HLS vs. T-14 for Free! Need to decide ASAP!

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

What would you do?

Harvard Law School
133
43%
T-14 (just think of your favorite) with full Scholarship
173
57%
 
Total votes: 306

pleasebehappy
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HLS vs. T-14 for Free! Need to decide ASAP!

Postby pleasebehappy » Tue Apr 06, 2010 11:42 am

Hi everyone! So...I posted earlier a poll and I have it narrowed down to one T14 with a full ride (between ranking 7 and 10 on current USNWR) or HLS (no financial aid). I need to make a decision this week! Every time I decide to go to the T-14 debt-free, I think..."wow - I'm giving up HLS." And every time I decide to go to Harvard, I say, "wow - I'm giving up such a rare opportunity to go to a top law school without paying any tuition." I have therefore reached an impasse.

In talking with people at the other school, most of the students coming in with scholarships do very well and have great opportunities. In addition, I've already made helpful connections with the Admissions Dean and several faculty members at the T-14. I'm sure I can make similar connections at HLS, but I'd have to work a lot harder to make the networking connections that I already have at the other school. Finally, I know HLS offers many more opportunities, but i've come to question how many a student can actually take advantage of. A student will probably only get to do 1-2 clinics and take about 18 classes. Similarly, there are 100s of student groups at HLS, but I'm pretty sure I'd only be able to join 2-4 and have active membership.

I'm interested in clerking for one year, then working for a large law firm after graduation (DC, Chicago, ATL, Texas), and then transferring into the public sector and/or university administration (NOT academia, but I'd think that a HLS degree would go a bit further, but unsure as to how much since most universities mainly hire their own grads when possible to work in administration).

I know I'll be happy at either place - I'm drawn to Harvard for the opportunities, the unparalleled legal education/legal network, and the chance to live in a big city rather than a college town. But I'm attracted to the other school because it's closer to home, graduating debt free, having the extra opportunities that the scholarship brings, and the student body has been really nice.
Last edited by pleasebehappy on Tue Apr 06, 2010 11:49 am, edited 1 time in total.

pleasepickme
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Re: HLS vs. T-14 for Free! Need to decide ASAP!

Postby pleasepickme » Tue Apr 06, 2010 11:47 am

I'm in a similar situation with different goals. I want to do a clerkship then work in public interest/government. Other than that, very very very similar problems. Thoughts?

Flanker1067
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Re: HLS vs. T-14 for Free! Need to decide ASAP!

Postby Flanker1067 » Tue Apr 06, 2010 11:49 am

Haha you make a good point about either way it seems ridiculous to pass up the other. I voted T-14, but then thought about it for a second, and I would probably do HLS in reality. Congrats on having the awesome choice.

09042014
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Re: HLS vs. T-14 for Free! Need to decide ASAP!

Postby 09042014 » Tue Apr 06, 2010 11:50 am

pleasepickme wrote:I'm in a similar situation with different goals. I want to do a clerkship then work in public interest/government. Other than that, very very very similar problems. Thoughts?


HLS. LRAP and IBR will help with the debt.

ylee0331
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Re: HLS vs. T-14 for Free! Need to decide ASAP!

Postby ylee0331 » Tue Apr 06, 2010 11:51 am

well, since you asked for an opinion, here it is:

take HLS on debt. You said you want to do biglaw. That just means you should to take the H-Bomb. Even if you incurr 200K debt, you'll eventually pay it off with your biglaw, 80hrs/wk, job. Simple as that.

Of course, if you want to work harder and still get the biglaw job, you can take t-14 at no cost and have more money in your pocket. 'tis problem of your isn't such a hard question to answer (unless of course you want to go into politics later in life then you would then really want to go to HLS.).

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firebreathingliberal
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Re: HLS vs. T-14 for Free! Need to decide ASAP!

Postby firebreathingliberal » Tue Apr 06, 2010 11:53 am

Always something to be said for a free education. Because I am so debt averse I would say go with the free ride. You can then take any job you want and have tons of flexibility in your career because you don't need to take a job paying 150k so you can pay back 200k in loans.

If your talking UofC or Penn or maybe Mich then I would say take the money. If it is Duke, NW, UVA I would say go to Harvard. IMHO.

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bceagles182
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Re: HLS vs. T-14 for Free! Need to decide ASAP!

Postby bceagles182 » Tue Apr 06, 2010 11:55 am

Depends on which T14. I'd take full tuition at say, Columbia, over Harvard sticker anyday of the week and twice on Sundays.

jnorsky
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Re: HLS vs. T-14 for Free! Need to decide ASAP!

Postby jnorsky » Tue Apr 06, 2010 11:59 am

T-14 for free, that is hard to pass up, and I probably wouldn't. Unless you want to be president or a law professor then going to Harvard seems kind of dumb at this point. You will graduate with almost no debt, maybe 40K at most, from a top law school. Id choose the T-14 unless it was Cornell, because wouldn't go there regardless, but anywhere else, even Gtown, I would choose over Harvard.

Also, at michigan someone would take the full ride, but not at uva or duke? yea cause michigan is enough ahead to make a full ride worth it and not at uva.
Last edited by jnorsky on Tue Apr 06, 2010 12:01 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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jks289
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Re: HLS vs. T-14 for Free! Need to decide ASAP!

Postby jks289 » Tue Apr 06, 2010 12:01 pm

The good news is there is no wrong decision here and no matter what you pick in ten years you will say "thank God I went to X instead of X." If your only attachment to Harvard is the name, I think take the money. The actual legal education at Harvard isn't any better than the rest of the T14, and while the name is certainly the gold standard, the opportunity costs associated with a lower ranked school will be more then offset by the freedom of not having debt.

Kretzy
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Re: HLS vs. T-14 for Free! Need to decide ASAP!

Postby Kretzy » Tue Apr 06, 2010 12:03 pm

jks289 wrote:The good news is there is no wrong decision here and no matter what you pick in ten years you will say "thank God I went to X instead of X." If your only attachment to Harvard is the name, I think take the money. The actual legal education at Harvard isn't any better than the rest of the T14, and while the name is certainly the gold standard, the opportunity costs associated with a lower ranked school will be more then offset by the freedom of not having debt.


I'd have to agree with this. Especially if your full-ride comes with extra perks, like faculty research opportunities or more career placement assistance during 1L and 2L summers.

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Campagnolo
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Re: HLS vs. T-14 for Free! Need to decide ASAP!

Postby Campagnolo » Tue Apr 06, 2010 12:04 pm

This information is a little old, but I get the feeling the numbers are even more stratified now.

In any case, if you want a clerkship, go to HLS.

http://www.law.com/pdf/nlj/20080414employment_trends.pdf

dakatz
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Re: HLS vs. T-14 for Free! Need to decide ASAP!

Postby dakatz » Tue Apr 06, 2010 12:06 pm

I know a real bright guy, as the OP most certainly is, who went to Harvard, and he says his biggest regret is not taking a full scholarship from a lower T-14. According to him, he would have gotten the same types of jobs, but without the debt load that he is still paying off. That isn't to say he isn't living comfortably, but he said it was an unnecessary waste of an extra 200K, which he didn't need to spend at all, since he was smart enough to do well at any T-14 school.

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underachiever
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Re: HLS vs. T-14 for Free! Need to decide ASAP!

Postby underachiever » Tue Apr 06, 2010 12:06 pm

Debt free is the way to be
....my new motto after spending way too much on a law school with a flashy name

09042014
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Re: HLS vs. T-14 for Free! Need to decide ASAP!

Postby 09042014 » Tue Apr 06, 2010 12:09 pm

dakatz wrote:I know a real bright guy, as the OP most certainly is, who went to Harvard, and he says his biggest regret is not taking a full scholarship from a lower T-14. According to him, he would have gotten the same types of jobs, but without the debt load that he is still paying off. That isn't to say he isn't living comfortably, but he said it was an unnecessary waste of an extra 200K, which he didn't need to spend at all, since he was smart enough to do well at any T-14 school.


That is judging the risk of an action after the results. He didn't know he was smart enough to do well at any t14 when he started law school.

During the boom, I would have agreed since even at the lower T14 people were almost all getting big law. But now the lower t14 has trouble placing median students into big law.

JOThompson
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Re: HLS vs. T-14 for Free! Need to decide ASAP!

Postby JOThompson » Tue Apr 06, 2010 12:10 pm

dakatz wrote:I know a real bright guy, as the OP most certainly is, who went to Harvard, and he says his biggest regret is not taking a full scholarship from a lower T-14. According to him, he would have gotten the same types of jobs, but without the debt load that he is still paying off. That isn't to say he isn't living comfortably, but he said it was an unnecessary waste of an extra 200K, which he didn't need to spend at all, since he was smart enough to do well at any T-14 school.

Was he quoted in that NYT article?

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firebreathingliberal
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Re: HLS vs. T-14 for Free! Need to decide ASAP!

Postby firebreathingliberal » Tue Apr 06, 2010 12:14 pm

jnorsky wrote:Also, at michigan someone would take the full ride, but not at uva or duke? yea cause michigan is enough ahead to make a full ride worth it and not at uva.


I said maybe Michigan. But you're right there isn't much basis for my assertion it was just sort of a knee jerk reaction trying to size up the cost/benefit of forgoing HLS for a t7-10 based more on my own perceptions of the programs than anything else. Honestly I would take the free ride regardless, but I'm not the OP and he obviously has a lot to think about since he is waffling on the matter.

Pearalegal
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Re: HLS vs. T-14 for Free! Need to decide ASAP!

Postby Pearalegal » Tue Apr 06, 2010 12:18 pm

I picked no debt, because at the end of the day you'll have great opportunities at either...but you never know what life will bring (marriage and a strong desire to buy a house/take a job that lets you be home more, a surprise child, sick parent who suddenly has financial troubles, anyways), and not having debt will just be such a huge thing.

3 years is a long time, and a lot of things in your life can change.

That said, you might be a happy bouncing ball in three years with no big financial worries or responsibilities...but if thats the case, your life will rock even more being able to take in all your salary.

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LawandOrder
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Re: HLS vs. T-14 for Free! Need to decide ASAP!

Postby LawandOrder » Tue Apr 06, 2010 12:23 pm

I picked Harvard because in 25 years you can still be saying to your colleagues that you attended Harvard Law, while they "only" went to Michigan.

The Harvard name immediately lowers the class rank that you must achieve for job openings and it ensures that you will have the best opportunities available to you.

The debt is transient, the prestige lasts a lifetime.

JOThompson
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Re: HLS vs. T-14 for Free! Need to decide ASAP!

Postby JOThompson » Tue Apr 06, 2010 12:23 pm

Pearalegal wrote:I picked no debt, because at the end of the day you'll have great opportunities at either...but you never know what life will bring (marriage and a strong desire to buy a house/take a job that lets you be home more, a surprise child, sick parent who suddenly has financial troubles, anyways), and not having debt will just be such a huge thing.

3 years is a long time, and a lot of things in your life can change.

That said, you might be a happy bouncing ball in three years with no big financial worries or responsibilities...but if thats the case, your life will rock even more being able to take in all your salary.

What school did you settle on?

jitsrenzo
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Re: HLS vs. T-14 for Free! Need to decide ASAP!

Postby jitsrenzo » Tue Apr 06, 2010 12:26 pm

Super ambitious = HLS

PI = no debt

dakatz
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Re: HLS vs. T-14 for Free! Need to decide ASAP!

Postby dakatz » Tue Apr 06, 2010 12:27 pm

JOThompson wrote:
dakatz wrote:I know a real bright guy, as the OP most certainly is, who went to Harvard, and he says his biggest regret is not taking a full scholarship from a lower T-14. According to him, he would have gotten the same types of jobs, but without the debt load that he is still paying off. That isn't to say he isn't living comfortably, but he said it was an unnecessary waste of an extra 200K, which he didn't need to spend at all, since he was smart enough to do well at any T-14 school.

Was he quoted in that NYT article?


No

Pearalegal
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Re: HLS vs. T-14 for Free! Need to decide ASAP!

Postby Pearalegal » Tue Apr 06, 2010 12:28 pm

LawandOrder wrote:I picked Harvard because in 25 years you can still be saying to your colleagues that you attended Harvard Law, while they "only" went to Michigan.



:roll: Do not let something like this influence you in anyway. Be a grownup.

And JOThompson:

Texas, paid my deposit, but its not 100% official until I go down and visit after the 16th (couldn't get off of work before then). They ended up more than matching my biggest scholarship at a school ranked below them, making my decision both logical, painless and obvious.

JOThompson
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Re: HLS vs. T-14 for Free! Need to decide ASAP!

Postby JOThompson » Tue Apr 06, 2010 12:33 pm

Pearalegal wrote:
LawandOrder wrote:I picked Harvard because in 25 years you can still be saying to your colleagues that you attended Harvard Law, while they "only" went to Michigan.



:roll: Do not let something like this influence you in anyway. Be a grownup.

And JOThompson:

Texas, paid my deposit, but its not 100% official until I go down and visit after the 16th (couldn't get off of work before then). They ended up more than matching my biggest scholarship at a school ranked below them, making my decision both logical, painless and obvious.

Congrats on the Texas offer :)

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ConMan345
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Re: HLS vs. T-14 for Free! Need to decide ASAP!

Postby ConMan345 » Tue Apr 06, 2010 12:37 pm

JK, you don't want to be an attorney your whole life. I'd take the money and run.

Pearalegal
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Re: HLS vs. T-14 for Free! Need to decide ASAP!

Postby Pearalegal » Tue Apr 06, 2010 1:22 pm

JOThompson wrote:Congrats on the Texas offer :)


Thanks!




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