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Should I go to law school where I want to practice?

Posted: Thu Oct 25, 2007 9:31 pm
by AirsoftPlayer
Hi, new to the site.

I will be applying to law schools next Fall semester, and this issue is really grinding at me. I go to undergrad in Florida, but I have no idea where I want to practice law. My concern is that most schools teach the law according to their state, so it makes the most sense to take the Bar exam in that state.

But what if I get accepted to a good law school, say in the Northeast, but don't want to practice there? Or if I only get into a Florida law school, but am limited from leaving the southeast.

How does this work? What about the multi-state bar exam?

Posted: Thu Oct 25, 2007 9:42 pm
by Fly
It depends what your numbers are. The top 20 or so have pretty strong national reputations. So, if you can get into a top school, you can end up practicing pretty much anywhere you want. If you end up having to go to a lower ranked school, you're probably better off going somewhere close to where you want to work.

I'm not sure this is because schools teach state law, but rather because they'll have better connections in the area. Temple is a good example of this. It is ranked 60, but if you know you want to end up in Philly, it is probably smarter to go to Temple than a school ranked 40 or so.

Posted: Thu Oct 25, 2007 9:42 pm
by YoungFogey
The best law schools do not teach the black letter law of their state. Most good law schools do not teach to the bar exam. Law school teaches you how to think. Bar review classes teach you what you need to know to pass the bar.

If you have the numbers, go to the best nationally ranked school you can. If your numbers place you out of the first tier of schools, go to the best school of in the area you most likely want to practice in.

Posted: Thu Oct 25, 2007 10:13 pm
by AirsoftPlayer
Thanks for the info guys.

Well, I have 3.87 now, but I have some very hard classes coming up next term, so I have no idea how that will change. I have not taken the LSAT as of yet (probably in June or Sept).

Top 20? Those are so expensive. I would love to go to Northwestern or UChicago, but $50,000 / yr is well over my budget. As a white male from a single-income, middle-class, family, I doubt I will get any grants. And graduating with $100,000+ in loans is terrifying to think about.

I might have to stick with good old U of Florida, with its $20,000 / yr total expenses price tag.

Posted: Thu Oct 25, 2007 11:22 pm
by Fly
Yeah, 100k in debt is scary, but it is less scary when you think that you might make over 100k per year right out of school. I don't think debt is a good enough reason to go to a school that is below your standards. If you can go to a top 20, it's probably in your best interest to go.

If you have serious concerns about being limited to Florida, a school like UFla is probably a bad choice. 94% of UFla grads are employed in "the South," and I have to assume the overwhelming majority of that category is Florida. In other words, if you want geographic freedom later on, you'll need to fork over the money now (but again, the higher up you go, the quicker you'll make that money back).

Posted: Fri Oct 26, 2007 7:29 am
by EActress
You have to view the money as an investment. You are investing in your future and the choice of school you make determines to a large degree your starting salary and the ultimate cap to your earnings.

Posted: Tue Nov 06, 2007 6:43 pm
by britt2010
^ I agree about investment.

If you want flexibility, go to a good school.

You'd be surprised about the types of scholarships you can get. Even if you're not initially offered any, you can always take a shot at leveraging. Once accepted, law schools are loathe to affect their yield by losing you. If you can, work it to your advantage. I did. :)

"best school" advocate is wrong

Posted: Fri Dec 07, 2007 1:38 am
by leonard7
go to the best school that will land you in the least debt. got family near a good school? great. go, pay tuition, live with them.

the 100K myth is so tired. would-be law students are just not being told the reality: there are too many lawyers. the market is saturated and grads are having a hell of a time finding jobs. even if you go to a great school, you have to be in the top 10-15% to land one of those coveted, six figure jobs. you have no guarantee of performing well.

keeping the debt in mind is the smartest choice you can make now. i'm about to finish law school with a mountain of debt and regret wholeheartedly my decision to undertake this kind of financial burden.

Re: Should I go to law school where I want to practice?

Posted: Thu Aug 12, 2010 12:31 am
by 2011Law
YoungFogey wrote:The best law schools do not teach the black letter law of their state. Most good law schools do not teach to the bar exam. Law school teaches you how to think. Bar review classes teach you what you need to know to pass the bar.

If you have the numbers, go to the best nationally ranked school you can. If your numbers place you out of the first tier of schools, go to the best school of in the area you most likely want to practice in.
Reviving this because I still don't understand why it is that law schools outside the t14 are so tied to their region. If they don't really teach you the law of the state, is it only because they have good connections / good reputations in their region? Would a law firm / judge (for clerkship) / non profit / government choose someone from a TTT school from their region over someone from a t40 school outside their region (everything else equal)? WHY?!?

Re: Should I go to law school where I want to practice?

Posted: Thu Aug 12, 2010 12:37 am
by stratocophic
2011Law wrote:
YoungFogey wrote:The best law schools do not teach the black letter law of their state. Most good law schools do not teach to the bar exam. Law school teaches you how to think. Bar review classes teach you what you need to know to pass the bar.

If you have the numbers, go to the best nationally ranked school you can. If your numbers place you out of the first tier of schools, go to the best school of in the area you most likely want to practice in.
Reviving this because I still don't understand why it is that law schools outside the t14 are so tied to their region. If they don't really teach you the law of the state, is it only because they have good connections / good reputations in their region? Would a law firm / judge (for clerkship) / non profit / government choose someone from a TTT school from their region over someone from a t40 school outside their region (everything else equal)? WHY?!?
Don't revive. Create a new thread. This is annoying. They might, they might not. They likely wouldn't unless we're talking top 5% or something, and maybe not even then. It's basically a non-issue.

Re: Should I go to law school where I want to practice?

Posted: Thu Aug 12, 2010 1:34 am
by 20160810
First of all, the vast majority of law schools do not teach in a state-specific manner. Secondly, if you're worried about what you'll need to pass the Bar, relax. That's what Barbri is for. Go to the best law school you get into. Now, if you want to practice in a secondary market (i.e. not NYC, DC, SF, LA, probably Chicago), there are two approaches to take:

1.) If you have strong ties to that market (i.e. family there, grew up there, lost your virginity to a girl who also grew up there in a car parked there, etc., NOT "I visited a few time.") then just go to the best law school you get into, ideally a T14. You'll stand ahead of the competition from Local State U, and the firms there will still know you're serious about working there because of your ties to the area. However, the benefit of going local would be convenience: Firms in your desired market will come to you in the form of your 2L OCI.

2.) If you don't have strong ties: Go to the nearest T14 school, or, failing that, the best school you get into in that market.

Re: Should I go to law school where I want to practice?

Posted: Thu Aug 12, 2010 7:38 am
by 270910
Should I go to law school where I want to practice?
Naw.

Re: Should I go to law school where I want to practice?

Posted: Thu Aug 12, 2010 8:45 am
by JustBelieve
AirsoftPlayer wrote:Hi, new to the site.

I will be applying to law schools next Fall semester, and this issue is really grinding at me. I go to undergrad in Florida, but I have no idea where I want to practice law. My concern is that most schools teach the law according to their state, so it makes the most sense to take the Bar exam in that state.

But what if I get accepted to a good law school, say in the Northeast, but don't want to practice there? Or if I only get into a Florida law school, but am limited from leaving the southeast.

How does this work? What about the multi-state bar exam?
It depends on you. The general answer is yes. However, the truth is that you never really know what direction your life will head. You may go to a law school in a certain region, land an incredible internship and you could be hired. However, you may work for a firm in your law school region and later move to a firm in a different region based upon your constantly changing interests. It all depends on which area of law you want to practice and your personal decision. It is all up to you but you should be fine with whatever decision you choose.

Re: Should I go to law school where I want to practice?

Posted: Thu Aug 12, 2010 9:45 am
by rockstar4488
Imagine for a second, if all the people that went to Cornell had to practice in Ithaca. Hilarious.

Disclaimer: This post was completely pointless.

Re: Should I go to law school where I want to practice?

Posted: Thu Aug 12, 2010 9:48 am
by jayn3
rockstar4488 wrote:Imagine for a second, if all the people that went to Cornell had to practice in Ithaca. Hilarious.

Disclaimer: This post was completely pointless.
you'd be amazed how much of the ithaca phonebook is devoted to solo firms.

Re:

Posted: Thu Aug 12, 2010 10:34 am
by Pizon
AirsoftPlayer wrote:As a white male from a single-income, middle-class, family, I doubt I will get any grants.
I think you actually will get some need-based grants, unless that single income is six figures.

Re: Should I go to law school where I want to practice?

Posted: Thu Aug 12, 2010 11:54 am
by gdane
Uhhh guys, this was originally posted like 3 years ago so its no use responding to the original post(er).

Re: Should I go to law school where I want to practice?

Posted: Wed Aug 18, 2010 11:38 pm
by Tatiana Mendez
You should decide where you want to practice law, if you're going to have the options of top schools. It makes sense to go to the cheaper local school if you're sure you want to practice in that area, but if you're not entirely sure, then I'd go with the best school possible so that your options are greater.

Re: Should I go to law school where I want to practice?

Posted: Wed Aug 18, 2010 11:47 pm
by Adjudicator
It really depends on the region, from what I hear.

Personally, I love the Pacific Northwest, have family there, etc., so University of Washington would be ideal for me. It is so dominant in the region that, from what I understand, only Harvard/Yale/Stanford are really a clear-cut tier above within WA.

And with in-state tuition it would only cost me $22,000/yr.