The Criteria We Use to Select a Law School

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Italia8183
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The Criteria We Use to Select a Law School

Postby Italia8183 » Wed Feb 10, 2010 2:25 am

Many of us unfortunately blindly follow the highly popular, flawed and influential US News rankings. The end result (admittedly much of my evidence is anecdotal evidence gleaned from TLS) being that many of us will finish law school with suffocating debt rather than lucrative job offers.

I am currently struggling with which law school to attend. My desire is to stay in the bay area, however, my desires may not match the reality of my situation, attending a tier-2 school. While I still have yet to hear back from 3 bay area schools, it's beginning to look like my best option may be to leave the area and obtain my JD from a school offering a substantial scholarship. I do not want to burden me and my family for more than a decade after law school with debt.

I found the following article, while dated, to be thought provoking and has helped me reevaluate what school really is best for me. The article can be found at, http://www.law.com/jsp/nlj/PubArticleNLJ.jsp?id=1207904889498.

I hope that some of you find it as helpful as I did.

Best of Luck to You All,

Italia8183

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Veyron
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Re: The Criteria We Use to Select a Law School

Postby Veyron » Wed Feb 10, 2010 2:31 am

Oh noes, making a decision based on an independent analysis of quality, how stupid!!! Bah, who needs rankings when EVERYONE can be a winner.

hsprophet
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Re: The Criteria We Use to Select a Law School

Postby hsprophet » Wed Feb 10, 2010 10:10 am

Here's my criteria:

1. Location.

2. My scores being slightly above the medians. The theory is that I want to go to a school where I'll be near the top of the entering class, but not too far ahead that I could have gone to a better school with a better reputation. I'd also rather not be the dumbest one in the class (you have to be able to swim with the fishes). Of course this theory is just that, scores aren't the best indicator of performance.

3. Scholarships. My personal financial situation and goals precludes me from taking out huge loans.

This is just my personal way of making a decision. Your goals and requirements could be very different.

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Mickey Quicknumbers
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Re: The Criteria We Use to Select a Law School

Postby Mickey Quicknumbers » Wed Feb 10, 2010 10:32 am

1. Biglaw and clerkship placement
2. location
3. scholarship money
4. intangible attraction to the school

the weight of each of those three is yet to be determined, as I think I would still take Vandy at sticker over 34k at W&L

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observationalist
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Re: The Criteria We Use to Select a Law School

Postby observationalist » Wed Feb 10, 2010 10:33 am

Hendo's a good guy. If you want him to give you a more candid version of the arguments he makes in that article, I suggest you give him a call and ask him if he knows anything about the school you're considering. He's very much a fan of seeing prospective students take some initiative and not letting themselves get steamrolled over by juked law school stats. The last time I spoke with him he mentioned having serious dirt on some schools that are intentionally misleading prospectives into paying full tuition.

If you do accept the scholarship at the lower-ranked school, do as much as you can to figure out what the actual job prospects look like. Seek out alumni on Martindale's database and ask them for some frank advice on what sort of job options you might have right now. And don't be afraid to ask them again when they try to dodge the question... sometimes alumni feel loyal to their alma mater and other times they've got an axe to grind. Either way, it will help you get some different perspectives from people who may be in a position to offer you a job down the road.

Also, opportunities across the board have been slashed compared to when that article came out two years ago, and the situation is significantly worse. I don't know what they're researching currently but it might be worth asking them (or at least checking out their SSRN pages). G'luck... this is certainly an interesting time to be heading to law school.

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WrappedUpInBooks
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Re: The Criteria We Use to Select a Law School

Postby WrappedUpInBooks » Wed Feb 10, 2010 10:52 am

As someone interested in PI, and hopefully prestige PI (though I'd be happy with other PI options as well), here's what I am concerned with:

1.$$: For me, this mostly means LRAP, as I will probably never pay back even half of sticker - though large scholarships would also, of course, warrant consideration.

2. Prestige: If I want to do prestige PI, then school prestige is also important. Generally, the higher ranked the school, the better the LRAP, so this fits in with #1 very well. Of course, there are exceptions - and this is why i did not even apply to Chicago (that and they wouldn't five me a fee waiver! :x )

3. Commitment to PI and relevant clinics/courses: This too often goes along with a good LRAP, but having clinics in the specific area of law I'm interested in is also important to me.

4. Location: I prefer urban areas in the northeast, New York being ideal.

5. Intangibles: namely, how I feel during ASW.

NYU/Columbia, here I come...

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observationalist
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Re: The Criteria We Use to Select a Law School

Postby observationalist » Wed Feb 10, 2010 11:32 am

WrappedUpInBooks wrote:As someone interested in PI, and hopefully prestige PI (though I'd be happy with other PI options as well), here's what I am concerned with:

1.$$: For me, this mostly means LRAP, as I will probably never pay back even half of sticker - though large scholarships would also, of course, warrant consideration.

2. Prestige: If I want to do prestige PI, then school prestige is also important. Generally, the higher ranked the school, the better the LRAP, so this fits in with #1 very well. Of course, there are exceptions - and this is why i did not even apply to Chicago (that and they wouldn't five me a fee waiver! :x )

3. Commitment to PI and relevant clinics/courses: This too often goes along with a good LRAP, but having clinics in the specific area of law I'm interested in is also important to me.

4. Location: I prefer urban areas in the northeast, New York being ideal.

5. Intangibles: namely, how I feel during ASW.

NYU/Columbia, here I come...


Not sure about Columbia but I know NYU PI folks are heading up to the RebLaw conference in New Haven next weekend. Sounds like they go every year... should be a big party and I'm looking forward to it.




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