Hamline v. Franklin Pierce

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citrus2010
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Hamline v. Franklin Pierce

Postby citrus2010 » Thu Feb 04, 2010 6:13 pm

I've been accepted to both Hamline (MN) and Franklin Pierce (NH). Hamline's LSAT scores are a bit higher and the attrition rates are quite a bit lower than Pierce. Both facts make Hamline look more attractive, yet it is 4th tier while Pierce sits at 3rd. I graduate with a B.A. so patent law is out of the question. That said, which offers better career prospects? I would be happy to practice in both regions. I eventually want to move back to Utah to be with family.

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wardboro
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Re: Hamline v. Franklin Pierce

Postby wardboro » Thu Feb 04, 2010 8:16 pm

Any possibility you can boost up your LSAT score with more studying before next cycle? Getting into UU/BYU would make your job hunt a lot easier. Even Idaho or UNLV would provide (likely) lower cost tuition and better access to the Mountain West job market. If there's any way you think you can prep harder for the LSAT and get admitted into one of the local schools next cycle you'll have a much easier time in the job hunt. I'd probably say Hamline, but honestly, I'd recommend even recommend Wyoming over Hamline if you want to work out West eventually.

citrus2010
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Re: Hamline v. Franklin Pierce

Postby citrus2010 » Fri Feb 05, 2010 12:07 am

I could boost it, but I can't wait. I know I can succeed wherever I end up. I am a married father of two. I need to start my career now. If I can stay in the midwest I know I will be OK raising my family. Would you choose Hamline or Drake. I think they are very close in rank.

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wardboro
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Re: Hamline v. Franklin Pierce

Postby wardboro » Fri Feb 05, 2010 12:23 pm

As someone who is married with kids as well, I would suggest neither. Legal jobs are hard to come by. There is nothing like the terror of knowing that you might very likely graduate with limited prospects or no job prospects. My only comfort is that I stayed in state, lived on the cheap, and have kept my debt down. Wait a year, work hard on the LSAT and get some better (or lower priced via scholarships) options.

Neither school is going to give you great options. Even a lot of law students coming out of UU/BYU right now (I know, because I am one) are struggling to find good employment. Your chances of securing any kind of legal employment (even in the Midwest) coming out of these schools isn't great. Honestly, I would wait a year and retake. I know it sucks to sit around for a year biding your time. I know you want to get started, but I honestly would take a step back and look at what you think your odds are of securing any kind (even the lowliest kinds) of legal employment coming out of those two schools. If you think that you might double your chances by attending a school out West, then that seems like a no-brainer.

If you insist that I check a box, it's Hamline over Drake or FP. But I would strongly suggest that you consider reapplying next cycle.

Just to reiterate, I'm sure you've been very successful in your other areas of employment, you've networked your way into good jobs, you have great social skills yada yada. Law hiring is different. There are a lot of kids with great social skills and decent grades who can't find anything--even solo shop/small firm work. Evaluate what your goals are. If you want to be gainfully employed when you graduate and you want to build a better life for your family, I would suggest that you at least consider reapplying--I think your odds of finding good employment would almost double. Don't think of it as being a year behind--if you get into a better school and get a good job, that might put you 5-10 years ahead.

Sorry to rant, but I wanted to give you my advice. The answer is Hamline--if I must give one.

citrus2010
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Joined: Thu Feb 04, 2010 6:03 pm

Re: Hamline v. Franklin Pierce

Postby citrus2010 » Sat Feb 06, 2010 6:15 pm

Today I got accepted to University of Idaho. I know a lot of associates in UT and ID firms have Idaho JDs. Is that a better option? I'm still liking the opportunities in Minnesota though (Hamline). There are a lot more law firms out there. I talked to a contact of mine at Dorsey Whitney and she suggested hiring on in Minnesota and then moving to SLC office.

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wardboro
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Re: Hamline v. Franklin Pierce

Postby wardboro » Sun Feb 07, 2010 12:46 pm

I would take Idaho.

Pros:
Cost of living should be lower, and you'll have better access to Western markets.
Best school in Idaho. If you can't get a job in Utah, you may still be able to get one in Idaho.
Tuition affordable, and (you'll have to look this up) I think you can get residency for your last 2 years.
You could possibly find your way into a solo office or other small Utah firm if you worked at it.

Cons:
It's still going to be an uphill battle to get a job in Utah--and a firm job (think Kirton, RQN, DJP) in Utah is probably not possible absent some very significant connections.
It's not a particularly strong school, and you shouldn't expect to get a great job coming out.

How old is your friend at Dorsey--is he/she a new associate? How many Hamline grads (what GPA cutoff did they take in 2008 before the collapse--what GPA cutoff did they take after the collapse) are being hired into Dorsey and Whitney? Dorsey is certainly one of the premiere Minnesota (and now semi-national) firms. Is it likely that you can get a job at Dorsey (or other Minnesota firms) coming out of Hamline? Maybe my search is wrong, but across all of the Dorsey offices, there are 5 Hamline grads. The only 2 grads hired in recent years both were hired in 2006 and were summa and magna cum laude, respectively. I know that they suspended the summer program at the SLC Dorsey office for this year. I can't comment on how well you'll do in the Minnesota market with a Hamline degree. It's certainly second to University of MN in the state, so that's just something to consider. Try to get a realistic view of what Hamline grads could expect before the 2008 meltdown, and then calculate what you think the economy will do in the future.

I don't know enough about firm transfers to help you out, but there are very few firms (Dorsey is the only I can think of) that have offices in both SLC and MN. I don't see this as a huge problem, though. If you work at a reputable firm outside of Utah, you'll likely be able to find some kind of decent firm job in the state. I would focus on figuring out whether you have a realistic shot of getting a good MN firm job coming out of Hamline. If you end up in a small solo shop/very small firm out in MN (and you should consider yourself lucky to get a job like this--at least in this economy) you likely won't be able to transfer to a firm in Salt Lake. You could always just move and open your own shop, but your clients won't transfer across that much distance, and that makes you less valuable as a lateral hire and makes hanging your own shingle out West a terrifying prospect.

Hamline Pros:
Access to a bigger legal market
Some reputation in MN market

Cons:
Higher cost (tuition and cost of living)
Little reputation out West


Ultimately neither school gives you fantastic employment options, but if you keep your debt at a minimum, then if you end up unable to find a legal job upon graduation, you will hopefully not drown in your school debt. I don't know you, I don't know what your drive is, I can't comment on that. What I can say is that I've seen a lot of very driven, motivated, smart 0Ls beaten down by grades and without good employment options by the end of 3 semesters of school. Consider what you'll do if you're in this situation. If you graduate at the top of the class (top 5-10%) at Hamline you should have some decent options in MN. Unfortunately this is going to be much tougher than it sounds.

It's a jungle out there. Good luck with everything. Honestly, though if you can wait another year it might not just be a good option for getting into a better school, it might allow the economy another year to recover. I can't tell you what 2L OCI will be like this Fall, but if it's like it was at UU/BYU for Fall 2009, then there are going to be very few jobs that will go to only the very best candidates and those who bring meaningful diversity in terms of race/gender/other factors. By fall of 2011 (your OCI hiring) things will likely be better, but how much better remains to be seen. I've given you as much speculation and opinion as I can. See what information you can get as far as how Hamline places. Gather what you can from people who know.

Last thing to consider: ask if you need ties to the market in order to find a job in MN. In SLC if you aren't from Utah (or haven't lived in the state for a few years) employers view you as a potential flight risk. It makes it tougher to get a job there even if you went to law school there. See what Minnesotans in law hiring think about this. It might also be something to consider.




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