

...

This topic confuses me mightily. An option may be to go to HYSCC and get a job in Seattle. I don't know why someone would WANT to stay in Idaho, though...

fluffythepenguin
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Re: Choosing a Law School - Mountain West

Postby fluffythepenguin » Tue Apr 23, 2013 2:15 pm

rinkrat19 wrote:
sasquatchsam wrote:Maybe this is a naive assumption, but it seems like it would be easier to get top grades at Idaho than median grades at a T14 school.
Yes, this is naive. Grades are a serious crapshoot. It's best to assume you'll be median.


I don't think it's naive at all. I would be absolutely shocked if you were outside top 25% at Idaho, and really I'd be surprised if you were anywhere worse than top 10%. You would in all likelihood be the best law school candidate at Idaho, and it probably wouldn't be close.

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rinkrat19
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Re: Choosing a Law School - Mountain West

Postby rinkrat19 » Tue Apr 23, 2013 2:17 pm

fluffythepenguin wrote:
rinkrat19 wrote:
sasquatchsam wrote:Maybe this is a naive assumption, but it seems like it would be easier to get top grades at Idaho than median grades at a T14 school.
Yes, this is naive. Grades are a serious crapshoot. It's best to assume you'll be median.


I don't think it's naive at all. I would be absolutely shocked if you were outside top 25% at Idaho, and really I'd be surprised if you were anywhere worse than top 10%. You would in all likelihood be the best law school candidate at Idaho, and it probably wouldn't be close.

Maybe if LSAT and UG grades had a strong correlation to grades in law school. (The correlation is middling at best.)

fluffythepenguin
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Re: Choosing a Law School - Mountain West

Postby fluffythepenguin » Tue Apr 23, 2013 2:23 pm

rinkrat19 wrote:
fluffythepenguin wrote:
rinkrat19 wrote:
sasquatchsam wrote:Maybe this is a naive assumption, but it seems like it would be easier to get top grades at Idaho than median grades at a T14 school.
Yes, this is naive. Grades are a serious crapshoot. It's best to assume you'll be median.


I don't think it's naive at all. I would be absolutely shocked if you were outside top 25% at Idaho, and really I'd be surprised if you were anywhere worse than top 10%. You would in all likelihood be the best law school candidate at Idaho, and it probably wouldn't be close.

Maybe if LSAT and UG grades had a strong correlation to grades in law school. (The correlation is middling at best.)


http://www.lsac.org/jd/pdfs/lsat-score- ... rmance.pdf

In my understanding, a correlation of .48 is rather robust. Check out the graph of the .4 correlation here: http://www.statisticshowto.com/articles ... efficient/

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IAFG
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Re: Choosing a Law School - Mountain West

Postby IAFG » Tue Apr 23, 2013 2:30 pm

People in Idaho have still heard of a Harvard. With your stats, you may get a T14 fullride. That'll get you back to ID, but also open up other doors if you ever change your mind about going back to ID. And as someone who has spent a lot of time in Boise, that's a door I would want to keep wiiiide open.

sasquatchsam
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Re: Choosing a Law School - Mountain West

Postby sasquatchsam » Tue Apr 23, 2013 3:08 pm

IAFG wrote:People in Idaho have still heard of a Harvard. With your stats, you may get a T14 fullride. That'll get you back to ID, but also open up other doors if you ever change your mind about going back to ID. And as someone who has spent a lot of time in Boise, that's a door I would want to keep wiiiide open.


I actually really love Boise. I am thinking of aiming for SLS/Boalt due to their proximity and high ranking. However, getting accepted will be a challenge even if I score high on the LSATS. It is unfortunate that there are no T14 schools in the northwest. Money is not as important to me as making sure my wife is comfortable and happy wherever I go to school. Happy wife=happy life.

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nickb285
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Re: Choosing a Law School - Mountain West

Postby nickb285 » Tue Apr 23, 2013 3:16 pm

IAFG wrote:Happy wife=happy life.


I saw that on a billboard once. It was an ad for kitchen countertops. And that's Provo, UT.

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AMilfordMan
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Re: Choosing a Law School - Mountain West

Postby AMilfordMan » Tue Apr 23, 2013 3:20 pm

IAFG wrote:People in Idaho have still heard of a Harvard. With your stats, you may get a T14 fullride. That'll get you back to ID, but also open up other doors if you ever change your mind about going back to ID. And as someone who has spent a lot of time in Boise, that's a door I would want to keep wiiiide open.


T14 is certainly a good idea. But since OP wants to stay west during school for his wife I'd still say limit it to Stanford and Boalt (assuming that stay-west situation doesn't change). Also, with a lower salary in Boise than bigger markets, I don't think even 150k in debt from Stanford would be worth it for a job he could get with 30k in debt from UW.

sasquatchsam
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Re: Choosing a Law School - Mountain West

Postby sasquatchsam » Tue Apr 23, 2013 3:28 pm

LOL that quote was more in response to "Why in the heck do you want to live in Idaho?" than explaining why I am not so keen on going to the east coast for school but I suppose it applies to both. I think she would endure three years of living in a place she doesn't like but my life would not be so pleasant either. The question is if I need to go through that to become an attorney at a mid to large firm in Boise, ID or if a JD from a regional school will suffice. I am still mulling that question over and I am sure the decision will become even more difficult when I take financial aid packages into consideration.

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unclepete
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Re: Choosing a Law School - Mountain West

Postby unclepete » Tue Apr 23, 2013 3:33 pm

Being from Mountain West myself, I think it's very safe to say UW has a spectacular reputation in Oregon-Washington-Idaho-Nevada. That's my vote- apply to others just to have negotiating leverage for a full ride.

Then take the money you`ll be saving and head to Lake Coeur D'Alene on the weekends :)

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IAFG
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Re: Choosing a Law School - Mountain West

Postby IAFG » Tue Apr 23, 2013 3:39 pm

AMilfordMan wrote:
IAFG wrote:People in Idaho have still heard of a Harvard. With your stats, you may get a T14 fullride. That'll get you back to ID, but also open up other doors if you ever change your mind about going back to ID. And as someone who has spent a lot of time in Boise, that's a door I would want to keep wiiiide open.


T14 is certainly a good idea. But since OP wants to stay west during school for his wife I'd still say limit it to Stanford and Boalt (assuming that stay-west situation doesn't change). Also, with a lower salary in Boise than bigger markets, I don't think even 150k in debt from Stanford would be worth it for a job he could get with 30k in debt from UW.

Bro doesn't even have an LSAT score. I suggest he apply widely, jockey for scholly deals, then decide.




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