Transfer or stay

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Runner2008
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Transfer or stay

Postby Runner2008 » Sat May 23, 2015 8:43 pm

Now that grades came out, I am currently in the top 5% at a 100-105 ranked school in the midwest, and have a transfer acceptance to a school ranked 30-35. My current school and prospective transfer school are only about 1.5 hrs away from each other. Staying at my current school would mean graduating with a total $35k in debt, transferring would mean a total of $45k in debt. Luckily I have a job waiting for me as a Marine Corps JA (JAG) upon graduation. Because of family issues, going to the T1 would mean commuting about 1.5 hrs from doorstep to doorstep (I can't move). Luckily, I would be able to schedule classes in a way that would only require doing the commute twice a week. Moreover, the admissions office claims I shouldn't have a problem scheduling classes that way to graduate (I am going to finish in 3 semesters + a summer)

Again, I can't move because of family issues, so transferring somewhere else isn't a possibility.

I go back and forth on what I want to do after serving as a judge advocate. I really like both labor and employment (employer side) and criminal defense (I'm thinking federal defenders). Because I would probably like to end up NOT in the region I'm currently attending school (Midwest), I'm wondering how much the rankings jump with provide in terms of geographic flexibility and help with potential big fed. Preference would be east coast or mid-Atlantic. I'm hoping serving as a JAG will help with that too, but I would like to hear what the thoughts are on alma mater impact later on and whether it would be worth the commute and the extra 10k.

Thank you!

adil91
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Re: Transfer or stay

Postby adil91 » Sun May 24, 2015 1:47 am

Don't transfer there is not much of a difference between IU-MicKinney and IU-Bloomington to justify the transfer.

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RCSOB657
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Re: Transfer or stay

Postby RCSOB657 » Sun May 24, 2015 1:49 am

If you're sure you're getting into JAG when you're done, stay where you are.

Runner2008
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Re: Transfer or stay

Postby Runner2008 » Sun May 24, 2015 6:33 am

Yes, I have a JAG slot.

I'm actually talking about Wisconsin, not Indiana.

Neither response provided a rationale and was the opposite of what I would have expected from TLS. Would either of you mind providing an explanation as to why you think staying is the right choice? Part of my thinking is that over-priced, low ranked private law schools are going to continue to plummet in rankings as the legal market contracts. I'm not so concerned about this same thing happening to a flagship state school. Although this is a collateral issue, it has an effect on the quality of the degree later down the line. I was fairly set on transferring and would appreciate hearing why not transferring might be the wiser choice...

thanks!

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fratstar1
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Re: Transfer or stay

Postby fratstar1 » Sun May 24, 2015 6:42 am

I'm pretty sure they did. The real question is why do you want to pay more for the same outcome?

Runner2008
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Re: Transfer or stay

Postby Runner2008 » Sun May 24, 2015 6:47 am

Yea, I understand the immediate outcome would remain the same.

I'm really looking for insight as to the impact of one's alma mater later down the line, and whether the impact is of such a nature as justify the extra cost. If it would be negligible, that's one thing, but a lot of what I've read on TLS is that the school name does have a significant impact on one's opportunities for your entire legal career (not just your first job). If you think that isn't the case, I'd appreciate hearing about it because that would be contrary to my general impression from the majority of TLS posts addressing whether or not to transfer.

thanks!

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fratstar1
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Re: Transfer or stay

Postby fratstar1 » Sun May 24, 2015 6:56 am

I mean your probably not going to get big law post jag, and any other post jag position (gov/PI/Solo practioner) is going to be based on the experience you get from your JAG position.

Honestly though it sounds like you want to transfer and if you have a guaranteed job at least your not totally screwed. Pragmatically though it doesnt make sense to pay more money for the same outcome and the only real benefit is feeling cool when you tell your the girl or guy at the bar you go to higher ranked school.

Also if you want another outcome, like big law, you could probably squeeze into a t14 w/ ur stats.

Runner2008
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Re: Transfer or stay

Postby Runner2008 » Sun May 24, 2015 7:13 am

fratstar1 wrote:I mean your probably not going to get big law post jag, and any other post jag position (gov/PI/Solo practioner) is going to be based on the experience you get from your JAG position.

Honestly though it sounds like you want to transfer and if you have a guaranteed job at least your not totally screwed. Pragmatically though it doesnt make sense to pay more money for the same outcome and the only real benefit is feeling cool when you tell your the girl or guy at the bar you go to higher ranked school.

Also if you want another outcome, like big law, you could probably squeeze into a t14 w/ ur stats.


That is honestly encouraging because my impression was that your school followed you around like a tattoo for the rest of your legal career. If your impression is that all it really provides is bragging rights, I think you're right, those aren't worth $10k. My impression that school name affected all legal hiring (not just BigLaw). Its good to hear that may not be the case...

NU is the closest T-14. Going there would cost an additional $70k, so I didn't even consider putting in an application. The takeaway seems to be that school name only matters if I were looking for BigLaw after JAG, otherwise experiences as a JAG will make school name basically nothing more than a placeholder on the resume. Does this seem to be the general consensus (understanding everyone has their own opinion)?

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PeanutsNJam
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Re: Transfer or stay

Postby PeanutsNJam » Sun May 24, 2015 8:26 am

Do you know, off the top of your head, the ranking within ~5 slots of error, the following law schools:

- Akron University

- Pepperdine University

- Ohio State University

- University of New Mexico

- University of Baltimore

- University of Utah

Let me tell you now these schools span from somewhere in the 30's to the 130's. But to practically everybody (and probably even some lawyers), they're identical. Not only are rankings outside the T14 rather irrelevant, they're incredibly volatile. Schools sometimes rise/drop 15 slots a year. You're gonna try to transfer to a school that could easily be TT one year, and TTT the next.

Your outcome is guaranteed and you're comfortable where you are. TLS cares about rankings only insofar as it affects employment prospects, which after T14 (maybe 15 if you're a UT apologist), do not correlate with ranking at all.

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Lawgenius
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Re: Transfer or stay

Postby Lawgenius » Sun May 24, 2015 8:29 am

Runner2008 wrote:That is honestly encouraging because my impression was that your school followed you around like a tattoo for the rest of your legal career. If your impression is that all it really provides is bragging rights, I think you're right, those aren't worth $10k. My impression that school name affected all legal hiring (not just BigLaw). Its good to hear that may not be the case...

NU is the closest T-14. Going there would cost an additional $70k, so I didn't even consider putting in an application. The takeaway seems to be that school name only matters if I were looking for BigLaw after JAG, otherwise experiences as a JAG will make school name basically nothing more than a placeholder on the resume. Does this seem to be the general consensus (understanding everyone has their own opinion)?


Hmmmm... If for bragging rights only I don't think it is worth it. But keep in mind the connections you established before you graduate is very precious in law career. Someday, these are the people that can help you big time. So if you think transferring will give you better connections $10k is small price to pay.

Runner2008
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Re: Transfer or stay

Postby Runner2008 » Sun May 24, 2015 9:52 am

PeanutsNJam wrote:Do you know, off the top of your head, the ranking within ~5 slots of error, the following law schools:

- Akron University

- Pepperdine University

- Ohio State University

- University of New Mexico

- University of Baltimore

- University of Utah

Let me tell you now these schools span from somewhere in the 30's to the 130's. But to practically everybody (and probably even some lawyers), they're identical. Not only are rankings outside the T14 rather irrelevant, they're incredibly volatile. Schools sometimes rise/drop 15 slots a year. You're gonna try to transfer to a school that could easily be TT one year, and TTT the next.

Your outcome is guaranteed and you're comfortable where you are. TLS cares about rankings only insofar as it affects employment prospects, which after T14 (maybe 15 if you're a UT apologist), do not correlate with ranking at all.


This is interesting feedback. I understand that the rankings are volatile, but I'm talking about migrating from a T3 private school to a in-state flagship school. My impression that a flagship state is almost always going to provide more reach than a private school because it is a little bit more sheltered from (or at least not as immediately sensitive to) market forces. Because I don't want to work in the region I'm going to school, it seems like whatever I can get to help extend my geographic reach might be worth it. What I don't want to happen is to watch Marquette go the way of William Mitchell and Hamline and shut down, basically making my diploma loose a lot of credibility. To me the decision is whether the $10k is worth the recognition of a flagship state school, assumed rankings stability (based on public status of prospective transfer school), and potential for better connections (although I don't know how much weight to give this factor because I have yet to look into this as a resource).

Thanks for the posts! Any other insight would be much appreciated!

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TheSpanishMain
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Re: Transfer or stay

Postby TheSpanishMain » Sun May 24, 2015 10:03 am

Are you planning on doing 20 in the Marines?

Runner2008
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Re: Transfer or stay

Postby Runner2008 » Sun May 24, 2015 10:13 am

TheSpanishMain wrote:Are you planning on doing 20 in the Marines?


Not sure at this point... Projecting whether or not one would want, or have the opportunity to work for the same employer for 20 years is probably impossible to predict. I'm not hell bent on 4 years and leaving at this point though...

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PeanutsNJam
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Re: Transfer or stay

Postby PeanutsNJam » Sun May 24, 2015 10:19 am

I don't think any public state flagship schools outside the T14 that have any degree of reach outside their state.

If we're talking UW-Madison vs Marquette, both have equally poor employment stats:

http://www.lstscorereports.com/compare/ ... marquette/

You can look at the state distribution of jobs, which for Wisconsin is:

55.5% WI, 8.1% IL, 3.8% MN, 3% foreign, 20.8% unknown, 8.9% jobless

Now, you could try to convince yourself that 20.8% are living it up in LA/Chicago/NYC/Seattle/Miami/Vegas or wherever you feel is a desirable place to live, but odds are more likely they're the group that don't have any legal employment whatsoever. That doesn't look like national reach to me.

I have no credibility behind me when I say this but IMO, Madison isn't gonna raise eyebrows any higher than Marquette will outside WI, and maybe IL. Their "prestige" difference won't matter when you're applying to jobs in New England; you're equally below all the other schools firms there hire from, which are a lot.

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pd_1023
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Re: Transfer or stay

Postby pd_1023 » Sun May 24, 2015 10:26 am

Runner2008 wrote:
PeanutsNJam wrote:Do you know, off the top of your head, the ranking within ~5 slots of error, the following law schools:

- Akron University

- Pepperdine University

- Ohio State University

- University of New Mexico

- University of Baltimore

- University of Utah

Let me tell you now these schools span from somewhere in the 30's to the 130's. But to practically everybody (and probably even some lawyers), they're identical. Not only are rankings outside the T14 rather irrelevant, they're incredibly volatile. Schools sometimes rise/drop 15 slots a year. You're gonna try to transfer to a school that could easily be TT one year, and TTT the next.

Your outcome is guaranteed and you're comfortable where you are. TLS cares about rankings only insofar as it affects employment prospects, which after T14 (maybe 15 if you're a UT apologist), do not correlate with ranking at all.


This is interesting feedback. I understand that the rankings are volatile, but I'm talking about migrating from a T3 private school to a in-state flagship school. My impression that a flagship state is almost always going to provide more reach than a private school because it is a little bit more sheltered from (or at least not as immediately sensitive to) market forces. Because I don't want to work in the region I'm going to school, it seems like whatever I can get to help extend my geographic reach might be worth it. What I don't want to happen is to watch Marquette go the way of William Mitchell and Hamline and shut down, basically making my diploma loose a lot of credibility. To me the decision is whether the $10k is worth the recognition of a flagship state school, assumed rankings stability (based on public status of prospective transfer school), and potential for better connections (although I don't know how much weight to give this factor because I have yet to look into this as a resource).

Thanks for the posts! Any other insight would be much appreciated!


Unlike Mitchell/Hamline, Marquette Law is attached to a well-established national university with the kind of endowment that can support it through an economic slump, so I wouldn't expect the same fate to be likely. Also, as is suggested here, I'm not sure that anyone outside of Wisconsin would assume that there is that much of a difference in rankings between the two universities - the job hunt would likely be equally as hard with either degree.

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quiver
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Re: Transfer or stay

Postby quiver » Sun May 24, 2015 10:52 am

Whether or not to transfer comes down to one calculation: do all the negatives of transferring (extra debt, inconvenience, etc.) justify the better job prospects? I think the answer here is pretty easy. No. So let's lay this out.

Better job prospects
As PNJ pointed out, there's not a drastic difference here:
PeanutsNJam wrote:I don't think any public state flagship schools outside the T14 that have any degree of reach outside their state.

If we're talking UW-Madison vs Marquette, both have equally poor employment stats:

http://www.lstscorereports.com/compare/ ... marquette/

You can look at the state distribution of jobs, which for Wisconsin is:

55.5% WI, 8.1% IL, 3.8% MN, 3% foreign, 20.8% unknown, 8.9% jobless

Now, you could try to convince yourself that 20.8% are living it up in LA/Chicago/NYC/Seattle/Miami/Vegas or wherever you feel is a desirable place to live, but odds are more likely they're the group that don't have any legal employment whatsoever. That doesn't look like national reach to me.

I have no credibility behind me when I say this but IMO, Madison isn't gonna raise eyebrows any higher than Marquette will outside WI, and maybe IL. Their "prestige" difference won't matter when you're applying to jobs in New England; you're equally below all the other schools firms there hire from, which are a lot.
Ok, so it might be a slight bump in job prospects, but not much. The thing is, you already have a guaranteed job out of law school, which is way more than half the battle. So the relevant issue for you is whether some future job prospects are enhanced by the transfer. Since your JAG experience will matter much more than your law school when looking for your next job (which may be anywhere from 4 to 20 years down the line), and since you'll apparently be looking outside the region of both Marquette and Wisconsin, it seems like Wisconsin provides, at best, a minimal advantage in the long run.

Negatives of transferring
You can better weigh these factors than we can, but it looks like the main negatives are 10k extra debt, 3 hour commute twice per week, and losing all your connections at your current school (professors, friends, etc.). The extra 10k in debt is not really that much, but your posts make it sound like a big deal to you, so that's a negative factor. The commute would also be pretty annoying, although not insurmountable since it's not daily. I'm not sure how you value your connections at your current school, but at least you've been there for a year; you've gotten comfortable with the environment and you know you can succeed.

Balancing the factors
Again, you can weigh these things better than I can, but it seems like there's little (or nothing) to gain in terms of job prospects and some things to lose in terms of convenience. While you're not making massive sacrifices like an extra 100k in debt or moving a long distance, you're also not gaining much, if anything, from the transfer. From where I'm sitting, it seems like the clear answer is to stay put.

I'm a former transfer FWIW.

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haus
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Re: Transfer or stay

Postby haus » Sun May 24, 2015 10:56 am

Runner2008 wrote:Yes, I have a JAG slot.

I'm actually talking about Wisconsin, not Indiana.

Neither response provided a rationale and was the opposite of what I would have expected from TLS. Would either of you mind providing an explanation as to why you think staying is the right choice? Part of my thinking is that over-priced, low ranked private law schools are going to continue to plummet in rankings as the legal market contracts. I'm not so concerned about this same thing happening to a flagship state school. Although this is a collateral issue, it has an effect on the quality of the degree later down the line. I was fairly set on transferring and would appreciate hearing why not transferring might be the wiser choice...

thanks!

I think that the best way to look at this is that ~10 years or further down the road, the USMC JAG job is going to play a MUCH larger role on your resume than that of your law school, unless it is a REALLY big name school. With that in mind, there is much less need to consider taking on additional expense as it is less likely to matter.

Being a former jar head myself (enlisted back in the early '90s) it is interesting to see the impact that this has with potential employers.

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A. Nony Mouse
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Re: Transfer or stay

Postby A. Nony Mouse » Sun May 24, 2015 11:17 am

haus wrote:I think that the best way to look at this is that ~10 years or further down the road, the USMC JAG job is going to play a MUCH larger role on your resume than that of your law school, unless it is a REALLY big name school. With that in mind, there is much less need to consider taking on additional expense as it is less likely to matter.

The above is pretty much my understanding. I also don't think the kinds of jobs that will care about your school name will see any significant difference between your two options - if an employer turns their nose up at Marquette, UW isn't likely to do much for them either. Like someone already said, I don't think Marquette is going to close - its market and history is different from William Mitchell and Hamline (besides, they didn't shut down, they merged).

This isn't to say that there's anything particularly wrong with transferring, but I don't think it's going to make any significant difference career-wise.

Runner2008
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Re: Transfer or stay

Postby Runner2008 » Sun May 24, 2015 11:23 am

Thanks very much for the contributions. Thy certainly helped put things in perspective. I'm the first lawyer in my family, so I just didn't know how to weigh school name.

I've been really fortunate to develop a couple good relationships with my professors. And. Although the $10k is not a whole lot, it could probably do a lot more good in my son's college fund than giving Dad a different name on his law degree.

Thanks again.

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POTUSorSCOTUS
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Re: Transfer or stay

Postby POTUSorSCOTUS » Sun May 24, 2015 1:19 pm

Transfer to t14

edit - Midwest transfer --> UChi, NU or M; but as a 5%'r, I'd blanket from Y to GULC to get out of that tttt
Last edited by POTUSorSCOTUS on Sun May 24, 2015 1:25 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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haus
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Re: Transfer or stay

Postby haus » Sun May 24, 2015 1:23 pm

POTUSorSCOTUS wrote:Transfer to t14

Brilliant analysis!

CanadianWolf
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Re: Transfer or stay

Postby CanadianWolf » Sun May 24, 2015 2:08 pm

In your situation, this is really a decision based on personal preference rather than on job prospects.

Runner2008
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Re: Transfer or stay

Postby Runner2008 » Thu May 28, 2015 8:52 pm

Hi folks, OP here. I just wanted to see if being on law review at my current school changed any of the advice on here?

Also, because I began as a part-time student and switched to full-time, I have actually completed roughly half of the 90 credit hours I need to graduate at my current school (and my rank is actually slightly better than my previous posting). If I just whittle it down to only my 1L classes, I was in the top 2% (I had to take the second year to complete my 1L classes, along with a handful of upperlevel classes). I spoke with Northwestern's admissions office and they said they would accept only my 1L grades. At the end of the day, this would mean going to an extra semester of law school and waiving the WI bar privilege (but I would get to keep my JAG spot).

I'd love to work in the DOJ someday, but I'm not sure if that's possible with a T3 law school degree. Would anyone say that transferring to a T-14 would be worth it (as I assume most people think transferring to UW is probably not, but am still open to hearing folks' opinion on that).

I know this may be beating a dead horse but I'm not sure how prestige oriented BigFed is, so I wanted to give it another go to see if anyone had any insight on this. Thanks!!

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quiver
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Re: Transfer or stay

Postby quiver » Thu May 28, 2015 10:51 pm

Runner2008 wrote:Hi folks, OP here. I just wanted to see if being on law review at my current school changed any of the advice on here?
No.
Runner2008 wrote:Also, because I began as a part-time student and switched to full-time, I have actually completed roughly half of the 90 credit hours I need to graduate at my current school (and my rank is actually slightly better than my previous posting). If I just whittle it down to only my 1L classes, I was in the top 2% (I had to take the second year to complete my 1L classes, along with a handful of upperlevel classes). I spoke with Northwestern's admissions office and they said they would accept only my 1L grades. At the end of the day, this would mean going to an extra semester of law school and waiving the WI bar privilege (but I would get to keep my JAG spot).

I'd love to work in the DOJ someday, but I'm not sure if that's possible with a T3 law school degree. Would anyone say that transferring to a T-14 would be worth it (as I assume most people think transferring to UW is probably not, but am still open to hearing folks' opinion on that).

I know this may be beating a dead horse but I'm not sure how prestige oriented BigFed is, so I wanted to give it another go to see if anyone had any insight on this. Thanks!!
Ok, color me confused. Now you're considering Northwestern? What happened to this:
Runner2008 wrote:Again, I can't move because of family issues, so transferring somewhere else isn't a possibility.
Also, you thought 10k extra debt was a lot, but now you're willing to pay full freight at Northwestern for what, 5 semesters?
Runner2008 wrote: Staying at my current school would mean graduating with a total $35k in debt, transferring would mean a total of $45k in debt.
What happened to this:
Runner2008 wrote:Although the $10k is not a whole lot, it could probably do a lot more good in my son's college fund than giving Dad a different name on his law degree.
And this:
Runner2008 wrote:NU is the closest T-14. Going there would cost an additional $70k, so I didn't even consider putting in an application.


I'm also confused about your career goals. First, you said:
Runner2008 wrote:Because I would probably like to end up NOT in the region I'm currently attending school (Midwest), I'm wondering how much the rankings jump with provide in terms of geographic flexibility and help with potential big fed. Preference would be east coast or mid-Atlantic.
But now you're voicing concern about not waiving into the Wisconsin bar? If your issue is just getting admitted to any bar so you can practice federally, it's not really a big deal. The odds are very good that you could pass the bar in a state you may practice in.

Second, what exactly are your career goals? Obviously you're going JAG right out of law school, but what do you want to do after that? You said:
Runner2008 wrote:I really like both labor and employment (employer side) and criminal defense (I'm thinking federal defenders). . . . I'm wondering how much the rankings jump with provide in terms of geographic flexibility and help with potential big fed.
Employer side labor law is much different than criminal defense, and neither of those are generally considered "bigfed". Will an NU degree help at every stage of your career? Probably. But likely not that much. As everyone has said, your experience will be the primary factor in hiring after JAG:
fratstar1 wrote:I mean your probably not going to get big law post jag, and any other post jag position (gov/PI/Solo practioner) is going to be based on the experience you get from your JAG position.
quiver wrote: Since your JAG experience will matter much more than your law school when looking for your next job (which may be anywhere from 4 to 20 years down the line), and since you'll apparently be looking outside the region of both Marquette and Wisconsin, it seems like Wisconsin provides, at best, a minimal advantage in the long run.
haus wrote:I think that the best way to look at this is that ~10 years or further down the road, the USMC JAG job is going to play a MUCH larger role on your resume than that of your law school, unless it is a REALLY big name school.
If you really want employer-side labor, then you'll likely need big/midlaw, which, from my understanding, is not really the way people go out of JAG. If you want crim defense (particularly fed defenders), then JAG will set you up nicely and your experience will far outweigh your alma mater. But now you're saying:
Runner2008 wrote:I'd love to work in the DOJ someday, but I'm not sure if that's possible with a T3 law school degree. Would anyone say that transferring to a T-14 would be worth it (as I assume most people think transferring to UW is probably not, but am still open to hearing folks' opinion on that).
Where did DOJ come from? That is considered "bigfed" but it has almost nothing to do with your aforementioned interest in labor law and, while DOJ obviously does a lot of crim law, it has very little to do with crim defense (apart from being on the other side of the aisle). On the upside, JAG should set you up nicely for DOJ (I interned in Main Justice and there were several former JAGs) and, again, your JAG experience will outweigh your alma mater (outside super competitive components like OLC, Fed Programs, SG, etc.).

In sum, I'd love to give some helpful advice, but it seems like you're all over the map now. Could you please clarify a bit?

Runner2008
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Re: Transfer or stay

Postby Runner2008 » Fri May 29, 2015 6:02 am

Thanks for the reply.

On the school: I marinated on some of the advice on the forum and just explored the possibility of transferring to NU a little bit more. On its face, it seems like an extra semester (+ opportunity loss studying for the bat), and the associated debt that would come from transferring to NU would probably not be worth it, but I wanted to field the question to see if anyone else felt differently because the general trend from the feedback was that transferring to a school below the T-14 would probably not be worth it. I could probably make the logistics happen, so I was just exploring the idea and seeking feedback.

On the job: Honestly, I should have put DOJ in my first posting. I'm interested in both employment/labor law and criminal law. Although I thought I had always gravitated towards the prosecutor side of things, I'm working on the "dark side" as a JAG intern this summer and find it pretty interesting. That said, defending servicemembers is probably a lot different than defending the sort of folks the FPD defends. So, when measuring my inclinations against the general public, rather than just the military legal community, I still probably lean more towards the prosecutor side. Accordingly, I'm interested in whether/how much school would influence future job opportunities with the DOJ.

Thanks!




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