I Want to Be a Public Interest Lawyer – How Should I Decide Where to Go to Law School? (Part 2)

In my last post, I talked about some of the factors that might cause you to choose a lower-ranked law school over a higher-ranked one: specialized curricula and a strong public interest program. Two additional factors you might want to consider are geography and financial aid.

Geography

Let’s say that you are from St. Louis and you want to move back there after graduation, The two schools you are choosing between are St. Louis University and Emory University, a better-ranked law school in Atlanta, Georgia, a place you have no interest in living after graduation. Which law school should you chose? How much does geography matter?

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I Want to Be a Public Interest Lawyer. How Do I Decide Where to Go to Law School? (Part 1)

I get this question a lot, and to some extent the answer is the same as the one I would give to anyone deciding where to go to law school. The legal profession is very focused on status, prestige, and credentialing. The law school you attend matters. This is true no matter whether you want to work for the U.S. government, a big law firm, or legal aid. In general, the higher ranked your law school is, the more opportunities you will have after law school. No, I do not think this is how it should work, but it will not help anyone to pretend this is not the case. The rankings that almost everyone uses are those published each year by U.S. News and World Report. Everyone recognizes that these rankings are flawed, but that does not stop employers from making hiring decisions based on them.

Continue reading “I Want to Be a Public Interest Lawyer. How Do I Decide Where to Go to Law School? (Part 1)”