Are there areas of law in which prestige of law school matters more?

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elransfo
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Are there areas of law in which prestige of law school matters more?

Postby elransfo » Thu Dec 07, 2017 1:26 pm

I read on another thread that going to a T14 matters less for immigration lawyers than for others. Is this true? Which areas care the most and least? I plan to go into criminal and had figured that prestige mattered quite a bit, but am now wondering if there's actually that much to be gained by going to NYU over Fordham (not to mention that the lower you go the cheaper it is).

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KENYADIGG1T
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Re: Are there areas of law in which prestige of law school matters more?

Postby KENYADIGG1T » Thu Dec 07, 2017 1:33 pm

In my experience as an aspiring law professor, prestige of schools does matter (a friend described it as "Yale or GTFO")--I really wish it didn't. But maybe with the interdisciplinary turn in legal academia, that creates more room for one's research to speak for itself.

Essentially I'm hopping on this thread because I'm curious too

cavalier1138
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Re: Are there areas of law in which prestige of law school matters more?

Postby cavalier1138 » Thu Dec 07, 2017 1:43 pm

"Criminal" is far too broad a field to give a good answer here.

The better broad-strokes classification would be state/federal. Practice areas centered on state law will tend to not care very much about "prestige" (but going to a flagship state school might carry more weight). Practice areas centered on federal law will tend to place more weight on your school's national pedigree.

So the answer to your question depends on what you want to do. If you want to work at SDNY, NYU beats Fordham every day of the week. If you want to work for a public defender's office in New Jersey, Seton Hall might be a better choice than Cornell. It entirely depends on your actual career goals.

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UVA2B
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Re: Are there areas of law in which prestige of law school matters more?

Postby UVA2B » Thu Dec 07, 2017 1:45 pm

This question is too broad to be answered succinctly or with any amount of accurate specificity. The reason it was probably said that immigration law doesn't require a T13 is because the assumption is that person wants to help indigent, undocumented aliens with the visa process and filing for resident legal alien status, etc. That type of work is mostly done by small law firms and local non-profits servicing their respective region. The amount of hiring they do will be limited, and a much bigger part to getting hired at one of those small firms/non-profits is showing a commitment to the work through internships and externships. If I'm heading a immigration non-profit that hires 1 new attorney every year or two, I would rather hire the recently graduating law student whom I know and has been working with me on a volunteer basis for several years, because it's unlikely they will fly off the first time they think something better magically comes along. So, in that sense, going to a local regional where those internships and externships are easily reached is way better than getting a shiny T13 degree from somewhere else. If you're looking to do immigration law work in NYC, it might be a great call to go to NYU or Columbia because of their superior LRAP, but it might also make sense to go to CUNY for cheaper in hopes of getting a highly sought after NYC immigration law gig. But it makes way more sense to go to, say, University of Arizona than it would be to go to Cornell if what you want most is to practice immigration law in the Southwest.

Now, when you're talking criminal law, that's a really broad term that could drastically change what you need to do based on how you define it. Do you mean a local ADA/PD, or are you thinking DOJ/AUSA/Federal defender? If you're thinking ADA/PD, are you thinking Bronx Defenders, Manhattan DA, or some of the other big city offices that are insanely competitive? Or are you thinking more white collar defense work? Each one of those areas will yield a different answer to your question.

No practice area is exactly a monolith, but there are only a few areas of the legal market where a T14 gives a decided leg up that you'll want to expressly care about from the outset (Biglaw generally, more desirable, competitive federal government jobs, and anything that traditionally requires a federal judicial clerkship prior to doing the work like elite appellate work or litigation boutiques come to mind).

So what type of criminal law are you imagining in your practice?

Edit: scooped

Edit 2: I also wanted to clarify that while T13 tend to do better in AUSA jobs generally, they are still obviously attainable from lower schools as well depending on what district you're talking about. Most often people are imagining walking into the SDNY or EDNY, not D. Mont.

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A. Nony Mouse
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Re: Are there areas of law in which prestige of law school matters more?

Postby A. Nony Mouse » Thu Dec 07, 2017 3:32 pm

KENYADIGG1T wrote:In my experience as an aspiring law professor, prestige of schools does matter (a friend described it as "Yale or GTFO")--I really wish it didn't. But maybe with the interdisciplinary turn in legal academia, that creates more room for one's research to speak for itself.

Essentially I'm hopping on this thread because I'm curious too

Legal academia is an entirely different creature from practice, though.

And agreed with the “it depends” answers above. I would say that overall, there’s much more room for grads from lower-ranked schools in criminal than corporate, which implies biglaw, which is extremely pedigree conscious, but there are some criminal positions where it still matters.

TheProsecutor
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Re: Are there areas of law in which prestige of law school matters more?

Postby TheProsecutor » Thu Dec 07, 2017 5:24 pm

Prestige matters for certain jobs, not certain areas of the law.

Prestige matters for the following jobs: (1) Academia; (2) federal clerkships; (3) biglaw, particularly the "prestige" firms like WLRK, Cravath, Paul Weiss, etc; (4) boutiques like Susman and Bartlit; (5) AUSA in prestige locations like SDNY, EDVA, and EDNY; (6) SEC Enforcement in DC or NY;(7) Main Justice in CCIPS or Fraud; and (8) PPA - presidential appointment positions like Article III judge or one of the leaders in an agency.

Prestige does not really matter for most other legal jobs. Relevant experience, connections, a demonstrated interest in the area, and local ties can make or break you.

ernie
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Re: Are there areas of law in which prestige of law school matters more?

Postby ernie » Thu Dec 07, 2017 5:26 pm

TheProsecutor wrote:Prestige matters for certain jobs, not certain areas of the law.

Prestige matters for the following jobs: (1) Academia; (2) federal clerkships; (3) biglaw, particularly the "prestige" firms like WLRK, Cravath, Paul Weiss, etc; (4) boutiques like Susman and Bartlit; (5) AUSA in prestige locations like SDNY, EDVA, and EDNY; (6) SEC Enforcement in DC or NY;(7) Main Justice in CCIPS or Fraud; and (8) PPA - presidential appointment positions like Article III judge or one of the leaders in an agency.

Prestige does not really matter for most other legal jobs. Relevant experience, connections, a demonstrated interest in the area, and local ties can make or break you.

Also prestige doesn't hurt in impact lit.

damask_rain
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Re: Are there areas of law in which prestige of law school matters more?

Postby damask_rain » Thu Dec 07, 2017 6:22 pm

TheProsecutor wrote:Prestige matters for certain jobs, not certain areas of the law.

Prestige matters for the following jobs: (1) Academia; (2) federal clerkships; (3) biglaw, particularly the "prestige" firms like WLRK, Cravath, Paul Weiss, etc; (4) boutiques like Susman and Bartlit; (5) AUSA in prestige locations like SDNY, EDVA, and EDNY; (6) SEC Enforcement in DC or NY;(7) Main Justice in CCIPS or Fraud; and (8) PPA - presidential appointment positions like Article III judge or one of the leaders in an agency.

Prestige does not really matter for most other legal jobs. Relevant experience, connections, a demonstrated interest in the area, and local ties can make or break you.


This may be a silly question, but what are local ties? I keep seeing this again and again on TLS and just wanted a clarification.

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pancakes3
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Re: Are there areas of law in which prestige of law school matters more?

Postby pancakes3 » Thu Dec 07, 2017 6:26 pm

damask_rain wrote:
TheProsecutor wrote:Prestige matters for certain jobs, not certain areas of the law.

Prestige matters for the following jobs: (1) Academia; (2) federal clerkships; (3) biglaw, particularly the "prestige" firms like WLRK, Cravath, Paul Weiss, etc; (4) boutiques like Susman and Bartlit; (5) AUSA in prestige locations like SDNY, EDVA, and EDNY; (6) SEC Enforcement in DC or NY;(7) Main Justice in CCIPS or Fraud; and (8) PPA - presidential appointment positions like Article III judge or one of the leaders in an agency.

Prestige does not really matter for most other legal jobs. Relevant experience, connections, a demonstrated interest in the area, and local ties can make or break you.


This may be a silly question, but what are local ties? I keep seeing this again and again on TLS and just wanted a clarification.


it's exactly what it sounds like - things that tie you to the area.

going to HS in the area, having a spouse who has a job in the area, having family in the area, etc.

damask_rain
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Re: Are there areas of law in which prestige of law school matters more?

Postby damask_rain » Thu Dec 07, 2017 6:31 pm

pancakes3 wrote:
damask_rain wrote:
TheProsecutor wrote:Prestige matters for certain jobs, not certain areas of the law.

Prestige matters for the following jobs: (1) Academia; (2) federal clerkships; (3) biglaw, particularly the "prestige" firms like WLRK, Cravath, Paul Weiss, etc; (4) boutiques like Susman and Bartlit; (5) AUSA in prestige locations like SDNY, EDVA, and EDNY; (6) SEC Enforcement in DC or NY;(7) Main Justice in CCIPS or Fraud; and (8) PPA - presidential appointment positions like Article III judge or one of the leaders in an agency.

Prestige does not really matter for most other legal jobs. Relevant experience, connections, a demonstrated interest in the area, and local ties can make or break you.


This may be a silly question, but what are local ties? I keep seeing this again and again on TLS and just wanted a clarification.


it's exactly what it sounds like - things that tie you to the area.

going to HS in the area, having a spouse who has a job in the area, having family in the area, etc.


Oh ok, so basically your network and who you know that can potentially help you.

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pancakes3
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Re: Are there areas of law in which prestige of law school matters more?

Postby pancakes3 » Thu Dec 07, 2017 6:47 pm

damask_rain wrote:
pancakes3 wrote:
damask_rain wrote:
TheProsecutor wrote:Prestige matters for certain jobs, not certain areas of the law.

Prestige matters for the following jobs: (1) Academia; (2) federal clerkships; (3) biglaw, particularly the "prestige" firms like WLRK, Cravath, Paul Weiss, etc; (4) boutiques like Susman and Bartlit; (5) AUSA in prestige locations like SDNY, EDVA, and EDNY; (6) SEC Enforcement in DC or NY;(7) Main Justice in CCIPS or Fraud; and (8) PPA - presidential appointment positions like Article III judge or one of the leaders in an agency.

Prestige does not really matter for most other legal jobs. Relevant experience, connections, a demonstrated interest in the area, and local ties can make or break you.


This may be a silly question, but what are local ties? I keep seeing this again and again on TLS and just wanted a clarification.


it's exactly what it sounds like - things that tie you to the area.

going to HS in the area, having a spouse who has a job in the area, having family in the area, etc.


Oh ok, so basically your network and who you know that can potentially help you.


Nah, it's more of an interview thing. If you want to go make oil money in Texas but you're not from Texas, they'll ask you why you want to go into O&G in Texas and if you don't have a "ties" reason, they are less likely to give you that job. An oversimplification, but for whatever reason, ties are a big deal.

Ppl will say it's bc they don't want you to jump ship, or it's bc of fit, or whatever. i don't know. i do know that it's a real thing, and preference for hiring does factor it in.

damask_rain
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Re: Are there areas of law in which prestige of law school matters more?

Postby damask_rain » Thu Dec 07, 2017 6:56 pm

pancakes3 wrote:
damask_rain wrote:
pancakes3 wrote:
damask_rain wrote:
TheProsecutor wrote:Prestige matters for certain jobs, not certain areas of the law.

Prestige matters for the following jobs: (1) Academia; (2) federal clerkships; (3) biglaw, particularly the "prestige" firms like WLRK, Cravath, Paul Weiss, etc; (4) boutiques like Susman and Bartlit; (5) AUSA in prestige locations like SDNY, EDVA, and EDNY; (6) SEC Enforcement in DC or NY;(7) Main Justice in CCIPS or Fraud; and (8) PPA - presidential appointment positions like Article III judge or one of the leaders in an agency.

Prestige does not really matter for most other legal jobs. Relevant experience, connections, a demonstrated interest in the area, and local ties can make or break you.


This may be a silly question, but what are local ties? I keep seeing this again and again on TLS and just wanted a clarification.


it's exactly what it sounds like - things that tie you to the area.

going to HS in the area, having a spouse who has a job in the area, having family in the area, etc.


Oh ok, so basically your network and who you know that can potentially help you.


Nah, it's more of an interview thing. If you want to go make oil money in Texas but you're not from Texas, they'll ask you why you want to go into O&G in Texas and if you don't have a "ties" reason, they are less likely to give you that job. An oversimplification, but for whatever reason, ties are a big deal.

Ppl will say it's bc they don't want you to jump ship, or it's bc of fit, or whatever. i don't know. i do know that it's a real thing, and preference for hiring does factor it in.


That's so weird. What if you just want to go away and start over somewhere new. That sucks. Haha
So for example, if you are from CA and you finish undergrad in CA, but you move to NY for law school, does that constitute as having ties in NY? Thx for explaining this.

SomewhatLearnedHand
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Re: Are there areas of law in which prestige of law school matters more?

Postby SomewhatLearnedHand » Thu Dec 07, 2017 7:00 pm

damask_rain wrote:
pancakes3 wrote:
damask_rain wrote:
pancakes3 wrote:
damask_rain wrote:
TheProsecutor wrote:Prestige matters for certain jobs, not certain areas of the law.

Prestige matters for the following jobs: (1) Academia; (2) federal clerkships; (3) biglaw, particularly the "prestige" firms like WLRK, Cravath, Paul Weiss, etc; (4) boutiques like Susman and Bartlit; (5) AUSA in prestige locations like SDNY, EDVA, and EDNY; (6) SEC Enforcement in DC or NY;(7) Main Justice in CCIPS or Fraud; and (8) PPA - presidential appointment positions like Article III judge or one of the leaders in an agency.

Prestige does not really matter for most other legal jobs. Relevant experience, connections, a demonstrated interest in the area, and local ties can make or break you.


This may be a silly question, but what are local ties? I keep seeing this again and again on TLS and just wanted a clarification.


it's exactly what it sounds like - things that tie you to the area.

going to HS in the area, having a spouse who has a job in the area, having family in the area, etc.


Oh ok, so basically your network and who you know that can potentially help you.


Nah, it's more of an interview thing. If you want to go make oil money in Texas but you're not from Texas, they'll ask you why you want to go into O&G in Texas and if you don't have a "ties" reason, they are less likely to give you that job. An oversimplification, but for whatever reason, ties are a big deal.

Ppl will say it's bc they don't want you to jump ship, or it's bc of fit, or whatever. i don't know. i do know that it's a real thing, and preference for hiring does factor it in.


That's so weird. What if you just want to go away and start over somewhere new. That sucks. Haha
So for example, if you are from CA and you finish undergrad in CA, but you move to NY for law school, does that constitute as having ties in NY? Thx for explaining this.


Yes, generally going to law school in a certain market is sufficient.

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pancakes3
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Re: Are there areas of law in which prestige of law school matters more?

Postby pancakes3 » Thu Dec 07, 2017 7:10 pm

damask_rain wrote:
pancakes3 wrote:
damask_rain wrote:
pancakes3 wrote:
damask_rain wrote:
TheProsecutor wrote:Prestige matters for certain jobs, not certain areas of the law.

Prestige matters for the following jobs: (1) Academia; (2) federal clerkships; (3) biglaw, particularly the "prestige" firms like WLRK, Cravath, Paul Weiss, etc; (4) boutiques like Susman and Bartlit; (5) AUSA in prestige locations like SDNY, EDVA, and EDNY; (6) SEC Enforcement in DC or NY;(7) Main Justice in CCIPS or Fraud; and (8) PPA - presidential appointment positions like Article III judge or one of the leaders in an agency.

Prestige does not really matter for most other legal jobs. Relevant experience, connections, a demonstrated interest in the area, and local ties can make or break you.


This may be a silly question, but what are local ties? I keep seeing this again and again on TLS and just wanted a clarification.


it's exactly what it sounds like - things that tie you to the area.

going to HS in the area, having a spouse who has a job in the area, having family in the area, etc.


Oh ok, so basically your network and who you know that can potentially help you.


Nah, it's more of an interview thing. If you want to go make oil money in Texas but you're not from Texas, they'll ask you why you want to go into O&G in Texas and if you don't have a "ties" reason, they are less likely to give you that job. An oversimplification, but for whatever reason, ties are a big deal.

Ppl will say it's bc they don't want you to jump ship, or it's bc of fit, or whatever. i don't know. i do know that it's a real thing, and preference for hiring does factor it in.


That's so weird. What if you just want to go away and start over somewhere new. That sucks. Haha
So for example, if you are from CA and you finish undergrad in CA, but you move to NY for law school, does that constitute as having ties in NY? Thx for explaining this.


NYC has the lowest requirement for ties to the point where they don't really care about ties. DC also, but NYC is bc there are just so many jobs in NYC that ties don't matter as much and DC bc the firms/bigfed jobs are so desirable that wanting the jobs speaks for itself.

You would have fairly strong ties to CA, and if you were to interview with firms in CA, you would have better chances of getting the offer than someone without ties - all things being equal. Some places are really insular - like very small satellite offices (think... Richmond VA) where ties are practically a requisite for an interview.

damask_rain
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Re: Are there areas of law in which prestige of law school matters more?

Postby damask_rain » Thu Dec 07, 2017 7:24 pm

pancakes3 wrote:
damask_rain wrote:
pancakes3 wrote:
damask_rain wrote:
pancakes3 wrote:
damask_rain wrote:
TheProsecutor wrote:Prestige matters for certain jobs, not certain areas of the law.

Prestige matters for the following jobs: (1) Academia; (2) federal clerkships; (3) biglaw, particularly the "prestige" firms like WLRK, Cravath, Paul Weiss, etc; (4) boutiques like Susman and Bartlit; (5) AUSA in prestige locations like SDNY, EDVA, and EDNY; (6) SEC Enforcement in DC or NY;(7) Main Justice in CCIPS or Fraud; and (8) PPA - presidential appointment positions like Article III judge or one of the leaders in an agency.

Prestige does not really matter for most other legal jobs. Relevant experience, connections, a demonstrated interest in the area, and local ties can make or break you.


This may be a silly question, but what are local ties? I keep seeing this again and again on TLS and just wanted a clarification.


it's exactly what it sounds like - things that tie you to the area.

going to HS in the area, having a spouse who has a job in the area, having family in the area, etc.


Oh ok, so basically your network and who you know that can potentially help you.


Nah, it's more of an interview thing. If you want to go make oil money in Texas but you're not from Texas, they'll ask you why you want to go into O&G in Texas and if you don't have a "ties" reason, they are less likely to give you that job. An oversimplification, but for whatever reason, ties are a big deal.

Ppl will say it's bc they don't want you to jump ship, or it's bc of fit, or whatever. i don't know. i do know that it's a real thing, and preference for hiring does factor it in.


That's so weird. What if you just want to go away and start over somewhere new. That sucks. Haha
So for example, if you are from CA and you finish undergrad in CA, but you move to NY for law school, does that constitute as having ties in NY? Thx for explaining this.


NYC has the lowest requirement for ties to the point where they don't really care about ties. DC also, but NYC is bc there are just so many jobs in NYC that ties don't matter as much and DC bc the firms/bigfed jobs are so desirable that wanting the jobs speaks for itself.

You would have fairly strong ties to CA, and if you were to interview with firms in CA, you would have better chances of getting the offer than someone without ties - all things being equal. Some places are really insular - like very small satellite offices (think... Richmond VA) where ties are practically a requisite for an interview.


I have a follow up question. If I want to study on the East Coast, but move back and work in CA, would CA firms prefer that I stay here to begin with or it wouldn't really matter? (Say it was a decision between studying at UVA or UC Berkeley for example, or even a school that ranked somewhat higher than UVA, such as NYU).

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pancakes3
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Re: Are there areas of law in which prestige of law school matters more?

Postby pancakes3 » Thu Dec 07, 2017 7:39 pm

T13 are more portable than non T13's so a firm won't fault you for going East for school - especially since you've got strong west coast ties. if you were from the east coast and went to UVa instead of Boalt... ppl would ask "why Cali?"

elransfo
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Re: Are there areas of law in which prestige of law school matters more?

Postby elransfo » Fri Dec 08, 2017 11:55 am

Ty for all the replies! Bottom line is I'm not sure at all how to narrow down my aspirations yet. I've never worked in law and the only criminal lawyer I know works for the DA in SF. What I'm getting from this, though, is that top law school degrees are more portable and offer greater flexibility in terms of opportunities, which makes sense. I have to stay in NY for the next four years bc my boyfriend is in med school, but we have thought about moving back to the bay area after school, which is obviously not ideal for law school. But given that I will need a degree with recognition on both coasts, I'm figuring going to a T13 probably would make a significant difference in the event that I move back to California. Ty for the advice, guys!

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Re: Are there areas of law in which prestige of law school matters more?

Postby unicorntamer666 » Sat Dec 09, 2017 1:09 am

UVA2B wrote:This question is too broad to be answered succinctly or with any amount of accurate specificity. The reason it was probably said that immigration law doesn't require a T13 is because the assumption is that person wants to help indigent, undocumented aliens with the visa process and filing for resident legal alien status, etc. That type of work is mostly done by small law firms and local non-profits servicing their respective region. The amount of hiring they do will be limited, and a much bigger part to getting hired at one of those small firms/non-profits is showing a commitment to the work through internships and externships. If I'm heading a immigration non-profit that hires 1 new attorney every year or two, I would rather hire the recently graduating law student whom I know and has been working with me on a volunteer basis for several years, because it's unlikely they will fly off the first time they think something better magically comes along. So, in that sense, going to a local regional where those internships and externships are easily reached is way better than getting a shiny T13 degree from somewhere else. If you're looking to do immigration law work in NYC, it might be a great call to go to NYU or Columbia because of their superior LRAP, but it might also make sense to go to CUNY for cheaper in hopes of getting a highly sought after NYC immigration law gig. But it makes way more sense to go to, say, University of Arizona than it would be to go to Cornell if what you want most is to practice immigration law in the Southwest.

Now, when you're talking criminal law, that's a really broad term that could drastically change what you need to do based on how you define it. Do you mean a local ADA/PD, or are you thinking DOJ/AUSA/Federal defender? If you're thinking ADA/PD, are you thinking Bronx Defenders, Manhattan DA, or some of the other big city offices that are insanely competitive? Or are you thinking more white collar defense work? Each one of those areas will yield a different answer to your question.

No practice area is exactly a monolith, but there are only a few areas of the legal market where a T14 gives a decided leg up that you'll want to expressly care about from the outset (Biglaw generally, more desirable, competitive federal government jobs, and anything that traditionally requires a federal judicial clerkship prior to doing the work like elite appellate work or litigation boutiques come to mind).

So what type of criminal law are you imagining in your practice?

Edit: scooped

Edit 2: I also wanted to clarify that while T13 tend to do better in AUSA jobs generally, they are still obviously attainable from lower schools as well depending on what district you're talking about. Most often people are imagining walking into the SDNY or EDNY, not D. Mont.


This is all great advice.

I would add only that, as a general rule, the prestige of your school matters less than you probably think, especially if you do very well at whichever school you attend (top students from Hastings/Fordham have *almost* as many opportunities as T13-ers). Plus, aspiring law students tend to prioritize prestige in the short-run (AKA being able to say they go to a T13) over the long-run value of the degree relative to its cost. I know this in part because I found myself doing the same. Given what you've said, I would probably take a full or near-full scholarship from a regional school, someplace like Fordham/Hastings, and network within your area of interest. Just do well there and you'll do fine. Work like crazy your first year.

Hard to overstate the value of graduating debt free - esp. if you may not qualify for loan forgiveness.

But yes, the short answer is, if you are absolutely determined to be a striver who qualifies for the types of jobs that are only available to a handful of people each year (SCOTUS clerk, AUSA, solicitor general, law professor, employee of "boutique" where you work >3000 hours a year), prestige will matter. Otherwise, it shouldn't, unless you let it - especially if your work is good and your profs/supervisors will vouch for you.




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