Try for NYC, or head back to Canada?

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SageD
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Try for NYC, or head back to Canada?

Postby SageD » Wed Dec 08, 2010 2:25 pm

Alright, so here's my situation: I'm a Canadian citizen, currently living in San Diego with a green card (wife is American).

I have a 3.51 (could have gotten a lot higher, but worked full time changing oil during school to help support my wife, who was unable to work in Canada at the time) from the University of Alberta (a top five Canadian school). I'm taking the LSAT on Saturday, but ever since making a breakthrough with the LG (which came as a shock to me, really), I've been averaging 177 on the practice tests (under test conditions), and even pulled out a 180, and my lowest has been 175. Though of course replicating that on the actual exam is a different story, and I realize that, which is partly what this is about.

It's been my dream to live in NYC for a long, long time. I've spent time there, I met my wife there, I love love love the city. I do miss Canada, though, and my second choice for a city is Vancouver.

The schools on my radar right now are Columbia, NYU, Fordham and the University of British Columbia (depending, of course, on what I get on the LSAT). As far as I can tell, I'd need a 177+ to be competitive at Columbia or NYU, a 167 to have a shot at Fordham, and ~170 to get into UBC (but they will look only at your top score, and will honor the February LSAT, so I feel like UBC is almost a certainty).

Canada has not nearly the same glut of law schools (there are 13 or so common-law schools in the country), the economy is better and recovering faster, UBC is one of the best schools in the country, and, here's the kicker: tuition is 10k a year.

New York, however, is New York, and once I'm paying the bills lawyering, my wife wants to go into library sciences, so NYC may offer her better opportunities than Vancouver, where it's either UBC or bust.

Here's my current thinking: if I rock the LSAT and get into either Columbia or NYU, I'll probably go there, even at sticker. If I narrowly miss those two, but manage $$$ at Fordham, I'll go there (and maybe work to transfer, since I have interest in academia). If I'm faced with Fordham at sticker vs. UBC (possibly retaking in Feb to get in), then UBC seems like the logical choice.

So here are my questions: are Columbia and NYU worth sticker if I have the option of attending in Canada for < 1/4 of the tuition? And would I be absolutely NUTS if I considered Fordham at sticker over 10k tuition at UBC? My wife, I think, would greatly prefer New York.

I love documentation, I love paper work, I love research, I love writing. I feel I would be a great lawyer. But I'm 27, I have a wife, and I want to have a kid some time soon. I have no interest in working ~80 hours a week. I might consider it for two years to pay off debt, but I would be more than happy working for much less in government or PI (so long as LRAP helps out with the debt), or, if the opportunity ever came up, academia. I have ~50k of undergrad debts in Canada.

Financially it seems like Canada's the better option. Am I an idiot if I decide, fuck it, I'll take 200k more debt and head off for NYC?
Last edited by SageD on Wed Dec 08, 2010 3:58 pm, edited 2 times in total.

SageD
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Re: Try for NYC, or head back to Canada?

Postby SageD » Wed Dec 08, 2010 2:36 pm

Oh, and of course: thanks for reading that, and thanks in advance for any advice/help!

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soj
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Re: Try for NYC, or head back to Canada?

Postby soj » Wed Dec 08, 2010 2:44 pm

Good luck on the LSAT, looks like you'll ace it anyway.

Don't apply to Fordham. If you want to live in NYC, get a biglaw job there after law school. I understand the situation with your wife, but even so, UBC > Fordham. Just apply to CLS and NYU among other T6s and hope for the best.

If you actually get 175+, your list should be T10 + your favorite Canadian law schools. T6 would be your reaches, MVPB your match/safeties, and Canadian law schools your safeties.

If you get 170+, your list should still be T10 + your favorite Canadian law schools. Here, your Canadian law schools are more like matches than safeties, but you'll get into UBC.

If you get <170, you bombed. Retake.

Whatever happens, you can make your decision whether to go to a US or a Canadian school after you get in and have scholarship offers in hand. No need to worry about that now when you should be worrying first about your LSAT, then about getting in.

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Grizz
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Re: Try for NYC, or head back to Canada?

Postby Grizz » Wed Dec 08, 2010 2:52 pm

soj wrote:Whatever happens, you can make your decision whether to go to a US or a Canadian school after you get in and have scholarship offers in hand. No need to worry about that now when you should be worrying first about your LSAT, then about getting in.


This.

Best of luck on the LSAT.

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Tip Walker
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Re: Try for NYC, or head back to Canada?

Postby Tip Walker » Thu Dec 09, 2010 3:35 am

rad law wrote:
soj wrote:Whatever happens, you can make your decision whether to go to a US or a Canadian school after you get in and have scholarship offers in hand. No need to worry about that now when you should be worrying first about your LSAT, then about getting in.


This.

Best of luck on the LSAT.


+1.

Additionally, I am from BC - grew up in a suburb of Vancouver, spent many weekends and summer days in the city and surrounding areas growing up, did my undergrad in BC, and am now living in Vancouver after having graduated.
Vancouver and what the area offers (North Shore/skiing/hiking, golf, lakes, weather, U.S. so close, a big Canadian city, etc.) is pretty outstanding. But you should really check this city out thoroughly before moving here (if you have not yet). It's a great place, but if you're more of a New York-kind-of-guy (I am as well, planning on working in Manhattan for a few years post-law school (no interest to go to school there, though)), you might not find Vancouver your pace.
I'll just say the vibe, personality, and attitudes of the two cities are very different...you wouldn't find anyone on the Skytrain reading a book.
If you're set on Vancouver, UBC is the best law school to go to if you want to stick around, a lot of connected Vancouver lawyers teach there as adjunct profs, but it is fairly regional when you get to Ontario (think UWO, UT, York, Queen's, McGill - or so I hear).
The city is growing and improving, but it's not New York. No where else is, obviously.
PM if you have Q's about Van/BC.

Tip

SageD
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Re: Try for NYC, or head back to Canada?

Postby SageD » Thu Dec 09, 2010 10:37 pm

Thanks everyone! And yeah, I'm trying to stay calm until after the LSAT. I hope I'm not hindered too much by applying late (one good thing about UBC: as long as it's before the deadline, they don't care when you apply.)

Tip: The small urban neighborhoods, food, subway, and total cultural accessibility of NYC make it a sort of promised land for me. But I also love mountains, the Pacific, HOCKEY, mountain biking, the rain, and so forth, so I could certainly do worse than Vancouver. So long as it has a decent public transportation system. Which I certainly didn't have in Edmonton, and don't have in San Diego.

SageD
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Re: Try for NYC, or head back to Canada?

Postby SageD » Sat Dec 11, 2010 6:32 pm

Aha! Well, forget everything I said. Got through the first four sections of today's LSAT convinced that I had 0 wrong, or one at the most (I usually know when I get an answer right in LR or RC).

Then came LG, which left me guessing on nearly half of it. I think I made complete guesses on 9, and totally haphazard work on another 2 or three.

So it seems like the obvious move is to cancel. This score isn't going to get me into the NY schools I want (or even Fordham with $$$), and if I go to UBC, I can just take the Feb test and still apply this year.

And if by some chance I go super well in Feb, I can just put it off for a year and apply next year. I...really didn't want to have to cancel, but it is what it is.

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Dex
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Re: Try for NYC, or head back to Canada?

Postby Dex » Sat Dec 11, 2010 6:50 pm

SageD wrote:Aha! Well, forget everything I said. Got through the first four sections of today's LSAT convinced that I had 0 wrong, or one at the most (I usually know when I get an answer right in LR or RC).

Then came LG, which left me guessing on nearly half of it. I think I made complete guesses on 9, and totally haphazard work on another 2 or three.

So it seems like the obvious move is to cancel. This score isn't going to get me into the NY schools I want (or even Fordham with $$$), and if I go to UBC, I can just take the Feb test and still apply this year.

And if by some chance I go super well in Feb, I can just put it off for a year and apply next year. I...really didn't want to have to cancel, but it is what it is.


Unfortunately, this is why you will often see posters here telling people to come back when they actually have a score - test days can be unpredictable.

That being said, I'm sorry you didn't do as well as expected. I think your strategy for February, and applications, sounds like a good one. Good luck!

SageD
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Re: Try for NYC, or head back to Canada?

Postby SageD » Sat Dec 11, 2010 7:08 pm

Dex wrote:
SageD wrote:Aha! Well, forget everything I said. Got through the first four sections of today's LSAT convinced that I had 0 wrong, or one at the most (I usually know when I get an answer right in LR or RC).

Then came LG, which left me guessing on nearly half of it. I think I made complete guesses on 9, and totally haphazard work on another 2 or three.

So it seems like the obvious move is to cancel. This score isn't going to get me into the NY schools I want (or even Fordham with $$$), and if I go to UBC, I can just take the Feb test and still apply this year.

And if by some chance I go super well in Feb, I can just put it off for a year and apply next year. I...really didn't want to have to cancel, but it is what it is.


Unfortunately, this is why you will often see posters here telling people to come back when they actually have a score - test days can be unpredictable.

That being said, I'm sorry you didn't do as well as expected. I think your strategy for February, and applications, sounds like a good one. Good luck!


Yeah, I hear ya. I just jumped the gun a bit because I was so behind the game in terms of applying for 2011. I guess that's not an issue now, as UBC has a ridiculously relaxed application process (no LOR, Feb LSAT, chances just as good if I apply late January). Silver lining!

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BrianGriffintheDog
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Re: Try for NYC, or head back to Canada?

Postby BrianGriffintheDog » Sat Dec 11, 2010 7:32 pm

As a Canadian with some knowledge in the area, I might be able to provide couple decent to okay insights.

First of all, regardless of which law school, if it's foreign, you're going to have to go through this thing called NCA process or something. And from what I've been told, it's completely a horrifying experience. With that being said, if you ever wish to return to Canada (after attending a US law school of course), you should consider going to the BEST law school you can get into. You're still going to have to do articling (basically being lawyer's assistant-like position) for a year. This is where it become problematic. Because you attended a foreign law school, you are disadvantaged because law firms have little to no reasons to choose you over other candidate who attend Canadian law schools. However, attending top 14 (preferably top end of it) might mitigate this.

Second, if you go to law school in the US, BIG law is probably close to ONLY option to pay off the tuition debts, unless you get a decent amount of $$$ from the schools or if you saved enough $ for school. As you mentioned, you want to have kids eventually and not interested in doing 80+ hours work. With your numbers (assuming your best two or best three GPA calculation is higher and assuming you receive a 165+ LSAT), you should have a guaranteed spot in almost every law schools, including U of T. Tuition rates are much lower amongst Canadian law schools compared to the US, so you're under less pressure to do big law and pursue other career paths or other areas of law of your choice and still manage your tuition debt.

Here's the way I see it. US law schools (Top14) give you the chance to succeed tremendously in terms of $$$ compared to Canadian law schools. However, it comes with a price, high tuition fees of course & potential risk of not being able to practice big law (due to low class ranking and then left a huge burden of debts). On the other hand, although the chances of making $$$ & opportunities are a bit less significant amongst Canadian law schools, your life might be a bit easier in that you have less pressure to work @ big law under gruesome hours for the sake of paying off debts.

Hope this helps and good luck with your cycle!

serdog
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Re: Try for NYC, or head back to Canada?

Postby serdog » Sat Dec 11, 2010 9:35 pm

plus the Big Name Canadian schools (UBC Mcgill and U of T) will give you a shot at New York, and any Canadain law degree will allow you to write the New York State bar. If you can get in to U of T that would be the way to go

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Tip Walker
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Re: Try for NYC, or head back to Canada?

Postby Tip Walker » Wed Dec 15, 2010 5:43 pm

@ serdog

UBC troll much? Honestly you can't reasonably lump UBC and McGill in with U of T. While they're all in the top 6-7 schools in Canada, U of T is head and shoulders above those places. I'm not a Blue and have no reason to pump up U of T (although my aunt did take her law degree there many years ago, trust me I'm being objective), I've met and know people at or going to all three schools.
U of T students are (by and large) much more impressive when you meet them in person. Some are full of themselves and lack social understanding, but this basically describes everyone at UBC law. McGill is equivalent to a mid-range tier I U.S. school, because its French requirement keeps a lot of smart students from applying and filling those seats. Honestly do you want to sacrifice intelligence amongst the students you'll be spending 3 years with for a decent fluency in French?
I get why McGill has the requirement, but the quality of its students and subsequently its school is, while in shouting distance of Toronto, not really close.

Tip

serdog
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Re: Try for NYC, or head back to Canada?

Postby serdog » Wed Dec 15, 2010 5:58 pm

Tip Walker wrote:@ serdog

UBC troll much? Honestly you can't reasonably lump UBC and McGill in with U of T. While they're all in the top 6-7 schools in Canada, U of T is head and shoulders above those places. I'm not a Blue and have no reason to pump up U of T (although my aunt did take her law degree there many years ago, trust me I'm being objective), I've met and know people at or going to all three schools.
U of T students are (by and large) much more impressive when you meet them in person. Some are full of themselves and lack social understanding, but this basically describes everyone at UBC law. McGill is equivalent to a mid-range tier I U.S. school, because its French requirement keeps a lot of smart students from applying and filling those seats. Honestly do you want to sacrifice intelligence amongst the students you'll be spending 3 years with for a decent fluency in French?
I get why McGill has the requirement, but the quality of its students and subsequently its school is, while in shouting distance of Toronto, not really close.

Tip

Nope, I read that UBC places well internationally, also Ive been told that McGill has the best placement rates outside of Canada of any law school, since it was about opions that fact was the reason for the lump. I not trolling UBC and Plan on attend UVic come fall

bigkahuna2020
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Re: Try for NYC, or head back to Canada?

Postby bigkahuna2020 » Fri Dec 17, 2010 6:12 pm

Tip Walker wrote:BLAH BLAH BLAH-LSAT is all that matters


UBC places pretty well on the West Coast, U of T in TO biglaw, and McGill owns the gov't and courts.




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