I think I'm about to make a bad decision...

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b123
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I think I'm about to make a bad decision...

Postby b123 » Sat Jun 15, 2013 8:49 pm

Hey all,

Background about me:
I'm originally from Los Angeles, plan to work in a DA's office after graduation, and probably would ultimately live in CA but really not entirely sure.


So here's the dilemma...

Up until now, I've been 100% ready to go to Boston College. Deposits paid, got the warm clothes, really excited for the move, etc. A few days ago, USC took me off of their waitlist and practically matched the scholarship offer that BC gave me. I've been incredibly happy about the prospect of moving to Boston, I've always wanted to live on the east coast for at least a few years, and completely loved the school and atmosphere at BC and the city of Boston itself. I really dislike the area that USC is in and wanted to get out of LA (at least for the next few years). However, I realize that USC is an amazing school and may afford opportunities that BC would not. Would going to SC open up that many doors that BC would not? I realize in CA, it's a sure thing, but nationally? Does where you went to school really matter after your first job or two? What say the geniuses of TLS about my problem?

Thanks, it's much appreciated.

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jselson
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Re: I think I'm about to make a bad decision...

Postby jselson » Sat Jun 15, 2013 8:51 pm

Neither has national reach, South LA owns, go to USC for your goals.

schrutefarms
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Re: I think I'm about to make a bad decision...

Postby schrutefarms » Sat Jun 15, 2013 8:56 pm

I've lived in Boston, that city is miserable. If you want to work in California, your best bet is USC.

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hephaestus
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Re: I think I'm about to make a bad decision...

Postby hephaestus » Sat Jun 15, 2013 9:00 pm

Numbers etc? How much $$$? But the answer is probably USC

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JamMasterJ
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Re: I think I'm about to make a bad decision...

Postby JamMasterJ » Sat Jun 15, 2013 9:10 pm

USC. That BC degree isn't portable.

y2zipper
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Re: I think I'm about to make a bad decision...

Postby y2zipper » Sat Jun 15, 2013 9:13 pm

USC and Boston College are relatively peer schools in terms of placement. USC places significantly better in big law and BC places significantly better in PI.

Neither is going to give you national reach. Without pricing, select the one that's where you want to live.

BigZuck
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Re: I think I'm about to make a bad decision...

Postby BigZuck » Sat Jun 15, 2013 9:20 pm

y2zipper wrote:USC and Boston College are relatively peer schools in terms of placement. USC places significantly better in big law and BC places significantly better in PI.

Neither is going to give you national reach. Without pricing, select the one that's where you want to live.


That.

Keep in mind that "Neither, retake" can be the right answer depending on how much this all is going to cost you.

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chraruce
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Re: I think I'm about to make a bad decision...

Postby chraruce » Sat Jun 15, 2013 9:39 pm

b123 wrote:Hey all,

Background about me:
I'm originally from Los Angeles, plan to work in a DA's office after graduation, and probably would ultimately live in CA but really not entirely sure.


So here's the dilemma...

Up until now, I've been 100% ready to go to Boston College. Deposits paid, got the warm clothes, really excited for the move, etc. A few days ago, USC took me off of their waitlist and practically matched the scholarship offer that BC gave me. I've been incredibly happy about the prospect of moving to Boston, I've always wanted to live on the east coast for at least a few years, and completely loved the school and atmosphere at BC and the city of Boston itself. I really dislike the area that USC is in and wanted to get out of LA (at least for the next few years). However, I realize that USC is an amazing school and may afford opportunities that BC would not. Would going to SC open up that many doors that BC would not? I realize in CA, it's a sure thing, but nationally? Does where you went to school really matter after your first job or two? What say the geniuses of TLS about my problem?

Thanks, it's much appreciated.


Regarding geography, there is little chance of you going back to Cali from BC. Go to USC. It's a great school.

Regarding the DA job, I cannot comment because I am not familiar with what it takes to obtain such a position. I'm guessing USC will give you a fair shot, but really, I'm ignorant on this.

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syd625
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Re: I think I'm about to make a bad decision...

Postby syd625 » Sat Jun 15, 2013 9:44 pm

schrutefarms wrote:I've lived in Boston, that city is miserable. If you want to work in California, your best bet is USC.


+1. I lived in a Boston for a few years. It can be a great city to visit, but living there year round (especially in winter) gets old quickly. If you want to end up in California, USC is the way to go, barring a retake/reapply scenario if the price is too high.

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Mroberts3
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Re: I think I'm about to make a bad decision...

Postby Mroberts3 » Sat Jun 15, 2013 10:02 pm

Went to college in Boston (BU). Made a lot of good friends and the city is generally good for college kids. BUT, the east coast sucks generally and Boston probably won't be as good for a law student/real adult.

Just graduated from USC -- never lived in the area. Most people lived in downtown or the Westide/Santa Monica. The new expo line runs directly to campus. Get an apartment in Culver City and just take the train (and save 400 a semester on parking -- grad student train pass is 85 a semester).

And that is all before pointing out that USC (and UCLA sadly) really do own the local area. Unfortunately DA hiring is less focused on preftige, but USC as a name will still help you. USC is not national, but DA hiring comes after the bar for the most part, so you have to choose geography ahead of time anyway. Even though Stanford has a better name, no DA on the east coast will look at your app until you until you pass their state's bar. Thus, you don't need national reach because you will take the CA bar and look for DA offices in CA. This is in stark contrast to Biglaw where the same Stanford grad could work at Chicago or Boston office of a major firm and take the bar their later.

Also point of advice from someone gunning for DA currently -- DO NOT let the money suck you in during OCI for 2L summer. I made that mistake despite coming to law school wanting to do DA work. I rationalized it as paying off loans before trying to lateral to the USAO. I had (and will have to do) a lot of unpaid work to wipe that stain off my resume so I look like a sincere candidate.

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ndirish2010
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Re: I think I'm about to make a bad decision...

Postby ndirish2010 » Sat Jun 15, 2013 10:08 pm

LA sucks, and the East Coast is far superior to CA, but you should still go to USC.

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TrialLawyer16
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Re: I think I'm about to make a bad decision...

Postby TrialLawyer16 » Sat Jun 15, 2013 10:14 pm

I imagine a big part of the reason you're even deciding between the two is because you already paid the deposits for BC, bought new warm clothes, presumably signed a lease, dreamed of yourself being EIC of BC LR, etc. - and I'm not gonna lie.. giving that up sucks. But you def should pick USC here. Not only is it the better school, it's far better for your desired location after school, and if you aren't able to secure the job in the DA's office it would be much better to be a USC grad in Cali than a BC grad in Cali looking for another job. Sucks to lose out on what you've invested so far financially and slightly emotionally I guess, but USC has to be TCR here, in my opinion.

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sinfiery
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Re: I think I'm about to make a bad decision...

Postby sinfiery » Sat Jun 15, 2013 10:46 pm

Your gonna end up working near where you go to school. Should be simple.

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stillwater
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Re: I think I'm about to make a bad decision...

Postby stillwater » Sat Jun 15, 2013 10:53 pm

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Last edited by stillwater on Tue Oct 01, 2013 10:17 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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b123
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Re: I think I'm about to make a bad decision...

Postby b123 » Sun Jun 16, 2013 3:53 pm

Thanks for all of the responses, you guys bring up some very valid points. One more thing that I'd like to pick your brains on:

I'm sure that I want to live on the east coast for at least a few years. If I attended BC and worked in Boston for a few years after, would it still be difficult to obtain a job in CA if I wanted to move back? Is it more experience that matters after the first job or two, or does school still matter? (I realize I'd have to take the bar in CA).

Conversely, would it be easier to be a freshly minted USC lawyer trying to find a job in Boston, New York, etc. or a new BC lawyer trying to find work in CA right off the bat?

Thanks for hearing me out.

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Clearly
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Re: I think I'm about to make a bad decision...

Postby Clearly » Sun Jun 16, 2013 4:01 pm

b123 wrote:Thanks for all of the responses, you guys bring up some very valid points. One more thing that I'd like to pick your brains on:

I'm sure that I want to live on the east coast for at least a few years. If I attended BC and worked in Boston for a few years after, would it still be difficult to obtain a job in CA if I wanted to move back? Is it more experience that matters after the first job or two, or does school still matter? (I realize I'd have to take the bar in CA).

Conversely, would it be easier to be a freshly minted USC lawyer trying to find a job in Boston, New York, etc. or a new BC lawyer trying to find work in CA right off the bat?

Thanks for hearing me out.

You can't count on mobility from either. Boston if you want Boston, usc if you want ca.

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jbagelboy
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Re: I think I'm about to make a bad decision...

Postby jbagelboy » Sun Jun 16, 2013 4:13 pm

If you really want to live on the east coast for a few years (but only a few), then apply to jobs on the east coast (probably NYC) as a legal assostant/consultant/teaching/ect, move there, and retake in the meantime so you can go to a school with national portability, or go to USC anyway but have the east coast thing out of your system. As others have pointed out, if you attend one of these schools, you'll end up working/living near that school for an extended period of time.

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Clearly
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Re: I think I'm about to make a bad decision...

Postby Clearly » Sun Jun 16, 2013 4:21 pm

You need to post your stats...and your cost of attendance.

Big Dog
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Re: I think I'm about to make a bad decision...

Postby Big Dog » Sun Jun 16, 2013 4:33 pm

Would going to SC open up that many doors that BC would not?



Yes, at least doors in SoCal. OTOH, BC would open doors on the east coast that 'SC would not/could not.

Pick a location and go for it.

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chraruce
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Re: I think I'm about to make a bad decision...

Postby chraruce » Sun Jun 16, 2013 5:27 pm

b123 wrote:Thanks for all of the responses, you guys bring up some very valid points. One more thing that I'd like to pick your brains on:

I'm sure that I want to live on the east coast for at least a few years. If I attended BC and worked in Boston for a few years after, would it still be difficult to obtain a job in CA if I wanted to move back? Is it more experience that matters after the first job or two, or does school still matter? (I realize I'd have to take the bar in CA).

Conversely, would it be easier to be a freshly minted USC lawyer trying to find a job in Boston, New York, etc. or a new BC lawyer trying to find work in CA right off the bat?

Thanks for hearing me out.


I am not qualified to comment on your opportunities after a few years out of law school based on my experience (I am not yet a lawyer). However, I can offer the following reasoning. Going to either one of these regional schools means that the vast majority of your professional network from school as well as the influence of your school (perceived prestige, law firms that they attract to OCI and so on) will be maximally located near where you attend law school. That means that the majority of fellow alumni, including hiring partners, will be near the region where you studied. This makes it easier to find jobs, to get promoted once you're in a firm, to get mentoring, and simply to have a more successful career.
However, there are BC alumni all over the country and I'm sure that there are USC alumni all over the country. The problem is that the concentration of alumni from either school at a location far from their homebase (i.e. the region of a school's maximum influence) is dramatically thinned out.
This will mean that you will have to do a huge networking and job-hunting effort in order to snatch a good job outside of your school's homebase. It also means that it'll be that much harder to get promoted, to get mentored, and to grow in a firm. If I'm a BC alum, and I'm a partner at a firm, who do you think I'll be supporting more? The USC associate at my firm or the BC associate at my firm (assuming that all else is equal)? The same concept applies to hiring.
Those are just my $.02, but note that I'm just thinking through the situation and I am not speaking from actual experience.

timbs4339
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Re: I think I'm about to make a bad decision...

Postby timbs4339 » Mon Jun 17, 2013 10:01 am

It definitely would not be impossible to go from a firm in MA to a firm in CA, but it might be significantly harder. A few things to keep in mind:

1) You still have less than a 50% chance of getting a job at a big or mid-size firm out of BC (and USC, but let's do BC for a moment since you want to stay on the east cost). After firm work and a few other very small hiring categories, the jobs you get become very local, very quickly. What I mean is that you will not be getting experience with multi-district securities litigation, M&A, or federal IP law (i.e. easily transferable experience) but with local law. And that is going to make it harder to up and switch locations and find a comparable job, because you will be learning the substantive state law from scratch.

2) The CA bar is the hardest in the nation. You should research the "waive-in" policy (how long it takes for an admitted lawyer from another jurisdiction to be eligible to become a member of the bar without taking the exam). IIRC it's usually something like 5 years.

froglee
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Re: I think I'm about to make a bad decision...

Postby froglee » Mon Jun 17, 2013 10:36 am

schrutefarms wrote:I've lived in Boston, that city is miserable. If you want to work in California, your best bet is USC.


Why did you say Boston is miserable

dixiecupdrinking
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Re: I think I'm about to make a bad decision...

Postby dixiecupdrinking » Mon Jun 17, 2013 12:31 pm

timbs4339 wrote:It definitely would not be impossible to go from a firm in MA to a firm in CA, but it might be significantly harder. A few things to keep in mind:

1) You still have less than a 50% chance of getting a job at a big or mid-size firm out of BC (and USC, but let's do BC for a moment since you want to stay on the east cost). After firm work and a few other very small hiring categories, the jobs you get become very local, very quickly. What I mean is that you will not be getting experience with multi-district securities litigation, M&A, or federal IP law (i.e. easily transferable experience) but with local law. And that is going to make it harder to up and switch locations and find a comparable job, because you will be learning the substantive state law from scratch.

2) The CA bar is the hardest in the nation. You should research the "waive-in" policy (how long it takes for an admitted lawyer from another jurisdiction to be eligible to become a member of the bar without taking the exam). IIRC it's usually something like 5 years.

If I understand correctly, it's impossible to waive into California from any other jurisdiction (except you don't have to retake the MBE). Not a huge deal, but yet another roadblock.

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DoveBodyWash
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Re: I think I'm about to make a bad decision...

Postby DoveBodyWash » Mon Jun 17, 2013 3:09 pm

Boston native here. Go to SC.

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stillwater
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Re: I think I'm about to make a bad decision...

Postby stillwater » Mon Jun 17, 2013 10:44 pm

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Last edited by stillwater on Tue Oct 01, 2013 10:17 pm, edited 1 time in total.




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