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Deciding Where To Go To Law School


Chances are, if you're applying to law school for Fall 2017, you already have your list of schools complete and most of your applications submitted. Soon, you will start getting letters notifying you of acceptance (or rejection, but let's stay positive!)

Your next task is submitting your seat deposit and committing to a school. While there are many factors to consider, I find that my decision came down to two major factors: Location and financial aid.

Location

Although where you go to law school does not necessarily have to be where you want to practice, it's definitely helpful if you are in the general area, for a few reasons:

  1. You have to pass the bar in any state that you plan to practice in. And while you can absolutely pass a bar exam from a different state, I find that my classes often focus on laws specific to the state we're in.

  2. It's easier to network in your own area. I have met dozens of lawyers in LA, and very few anywhere else. Although many job applications take place online nowadays, it's easier to make connections in your own city that can help you out when looking for jobs down the line, or when looking for summer positions that will hopefully progress into full-time offers.

Financial Aid

If your parents are paying 100% for law school out of pocket, then lucky you and you can skip over this section. However, the reality is that most students rely on student loans and scholarships. Schools will often offer at least a partial scholarship, and sometimes full scholarships for qualified applicants. If you are planning on using loans to get through school, then the more money the school gives you for free, the less money you will have to pay back after graduation (AND the less interest will accrue on top).

If you were accepted to a prestigious school but got no scholarship money, and also to a less prestigious school but got most or all of it paid for, you have to consider if the reputation of the school really matters that much to you. Another thought on reputation, is that the more competitive the school is to get into; the more competitive it will be once school starts. Would you rather be lower in the class rank and pay more money to go to a higher regarded school, OR be higher in ranking and paying less money? Important things to think about!

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