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How do I choose a law school?

Make a list of criteria that are important to you. Perhaps the first thing to think about is where you want to live and practice when you graduate. If you are fairly certain that you want to stay in Michigan then you should strongly consider a Minnesota school or a school with a good enough reputation that you can take its degree and return to Michigan and get a job. Of course, you can practice in Michigan with a degree from any accredited law school, assuming you pass the state's bar exam. So this geographic rule is not set in stone—but it is something to think about, because if you go far away to attend law school, you will be giving up local connections, alumni contacts, word-of-mouth job opportunities, and the like. On the other hand, if you receive a nice financial aid package from a school that's far away, you can save money and still pass the Michigan bar. The idea, then, is to think about your personal situation, and then select the schools that seem best suited to your wants and needs.

The following factors may be important to you:

Size of school/class
Job placement statistics
Financial aid
Quality of faculty
Bar pass rate of graduates
Student satisfaction
Special programs/joint degrees
Expenses (tuition/cost of living)
Minority representation
Alumni network or connections
Attrition rate of students
"The feel" of the place

It is a very good idea to visit the law schools you are considering. Having the “feel” of a place helps students to decide where they will best fit in. I have had a number of students visit their “heart’s desire” law school, only to find that it was cold and impersonal. Usually these students end up going to another school, one where they felt more comfortable and welcomed.


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