jmaustin wrote:Well, I am not the type who would typically write in a blog. But I came by this forum and thought I could add some insight for potential future Pepperdine law students. I am currently a 2L JD/MDR (Masters in Dispute Resolution) student at Pepperdine Law.
First and foremost, law school is a big decision and a big commitment - Be sure that it is what you want to do! Talk to lawyers, law students, family members, etc. and make sure that the legal field is right for you. Second, gone is the days where a law school degree automatically gets you a good paying job. It is extremely competitive out there right now, and I think these stats may help you realize this.
This is the bio on Pepperdine Law from US News
Its tuition is full-time: $41,210 per year. The student-faculty ratio is 15.5:1. The School of Law at Pepperdine University has 88 full- and part-time faculty on staff. Of the 2009 graduates, 59.3 percent were employed at graduation.
So tuition alone is $41,210 and it gets you a 59.3% chance at getting a job upon graduation. Don't forget living expenses, which out here are going to run you at least $20,000 for a school year and summer expenses. Moreover, a lot of students have to enroll in summer school so that they can get credit for their summer employment just so that they can take out loans because they do not get paid by the firms that they are working for. So to give you a conservative estimate, you are looking at coming out of Pepperdine Law with about $150,000 in debt.
I do realize that a number of you on this forum have good scholarships, but realize that it is contingent on staying in the top 1/3. That means that the majority of you will lose your scholarships.
My final point is to look at Pepperdine's ranking. [It is currently 54th (I think)] Now look at the average LSAT score that it takes to get in here. With that score, you can get into a lot of good law schools that are ranked higher, that cost less, and that have better employment prospects. Moreover, I am going to make an estimated guess that Pepperdine's rank is not going to jump much higher over the next 10 years. Dean Starr left, and Judge Tacha is not the type of name that is going to bring high profile names to Pepperdine. So, if you have an opportunity elsewhere, please highly consider it.
Now, I know that this makes me seem like a really negative person, but that is not my intention. My intention is just to give you some insight that I wish I had before making a decision to come here. This is not to say that there are not a lot of positives about Pepperdine. There are great people at Pepperdine, the professors are great, and I have learned a ton. I am just not sure if Pepperdine Law is worth the investment. Weigh your options, and good luck with your endeavors.
Hey - just curious why you did the MDR? I understand it is great for professionals who have been working for awhile but I don't know how you feel about the value as a law student? I generally recommend to incoming students not to pursue a MDR because of its large price tag and my feelings that it is more beneficial to practicing attorneys plus the fact that you can take the same classes by pursuing a Certificate in Straus which doesn't cost anything extra.
Also I would point out that the employed at graduation rate, which while pretty accurate on the whole does not account for LLMS (roughly 5% of graduates) or DAs-PDs-City Attorneys-AG's or other CA state jobs which do not hire applicants until you pass the bar - hence the 9 month employment statistic also being provided.
I agree with the overall message that you should think long and hard about attending a law schools which is a 3yr commitment and large investment; this is especially true for those of you planning on attending at sticker and have no savings, family support, etc.