Thursday, June 4, 2009

School Daze

I was talking to some co-workers about the different European law school systems this afternoon, and after getting a handle on how the schools work (in France you declare a "major" in high school), I thought to ask how hard it is to get into law school.  They looked at me like that was a strange question.

Heidelberg, one of the world's oldest universities, is apparently pretty tough to get into because it's famous.  But my co-worker couldn't honestly tell me if it's a very good law school or not.  What's the best law school in Germany?  No real answer.  In France?  Doesn't really matter where you go, so long as it's in Paris.

Ask any US law student what the best law school in the country is and they know.  They know the top 5, top 10 and probably top 14 off the top of their head.  We know, and never stop talking about, how this affects hiring later on, market-rate first year salaries in the top five markets, your chances of being on the Supreme Court or teaching, etc.  It drives our friends and family nuts.

Of course, when you're spending/borrowing a small fortune to do something, you tend to get well acquainted with it.  But French law students also recently got pretty upset about their tuition, too.  Not long ago, final year's tuition shot up to 900 Euros.

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