Berkeley vs. Columbia*

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Knock
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Berkeley vs. Columbia*

Postby Knock » Sat Dec 11, 2010 7:56 pm

*For someone who is sure they want to practice in California. Not sure what type of law I want to practice yet.

Would it be crazy to take Berkeley over Columbia? Is the difference in job prospects large enough that it would be worth it to attend Columbia and hope to make it back out to California? How much money would it take to make Berkeley over Columbia an easy decision?

rundoxierun
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Re: Berkeley vs. Columbia*

Postby rundoxierun » Sat Dec 11, 2010 10:59 pm

Knock wrote:*For someone who is sure they want to practice in California. Not sure what type of law I want to practice yet.

Would it be crazy to take Berkeley over Columbia? Is the difference in job prospects large enough that it would be worth it to attend Columbia and hope to make it back out to California? How much money would it take to make Berkeley over Columbia an easy decision?


Prepare for a bunch of people to go look at NLJ250 charts that show a 5% difference in NLJ250 placement or read random TLS threads and tell you Columbia. But despite what TLS says, I have always been told by knowledgeable people I trust that, within the non-HYS T14, you choose by:
1)General region of interest
2)Ranking/Prestige
3)Cost

So, for instance, if you are dead set on Chicago/Midwest then you should probably seriously consider choosing Northwestern over NYU despite the rankings difference. If you are dead set on Cali/Pacific NW(particularly NorCal), even a COA difference of 30-40k(10-15/yr) less for UCB should make it a slam dunk easy choice.

Of course, if you have specific legal interests (Academia/prestigious gov't/specific program) or you arent completely averse to NYC the calculus kind of changes.

irishman86
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Re: Berkeley vs. Columbia*

Postby irishman86 » Mon Dec 13, 2010 3:53 am

To be competitive for biglaw in California, you probably need to be at a similar rank at both schools. Assuming that you already have ties to California, going to a non-CA T-14 won't hurt your odds of making it back. I'd go to Columbia in order to have a much greater chance at landing biglaw in general, due to CLS's greater access to markets on the East Coast and larger number of employers at OCI.

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bilbobaggins
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Re: Berkeley vs. Columbia*

Postby bilbobaggins » Mon Dec 13, 2010 3:59 am

Go where you think you'll be happier. This generally translates into better grades.

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invisiblesun
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Re: Berkeley vs. Columbia*

Postby invisiblesun » Mon Dec 13, 2010 4:03 am

For CA, do Berkeley. You'll have opportunities to network, and the class will probably be less competitive. As the poster said above, you'd need a similar class rank at Columbia to get CA biglaw, and going to B gives you a networking boost and a "ties to the area" boost.

irishman86
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Re: Berkeley vs. Columbia*

Postby irishman86 » Mon Dec 13, 2010 4:09 am

invisiblesun wrote:For CA, do Berkeley. You'll have opportunities to network, and the class will probably be less competitive. As the poster said above, you'd need a similar class rank at Columbia to get CA biglaw, and going to B gives you a networking boost and a "ties to the area" boost.


OP is from California. There's no need for a "ties to the area" boost, as he has strong enough ties already. Furthermore, I'm pretty sure "networking" is a myth fabricated by career offices of every law school. With rare exceptions, for the purposes of biglaw at least, it's pretty much OCI or nothing. (Although for the purposes of shitlaw, there may be networking opportunities, but most shitlaw isn't hiring anyway so whatever.)

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20160810
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Re: Berkeley vs. Columbia*

Postby 20160810 » Mon Dec 13, 2010 4:43 am

I'd pick Berkeley and I wouldn't even have to think about it.

Both give you an equal shot at CA biglaw (CLS might even be *slightly* better, but not enough to where I'd care), but Boalt will give you the option of a ton of smaller "lifestyle" firms that only do OCI at a few CA schools. The V100 is panty-dropping, no doubt, but leave yourself the possibility that you might decide it's worth making $50,000 a year less to bill 1,700 hours instead of 2,400. None of this is to say that CLS can't get you hired at small CA firms, but if that's what you decide to do they ALL interview at Berkeley anyhow, so your life will be easier.

Plus SF > NYC. There, I said it. And the East Bay is like a (slightly) cheaper, more liveable SF with actual parking lots. Though that's an epic derail and there's already a thread about this in the Lounge, so if anyone wants to rebut me on that point, take it there.

I don't think your clerkship opportunities are all that much worse, though CLS probably has the edge there. But really, if your friends and family are in CA, you want to work in CA, and you don't want to move to NYC... then don't. Enjoy Cal.

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Re: Berkeley vs. Columbia*

Postby r6_philly » Fri Dec 17, 2010 10:36 am

Please tell me more about "lifestyle" firms?

Also am I right to presume it is better to go to Berkeley for IP if you want to work outside of CA (anywhere but NYC)?

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ahduth
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Re: Berkeley vs. Columbia*

Postby ahduth » Fri Dec 17, 2010 12:22 pm

I'm hoping to have to make this precise choice (or Berkeley versus NYU). It (obviously) boils down to a west coast / east coast thing. Interviewing at firms on the west coast while you're attending Columbia could be a pain, but it sounds like you have friends and family out there. I'm thinking they will look at you if you do well at Columbia no matter what. And the experience of living in New York is something you might either hate, or might cause you to reconsider where you want to practice.

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CG614
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Re: Berkeley vs. Columbia*

Postby CG614 » Sat Dec 18, 2010 12:02 am

If you want to stay in CA, then Berkeley. Pass/Fail. Enough said. I am a 1L at CLS and would kill for a pass fail grading system right now. ha.

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Re: Berkeley vs. Columbia*

Postby r6_philly » Sat Dec 18, 2010 12:05 am

CG614 wrote:If you want to stay in CA, then Berkeley. Pass/Fail. Enough said. I am a 1L at CLS and would kill for a pass fail grading system right now. ha.


Is it that much better? I am also concerned about the large size of C/N. I really enjoy smaller school/classes.

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CG614
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Re: Berkeley vs. Columbia*

Postby CG614 » Sat Dec 18, 2010 12:12 am

r6_philly wrote:
CG614 wrote:If you want to stay in CA, then Berkeley. Pass/Fail. Enough said. I am a 1L at CLS and would kill for a pass fail grading system right now. ha.


Is it that much better? I am also concerned about the large size of C/N. I really enjoy smaller school/classes.


I mean, I can't really compare. But stressing about grades kind of sucks. Although, I hear that the employers like the letter grades better, at least that is the kool aid they are serving over here. I don't mind the large classes. 1 of the 3 classes our first semester was small (about 30 students).

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Re: Berkeley vs. Columbia*

Postby irishman86 » Sat Dec 18, 2010 4:40 am

CG614 wrote:If you want to stay in CA, then Berkeley. Pass/Fail. Enough said. I am a 1L at CLS and would kill for a pass fail grading system right now. ha.


It's sub-pass/pass/honors/high honors.

If you get straight Ps, you aren't getting a job unless you are IP.

I think the grading system preference depends on if you are a bottom of the barrel student or median range student. If you get As/HHs, the grading system doesn't really matter, because either way, you look good. However, the pass/honors system hurts median range students because you can get median in every 1L class at boalt (since 60% of the class gets Ps), get straight Ps, and be at the very bottom of the class overall. At CLS, you'd have a 3.3, which is around median/slightly above median and you'd probably be okay for biglaw. Of course, if you are a bottom of the barrel student, a P looks better than a B minus or lower, but with straight Ps you aren't going to get a job anyway.
Last edited by irishman86 on Sat Dec 18, 2010 4:48 am, edited 1 time in total.

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bk1
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Re: Berkeley vs. Columbia*

Postby bk1 » Sat Dec 18, 2010 5:51 am

irishman86 wrote:
CG614 wrote:If you want to stay in CA, then Berkeley. Pass/Fail. Enough said. I am a 1L at CLS and would kill for a pass fail grading system right now. ha.


It's sub-pass/pass/honors/high honors.

If you get straight Ps, you aren't getting a job unless you are IP.

I think the grading system preference depends on if you are a bottom of the barrel student or median range student. If you get As/HHs, the grading system doesn't really matter, because either way, you look good. However, the pass/honors system hurts median range students because you can get median in every 1L class at boalt (since 60% of the class gets Ps), get straight Ps, and be at the very bottom of the class overall. At CLS, you'd have a 3.3, which is around median/slightly above median and you'd probably be okay for biglaw. Of course, if you are a bottom of the barrel student, a P looks better than a B minus or lower, but with straight Ps you aren't going to get a job anyway.

I think this has to do with employers not treating Boalt like HYS. HYS gets away with it because it blurs the median and employers are willing to take sub-median HYS kids, thus there is a benefit to all those who are around median, whether slightly above or slightly below. Boalt on the other hand, does not have employers clamoring for their sub-medians and when the above-median/median/sub-medians are all blurred into one big pile, employers respond by not taking any of them and just picking from the top.

HYS grading system is nice because it is at HYS. I don't think it is a plus for Boalt.

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Re: Berkeley vs. Columbia*

Postby CanadianWolf » Sat Dec 18, 2010 12:32 pm

The two very different law school cultures should make this an easy choice.

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Re: Berkeley vs. Columbia*

Postby r6_philly » Sat Dec 18, 2010 12:51 pm

CanadianWolf wrote:The two very different law school cultures should make this an easy choice.


How do school cultures affect job prospects?

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Re: Berkeley vs. Columbia*

Postby CanadianWolf » Sat Dec 18, 2010 1:04 pm

Opportunities for California placement should be similiar; enjoying the next three years can be affected substantially by law school culture. Some perform better in a relaxed environment while others might excel in a highly competitive environment, for example.

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Re: Berkeley vs. Columbia*

Postby r6_philly » Sat Dec 18, 2010 1:50 pm

CanadianWolf wrote:Opportunities for California placement should be similiar; enjoying the next three years can be affected substantially by law school culture. Some perform better in a relaxed environment while others might excel in a highly competitive environment, for example.


But from what I understand you can't really distinguish median from below median at Berkeley so it is sort of moot there? It also is very possible that a person in an environment they don't like could actually perform better because they would have less distractions. I think it is a bit much to expect accurate prediction on how one would do in an environment. Your point is valid, I just don't think we can reliably gauge that as 0Ls.

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Re: Berkeley vs. Columbia*

Postby Kronk » Sun Dec 19, 2010 12:30 am

Honestly, last year I was in a similar position. It was NYU or Chicago w/ 75k vs. Berkeley, and I nearly picked Chicago. I got a TLS message from a poster on here that nicely told me that they didn't know anyone upset with their decision to go to Berkeley, but couldn't say the same about Chicago / NYU.

It's true: almost everyone is happy here. We have a girl who dropped out of Stanford last year and reapplied and came to Boalt. Job aspects from Boalt are definitely not as good as at SLS, but making the law school experience enjoyable was worth that dip for her. I tend to agree. Once I visited for ASD here, I withdrew from Chicago and NYU and pulled myself off the HLS and YLS waitlists. I haven't regretted it once.

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Knock
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Re: Berkeley vs. Columbia*

Postby Knock » Sun Dec 19, 2010 7:10 pm

Kronk wrote:Honestly, last year I was in a similar position. It was NYU or Chicago w/ 75k vs. Berkeley, and I nearly picked Chicago. I got a TLS message from a poster on here that nicely told me that they didn't know anyone upset with their decision to go to Berkeley, but couldn't say the same about Chicago / NYU.

It's true: almost everyone is happy here. We have a girl who dropped out of Stanford last year and reapplied and came to Boalt. Job aspects from Boalt are definitely not as good as at SLS, but making the law school experience enjoyable was worth that dip for her. I tend to agree. Once I visited for ASD here, I withdrew from Chicago and NYU and pulled myself off the HLS and YLS waitlists. I haven't regretted it once.


Awesome. Thank so much for this post Kronk! Did you try matching the 75k from Chicago to Boalt? Would you mind sharing that pm with me? :mrgreen:. Thanks so much! Glad you're enjoying Boalt.

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Re: Berkeley vs. Columbia*

Postby BruceWayne » Sun Dec 19, 2010 7:27 pm

If OP was from anywhere but California I'd be screaming Boalt. But since he already has connections to California, he really won't gain anything by going to Boalt over any other top 10 school. Consequently, he should go to Columbia because he won't lose his ability to get California jobs (particularly since Columbia seems to be the best non HYS Boalt school for working in California--do firm searches in California for Columbia and you'll see what I mean) but he'll get a huge boost for NYC firms and a noticeable boost for firms outside of NYC and California. I really would go with Columbia here unless he has some sort of aversion to Columbia.


I do love the no GPA thing at Boalt though. The thought that I may get a GPA below a 3.3 really makes me want to puke.....

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20160810
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Re: Berkeley vs. Columbia*

Postby 20160810 » Sun Dec 19, 2010 7:36 pm

BruceWayne wrote:If OP was from anywhere but California I'd be screaming Boalt. But since he already has connections to California, he really won't gain anything by going to Boalt over any other top 10 school. Consequently, he should go to Columbia because he won't lose his ability to get California jobs (particularly since Columbia seems to be the best non HYS Boalt school for working in California--do firm searches in California for Columbia and you'll see what I mean) but he'll get a huge boost for NYC firms and a noticeable boost for firms outside of NYC and California. I really would go with Columbia here unless he has some sort of aversion to Columbia.


I do love the no GPA thing at Boalt though. The thought that I may get a GPA below a 3.3 really makes me want to puke.....

The fact that OP has CA ties is a good point, but this depends somewhat. Firms in CA consider your ties only to the SPECIFIC PART of CA that you're from. If you're from LA, they'll ask why you want to work in SF, and vice versa. So if OP is from the SF area and knows he wants to work there, CLS might be the better choice. But if he's from LA and wants to work in SF, I'd still recommend going to Boalt because LA ties won't help you find work in SF.

TLDR version: Norcal and Socal can effectively be considered two different states for this kind of thing.

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BruceWayne
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Re: Berkeley vs. Columbia*

Postby BruceWayne » Sun Dec 19, 2010 7:39 pm

SBL wrote:
BruceWayne wrote:If OP was from anywhere but California I'd be screaming Boalt. But since he already has connections to California, he really won't gain anything by going to Boalt over any other top 10 school. Consequently, he should go to Columbia because he won't lose his ability to get California jobs (particularly since Columbia seems to be the best non HYS Boalt school for working in California--do firm searches in California for Columbia and you'll see what I mean) but he'll get a huge boost for NYC firms and a noticeable boost for firms outside of NYC and California. I really would go with Columbia here unless he has some sort of aversion to Columbia.


I do love the no GPA thing at Boalt though. The thought that I may get a GPA below a 3.3 really makes me want to puke.....

The fact that OP has CA ties is a good point, but this depends somewhat. Firms in CA consider your ties only to the SPECIFIC PART of CA that you're from. If you're from LA, they'll ask why you want to work in SF, and vice versa. So if OP is from the SF area and knows he wants to work there, CLS might be the better choice. But if he's from LA and wants to work in SF, I'd still recommend going to Boalt because LA ties won't help you find work in SF.

TLDR version: Norcal and Socal can effectively be considered two different states for this kind of thing.



I forgot about that! California---such a weird state!

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Knock
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Re: Berkeley vs. Columbia*

Postby Knock » Sun Dec 19, 2010 7:40 pm

SBL wrote:
BruceWayne wrote:If OP was from anywhere but California I'd be screaming Boalt. But since he already has connections to California, he really won't gain anything by going to Boalt over any other top 10 school. Consequently, he should go to Columbia because he won't lose his ability to get California jobs (particularly since Columbia seems to be the best non HYS Boalt school for working in California--do firm searches in California for Columbia and you'll see what I mean) but he'll get a huge boost for NYC firms and a noticeable boost for firms outside of NYC and California. I really would go with Columbia here unless he has some sort of aversion to Columbia.


I do love the no GPA thing at Boalt though. The thought that I may get a GPA below a 3.3 really makes me want to puke.....

The fact that OP has CA ties is a good point, but this depends somewhat. Firms in CA consider your ties only to the SPECIFIC PART of CA that you're from. If you're from LA, they'll ask why you want to work in SF, and vice versa. So if OP is from the SF area and knows he wants to work there, CLS might be the better choice. But if he's from LA and wants to work in SF, I'd still recommend going to Boalt because LA ties won't help you find work in SF.

TLDR version: Norcal and Socal can effectively be considered two different states for this kind of thing.


OP here. I'm from the LA area, and am not sure exactly where I'd want to practice. I like the Bay Area, but I wouldn't mind being back home closer to family in the LA area.

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Re: Berkeley vs. Columbia*

Postby FlightoftheEarls » Sun Dec 19, 2010 8:52 pm

Kronk wrote:Honestly, last year I was in a similar position. It was NYU or Chicago w/ 75k vs. Berkeley, and I nearly picked Chicago. I got a TLS message from a poster on here that nicely told me that they didn't know anyone upset with their decision to go to Berkeley, but couldn't say the same about Chicago / NYU.

It's true: almost everyone is happy here. We have a girl who dropped out of Stanford last year and reapplied and came to Boalt. Job aspects from Boalt are definitely not as good as at SLS, but making the law school experience enjoyable was worth that dip for her. I tend to agree. Once I visited for ASD here, I withdrew from Chicago and NYU and pulled myself off the HLS and YLS waitlists. I haven't regretted it once.

Wait - you opted out of saving $75,000 in loans and going to an objectively better school because somebody on TLS told you that people don't regret attending Berkeley, but that they regret going to Chicago? That must have been one HELL of a PM.




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