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Choices for law school T20-T30

Posted: Wed Mar 07, 2018 9:11 pm
by teddycanyon
Ahhhhhhh guys I could really use your help advising me as to what you would do in my situation, because I really do not have a clear cut choice.

I came out of Columbia University in 2014 with a 3.33 GPA and a bad drinking problem. I sobered up, worked as a wine salesman from 2014-2016 and eventually became a paralegal at a Westchester, NY law firm. I got a 167 on my LSAT.

I got waitlisted at Virginia, Georgetown, and UCLA, and flat-out rejected at Berkeley (plus Texas at Austin/USC STILL haven't gotten back to me more than 4 months after applying :roll:). But I did get into some respectable schools ranked between 20-35:

Emory ($37K/yr scholarship)
GWU ($35K/yr scholarship)
Minnesota ($30K/yr scholarship)
Boston College ($27K/yr scholarship)
Boston University ($25K/yr scholarship)
Fordham ($30K/yr scholarship)
UC Davis ($35K/yr scholarship)
Notre Dame ($30K/yr scholarship)

Even though I got into Fordham on scholarship, I feel like it's time to leave New York as I have been here all my life, and want a new experience.

I do not have a science background so Intellectual Property seems off the table, and I don't want to work in government making five figures while accruing massive debt.

I'm looking at potentially being a hot-shot litigator down the road, much like my boss at the current admiralty/inland trucking transportation law firm that I currently work at as a paralegal.

Davis is appealing considering my background in wine - as they are close to wine country, and I may have aspirations to pursue some sort of wine law specialty. However, the median starting salary post-graduation is far lower than some of my other options.

I really do not have a preference as far as cities go, because I won't know anyone outside New York anyway.

The drawbacks with Boston College and Notre Dame are that I am an agnostic Jew and feel I may not fit in. On the flip side, I may prefer that those two schools are not located in big cities, as I got kind of stressed out living at Columbia in NYC for four years.

Having pretty girls on campus would be definitely be a plus, if any of these schools rank higher in that department.

What do you think my best option is considering the circumstances??? I only have a few weeks left to make a decision AHHHHHH!!! THANKS!!! :D

Re: Choices for law school T20-T30

Posted: Thu Mar 08, 2018 1:27 pm
by LonelySprout
I cast a vote for Davis.

Living in California and having a few friends from college who just graduated from King, I can say that Davis is a solid option. Even if the median starting salary at Davis isn't as high as schools in major urban centers, the cost of living in Davis/Sacramento is exceedingly lower. Likewise, it is highly possible that you can break into the Bay Area market too. Sacramento is not as posh as So-Cal or parts of the Bay Area; however, it is decisively smaller than New York and larger than South Bend, Indiana (Notre Dame.) My three friends performed in the top 30% of their class and all found gainful, debt-paying employment:

1. Friend 1 is working at a State Appellate Court as a research attorney with a 70k starting salary which will up to 100k+ in a few years.
2. Friend 2 is working in the Bay Area for a employment litigation firm making six figures.
3. Friend 3 is a clerk for a federal court who will then transition, I imagine, into a big-law job.

From what I have heard and seen, if you do well at Davis, you set yourself up for a solid career, especially in California.

Best of luck making your decisions! Have you spoken yet to any students at these law schools? Trying to get in touch with someone who isn't told to field your call is a fantastic way to get a somewhat sober impression of the character of that school.

Re: Choices for law school T20-T30

Posted: Fri Mar 09, 2018 1:09 am
by DebtPrisoner
The problem I've always intuited with places like Fordham and the Bostons is that I feel like you are somewhat regionally limited, in already saturated markets. For GW I also have that fear, as T14s from all over + GW send their grads to the beltway, though Washington can support a lot of lawyers. Emory and Notre Dame probably give you the best BigLaw chances, maybe starting in Atlanta/Chicago then moving.

CA state government seems to hire a lot out of Davis, and CA state salaries are high relative to cost of living in Sacramento (and usually higher than fed salaries). Davis also close to a lot of major food, farm, logistics stuff. However, it is very public interest oriented.

You are not necessarily excluded from IP if you don't have a science BG; you just might not be working complex software/chem/pharma. You should also consider copyright/entertainment law if you are interested in IP but not necessarily science (IP for the arts!).

Interestingly enough, winemakers seem to very aggressively protect their IP and marks - I know a small brewery that was sued by one of the big wine conglomerates because the brewery shared a name with one of the conglom's labels (which was also the name if the town the brewery was in). So hey—that could be you!

Hopefully USC will come through because their alum network is very hooked up and very loyal. It's also in a city that is threatening silicon valley in terms of innovation businesses, if you are interested in IP. And obviously great for copyright/entertainment .

Re: Choices for law school T20-T30

Posted: Fri Mar 09, 2018 1:32 am
by RedGiant
BU Law alum here. I was not at all rah-rah Boston, had similar options to you (right down to your waitlist schools--UVA dinged me finally, in mid-August). BU bats surprising above its average in terms of job placement. It's pretty impressive. I also think that BU is not in a very "city" part of Boston. It's not all the way downtown in the financial district or anything.

I also had a similar scholarship at Fordham and GW, but the cost of attendance at each was so much higher than certain other schools.

I would try to negotiate with BU and bump them closer to 30. They will pay for your 167--it's above their average. Be patient. I told them no, and then two weeks later, they gave me a much more generous scholarship. Note that they unofficially will not "negotiate" against BC offers, so you need to play the Emory card (or any other school), not BC is giving me 2K more.

I came from being a paralegal in biglaw. King is a great school and Davis (and it's wine program) are awesome. Sacramento is a pretty great town too--close to Tahoe, not too expensive, decent weather. However, I will say that if you are in the middle of the class, it is harder to get good jobs from King. There are just so many "better" law schools in CA that King grads get a bit lost in the shuffle. I did a lot of research into King (several of my attorneys went there and a few of their wives did too) and they all cautioned that if you're up high, great. If not...not.

If you like the South, pick Emory. But if the Northeast is calling you, strong plug for BC.

Anecdata from friends that attended ND--it's very hard to get a good job outside of the MidWest from ND. It's a respected brand but somehow doesn't have the placement. If you're cool with a future in Indy or KC, go there. If not...don't.

I took one class at BC when I was in law school. I did not find the law school overly Catholic or anything. Sure, we got emails from administrators who were church-affiliated, but there was no God talk or anything, and there were definitely non-Catholic folks. I will say that BC skewed more "Boston-y" and a litle bit younger than BU seemed to me, but maybe was not a representative sample.

Hope that my free form rambling is helpful. GL!

Re: Choices for law school T20-T30

Posted: Fri Mar 09, 2018 3:12 pm
by TirantMartorell
RedGiant wrote:
Anecdata from friends that attended ND--it's very hard to get a good job outside of the MidWest from ND. It's a respected brand but somehow doesn't have the placement. If you're cool with a future in Indy or KC, go there. If not...don't.

The bold is absolutely incorrect. The only people from ND who get jobs in KC, Indy, or other regional Midwest cities are student from those cities who want to go back home. In fact, if you're a non-Midwesterner in ND, getting a job at a regional Midwestern market is an uphill battle because you don't have ties. The top 3 states for 2016 graduates were Illinois (33), New York (15) and California (14).

Don't expect an avalanche of California or NY firms to show up at OCI. OCI will be mostly Midwestern firms, but you can and many student do get hired at big firms outside of OCI. It makes no sense for a firm from Dallas or Atlanta to come to ND to hire, when there might only be a couple of students in any given class interested in going there. I graduated above median, secondary journal, and had no problems getting interviews and hired at a large firm in the South where I have ties.

Re: Choices for law school T20-T30

Posted: Tue Mar 13, 2018 9:22 pm
by Tempest818
Have you considered UC Irvine? They've jumped 7 points to #21.

Re: Choices for law school T20-T30

Posted: Fri Mar 16, 2018 1:35 pm
by teddycanyon
Tempest818 wrote:Have you considered UC Irvine? They've jumped 7 points to #21.

No! I'm regretting not applying, but was scared of how new they are as a school.

A lot of helpful feedback on this post, though my decision is still unclear. I'm going next week to visit the Boston schools and GWU, and then I think I will ask which school I like best to match the Emory offer. Thoughts?

Re: Choices for law school T20-T30

Posted: Sat Mar 17, 2018 5:34 pm
by Bigjuicy123

Funny, I have similar stats (3.4/166) and also went to a top school, so I can empathize with your situation. Also, I'm from the Northern California area and lived in NYC for a little bit. I'm basically familiar with all of your selections (I have a similar list) and have lived in most of the places you're considering living in.

I understand that you've been in New York your whole life, but I would strongly recommend against UC Davis as a law school. I'm familiar with the types of kids that go there, both for UG and Law School, and I think people here on this board are excessively weighting Davis' ranking (which certainly punches above its weight) with the lifestyle change you're going to undergo with this transition. Yes, Davis area is known for agriculture, but I'm telling you... you're probably not going to like Sacramento. The reason why the COL is cheap... is because less people want to live there. And the COL isn't even that cheap because people are getting priced out of the Bay Area and move here. By and large, you're going to be isolated from the crowds you were probably acquainted with at Columbia, and Ivy League degrees don't really carry as much weight here as they should. It's a completely different milieu. Again, I just can't overstate how different SF/LA are from the rest of California.

If there's anything working has taught me in the past few years... you should surround yourself with either A) the best people possible, or B) people that will at least be impressed with what you've done thus far (pedigree/background). I went to top-rated liberal arts college that most people here think is a community college... it really matters what kind of people you're surrounded by.

I would recommend GWU.