Top-14 school or stay in state

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reese23
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Top-14 school or stay in state

Postby reese23 » Fri Jan 08, 2010 4:06 pm

3.3 gpa, 170 lsat, urm - hispanic and persian. i asked this question the other day, but have subsequently done more research. i'm an older candidate -30 yrs old, and won't be applying until 2012. had a 2 year hiatus from school b/c of liver disease. left private undergrad in california when i was a senior at the age of 22 and was sick until i was 25. from 25 to 30 (current age) i've been in the top 1% of realtors nationwide. one would say, why law school now? well, i've always wanted to be a lawyer. plaintiff attorney is what i want to do - personal injury and products liability. at least now, who knows what will happen once i go to law school and new things peak my interest.

the main issue i'm having is deciding on schools to look at and focus on. i know for a fact i want to practice in seattle and live in seattle. after doing research on the big firms in seattle (which there are not that many, big law isn't what it is here as it is in nyc, la, dc, etc), i've come to the conclusion that these firms are extremely preferential to local grads of seattle u and univ of wash. gonzaga alums don't do so well. essentially, if you go to seattle u or udub and place well in your class, you have a great shot at a good job with a big firm in seattle.

the dilemma i'm faced with after i apply - udub, scholarship money from seattle u, or go to a t-14 like northwester, cornell, virginia, upenn, etc. Thanks so much for any advice. this is hard for me as i'm trying to narrow down some choices and figure out what schools to research more.

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Fancy Pants
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Re: Top-14 school or stay in state

Postby Fancy Pants » Fri Jan 08, 2010 4:14 pm

Some areas (like where I live) are extremely preferential toward their top regional school. If your location seems to be that way and you want to stay there forever, then T14 is probably a waste of money for you.

EDIT: The question is, what will T14 do for you? You will have a lot more opportunities with a T14 degree than with a regional degree, but those opportunities might not be anything you desire. It's not a matter of which will give you the best career options as much as which will give you the best options in the career path you want. If you want to work in an area that really likes their local grads, then you probably won't be able to land a much bigger job with your T14 degree than with your regional school degree. And you might have to work harder to get a job back home than you would if you stayed around for school.

I know that's how it is where I live and the question I'm facing right now isn't which will give me the best job opportunity, but which job opportunities do I want to have?

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WhiskeyGuy
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Re: Top-14 school or stay in state

Postby WhiskeyGuy » Fri Jan 08, 2010 4:17 pm

If you are certain you want to stay instate and practice as a personal injury lawyer or for a law firm for your entire life, then staying instate would be wise. But if you have any inclination to ever do something beyond Washington's borders, or if you think you may want to become a US Attorney or something similar, you should seriously consider T14.

reese23
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Re: Top-14 school or stay in state

Postby reese23 » Fri Jan 08, 2010 4:19 pm

Some areas (like where I live) are extremely preferential toward their top regional school. If your location seems to be that way and you want to stay there forever, then T14 is probably a waste of money for you.


Exactly. After doing some research the past few days, I've concluded the same. It is pretty clear that Seattle's most prestigious firms are packed with Seattle U and UDUB alums. I was pretty shocked. I concur that a T-14 would possibly be a waste of money in this circumstance of wanting to stay local.

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Kohinoor
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Re: Top-14 school or stay in state

Postby Kohinoor » Fri Jan 08, 2010 4:20 pm

reese23 wrote:3.3 gpa, 170 lsat, urm - hispanic and persian. i asked this question the other day, but have subsequently done more research. i'm an older candidate -30 yrs old, and won't be applying until 2012. had a 2 year hiatus from school b/c of liver disease. left private undergrad in california when i was a senior at the age of 22 and was sick until i was 25. from 25 to 30 (current age) i've been in the top 1% of realtors nationwide. one would say, why law school now? well, i've always wanted to be a lawyer. plaintiff attorney is what i want to do - personal injury and products liability. at least now, who knows what will happen once i go to law school and new things peak my interest.

the main issue i'm having is deciding on schools to look at and focus on. i know for a fact i want to practice in seattle and live in seattle. after doing research on the big firms in seattle (which there are not that many, big law isn't what it is here as it is in nyc, la, dc, etc), i've come to the conclusion that these firms are extremely preferential to local grads of seattle u and univ of wash. gonzaga alums don't do so well. essentially, if you go to seattle u or udub and place well in your class, you have a great shot at a good job with a big firm in seattle.

the dilemma i'm faced with after i apply - udub, scholarship money from seattle u, or go to a t-14 like northwester, cornell, virginia, upenn, etc. Thanks so much for any advice. this is hard for me as i'm trying to narrow down some choices and figure out what schools to research more.

Are they preferential to local grads or have no Harvard grads ever wanted to break into BIGSEATTLELAW? Food for thought.

reese23
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Re: Top-14 school or stay in state

Postby reese23 » Fri Jan 08, 2010 4:22 pm

If you are certain you want to stay instate and practice as a personal injury lawyer or for a law firm for your entire life, then staying instate would be wise. But if you have any inclination to ever do something beyond Washington's borders, or if you think you may want to become a US Attorney or something similar, you should seriously consider T14.


That brings up an excellent point, and therein is where my dilemma lies. Do I go to a T-14 and leave open the option of flexibility, or do I stay local and save some money - which also would not hurt my job prospects locally.

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Fancy Pants
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Re: Top-14 school or stay in state

Postby Fancy Pants » Fri Jan 08, 2010 4:23 pm

WhiskeyGuy wrote:If you are certain you want to stay instate and practice as a personal injury lawyer or for a law firm for your entire life, then staying instate would be wise.


Are those the only options for people who want to practice law outside of the big markets? Local law firm or personal injury? Srsly?

Kohinoor wrote:Are they preferential to local grads or have no Harvard grads ever wanted to break into BIGSEATTLELAW? Food for thought.


A good question. But also to consider: Is there a salary difference from Seattle firms based on where you graduated?

reese23
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Re: Top-14 school or stay in state

Postby reese23 » Fri Jan 08, 2010 4:30 pm

Are they preferential to local grads or have no Harvard grads ever wanted to break into BIGSEATTLELAW? Food for thoug


That's an excellent point. Most of the biglaw firms in Seattle have a large number of Harvard grads - Perkins Coie for example is loaded with them. However, in relation to Seattle U and UDUB, the t-14 is outnumbered by the local grads of these schools.

If Harvard came calling, I wouldn't blink and I'd be there asap. Realistically, this won't happen though. I'm more likely going to be accepted to lower T-14's like Northwestern and Cornell.

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WhiskeyGuy
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Re: Top-14 school or stay in state

Postby WhiskeyGuy » Fri Jan 08, 2010 4:51 pm

Fancy Pants wrote:
WhiskeyGuy wrote:If you are certain you want to stay instate and practice as a personal injury lawyer or for a law firm for your entire life, then staying instate would be wise.


Are those the only options for people who want to practice law outside of the big markets? Local law firm or personal injury? Srsly?


No, but they are both along the lines of what the OP expressed as career interests.

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yours
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Re: Top-14 school or stay in state

Postby yours » Fri Jan 08, 2010 4:52 pm

same situation for me, if i get into t14. i think it could be good for me to get out of seattle for a couple years.

i wish we had some actual seattle lawyers in here who could give us some insight into the legal market here. it might make a difference where i decide to go. (georgetown vs. uw for instance)

it's a nice problem to have, but still... you need to consider it carefully.

Romes5524
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Re: Top-14 school or stay in state

Postby Romes5524 » Fri Jan 08, 2010 5:13 pm

Fancy Pants wrote:Some areas (like where I live) are extremely preferential toward their top regional school. If your location seems to be that way and you want to stay there forever, then T14 is probably a waste of money for you.

EDIT: The question is, what will T14 do for you? You will have a lot more opportunities with a T14 degree than with a regional degree, but those opportunities might not be anything you desire. It's not a matter of which will give you the best career options as much as which will give you the best options in the career path you want. If you want to work in an area that really likes their local grads, then you probably won't be able to land a much bigger job with your T14 degree than with your regional school degree. And you might have to work harder to get a job back home than you would if you stayed around for school.

I know that's how it is where I live and the question I'm facing right now isn't which will give me the best job opportunity, but which job opportunities do I want to have?


Terrible advice.

reese23
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Re: Top-14 school or stay in state

Postby reese23 » Fri Jan 08, 2010 6:01 pm

why is that terrible advice?

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Fancy Pants
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Re: Top-14 school or stay in state

Postby Fancy Pants » Fri Jan 08, 2010 6:12 pm

Romes5524 wrote:
Fancy Pants wrote:Some areas (like where I live) are extremely preferential toward their top regional school. If your location seems to be that way and you want to stay there forever, then T14 is probably a waste of money for you.

EDIT: The question is, what will T14 do for you? You will have a lot more opportunities with a T14 degree than with a regional degree, but those opportunities might not be anything you desire. It's not a matter of which will give you the best career options as much as which will give you the best options in the career path you want. If you want to work in an area that really likes their local grads, then you probably won't be able to land a much bigger job with your T14 degree than with your regional school degree. And you might have to work harder to get a job back home than you would if you stayed around for school.

I know that's how it is where I live and the question I'm facing right now isn't which will give me the best job opportunity, but which job opportunities do I want to have?


Terrible advice.


Good point and well reasoned. I withdraw my post.

reese23
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Re: Top-14 school or stay in state

Postby reese23 » Fri Jan 08, 2010 6:17 pm

i actually think Fancy makes a valid point. if you can get the job you want in seattle w/out having to leave seattle, why do it? that's the issue i'm having. i know when cornell or northwestern come calling, i'll still have a hard time saying "no thanks".

issues issues, decisions decisions. friends think i'm crazy for leaving a 6figure job for law school, but the fight for the little people against insurance companies is what draws me.

0L Hoping for 1
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Re: Top-14 school or stay in state

Postby 0L Hoping for 1 » Fri Jan 08, 2010 6:22 pm

I am from Seattle, and worked in a large firm there for awhile and now work in DC (these were paralegal positions) and now I am going back to Law School at a T-14 in order to eventually practice back in Seattle.

The reason I am doing this is that there are salary/bonus differences within large Seattle firms based on where you went to school, etc. and just like other large cities, it is easier to get a job and there are more opportunities for someone who went to a T-14. There may be a lot of Seattle U and UW grads in firms, but from what I saw the people coming from T-14s were very much favored (there just weren't that many of them coming to Seattle).

Which is good for us and bad for them because they dont know how awesome the city is.

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Fancy Pants
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Re: Top-14 school or stay in state

Postby Fancy Pants » Fri Jan 08, 2010 6:27 pm

reese23 wrote:i actually think Fancy makes a valid point. if you can get the job you want in seattle w/out having to leave seattle, why do it? that's the issue i'm having. i know when cornell or northwestern come calling, i'll still have a hard time saying "no thanks".

issues issues, decisions decisions. friends think i'm crazy for leaving a 6figure job for law school, but the fight for the little people against insurance companies is what draws me.


Reese I'm in the exact same situation you think you might be in a few years from now. I've talked with attorneys in my area ranging from first-year associates to senior partners. I've talked to students currently at the biggest schools in my region about what job prospects they have. I've talked to people who work in my area and graduated from HLS and SLS. And you know what? I still don't have an answer I'm 100% satisfied with. The general theme, here, though, is that if I can get a cheap education from our top regional school and I really want to stay around here for the rest of my life then it is probably a better route for me.

If I end up turning down all my T14 acceptances - that's going to be hard. But it might be the best thing for me.

Short version of the above post: Try gathering information from people in your area who know what they're talking about. Firms being preferential and firms just hiring a lot of Seattle grads are two different things. Ask around and see what people who actually know your region's legal market have to say.

And before I posted 0L made my point as well:

There may be a lot of Seattle U and UW grads in firms, but from what I saw the people coming from T-14s were very much favored (there just weren't that many of them coming to Seattle).


There is a big difference between preferential treatment and just hiring a lot of Seattle grads. Seems like Seattle might be a pretty welcoming place to T14 grads.

jacko
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Re: Top-14 school or stay in state

Postby jacko » Fri Jan 08, 2010 8:18 pm

I've discussed this exact question with a partner at Perkins Coie (Not Seattle office). PM and I'll be more than happy to discuss her insights.

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jcl2
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Re: Top-14 school or stay in state

Postby jcl2 » Fri Jan 08, 2010 8:48 pm

0L Hoping for 1 wrote:I am from Seattle, and worked in a large firm there for awhile and now work in DC (these were paralegal positions) and now I am going back to Law School at a T-14 in order to eventually practice back in Seattle.

The reason I am doing this is that there are salary/bonus differences within large Seattle firms based on where you went to school, etc. and just like other large cities, it is easier to get a job and there are more opportunities for someone who went to a T-14. There may be a lot of Seattle U and UW grads in firms, but from what I saw the people coming from T-14s were very much favored (there just weren't that many of them coming to Seattle).

Which is good for us and bad for them because they dont know how awesome the city is.


Really, salary and bonus differences? I find that hard to believe, aren't all associates on the same lock step pay scale at most big firms, with making partner and some discretionary bonuses being based on merit, not where you went to school 7 years earlier. I'm not disputing that you may have an edge in getting a Seattle biglaw job coming from a T14 school, though the significance of that edge really depends on where in the T14, but I was under the impression that once you are hired someplace where you graduated from doesn't really matter. Particularly in Seattle, I can't see there really being any negative stigma on UW grads.

insidethetwenty
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Re: Top-14 school or stay in state

Postby insidethetwenty » Mon Jan 11, 2010 11:20 pm

The "T-14 Difference" lies with the depth of the class that gets the best (read: highest-paying) jobs. If you finish Top 10-15% in your class at UW or 5% at SeattleU, then you *maybe* can compete with T14 grads who want to come to/come back to Seattle. The fact is, a median-or-better T14 grad, or any HYS grad, is going to be a hot commodity in a medium-sized market like Seattle, especially if that person has ties to Seattle, clerks there or something like that.

The bottom line is this: if you know you want to stay in Seattle, and would do so regardless of salary, then UW or SU would be best for you. Going to UW or SU on scholarship would be much less expensive and you'll have time and opportunities for networking in the area. Also, UW and SU are respected in the area and that does mean something. If you must have Seattle BigLaw, and would go elsewhere if you couldn't get a BigLaw salary, your best bet is to go T14. Your opportunities from a T14 school are truly national; whereas your options from UW or SU are decidedly regional.

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beesknees
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Re: Top-14 school or stay in state

Postby beesknees » Mon Jan 11, 2010 11:24 pm

You want to go into personal injury and be in Seattle, take the money and run. T14 may "open more doors" but sounds like your local school could offer that for you at a fraction of the cost. Plus, paying off massive debt when you're already older means you'll be paying it into retirement (not that I might not be!).




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