Help Me Choose: William & Mary vs. Alabama

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

Please leave comments about why you vote the way you do.

W&M (24k/year + COL)
17
59%
Alabama (7k/year with top 40% requirement + free books all three years + COL)
12
41%
 
Total votes: 29

Unadilla Kayaker
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Help Me Choose: William & Mary vs. Alabama

Postby Unadilla Kayaker » Sun Mar 21, 2010 11:16 pm

Hello All,

I'm looking for some input on my decision. I was shockingly admitted into William & Mary on Friday with an $8,000/year scholarship. Before that I had pretty much decided to attend Alabama with a $20,000/year scholarship (with a top 40% stipulation) + books for all three years (guaranteed) + a job 2L and 3L if I want it. After visiting W&M a few weeks ago, I was sure I was going on the wait list with so many others. However, my decision becomes infinitely harder now that I got into W&M.

I'm from Upstate New York but have no desire to return here or to work in New York or Boston. I've spent significant time living in Asia and went to college in Virginia (not W&M). I have an interest in working in DC, possibly in government, and possibly working abroad (I like the lifestyle of expats and some of the freedoms). Those are all just interests though. I think I'd be content working in either Alabama or Virginia or elsewhere after law school so those aren't huge factors.

The way I figure it, W&M will open doors to DC and more opportunities than Alabama. However, Alabama is still the best school in that state and would provide for diverse opportunities after law school (just maybe not biglaw, federal government, or federal clerkships). Plus, Alabama is significantly cheaper (about 50k cheaper). I am a bit debt averse, but at the moment my problem is I'm not sure the W&M degree is worth the extra 50k of debt since I don't fully know what type of law I want to practice after law school.

One final note: I will discuss reexamining scholarships with both schools to see if that will change anything. Let's just use the info as is. I'd appreciate you leaving a bit about why you vote the way you do. Thanks for any input!

SeiferD
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Re: Help Me Choose: William & Mary vs. Alabama

Postby SeiferD » Sun Mar 21, 2010 11:39 pm

Based solely on absolute and relative rankings, I'd say Alabama is your better bet. Mainly because I think debt will be the major challenge if you want to work abroad. I'm not sure that the opportunities will be significantly different if you go to W&M.

That said, I'd try to see if W&M can match your scholarship. Though, W&M is a bit stingy (they offered me less $ than T-14 schools).

Also, I'd think really heavily about where you'd like to work and live. Have you visited Alabama? I wouldn't let yourself underestimate the value of location.

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wadeny
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Re: Help Me Choose: William & Mary vs. Alabama

Postby wadeny » Sun Mar 21, 2010 11:55 pm

SeiferD wrote:Based solely on absolute and relative rankings, I'd say Alabama is your better bet. Mainly because I think debt will be the major challenge if you want to work abroad. I'm not sure that the opportunities will be significantly different if you go to W&M.

That said, I'd try to see if W&M can match your scholarship. Though, W&M is a bit stingy (they offered me less $ than T-14 schools).

Also, I'd think really heavily about where you'd like to work and live. Have you visited Alabama? I wouldn't let yourself underestimate the value of location.


OP, debt is an issue regardless of whether you want to work abroad or not, but neither W&M or Alabama are ideal for practicing law internationally anyway. It really comes down to the specific location where you want to work since both schools are largely regional. If you want to work in VA/DC or the Mid-Atlantic in general, go to W&M. If you want to work in AL or the Southeast (possibly Atlanta), go to Alabama. It could be partially due to self selection, but from I've heard in terms of grad placement, W&M has a little more mobility than Alabama. Whether that is worth an additional $50k in debt really depends on your goals.

SeiferD
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Re: Help Me Choose: William & Mary vs. Alabama

Postby SeiferD » Mon Mar 22, 2010 12:09 am

I think it really depends on the type of job you're looking for.

Biglaw and you're probably going to be stuck in the general geographic area of your school.

Some corporate jobs, NGOs, government work, etc and I think you have a much wider selection. I know there a lot of low paying/quasi volunteer international jobs. If you're thinking about that, LRAP and debt are going to be major factors.

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APHill
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Re: Help Me Choose: William & Mary vs. Alabama

Postby APHill » Wed Mar 31, 2010 8:12 pm

W&M median private sector salary is around 140k vs Alabama's 75K(i think)=paying off that extra debt will be easier from W&M. They are ranked similarly, but if you decide to go corporate or anywhhere outside law where JD is useful like IB or PE, W&M degree will carry you farther due to lay prestige. W&M is supposed to be one of the most underrated law schools.

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darknightbegins
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Re: Help Me Choose: William & Mary vs. Alabama

Postby darknightbegins » Wed Mar 31, 2010 8:26 pm

APHill wrote:W&M median private sector salary is around 140k vs Alabama's 75K(i think)=paying off that extra debt will be easier from W&M. They are ranked similarly, but if you decide to go corporate or anywhhere outside law where JD is useful like IB or PE, W&M degree will carry you farther due to lay prestige. W&M is supposed to be one of the most underrated law schools.


I think many of those making 140K are living in DC, and the cost of living there is unreal. Alabama's cost of living is significantly less. However, I would go with W&M. A more storied law school than Bama and likely you can name drop William and Mary law easier than Bama law.

Unadilla Kayaker
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Re: Help Me Choose: William & Mary vs. Alabama

Postby Unadilla Kayaker » Wed Mar 31, 2010 8:36 pm

Thanks for the late posts. I did decide to go to W&M. It hurt to pull out of Alabama, but I know I made the right choice.

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APHill
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Re: Help Me Choose: William & Mary vs. Alabama

Postby APHill » Wed Mar 31, 2010 8:37 pm

did u go to ASW?

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APHill
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Re: Help Me Choose: William & Mary vs. Alabama

Postby APHill » Wed Mar 31, 2010 8:43 pm

darknightbegins wrote:
APHill wrote:W&M median private sector salary is around 140k vs Alabama's 75K(i think)=paying off that extra debt will be easier from W&M. They are ranked similarly, but if you decide to go corporate or anywhhere outside law where JD is useful like IB or PE, W&M degree will carry you farther due to lay prestige. W&M is supposed to be one of the most underrated law schools.


I think many of those making 140K are living in DC, and the cost of living there is unreal. Alabama's cost of living is significantly less. However, I would go with W&M. A more storied law school than Bama and likely you can name drop William and Mary law easier than Bama law.


Richmond VA biglaw (which LOVES W&M and UVA almost equally) starts at around 145K and COL is nice!... DC is not that bad COL wise, you can get a nice (really nice) condo for 350K, townhouse for 500K - IN THE DISTRICT close to metro. For these moneys in NYC or Boston you will get a 250 sq foot nook.

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darknightbegins
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Re: Help Me Choose: William & Mary vs. Alabama

Postby darknightbegins » Wed Mar 31, 2010 8:43 pm

Unadilla Kayaker wrote:Thanks for the late posts. I did decide to go to W&M. It hurt to pull out of Alabama, but I know I made the right choice.


Congrads. I am waitlisted at William and Mary and it is my top choice, unlikely I'll get in. LSU is currently my choice until I hear back from William and Mary, still waiting on ASU. Best of luck!

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darknightbegins
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Re: Help Me Choose: William & Mary vs. Alabama

Postby darknightbegins » Wed Mar 31, 2010 8:45 pm

APHill wrote:
darknightbegins wrote:
APHill wrote:W&M median private sector salary is around 140k vs Alabama's 75K(i think)=paying off that extra debt will be easier from W&M. They are ranked similarly, but if you decide to go corporate or anywhhere outside law where JD is useful like IB or PE, W&M degree will carry you farther due to lay prestige. W&M is supposed to be one of the most underrated law schools.


I think many of those making 140K are living in DC, and the cost of living there is unreal. Alabama's cost of living is significantly less. However, I would go with W&M. A more storied law school than Bama and likely you can name drop William and Mary law easier than Bama law.


Richmond VA biglaw (which LOVES W&M and UVA almost equally) starts at around 145K and COL is nice!... DC is not that bad COL wise, you can get a nice (really nice) condo for 350K, townhouse for 500K - IN THE DISTRICT close to metro. For these moneys in NYC or Boston you will get a 250 sq foot nook.


Yeah I've heard Richmond isn't the most *ahem* progressive place racially, but that is another issue. DC is pretty bad COL wise. I've been there. Its moot there as the OP went to William and Mary.

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APHill
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Re: Help Me Choose: William & Mary vs. Alabama

Postby APHill » Wed Mar 31, 2010 8:51 pm

I did not encounter a lot of racial issues in Richmond VA, and with such international firms as Troutman Sanders or Hunton Williams based in Richmond race will he a plus rather than minus. I saw a profile of an Afro-American partner in Hunton's Richmond office - he made partner in 5 years. Of course they have Confederate generals (including your own) statues all over the place, but it is just history and pride of one's heritage.

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darknightbegins
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Re: Help Me Choose: William & Mary vs. Alabama

Postby darknightbegins » Wed Mar 31, 2010 8:54 pm

APHill wrote:I did not encounter a lot of racial issues in Richmond VA, and with such international firms as Troutman Sanders or Hunton Williams based in Richmond race will he a plus rather than minus. I saw a profile of an Afro-American partner in Hunton's Richmond office - he made partner in 5 years. Of course they have Confederate generals (including your own) statues all over the place, but it is just history and pride of one's heritage.


Race may help in some law firms so that the firm looks nice and diverse, I am talking about the regular population. The "every man". As for the Confederate general statue being just history and pride...uh...if Germans still had up Adolf Hitler statues up would you consider that to be just history and pride?

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APHill
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Re: Help Me Choose: William & Mary vs. Alabama

Postby APHill » Wed Mar 31, 2010 9:02 pm

What Adolf Hitler? Nothing happened, from 1939 to 1945 everyone was on vacation!!!

We better stop trashing this forum with unrelated comments.

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darknightbegins
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Re: Help Me Choose: William & Mary vs. Alabama

Postby darknightbegins » Wed Mar 31, 2010 9:11 pm

APHill wrote:
We better stop trashing this forum with unrelated comments.


Maybe you are right....nah fuck it.

Unadilla Kayaker
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Re: Help Me Choose: William & Mary vs. Alabama

Postby Unadilla Kayaker » Wed Mar 31, 2010 11:02 pm

Dark Knight, hope you get in. APHill, I was the guy who had lived in Taiwan. If you met me you probably remember that. If not, see you in August!

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darknightbegins
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Re: Help Me Choose: William & Mary vs. Alabama

Postby darknightbegins » Wed Mar 31, 2010 11:03 pm

Unadilla Kayaker wrote:Dark Knight, hope you get in. APHill, I was the guy who had lived in Taiwan. If you met me you probably remember that. If not, see you in August!


Thanks for the encouragement. Taiwan? Nice. I've always wanted to at least visit Taiwan, South Korea or Japan, especially Japan and South Korea.

Unadilla Kayaker
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Re: Help Me Choose: William & Mary vs. Alabama

Postby Unadilla Kayaker » Wed Mar 31, 2010 11:28 pm

darknightbegins wrote:
Unadilla Kayaker wrote:Dark Knight, hope you get in. APHill, I was the guy who had lived in Taiwan. If you met me you probably remember that. If not, see you in August!


Thanks for the encouragement. Taiwan? Nice. I've always wanted to at least visit Taiwan, South Korea or Japan, especially Japan and South Korea.


Why must you hate on Taiwan? Just kidding, Japan is great. Korea isn't as interesting for me. Southeast Asia for the next two months is. I leave Monday.

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APHill
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Re: Help Me Choose: William & Mary vs. Alabama

Postby APHill » Thu Apr 01, 2010 12:49 am

He is just totally trolling for Japan because they admitted him with scholarship and he is probably going there.

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darknightbegins
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Re: Help Me Choose: William & Mary vs. Alabama

Postby darknightbegins » Thu Apr 01, 2010 4:19 am

APHill wrote:He is just totally trolling for Japan because they admitted him with scholarship and he is probably going there.


Fuck I wish. I came a pubic hair away from teaching English there for a year. I just thought if I went I'd never come back. The women are beautiful, the food is great, I love the culture there that stresses discipline and education...I could go on but I won't. If I had to live somewhere besides the USA it would be Japan. I've been to Europe, I still think I'd take Japan over Europe.

tarheel87
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Re: Help Me Choose: William & Mary vs. Alabama

Postby tarheel87 » Thu Apr 01, 2010 6:01 pm

darknightbegins wrote:
APHill wrote:I did not encounter a lot of racial issues in Richmond VA, and with such international firms as Troutman Sanders or Hunton Williams based in Richmond race will he a plus rather than minus. I saw a profile of an Afro-American partner in Hunton's Richmond office - he made partner in 5 years. Of course they have Confederate generals (including your own) statues all over the place, but it is just history and pride of one's heritage.


Race may help in some law firms so that the firm looks nice and diverse, I am talking about the regular population. The "every man". As for the Confederate general statue being just history and pride...uh...if Germans still had up Adolf Hitler statues up would you consider that to be just history and pride?


I sincerely hope you are joking and that isn't just ignorance of American history and any kind of regional or cultural pride.

Also, Unadilla congrats on W&M, bud! I'm sure you'll love it and I think you made the right decision (I'm probably about to spurn Bama for a more expensive school as well).

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darknightbegins
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Re: Help Me Choose: William & Mary vs. Alabama

Postby darknightbegins » Thu Apr 01, 2010 7:20 pm

tarheel87 wrote:
darknightbegins wrote:
APHill wrote:I did not encounter a lot of racial issues in Richmond VA, and with such international firms as Troutman Sanders or Hunton Williams based in Richmond race will he a plus rather than minus. I saw a profile of an Afro-American partner in Hunton's Richmond office - he made partner in 5 years. Of course they have Confederate generals (including your own) statues all over the place, but it is just history and pride of one's heritage.


Race may help in some law firms so that the firm looks nice and diverse, I am talking about the regular population. The "every man". As for the Confederate general statue being just history and pride...uh...if Germans still had up Adolf Hitler statues up would you consider that to be just history and pride?


I sincerely hope you are joking and that isn't just ignorance of American history and any kind of regional or cultural pride.



No I was not joking. A statute of a confederate general who waged a war of insurrection against the United States government, is basically a traitor to the United States, and fought, among other things, to main the enslavement of human beings then I think a Hitler reference is warrented.




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