ITT: Practicing attorneys tell you your top choice is bad

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JCougar
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Re: ITT: Practicing attorneys tell you your top choice is bad

Postby JCougar » Sat Feb 01, 2014 5:03 pm

wsparker wrote:
JCougar wrote:
deadpanic wrote:Did you not get any money at Vandy, Duke, or UVA?

Those would be better options for your goals.


Yeah, this is actually better advice.


JC, I was wait listed at UVA and duke, and am not banking on much money from vandy. Would you still say Chicago sticker or a small discount from vandy?

Thanks!!


I'd still lean toward Chicago in your case, because I think Chicago is a bit underrated on here, and I'd consider it pretty close to HYS. Small class size means the CSO can give you more individualized attention if you don't get/want biglaw, and its placement rates are still very good.

Also, interest on your loans is a huge factor. On a 25-year repayment plan, someone might pay double the amount of the original loan. If you can get one interest free from your family, that's a huge negation of downside risk.

Also, I'm assuming that owing money to your family would be a lot less stressful than owing it to the government. Stress is a huge factor in law school, and it's just one less thing you'll have to worry about. Sounds like sticker at Chicago might be okay in your case.

I still know people who graduated from Chicago that are practicing shitlaw after striking out at OCI, so it's no guarantee. Buy a vast majority of their students have good outcomes. Just be frugal with your cost of living situation, and I think you'll be fine.

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kemosabe
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Re: ITT: Practicing attorneys tell you your top choice is bad

Postby kemosabe » Sat Feb 01, 2014 5:30 pm

Thanks for all of the info Bikeflip. I'll read through that thread and reassess my strategy. I guess I was waiting for schools to make the first move, but if moving up the timeframe is a possibility, I'm all for it.

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anyriotgirl
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Re: ITT: Practicing attorneys tell you your top choice is bad

Postby anyriotgirl » Sat Feb 01, 2014 5:31 pm

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Last edited by anyriotgirl on Thu Aug 21, 2014 2:53 am, edited 2 times in total.

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JCougar
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Re: ITT: Practicing attorneys tell you your top choice is bad

Postby JCougar » Sat Feb 01, 2014 5:49 pm

anyriotgirl wrote:
JCougar wrote:
anyriotgirl wrote:I haven't heard back from all my schools yet, but does anyone have an opinion on Cardozo for free (no stips) for labor and employment law in the NYC area?


The labor/employment law market sucks big time right now. L/E biglaw is moving heavily to lateral hiring, the government agencies are in hiring freezes (which may be lifted by the time you graduate, however), and the plaintiff-side wants work experience. So you'll have to find some place to volunteer for free for a year or two, most likely. With your goals, Cardozo is not even worth the COL expenses.

Plus, the parent university seems to be collapsing: http://forward.com/articles/190719/yu-d ... d-to-junk/

Their debt rating is junk-bond status.


Ah, oh well. Free + COL did seem too good to be true. The firm I'm a paralegal at now has some Cardozo grads, but they were pretty highly ranked. Relevant information-- I would greatly prefer to practice union-side, and by the time I'm in law school I'll have two years of experience, mostly doing plaintiff-side work for large mutli-employer benefit funds. I'm obviously aware that I will have to continue with the w/e in law school, but at this point I basically know how to run straightforward ERISA collections cases. I'm also from a union family, which from my understanding of the field is sort of a mild "soft," to use admissions jargon.

That being said, what do you think about UCLA with a $90k scholarship, Vanderbilt (not sure on $$, based on LSN probably between 45 and 90k), and Michigan/Cornell at sticker or close (conservatively, again not sure on $$ yet LSAT/GPA 169/3.6). I'm not really heavily invested in being in one specific area of the country, but I do have a mild preference for NY (city and/or state).

edit to add: I was also just accepted at BC, no clue on $$ yet, but there is a chance that I might be able to live with my aunt for at least part of my law school career, which would heavily cut down on COL.

Sorry to barrage you with questions, but no one on this website really talks about this area of practice. Thanks


Sounds like you have a really good background for what you want to do. If you want to do union-side, than minimizing debt is far more important than anything else. You don't get paid much, and union work doesn't qualify for public interest IBR. However, I think you have a background that would fairly easily let you get a job if you network/intern during law school. In your case, I'd stay away from any school that doesn't offer you at least a 75% scholarship. With your LSAT/GPA combo, you should be able to find a better school than Cardozo that will let you in for free or close to it. Try WUSTL for one...that's close to full scholly territory there. Also, maybe think about Emory, GW, or schools in that range that have given out significant scholarships recently. Bottom line is that if you're getting $90K from UCLA, you should be able to find a school in the 25-15 range that gives you a full ride. Just wait that out. You don't want to pay off more than around $60-$70K of debt on a union lawyer salary.

ERISA is a good area to get into, though. Entry level jobs are few and far between, but if you can get like 2 years of experience under your belt, there's a lot of good options. This kind of goes for L/E law in general.

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anyriotgirl
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Re: ITT: Practicing attorneys tell you your top choice is bad

Postby anyriotgirl » Sat Feb 01, 2014 6:19 pm

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cron1834
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Re: ITT: Practicing attorneys tell you your top choice is bad

Postby cron1834 » Sat Feb 01, 2014 6:27 pm

If you're going to UPenn and have $185k just stuck between the couch cushions, I don't think this thread is for you.

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kemosabe
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Re: ITT: Practicing attorneys tell you your top choice is bad

Postby kemosabe » Sat Feb 01, 2014 7:58 pm

cron1834 wrote:If you're going to UPenn and have $185k just stuck between the couch cushions, I don't think this thread is for you.


Hey sorry if I took things in a slightly different direction, although I am in fact considering two non-T14s (BU/BC). I also noticed that the OP mentions that the question of which schools are worth sticker is under discussion. It caught my eye because as of now I'm considering sticker price at several schools.

I didn't inherit the money, it actually took me several years of work, so I want to make sure I'd be putting it to good use given my goals. For this reason, the non-T14s are very much in play for me if I can obtain a big scholarship. I thought it'd be a good idea to get the advice of practicing attorneys, especially because of the caveat I mentioned in my original post.

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Re: ITT: Practicing attorneys tell you your top choice is bad

Postby bombaysippin » Sat Feb 01, 2014 8:58 pm

JCougar wrote:
Bajam wrote:
JCougar wrote:
cron1834 wrote:JC, what level of scholarship would you need to extract in order to justify a lower-half T14, if sticker is too high? Well, excluding GULC, obvs.


I generally think total debt for a bottom half T14 should be not too far from $100K. So at worst, you should look for about a $15K/year scholarship in a low COL area, or a $25K/year scholarship in a high COL area. But I have a lower opinion of Biglaw than most. 75% of the people I know that went into it either hate(ed) it or didn't last very long in it--but they're forced into it because of their debt. I think keeping your debt around $90K from anywhere other than HYS (where you can get a PI job of your choosing and therefore take advantage of 10-year IBR) is optimal. And yes, good PI jobs are either a) harder to get than biglaw, or 2) don't care much about your school/rank. Try getting a position at the Southern Poverty Law Center or ACLU from a school outside of the T5. It's hard.


Shortened the quote. I was wondering when you say total debt for bottom half of T14 shouldn't be too far from 100k, is that just tuition debt or you mean like COL included. I think I'm confused because with your worst case scenario scholarships, wouldn't total debt be more near 130-150k?


I guess I would qualify $130K as not "too far." Going to a bottom-half T14 for $130K including COL would be a borderline risk for me. I would take it depending on whether it was a market I'd want to practice in. I'd prefer to go to a school just outside the T14 that gave me close to a full ride, but that's just my personal preference.

Just remember, we're dealing with rough estimates here, because a lot really does depend on that person's situation, including 1) their other job options before law school, 2) undergrad debt, 3) COL expenses and are they covered by spouse/SO/family, 4) your personal preference for working Biglaw-type hours simply to pay off the debt you took on just to get Biglaw, etc.


Thanks a bunch for the thoughtful reply!

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Re: ITT: Practicing attorneys tell you your top choice is bad

Postby JCougar » Sat Feb 01, 2014 9:44 pm

One other thing I'd like to add, and it was something that I just said in a PM to someone else. It's been beaten to death on here, but it deserves more beating. You need to get the best LSAT score you possibly can. Unless you got above your practice test average, you should study a bit more and take it again. You have three chances, and every single point is important. It can mean tens of thousands of dollars of scholarships and/or a better school. It could mean attending your dream school at a 50% discount over paying sticker.

Remember:

Law is COMPETITIVE. You have to have a killer instinct. There's only 1 good job out there for like every 5 graduates--and only 1 job AT ALL for every 2 graduates. As an 0L, you may not see the forest from the trees. If you're not prepared to take every possible advantage that is given to you (such as take the LSAT all three times if you haven't hit your practice test average), you're probably not cut out for law in the first place. School rank means a lot, and if you're going to go to a mediocre law school or pay full price when you could be paying half that just because you are not motivated enough to do your best on the LSAT...well, it's your future.

So to answer the title of the thread, every single one of your top choices is bad if you're leaving an LSAT retake on the table that could get you more scholly money or make you reconsider what your actual top choice is. You need to desperately scratch and claw your way to the top any way you can. The sooner you get desperate, the better.
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phireblast
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Re: ITT: Practicing attorneys tell you your top choice is bad

Postby phireblast » Sat Feb 01, 2014 9:47 pm

Hey I got some awesome advice earlier in the thread about FSU.
What about UF? What's the max amount of debt you'd take out to go there?

Again, goals are government or any size firm.

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Re: ITT: Practicing attorneys tell you your top choice is bad

Postby bjsesq » Sat Feb 01, 2014 9:49 pm

phireblast wrote:Hey I got some awesome advice earlier in the thread about FSU.
What about UF? What's the max amount of debt you'd take out to go there?

Again, goals are government or any size firm.


I didn't realize they were different schools in any meaningful way.

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Re: ITT: Practicing attorneys tell you your top choice is bad

Postby vamos720 » Sat Feb 01, 2014 10:06 pm

First, I would like to say that this website in general has been very helpful so thank you to everybody!

Goal: Atlanta biglaw, prefer midlaw for the long-term.

School: UGA

In-state tuition: ~18k a year. So I'm estimating ~60 for three years. COA in Athens is pretty cheap so I'm estimating around 15k for three years
Total: ~70k without adding interest.

Have deep ties to Georgia (lived here all my life, went to undergrad here)

Even though my ultimate goals are biglaw/midlaw, I would say my general one is to avoid "shitlaw"

So, considering the costs and everything, would it be wise for me to take out the loans and gamble that I will be top 10 percent?

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Re: ITT: Practicing attorneys tell you your top choice is bad

Postby rad lulz » Sat Feb 01, 2014 10:30 pm

k
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Re: ITT: Practicing attorneys tell you your top choice is bad

Postby NYstate » Sat Feb 01, 2014 10:41 pm

JCougar wrote:
anyriotgirl wrote:
JCougar wrote:
anyriotgirl wrote:I haven't heard back from all my schools yet, but does anyone have an opinion on Cardozo for free (no stips) for labor and employment law in the NYC area?


The labor/employment law market sucks big time right now. L/E biglaw is moving heavily to lateral hiring, the government agencies are in hiring freezes (which may be lifted by the time you graduate, however), and the plaintiff-side wants work experience. So you'll have to find some place to volunteer for free for a year or two, most likely. With your goals, Cardozo is not even worth the COL expenses.

Plus, the parent university seems to be collapsing: http://forward.com/articles/190719/yu-d ... d-to-junk/

Their debt rating is junk-bond status.


Ah, oh well. Free + COL did seem too good to be true. The firm I'm a paralegal at now has some Cardozo grads, but they were pretty highly ranked. Relevant information-- I would greatly prefer to practice union-side, and by the time I'm in law school I'll have two years of experience, mostly doing plaintiff-side work for large mutli-employer benefit funds. I'm obviously aware that I will have to continue with the w/e in law school, but at this point I basically know how to run straightforward ERISA collections cases. I'm also from a union family, which from my understanding of the field is sort of a mild "soft," to use admissions jargon.

That being said, what do you think about UCLA with a $90k scholarship, Vanderbilt (not sure on $$, based on LSN probably between 45 and 90k), and Michigan/Cornell at sticker or close (conservatively, again not sure on $$ yet LSAT/GPA 169/3.6). I'm not really heavily invested in being in one specific area of the country, but I do have a mild preference for NY (city and/or state).

edit to add: I was also just accepted at BC, no clue on $$ yet, but there is a chance that I might be able to live with my aunt for at least part of my law school career, which would heavily cut down on COL.

Sorry to barrage you with questions, but no one on this website really talks about this area of practice. Thanks


Sounds like you have a really good background for what you want to do. If you want to do union-side, than minimizing debt is far more important than anything else. You don't get paid much, and union work doesn't qualify for public interest IBR. However, I think you have a background that would fairly easily let you get a job if you network/intern during law school. In your case, I'd stay away from any school that doesn't offer you at least a 75% scholarship. With your LSAT/GPA combo, you should be able to find a better school than Cardozo that will let you in for free or close to it. Try WUSTL for one...that's close to full scholly territory there. Also, maybe think about Emory, GW, or schools in that range that have given out significant scholarships recently. Bottom line is that if you're getting $90K from UCLA, you should be able to find a school in the 25-15 range that gives you a full ride. Just wait that out. You don't want to pay off more than around $60-$70K of debt on a union lawyer salary.

ERISA is a good area to get into, though. Entry level jobs are few and far between, but if you can get like 2 years of experience under your belt, there's a lot of good options. This kind of goes for L/E law in general.


fWIW and off- topic: a therapist I saw when I was out on disability leave a few months ago told me that the only lawyer he had met in years of practice that was really happy with their job , their salary and their hours was a union lawyer. For some reason he thought I could just move from corporate to employment law. ( this was not the peoples therapist, lol, just a guy helping me cope with illness.)

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Re: ITT: Practicing attorneys tell you your top choice is bad

Postby NYstate » Sat Feb 01, 2014 10:44 pm

rad lulz wrote:Lol @ 15k Coa total


I'm not a math genius but isn't that less than $100 a week? It must be $15,000 a year adding $30,000 to the total. Maybe they can live at home and gave to only buy occasional meals and alcohol.

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Re: ITT: Practicing attorneys tell you your top choice is bad

Postby vamos720 » Sat Feb 01, 2014 10:53 pm

Sorry I forgot to mention that the 15 COA amount was just for housing and utilities. I think it is doable. I would pay for books/food/entertainment with the help of my parents and personal savings.

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Re: ITT: Practicing attorneys tell you your top choice is bad

Postby rad lulz » Sat Feb 01, 2014 10:57 pm

k
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Re: ITT: Practicing attorneys tell you your top choice is bad

Postby vamos720 » Sat Feb 01, 2014 11:12 pm

rad lulz wrote:
vamos720 wrote:Sorry I forgot to mention that the 15 COA amount was just for housing and utilities. I think it is doable. I would pay for books/food/entertainment with the help of my parents and personal savings.

That's like $400 a month for housing and utilities brah


~500 a month for 9 months a year if the apts allow for 6 month leases.

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LET'S GET IT
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Re: ITT: Practicing attorneys tell you your top choice is bad

Postby LET'S GET IT » Sat Feb 01, 2014 11:36 pm

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Last edited by LET'S GET IT on Sat Oct 04, 2014 12:42 am, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: ITT: Practicing attorneys tell you your top choice is bad

Postby ExBiglawAssociate » Sat Feb 01, 2014 11:41 pm

LET'S GET IT wrote:Go ahead and kill me.

Goal: practice is St. Louis. Don't want big law but not a tiny firm either.
Background: From flyover country in a neighboring state. Wife has decent job which would enable her to transfer to STL so COL won't be paid through loans (or at least not many). No UG debt.

Options: SLU full tuition scholarship no stip, Arkansas full tuition top 1/3 stip, WASHU small scholarship (5K yearly). A couple other options but these are the ones I'm considering.

Thanks in advance for your feedback and for doing this thread! Commence the killing.


WUSTL is your best bet, but you need to know what you're getting into. Have you considered working as a paralegal for a year before law school? Law school isn't for everyone, and you need to know that you really want to be a lawyer because the path for you probably won't be easy at all. It's very possible that you'll be unemployed and staring down the barrel of six figures of debt coming out of WUSTL.

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Re: ITT: Practicing attorneys tell you your top choice is bad

Postby yossarian » Sun Feb 02, 2014 12:07 am

Biglaw_Associate_V20 wrote:
LET'S GET IT wrote:Go ahead and kill me.

Goal: practice is St. Louis. Don't want big law but not a tiny firm either.
Background: From flyover country in a neighboring state. Wife has decent job which would enable her to transfer to STL so COL won't be paid through loans (or at least not many). No UG debt.

Options: SLU full tuition scholarship no stip, Arkansas full tuition top 1/3 stip, WASHU small scholarship (5K yearly). A couple other options but these are the ones I'm considering.

Thanks in advance for your feedback and for doing this thread! Commence the killing.


WUSTL is your best bet, but you need to know what you're getting into. Have you considered working as a paralegal for a year before law school? Law school isn't for everyone, and you need to know that you really want to be a lawyer because the path for you probably won't be easy at all. It's very possible that you'll be unemployed and staring down the barrel of six figures of debt coming out of WUSTL.


Again, not trying to give advice where I don't belong, but I'd direct you to the WUSTL grads answering questions threads: viewtopic.php?f=4&t=130775. Many seem to indicate SLU is actually better than WUSTL for STL. But their reasoning is generally connections/perception of flight risk, so perhaps in your case (as a regional local) its not a relevant factor. I don't know for sure, but I'm suggesting they might have a more complete answer to your question.

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Re: ITT: Practicing attorneys tell you your top choice is bad

Postby deadpanic » Sun Feb 02, 2014 12:18 am

yossarian71 wrote:
Biglaw_Associate_V20 wrote:
LET'S GET IT wrote:Go ahead and kill me.

Goal: practice is St. Louis. Don't want big law but not a tiny firm either.
Background: From flyover country in a neighboring state. Wife has decent job which would enable her to transfer to STL so COL won't be paid through loans (or at least not many). No UG debt.

Options: SLU full tuition scholarship no stip, Arkansas full tuition top 1/3 stip, WASHU small scholarship (5K yearly). A couple other options but these are the ones I'm considering.

Thanks in advance for your feedback and for doing this thread! Commence the killing.


WUSTL is your best bet, but you need to know what you're getting into. Have you considered working as a paralegal for a year before law school? Law school isn't for everyone, and you need to know that you really want to be a lawyer because the path for you probably won't be easy at all. It's very possible that you'll be unemployed and staring down the barrel of six figures of debt coming out of WUSTL.


Again, not trying to give advice where I don't belong, but I'd direct you to the WUSTL grads answering questions threads: viewtopic.php?f=4&t=130775. Many seem to indicate SLU is actually better than WUSTL for STL. But their reasoning is generally connections/perception of flight risk, so perhaps in your case (as a regional local) its not a relevant factor. I don't know for sure, but I'm suggesting they might have a more complete answer to your question.


I'm not one that is an expert in the STL legal market (paging Romo), but SLU full tuition with no stips is probably not too bad if you want to work in St. Louis. I would just keep in mind that you will most likely be working in a firm of 2-10 lawyers with a small chance at the larger firms. WUSTL with just 5k/year off is not even close to worth it.

Obviously the best bet is retake & get WUSTL full tuition if possible, especially if you want better chances at larger firms.

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Re: ITT: Practicing attorneys tell you your top choice is bad

Postby ExBiglawAssociate » Sun Feb 02, 2014 12:34 am

yossarian71 wrote:
Biglaw_Associate_V20 wrote:
LET'S GET IT wrote:Go ahead and kill me.

Goal: practice is St. Louis. Don't want big law but not a tiny firm either.
Background: From flyover country in a neighboring state. Wife has decent job which would enable her to transfer to STL so COL won't be paid through loans (or at least not many). No UG debt.

Options: SLU full tuition scholarship no stip, Arkansas full tuition top 1/3 stip, WASHU small scholarship (5K yearly). A couple other options but these are the ones I'm considering.

Thanks in advance for your feedback and for doing this thread! Commence the killing.


WUSTL is your best bet, but you need to know what you're getting into. Have you considered working as a paralegal for a year before law school? Law school isn't for everyone, and you need to know that you really want to be a lawyer because the path for you probably won't be easy at all. It's very possible that you'll be unemployed and staring down the barrel of six figures of debt coming out of WUSTL.


Again, not trying to give advice where I don't belong, but I'd direct you to the WUSTL grads answering questions threads: http://www.top-law-schools.com/forums/v ... 4&t=130775. Many seem to indicate SLU is actually better than WUSTL for STL. But their reasoning is generally connections/perception of flight risk, so perhaps in your case (as a regional local) its not a relevant factor. I don't know for sure, but I'm suggesting they might have a more complete answer to your question.


I based my answer on the fact that he/she didn't want to work at a "tiny" firm. People who go to SLU (and end up at firms) almost all end up working for tiny firms, no?

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Re: ITT: Practicing attorneys tell you your top choice is bad

Postby LET'S GET IT » Sun Feb 02, 2014 12:47 am

Thanks everyone for the feedback.

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Re: ITT: Practicing attorneys tell you your top choice is bad

Postby yossarian » Sun Feb 02, 2014 12:55 am

Biglaw_Associate_V20 wrote:
yossarian71 wrote:
I don't know for sure, but I'm suggesting they might have a more complete answer to your question.


I based my answer on the fact that he/she didn't want to work at a "tiny" firm. People who go to SLU (and end up at firms) almost all end up working for tiny firms, no?


Should probably get comments from STL area grads to confirm. But neither school has great big law placement. Definite edge to WUSTL but I don't know that this edge would hold true in STL. From what I gathered from that thread and WUSTL students. We need Romo to chime in on this.




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