Fordham, or Cardozo/Brooklyn Law School with $$

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tommytahoe
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Fordham, or Cardozo/Brooklyn Law School with $$

Postby tommytahoe » Tue Dec 29, 2009 12:45 am

Fun hypo:
If you applied only to the three schools above, and got accepted at Fordham, and accepted at the other two with $$, what would you do?

Feel free to say yes, but only if it is a certain amount of money.
I may possibly end up with this decision, and I'm curious what y'all would do.

PS: this is not an invitation to debate which of BLS or Cardozo is the better school.

tx

stripedbanana10
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Re: Fordham, or Cardozo/Brooklyn Law School with $$

Postby stripedbanana10 » Tue Dec 29, 2009 1:30 am

I would cry. Because this probably will be me as well.

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AlanShore
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Re: Fordham, or Cardozo/Brooklyn Law School with $$

Postby AlanShore » Tue Dec 29, 2009 1:34 am

I may face this scenario and I would choose Fordham. I feel it has significantly better employment prospects and a great network in nyc (for its general ranking).

bluesteele
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Re: Fordham, or Cardozo/Brooklyn Law School with $$

Postby bluesteele » Tue Dec 29, 2009 2:06 pm

If I were you, I'd seriously think about what type of student you are and whether or not you will actually do well in law school. If you aren't going to rocket to the top 10-15% of your class, you are better off going to Cardozo with $$, just to give you more options coming out of school. Think about it -- if you only have $50k in debt, you won't *need* the BigLaw salary and can take whatever jobs may be out there (although there are none now).

Whatever school you attend (some exceptions, of course), being in the middle of the class is still the middle of the class. After the top 30%, employers are looking at your pre-law school work experience and other credentials to distinguish you from everyone else. I think a lot of prospective students are misguided about what employers are really looking for.

Tangent: Let's be honest -- BigLaw won't be seriously hiring thru OCI until fall of 2012. If the economy picks up, there are plenty of unemployed grads from the class of 2009-2011 (no experience) and all those laid-off firm associates (class of 2005-2008) that the firms will hire before fresh, not-so-desperate, recent grads. Think about whether or not you can seriously compete with all those (over)qualified lawyers.

My advice is to find some amazing work experience that will distinguish you from all the cookie-cutter paralegals. Work abroad, learn Chinese, do something that will make you useful to firms who are looking to expand internationally.

Good luck!

(I'm a Cardozo 3L, BigLaw SA, and accepted an offer.....and I'm not in the top 15%)

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tommytahoe
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Re: Fordham, or Cardozo/Brooklyn Law School with $$

Postby tommytahoe » Tue Dec 29, 2009 3:56 pm

Bluesteele, thanks for your candid inside look at the dilemma, one that many here have experienced, and will experience, with perhaps other schools substituted in (BU for Fordham; Hastings for Cardozo —not that Hastings would ever cough up merit $$ :wink: ).

You raise an interesting issue:
The old calculus for deciding this dilemma is based on a legal environment where higher-ranked school has usually meant more freedom/better odds to snag the high-paying biglaw job, if you want it. But with the current purging of associates going on nationwide, the pull of the higher-ranked school seems to bring less clout. As you say, if you are not top 15% at Fordham, to some degree you may be seen by hiring firms as a middling student at a good school, in a massive legal market that has seen a particularly large drop-off in staff and hirings in one year (with no guarantee of a return to fame just yet).
Of course, if the dilemma involved Columbia or Fordham with $$, going with Columbia would seem to be a no-brainer, because of the near-certainty for a big law job that Columbia's prestige would bring (again, if you want it).

You say that if I feel top 15% is not a shoe-in (and I don't. I'm smart and hard-working, but so will most of my classmates), then it would be better to accept that fact, and then enjoy the freedom Cardozo with $$ and therefore less debt would afford me. Less debt equals less "need" to go for BigLaw, and less financial constraint on the ability to seek out jobs in government, small firms, etc...
But I am worried about the assumption you make: that with this current economic downfall, and subsequent purging of jobs, it would therefore be easier to find jobs in that salary range than it would to find them in $120,000/year biglaw firms. I mean, from what I've heard, many former associates from Skadden, Piper, Orrick, et al, have been finding solace in the very jobs you suggest I could seek with the smaller debt I could get coming out of Cardozo. I even know friends who decry the fact that getting jobs at NFPs and with $45,000/year PD offices has become difficult now that law school's "best and brightest" have moved into public interest law out of necessity.

Anyway, thought I'd bring that up.
Fact is, I asked my initial hypothetical, because I have been adjusting my older expectations. My 161/3.80 numbers will 80 - 90% chance not get me into Fordham anyway. But even if I did get accepted there, or at UC Davis, eg., the idea of going to a lower school in a great legal city could mean graduating with considerably less debt, and with the knowledge that biglaw would be harder to come by, perhaps chart a path whereby I could find government work where I could still pay off the debt in 10 years or less.

I have been deciding hard, along with probably thousands of us here on TLS, whether to wait a year, and get that eye-opening WE you talked about, or to cobble together one of these headache-inducing Feb. LSAT/WL/latest application in the world equations. Tough call. Outside of a miracle acceptance I may wait till next year, and then see if my opportunities substantially improve.

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misformafia
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Re: Fordham, or Cardozo/Brooklyn Law School with $$

Postby misformafia » Tue Dec 29, 2009 3:59 pm

Foooooooooooooordham.

nycparalegal
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Re: Fordham, or Cardozo/Brooklyn Law School with $$

Postby nycparalegal » Tue Dec 29, 2009 4:04 pm

I would choose Cardozo/Brooklyn with $$ over Fordham.

I live in NYC, and I plan on moving in with my GF, who is working, if I get into either school with money. I'm joining the JAG's before law school, so I will have a job, BigLaw is not in my future, and I rather keep debt low.

Not to mention, both are pretty decent schools in terms of education.

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misformafia
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Re: Fordham, or Cardozo/Brooklyn Law School with $$

Postby misformafia » Tue Dec 29, 2009 4:08 pm

nycparalegal wrote:I would choose Cardozo/Brooklyn with $$ over Fordham.

I live in NYC, and I plan on moving in with my GF, who is working, if I get into either school with money. I'm joining the JAG's before law school, so I will have a job, BigLaw is not in my future, and I rather keep debt low.

Not to mention, both are pretty decent schools in terms of education.


EDIT (to my above post): unless nyc's situation is your scenario.

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tommytahoe
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Re: Fordham, or Cardozo/Brooklyn Law School with $$

Postby tommytahoe » Tue Dec 29, 2009 4:15 pm

Interesting...

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OperaSoprano
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Re: Fordham, or Cardozo/Brooklyn Law School with $$

Postby OperaSoprano » Tue Dec 29, 2009 4:16 pm

I am a Fordham 1L who turned down $45k from Cardozo. I didn't apply to BLS, since I was highly disenchanted with the school's administration, and dishonesty at some very high levels. I am extremely happy with my choice, and I will not need biglaw to repay my loans. Between the Fordham LRAP and IBR, I expect to be out of debt in ten years (planning on working at a nonprofit, if all goes well), and I will wind up repaying approximately $25 to $30k out of pocket before the rest is forgiven after 120 months in a service job.

If you get a guaranteed (non GPA dependent) scholarship from Cardozo that is large enough, I would certainly consider it, but otherwise, Fordham wins hands down. It would be absolutely awful to wind up not getting the grades, and losing your scholarship if you chose the school to keep debt down. That is just my two cents. I know several very cool people currently at Cardozo, and I honestly don't think the competition there is any different than it would be here. I'm quite certain I could not guarantee amazing performance there anymore than I can guarantee it here at Fordham. There isn't much discernible difference in student quality, but if you are looking for biglaw, there is a fairly sizable difference in employment outcome.

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tommytahoe
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Re: Fordham, or Cardozo/Brooklyn Law School with $$

Postby tommytahoe » Tue Dec 29, 2009 4:43 pm

Thanks opera,
That adds a new weight to the balancing act. I have heard similar issues from others on TLS and in the "real world": Take the Cardozo $$, but only if (there's that dreaded necessary condition!) only if it is at a certain $$ threshold, and if the scholarship is not 1L GPA-dependent.
I wouldn't want to be SOL b/c I failed to make the grade enough to sustain merit $$. You and others have said that while job prospects can vary considerably, all 3 of those schools are competitive and provide challenging educations.

You also bring up the important reminder of LRAPs, which, though not created equally in law school world, can be well-developed at a number of schools up and down the top-50.

Hmmm...

It's also interesting that while this was meant to be a general-rule hypothetical, this NYC dilemma is indeed a narrowly defined beast. NY is its own market, in many ways, and this decision seems to be about as prominent as any out there in the law school world.

tx




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