holeinone600 wrote:I'd like to work in Atlanta or one of the Florida (larger non-Miami markets: Tampa (preferably)/Orlando/Jacksonville) markets after law school. I also understand that UF is able to place in Atlanta, assuming I am top 25-ish% of my class, and that UF dominates the larger Florida markets. But knowing that UF is $15k (I'm in-state) versus approx $40k at the well-regarded southeastern law schools (Emory, Vandy, Duke, UVA), would any of you be willing to pay sticker at Emory, Vandy, Duke or UVA over sticker at UF if you were in my shoes? And if not, what amount of scholly money would you require to attend each of the above non-FL schools?
On a side note, I'm trying to figure out how much having a CPA and 1-year of work experience at a Big 4 will help me land a biglaw (or mid-law job, in the case of the non-Miami Florida legal markets) gig doing corp, M&A, tax or bankruptcy/restructuring? Any comments would be greatly appreciated.
First of all, it is inadvisable to hypothetically assume you'll place in the top 25% of your class; certainly there may be factors weighing in your favor, however, due to the arbitrary nature of law school grading and the general difficulty of the subject matter, it is naive to presume that you will perform so well. It is more prudent to assume that you will land around median, although, there are subjective considerations that one should take into account (such as the relative intelligence of the student body). That being said, the common maxim of TLS is to attend the highest ranked school you are admitted to, because, there is a statistically better chance that you will obtain gainful employment regardless of where you end up ranking among your classmates.
In regards to obtaining employment in Atlanta out of UF, I would not count on being able to do this; while UF does have a contingency of graduates employed in Atlanta, these are typically people who had connections to the city or had phenomenal grades coming out of school. If you plan on attending UF, I would plan on working in a Florida market; of course, if you actually do well at Levin, it can open doors to other states, including Georgia.
As far as the other options you've listed, I'll say this: I, personally, would not pay full tuition at Emory over UF, especially in this economy. It promises slightly better job prospects, to be sure, however, I don't think that marginal percentage increase justifies an additional 75K dollars in debt. I suppose if Emory offered me a good amount of money I would attend, however, I have an extremely low COL here in Gainesville and I am going into very minimal debt, so, I suppose it would hinge on a number of circumstances. I would almost definitely pay full tuition at UVA, Duke and Vandy I would have to do more research on, since I didn't really consider either of these schools when I was applying.
As for your work experience, the BigLaw firms this year were more keen on hiring people with substantive work experience than in years past, due to the state of the economy and legal hiring in general; however, I don't believe that having solid work experience compensates for poor performance in law school or, for that matter, for attending a less reputable school.