Family Law / Chicago

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anonpsanon

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Family Law / Chicago

Postby anonpsanon » Thu Jan 05, 2017 11:02 am

As is the point of this board, I need help choosing a law school (or, more accurately, a course of action).

Some background - I want to go into family law, which is not the general goal around here. I'm not gunning for biglaw, and there's a very niche area I'm interested in practicing in. Most people go solo or essentially enter into apprenticeships with people who are already practicing, so small-midlaw is my goal. I've made decent connections in this field already, but I'm not naive enough to think anyone will hand me a job when I graduate.

I took the LSAT twice. I was extremely disappointed in my score both times, which leads me to believe *something* I was doing was wrong/I was measuring inaccurately. I was scoring between 168-170 for my first exam and scored a 161. I was scoring between 170-174 for my second exam and scored a 163. I thought the first time was a fluke, and when it happened again, I lost all confidence. I knew retaking in December wouldn't have been the right move because my confidence was so shaken, and I went ahead and applied to law school anyway. I have a 3.5 so it's not like I'm ~wasting a great gpa~. I also took my exams timed, in real test taking conditions, with 5 sections, yadda yadda. I took recent tests. The second time around I was retaking tests so I'm sure that inflated my score, but it shouldn't have by much.

I'm originally from the midwest, and would love to end up in Chicago, so most of the schools I applied to are around there. I'm still waiting to hear back from a handful of schools, but my options (excluding options I'm not really considering) are as follows:
- Iowa (#20) with near a full scholarship (better school, but has nearly no family law program and is in...iowa city...)
- Loyola Chicago (#72) also near a full scholarship, but i'm trying to negotiate for full because of my Iowa scholly (has the most comprehensive family law program in the country, is in a great city, but absolutely dismal job stats as you all know)
- Kent (#86) no scholly info yet, but obviously in Chicago, not considering this as much as Loyola
- Wisconsin (#33) - awesome family law concentration, favorite clinic and journal selection, nice campus in a city i'd be happier in than Iowa City... i got a good scholarship but not as much as iowa/loyola so i'm going to try to negotiate that one as well (but wait on illinois before i negotiate)
- UIUC (#40) (haven't heard back yet but i'm almost certain I'll get in with a good scholarship based on LSN) - good placement in Chicago... iffy reputation based on scandal a few years back, not great family law class selection
- I also got into boston college, unc, baylor, and american, though i'm not seriously considering any of those. i'm still waiting on BU, northwestern and wash u, though i know i likely won't get into any of those.

Other considerations:
- I'm in a serious relationship with someone who is generally willing to move with me so long as he can find a job in his field. Rural places like Iowa City are not the place for that.
- Is it easier to apply for part-time jobs, internships somewhere like Chicago than it is somewhere like Iowa?
- Additionally - I do *not* want to practice in rural Iowa, rural Wisconsin, or anywhere like that. Most of my family/friends think I should just go to Loyola, but it's hard to explain the job market/etc so I need some external advice.

Yes, I know there is an option to retake for a third time, but I seriously feel like I will waste a year and not improve my score because I already studied as hard as I could for a solid 9 months. And since my goals are different, I'm not sure that's necessary.

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guynourmin

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Re: Family Law / Chicago

Postby guynourmin » Thu Jan 05, 2017 11:28 am

It sounds like you are not from Chicago, right? If that is the case, you really cannot go to Iowa or Wisconsin and expect any real chance at landing in Chicago.
I don't think there is much of a difference between Kent and Loyola in terms of reputation, job prospects, etc, and conventional wisdom is to not put much emphasis on specialty programs, but if there are a lot more Loyola grads in Chicago working in family law than Kent/Depaul/(JMlol), then maybe those connections could be helpful in landing summers and internships and the like. Networking is going to be vital for you. My opinion here is clear: Loyola having a more comprehensive family law program is only a real benefit to you if there are a lot more loyola grads working in family law and you can leverage those connections.
UIUC is interesting. A lot more people get jobs out of UIUC than Loyola/Kent/Depaul - like, 2/3rds of the class compared to half the class. That's a pretty big difference. That it doesn't have great family law offerings doesn't matter. I don't know if Loyola being in Chicago outweighs UIUCs placement. Seems like it comes down to those two, though. Hopefully for free.


(0L advice!)

anonpsanon

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Re: Family Law / Chicago

Postby anonpsanon » Thu Jan 05, 2017 11:37 am

guybourdin wrote:It sounds like you are not from Chicago, right? If that is the case, you really cannot go to Iowa or Wisconsin and expect any real chance at landing in Chicago.
I don't think there is much of a difference between Kent and Loyola in terms of reputation, job prospects, etc, and conventional wisdom is to not put much emphasis on specialty programs, but if there are a lot more Loyola grads in Chicago working in family law than Kent/Depaul/(JMlol), then maybe those connections could be helpful in landing summers and internships and the like. Networking is going to be vital for you. My opinion here is clear: Loyola having a more comprehensive family law program is only a real benefit to you if there are a lot more loyola grads working in family law and you can leverage those connections.
UIUC is interesting. A lot more people get jobs out of UIUC than Loyola/Kent/Depaul - like, 2/3rds of the class compared to half the class. That's a pretty big difference. That it doesn't have great family law offerings doesn't matter. I don't know if Loyola being in Chicago outweighs UIUCs placement. Seems like it comes down to those two, though. Hopefully for free.


(0L advice!)


thanks!! i actually am from chicago, but none of my professional connections are in chicago because i went to undergrad in a different state and currently live in a different state.

going to school for free/close to free is my #1 goal which is sort of my saving grace. even if i scored like five points better on the LSAT, that wouldn't get me any $$ at northwestern

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guynourmin

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Re: Family Law / Chicago

Postby guynourmin » Thu Jan 05, 2017 12:11 pm

anonpsanon wrote:
thanks!! i actually am from chicago, but none of my professional connections are in chicago because i went to undergrad in a different state and currently live in a different state.

going to school for free/close to free is my #1 goal which is sort of my saving grace. even if i scored like five points better on the LSAT, that wouldn't get me any $$ at northwestern


ahh-- I just assumed because you said from midwest, want Chicago, not from Chicago. That may make getting back from Iowa/Wisconsin easier, but I would still think they'd be a lot riskier than UIUC even if you like Madison more than UC or it has better family offerings or whathaveyou.

I am incredibly hesitant to sound supportive of going to Loyola, because I know grads from all the TT(T) Chicago schools and it seems like a really tough road to go down. Some aren't that far out of school and seem to be doing okay (although I don't know about debt loads, how they are actually fairing, etc). Some seem to have it ROUGH, like, doc review or wait tables bad. I would think with something like family law, if you really gun for it, you should be "successful", but I don't even know what that means: $48k/yr doing divorces in Arlington Heights? If that is what you want, I really think you can get it if you work hard for it. I think your education has to be free, though. I also know someone who went to UIUC/WUSTL/ND, wanted family law, and through whatever turn of events (I don't know) is happy and NOT using their JD less than 2 years out from graduation.

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Re: Family Law / Chicago

Postby airwrecka » Thu Jan 05, 2017 12:22 pm

I don't have any advice (sorry!) but I just wanted to leave you with a bit of encouragement:

Both my MIL and sister in law are family law attorneys who are VERY successful in their field, and neither of them went to a highly regarded law school. They got to where they are because they're smart and work hard for what they want and continued working towards their goals after graduating. My sister in law, for instance, clerked for 2-3 years at a lower level court (nothing prestigious) after law school but she made sure to keep building connections with family law attorneys while she was clerking (she went to school in NY and we now live in Minneapolis, so she virtually had no connections in Minneapolis once she graduated). Now she works for one of the top family law attorneys in the state at her dream job.

OF COURSE where you go to law school is (very) important, but never forget that there are other factors that will influence where you end up as well :)

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trebekismyhero

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Re: Family Law / Chicago

Postby trebekismyhero » Thu Jan 05, 2017 5:53 pm

UIUC if you get a really good scholarship. Otherwise Loyola, but definitely only if you get a full ride. I wouldn't go to Iowa or Wisc if you want to be in Chicago

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Re: Family Law / Chicago

Postby RedPurpleBlue » Thu Jan 05, 2017 9:38 pm

I don't have any real advice, but I do just want to chime in about Iowa. Iowa City is an absolutely awesome college town (one of the best in the nation). Your shade is unwarranted. This is also coming from someone who has lived in Chicago and now lives in a Chicago suburb.

anonpsanon

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Re: Family Law / Chicago

Postby anonpsanon » Fri Jan 06, 2017 10:24 am

RedPurpleBlue wrote:I don't have any real advice, but I do just want to chime in about Iowa. Iowa City is an absolutely awesome college town (one of the best in the nation). Your shade is unwarranted. This is also coming from someone who has lived in Chicago and now lives in a Chicago suburb.


that's totally fair - i've actually never been there (i plan to visit this spring). the shade is less about iowa city as a town and more about the fact that it's far from all of my friends and family and there aren't many opportunities for my bf there. also far from networking in chicago

and thank you everyone else for your input!

anonpsanon

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Re: Family Law / Chicago

Postby anonpsanon » Fri Jan 06, 2017 12:44 pm

airwrecka wrote:I don't have any advice (sorry!) but I just wanted to leave you with a bit of encouragement:

Both my MIL and sister in law are family law attorneys who are VERY successful in their field, and neither of them went to a highly regarded law school. They got to where they are because they're smart and work hard for what they want and continued working towards their goals after graduating. My sister in law, for instance, clerked for 2-3 years at a lower level court (nothing prestigious) after law school but she made sure to keep building connections with family law attorneys while she was clerking (she went to school in NY and we now live in Minneapolis, so she virtually had no connections in Minneapolis once she graduated). Now she works for one of the top family law attorneys in the state at her dream job.

OF COURSE where you go to law school is (very) important, but never forget that there are other factors that will influence where you end up as well :)


this is super encouraging! i love hearing stories like this. thanks :)

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Re: Family Law / Chicago

Postby BigZuck » Fri Jan 06, 2017 1:56 pm

US News rankings and course offerings/programs are just a bunch of fluff garbage nonsense that don't matter here.

The only thing that makes sense to me is going to a school in Chicago. Network your butt off. Blow off school if you have to. Do clinics if your school has it but most importantly get to know lawyers and, ideally, get hired as a clerk in 1L summer and beyond. Work your butt off. Learn the field.

Your most important things here when it comes to picking a school are going to school in the market you want to end up in and limiting debt as much as possible. Any school outside of Illinois needs to be thrown out the window (but by all means use those schools as pawns in your scholarship negotiations). I don't know where UIUC located but if it's not close to Chicago it's out too, IMO. You really need to be able to work during the year. Class/grades almost certainly won't matter.

(Just basing this off seeing what classmates did to get jobs in this field, YMMV I guess)

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guynourmin

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Re: Family Law / Chicago

Postby guynourmin » Fri Jan 06, 2017 2:36 pm

BigZuck wrote: I don't know where UIUC located but if it's not close to Chicago it's out too, IMO. You really need to be able to work during the year. )


It is a few hours south. A lot of students can do their entire 3rd year in Chicago, though, for whatever that is worth.

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trebekismyhero

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Re: Family Law / Chicago

Postby trebekismyhero » Fri Jan 06, 2017 3:17 pm

guybourdin wrote:
BigZuck wrote: I don't know where UIUC located but if it's not close to Chicago it's out too, IMO. You really need to be able to work during the year. )


It is a few hours south. A lot of students can do their entire 3rd year in Chicago, though, for whatever that is worth.


Yeah, UIUC should definitely not be out, especially compared to Loyola.

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Re: Family Law / Chicago

Postby BigZuck » Fri Jan 06, 2017 3:28 pm

trebekismyhero wrote:
guybourdin wrote:
BigZuck wrote: I don't know where UIUC located but if it's not close to Chicago it's out too, IMO. You really need to be able to work during the year. )


It is a few hours south. A lot of students can do their entire 3rd year in Chicago, though, for whatever that is worth.


Yeah, UIUC should definitely not be out, especially compared to Loyola.

I couldn't disagree more heartily if it's literally hours away. What would the OP do during their second year of law school? Go to class and not work? How would going to school get them any closer to their desired job?

What's the thinking on UIUC being better than a school actually located in Chicago? I don't see how the OP is going to get this done without being able to hustle.

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trebekismyhero

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Re: Family Law / Chicago

Postby trebekismyhero » Fri Jan 06, 2017 3:34 pm

BigZuck wrote:
trebekismyhero wrote:
guybourdin wrote:
BigZuck wrote: I don't know where UIUC located but if it's not close to Chicago it's out too, IMO. You really need to be able to work during the year. )


It is a few hours south. A lot of students can do their entire 3rd year in Chicago, though, for whatever that is worth.


Yeah, UIUC should definitely not be out, especially compared to Loyola.

I couldn't disagree more heartily if it's literally hours away. What would the OP do during their second year of law school? Go to class and not work? How would going to school get them any closer to their desired job?

What's the thinking on UIUC being better than a school actually located in Chicago? I don't see how the OP is going to get this done without being able to hustle.


It is a 2 hour drive and it has better placement in Chicago than the other Chicago schools. I think if costs are equal then you go with the better school and placement in your desired location. During 2L, OP could work in Central IL or make their schedule work so they could work part of the week in Chicago. I didn't read the part about OP having a S/O in chicago. That more than job prospects would tempt me to pick Loyola

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Re: Family Law / Chicago

Postby BigZuck » Fri Jan 06, 2017 4:11 pm

I have no doubt it's a much better school school with much better job prospects. I don't see how those things are going to get the OP a job in family law. Can you make that connection for me? I seriously can't see why UIUC being a better school matters at all here. Only thing I can think of is maybe if the Chicago Family Law market is teeming with UIUC grads that only hire their own. But I doubt that's the case. Being able to work and develop connections year round way trumps going to a "better" school when that betterness isn't going to get the OP any closer to their desired job, IMO. As far as I can tell the actual school part of law school is just a long, unfortunate formality/roadblock between the OP and their desired job.

I've seen multiple kids get jobs in family law. They did it by saying screw grades, blowing off class, and meeting people and working. They get bar cards and went to court (maybe that's not a thing in IL, I don't know). Being a graduate of the best school within a 1000 miles didn't get them that job. Their grit and availability and ingratiating themselves in that small legal community is what did.

If the OP is just another "Aw shucks, got an English degree what else do you want me to do haha LAW SCHOOL lulz" like the rest of us then hell yeah UIUC over one of the middling schools in Chicago. I'm just proceeding as if the OP is serious about their career goals. I'm not seeing how UIUC will better situate them for that. You've really got to spell it out for me.

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Re: Family Law / Chicago

Postby trebekismyhero » Fri Jan 06, 2017 4:55 pm

I probably am being more of a general law school person where it is better to have more options. And I get the networking part, in another Chicago thread I argued with someone that if you wanted to be in Chicago, you'd be dumb to pick the Iowas/Wiscos over the middling Chicago schools. But Illinois isn't that. There are alumni for UIUC in almost every firm and having had friends that have gone to UIUC and the Chicago schools, the UIUC ppl have much more alumni spirit I guess is the way to put it. I think either way, OP should minimize their costs and only go to Loyola if they get a full ride and basically the same for UIUC.

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Re: Family Law / Chicago

Postby BigZuck » Fri Jan 06, 2017 5:08 pm

I guess ultimately I just see UIUC creating an bunch of hurdles (I can live in Chicago 3L but not 1L, I can work on Thursdays and Friday's and crash with my boyfriend but not Monday-Wednesday cuz I gotta be in BFE Illinois*) and no real benefit other than...better? Alumni like it? I'm not even sure alumni would matter that much once she's working.

There's probably somewhat of a case to be made for choosing UIUC if the price was right but schools outside of IL almost certainly have to be out here I would think.

*Apologies to the great city of Urbana, I'm sure it's lovely. I also know nothing about Illinois.

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trebekismyhero

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Re: Family Law / Chicago

Postby trebekismyhero » Fri Jan 06, 2017 5:13 pm

BigZuck wrote:I guess ultimately I just see UIUC creating an bunch of hurdles (I can live in Chicago 3L but not 1L, I can work on Thursdays and Friday's and crash with my boyfriend but not Monday-Wednesday cuz I gotta be in BFE Illinois*) and no real benefit other than...better? Alumni like it? I'm not even sure alumni would matter that much once she's working.

There's probably somewhat of a case to be made for choosing UIUC if the price was right but schools outside of IL almost certainly have to be out here I would think.

*Apologies to the great city of Urbana, I'm sure it's lovely. I also know nothing about Illinois.


Not about alumni liking it, more about alumni helping each other out and getting the job in the first place. That is what I was meaning. My friends that went to Chicago schools got little support from alumni compared to friends that went to Illinois. Otherwise I don't disagree

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Re: Family Law / Chicago

Postby BigZuck » Fri Jan 06, 2017 5:20 pm

Yeah I knew what you meant. I went to one of those rabid alumni base schools too. Meh. I don't think it's really a factor worth factoring when it comes to choosing a law school. IMO, for something like the OP is posing, physically being there is way more important than "Fight on Fighting Ilini!" or whatever people over there say.

(Ok I'll stop derailing with UIUC stuff, it might not even be a real option here)

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Re:

Postby champloo » Fri Jan 06, 2017 8:24 pm

Not giving an opinion on which school is better but I knew 2L/3Ls who front/back load classes during the week and commute to chicago 2 days a week for internships in the city. They have family there so housing isnt a problem in chicago. Make sure to ask the school or students/alumni about this and how realistic it is for you. Fwiw, it's a 2 1/2 hour drive from champain to chicago.

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Re: Family Law / Chicago

Postby A. Nony Mouse » Fri Jan 06, 2017 10:43 pm

I tend to agree with Zuck on this one - I think being in Chicago and being able to intern and network easily is more important for the kind of job the OP has said they want. UIUC is a good school, but I think family law jobs are all about experience and meeting people, and being in the city would outweigh the general advantages of UIUC.

UIUC wouldn't be a bad option, if cheap, and would be better than Iowa/WI. But I'd probably take what I could get in Chicago for free.

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Re: Family Law / Chicago

Postby dm1683 » Sun Jan 08, 2017 12:44 pm

A. Nony Mouse wrote:I tend to agree with Zuck on this one - I think being in Chicago and being able to intern and network easily is more important for the kind of job the OP has said they want. UIUC is a good school, but I think family law jobs are all about experience and meeting people, and being in the city would outweigh the general advantages of UIUC.

UIUC wouldn't be a bad option, if cheap, and would be better than Iowa/WI. But I'd probably take what I could get in Chicago for free.


In that vein, why has no one brought up DePaul? She could go there for free (presumably) and it's literally in the center of the city (on jackson, like 100 feet from Grant Park).

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guynourmin

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Re: Family Law / Chicago

Postby guynourmin » Sun Jan 08, 2017 1:37 pm

dm1683 wrote:
A. Nony Mouse wrote:I tend to agree with Zuck on this one - I think being in Chicago and being able to intern and network easily is more important for the kind of job the OP has said they want. UIUC is a good school, but I think family law jobs are all about experience and meeting people, and being in the city would outweigh the general advantages of UIUC.

UIUC wouldn't be a bad option, if cheap, and would be better than Iowa/WI. But I'd probably take what I could get in Chicago for free.


In that vein, why has no one brought up DePaul? She could go there for free (presumably) and it's literally in the center of the city (on jackson, like 100 feet from Grant Park).


because OP characterized the Loyola program as the most comprehensive family law program in the country and there's no discernible difference between the schools otherwise. Likely if it was between Loyola for free and DePaul for free, OP is going to pick Loyola.

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Re: Family Law / Chicago

Postby Mullens » Sun Jan 08, 2017 3:35 pm

I know recent grads and law students doing family law in chicago. In both cases, the ones who have been successful in finding something networked and worked their asses off in law school (internships/clerking at law firms every semester after 1L). I know people in the Loyola program and it seems like a good choice for family law if you get a full ride.

I agree with BigZuck that going to UIUC if you want Chicago family law doesn't really make sense. Rankings seem pretty meaningless in a field like family law, especially when comparing schools that are in between the T14 and TTTT dumpster fires like John Marshall.

Loyola full ride seems like the right route but be ready to work your ass off to find something.

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Re: Family Law / Chicago

Postby Johann » Sun Jan 08, 2017 4:10 pm

A. Nony Mouse wrote:I tend to agree with Zuck on this one - I think being in Chicago and being able to intern and network easily is more important for the kind of job the OP has said they want. UIUC is a good school, but I think family law jobs are all about experience and meeting people, and being in the city would outweigh the general advantages of UIUC.

UIUC wouldn't be a bad option, if cheap, and would be better than Iowa/WI. But I'd probably take what I could get in Chicago for free.


Yep. To OP - look at the firms Berger schatz and Schiller ducanto and fleck. Those are the gold stndard family law firms in Chicago. I think they recruit more from DePaul/Loyola than Illinois (at least when I graduated 5 years ago). I've got good friends in several family law Chicago firms and am happy to answer more questions about the field or put you in touch with some of the people for a coffee/sandwich if you want to pm me.



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