Georgia Law Schools

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Saddle Up
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Georgia Law Schools

Postby Saddle Up » Sun Jan 19, 2014 1:55 pm

I am not at all 100% sold on Law School. However, I have a strong GPA and I am testing very well on the LSAT prep test used by my brother (an Atlanta lawyer for three years/UGA grad) and my 3L sis (Emory) on her way to an Atlanta firm. A number of friends and family are constantly in my face about going to law school, a GA law school (to be exact) primarily because my family are all Georgians.

My choices are UGA, State, Mercer and Marshall (which also has a Savannah school...my favorite GA city).

My question. Is this advice true (from my brother/sis)? There is no difference in the actual educational value just the school ranking.
As a footnote, if I knocked out a 170 (close to where I am testing) and headed out of GA, it would be considered heresy, so not an option (as in my brother qualified for Penn, Chicago, Stanford and Duke and was dissuaded to abandon GA).

Turtledove
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Re: Georgia Law Schools

Postby Turtledove » Sun Jan 19, 2014 2:12 pm

Are you going to have to take out debt to attend or will your parents be paying?

If you do decide you definitely want to go to law school and if you'll be taking out debt, UGA or Emory (and arguably Georgia State) might be worth attending if you can get a substantial scholarship. For any of these schools you should keep total debt (including debt accrued for living expenses) down to less than $75k since you only have about a 10-15% chance at biglaw from UGA and Emory and a 5% chance at GA State.

Even if you're not taking out debt I think you're probably better off pursuing non-law options than going to either UGA or Emory since the most likely outcome is that you'll lose three years of your life and come out making ~$45k (and since you're more likely to never find legal employment than you are to land a biglaw six-figure salary).

If you can attend a T-14 you're much better off attending one than attending an in-state school if you want Atlantia biglaw. You'll have to be at the top of your class for Atlanta biglaw from any of these schools but you really just have to not be at the bottom if you're coming from a T-14 with strong Georgia ties (as you have).

The Law School Transparency scores for all the schools you mentioned are below.

http://www.lstscorereports.com/?school=gsu
http://www.lstscorereports.com/?school=emory
http://www.lstscorereports.com/?school=johnmarshal-atl
http://www.lstscorereports.com/?school=mercer
http://www.lstscorereports.com/?school=georgia

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wolf
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Re: Georgia Law Schools

Postby wolf » Sun Jan 19, 2014 2:18 pm

I can empathize. While I'm not a Georgia Native, I did live in Savannah for 4 years prior to law school and my wife is a Savannah native. Her family put significant pressure on me to attend law school in Georgia. My wife's grandmother went to Georgia State for law school and is a state judge in Statesboro. I will admit it is really cheap to attend a state school in Georgia.

While your family is correct about the educational quality being the same at most law schools, the employment outcomes are NOT! You need to tell them to leave you alone and go to a place that gives you the best chance at employment, unless of course they are paying for your education.

This is especially true if you want Biglaw or PI/Gov. Most top schools have relatively robust LRAP programs far superior to any Georgia law school. Conversely, if you already have a job waiting for you that you would be willing to take, then go somewhere for free without scholarship stipulations.

I ended up passing up Emory with almost a full ride, Duke (no scholarship), and Cornell (no scholarship) to attend Georgetown (50% Scholly). My wife and I love DC and I have a Biglaw SA lined up for the upcoming summer. I also have a nice nine hour buffer zone from the In-laws. Everything worked out for the best.
Last edited by wolf on Sun Jan 19, 2014 7:56 pm, edited 1 time in total.

BigZuck
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Re: Georgia Law Schools

Postby BigZuck » Sun Jan 19, 2014 3:38 pm

Sounds like your family doesn't have your best interests at heart (at least in this case) and therefore I would ignore them on this one.

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MyNameIsFlynn!
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Re: Georgia Law Schools

Postby MyNameIsFlynn! » Sun Jan 19, 2014 7:43 pm

If your question is whether you should attend a T14 if your stats make you competitve, definitely yes. If you want BigLaw, the Atlanta market is a trap coming from Georgia schools. Unless you're top 10-15% at Emory or Georgia, or top 5% at Georgia State , you probably won't have a fighting chance at Atl BigLaw. If you're testing around 170, you shouldn't be looking at Mercer or John Marshall.

Fwiw, I'm from another Deep South state where the state flagship is very well-regarded and people generally view T14 schools (except Duke and Virginia, which are both very highly regarded throughout the South) as snobby and elitist. I chose HYS over state flagship and, although I'm still a 1L, feel it was one of the best decisions I've made. Feel free to PM if you have specific questions or would like to know more.

Correct answer IMO is crush the LSAT and then go to HYS or DV with a big scholarship.

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Saddle Up
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Re: Georgia Law Schools

Postby Saddle Up » Mon Jan 20, 2014 4:46 pm

My family got together for the games yesterday and we had our pow-wow. Subject to the LSAT results (I prep tested at 167 over the weekend) I am aiming for Emory where my 3L sis is attending. My most difficult decision was saying yes to law school since I am an outdoorsy person who loves horses and equestrian and not someone that relishes either being confined to indoors or savors confrontation. Not exactly the perfect blueprint for joining the law profession.

I thank everyone for their comments and advise. The links were greatly appreciated. I am surprised Mercer leads GA in legal employment. I forgot to ask anyone the definition of the under-employment score – perhaps doesn’t matter since all the GA schools were nearly identical, excluding John Marshall. However, comparatively speaking, I am dubious of Emory’s sky high school-funded rate. I was told it is something schools do these days (not exactly reassuring).

To answer an earlier question. My parents are picking up the tab. Hard to argue about foregoing GA to travel to a highly ranked CA, Texas or Northern school since my brother and sis landed nicely on their feet with their GA JDs.

Turtledove
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Re: Georgia Law Schools

Postby Turtledove » Mon Jan 20, 2014 5:11 pm

I wouldn't take the Mercer number too literally, they probably place a lot of people in small low-paying law offices in South Georgia and it's probably significantly more difficult to land Atlanta job from Mercer than from UGA or Emory. Unless your parents are extremely well-connected I think you're almost certainly better off going to Duke or UVA since both have much better GA biglaw placement than UGA and Emory.

californiauser
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Re: Georgia Law Schools

Postby californiauser » Mon Jan 20, 2014 5:11 pm

Saddle Up wrote:My family got together for the games yesterday and we had our pow-wow. Subject to the LSAT results (I prep tested at 167 over the weekend) I am aiming for Emory where my 3L sis is attending. My most difficult decision was saying yes to law school since I am an outdoorsy person who loves horses and equestrian and not someone that relishes either being confined to indoors or savors confrontation. Not exactly the perfect blueprint for joining the law profession.

I thank everyone for their comments and advise. The links were greatly appreciated. I am surprised Mercer leads GA in legal employment. I forgot to ask anyone the definition of the under-employment score – perhaps doesn’t matter since all the GA schools were nearly identical, excluding John Marshall. However, comparatively speaking, I am dubious of Emory’s sky high school-funded rate. I was told it is something schools do these days (not exactly reassuring).

To answer an earlier question. My parents are picking up the tab. Hard to argue about foregoing GA to travel to a highly ranked CA, Texas or Northern school since my brother and sis landed nicely on their feet with their GA JDs.


Sounds like you have the potential to score 170+, which means you'll be a strong candidate for UVA and Duke--the strongest southern schools.

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TheSpanishMain
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Re: Georgia Law Schools

Postby TheSpanishMain » Mon Jan 20, 2014 5:44 pm

Are you sure you actually want to be a lawyer? Sounds like you're pretty ambivalent and your family is pushing you

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MyNameIsFlynn!
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Re: Georgia Law Schools

Postby MyNameIsFlynn! » Mon Jan 20, 2014 11:06 pm

If your parents are paying and you decide on law school, you should at least maximize their investment by aiming for Duke or UVA.

gregfootball2001
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Re: Georgia Law Schools

Postby gregfootball2001 » Tue Jan 21, 2014 12:05 am

Saddle Up wrote:I am aiming for Emory where my 3L sis is attending...

...The links were greatly appreciated. I am surprised Mercer leads GA in legal employment. I forgot to ask anyone the definition of the under-employment score – perhaps doesn’t matter since all the GA schools were nearly identical, excluding John Marshall. However, comparatively speaking, I am dubious of Emory’s sky high school-funded rate. I was told it is something schools do these days (not exactly reassuring).

To answer an earlier question. My parents are picking up the tab. Hard to argue about foregoing GA to travel to a highly ranked CA, Texas or Northern school since my brother and sis landed nicely on their feet with their GA JDs.


Oooookay. I do agree with others - if you can get into Vandy or Duke (or HYS), you should go there. Yes, your siblings did well at law school, and got a job. That doesn't mean you will. If you graduate at median from any Georgia school (which is what you should assume will happen), you will not get the swanky, high-paying job your siblings enjoy.

However, if you are gonna go to a Georgia school, and only a Georgia school, you need to really look at the numbers. "Leading in legal employment" isn't what you're looking for. That metric is overly broad, and doesn't really get you where you want to go. Sure, if you just want to hang your own shingle, employment rates are 100%!! So go wherever you want! (overlooking the networking possibilities of going to a better school, of course). What you really want - what you have to look for - is a school that gives you a good outcome. In an overly broad way, it's easiest to think of a "good outcome" as getting a job with a firm of 100+ people, or a federal clerkship. There are great jobs outside that - of course! But once you get into the smaller firms, there are many reasons that the outcome becomes shittier - the quality goes down, as does the salary, the offer rate is less, yadda yadda. If you can get a job with Bondurant, please, take it. Otherwise, those are the parameters many people use to describe a desirable outcome.

For GA State, 11.5% of their students fit those parameters. For Mercer, it's 9.1% of students. The chance of a good outcome is extremely low. Please don't think that the employment possibilities from those schools are equal to Georgia and Emory, because they're really, really not.

So let's look at Emory and Georgia. (Some of the below info is from a post I wrote a few months ago.)

Emory has the best placement overall. It places 29% of its class in law firms of 100+ lawyers and federal clerkships. A good number of these positions are outside Georgia, but a good number of the class will stay in-state. (http://www.lstscorereports.com/?school= ... =employers)

Georgia is at a hair over 24% for 100+ lawyers and fed clerkships. Almost everyone will stay in Georgia. (http://www.lstscorereports.com/?school= ... =employers)

So, looking at the pure numbers, Emory is 5% better.

However, there's one thing to keep in mind. According to LST, the non-discounted cost of Emory is $259,887. (http://www.lstscorereports.com/?school=emory)

For Georgia, it's $126,671 for in-state students. (http://www.lstscorereports.com/?school=georgia)

Now, not every student that goes to Georgia is in-state, of course - but UGA gives out a one year "equalizer" scholarship to many, if not most, of the out-of-state students. After the one year, you can pretty easily become a resident.

But don't forget that Emory gives out quite a few scholarships. So that difference of about 133k could easily become less, depending on your situation. Add in the fact that it's usually more expensive to live around Atlanta than Athens, however, and I wouldn't be surprised if the average difference ran about 100k.

Is that worth an extra 5% of placement? I don't know. So while the pure, numbers driven answer to your post is that Emory is better at getting kids jobs, it comes with quite a hefty price tag. Which is "better?" Depends on your risk-adverseness vs your debt-adverseness, I suppose. In your case, if your parents are paying, the 5% might be worth it.

Either way, going to GSU or Mercer above Georgia or Emory would be a big mistake.

tl;dr: Retake, go to Harvard.

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KatyMarie
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Re: Georgia Law Schools

Postby KatyMarie » Tue Jan 21, 2014 1:40 pm

TheSpanishMain wrote:Are you sure you actually want to be a lawyer? Sounds like you're pretty ambivalent and your family is pushing you


That seems like the bigger question in this case, versus where you should hypothetically go to law school. Take some time out and go do something like hike alone or whatever you need to do (you mentioned being outdoorsy). Think about what you want as an individual first.

I'm a 10th generation GA native, so I really understand where you're coming from. I'm really struggling with this decision myself. There's deep roots and pressure and family obligations/responsibilities to consider, but you ultimately have to figure out what the right decision is going to be for you.

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ggocat
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Re: Georgia Law Schools

Postby ggocat » Tue Jan 21, 2014 5:15 pm

Saddle Up wrote:My family got together for the games yesterday and we had our pow-wow. Subject to the LSAT results (I prep tested at 167 over the weekend) I am aiming for Emory where my 3L sis is attending. My most difficult decision was saying yes to law school since I am an outdoorsy person who loves horses and equestrian and not someone that relishes either being confined to indoors or savors confrontation. Not exactly the perfect blueprint for joining the law profession.
. . .
To answer an earlier question. My parents are picking up the tab. Hard to argue about foregoing GA to travel to a highly ranked CA, Texas or Northern school since my brother and sis landed nicely on their feet with their GA JDs.

Try to convince your parents to give you $250,000 to start a business actually related to your interests, like a stable / boarding business.

By your own admission, you do not want to be a lawyer. Don't waste many years and $.

Saddle Up wrote:Is this advice true (from my brother/sis)? There is no difference in the actual educational value just the school ranking.

To answer your question, yes, I think many people would agree that there is not much difference in "educational value," whatever that is. The biggest difference is "sorting" for employers, i.e., ranking and employment outcomes.

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Nova
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Re: Georgia Law Schools

Postby Nova » Tue Jan 21, 2014 5:24 pm

Saddle Up wrote: My most difficult decision was saying yes to law school since I am an outdoorsy person who loves horses and equestrian and not someone that relishes either being confined to indoors or savors confrontation. Not exactly the perfect blueprint for joining the law profession.

If you don't want to go, don't. Do something that makes you happy instead.

timbs4339
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Re: Georgia Law Schools

Postby timbs4339 » Tue Jan 21, 2014 5:42 pm

Nova wrote:
Saddle Up wrote: My most difficult decision was saying yes to law school since I am an outdoorsy person who loves horses and equestrian and not someone that relishes either being confined to indoors or savors confrontation. Not exactly the perfect blueprint for joining the law profession.

If you don't want to go, don't. Do something that makes you happy instead.


Yes. With the rates of anxiety, depression, substance abuse and suicide higher than the average, this is not a profession that people should rush into because they need an answer to "so what are you doing after college" (even if that is how the profession has actually operated for decades now).

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Saddle Up
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Re: Georgia Law Schools

Postby Saddle Up » Wed Jan 22, 2014 5:33 pm

KatyMarie wrote:I'm a 10th generation GA native, so I really understand where you're coming from. I'm really struggling with this decision myself. There's deep roots and pressure and family obligations/responsibilities to consider, but you ultimately have to figure out what the right decision is going to be for you.

Never thought of it as a “generation” choice but turns out it I might be unintentionally taking it in that direction.

A little background. Over the past several years our house has been grand central for students studying law. Other than hearing the occasional “I hate law school” they seemed to be captivated by their various projects. When I visit my lawyer brother's home for weekend gatherings there are often a few lawyers there and they are fun to talk to. I no longer ask ridiculous questions like “have handled any murder cases.” They do not do that kind of law. If you slip-and-fall, forget it, they represent the company.

If I get through law school the elephant in the room is whether the three of us will start are own firm. The strangest thing, when my brother passed the bar I assumed he would go into his own practice but he said to me that after law school you really do not know how to be a lawyer. Sorry, that made no sense. To me that was like taking equestrian and after three years saying that you didn’t know how to ride a horse. Still blows my mind.

Thanks to everyone for your views and comments.

(Taking LSAT ASAP. Probably Emory, but State is still a possibility.)

treeey86
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Re: Georgia Law Schools

Postby treeey86 » Wed Jan 22, 2014 6:30 pm

I practice in Atlanta.

If you must stay in GA, the decision should be between Emory and UGA ( and look at how much money they give you).

If you score high enough to get into a school like UVA, Duke, or Vandy, you should seriously consider going there. All those schools will get you back into the Atlanta legal market and employers rank those schools higher than Emory/UGA. You have plenty of ties to Georgia that going to a school out of state will not prejudice you. Also, a degree from a UVA/Duke/Vanderbilt will open more doors for you down the road both in law and outside of law if you choose not to practice later on.

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Saddle Up
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Re: Georgia Law Schools

Postby Saddle Up » Fri Jan 24, 2014 3:59 pm

My idea is to apply to all three, Emory, State and UGA and see how it plays out. My guess is that I’ll score somewhere between 165-170 (with a 3.8 GPA). Weirdly enough all three campuses are thirty minutes from where I live in Lawrenceville (perhaps UGA is 10 minutes more), so, no matter the choice I can still live at home.

I cannot disagree with any of your points but I really do not see the significant advantage of leaving Atlanta. My friends and family are here, the ranch I stable my horse is nearby. While I think a new adventure would be exciting, be it Durham, NY, CA or Texas, it seems counterintuitive — hard to believe that any firm would hold it against me because I stayed here instead of leaving the state. Plus, home cooked meals and a nearly zero COL should count for something, right?

Let me ask. Are you a Georgian who schooled in another state or did your firm job land you here?

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Nova
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Re: Georgia Law Schools

Postby Nova » Fri Jan 24, 2014 5:31 pm

Saddle Up wrote:it seems counterintuitive — hard to believe that any firm would hold it against me because I stayed here instead of leaving the state.

Firms would require a significantly lower class rank if you attend duke/uva...

There are a lot of good reasons for you to attend uga/emory rather than a T14. But don't kid yourself about the difference in job prospects.

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JCougar
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Re: Georgia Law Schools

Postby JCougar » Fri Jan 24, 2014 7:06 pm

I'll post this here since I read it earlier today and it's mostly on-topic:

http://abovethelaw.com/2014/01/3l-in-ch ... t-to-give/

Not that the situation at UGA is any worse than any of the other GA law schools at this point.

OP, if your parents will pick up the tab, that's great, but the question is, if you don't really know if you want to practice law, law school is a lot of stress, a lot of busywork, and a lot of time. And you don't come away having learned many practical skills. Not that many other grad programs are worth the money at this point, either.

You have to really like sitting in a chair and researching incredibly boring statutes and regulations all day to like law. It's something I kind of enjoy, but it's also very stressful because a lot of the questions you get don't have a sure answer. Then you turn in your motion/memo and just cross your fingers that you didn't miss something buried in the regs somewhere and cost your organization $1 million or more.

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Saddle Up
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Re: Georgia Law Schools

Postby Saddle Up » Sun Jan 26, 2014 1:38 am

After witnessing six years of law students parading into the den, I could not agree more about the commitment and anguish associated with law school. Earlier today my sis had three of her friends over, huddled by the fireplace (it is cold in Atlanta) staring intensely at their screens. As my brother pointed out, it’s not fun, that’s why they call it Work.

I’ve seen a number of anxiety meltdowns (and celebrations too). I am aware that for some passing the bar their next stop is working at the auto dealership... as per the link noted above. Who knows what it will be like in three years from now. If applications continue to be way off, maybe in three years the job to grad ratio will greatly improve.

In prepping for the LSAT, I am encouraged that most of I have encountered is reasonably simple to comprehend. Variances aside, I have been told the highest prep test score is more often than not pretty close to the LSAT outcome. If so, I should be fine for GA schools.

As far as heading out of state, I just cannot fathom leaving Atlanta for a school that might only be marginally better ranked.
Last edited by Saddle Up on Sun Jan 26, 2014 12:32 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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Saddle Up
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Re: Georgia Law Schools

Postby Saddle Up » Sun Jan 26, 2014 12:25 pm

Nova wrote:
Saddle Up wrote:it seems counterintuitive — hard to believe that any firm would hold it against me because I stayed here instead of leaving the state.

Firms would require a significantly lower class rank if you attend duke/uva...

There are a lot of good reasons for you to attend uga/emory rather than a T14. But don't kid yourself about the difference in job prospects.

Well put. If my LSAT score is truly spectacular I will consider sending applications to HYS and probably Columbia and Penn. We’ll see how it all shakes out soon enough.

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jselson
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Re: Georgia Law Schools

Postby jselson » Sun Jan 26, 2014 12:42 pm

Saddle Up wrote:My family got together for the games yesterday and we had our pow-wow. Subject to the LSAT results (I prep tested at 167 over the weekend) I am aiming for Emory where my 3L sis is attending. My most difficult decision was saying yes to law school since I am an outdoorsy person who loves horses and equestrian and not someone that relishes either being confined to indoors or savors confrontation. Not exactly the perfect blueprint for joining the law profession.


Do tax law. Good hours, you work with people, non-confrontational, and you can make a ton of money.

timbs4339
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Re: Georgia Law Schools

Postby timbs4339 » Sun Jan 26, 2014 1:03 pm

Saddle Up wrote:As far as heading out of state, I just cannot fathom leaving Atlanta for a school that might only be marginally better ranked.


USNWR rankings are worthless. Worse than worthless. Perhaps their only saving grace is that they stopped schools from going completely batshit insane with tuition hikes instead of just batshit insane.

The job/career prospects between UGA and Duke are worlds apart. If Georgia firms preferred in-state students they wouldn't drop their grade cutoffs for people who went out of state.

http://www.lstscorereports.com/?school=georgia
http://www.lstscorereports.com/?school=duke

Although you've said that you understand the stress and commitment involved in law school and the profession, you still haven't told us whether you actually want to be a lawyer or why you want to join the profession. Do you just want a job where you wear a suit to work everyday and draw a steady paycheck?

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Saddle Up
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Re: Georgia Law Schools

Postby Saddle Up » Mon Jan 27, 2014 12:24 pm

jselson wrote:Do tax law. Good hours, you work with people, non-confrontational, and you can make a ton of money.

Thanks. That’s a great thought. Weirdly enough I do not recall anyone here ever discussing tax law. What I am ultimately hoping for is that my brother follows through on starting a firm with a couple of his friends and my sister. Then the perfect scenario is for me to join them. The tax niche might be a perfect fit. How often do you have to face the IRS (or go to court)?




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