University of Houston or Thurgood Marshall School of Law?

(BLS, URM status, non-traditional, GLBT)

TMSL or U of H?

Poll ended at Fri Mar 06, 2015 1:43 pm

Thurgood Marshall School of Law
1
13%
University of Houston School of Law
7
88%
 
Total votes: 8

Country
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University of Houston or Thurgood Marshall School of Law?

Postby Country » Sun Mar 01, 2015 1:43 pm

Please help me!!! I am torn between attending Thurgood Marshall School of Law and University of Houston School of Law. I live in Houston, 34, married with children. I got admittance letters from University of Houston School of Law (1st choice), Thurgood Marshall School of Law (2nd choice). My dilemma is, which school do I choose from between TMSL and UH? I’ve heard that UH out ranks TMSL in every category and holds more weight when applying for jobs, but I’ve also been told that the school’s stats don’t matter, it’s the individual. Final piece, and perhaps more critical than stats is financing. I was offered a minimum scholarship at TMSL at $10K a year and the same each year I am in the top 10% of my class. I have not gotten scholarship info from U of H yet, but I’m assuming they will be a little less generous with scholarship funds because my LSAT score is below their average at a 153. I was told that even if I have to take out loans to cover the tier 1 it would be worth it in the long run, as opposed to going to a tier 4 like TMS. Also, I have the Hazelwood grant that will pay full tuition at either but don’t understand how it would interact with scholarships (i.e. will the surplus from the scholarships be refunded to me after the semester starts?) I will ask more specific questions about this in the financial aid forum. My main concern is, which school should I pick and why? I am meeting with both schools next week and want as much information as possible to help me decided.

34 Male
GPA 3.7
URM (African-American/black)
Dec.2014 LSAT 152
(before August 2014 I had never heard of the LSAT. I got a couple of books and studied, while taking 15 credit hours online, and working 16-hr days.) I mention this because someone said my score is an Indicator that I would not succeed in a tier 1 law school. If I had not been working, studied longer, or had not been taking classes, I’m positive I would have scored a lot higher.
Hope this isn’t too long-winded. Thanks for any advice.

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A. Nony Mouse
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Re: University of Houston or Thurgood Marshall School of Law?

Postby A. Nony Mouse » Sun Mar 01, 2015 1:48 pm

A scholarship that requires you to be in the top 10% of your class is a trap and isn't really a scholarship. You can't count on being in the top 10% of your class. My impression is also that if you have funding that will cover tuition at a given school, you're not going to get the surplus - it's just less that the school will have to give you. So there doesn't really appear to be an advantage to going to TMSL.

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FairchildFLT
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Re: University of Houston or Thurgood Marshall School of Law?

Postby FairchildFLT » Sun Mar 01, 2015 1:55 pm

Don't waste that GPA. Retake the LSAT, I got into UT with a 155 3.41. If not for someone telling me to apply higher on this forum I probably never would have even applied.

Edit: Also as a fellow veteran, don't waste that opportunity and sell yourself short.

Country
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Re: University of Houston or Thurgood Marshall School of Law?

Postby Country » Sun Mar 01, 2015 2:15 pm

FairchildFLT wrote:Don't waste that GPA. Retake the LSAT, I got into UT with a 155 3.41. If not for someone telling me to apply higher on this forum I probably never would have even applied.

Edit: Also as a fellow veteran, don't waste that opportunity and sell yourself short.



Thanks for your service and the advice. So you think UH is not worth it? Retaking the LSAT is not an option if I plan to start in August. Also, since I have unmovable roots in Houston, my only options are UH, TMSL & STCL.

Country
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Re: University of Houston or Thurgood Marshall School of Law?

Postby Country » Sun Mar 01, 2015 2:21 pm

A. Nony Mouse wrote:A scholarship that requires you to be in the top 10% of your class is a trap and isn't really a scholarship. You can't count on being in the top 10% of your class. My impression is also that if you have funding that will cover tuition at a given school, you're not going to get the surplus - it's just less that the school will have to give you. So there doesn't really appear to be an advantage to going to TMSL.



Thanks A. Nony Mouse, I kinda felt like it was a trap and that's why I wanted to discuss the particulars with them and see if they would offer me something with less conditions, but if I have to take out a loan, then I might as well go to UH.

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Ron Don Volante
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Re: University of Houston or Thurgood Marshall School of Law?

Postby Ron Don Volante » Sun Mar 01, 2015 2:26 pm

Don't consider anything but UH or UT. If you have children/family in Houston and don't want to uproot to Austin, UH without having to pay tuition is fine.

But why are you going to law school? Even without paying tuition, the risk/reward of going to UH (assuming you have some other career) probably doesn't weigh in favor of attending. Few graduates of UH make enough money to justify not working for three years (if you're already established elsewhere), and you have no way of knowing how well you will do in law school.

Country
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Re: University of Houston or Thurgood Marshall School of Law?

Postby Country » Sun Mar 01, 2015 5:01 pm

Ron Don Volante wrote:Don't consider anything but UH or UT. If you have children/family in Houston and don't want to uproot to Austin, UH without having to pay tuition is fine.

But why are you going to law school? Even without paying tuition, the risk/reward of going to UH (assuming you have some other career) probably doesn't weigh in favor of attending. Few graduates of UH make enough money to justify not working for three years (if you're already established elsewhere), and you have no way of knowing how well you will do in law school.


Thanks for the reply. I am established, and that is why only Houston law schools are on my list. I’m aware of the expected pay when I enter the job market and have paid nearly all my debts so that I would not be swayed with the dismal pay statistics. If it had not been for my current industry taking a hit in pay the last few months and expecting to continue through the summer, I would have saved more than enough survive for at least 2 years. To answer your question, “why are you going to law school?” it’s complicated. I am the first in my family to attend college, and I enrolled with the hopes of eventually earning my JD. I have worked so many hard-labor jobs since the military and going to school at the same time, all with the hopes of earning this degree. My wife, children, and family are all in my corner. Even with the statistics against me, I have to go (1) because I think I will do very well (despite the odds) (2) What life lesson would I be teaching my children if I gave up on a dream that I have been working so hard to reach?

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Oskosh
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Re: University of Houston or Thurgood Marshall School of Law?

Postby Oskosh » Sun Mar 01, 2015 5:24 pm

I don't want to be *that* guy, but your age also indicates that you've put off law school at some time in your life, or that you've accepted the switch to law school. I am also of the opinion that a retake would be of great benefit to you, and that postponing law school for another year would be your best option. UT is a top 15 law school and it provides the prospect of relocating to Houston post-graduation. :)

If you are not amenable to this discussion, then hands down I say attend UH, as it does outperform TM in most categories. The saying that the individual is what matters is partially correct. Who you are will influence your job prospects post-law school, but they alone do not always suffice when it comes to finding a job. Numbers/rankings can be a huge help.

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Re: University of Houston or Thurgood Marshall School of Law?

Postby AReasonableMan » Sun Mar 01, 2015 6:15 pm

The real value of a 100k scholarship if you're in the top 10% of the class is 10k. With a 3.7 and URM status, if you get up to a 160 you're good. With a family you have to put more thought into the risk. It sucks for anyone to come out jobless and in 6 figures of debt, but you should consider whether it's fair to deprive your spouse and children of an income for 3 years unless it's statistically at least 50/50 to give them a better life.

Reading this as you would be taking out 200k in loans to go to UH makes it sound very irresponsible. It's probably more responsible to sell the family home, and use the money to put on black at a casino. A black male with a 3.7 could get much better options than this. I'd suggest either retaking the LSAT, or and this might sound controversial, but if you're gonna take such a big gamble, why not shield your family? Would you be able to get divorced and give up custody, but continue living together so as to not subject your family to the big risks?

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Ron Don Volante
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Re: University of Houston or Thurgood Marshall School of Law?

Postby Ron Don Volante » Sun Mar 01, 2015 6:28 pm

AReasonableMan wrote:The real value of a 100k scholarship if you're in the top 10% of the class is 10k. With a 3.7 and URM status, if you get up to a 160 you're good. With a family you have to put more thought into the risk. It sucks for anyone to come out jobless and in 6 figures of debt, but you should consider whether it's fair to deprive your spouse and children of an income for 3 years unless it's statistically at least 50/50 to give them a better life.

Yeah if OP were a single dude w/o kids I think this is a pretty simple "go for it" situation, but this is a very risky proposition.

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Ron Don Volante
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Re: University of Houston or Thurgood Marshall School of Law?

Postby Ron Don Volante » Sun Mar 01, 2015 6:30 pm

AReasonableMan wrote:Reading this as you would be taking out 200k in loans to go to UH makes it sound very irresponsible. It's probably more responsible to sell the family home, and use the money to put on black at a casino. A black male with a 3.7 could get much better options than this. I'd suggest either retaking the LSAT, or and this might sound controversial, but if you're gonna take such a big gamble, why not shield your family? Would you be able to get divorced and give up custody, but continue living together so as to not subject your family to the big risks?

he said he has a grant to cover his full tuition

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Re: University of Houston or Thurgood Marshall School of Law?

Postby AReasonableMan » Sun Mar 01, 2015 6:37 pm

Ron Don Volante wrote:
AReasonableMan wrote:Reading this as you would be taking out 200k in loans to go to UH makes it sound very irresponsible. It's probably more responsible to sell the family home, and use the money to put on black at a casino. A black male with a 3.7 could get much better options than this. I'd suggest either retaking the LSAT, or and this might sound controversial, but if you're gonna take such a big gamble, why not shield your family? Would you be able to get divorced and give up custody, but continue living together so as to not subject your family to the big risks?

he said he has a grant to cover his full tuition

nevermind then. skimmed over it, saw financing as a concern. i think the hazelwood grant covers tuition, not cost of living so the scholarship is irrelevant.

Country
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Re: University of Houston or Thurgood Marshall School of Law?

Postby Country » Sun Mar 01, 2015 6:44 pm

Oskosh wrote:I don't want to be *that* guy, but your age also indicates that you've put off law school at some time in your life, or that you've accepted the switch to law school. I am also of the opinion that a retake would be of great benefit to you, and that postponing law school for another year would be your best option. UT is a top 15 law school and it provides the prospect of relocating to Houston post-graduation. :)

If you are not amenable to this discussion, then hands down I say attend UH, as it does outperform TM in most categories. The saying that the individual is what matters is partially correct. Who you are will influence your job prospects post-law school, but they alone do not always suffice when it comes to finding a job. Numbers/rankings can be a huge help.


Oskosh, thanks for the feedback, I wouldn’t be in this forum looking for constructive feedback if I didn’t have somewhat thick skin. And no worries, somebody has to be “that guy” Lol. There was a period of “putting off law school”. I was in the military and then I worked regular blue collar jobs until I decided to go to school, with no direction I might add. The thought of law school was foreign to me, no one I know has been. I’m not trying to give you some “cry me a river” URM story, just the facts. Now that I have put in the time and effort to get my A.A. and B.S., I felt it was a good enough point for me to attempt to get in law school. As I mentioned, I have no interest in relocating for school, so increasing my LSAT score will not increase my options any further than UH, TM, and STCL of which all three I have already been accepted. To put it in perspective, If TM was the only school to give me an offer, at full cost on me, I would be going to TM. But since I have options, limited as they may be, I’m still going, but I just want to negotiate how I will pay for it. Also to know, if a full-ride with TM would be worth accepting over no-ride or low-ride with UH?

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Ron Don Volante
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Re: University of Houston or Thurgood Marshall School of Law?

Postby Ron Don Volante » Sun Mar 01, 2015 7:02 pm

TM is a truly awful law school that you should not attend under any circumstance. Literally no graduates get jobs at big firms, and two thirds of all graduates do not find jobs as attorneys within nine months of graduation. http://www.lstscorereports.com/schools/ ... hern/2013/

UH is a decent school; if you're saying you can go there and graduate with only ~60K debt (assuming partner can help w/ COL for his or herself and children), it is an acceptable choice, in a vacuum. But if you have a good job right now, there is essentially no way you can justify going to UH from a financial perspective, especially w/ kids to support. Make sure you're absolutely positive you want to be a lawyer and aren't simply attracted to the abstract idea of it, and then still think long and hard about the risk you're taking. There's still almost a 40% chance you won't get a job as an attorney after UH. http://www.lstscorereports.com/schools/houston/. And you're looking at a lot of COL debt and little-to-no income for three and a half years -- best case scenario. And the vast majority of people employed from UH are making 50-60K first year, tops.

Country
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Re: University of Houston or Thurgood Marshall School of Law?

Postby Country » Sun Mar 01, 2015 7:16 pm

AReasonableMan wrote:The real value of a 100k scholarship if you're in the top 10% of the class is 10k. With a 3.7 and URM status, if you get up to a 160 you're good. With a family you have to put more thought into the risk. It sucks for anyone to come out jobless and in 6 figures of debt, but you should consider whether it's fair to deprive your spouse and children of an income for 3 years unless it's statistically at least 50/50 to give them a better life.

Reading this as you would be taking out 200k in loans to go to UH makes it sound very irresponsible. It's probably more responsible to sell the family home, and use the money to put on black at a casino. A black male with a 3.7 could get much better options than this. I'd suggest either retaking the LSAT, or and this might sound controversial, but if you're gonna take such a big gamble, why not shield your family? Would you be able to get divorced and give up custody, but continue living together so as to not subject your family to the big risks?


Areasonableman, thanks for the feedback. That does “sound controversial” to say the least. No way would I consider divorce or giving up custody, or leaving the city. And Ron Don in the below comment is correct. If all else fails, I will have my full tuition paid and just have to take out loans for the rest. So the 200K at most would be $60K ($20K a yr). As I mentioned, August 2015 I will be in Law school, even if that means no job offers when I graduate. I’m not too worried about future finances. I made $170K last year, which is why I said I don’t need much to get by because I started saving for this the moment the possibility of attending law school became a reality. “Why don’t you just stay where you’re at?” you might ask. Because the work is grueling, back breaking, dangerous, and it forces me to travel around the country and be away from my family. Had it not been for my industry taking a hit the last few months, and expecting to continue on through the summer, I would have easily saved enough money to budget through law school. If all else fails, I’ll go back to my original industry making a minimum $120K, but I’ll have a JD and a sense of accomplishment. You ever hear the stories of the business men turned bums because they like the freedom. It's like that. I do want to go to the school that is going to give me the best options of employment when I graduate, but If I get out and go teach high school I would have enough money for my family to live comfortably. After I pay off my debts of course.

Ron Don Volante thanks for the sites, this is the type of information I need to help me decide. I know it is a risk, one that my family have thought long and hard about. But it is risks that I am wiling to take. The COL I'm looking for could easily be recouped if I were to go back to my original industry for a year or two, and if the job market is that bad, what could it hurt. At least I could come home completely debt free and practice law without the restraints of a "must meet" income. Hopefully I won't be on here in 2019 posting about how law school was the biggest mistake of my life, but today, I am pretty optimistic about my future as an attorney.

BigZuck
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Re: University of Houston or Thurgood Marshall School of Law?

Postby BigZuck » Sun Mar 01, 2015 7:28 pm

Only you can decide the personal stuff but in my opinion UH for 60K is fine if you're ok with what a UH law degree will likely get you. Texas Southern should be avoided at all costs.

DO

NOT

GO

TO

TEXAS

SOUTHERN

Seriously. That's out. Stop thinking about it. Done. It's gone. You're not going there.

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Re: University of Houston or Thurgood Marshall School of Law?

Postby stt1 » Sun Mar 01, 2015 7:32 pm

Country wrote: (2) What life lesson would I be teaching my children if I gave up on a dream that I have been working so hard to reach?


That intelligent people adjust their plans, sometimes dramatically altering course when that is the smart decision.

Seriously, this "quitters never win" kind of hurrah attitude probably works well for getting through Ranger school, but is not how one should live their life. Sunk costs are irrelevant, long established plans can be abandoned due to new information, and there is never only one career where one could be happy.

Not saying not to pursue law school if U of H is totally paid for tuition wise and you would be very happy accepting their median employment type of outcome, and the very modest salary it comes with and all the headaches and difficulties of being in a way oversupplied labor market (and the very real chance you won't get any kind of legal job). But if you were indeed honest about the reasons for your decision, ie that this is half inertia and half you expecting to way outcompete your classmates, then revaluate.

And, also, if you are serious about law as a career, and you have a shot at UT (which you do, with a retake) but are going to U of H because you are "established" there, then you are making a huge mistake. Rent a crappy little apartment in/near austin, live there during the week to attend classes, and drive back to your family in houston for friday through sunday. School is only in session for 6 months out of the year anyway, and living like a consultant won't kill your family for a total of 18 months all total for 3 academic years. It's a sacrifice, but that is what you need to do if you really want a solid shot at a good career in this way oversupplied labor market.

"Follow your dreams" only works when you are actually willing to make the sacrifices involved to succeed given the realities of the world. Otherwise, just go full-on pragmatism, which in your case probably points away from law school.

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Re: University of Houston or Thurgood Marshall School of Law?

Postby BigZuck » Sun Mar 01, 2015 7:41 pm

While I clearly have no problem forbidding internet strangers from attending certain law schools, I do think telling them how they and their family should/will react to an unconventional living arrangement is weird.

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pancakes3
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Re: University of Houston or Thurgood Marshall School of Law?

Postby pancakes3 » Sun Mar 01, 2015 7:55 pm

Houston full ride with what I'm assuming to be substantial WE in oil and gas sounds pretty good actually.

stt1
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Re: University of Houston or Thurgood Marshall School of Law?

Postby stt1 » Sun Mar 01, 2015 7:58 pm

BigZuck wrote:While I clearly have no problem forbidding internet strangers from attending certain law schools, I do think telling them how they and their family should/will react to an unconventional living arrangement is weird.


Not seeing the weird point. Essentially, you are fine saying "give up on law school", but not with saying "give up on law school unless you are willing to make X sacrifice to make it work out."

I never said he should make that choice, just that it is pretty doable. Monday through thursday for the academic year probably ends up being away around 30% of the days in a year.

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Re: University of Houston or Thurgood Marshall School of Law?

Postby BigZuck » Sun Mar 01, 2015 8:14 pm

stt1 wrote:
BigZuck wrote:While I clearly have no problem forbidding internet strangers from attending certain law schools, I do think telling them how they and their family should/will react to an unconventional living arrangement is weird.


Not seeing the weird point. Essentially, you are fine saying "give up on law school", but not with saying "give up on law school unless you are willing to make X sacrifice to make it work out."

I never said he should make that choice, just that it is pretty doable. Monday through thursday for the academic year probably ends up being away around 30% of the days in a year.

I said don't go to a very specfic law school, one that has horrible placement and is the punchline of jokes. Texas Southern is awful.

You told him how his family would react to that situation which to me is weird because you don't know him and his family and I'm assuming you've never been through that as a parent yourself (but maybe you experienced it as a kid, I dunno)

Also, this probably doesn't matter but 1L year at UT he would have Friday classes (sometimes in the late afternoon) so he would be home even less that year than what you're describing.

Anyway I'm not saying that suggesting it is weird, just that telling a grown man how he and his family would do in a situation like that is odd to me.

I was also kind of lumping your comment into the ReasonableOne's suggestion that he and his wife get legally divorced. Yours, admittedly, wasn't nearly as insane.

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Re: University of Houston or Thurgood Marshall School of Law?

Postby stt1 » Sun Mar 01, 2015 8:34 pm

Bigzuck,

I'm really missing where I engaged in psychological analysis of his family. The closest thing I can find is my saying "living like a consultant won't kill your family for a total of 18 months in 3 academic years". I think that can be fairly recognized as a colloquial, exaggerated way of expressing my assessment that the amount of time we are talking about isn't objectively significant, especially as it was buried in a rather large paragraph aimed entirely at suggesting an option that is probably worth considering, rather than an attempt to do a real prediction about the subjective effects within his family.

And I didn't even suggest he take that option, just that it should be considered if he wasn't satisfied with the uncertainties and relatively modest results that the average U of H student gets (ie, banking on over performance relative to classmates at U of H is not a good decision).

Did I really trip over some rule of polite discourse by suggesting such an arrangement doesn't seem like a big deal objectively? Because if he came back and said "talked it over with the family, and there is no way I could not be there to tuck my kids in at night" I would think "cool, he sounds like a really awesome husband and father" not judge him as making some kind of mistake. Some things are more or less of a deal, depending on one's specific situation. My point remains though that, if U of H median career results are not satisfactory, and if that family sacrifice for a few years is not worth it, it is time to reevaluate the law school goal, rather than being driven by intertia.. I don't think that point is out of line, but the nice thing about me being a random talking person on the internet, is that anyone who wishes to can easily and totally ignore me. ;)

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pancakes3
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Re: University of Houston or Thurgood Marshall School of Law?

Postby pancakes3 » Sun Mar 01, 2015 8:59 pm

I think BZ is taking offense to even give advice re: how to arrange his family affairs in general. BZ did also carve out a caveat that he didn't know if you had personal experience or if you were just pulling the "it's not a big deal" part out of thin air.

I for one lean with Zuck on this one. Giving advice on LSAT retakes, pie v cake, etc. is one thing. Family/marriage/kid stuff is another.

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Ron Don Volante
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Re: University of Houston or Thurgood Marshall School of Law?

Postby Ron Don Volante » Sun Mar 01, 2015 9:24 pm

Country wrote:Ron Don Volante thanks for the sites, this is the type of information I need to help me decide. I know it is a risk, one that my family have thought long and hard about. But it is risks that I am wiling to take. The COL I'm looking for could easily be recouped if I were to go back to my original industry for a year or two, and if the job market is that bad, what could it hurt. At least I could come home completely debt free and practice law without the restraints of a "must meet" income. Hopefully I won't be on here in 2019 posting about how law school was the biggest mistake of my life, but today, I am pretty optimistic about my future as an attorney.

You know, if you could suck up working for one more year, you should strongly consider coming to UT as a poster above mentioned. You're going to need to retake the LSAT, but you can obviously do better with a little work. If you're going to make 120K at minimum, working one more would allow you to save up COL for all of law school, and graduating from UT law debt-free as a texan is a pretty awesome place to be in. Yeah, you'd have to be here four or five days a week for six months a year, but it's only two years (you can be a visiting student at UH your third year and graduate from UT), and if you're already travelling non-stop, it's not going to be that big of an adjustment.

Giving up a job that pays close to 200K for UH is just ludicrous; doing the same for UT is still pretty crazy, but it's better. But I guess if you really think it's what's going to make you happy, good luck to you. I hope you don't end up regretting it.

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Re: University of Houston or Thurgood Marshall School of Law?

Postby BigZuck » Sun Mar 01, 2015 9:35 pm

stt1- I didn't mean for it to be a big deal, I was kind of saying it offhand (and was making fun of myself by saying that I think it's ok to tell someone how to live their life one way but not another). But yeah, I do think it's kind of beyond TLS' collective expertise, whereas giving people advice on gap years and stuff doesn't seem as weird to me just based on how many here have done it. I think suggesting it is fine, and I know someone who has done just that and they seem to be ok. I think it was just the nature of "your family will be fine man" that for some reason struck me as odd. Like, how can we know that? I'm married (but no kids) and I guess maybe we would be fine and maybe it'd be worth it, I dunno, but I think it would really suck when I put myself in those shoes. Can't really imagine what it would be like if I also had kids.

But yeah, didn't mean to make it a big deal, sorry.

Ron Don- I could be wrong but for some reason I thought you couldn't be a visiting student your third year as a UT student? But maybe what I read said the opposite?

Eta: NVM, looks like there is an "extenuating circumstances" exception. I'm too lazy to read the rest but it looks like I was wrong.




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