(Applications Advice, Letters of Recommendation . . . )
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quidprobono wrote:That's kind of silly advice. Harvard, Stanford, and Berkeley all have very well regarded technology and law programs--not at all "circle jerks."
Can anybody do better?
It's not silly advice at all. You're right too, I'm sure 3 of the 10 best schools in the country have really good law and tech. programs. They have good programs overall and you would be wise to attend any of them. However, if, for sake of argument, Berkley was #5 and Loyola was #4 you would be a fool to choose Loyola over Berkley. You need to just get into the best schools you can and then, strictly as a tiebreaker between similar schools, delve into law and technology.
http://grad-schools.usnews.rankingsandr ... w-rankings
If picking between UVA and Penn maybe you shade toward UVA if you want international work instead of Penn which has a more corporate focus. Alternatively, if you pick American over any other school on that list you have effectively drawn and quartered yourself.
Note 1: UVA trolling acknowleged
Note 2: I understand Int'l law is stupid but that's not the point.
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The question is about which schools have strong law and technology programs. I'm aware that rankings matter, but pointing that out doesn't answer the question. I'm trying to learn more about the group of schools I've already selected based on other factors (including, yes, numerical rankings).
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Ken wrote:Excellent question. Generally, I would recommend that you go to the higher ranked law school instead of the school more known for that specialty.
This is mainly because what area of law you end up practicing oftentimes differs from what you initially believe. I originally felt that I would practice environmental law as I loved environmental economics and environmental policy debates. However, after taking several environmental law classes I found that for me the actual study and practice of environmental law was boring and to be well paid you have to work for the "bad guys" defending large corporations against environmental protectionist. Additionally, I loved the practice of intellectual property law, which I found very exciting and cutting edge.
It is quite common to change your initial interest after being exposed to the classes and actual legal practice. Law schools expect this and encourage you to take a broad range of classes in your last two years so you can truly determine what areas of law are of greatest interest.
Thus, while you may choose Georgetown Law School over the University of Chicago Law School to focus upon international law, if you decide that you are not interested in international law you will have graduated from a less prestigious school as a result and reap no benefit from Georgetown's expertise in international law.
Most top law schools will offer sufficient classes in your area of expertise and while your professors may not have written the casebook, the coveted degree will allow you choices into whatever field you choose.
However, one should certainly factor in expertise in the legal field of interest with overall rank. For example, if one were debating between attending Berkeley's Boalt Hall and the U. of Pennslyvania Law School, two schools that both have excellent academic ratings, I would choose Boalt if I were interested in intellectual property law and U.Penn if I were interested in business law (with the ability to take classes at Wharton a huge plus).
Thus, expertise in a field should definitely be a factor and definitely a tie-breaker, but do not turn down a top 10 law school to attend a top 25 law school simply due to expertise in one field.
A quick note on law school rankings. I do mention them here and show them on this site because they are important, but rankings vary (I personally think the Educational Quality Rankings by Prof. Leiter are better than the US News Law School Rankings) and should only serve as a guide. There is no objectively great law school, but instead what law school is best for someone depends their goals, interests, and where they want to practice law.
Thanks for the excellent questions.
from Ken himself...
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