Mich ($$) vs. Chicago

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

Chicago or Mich ($$)

Chicago
25
35%
Mich (45k)
47
65%
 
Total votes: 72

washingtonian
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Mich ($$) vs. Chicago

Postby washingtonian » Fri Apr 23, 2010 11:08 am

I know there have been lots of threads on this, but I figured I'd throw out another. I am choosing between Mich w/ $45k over 3 years, and nothing from Chicago.

I visited both, and liked the atmosphere at Michigan better, but am having a hard time letting go of Chicago's faculty and slightly better placement in Biglaw/clerking.

I don't exactly know what I want to do after I graduate (firm, govt, or PI), though I would like to clerk, so I want to leave my options open.

I guess my question is if it's crazy to pass up Chicago for Mich. Thanks.

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Rand M.
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Re: Mich ($$) vs. Chicago

Postby Rand M. » Fri Apr 23, 2010 11:14 am

Voted for Michigan. I would have voted differently if you hadn't said that you like the atmosphere at MIchigan better. Going somewhere you will enjoy is most important as it will mean that you will likely perform better and and have an all around better experience. Take the money with a smile, knowing that you will be getting a stellar education.

washingtonian
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Re: Mich ($$) vs. Chicago

Postby washingtonian » Fri Apr 23, 2010 11:29 am

anyone have any thoughts? appreciate everyone voting in the poll.

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black celebration
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Re: Mich ($$) vs. Chicago

Postby black celebration » Fri Apr 23, 2010 11:30 am

You're definitely not crazy to pass up Michigan for Chicago, especially not with $45k. If the prices were even, I can imagine giving a little bit of pause, but even in that scenario, you certainly wouldn't be "crazy" to pick one top 10 law school over another because it feels a lot better and you imagine you'd be more happy there. Enjoy Michigan!

tamago12
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Re: Mich ($$) vs. Chicago

Postby tamago12 » Fri Apr 23, 2010 1:06 pm

I'm basically facing the same decision, though with a bit more money at Michigan (67K).

I'm 99% sure I'm picking Michigan all the way :)

I just liked the atmosphere more than U Chicago, though living in Chicago is very appealing.

I'm also not really sure what I want to do in law, and though clerking would certainly be nice, there are opportunities at both schools.

But several people in the legal field (lawyers, judges, etc.) have told me I'd be crazy to pick Michigan over Chicago. Once again, it seems that prestige trumps all. I suppose it's something to consider, but I think I'll pick where I think I'll be happiest. Though the money doesn't hurt, either.

washingtonian
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Re: Mich ($$) vs. Chicago

Postby washingtonian » Fri Apr 23, 2010 4:20 pm

bump...


there have to be others who are in this same position or were! need input!! thank you!! :)

09042014
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Re: Mich ($$) vs. Chicago

Postby 09042014 » Fri Apr 23, 2010 4:22 pm

I think it's crazy. Maybe for 90K, but 45K? No.

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Emma.
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Re: Mich ($$) vs. Chicago

Postby Emma. » Fri Apr 23, 2010 10:49 pm

I'm pretty curious about this too. Darrow at Michigan vs. $90k at Chi...

My SO much prefers Chicago, but I'm (obviously) stuggling to pick. SO job opportunities (lack of) in Ann Arbor are definitely a consideration. I'm not sure what I want to do out of school but I'll definitely be looking at clerking. I liked both schools when I visited. Not super thrilled by Ann Arbor but it'd be fine. I'm an older student and pretty debt averse.

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thinkbig
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Re: Mich ($$) vs. Chicago

Postby thinkbig » Fri Apr 23, 2010 10:59 pm

I would definitely pick Chicago. Sure, Michigan is a highly elite school that will generally afford the same caliber opportunities, but Chicago is the ultimate in prestige. At this level, the $45k is not a big deal; you will have no problem repaying your loans coming out of either school.

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gossipgirl
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Re: Mich ($$) vs. Chicago

Postby gossipgirl » Fri Apr 23, 2010 11:06 pm

Chicago. Paying 45k for the better clerkship rates, professors, and employment opportunities is the right choice.

Did you go to Chicago's ASW? It was brilliant and they really showcased the strength of their small class and the benefits of having access to their high quality faculty.

freeflowfox
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Re: Mich ($$) vs. Chicago

Postby freeflowfox » Sat Apr 24, 2010 6:35 am

EXACT same situation, I've been going absolutely bonkers. I'm leaning towards Chicago though, Mich has twice the class size and a perceived-to-be declining position. The small town thing also isn't my cup of tea.

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FlightoftheEarls
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Re: Mich ($$) vs. Chicago

Postby FlightoftheEarls » Sat Apr 24, 2010 11:27 am

tamago12 wrote:But several people in the legal field (lawyers, judges, etc.) have told me I'd be crazy to pick Michigan over Chicago. Once again, it seems that prestige trumps all. I suppose it's something to consider, but I think I'll pick where I think I'll be happiest. Though the money doesn't hurt, either.

This is going to depend on when they went to law school, to a large extent. I would wager most from the 60s-early 80s will say Michigan without a doubt. I would say most from the early 80s-early 2000s will say Chicago from when it became the leader in L&E and grabbed a horde of prestigious faculty. The thing is, they're both equally phenomenal schools and I don't think the prestige factor is all that different within the legal community - sure Chicago has a slight edge because it's known for being a somewhat grueling experience, but people will not look at a Chicago grad and assume that they have any significant (or even slight, in my opinion) advantage over a Michigan grad if you put them toe-to-toe. Others may disagree, but I don't think so.

freeflowfox wrote:EXACT same situation, I've been going absolutely bonkers. I'm leaning towards Chicago though, Mich has twice the class size and a perceived-to-be declining position. The small town thing also isn't my cup of tea.

To be honest, I don't think anyone actually has this perception. If anything, that has been said recently about Chicago since much of it's faculty has been poached to over T10 schools over the past several years. With that said, I don't think that means Chicago is in decline at all - it's still the same fantastic school it was. My point is that this idea of "in decline" or "on the rise" is made out to be far more than it should be on these boards, especially since Chicago jumped over NYU this year. If Michigan meets or exceeds BP next year, we aren't somehow "on the rise" and they're not "declining." If we drop below UVA, we're not "declining" and UVA isn't "rising" (and UVA is very much a fantastic peer in every sense, they don't need a ranking point to deserve that recognition). After all of that, however, if you'd be much happier in the city of Chicago - I would go to Chicago. Michigan's attraction is, to a large extent, the school and community of the law school itself. It is very contained and there is a whole lot to to do on campus. Since we don't have a huge city to be the main attraction, there is a lot going on here within the law school community. I've been to Detroit a handful of times for sporting events and concerts, but for the most part there is everything I need and more right here. I figure that when I graduate, I can live the city lifestyle - while I'm a poor law student, I'd rather have this inclusive community where I don't need to go into the city to find things to do. Some may not find that as valuable as others - I love it, personally.

Either school can get you into clerkships or academia if you do well enough. As I'm sure people are aware, the most recent ("reliable?") figures we have are Michigan placing 14% into Article III and Chicago 10%. There is probably a self-selection argument to be made (yet at the same time - I would guess most people going to Chicago are familiar with and interested in the clerkship process, so who knows?), but I wouldn't think one particularly dominates the other. By pretty much all accounts I would say they are fairly comparable and can each get you into good clerkships if you do well. The key that people seem to forget isn't the school, but the "doing well" part - Michigan will not guarantee you a clerkship, and Chicago will not guarantee you a clerkship. You still have to kick ass while you're there. Last year in Academia, Michigan placed 11 while Chicago placed 6, so they recently seem to be fairly comparable when corrected for class size (~350/11 = .31% vs. ~200/6 = .30%). The year before Michigan placed 9 while Chicago placed 5 - again fairly comparable (~350/9 = .25% vs. ~200/5 = .25%) The point of these numbers is two-fold: First, the numbers are very, very, very, very small for either school - but I'm not saying to base where you go without considering them. I only ask that you recognize that to a very large extent, once you're in a top level school (apart from Y), it is largely a factor of how well you do and how well you present yourself than it is which school you are at. Second, while Chicago has a very self-perpetuating reputation on these boards for dominating all others in clerkships/academia placement, this isn't always the case. That said, Chicago is fantastic at this. But, in many respects, so is Michigan. I urge you not to think that one is going to be a goldmine and the other downright insufficient simply because there are reputations on these boards. While it's true that reputations start for a reason, they also aren't entirely inclusive of the whole story. Michigan will not close any doors for you that Chicago will open.

So, what's my point? I'll make it simple:
Visit. Feel. Decide. :D

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Helmholtz
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Re: Mich ($$) vs. Chicago

Postby Helmholtz » Sat Apr 24, 2010 11:40 am

agree with FlightoftheEarls

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Jeff Mangum
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Re: Mich ($$) vs. Chicago

Postby Jeff Mangum » Sat Apr 24, 2010 12:11 pm

emrose wrote:I'm pretty curious about this too. Darrow at Michigan vs. $90k at Chi...

My SO much prefers Chicago, but I'm (obviously) stuggling to pick. SO job opportunities (lack of) in Ann Arbor are definitely a consideration. I'm not sure what I want to do out of school but I'll definitely be looking at clerking. I liked both schools when I visited. Not super thrilled by Ann Arbor but it'd be fine. I'm an older student and pretty debt averse.

A Darrow at Michigan is more impressive on your resume than Chicago. Congrats on such amazing options!

washingtonian
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Re: Mich ($$) vs. Chicago

Postby washingtonian » Sat Apr 24, 2010 12:37 pm

maybe this is a dumb question, but can you put "dean's scholarship" or whatever on your resume for michigan?

i really appreciate everyone's input on this...

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Emma.
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Re: Mich ($$) vs. Chicago

Postby Emma. » Sat Apr 24, 2010 12:44 pm

washingtonian wrote:maybe this is a dumb question, but can you put "dean's scholarship" or whatever on your resume for michigan?

i really appreciate everyone's input on this...


Don't see why not. Sucks that Chi's scholarships have no name.

Sorry to threadjack BTW, I created my own in the end. :oops:

washingtonian
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Re: Mich ($$) vs. Chicago

Postby washingtonian » Sat Apr 24, 2010 1:26 pm

no worries. :) good luck with your decision! if i was offered the darrow i would take that in a second, fwiw! then again, my SO and i will be long distance regardless of where i go, so i don't have that factoring into my decision....

washingtonian
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Re: Mich ($$) vs. Chicago

Postby washingtonian » Sat Apr 24, 2010 1:34 pm

also i have zero interest in academia, so that's not a consideration for me. i want to work in DC after law school, and do something related to law and policy/politics.

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Shaggier1
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Re: Mich ($$) vs. Chicago

Postby Shaggier1 » Sat Apr 24, 2010 2:39 pm

I visited both, and liked the atmosphere at Michigan better


Take the money and run.

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observationalist
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Re: Mich ($$) vs. Chicago

Postby observationalist » Sat Apr 24, 2010 2:45 pm

For those interested in faculty strength, I came across this while updating our SSRN page and figured I would share... it provides some interesting stats for the two schools in question: http://hq.ssrn.com/rankings/Ranking_Dis ... TRN_gID=13

I don't think Chicago is hurting for faculty, at least when you compare them to Michigan's faculty. Despite having 17 fewer authors than Michigan on SSRN (due presumably to the smaller faculty, though law students can affiliate themselves with schools which can skew things a bit), Chicago's team has posted 35 more articles over the last 12 months and received over twice as many downloads as Michigan's team. The L&E scholarship is alive and well. I honestly don't know whether the norms for posting are the same for every law school (and I know it used to be far more common for economics papers to land up there than legal articles), but there is no doubt that Chicago's faculty are still powerhouses when it comes to producing scholarship that people are actually reading.

For anyone who wants to go through the lists, here are Chicago's and Michigan's affiliated authors on SSRN, sorted by total downloads over the last year (note Leiter at the top for downloads): http://hq.ssrn.com/rankings/Ranking_aut ... order=DESC
http://hq.ssrn.com/rankings/Ranking_aut ... order=DESC

tamago12
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Re: Mich ($$) vs. Chicago

Postby tamago12 » Sat Apr 24, 2010 6:37 pm

FlightoftheEarls wrote:
tamago12 wrote:But several people in the legal field (lawyers, judges, etc.) have told me I'd be crazy to pick Michigan over Chicago. Once again, it seems that prestige trumps all. I suppose it's something to consider, but I think I'll pick where I think I'll be happiest. Though the money doesn't hurt, either.

This is going to depend on when they went to law school, to a large extent. I would wager most from the 60s-early 80s will say Michigan without a doubt. I would say most from the early 80s-early 2000s will say Chicago from when it became the leader in L&E and grabbed a horde of prestigious faculty. The thing is, they're both equally phenomenal schools and I don't think the prestige factor is all that different within the legal community - sure Chicago has a slight edge because it's known for being a somewhat grueling experience, but people will not look at a Chicago grad and assume that they have any significant (or even slight, in my opinion) advantage over a Michigan grad if you put them toe-to-toe. Others may disagree, but I don't think so.


Most were Yale Law grads (if that makes any difference), and ages ran the gamut. I was still a bit surprised by the unanimous opinion. Also, the early 80s-2000s is a still a huge and significant chunk of time.

As for the rest of your post, I'm happy to see someone put so articulately something I've been thinking for a while! From what I've seen with several of my peers who have already become JDs, clerkships can be obtained from MANY schools depending on how well you do and (perhaps more importantly) who you know. But Chicago's more intimate size would probably help with you getting to know your professors well, amongst other things.

But all in all, I agree with your post :D




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