Originally Posted by ConcernedParent
All big, suffering markets
Want to: Los Angeles, Bay area, NYC; wouldn't mind: Boston, DC, Chicago, Philly, maybe Austin. I'll be one of those usual people and say I can't envision myself in the midwest or south.
Ok, well unfortunately in this economy the only schools that would open you up to all of those markets are Yale, Harvard, Stanford. So, these are the school I would avoid in the Top 20, with explanations for each:
Wash U: Great school, they give out a ton of scholly money, but they're a midwestern powerhouse with not much placement outside unless you're in the tippy top of your class.
Vanderbilt: Usually I recommend Vanderbilt to a lot of people with grades for the lower top 14. Their NLJ + Clerkship placement is historically as good as Cornell and Georgetown, and some years been even better (though Cornell had a superstar year, so this year they happen to be lower), they place in a wide variety of markets (50% in NY/DC, 10% in Cali), and they love giving out scholarship money. Sticker at Georgetown, Cornell, Duke versus a scholarship at Vandy would be a no brainer in my mind, I would take Vandy every single time. Their small class (about 180 students) also makes placement easier during a recession. However, they place about 30% of their class in the south, and for someone who would be absolutely miserable living in the south the risk is too great.
UT: If you had said you wouldn't mind Dallas or Houston, I would have recommended UT. However, Austin is a relatively small market that requires quite strong ties. Going to law school at UT usually isn't enough to stick around in Austin, you would need something like undergrad at UT, marrying/married to someone in Austin, parents live in Austin, things like that.
GW: Extremely expensive school in one of the most expensive cities in the world with one of the most competitive legal markets, and a top 14 as practically its next door neighbor. Its easy to see why GW is a very risky choice without a TON of scholarship money. With that said, they give out a really big scholarship that amounts to around 100k and first year room and board free. With that scholly I would consider it, otherwise no way.
And the one school I would recommend outside of the Top 20 is Boston University. BU places more or less like they're in the ut/ucla/vanderbilt range, however they're ranked outside the Top 20. They have great northeast placement in general including NY and (obviously) Boston.