Please Help! Berkeley vs. Mich vs. UVA

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Berkeley vs. Mich vs. UVA

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Please Help! Berkeley vs. Mich vs. UVA

Postby MarkL234 » Sat Apr 03, 2010 12:29 pm


I've been a long time lurker but was hoping to get some help with my impending decision.

Ideally, I'd like to practice in the Bay Area after law school, most likely in big law. This would obviously point to Berkeley but I am also very interested in clerking if I have the grades. Mich and UVA seem to place better with Article III judges.

I have also heard from people at Mich and UVA that getting a job in the Bay Area is easy because there is little competition from your class. I also have ties to the area as I grew up there.

An additional significant factor is the social scene. I want to have fun in law school if it is at all possible. Coming straight out of undergrad, I fear that Berkeley will not be as socially fun as the student age is older.

With Mich and UVA it seems that they are almost identical placement wise, yet very different socially. I would say Michigan's social scene would probably appeal a little more to me but the weather is definitely a negative.

Basically, it boils down to Berkeley's network in the bay area combined with comparatively weak clerkship and biglaw placement, vs. Michigan's good placement, fun social scene, but bad weather, vs. UVA's good placement and weather.

Thanks for your input!


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Re: Please Help! Berkeley vs. Mich vs. UVA

Postby JuanaB » Sat Apr 03, 2010 12:34 pm

What is the difference in social atmosphere that you perceive between UVA and Mich?

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Re: Please Help! Berkeley vs. Mich vs. UVA

Postby Dignan » Sun Apr 04, 2010 5:20 am

The median age at Berkeley Law is 24, the same as most law schools. And, if that's too old for you, you have 25,000 undergraduate students next door, almost all between the ages of 18 and 22.

I'm not in my early 20s anymore, but if I were, I would much prefer Berkeley to Charlottesville or Ann Arbor. The city you prefer is an individual matter, but I don't think that your age will be much of a factor in any of those three college towns.

And you're right that both Michigan and Virginia have better overall federal clerkship placement stats. However, Berkeley places better than the other two for clerkships in the competitive 9th circuit, which would give you an advantage for California jobs.

Your stated goal is to get a job in the San Francisco Bay Area. I think that Berkeley is the right choice. Michigan and Virgina are excellent schools, but they're not Yale and Harvard. The slight advantages that Michigan and Virginia offer in big law and clerkships do not outweigh the benefits you'll get from going to a top-10 law school in the market you want to practice in.

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Re: Please Help! Berkeley vs. Mich vs. UVA

Postby Cavalier » Sun Apr 04, 2010 9:19 am

I voted for UVA before reading the thread. :D

But after reading it, I think Berkeley is the credited response. If you want to work in California, and there's no scholarship money involved at the other schools, I really see no major advantage to choosing Michigan or UVA. Perhaps Berkeley isn't as fun as UVA, but I imagine it's still much closer to UVA than, say, Chicago. I wouldn't worry about clerkships; once you are in the top 10, getting a clerkship is much more dependent on your grades than the school you attend (not including YHS, of course).

Also, if you go to Berkeley, you get to see the Huskies play in 2010 and 2012!!!

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