bdm261 wrote:Total Litigator wrote:As long as you're okay with the fact that, for the rest of your life, no one will ever be impressed by your degree outside of the local area...... That, and those scholarship stipulations are by far the worst I've ever heard of.
I'm not trying to impress anyone with my degree, I'd rather impress them with my abilities.
I'm sure that you can go to the worst law school in existence but as long as you are able to gain solid experience and prove yourself (which yeah I agree might be more difficult getting your foot in the door to begin with from a 3rd or 4th tier), it might take longer but eventually you'll be judged by what you've accomplished rather than what school gave you a piece of paper.
I have a relative who attended what is now a Tier-4 school, although it was in the 80s and he paid something like $1,500 semester (last I checked the same school charges $42,000/yr). He managed to move across the country with his law degree and tells me "no one ever asks where he went to law school."
Will I ever make $160,000 on Wall Street?...probably not, but I've come to the conclusion that in my case the local school is a better option than even going to a Tier-2 in NYC or somewhere else. I think with my local connections and prior experience I can at least count on FT J.D, bar-passage required jobs, even if I start at ~$40,000.
Unfortunately, unless you have the opportunity to meet people, you can't impress them with your abilities. Law hiring is different now than it was in the 80s. Legal employers of all stripes get many, many, many more times the number of applications than they can give serious consideration to. HR departments are given instructions not to pass along resumes with law degrees from schools below a certain level (or told to only pass on resumes from a short list of schools). Attorneys very often will look first at eduction and not look beyond that if they aren't impressed. Unless you have a connection, it is incredibly hard to get someone to look past your degree.
This isn't just snobbery. The problem is that there is an incredible oversupply of attorneys. While there are certainly well-qualified attorneys that come from low ranked schools, there are more than enough well-qualified attorneys that come from local schools of which hiring individuals are familiar and the "big name" schools. There is no need for people to look through stacks and stacks of resumes to find gems, when there are enough in the much smaller pile that results from sorting by school. Just as you are gaining experience, so are large numbers of people from any employer's normal "go-to" schools.
Again, if you are comfortable with staying local, your plan sounds good. However, don't assume that your experience will be able to trump your degree out of market.