Florida Coastal School of Law...should I go? (Jacksonville: transfer to, law school)
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Sure, a few grads have done okay. But what you and everyone who is not a lawyer or did not go to Coastal fails to understand is that every year the school accepts almost SEVEN HUNDRED new students, and there simply IS NOT A JOB MARKET FOR THAT MANY LAWYERS. Not in Jacksonville. Not anywhere else in Florida.
You also probably have no idea about the debt to income ratio that will be the reality for the kids coming out of this school. I know kids who owe over $200k (not very uncommon for Coastal students) because they also went to a private undergrad, and they are staring at an $1800+/month loan repayment for 30 years, while maybe making $30k/year. Yeah, I'm definitely blowing this out of proportion.
Stop my "yapping?" I actually went to this law school, and so I will continue to try and expose this toilet school for what it really is. And until you're a practicing attorney in the middle of the legal market or a law student looking for a job, please don't tout second-hand qualitative drivel as a credible rebuttal. Thanks~
Just to give a little positive input about FCSL on this site...in reference to all the negative comments:
I also attend FCSL and I agree with pretty much everything people say in regard to the money the school will suck out of people who will take out big loans to attend a Tier 4. Yes this is very true and I highly recommend not going to FCSL because it's the only law school you got in to or they offered you an amazing scholarship. You should go there because you want to go there and would be happy staying there if you were unable to transfer, first and foremost. Obviously you should want to go to law school because you have a desire to be a lawyer or an interest in the law...but do NOT go to law school because it's something to do and because you simply got in...trust me, everyone will agree with this.
That being said I really enjoy FCSL, I did well both semesters, I live at the beach in Jacksonville and while school is demanding the first year I have made a ton of wonderful friends and really enjoy living in Jacksonville and working here.
The school is extremely competitive because so many of the students attending are looking to transfer and on top of it the school has an outrageous curve of 2.5. Even in your small legal writing classes of 12 students there is a 2.5 curve which guarantees at least one person will fail. But, don't let that deter you, I mean I had to make the realization that I won't be making As anymore, but I certainly won't be failing out of the school. However, maintaining a high GPA in order to transfer when 80% of the people attending the school are trying to do the same thing is unrealistic. You will need to decide very quickly if you are willing to devote everyday endlessly to law school...which you won't trust me.
So my advice to people looking at FCSL, yes you will acquire debt, you likely won't be able to transfer and it may be a struggle at first to find employment, but the school has a pretty good career services department that hooked me up with a wonderful internship. And on top of everything, I just want to say that every professor I had was extremely qualified. They taught at other well known law schools, graduated from T1s themselves and are very interested in seeing their students understand the material and succeed. By no means were any classes easy, but the professors were great and I really encourage someone considering Coastal to go sit in on a class and get a feel for the environment. So, you can listen to everyone bashing Coastal and becoming fixated on rankings and bar passage percentages but if you just genuinely want to learn the law, it's the same every where and you shouldn't get hung up on all the negative comments.
Also, I chose FCSL over Stetson because of my family and for scholarship reasons...just know it is pretty difficult to maintain your scholarship at FCSL, they will take it away if you fall under 3.0, so yea you have to bust your ass to keep that. But, yea in general I'm very happy with the school and my decision to stay here so if you have any questions just let me know. Thanks!
I got into Florida Coastal and I got into Thomas Cooley. Which one should I attend? I want to use employment %, starting salarys, and reputationf as my main factors, but Thomas Cooley did offer me a 25% tuition scholarship. From a geographical standpoit, they are equal distances away.
Well...I don't know too much about Cooley, like I said scholarships are enticing. (basically why I went to FCSL because I was more interested in staying afloat than being in debt.) I mean both are T4 schools, not sure if one is better than the other. It looks like Cooley has 26% attrition, over 2000 1Ls (185 transfered out which accounts for 9% of the attrition, meaning alot more flunked out) and costs are around 28K. Coastal has 561 1Ls, attrition is 23% (with 30 transferring out = 6% of total attrition, so there are a bunch of people flunking out of coastal too). Total cost at Coastal are 39K, but I definitely do not pay that much, I'm paying around 15K for the entire year with my scholarship. I know the past bar % for FCSL were pretty low, usually the students do alot better because we have many required courses that are bar-oriented. So...just looking at numbers and not caring about what I said about loving the school, the professors and living in Jacksonville Beach...it seems like Cooley is the better deal for you. Both schools are on level ground, maybe one is slightly more revered than the other? But like I said, that sorta stuff never mattered to me so I don't really know? Most people don't even bother ranking Tier4 schools anyway. But, I do know I like living and working in Jacksonville and I'm quite confident I will be able to practice if not here, somewhere in Florida. So, take it for what it's worth, I'm just being honest. Hope this helps.
I do like the Thomas M. Cooley law school and enjoyed talking to all the faculty. I do not know much about FCSL, but everything (and I mean everything) I have heard about Cooley has been negative. I've atleast heard mixed about FCSL, and if you take away the debt then I have actually heard mostly good about FC. There is a much better chance of me practicing in Florida than Michigan and I must keep that into account too (Michigan's economy is currently spinning down the toliet). I am going to check out FCSL, I am really not worried about the extra 30,000 it will cost because law school is a gamble, I understand that. If I wind up 175,000 in debt and making 30,000 a year; atleast I will be doing what I love. I'm not going to law school to get rich and never expect a 6figure salary... If I die in debt, than good luck collecting it (a joke before yall flame me). I think I much rather live in sunny Florida than grim Michigan and I don't feel at all confident about finding a job with a degree from THE joke law school, especially when they give out 1,500 of those degrees each year. . . I feel confident that I can find a job faster and with a higher salary coming from FCSL. Even if noones heard of it, atleast it isn't the national lauffing stock. . You can prob tell which way I'm leaning, but I am actually still so undecided it is scaring me...
So I got a second question, if I go to Coastal would you recommend taking 12 hours or 15 hours my first semester?
Hi again, your first semester if you are FT, you are required to take 15 hours both semesters. After that you can sort of rearrange your schedule and take less or more hours the following two years. Yea, Coastal does take alot of 1Ls but they weed out a good amount of them by 2L year. I know our bar passage was pretty low in February but usually we are in the upper 80 precentile I want to say? Bonne chance!
Going to Coastal will brand you with a presumption of incompetence, and you will have a very, very, very, very hard time finding a job as a lawyer (if you find one at all). Attorneys in Florida (especially in Jacksonville) consider graduates from there third rate.
It's a very sad situation Florida Coastal has created. This Slavicfish fellow is in for a very rude awakening when he graduates, unfortunately, because an internship is a far cry from a job. Sadly, firms/organizations in Jacksonville use Coastal students as cheap/free labor, with no intention of ever hiring them upon graduation. Hopefully Slavicfish has a family member who will throw him a job.
Coastal or Cooley? Neither. A diploma from either school is like negative life equity.
Just FYI, my stats from Coastal: top 15%, wrote on to Law Review; practicing for a few years now, and future is pretty bleak.
Well all I can really say is that while interning in Jackonsville I have met many lawyers who graduated from Coastal and are doing exceptionally well. So if you play your cards right, I think you have a decent shot somewhere. At the end of the day everyone is so fixated on working for the big firm and making a ton of money. A law degree can't hurt you, bottom line. It's a graduate degree after all, so even if you don't become a lawyer having that background will help you somewhere down the road.
Thanks for the info Robin. There is no joint JD/MBA that Ive seen at UF. I agree with you on UF. UF is like the Ivy League of Florida. Its really reputable with employers in Florida and around the US actually. Unfortunately I cannot attend a school that is out of the state of Florida. My job technically would allow for it because I can work anywhere where Im 30 minutes from a branch office but for my wife and soon to be daughters' sake, I cant leave Florida. I will evaluate the job market and my situation when I finish my BSBA at UF in 2012 and decide. I really wouldnt mind going to law school if I have the opportunity.
One thing I have read on several forums is that right now if you dont know someone in a big law firm or have connections its very tough to get a decent job. My uncle in law is a long time partner at White and Case and I was thinking that could give me an in to a huge firm. When that time comes I will see if thats a feasible opportunity.
Apart from knowing someone - or having connections - it is very possible to get jobs because you have expertise beyond that of a typical law school graduate. For example - your tech background might be very useful in legal specialties like patent law or internet law - or other specialty areas that I don't even know exist. That's true in other professions as well. There's an article in today's WSJ about a financial advisor who specializes in working with professional hockey players! There's an old song from a Broadway show (Gypsy) - "You Gotta Have a Gimmick" - and if you can stand out from the herd as a law school graduate because of expertise in another area - it really improves your odds.
With regard to a really huge firm like White & Case - about 2000 lawyers - you have to ask yourself whether that is your cup of tea. Odds are these days that you will work your tail off for 6-8 years - and then not make partner. OTOH - I had dinner with a (French) friend in Paris a couple of years ago. His (American) wife is an associate with White & Case in Paris. And she really liked it (of course - maternity leave and other family benefits in France are more generous than in the US). If you wind up in a very specialized area of law - you may find yourself having to choose between a very large firm that has a department in that specialty - or a small boutique firm that does nothing but your specialty. If the latter - you may have to relocate to very specific parts of the US. I suspect it is easier to specialize in internet law in Silicon Valley than anywhere in Florida . Robyn
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