Honestly, is it even worth it to go to a lower tier school?

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Lonagan
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Re: Honestly, is it even worth it to go to a lower tier school?

Postby Lonagan » Tue Dec 29, 2009 2:10 am

We'll all be mining spice on Kessel once the empire finds our miserable planet anyway. Honestly, do whatever you want.

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Aeroplane
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Re: Honestly, is it even worth it to go to a lower tier school?

Postby Aeroplane » Tue Dec 29, 2009 2:16 am

Desert Fox wrote:
Aeroplane wrote:Didn't someone on TLS (Helmholtz?) make a ranking of "best value" schools? Personally, I don't think I'd take on $200K+ of debt for anything but HY.


I could see the case for taking a full ride at DNCG over CCN at full price, but I think turning down DNCG for half price at the lower T20's is a bad idea. You still end up with 100K+ debt but with considerably worse job placement.
Yeah, probably... if those were my prospects I'd either work a few years (I realize not everyone has that option, but I did) and save up some money before matriculating at DNCG or consider a local lower-ranked school that'd give me a full ride. I'm not saying it's a terrible idea for anyone to take out $200K. But I wouldn't want to.

reidki
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Re: Honestly, is it even worth it to go to a lower tier school?

Postby reidki » Tue Dec 29, 2009 2:23 am

awesomepossum wrote:how low is "low-ranked?"


School is ranked around 100.

awesomepossum
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Re: Honestly, is it even worth it to go to a lower tier school?

Postby awesomepossum » Tue Dec 29, 2009 2:39 am

reidki wrote:
awesomepossum wrote:how low is "low-ranked?"


School is ranked around 100.



ooooh...ouch. sorry.

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Space_Cowboy
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Re: Honestly, is it even worth it to go to a lower tier school?

Postby Space_Cowboy » Tue Dec 29, 2009 2:51 am


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Helmholtz
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Re: Honestly, is it even worth it to go to a lower tier school?

Postby Helmholtz » Tue Dec 29, 2009 12:09 pm

Aeroplane wrote:Didn't someone on TLS (Helmholtz?) make a ranking of "best value" schools? Personally, I don't think I'd take on $200K+ of debt for anything but HY.


This?:

Helmholtz wrote:At one point, I did a quality/cost analysis of the schools. The number to the right of the school name is the value index. Equilibrium occurs at 0.00. This means that if the highest quality school had the highest tuition price, it's index would be 0.00. If the lowest quality school had the lowest tuition price, it's index would be 0.00. A positive number indicates more quality per dollar, and a negative number indicates less quality per dollar. So for example, Yale is the highest quality school and has an index of 1.44 because it's tuition is not the highest. This means that you are receiving a higher quality per dollar compared to a school at equilibrium price. Cornell is a very high quality school but because of it's high tuition, it's index number, -8.87, is below equilibrium. This is not meant to be a list of the value of a degree from any particular school compared to debt from tuition.

1 BYU 35.39
2 CUNY Queens 25.57
3 Alabama 23.84
4 North Carolina 22.63
5 U Mississippi 22.51
6 South Dakota 22.45
7 Wyoming 22.15
8 Arkansas Fay 21.45
9 U OF DC 21.24
10 UNLV 21.23
11 SUNY Buffalo 19.92
12 North Dakota 19.29
13 Texas Southern 18.98
14 Texas Tech 18.53
15 Oregon 17.87
16 LSU 17.55
17 Washington 17.19
18 Idaho 17.01
19 Arakansas Little Rock 16.15
20 Nebraska 15.89
21 Howard 15.70
22 NC Central 15.30
23 Montana 15.06
24 Kansas 14.92
25 Houston 14.82
26 W&M 14.70
27 Cleveland St. 14.65
28 Kentucky 14.19
29 Denver 13.41
10 Arizona St. 12.79
31 Georgia 12.71
32 West Virginia 12.60
33 New Mexico 12.48
34 Oklahoma 12.44
35 Wayne St. 12.24
36 Utah 11.77
37 Harvard 10.90
38 Temple 10.20
39 Hawaii 9.47
40 Washburn 8.80
41 Tennessee 8.53
42 Stanford 8.40
43 Arizona 8.38
44 Florida 8.33
45 Iowa 7.06
46 UMN-TC 7.00
47 Missouri 6.79
48 Chicago 6.73
49 Wisconsin 6.67
50 Texas 6.67
51 Missouri - KC 6.57
52 Creighton 6.44
53 Louisville 5.81
54 GMU 5.77
55 Colorado 5.64
56 South Texas 5.43
57 Wake Forest 4.84
58 Lewis and Clark 4.29
59 UVA 4.25
60 W&L 3.50
61 NYU 3.35
62 Maryland 3.06
63 Northern Illinois 2.98
64 Texas Wesleyan 2.94
65 Mississippi College 2.87
66 Williamette 2.84
67 Tulsa 2.55
68 UC-Berkeley 2.50
69 Ohio St. 2.39
70 Toledo 2.36
71 Georgia St. 2.33
72 Florida Int. 2.32
73 Pittsburgh 2.27
74 Akron 2.25
75 Florida St. 2.23
76 Maine 1.84
77 Marquette 1.60
78 Yale 1.44
79 Gonzaga 1.33
80 Drake 1.29
81 Richmond 1.01
82 Georgetown 0.73
83 Notre Dame 0.33
84 Villanova 0.22
85 St. Mary's TX 0.07
86 Penn St. -0.26
87 Duke -0.29
88 Boston U -0.79
89 Duquesne -0.83
90 Columbia -1.01
91 Indiana - Bloom -1.04
92 Boston College -1.07
93 Ohio Northern -1.22
94 Michigan -1.35
95 Rutgers Newark -1.47
96 Southern -1.49
97 Stetson -1.72
98 UCLA -1.77
99 Appalachian -1.88
100 Cincinatti -2.03
101 Rutgers Camden -2.06
102 Michigan St. -2.07
103 Samford -2.59
104 Upenn -2.66
105 Emory -2.84
106 Hamline -2.86
107 Vanderbilt -3.05
108 Washington STL -3.22
109 GWU -3.32
110 St. Louis -3.41
111 Illinois -3.62
112 Loyola NO -3.71
113 Campbell -4.41
114 Seattle -4.71
115 William Mitchell -4.88
116 Northern Kentucky -4.94
117 Cooley -5.21
118 UC-Hastings -5.62
119 Southern Methodist -5.63
120 Southern Ilinois -5.75
121 Case Western -5.90
122 Tulane -5.97
123 Mercer -6.07
124 Baylor -6.24
125 Chicago Kent -6.58
126 Dayton -6.62
127 Miami -6.67
128 Loyola Chicago -7.02
129 UC-Davis -7.31
130 Nova SE -7.54
131 Northwestern -7.56
132 St. Thomas MN -8.11
133 Valapraiso -8.52
134 DePaul -8.72
135 Cornell -8.87
136 Capital -8.96
137 Franklin Pierce -9.08
138 South Carolina -9.11
139 Widener -9.18
140 Catholic -9.68
141 American -9.77
142 Regent -10.06
143 Detroit -10.18
144 U Conn -10.65
145 Pepperdine -10.68
146 Oklahoma City -10.82
147 Roger Williams -10.96
148 Fordham -11.15
149 St. Thomas FL -11.35
150 USC -11.68
151 Santa Clara -12.06
152 Memphis -12.42
153 San Francisco -12.58
154 San Diego -12.59
155 John Marshall -12.73
156 Baltimore -12.89
157 New England -13.38
158 Florida Coastal -13.60
159 McGeorge -14.04
160 Loyola LA -14.45
161 Indiana - Indy -14.64
162 Barry -14.77
163 W. New England -14.90
164 Northeatern -15.28
165 Southwestern -16.16
166 Vermont -17.01
167 Golden Gate -17.09
168 Thomas Jefferson -17.09
169 Chapman -17.50
170 Whittier -17.67
171 Hofstra -18.16
172 Cardozo -18.95
173 Suffolk -19.26
174 Cal Western -19.44
175 Seton Hall -19.52
176 Ave Maria -19.97
177 Brooklyn -20.46
178 St. John's -20.59
179 Alabany -21.17
180 Pace -21.47
181 Quinnipiac -21.74
182 Touro -23.53
183 Syracuse -27.04
184 New York Law -28.66


edit: I should add that the tuition amounts were the ones listed in the 2010 USNWR, so while most of the index still should be good, it won't account, for example, for the UC schools' significant rise in tuition. If I do this next year, expect Davis and Hastings to take quite a tumble.

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Ragged
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Re: Honestly, is it even worth it to go to a lower tier school?

Postby Ragged » Tue Dec 29, 2009 12:21 pm

Can you give an example of how you calculate your index for any particular school?

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Helmholtz
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Re: Honestly, is it even worth it to go to a lower tier school?

Postby Helmholtz » Tue Dec 29, 2009 12:24 pm

Ragged wrote:Can you give an example of how you calculate your index for any particular school?


The formula for schools' quality is based on the Helmholtz Rankings: http://docs.google.com/viewer?a=v&q=cache:sjc9B4hyHmUJ:blurblawg.typepad.com/files/helmholtz_rankings.pdf+helmholtz+rankings&hl=en&gl=us&sig=AHIEtbReL8ALuLFnyvANl0va7RLXaQiT-w

And then from there, the tuitions were weighted as such that the highest tuition was 100 (while the main helmholtz rankings were weighted as such that Yale, the best school was 100). The value index is, for the most part, just the difference between quality points and tuition points.

So, for example, NYLS was pretty close to the highest tuition, making its tuition score more than 90 out of the possible 100, although according to the helmholtz rankings, they are the 112th best school, with a raw score of 64.8, out of a possible 100.

MRM
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Re: Honestly, is it even worth it to go to a lower tier school?

Postby MRM » Wed Dec 30, 2009 8:47 am

Seems like many people have this question and various responses are always given. I graduated from a Tier 3 law school in the top 5 % of my class. I was involved in Law Review, Moot Court, and various other extracurricular activities. I was fortunate enough (you will see why later) to receive two job offers after my second summer in law school. I accepted one at a firm in a fairly small city (around 300 k people) for $110,000. The cost of living is great and I graduated with no debt because of scholarships. So, I am very happy with the decision and the result.

However, many of my fellow law graduates were not as fortunate. I can honestly say that over 70 % of my class had trouble finding a job after graduation (or a job that they thought they were capable of obtaining pre-law school). Most of those I assume had to find something besides law to put food on the table. It is unfortunate, but it is the reality of graduating from a lower tier.

I am not trying to persuade those of you that read this post to not go into law school if that is what you really want to do, but the decision needs to be weighed carefully. Law school is expensive whether you graduate from a tier 1 or tier 4. In addition, the opportunity costs of working somewhere else and gaining that experience and income is lost.

Basically, the point I would like to get across is that not everyone that graduates from law school is guaranteed a job making $160 k a year right out of school. Even if you do make good money, you are usually required to put in tons of hours to earn your keep.

Just my .02

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Re: Honestly, is it even worth it to go to a lower tier school?

Postby Space_Cowboy » Wed Dec 30, 2009 12:17 pm

MRM wrote:Seems like many people have this question and various responses are always given. I graduated from a Tier 3 law school in the top 5 % of my class. I was involved in Law Review, Moot Court, and various other extracurricular activities. I was fortunate enough (you will see why later) to receive two job offers after my second summer in law school. I accepted one at a firm in a fairly small city (around 300 k people) for $110,000. The cost of living is great and I graduated with no debt because of scholarships. So, I am very happy with the decision and the result.

However, many of my fellow law graduates were not as fortunate. I can honestly say that over 70 % of my class had trouble finding a job after graduation (or a job that they thought they were capable of obtaining pre-law school). Most of those I assume had to find something besides law to put food on the table. It is unfortunate, but it is the reality of graduating from a lower tier.

I am not trying to persuade those of you that read this post to not go into law school if that is what you really want to do, but the decision needs to be weighed carefully. Law school is expensive whether you graduate from a tier 1 or tier 4. In addition, the opportunity costs of working somewhere else and gaining that experience and income is lost.

Basically, the point I would like to get across is that not everyone that graduates from law school is guaranteed a job making $160 k a year right out of school. Even if you do make good money, you are usually required to put in tons of hours to earn your keep.

Just my .02


Were you aware of the stakes going in?

bahama
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Re: Honestly, is it even worth it to go to a lower tier school?

Postby bahama » Wed Dec 30, 2009 12:39 pm

From a purely financial standpoint the answer is pretty clear that it isn't worth it. There is no way to fully predict how you will perfom in law school, so even though the two posters above had successful outcomes, they were still rolling the dice with the odds heavily against them.

However, for some people it is more than a financial decision. In these cases, I'd say it's worth it if:
- They have a way to pay for it that means they will not be stuck with unmanageable debt on their (likely) $40k salary at graduation.
- They have some sort of viable fall back option if they can't get a decent law related job at graduation.
- They want to do this so much they are willing to be worse off financially even 20 years down the road than if they had pursued other options.

bahama
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Re: Honestly, is it even worth it to go to a lower tier school?

Postby bahama » Wed Dec 30, 2009 1:07 pm

I have two friends who went to lower tier schools and I thought I'd share their experiences because I think they illustrate why it is so important to minimize debt and have a viable plan for if you can't get a lawyer job or can't get one that pays the bills.

Friend A graduated law school in 2004. They focused on looking for a job in the east coast market where they grew up and had ties but completely struck out. Eventually, they ended up taking a non-lawyer job. A little over 5 years later they are making over $100k, own a townhouse, and are doing just fine. What they did right:
- Minimized debt in law school because their spouse was working and paying for living expenses and they were able to use their GI Bill and state veterans benefits to cover most of the tuition cost.
- Had a viable fall back job option. They had worked in military intelligence and had high level clearances. They were able to get a job for a defense contractor doing intelligence analysis and writing reports. The law degree helped them get the job because it showed they were analytical and could write, but they wouldn't have gotten the interview without the intel background and clearances.

Friend B graduated law school in 2006. They had an offer from a small/mid law firm in the market where their school was located where they had worked 2L summer. They turned it down to move back to their home city where they were getting married (significant other had been working in home city for 9 years and couldn't easily move their job to where Friend B had the offer). After passing the bar in their home state, Friend B was able to get a few interviews but couldn't land a job until almost 9 months after graduation. They ended up at a small/medium local firm basically doing doc review for $20/hr with no benefits. They did well and eventually got some overtime and were supervising some of the newer doc review attorneys. After two years of this job they got hired as an associate making about $60k plus benefits at another local firm based on recommendations from some of the partners they had worked for. From what I have heard this type of transition is very rare and only happened in this case because it is a small market where everyone knows everyone and the firms were small enough that the partners actually had a chance to get to know some of the contract attorneys. What they did right:
- Had someone to support them financially while they were looking for a job (or a better job) and provide health insurance etc.
- Minimized debt with scholarships in school (although I think they still graduated with $60-80k in loans).
- Successfully networked into a job.

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Re: Honestly, is it even worth it to go to a lower tier school?

Postby Kobe_Teeth » Wed Dec 30, 2009 1:50 pm

It seems to me that tier 2's tend to be regional. DePaul, Loyola (Chi), and Chi-Kent tend to place rather well in the Chicago area. I assume this is based on grades and working your ass off to round out your resume. Even ITE I have heard more encouraging stories than horror stories.

I might be generalizing here but it seems that most of the doom and gloom comes from 0L's who are dying to get into HYS.

Also, FWIW, a woman I know who went to Northern Ill. (good local rep.) just got a job straight out of law school as a public defender. Now, its not glamorous but its what she wanted to do and she went to a good school for it (she had a full ride as well).

Story #2, my old-ass uncle in Austin, TX was just telling me about these two "young" lawyers from DePaul's PT program that his finance firm absolutely loved working with. He didn't define "young" but he did make it seem that these two fellas were doing quite well for themselves.

A low-tier school is what you make of it. Its not a guarantee. I would assume if you're obsessed with law school enough to be cruising message boards that also obsess over it like you then you're probably going in with the right mind set that will drive you to work hard and succeed. But then again maybe not.

09042014
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Re: Honestly, is it even worth it to go to a lower tier school?

Postby 09042014 » Wed Dec 30, 2009 1:54 pm

Kobe_Teeth wrote:It seems to me that tier 2's tend to be regional. DePaul, Loyola (Chi), and Chi-Kent tend to place rather well in the Chicago area. I assume this is based on grades and working your ass off to round out your resume. Even ITE I have heard more encouraging stories than horror stories.

I might be generalizing here but it seems that most of the doom and gloom comes from 0L's who are dying to get into HYS.

Also, FWIW, a woman I know who went to Northern Ill. (good local rep.) just got a job straight out of law school as a public defender. Now, its not glamorous but its what she wanted to do and she went to a good school for it (she had a full ride as well).

Story #2, my old-ass uncle in Austin, TX was just telling me about these two "young" lawyers from DePaul's PT program that his finance firm absolutely loved working with. He didn't define "young" but he did make it seem that these two fellas were doing quite well for themselves.

A low-tier school is what you make of it. Its not a guarantee. I would assume if you're obsessed with law school enough to be cruising message boards that also obsess over it like you then you're probably going in with the right mind set that will drive you to work hard and succeed. But then again maybe not.


I have a 2L buddy at Kent, and I hear its pretty bad. It wasn't even good when the economy was great.

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Re: Honestly, is it even worth it to go to a lower tier school?

Postby Kobe_Teeth » Wed Dec 30, 2009 2:02 pm

Desert Fox wrote:
Kobe_Teeth wrote:It seems to me that tier 2's tend to be regional. DePaul, Loyola (Chi), and Chi-Kent tend to place rather well in the Chicago area. I assume this is based on grades and working your ass off to round out your resume. Even ITE I have heard more encouraging stories than horror stories.

I might be generalizing here but it seems that most of the doom and gloom comes from 0L's who are dying to get into HYS.

Also, FWIW, a woman I know who went to Northern Ill. (good local rep.) just got a job straight out of law school as a public defender. Now, its not glamorous but its what she wanted to do and she went to a good school for it (she had a full ride as well).

Story #2, my old-ass uncle in Austin, TX was just telling me about these two "young" lawyers from DePaul's PT program that his finance firm absolutely loved working with. He didn't define "young" but he did make it seem that these two fellas were doing quite well for themselves.

A low-tier school is what you make of it. Its not a guarantee. I would assume if you're obsessed with law school enough to be cruising message boards that also obsess over it like you then you're probably going in with the right mind set that will drive you to work hard and succeed. But then again maybe not.


I have a 2L buddy at Kent, and I hear its pretty bad. It wasn't even good when the economy was great.


Noted.

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GATORTIM
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Re: Honestly, is it even worth it to go to a lower tier school?

Postby GATORTIM » Wed Dec 30, 2009 2:04 pm

I would imagine that T3-4 grads in "desirable" markets (NYC, Chicago, Southern California) would have a more difficult time finding stable employment versus their counterparts in secondary legal markets or those offering a slightly less appealing lifestyle.

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Re: Honestly, is it even worth it to go to a lower tier school?

Postby Kobe_Teeth » Wed Dec 30, 2009 2:21 pm

GATORTIM wrote:I would imagine that T3-4 grads in "desirable" markets (NYC, Chicago, Southern California) would have a more difficult time finding stable employment versus their counterparts in secondary legal markets or those offering a slightly less appealing lifestyle.



I agree. It just seems no one can peg what T2 grads have in store for them when they get out. I assume its because it varies a lot.

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Re: Honestly, is it even worth it to go to a lower tier school?

Postby GATORTIM » Wed Dec 30, 2009 5:45 pm

Kobe_Teeth wrote:
GATORTIM wrote:I would imagine that T3-4 grads in "desirable" markets (NYC, Chicago, Southern California) would have a more difficult time finding stable employment versus their counterparts in secondary legal markets or those offering a slightly less appealing lifestyle.



I agree. It just seems no one can peg what T2 grads have in store for them when they get out. I assume its because it varies a lot.


All this talk makes me regret not prepping harder for the LSAT as it looks like I am destined for T-2/3.

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Doritos
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Re: Honestly, is it even worth it to go to a lower tier school?

Postby Doritos » Wed Dec 30, 2009 5:54 pm

Helmholtz wrote:
Ragged wrote:Can you give an example of how you calculate your index for any particular school?


The formula for schools' quality is based on the Helmholtz Rankings: http://docs.google.com/viewer?a=v&q=cache:sjc9B4hyHmUJ:blurblawg.typepad.com/files/helmholtz_rankings.pdf+helmholtz+rankings&hl=en&gl=us&sig=AHIEtbReL8ALuLFnyvANl0va7RLXaQiT-w

And then from there, the tuitions were weighted as such that the highest tuition was 100 (while the main helmholtz rankings were weighted as such that Yale, the best school was 100). The value index is, for the most part, just the difference between quality points and tuition points.

So, for example, NYLS was pretty close to the highest tuition, making its tuition score more than 90 out of the possible 100, although according to the helmholtz rankings, they are the 112th best school, with a raw score of 64.8, out of a possible 100.



This is amazing. We should all thank Helm for doing such a wonderful thing

Miniver
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Re: Honestly, is it even worth it to go to a lower tier school?

Postby Miniver » Wed Dec 30, 2009 6:30 pm

...
Last edited by Miniver on Wed Jul 07, 2010 4:46 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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Lonagan
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Re: Honestly, is it even worth it to go to a lower tier school?

Postby Lonagan » Wed Dec 30, 2009 6:39 pm

GATORTIM wrote:
Kobe_Teeth wrote:
GATORTIM wrote:I would imagine that T3-4 grads in "desirable" markets (NYC, Chicago, Southern California) would have a more difficult time finding stable employment versus their counterparts in secondary legal markets or those offering a slightly less appealing lifestyle.



I agree. It just seems no one can peg what T2 grads have in store for them when they get out. I assume its because it varies a lot.


All this talk makes me regret not prepping harder for the LSAT as it looks like I am destined for T-2/3.


Have you thought about going back to UF? I think you have numbers for them, plus Urban Meijer is going to die of a heart attack for you if you go back~ I would be looking very closely at them if I wanted to ever live in Florida again.

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Doritos
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Re: Honestly, is it even worth it to go to a lower tier school?

Postby Doritos » Wed Dec 30, 2009 6:45 pm

Mini that was a great post

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GATORTIM
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Re: Honestly, is it even worth it to go to a lower tier school?

Postby GATORTIM » Wed Dec 30, 2009 6:45 pm

I am applying to UF and would love to practice in FL (also looking hard at Stetson). However, I believe that another round of me in Gainesville might be the straw that broke the camels back as far as Urban and his "stresses" are concerned.

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GATORTIM
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Re: Honestly, is it even worth it to go to a lower tier school?

Postby GATORTIM » Wed Dec 30, 2009 6:56 pm

Doritos wrote:Mini that was a great post


+1

MRM
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Re: Honestly, is it even worth it to go to a lower tier school?

Postby MRM » Wed Dec 30, 2009 7:23 pm

Space_Cowboy wrote:
MRM wrote:Seems like many people have this question and various responses are always given. I graduated from a Tier 3 law school in the top 5 % of my class. I was involved in Law Review, Moot Court, and various other extracurricular activities. I was fortunate enough (you will see why later) to receive two job offers after my second summer in law school. I accepted one at a firm in a fairly small city (around 300 k people) for $110,000. The cost of living is great and I graduated with no debt because of scholarships. So, I am very happy with the decision and the result.

However, many of my fellow law graduates were not as fortunate. I can honestly say that over 70 % of my class had trouble finding a job after graduation (or a job that they thought they were capable of obtaining pre-law school). Most of those I assume had to find something besides law to put food on the table. It is unfortunate, but it is the reality of graduating from a lower tier.

I am not trying to persuade those of you that read this post to not go into law school if that is what you really want to do, but the decision needs to be weighed carefully. Law school is expensive whether you graduate from a tier 1 or tier 4. In addition, the opportunity costs of working somewhere else and gaining that experience and income is lost.

Basically, the point I would like to get across is that not everyone that graduates from law school is guaranteed a job making $160 k a year right out of school. Even if you do make good money, you are usually required to put in tons of hours to earn your keep.

Just my .02


Were you aware of the stakes going in?



Yes, actually I had a friend that went to this law school and didnt do so good and he told me how difficult it was to land a job unless you were in the top 25 %. However, just because I knew did not mean it really helped me besides from an effort standpoint. We had students in my class that made 160s on the LSAT and thought just because they came to a tier 3 that they would be in the top 10 %. Not so, they did fairly well but not close to top 10%. We had some that made mid 150s and were in the top 10 %. It is extremely dangerous, in my opinion, to think that if you try hard you will be in the top 10 %. Everyone in law school tries hard.

I should add to that in the region I am in, the law firms dont really care about any other law degree than the one I graduated from because pretty much all the partners at the firms graduated with that school degree.

I will finish by saying I absolutely loved the law school experience and do not regret my decision one bit, but I dont know if I had not graduated top 10.




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