Life2good893 wrote:You know what's crazy? I stumbled onto an entire party of lawyers randomly during New Years and they invited me to their party. Then this exact debate was argued in front of me by:
a. a woman who got a significant scholly to Golden Gate, finished with little debt, then got a rewarding job as an environmental lawyer
b. a man who attended UCLA (not T14 but as close as you can get) and now works in corporate law (his father was rich, a judge, and paid his entire tuition)
The woman said that the minimal debt burden ensured that she got to choose her career path without worrying about debilitating loans. She said that you're very likely to be at the top of the school if you are over-qualified and they give you a good scholarship. She said she didn't regret it at all.
The man said choose the most prestigious school within reach. He said that he firmly believes that even after attaining your first job, lawyers are obsessed with prestige and your alma mater will always be important. He said, go to the school that opens up the most doors for you in the future because you never know where your career path will take you and what will be relevant to your success in the future. Leave doors open.
Perhaps there is some equilibrium to be reached- a less extreme version of the opposite views....
They are both correct (except the bit about being very likely to be at the top of the class if you're over-qualified based on LSAT and UGPA--there are plenty of people who receive significant scholarships but wind up doing badly in law school). It really all depends on what your career goals are. The legal industry is overly obsessed with prestige (in a way that many other fields aren't), but that's only true to the extent that you are interested in the super prestigious jobs (e.g. fed clerkships, biglaw, etc). There are plenty of people who attend law school with lower goals (e.g. being an local DA, personal injury lawyer, etc.) and prestige doesn't matter much in those realms. If, on the other hand, you want to be a corporate attorney at a top firm in manhattan, prestige matters a ton. Even with top grades at a lower ranked school, I think your options are going to be a lot more limited later in your career than they are if you have a shiny t14 diploma. In other words, just because you graduate #1 from a TTT and get into biglaw, it doesn't mean you're going to have the same career options down the road as you might have as an average HLS grad.