stargazin wrote:In the end, the thing about the legal profession is they are really prestige/ranking oriented, and use it as a proxy for intelligence and so it makes this question not nearly so clear cut, and in the end it is just a personal choice.
While everyone who goes to a top school is obviously very intelligent, I think people who go to lower ranked schools can still prove themselves. Yes, the ranking of the school is very important (especially when trying to get into biglaw), but that's not to say there's NO CHANCE to prove oneself if one didn't go to a top school. So I think it is very much a personal choice based on one's circumstances. In this economy, I think not having debt is a huge thing. Huge.
blowhard wrote:stargazin wrote:But if you are shooting for BigLaw/Big money they only hire out of top schools
Not necessarily. My sister's BIL graduated from Fordham U and works in NY for a big law firm.
That is the exception and only from the top of the class. They are still hired at graduation though, not after they've proven themselves. No way to predict that you'll be top 5% either.
+1 to this, Fordham's the exception.
Here's the thing - before I applied I looked up the OCI schedules of NY firms where I knew I'd be interested in working, and they all interviewed at T14 and Fordham. Period. Now I know a lot of lawyers who went to lower-ranked schools and who are sharp as a knife, but the point is that if they were going to their lower-ranked schools now, they wouldn't have the opportunity to put themselves in front of biglaw employers to apply for a job. There really isn't any denying that major employers around the country head to the T12 or T14 each year to hire new associates and that attending a top school is the best way to maximize your employment prospects at those companies. Moreover, attending a top school maximizes your ability to get selective jobs at smaller firms, in businesses, and in the public sector - as the best jobs in those categories are competitive as well.
The reason why it is important for this to get across on the forum is that many applicants forgo a top school each year in order to take a partial scholarship at a lower-ranked school. In some cases, having less debt is necessary - but for most students, a top school offers not only the best employment prospects but also the best programs for managing debt.