Closing in on a decision (PA legal market)

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bmathers
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Closing in on a decision (PA legal market)

Postby bmathers » Fri Feb 24, 2017 9:05 pm

Hey all,

Here is the rundown, my head is telling me one thing (and saying that the decision is a no-brainer), but my heart is telling me something else - I am fully anticipating following my head. Anyway, here is the rundown and my primary options:

Goals: to probably work at a mid-sized lawfirm in or around PA (I am certainly very open to other avenues, but am not really considering biglaw).

Primary options: Penn State - Dickinson (Full unconditional scholarship along with a $15k stipend, $5k/yr). Penn State Law (Full unconditional scholarship, no stipend), Drexel (full unconditional scholarship, first-year $1300 stipend if I visit the school, trip would be paid for), UMaryland in Baltimore (not high on my list of options, scholarship is currently TBD, but I made a side trip to their campus before and it seemed decent).

My head is saying to take the PSU-Dickinson offer and not look back, I visited their campus and liked the law school - the town is what it is. It is close to some legal markets: 15 min from Harrisburg (state capital), 60-90 min from Baltimore, slightly more from DC, 2 hrs by train to Philly. They offer a disability law and child advocacy clinic, which really interests me.

My heart is saying Penn State Law (I am a PSU alum undergrad and that place holds a special place. I visited their the other week and fell in love with the campus and town again - and the law building is state of the art, brand new [10 yrs old]). However, they won;t offer a stipend, I have already asked. Penn State Law also allows you to take 12 credits in graduate studies in any subject and count them toward your law degree - I would take 12 credits in education to keep my teaching license active and keep that door still cracked open, if I wanted. They also offer an immigration law clinic which may interest me.

Dickinson Law has a MUCH stronger and lengthier alumni network than Penn State Law, which factors into thinking the Dickinson offer is a no-brainer.

Thoughts? Does anyone have personal experience with the legal market in PA?

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jchiles
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Re: Closing in on a decision (PA legal market)

Postby jchiles » Fri Feb 24, 2017 9:17 pm

Where specifically do you want to work in pa? It's a big state and there are different hiring patterns in Philly and Pittsburg, and outside of those areas there are maybe 15-20 entry level positions in mid sized or largish firms.

Do you have any specific firms, or practice areas, in mind? You're right that dickinson has a bigger alumni network and it's closer to places with jobs but it's an uphill battle from any of these schools to find a job at a midsized firm.

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Ronan
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Re: Closing in on a decision (PA legal market)

Postby Ronan » Fri Feb 24, 2017 9:56 pm

You need to narrow down where in PA you want to practice and what kind of law you want to practice. (Mid-size law firm isn't easy to obtain right out of law school).

If you want anywhere in PA not named Philly or Pittsburgh, then you should absolutely go to Dickinson. However, it's a small legal field in the central PA area and you should really have ties to the area.

IMO as an attorney in the area, Dickinson is a much more highly regarded school than Penn State.

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bmathers
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Re: Closing in on a decision (PA legal market)

Postby bmathers » Fri Feb 24, 2017 11:08 pm

Ronan wrote:IMO as an attorney in the area, Dickinson is a much more highly regarded school than Penn State.

Thank you, that's what I seem to have gathered as well. BTW, I do have ties to both central PA and the extended Philly suburbs.

I'm thinking Central PA as a fall-back, with the Philly area probably being my top choice if given the opportunity (I have lived in central PA and Pittsburgh before, but never in Philly, so that's not an option I'm necessarily attached to). If I wanted Pittsburgh, I would probably just go with Pitt (although, their offer was horrible), but I don't want that.

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bmathers
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Re: Closing in on a decision (PA legal market)

Postby bmathers » Sun Feb 26, 2017 9:52 pm

Question: Would it look bad or greedy if I asked for a little more of a stipend, because I'm having a hard time turning down a full at Penn State Law (State College is special to me, living at Toftrees would be great, and I also like the fact that they allow you to take 12 graduate credits in any field to count toward your law degree. I could take them in education to meet the continuing education credits to keep my teaching license active, just to keep that door cracked)?

The $15k ($5k/yr) stipend is already my largest offered by a school (my stats are ehhh), but it just isn't much in the grand scheme of things.

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A. Nony Mouse
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Re: Closing in on a decision (PA legal market)

Postby A. Nony Mouse » Sun Feb 26, 2017 10:29 pm

Stipends on top of full-rides are pretty uncommon. You can certainly ask for more, but I wouldn't hold my breath.

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bmathers
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Re: Closing in on a decision (PA legal market)

Postby bmathers » Sat Mar 04, 2017 6:24 pm

Hey, new decision:

Not counting UPenn, Temple, or Nova (got yield-checked, gotta email them about it), which would be a better decision if I may have hopes of landing in the Philly area: a full-ride (no stips) to Drexel, or a full-ride + $15k stipend to PSU-Dickinson?

I realize neither are totally ideal, but so not seem like horrible options, if not going for biglaw.

I visited Drexel today and really dislike the physical building, but I could look past the actual building for three years if it is my best option

ravenamo
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Re: Closing in on a decision (PA legal market)

Postby ravenamo » Sun Mar 05, 2017 7:59 am

bmathers wrote:Hey, new decision:

Not counting UPenn, Temple, or Nova (got yield-checked, gotta email them about it), which would be a better decision if I may have hopes of landing in the Philly area: a full-ride (no stips) to Drexel, or a full-ride + $15k stipend to PSU-Dickinson?

I realize neither are totally ideal, but so not seem like horrible options, if not going for biglaw.

I visited Drexel today and really dislike the physical building, but I could look past the actual building for three years if it is my best option


If you know for sure that you want to end up in Philly, I would say go to Drexel. You mentioned that Dickinson had a strong alumni network, can the same be said for Drexel? I know alumni base shouldn't be the only thing you look at when picking a school but since you have a full ride to both Drexel and Dickinson, I think it's best to just make a list of the pros and cons of each school and pick which one will offer you more in terms of the clinics/opportunities you're looking for. If location is highest on your list, then yeah, go for Drexel. I'm not really sure how well Dickinson places in Philly but I would imagine that Drexel would do slightly better since it is in Philly. I could be wrong though.

Good luck with your decision and congrats on the full tuition offers!



I'm also a Penn State grad. I was thinking about applying to Penn State Law because I do like the school but I don't know if I can live in State College for another 3 years haha.

saf18hornet
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Re: Closing in on a decision (PA legal market)

Postby saf18hornet » Sun Mar 05, 2017 8:39 am

ravenamo wrote:
bmathers wrote:

I don't know if I can live in State College for another 3 years haha.


Haha totally agree with that. I don't consider State College a place to spend more than 4 years.

OP, it's really a regional decision for you. You gotta figure out your preference, Drexel/Nova/Temple (did you get into the latter two) are the Philly choices. Dickinson for Harrisburg area.

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bmathers
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Re: Closing in on a decision (PA legal market)

Postby bmathers » Sun Mar 05, 2017 12:05 pm

ravenamo wrote:
bmathers wrote:Hey, new decision:

Not counting UPenn, Temple, or Nova (got yield-checked, gotta email them about it), which would be a better decision if I may have hopes of landing in the Philly area: a full-ride (no stips) to Drexel, or a full-ride + $15k stipend to PSU-Dickinson?

I realize neither are totally ideal, but so not seem like horrible options, if not going for biglaw.

I visited Drexel today and really dislike the physical building, but I could look past the actual building for three years if it is my best option


If you know for sure that you want to end up in Philly, I would say go to Drexel. You mentioned that Dickinson had a strong alumni network, can the same be said for Drexel? I know alumni base shouldn't be the only thing you look at when picking a school but since you have a full ride to both Drexel and Dickinson, I think it's best to just make a list of the pros and cons of each school and pick which one will offer you more in terms of the clinics/opportunities you're looking for. If location is highest on your list, then yeah, go for Drexel. I'm not really sure how well Dickinson places in Philly but I would imagine that Drexel would do slightly better since it is in Philly. I could be wrong though.

Good luck with your decision and congrats on the full tuition offers!



I'm also a Penn State grad. I was thinking about applying to Penn State Law because I do like the school but I don't know if I can live in State College for another 3 years haha.

Thanks. For alumni network, Dickinson is the oldest LS in PA (older than Penn). Drexel, on the other hand, started in 2006 and became ABA accredited in 2008, so I'm not sure. It sounds like a great regional school of you want to be a trial advo/attorney, but I'm not so sure about anything else (I do not anticipate wanting to be one, but I'm not sure at this point). The city is MUCH better for a person my age than Carlisle, though. And being single, there are an infinite number of more, and more attractive, girls lol.

Anonymous Questioner
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Re: Closing in on a decision (PA legal market)

Postby Anonymous Questioner » Thu Jul 27, 2017 8:01 pm

Congrats on the offer, friend! That's an amazing amount of scholarship. I'm going to apply to Dickinson in addition to a handful of other schools as well -- mind if I ask what your stats were?




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