Good stuff, philo, and thanks. UT is also my top "somewhat realistic" choice right now. My numbers are just slightly above yours and I'm also an out-of-stater but hopefully I can swing an EA acceptance.philo-sophia wrote:IMHO UT Law = Freakin' Awesome. I was going to go there before getting into Duke of the WL. Like DAC, i considered UT my top "somewhat realistic" choice at the beginning of the cycle. When i got in, i was totally thrilled (and i don't particularly want to practice in TX, though i suppose i could live with it if need be). I am coming from NYC and, having worked briefly at Cravath, i was plenty confident in UT's ability to get NYC BigLaw and even more so on the West Coast.
I went to admitted students weekend and my impression was very positive. One thing i'll say, Austin was aesthetically a bit disappointing compared to what i was expecting. I'd say it was a bit dingy and drab in places. That said, the capital is really cool, 6th street is perhaps the most entertaining strip of bars i've ever come across and UT's campus is as beautiful as you'd expect (though not as beautiful as Duke's). The law facilities themselves are what you'd probably expect from a strong state school. Most of the hallways and classrooms are, of themselves, adequate but not particularly impressive. There are, of course, highlights though...the moot court room is probably one of the few best in the country. The highlight of my visit, BY FAR, was the people i met. The faculty, the administrators and (most importantly) the other students were amazingly friendly and helpful. I found this extended beyond UT as well...everyone is Austin was incredibly open and friendly. I found myself having twenty minute conversations with complete strangers who were happy to share what they loved about Austin.
I would also say that UT has its priorities in the right place. The ASW started off with a small round table with Dean Sager. This is a great guy who knows what it takes to build a great law school. There was no talk of "oh we're getting a hyper-super-nano internet installed here...blah blah". The focus was almost entirely on new program development and recent faculty additions. I'd say the reason UT is a great law school (and will always be very well regarded nationally) is its faculty which, by all accounts, is much stronger than its ranking would suggest. When researching schools from which jobs in academia are accessible, i found Texas typically ranked above a lot of T14 schools and i think that's because if you're one of the top few students at UT, you really do have the resources of a world-class faculty at your finger tips. I think that in terms of education quality, Texas is right there with the T14 schools. I'd say the primary differentiator is that the numerical profile of their students (GPA/LSAT) is now, and will always be, lower than the T14. Aside from that, i think UT is an amazing law school and i'm definitely one of the TLS'ers who considers UT more "national" than "regional".
Of my possible LS destinations, I recently discovered that Austin is one of the few cities where my fiancee is able to get a job quickly and easily, so it's gone up a lot in our estimation. Even if I get into "better" schools, we will still have to consider UT as an ideal school for both of us; I can get a great education and good career prospects and she can make more than enough to support us for 3 years - somewhere like Michigan or Cornell would make the situation much more lopsided for us, in that I would be getting objectively better job prospects but she would struggle career-wise. I don't want her to have to wait tables. We also have the perfect number of friends in that part of TX that we will have a small social network to begin with but also opportunities to make new friends.
What scares me about UT is what I think could be questionable placement in the markets my fiancee and I have agreed on. She's said she'll go anywhere with me for 3 years as long as we can get back to the Southwest, more specifically Denver, Phoenix or Vegas. I'm not thrilled about Vegas, she's not in love with Denver, so really Phoenix is our #1 choice.
My research on UT grads in Phoenix is not encouraging. I only found 4 UT associates at ~15 "big" firms, and 3 of them were at firms like Greenberg Traurig and Ballard Spahr - large national firms with small offices in Phoenix. Only 2 PHX firms even did OCI at UT, and one of them (Snell and Wilmer) still managed to not have any UT grads among their associates.
So, I wondered...how could this be? I'd always heard and assumed UT carried a strong name throughout the Southwest, and Phoenix is the industrial center of the Southwest. Their big firms should have UT grads. But I suppose that, since 2/3 of UT matriculants are Texans, it's probably a good guess that 2/3 to 3/4 of UT grads stay in Texas. So I guess we're working with more like 100 UT grads per year going out of state. But Vandy and ND, much smaller schools than UT, still have about 3x the associates in Phoenix.
I guess I'm just wondering how much of UT's placement is self-selection. Could being a UT grad in a city where they're a rare commodity be a good thing? I'd love to just know how deep the market-paying firms in Phoenix recruit at UT, but I know that information is not available. Has anyone happened to talk to a UT student about how their CSO is in helping them get to the city of their choice?