Duke$$ vs. Michigan$ vs. UC Berkeley vs. UVA ($$+30K)

(Rankings, Profiles, Tuition, Student Life, . . . )

Which school to choose?

Duke(2013)
38
62%
Michigan(2013)
7
11%
Boalt(2013)
8
13%
UVA(2013)
5
8%
Defer one year, then Boalt (2014)
2
3%
Defer one year, then Michigan (2014)
1
2%
Persuade my wife to give up her study, Boalt(2013)
0
No votes
 
Total votes: 61

zhlaw12345
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Duke$$ vs. Michigan$ vs. UC Berkeley vs. UVA ($$+30K)

Postby zhlaw12345 » Sat Feb 20, 2010 12:41 pm

Based various TLS threads, probably many would choose Boalt, but I have my unique situations.

Basic information.
- Schools: UVA($$+30K), Duke$$, Michigan$, no scholarship info from Boalt.
- Location: My house is 20 min drive from Duke.
- Family: Wife will be finishing her last year of nursing associate degree (her school is 10 min drive from Duke) during my 1L year.
- Age: Mid-thirties.
- Financial: Saved enough to pay for the full-sticker, but bank account will be dried up when I graduate from LS. So $ from Duke or Michigan can help a lot for emergency (i.e: can't find job for a while, serious sickness god forbidden.)
- Areas of interest: IP or international or combination of both.
- Assumption: Will be making average LS grades; Looking for average biglaw job. (academia is probably a very long shot.)

If only one of the schools accepted me, I would still be a very happy man, and the decision would be a lot easier.

Sometimes, making a good choice is not easy.
* Duke: Least stressful for life. My wife and I don't have to live separately for one year, and I don't have to sell my house in a hurry. Duke's IP and International are both great.
* Michigan: Its international program is among the top. IP is catching up. Have to live away from my wife for one year.
* Boalt: Top IP. I'd definitely choose it if without all the family factors. Have to live away from my wife for one year.
* UVA: My wife wants so much to live in DC.
* Defer one year and wait for my wife to finish her degree, then we both move to Berkeley: I am close to mid thirties, and I prefer not to wait.
* Persuade my wife to give up her nursing associate study, and she can restart her program somewhere near Berkeley: This one will be the best outcome for me, but I am not sure my wife would buy in. She went through a lot to be in this nursing program, it'd be tough to ask her to start over again. I'd really appreciate it if you could help me find some good reasons.

One key question I'd like to know is whether the difference b/w Boalt and Duke can significantly impact an average law student's perspective of finding a decent job.
Last edited by zhlaw12345 on Mon Apr 19, 2010 8:45 am, edited 1 time in total.

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booboo
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Re: Duke$$ vs. Michigan$ vs. UC Berkeley vs. UVA

Postby booboo » Sat Feb 20, 2010 12:45 pm

An associate's degree in Nursing?

If there is no program where she could transfer into near Berkeley, I would consider the deferring options, if you love your wife. :P.

zhlaw12345
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Re: Duke$$ vs. Michigan$ vs. UC Berkeley vs. UVA

Postby zhlaw12345 » Sat Feb 20, 2010 12:50 pm

Don't laugh at an associate degree yet. My wife is not a math type of person, so she had to take a lot of math/science classes to qualify. In addition, her program kicked out 11 out of 60 students the first semester, and she studied extremely hard to stay on the program.

booboo wrote:An associate's degree in Nursing?

If there is no program where she could transfer into near Berkeley, I would consider the deferring options, if you love your wife. :P.

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holydonkey
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Re: Duke$$ vs. Michigan$ vs. UC Berkeley vs. UVA

Postby holydonkey » Sat Feb 20, 2010 12:52 pm

I think the choice really boils down to Duke $$ or Berkeley. No reason to consider UVA if Duke is offering more and it would allow you to stay with your wife and not defer a year. I love Michigan, but if Duke is offering more money and it's in a better location for you, don't see any reason to choose Michigan either.

Between Duke and Berkeley, I think this depends on where you want to work, man. If you want to return to NC after law school (or anywhere in the South), I'd stick with Duke $$. If you're thinking more nationally, moving to NYC, Chicago, LA, Boston, San Fran, I'd take Berkeley.

insidethetwenty
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Re: Duke$$ vs. Michigan$ vs. UC Berkeley vs. UVA

Postby insidethetwenty » Sat Feb 20, 2010 12:53 pm

It sounds like you really want to be at Boalt. So that makes your choice either go now and she transfers, go now without her, or defer.

I don't know the ins and outs of your marriage. I know I wouldn't want to leave my wife for a full year or ask her to quit in the middle of a program with me, but everyone's marriage is different. If she is truly okay with transferring to another school with her program or with you leaving for a year, then go on to Boalt and be where you want to be.

If it was me, though, I'd defer, but this is honestly a personal decision that has a lot to do with your marriage, the prospects of transfer for your wife, and how you want to spend your money.

To answer your last question, I don't really think you are going to find that job prospects from Berkeley are worth the significantly higher cost of Berkeley compared to Duke. IMO, Duke seems like the most logical decision for you with all things considered...

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Dignan
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Re: Duke$$ vs. Michigan$ vs. UC Berkeley vs. UVA

Postby Dignan » Sat Feb 20, 2010 1:07 pm

I really sympathize with your dilemma. I am roughly the same age and have some of the same career interests. And, though I don't have a wife, I have a long-term gf who is going to be affected by my decision.

Your decision is a difficult and personal one, and you aren't going to get any great answers on here. But I'll offer one perspective. I know a married couple who lived apart during the wife's first year of law school. In retrospect, the two are glad that it worked out as it did. The first year of law school can be incredibly time-consuming; for some, doing well requires being selfish with one's time. The physical separation allowed my friend to be more focused on her studies during her first year. She thinks the situation ended up being better for their marriage, all things considered.

I do not, of course, know anything about your marriage. It could be that your relationship would not stand up well to the strain of being apart. For some couples, though, a year of separation during law school can work out well.

mhernton
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Re: Duke$$ vs. Michigan$ vs. UC Berkeley vs. UVA

Postby mhernton » Sat Feb 20, 2010 1:15 pm

To be quite honest I'm in a similar boat. My wife and I discussed it and she needs to complete her BA. She is transferring from a Culinary program to Johnson and Wales University in Providence RI, while I go to William & Mary. Her program is 1.25 - 2 years long depending on how fast she can finish. I honestly don't want to live away from her, but I also don't want to deal with an unhappy wife while going through the rigors of 1L year. She gets to finish her BA about a year before I graduate. So assuming everything works out, all the student loans will hit by the time I finish the bar. I'm in my early 30's and have an MBA.

In your shoes I wouldn't be focused on Boalt because the UC regents are in trouble right now with the budget. All tuition and fees at the UCs are skyrocketing. Duke with money sounds like the best bet. The other issue is that she wants to live near DC. Your IP markets are Silicon Valley, Boston, and San Diego in that order. Either you choose IP and she gives up DC or you give up IP and move into the DC area, there really isn't a compromise on this one. Again I'm in a similar boat. I would prefer to live in DC, but have an interest in Corporate Law, Securities Law etc, utilizing my MBA and JD simultaneously so NYC/Chicago/SF would be best, and my wife wants to live near family in San Diego. One of us has to give.

Keep in mind that during 1L year you will be loaded down with work, and as much as our spouses lighten the burden, they also increase it because of the emotional demands they place on us. In a normal circumstance its easy and even enjoyable to deal with. Graduate Professional Education is anything but a normal experience, and Medical School, Law School right behind it are the most challenging programs out there. Good luck on your decision making process, I know that mine was difficult and there wasn't really a happy conclusion, just one we could both live with....

solidsnake
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Re: Duke$$ vs. Michigan$ vs. UC Berkeley vs. UVA

Postby solidsnake » Sat Feb 20, 2010 1:26 pm

Boalt's out of state tuition is going to cost you significantly more than Duke with a scholarship, not to mention all the moving costs. Duke and Boalt at the median will probably have the same job prospects. Go to Duke for your first year, if you do well, consider transferring up to HYSCCN. If you don't do well, you would be just as a fucked were you at Boalt all along, but without as much debt. Separating from your wife for a year would suck. It's nice to come home to somebody when you've been gunning for 10 hours in the library. If you want the DC market, see if Duke has more alumni in DC than Boalt. I'm betting it does.

lakerfanimal
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Re: Duke$$ vs. Michigan$ vs. UC Berkeley vs. UVA

Postby lakerfanimal » Sat Feb 20, 2010 1:34 pm

solidsnake wrote:Boalt's out of state tuition is going to cost you significantly more than Duke with a scholarship, not to mention all the moving costs. Duke and Boalt at the median will probably have the same job prospects. Go to Duke for your first year, if you do well, consider transferring up to HYSCCN. If you don't do well, you would be just as a fucked were you at Boalt all along, but without as much debt. Separating from your wife for a year would suck. It's nice to come home to somebody when you've been gunning for 10 hours in the library. If you want the DC market, see if Duke has more alumni in DC than Boalt. I'm betting it does.


Agree with this one except the transferring thing since you're assuming you'll be around median and even if you were one of the best students, transferring isn't always easy. I'm pretty sure Duke will do better in DC than Boalt but that's just based off feel and random things I've seen, no set statistics.
It looks like it comes down to the what-if factor. You need to figure out if the what-if factor of Boalt is enough to take a risk on. What I mean is, would going to Duke instead of Boalt make you wonder how things would have been at Boalt for the rest of your life, or at least for a very long time.. If so then maybe the waiting a year thing or being away from your wife for a year thing might be your best bet.

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Stringer Bell
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Re: Duke$$ vs. Michigan$ vs. UC Berkeley vs. UVA

Postby Stringer Bell » Sat Feb 20, 2010 1:39 pm

booboo wrote:An associate's degree in Nursing?



I'm not sure if this was intended as a knock, but it was uniformed if it was. An associate's nursing degree is about the best bang for the buck educational opportunity out there right now. It gives you the same employment opportunities as the Bachelor of Science Nursing degree. The big difference is that a BSN can get a phd and become a Nurse Practitioner.

OP, go to Duke. This seems like a pretty easy call.

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Dignan
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Re: Duke$$ vs. Michigan$ vs. UC Berkeley vs. UVA

Postby Dignan » Sat Feb 20, 2010 1:40 pm

solidsnake wrote:Boalt's out of state tuition is going to cost you significantly more than Duke with a scholarship, not to mention all the moving costs. Duke and Boalt at the median will probably have the same job prospects.

In IP law? I doubt that is true.

Go to Duke for your first year, if you do well, consider transferring up to HYSCCN. If you don't do well, you would be just as a fucked were you at Boalt all along, but without as much debt.

On the other hand, Boalt doesn't have grades, which buys you some insurance if you plan on being around the median (or possibly below it) in your class.

I'm not saying that the OP should go to Boalt. Marriage considerations, along with the scholarship offer, might make Duke the best choice. But I don't think we should pretend that Duke and Berkeley offer the same opportunities for someone interested in a career in IP law.

solidsnake
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Re: Duke$$ vs. Michigan$ vs. UC Berkeley vs. UVA

Postby solidsnake » Sat Feb 20, 2010 1:43 pm

To clarify, I meant that when he chooses a school, he should choose based on job prospects for students at the median. Boalt and Duke median students are probably equally as fucked, so with family and scholarship considerations added in, Duke seems to be the winner. Because OP is so concerned with "international" law or whatever, if he does substantially well in his first year, he can transfer to a school with a more renowned reputation internationally (since this is all that matters anyway).

I don't think school specialties mean all that much. Higher prestige of the law school over all = better job prospects in whatever field of law you want to pursue. Boalt might have marginally higher prestige, but not enough to justify taking on a bunch of extra debt in your thirties and separating from your wife for a year, IMO.

postitnotes
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Re: Duke$$ vs. Michigan$ vs. UC Berkeley vs. UVA

Postby postitnotes » Sat Feb 20, 2010 4:24 pm

solidsnake wrote:To clarify, I meant that when he chooses a school, he should choose based on job prospects for students at the median. Boalt and Duke median students are probably equally as fucked, so with family and scholarship considerations added in, Duke seems to be the winner. Because OP is so concerned with "international" law or whatever, if he does substantially well in his first year, he can transfer to a school with a more renowned reputation internationally (since this is all that matters anyway).

I don't think school specialties mean all that much. Higher prestige of the law school over all = better job prospects in whatever field of law you want to pursue. Boalt might have marginally higher prestige, but not enough to justify taking on a bunch of extra debt in your thirties and separating from your wife for a year, IMO.


+ 1, Specialty rankings don't mean anything, and frankly, you learn most of what you have to do on the job. Boalt might have more IP course selections than Duke, but honestly, it does not matter. Anybody who has been in law school knows how directly inapplicable every class is except for legal writing. If OP had a full ride to a non top 14, I think he should highly consider it. IP people should be less worried about prestige than non-IP people because there are much fewer IP people for jobs. I know IP people who went to non T-14s and are doing pretty well. At this point, the $220,000 price on Berkeley should automatically disqualify it.

Duke is the obvious, correct answer, and besides, it carries much better to the East Coast and the South than Berkeley.

By the way, I don't go to either school. I go to a MVP and I know a few IP people who went through OCI. All of them got MULTIPLE offers, many in V15 firms. They ended up with offers in every single primary market they bid on. I know someone who is not from California and no connections with CA who got SF big law at a very competitive firm, and V10 New York biglaw among other offers. IP people who do alright 1L year do very well at every top 14 during OCI.

zhlaw12345
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Re: Duke$$ vs. Michigan$ vs. UC Berkeley vs. UVA

Postby zhlaw12345 » Mon Apr 19, 2010 8:44 am

Updating UVA scholarship info. Is Duke still the obvious choice, or extra $30K from UVA worth the extra cost of life?

- Schools:
UVA: $$ + 30K
Duke: $$
Michigan: $
UC Berkeley: No scholarship info. yet. I almost certain that I won't get any.
Last edited by zhlaw12345 on Mon Apr 19, 2010 9:46 am, edited 1 time in total.

showNprove
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Re: Duke$$ vs. Michigan$ vs. UC Berkeley vs. UVA ($$+30K)

Postby showNprove » Mon Apr 19, 2010 9:37 am

.
Last edited by showNprove on Sat Feb 26, 2011 6:09 pm, edited 1 time in total.

zhlaw12345
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Re: Duke$$ vs. Michigan$ vs. UC Berkeley vs. UVA ($$+30K)

Postby zhlaw12345 » Mon Apr 19, 2010 9:45 am

Sorry showNprove,
"risk" is not an accurate word. I actually meant extra cost of life, living away from wife, moving cost, apartment renting, probably buying another car, etc.


showNprove wrote:What risk does UVa pose? It's a better school AND you're getting more money. If not for your living away from your wife for 8 months, it would be the clear choice.

Talk with your wife about it. The argument for Duke is you get to stay with her the entire time. The argument for UVa is you have a better shot at DC and are taking on less debt.

kelloggcookiemonster
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Re: Duke$$ vs. Michigan$ vs. UC Berkeley vs. UVA ($$+30K)

Postby kelloggcookiemonster » Mon Feb 15, 2016 12:51 am

zhlaw12345 wrote:Sorry showNprove,
"risk" is not an accurate word. I actually meant extra cost of life, living away from wife, moving cost, apartment renting, probably buying another car, etc.


showNprove wrote:What risk does UVa pose? It's a better school AND you're getting more money. If not for your living away from your wife for 8 months, it would be the clear choice.

Talk with your wife about it. The argument for Duke is you get to stay with her the entire time. The argument for UVa is you have a better shot at DC and are taking on less debt.


so what did you do?




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