AreJay711 wrote:(Stealing the thread for a second) - Serious question. Is M really that much better than GULC? I know it is referred to as GeorgeTTTown but is that serious or a joke? I'm not a candidate for Harvard so ignore that it is obviously better than both.
To try to answer seriously:
1) GULC is not the best choice for DC firms.
Firms love diversity of education, in part to maintain positive ties with all the law schools. (Law schools started getting pissy at firms that came, interviewed, and then declined to hire anyone
from their school during the peak of the recession. In some cases there were firms banned from OCI for doing this, or at least threats of them doing so. It was crazy, but it illustrates the point: Good relations with law schools matter for firms, and they can maintain that by taking a little from all of them.) At GULC you're competing against 600 classmates, and firms are making sure they're saving spots for other top schools, and especially doing so since those other schools are more prestigious than GULC is. And there are kids from every
T14 above GULC trying to get into DC. Everybody wants to work in DC.
So there's two advantages for Michigan: It's considered more prestigious which means its students are regarded a little more highly, and
(because of smaller class size and more Michigan students trying for NYC or Chicago or elsewhere) you're not competing with as many of your own classmates for the same jobs there as a GULC student is.
Plus, you really shouldn't choose a law school right now with the intention of going to DC anyway, at least not without backup options. That's because DC is a small market that's hard to get into. So, think about your backup options:
2) GULC is not the best choice for NYC firms.
NYC is a huge market with a much bigger hiring volume than in DC, making it easier to get into generally. But here, Michigan would win also. The MVP tier of schools does place better in NYC than GULC, and by that I mean firms go deeper into the class at MVP than they do at GULC. Maybe a firm takes anyone in the top 1/2 at MVP but only top 1/3 at GULC. I'd rather be at Michigan than GULC in that case.
3) GULC is not the best choice for secondary markets.
There's no such thing as a best choice here, other than to just go to the best-ranked school you can and have ties to that market already. Of course, if you have those ties, you'll be more impressive to lawyers in your secondary market if you have a Mich degree than if you have a GULC degree. That's how prestige works.
4) GULC is not the best choice for public interest.
Public interest work is all about networking and connections and prestige, and like I said, everybody wants to work in DC. I'm at HLS and I'm going to be interning in DC over winter break to make connections there, and I'm doing it through other HLS grads that are there. Yes, being in DC gives some advantages, but that can get drowned out for a lot of the "prestigious" PI jobs anyway. You want ACLU? Trust me, there's someone ahead of you. You want DOJ? H/Y/S kids want that too. Not to get you to lose all hope, but the stronger your school's prestige/alumni network, the stronger your chances of getting into solid PI.
And on top of that, many top PI employers don't typically take kids fresh out of law school. Law firms make gobs of money and can afford to take the time to slowly train someone who's just graduated and has no real-world legal experience, but PI orgs don't have that kind of luxury. If they have the money to hire you then they need to put you to work on day one, and that means they greatly prefer having people with experience. What usually ends up happening is that they hire folks who went to law firms for a few years and got trained there and then left and went to do PI.
But sorting out who to hire there is difficult too, so who do they hire? One, they hire the people who went to the better law school. Two, if they worked for a top law firm, they hire people from the firm they used to work for. (For example, there's a V10 firm that's based in DC and has placed an awful lot of former associates into the DOJ, SEC, FTC, and USAO offices in DC and SDNY. That's a strong firm alumni network to tap into, and they actually brag about it as an option for associates who work there.) How do you get into a top law firm that might have those kind of connections for you? By going to the best possible school.
And finally, three, if there's no direct connection to firms, they still might hire the people who went to the most prestigious law firms (e.g., a V20 associate instead of a V100 associate), since the more prestigious firm is probably better-known and has a stronger reputation, and they know more people who worked at that firm already, etc. And how do you get into a better law firm? One way is to go to the best possible school. See above re: DC and NYC.
Oh, and by the way, PI orgs also do give a damn about your commitment to PI, and that means doing a lot of pro bono work while you're in law school to show you care about doing that kind of work. GULC tries to claim a win here by saying it offers the most clinics of any law school. That'll certainly make it easier to find pro bono work in the field you're most interested in, but all of the T14 have respectable clinical programs now, and you can always set up pro bono opportunities on your own if what you really want is to do PI work. And Michigan + self-starting pro bono work will certainly look better than GULC + clinic work at GULC.
Long story short... Yes, Michigan is better than GULC.