Law School Specialities

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

New
Posts: 61
Joined: Wed Jul 13, 2016 9:07 pm

Law School Specialities

Postby MangoPapi » Mon Mar 06, 2017 5:49 pm

Hey everyone,

When I look at certain schools, for example Emory, they proclaim their bankruptcy law program is well known. Even lawschoolnumbers notes that Emory has a well known expertise in bankruptcy among others. My question is, should that play a factor into choosing a school. For example, if I were interested in bankruptcy law and have no preferences for practicing in a geographic region, should I pick Emory University over say for example University of Georgia simply because Emory has a good bankruptcy program whereas University of Georgia doesn't. To be more precise, should a prospective student pay any significant attention in law schools proclaiming that a certain law program of theirs is one of the best in the country? Continuing with this example, does attending Emory and it's "renowned" bankruptcy law program give a student a more advantage versus another student from a similar peer school that doesn't have a well known bankruptcy law program. Just what is the difference among Emory and it's bankruptcy programs vs. another school's and their bankruptcy program?

Any help, anecdotal or statistical evidence or anything in between would be greatly appreciated!

User avatar
floatie

Silver
Posts: 600
Joined: Fri Jul 29, 2016 3:39 pm

Re: Law School Specialities

Postby floatie » Mon Mar 06, 2017 5:53 pm

It can be a factor, but by no means should it be close to the top of the list. First, your interests might change. If you go to Emory for bankruptcy and then realize you don't actually like it, then what? Second, depending on where you're getting this information from, they could be talking about faculty scholarship in bankruptcy, rather than the actual bankruptcy program for students, in which case the ranking is meaningless.

MangoPapi

New
Posts: 61
Joined: Wed Jul 13, 2016 9:07 pm

Re: Law School Specialities

Postby MangoPapi » Mon Mar 06, 2017 6:08 pm

Do these rankings occur because the school has professors that have experience in that certain field or can it be that they have a lot of clinics regarding that field, or even a mix of both perhaps? For a better example, UHLC is noted to have to have the second best Health Law concentration in the nation and their IP concentration is in the top ten. I understand that these concentrations all occur in second/third year but will you actually learn/be exposed to information that other schools don't have access to or are these "reputations" just based solely due to faculty and not the actual curriculum/clinics offered. Once again, I got the UHLC expertise information on lawschoolnumbers

cavalier1138

Platinum
Posts: 6363
Joined: Fri Mar 25, 2016 8:01 pm

Re: Law School Specialities

Postby cavalier1138 » Tue Mar 07, 2017 6:27 am

MangoPapi wrote:Do these rankings occur because the school has professors that have experience in that certain field or can it be that they have a lot of clinics regarding that field, or even a mix of both perhaps? For a better example, UHLC is noted to have to have the second best Health Law concentration in the nation and their IP concentration is in the top ten. I understand that these concentrations all occur in second/third year but will you actually learn/be exposed to information that other schools don't have access to or are these "reputations" just based solely due to faculty and not the actual curriculum/clinics offered. Once again, I got the UHLC expertise information on lawschoolnumbers


The USNWR rankings are based solely on professor scholarship. Those rankings are meaningless for students when it comes to getting a job.

favabeansoup

Bronze
Posts: 417
Joined: Tue Nov 17, 2015 1:26 pm

Re: Law School Specialities

Postby favabeansoup » Tue Mar 07, 2017 11:57 am

MangoPapi wrote: should a prospective student pay any significant attention in law schools proclaiming that a certain law program of theirs is one of the best in the country? Continuing with this example, does attending Emory and it's "renowned" bankruptcy law program give a student a more advantage versus another student from a similar peer school that doesn't have a well known bankruptcy law program


Absolutely not. 95% of all "renowned school programs" are BS marketing ploys.

Let's put this all into a practical perspective. Your first year, everyone in every law school takes the same basic classes. Con Law, Property, Torts, Crim, Civ Pro, Contracts, Legal Writing/Research. Some variations but that's basically it.

Your second and third years will be full of electives. Within that though, there are classes that a great many people view as "required". Evidence, Fed Income Tax, Professional Responsibility come to mind. Usually you have additional actual degree requirements too, such as a writing seminar, additional crim/con law/, maybe a professional skills requirement.

So that leaves you with a much smaller handful of free elective classes that you can pursue your bankruptcy program.

http://law.emory.edu/academics/registra ... tions.html

Every school will have a Bankruptcy and Secured Credit class. Looking at Emory's course schedules, it looks like they have a Bankruptcy, Secured, and a Restructuring class too. That's all it seems for their "bankruptcy program."

They do have a Bankruptcy Journal http://law.emory.edu/ebdj/, which it seems you could learn a fair bit if you wrote on to. But that wouldn't be learning via structured program. You should never, never go to a school though based on them having a particular secondary journal.

Emory's other claim to fame is probably that they have some really renowned bankruptcy professors. That's great, but not necessarily for you. Academic credentials =/= good teacher. Some of the worst teachers I've had are supposedly the "best" in their fields.

In sum: no. You will take substantially the same courses everywhere, the only thing that will really differ is academic prestige of professors, but even then teaching quality might not be substantially higher.

MangoPapi

New
Posts: 61
Joined: Wed Jul 13, 2016 9:07 pm

Re: Law School Specialities

Postby MangoPapi » Tue Mar 07, 2017 7:11 pm

favabeansoup wrote:
MangoPapi wrote: should a prospective student pay any significant attention in law schools proclaiming that a certain law program of theirs is one of the best in the country? Continuing with this example, does attending Emory and it's "renowned" bankruptcy law program give a student a more advantage versus another student from a similar peer school that doesn't have a well known bankruptcy law program


Absolutely not. 95% of all "renowned school programs" are BS marketing ploys.

Let's put this all into a practical perspective. Your first year, everyone in every law school takes the same basic classes. Con Law, Property, Torts, Crim, Civ Pro, Contracts, Legal Writing/Research. Some variations but that's basically it.

Your second and third years will be full of electives. Within that though, there are classes that a great many people view as "required". Evidence, Fed Income Tax, Professional Responsibility come to mind. Usually you have additional actual degree requirements too, such as a writing seminar, additional crim/con law/, maybe a professional skills requirement.

So that leaves you with a much smaller handful of free elective classes that you can pursue your bankruptcy program.

http://law.emory.edu/academics/registra ... tions.html

Every school will have a Bankruptcy and Secured Credit class. Looking at Emory's course schedules, it looks like they have a Bankruptcy, Secured, and a Restructuring class too. That's all it seems for their "bankruptcy program."

They do have a Bankruptcy Journal http://law.emory.edu/ebdj/, which it seems you could learn a fair bit if you wrote on to. But that wouldn't be learning via structured program. You should never, never go to a school though based on them having a particular secondary journal.

Emory's other claim to fame is probably that they have some really renowned bankruptcy professors. That's great, but not necessarily for you. Academic credentials =/= good teacher. Some of the worst teachers I've had are supposedly the "best" in their fields.

In sum: no. You will take substantially the same courses everywhere, the only thing that will really differ is academic prestige of professors, but even then teaching quality might not be substantially higher.


Thank you! This was the answer I was looking for

User avatar
deadpanic

Silver
Posts: 1289
Joined: Sat Oct 03, 2009 5:09 pm

Re: Law School Specialities

Postby deadpanic » Tue Mar 07, 2017 9:52 pm

Agree with everyone regarding that specialty should not matter, but just wanted to add something to this regarding bankruptcy.

If you get top grades, you might get a bankruptcy clerkship then a BigLaw firm offer; and if you're lucky they put you in the BK group and you work on the big Chapter 11 re-structuring cases or maybe for some creditors' committees.

If you don't get top grades and miss BigLaw and/or clerkship, you can absolutely go practice bankruptcy law for a solo or open up your own shop. The difference is you will just be filing Chapter 7 or 13 cases for flat $500 fees on behalf of consumers where the name of the game is volume.

That latter is going to be a totally different form of bankruptcy than you imagine. And all of that expertise/specialty is going to be worthless to those cases.

So, no, do not go for a specialty, especially for bankruptcy. You just need to focus on getting top grades & a bankruptcy clerkship (easier said than done).

Blue664

New
Posts: 95
Joined: Fri Oct 14, 2016 1:19 pm

Re: Law School Specialities

Postby Blue664 » Wed Mar 08, 2017 3:01 am

I have a related, more general version of this question: when do the breadth of clinical offerings, concentrations, electives, interdisciplinary centers with other graduate schools, etc. matter? Can they actually influence certain career paths (maybe non-BL?), or generally are all those things just "nice to have" and not necessarily going to make or break anyone's career?

Those kinds of things seem to get marketed heavily, and end up in a lot of Why X essays/LOCIs, but wondering how much it translates into outcomes, other things being equal.

Thanks everyone (esp 3Ls and graduates)!

cavalier1138

Platinum
Posts: 6363
Joined: Fri Mar 25, 2016 8:01 pm

Re: Law School Specialities

Postby cavalier1138 » Wed Mar 08, 2017 6:13 am

Blue664 wrote:I have a related, more general version of this question: when do the breadth of clinical offerings, concentrations, electives, interdisciplinary centers with other graduate schools, etc. matter? Can they actually influence certain career paths (maybe non-BL?), or generally are all those things just "nice to have" and not necessarily going to make or break anyone's career?

Those kinds of things seem to get marketed heavily, and end up in a lot of Why X essays/LOCIs, but wondering how much it translates into outcomes, other things being equal.

Thanks everyone (esp 3Ls and graduates)!


Clinics can be a good networking point for certain areas, as can certain professors. But no school has any offerings in the areas you just listed that should be weighted more heavily than the school's overall job placement statistics. For example, Case Western pumps up its international human rights law clinics, but I guarantee that you won't find a single Case Western student at a high profile IGO or NGO.

Also, bear in mind that concentrations are meaningless, dual degrees are largely meaningless, and electives aren't necessarily going to be offered at times that you can take them. You shouldn't base your school choice on any of these factors.



Return to “Choosing a Law School?

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 13 guests