Deposit Dilemma

(Applications Advice, Letters of Recommendation . . . )

Which School Should I Place my Deposit?

Poll ended at Sun Apr 15, 2012 4:51 pm

University of San Diego (Sticker)
5
42%
Chicago-Kent (Negligible Scholarship)
0
No votes
University of Baltimore (60% scholarship, 3.2 GPA Stip)
7
58%
University of Richmond (Priority waitlist, no Scholarship)
0
No votes
 
Total votes: 12

trollhunter2
Posts: 69
Joined: Thu Apr 12, 2012 3:37 pm

Deposit Dilemma

Postby trollhunter2 » Thu Apr 12, 2012 4:51 pm

So I have to make a deposit this weekend. Considering that I intend to work for either the state's attorney's office, the federal government, an NGO, or some equivalent as an environmental litigator, I am NOT interested in Biglaw. I also CANNOT retake the LSAT as I have taken it the maximum number of times in the prescribed period of time. I have already taken a year off from undergrad and I am ready to begin law school. I have been committed to practicing environmental law for over four years, as I double majored in environmental policy and philosophy. To the privileged elitists on here, please just skip this post: I am not going to retake the LSAT nor rethink my motivations for attending law school.

Fortunately, I have some relatives who will help with part of the tuition. I fully understand the risks of going to a non-ivy, -T-14, -T-1 law school but frankly, these are the best options available. I am well prepared to pay off loans, network my butt of for jobs, and struggle through an economy which has got everybody down.
I really need help. Ideally, I wish to practice in San Diego. San Diego is a progressive city in a progressive state and it thus, forward thinking on many environmental issues and initiatives. University of San Diego has a high quality faculty, has a unique environmental policy institute EPIC, an environmental law journal and an environmental law concentration. Beyond this, San Diego grads dominate their legal market.
On the other hand, Kent is located in Chicago, which is not too shabby either, has an environmental law certificate, an environmental law moot court, an environmental law clinic, and enjoys a more established environmental law journal. Kent has a highly regarded three-year legal writing program, a strong advocacy skills program, a pro-active career center and its grads enjoy the highest bar passage rate in Illinois (97%). Moreover, Kent guarantees an externship to all 1L’s for that first critical summer, which is naturally very appealing for those interested in government work. I have also been contacted by Kent’s alumni base on multiple occasions discussing the law school and job prospects with me, and I have spoken with the dean personally on several occasions who has been very approachable and helpful.

My experience and with USD’s administration and admissions office, at least thus far, has ranged from detached to neutral, to downright rude on occasion. This obviously concerns me as an admissions office serves as the gateway between the public and a school’s community. Considering that USD is asking for over 40K a year, I am bit surprised by this administrator’s professional demeanor and lack of candor. It could also just be a case of a bad impression, since I have heard that USD’s professors are excellent, friendly and accessible.

I am not that wild about my other options. I am from Baltimore and I know of several University of Baltimore Alumni who make in excess of 500,000 a year, and most attorneys, even the ones from U of Maryland, have respect for UB. Statistically 80% of UB students have a job upon graduation, which is astoundingly high for a t-3, and is de facto, higher than many tier-1 schools I’ve looked at, including William and Mary (although the median starting salary is less than desirable). I am not thrilled by UB, however, since I want to move out west and I want professional mobility beyond Maryland.

U Richmond has a lot of respect in its region, and there is a strong chance I will be accepted there in the coming weeks. The problem again though, is I really do not wish to remain on the east coast, let alone in Virginia. Nothing against Virginia, it’s just that I went to undergrad here and I am ready for a change.

Lastly, as a non-URM with a mediocre LSAT, I’ve been waitlisted at approximately 12 schools, so many in fact, I’ve lost count. I am not banking on getting into any of them since it’s prudent to place a deposit on at least one concrete option. However, being on so many waitlists is worthy of consideration in some respect.

Thank you for reading and your input.

User avatar
Nelson
Posts: 2061
Joined: Thu Feb 03, 2011 12:43 am

Re: Deposit Dilemma

Postby Nelson » Thu Apr 12, 2012 4:53 pm

Considering that I intend to work for either the state's attorney's office, the federal government, an NGO, or some equivalent as an environmental litigator

That's almost certainly not going to happen from these schools, certainly not right after graduation. What is your backup career plan?

bdole2
Posts: 271
Joined: Sat Nov 13, 2010 5:58 pm

Re: Deposit Dilemma

Postby bdole2 » Thu Apr 12, 2012 4:57 pm

tbalbert wrote: I am from Baltimore andI know of several University of Baltimore Alumni who make in excess of 500,000 a year, and most attorneys, even the ones from U of Maryland, have respect for UB. Statistically 80% of UB students have a job upon graduation, which is astoundingly high for a t-3, and is de facto, higher than many tier-1 schools I’ve looked at, including William and Mary (although the median starting salary is less than desirable). I am not thrilled by UB, however, since I want to move out west and I want professional mobility beyond Maryland.

Go to Baltimore. What is the median GPA at the school? That stip sounds bad, try your hardest to get it removed.

Nobody is making 500k right out of law school. From any school. It doesn't matter how attorneys who partners are doing, you won't have a chance of being a partner at a firm for another 10 years.

Also, where did you see that 80% of UB students have jobs upon graduation? From UB's own website? I wouldn't trust those numbers.

Still though, UB is by far the best option of those that you listed, assuming you could live at home and save on COL expenses. You REALLY need to keep your debt as low as possible. None of these schools will give you much mobility.

trollhunter2
Posts: 69
Joined: Thu Apr 12, 2012 3:37 pm

Re: Deposit Dilemma

Postby trollhunter2 » Thu Apr 12, 2012 6:20 pm

How do you know that Kent and San Diego students do not land State's Attorney's, District Attorney's or NGO positions? I am not trying to question your input, I just would like to know what empirical basis you substantiate that claim. My back-up plan is taking whatever law/policy position I can to build my resume for the positions so indicated.

bdole: To be clear, I didn't mean to imply that any of the attorneys I know are recent graduates, to the contrary. Those grads have been working in the Baltimore area for at least 15 years, have strong networks, and obviously work in the larger firms in Baltimore (e.g. medical malpractice).

I wouldn't trust figures from a school's website either. Instead, I found the figures here:

--LinkRemoved--

From the statistics below, it looks like keeping a 3.25 entails scoring at least, the top-third of the class. Despite this, I am going to lobby the admissions office to drop the stipulation, increase the award amount, or both. Do you have any advice on how to accomplish that?

Class of 2012: First Year Day Students
Top 5% 3.707 and above
Top 10% 3.688 to 3.563
Top 15% 3.562 to 3.438
Top 20% 3.437 to 3.345
Top 25% 3.343 to 3.290
Top 33 1/3 % 3.280 to 3.145
Top 50% 3.144 to 2.918

Class of 2010: Graduates

Top 5% 3.752 and above
Top 10% 3.743 to 3.636
Top 15% 3.617 to 3.570
Top 20% 3.569 to 3.492
Top 25% 3.488 to 3.397
Top 33 1/3 % 3.388 to 3.302
Top 50% 3.299 to 3.134 <--My guess is that the median GPA is 3.2
http://law.ubalt.edu/template.cfm?page=1497

User avatar
Ludo!
Posts: 4764
Joined: Wed Nov 09, 2011 1:22 pm

Re: Deposit Dilemma

Postby Ludo! » Thu Apr 12, 2012 7:01 pm

You shouldn't go to any of these schools. That's not privileged elitism, that's reality. Your chance of getting a job (any kind of legal job, not just your fantasy of working in environmental law) from these schools is too low to go at these prices.

You can get permission from LSAC to retake again. Or you can rethink law school altogether. Are there any jobs in the field you want to work in that don't require a JD?

User avatar
Tom Joad
Posts: 4542
Joined: Thu Dec 04, 2008 5:56 pm

Re: Deposit Dilemma

Postby Tom Joad » Thu Apr 12, 2012 7:12 pm

If it is acceptable for an unprivileged elitist to answer, I vote Baltimore.

trollhunter2
Posts: 69
Joined: Thu Apr 12, 2012 3:37 pm

Re: Deposit Dilemma

Postby trollhunter2 » Thu Apr 12, 2012 8:26 pm

I don't understand your justification for such sweeping generalizations. According to USD's and Kent's published empolyment stats, 66% of graduates have jobs at graduation. So, don't be in the bottom third of the class. Simple. Provided schools fudge their numbers, does it follow that they out right lie about them? Was I hallucinating when I worked with several USD summer interns at a major environmental NGO in D.C.? Perhaps the 26 percent of all San Diego attorneys reported to be graduates of USD are just hallucinating too. Is the California Bar website credible? There are NO guarentees in life. Even the best business, law or medical program does not ensure that you will be an effective professional, you do.

Final thought: A family friend owns a firm in St. Martin. He went to Cal Western. Last summer, he had a summer intern from Duke. Said intern was brilliant academically but had no conception at all, of how to actually perform any of the daily tasks required of an attorney. Sure it's just one example but it illustrates that there are no guarentees.
Last edited by trollhunter2 on Thu Apr 12, 2012 8:35 pm, edited 2 times in total.

MrAnon
Posts: 1615
Joined: Wed Aug 25, 2010 9:08 pm

Re: Deposit Dilemma

Postby MrAnon » Thu Apr 12, 2012 8:31 pm

SD and Kent are not the types of schools one moves across the country to attend. They are not destination schools. You need to prove you can make it in your own backyard before you venture off to other places.

User avatar
Bildungsroman
Posts: 5548
Joined: Sun Apr 11, 2010 2:42 pm

Re: Deposit Dilemma

Postby Bildungsroman » Thu Apr 12, 2012 8:34 pm

tbalbert wrote:I don't understand your justification for such sweeping generalizations. According to USD and Kent's published numbers, 66% of graduates have jobs at graduation, so don't be in the bottom third of the class. Simple. Provided schools fudge their numbers, does it follow that they out right lie? Was I hallucinating when I worked with several 1L summer interns at the NGO I worked at in D.C.? Perhaps the 26 percent of all San Diego attorneys reported to be graduates of USD are hallucinating too. Is the California Bar website credible? There are NO guarentees in life. The best business, law or medical program does not ensure that you will be an effective professional, you do.

Final thought: A family friend owns a firm in St. Martin. He went to a Cal Western. Last summer, he had a summer intern from Duke. Said intern was brilliant academically but had no conception of actually how to perform any of the daily tasks assigned to him. He quit two weeks in. There are no guarentees.

You are adorable. None of your options (except the options of retaking/reapplying or just not going to law school at all) are good ones, but if you think that 66% employed at graduation means 66% of grads having gainful legal employment lined up or that it can be solved when you "network [your] butt of for jobs" there's no helping you.

"66% of graduates have jobs at graduation, so don't be in the bottom third of the class. Simple."
Good lord.

trollhunter2
Posts: 69
Joined: Thu Apr 12, 2012 3:37 pm

Re: Deposit Dilemma

Postby trollhunter2 » Thu Apr 12, 2012 8:55 pm

Not that I don't appreciate your condescending deflection of the issue, let alone the question at hand, nor believe that you actually come on here to give meaningful advice, but how is interpreting a figure where one quarter of practicing lawyers in San Diego are USD alumi, or one where one half of practicing attorneys in Maryland are UB alumi, naive? How does your conclusion account for these facts? I doubt many people for whom these statistics represent would agree with you.

But enlighten me: what makes you such a legal expert? How long have you been a licensed attorney? In what market?

I would really appreciate some alumni from these schools weighing in on this issue or some people who have a bit of emperical grounding beyond the great, though limited, TLS world.

mrjohnsterman
Posts: 171
Joined: Tue Oct 25, 2011 12:07 am

Re: Deposit Dilemma

Postby mrjohnsterman » Thu Apr 12, 2012 9:11 pm

tbalbert, you need to take a look at some articles about law school employment - I know the NYTs has had some - there are plenty to be found.

The legal market has changed dramatically over the last few years and that has made finding jobs more difficult. Secondary markets used to never be on the minds of most students from top schools, but now they are competing against students from t2 and t3 jobs that they would have laughed at 5 years ago. Twice as many new lawyers graduate each year than there are legal jobs available. Even if currently 1/4 or 1/2 the attorneys are from a particular school, that doesn't mean that 1/4 of the attorneys who will be hired are.

People are wrong in saying you can't get job X from school Y, but they are right in saying you cannot rely on getting job x from school y. Finding a job in the legal market right now is extremely difficult. Schools tell you that x% of students have jobs, but those stats are easy to manipulate. There are numerous lawsuits going on right now.

Your best bet among these schools is pick where you have ties and where you want to end up. After you make your deposit sit down and research the real prospects from that school. Calculate the payments, talk to attorneys who recently graduated from these schools and then allow yourself to make an educated decision.

User avatar
Tom Joad
Posts: 4542
Joined: Thu Dec 04, 2008 5:56 pm

Re: Deposit Dilemma

Postby Tom Joad » Thu Apr 12, 2012 9:17 pm

Don't any of you have any networking skills?

bdole2
Posts: 271
Joined: Sat Nov 13, 2010 5:58 pm

Re: Deposit Dilemma

Postby bdole2 » Thu Apr 12, 2012 11:12 pm

tbalbert wrote:Class of 2012: First Year Day Students
Top 5% 3.707 and above
Top 10% 3.688 to 3.563
Top 15% 3.562 to 3.438
Top 20% 3.437 to 3.345
Top 25% 3.343 to 3.290
Top 33 1/3 % 3.280 to 3.145 <- This is where you should be looking.
Top 50% 3.144 to 2.918

Class of 2010: Graduates

Top 5% 3.752 and above
Top 10% 3.743 to 3.636
Top 15% 3.617 to 3.570
Top 20% 3.569 to 3.492
Top 25% 3.488 to 3.397
Top 33 1/3 % 3.388 to 3.302
Top 50% 3.299 to 3.134 <--My guess is that the median GPA is 3.2
http://law.ubalt.edu/template.cfm?page=1497


It looks like 3.2 is top 1/3 for 1Ls. Doesn't matter what median is at graduation because if you don't meet the stip after your FIRST year then you will lose your scholarship. Baltimore likely has a lower median for 1Ls so that more people lose their scholarships. You should research and see if Baltimore section stacks. If I were you I would go to Baltimore and drop out if you aren't in the top third after 1L (i.e. maintain your scholarship)

User avatar
annet
Posts: 218
Joined: Thu Mar 22, 2012 1:19 pm

Re: Deposit Dilemma

Postby annet » Fri Apr 13, 2012 10:27 am

You've made most of your decision and some girl on the internet isn't going to change your mind. So, to the question at hand, I would deposit at San Diego, where you want to live, and plan to bust your butt. There is no sense in feeling stuck on the east coast when you don't want to be there. And Chicago Kent doesn't seem like it would transfer easily to CA.

From my perspective as someone who moved out west, hated it, and fled back, a few more tips :)

First read up on western water law and the laws surrounding BLM land. I went from geography major on the east coast to geography masters student out west and there is some culture shock. You're going to be spending a lot more time than you realize with these concepts, so it's best to get yourself prepared. At least in San Diego you'll have coastal issues to keep things interesting.

Second, if you're not bilingual I would start learning Spanish immediately. Just one of those things you could do to help your job prospects, even a little, outside of a JD.

Would you be comfortable posting your stats and schools you're waitlisted at? That way folks here could at least suggest what schools you should send LOCIs too and keep pestering for late acceptance.

trollhunter2
Posts: 69
Joined: Thu Apr 12, 2012 3:37 pm

Re: Deposit Dilemma

Postby trollhunter2 » Fri Apr 13, 2012 2:02 pm

Annet, thanks for posting:
That's interesting you suggest that about water law. Actually, I took an entire class on the differences between eastern v. western, or shall I say, riparian v. prior appropriation laws and policies. In fact, it was this geology class, along with a few others, which sparked my interest in doing water law out west.

Your second tip is equally insightful and I think you hit the nail on the head. Fortunately, I dropped out of my German classes and took up Spanish instead. I completed four semesters worth in eight months and have worked as an ESL tutor. So, that's good news, and I had suspected those skills would be an asset in such close proximity to Mexico.
Last edited by trollhunter2 on Mon May 14, 2012 11:07 am, edited 1 time in total.

User avatar
annet
Posts: 218
Joined: Thu Mar 22, 2012 1:19 pm

Re: Deposit Dilemma

Postby annet » Fri Apr 13, 2012 2:48 pm

tbalbert wrote:Annet, thanks for posting:
That's interesting you suggest that about water law. Actually, I took an entire class on the differences between eastern v. western, or shall I say, riparian v. prior appropriation laws and policies. In fact, it was this geology class, along with a few others, which sparked my interest in doing water law out west.

Your second tip is equally insightful and I think you hit the nail on the head. Fortunately, I dropped out of my German classes and took up Spanish instead. I completed four semesters worth in eight months and have worked as an ESL tutor. So, that's good news, and I had suspected those skills would be an asset in such close proximity to Mexico.

Wouldn’t mind posting those stats: 156 LSAT/3.61 GPA

Accepted, but not considering:
U Miami
U of San Francisco
(and then the other schools listed in the poll)

Waitlisted:
William and Mary
Washington and Lee
Catholic University
American University
University of Arizona
University of Colorado
University of Denver
Lewis and Clark

Pending:
U of New Mexico
UC Hastings

What part of California or out west, did you try for a while? Was there anything to watch out for?


You sound much, much more prepared for living out west than I was. I spent most of my time in Arizona but also a little time in New Mexico. I was not at all prepared for the sprawling, dusty cities. I'm still not entirely sure the state of Arizona has any concept of zoning - it just broke my brain, "Oh, vacant lot next to a car dealarship and a pawn shop... let's put luxury apartments there." I think one of my biggest mistakes is thinking that I had made it without a car for a while already that, sure, I could do it in Phoenix (which is really funny now, but wasn't when I was a naive grad student). I left all-but-thesis and came back to the midwest - a happy place where it rains and I have ties/a support network.

I would definitely make sure Lewis and Clark and the two Colorado schools know you might be interested if they accept you. While not California, Oregon and Colorado would be solid places to do what you'd like to do.

bdole2
Posts: 271
Joined: Sat Nov 13, 2010 5:58 pm

Re: Deposit Dilemma

Postby bdole2 » Fri Apr 13, 2012 5:52 pm

....just make sure you keep your debt low. Sounds like Baltimore gives you the best chance to do that.

trollhunter2
Posts: 69
Joined: Thu Apr 12, 2012 3:37 pm

Re: Deposit Dilemma

Postby trollhunter2 » Sun Apr 15, 2012 9:27 am

I agree about the debt part, however, it's hard to accept locking myself into Maryland indefinitly. I know I would be locking myself into debt but there is a least an end to that. UB's degrees carry no weight outside Maryland, and if I have to settle for a regional school, I at least want one in a region which I wish to live. Rankings matter less and less outside of certain brackets (i.e. T-14, T1), but 65th v 112th is significant and has to account for something. Plus, there is still University of Maryland right next door. San Diego grads rule their market and can even hunt for work in LA if push comes to shove.

bdole2
Posts: 271
Joined: Sat Nov 13, 2010 5:58 pm

Re: Deposit Dilemma

Postby bdole2 » Sun Apr 15, 2012 9:57 am

How much total debt would you have once you graduated from USD? Cost of Living, Tuition, Books, Interest, etc.?

You've at least been to San Diego and know that it's a place you would want to be for the next 10+ years or so right?

trollhunter2
Posts: 69
Joined: Thu Apr 12, 2012 3:37 pm

Re: Deposit Dilemma

Postby trollhunter2 » Sun Apr 15, 2012 7:36 pm

bdole2 wrote:How much total debt would you have once you graduated from USD? Cost of Living, Tuition, Books, Interest, etc.?

You've at least been to San Diego and know that it's a place you would want to be for the next 10+ years or so right?


Yeah, and I've done a lot of research on what it's like living in San Diego (i.e. cost of living, unemployment rate, quality of living indicators), and I am more than prepared to live there for at least 10 years. In fact, that consideration of, "hey, where do I want to not only go to school but start my career," was key to choosing USD.

Debt's a bitch, I'll probably be in for around 60 k, and I am prepared to pay out 12 a month for 10 years. There are loan forgiveness programs for public interest lawyers that's I've heard about, do you know anything about them?

Also, I have been contacting USD alumni who have been very helpful in providing advice. The California Bar website is a great resource. Beyond the obvious questions (e.g. what the employment prospects are coming out, would you go again), do you have any suggestions of what to ask?

bdole2
Posts: 271
Joined: Sat Nov 13, 2010 5:58 pm

Re: Deposit Dilemma

Postby bdole2 » Sun Apr 15, 2012 9:39 pm

Have you been to san diego though? I would visit before committing to the school.

60k total debt for all 3 years? That's not awful.

And I would not rely on loan forgiveness. You have to land a PI job first, and there is no guarantee the program will be around in 10 years.

trollhunter2
Posts: 69
Joined: Thu Apr 12, 2012 3:37 pm

Re: Deposit Dilemma

Postby trollhunter2 » Mon Apr 16, 2012 6:51 pm

Yup, and I have been there but it was a long time ago. I have a lot of close friends who swear to the awesomeness of the place. Plus if I get tired of the area I can branch out to other parts of SoCal, or the rest of the state after I get some work experience. You give really good advice. You've been very helpful. I am going to definitely visit before my second deposit. It's so difficult choosing between what you really want to do, or going into debt. I have one more day to think about it but I am pretty sure I am going to pass up UB. If the scholly was more, or if I lived in state it would be probably be more persuasive. I know that UB has to fail like 10% of every class, and their attrition rate is close to 16%. I am concerned that though the education may be free, it is not worth the commitment. Do you know anybody who went to UB and turned out okay? Anybody who left the state of MD would be even better. Thanks!

trollhunter2
Posts: 69
Joined: Thu Apr 12, 2012 3:37 pm

Re: Deposit Dilemma

Postby trollhunter2 » Thu Apr 19, 2012 1:49 pm

Why did no one vote for Kent? According to this table:

https://docs.google.com/spreadsheet/ccc ... Bd3c#gid=4

Kent's LT employment rate is 39th, at 80% employed in LT positions.

PS. I extended my deposit deadlines to conisider my options over the weekend.

User avatar
annet
Posts: 218
Joined: Thu Mar 22, 2012 1:19 pm

Re: Deposit Dilemma

Postby annet » Thu Apr 19, 2012 4:02 pm

tbalbert wrote:Why did no one vote for Kent? According to this table:

https://docs.google.com/spreadsheet/ccc ... Bd3c#gid=4

Kent's LT employment rate is 39th, at 80% employed in LT positions.

PS. I extended my deposit deadlines to conisider my options over the weekend.


I don't know about anyone else but I didn't because of their CA placement. I just pulled up the new spreadsheet with the 2010 data and they sent 4 people to California, I'm guessing people who already had strong ties. I don't think it's a better/worse choice than your other options, I just don't think it's going to get you San Diego like you want. My theory is that if you're going to go into debt for law school outside of the T-14/T-25 (I don't know, something arbitrary), do it in a place that makes you happy. Irrational? Perhaps. But at a certain point the hard numbers cost/employment are too similar and you have to go with intangibles.

User avatar
The Rover
Posts: 97
Joined: Tue Apr 17, 2012 9:06 am

Re: Deposit Dilemma

Postby The Rover » Thu Apr 19, 2012 4:49 pm

tbalbert wrote:Why did no one vote for Kent?


Why would anyone vote for kent when you said you want to live in San Diego?




Return to “Law School Admissions Forum”

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: TriSapien and 3 guests