DePaul Law?

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Joined: Mon Feb 26, 2018 4:54 pm

DePaul Law?

Postby michelleamania » Mon Feb 26, 2018 5:01 pm

My goal is to become a lawyer in Chicago focusing on health law. I visited DePaul recently and really enjoyed the school and the programs. However, I do know that their employment/bar-passage statistics are on the low-end. Also, their U.S. News ranking is much lower than I would like in a school. Could anyone give me any insight into the school? I have gotten into objectively better schools in other locations but Chicago is my dream location. It is close to home and offers the atmosphere that I would like. Since I want to end up in Chicago, I don't really want to go to a law school in another location and hope that I can find my way to Chicago eventually. I do not want to work in big-law. I also have no aspirations to work as a judge, professor, etc. I just want to earn a modest living in a city that I love. Does it make sense for me to go here?


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Re: DePaul Law?

Postby snowball2 » Mon Feb 26, 2018 5:09 pm

Regardless of goal your plan should always be to attend the best school that will accept you. In Chicago that's UofC or Northwestern. Failing that UIUC. Your goal today may not necessarily be your goal in 1, 2 or 3 years. Aiming low is never a good plan.


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Re: DePaul Law?

Postby Ravenclaw23 » Mon Feb 26, 2018 5:49 pm

To me, the fact that the employment rate & bar exam passage rates are notably low is a red flag. You're going to law school to become a practicing lawyer - in order to do that you need three things (1) a JD (2) a job (3) & to pass the bar. The fact that you can't be confident you'll get two out of those three requirements is a problem.

Keep in mind that nearly ALL legal jobs will be competitive in Chicago because it's a "cool" city & there are not enough jobs to go around. For any job you'll need to compete with (1) two local powerhouses (UofC & NW), (2) students from other elite schools (ex. Harvard, UMich), (3) high ranking students from midwestern top30s (UIUC, Iowa, Notre Dame, Minnesota, etc.), (4) the other lower ranked Chicago schools (Kent, John Marshall, Loyola), and (5) your own DePaul classmates. The fact that you want a fairly niche practice area like Health Law will also make things difficult because there will be fewer options in general.

I absolutely agree that you're better off going to a school in Illinois than going to a random higher ranked school & trying to get back to Chicago. However, unless you have a strong network in Chicago's legal community, specifically in your desired practice area (i.e. your mom is the general counsel of Northwestern Memorial or runs a health law practice), going to a school like DePaul seems too risky to me. If you're competitive for UIUC I would choose that over DePaul.

Also, for what it's worth, I wouldn't worry too much about atmosphere when choosing a law school. You're going to spend most of your time sitting in the library, coffee shops, or your apartment studying & that will be incredibly stressful regardless of how much you like the atmosphere.

Good Luck!

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