Please Help Me Choose for Big Law

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

Which one for big law? (scholarships yrly)

WUSTL - $38,000
8
14%
GWU - $30,000 + 1st year living expenses (16,000)
31
53%
W&L - $40,820
2
3%
W&M - $20,000
0
No votes
UT - $0
18
31%
 
Total votes: 59

phoenixwright83
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Please Help Me Choose for Big Law

Postby phoenixwright83 » Tue Mar 22, 2011 1:31 pm

I want to work for a big law firm. Corporate law specializing in mergers and acquisitions. Location preference would be any of the three: Chicago, NY or D.C. There is no top choice among the three cities. If I were accepted to Columbia, Cornell or Northwestern I would pay full price to go, however, the way my cycle is looking I doubt that I will make it into any one of them.

Here is a link to my lsn account if you are interested : http://lawschoolnumbers.com/phoenixwright/jd

I know that WUSTL has been stable lately and GWU's ranking fluctuates, however, does that tie into job prospects? My concern is which school is the best option for job prospects and for corporate law. Should I consider W&L, I am very intrigued with their 3rd year program and I believe that it can be very beneficial for starting off a career.

I cannot reapply, I already held off one year.

Any and all help/responses will be greatly appreciated, thank you.
Scholarships:
WUSTL - 38,000 no stipulations
GWU - 30,000 per year plus 16,000 for first year accommodations - good academic standing
UT - no $$$
W&L - 41,000 top 1/3 of class
W&M - 20,000 top 1/3 of class

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bk1
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Re: Please Help Me Choose for Big Law

Postby bk1 » Tue Mar 22, 2011 1:34 pm

UT is your absolute best shot for biglaw, but you will have to settle for a high likelihood of that being in TX. None of the other schools should be gone to with intentions of biglaw. Heck I think that UT at sticker is resoundingly mediocre (especially if you are just okay with TX). I'd say your overall best offers are UT and WUSTL, but even the former is no better than 50/50 for biglaw and the latter is an awful idea for biglaw (and wouldn't even necessarily place you in Chicago).

phoenixwright83 wrote:I cannot reapply, I already held off one year.


This makes no sense. You can reapply, you just don't want to. And if you're biglaw or bust you should definitely retake/reapply.

phoenixwright83
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Re: Please Help Me Choose for Big Law

Postby phoenixwright83 » Tue Mar 22, 2011 1:40 pm

bk1 wrote:UT is your absolute best shot for biglaw, but you will have to settle for a high likelihood of that being in TX. None of the other schools should be gone to with intentions of biglaw. Heck I think that UT at sticker is resoundingly mediocre (especially if you are just okay with TX). I'd say your overall best offers are UT and WUSTL, but even the former is no better than 50/50 for biglaw and the latter is an awful idea for biglaw (and wouldn't even necessarily place you in Chicago).

phoenixwright83 wrote:I cannot reapply, I already held off one year.


This makes no sense. You can reapply, you just don't want to. And if you're biglaw or bust you should definitely retake/reapply.


I took the LSAT 3 times. It's true that I can reapply but do not want to. I've already put off a year and would not be able to stand another year of waiting.

Are percentage of big law jobs for WUSTL and GWU that low? If one was the top 20% of the their class at either school would a big law job be out of reach?

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Wholigan
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Re: Please Help Me Choose for Big Law

Postby Wholigan » Tue Mar 22, 2011 1:41 pm

New York is the biggest market for doing M&A work. I wouldn't be completely shocked if you got into Cornell with a 3.89/167, so obviously if you get in there, that is your best shot at NYC. And if you really want Chicago, NY or DC, no way would I pay sticker at UT over a big scholarship with favorable stips at GW. I would say your chances at NY/DC are better from GW, anyway.

Also:

bk1 wrote:This makes no sense. You can reapply, you just don't want to. And if you're biglaw or bust you should definitely retake/reapply.

bartleby
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Re: Please Help Me Choose for Big Law

Postby bartleby » Tue Mar 22, 2011 1:43 pm

Go to GW or UT. Don't retake.

cubswin
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Re: Please Help Me Choose for Big Law

Postby cubswin » Tue Mar 22, 2011 1:45 pm

phoenixwright83 wrote:
bk1 wrote:UT is your absolute best shot for biglaw, but you will have to settle for a high likelihood of that being in TX. None of the other schools should be gone to with intentions of biglaw. Heck I think that UT at sticker is resoundingly mediocre (especially if you are just okay with TX). I'd say your overall best offers are UT and WUSTL, but even the former is no better than 50/50 for biglaw and the latter is an awful idea for biglaw (and wouldn't even necessarily place you in Chicago).

phoenixwright83 wrote:I cannot reapply, I already held off one year.


This makes no sense. You can reapply, you just don't want to. And if you're biglaw or bust you should definitely retake/reapply.


I took the LSAT 3 times. It's true that I can reapply but do not want to. I've already put off a year and would not be able to stand another year of waiting.

Are percentage of big law jobs for WUSTL and GWU that low? If one was the top 20% of the their class at either school would a big law job be out of reach?


I think the most recent NLJ250 numbers for WUSTL were something close to 30% (too lazy to check this, but I'm sure someone will call me out if I'm totally off). So, it won't be out of reach if you're top 20%, but you shouldn't count on finishing that high in your class. (Edit: I am assuming that your 38,000 at WUSTL is over 3 years, and not 38,000 per year. Yes?)

Personally, I'd probably take all that money at GWU, but I have no desire to be a Texan.
Last edited by cubswin on Tue Mar 22, 2011 1:46 pm, edited 2 times in total.

phoenixwright83
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Re: Please Help Me Choose for Big Law

Postby phoenixwright83 » Tue Mar 22, 2011 1:45 pm

Wholigan wrote:New York is the biggest market for doing M&A work. I wouldn't be completely shocked if you got into Cornell with a 3.89/167, so obviously if you get in there, that is your best shot at NYC. And if you really want Chicago, NY or DC, no way would I pay sticker at UT over a big scholarship with favorable stips at GW. I would say your chances at NY/DC are better from GW, anyway.

Also:

phoenixwright83 wrote:This makes no sense. You can reapply, you just don't want to. And if you're biglaw or bust you should definitely retake/reapply.


I really like Cornell and thought that I would have had a good shot at being accepted, however, I have been on hold since Dec. and have had no movement on my file. I am not sure when I will. Plus, WUSTL requires an April 1st deposit. So, I fell like time is really starting to wind down fast.

Anyway, thanks for the input.

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Patriot1208
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Re: Please Help Me Choose for Big Law

Postby Patriot1208 » Tue Mar 22, 2011 1:46 pm

I'd expect cornell with those numbers if you applied early in the cycle. But, certainly, i'd retake and reapply. If I had to choose between your options Texas provides the best shot at biglaw but you'll have a much harder time getting to DC or Chicago from there.

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Wholigan
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Re: Please Help Me Choose for Big Law

Postby Wholigan » Tue Mar 22, 2011 1:46 pm

phoenixwright83 wrote:Are percentage of big law jobs for WUSTL and GWU that low? If one was the top 20% of the their class at either school would a big law job be out of reach?


You could get biglaw with top 20% out of GW. I don't know about M&A in NYC, but you would have a decent chance at something.

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bk1
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Re: Please Help Me Choose for Big Law

Postby bk1 » Tue Mar 22, 2011 1:46 pm

phoenixwright83 wrote:I took the LSAT 3 times. It's true that I can reapply but do not want to. I've already put off a year and would not be able to stand another year of waiting.

Are percentage of big law jobs for WUSTL and GWU that low? If one was the top 20% of the their class at either school would a big law job be out of reach?


The fact that you already took the LSAT 3 times makes more sense as an excuse not to retake/reapply (unless you seriously underperformed).

WUSTL/GW biglaw percentages are something around 20% (possibly pushing back towards 30)%, but the problem is you only have a 20% chance of ending up in the top 20% so 8 times out of 10, you aren't getting biglaw.

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Robespierre
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Re: Please Help Me Choose for Big Law

Postby Robespierre » Tue Mar 22, 2011 1:47 pm

GW. Best combination of scholly plus DC/NYC biglaw placement.

[quote="phoenixwright83]Are percentage of big law jobs for WUSTL and GWU that low? If one was the top 20% of the their class at either school would a big law job be out of reach?[/quote]

Heck no. GW places 24.8% in biglaw.

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bk1
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Re: Please Help Me Choose for Big Law

Postby bk1 » Tue Mar 22, 2011 1:49 pm

I think the biglaw difference between WUSTL and GW is marginal at best, however the cost is seriously different considering you're getting 8k/year more at WUSTL on top of the lower cost of living and lower tuition. The problem with that is that WUSTL may not necessarily place you in biglaw in Chicago (though that is its primary biglaw market) whereas GW pretty much is going to place you in DC, possibly NYC, if you do happen to get biglaw. So here is what I think:

UT - Absolute Best Shot at Biglaw
GW - Best Shot at Biglaw Where You Want to Be (DC/NYC/Chi)
WUSTL - Best Overall Deal

phoenixwright83
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Re: Please Help Me Choose for Big Law

Postby phoenixwright83 » Tue Mar 22, 2011 1:54 pm

bk1 wrote:
phoenixwright83 wrote:I took the LSAT 3 times. It's true that I can reapply but do not want to. I've already put off a year and would not be able to stand another year of waiting.

Are percentage of big law jobs for WUSTL and GWU that low? If one was the top 20% of the their class at either school would a big law job be out of reach?


The fact that you already took the LSAT 3 times makes more sense as an excuse not to retake/reapply (unless you seriously underperformed).

WUSTL/GW biglaw percentages are something around 20% (possibly pushing back towards 30)%, but the problem is you only have a 20% chance of ending up in the top 20% so 8 times out of 10, you aren't getting biglaw.


I am sure that if I took the LSAT once more, my score would not improve much. 8 out of 10 is the scary part. I guess that WUSTl and GWU's prospects do not differ from each other than. I was hoping that one would out perform the other. However, seeing that they are so close in rankings and other schools in their areas have more prestige, I can't not see much of a difference in their prospects.

phoenixwright83
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Re: Please Help Me Choose for Big Law

Postby phoenixwright83 » Tue Mar 22, 2011 1:56 pm

bk1 wrote:I think the biglaw difference between WUSTL and GW is marginal at best, however the cost is seriously different considering you're getting 8k/year more at WUSTL on top of the lower cost of living and lower tuition. The problem with that is that WUSTL may not necessarily place you in biglaw in Chicago (though that is its primary biglaw market) whereas GW pretty much is going to place you in DC, possibly NYC, if you do happen to get biglaw. So here is what I think:

UT - Absolute Best Shot at Biglaw
GW - Best Shot at Biglaw Where You Want to Be (DC/NYC/Chi)
WUSTL - Best Overall Deal


Pretty much what I surmised. However, I believe that GW's tuition is $1,000 less this semester. (I may be mistaken, I'll have to check again).

Do you think it would be possible to get GW to raise merit aid based on WUSTL's offer?

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Robespierre
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Re: Please Help Me Choose for Big Law

Postby Robespierre » Tue Mar 22, 2011 1:58 pm

phoenixwright83 wrote:
bk1 wrote:
phoenixwright83 wrote:I took the LSAT 3 times. It's true that I can reapply but do not want to. I've already put off a year and would not be able to stand another year of waiting.

Are percentage of big law jobs for WUSTL and GWU that low? If one was the top 20% of the their class at either school would a big law job be out of reach?


The fact that you already took the LSAT 3 times makes more sense as an excuse not to retake/reapply (unless you seriously underperformed).

WUSTL/GW biglaw percentages are something around 20% (possibly pushing back towards 30)%, but the problem is you only have a 20% chance of ending up in the top 20% so 8 times out of 10, you aren't getting biglaw.


I am sure that if I took the LSAT once more, my score would not improve much. 8 out of 10 is the scary part. I guess that WUSTl and GWU's prospects do not differ from each other than. I was hoping that one would out perform the other. However, seeing that they are so close in rankings and other schools in their areas have more prestige, I can't not see much of a difference in their prospects.


Disagree. GW gets the nod. It outplaces WUSTL 24.8% to 19% in Biglaw generally and, while there is no data, it clearly places better than WUSTL in two of your three cities.

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bk1
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Re: Please Help Me Choose for Big Law

Postby bk1 » Tue Mar 22, 2011 1:58 pm

phoenixwright83 wrote:I am sure that if I took the LSAT once more, my score would not improve much. 8 out of 10 is the scary part. I guess that WUSTl and GWU's prospects do not differ from each other than. I was hoping that one would out perform the other. However, seeing that they are so close in rankings and other schools in their areas have more prestige, I can't not see much of a difference in their prospects.


The problem with both of them is that they primarily place into tough markets. Chicago was extremely hard hit and is struggling to recover while DC is such a draw for a lot of students that the competition is fierce.

The difference between GW and WUSTL seems to hover around 4-6%, not enough of a difference to ignore the cost differential, imo (especially when your scholarship to GW doesn't even cover half of their $225,000 full CoA).

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bk1
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Re: Please Help Me Choose for Big Law

Postby bk1 » Tue Mar 22, 2011 2:01 pm

Robespierre wrote:Disagree. GW gets the nod. It outplaces WUSTL 24.8% to 19% in Biglaw generally and, while there is no data, it clearly places better than WUSTL in two of your three cities.


This is true, but I hesitate to justify paying $120k at GW versus $80k at WUSTL.

phoenixwright83
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Re: Please Help Me Choose for Big Law

Postby phoenixwright83 » Tue Mar 22, 2011 2:06 pm

bk1 wrote:
Robespierre wrote:Disagree. GW gets the nod. It outplaces WUSTL 24.8% to 19% in Biglaw generally and, while there is no data, it clearly places better than WUSTL in two of your three cities.


This is true, but I hesitate to justify paying $120k at GW versus $80k at WUSTL.


Would the extra 5.8% chance of landing a big law job outweigh the $40,000?
I know that I am willing to go into $200,000 ++ of debt for Cornell and NW.

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Re: Please Help Me Choose for Big Law

Postby TatteredDignity » Tue Mar 22, 2011 2:06 pm

bk1 wrote:UT is your absolute best shot for biglaw, but you will have to settle for a high likelihood of that being in TX. None of the other schools should be gone to with intentions of biglaw. Heck I think that UT at sticker is resoundingly mediocre (especially if you are just okay with TX). I'd say your overall best offers are UT and WUSTL, but even the former is no better than 50/50 for biglaw and the latter is an awful idea for biglaw (and wouldn't even necessarily place you in Chicago).


I'm a 0L who doesn't know anything, so statements like the bolded confuse me. If you're big law or bust, not even GULC/UT/basically anything outside of T6 is a good idea as you still have to be in the top half of your class to have a decent shot. Everyone around here loves talking about how you shouldn't count on being above any specific rank in your class, everyone is smart, blah blah blah, how can a big law or bust person justifiably go to anywhere outside the T6? If it's about giving yourself a marginally better chance, I don't see how top 1/3 vs. top 25% of the class getting biglaw is enough to justify the decision, even without financial considerations. You'd have to fall within that 8% of students for it to have made a difference for you.

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Re: Please Help Me Choose for Big Law

Postby TatteredDignity » Tue Mar 22, 2011 2:07 pm

phoenixwright83 wrote:
bk1 wrote:
Robespierre wrote:Disagree. GW gets the nod. It outplaces WUSTL 24.8% to 19% in Biglaw generally and, while there is no data, it clearly places better than WUSTL in two of your three cities.


This is true, but I hesitate to justify paying $120k at GW versus $80k at WUSTL.


Would the extra 5.8% chance of landing a big law job outweigh the $40,000?
I know that I am willing to go into $200,000 ++ of debt for Cornell and NW.


Yeah, I guess that's kind of what my post was getting at.

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bk1
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Re: Please Help Me Choose for Big Law

Postby bk1 » Tue Mar 22, 2011 2:10 pm

phoenixwright83 wrote:Would the extra 5.8% chance of landing a big law job outweigh the $40,000?
I know that I am willing to go into $200,000 ++ of debt for Cornell and NW.


If you are absolutely biglaw or bust then sure, go ahead and take GW for the 4-6% or so better shot at biglaw.

My reason for saying the $40k is a big deal is because once you start pushing north of $100k debt it becomes increasingly hard to pay back that debt in under 10 years on a 50k/year salary (something very possible coming from GW/WUSTL). Paying back an $80k loan in 10 years on that salary is definitely feasible, a $120k loan is definitely pushing it.

If you get NU or Cornell, I'd say take it for your goals (though it will be decidedly risky).

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Robespierre
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Re: Please Help Me Choose for Big Law

Postby Robespierre » Tue Mar 22, 2011 2:12 pm

bk1 wrote:
Robespierre wrote:Disagree. GW gets the nod. It outplaces WUSTL 24.8% to 19% in Biglaw generally and, while there is no data, it clearly places better than WUSTL in two of your three cities.


This is true, but I hesitate to justify paying $120k at GW versus $80k at WUSTL.


How would you be paying 120K at GW? Tuition not covered by scholly would be 14K per year times 3 yrs = 42K. Living expenses not covered by the scholly = about 53K. Total = 95K, only slightly higher than WUSTL. What am I missing?

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Re: Please Help Me Choose for Big Law

Postby dc1s » Tue Mar 22, 2011 2:15 pm

Robespierre wrote:
bk1 wrote:
Robespierre wrote:Disagree. GW gets the nod. It outplaces WUSTL 24.8% to 19% in Biglaw generally and, while there is no data, it clearly places better than WUSTL in two of your three cities.


This is true, but I hesitate to justify paying $120k at GW versus $80k at WUSTL.


How would you be paying 120K at GW? Tuition not covered by scholly would be 14K per year times 3 yrs = 42K. Living expenses not covered by the scholly = about 53K. Total = 95K, only slightly higher than WUSTL. What am I missing?


Interest-- though I am not sure if he accounted for this while calculating the cost of WUSTL.

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bk1
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Re: Please Help Me Choose for Big Law

Postby bk1 » Tue Mar 22, 2011 2:16 pm

0LNewbie wrote:I'm a 0L who doesn't know anything, so statements like the bolded confuse me. If you're big law or bust, not even GULC/UT/basically anything outside of T6 is a good idea as you still have to be in the top half of your class to have a decent shot. Everyone around here loves talking about how you shouldn't count on being above any specific rank in your class, everyone is smart, blah blah blah, how can a big law or bust person justifiably go to anywhere outside the T6? If it's about giving yourself a marginally better chance, I don't see how top 1/3 vs. top 25% of the class getting biglaw is enough to justify the decision, even without financial considerations. You'd have to fall within that 8% of students for it to have made a difference for you.


I'm a 0L as well. Biglaw or bust I wouldn't go outside of the T12ish or so. It really depends on how biglaw or bust you are. If you are extremely biglaw or bust then yeah it makes sense to say T6 or go home, but if you only lean towards biglaw or bust then taking a 1/2 or more scholarship to UCLA/UT/Vandy/USC makes more sense because you can balance your desires for biglaw with a practical financial decision.

I don't think that 5% is big enough to sway someone (more than location/cost should). At 10% (and maybe that is just my preference for round numbers) it starts to feel like a substantial difference (i.e. BU/BC vs GW) and would sway me.

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bk1
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Re: Please Help Me Choose for Big Law

Postby bk1 » Tue Mar 22, 2011 2:22 pm

dc1s wrote:
Robespierre wrote:How would you be paying 120K at GW? Tuition not covered by scholly would be 14K per year times 3 yrs = 42K. Living expenses not covered by the scholly = about 53K. Total = 95K, only slightly higher than WUSTL. What am I missing?


Interest-- though I am not sure if he accounted for this while calculating the cost of WUSTL.


GW sent their 2011-2012 CoA to admits and it came out to $74,400 (this is $4000 more than last year, $2000 more in tuition, $2000 more in room/board).

For WUSTL I used their 2010-2011 CoA (http://law.wustl.edu/admissions/pages.aspx?id=8413) which came out to $63,125.

GW's total = 74.4k*3 - 105k = 118,200 (I rounded up to $120k).

WUSTL's total = 63.1k*3 - 38k*3 = 75,100 (I rounded up to $80k because I was using old numbers and it is very likely that their tuition shot up).




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