Vanderbilt vs. Strong Southern Regional

(Rankings, Profiles, Tuition, Student Life, . . . )

Vandy or Regional?

Vandy with no/little $
8
21%
Strong Regional with $$
30
79%
 
Total votes: 38

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AT9
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Vanderbilt vs. Strong Southern Regional

Postby AT9 » Sun Nov 24, 2013 6:34 pm

This past week was good to me, as I was surprisingly admitted to both WUSTL and Vandy (my definite favorite). I'm still months away from making a decision, but I can see that it will eventually boil down to Vandy, most likely with no or little scholarship aid, vs. a strong/decent regional with scholarship aid. Assuming my wife can find some sort of employment while I'm in school, the COL will be covered or mostly covered. For that reason, I'm only going to list the approximate tuition/fees costs with the scholarships I've received so far. Here are some of the sample options:

Vandy: $150K
UGA: $39K
FSU: $21K
SMU: $50K
W&M: $57K
(there are other similar schools I haven't heard from yet)

Other considerations:

I want to practice in land use/property/energy law, though I don't really care in what form of employment it may be, so long as the pay is decent ($60K+ at least after a couple years). I'm not aiming for biglaw, but I'm not necessarily opposed to it if the opportunity were available. My wife and I prefer to live in South, but we're not set on any given state or city; my general geographic preference would be: South/Texas>>Central/Upper Midwest>Mountain states (CO, NM, etc.)>Northeast/Pacific Coast>>>Great Lakes I have a fall-back option at my current job in a small/mid-size law firm, where I could at least get my current job back and possibly a job as an attorney if nothing else opens up...though it's definitely not something I prefer to do, I know I at least won't be relegated to flipping burgers. In order of the strength of my ties: Deep South >>> Upper Midwest >>>Texas/Colorado. The scholarship stips above are either good standing or fairly generous.

So, given these considerations, which option is better and why? Is it better to keep debt under control and go to some place like UGA, or does Vandy's domination in the South (seems like Duke and UVA placement focuses elsewhere) and greater geographic flexibility make it worth the extra $? If not, at what price would Vandy be worth the extra cost? And yes, I know Vandy is also considered a regional school, but the other schools I'm considering place almost exclusively in their home states.

I appreciate help with any of my questions!

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Louis1127
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Re: Vanderbilt vs. Strong Southern Regional

Postby Louis1127 » Sun Nov 24, 2013 11:58 pm

AT9 wrote:This past week was good to me, as I was surprisingly admitted to both WUSTL and Vandy (my definite favorite). I'm still months away from making a decision, but I can see that it will eventually boil down to Vandy, most likely with no or little scholarship aid, vs. a strong/decent regional with scholarship aid. Assuming my wife can find some sort of employment while I'm in school, the COL will be covered or mostly covered. For that reason, I'm only going to list the approximate tuition/fees costs with the scholarships I've received so far. Here are some of the sample options:

Vandy: $150K
UGA: $39K
FSU: $21K
SMU: $50K
W&M: $57K
(there are other similar schools I haven't heard from yet)

Other considerations:

I want to practice in land use/property/energy law, though I don't really care in what form of employment it may be, so long as the pay is decent ($60K+ at least after a couple years). I'm not aiming for biglaw, but I'm not necessarily opposed to it if the opportunity were available. My wife and I prefer to live in South, but we're not set on any given state or city; my general geographic preference would be: South/Texas>>Central/Upper Midwest>Mountain states (CO, NM, etc.)>Northeast/Pacific Coast>>>Great Lakes I have a fall-back option at my current job in a small/mid-size law firm, where I could at least get my current job back and possibly a job as an attorney if nothing else opens up...though it's definitely not something I prefer to do, I know I at least won't be relegated to flipping burgers. In order of the strength of my ties: Deep South >>> Upper Midwest >>>Texas/Colorado. The scholarship stips above are either good standing or fairly generous.

So, given these considerations, which option is better and why? Is it better to keep debt under control and go to some place like UGA, or does Vandy's domination in the South (seems like Duke and UVA placement focuses elsewhere) and greater geographic flexibility make it worth the extra $? If not, at what price would Vandy be worth the extra cost? And yes, I know Vandy is also considered a regional school, but the other schools I'm considering place almost exclusively in their home states.

I appreciate help with any of my questions!


Sounds like Bama would be right up your alley. Bama is generous with schollies, but beware of those stips. I see that you have applied. Have you heard form them? You're likely going to get some serious money from them.

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AT9
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Re: Vanderbilt vs. Strong Southern Regional

Postby AT9 » Mon Nov 25, 2013 11:02 am

Haven't heard from Bama yet; they just sent out their first round of acceptances last week, so hopefully I'll hear soon!

Ti Malice
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Re: Vanderbilt vs. Strong Southern Regional

Postby Ti Malice » Mon Nov 25, 2013 12:24 pm

Where in the South do you have ties? An employer in Montgomery, AL isn't going to care much about your ties to Richmond, VA.

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sublime
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Re: Vanderbilt vs. Strong Southern Regional

Postby sublime » Mon Nov 25, 2013 12:31 pm

..

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AT9
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Re: Vanderbilt vs. Strong Southern Regional

Postby AT9 » Mon Nov 25, 2013 1:58 pm

My ties are strongest in the "Deep South," so think AL, GA, northern FL, LA, and MS. I don't want to give my specific location, but it's located right in the heart of that region.

I haven't received an offer from WUSTL yet. I'd be fine with Midwest if I can't get Texas and I get $$ at WUSTL! However, I don't know how realistic it is to get much from WUSTL, Bama, Emory, etc. I was shocked to get into Vandy so early, or at all for that matter.

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sublime
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Re: Vanderbilt vs. Strong Southern Regional

Postby sublime » Mon Nov 25, 2013 2:00 pm

..

gregfootball2001
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Re: Vanderbilt vs. Strong Southern Regional

Postby gregfootball2001 » Mon Nov 25, 2013 3:43 pm

AT9 wrote:
Vandy: $150K
UGA: $39K
FSU: $21K
SMU: $50K
W&M: $57K
(there are other similar schools I haven't heard from yet)

My wife and I prefer to live in South, but we're not set on any given state or city; my general geographic preference would be: South/Texas>>Central/Upper Midwest>Mountain states (CO, NM, etc.)>Northeast/Pacific Coast>>>Great Lakes I have a fall-back option at my current job in a small/mid-size law firm, where I could at least get my current job back and possibly a job as an attorney if nothing else opens up...though it's definitely not something I prefer to do, I know I at least won't be relegated to flipping burgers. In order of the strength of my ties: Deep South >>> Upper Midwest >>>Texas/Colorado. The scholarship stips above are either good standing or fairly generous.


FSU's Large firm score + fed clerking is 7%. http://www.lstscorereports.com/?school=fsu
SMU's is 17.4%. http://www.lstscorereports.com/?school=smu
W&M's is 18.6%. http://www.lstscorereports.com/?school=wm
UGA's is 24%. http://www.lstscorereports.com/?school=georgia
Vandy's is 38.8%. http://www.lstscorereports.com/?school=vanderbilt

I'd throw out FSU just for that. Ouch.

The rest are kinda close, with Georgia giving you more leeway. They're all pretty state specific, though - hell, (full disclosure) I go to Georgia, and I wouldn't want to have to find a job in another state. It's done, but it's way easier to stay here.

In the end, if it was me, I'd prolly go to Vandy. Top 40% or so isn't nearly as hard as top 25%. To me, the extra 15% or so of employment security is worth the $100k. However, I'd understand if you don't think it's worth it. In that case, I'd prolly pick Georgia - low price with not horrible employment numbers.

Also, keep in mind that for some of these schools, finding a job for your wife might be easier said than done. I don't know what she does, but Athens is a small town. I can't speak for the other schools. Just something to keep in mind.

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Hipster but Athletic
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Re: Vanderbilt vs. Strong Southern Regional

Postby Hipster but Athletic » Mon Nov 25, 2013 4:14 pm

Most of the people I know who took money at my T1 instead of going to a T14, and went to an elite undergrad, ended up in the top 25% and landed biglaw. Just to say, taking money at a school with reasonable prospects (i.e. biglaw + fed > 20%) is smart because you'll be smarter than the other people in your class. I, on the other hand, reached to get in to this school (terrible UGPA) and am only about as smart as the average guy here. Therefore, job finding is tougher for me.

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sublime
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Re: Vanderbilt vs. Strong Southern Regional

Postby sublime » Mon Nov 25, 2013 4:48 pm

..

Ti Malice
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Re: Vanderbilt vs. Strong Southern Regional

Postby Ti Malice » Mon Nov 25, 2013 4:54 pm

AT9 wrote:My ties are strongest in the "Deep South," so think AL, GA, northern FL, LA, and MS. I don't want to give my specific location, but it's located right in the heart of that region.


Well, my point was that "Deep South" often isn't going to count as sufficient ties to a particular area. If, for instance, you don't have ties to Alabama, you will be at a disadvantage when looking for work there. Furthermore, employers in New Orleans, Atlanta, and Tallahassee are going to be much less receptive to a JD than they will be to a T14 / Vandy / in-state JD. And forget about W&M for any of the states you've listed.

Anyway, it's going to be tough for anyone to give you very good advice if you're not going to be more specific than naming a region spanning five states when asked where you have ties. In general, then, consider low-cost local schools in the specific state(s) where you have ties, with the understanding that the degree probably won't take you outside the state, or consider Vandy if it won't leave you in significantly more than $100K of debt at repayment.

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vicpin5190
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Re: Vanderbilt vs. Strong Southern Regional

Postby vicpin5190 » Mon Nov 25, 2013 5:48 pm

sublime wrote:
gregfootball2001 wrote:
AT9 wrote:
Vandy: $150K
UGA: $39K
FSU: $21K
SMU: $50K
W&M: $57K
(there are other similar schools I haven't heard from yet)

My wife and I prefer to live in South, but we're not set on any given state or city; my general geographic preference would be: South/Texas>>Central/Upper Midwest>Mountain states (CO, NM, etc.)>Northeast/Pacific Coast>>>Great Lakes I have a fall-back option at my current job in a small/mid-size law firm, where I could at least get my current job back and possibly a job as an attorney if nothing else opens up...though it's definitely not something I prefer to do, I know I at least won't be relegated to flipping burgers. In order of the strength of my ties: Deep South >>> Upper Midwest >>>Texas/Colorado. The scholarship stips above are either good standing or fairly generous.


FSU's Large firm score + fed clerking is 7%. http://www.lstscorereports.com/?school=fsu
SMU's is 17.4%. http://www.lstscorereports.com/?school=smu
W&M's is 18.6%. http://www.lstscorereports.com/?school=wm
UGA's is 24%. http://www.lstscorereports.com/?school=georgia
Vandy's is 38.8%. http://www.lstscorereports.com/?school=vanderbilt

I'd throw out FSU just for that. Ouch.

The rest are kinda close, with Georgia giving you more leeway. They're all pretty state specific, though - hell, (full disclosure) I go to Georgia, and I wouldn't want to have to find a job in another state. It's done, but it's way easier to stay here.

In the end, if it was me, I'd prolly go to Vandy. Top 40% or so isn't nearly as hard as top 25%. To me, the extra 15% or so of employment security is worth the $100k. However, I'd understand if you don't think it's worth it. In that case, I'd prolly pick Georgia - low price with not horrible employment numbers.

Also, keep in mind that for some of these schools, finding a job for your wife might be easier said than done. I don't know what she does, but Athens is a small town. I can't speak for the other schools. Just something to keep in mind.



But if you are going to FSU essentially for free, you don't need biglaw. Although with Vandy at sticker, you probably would


+1

Though the large firm score isn't high, at least according to LST, they have the highest employment score in the state by about about 10% (65.4% vs. UF's 55.6%). At least given what OP he has stated about the package he has gotten from FSU, I think that FSU could be a great choice, especially if the scholi has no stips. Neither FSU nor UF may be ranked very highly, and yes rankings below t14 are meaningless, but I think they present a tremendously better value than to take Vandy at full price, IF OP is fine settling in in Florida. If you are leaving with total costs of attendance (excluding COL) being 21K, your employment needs open up a whole lot more in terms of salary requirements. A 7% large firm score may point to a lower reward outcome but you are also looking at much lower risk than taking on insurmountable debt at full price. It's all about OPs needs and ties of course, but that's my $0.02. I'd personally go with FSU in this case if I were OP.

rad lulz
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Re: Vanderbilt vs. Strong Southern Regional

Postby rad lulz » Mon Nov 25, 2013 5:51 pm

All depend on $

Wait for $

rad lulz
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Re: Vanderbilt vs. Strong Southern Regional

Postby rad lulz » Mon Nov 25, 2013 5:58 pm

Ti Malice wrote:
AT9 wrote:My ties are strongest in the "Deep South," so think AL, GA, northern FL, LA, and MS. I don't want to give my specific location, but it's located right in the heart of that region.


Well, my point was that "Deep South" often isn't going to count as sufficient ties to a particular area. If, for instance, you don't have ties to Alabama, you will be at a disadvantage when looking for work there. Furthermore, employers in New Orleans, Atlanta, and Tallahassee are going to be much less receptive to a JD than they will be to a T14 / Vandy / in-state JD. And forget about W&M for any of the states you've listed.

Anyway, it's going to be tough for anyone to give you very good advice if you're not going to be more specific than naming a region spanning five states when asked where you have ties. In general, then, consider low-cost local schools in the specific state(s) where you have ties, with the understanding that the degree probably won't take you outside the state, or consider Vandy if it won't leave you in significantly more than $100K of debt at repayment.

Agree

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AT9
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Re: Vanderbilt vs. Strong Southern Regional

Postby AT9 » Mon Nov 25, 2013 8:37 pm

Alright alright, I live and have the strongest ties in the extreme western edge of the Florida panhandle. So, I'm a 2 1/2 hour drive away (or less) from LA, MS, AL, and GA state lines - only 15 minutes from AL. I'm as close or closer to New Orleans and Montgomery as I am to Tallahassee. I'm closer to Birmingham and as close to Atlanta as I am to the nearest large city in Florida, Jacksonville, and I don't really have ties in any other part of Florida.

I agree that FSU at $21K tuition (or less if they negotiate) is a pretty good offer, especially since I'm not aiming for biglaw. The only problem is that my wife and I, especially my wife, would prefer to live somewhere other than the FL panhandle.

However, my main question of whether or not Vandy is worth it with little/no scholarship aid seems to have been answered. Guess I'll just have to wait and see.

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Re: Vanderbilt vs. Strong Southern Regional

Postby Cicero76 » Tue Nov 26, 2013 3:47 pm

FSU at 21k is a great deal, with the caveat that biglaw in Florida basically doesn't exist outside of a few jobs reserved for T14 grads and top 10% at UF/FSU. But with a debt load of only 20-30k, you genuinely would not need biglaw after graduation, and FSU's employment stats are otherwise decent.

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Re: Vanderbilt vs. Strong Southern Regional

Postby BigZuck » Tue Nov 26, 2013 4:03 pm

Rad could probably speak to this more (assuming you can get him to write more than one or two words) but I'm guessing you're going to be considered more of a FL bro than anything, regardless of your distance from New Orleans.

I think Vandy is a definite no at sticker.

Agreed that 20ishK at FL sounds like a good deal but be prepared to work somewhere in FL

Also, retake

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AT9
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Re: Vanderbilt vs. Strong Southern Regional

Postby AT9 » Tue Nov 26, 2013 5:42 pm

Thanks for the additional input. With the reasonable offers I have at FSU, UGA, etc, at what price would Vandy be a better deal? $100k? Less?

I know that depends on the specific school, but I'm curious to find out at what point it would be reasonable. I really want Vandy, but not so bad that I'd take $100k+ more in debt.

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Re: Vanderbilt vs. Strong Southern Regional

Postby BigZuck » Tue Nov 26, 2013 6:00 pm

AT9 wrote:Thanks for the additional input. With the reasonable offers I have at FSU, UGA, etc, at what price would Vandy be a better deal? $100k? Less?

I know that depends on the specific school, but I'm curious to find out at what point it would be reasonable. I really want Vandy, but not so bad that I'd take $100k+ more in debt.


100K would be about max for Vandy in my opinion.

You're kind of all over the place with your career goals and especially geographical preferences. I think Vandy is by far the best choice for "Yeah I would take big law if I could get it but I'm ok with working at a small firm" but 150K is just too damn much to pay for that. Given what you presented us with I would just cop a full ride to a Florida school at roll with that.

Actually I personally would retake and go to Vandy for cheapsies but sounds like you're not going to do that.

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Re: Vanderbilt vs. Strong Southern Regional

Postby badaboom61 » Tue Nov 26, 2013 6:59 pm

AT9 wrote:Alright alright, I live and have the strongest ties in the extreme western edge of the Florida panhandle. So, I'm a 2 1/2 hour drive away (or less) from LA, MS, AL, and GA state lines - only 15 minutes from AL. I'm as close or closer to New Orleans and Montgomery as I am to Tallahassee. I'm closer to Birmingham and as close to Atlanta as I am to the nearest large city in Florida, Jacksonville, and I don't really have ties in any other part of Florida.


Unfortunately, this basically means that you have "ties" to nowhere. Places are absurdly and unnecessarily parochial about hiring, especially summer associate hiring. You could still work your way into a few markets by going to law school near there. Your best bets are Bama --> Birmingham, FL/FSU --> Jax/Orlando/Tampa, Vandy --> Atlanta, maybe Birmingham, or T14 --> NYC/DC. I would avoid even UGA/Emory, and don't even bother thinking about SMU or W&M.

Southern markets are in the gutter in terms of hiring right now, possibly with the exception of Birmingham. Your best bet, if you can swing it, would be to (possibly retake and) get into a T14 school, go to a major market for a bit, then lateral back south if you don't like it. Hiring is just so low, and without any real ties to anywhere your best shot at gainful employment is a big firm in a big market, and the best way to get there is a top school.

Ti Malice
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Re: Vanderbilt vs. Strong Southern Regional

Postby Ti Malice » Tue Nov 26, 2013 7:04 pm

By the way, remember to think of debt as what you'll owe at the beginning of repayment. Even if you were to take out $33,333 in loans for your 1L year, interest and annual tuition increases mean you would owe more than $120K at repayment.

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AT9
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Re: Vanderbilt vs. Strong Southern Regional

Postby AT9 » Tue Nov 26, 2013 8:51 pm

BigZuck wrote:100K would be about max for Vandy in my opinion.

You're kind of all over the place with your career goals and especially geographical preferences. I think Vandy is by far the best choice for "Yeah I would take big law if I could get it but I'm ok with working at a small firm" but 150K is just too damn much to pay for that. Given what you presented us with I would just cop a full ride to a Florida school at roll with that.

Actually I personally would retake and go to Vandy for cheapsies but sounds like you're not going to do that.


Gotcha. I generally know what field I want to work in, I just don't know exactly where or in what type of setting. I was a military kid who lived all over the country, so my geographic preferences are there, but not all important.

badaboom61 wrote:Unfortunately, this basically means that you have "ties" to nowhere. Places are absurdly and unnecessarily parochial about hiring, especially summer associate hiring. You could still work your way into a few markets by going to law school near there. Your best bets are Bama --> Birmingham, FL/FSU --> Jax/Orlando/Tampa, Vandy --> Atlanta, maybe Birmingham, or T14 --> NYC/DC. I would avoid even UGA/Emory, and don't even bother thinking about SMU or W&M.

Southern markets are in the gutter in terms of hiring right now, possibly with the exception of Birmingham. Your best bet, if you can swing it, would be to (possibly retake and) get into a T14 school, go to a major market for a bit, then lateral back south if you don't like it. Hiring is just so low, and without any real ties to anywhere your best shot at gainful employment is a big firm in a big market, and the best way to get there is a top school.


Tell me about it. But why avoid UGA/Emory? I don't see why Bama-->Birmingham is a better bet than Emory/UGA-->Atlanta if price is similar. Seems like Alabama would be more insular than metro ATL. Also, why not SMU or W&M if I'm ok working in those markets? From what I hear from SMU people, ties are helpful but not critical in the major TX markets (where I have loose ties). Remember I do have a fall-back plan here, and I work closely with several firms in various parts throughout the country that could also be helpful with networking, so it's not the end of the world if I can't find a land something in the immediate region of the school. The only reason I'm not aiming to work with my current firm is that I don't think I want to do their type of work: product liability.

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sublime
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Re: Vanderbilt vs. Strong Southern Regional

Postby sublime » Tue Nov 26, 2013 9:30 pm

..

BigZuck
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Re: Vanderbilt vs. Strong Southern Regional

Postby BigZuck » Tue Nov 26, 2013 9:44 pm

sublime wrote:Dallas and Houston have a reputation for not being as insular as most of the rest of the South and midwest (minus Chicago).


I could be off base here but it sounds like Dallas might be somewhat more insular than Houston. But yeah, Texas sounds a lot less insular than the rest of the South (if its even in the South). Texas has also been kind of an up and coming place to live for a few years now so employers probably have less of a chip on their shoulder/fear that people really are interested in their personality despite their looks.

OP- I think people are saying avoid the Georgia schools because Atlanta is where dreams of gainful legal employment go to die.

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AT9
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Re: Vanderbilt vs. Strong Southern Regional

Postby AT9 » Tue Nov 26, 2013 9:49 pm

Yeah, I don't really consider Texas to be part of "the South." Having lived there before, it's a region unto itself. I get that I'd be at a disadvantage interviewing in Alabama against a guy who has generations of family in Birmingham or something, but I don't think super-ties are as important in new, large transport cities like Dallas and Houston. People have been moving there in droves from all over. But, I could be wrong, and that's why I'm posting here.

Edit: to be more straightforward, SMU is probably my second or third choice right now. Why? I really like Texas, it has a great economy (good for my wife's chances at getting a decent job), it's semi-close to family, I have some minor ties, and we wouldn't have to pull out all stops and move some place else after law school like we would in someplace like Gainesville, Athens, Tuscaloosa, etc. My $90K discount is also free of stips besides good standing.




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