Alabama-- what's it like?

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georgej
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Alabama-- what's it like?

Postby georgej » Mon Jan 06, 2014 8:30 pm

So I got an email from Alabama today with not only a fee waiver but also (and more importantly) an offer of a $30 itunes gift card. That would mean, subtracting the LSAC $25 processing fee, I'd actually net $5 of itunes money. Therefore, I am sending in an app.

This excitement got me wondering though... is Alabama a good school? Is Alabama a good state? It seems like it does okay relative to other similarly ranked schools in the South East employment wise, but coming from California I'm inherently distrustful of the entire state since the whole racist, church bombing, segregation issues it had back in the 50s and 60s. Am I living in the past?

I really want to leave California. I have no ties anywhere else except the fricken panhandle of Idaho and rural New Hamshire, so anywhere I go to school I'll be starting fresh. I am bringing my wife to support me financially during law school, so I'm also wondering if there are any decent paying office jobs in Tuscaloosa. Also, is it pretty there? I have tried Google image searching, and all the pictures that come up just show tornado destruction. Is this a permanent feature of the city?

As I see it, I'm up right now if I walk away with my $5 itunes money, so I'm happy. But if I get a gigantic scholarship (which people with similar numbers to mine have gotten in past cycles according to LSN) should I let myself be swayed if its between Alabama and, say, Northwestern @ sticker?

Thanks for your thoughts.

Lwoods1020
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Re: Alabama-- what's it like?

Postby Lwoods1020 » Mon Jan 06, 2014 8:53 pm

georgej wrote:So I got an email from Alabama today with not only a fee waiver but also (and more importantly) an offer of a $30 itunes gift card. That would mean, subtracting the LSAC $25 processing fee, I'd actually net $5 of itunes money. Therefore, I am sending in an app.

This excitement got me wondering though... is Alabama a good school? Is Alabama a good state? It seems like it does okay relative to other similarly ranked schools in the South East employment wise, but coming from California I'm inherently distrustful of the entire state since the whole racist, church bombing, segregation issues it had back in the 50s and 60s. Am I living in the past?

I really want to leave California. I have no ties anywhere else except the fricken panhandle of Idaho and rural New Hamshire, so anywhere I go to school I'll be starting fresh. I am bringing my wife to support me financially during law school, so I'm also wondering if there are any decent paying office jobs in Tuscaloosa. Also, is it pretty there? I have tried Google image searching, and all the pictures that come up just show tornado destruction. Is this a permanent feature of the city?

As I see it, I'm up right now if I walk away with my $5 itunes money, so I'm happy. But if I get a gigantic scholarship (which people with similar numbers to mine have gotten in past cycles according to LSN) should I let myself be swayed if its between Alabama and, say, Northwestern @ sticker?

Thanks for your thoughts.


You are thinking of the past. The southern culture is charming. I have had the most fun weekends of my college career there and the employment rate at UAlabama for after graduation is awesome. Low cost of living, nice people, and no cold weather, and awesome football.. if you get in and its not gonna put you in 100k of debt (or if you're fine with that like many of us) do it.

timbs4339
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Re: Alabama-- what's it like?

Postby timbs4339 » Mon Jan 06, 2014 10:55 pm

Do you want to work in Alabama? What kind of law do you want to do?

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phillywc
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Re: Alabama-- what's it like?

Postby phillywc » Mon Jan 06, 2014 11:24 pm

Alabama is actually a pretty good school for a lot of folks with a decent scholly. You are not one of those folks. No ties + deep seated fear of the south = don't go even if they pay you.

BigZuck
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Re: Alabama-- what's it like?

Postby BigZuck » Mon Jan 06, 2014 11:34 pm

Lwoods1020 wrote:You are thinking of the past. The southern culture is charming. I have had the most fun weekends of my college career there and the employment rate at UAlabama for after graduation is awesome. Low cost of living, nice people, and no cold weather, and awesome football.. if you get in and its not gonna put you in 100k of debt (or if you're fine with that like many of us) do it.


Ugh

I think this post is much better:

phillywc wrote:Alabama is actually a pretty good school for a lot of folks with a decent scholly. You are not one of those folks. No ties + deep seated fear of the south = don't go even if they pay you.


I wouldn't go to any regional without ties to that region, especially if the region tends to be parochial or not have a lot of jobs, like a lot of places in the south. At the very least, if you were deadset on Alabama I would move there and live a couple years to see how you like/if you want to live there for a long time after school and to establish ties. Also, I wouldn't expect an Alabama degree to travel much further than the borders of Alabama.

It's also not as simple as Alabama with a scholarship versus Northwestern at sticker. That question totally depends on what kind of job after graduation and we can't really answer that question if you don't tell us what you're aiming for.

Anyway, if you want out of CA I would actually move to the region you're most strongly considering first. I don't think law school should be the first time you set foot in a state (except maybe if it's an elite school). I can see a lot of potential perils if that's how you go about it, but maybe other people with disagree.

Lwoods1020
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Re: Alabama-- what's it like?

Postby Lwoods1020 » Mon Jan 06, 2014 11:48 pm

To all of the posts after mine : really good points. I rescind what I said because I am biased.

Roll tide.

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rickgrimes69
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Re: Alabama-- what's it like?

Postby rickgrimes69 » Tue Jan 07, 2014 1:23 am

Agree wholeheartedly with philly and BZ. OP should check out 'Bama to see if he likes it first.

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Louis1127
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Re: Alabama-- what's it like?

Postby Louis1127 » Tue Jan 07, 2014 1:44 am

georgej wrote: Is Alabama a good state?


I go to undergrad here at Bama and lived in the state for 5 years, and my home state is MS, which is pretty much a clone of AL. If you are not from the south, the answer to this question will probably be "no". The people at my undergrad who are not from the south either don't understand the south or openly hate it. It is quite different from everywhere in the county.

Having said that, the university and the law school are not nearly as backwoods/redneck as the state as a whole.

Also, if you want to work somewhere other than the south, going to law school in Alabama is probably a bad idea.

If you want other more specific details on what Tuscaloosa or the rest of Alabama is like, feel free to PM me.

Edited b/c I first thought you said you wanted to work in California (I misread your post).

Lwoods1020
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Re: Alabama-- what's it like?

Postby Lwoods1020 » Tue Jan 07, 2014 1:49 am

Louis1127 wrote:
georgej wrote: Is Alabama a good state?


I go to undergrad here at Bama and lived in the state for 5 years, and my home state is MS, which is pretty much a clone of AL. If you are not from the south, the answer to this question will probably be "no". The people at my undergrad who are not from the south either don't understand the south or openly hate it. It is quite different from everywhere in the county.

Having said that, the university and the law school are not nearly as backwoods/redneck as the state as a whole.

Also, if you want to work somewhere other than the south, going to law school in Alabama is probably a bad idea.

If you want other more specific details on what Tuscaloosa or the rest of Alabama is like, feel free to PM me.

Edited b/c I first thought you said you wanted to work in California (I misread your post).

off topic: I am a yankee and I loveeeeee the south and bama and fit in undetected... we're not all bad!

chingwoo
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Re: Alabama-- what's it like?

Postby chingwoo » Tue Jan 07, 2014 3:17 am

34.5k OOS tuition, and scholarship friendly is a huge plus. They also have slightly higher clerkship stats that most schools near their ranking.

Warning, I am a 0l considering them.

BigZuck
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Re: Alabama-- what's it like?

Postby BigZuck » Tue Jan 07, 2014 3:30 am

chingwoo wrote:34.5k OOS tuition, and scholarship friendly is a huge plus. They also have slightly higher clerkship stats that most schools near their ranking.

Warning, I am a 0l considering them.


The OOS tuition shouldn't really be a factor, a person would be crazy to the full amount. I'm of the opinion that a school like this should not be attended if you're from out of state, although I'm sure some TLSers would disagree. Also, the relatively good clerkship stats are pretty much irrelevant-mere mortals don't get clerkships. By all means include clerkship with big law placement to see about how well the school places into big law, but don't choose a school because its clerkship placement is a couple percentage points higher than its peers.

I honestly don't want people to think I'm dumping on Alabama. It's a fine school if you want to practice in Alabama (and maaaaaybe some neighboring states) so long as its cheap and you're ok with not getting a big law job. But I don't think it's the caliber of school that one should pack up and attend from half way across the country. That's what the T14 is for (and maybe the schools that are generally called the top 20- UT, Vandy, WUSTL, etc. but even that might be a bit generous). Alabama has done a nice job of gaming the US News Rankings in recent years but it still is what it is- a solid regional if you want to practice in Alabama and you have ties to the region.

uvandy
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Re: Alabama-- what's it like?

Postby uvandy » Tue Jan 07, 2014 3:47 am

If you go to Bama, you will probably practice in the South for the rest of your life. From your post, it doesn't sound like that's what you want.

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deadpanic
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Re: Alabama-- what's it like?

Postby deadpanic » Tue Jan 07, 2014 10:18 am

I would probably not recommend going to Alabama if you are not from there. The best you can pretty much hope for from Bama is Atlanta, and that is quite a long shot. You have students from Vanderbilt being shut out from ATL. You may have a small shot at Nashville, but same situation as ATL, but with even worse odds.

Your next best option out of Bama is Birmingham, which you should go visit. I think it is a huge hellhole, but some people seem to like it. And then you have other great locales like Montgomery - again, I would encourage you to visit - it's pretty bad and I am a born and raised southerner. I kind of like Huntsville and Mobile, but they are very small parochial markets that you have very little shot of ever breaking into even with the right grades.

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sublime
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Re: Alabama-- what's it like?

Postby sublime » Tue Jan 07, 2014 10:34 am

..

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Louis1127
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Re: Alabama-- what's it like?

Postby Louis1127 » Tue Jan 07, 2014 10:37 am

Here's what I will contribute to the great responses that you have received in this thread, OP: many of these TLSers are saying that it's not a good idea to attend Bama law if you do not want to work in the south, specifically AL and MS (biggest law firms in Jackson tend to recruit Bama grads because Bama is so much more highly-ranked than either law schools in Mississippi). Also, you may not want to go to Bama if you aren't form around here.

I don't know where these posters are from. As someone who has only lived in MS and AL and who goes to undergrad at U of A, I can tell you that one of the things about the south that I'm not too proud of is that it is kind of nativist down here. Harvard ppl are knocked as out-of-touch dimiwts who can't apply theory to practice. Southerners are really of where we come from, and some of us take it a little too far sometimes. Once again, this is not my favorite aspect of the south. It really is closed-off to a certain extent is what I am saying.

But if you want more info feel free to PM me.

NYstate
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Re: Alabama-- what's it like?

Postby NYstate » Tue Jan 07, 2014 11:43 am

Don't go to law school at Alabama if you aren't from there. You will have a terrible time finding a job. There are other threads here that explain how small the class sizes are and how parochial they are about hiring - like you need to go to high school there.

Alabama is being dishonest by giving out these fee waivers and gift cards to entice applicants. That way they can show a high number of applicants and a higher yield. This isn't just a friendly gesture to get them to consider you.

Outside of a couple of states in the south, you are going to find it difficult to get a job. And in the south,without compelling ties, you won't get a job. Caveat: if you are the very top of the class you have more options but no one should count on that.

Alabama is a regional.school with a limited market.If you aren't from there, you are hurting yourself in terms of jobs.

0 Ls need to understand about employment and focus on hiring for the markets they are in. It may seem like all you need is rank and cost, but job prospects are crucial.

Something I learned about Alabama firms is that they hire 1L s and most if not all the 2L s get jobs from their 1 L job.

Also, check.for stipulations on scholarships. I recall them having stipulations of top 40%.

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georgej
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Re: Alabama-- what's it like?

Postby georgej » Tue Jan 07, 2014 7:09 pm

Thanks everyone for the good information/advice. I am hoping to get into biglaw after law school, but ideally not in a big city like NYC, Chicago, or LA. Looking at biglaw LST employment data for Alabama (8% without counting clerkships) already makes me not real keen on the school, which is why I phrased my question more in terms of the culture of the state. I do not hate the south in general, as Philly implied, I just don't really know much about it.

Regarding moving to a region without having any ties there... I feel like I don't have a lot of options here. I do not have the UGPA to get into any of the decent California schools, and I get the impression from these boards and talking to some lawyers I know that the market is pretty saturated anyway (although this is probably true for the entire U.S. legal market).

One consideration that I have that I think many don't is non-legal employment prospects for my wife. I am hopeful that she can support us both while I am studying and thereby save us money in not having to take out loans for COL. If it were a region where we really felt comfortable, and we'd saved enough money from her job and my scholarship not to be straddled with crippling debt, I would have no problem taking a lower paying position with a small firm in the region.

It's a lot of "ifs"... Anyway, thanks for everyone's input. If for no other reason than possibly using an Alabama scholarship offer for negotiation purposes with other schools, I'll send an app. It sounds like Alabama might not be for me, though.

NYstate
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Re: Alabama-- what's it like?

Postby NYstate » Tue Jan 07, 2014 7:28 pm

georgej wrote:Thanks everyone for the good information/advice. I am hoping to get into biglaw after law school, but ideally not in a big city like NYC, Chicago, or LA. Looking at biglaw LST employment data for Alabama (8% without counting clerkships) already makes me not real keen on the school, which is why I phrased my question more in terms of the culture of the state. I do not hate the south in general, as Philly implied, I just don't really know much about it.

Regarding moving to a region without having any ties there... I feel like I don't have a lot of options here. I do not have the UGPA to get into any of the decent California schools, and I get the impression from these boards and talking to some lawyers I know that the market is pretty saturated anyway (although this is probably true for the entire U.S. legal market).

One consideration that I have that I think many don't is non-legal employment prospects for my wife. I am hopeful that she can support us both while I am studying and thereby save us money in not having to take out loans for COL. If it were a region where we really felt comfortable, and we'd saved enough money from her job and my scholarship not to be straddled with crippling debt, I would have no problem taking a lower paying position with a small firm in the region.

It's a lot of "ifs"... Anyway, thanks for everyone's input. If for no other reason than possibly using an Alabama scholarship offer for negotiation purposes with other schools, I'll send an app. It sounds like Alabama might not be for me, though.


You really have to understand the importance of ties to a region. If you don't have any ties, you need to create them or go to a market where ties don't matter. And you have to understand that most biglaw jobs are in cities like NYC and Chicago, you cant afford to write them off as places you would consider working in biglaw.

You should really figure out where you want to live and try to get into schools that will get you there instead of living where you get into schools.

BigZuck
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Re: Alabama-- what's it like?

Postby BigZuck » Tue Jan 07, 2014 7:45 pm

Keep in mind that there is a very, very high probability that you're not going to get big law unless you go to a T14. And if you do manage to get big law, it will probably be in NYC.

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georgej
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Re: Alabama-- what's it like?

Postby georgej » Tue Jan 07, 2014 8:09 pm

I don't mean to sound like I'm against Chicago or New York. I guess what I meant is that big-city living isn't super important to me. I could take it or leave it. I'd probably be pretty happy anywhere. Home is where the heart is, eh? That being said, the whole point of this thread was to try to put out some feelers about a region I'm not very familiar with. I would try very hard to network/create ties in any region I moved to asap since, not having ties anywhere outside of California, I realize I'm not in the strongest position.

I'm trying to be pragmatic. Theoretically, I could place in the top 5% of my law class at almost any tier 1 and get a great job upon graduation. Theoretically, top 5% of my class would give me a decent chance of transferring to HYSCCN, too. Frankly, though, I don't want to bet with my future on odds that slim.

BigZuck
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Re: Alabama-- what's it like?

Postby BigZuck » Tue Jan 07, 2014 8:21 pm

georgej wrote:I don't mean to sound like I'm against Chicago or New York. I guess what I meant is that big-city living isn't super important to me. I could take it or leave it. I'd probably be pretty happy anywhere. Home is where the heart is, eh? That being said, the whole point of this thread was to try to put out some feelers about a region I'm not very familiar with. I would try very hard to network/create ties in any region I moved to asap since, not having ties anywhere outside of California, I realize I'm not in the strongest position.

I'm trying to be pragmatic. Theoretically, I could place in the top 5% of my law class at almost any tier 1 and get a great job upon graduation. Theoretically, top 5% of my class would give me a decent chance of transferring to HYSCCN, too. Frankly, though, I don't want to bet with my future on odds that slim.


What about your past academic career specifically and law school generally makes you think that top 5% is possible?

I guess theoretically its possible but it's very, very unlikely. Law school curves are brutal and most people are smart enough/work hard enough.

If you want big law then you have to be open to big cities. High paying jobs almost certainly don't exist in rural communities.

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sublime
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Re: Alabama-- what's it like?

Postby sublime » Tue Jan 07, 2014 8:22 pm

..

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georgej
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Re: Alabama-- what's it like?

Postby georgej » Tue Jan 07, 2014 8:38 pm

sub 3.0 gpa

172+ LSAT

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sublime
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Re: Alabama-- what's it like?

Postby sublime » Tue Jan 07, 2014 8:41 pm

..

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SweetTort
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Re: Alabama-- what's it like?

Postby SweetTort » Tue Jan 07, 2014 8:50 pm

georgej wrote:sub 3.0 gpa

172+ LSAT



Just a hunch.... URM?




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