Location or Cost?

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trackstar953
Posts: 37
Joined: Fri Dec 28, 2012 10:02 pm

Location or Cost?

Postby trackstar953 » Wed Dec 25, 2013 1:19 am

Situation:

Just graduated from undergrad and my numbers are 3.45 LSAC GPA and a 163 LSAT. I've applied to mostly schools in the Southeast/Mid-Atlantic region because that is where my fiancee and I would eventually like to end up (think Maryland, Virginia, the Carolinas, or Georgia). These schools are mostly ranked in the 20s and 30s by U.S. News and World Report and all place well in those states. So far I have heard from 2 of the 5 schools and have been accepted to both, offered in state tuition at one and am currently in the negotiations process with another (expecting substantial money but not a full ride). Of the remaining 3 I am expecting one acceptance, though not much money, and two probable wait lists.

Meanwhile, I also applied to a large state school in the midwest that's ranked in the high 80s by U.S. News and World Report and that places very well in the nearby large city and a few surrounding states. I applied here as a "safety" school, since I have family in the area and it's my folks' alma mater, but they have since accepted me and offered my a full tuition and fees scholarship to attend. This is not the area that I want to end up though.

Question:

So my question is, if I want to end up in the Mid-Atlantic/Southeast region (right now I'm interested in anything from IP Law to Big Law, going to use law school as an opportunity to narrow down my focus) is it a good idea to attend the midwestern state school and emerge virtually debt free but with little ties to my desired market. Or would it be more advantageous to attend one of the higher ranked and better located schools in the Carolina/Virginia area but have to rack up at least some debt since I likely will not be getting a full ride to those universities.

As a point of reference I am carrying about $40,000 in debt coming out of Undergrad so even with some scholarship, my school debt could easily hit 6 figures by the time I'm done.

NavyOfficer23
Posts: 50
Joined: Mon Oct 08, 2012 2:44 pm

Re: Location or Cost?

Postby NavyOfficer23 » Wed Dec 25, 2013 1:35 am

I vote for location under your proposition. That part of the country can be very hesitant to hire people without ties to the south.

But, consider a third option: go to the midwest school, kick ass in law school (high GPA, law review, etc.), graduate with no debt, try for work in your desired region. (a) - get the job you want, problem solved, or (b) take a high-paying Big Law job for a few years, accumulate some wealth, then lateral into your desired location. Under this option, you could use your summers to prove your desire to return to that geographic location to get (a) instead of (b).

Hope that helps.

BigZuck
Posts: 10852
Joined: Tue Sep 04, 2012 9:53 am

Re: Location or Cost?

Postby BigZuck » Wed Dec 25, 2013 1:46 am

Navy's advice is terrible. Please ignore it.

You need to provide us with all this info to get productive feedback:

viewtopic.php?f=1&t=206299

Based on what you have provided so far, the Midwest school is almost certainly out. But so might be the other schools. If you want big law then you need to set your sights on a T14, preferably Duke or UVA. Both should be within reach with a solid retake.

User avatar
d cooper
Posts: 306
Joined: Fri Dec 20, 2013 2:21 pm

Re: Location or Cost?

Postby d cooper » Wed Dec 25, 2013 1:03 pm

Where are you getting info on these schools and how they place? Law School Transparency is currently the best source for employment data. Based on your description, the midwest school is probably Michigan State University or the University of Cincinnati. Michigan State is not worth attending even for free, and I'd be very wary of attending Cincinnati — especially if Ohio isn't where you want to be for at least the first decade of your career — with even a full ride.

http://www.lstscorereports.com/?school=msu
http://www.lstscorereports.com/?school=cincinnati

Your best option would be to retake the LSAT for a 170+, and attend either a T14 with a small scholarship (Duke and Virginia would keep you in the area), or take a full ride to one of those five regional schools you're considering. Which option you choose will depend on your goals.

TigerDude
Posts: 174
Joined: Wed Oct 30, 2013 2:42 pm

Re: Location or Cost?

Postby TigerDude » Wed Dec 25, 2013 1:22 pm

Recognize that your target schools are called trap schools because their rankings give you hope that you will get a good employment outcome, but reality says there is a good chance you will get nothing or a low-playing small firm job. Attending without debt attenuates this, but there is also a 3-year opportunity cost of attending law school, if nothing else. Everyone at the schools will be just as smart as you and will be competing for the same limited number of jobs those grads get.

Your midwest option sound great for debt, awful for anything else. You would have to find your own paths to jobs where you want to be.

Good luck and Godspeed.

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

Re: Location or Cost?

Postby timbs4339 » Wed Dec 25, 2013 5:42 pm

BigZuck wrote:Navy's advice is terrible. Please ignore it.

You need to provide us with all this info to get productive feedback:

viewtopic.php?f=1&t=206299

Based on what you have provided so far, the Midwest school is almost certainly out. But so might be the other schools. If you want big law then you need to set your sights on a T14, preferably Duke or UVA. Both should be within reach with a solid retake.


Seconded. There are like 60000 applicants each year, they aren't going to care enough to out you.

Your goals also sound like you just want biglaw. How does being a DA, public defender, or a small firm lawyer (not IP, think wills, personal bankruptcy, personal injury, or divorce type stuff) sound?

nebula666
Posts: 780
Joined: Sat Aug 25, 2012 12:19 pm

Re: Location or Cost?

Postby nebula666 » Wed Dec 25, 2013 8:22 pm

NavyOfficer23 wrote:I vote for location under your proposition. That part of the country can be very hesitant to hire people without ties to the south.

But, consider a third option: go to the midwest school, kick ass in law school (high GPA, law review, etc.), graduate with no debt, try for work in your desired region. (a) - get the job you want, problem solved, or (b) take a high-paying Big Law job for a few years, accumulate some wealth, then lateral into your desired location. Under this option, you could use your summers to prove your desire to return to that geographic location to get (a) instead of (b).

Hope that helps
.


Just no. Maybe instead OP can teach some inner-city children to start their own space program via skype while climbing Mount Everest naked. Finishing in the Top 5% at some random school OP should not attend under any circumstances is not an "option" OP should consider. I don't even want to imagine what your law school situation is if you think this is solid advice.

OP a few things:

1. Don't go to a non-t14 school in a state in which you are not willing to work for a significant amount of time upon graduation, no matter how cheap it is. The rankings don't matter for the schools to which you should be applying. If there is a school in the "80's" in the midwest that will offer you a full ride, then there is one in an area in which you would actually like to work that will do the same.

2. You need to seriously consider what your future holds. You are interested in anything from "IP law to Big Law," whatever the hell that means. I'm not even sure why IP law and biglaw are mutually exclusive. Big isn't an area of law. If you aren't willing to work at a small firm paying ~ $50k upon graduation (which is considered a good outcome from most of these schools) then you shouldn't be going at all.

3. Retake. You just graduated from undergrad. Take a year off and max your LSAT score. Get a job and pay off some of that $40k in the meantime.




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