UCLA vs. UC Hastings

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UCLA vs. UC Hastings

Postby firework » Fri Mar 11, 2011 6:33 pm

This may seem like a no-brainer to some, but I'd like to explain a little more about some mitigating factors and get some advice.

First, I was recently put on the WL at Berkeley, and it is still my #1 choice if I get in. I've also been accepted at Davis and Santa Clara, but I am leaning towards either UCLA or Hastings right now.

I went to UCLA for undergrad, and I was born and raised and currently live in the Bay Area, so I know what both areas are about. I much prefer the Bay Area over Los Angeles, and I know I only want to practice here. My whole family, my friends, and my SO live in the Bay Area, I have a life pretty much set up here and I'm not looking to change it too much, except to get on a different career path (hence law school). Given that my priority is to work in this area, I'm concerned that the UCLA degree will not travel well enough to be employed in the Bay Area as opposed to the network and internships I can build up if I attend Hastings. However, I know the OCIs and employment prospects are less available for Hastings grads than for UCLA grads, so maybe a UCLA Law degree will actually get me further, regardless of location?

I am most interested in government, public policy, or public interest jobs, and I think both these schools give me strong opportunities in these fields. But I can also see myself working for a big firm or corporation, for which I think UCLA would give me the upper hand. For the time being, let's say money is not a concern for which school I choose.

I'd like to hear opinions on which school would be the most beneficial for employment in the Bay Area, specifically employment in the public interest/government/clerkship realm. Any and all advice is welcome!

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Re: UCLA vs. UC Hastings

Postby Aukshell » Fri Mar 11, 2011 7:37 pm

Common wisdom on these message boards is to go to UCLA, but in your situation I don't think there is an easy answer. Full disclsoure though, I'm a 2L at Hastings so I might be a bit biased.

If you want to work for a big firm you should probably go to UCLA. When it comes to big firm jobs through OCI Hastings has definitely taken a serious hit. So if you really want leave open the possiblilty of big law (regardless of location) you should probably go to UCLA. With that being said, I know plenty of people with less than perfect grades that are getting small and mid sized firm offers. While most of these firms don't start with the covetted 160K starting salary, they seem to pay a lot more than shit law.

If you want to work for prestigous governemnt/PI you should probably go to UCLA. If you are set on the more prestigous ones then UCLA would probably be a better bet. However, if you don't care as much about prestige then I can say that I personally have had a great deal of success with less prestigous government/PI jobs (and it looks like other Hastings students are too).

So what do you lose by going to UCLA? First, there is the hassle of setting up jobs over the summer in the bay area. Second, you miss out on the ability to clerk/intern with judges or institutions in the bay area during the school year. Third, you miss out on being close to family/friends (unless you still have lots of friends in LA). The importance of these three factors can't really be evaluated by anyone other than yourself, but I can tell you that I know current Hastings students that choose Hastings of UCLA for reasons similar to these.

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Re: UCLA vs. UC Hastings

Postby ATR » Fri Mar 11, 2011 7:42 pm

Are they both at sticker, or did you get $ from one or both? I don't think either's worth $200k of debt.

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Re: UCLA vs. UC Hastings

Postby aesis » Fri Mar 11, 2011 7:48 pm

UCLA. Don't look back.

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Re: UCLA vs. UC Hastings

Postby Lasers » Fri Mar 11, 2011 10:25 pm

i'm probably going to be attending hastings, and i much prefer the bay area to la like you.

however, if i got into UCLA, i would have gone there, no doubt. the difference between our situations, though, is i like southern cal/LA just fine, and i was open to working anywhere in CA; if you only want the bay area, you have a tougher decision to make.

i would say ucla still has the advantage, though i really don't think you can go wrong either way. there are strong reasons for both sides.

Slevin Kelevra 2011
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Re: UCLA vs. UC Hastings

Postby Slevin Kelevra 2011 » Sat Mar 12, 2011 11:25 am

UCLA no question.

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Re: UCLA vs. UC Hastings

Postby firework » Sat Mar 12, 2011 1:33 pm

firework wrote:but I can tell you that I know current Hastings students that choose Hastings of UCLA for reasons similar to these.

Any chance those people would be willing to answer some questions for me? Could you PM me their emails if they are willing?

ATR wrote:Are they both at sticker, or did you get $ from one or both? I don't think either's worth $200k of debt.

For the moment, I am leaving money out of the consideration. My debt load in either case will not be unreasonably heavy.

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Re: UCLA vs. UC Hastings

Postby Borhas » Sat Mar 12, 2011 2:16 pm

I'm a Hastings students (just for disclosure)

As far as Big Law ("corporate" law etc... large well paying law firms):

UCLA placed 6% of its 2010 class into Federal Clerkships and 35.9% into NLJ 250 firms (250 biggest firms in US)... for a total of 41.9% of their class w/ Big Law (federal clerks generally go to Big Law once they finish their clerkship, and they get a fat signing bonus to make up for 1-2 years of relatively low pay as a clerk).

UC Hastings total comes out to 19.5%

All else being equal you have twice as good of a chance to get Big Law from UCLA than from Hastings.

(Warning: tangential discussion ahead for the next 4 paragraphs)
Is all else equal? Well that's a tough question. Do the students best suited for Big Law go UCLA or does UCLA make those students better suited for Big Law?

Probably a combination of both... UCLA does have a significantly higher GPA and LSAT, and maybe those are good predictors for entrance into Big Law... GPA and LSAT together are a decent predictor of 1L grades, and 1L grades + school attended are by far the best predictor of whether someone lands a 2L summer associate position at Big Law Firm (and that translates into 3L employment).

This supports the idea that students that get into higher ranked schools but attend a lower ranked school (not USNWR rank, but more abstract sense) would probably get better grades and thus have a better chance at Big Law than their peers at the lower ranked schools... unfortunately, I don't have enough information to know if the odds of getting better grades can balance out any difference between the name brand recognition of the lower and higher ranked school.

Even worse, all those predictors apply to large groups of people... applying the trend from a large group of people to an individual is even less reliable.


As far as PI/Gov't jobs... working for the Fed seems to parallel working for a Big Law firm (they both want good grades from a good school), but state and local PI/Gov't hiring seems to focus more on demonstrable desire for PI (demonstrable= volunteer experience w/ articulate expression of motivation and desire for the particular PI job).

I don't have any set of #'s to compare the PI prospects at either school, but I do think UC Hastings is excellent in this respect. The main reasons for this are 1) San Francisco is very urban, central, and liberal... those are probably the reasons why San Francisco has so much PI legal work. LA has a ton too, but it's so much more spread out that it would be more appropriate to compare the Bay Area to LA) 2) UC Hastings has an excellent Loan Repayment Assistance Program (called PICAP)

[I don't think UCLA has any comparable LRAP program, instead they rely solely on IBR. The primary benefit of LRAPs compared to IBR is that IBR doesn't pay off the principle of your loan until 10 years of continuous PI work... if you decide to go to private practice in your 9th year then you are shit out of luck and will have to pay the entire balance of your debt (that's been accumulating interest the whole way)... LRAP pays off the principle as you work, so if you decide to quit PI you would at least have a lower total amount of debt to deal with.]



If you are fairly sure you want PI in the Bay Area I'd recommend going to UC Hastings
If you aren't sure, go to UCLA

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Re: UCLA vs. UC Hastings

Postby vamedic03 » Sat Mar 12, 2011 3:16 pm

Don't close doors. Go to UCLA.

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Re: UCLA vs. UC Hastings

Postby lucky277 » Sun Mar 13, 2011 7:39 pm

UCLA hands down. Great school, gorgeous campus, lots of opportunities.

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Re: UCLA vs. UC Hastings

Postby cornellbeez » Sun Mar 13, 2011 7:56 pm

You only want to practice in one of the most competitive markets in the nation? Good luck.

And I would go to UCLA, and keep my mind open about working elsewhere.

Also networking is a 0L fabrication.

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