Advice: Emory FT vs GSU PT

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

What option do you recommend?

GSU part-time
11
33%
GSU full-time
2
6%
Emory full-time
4
12%
UGA full-time
2
6%
Don't go to law school
14
42%
 
Total votes: 33

MKSY
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Advice: Emory FT vs GSU PT

Postby MKSY » Mon Feb 23, 2015 5:20 pm

Hello everyone,

I live/work in Atlanta and I have been accepted to Emory and Georgia State. Emory is offering me a $60,000 scholarship spread over three years whereas GSU is offering no scholarship but is still cheaper as an in-state student. I'm looking for advice on which of the two would be the better choice for me. Although Emory is the stronger of the two schools, I'm leaning heavily towards the part-time program at GSU since I'd rather not quit a good job. Attending GSU part-time would be easily affordable for me if I continued working. Attending Emory full-time would be a challenge but I could still manage it without taking on debt if I liquidated some assets.

A bit of background: I got my MBA right after undergrad and I have been working for the past 7+ years as a sourcing manager (negotiating contracts) at a Fortune 100 company based here in Atlanta. Financially, I'm doing well (approximately $100K/year) and I enjoy my job but I see my career as having plateaued somewhat and I'm eager to invest in myself. I'm mostly interested in law to pursue a career as in-house counsel at major companies. I work with in-house lawyers on almost a daily basis to get their take on legal terms as part of my contract negotiations. My assumption is that my experience and depth of knowledge negotiating commercial terms would position me well for this career path (but please shoot me down if I'm mistaken). By the time I would graduate the GSU part-time program, I would have 11.5 years of experience.

Please share your thoughts on my "plan," Emory FT vs GSU PT, and anything you think I may be overlooking (ex: if there are other lines of legal work where my experience and skill set would be better suited for).

As a side note, I've also been accepted to UGA (like GSU, no scholarship but in-state tuition is affordable). However, UGA is at the bottom of my list because in addition to quitting my job, I would have to leave Atlanta (I own a home in Atlanta and my wife works here too).

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Winston1984
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Re: Advice: Emory FT vs GSU PT

Postby Winston1984 » Mon Feb 23, 2015 5:31 pm

Definitely don't quit your job. Most people here will tell you not to go to law school period.

GSU part time is the only reasonable decision here. Any way to get your company to pay for it? Or can you retake the LSAT to get a scholarship? What are your stats?

In the worst scenario, you don't find a legal job and you keep your old job.

MKSY
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Re: Advice: Emory FT vs GSU PT

Postby MKSY » Mon Feb 23, 2015 5:52 pm

I'm aware of the jaded sentiments of law school students and the job market for law school grads in general. I consider myself on a different boat for the reasons of significant prior experience and that I'm not particularly interested in pursuing a career in big law (though I wouldn't necessarily turn it down either if work-life balance was reasonable). Rather, I want to continue working at large companies - this is my element - and I want to do so as in-house counsel.

Stats: 3.82 GPA / 156 LSAT. In practice tests I was scoring 160 - 165 (most likely because I could look at a digital timer and pace myself to the second). However, I'm not very interested in retaking. Logic Games own me and it seems no amount of LG Bible practice will help me there.

Edit: To answer the other part of your question, I have applied for a scholarship from my company which is based on academics (GPA and SAT - yeah, SAT). I'm optimistic I'll get a couple thousand dollars or so.

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deadpanic
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Re: Advice: Emory FT vs GSU PT

Postby deadpanic » Mon Feb 23, 2015 6:48 pm

MKSY wrote:I'm aware of the jaded sentiments of law school students and the job market for law school grads in general. I consider myself on a different boat for the reasons of significant prior experience and that I'm not particularly interested in pursuing a career in big law (though I wouldn't necessarily turn it down either if work-life balance was reasonable). Rather, I want to continue working at large companies - this is my element - and I want to do so as in-house counsel.

Stats: 3.82 GPA / 156 LSAT. In practice tests I was scoring 160 - 165 (most likely because I could look at a digital timer and pace myself to the second). However, I'm not very interested in retaking. Logic Games own me and it seems no amount of LG Bible practice will help me there.

Edit: To answer the other part of your question, I have applied for a scholarship from my company which is based on academics (GPA and SAT - yeah, SAT). I'm optimistic I'll get a couple thousand dollars or so.


The problem is big law is basically a prerequisite for every in-house job. These two schools are not going to give you much of a shot at it.

Logic games is the most learnable section. That being said, don't worry about a retake because you shouldn't go to law school at all. You have a good gig. Your goals are not really attainable from these schools and a JD is not really going to help you.

I guess if you must absolutely waste your time then do GSU part time--just don't take out any debt to do it.

thebobs1987
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Re: Advice: Emory FT vs GSU PT

Postby thebobs1987 » Mon Feb 23, 2015 6:54 pm

deadpanic wrote:
MKSY wrote:I'm aware of the jaded sentiments of law school students and the job market for law school grads in general. I consider myself on a different boat for the reasons of significant prior experience and that I'm not particularly interested in pursuing a career in big law (though I wouldn't necessarily turn it down either if work-life balance was reasonable). Rather, I want to continue working at large companies - this is my element - and I want to do so as in-house counsel.

Stats: 3.82 GPA / 156 LSAT. In practice tests I was scoring 160 - 165 (most likely because I could look at a digital timer and pace myself to the second). However, I'm not very interested in retaking. Logic Games own me and it seems no amount of LG Bible practice will help me there.

Edit: To answer the other part of your question, I have applied for a scholarship from my company which is based on academics (GPA and SAT - yeah, SAT). I'm optimistic I'll get a couple thousand dollars or so.


The problem is big law is basically a prerequisite for every in-house job. These two schools are not going to give you much of a shot at it.

Logic games is the most learnable section. That being said, don't worry about a retake because you shouldn't go to law school at all. You have a good gig. Your goals are not really attainable from these schools and a JD is not really going to help you.

I guess if you must absolutely waste your time then do GSU part time--just don't take out any debt to do it.


Yeah, the only realistic place you could probably go in-house is the company you work at now, so don't leave it. If you are dead set on going to law school, either get your company to pay for you to go to GSU at night or retake and if you get in the lower 160s you can get a full ride. Doing anything else would be dumb since you have a good gig already

MKSY
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Re: Advice: Emory FT vs GSU PT

Postby MKSY » Mon Feb 23, 2015 7:03 pm

Thanks for the feedback. I definitely have no plans to incur debt.

Is in-house counsel really so difficult to get into? From what I was reading, it's difficult for a lot of lawyers coming from big law because they are used to scrutinizing everything in extreme detail whereas we wheel and deal very quickly and have a legal department that gives us quick answers. The mantra around here (and other companies I'm sure) is that speed wins. Anyway, my point is that I'm used to operating in such an environment.

Edit: I don't know if the "don't go to law school" crowd is pessimistic about the job market as a whole or if there is a specific concern (ex: debt). With that said, I don't want to be a middle manager for the rest of my life and I see law school as a great way to take me from the middle of the pack to the top of the pack. I'm still relatively young, I have the time and the enthusiasm, and I can pursue it without incurring any debt. If your advice is still "don't go," please elaborate.
Last edited by MKSY on Mon Feb 23, 2015 7:12 pm, edited 1 time in total.

thebobs1987
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Re: Advice: Emory FT vs GSU PT

Postby thebobs1987 » Mon Feb 23, 2015 7:08 pm

MKSY wrote:Thanks for the feedback. I definitely have no plans to incur debt.

Is in-house counsel really so difficult to get into? From what I was reading, it's difficult for a lot of lawyers coming from big law because they are used to scrutinizing everything in extreme detail whereas we wheel and deal very quickly and have a legal department that gives us quick answers. The mantra around here (and other companies I'm sure) is that speed wins. Anyway, my point is that I'm used to operating in such an environment.


It is just hard to count on straight out of school. At my school, probably only a couple people each year get in-house at large companies. Most companies hire in-house big law attorneys with a few years experience. Which is only likely from t14. Your experience may help you get in-house, but definitely won't make it likely, besides maybe your own company

Nomo
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Re: Advice: Emory FT vs GSU PT

Postby Nomo » Mon Feb 23, 2015 7:44 pm

You work with in-house counsel lawyers from a Fortune 100 company on "an almost daily basis." So you should know this better than us. How many people have these guys hired in the last 3 years? How many of those people came straight from law school? How many didn't, and what kind of background did those hires have?

I can tell you that from everything I know, fortune 100 companies normally hire experienced biglaw attorneys and government attorneys with specialized experience. My experience also tells me that there aren't enough 6 figure in-house jobs for every biglaw refuge, not by a long shot.

MKSY
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Re: Advice: Emory FT vs GSU PT

Postby MKSY » Mon Feb 23, 2015 7:50 pm

Nomo wrote:You work with in-house counsel lawyers from a Fortune 100 company on "an almost daily basis." So you should know this better than us. How many people have these guys hired in the last 3 years? How many of those people came straight from law school? How many didn't, and what kind of background did those hires have?

I can tell you that from everything I know, fortune 100 companies normally hire experienced biglaw attorneys and government attorneys with specialized experience. My experience also tells me that there aren't enough 6 figure in-house jobs for every biglaw refuge, not by a long shot.


Two were hired in the past... oh, 8 months? One has about 2-3 years of experience at an Atlanta law firm, and before that, graduated from Emory law. Perhaps that's an anomaly. I don't know, that's why I'm asking here.

Nomo
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Re: Advice: Emory FT vs GSU PT

Postby Nomo » Mon Feb 23, 2015 8:55 pm

MKSY wrote:
Nomo wrote:You work with in-house counsel lawyers from a Fortune 100 company on "an almost daily basis." So you should know this better than us. How many people have these guys hired in the last 3 years? How many of those people came straight from law school? How many didn't, and what kind of background did those hires have?

I can tell you that from everything I know, fortune 100 companies normally hire experienced biglaw attorneys and government attorneys with specialized experience. My experience also tells me that there aren't enough 6 figure in-house jobs for every biglaw refuge, not by a long shot.


Two were hired in the past... oh, 8 months? One has about 2-3 years of experience at an Atlanta law firm, and before that, graduated from Emory law. Perhaps that's an anomaly. I don't know, that's why I'm asking here.


That's a little earlier than average, but its pretty typical. Biglaw to big company is normal. Your problem is getting biglaw in the first place. If you think you can skip that step because of your current job, then you're talking about a very atypical route. Something this board is unlikely to be able to help you with. I would guess that if your own company is seriously interested in hiring you, and values your experience more than biglaw pedigree, then they would consider paying your part time tuition at GA State.

ClubberLang
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Re: Advice: Emory FT vs GSU PT

Postby ClubberLang » Mon Feb 23, 2015 9:01 pm

This is a no-brainer. Going PT while keeping your good job eliminates most/all of the risk. Biglaw placement isn't great for either. You wouldn't want to leave something good for a damn good shot of being in a worse position than when you started.

MKSY
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Re: Advice: Emory FT vs GSU PT

Postby MKSY » Tue Feb 24, 2015 12:02 pm

Thanks. The most important thing I "lose" (from my perspective) is free time. The in-state tuition at GSU is not painful, and assuming a JD will even slightly improve my earnings over the course of my career, I should see a good payoff for my roughly $50K investment.

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RareExports
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Re: Advice: Emory FT vs GSU PT

Postby RareExports » Tue Feb 24, 2015 12:19 pm

I don't think your plan is necessarily a bad one, but I would strongly consider retaking the LSAT and reapplying (which is advice I'm much more hesitant than others to give). It sounds like there isn't too much risk to taking another year off for you, and you seem intelligent enough to be able to score much higher. With your GPA and a higher LSAT, you could be looking at full-tuition scholarships to either school. I understand how annoying the "retake" response can be, and so I wouldn't be giving it unless I thought there was substantial potential for better outcomes.

MKSY
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Re: Advice: Emory FT vs GSU PT

Postby MKSY » Thu Feb 26, 2015 2:03 pm

I've gotten some great advice about GSU in general via PM (thanks for reaching out). If there are any others who are attending (or attended) GSU part-time, please share your thoughts.

MKSY
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Re: Advice: Emory FT vs GSU PT

Postby MKSY » Tue Mar 17, 2015 1:29 pm

For what its worth, I had an older, recently retired lawyer that I used to work with strongly advise me to go to Emory. He said I should go to the best school and don't attempt night classes.

Very tough decision and I'm still torn on what to do.

BigZuck
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Re: Advice: Emory FT vs GSU PT

Postby BigZuck » Tue Mar 17, 2015 1:35 pm

MKSY wrote:For what its worth, I had an older, recently retired lawyer that I used to work with strongly advise me to go to Emory. He said I should go to the best school and don't attempt night classes.

Very tough decision and I'm still torn on what to do.

How is his experience representative of the legal job market now, especially for newly minted grads?

So, what's the breakdown on where all these in house counsel went to school and where they worked before going in house? You mentioned one that went to Emory, what about all the rest?

Why isn't your company paying for your JD for you?

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LawsRUs
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Re: Advice: Emory FT vs GSU PT

Postby LawsRUs » Tue Mar 17, 2015 2:44 pm

BigZuck wrote:Why isn't your company paying for your JD for you?

MKSY
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Re: Advice: Emory FT vs GSU PT

Postby MKSY » Wed Mar 18, 2015 10:23 am

BigZuck wrote:
MKSY wrote:For what its worth, I had an older, recently retired lawyer that I used to work with strongly advise me to go to Emory. He said I should go to the best school and don't attempt night classes.

Very tough decision and I'm still torn on what to do.

How is his experience representative of the legal job market now, especially for newly minted grads?


It might not be. He might be somewhat out-of-touch with conventional advice that might not necessarily be applicable today. I don't know.

So, what's the breakdown on where all these in house counsel went to school and where they worked before going in house? You mentioned one that went to Emory, what about all the rest?


The in-house attorneys went to the following law schools:

Emory (2)
Vanderbilt (2)
University of Notre Dame
University of Virginia
University of Michigan
University of Georgia
Fordham University
Duke University
Stanford
University of Kentucky (VP of law department)
Harvard (SVP of law department)

Why isn't your company paying for your JD for you?


My company has some terrific benefits but education isn't one of them. Instead, they provide small "scholarships." I applied for one. Outcome on this is TBD.

BigZuck
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Re: Advice: Emory FT vs GSU PT

Postby BigZuck » Wed Mar 18, 2015 10:35 am

Is Georgia State still in the running after you see that list?

Also, did these people generally go from big law to in house or what was their general career path?

MKSY
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Re: Advice: Emory FT vs GSU PT

Postby MKSY » Wed Mar 18, 2015 11:02 am

BigZuck wrote:Is Georgia State still in the running after you see that list?

Also, did these people generally go from big law to in house or what was their general career path?


Most came from a medium-to-big law firm, but some were hired directly out of law school. Some came from a firm after 3-5 years.

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BankruptMe
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Re: Advice: Emory FT vs GSU PT

Postby BankruptMe » Wed Mar 18, 2015 11:06 am

dont go.

sounds like you are just bored. Law school is not the most exciting place.

Keep your 100k, profit.

MKSY
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Re: Advice: Emory FT vs GSU PT

Postby MKSY » Wed Mar 18, 2015 12:42 pm

BankruptMe wrote:dont go.

sounds like you are just bored. Law school is not the most exciting place.


Nah. What you may not understand is that I love to learn. Call it a hobby if you will. That's what happens when you don't have TV and don't drink. :D I also genuinely see a JD as a great career step for me given my background. Ideally, I'd like to open my own solo practice someday and as a mid-career professional, attending GSU part time would enable me to save up the capital reserves to do just that.

Keep your 100k, profit.


GSU will not cost me $100K. As it currently stands, it will cost me $48K.

I talked to the Emory dean of admissions. After explaining to him my circumstances, he advises me to go to GSU. He said Emory and GSU are totally different creatures. According to him, Emory is a respected national law school ideal for people fresh out of undergrad whereas GSU is a respected Georgia law school ideal for working professionals who already live or intend to live in the Atlanta area. Both, according to him, will give me a good law education but he emphasized an intangible "Emory experience" which I interpreted as more applicable to kids still in "college life." It was certainly interesting feedback.

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chuckbass
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Re: Advice: Emory FT vs GSU PT

Postby chuckbass » Wed Mar 18, 2015 12:57 pm

Personally I see plateauing at $100k/yr in Atlanta as a pretty ideal outcome in life generally considering how cheap the city is (you're living better than most people in biglaw in NYC). Whatever you do, just make sure you don't mess that up and end up in a worse position trying to pursue law.

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BankruptMe
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Re: Advice: Emory FT vs GSU PT

Postby BankruptMe » Wed Mar 18, 2015 1:02 pm

scottidsntknow wrote:Personally I see plateauing at $100k/yr in Atlanta as a pretty ideal outcome in life generally considering how cheap the city is (you're living better than most people in biglaw in NYC). Whatever you do, just make sure you don't mess that up and end up in a worse position trying to pursue law.


My thoughts exactly.

MKSY
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Re: Advice: Emory FT vs GSU PT

Postby MKSY » Wed Mar 18, 2015 1:25 pm

BankruptMe wrote:
scottidsntknow wrote:Personally I see plateauing at $100k/yr in Atlanta as a pretty ideal outcome in life generally considering how cheap the city is (you're living better than most people in biglaw in NYC). Whatever you do, just make sure you don't mess that up and end up in a worse position trying to pursue law.


My thoughts exactly.


Fair enough. I am thankful for the job I have and I agree it would be foolish to throw it away and spin the wheel so-to-speak. With Emory, I would be going "all in" and it is hard to justify that kind of risk. I do have a lot to lose. On the other hand, with GSU part-time, I would essentially be hedging my bets. I would keep my existing job and only lose time/money to obtain the law degree, which is an acceptable risk.

I think Emory has an emotional appeal ("think of the prestige!") but GSU is the more rational choice.




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