Good morning everybody. This is going to be a fairly long post but I figure more information will encourage higher quality responses.
First a bit of background. I am 29 years old with a 3.35ish undergrad GPA and 3.8 graduate GPA (for what it's worth if anything), and have yet to take the LSAT. I have been contemplating a career change for a while from banking middle management and after a lot of research I have just become completely obsessed with the idea of environmental law. Specifically I would like to eventually land a job with a natural resource, energy, or sustainability NGO or a state/federal/large city environmental agency. I am not particularly interested in large firms (unless necessity demanded it). I am engaged and getting married in September and my fiance is very supportive of me doing this.
In my early research I have encountered a few interesting quirks about environmental law. There are three schools "ranked" in the top four of environmental law schools on US News (Lewis and Clark, Vermont, Pace) that are outside of the top 80 in overall rankings. From what I can see, sub category rankings are based on the opinions of legal scholars/professors and not data on admissions, career development, etc. Upon closer analysis, Pace, LandC, and Vermont actually have pretty mediocre employment and bar statistics overall. My first question is What is your opinion on a school highly rated in a sub category but rated rather poorly overall? Is it worth it?
There are several other schools that are what I would called more balanced, that are in the top 50 of law schools with high ratings in environmental law: Boulder, Florida State, Cal-LA, and Utah are a few examples of these schools that are more realistic for me to get accepted and partially or fully funded with a really high LSAT. Then there are schools like Vanderbilt and Georgetown, which would be stretches with my GPA, but possible EDs if my LSAT is good enough. I have pretty much excluded the top 10, because with my GPA it is highly unlikely I would be accepted unless I had an absurdly high LSAT which I'm not counting on.
Some other questions I have:
1.) For schools in the 30-50 range rating wise like the Florida State, Ohio State, Boulder, etc., should the major consideration be where I want to practice regionally? Or would federal jobs in interior department, energy department, etc., be in range still from those schools?
2.) If I score high enough on my LSAT to justify applying for Georgetown, Berkeley, Vanderbilt, are those worth an ED for a splitter like me?
3.) Am I too concerned about sub rankings for environmental law, instead of just focusing on overall law school rankings? Or do sub-categories matter within those legal communities?
Thanks for your help!
(Rankings, Profiles, Tuition, Student Life, . . . )
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Thanks for your thoughts cavalier1138. Either I'm going to be a splitter or I'm not going to Law School realistically so I'm just speaking out of what will need to be reality lol. I'll come back when I have an LSAT score and hopefully get some more concrete info, I think I need that in place before I worry too much about specific schools.
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