HuskyLaw wrote:Hope this was helpful!
Yes! Thank you.
I've got a few questions (Please forgive egregious spelling errors, I'm writing this on my mobile):
1)You mentioned budget cuts in reference to out of state tuition waivers. Is there any sense within the law school community how current budget cuts will affect the school? I know the budgetary bombs are just now falling in Olympia, but it sounds severe.
2) What's up with the dean search? I know the four finalists visited in January and they all seem promising (especially poaching the SU dean). any idea when a candidate will be selected? If not how has the lack of a resident (non-interim) dean affected you UWLS experience?
3) You mentioned in-state financial aid as separate and distinct from federal student aid. Any idea what an in-stater is likely to receive aid wise? I know I will find out soon, within a month, when I get my FA package but I'm curious. I've heard of a tuition reduction for 1st professional degree seekers (me) and am hounding UW budget officers for more info, come to think of it yesterday may not have been a good day to call.
4) Are you planning to follow a concentration track? I am unsure exactly what type of law I wish to practice (other than public interest generally) and I am hoping to get some support during 1L, from faculty, admin, and mentors to flesh this out. Is that support readily available?
5) Do they teach you the type of sarcastic wit that is peppered throughout your post about contorts? Or is that a natural gift?
PubIntrst -- love the icon. Here's my take on your questions:
1: The budget cuts are a big deal, and it seems like every public school in every state is dealing with the same issues. We haven't had a tremendous amount of feedback on how this specifically will affect the law school, but I think it will boil down to the fact that we won't be hiring any new faculty or bringing in new guest lecturers for a few years. How the cuts will affect tuition is another obvious concern, but the budget meeting I've been to have focused on cutting expenses rather than raising revenue. Of course, we can still rustle up enough money to renovate Husky Stadium, so clearly priorities aren't being affected any. It's not something that would play a huge role in my decision whether to attend, but it's still something to have in the back of your mind.
2: Dean search. I haven't a clue. I think it's down to the SU dean and the dean from Arizona State. To be honest, I've seen the interim dean maybe three times since I got here, and once was at orientation. I'm just not seeing where who the Dean is or how the Dean search is progressing has impacted my life or the lives of my classmates.
3: Financial aid. Because I am a nonresident, I haven't a clue about the financial aid packages residents have received or are eligible to receive. That said, UW is by far one of the cheapest law schools of its caliber, particularly for in-state students, and especially for non-residents. Even without scholarships. Don't take it personally if you don't get a merit scholarship. Honestly, that was a bit of a bone of contention for me when I was deciding to go here. The fact of the matter is, most other schools of this caliber have very expensive tuition, but they also tend to offer hefty scholarships. So, if you get a no-strings-attached scholarship from other similar-caliber schools you'll wind up paying slightly more than you would as a nonresident at the UW (and remember nonresidents can get the waiver for their second and third years), but you have that psychological ego-boost of getting a scholarship. Not so at the UW. Even though the UW was cheaper, it kind of bummed me out that they didn't offer me any merit money. What I wound up doing, because I was a giant nerd with too much time on my hands, was making an Excel spreadsheet of all the schools I got in to, including their ranking, the tuition I would be paying, scholarship/tuition waiver offsets, costs of living, etc., and picked the one with the most "bang for the buck" -- which was UW. Sorry I can't be more help for in-state info, but I think you'd be hard pressed to find a cheaper school with similar rankings. Ranking matters, and so does your debt load after graduation (esp if you want to go into public interest), so don't lose sight of the financial bottom-line in making your decision.
4: At this particular moment, I'm not planning on pursuing a particular concentration track. I think the majority of students don't pursue one. But in terms of getting support to help flesh your ideas out, you'll be beating support off with a stick here. As I mentioned earlier, it seems like they're all about "mentors" at the UW. You will be assigned a professional mentor (a practicing lawyer/judge) for career stuff (most mentors only have one student they're mentoring). Your section of ~25 1Ls will be assigned "peer mentors" -- 4 or 5 2Ls who will meet with you 3 or 4 times over the year to offer advice. You'll be assigned a "faculty mentor" based on an interest sheet you fill out. The Director of Academic Advising is also super-helpful (if you seek her out on your own). And you may develop a relationship with one of your professors or a 2L/3L who can offer informal guidance and advice. I've met with professors to discuss career planning and interview tips -- most of them really are willing to go the extra mile to help you out.
5: They don't teach funny. It's a survival tool I've adapted to keep from going insane. Keeping a sense of humor and a "big picture" perspective on things will save your life as a 1L and in the Real World (don't forget there is such a thing). It's easy, too easy, to let law school consume your life. I consider myself to be among the more noncompetitive, well-adjusted students in my class, and I do law-school related stuff 6 days a week, for 8-11 hours per day. Some of my colleagues live in lawschool-land 24/7. They're the ones who cry at the end of finals. Don't be those people. Please. The best tip I can offer you is, barring obvious craziness like moot court and finals, to treat law school like the crappiest 9-5 job you've ever had. Make a schedule. Come in at a reasonable hour (I'm here at 9AM sharp), do your studying in the library, and have a time at which you're done for the day (usually 7:30ish-8PM for me). Then put your books in your locker and go home.
When you're home, try as hard as you can to do normal-people stuff. I drink beer and watch TMZ. They kick you out of the library at 6PM on Fridays. They're doing you a favor. Don't do anything law-related after 6PM on Fridays. On Saturdays, I pretend law school doesn't exist. I sleep in, I hang out, I eat cheese, I go places. Then I sleep in and spend Sunday afternoon at school (parking is free on weekends). I may not get every case briefed (nobody does anyway), but I don't let this place destroy my soul. It takes work and self-discipline (seriously, saying "i'm not going to work on this" requires self-discipline too), but it will pay off hundredfold dividends.
Work hard in school, don't get me wrong, but have a hobby. Have friends. Have friends outside of law school. If you, like I did at one point last quarter, find yourself pissed off at toddlers playing at the beach because they're enjoying life and have no clue about the terrible world of torts, pay attention to that cue. Give yourself a break. Go up to Vancouver for the weekend (one of the best parts about living in Seattle), or head into the mountains -- whatever it takes to get your soul back. Don't spend a good chunk of your twenties or thirties being miserable.
This applies to any law school anywhere, btw.
Hope this was helpful!