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Law Schools - Where and Why?

post #1 of 418
Thread Starter 
I've looked through a few of the infamous Law School threads in the past, but have yet to stumble on this topic via the searchbar. I realize the profession isn't in the greatest of shape right now, and that inevitably people will respond with the whole, "just don't go" response...

But I've fairly made up my mind that this is the path I should be pursuing - if not necessarily to practice law, then to get into gov't work, whatever. It's what feels "right".

So, I'm LSATing in the december session and am currently putting in apps via LSAC to Law Schools.

Where should I be going to Law School and why? Regionally, I'm currently between the Mountain West and West Coast (in Las Vegas) but would like nationwide possibilities. I'd love somewhere with a decent background touching any of these areas: international law, a funnel for government jobs, criminal justice, history, and (frankly) earning quite a bit. I am married and have a young daughter, and so would prefer something with a decent social offering for a young family as well. I would though like to hear advice even if it doesn't directly touch what I've addressed. Just want to soak up whatever I can.

I'd appreciate thoughts, experiences, and recommendations.

Hopefully if there's enough popular response, then this can become a reference thread for others looking to make the jump to law school as well.
Edited by El Argentino - 11/2/11 at 9:34am
post #2 of 418
Current law student here.

You're partly right, I wouldn't recommend going just to go. Or really even just to get into government work.

Anyway, for what you've described, any of the T14 and the DC schools are generally your better options, in my experience. There are many federal employers and state employers around here touching all those areas. But, understand, most of the federal and state employers here are not looking to hire straight out of school anymore. We had an alumni directly tell us we cannot compete with the pool of candidates lurking around, whereas we could have just a few years ago. C'est la vie.

If you're convinced this is what you should be doing, then the best overall advice I can give you is to use your alumni contacts starting immediately. Find people in an area you like and cold email them to ask for informational interviews. It's hit and miss, but my experience with alumni is generally very good.

Good luck.

Matt
post #3 of 418
Top 14 schools are your best bet if you want to work nationally. IF you're willing to do region midwest, mid-atlantic, etc., then you can reasonably adjust your options to include very good but not top ranked schools. I didn't go to law school but took the LSATs and applied with the intention of attending part time. Very thankful I didn't go though it cost me a few grand in the process (App fees, powerscore courses, LSAT fees). Doing my masters now part time.

Law school is very taxing - this from good friends that just finished or are wrapping up. PLus with how shitty it is for lawyers (expensive as fuck schools, too many graduates every year for too little openings plus too many previous graduates/lay offs milling about looking for gigs) it's a terrible idea to go unless you are genuinely interested in the work and aren't deluding yourself thinking you are sure bet for a $160k a year gig. My friends girlfriend just landed one of those in DC but she also went to Princeton..
post #4 of 418
Quote:
Originally Posted by Joffrey View Post

Top 14 schools are your best bet if you want to work nationally. IF you're willing to do region midwest, mid-atlantic, etc., then you can reasonably adjust your options to include very good but not top ranked schools. I didn't go to law school but took the LSATs and applied with the intention of attending part time. Very thankful I didn't go though it cost me a few grand in the process (App fees, powerscore courses, LSAT fees). Doing my masters now part time.
Law school is very taxing - this from good friends that just finished or are wrapping up. PLus with how shitty it is for lawyers (expensive as fuck schools, too many graduates every year for too little openings plus too many previous graduates/lay offs milling about looking for gigs) it's a terrible idea to go unless you are genuinely interested in the work and aren't deluding yourself thinking you are sure bet for a $160k a year gig. My friends girlfriend just landed one of those in DC but she also went to Princeton..

fuck yeah, she went to the most exclusive law school in the country!!???! I think Connie is the only other graduate shog[1].gif

foo.gif
post #5 of 418
Quote:
Originally Posted by Joffrey View Post

Top 14 schools are your best bet if you want to work nationally. IF you're willing to do region midwest, mid-atlantic, etc., then you can reasonably adjust your options to include very good but not top ranked schools. I didn't go to law school but took the LSATs and applied with the intention of attending part time. Very thankful I didn't go though it cost me a few grand in the process (App fees, powerscore courses, LSAT fees). Doing my masters now part time.
Law school is very taxing - this from good friends that just finished or are wrapping up. PLus with how shitty it is for lawyers (expensive as fuck schools, too many graduates every year for too little openings plus too many previous graduates/lay offs milling about looking for gigs) it's a terrible idea to go unless you are genuinely interested in the work and aren't deluding yourself thinking you are sure bet for a $160k a year gig. My friends girlfriend just landed one of those in DC but she also went to Princeton..

Never ever have truer words been spoken.
post #6 of 418
Quote:
Originally Posted by Joffrey View Post

Top 14 schools are your best bet if you want to work nationally. IF you're willing to do region midwest, mid-atlantic, etc., then you can reasonably adjust your options to include very good but not top ranked schools. I didn't go to law school but took the LSATs and applied with the intention of attending part time. Very thankful I didn't go though it cost me a few grand in the process (App fees, powerscore courses, LSAT fees). Doing my masters now part time.
Law school is very taxing - this from good friends that just finished or are wrapping up. PLus with how shitty it is for lawyers (expensive as fuck schools, too many graduates every year for too little openings plus too many previous graduates/lay offs milling about looking for gigs) it's a terrible idea to go unless you are genuinely interested in the work and aren't deluding yourself thinking you are sure bet for a $160k a year gig. My friends girlfriend just landed one of those in DC but she also went to Princeton..

She graduated from Princeton Law? Damn, you've got to be really, really special to have graduated from there. VERY exclusive. How Connie earned a degree from there, I'll never know.

EDIT: Damn it, Flambeur beat me to it.
post #7 of 418
Sorry Princeton undergrad. William and Mary for law school. shog[1].gif
post #8 of 418
Don't go to law school unless you want to be a practicing attorney. If not yet deterred, go to the highest ranking school possible. Do not bother going if you do not get into a top 100 school.
post #9 of 418
If you go you should try and get into Land Use. Tons of money from developers.
post #10 of 418
Quote:
Originally Posted by Slopho View Post

If you go you should try and get into Land Use. Tons of money from developers.

As someone trying to get into land use, this is true to an extent. It's an extremely small bar anywhere you go, even here in Northern Virginia. And it's a tough bar to break into. No one is hiring in it right now, and the last time any major hiring went on was about 5 years ago. Most firms doing this are looking for a planning background.
post #11 of 418
Quote:
Originally Posted by MattR View Post

As someone trying to get into land use, this is true to an extent. It's an extremely small bar anywhere you go, even here in Northern Virginia. And it's a tough bar to break into. No one is hiring in it right now, and the last time any major hiring went on was about 5 years ago. Most firms doing this are looking for a planning background.

LOL, yeah you got to know your zones. "This is Zoned R-60 and we want a mixed use zone." "This is zoned commercial and we want to build a ton of townhouses." If you're looking for a job you should come across the border to MoCo.
post #12 of 418
Quote:
Originally Posted by Slopho View Post

LOL, yeah you got to know your zones. "This is Zoned R-60 and we want a mixed use zone." "This is zoned commercial and we want to build a ton of townhouses." If you're looking for a job you should come across the border to MoCo.

I've thought about it. Especially with new development along the pike and the new zoning rules, there's going to be a lot of opportunities for redevelopment in the area. But with credit markets the way they are, firms seemed scared to hire, because projects can dry up on a whim. There are a few firms I have some connections to, but I haven't had a bite from any of them yet. C'est la vie.
post #13 of 418
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by sns23 View Post

Don't go to law school unless you want to be a practicing attorney. If not yet deterred, go to the highest ranking school possible. Do not bother going if you do not get into a top 100 school.

Top 100 is not an issue. More like shooting for top 25
post #14 of 418
Quote:
Originally Posted by El Argentino View Post

Top 100 is not an issue. More like shooting for top 25

Rank depends on region you want to practice in. In the DC area, lower ranked schools will get firms to interview there, but the tradeoff is they will usually only take top candidates. More regionally, however, rank begins to slip and well-known regional schools have an advantage.
post #15 of 418
I realize this question is vague and answers vary considerably from person to person, but given the current job market (and the forecasted job market in the next 4-8 years) how plausible is it to land a relatively high paying job ($75k+) for the average student at either a t14 or a school close to t14 in its own region (say UCLA for Socal or UTexas-Austin for Texas)?

I'm not completely sold on being a lawyer but I'm highly considering it given my positive experiences with both interning and talking to attorneys. Assuming I am able to gain admission into these schools (I'm a junior with a gpa around a 3.9, I anticipate somewhere between 3.7-3.9 by graduation; fairly decent standardized test taker) and assuming my parents will help me finance tuition cost so I can attend the best school possible... All this DOOOOOOOOOOOOM talk makes me question, is it worth going to law school, even though my circumstance is a bit different from the majority of lawschool hopefuls.
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