169/3.71 from top 25 undergrad with average softs and LORs.
From CA, would be nice to work here, but am by no means grounded here.
example of justification I have been giving: "I don't want to work in Indiana, but IU-Bloomington seems to have excellent PI placement, has very good grant $$$, and has a decent LRAP"
This is great advice from a JD with a PD offer, but it hasn't done all too much to narrow my list (viewtopic.php?f=4&t=215132):
Apply everywhere you might get in that you would actually go if the offer were right. I think I applied to almost 30 schools. Ask for fee waivers, and put in the time, and crank out a couple dozen applications. Then, see what comes up, and play the offers against each other.
For me, it came down to three major factors. First, I wanted to go to a school with a national reach. I was ready to relocate anywhere in the country after school, and I wanted to make sure that I could be competitive for every PD job that came open my 3L year. That meant T14 or somewhere else well-regarded. I wanted to be able to say "I went to X Law School" and have offices everywhere in the country say, "Ah, yes, X, that's a great school that produces some excellent PDs." I applied to most of the T14, as well as about 15 other T1 schools in major cities I could stand to live in that have decent PD offices where I could work during school.
Second, I wanted to make sure I could work throughout school. Work experience is critical, and you need to do as much as possible as early as possible. I started doing volunteer work my first week of school, and I started working 1L spring. I didn't apply to any schools in cities that didn't have an established PD office, and I didn't apply to any schools that didn't have criminal defense clinics that gave students actual trials. I wanted to do internships and clinical work as early as possible and as often as possible, and I think focusing that way was the smartest thing I did. It was certainly the factor discussed most in my interviews.
Third, I wanted to not be totally impoverished after graduation. Yes, I looked at scholarship offers, but I also looked very carefully at LRAP programs. Some of them are much better than others. There are quite a few T1 schools now where you can end up going for free by combining LRAP and IBR for 10 years. If you're committed to a PI career, that's almost as good as a full ride with a stipend. Also, make sure your school has guaranteed summer PI funding so that you don't have to take out private loans (not eligible for IBR) to pay for your unpaid summers. I ended up turning down a bigger scholarship at one school in favor of a much better guaranteed LRAP and PI summer funding offer at the school I ended up attending
Yes, HYS are great, but there are a lot of very well-regarded schools that have as good or better resources for PI/PD students. Look into those programs specifically. And look at where the folks in the offices you want to target went to law school. Prestige matters in so far as you want to have gone to a school where your potential employer can be confident you learned something useful, and that primarily means a school they've heard of that will support your actual work, outside of the classroom.
Can someone help me set my priorities, give me some cold, hard reality, or at least kick me in the right direction? Let me know if any additional info would help to answer this.