HuskyLaw wrote:BenjaminAlan wrote:
I am also making a choice between the UW and UIUC. I am living in seattle but both schools are great options for me. I have a 20K scholarship to UIUC per year, just fyi.
The point about summer employment is significant I think... My impression is that the chances of getting summer paid work would be better from UIUC (I could be wrong about this, but I THINK I heard someone from Illinois say that "most" of their students get paid work--however I dont remember if it was specifically asked about the 1L summer).
I know that is a vague recollection, but its also true that Seattle is one of the smaller legal markets and is very far away from the largest legal markets of NY, Chicago, and DC. UIUC being much closer and more intimate with one of hte largest legal markets in the country it would make sense (to me, from where I stand), that your chances of obtaining a paid summer position would be higher.
Thats just one of many things that could tip the scale. My decision seems to have come down to a litany of such pros/cons on either side. Its gonna be a tough one...
Honestly, I would suggest looking at things from a long-term rather than short-term perspective. This is just my opinion, obviously, but I think the issue of whether or not you are likely to get paid for 2.5 months in summer 2010 shouldn't cloud your judgment one way or another about the rest of your 40-year career. If you want to live and work in Chicago after you get your JD, it obviously makes more sense to go to UIUC. If you want to work in the PacNW, choosing UIUC because of the possibility of paid summer employment as a 1L doesn't really pass muster. And look at it this way too -- regardless of whether you're getting paid, what's really important are the networks you're forming withing the professional community, not your 1L summer paycheck or lack thereof. I turned down two (highly) paying jobs in my home state in favor of an unpaid federal judicial externship. Not because I didn't need the money (I do), but because in the long run, federal judicial experience opens more doors.
Seattle *is* a smaller market than Chicago or DC, obviously, but that can work in your favor as well. People know people, and if you're a halfway decent person, they'll be willing to pass your name along. And you have *no idea* how important backdoor-connections are. Like I said before, with the exception of my judicial externship, all of my other job offers (one with the Attorney General's office, one in oil & gas law, and another with a city attorney's office) came through back doors that were opened by my professional mentor, his contacts, or friends-of-friends of someone I met.
Also one thing worth taking into consideration is the prestige of the school in comparison to the other "feeder" schools in that particular legal market. UW is the top law school in the PacNW. That means that all other factors being equal, an employer is more likely to pick a UW student before they pick an equally-qualified, equally-personable student from Seattle, Lewis & Clark, U of O, or Gonzaga. UIUC will trump Loyola, John Marshal, Chicago-Kent, Depaul, NIU, SIU, etc., but you will still fall beneath students at the U of C, Michigan, Northwestern, and Notre Dame. Just something to keep in mind as well.
These are such tough decisions to make -- do you want a Lexus, Mercedes or BMW? Regardless, you're gonna be happy with what you wind up with!
Hope this was helpful!
Very Helpful! I like that you are non-traditional, you say, in your goals in that you are not seeking 6-figure job right out of school as your only measure of successor vs. failure and that you dont want to work more than 50 hours a week. This is me too. And actually this is one of the things that has drawn me the to UW. but I dont know if that makes any sense based on fact....
Basically Illinois has told me that the top 3rd of their class goes to BigLaw and they just released their employment stats from 2008 class which says that 43% of their graduates ended up either directly from law school or after a year clerkship, ending up in one of the top 250 biggest law firms. To me this is a great statistic. It impresses me, it encourages me, and it sells me. But then I step back and remind myself, "dude, you dont want one of those jobs anyway." Now as far as I know, as far as I have read or heard about such jobs, I really dont want one--same reasons you point out, its just not worth the cost. However, I have also been thinking about the fact that, if that many people get those jobs, and those are some of the most sought after, then surely being competitive for such jobs would make me more competitive for whatever job I may want. Now, maybe the UW is the same as this, I dont know. But since they haven't presented me with such numbers, and since the legal market is smaller and farther away from the highest concentration of those larger firms, and because of how much the UW talks about public interest, I have it in my head that a larger percentage of their students will be less concerned with seeking prestige, the cars you mentioned, and 6-figures, and more will just be open to living a "balanced" life. This could just be in my head I dont know. And, I'm not necessarily intersted in public interest, but I think I would be more interested in it than in biglaw, I'm with you though, working much more than 50 hours a week on a regular basis is not just a huge sacrifice for me, considering other life goals I have.