Location of A Law School

How Important Is The Location of A Law School?

The location of a law school can impact everything from your day-to-day routine to your long-term career trajectory. Though the location is not the only consideration to weigh in your decision-making process, below are additional factors detailing how the location of a law school should impact your decision to attend.

How Important Is The Location of A Law School?

1. Is the location of a law school ultimately where you want to practice?

The legal community is smaller than you might think. In fact, you’ll begin building your legal network on the first day of law school. If the location of a law school is an area you’d ultimately like to practice in upon graduation this could be incredibly advantageous to you. The sooner you immerse yourself in your desired legal market, the easier it will be for you to find a full-time position in the area after school.

During your three-year program, you’ll also be rubbing shoulders with the local attorneys at bar association events, special law school events, and possibly even with your professors (who might still be practicing themselves).  Your classmates will also serve as the base of your legal network. Many are likely to stay and practice in the same area or state your school is located.

2. Are there externship opportunities nearby that you can participate in throughout the school year?

The location of a law school is also important for the opportunities it affords students throughout the year. Whether you want to stay in your current location or move across the country upon graduation, you want to be sure that you have access to rewarding externship opportunities throughout your 2L and 3L year, and not exclusively over the summer. (Note, while you can travel elsewhere for summer externships they tend to be more competitive than those during the school year.) Being in close proximity to state capitals, courthouses, or corporate headquarters increases your opportunities for hands-on legal education to complement your academic program throughout the year.

3. What is the cost of attendance?

The cost of attendance calculates the cost to attend a particular school, beyond tuition alone. It takes into account room, board, books, transportation, insurance and other expenses associated with attending law school in a particular area.  Though you might be fine with the cost of tuition, the cost of attendance is the monetary amount you should be focused on when deciding if the location of a law school and it’s academic programs are right for you.

4. How will you get to and from school?

You should have a plan for how you will logistically get to and from school before you enroll. Will you need to buy a car or are you within walking distance? Is public transportation available and does it run on nights and weekends when you’ll need it?

Have a realistic understanding of how much time you’ll need to spend commuting to school each day. Then, decide whether the tradeoff of not doing something more productive with that time is worth it. For some, an hour commute each way is relaxing and allows you to mentally prepare for your day. Others would much prefer to spend those two hours studying, reviewing course material, or just catching up on sleep.

5. Where will you live and whom will you live with?

Finally, you should consider the availability of on-campus housing. On-campus housing usually guarantees reasonably priced living arrangements within close proximity to the law school. Often, on-campus housing is below market rates for off-campus apartments in the area. So, if you’re moving to a new city and don’t know anyone yet, having an on-campus apartment to live in and an assigned law student to live with will alleviate a lot of the pressure of navigating a real estate market on your own. (Plus you might have a built-in study buddy!)

The location of a law school and the living arrangements available to you are a major part of your success in law school. There is such a thing as too many distractions that will keep you from performing your best. Therefore, it’s important to know yourself and whether you can handle the temptations of your surroundings in order to focus on school.

Rachel Margiewicz, Director of Pre-Law Services, wrote this post. Rachel is a licensed attorney with years of admissions experience across three law school programs in different markets of the country. She knows what schools are looking for and how to make your application stand out.  Contact us with questions and for more information on our application assistance services! We look forward to hearing from you!

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