CA schools vs Maryland/DC schools.

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pdimola
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CA schools vs Maryland/DC schools.

Postby pdimola » Thu Feb 11, 2010 2:08 am

Hey everyone, I need your help making a decision on where I should attend law school in the fall. So far I've gotten into U San Diego, U Maryland, and Loyola-Marymount. I got wait-listed at American and I am waiting to hear back from Pepperdine, but expecting an acceptance. Here's what I've got going on in my head, hopefully you all can point me in the right direction.

1) I went to U Maryland undergrad. I love DC, but the law school is in Baltimore, which I'm really not a huge fan of. On that note, I would consider American, but have heard some negative things about the school (that it's basically a factory and doesn't provide a quality education. Also, it's hard to get a job because you are competing with the other higher ranked schools in the area i.e. GULC, GW and George Mason. Lastly, most American students end up working for the government or doing administrative law, which is not something I would want to do). On the other hand, I love So. Cal and would definitely enjoy living in LA, San Diego, or Malibu

2) Maryland and American out rank the California schools. Maryland - 43, American - 45, Pepperdine - 55, San Diego - 61, and Loyola - 71.

3) Ideally I want to be a trial lawyer at a big firm, which will be extremely difficult given the caliber of these schools, but I'm not sure which would give me the biggest opportunity solely based on the name (not factoring in my performance into the equation). Additionally, if big law doesn't work out, which school will give the most job prospects in the future with the highest salaries?

4) The only scholarship received was from Loyola. $22,000 per year, but must be in top 1/3 of class.

Hopefully that all makes sense. I'm really torn as to what I should do. Let me know what you all think! Thanks.

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Veritas
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Re: CA schools vs Maryland/DC schools.

Postby Veritas » Thu Feb 11, 2010 2:10 am

you said you loved so cal. LLS does well in LA. Take the money and enjoy the sunshine.

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Dignan
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Re: CA schools vs Maryland/DC schools.

Postby Dignan » Thu Feb 11, 2010 2:31 am

pdimola wrote:
3) Ideally I want to be a trial lawyer at a big firm, which will be extremely difficult given the caliber of these schools, but I'm not sure which would give me the biggest opportunity solely based on the name (not factoring in my performance into the equation).

If your professional goal is the overriding consideration, then the answer is easy: U of Maryland. It's the best school in its market, and there are big law jobs to be had in Baltimore. There are, of course, more big law jobs in SoCal, but all your possible SoCal schools are well behind UCLA and USC in the local market. In addition, you'd be competing with graduates of all the other higher-ranked California schools (Stanford, Berkeley, Hastings, Davis) who want to work in SoCal. '

The drawback of U of Maryland, from your perspective, is that it's in Baltimore. If you went there, you'd be limited to the Maryland market. You're going to have to decide if where you live is more important to you than your career prospects. It's a difficult decision.

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BigFatPanda
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Re: CA schools vs Maryland/DC schools.

Postby BigFatPanda » Thu Feb 11, 2010 2:42 am

pdimola wrote:Hey everyone, I need your help making a decision on where I should attend law school in the fall. So far I've gotten into U San Diego, U Maryland, and Loyola-Marymount. I got wait-listed at American and I am waiting to hear back from Pepperdine, but expecting an acceptance. Here's what I've got going on in my head, hopefully you all can point me in the right direction.

1) I went to U Maryland undergrad. I love DC, but the law school is in Baltimore, which I'm really not a huge fan of. On that note, I would consider American, but have heard some negative things about the school (that it's basically a factory and doesn't provide a quality education. Also, it's hard to get a job because you are competing with the other higher ranked schools in the area i.e. GULC, GW and George Mason. Lastly, most American students end up working for the government or doing administrative law, which is not something I would want to do). On the other hand, I love So. Cal and would definitely enjoy living in LA, San Diego, or Malibu

2) Maryland and American out rank the California schools. Maryland - 43, American - 45, Pepperdine - 55, San Diego - 61, and Loyola - 71.

3) Ideally I want to be a trial lawyer at a big firm, which will be extremely difficult given the caliber of these schools, but I'm not sure which would give me the biggest opportunity solely based on the name (not factoring in my performance into the equation). Additionally, if big law doesn't work out, which school will give the most job prospects in the future with the highest salaries?

4) The only scholarship received was from Loyola. $22,000 per year, but must be in top 1/3 of class.

Hopefully that all makes sense. I'm really torn as to what I should do. Let me know what you all think! Thanks.


I am going to assume you're maryland resident. In that case, 22k/yr from Loyola is more than offsetted by Maryland instate tuition, given that you don't need to remain in the top 1/3 to retain the scholarship. So i heard Baltimore sucks, but really, what are u afraid of? someone there will rob you of your dignity? Go practice martial art and carry a can of pepper spray and you'll do just fine.

Further, Maryland degree is Da-Bomb in Maryland but USD, Loyola, and Pepperdine are getting gang raped by USC, UCLA, and Berkeley. Because in Maryland, nobody gets to be bigger than UMD. As the saying goes, you would rather lead a flock of chicken rather than being the tail of a phenonix.

So Maryland is your bet.

millieb
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Re: CA schools vs Maryland/DC schools.

Postby millieb » Thu Feb 11, 2010 3:15 am

Where do you want to practice?

From what I understand, Maryland doesn't carry much wait in California and the same probably goes for LLS & Pepperdine in D.C. If you are indifferent or haven't yet made up your mind, then go with one of the SoCal schools because the weather is infinitely better and free money is a nice thing.

Good luck!

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DallasCowboy
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Re: CA schools vs Maryland/DC schools.

Postby DallasCowboy » Thu Feb 11, 2010 3:17 am

Get a job in Maryland then transfer to the D.C. office after a few years.

jayare
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Re: CA schools vs Maryland/DC schools.

Postby jayare » Thu Feb 11, 2010 12:21 pm

pdimola wrote:1) I went to U Maryland undergrad. I love DC, but the law school is in Baltimore, which I'm really not a huge fan of. On that note, I would consider American, but have heard some negative things about the school (that it's basically a factory and doesn't provide a quality education. Also, it's hard to get a job because you are competing with the other higher ranked schools in the area i.e. GULC, GW and George Mason. Lastly, most American students end up working for the government or doing administrative law, which is not something I would want to do). On the other hand, I love So. Cal and would definitely enjoy living in LA, San Diego, or Malibu


In Southern California you'll be competing with USC, UCLA, Stanford, UC Davis, possibly UCI, and all of the other t14 graduates who want jobs whose commutes don't involve putting chains on their tires. I don't know which, between DC and socal, would have more competition but socal definitely has it.

pdimola wrote:2) Maryland and American out rank the California schools. Maryland - 43, American - 45, Pepperdine - 55, San Diego - 61, and Loyola - 71.


3) Ideally I want to be a trial lawyer at a big firm, which will be extremely difficult given the caliber of these schools, but I'm not sure which would give me the biggest opportunity solely based on the name (not factoring in my performance into the equation). Additionally, if big law doesn't work out, which school will give the most job prospects in the future with the highest salaries?


Rock it at moot court and you'll get firms to notice you! I just checked my USNWR online ranking thing and Pepperdine had a much higher annual starting salary (82k vs 100k), and not that the integrity of rankings needs any more discussion but it definitely doesn't tell everything about salary.

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FunkyJD
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Re: CA schools vs Maryland/DC schools.

Postby FunkyJD » Thu Feb 11, 2010 1:07 pm

If there's a material difference between schools ranked in the 40s versus schools ranked in the 70s, it isn't apparent to me.

You stand an excellent chance of ending up in midlaw if you go to any of the SoCal schools you listed.

In this instance, I would lean towards American. Competition is fierce, but at least the job market in DC >> the job market in SoCal. I would definitely not take Loyola's money with that restriction.

pdimola
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Re: CA schools vs Maryland/DC schools.

Postby pdimola » Thu Feb 11, 2010 1:23 pm

I'm from NY so I wouldn't get in state tuition at Maryland. Which makes LLS's scholarship a little more enticing, but the restriction on it makes me a little wary. I've heard both Pepperdine and U San Diego are slowly getting a much better rep, so maybe by the time I graduate I'd be better off with a degree from one of those schools as opposed to a LLS degree.

After reading what you guys are posting, I think I'm leaning toward So Cal because although career prospects are important, I personally think location is more important. It also seems that even though Maryland may offer the most job prospects, going to a cali school wouldn't be so prohibitive that it would be insane to turn down Maryland.

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FunkyJD
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Re: CA schools vs Maryland/DC schools.

Postby FunkyJD » Thu Feb 11, 2010 1:46 pm

If you'd have to pay sticker at all of the SoCal schools you got into except for Loyola, and you've decided to go to school in SoCal, then my thoughts change: Go to Loyola, even with the scholly restriction.

According to TLS:

tuition at Loyola is $40.5k
Pepperdine is $39k
San Diego is $39.8k

At all three schools, sticker tuition is about $120k for 3 years. If you went to Loyola, even if you lost the scholly after the first year, you'd save at least $20k.

Having said that ... unless you aren't bothered by the prospect of decades of high debt, I think you're making a major mistake to prioritize location over career prospects.

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Great Satchmo
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Re: CA schools vs Maryland/DC schools.

Postby Great Satchmo » Thu Feb 11, 2010 1:52 pm

Unless one of the choices is unnecessarily restrictive upon your interests or career choices, go where you'll be happiest.

If you don't want to be in Baltimore, why pay that much to live and work there?

If you want to be in So Cal, go to school that you can stomach the debt from, has decent career prospects, and which you see yourself enjoying and getting the most out of.


I'm in the same range, I believe, maybe a bit lower, (in USD, in Loyola, applied to Pepperdine, applied to Maryland, but not American) - it's hard to ignore the rankings, but the wisdom from those that are NOT elitists is that outside of the top 20 or so, the rankings become essentially useless when you have ANY preference of your own (as to location, the school, etc).

pdimola
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Re: CA schools vs Maryland/DC schools.

Postby pdimola » Thu Feb 11, 2010 2:04 pm

FunkyJD wrote:If you'd have to pay sticker at all of the SoCal schools you got into except for Loyola, and you've decided to go to school in SoCal, then my thoughts change: Go to Loyola, even with the scholly restriction.

According to TLS:

tuition at Loyola is $40.5k
Pepperdine is $39k
San Diego is $39.8k

At all three schools, sticker tuition is about $120k for 3 years. If you went to Loyola, even if you lost the scholly after the first year, you'd save at least $20k.

Having said that ... unless you aren't bothered by the prospect of decades of high debt, I think you're making a major mistake to prioritize location over career prospects.


On the same token, tuition at American is $40.5K.

Are the career prospects that much worse in So Cal than DC that the same debt would be that much more of a burden? It seems to me that regardless of which school I choose, I'll be making approximately the same starting salary and cost of living in DC is comparable to certain parts of So Cal (probably more expensive in LA).

pdimola
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Re: CA schools vs Maryland/DC schools.

Postby pdimola » Thu Feb 11, 2010 2:05 pm

Great Satchmo wrote:Unless one of the choices is unnecessarily restrictive upon your interests or career choices, go where you'll be happiest.

If you don't want to be in Baltimore, why pay that much to live and work there?

If you want to be in So Cal, go to school that you can stomach the debt from, has decent career prospects, and which you see yourself enjoying and getting the most out of.


I'm in the same range, I believe, maybe a bit lower, (in USD, in Loyola, applied to Pepperdine, applied to Maryland, but not American) - it's hard to ignore the rankings, but the wisdom from those that are NOT elitists is that outside of the top 20 or so, the rankings become essentially useless when you have ANY preference of your own (as to location, the school, etc).



That's what I was thinking as well. Thanks! Have you decided where you are going?

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vanwinkle
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Re: CA schools vs Maryland/DC schools.

Postby vanwinkle » Thu Feb 11, 2010 2:09 pm

I'm at UVA and from what I hear some of the people here who wanted DC law firms got shut out there this year. DC is always an incredibly competitive market, and it's a lot tougher than ever to break into with this economy. If not everyone at a local T14 can get into the DC market, you should really consider whether or not Maryland or American are worth it right now.

Maryland might be an option, since at least then you could find work in Baltimore potentially, but you indicated you hate the idea of living there, so...

Sorry for raining on your parade, but I'd rather do it now than 3 years from now when you're $150K in debt.

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FunkyJD
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Re: CA schools vs Maryland/DC schools.

Postby FunkyJD » Thu Feb 11, 2010 2:25 pm

vanwinkle wrote:I'm at UVA and from what I hear some of the people here who wanted DC law firms got shut out there this year.

:shock:

Where did these people rank in their classes?

If they ranked fairly high up, that information brings a lot of clarity to my own pending decisions.

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legallybrunette16
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Re: CA schools vs Maryland/DC schools.

Postby legallybrunette16 » Thu Feb 11, 2010 2:27 pm

hands down go to pepperdine.

I'm from San Diego, and there is nothing better than So Cal weather!!!! In the long run, you will be SO much happier.

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vanwinkle
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Re: CA schools vs Maryland/DC schools.

Postby vanwinkle » Thu Feb 11, 2010 2:27 pm

FunkyJD wrote:
vanwinkle wrote:I'm at UVA and from what I hear some of the people here who wanted DC law firms got shut out there this year.

:shock:

Where did these people rank in their classes?

If they ranked fairly high up, that information brings a lot of clarity to my own pending decisions.

I wish I was privy to that information. However, I do know there've been quite a few who were and it's been a subject of talk around here.

I also know that an interviewer for a PI job here in VA told me bluntly that he only interviews at UVA because he can get all the interns he needs here, and he doesn't even bother with the lower-ranked schools in the state at all, so I'm still glad I came here, but the job market feels like a bloodbath at every level.

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Great Satchmo
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Re: CA schools vs Maryland/DC schools.

Postby Great Satchmo » Thu Feb 11, 2010 2:44 pm

pdimola wrote:
Great Satchmo wrote:That's what I was thinking as well. Thanks! Have you decided where you are going?


I still have a fair amount of my cycle left, although I have a sense of what is going to happen.

For me, unless I get into a reach (unlikely, I seem to be in a limbo with my numbers, I'm solid for a certain level of school, but as soon as I go up a notch, I think I'm extremely weak), it's going to be a geography question, followed by a relative strength in the market vs. cost.

At this moment, I'm between Santa Clara, USF, and USD - and I really couldn't tell you that I have any idea which one I'd be likely to go to if that's all that worked out.




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