cahwc12 wrote:Okay I've got one for you:
Honest opinion on the difference between T4 law school education and T14 law school education: major, minor, somewhere in between?
I'm glad you asked that one because I have spent a lot of time thinking about this and have discussed this at length with one of my 1l professors who taught for a while at Stanford and Georgetown so he had some good things to add as well.
I think there are three main aspects to this question. The other students, the classes, and the extracurricular opportunities.
First, the students. At the risk of sounding like an elitist, the average student is simply more talented at the t14 school. This is a big advantage because, assuming you want to get an "A", you will have to try much harder and thereby learn the material better. Further, you learn a lot from simply interacting with students in class as well as outside of class. I don't think there was any difference in gunnerish behavior or general douchebaggery at either school. That being said, there are plenty of students at my transfer school who, in my opinion, wouldn't have been able to compete academically with some of the students at the school I transferred from.
Second, the classes. This is by far the biggest difference in the education. I don't think it is really because of the professors' credentials or reputation or anything like that. I think the professors were great at both schools. However, the professors at my old school seemed to take everything much slower and teach at a much more basic level than my new school. They seemed to coddle us if that makes sense? Also, the exams were a lot less about pure analysis and policy than it was about identifying issues and applying the relevant law. Most exams were closed book whereas at the t14 most of my classes were open book. This obviously shows that memorization plays a lot bigger factor at the t4 school. In fact, I think that if you went in knowing the black letter law cold, then you already were in the top 20 percent of the class. However, I absolutely think that at the very least 20 percent of my old school would have been just fine at the t14 type classes. They could handle a faster pace, a more in depth analysis, and not so much wasting everybody's time going over the black letter law again and again. However, the professors taught at a level they perceived necessary and it was disappointing.
Third, the extracurricular activities. These don't even compare. The t14 I transferred to had infinitely more opportunities regarding speakers, clinics, journals, and so forth. However, I don't really know how much this has to do with the education difference but at the very least the difference in the clinics was important.