(Closed) What To Do About the Three Ls

posted 10 years ago in Relationships
  • poll: Which law school should I attend?
    The no distance school Mr. Golden attends with half tuition scholarship. : (12 votes)
    36 %
    The long distance neighboring state school with a full tuition scholarship. : (9 votes)
    27 %
    The super long distance and expensive Ivy-League school. : (10 votes)
    30 %
    I can't decide that easily either and will comment below! : (2 votes)
    6 %
  • Post # 3
    2765 posts
    Sugar bee

    What a tough decision!

    I think a lot depends on your professional goals, and where/how you’d like to eventually practice law.  Do you have a sense for what you’d like to do after you graduate?

    Post # 4
    1276 posts
    Bumble bee
    • Wedding: August 2009

    I’m with Mr. Bee taht it really depends on your goals.  If you want a big law firm job, then especially in this economy I think that the Ivy League is the way to go.  If you want soemthing else, it might depend a lot on what special programs the schools have to offer.  Like are there externships that would help put you in touch with organizations or specialty firms you might want to look at?  I’m not a lawyre, but many of my friends are.  My Maid/Matron of Honor swears that it was worth taking the extra debt to go to a top 5 law school (turning down a full ride to a second tier school) b/c she had so many incredible opportunities in big cities around the country when she graduated.  Another got a full ride to his good (best in state but not top tier) state university, and since he knew he wanted to live and work in his home state it was definitely the right decision as he has no debt and a lot of job flexibility b/c of that.  He says that many lawyers are unhappy b/c they don’t like their jobs but b/c of their debt they can’t quit them…I know boht happy and miserable lawyers, so I think it’s not a given.  But I do think the job flexibility is a strong consideration.  So that’s the school part.

    The marriage part is a little more personal.  It sounds like you’ll still have another 2 years of law school when you get married.  IF you go out of state, is he likely to move where you are when he’s done?  Or will it be 3 years of LD?  I personally have an incredible opportunity across the country, so we’ll be spending a year apart soon after our wedding.  It’s hard to imagine, but so is postponing or turning it down or having him quit his great job…so it’s worth it to us, but we’ve also been LD before and we have a sense of how it is for us.  I think that things to consider are: how well do you really think your relationship can handle long distance (3 hours on the phone a day will likely be impossible in law school).  How important is your education/career to you, as in, will you resent him if you ultimately give up what you call the incredible opportunity (I know that in the long run I’d probably have issues with giving up the opportunity that is taking me away for the first year of our marriage)?  What are your long term financial plans, as in will saddling yourselves with a lot of extra debt early in your marriage be a problem b/c you want to have kids or buy a house soon?  I also think the issue of being in a new city is worth considering.  If you’ve never done it before it can be really difficult, but possibly also rewarding.  You’ll just have to decide how much the extra challenge might be worth to you.

    Overall, I definitely don’t have a specific recommendation, but hopefully the above will help you think about it. If you have more details I’m happy to write more.  We’ve been together 4 years, and after a year of LD I left my prestigious university to finish my PhD near him (though still got the degree from my institution).  This was really difficult for many, many reasons, but ultimately the right decision for me.  But I am extremely lucky in how well everything worked out for me in the end, as well, and it could have been different.  I don’t think it’s unromantic or selfish to consider your own opportunities in making these decisions, and I don’t htink choosing to live far apart for a while has to mean that you are not choosing your relationship.  But I do think it’s very hard, so you need to be committed to the reason that you’re choosing it.

    Post # 6
    1356 posts
    Bumble bee

    I graduated from law school just less than a year ago. I am certain my view of the choosing of law schools is much different in retrospect. As you know, law school is an extremely stressful time. Especially 1L. That you two have made it through his first year is a testament to your relationship! 🙂 The bottom line of schools is, 1) go where you want to take the Bar. Seriously. It is way easier to take it in the state where you went to school (or so I hear from my friends who didn’t). 2) Realize that the economy is even affecting legal jobs. A lot of firms are laying people off and have hiring freezes for new associates. The only reason I bring that up is that the school debt that used to be more easily paid off isn’t so easy now. I would know. I’ll be paying off my debt forever. That being said, the half scholarship will certainly help! Oh and "prestige" in Florida really doesn’t seem to matter too much when applying for jobs, as long as you are in those top three. I went to one of those three in Florida, so feel free to PM me with any more specific questions. Good luck!

    Post # 7
    7081 posts
    Busy Beekeeper
    • Wedding: July 2009

    You’ve done the long distance thing and know you can handle it, so that’s a good first step!  It sounds like the whole world is open to you… so what is your gut telling you?  I’ve faced a similar delimma when picking a fellowship program, and ultimately when ranking my priorities (at the time) I thought that going to the program that would push my career forward most would be the best for me.

    Remember that law school is hard… really hard… I went through it with my roommate, and she struggled, I struggled, her dog felt neglected… You get the picture.  With the fact that law school (and especially 1L year) is so hard, would it be an added advantage to be with your sweetie?

    Another factor consider is the cost of school.  Do you want to be starting a marriage and a law career with big debt?  Going to school debt free will free you up to practice any kind of law you want, and not make you feel like you have to go in to the corporate, billable hours world.  If you want to do immigration, civil rights, environmental, international or any other non-corporate sector, debt could be a huge and debilitating burden.

    Finally, in law school, prestige of program is very important.  You’ve seen where Harvard Law Review can get you ;)… So if you have lofty career goals going to the most prestigious institution may outweigh other programs.

    So there, I’ve just successfully made the case for all three choices… Were it my choice, I’d probably choose the school where I’d come out debt free, but that’s because I’ve realized that I want a family and don’t want to be a powerhouse in my field anymore.  Unfortunately, that realization happened after I’d undertaken my current position which is geared toward giving me a heavy hitting career.

    Post # 9
    57 posts
    Worker bee
    • Wedding: May 2009

    I would definitely choose the Ivy League school. I am a lawyer by the way. I went to a law school ranked about 25th in the nation and I think my job opportunities would have been much better if I went to a school ranked in the top 10 or so. It definitely matters where you go to law school!! Yeah, sure, you might get a good job if you go to a regional school and you are ranked in the top 10% of your class. But you can’t count on that. If you go to the Ivy League school you will have way better opportunities, even if you are not the class superstar. Also it will be much more likely that you will be able to get a job in the geographic area in which you want to live. Much better to make the long distance sacrifice now, as opposed to later (if you and your fiance are not able to find jobs in the same city after graduation).

    Post # 10
    112 posts
    Blushing bee
    • Wedding: September 2009

    Another lawyer weighing in.  Tough decision.  First, let me say that most of us who went to law school can attest to the fact that a large % of marital relationships did not survive law school.  Don’t ask me why this happens, but it was common in my law school to hear about divorces and hookups left and right (not trying to be negative, just being honest).  I went to a top tier law school within the top 15 or so.  I have been out over 7 years and I swear, an amazing thing happens, other lawyers still harp on where they went to school, what they did while they were there, so on and so forth.  I have also been privy to conversations between older attorneys and it was shocking!  In a nutshell, they were very open about looking down on candidates who went to "second tier" or regionally ranked schools.  I think this tends to happen in large or mid size firms, although there is an unspoken "ranking" amongst lawyers based upon where you went to school, whether you were on law review or moot court, class ranking, job history, etc.. 

    I am not sure if I helped at all, sorry.  I think you have to prioritize.  I turned down two (2) full scholarships (over $100,00 combined) to go to my law school.  Would I do it again?  Not really sure because I have debt that other people don’t have any longer.  However, I am not sure that I would have had the same opportunities either.  Do a lot of soul searching and try to be very honest with yourself as you make this decision because it will affect you for the rest of your life.  Try to imagine yourself 5 years down the line at a social event where you are asked the inevitable questions, what do you do and then, where did you go to law school.  I know that it sounds shallow (and believe me I am not because I no longer practice in the traditional sense), but imagine how you will feel and what you would be proud to say be it I went to — and have my own practice, I went to — school and I work at — law firm, or I went to — school and I work part-time so that I can raise my kids.  Based upon your response – put your focus there because this is your ideal life! 

    Good luck!

    Post # 11
    184 posts
    Blushing bee

    Current law student, due to graduate this May…thank goodness. My vote is for the law school where your FH is currently a student. As many have already said, law school is f-ing hard. It becomes much easier, however, when you have someone there supporting you through it. 

    Where you go to school matters – in terms of bragging rights and in determining your first job.  Past that first job, it can certainly still have an impact but your future depends more upon your actual job performance. If you are a good lawyer, you will get a good job; lawyers are nothing if not result oriented. 

    I know you are planning out your future and there are all these considerations to balance, but please don’t forget your own happiness. While you did well with one year of long distance, law school represents three years apart under stressful and emotionally draining conditions. I am not saying that you are destined to fail – you sound incredibly in love – its just that law school complicates things. 

    I had the good fortune of meeting my FH right at the start of law school (he’s not a student, though) and he has been instrumental in my succcess at school. It’s nice to have someone bring you soup while you are studying for finals. Oh and never underestimate the good of an easily available source of excellent sex .  It certainly helped me make it through my first year.

    Post # 12
    1276 posts
    Bumble bee
    • Wedding: August 2009

    One important thing to consider, I think, is that if you’re looking at wanting to work in non-profit/public interest law…many of the top tier law schools have programs to offset the cost of your loans if you take a lower paying public sector or non-profit job.  Definitely soemthing to find out more about before making a decision.

    I also think for any decision on schooling, the best thing you can do for yourself is talk to alumni (maybe 3 years out and 10 years out).  They’ll have the best perspective on what the value of the program is to their career, and what was good and bad about their experience.  Also, are there many lawyers at your non-profit?  Do they have some advice?  It’s so hard to make these decisions b/c everyone’s life goals are so personal…but I think the best thing you can do is get as much information as possible, and in the end trust your gut.  Selecting my PhD institution was an extremely difficult decision, and at every step I’m pretty sure I did the least likely thing.  But I asked a lot of questions, and I knew exactly what I thought I was getting into…and in the end it worked out nothing like I planned, and for the most part way, way better.  So ultimately I think all you can do is make the best decision with the info and circumstances that you have…but always be willing to reevaluate.  As in, maybe you do go to the Ivy League school, but be open to transfer if LD turns out too hard or whatever…that’s jsut an example, not a recommendation.  From my perspective I think that from what you say you’d like to do that minimizing debt might be the best option, but I’m not a lawyer so…

    Post # 13
    253 posts
    Helper bee
    • Wedding: October 2009

    I voted for "Mr. Golden’s school."  I’m a 2L and I chose a local law school (usually rated in the 50s) with a full-tuition scholarship over a T14 so I could stay with my Fiance.  Honestly, I’d do the same thing again and have no regrets — but I have no desire to work at a big firm, so I couldn’t justify the hardship of being away from Fiance and the price tag for the "prestigious" school.  In the current economy, with law firms hacking away at associates, I’m VERY glad not to have the debt.  The flipside is that I’m interested in government work, but it’s becoming much more competitive because it’s one of the few "safe" legal jobs left right now, so choosing the cheap, local school might hurt me a bit there.

    Law school is awful and I hate many things about it, so I can’t imagine how I’d get through without my Fiance to encourage me.  And since I can scarcely find time to grocery shop, I’m pretty sure that weekend visits wouldn’t have worked if we were long-distance.

    Good luck with your decision, and whatever that is, good luck with law school, too!

    Post # 14
    631 posts
    Busy bee

    I am a lawyer, and went to a top-ten ranked law school.  There are a LOT of considerations for you to think about….  Two things that come to mind:

    1.  Law is very local.  If you know where you want to practice, especially a smaller city or town, sometimes a local school is the way to go.  The connections you’ll make will help you to get a job.

    2.  If you want to practice at a large international/coporate firm (we call it "Big Law"), prestige is very important.  Whereas the top 2/3 of the class at a prestigious school can usually get jobs in Big Law, you usually have to be one of the top 5 students at a less prestigious school.

    Good luck!





    Post # 15
    5822 posts
    Bee Keeper

    The fact is that no one truly cares WHERE you went to school when you go for a job.  They just need someone with a degree who has passed the Bar and can contribute.  Unless you’re going for some uber-prestigious firm with a bunch of Ivy League inbred staff who will only accept Ivy League grads (who wants to work THERE???) I think you should opt for something closer to home.

    Of the two schools in Florida, will you really save money living 6 hours away, or will you spend all the money you saved on driving home to visit??  It may be more economical to go with the one half tuition scholarship, and you always have the opportunity to get more scholarships as you go!

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