reasonable_man wrote:Are BLS students still 95% employed at 9 months out earning $1.2 million to start; or has the school taken its wildly contrived employment stats down a half notch to match the current economic climate? Do administrators answer pointed questions about unemployed graduates when asked; or do people go the polite route and not ask when they visit on campus?
I find it hard to believe that with all the negative press surrounding BLS (the school is basically the poster child for the law school transparency movement), this place still gets swamped with applications each and every year.
Come on RM you know that it isnt just BLS who BS's their employment data. Every law school is in on the scam. Sure BLS is really good about getting terrible press, but to everyone here considering attending it honestly isnt as bad as this board will have you believe.
The prof's really are great and the environment is pretty chill. I personally look forward to coming to school everyday. With that said, none of those positives are a good reason to choose a particular law school IMO.
Some things that are important to be aware of, although I'm sure none of you will listen to me:
1. Goosey is right, there is definitely section stacking and people will lose scholly.
2. If you want Big Law then don't go to BLS.
3. There are definitely good opportunities from BLS if:
A. You have exceptionally good grades (top 15%), but those opportunities are in government work and public interest.
B. You can network your ass off.
Reasonable Man does make great points about the dangers of choosing regional schools in a region that is oversaturated with the top competition from all law schools (You will realize that NY is full of T-14 lawyers and you are at a disadvantage right off the bat).
The thing is for many of you who receive really nice scholly's to BLS, it can be a good choice. When I was choosing law schools I heard the same stuff that you did, and I believed it, but figured I'd finish top of the class and have at least a couple big law firms to choose from. That isn't going to happen, but it isn't the end of the world.
I turned down some T30 - 50's at sticker to do BLS with basically 93% scholly. I'm going to have minimal debt and that is nice. I was never worried about not being in the top 40% and losing my scholly and after this first semester that was a good bet on my part. I believe my grades put me around top 25% and it took hard work to get there, but is definitely possible if you study smart and to be honest I dont think I did until the last month of the semester.
I networked hardcore and have a job at small boutique firm in the city for the summer. It's paid, pretty nicely for a 1L summer actually. I also took advantage of the clinics and externships BLS offers and am in the process of finalizing a judicial externship for 2L fall at a state court (don't get this confused with a prestigious type of clerkship, it's to gain experience writing and to keep my network expanding).
Overall I'm quite happy with where I stand because I realize how crappy a lot of others have it. The hardest part was realizing that I'll never work at a big firm, but hey plenty of people warned me about that just a year ago so I should have seen it coming. I don't think had I went to the higher ranked schools I'd have big law opportunities either, just a crap ton of debt and I wouldn't have been in NY this past year building my network (IMO just as important as grades) and wouldn't have a job for the summer.
The message I'm trying to get across is that I heard all the same negative talk about BLS as you are hearing. Everyone telling me that while i think i'll do well I have a better chance of losing my scholly and doing doc review for the rest of my life, that I can't rely on getting good grades because it's so arbitrary and that by choosing BLS i was sentencing myself to a miserable existence and life. Well I listened to what everyone said, but in the end I believed that if I worked hard I would do fine because it isn't as arbitrary as everyone says, and it really isnt. I worked around people who worked long and hard everyday and they all did really well too, and I hung out with some people who didn't work as hard and they didn't do as well. Surprisingly, at least from my experience, it really seemed to make sense.
I agree that you can't count on being at the top 10%, but the thing is the only reason being top 10% is necessary is if you think it will net you big law and the reality is that it wont. Like I said if you want big law then don't go to BLS. Sure maybe 5 of my 496 fellow 1L's will get big law, maybe 0 will but at a school like BLS it isn't like you can say top 10% and Im in. It's more of a "wow im actually getting an interview with (insert v100 firm)? Awesome!"
If you realize that and work hard to set yourself up to have an opportunity for a decent career BLS can actually be a good experience. But then again I could get fired mid summer and find myself as the "most knowledgeable of torts pizza delivery guy" in Staten Island. Oh well nothing is guaranteed.
Hope my perspective helps you all make a law school decision you can live with. good luck.