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Ann Israel is the legal profession’s Dear Abby. A New York legal recruiter since 1979, Ann is president of the National Association of Legal Search Consultants. This Week’s Question Q: I have recently been accepted to Hofstra, Cardozo, St. John’s, Brooklyn, and Albany. I have visited all the schools and like each one very much. How do I choose between schools that are ranked so closely together? P.A. New York A: First of all, you like all of the schools. This is the good news! In that respect then, it ultimately should not matter which school you pick. First you have to ask yourself where you think you want to spend your 2L summer. Now, if you have read my column in the past, you know that I believe you can’t possibly know in advance what kind of lawyer you want to be or where you want to practice. But I do think that in order to try to narrow down your law school choices, you will have to answer these questions based on how you are feeling right now. If you tell me that you think that you will want to practice law in one of the major law firms in New York City then I would eliminate Albany because I think your chances for on-campus interviews will be better at the schools that are in or closer to Manhattan. I would also back-burner Hofstra and St. John’s because they also are outside of New York City. Cardozo is right in town and Brooklyn is just across the bridge. Both of these schools are generally included in the on-campus interviewing schedule for New York firms along with, of course, Columbia, NYU and Fordham. If you don’t care where you summer or where you eventually practice, nor are you looking for a big corporate environment, and perhaps you live on Long Island, you might be happier going to school closer to home. In that case, you should choose Hofstra or St. John’s. Now comes the real challenge. If you have narrowed your choice down to Brooklyn or Cardozo, you are in a win-win situation and it ultimately will not matter which one you choose. What will matter is how you do in school. If you do not apply yourself, it really will not matter which law school you choose. The bottom half of the class is the bottom half of the class whether you are at Harvard or at Joe’s Law School Around the Corner. But if you can distinguish yourself then you will be in an excellent position to be asked to interview at just about every major law firm in New York. By the way, if at the end of your first year of law school you end up as one of the top five students, it won’t matter as much which school you choose since every major law firm is interested in the top five students in the class of the first and second tier law schools. There is one more piece of due diligence you should conduct prior to making your final decision. Contact the career services office of each of these five law schools and find out the statistics on where the alumni go to work. The school that produces the highest percentage of people working where you think you would like to be is the school that you should accept. In other words, if you think that you want to work for the government and Albany Law School graduates have the highest percentage of alumni from your five choices working in government jobs, then that is where you should attend. Do let us know what you end up doing. Good luck! Sincerely, Ann Israel President, Ann Israel & Associates UPDATE: I’d like to share the following from a reader who sought advice to help her choose between Fordham and St. John’s. “Hello again — I wrote a few weeks back with a dilemma. I had been offered a half-scholarship to St. John’s, but was also accepted to Fordham — sans much financial assistance. Thank you very much for your advice . Just wanted to let you know that I have chosen to go to Fordham.” — K.K. Thanks K.K. I know you made the right choice. I also know I can speak for us all when I wish you the best of luck over the next three years. — Ann Israel

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