Can someone explain the tier system

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s.peter.lee
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Can someone explain the tier system

Postby s.peter.lee » Sat Mar 03, 2012 1:27 am

Just had a question on how they decide the tier system and how much they really matter.
I did fairly decently on the LSAT but have a horrible gpa (but it's been 10 years since I've graduated). I wasn't sure, so I decided to apply to a bunch of schools ranging from t1 to t4. I have been accepted (and denied) at a bunch and now am deciding where to go. Money is a big issue and I'm thinking of going to the school that offers me the biggest scholarship package, but should I also look at ranking or should I just take ranking with a grain of salt?
Specifically, I live in Oregon and love it here. I've applied to both Willamett (t3) and Lewis and Clark (t2). Willamette has offered me. L&W is the more 'prestigious' school in Oregon, but the schools have similar, but they have similar 1st time bar passage rates and employment rates with WU having a slight edge on both stats.
Which should I choose? How should I choose? What would you do?
Last edited by s.peter.lee on Fri Mar 09, 2012 1:58 am, edited 1 time in total.

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MachineLemon
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Re: Can someone explain the tier system

Postby MachineLemon » Sat Mar 03, 2012 1:56 am

You'll probably get better advice if you're a bit more specific. For example, what are your #s? How much are the scholarships? Do those scholarships have any grade stipulations? All these things matter.

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dingbat
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Re: Can someone explain the tier system

Postby dingbat » Sat Mar 03, 2012 6:52 am

MachineLemon wrote:You'll probably get better advice if you're a bit more specific. For example, what are your #s? How much are the scholarships? Do those scholarships have any grade stipulations? All these things matter.


Take all advice you get from someone who is not in Oregon with a grain of salt. The perceived wisdom on TLS is not state-specific.

What you should do is try to get in touch with some OR lawyers and get their opinion.
Also, look through the alumni database at your UG, find any who are practicing attorneys in OR and get in touch with them.

I doubt many people on TLS will know the difference between the schools mentioned by OP and whether L&C is worth the extra money compared to willamett.
You need information from people who actually know the oregon market.

edited in response to below comment
Last edited by dingbat on Sat Mar 03, 2012 8:50 am, edited 2 times in total.

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cynthia rose
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Re: Can someone explain the tier system

Postby cynthia rose » Sat Mar 03, 2012 8:15 am

Ignore all advice you get from someone who is not in Oregon. The perceived wisdom on TLS is not state-specific.

That isn't completely true. Sure, state specific advice would be best, but those that can be bothered to talk about anything other than the T14 can still help. Conventional TLS wisdom is that once you get outside T1 (and in many cases, once you're outside the T14) rankings don't matter at all, regional hiring patterns do, so any advice offered will be in accordance with that. And the question regarding stipulations is important no matter what the location, b/c some stips are too harsh/designed to screw over a certain # of students every year, and losing your scholarship could change the entire outlook on comparing COA for three years.

So to answer OP's first question, unless you have a T14 on the table and think you might ever want to work outside Oregon, rank is pointless to worry about. You did your homework comparing the hiring stats and I'll assume you're okay with whatever those stats are since you're still considering these two schools, so to your second question (how to choose), it comes down to the amount of money offered and the stipulations. Like MachineLemon said we can't really help you more without details on that.

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kwais
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Re: Can someone explain the tier system

Postby kwais » Sat Mar 03, 2012 10:36 am

Bar passage rates shouldn't play a role in your decision. The employment stats you cited should be vigorously researched before believing them. If a T3 is saying they have better employment T2, this should give you the motivation to look beyond the school reported numbers. Specifically, get in touch with current students and ask about employment. I know nothing about Oregon, so it might be true, but make sure you find out

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MachineLemon
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Re: Can someone explain the tier system

Postby MachineLemon » Sat Mar 03, 2012 11:07 am

dingbat wrote:
MachineLemon wrote:You'll probably get better advice if you're a bit more specific. For example, what are your #s? How much are the scholarships? Do those scholarships have any grade stipulations? All these things matter.


Take all advice you get from someone who is not in Oregon with a grain of salt. The perceived wisdom on TLS is not state-specific.


Sure, but without more specificity this is gonna be difficult for anyone. Also, the stipulation factor could be a big deal anywhere.

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crossarmant
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Re: Can someone explain the tier system

Postby crossarmant » Sat Mar 03, 2012 3:58 pm

Is U of O not in consideration? I figure the in-state tuition may just make it a smarter idea than either.

s.peter.lee
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Re: Can someone explain the tier system

Postby s.peter.lee » Mon Mar 05, 2012 9:48 pm

Thanks guys. very helpful tips.

I did research on the employment stats and the employment stats weren't what the school stated, but from outside sources, so I think it's a little more believeable, but my concern is that the numbers are so high (85-90ish% - , so I'll definitely have to research that more.

I've asked a few people and it seems that hiring rate is simlar for grads of both schools in Oregon, but not sure what it's like outside of the region.

I have a horrible GPA, but I'm 32 and I've done well after that and I did fairly decently on the LSAT, so I've literally applied to about 30-some schools; higher ranking schools hoping they'd discount the GPA since it's been so long, but lower ranked schools just in case - I've got backups to backups;). And I'm not opposed to living somewhere outside the NW region with a faster pace of life and less hipsters, it's just that the NW has always been home.

So, if I do decide to stay in Oregon - Willamette offered me 50% with stip of maintaining a 2.9 gpa. I have a home in Portland which is where L&C is. UofO is out of the question since app deadline has past. Advice?

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sunynp
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Re: Can someone explain the tier system

Postby sunynp » Mon Mar 05, 2012 10:03 pm

Can you wait another year and reapply? Maybe try to get in-state tuition? Possibly retake the LSAT for an even higher number?

My advice is to not go to a school with stipulations on the scholarship. Also, what is the total cost of attendance of both these schools? Even if the school with the stipulations is cheaper, calculate the total COA as if you lose the scholarship the first year. Look at it as a one-year renewable scholarship.

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MachineLemon
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Re: Can someone explain the tier system

Postby MachineLemon » Mon Mar 05, 2012 10:39 pm

s.peter.lee wrote:I did research on the employment stats and the employment stats weren't what the school stated, but from outside sources, so I think it's a little more believeable, but my concern is that the numbers are so high (85-90ish% - , so I'll definitely have to research that more.


This figure almost certainly includes includes part-time and non-legal employment and gives you no realistic sense of compensation.

--LinkRemoved--

Click on "Job Characteristics"

As you can see, only 2/3 of the class is employed full-time. In addition, only 1/2 of the class is employed in a job requiring a JD (i.e. is working as an attorney). Unfortunately, these figures from the class of '09 include students who had on-campus interviews before the crash. In other words, these figures paint an optimistic picture.

Now, only 21.5% of the class even bothered to report their salary. Lower levels of reporting are generally associated with lower salaries. In other words, you really can't tell what your salary will be, but it will probably be low relative to your debt.

A 2.9 stip probably equates to top half or top 1/3.

Taken together. You are looking at a 50% chance of finding legal employment, a 50% chance of losing your scholarship, and no idea whether you'll be paid enough (presuming you get a job) to pay your loans back and maintain a decent standard of living.

Note: There are other ways these figures are distorted. Peruse this site a little bit more before taking out loans for a legal education from a T3 school.




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