Virginia vs. Michigan: school culture

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OperaSoprano
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Re: Virginia vs. Michigan: school culture

Postby OperaSoprano » Sat Apr 10, 2010 4:28 pm

I have to weigh in on this even though I probably shouldn't. I'm similar to OP's self description in a number of ways: very progressive, into public interest, and a good fit for SF/Berkeley/NYC. I know UVA doesn't need any more trolls on here, but I have to tell you that I went down there to visit, and the school blew my mind. People were so ridiculously thoughtful, kind, and sweet that I had to force myself to come back north to my own beloved school. I am not usually one for envy, but I seriously envied the Virginians. That school is an epic quality of life win. I saw beer drinking, yes, but mostly I saw people who cared about one another and who cared about me. I saw people taking time for their friends. I saw a gorgeous campus and a historic downtown shopping area.

I'm not saying UVA is definitively the right choice for you, but I wouldn't write it off. I am a complete New Yorker, and my numbers were modest (I would never have made it into any T14), but UVA students welcomed me with open arms. They really were ridiculously kind, and they made a simple visit something to be treasured.

I've said my piece now, and I'll leave this to the people who know better than I, but I thought another visitor's observations might be of some use.

tumbleweed664
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Re: Virginia vs. Michigan: school culture

Postby tumbleweed664 » Sat Apr 10, 2010 4:37 pm

tangential886 wrote:
CanadianWolf wrote:Of the two schools, Michigan is the better fit for you. Are there any other choices?


I also went to visit Vanderbilt this week and expected it to be a lot like UVA but surprised to see a lot more diversity there. Any thoughts on this? I also have yet to withdraw from GULC but am fairly intimidated by the size and the potential competition for public interest resources.

I definitely agree with everyone that Michigan is a better fit culturally for me, but if I want to come back to the south (only large cities like Atlanta, New Orleans, or Houston) or go to the west coast, will going up north for 3 years really give me that much of an advantage?


0L, grain of salt, etc.

Everything I've read (and all the research I've done since this is of importance to me) says that you will have no problems going to the west coast from Michigan at all. I haven't done the same research on UVA's west coast placement.

Aside from wanting to go to NO/Houston/Atlanta, you sound like you are looking for the same school with similar career aspirations as me. I ended up thinking Berkeley was the best fit too (and also didn't get in), and my subsequent research screamed Michigan. I'll say I visited UVA and am not fratty. Many people weren't frat boys (a few were straight up nerds), but Michigan is where I felt like I truly fit in. Part of this for me was also gay student life at the schools, which may not be an issue for you.

Do some research on those southern firms. See if they do OCI at Michigan or have newer associates from there. Most have that information on their sites.

MPMP
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Re: Virginia vs. Michigan: school culture

Postby MPMP » Sat Apr 10, 2010 6:03 pm

showNprove wrote:
tangential886 wrote:
CanadianWolf wrote:Of the two schools, Michigan is the better fit for you. Are there any other choices?


I also went to visit Vanderbilt this week and expected it to be a lot like UVA but surprised to see a lot more diversity there. Any thoughts on this? I also have yet to withdraw from GULC but am fairly intimidated by the size and the potential competition for public interest resources.

I definitely agree with everyone that Michigan is a better fit culturally for me, but if I want to come back to the south (only large cities like Atlanta, New Orleans, or Houston) or go to the west coast, will going up north for 3 years really give me that much of an advantage?

UVa will definitely do better than Michigan in ATL, NO, and Houston. You'll need to weigh the importance of culture vs. placement.


Is this really true or is it just speculation? I think if you have ties to the South you will be able to return there without too much trouble, regardless of whether you choose UVA or Michigan. This is what I've been led to believe by current students, at least.

showNprove
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Re: Virginia vs. Michigan: school culture

Postby showNprove » Sun Apr 11, 2010 1:34 am

MPMP wrote:
showNprove wrote:
tangential886 wrote:
CanadianWolf wrote:Of the two schools, Michigan is the better fit for you. Are there any other choices?


I also went to visit Vanderbilt this week and expected it to be a lot like UVA but surprised to see a lot more diversity there. Any thoughts on this? I also have yet to withdraw from GULC but am fairly intimidated by the size and the potential competition for public interest resources.

I definitely agree with everyone that Michigan is a better fit culturally for me, but if I want to come back to the south (only large cities like Atlanta, New Orleans, or Houston) or go to the west coast, will going up north for 3 years really give me that much of an advantage?

UVa will definitely do better than Michigan in ATL, NO, and Houston. You'll need to weigh the importance of culture vs. placement.


Is this really true or is it just speculation? I think if you have ties to the South you will be able to return there without too much trouble, regardless of whether you choose UVA or Michigan. This is what I've been led to believe by current students, at least.

UVa, as a school, has stronger ties to those cities. Just like you would expect Michigan to have more graduates in Chicago and St. Louis, UVa puts a lot of graduates in Atlanta and Houston especially. I don't think that firms in those cities would look less favorably on Michigan, but I think they're less likely to look there.

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tangential886
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Re: Virginia vs. Michigan: school culture

Postby tangential886 » Sun Apr 11, 2010 5:43 pm

How would all this change if I want to do public interest law? Is regional strength more important? Or would being associated with a higher ranked school with a reputation for public interest better?

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vanwinkle
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Re: Virginia vs. Michigan: school culture

Postby vanwinkle » Sun Apr 11, 2010 5:57 pm

tangential886 wrote:How would all this change if I want to do public interest law? Is regional strength more important? Or would being associated with a higher ranked school with a reputation for public interest better?

These are both national schools and public interest law hiring is based mainly on commitment/experience and grades, so I don't think where each is matters much. You'll have extremely similar opportunities graduating from either UVa or Mich if you do pro bono and clinics while you're in school and you get the same grades in either place. What probably matters more is your local ties to a community, but again, that matters only if that's where you want to work when you graduate and you're already from there.

UVa will help if you want to build up ties to the PI community in western VA, Mich will help if you want to build up ties to the PI community in Michigan. Otherwise it's really a wash.

JuanaB
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Re: Virginia vs. Michigan: school culture

Postby JuanaB » Sun Apr 11, 2010 6:36 pm

I am faced with the same choice. I attended both Preview weekends. Here are my thoughts.

Academics: Mich = UVA

Career Opportunities: Mich = UVA

Student Body Friendliness: Mich = UVA

Future Academia Prospects: Mich > UVA

Racial Diversity: Mich > UVA

LRAP: Mich > UVA

Weather: UVA >> Mich

Extracurricular Involvement: UVA > Mich


For what it is worth, I am choosing UVA. I come from the West and my decision boiled down to my preference for the Southern culture over the Midwest. Weather has a huge effect on my mood and the gloominess of Ann Arbor would be an added stress to me for 3 years. I also have several hobbies that I'd like to maintain in law school that would be greatly limited by Ann Arbor's long winters. There are definitely some annoying parts of UVA's "Frat-astic" vibe, but from what my experience was, that is a small demographic. Every law school will have students that are not the best mesh for my personality type, but there will always be others who I will get along with. I think rejecting a school based on a group of a few other students is a mistake. Though similar in many respects, I enjoyed Charlottesville more than Ann Arbor.

Good Luck-

fortissimo
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Re: Virginia vs. Michigan: school culture

Postby fortissimo » Sun Apr 11, 2010 7:01 pm

I made the choice last year and chose Michigan. First, Ann Arbor seems a lot bigger than Charlottesville, and a lot more walkable/less rural. (There are also over 3 times as many people in AA than Charlottesville.) You also don't need a car in AA unlike in Charlottesville. I lived in a more urban environment for ugrad and didn't get a car and didn't want to have to get one for law school. I haven't needed one so far. Second, the winters in Michigan, at least this winter, only lasted about 2 months. (February was when it snowed quite a bit and then it got pretty hot afterwards, aka during our break it started getting warm.) It's pretty warm since the end of the Feb/beginning of March. I don't get why people say the winters are bad, but it's not. Then again this winter was supposedly pretty mild. Third, I thought Michigan students are a lot more down to earth, but this might just be my aversion to fratty types. Fourth, I wanted to give myself a greater chance to work back in CA again, if I decide to. Fifth, diversity. Coming from one of the most diverse states/areas, I think this is something that was of more importance to me than to others.
Last edited by fortissimo on Sun Apr 11, 2010 7:17 pm, edited 1 time in total.

epyon
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Re: Virginia vs. Michigan: school culture

Postby epyon » Sun Apr 11, 2010 7:17 pm

Is Michigan's LRAP even better than Virginia's with the updated program for the class of 2013 and beyond?
http://www.law.virginia.edu/html/news/2010_spr/vlfp.htm

Also, what about clerkship opportunities? I know V does really well at the SCOTUS level, comparatively, but what about clerkships in general?

fortissimo
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Re: Virginia vs. Michigan: school culture

Postby fortissimo » Sun Apr 11, 2010 7:21 pm

epyon wrote:Is Michigan's LRAP even better than Virginia's with the updated program for the class of 2013 and beyond?
http://www.law.virginia.edu/html/news/2010_spr/vlfp.htm

Also, what about clerkship opportunities? I know V does really well at the SCOTUS level, comparatively, but what about clerkships in general?


It's hard to tell b/c for Mich's LRAP any "legal' job qualifies (public defender, etc. even working as a paralegal or legal secretary), while for UVA it's limited to a specific type of job, and Mich's LRAP takes into account your income along with other debt, etc. For UVA I think it only looks at your income without taking into account other debt you have.

Clerking, about the same. viewtopic.php?f=1&t=75513
Mich placed 13.9% into clerkships according to most recent data while Virginia placed 12.4%.

(However, this year, Mich said at ASW that it has placed over 20% into clerkships so far...)




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