What does this forum consider to be a "top" law school?

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uhlaw97

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What does this forum consider to be a "top" law school?

Post by uhlaw97 » Fri May 01, 2020 11:11 am

The only reason I ask is because a) I'm new here, and b) I'm not sure if my own law school alma mater, the University of Houston Law Center, qualifies.

It has a VERY strong reputation in the greater Houston area; large Houston law firms are about as likely to interview and hire a UH grad as one from UT-Austin or an Ivy, but in terms of national rankings and national prestige (outside of a few specialty areas like health law and intellectual property), it may not be considered "top."

Just curious!

You know................I have to find out whether I really "fit in" here.

:wink:

:P

crazywafflez

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Re: What does this forum consider to be a "top" law school?

Post by crazywafflez » Fri May 01, 2020 4:18 pm

Hey, UH is not considered a top law school. Nor is it considered one in Texas. It is good if you want to stay in Houston. The top 25% of the class has a real shot at Houston biglaw.
UH is an absolutely fine, and good, law school. A Houston biglaw firm will take candidates at similar grads from UT or the T14 before they take a UH grad. It is what it is.
I would be absolutely fine going to UH if I knew I wanted to be in Houston- I'd even personally be okay going into some debt for it if my goals were biglaw in Houston. It also places pretty well into local govt, PI jobs, etc.
Personally, I consider the T13 to be top top law schools and the rest of the T20 to still be great (Georgetown being the best of these followed by Vandy, UT, UCLA, USC maybe WashU in no particular order).
I'd then say schools like U of Minnesota, UGA, ASU, UNC, are all fairly interchangeable. UH is close to these players but not quite on their level but it is obviously heaps better for working in Texas compared to Minnesota or Bama. Truthfully, after the T20 it is really regional- and even within the T20 it is pretty regional. Vandy can place in California but it isn't nearly as strong there as it is in the South.
So in a round about way to your answer- the top 3 law schools, in my opinion, are the elite. The T14 are excellent; the T20 are great and still top law schools. After that there are plenty of good schools- Ole Miss is good for MS, Bama is great for Bama- I start to become suspect though of placement power at schools like MS College or Memphis- and I wouldn't go to Cooley, Thomas Jefferson, or PHX summit law. Additionally, after leaving the T14 area (and even within it), you should become extremely worried about debt and job prospects. I feel comfortable taking on a decent amount of debt from a T14, less from a T20 and so on. After leaving the T1 (basically the schools ranked within the top 50 or near there), I wouldn't take on any debt unless it were the only school in a state I wanted to practice (and even then I wouldn't take on any real amount).
Hope this helps and sorry for the long response. UH is a fine school- as long as you pay the rest price (and hopefully, you go for free!)

crazywafflez

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Re: What does this forum consider to be a "top" law school?

Post by crazywafflez » Fri May 01, 2020 4:21 pm

And just for clarification- I go to a school ranked around UH in the Southeast. I'm going to be in minimal debt and going back home upon graduation. I don't go to a "top law school". For my region it is considered good under my terminology. Nobody here is an elitist or anti T1 schools. The main phrasing here is go to a decent school in the market you want to be in for a good/cheap cost.

decimalsanddollars

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Re: What does this forum consider to be a "top" law school?

Post by decimalsanddollars » Fri May 01, 2020 4:37 pm

UT law grad here. Personally, I think UHLC is a fine school. I think you're overstating the placement parity of it against UT and Ivies, even in Houston, but UHLC far outplaces its US News ranking in Houston and yields great outcomes for a lot of people, including people outside the top of the class.

Not sure what your question is asking. Do you belong on the forum? Sure; it's not limited to Yale alums/students/prospects---this is a forum for law school grads/students/applicants of all stripes.

What is a top law school? It depends on the context. Yale is ranked #1 on US News and is widely considered "the" top law school. It has unique placement advantages for outcomes like academia, top clerkships, and unicorn PI positions. If you're talking about top law schools for general placement with biglaw and federal clerkships, the US News rankings actually correlate very strongly with those outcomes: there's a tier basically of the top 3 law schools, another tier for the rest of the top 6, another for the rest of the top 13, and another for the rest of the top 20. Each tier has similar placement outcomes among the schools in that tier when it comes to biglaw and clerkships. Beyond the top 20, rank still matters, but the correlation with job placement isn't as strong, and placement is largely regional. UHLC places better than, say, Wake Forest in Houston despite being ranked lower; Loyola-Chicago outplaces UHLC in Chicago despite being ranked lower. Placing well in a region generally doesn't make a school a "top" law school, even from an employer's perspective, except *maybe* where the market is very insular and there's a clear best school in the state, like University of Washington, UNLV, or U South Carolina. UHLC doesn't really fit that bill either.

I don't know if any of that answers your question, but I guess I'd say that 1) you are welcome on this forum; and 2) UHLC is not a "top" law school by most definitions.

Throwaway5818

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Re: What does this forum consider to be a "top" law school?

Post by Throwaway5818 » Sat May 02, 2020 11:39 pm

There are only two types of law schools.

Yale

Trash Tier Toilets

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BrainsyK

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Re: What does this forum consider to be a "top" law school?

Post by BrainsyK » Sun May 03, 2020 1:23 am

Throwaway5818 wrote:There are only two types of law schools.

Yale

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Class of 2020 and 2021 'bout to find this out the hard way.

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Wild Card

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Re: What does this forum consider to be a "top" law school?

Post by Wild Card » Sun May 03, 2020 5:24 pm

"T14"

HydroFlask666

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Re: What does this forum consider to be a "top" law school?

Post by HydroFlask666 » Sun May 03, 2020 5:35 pm

BrainsyK wrote:
Throwaway5818 wrote:There are only two types of law schools.

Yale

Trash Tier Toilets
Class of 2020 and 2021 'bout to find this out the hard way.
Not really. More like Class of 2022 and beyond.

BrainsyK

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Re: What does this forum consider to be a "top" law school?

Post by BrainsyK » Sun May 03, 2020 5:59 pm

HydroFlask666 wrote:Not really. More like Class of 2022 and beyond.
'Twas a joke. Obviously, law school quality is a gradient. A top school is whatever school gets you to where you want to go in life. There are plenty of people bitter about going to T14s. There are plenty of happy with their TTT schools and education.

There's no point in sitting and worrying about whether a bunch of strangers on the internet think your school is "top." Whatever that means.

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