Opinion on "idea" of a 400 mile commute

(Please Ask Questions and Answer Questions)
User avatar

Posts: 673
Joined: Sun Jan 31, 2010 11:51 pm

Re: Opinion on "idea" of a 400 mile commute

Postby darknightbegins » Mon Feb 01, 2010 5:25 am

400 miles? Damn. As a 24 year old its pretty tough for me to imagine that kind of circumstance. However, if I was going to pay the cost to go to law school I want to be confident that I have at least a good shot at getting the job I want when I get out, regardless of whether that job is a public defender or a big law job, so to answer your question, just how bad are the employment prospects? Do you say "Wow, after 3 years, I'm not too sure that when I get out I'll have the job I want"? If that is the case then I would not pay to go to that school, and even if I had a full ride, if the school was in the Cooley category. I don't think all of the previous posters questions are crap. I mean if you are comparing, say, University of Florida to a place like Barry in Orlando, then yeah I would make the commute.

Not passing judgement on you but we need to know either what the two schools are, or at least tell us schools that are similar in rank, cost, employment stats ect. as the two schools you describe.

User avatar

Posts: 2328
Joined: Fri Sep 25, 2009 4:35 pm

Re: Opinion on "idea" of a 400 mile commute

Postby DoubleChecks » Mon Feb 01, 2010 5:35 am

vanwinkle wrote:
geostuck wrote:As I said, I don't think your opinion on whether I should go to law school has any bearing on the question, but like I said, I probably was not clear. It's a question about time commitment, nothing more and nothing less. My employability has nothing to do with the question.

If this is true, you probably should not have opened with this:

geostuck wrote:I’m deciding between cash from a lower ranked school over sticker at a school in the city I live. The lower ranked school has crappy job prospects where I will live, and the other, more costly school, has better employment prospect. I’m looking to get into something that’s not overly competitive, but who knows with this economy.

Because it creates the impression you were asking people to weigh in on the school choices themselves, which honestly does factor into the whole equation regardless.

Would I recommend you commute 400 miles to go to Temple instead of Pitt? HELL no. Would I recommend it for Penn instead of Pitt? Possibly, if you were really sure you were up for the commute. It matters because if the difference between the two schools is small, people will tell you "no, don't do the commute", whereas if the difference between the two schools is enormous, people will be more likely to say "if you're that crazy, go for it".

You're the one that brought up the quality of the schools, and it does factor in, so you need to chill out a little about everyone bringing it up.

wow TITCR +1

Esc's question made a lot of sense, given how you wrote your original post geo (and yes, sure you want to edit it now, but Esc's comment was based on your original post - a bit unfair to slam him for your own "mistake).

that being said, vanwinkle has the right idea - it DOES matter because if the schools are both pretty crappy, ppl would say no to commute...if the disparity in relation to job prospects is great, then ppl may change their opinion again, get where im going? lol

i like how you've skipped over vanwinkle's response too btw

User avatar

Posts: 408
Joined: Thu Feb 19, 2009 5:59 pm

Re: Opinion on "idea" of a 400 mile commute

Postby Cleareyes » Mon Feb 01, 2010 8:32 am

You appear to be asking whether you should be a weekend only parent in order to save money, go to a WORSE school, and 'not have family obligations during the week.'


It's one thing to put a relationship with an S.O. on hold in order to go to law school, but this is going to severely strain your relationship with your children, and for what? To save a modest amount of money once you factor in travel and housing costs at the cheaper worse school?

Nobody has mentioned so far that leaving school every weekend will have a negative effect on your ability to engage in certain school-related activities. I know that I'm generally on campus for something or other (not just studying in the library) pretty much every Saturday AND Sunday, and I'd miss out on a lot of opportunities if I couldn't be.

If you're disciplined enough that you could get all your work done during the week and not have it bleed into the weekends, you're disciplined enough to get it done during set hours and still be able to survive without "isolation" or the absence of "family obligations." Plus you'd probably be either miserable at law school, or withdrawn from your family.

Honestly I think it would A) Be unfair to your children to deprive them of a parent during the week for THREE YEARS, B) Be an enormous strain, much greater than that of having to schedule around having your family in the same city and C) Be disruptive to your law school experience.

There are plenty of people who go to law school with children and make it work. Do you really want to go home to an empty apartment or dorm room 5 nights a week and learn about your childrens' development over Skype when you don't have to? I hope not.


Posts: 1433
Joined: Fri Jan 30, 2009 10:50 am

Re: Opinion on "idea" of a 400 mile commute

Postby Pearalegal » Mon Feb 01, 2010 8:53 am

Cleareyes wrote:Honestly I think it would A) Be unfair to your children to deprive them of a parent during the week for THREE YEARS

While I agree with much of this--as someone who grew up with parents who commuted similar distances, I never felt deprived. Parents can be good parents from a distance, just as parents can be shitty parents in the same house.

My mother and father at different times in their career needed to be far away. It was a fact of life to keep their careers moving forward and for them to be able to provide for me. Because they commuted, they were able to make enough money that I was able to go to college debt free. Because they commuted, they taught me that sometimes you need to make sacrifices to benefit your family (albeit a lesson someone can learn in other situations, but hey, I learned it this way).

My parents are wonderful parents, and their commute, while certainly trying at times, only made us a stronger family.

User avatar

Posts: 426
Joined: Wed Nov 14, 2007 11:37 pm

Re: Opinion on "idea" of a 400 mile commute

Postby oberlin08 » Mon Feb 01, 2010 9:15 am

Go to the sticker price school in your own city.

- Better Job prospects
- Better quality of life (you get to see your wife and kids)
- Commuting a bunch like that for 3 years will suck


Posts: 732
Joined: Sat Oct 04, 2008 3:29 pm

Re: Opinion on "idea" of a 400 mile commute

Postby LSATfromNC » Mon Feb 01, 2010 9:28 am

As somone who has spent years away from their family no way in hell would I consider this, but every one is different. If this 400 mile commute is the only way you could attend law school, and you are certain attending law school is the best for your family (i.e. your wife won't go crazy, finances, stability) then go for it. Like I said, I personally wouldn't do this. I would rather not attend law school if it wasn't feasible.


Posts: 79
Joined: Mon Dec 28, 2009 11:11 am

Re: Opinion on "idea" of a 400 mile commute

Postby Jerzeegirl » Mon Feb 01, 2010 9:34 am

I'm a parent too. I don't want to pass judgment, but I don't think you've thought this through. Do you honestly think its fair to your children? Personally, I'm taking this step in my life to better the lives of my family as much as my own, but I wouldn't dream of essentially abandoning them for three years to do it. Cell phone calls and video messaging are not a substitute for being tucked in at night. Not sure you've thought about all the little details, like being around if one of them gets hurt or sick, or if something happens with your spouse and you're urgently needed at home. 400 miles is a pretty big distance to travel on a moment's notice. Then there's the fact that this isn't about sacrificing for a few months, but several years. Maybe everything will be fine at first, but over time resentment could build up, as well as trust issues. I've applied to several schools out of my area. If I go, the family comes with me. If there isn't away for you all to move, seriously consider staying close to home. In the end you have to do what you believe is best, but I don't think risking your relationship with your children and your spouse is worth it.

User avatar

Posts: 1109
Joined: Tue Dec 09, 2008 2:12 am

Re: Opinion on "idea" of a 400 mile commute

Postby danquayle » Mon Feb 01, 2010 9:47 am

Christ, all he's really asking is a workload question. The extent to which 0Ls on this thread as like law school savants gets tiresome.

Is it feasible to drive home every weekend?

Yes. I did 12 hours routinely my 1L year.

Does it wear you out substantially and put you off your axis the start of each week? Yes. It will have an effect on your work product. Particularly on Mondays. Not to mention psychologically, you'll never feel quite settled or into 'a flow', which also will affect your work product. I drained me out something fierce, and I was much younger with no dependents.

Without knowing your situation AT ALL, I think its foolish to leave the city that is both your home and your destination market for a school with (self-described) worse job prospects. Being in the target market is a huge advantage, to the point where poorer schools in that market are advisable over better schools outside of it. All that time wasted on the commute could be spent networking. So I'm not convinced the extra money makes it worth, even without considering your family situation.

With a family? I think its a no brainer. You shouldn't look at just the money, think of the utility too. Does whatever sum this poorer school is giving you outweigh the utility of being away from your family for 3 years? I doubt it.

Return to “Law School FAQ?

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 7 guests