Dredd_2017 wrote:cusenation wrote:Dredd_2017 wrote:Actually you're one of the few 1L wustluts I've seen about the place being all friendly (Sublime, where you at), do you have any thoughts? Even though my answer will ultimately come down to how much I'm willing to pay for a slightly better clerk rate / preftige, having been at WUSTL for a year what do you think of the place? My "Ideal" is Biglaw (lol I know), and the two are fairly close in that regard with Illinois having a slight edge. Having said that I have 0 ties to the Midwest I could put on a resume and I know that's something that comes up a lot for WUSTL whereas I assume Chicago is used to transplants.
Do you mind if i post here in the thread? or do you want a PM?
In the thread is fine, from the fact I just got a few PM's within ten minutes of my last post I can see that this topic is clearly a hot one!
Okay, well i don't know much about UIUC since i don't go there and don't have any friends there, so I'll refrain from saying anything about it other than it has a deeper alumni network in Chicago and that--like WUSTL--you'll need good grades to get BigLaw. I'm not sure if UIUC has off-campus interviewing programs in other markets like we do, so you'll have to find that out on your own.
The hiring schedule for clerks has basically gone to shit and judges have started to recruit really early (e.g. end of 1L year/ beginning of 2L year). So if you want to clerk, start making good relationships with your professors EARLY. Especially the ones who have clerked themselves. I don't know much about clerking opportunities cuz i'm not interested in it and it's not a widely sought-after position here. There are ppl who clerk, but it's not like HYS where it's a major career goal. In light of that, I don't know if you should pick WUSTL solely because it might offer slightly better clerkship chances (which i'm not even sure is true, but i haven't looked at most recent LST yet)
My experience here has been pretty satisfying. There are some things that are miserable, but those are struggles that just come with law school in general. One thing i really do appreciate about the school is that there's no ONE MARKET that we're all trying to get. The STL jobs are pretty much reserved for the kids with ties. So our school--over the years--has adapted to trying place grads in non-STL markets (e.g. Coastal and Southern markets).
This has practical and social benefits. Practically, the school spends the time and money to give us as much exposure to non-STL employers. This July/August my class will have the chance to participate in the Off-Campus interview programs. This cycle we have NYC, DC, Boston, SF, Houston/Dallas, Chicago, and Atlanta. This is in addition to the normal OCI (where employers come to campus). The dates are staggered so that a single student could theoretically participate in every city's off-campus program and our normal OCI. This is significant because the pool of employers who participate in the off-campus programs and normal OCI are different (although there are some overlaps). You'll still need good grades and decent interviewing ability, but our CSO has created a system that tries to maximize the market diversity of our offers. So we're not limited to just the Midwest. A single student could be entertaining interviews/offers from firms from several cities. This is probably the biggest advantage I can see us having over UIUC (but again, i dunno what initiative UIUC has in place to place their students in non-illinois markets, so double check this before taking my word for it)
Socially, there's less tension between classmates. Law school is stressful enough as it is. And to be honest, unless you're at HYS, it's a survival-of-the-fittest environment in many ways. So--by design--the environment can be tense or awkward after grades start rolling out. So while it's not all unicorns and rainbows here, that awkward competitive tension is mitigated because we're not all gunning for the same market. I can speak freely with my peers who are ranked near/above me about their employment goals without any pangs of insecurity or bitterness because i know they're not going to diminish my odds of getting a job in my desired market. When they enjoy success (via an award or good grade) i'm genuinely happy for them. There's no "oh fuck this kid might threaten my chances at a job." It sounds arbitrary and meaningless as an 0L, but not having to deal with that kind of tension does make for a friendlier/lighter environment.
As far as St. Louis itself, i'm from Boston and i went to college in New York, but I actually really like St. Louis. It's a very student-friendly city. There's enough to do to keep you occupied and it's very affordable. WashU recommends a 20k budget for living expenses. But that's an overestimate. I'm HILARIOUSLY irresponsible with my spending. I eat out regularly, have a gym membership, i shop regularly (damn Brooks Brothers..), and I've definitely had those "fuck-it-i'm-wasted-all-drinks-on-me" nights. But i still haven't spent 20k. This sounded insignificant to me as an 0L, but I've come to appreciate it: not having to stress about "omg will i have enough money to pay rent next month" just makes life so much easier. 1L is stressful as it is, so not having to worry about affording the bare necessities (cue Jungle Book soundtrack) is honestly kind of a blessing. I imagine Urbana-Champagne is affordable as ferk too, so you're good on both fronts.
As far as employment/BigLaw/loans. I've been pretty fortunate. I've done well here so far (fingers crossed on those Spring grades) and am on a full ride. I have around 20k in loans from undergrad. So I'll be graduating with 65-80k in debt depending on how judiciously i spend my SA money (it won't be very judicious...see supra for my discussion about my spending).
If I want BigLaw, i can get it from here. I can choose to pay off my loans in 10 years at a ridiculously low monthly payment, or I can pay it off completely in 3-4 years (paying the same monthly rate for a 10-year plan if i had borrowed sticker at a T14). So yes I'll have loans to repay...but it's not like it will seriously delay my life goals (e.g. having a family, buying a house, building a roller coaster in my backyard). Could I have gone to a lower school and graduated with no law school debt at all? Sure. But personally i'm okay with borrowing a reasonable amount to advance my career. I don't believe that all debt is bad debt or that you MUST try and minimize loans to the lowest dollar amount. I think it's fine to borrow a little more to have better career opportunities or to attend a better school with smart classmates. Would I borrow 250k-300k for that? Probably not. But 60-80k total debt for a T20 degree? Yeah, it made sense to me.
Ultimately this is will be a personal choice for you. You'll need to do well at either school for BigLaw. I dunno if it'll be "easier" to do well at either school, you'll just have to put forth your best effort.
If you decide to come here, reach out to 2Ls who had your profs. Having good 2L/3L mentors was essential to my fortunate exam performance.