Cole S. Law wrote:My advice:
Go to a school with extensive externship programs. Then do every criminal law externship. Public defender, prosecutor, USAO, Federal Public defender. Ask a respected judge where you want to work for an internship. A judge (esp. one that is a former prosecutor) can give you a total hookup. Most can pick up the phone and find you a job in a half an hour if they want to. Contrary to what the uninformed masses will tell you, big city DA offices are not filled with Harvard diplomas. Smaller offices most definitely are not. I have researched this carefully and I can assure you that outside New York City, presitigious degrees are the rare exception at most DAs offices. They want to see: 1. Good grades(perfect not needed) 2. A strongly demonstrated committment to Crim law. Personal connections are huge. If your targeted prosecutor is up for reelection, volunteer on his/her campaign. Call ADA alumni from your school and ask them to lunch. 9/10 times they will say yes. I've been seen in the DA's office so many times that the senior trial counsel thought that I already worked there. When it comes time for me to apply for a job, there will be little doubt. It definitely pays to go to school where you want to practice.
^^Best advice on point^^
If the OP is serious about staying in her area and becoming a prosecutor, she'd be smart to go to one of the schools she is already considering. The opportunity cost of retaking the LSAT is too high in her particular case.
If the OP starts networking early and gets decent grades, she'll have no problem finding a job in the local area. Like someone else mentioned, the OP will probably get a better education for what she wants to do at a lower tier school because most focus more on practical knowledge versus theory.
Why people recommend shooting for a T14 school to someone who wants to be a prosecutor in WV is beyond me. Are people really so blinded by the whole rank BS that they do not realize that the vast majority of legal work in this country is done by people who didn't go to HYS for people who have never heard of Skadden? Seriously, T14 schools have their place and certainly open doors to a segment of the legal world but beyond that, all they do is qualify you to take the Bar just like every other ABA school.
To echo the advice that some others have given, I'd suggest that the OP (and everyone) should contact the offices that she wishes to work at to see where people went to school. People underestimate the importance of local ties in secondary markets. The OP may find that going to a school outside of the local area, even a highly ranked one, may be a bit of a disadvantage in that some employers may be suspect of the OP's intentions.