Ride Out Michigan Waitlist or Notre Dame w/ 115k?

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SNightHighlights

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Ride Out Michigan Waitlist or Notre Dame w/ 115k?

Postby SNightHighlights » Thu Feb 23, 2017 9:26 pm

Pretty simple issue here. Notre Dame is offering me 110k currently but because IU Maurer upped me to full tuition after negotiation (and I expect solid $$$ from WUSTL) I have no doubt that I can negotiate up 5-10k more. I've also been offered Michigan waitlist. If I went to NDLS I would definitely be shooting for Chicago Biglaw (though with a reduced debt load I won't HAVE to get Biglaw), but for Michigan I think I could take a more nuanced approach, maybe do some government work or PI (although Biglaw for my massive load of debt wouldn't be off the table). NDLS is an excellent institution with solid job prospects, especially when the tuition is only 12k/year, but I have always respected the hell out of Michigan and it is a genuinely better law school, there is no doubt about that. It is certainly my dream school. I applied ED and wrote some good essays and I do think they played a role in getting me on the waitlist as I am below both medians (above both 25ths though). However, I would prefer Chicago, fwiw, and I do also expect a solid offer from WUSTL - which is an hour from home for me - so it is kind of a wildcard here as well. Please let me know your thoughts. I AM leaning a certain way but I value the input of this forum and wanted to run this by you all. Thanks!
Last edited by SNightHighlights on Thu Feb 23, 2017 9:27 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: Ride Out Michigan Waitlist or Notre Dame w/ 115k?

Postby brinicolec » Thu Feb 23, 2017 11:28 pm

What career do you actually want?

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Re: Ride Out Michigan Waitlist or Notre Dame w/ 115k?

Postby floatie » Fri Feb 24, 2017 12:13 am

Why not both (for now)?

Riding out the waitlist doesn't mean you're going to get in, especially if you're below both medians. If you're set on NDLS for now (which it sounds like you are) try and negotiate up more, and then put down a deposit if you don't have a better offer from WUSTL (can't know for sure at the moment since you haven't heard back).

Revisit this particular question if/when you get off the waitlist.

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Re: Ride Out Michigan Waitlist or Notre Dame w/ 115k?

Postby SNightHighlights » Fri Feb 24, 2017 2:27 am

brinicolec wrote:What career do you actually want?


My perfect career path would be 3-5 years of Biglaw in Chicago with a transition to the US Attorneys Office to be an AUSA in whatever jurisdiction has the opening. I'd like to do litigation after graduation (subject to change, but my current preference).

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Re: Ride Out Michigan Waitlist or Notre Dame w/ 115k?

Postby SNightHighlights » Fri Feb 24, 2017 2:30 am

floatie wrote:Why not both (for now)?

Riding out the waitlist doesn't mean you're going to get in, especially if you're below both medians. If you're set on NDLS for now (which it sounds like you are) try and negotiate up more, and then put down a deposit if you don't have a better offer from WUSTL (can't know for sure at the moment since you haven't heard back).

Revisit this particular question if/when you get off the waitlist.


Yeah, that's reasonable. Getting NDLS up to 115k-120k is a virtual certainty so I will definitely be submitting their appeal form as soon as I hear back from WUSTL. I do think I'm going to wait for WUSTL's offer to use for negotiation as well (in general this cycle, WUSTL has been giving higher scholarships than NDLS). I'm starting to think about this now because first seat deposit deadlines are coming up. I'll probably ask ND for an extension as well. My only concern is that the second seat deposit is basically a commitment, right? So if Michigan offers me (and it would be no earlier than June or July) I'll have to completely change plans and cancel everything at ND, which is chaotic. Is Michigan worth all that hassle, AND all that debt?

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Re: Ride Out Michigan Waitlist or Notre Dame w/ 115k?

Postby cavalier1138 » Fri Feb 24, 2017 6:31 am

I'd take a serious look at one of the AUSA offices you're interested in and see how many Notre Dame alumni are in it. Your stated career goals also seem to contradict your initial statement, which was that you don't have to go to biglaw. If your goal is to lateral out into a competitive USAO, then you probably do need experience in biglaw.

If your first goal is Chicago biglaw, then you need to be focusing on Chicago, Northwestern, and Michigan. I'm extremely confused about the lack of a Northwestern mention on your list of schools. It sounds like your GPA isn't too great, but if you can raise your LSAT a few points with a retake (providing actual numbers here would have been much more helpful), Northwestern is known for favoring splitters. It would also make you much more competitive at Michigan.

So based on what your specific career goals are, I'd recommend riding out the Michigan waitlist to see if they give you any money. If they don't, sit this cycle out and retake the LSAT to give yourself a shot at money at Chicago, Northwestern, or Michigan.

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Re: Ride Out Michigan Waitlist or Notre Dame w/ 115k?

Postby Npret » Fri Feb 24, 2017 7:26 am

You didn't put your cost of attendance.
It looks like your going to have $150,000 debt from Norte Dame?

If you want Chicago why are you dismissing an IU fullride?

You might as well stay in the waitlist. A second deposit isn't binding if you are still waiting for admission decisions.

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Re: Ride Out Michigan Waitlist or Notre Dame w/ 115k?

Postby floatie » Fri Feb 24, 2017 10:32 am

SNightHighlights wrote: My only concern is that the second seat deposit is basically a commitment, right? So if Michigan offers me (and it would be no earlier than June or July) I'll have to completely change plans and cancel everything at ND, which is chaotic. Is Michigan worth all that hassle, AND all that debt?


The second seat deposit is a commitment, but its not a binding one - you'd just lose your deposits at ND. And yes, if you're really intent on going to Michigan you need to be ready to cancel everything at ND and change course (which is not impossible, especially in June/July). There have been people who got to orientation at one school, got off the waitlist at their dream school, and turned around and left.

Whether or not Michigan is worth $260k+ in debt is up to you to think about - I don't know how much support you have from family/SO or how debt-averse you are. Just note that that won't be an easy debt to pay off without either BigLaw or a good LRAP (I wouldn't count on PSLF at the moment, due to the administration). There's a calculator on here somewhere that shows you what your monthly payments would look like, including interest (which a lot of 0Ls forget about). Assuming you take out the whole COL in loans, you could be looking at monthly payments of $3,000+ for 10+ years

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Re: Ride Out Michigan Waitlist or Notre Dame w/ 115k?

Postby SNightHighlights » Fri Feb 24, 2017 10:48 am

Npret wrote:You didn't put your cost of attendance.
It looks like your going to have $150,000 debt from Norte Dame?

If you want Chicago why are you dismissing an IU fullride?

You might as well stay in the waitlist. A second deposit isn't binding if you are still waiting for admission decisions.


My COA for NDLS is not 150k, that's a bit high. My calculated COA will be about 90k (pre-interest). I'll be paying roughly 40k in tuition (50k worst case), and my COL will be under 40k. That is my current COA in a town with equal prices - I have internet, power bills, and rent already pre-calculated (literally have an apartment picked). With interest it should not be higher than 100-110k, as I will only be taking out mostly Stafford loans with a low interest rate. As far as summers, I will AirBnB wherever I'm working, and since I only live in apartments that let me sublease, I can rent my apartment at school out over the summer for at least the majority of rent, and I won't be getting hit with that extra 3 months of rent that no one plans for.

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Re: Ride Out Michigan Waitlist or Notre Dame w/ 115k?

Postby SNightHighlights » Fri Feb 24, 2017 10:59 am

cavalier1138 wrote:I'd take a serious look at one of the AUSA offices you're interested in and see how many Notre Dame alumni are in it. Your stated career goals also seem to contradict your initial statement, which was that you don't have to go to biglaw. If your goal is to lateral out into a competitive USAO, then you probably do need experience in biglaw.

If your first goal is Chicago biglaw, then you need to be focusing on Chicago, Northwestern, and Michigan. I'm extremely confused about the lack of a Northwestern mention on your list of schools. It sounds like your GPA isn't too great, but if you can raise your LSAT a few points with a retake (providing actual numbers here would have been much more helpful), Northwestern is known for favoring splitters. It would also make you much more competitive at Michigan.

So based on what your specific career goals are, I'd recommend riding out the Michigan waitlist to see if they give you any money. If they don't, sit this cycle out and retake the LSAT to give yourself a shot at money at Chicago, Northwestern, or Michigan.


I applied to NU but am expecting a reject. My GPA is fine, it's a 3.73 but that's still below Michigan median. As far as Biglaw - that is my ideal outcome, but if I go to Michigan, I'm basically paying 150k more for a 20% higher chance at Biglaw, right? Why not just go to NDLS at a massive discount? If you had told me during high school I'd have 40% shot at making 200k before I was 25 I wouldn't have believed it, and honestly, being median at NDLS gives you a non-negligible shot at Biglaw - not guaranteed or even high chances but not negligible. Michigan gives me a more assured chance at making tons of money but at a massive debt load. With NDLS, I feel like I have a chance to actually "win" the law school game - coming out of school with a kick ass job and without the crippling debt. So as far as full tuition at Michigan, I'm not convinced it is entirely worth it. As far as sitting out a cycle, I have 4 full rides and a few big scholarships so I won't be sitting on the cycle, but I'm definitely open to riding out the waitlist and seeing where I go.

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Re: Ride Out Michigan Waitlist or Notre Dame w/ 115k?

Postby SNightHighlights » Fri Feb 24, 2017 11:06 am

floatie wrote:
SNightHighlights wrote: My only concern is that the second seat deposit is basically a commitment, right? So if Michigan offers me (and it would be no earlier than June or July) I'll have to completely change plans and cancel everything at ND, which is chaotic. Is Michigan worth all that hassle, AND all that debt?


The second seat deposit is a commitment, but its not a binding one - you'd just lose your deposits at ND. And yes, if you're really intent on going to Michigan you need to be ready to cancel everything at ND and change course (which is not impossible, especially in June/July). There have been people who got to orientation at one school, got off the waitlist at their dream school, and turned around and left.

Whether or not Michigan is worth $260k+ in debt is up to you to think about - I don't know how much support you have from family/SO or how debt-averse you are. Just note that that won't be an easy debt to pay off without either BigLaw or a good LRAP (I wouldn't count on PSLF at the moment, due to the administration). There's a calculator on here somewhere that shows you what your monthly payments would look like, including interest (which a lot of 0Ls forget about). Assuming you take out the whole COL in loans, you could be looking at monthly payments of $3,000+ for 10+ years


Yeah that debt is scary, and I'm not even hyper-averse. My COA w/ interest to NDLS is somewhere around 100k, which is still pretty high but 100k is the general number that most law school advisers/attorneys have told me is "ok". NDLS also places 40% of its grads in Biglaw or Federal Clerkships, so I think if I can be median at NDLS I can get a decent outcome that I'm happy with. As I said in a previous post, I feel like with NDLS I can "win" law school, which means getting a great job with not insane debt levels. Michigan is definitely a better school, but for me I think NDLS is currently my best mix of employment prospects, debt load, prestige, location, etc. - All that said, I will HAVE to consider Michigan seriously if they bring me in off the waitlist.

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Re: Ride Out Michigan Waitlist or Notre Dame w/ 115k?

Postby AJordan » Fri Feb 24, 2017 11:08 am

It looks like you're asking the right questions. It costs you nothing to wait out the UM waitlist so why not? If they come around with an offer just be honest about your calculated COL at Notre Dame and ask them that while you realize they are not equal schools if Michigan could reduce the disparity between costs of each to help ease the costs of attendance since finances are an issue for you. What's the worst they'll say? No?

There does seem to be nonzero self selection toward PI work out of Notre Dame so I think your guesses toward big law placement probably aren't too far off. Wish you luck there.

One final question. Have you visited South Bend? I don't know how easy it is to hustle there if you don't get biglaw initially. It's in the middle of nowhere and the commute into Chicago kind of sucks.
Last edited by AJordan on Mon Jan 29, 2018 2:23 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: Ride Out Michigan Waitlist or Notre Dame w/ 115k?

Postby cavalier1138 » Fri Feb 24, 2017 11:10 am

SNightHighlights wrote:I applied to NU but am expecting a reject. My GPA is fine, it's a 3.73 but that's still below Michigan median. As far as Biglaw - that is my ideal outcome, but if I go to Michigan, I'm basically paying 150k more for a 20% higher chance at Biglaw, right? Why not just go to NDLS at a massive discount? If you had told me during high school I'd have 40% shot at making 200k before I was 25 I wouldn't have believed it, and honestly, being median at NDLS gives you a non-negligible shot at Biglaw - not guaranteed or even high chances but not negligible. Michigan gives me a more assured chance at making tons of money but at a massive debt load. With NDLS, I feel like I have a chance to actually "win" the law school game - coming out of school with a kick ass job and without the crippling debt. So as far as full tuition at Michigan, I'm not convinced it is entirely worth it. As far as sitting out a cycle, I have 4 full rides and a few big scholarships so I won't be sitting on the cycle, but I'm definitely open to riding out the waitlist and seeing where I go.


It's your decision, but you're making a dumb move by not being open to retaking and reapplying. The fact that you have some full rides is irrelevant if those scholarships aren't to schools that give you a reasonable chance of meeting your goals. And you haven't indicated that you alternative goals outside of biglaw-to-AUSA, which is already a highly competitive career track. I have no idea why you wouldn't want to maximize your chances at being able to actually go that route.

Also, you're young. I'd really urge you to take your time. There are no real benefits to rushing this decision, but there are a lot of potential drawbacks. Future you isn't going to be as excited that being median at Notre Dame might get a biglaw job, when past you could have just been patient and practically guaranteed that job. You're treating this decision as a straight either/or, when there are really three options: you can (potentially) go to Michigan and likely pay sticker, you can go to NDLS on a decent scholarship, or you can wait, retake, reapply, and get scholarships at Michigan and Northwestern (or any other T14 school). You're literally saying that you're willing to gamble over $100k on a 40% chance at biglaw, but you aren't willing to make the calculated choice to take a year of your life and spend it maximizing your chances.

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Re: Ride Out Michigan Waitlist or Notre Dame w/ 115k?

Postby floatie » Fri Feb 24, 2017 11:43 am

SNightHighlights wrote: but 100k is the general number that most law school advisers/attorneys have told me is "ok".


"Ok" based on what? Sure, its less than the average amount of debt that law students take on, but if you're not comfortable with that amount, don't take it on, even if others tell you it's okay. I'm not saying its a "good" or "bad" amount - just something for you to think about.

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Re: Ride Out Michigan Waitlist or Notre Dame w/ 115k?

Postby SNightHighlights » Fri Feb 24, 2017 12:10 pm

floatie wrote:
SNightHighlights wrote: but 100k is the general number that most law school advisers/attorneys have told me is "ok".


"Ok" based on what? Sure, its less than the average amount of debt that law students take on, but if you're not comfortable with that amount, don't take it on, even if others tell you it's okay. I'm not saying its a "good" or "bad" amount - just something for you to think about.


I would say I'm only moderately debt averse. I'm comfortable taking up to 150k in debt, including interest. But the 250-300k that Michigan would cost absolutely gives me pause.

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Re: Ride Out Michigan Waitlist or Notre Dame w/ 115k?

Postby trebekismyhero » Fri Feb 24, 2017 12:33 pm

If you want to be in the AUSA office, especially in the Northern District of Illinois, you'll need big law experience. So IU is out unless you want to work in Indiana. If you can get ND to up their scholarship a little more then it is not a bad option, but you will still be more likely to miss out on big law than get it. If you get accepted to Michigan or NU, based on your goals it might be worth it to go because they'll give you your best shot. You'll just have a lot of debt.

Your best option is to retake. Your gpa is fine and doing a little better on the LSAT will change your results from waitlist at NU and Michigan to acceptance with $$.

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Re: Ride Out Michigan Waitlist or Notre Dame w/ 115k?

Postby Clemenceau » Fri Feb 24, 2017 1:00 pm

It's February. I didn't finish negotiating scholarships until April 30th. These aren't your final options, so you don't need to choose one now.

Also, retaking is always a good option.

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Re: Ride Out Michigan Waitlist or Notre Dame w/ 115k?

Postby cavalier1138 » Fri Feb 24, 2017 2:07 pm

SNightHighlights wrote:I would say I'm only moderately debt averse. I'm comfortable taking up to 150k in debt, including interest. But the 250-300k that Michigan would cost absolutely gives me pause.


But what salary are you assuming you'll be using to pay off the $150k?

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Re: Ride Out Michigan Waitlist or Notre Dame w/ 115k?

Postby SNightHighlights » Fri Feb 24, 2017 2:35 pm

cavalier1138 wrote:
SNightHighlights wrote:I would say I'm only moderately debt averse. I'm comfortable taking up to 150k in debt, including interest. But the 250-300k that Michigan would cost absolutely gives me pause.


But what salary are you assuming you'll be using to pay off the $150k?


Biglaw, LRAP, or PSLF in order of preference - it is worth noting that I will have around 100k debt w/ NDLS, including living expenses and interest.
Last edited by SNightHighlights on Fri Feb 24, 2017 2:37 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: Ride Out Michigan Waitlist or Notre Dame w/ 115k?

Postby cavalier1138 » Fri Feb 24, 2017 2:37 pm

SNightHighlights wrote:
cavalier1138 wrote:
SNightHighlights wrote:I would say I'm only moderately debt averse. I'm comfortable taking up to 150k in debt, including interest. But the 250-300k that Michigan would cost absolutely gives me pause.


But what salary are you assuming you'll be using to pay off the $150k?


Biglaw, LRAP, or PSLF in order of preference


See, that's what's confusing me.

If you want to do biglaw, then I'm confused about how you're going to jump ship and go do PI. Public interest jobs aren't just backups for all the kids who didn't get biglaw. They're competitive, and they want to see dedication to the field.

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Re: Ride Out Michigan Waitlist or Notre Dame w/ 115k?

Postby SNightHighlights » Fri Feb 24, 2017 2:39 pm

cavalier1138 wrote:
SNightHighlights wrote:
cavalier1138 wrote:
SNightHighlights wrote:I would say I'm only moderately debt averse. I'm comfortable taking up to 150k in debt, including interest. But the 250-300k that Michigan would cost absolutely gives me pause.


But what salary are you assuming you'll be using to pay off the $150k?


Biglaw, LRAP, or PSLF in order of preference


See, that's what's confusing me.

If you want to do biglaw, then I'm confused about how you're going to jump ship and go do PI. Public interest jobs aren't just backups for all the kids who didn't get biglaw. They're competitive, and they want to see dedication to the field.


The answer to your question is: I don't know. I've never been to law school. I can act like I know all I want but I have no idea what I want to spend potentially decades practicing, and while I can list Biglaw and AUSA as a preference right now, I have never taken a law school class. I'm not going to paint myself into a corner because I committed to something before I even took a class. I'm approaching law school with a general plan, but an open mind. That's why I'm willing to explore alternative paths. I know I want to be an attorney. I've worked with attorneys and explored the legal field - it's absolutely something I'm willing to do forever, I just don't know what specific path I want to choose yet.

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Re: Ride Out Michigan Waitlist or Notre Dame w/ 115k?

Postby cavalier1138 » Fri Feb 24, 2017 2:57 pm

SNightHighlights wrote:
cavalier1138 wrote:See, that's what's confusing me.

If you want to do biglaw, then I'm confused about how you're going to jump ship and go do PI. Public interest jobs aren't just backups for all the kids who didn't get biglaw. They're competitive, and they want to see dedication to the field.


The answer to your question is: I don't know. I've never been to law school. I can act like I know all I want but I have no idea what I want to spend potentially decades practicing, and while I can list Biglaw and AUSA as a preference right now, I have never taken a law school class. I'm not going to paint myself into a corner because I committed to something before I even took a class. I'm approaching law school with a general plan, but an open mind. That's why I'm willing to explore alternative paths. I know I want to be an attorney. I've worked with attorneys and explored the legal field - it's absolutely something I'm willing to do forever, I just don't know what specific path I want to choose yet.


Right. That's a good thing. But practicing in a commercial firm vs. practicing in the public interest is a pretty broad debate. It's not like you're being asked whether you want to practice civil liberties law or be a housing attorney representing low-income clients. Private practice vs. PI has less to do with what legal field you're really interested in than it does with the type of person you are.

And your response makes it more clear that waitlist-and-see-if-you-get-anything or retaking are your best options. If you don't know what you want to do, you want to give yourself as many options as possible. Notre Dame is a fine school, but it will severely limit your options compared to a school like Michigan.

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Re: Ride Out Michigan Waitlist or Notre Dame w/ 115k?

Postby SNightHighlights » Fri Feb 24, 2017 3:22 pm

cavalier1138 wrote:
SNightHighlights wrote:
cavalier1138 wrote:See, that's what's confusing me.

If you want to do biglaw, then I'm confused about how you're going to jump ship and go do PI. Public interest jobs aren't just backups for all the kids who didn't get biglaw. They're competitive, and they want to see dedication to the field.


The answer to your question is: I don't know. I've never been to law school. I can act like I know all I want but I have no idea what I want to spend potentially decades practicing, and while I can list Biglaw and AUSA as a preference right now, I have never taken a law school class. I'm not going to paint myself into a corner because I committed to something before I even took a class. I'm approaching law school with a general plan, but an open mind. That's why I'm willing to explore alternative paths. I know I want to be an attorney. I've worked with attorneys and explored the legal field - it's absolutely something I'm willing to do forever, I just don't know what specific path I want to choose yet.


Right. That's a good thing. But practicing in a commercial firm vs. practicing in the public interest is a pretty broad debate. It's not like you're being asked whether you want to practice civil liberties law or be a housing attorney representing low-income clients. Private practice vs. PI has less to do with what legal field you're really interested in than it does with the type of person you are.

And your response makes it more clear that waitlist-and-see-if-you-get-anything or retaking are your best options. If you don't know what you want to do, you want to give yourself as many options as possible. Notre Dame is a fine school, but it will severely limit your options compared to a school like Michigan.


I think that's fair. If I can get ND up to 120k I think I'll just go with them - I mean outside of the TLS bubble, that is a phenomenal outcome that I never would have imagined getting in all honesty, it's a school that is almost mythical - at least here in the midwest. There would certainly be people in worse situations than me, that's for sure - and if I can't manage to get a satisfactory outcome with a 120k scholarship to NDLS, I probably just suck at life. That said, Michigan is literally one of the best schools in the country so I feel like I'm doing myself a disservice by not at least giving them a chance. Retaking is almost always the best option, but I'm ready to move on with life and start the next phase (I also think I performed at the top end of my score band on the LSAT, I'm sick of that damn test and not sure I can do much better) , so I think I'll just hold off and see what happens. As far as career options, I'll specify that Biglaw is my priority and preference - but I am not sure that it is such a big priority that I'm willing to go into 300k debt for it, I might just rather take my chances at ND. To me, it's not the end of the world if I don't get Biglaw, I know I can find a way to make it work and have a respectable career.



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