Do A Good Deed - Please Help Me Decide Where To Go

A forum for those current students who are or may be transferring from one school to another. Post any questions, advice, or other transfer related comments here.
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selfloathingtransfer
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Do A Good Deed - Please Help Me Decide Where To Go

Postby selfloathingtransfer » Wed Jul 28, 2010 12:53 am

I didn't think I would have this much trouble deciding where to go, but I keep going back and forth so I thought I would see what you all think. I'd really appreciate any insight into these schools or feedback on my situation.

Expense
There's probably about $30K separating Maryland from Hastings/Pepperdine. I don't really think that's enough of a difference to play a major role in my decision, but I would be interested in hearing other opinions.

Preferred Practice Location
Regarding where I want to practice, I'm really open, which makes this kind of tough. When I think long term, I think I would probably lean towards the east coast to be closer to family, friends, etc. but the thought of being in California for five to ten years and then moving back is not bad. Also, I'm pretty interested in doing JAG after law school. If that happens, then the first few years of my practice are basically decided by the military and my plans could totally change or be forced to change.

Being in LA/SF would be great for my wife because she's sort of a wannabe beach bum, and while there are beaches on the east coast I think the good ones closest to Baltimore are a couple hours away. However, she is open to all these locations as well. We think we would like LA a little more than SF but don't know because we've never been to SF.

I'm not sure what Maryland's OCI situation is like, but based on other posts here on TLS Pepperdine and Hastings both have around 100 offices. That may not matter to me all that much, though, since I really want to do JAG and if that doesn't work out probably some other sort of government work. Hastings and Maryland are both close to government capitals, so they seem to have an edge over Pepperdine in that respect, but maybe I'm missing something.

Et Cetera
Again, I'd really appreciate any insight/feedback on whether one of these schools is tremendously better/worse academically, reputation-wise, etc. I don't really care about what other people at the school think about faith/politics. Knowing Ken Starr left Pepperdine concerns me some, though, because even though I don't care what he may or may not think about political figures and parties, I think the school's rise in the rankings can be attributed largely to him. I would hate to go there and then have the school fall to a T3 ranking in five years because the interim/new dean can't sustain the success.

I'm coming from a . . . questionable T4, so please spare me all the /self nonsense regarding my options. Although, I have a letter coming to me in the mail from USC that could change all this and make my choice a lot easier.

Gratitude
Thank you.
Last edited by selfloathingtransfer on Thu Aug 12, 2010 11:39 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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A'nold
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Re: Do A Good Deed - Please Help Me Decide Where To Go

Postby A'nold » Wed Jul 28, 2010 1:22 am

Hasting for West Coast, Maryland for Mid Atlantic region I'd say.

As for my personal preference, Hastings all the way. Congrats!

selfloathingtransfer
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Re: Do A Good Deed - Please Help Me Decide Where To Go

Postby selfloathingtransfer » Wed Jul 28, 2010 11:37 am

Thanks, everybody. I'm not surprised to see Hastings winning, but I'm a little surprised to see Maryland getting such a small % of the votes. Is this just west coast bias from the TLS posters, or is it something about Maryland that gives everyone pause?

CanadianWolf
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Re: Do A Good Deed - Please Help Me Decide Where To Go

Postby CanadianWolf » Wed Jul 28, 2010 11:39 am

Some, although I have no stance, see Ken Starr's departure as a plus.

Danteshek
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Re: Do A Good Deed - Please Help Me Decide Where To Go

Postby Danteshek » Wed Jul 28, 2010 11:50 am

I like Pepperdine in this poll, mostly because I prefer Southern California. I don't think the differences between the schools are particularly significant. It's all about region.

JAG isn't going to give two shits about where you went to law school. My friend from Southwestern was top 60% (but won the trial advocacy competition) and was one of 25 kids selected nationwide for US Army JAG 1L Internship. I saw the list. Only a few of the kids on there went to top law schools.

CanadianWolf
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Re: Do A Good Deed - Please Help Me Decide Where To Go

Postby CanadianWolf » Wed Jul 28, 2010 11:54 am

Pepperdine's campus culture is significantly different than those of the other two school (read the school profile on this website). Hastings and Maryland are distinctly different so you need to visit each campus if feasible.

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jlockhart6
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Re: Do A Good Deed - Please Help Me Decide Where To Go

Postby jlockhart6 » Wed Jul 28, 2010 12:34 pm

Danteshek wrote:I like Pepperdine in this poll, mostly because I prefer Southern California. I don't think the differences between the schools are particularly significant. It's all about region.

JAG isn't going to give two shits about where you went to law school. My friend from Southwestern was top 60% (but won the trial advocacy competition) and was one of 25 kids selected nationwide for US Army JAG 1L Internship. I saw the list. Only a few of the kids on there went to top law schools.


This is true, I spoke to a Jag recruiter once and he said they could care less about where you went to school so long as you did well and met certain character traits they want (i.e. leadership, litigation emphasis, etc.). That was for the Air Force, which is generally considered the most selective Jag branch ... in fact the recruiter I spoke with went to a Tier 4.

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patrickd139
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Re: Do A Good Deed - Please Help Me Decide Where To Go

Postby patrickd139 » Wed Jul 28, 2010 12:46 pm

If you're truly set on JAG, minimize debt. Even if that means picking your current school.

Since you've never actually been to SF, I'm unconvinced you're as willing as you claim to pack up and start your life there. Check cost of living before you make that decision. It's almost as unreal as NYC. It's one of the few "biglaw or bust because I have $160k in student loans" cities.

UMD is the 5-6th best school in the D.C. area, depending on who you ask. Waaaayyy lower when you consider all the T14 kids which take jobs from you. If you're into JAG, it wouldn't be a bad decision, per se. Could be expensive though.

Pepperdine is like UMD in its market. Solid, but behind the 8 ball re: schools like Stanford, UCLA, and USC; plus the T14. Further, you're in competition with people at the very top of their classes at Loyola, etc. Don't underestimate those guys taking jobs from you as an assumed median student (top 1/3 at best) during OCI, should you choose not to pursue JAG.

Probably all of these negatives can be overcome. But IMO, none of these schools are worth transferring to in your particular position, with your career goals. That's probably readily apparent from my post, though. Good luck and check back once you've made your decision!

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1ferret!
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Re: Do A Good Deed - Please Help Me Decide Where To Go

Postby 1ferret! » Wed Jul 28, 2010 1:49 pm

I think I like Maryland in this poll.

From the sound of your goals you really should just look to minimize your debt. 30K IS a big deal when you have to pay it back.
TLS's write up on Pepperdine doesn't really reflect the culture here, but these schools probably have a very different feel just based on location. I know several people who passed on Hastings just because they didn't want to be there on a daily basis, but we all have different priorities, and you'll be in the library most of the time anyway. If you are really concerned about your girl wanting to hang out on the beach, then Pepp is your only live option, but otherwise I don't think it makes sense for you.

mmribail
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Re: Do A Good Deed - Please Help Me Decide Where To Go

Postby mmribail » Wed Jul 28, 2010 2:50 pm

I am also seriously considering the JAG (Being prior military myself). Every single recruiter has told me that they can careless where you go to law school. I agree with other posters on here. Minimize your debt, do well in law school, try to do moot court and law review, and try to be active in your community. You will be fine if you do the following things. By the way both the Army and Air Force offer a bonus of $65,000 after your initial 4 years. This cold help with the debt you incur while in law school.

Also beware that your starting pay will be nowhere near that of Big Law. http://usmilitary.about.com/od/fy2010pa ... sicpay.htm

Unless of course you are prior service...if not you will start off as a LT with 3yrs experience...If you were reserves like I was you will be a CPT with 8yrs.

selfloathingtransfer
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Re: Do A Good Deed - Please Help Me Decide Where To Go

Postby selfloathingtransfer » Wed Jul 28, 2010 4:27 pm

Thank you all very much for the feedback.

I know that not transferring is certainly an option, and some consider it my best option. However, I have to say I'm leaning towards Maryland at this point.

- It is the cheapest of my options (MD, Pepp, Hastings)
- Also, MD is really only slightly more expensive than my current situation.
- If JAG doesn't work out for me, I think MD (well, all 3) will put me in a better position to get a job in which I will be happy than my current school.
- We actually know a few people in DC who I think may be able to help me get myself in a good post-graduation position. We know nobody in LA/SF.
- My wife's top pick for educational opportunity is in the MD/DC area, and she would likely be able to find work there if she wants to do so.

I'm not 100% yet, but I'm leaning that way for now. It's a tough choice.

Thanks again. I'm taking your opinions very seriously.

James2010
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Re: Do A Good Deed - Please Help Me Decide Where To Go

Postby James2010 » Wed Jul 28, 2010 4:31 pm

I'd agree re: minimizing debt. The only thing I'd add is I bet your cost of living is lower at Maryland then at Pepperdine (Malibu) or Hastings (SF) which is another reason that will probably leave you with less debt if you pick U of M.

I know I'd most like to attend Hastings out those 3 but your goals are different then mine.

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General Tso
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Re: Do A Good Deed - Please Help Me Decide Where To Go

Postby General Tso » Wed Jul 28, 2010 4:34 pm

it's not that easy to 'work for 5-10 years then move back to CA' unless you plan on opening up a solo practice. if you want CA, I'd probably rule out Maryland.

I would have ruled out Pepperdine as well but they reportedly have a fairly strong OCI turnout this year. I still think Hastings is the better option assuming tuition is the same. COL is also high near Malibu.

selfloathingtransfer
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Re: Do A Good Deed - Please Help Me Decide Where To Go

Postby selfloathingtransfer » Wed Jul 28, 2010 4:46 pm

General Tso wrote:it's not that easy to 'work for 5-10 years then move back to CA' unless you plan on opening up a solo practice. if you want CA, I'd probably rule out Maryland.


I agree, although you got it backwards. It would be going to school in CA, and then maybe moving back home to the midwest or to DC or something later on in like five or ten years. If I transfer to Maryland, I will probably never live in CA. I will just visit, and perhaps frequently.

In any case, this isn't really my best most serious option. It's just something I think about because if I transferred to a school in CA, I think I would love it for a while (5-10 yrs), but I'm not sure I would want to live there for the rest of my career. This, in turn, is part of why I'm leaning toward MD. There is more built in permanence and stability for me there, based on my past and present. There are plenty of beaches in the world to visit.

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Matthies
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Re: Do A Good Deed - Please Help Me Decide Where To Go

Postby Matthies » Wed Jul 28, 2010 4:53 pm

selfloathingtransfer wrote:
General Tso wrote:it's not that easy to 'work for 5-10 years then move back to CA' unless you plan on opening up a solo practice. if you want CA, I'd probably rule out Maryland.


I agree, although you got it backwards. It would be going to school in CA, and then maybe moving back home to the midwest or to DC or something later on in like five or ten years. If I transfer to Maryland, I will probably never live in CA. I will just visit, and perhaps frequently.

In any case, this isn't really my best most serious option. It's just something I think about because if I transferred to a school in CA, I think I would love it for a while (5-10 yrs), but I'm not sure I would want to live there for the rest of my career. This, in turn, is part of why I'm leaning toward MD. There is more built in permanence and stability for me there, based on my past and present. There are plenty of beaches in the world to visit.


I think General Tso point is a law degree is not very portable. You tend to make your rep where you work. hence moving cross country after 10 years in the profession means you gave up partner, or you never made partner, and you have no connections and nothing to really interest anybody in hiring you on the other side of the continent. There is no such thing as a 10 year associate. So you would be starting over if you decided to move cross country mid career, and most likley on your own in a firm you start, again with no conections or book of biz. it can certainly be done, but it's not how it works for most people. Go where you would not mind ending up till you retire.

selfloathingtransfer
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Re: Do A Good Deed - Please Help Me Decide Where To Go

Postby selfloathingtransfer » Wed Jul 28, 2010 5:04 pm

Matthies wrote:I think General Tso point is a law degree is not very portable . . . You tend to make your rep where you work . . . it can certainly be done, but it's not how it works for most people. Go where you would not mind ending up till you retire.


This.

Yes, this resonates with me. Thank you, sir. Don't get me wrong, I'm probably just hardheaded enough and a fan of the underdog enough to voluntarily take on what is difficult or stupid. However, what you said is helping me view this situation from probably a wiser perspective.

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Matthies
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Re: Do A Good Deed - Please Help Me Decide Where To Go

Postby Matthies » Wed Jul 28, 2010 5:14 pm

selfloathingtransfer wrote:
Matthies wrote:I think General Tso point is a law degree is not very portable . . . You tend to make your rep where you work . . . it can certainly be done, but it's not how it works for most people. Go where you would not mind ending up till you retire.


This.

Yes, this resonates with me. Thank you, sir. Don't get me wrong, I'm probably just hardheaded enough and a fan of the underdog enough to voluntarily take on what is difficult or stupid. However, what you said is helping me view this situation from probably a wiser perspective.


If you were more familer with my posts on TLS you would know i allmost allways advocate for the underdog. but the JD not being portable is not an underdog thing, its just the way things work in the lgal world. The law is really about conections, who you know is how you get things done. its not an office job where you can just transfer your marketing skills from one company in CA to anouther in NY and pick up where you left off. We all pratice the same law, but what sets one lawyer aprt from anouther is who he knows and his rep, that's all local. Move to CA after you retire. Or go there on vacation. Law school and the first few years of pratice is not the time to go klive in some new city becuase it might be fun then come back. That was UG. Your making your rep even in law school, if your smart, so go where you won't mind staying and get involved when you get there.




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