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June 14, 2005

Request: McGeorge or Southwestern?

A reader headed to law school writes in with another “which school” dilemma:

I was offered a seat by McGeorge school of law in Sacramento, and they even offered me $10,000 for my first year, and will pay for my first year books. However, I don't really want to live or work in Sacramento. Southwestern U. school of law has also offered me a seat. They are located in downtown LA, which is where I would like to live and work eventually. McGeorge is ranked higher by the US News ranking, but I really don't want to go to Sacramento. Is the ranking really the most important factor to consider when choosing a law school?

So what do you think? Go with rank and some money in a place you don't want to be, or go to the place you want to be, pay more, and for less rank? Tough choice.

My answer would be to go with the cheaper option, which in this case has the advantage of being better ranked. But I only say that because I know I won't make more than $40k or so when I graduate. If you think you're going to make more than that, money isn't such a big deal. Yet, to make the big bucks, rank begins to matter. So??? Go where you want to go, I say, and make the best of it. The rank difference really isn't likely to be that much of an issue.

Of course that's just my opinion. Any other thoughts? Any readers out there going to either school?

Posted by mowabb at June 14, 2005 08:17 PM

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Tracked on June 15, 2005 06:44 AM


Go visit Sacramento one more time, and if it still seems like it's not the place for you, then it's not the place for you.

Being miserable for three years may not be monetarily expensive, but it's still expensive. Plus if it keeps you from performing well, then the additional ranking may make no difference in the long run.

On the other hand, I suppose if you really hate being there you might be more focused on your work as an escape...

But really, it's three years of your life. Someday you'll have money again, but you'll never get that time back. If you don't think you can make the most of your time there in a way you'd feel satisfied with, then don't torture yourself.

(Of course, with all that money you'd be saving, I suppose you could fly down a couple of times a semester, which all things considered could turn out to be a reasonable compromise.)

Posted by: Cathy at June 14, 2005 09:07 PM

Everyone is wrong wrong wrong -- you should go to the school where you want to live and work, duh. Law school is where you make contacts, relationships, and the more you can make in LA the better. LA attorneys know that Southwestern can give you a good education, and that's where you want to go. So let those snobby east coast firms pass you by -- you know who you are and what you want! Congratulations.

Posted by: Snif at July 27, 2005 07:37 PM