Lewis & Clark vs. William & Mary vs. Cornell

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momentumflux
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Lewis & Clark vs. William & Mary vs. Cornell

Postby momentumflux » Sat Feb 27, 2010 10:43 pm

So, I'm interested in Lewis & Clark for their environmental program, and they've offered me a great scholarship. William & Mary has offered another competitive scholarship. Cornell has offered me nothing. So, my options are:

L&C: 5,000/year, ranked USN 61 (but environmental 2)
W&M: 10,000/year, ranked USN 28
Cornell: 48,000/year, ranked USN 13

I'm not really interested in biglaw. Is it worth it to pay sticker price at cornell anyway? I feel this pressure to go there, because of all this clamor about the t14. But really, their loan repayment program for public sector work kind of sucks (you pay 50% of discretionary spending for 20 years, if I understood right).

What do you all think?

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holydonkey
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Re: Lewis & Clark vs. William & Mary vs. Cornell

Postby holydonkey » Sat Feb 27, 2010 10:49 pm

Cornell

itsfine
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Re: Lewis & Clark vs. William & Mary vs. Cornell

Postby itsfine » Sat Feb 27, 2010 10:51 pm

what are you interested in doing specifically? cornell is comething like 70,000 a year for cost of attendance, which is not something you really want if your not set on being able to pay it back.

environmental law?? I'm not versed in which of the three schools have the best program for that, do you happen to know how each respective school is in that area?

amped
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Re: Lewis & Clark vs. William & Mary vs. Cornell

Postby amped » Sat Feb 27, 2010 10:55 pm

momentumflux wrote:So, I'm interested in Lewis & Clark for their environmental program, and they've offered me a great scholarship. William & Mary has offered another competitive scholarship. Cornell has offered me nothing. So, my options are:

L&C: 5,000/year, ranked USN 61 (but environmental 2)
W&M: 10,000/year, ranked USN 28
Cornell: 48,000/year, ranked USN 13

I'm not really interested in biglaw. Is it worth it to pay sticker price at cornell anyway? I feel this pressure to go there, because of all this clamor about the t14. But really, their loan repayment program for public sector work kind of sucks (you pay 50% of discretionary spending for 20 years, if I understood right).

What do you all think?


If not biglaw, what do you want to do? Do you have a clear idea of what it is? Do you want to be a prosecutor, or a small time lawyer, or a public defender, or a state govt lawyer?

At first glance, I'd say L&C shouldn't even be in the discussion unless you really, really want to work in Portland. I'm sure their enviro program is great, but other law schools have plenty of enviro classes too. It would also help to know how interested in tree hugging work you really are.

Between W&M and Cornell, that's a hard decision. If you really aren't interested in biglaw (or other really prestigious fed govt positions), then W&M might be a good option. I have a friend who chose W&M (I think he has a full ride, or really close to it) over Duke. On the other hand, Cornell is a solid T14 school with a great reputation. The name of the school alone will get you in a lot of doors.

Let us know more about your career aspirations and I'll try to help more.

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PDaddy
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Re: Lewis & Clark vs. William & Mary vs. Cornell

Postby PDaddy » Sat Feb 27, 2010 11:07 pm

I say Cornell all the way. In the long run, the prestige, networks and resulting earning power Cornell provides will more than make up for the lost revenue from having paid sticker. One thing people also forget, you can do a visiting 3L program at L & C and still have a degree that says Cornell. You can transfer to L & C or W & M as a 2L if you decide you don't like Cornell. Thirdly, you can do an LL.M. in environmental law, so there's no need to give so much weight to specialty. Take a look at these links:

http://www.llm-guide.com/board/39239

http://www.llm-guide.com/article/8/the- ... mental-law

momentumflux
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Re: Lewis & Clark vs. William & Mary vs. Cornell

Postby momentumflux » Sun Feb 28, 2010 2:47 pm

Thanks to everyone who posted here. The leaning seems to be toward Cornell, which is more or less as I anticipated. Here's some more information that y'all requested.

Environmental law programs (that is, a program that grants a certificate in addition to a regular JD) themselves are still relatively rare, with the top 3 being Vermont, Lewis and Clark, and Pace (if I'm not mistaken). Berkeley has a pretty dynamite environmental program, as does Duke -- but I got rejected from Berkeley and waitlisted at Duke. So ... of all the schools to which I've been admitted, L&C is the best for environmental law.

One poster asked why L&C is in the running at all, and that is an understandable question given the school's 61 USN ranking (which does admittedly look shabby compared to W&M or Cornell). The answer is two-fold. Lewis and Clark offers some programs that vastly outperform its standard classes: it's environmental program is ranked 2 right now and has been ranked 1 for something like 7 of the last 10 years; similarly, it's IP and legal writing programs are in the top 20. The second part of the answer is Portland: it is a great city and tremendously more enticing than Williamsburg or Ithaca.

Some of you have asked about my career aspirations if not biglaw. The straight answer is that I'm not entirely sure about what I want to do. But I could easily imagine myself working for an environmental law nonprofit like the Sierra Club or the Natural Resources Defense Council. I'm particularly interested in helping the legal community become more scientifically literate and helping to make our environmental regulations make ecological sense; in that vein, working for the Union of Concerned Scientists would be pretty awesome. I could imagine working for the EPA or some similar state agency or for the Parks Service. Also, the idea of becoming a judge or a law professor someday is pretty cool.

As far as I know, Cornell has only 3 environmental law courses, while L&C requires that you take 8 (on top of admin. law and basic environmental) for their certificate. My question I guess is whether the general education at Cornell will be SO MUCH better than that at L&C that it will be worth it for me to carry ~200K in debt for up to 20 years. By comparison, I'd probably carry 50-75K from L&C, which they predict you'd be able to pay off in under 5 years.

erniesto
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Re: Lewis & Clark vs. William & Mary vs. Cornell

Postby erniesto » Sun Feb 28, 2010 3:18 pm

PDaddy wrote:Thirdly, you can do an LL.M. in environmental law, so there's no need to give so much weight to specialty. Take a look at these links:

http://www.llm-guide.com/board/39239

http://www.llm-guide.com/article/8/the- ... mental-law


+1

OP, I am also very interested in enviro law. I even wrote my UG thesis on enviromental ethics. However, I wouldn't chance L+C over a t14 or even t30 unless you want to live in Portland or Seattle. L+C's placement in groups like Sierra Club is nonexistent to minimal right now. The big nonprofits like T14s just as much as the rest of the legal market.

W+M will give access to D.C. At a bargain and Cornell has national reach. Did you also apply to Georgetown? Overall, in terms of placement and enviro programs it doesn't get much better than GULC.

Also keep in mind that in 3 years you might have a change of heart when it comes to enviro law and if you chose L+C, you'd be left high and dry comparatively.

amped
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Re: Lewis & Clark vs. William & Mary vs. Cornell

Postby amped » Sun Feb 28, 2010 3:26 pm

momentumflux wrote:Thanks to everyone who posted here. The leaning seems to be toward Cornell, which is more or less as I anticipated. Here's some more information that y'all requested.

Environmental law programs (that is, a program that grants a certificate in addition to a regular JD) themselves are still relatively rare, with the top 3 being Vermont, Lewis and Clark, and Pace (if I'm not mistaken). Berkeley has a pretty dynamite environmental program, as does Duke -- but I got rejected from Berkeley and waitlisted at Duke. So ... of all the schools to which I've been admitted, L&C is the best for environmental law.

One poster asked why L&C is in the running at all, and that is an understandable question given the school's 61 USN ranking (which does admittedly look shabby compared to W&M or Cornell). The answer is two-fold. Lewis and Clark offers some programs that vastly outperform its standard classes: it's environmental program is ranked 2 right now and has been ranked 1 for something like 7 of the last 10 years; similarly, it's IP and legal writing programs are in the top 20. The second part of the answer is Portland: it is a great city and tremendously more enticing than Williamsburg or Ithaca.

Some of you have asked about my career aspirations if not biglaw. The straight answer is that I'm not entirely sure about what I want to do. But I could easily imagine myself working for an environmental law nonprofit like the Sierra Club or the Natural Resources Defense Council. I'm particularly interested in helping the legal community become more scientifically literate and helping to make our environmental regulations make ecological sense; in that vein, working for the Union of Concerned Scientists would be pretty awesome. I could imagine working for the EPA or some similar state agency or for the Parks Service. Also, the idea of becoming a judge or a law professor someday is pretty cool.

As far as I know, Cornell has only 3 environmental law courses, while L&C requires that you take 8 (on top of admin. law and basic environmental) for their certificate. My question I guess is whether the general education at Cornell will be SO MUCH better than that at L&C that it will be worth it for me to carry ~200K in debt for up to 20 years. By comparison, I'd probably carry 50-75K from L&C, which they predict you'd be able to pay off in under 5 years.


The question is not whether your education will be better. Cornell probably has somewhat better professors, but I would guess most law schools in the top 100 have pretty good professors. Yeah L&C has a lot more enviro classes, but most employers recognize that you don't know squat coming out of law school, no matter how many relevant classes you've taken. They care more about having someone intelligent, with good writing skills, etc. Most places can teach you what you need to know, or at least one someone smart enough to research things on their own. Unfortunately (or fortunately depending on where you go), school rank/reputation is used as a rough proxy for these things.

The real question you should be asking is which school will give you job prospects. Cornell is a perennial top 14 school with a national reputation. Being a Cornell student will give you a big in at a lot more places than L&C will, even at environmental places. One thing to research is how well L&C really does at placing students in environmental jobs. Having a whole bunch of classes, etc. means nothing if they can't put students in relevant jobs. You should find a L&C alum at one of the organizations you want to work for and straight up ask them about it. Tell them how interested you are in tree hugging and then tell them you got into both Cornell and L&C and ask which they'd recommend. I honestly would be surprised if the L&C grad wholeheartedly told you to go to L&C over Cornell. You could also contact a Cornell alum and do the same thing. Lastly, I can promise you that becoming a judge or law professor will be much easier from Cornell (although still not that easy).

Oh and I'm serious about the contacting an attorney thing. This is something you should definitely do. You will get all kinds of speculation from TLS posters on the topic, but none of us really knows how well L&C does in the enviro arena. Contact someone who knows what they are talking about. And then report back, I would be interested what they have to say.

And it sounds like the poster above me has some knowledge on L&C placement. Like I said, they may have a lot of classes, but it sounds like they don't do all that well with job placement. You don't want to get some cool enviro certificate and then be stuck doing personal injury law.

momentumflux
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Re: Lewis & Clark vs. William & Mary vs. Cornell

Postby momentumflux » Sun Feb 28, 2010 4:41 pm

The advice about contacting alumni and attorneys is very good, I think. I will get on it and let you know.

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BiteyTLS
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Re: Lewis & Clark vs. William & Mary vs. Cornell

Postby BiteyTLS » Sun Feb 28, 2010 6:27 pm

PDaddy wrote:I say Cornell all the way. In the long run, the prestige, networks and resulting earning power Cornell provides will more than make up for the lost revenue from having paid sticker. One thing people also forget, you can do a visiting 3L program at L & C and still have a degree that says Cornell. You can transfer to L & C or W & M as a 2L if you decide you don't like Cornell. Thirdly, you can do an LL.M. in environmental law, so there's no need to give so much weight to specialty. Take a look at these links:

http://www.llm-guide.com/board/39239

http://www.llm-guide.com/article/8/the- ... mental-law


Someone doesn't know what 210k at 8.6 percent interest looks like. That isn't a mortgage-like investment, it's flat-and-out usury. One mistake, a period without a job (very likely in this market), the revelation that law isn't a personal passion and your life is over. You will default on a non-discharage loan. I really hope the prestigious nature of your big Cornell degree keeps you warm at night when the checks stop coming.

Can you honestly recommend someone go into that much debt for a non-T10 and without biglaw career aspirations?

momentumflux
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Re: Lewis & Clark vs. William & Mary vs. Cornell

Postby momentumflux » Thu Mar 04, 2010 10:52 am

So, I have emailed with a couple of alumni from Lewis and Clark, one of whom got his JD there and one of whom got both her JD and LLM there. They both say that job prospects in environmental law coming out of Lewis and Clark are spectacular and nationwide. Apparently, for environmental law, the school is exceedingly well-known and well-respected among government institutions, non-profits, corporations, and law schools. For other fields, maybe not so much. But evidently, in the field of environmental law, a degree from Lewis and Clark (or Vermont) is more desirable than a degree from Cornell (which has no dedicated environmental program). Whether that is true of NYU or Berkeley (which do have good environmental classes), I don't really know -- but since I didn't get into Berkeley, it doesn't really matter to me.




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