Tier 3... Really that bad?

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cmac2210
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Tier 3... Really that bad?

Postby cmac2210 » Sat Dec 20, 2014 5:28 pm

Is the primary issue everyone has with a T3 is that the cost associated with attendance doesn't make sense because one would be unlikely to obtain a big law job? I don't have big law aspirations and plan on practicing in a gov job, or in a region where there is only 1 or 2 T1/2 schools. (Wa or Alaska who was no law schools). I'm also a veteran so I will have a near zero dollar bill coming out of school meaning any job I'll have would be money to me as I won't be facing 6 figures of student debt. Finally, I work as a paralegal and have gone through many attorneys in my time, from all the tiers and they all seem to say the same thing... Ratings are great and then you get experience and it matters little to employers.

Interested to hear thoughts on this.

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LawBron James
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Re: Tier 3... Really that bad?

Postby LawBron James » Sat Dec 20, 2014 6:00 pm

I think it depends. You'd probably have to be a little more specific as to what your situation is for anyone to be able to give you a real answer.

cmac2210
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Re: Tier 3... Really that bad?

Postby cmac2210 » Sat Dec 20, 2014 6:32 pm

LawBron James wrote:I think it depends. You'd probably have to be a little more specific as to what your situation is for anyone to be able to give you a real answer.


I have a family, will need to move to go to school and dont really want to move again to practice in a big area. Im from Alaska and may want to practice here. There is no law school so everyone is a transplant lawyer. The main area I am looking at for school is Washington state; Seattle Law, U of W Law, and Gonzaga. They all seem to have solid stats and good reputations within the Pacific Northwest. If I dont want to move to the coasts, whats the incentive to shoot for a school that I would have to move further away to attend and then likely move again to practice? I guess I just want other folks train of thought on picking a school and why they feel a T3 is really that bad.

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banjo
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Re: Tier 3... Really that bad?

Postby banjo » Sat Dec 20, 2014 6:48 pm

cmac2210 wrote:Is the primary issue everyone has with a T3 is that the cost associated with attendance doesn't make sense because one would be unlikely to obtain a big law job?


You should go to a school where you can get

(i) a job as a lawyer
(ii) in the region where you want to practice
(iii) that can service your debt, and
(iv) in a practice area you'd enjoy

IMO, these are the questions you should start with. Most T3 schools can't get past (i). A heavily discounted T14 with good big law placement usually satisfies this "test," but a cheap school with exceptional local placement could be fine too. Look on LST, the ABA employment reports, and so on.

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Clemenceau
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Re: Tier 3... Really that bad?

Postby Clemenceau » Sat Dec 20, 2014 6:58 pm

In my opinion, one of the reasons that tier 3 law schools should be avoided isn't because they don't place graduates in biglaw; it's because they barely place graduates in lawyer jobs at all. This should be the major concern.

I admittedly know nothing about the pacific nw legal market and won't pretend to. I still imagine gov lawyer jobs arent easy to come by there. They don't seem easy to come by anywhere, but I defer to more knowledgeable voices.

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starry eyed
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Re: Tier 3... Really that bad?

Postby starry eyed » Sat Dec 20, 2014 7:40 pm

the smaller markets where T3 regional schools feed their grads to simply do not have enough jobs to meet the supply of lawyers coming out of these schools year after year. Even if biglaw is not the goal, small firms/gov't do not have regular hiring schedules for new grads like biglaw does, and go by an as-needed model. This results in a highly uncertain environment for tier 3 grads.

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Sheriff
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Re: Tier 3... Really that bad?

Postby Sheriff » Sat Dec 20, 2014 8:00 pm

cmac2210 wrote:Is the primary issue everyone has with a T3 is that the cost associated with attendance doesn't make sense because one would be unlikely to obtain a big law job? I don't have big law aspirations and plan on practicing in a gov job, or in a region where there is only 1 or 2 T1/2 schools. (Wa or Alaska who was no law schools). I'm also a veteran so I will have a near zero dollar bill coming out of school meaning any job I'll have would be money to me as I won't be facing 6 figures of student debt. Finally, I work as a paralegal and have gone through many attorneys in my time, from all the tiers and they all seem to say the same thing... Ratings are great and then you get experience and it matters little to employers.

Interested to hear thoughts on this.


The big issue we all have with T2-T4 schools is the fact that they put many of their grads in six figure debt and leave them with nothing to show for it. If you can graduate debt free then there are worse things than a free JD if you find the opportunity cost of 3 years to be worth it. However, given your goals and unwillingness to relocate I think the best thing for you would be to work toward obtaining an LSAT score which would allow you to attend UW.

Your law school will stick with you forever, and my understanding is that when it comes down to clients' willingness to pay, it is far easier to justify their paying higher dollar amounts to grads of prestigious schools. If the military will pay the freight, there is really no reason at all to go to a T3 when UW is there, unless you're just too lazy to study for a good score. Being that you're military, I assume you're not a lazy person, so get it done and good luck.

sirstynkalot
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Re: Tier 3... Really that bad?

Postby sirstynkalot » Tue Dec 23, 2014 8:32 pm

I'm from Spokane and Gonzaga has a hard time placing grads in general from what I've seen. Lots of folk with law degrees driving cabs and selling shoes.

If you manage to get in the top 10% of your class anywhere you go, though, you're probably going to get hired. Especially if you're open to moving back to Alaska. I believe U of I places some in AK, too. If you can tolerate Spokane you can tolerate Moscow/Pullman.

Go to UW if you can, get scholarships at SU or GU if you can, if you can't do either but manage to get in either of those places evaluate your options again. If the cost is a big enough concern it might be worth volunteering for the Public Pretender's office while studying your backside off and retaking the LSAT. You know, demonstrate a commitment to public service, increased potential for academic success after a bit out of school, that sort of thing. Stick it on your resume and try again. At the very least you've spent a year doing something useful for someone else. It's what I'm doing, minus the retaking part.

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iamgeorgebush
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Re: Tier 3... Really that bad?

Postby iamgeorgebush » Sat Dec 27, 2014 1:20 pm

http://www.lstscorereports.com/compare/ ... ashington/

How comfortable are you with those odds? Personally (and I'm just a law student, so take this with a grain of salt), I think neither Gonzaga nor Seattle U would be worth the opportunity cost, even if tuition were $0. U of W might be worth the opportunity cost, but only if you are determined to be a lawyer after having done careful research about what it's actually like to practice law.

Also, more generally, I'd forget that USNWR exists and just focus on employment scores. The above linked website is a great resource.

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TheSpanishMain
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Re: Tier 3... Really that bad?

Postby TheSpanishMain » Sat Dec 27, 2014 2:10 pm

Why are you assuming government jobs are easy to get?

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downbeat14
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Re: Tier 3... Really that bad?

Postby downbeat14 » Sat Dec 27, 2014 2:44 pm

.
Last edited by downbeat14 on Tue Apr 28, 2015 2:08 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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jbagelboy
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Re: Tier 3... Really that bad?

Postby jbagelboy » Sat Dec 27, 2014 6:16 pm

Yes

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emkay625
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Re: Tier 3... Really that bad?

Postby emkay625 » Sat Dec 27, 2014 6:32 pm

TheSpanishMain wrote:Why are you assuming government jobs are easy to get?


This. Some government jobs are just as, or even more competitive, than big law.

03152016
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Re: Tier 3... Really that bad?

Postby 03152016 » Sat Dec 27, 2014 6:35 pm

arbitrary classifications by usnwr shouldn't have any bearing on your decision, except insofar as they serve as a rough proxy for outcomes

there are people for whom university of montana (ranked #121) would be a far better choice than gulc (ranked #13)

11:11
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Re: Tier 3... Really that bad?

Postby 11:11 » Sun Dec 28, 2014 12:07 pm

I know a few people from Lewis & Clark who ended up clerking in Alaska (some on the Ak. supreme court)... So if I were planning on going the T-3 route I would def apply there. [I don't go to Lewis & Clark, just know people who do]
Last edited by 11:11 on Mon Feb 02, 2015 7:44 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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twenty 8
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Re: Tier 3... Really that bad?

Postby twenty 8 » Sun Dec 28, 2014 12:23 pm

I went the tier 3 route primarily because it was; in my home town; in a metro with a lot of firms; in a state with several major metro areas; and because I received a ride free. Keep in mind, your free ride also means your stats were good enough for some hefty T14 discounts. But even with the t14 tuition reduction I’d probably be paying $1,500 a month instead of “0.” $1,500 a month in walking around $ is much sweeter than writing debt checks!

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JohannDeMann
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Re: Tier 3... Really that bad?

Postby JohannDeMann » Sun Dec 28, 2014 12:36 pm

What do you do right now for money? As a graduate of a T3 3-4 years ago everyone I know has landed on their feet though it took a lot of work for most. Most are lawyers and lots are in jd preferred jobs. If you have a chill way to earn 50k right now, I'd do that for a little while. If not law school will probably benefit you.
Nobody is getting rich but everyone I know is making a comfortable living in fairly easy jobs (60-80k (city though so adjust accordingly) 45 hour work weeks, 3-5 weeks vacation a year).

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Winston1984
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Re: Tier 3... Really that bad?

Postby Winston1984 » Sun Dec 28, 2014 6:14 pm

twenty 8 wrote:I went the tier 3 route primarily because it was; in my home town; in a metro with a lot of firms; in a state with several major metro areas; and because I received a ride free. Keep in mind, your free ride also means your stats were good enough for some hefty T14 discounts. But even with the t14 tuition reduction I’d probably be paying $1,500 a month instead of “0.” $1,500 a month in walking around $ is much sweeter than writing debt checks!

Don't know where you are getting the idea that a full ride to a TTT would equal $$ at a T14. That's just wrong. Some TTTs will give people full rides for a 3.5/160. That doesn't get you accepted to a T14, let alone a hefty discount.

AReasonableMan
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Re: Tier 3... Really that bad?

Postby AReasonableMan » Sun Dec 28, 2014 7:22 pm

Clemenceau wrote:In my opinion, one of the reasons that tier 3 law schools should be avoided isn't because they don't place graduates in biglaw; it's because they barely place graduates in lawyer jobs at all. This should be the major concern.

I admittedly know nothing about the pacific nw legal market and won't pretend to. I still imagine gov lawyer jobs arent easy to come by there. They don't seem easy to come by anywhere, but I defer to more knowledgeable voices.

This is correct. Not having debt largely precludes law from being a catastrophic decision. However, to do it right you want to maximize your chances to do really well. Due to non-big law hiring normally coming either during 3L year or post-bar passage, you have to do really well for all 3 years. While it is possible to work for money and still do well in law school, you are disadvantaging yourself. In all likelihood, a ten percentile decrease at a t-14 school won't be career altering, but at a TTT you don't really have percentiles to spare. Therefore, if you're maximizing your odds of getting a legal job, you won't want to work, coupon clip, etc. Again, many people can cram and still do well due to the fact many other people simply cannot issue spot and apply what they know to novel situations they never thought of, but you likely won't do "as well" as you could. Thus, there is the prospect you'll be selling shoes for 12/hour while repaying 60k in loans you took out for your living expenses. This is bad, but 60k is unlikely to damn you for life.

In addition, it is difficult to assign valuations to percentages and hypothetical outcomes. Is a 50% chance at making $100 worth $50, or is it worth $40 or $60? Who knows? All we know is it's worth "something." Your GI bill is only a one time shot. If you go to a TTT and get the same result you'd have wanted at any school then, yes, you lose nothing having went to Gonzaga instead of Stanford. However, right now, if Stanford gives you a 95% chance at getting a "real" full time non-doc review/school funded legal job and Gonzaga gives you a 45% chance then you are losing this 50% chance. In 3 years, this 50% chance will either amount to being 0% or being close 100% if we presume you'd have gotten a legal job coming out of Stanford.

Moreover, by using the GI bill for law school but never really being a lawyer, you are forfeiting your chance to have been an engineer, social worker, etc., etc. Again, no one knows the tangible value of this with any certainty, but anyone would agree you'd have "lost something." I know this is a strawman argument, but strawman arguments are not always wrong.

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ChemEng1642
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Re: Tier 3... Really that bad?

Postby ChemEng1642 » Sun Dec 28, 2014 9:17 pm

AReasonableMan wrote:Moreover, by using the GI bill for law school but never really being a lawyer, you are forfeiting your chance to have been an engineer, social worker, etc., etc. Again, no one knows the tangible value of this with any certainty, but anyone would agree you'd have "lost something." I know this is a strawman argument, but strawman arguments are not always wrong.


"Forfeiting" is a little strong considering a master's/phd in engineering is significantly cheaper. Someone may be able to use the GI bill for law school and then pay for a masters in engineering because of the difference in cost (though I'm not sure why anyone would do that). By using the GI Bill for a law degree you're actually maximizing its use. I'm also not sure why using your GI bill for law school would "forfeit your chance to be a social worker". By that logic, making any choice would mean you "lose something" so I don't think that is the argument to make.

AReasonableMan
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Re: Tier 3... Really that bad?

Postby AReasonableMan » Sun Dec 28, 2014 11:00 pm

ChemEng1642 wrote:
AReasonableMan wrote:Moreover, by using the GI bill for law school but never really being a lawyer, you are forfeiting your chance to have been an engineer, social worker, etc., etc. Again, no one knows the tangible value of this with any certainty, but anyone would agree you'd have "lost something." I know this is a strawman argument, but strawman arguments are not always wrong.


"Forfeiting" is a little strong considering a master's/phd in engineering is significantly cheaper. Someone may be able to use the GI bill for law school and then pay for a masters in engineering because of the difference in cost (though I'm not sure why anyone would do that). By using the GI Bill for a law degree you're actually maximizing its use. I'm also not sure why using your GI bill for law school would "forfeit your chance to be a social worker". By that logic, making any choice would mean you "lose something" so I don't think that is the argument to make.

That's a fair point. However, I obviously meant forfeiting the opportunity to not have to pay tuition for an MSW. While law may artificially seem like maximizing the GI bill's value, the actual tuition number is pretty arbitrary. If you don't actually become a lawyer then you've forfeited the use of the GI bill. Assuming you can't resell or trade, it's not always true that a $500 gift certificate to restaurant A is worth more than a $250 gift certificate to restaurant B. It's always possible that restaurant A is a rip off. It reminds me of the 50% off sushi restaurants where the roll prices are jacked up 200%.

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twenty 8
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Re: Tier 3... Really that bad?

Postby twenty 8 » Mon Dec 29, 2014 12:03 am

Winston1984 wrote:
twenty 8 wrote:I went the tier 3 route primarily because it was; in my home town; in a metro with a lot of firms; in a state with several major metro areas; and because I received a ride free. Keep in mind, your free ride also means your stats were good enough for some hefty T14 discounts. But even with the t14 tuition reduction I’d probably be paying $1,500 a month instead of “0.” $1,500 a month in walking around $ is much sweeter than writing debt checks!

Don't know where you are getting the idea that a full ride to a TTT would equal $$ at a T14. That's just wrong. Some TTTs will give people full rides for a 3.5/160. That doesn't get you accepted to a T14, let alone a hefty discount.

Let me simplify. Have strong stats (ala 3.9/+170) and you will receive several significant T14 discounts and free rides at lesser ranked schools. I went the no debt route (also no COL since I stayed in my home town). Ended up at a large firm as did several TTT grads I know. Now that the market has heated up again the idea of passing up a free ride in a large metro (in a big state) seems (financially) fool hearted

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Clemenceau
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Re: Tier 3... Really that bad?

Postby Clemenceau » Mon Dec 29, 2014 12:26 am

twenty 8 wrote:Let me simplify. Have strong stats (ala 3.9/+170) and you will receive several significant T14 discounts and free rides at lesser ranked schools. I went the no debt route (also no COL since I stayed in my home town). Ended up at a large firm as did several TTT grads I know. Now that the market has heated up again the idea of passing up a free ride in a large metro (in a big state) seems (financially) fool hearted


Several of your classmates got firm jobs? Now thats a hot market

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star fox
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Re: Tier 3... Really that bad?

Postby star fox » Mon Dec 29, 2014 3:06 am

twenty 8 wrote:
Winston1984 wrote:
twenty 8 wrote:I went the tier 3 route primarily because it was; in my home town; in a metro with a lot of firms; in a state with several major metro areas; and because I received a ride free. Keep in mind, your free ride also means your stats were good enough for some hefty T14 discounts. But even with the t14 tuition reduction I’d probably be paying $1,500 a month instead of “0.” $1,500 a month in walking around $ is much sweeter than writing debt checks!

Don't know where you are getting the idea that a full ride to a TTT would equal $$ at a T14. That's just wrong. Some TTTs will give people full rides for a 3.5/160. That doesn't get you accepted to a T14, let alone a hefty discount.

Let me simplify. Have strong stats (ala 3.9/+170) and you will receive several significant T14 discounts and free rides at lesser ranked schools. I went the no debt route (also no COL since I stayed in my home town). Ended up at a large firm as did several TTT grads I know. Now that the market has heated up again the idea of passing up a free ride in a large metro (in a big state) seems (financially) fool hearted

Those stats will get you full rides at lower T14s.

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starry eyed
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Re: Tier 3... Really that bad?

Postby starry eyed » Mon Dec 29, 2014 10:39 am

Clemenceau wrote:
twenty 8 wrote:Let me simplify. Have strong stats (ala 3.9/+170) and you will receive several significant T14 discounts and free rides at lesser ranked schools. I went the no debt route (also no COL since I stayed in my home town). Ended up at a large firm as did several TTT grads I know. Now that the market has heated up again the idea of passing up a free ride in a large metro (in a big state) seems (financially) fool hearted


Several of your classmates got firm jobs? Now thats a hot market


they must have been part of the few that worked hard...




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