Choosing Between Eleven Law Schools

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TwirlerGirl
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Choosing Between Eleven Law Schools

Postby TwirlerGirl » Thu Feb 06, 2014 1:48 pm

So now that I have heard back from almost all the law schools I have applied to, it's time to start making decisions. I don't have any lawyers in my family, and I'm not personally close to any, so I'd really like advice from other people that have some idea what they're talking about in regards to the legal world. I'm also looking at this for advice on which colleges I should tour. Here are some facts about me and the schools I have been accepted to.

About me- I'm a white female 22-year-old recent graduate from Orlando, FL. I love living in Orlando, but there aren't any great law schools here, and although I love living here, I don't know if this is the only state I want to live in for the rest of my life. I graduated Valedictorian of my class with a 4.0GPA. I'm not a strong standardized test taker, and my LSAT is a 157. I took it twice and I don't want to take it again. Although I would consider law school anywhere, I would prefer to ultimately end up in a warm state as weather is very important to me. However, if I received an awesome job offer somewhere like NYC or DC, I wouldn't mind gaining a few years of experience there before moving. Another strong factor to me is a high starting salary for the area it is located in. (I understand that $200,000 in NYC might be equivalent to $80,000 somewhere else).

Schools I've been accepted to/tuition/scholarships
College of William and Mary- $38,000- $10,000 scholarship per year
George Mason- $40,000- $8,000 scholarship per year
Florida State- $20,000 (in state)- no scholarship so far
University of Florida- $22,000 (in state)- no scholarship so far
University of Minnesota- $45,000- $20,000 scholarship per year
University of Oklahoma- $30,000- $10,000 scholarship per year
University of Alabama- $34,000- no scholarship so far
Arizona State University- $40,000- waiting on acceptance packet
Penn State- $41,000- $20,000 scholarship per year

Other schools I've been accepted to but I'm not really considering:
Samford University
Stetson

I have $50,000 that my parents have saved for me for law school. I wouldn't like to drastically exceed that amount, but I know that I'm looking at at least another $30,000 more. I don't have a particular area of law that I'm committed to, but I am looking at land use/property, medical malpractice, contract, or entertainment. Advice on concentrations would be helpful as well. Which are the most lucrative? The school I am still waiting to hear back from is Emory.

Any advice would be appreciated! I know all of their ranks, but often times the lawyers looking to hire you know the names of certain schools by their prestige and not necessarily rank. Which of these schools pops out to you? Which is horribly difficult to succeed at? Thank you for helping me!

lakers180
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Re: Choosing Between Eleven Law Schools

Postby lakers180 » Thu Feb 06, 2014 1:52 pm

Retake and pick from hysccn, if you don't want to work hard for that no point in going to law school

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Cal Trask
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Re: Choosing Between Eleven Law Schools

Postby Cal Trask » Thu Feb 06, 2014 1:54 pm

I am looking at land use/property, medical malpractice, contract, or entertainment.


This is a huge range of topics to be considering. Do you have a more specific goal for what you'd like to do after graduation. You sound like you're gunning for big law, if only for the salary, but none of these schools are going to give you a realistic shot at that.

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Otunga
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Re: Choosing Between Eleven Law Schools

Postby Otunga » Thu Feb 06, 2014 1:55 pm

Retake and get some full rides at top 30s. With 50,000 in your pocket essentially, you'd come out with almost no debt.

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twenty
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Re: Choosing Between Eleven Law Schools

Postby twenty » Thu Feb 06, 2014 1:57 pm

Yeah, retake and come back next cycle. All these options are terrible.

TwirlerGirl
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Re: Choosing Between Eleven Law Schools

Postby TwirlerGirl » Thu Feb 06, 2014 1:59 pm

Like I said, I don't have any lawyers in the family, so I don't know much about any of those concentrations other than what I've looked up online. I'm hoping to do some shadowing soon so hopefully I can narrow it down. I think I would enjoy land use/property because I have an interest in real estate, the housing market, etc.. Medical malpractice is interesting to me because I considered med school briefly and have always had an interest in the medical field, particularly the defense of doctors or hospitals. Contract and entertainment are mostly because I currently work at Disney and have met a few lawyers from both of these areas and they genuinely seemed like they enjoy their jobs.

TwirlerGirl
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Re: Choosing Between Eleven Law Schools

Postby TwirlerGirl » Thu Feb 06, 2014 2:01 pm

I'm not retaking the LSAT and I'm not waiting another year. Sorry if that makes me stubborn or stupid to you. I asked for advice on these schools that I have been accepted to. Every successful lawyer did not graduate from a T-14 school.

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Otunga
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Re: Choosing Between Eleven Law Schools

Postby Otunga » Thu Feb 06, 2014 2:01 pm

If anything, choose one of the Florida schools. Since instate tuition is cheap, and you have 50000 to use on it, you'd come out with little debt there too. But that's only worthwhile if you want small law. With the jobs that you're proposing, you have to retake and go to a t14/top 30 school on a full ride.

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deadpanic
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Re: Choosing Between Eleven Law Schools

Postby deadpanic » Thu Feb 06, 2014 2:03 pm

TwirlerGirl wrote:I'm not retaking the LSAT and I'm not waiting another year. Sorry if that makes me stubborn or stupid to you. I asked for advice on these schools that I have been accepted to. Every successful lawyer did not graduate from a T-14 school.


It isn't smart since a high starting salary is important to you. None of those schools give you any decent shot at a high starting salary.

lakers180
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Re: Choosing Between Eleven Law Schools

Postby lakers180 » Thu Feb 06, 2014 2:05 pm

Lol well either retake or come back to this thread in three years without a job gl op

TwirlerGirl
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Re: Choosing Between Eleven Law Schools

Postby TwirlerGirl » Thu Feb 06, 2014 2:07 pm

Otunga wrote:If anything, choose one of the Florida schools. Since instate tuition is cheap, and you have 50000 to use on it, you'd come out with little debt there too. But that's only worthwhile if you want small law. With the jobs that you're proposing, you have to retake and go to a t14/top 30 school on a full ride.


Minnesota is 18 with a 50% ride. Do you think that's my best option so far?

TwirlerGirl
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Re: Choosing Between Eleven Law Schools

Postby TwirlerGirl » Thu Feb 06, 2014 2:08 pm

lakers180 wrote:Lol well either retake or come back to this thread in three years without a job gl op


Right. Because you only get a job if you graduate from Harvard.

lakers180
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Re: Choosing Between Eleven Law Schools

Postby lakers180 » Thu Feb 06, 2014 2:08 pm

TwirlerGirl wrote:
Otunga wrote:If anything, choose one of the Florida schools. Since instate tuition is cheap, and you have 50000 to use on it, you'd come out with little debt there too. But that's only worthwhile if you want small law. With the jobs that you're proposing, you have to retake and go to a t14/top 30 school on a full ride.


Minnesota is 18 with a 50% ride. Do you think that's my best option so far?


Minnesota degree isn't transferable ie living in the cold forever

hopeful 0L
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Re: Choosing Between Eleven Law Schools

Postby hopeful 0L » Thu Feb 06, 2014 2:10 pm

I'm just a fellow applicant, so I am by no means an authority on this, but here's what I think everyone else will tell you.

1) re-take the LSAT. You have some nice offers, and congratulations on that, but that 4.0 gpa is a like a lottery ticket that you are simply not cashing in on. Even a 161 with that 4.0 will present you with an incredible new set of options. Any higher is just more gravy. If you're not a good test-taker, I understand that sentiment, but that is what practice is for. If you are capable of achieving a 4.0 gpa, you should be capable of drilling LSAT material to the degree that you can score 80th percentile on the test. This is an especially important consideration if you expect to earn a high salary immediately out of school.

2) As for the schools you listed--based on your stated goals--I'd say leverage your other offers to get some money out of FSU and UF. Every school on that list is regional, and you should really only attend any of them if you are willing to stay in that area full-time. If warm weather is such a consideration, none of those other schools will place you in Florida as well as FSU and UF (excluding Emory). If you have 50K already allocated for school, that's great. With current offers, however, you're still at least half short for total COA for those two Florida schools. Again, Raise the LSAT by even 3-4 points and put that 50K back into your pocket.

Best of luck

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Otunga
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Re: Choosing Between Eleven Law Schools

Postby Otunga » Thu Feb 06, 2014 2:10 pm

TwirlerGirl wrote:
Otunga wrote:If anything, choose one of the Florida schools. Since instate tuition is cheap, and you have 50000 to use on it, you'd come out with little debt there too. But that's only worthwhile if you want small law. With the jobs that you're proposing, you have to retake and go to a t14/top 30 school on a full ride.


Minnesota is 18 with a 50% ride. Do you think that's my best option so far?


No. The Florida schools are better because you have FL ties and so stand a better chance of getting work in your home state than in Minnesota. It'd be easier to be able to network in FL if you go to school there and that is more or less why a FL school is better. From what I've read (0L here) small law requires a lot of networking.

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smaug_
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Re: Choosing Between Eleven Law Schools

Postby smaug_ » Thu Feb 06, 2014 2:13 pm

TwirlerGirl wrote:I'm not retaking the LSAT and I'm not waiting another year. Sorry if that makes me stubborn or stupid to you. I asked for advice on these schools that I have been accepted to. Every successful lawyer did not graduate from a T-14 school.


You're assuming that you'll become a lawyer by going to those schools. That's a really bold assumption, and I'm not just being snarky.

There's no point in arguing with you. Your posting history seems to indicate that you're probably a real person (or very very dedicated troll), and that bums me out. I hope you realize that most of the people who post things about having a 4.0 and being unwilling to retake are not real people. Real people are not that stupid. When real people make those decisions, it's tragic. It seriously depresses the shit out of me.

Assuming that you're real and serious:

You seem to be fixated on money in your post here. If you honestly care about your starting income, sit down and calculate what your expected income would be from these schools and compare that income to what it would be if you retake and go to a better school. With a 4.0, your only limiting factor is your LSAT. Even if you don't care about getting into a T14, the difference in COA alone would justify retaking the LSAT.

If you give up now and are unwilling to put the work in to do better on the LSAT, I don't really know how you're going to survive. Do you know what law school is? A series of difficult exams. Are you confident that you'll be able to succeed on those exams when you're unwilling to put the work in for the LSAT? Will you be willing to put the required work into getting a job when you're unwilling to retake the LSAT?

Scoring well on the LSAT is the path of least resistance to a "decent" law job. If you do well, each of the next steps becomes much much easier. The LSAT also generally sets the ceiling (but not the floor) of what you can do. People going to the schools you listed will not be weighing the starting salary, the weather or (likely) the "specialty" they have. They'll be struggling to find a job.

Going to one of these schools would be a mistake. If you think I'm wrong, please print this out and put it somewhere that you'll see it. You can come yell at me in the future and gloat about your amazing job opportunities. More likely, you'll have it there and you'll be able to pinpoint exactly where it was that your life went off the rails.

Have fun.

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ScottRiqui
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Re: Choosing Between Eleven Law Schools

Postby ScottRiqui » Thu Feb 06, 2014 2:14 pm

TwirlerGirl wrote:
Otunga wrote:If anything, choose one of the Florida schools. Since instate tuition is cheap, and you have 50000 to use on it, you'd come out with little debt there too. But that's only worthwhile if you want small law. With the jobs that you're proposing, you have to retake and go to a t14/top 30 school on a full ride.


Minnesota is 18 with a 50% ride. Do you think that's my best option so far?


Well, if you consider only having about a two in three chance of landing any kind of non-solo legal job at all, and only about a one in eight chance of getting the type of "biglaw" job you seem to want, to be acceptable odds, the price is certainly right at Minn.

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stillwater
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Re: Choosing Between Eleven Law Schools

Postby stillwater » Thu Feb 06, 2014 2:15 pm

these types of threads are my favorite.

OP, retake. you are asking the equivalent of: should i shoot myself in the head or in the chest??? how about retake and don't shoot yourself in any manner.

TwirlerGirl
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Re: Choosing Between Eleven Law Schools

Postby TwirlerGirl » Thu Feb 06, 2014 2:16 pm

hopeful 0L wrote:I'm just a fellow applicant, so I am by no means an authority on this, but here's what I think everyone else will tell you.

1) re-take the LSAT. You have some nice offers, and congratulations on that, but that 4.0 gpa is a like a lottery ticket that you are simply not cashing in on. Even a 161 with that 4.0 will present you with an incredible new set of options. Any higher is just more gravy. If you're not a good test-taker, I understand that sentiment, but that is what practice is for. If you are capable of achieving a 4.0 gpa, you should be capable of drilling LSAT material to the degree that you can score 80th percentile on the test. This is an especially important consideration if you expect to earn a high salary immediately out of school.

2) As for the schools you listed--based on your stated goals--I'd say leverage your other offers to get some money out of FSU and UF. Every school on that list is regional, and you should really only attend any of them if you are willing to stay in that area full-time. If warm weather is such a consideration, none of those other schools will place you in Florida as well as FSU and UF (excluding Emory). If you have 50K already allocated for school, that's great. With current offers, however, you're still at least half short for total COA for those two Florida schools. Again, Raise the LSAT by even 3-4 points and put that 50K back into your pocket.

Best of luck


Thank you, this is good advice. I think I need to send a packet of my scholarship offers to the Florida schools.

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twenty
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Re: Choosing Between Eleven Law Schools

Postby twenty » Thu Feb 06, 2014 2:18 pm

Okay, before we do anything else, OP, go here:

http://www.lstscorereports.com/?r=geographic

This website details the employment outcomes of attorneys from these law schools. Let's go with ASU for example:

http://www.lstscorereports.com/?school=asu

Your gut reaction should be "oh s***" when only 61% of the graduates that spent three years of their lives on law school are now actually attorneys. But what's even more terrifying is the number below that.

If you're looking for a strong starting salary, you MUST do biglaw. Small firms in flyover states will start you at 45k/yr... if you're lucky. ASU places just 8% of its class in biglaw, which means you have a 1/12 chance of getting the employment opportunity you're talking about.

Check out Florida State. 5.6% chance. George Mason, 8.6%. Penn State, 8.2%.

At most of the schools on your list, there's a 40%+ chance that you still won't be practicing law 9 months after you graduate. Even if you are practicing law, it will almost definitely be practicing "shitlaw" which pays very, very poorly.

Now:

http://www.lstscorereports.com/?school=uva

Even if you retook the LSAT in June and got a 163, you'd be a lock at ED UVA. At UVA, you not only have a 47.8% chance of getting a job you had a 5.6% chance of getting at FSU, you also get access to an extra 14.3% chance of a federal clerkship, which you had absolutely no chance at before.

Study, retake in June, come back next cycle. Don't be dumb.

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worldtraveler
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Re: Choosing Between Eleven Law Schools

Postby worldtraveler » Thu Feb 06, 2014 2:21 pm

I am not trying to be rude here, but just brutally honest. You sound very immature and need to postpone law school. Most of your concern seems to be about weather and where you like to live. You don't know what you want to do, where to live, what you like, or what motivates you (besides money).

Postpone law school until you figure out what you value. Going right now with your mindset would be a disaster.

BigZuck
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Re: Choosing Between Eleven Law Schools

Postby BigZuck » Thu Feb 06, 2014 2:22 pm

You want big law. Therefore, you have to retake. If you're too lazy to dedicate yourself to the LSAT, your lunch will get eaten in law school and you will not get a good job.

TwirlerGirl
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Re: Choosing Between Eleven Law Schools

Postby TwirlerGirl » Thu Feb 06, 2014 2:31 pm

Okay, here is my reasoning for not re-taking. First of all, obviously I'm not lazy or I wouldn't have a 4.0. I'm good at exams, not standardized tests. Also, law school is all about being top of your class. I feel that these schools give me a chance at being a big fish in a smaller pond. I feel like I would drown if I got into Harvard and Yale and it wouldn't be worth it. Even if I got a full ride to a top 14, what if I can't even keep my scholarship past the first year? Maybe some of those schools only have an 8% chance at big law, I think I have a better chance at top 8% at those schools.

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Otunga
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Re: Choosing Between Eleven Law Schools

Postby Otunga » Thu Feb 06, 2014 2:34 pm

TwirlerGirl wrote:Okay, here is my reasoning for not re-taking. First of all, obviously I'm not lazy or I wouldn't have a 4.0. I'm good at exams, not standardized tests. Also, law school is all about being top of your class. I feel that these schools give me a chance at being a big fish in a smaller pond. I feel like I would drown if I got into Harvard and Yale and it wouldn't be worth it. Even if I got a full ride to a top 14, what if I can't even keep my scholarship past the first year? Maybe some of those schools only have an 8% chance at big law, I think I have a better chance at top 8% at those schools.


You'd probably drown into biglaw at HY though. Not a bad proposition.

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worldtraveler
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Re: Choosing Between Eleven Law Schools

Postby worldtraveler » Thu Feb 06, 2014 2:34 pm

TwirlerGirl wrote:Okay, here is my reasoning for not re-taking. First of all, obviously I'm not lazy or I wouldn't have a 4.0. I'm good at exams, not standardized tests. Also, law school is all about being top of your class. I feel that these schools give me a chance at being a big fish in a smaller pond. I feel like I would drown if I got into Harvard and Yale and it wouldn't be worth it. Even if I got a full ride to a top 14, what if I can't even keep my scholarship past the first year? Maybe some of those schools only have an 8% chance at big law, I think I have a better chance at top 8% at those schools.


The top schools don't have scholarship stipulations.

And literally everyone with a scholarship is going to think they will be top of the class. Most will be wrong. Law school grades are hard to predict and no one should count on being at the top.

And the LSAT is not like any other standardized exams anyway. You just have to learn the test.




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