My parents are paying for the first 100k of my college but if I were to go to a Tier-1 law school after I undergrad at an expensive private college it would almost definitely lead to another 100k in law school debt.
Going to a top tier school can be beneficial if you are interested in pursuing a career at a firm where prestige is valued in the hiring process. As mentioned in the first answer - the big law firms in most major markets (national firms with multiple offices), and many of the largest companies in the United States tend to focus their hiring in the top tier schools.
If you are not interested in big law, however, or want to build your career somewhere removed from the major markets and urban hubs, then you may want to narrow your search and attend a school that is well respected in the area you want to live and practice. If you know where you want to live after law school - go to the websites of some of the firms you may be interested in joining, and look at the profiles of the attorneys practicing at those firms. Find out where they attended school and see if there is a preference at those firms for the top tier schools, or if there is a more regional flavor to the firms hiring tendencies.
Legal disclaimer: The answer provided above is for general information purposes only and should not be relied on as specific legal advice. This answer does not form an attorney-client relationship. You should consult with an attorney of your choice to fully advise you about your legal rights and obligations.
Yours is an interesting, appropriate, and timely question. A related question is, does it make sense to go to law school at all, given the state of the economy and the saturated legal market? Coming from a lower tier law school, I can tell you that unless you graduate from a top tier law school or you "know someone," your chances of finding employment in a major law firm or a Fortune 100 company are extremely low. However, the expense of a tier 1 law school, in my opinion, is prohibitively high. My solution was to attend a good law school, one that I could afford, was close to home, and allowed me to work full-time while attending school. I have opened my own law firm, have no debt, and am doing fine. Hope this helps your decision. Good luck!
Gary S. Sinclair is an attorney licensed to practice in Massachusetts. All answers are based on Massachusetts law or a simple reading of the law in your jurisdiction. All answers are for educational purposes and no attorney-client relationship is formed by providing an answer to your question. The information provided should NOT be relied upon for making legal decisions. You will be best served by hiring an attorney in your area who specializes in the field of law pertinent to your question.
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I would not know.
Best of luck to you in your decision.
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