UTK, WUSTL, Vandy, Emory, etc.

(Rankings, Profiles, Tuition, Student Life, . . . )

Which school should I choose?

UTK
12
60%
WUSTL
2
10%
Vanderbilt
5
25%
Emory
1
5%
Other
0
No votes
 
Total votes: 20

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Aftermath
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UTK, WUSTL, Vandy, Emory, etc.

Postby Aftermath » Tue Feb 03, 2015 2:33 pm

Hey guys,

I've been lurking the forums for a while, but this is my first post. Hoping I can get some good advice. Here's my situation:

UTK undergrad with 3.7 GPA, 167 LSAT on 3rd try (158, 160, 167). I've applied to:
Yale- nothing yet
Harvard - nothing yet
Chicago - nothing yet
Northwestern - nothing yet
Vanderbilt - accepted, still waiting on scholarship info
WUSTL - accepted with $35k/year scholarship
Emory - nothing yet
Alabama - nothing yet
William & Mary - accepted with $28k/year scholarship
Iowa - accepted with full-tuition plus guaranteed RA position in 2L & 3L
Indiana - accepted with full-tuition
UTK - accepted with full-tuition plus $2k/year stipend

At this point, I'm assuming I don't get in at Harvard or Yale. If I get Chicago or Northwestern, it's likely without much scholarship aid. I already have $27,000 in undergrad debt and would like to keep further debt to a minimum, especially since I do NOT want biglaw. My career goals are to stay in TN, preferably Knoxville. I'd like to get a medium-sized firm with around $75k to start. COA at my top options are as follows and paid for with loans:

UTK - ~$58,000
WUSTL - ~$105,000
Vanderbilt - undetermined (maybe around $120,000?)
Emory - undetermined (maybe $105,000?)
Is it crazy to be favoring UTK at this point, despite ranking disparity?

Sorry for the long post, just trying to give as much info as possible.

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MarkfromWI
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Re: UTK, WUSTL, Vandy, Emory, etc.

Postby MarkfromWI » Tue Feb 03, 2015 2:42 pm

So you aren't gunning biglaw, want to minimize debt, and would love to stay in Knoxville? UTK on a full ride + stipend is about as close to a no-brainer as there can be. The only thing you'll probably have to sacrifice is the $75k starting salary, but that's not saying you can't get there after a few years in practice.

ticklemesilly
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Re: UTK, WUSTL, Vandy, Emory, etc.

Postby ticklemesilly » Tue Feb 03, 2015 2:48 pm

I would do Vandy but that's just me. I also don't have aspirations for big law either but for me the best approach is to always choose the school that offers the most options in the long run. I tend to change my mind about things.

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Aftermath
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Re: UTK, WUSTL, Vandy, Emory, etc.

Postby Aftermath » Tue Feb 03, 2015 2:52 pm

MarkfromWI wrote:So you aren't gunning biglaw, want to minimize debt, and would love to stay in Knoxville? UTK on a full ride + stipend is about as close to a no-brainer as there can be. The only thing you'll probably have to sacrifice is the $75k starting salary, but that's not saying you can't get there after a few years in practice.

Good to hear as UTK is where my heart is. I've just been doubting myself because people see the 72 USNWR ranking and assume I should go to Iowa (27) or something instead. As for the $75k thing, lower is okay to start but it doesn't look too far out of the realm of possibility based on this:
http://law.utk.edu/connect/statistics-a ... t-profile/

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hoos89
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Re: UTK, WUSTL, Vandy, Emory, etc.

Postby hoos89 » Tue Feb 03, 2015 2:53 pm

Just so you know: medium-sized firms that hires right out of law school is exceedingly rare. UTK placed 8 of 167 graduates in c/o 2013 in firms sized 26-100.


Also, before you put too much stock into that salary report:
"150 total
97 reported salary (64%)"

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Aftermath
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Re: UTK, WUSTL, Vandy, Emory, etc.

Postby Aftermath » Tue Feb 03, 2015 2:54 pm

ticklemesilly wrote:I would do Vandy but that's just me. I also don't have aspirations for big law either but for me the best approach is to always choose the school that offers the most options in the long run. I tend to change my mind about things.

I see where you're coming from, I'm just not sure it's worth all the extra debt for my aspirations.

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Aftermath
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Re: UTK, WUSTL, Vandy, Emory, etc.

Postby Aftermath » Tue Feb 03, 2015 2:57 pm

hoos89 wrote:Just so you know: medium-sized firms that hires right out of law school is exceedingly rare. UTK placed 8 of 167 graduates in c/o 2013 in firms sized 26-100.


Also, before you put too much stock into that salary report:
"150 total
97 reported salary (64%)"

I never know what to make of those unreported salaries, though 64% certainly isn't the worst I've seen. I realize that firms sized 2-10 is the most popular option, which is fine. Medium-sized would just be my preference.

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hoos89
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Re: UTK, WUSTL, Vandy, Emory, etc.

Postby hoos89 » Tue Feb 03, 2015 2:59 pm

You should pretty much assume that missing salaries are bad. There's major reporting bias there.

Just know that you're more likely to be making $40-50k at 2-10 attorney firms and you'll probably be working on something like DUI defense, insurance defense, or personal injury.

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AT9
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Re: UTK, WUSTL, Vandy, Emory, etc.

Postby AT9 » Tue Feb 03, 2015 3:01 pm

Since you appear to have established TN ties and want to stay there, UTK and Vandy seem like far and away the best options over the schools you've listed (outside HY/C etc). Going to Iowa because it's ranked higher would be stupid. Come back when you have scholarship info from Vandy and pick between the two.

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Aftermath
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Re: UTK, WUSTL, Vandy, Emory, etc.

Postby Aftermath » Tue Feb 03, 2015 3:07 pm

hoos89 wrote:You should pretty much assume that missing salaries are bad. There's major reporting bias there.

Just know that you're more likely to be making $40-50k at 2-10 attorney firms and you'll probably be working on something like DUI defense, insurance defense, or personal injury.

Not the worst thing in the world. I'm probably just biased toward medium-sized firms as I've been a runner at one in Jackson, MS for the past few breaks. They did health and energy primarily.

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Aftermath
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Re: UTK, WUSTL, Vandy, Emory, etc.

Postby Aftermath » Tue Feb 03, 2015 3:08 pm

AT9 wrote:Since you appear to have established TN ties and want to stay there, UTK and Vandy seem like far and away the best options over the schools you've listed (outside HY/C etc). Going to Iowa because it's ranked higher would be stupid. Come back when you have scholarship info from Vandy and pick between the two.

What kind of scholarship offer do you think would make Vandy worth it?

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Rigo
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Re: UTK, WUSTL, Vandy, Emory, etc.

Postby Rigo » Tue Feb 03, 2015 4:34 pm

Your UTK COA seems pretty high for such a low COL area.

I agree that UTK and Vandy are the only schools that would make any sense given your desire to stay in Tennessee.

The Dark Shepard
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Re: UTK, WUSTL, Vandy, Emory, etc.

Postby The Dark Shepard » Tue Feb 03, 2015 4:38 pm

Dirigo wrote:Your UTK COA seems pretty high for such a low COL area.

I agree that UTK and Vandy are the only schools that would make any sense given your desire to stay in Tennessee.


Some schools give more COL loans than others, even when considering area. For instance, WUSTL gives an insane amount of COL loans from what I saw. $20,000/year or whatever in St. Louis. Which is not an expensive city.

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Rigo
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Re: UTK, WUSTL, Vandy, Emory, etc.

Postby Rigo » Tue Feb 03, 2015 4:40 pm

The Dark Shepard wrote:
Dirigo wrote:Your UTK COA seems pretty high for such a low COL area.
I agree that UTK and Vandy are the only schools that would make any sense given your desire to stay in Tennessee.

Some schools give more COL loans than others, even when considering area. For instance, WUSTL gives an insane amount of COL loans from what I saw. $20,000/year or whatever in St. Louis. Which is not an expensive city.

Oh I know you can take out loans for way more than is necessary. I'm just asking OP is she really intends on taking out the full amount or if he can survive on a much more reasonable amount.

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Aftermath
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Re: UTK, WUSTL, Vandy, Emory, etc.

Postby Aftermath » Tue Feb 03, 2015 5:04 pm

Dirigo wrote:Your UTK COA seems pretty high for such a low COL area.

I agree that UTK and Vandy are the only schools that would make any sense given your desire to stay in Tennessee.

It is high, but it's in line with official numbers from the school. I live here currently and pay $11,000 a year for rent which is more than I need to, but I enjoy living by myself in a tall building so… Plus I have a long-distance girlfriend so I spend more on travel expenses.

The Dark Shepard
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Re: UTK, WUSTL, Vandy, Emory, etc.

Postby The Dark Shepard » Tue Feb 03, 2015 5:12 pm

Aftermath wrote:
Dirigo wrote:Your UTK COA seems pretty high for such a low COL area.

I agree that UTK and Vandy are the only schools that would make any sense given your desire to stay in Tennessee.

It is high, but it's in line with official numbers from the school. I live here currently and pay $11,000 a year for rent which is more than I need to, but I enjoy living by myself in a tall building so… Plus I have a long-distance girlfriend so I spend more on travel expenses.


Just don't take out more than you think you need to. Don't go based just off of what the school would give you

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AT9
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Re: UTK, WUSTL, Vandy, Emory, etc.

Postby AT9 » Tue Feb 03, 2015 8:14 pm

Aftermath wrote:
AT9 wrote:Since you appear to have established TN ties and want to stay there, UTK and Vandy seem like far and away the best options over the schools you've listed (outside HY/C etc). Going to Iowa because it's ranked higher would be stupid. Come back when you have scholarship info from Vandy and pick between the two.

What kind of scholarship offer do you think would make Vandy worth it?


Idk, that's a tough decision to make based on your own tolerance for risk. I was in a similar situation last year (Vandy with a 1/3 discount and Wake with a near full ride) and chose Wake because, like you, I didn't want biglaw coming in and the extra debt would have forced me to chase biglaw. If I were you, I probably wouldn't do Vandy with non-biglaw goals for more than 90-100k COA, if that...but I'm pretty debt averse so take that FWIW.

I would talk to some attorneys in TN and see what they think about your options.

EDIT: I know you say you don't want "biglaw" now, but once you get into school, I think you'll realize that firm jobs are earned primarily by: (1) regional or national biglaw offices through OCI or (2) small firm jobs through networking/luck. As others have pointed out, there aren't many 25-75 sized firms in the Southeast with starting pay upwards of $70K, especially many that hire straight out of law school. So while you say you don't want biglaw now, you may change your mind later if you're still thinking firm jobs. I thought I didn't want biglaw, but I did pretty well and now the prospect of being one of the lucky few who has a chance to land cushy, paying SA's and eventually a six-figure starting salary is really tempting now that it's a realistic option. Anyway, if you do UTK, be prepared to be hustling for jobs that pay 40-60K in small firms if you're not in the top 10-15%.

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romothesavior
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Re: UTK, WUSTL, Vandy, Emory, etc.

Postby romothesavior » Tue Feb 03, 2015 9:08 pm

Knoxville isn't a big legal market at all, so there probably aren't many jobs in either the big or midsize firm range to go around. Keep that in mind.

That said, I think it's your best option for your geographic goals.

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Aftermath
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Re: UTK, WUSTL, Vandy, Emory, etc.

Postby Aftermath » Tue Feb 03, 2015 10:35 pm

AT9 wrote:
Aftermath wrote:
AT9 wrote:Since you appear to have established TN ties and want to stay there, UTK and Vandy seem like far and away the best options over the schools you've listed (outside HY/C etc). Going to Iowa because it's ranked higher would be stupid. Come back when you have scholarship info from Vandy and pick between the two.

What kind of scholarship offer do you think would make Vandy worth it?


Idk, that's a tough decision to make based on your own tolerance for risk. I was in a similar situation last year (Vandy with a 1/3 discount and Wake with a near full ride) and chose Wake because, like you, I didn't want biglaw coming in and the extra debt would have forced me to chase biglaw. If I were you, I probably wouldn't do Vandy with non-biglaw goals for more than 90-100k COA, if that...but I'm pretty debt averse so take that FWIW.

I would talk to some attorneys in TN and see what they think about your options.

EDIT: I know you say you don't want "biglaw" now, but once you get into school, I think you'll realize that firm jobs are earned primarily by: (1) regional or national biglaw offices through OCI or (2) small firm jobs through networking/luck. As others have pointed out, there aren't many 25-75 sized firms in the Southeast with starting pay upwards of $70K, especially many that hire straight out of law school. So while you say you don't want biglaw now, you may change your mind later if you're still thinking firm jobs. I thought I didn't want biglaw, but I did pretty well and now the prospect of being one of the lucky few who has a chance to land cushy, paying SA's and eventually a six-figure starting salary is really tempting now that it's a realistic option. Anyway, if you do UTK, be prepared to be hustling for jobs that pay 40-60K in small firms if you're not in the top 10-15%.

Interesting. Thanks for the input. I was considering the possibility of going for a clerkship right out of law school which would hopefully make me a more attractive candidate to firms. Not sure how viable of a strategy that is.
My understanding from talking to locals is that Vandy isn't worth the hefty price if you're staying in TN. UTK is very well respected throughout the state and Vandy grads are known as more of a flight risk. Still, it's certainly worth consideration if the price is right. I have enough ties to mitigate the flight risk label.

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Aftermath
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Re: UTK, WUSTL, Vandy, Emory, etc.

Postby Aftermath » Tue Feb 03, 2015 10:40 pm

Would the 2 people who voted for WUSTL care to explain their reasoning? I haven't heard any arguments for them yet.

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jk148706
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Re: UTK, WUSTL, Vandy, Emory, etc.

Postby jk148706 » Tue Feb 03, 2015 11:42 pm

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Last edited by jk148706 on Tue Jun 16, 2015 10:50 am, edited 1 time in total.

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Aftermath
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Re: UTK, WUSTL, Vandy, Emory, etc.

Postby Aftermath » Wed Feb 04, 2015 12:13 am

jk148706 wrote:
Aftermath wrote:Vanderbilt - undetermined (maybe around $120,000?)


would be shocked if you got this much, since you are not above either median. Most people with #s at both medians got about $75,000

ETA: I also don't think Vandy gives any scholarships of more than $110,000 (other than a couple full rides)

I meant $120k cost of attendance, so about a $90k scholarship. $75k certainly wouldn't surprise me though.

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jk148706
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Re: UTK, WUSTL, Vandy, Emory, etc.

Postby jk148706 » Wed Feb 04, 2015 12:18 am

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Last edited by jk148706 on Tue Jun 16, 2015 10:50 am, edited 1 time in total.

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deadpanic
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Re: UTK, WUSTL, Vandy, Emory, etc.

Postby deadpanic » Wed Feb 04, 2015 12:59 am

I practice in TN. I can tell you that from UT, a handful of students will get the "good" firm jobs (this would encompass big law, and the couple of firms in TN you could consider mid law). That is literally going to be about 10 students of your class. The rest, if lucky, will get small firm or local gov't making 40-50k.

That being said, I do think UT is the way to go for free if you want to work in TN. Just be okay with working in a small shop doing divorces for 40ishk/year, because that is a good possibility if you are not in the top of the class.

Don't be suckered to go to Alabama or Iowa or another random flagship if you want to work in Tennessee.

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romothesavior
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Re: UTK, WUSTL, Vandy, Emory, etc.

Postby romothesavior » Thu Feb 05, 2015 12:47 am

deadpanic wrote:I practice in TN. I can tell you that from UT, a handful of students will get the "good" firm jobs (this would encompass big law, and the couple of firms in TN you could consider mid law). That is literally going to be about 10 students of your class. The rest, if lucky, will get small firm or local gov't making 40-50k.

That being said, I do think UT is the way to go for free if you want to work in TN. Just be okay with working in a small shop doing divorces for 40ishk/year, because that is a good possibility if you are not in the top of the class.

Don't be suckered to go to Alabama or Iowa or another random flagship if you want to work in Tennessee.

OP, this is great advice.

If you want to work in Tennessee, go to UTK for free. If you want a mid-sized firm, go elsewhere. If you want a decent sized firm in Knoxville, well... Outlook not good. Not because it's not a solid regional school, but because its a tiny market.

You need to think about what is most important to you: staying in TN or sizeable firm work. Your goals will greatly impact your law school decision. I think UTK with that scholly and the stipend is your best bet.




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