If non-T14, Is Cheapest Law Schools Best Strategy?

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jwinaz
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If non-T14, Is Cheapest Law Schools Best Strategy?

Postby jwinaz » Tue Sep 18, 2012 12:50 am

http://testprep.about.com/od/thelsat/tp ... chools.htm

I've been really intrigued by this list of the Top 10 "Cheapest Law Schools." A couple of examples from the list that really surprised me:

2. The University of the District of Columbia, David A. Clarke School of Law

In-state tuition and fees: $7,350
Out-of-state tuition and fees: $14,700

Fun Facts: UDC-DCSL was created from two separate law schools: the Antioch School of Law and the District of Columbia School of Law. Like North Carolina Central, this law school prides itself in creating attorneys whose sole purpose is to help meet the needs of the truly needy. Who was David A. Clarke? He was a law professor and civil rights leader who spearheaded the founding of the District's public law school and its special program that requires law students to perform clinical service in the D.C. area.
Admissions: Call 202-274-7341 or email lawadmission@udc.edu

9. CUNY – Queens College; Flushing, NY

In-state tuition and fees: $10,610
Out-of-state tuition and fees: $16,510

Fun Facts: Although it's relatively new as far as law schools go with a founding date of 1983, CUNY consistently ranks in the top 10 law schools in the country for clinical training. In fact, Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg praised the college as "an institution of incomparable value." With its primary focus on producing attorneys to serve the underprivileged in their communities and a uniquely diverse student population, it stands out from its more established counterparts.
Admissions: Call 718-340-4210 or email admissions@mail.law.cuny.edu


Both the tuition rates and the school missions and description were interesting to me.

I'm wondering if it might be a good strategy to attend a very very cheap law school, but one that still also has a good reputation, if a person is unable or unwilling to attend at T14. I am reading that even attending a T14 is not a guarantee any longer of getting a high-paying job! There are significant percentages of people at the top schools not finding the "good" types of employment they had hoped for.

I recognize that attending a non-T14 makes it very difficult to be hired into biglaw. But suppose a person was OK with not working in biglaw and wanted to do legal work that served the public and the needy or perhaps wanted to open their own practice, would a very cheap law school be the best strategic route?

I wonder also about quality of education and reputation at the "cheapest schools." Would these be a problem? These two above actually sounded good on paper from the descriptions (I'd want to definitely know more and dig deeper), but I'm wondering if there are any drawbacks (other than having a small chance of ever getting into biglaw) to attending one of these types of schools?

Would appreciate some thoughts and feedback.

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alwayssunnyinfl
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Re: If non-T14, Is Cheapest Law Schools Best Strategy?

Postby alwayssunnyinfl » Tue Sep 18, 2012 12:55 am

This list is pretty useless since sticker price should not be the price you pay for any school outside the T14. Sticker at George Washington is more than four times that of whatever this "UDC Law" is, but there are few, if any, situations where it would be advisable to choose UDC just because it's cheaper.

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geary86
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Re: If non-T14, Is Cheapest Law Schools Best Strategy?

Postby geary86 » Tue Sep 18, 2012 1:15 am

I think the general TLS consensus is more like => if non-T14, then best possible regional schools.

And by best possible regional schools, I mean BC and BU for Boston, Fordham for NYC, GWU for DC, USC for LA etc.

I could be wrong though :oops:

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EvilClinton
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Re: If non-T14, Is Cheapest Law Schools Best Strategy?

Postby EvilClinton » Tue Sep 18, 2012 2:02 am

geary86 wrote:I think the general TLS consensus is more like => if non-T14, then best possible regional schools.

And by best possible regional schools, I mean BC and BU for Boston, Fordham for NYC, GWU for DC, USC for LA etc.

I could be wrong though :oops:

The new TLS wisdom is T6 w/o scholarship or T14 with half scholarship or don't go to law school.

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bk1
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Re: If non-T14, Is Cheapest Law Schools Best Strategy?

Postby bk1 » Tue Sep 18, 2012 2:06 am

The actual sticker price of any school is irrelevant for the most part. Almost every single law school gives merit scholarships so if you have good stats you will not be paying the sticker price of BU/GW/etc, you may even go to those schools for free.

ajr
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Re: If non-T14, Is Cheapest Law Schools Best Strategy?

Postby ajr » Tue Sep 18, 2012 2:34 am

geary86 wrote:I think the general TLS consensus is more like => if non-T14, then best possible regional schools.

And by best possible regional schools, I mean BC and BU for Boston, Fordham for NYC, GWU for DC, USC for LA etc.

I could be wrong though :oops:


You are absolutely wrong. It is UCLA for LA :evil:

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Richie Tenenbaum
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Re: If non-T14, Is Cheapest Law Schools Best Strategy?

Postby Richie Tenenbaum » Tue Sep 18, 2012 2:38 am

bk1 wrote:The actual sticker price of any school is irrelevant for the most part. Almost every single law school gives merit scholarships so if you have good stats you will not be paying the sticker price of BU/GW/etc, you may even go to those schools for free.


^This. This is why maximizing your LSAT score is so important--this is by far the most important part of your application package, it's not set in stone (like GPA usually is, at least to a great extent for most applicants), and it can really determine what schools you are competitive for as well as how competitive you are for merit scholarships.

Choosing a law school really comes down to balancing job prospects with debt. If you aren't too debt averse, going to, say, Columbia at sticker is probably a pretty good choice. You'll most likely have good job prospects, even if you have a lot of debt. Rankings do a half-way decent job tracking job prospects, so if you are going to a school where the job prospects are alright (but not great), say at like William and Mary, you really want to limit debt at that point (through merit scholarships). Thus, going to William and Mary might not be a bad idea if you have little to no debt upon graduation.

Another important factor is to consider where the school places its graduates. Columbia has good placement most places (though even Columbia isn't a truly national school in the sense that it is equally strong in every market--Berkeley, esp. with some money, might be a better choice if you want to work in California). Thus, you need to try to find a school that 1) has relatively strong placement 2) in the area you want to practice and 3) you want to limit your debt, especially if you are going to a school that won't give you a very good shot at biglaw (which means most schools). To be able to do this, you really need to try and get an LSAT score in the 160s, preferably in the 170s (though a high GPA can give you some leeway). Most of the schools with half-way decent job prospects have LSAT medians in at least the 160s and the best way to be competitive for merit scholarships is to have an LSAT score above a school's LSAT median. Also be very, very wary of schools that have grade or rank stipulations on their scholarships (which is a decent amount of the schools outside of the T30 or so)--losing a scholarship after your first year means a lot more debt, which isn't typically advisable at the sort of schools who have scholarship stipulations.

TL;DR- Maximize your LSAT score if you want to go to law school and choose a school based on the combination of how well it places its grads in the area you want to work with a heavy emphasis on limiting debt, especially if it's not one of the very best schools (since most law schools don't have good enough job prospects to warrant a lot of debt).

ETA: OP, the two schools you listed have pretty bad job prospects for their grads. They might make sense on a full scholarship (or a near full scholarship), but even at their sticker cost, while lower than a lot of other law schools, they are probably not worth it.
Last edited by Richie Tenenbaum on Tue Sep 18, 2012 2:41 am, edited 1 time in total.

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L’Étranger
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Re: If non-T14, Is Cheapest Law Schools Best Strategy?

Postby L’Étranger » Tue Sep 18, 2012 2:40 am

ajr wrote:
geary86 wrote:I think the general TLS consensus is more like => if non-T14, then best possible regional schools.

And by best possible regional schools, I mean BC and BU for Boston, Fordham for NYC, GWU for DC, USC for LA etc.

I could be wrong though :oops:


You are absolutely wrong. It is UCLA for LA :evil:


I think you took it the wrong way. Between UCLA and USC, USC is probably the more regional of the two, which is to say that UCLA probably places somewhat better outside of LA. Both are good schools though.

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geary86
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Re: If non-T14, Is Cheapest Law Schools Best Strategy?

Postby geary86 » Tue Sep 18, 2012 2:57 am

L’Étranger wrote:
ajr wrote:
geary86 wrote:I think the general TLS consensus is more like => if non-T14, then best possible regional schools.

And by best possible regional schools, I mean BC and BU for Boston, Fordham for NYC, GWU for DC, USC for LA etc.

I could be wrong though :oops:


You are absolutely wrong. It is UCLA for LA :evil:


I think you took it the wrong way. Between UCLA and USC, USC is probably the more regional of the two, which is to say that UCLA probably places somewhat better outside of LA. Both are good schools though.


Yes. Thank you :D I have nothing against UCLA LOL

breakinghigh
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Re: If non-T14, Is Cheapest Law Schools Best Strategy?

Postby breakinghigh » Tue Sep 18, 2012 3:35 am

geary86 wrote:I think the general TLS consensus is more like => if non-T14, then best possible regional schools.

And by best possible regional schools, I mean BC and BU for Boston, Fordham for NYC, GWU for DC, USC for LA etc.

I could be wrong though :oops:


Follow this, but add UT and Vandy for Texas/Southeast placement as well as general NYC placement




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