Darrow v. Stanford

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help me choose

Darrow at Michigan
52
36%
Stanford sticker
94
64%
 
Total votes: 146

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NikaneOkie
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Darrow v. Stanford

Postby NikaneOkie » Fri Mar 25, 2011 12:16 pm

I'm interested in legal academia right now.
Darrow at Michigan or Stanford with no money

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St.Remy
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Re: Darrow v. Stanford

Postby St.Remy » Fri Mar 25, 2011 12:19 pm

For Academia I would go Stanford. Really for everything I would go Stanford, but academia especially.

bdubs
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Re: Darrow v. Stanford

Postby bdubs » Fri Mar 25, 2011 12:23 pm

NikaneOkie wrote:I'm interested in legal academia right now.
Darrow at Michigan or Stanford with no money


Are you in the 24% who get no need based grants or do you just not have that info yet?

Though I would vote SLS even if you don't get the need based grants .

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camelcrema
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Re: Darrow v. Stanford

Postby camelcrema » Fri Mar 25, 2011 12:26 pm

For something like Biglaw, I would have gone Darrow, but for academia, definitely Stanford. Congrats, I'm jealous of your options!

The Real Jack McCoy
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Re: Darrow v. Stanford

Postby The Real Jack McCoy » Fri Mar 25, 2011 1:51 pm

Do you plan on a PhD or a post-JD fellowship (which often pay 40-50k)? Keep in mind that Stanford doesn't include academia in their LRAP, though they might support a PhD somehow. This might hurt you if you want to take a fellowship to publish and teach before looking for a TT position. But Stanford is obviously superior in placing its grads in academic positions.

I voted Darrow because of the finances stated in the OP - going straight from a JD to academia, even with some practice experience, is very difficult - but it really hinges on on the particulars and how easy it will be for you to pay off 200k. So my real vote would be it depends.

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AreJay711
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Re: Darrow v. Stanford

Postby AreJay711 » Fri Mar 25, 2011 2:03 pm

Well, I wouldn't advise you to take a huge gamble shooting for academia but w/e it isn't like Stanford is a bad risk. I think you have best chances overall (of financial security and material comfort anyway) with the Darrow but thats what you have to risk. I doubt you would look back and think that you made the wrong decision either way but I voted Stanford -- sometimes the risk is worth it.

Bumi
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Re: Darrow v. Stanford

Postby Bumi » Fri Mar 25, 2011 2:14 pm

NikaneOkie wrote:I'm interested in legal academia right now.
Darrow at Michigan or Stanford with no money

When I read the subject line, I was going to vote Stanford. For the average lawyer, it's worth the money. But I'm nervous that being "interested in legal academia" means you don't even really want to be a lawyer. Financial flexibility might be something you'll need coming out of school if you aren't sure what you want to do.

DeepSeaLaw
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Re: Darrow v. Stanford

Postby DeepSeaLaw » Fri Mar 25, 2011 3:32 pm

Have you already gotten your financial aid statement from SLS? Stanford has better numerical and per-capita placement in academia and in all of the things that have traditionally been near-prerequisites for academia (appellate clerkships, prestigious firms, etc.), but $160K before interest (estimate when you factor in tuition plus higher cost of living) is a lot of money. What really matters for academic placement these days is publishing. Stanford's atmosphere and smaller size probably make this easier, but it's definitely not impossible from Michigan.

This is a really tough choice (I chose SLS over multiple T14 full rides last year, but only with some financial aid and after a drawn-out decision-making process). You owe it to yourself to wait on the financial aid package from Stanford if you haven't already gotten it, try to negotiate for more money if they don't give you anything, and visit both schools

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Moxie
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Re: Darrow v. Stanford

Postby Moxie » Fri Mar 25, 2011 3:41 pm

camelcrema wrote:For something like Biglaw, I would have gone Darrow, but for academia, definitely Stanford. Congrats, I'm jealous of your options!

r6_philly
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Re: Darrow v. Stanford

Postby r6_philly » Fri Mar 25, 2011 8:51 pm

I thought Michigan isn't so bad with academia. Obviously not to the level of Stanford, but still ok. I keep hearing academic is actually more competitive than good clerkships, and that many people now are coming out of LS with PhDs to be more competitive. The UVA session said a while ago that was the rarity, nowadays it is the norm to have a PhD.

I don't know I may choose Darrow in this position just to have an out, but then you can probably get whatever jobs you want out of Stanford. :)

barry
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Re: Darrow v. Stanford

Postby barry » Fri Mar 25, 2011 8:54 pm

i voted Stanford but you probably can't go wrong, T10 with no debt is pretty nice

betsyanna
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Re: Darrow v. Stanford

Postby betsyanna » Wed Mar 30, 2011 8:04 pm

I had this same decision a few years back and picked the Darrow. Best decision of my life. PM me if you have specific questions about Michigan or the Darrow. (Disclaimer: I wasn't interested in academia, and I don't know how the two schools compare in terms of placing profs. But in terms of jobs/connections/clerkships, I've been extremely happy with Michigan.)

mst
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Re: Darrow v. Stanford

Postby mst » Wed Mar 30, 2011 8:09 pm

It's 150,000 dollars. If it was Yale I'd go with Yale. But not Stanford...

abl
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Re: Darrow v. Stanford

Postby abl » Wed Mar 30, 2011 8:34 pm

Academia straight out of law school is exceedingly rare and difficult to get. Your chance of getting it at Michigan are something like .5%. Stanford--maybe 5%. Therefore, regardless of which school you go to, you're almost certainly going to have to do some other things between your clerkships/fellowships and visiting professorships/tenure-track teaching positions. Given that you're almost certainly going to have 2-5 years of public interest/firm work between your clerkships/fellowships and your entrance into legal academia, the impact of SLS's cost will be significantly decreased (clerkships count for Stanford's LRAP if you go into PI afterwards so you could easily end up with 4-7 years of LRAP repayments--40-70% of your total debt--before entering legal academia, and if you go the firm route for a couple years, you'll be making enough at the firm to pay off much if not all of your debt). Also, law school professors--especially at the better schools--make pretty good salaries, so it's unlikely you're going to find yourself underwater with debt as a law school prof if you do manage to make it straight out of your clerkship/fellowship.

The bigger issue here is that even if your goal is academia soon rather than straight out of law school, you're going to have to take every advantage you can get. You're going to have to do great at whatever law school you go to, get a good clerkship, and publish several impressive pieces. Michigan does surprisingly well with clerkships and academia placements but it's not remotely close to being in Stanford's league. Whether this is because of the school's relative prestige, the smaller size of Stanford (easier to get to know more professors better and SLS grads are a relatively more rare commodity), better clerkship placement of Stanford, or some combination of these and other factors doesn't really matter; your chances of breaking into academia (not an easy feat out of either school) are SIGNIFICANTLY greater coming from SLS than UMich. You can't yet control how well you will do in law school, get to know your profs, or how strong your publications will be (yet), but you can control now whether you're going to Stanford or Michigan. Sure, Stanford's more expensive, but this is a great example of a time when such an investment in your future is a good investment. And hey, if you decide not to become a professor, your chances doing everything else will be far greater out of Stanford than Michigan.

One final consideration here is that you should be thinking about getting an MS/MA at the very least, and possibly a phd. Stanford--as a University--is unbelievably encouraging of students cross-enrolling in additional degree programs, so your shot of being admitted into an MS/MA (close to 100%) or phd after you enroll as a law student are nothing to sneer about. And, the quarter system makes completing a dual degree in a reasonable amount of time (sometimes even just in 3-4 years) much more possible than a semester system will.

Look at it this way--your goal right now is to be a professor. The chances of you attaining that goal are many times higher at Stanford than at Michigan. Are you willing to gamble your shot at professor away for an amount of money that, while it seems large now, will have relatively little impact on the overall quality of your career/life?

The Real Jack McCoy
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Re: Darrow v. Stanford

Postby The Real Jack McCoy » Wed Mar 30, 2011 9:07 pm

--LinkRemoved--

This doesn't really touch the Darrow v. Stanford decision (except to the extent you won't have to worry as much about grades at Stanford), but here is a very good handbook for someone seeking academia out of Stanford. Note that the requirements for academic placement have changed dramatically in the last decade. The "top grades, top clerkship" requirements (noted in the above post) don't really apply anymore. Ability to publish is really the key requirement for anyone seeking academia.

abl
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Re: Darrow v. Stanford

Postby abl » Thu Mar 31, 2011 12:21 am

Top grades + top clerkship are absolutely still relevant. To put it in a way that should resonate with all of you 0Ls, it's still a necessary* condition for academia but is no longer sufficient**.

*Obviously this comes with the caveat that if you publish an absolutely incredible piece, or turn out to be one of THE leading practitioners in your field, your grades/clerkship won't matter so much. For 90% of other teaching candidates, your clerkship (and thus indirectly your grades) will still be a significant factor (although almost certainly less for SLS grads than Michigan grads, to bring things back around).

**Having top grades + top clerkships very well may be a sufficient condition as well still if you have THE top grades + THE top clerkships (ie: if you're the #1 student at SLS, Articles Editor of Law Review, and have Sutton and Scalia clerkships, you probably could get a solid fellowship and a respectable teaching position with, say, solely a mediocre Loyola Journal of Maritime Law piece).

The Real Jack McCoy
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Re: Darrow v. Stanford

Postby The Real Jack McCoy » Thu Mar 31, 2011 12:36 am

Many law students also believe, incorrectly, that a prestigious clerkship (appellate court or Supreme
Court) is a prerequisite to an academic career. Again, this used to be true. But now, fancy clerkships are
neither necessary nor sufficient to land a teaching job. A Supreme Court or very prestigious appellate
clerkship will help you get your foot in the door with many schools at AALS. But you can get your foot in
the door just as well (and in many cases better) by writing really good work and getting strong support from
faculty members here. Once your foot is in the door, clerkships will matter hardly at all. The job market
floor over the past few years has been littered (figuratively speaking) with Supreme Court clerks who found,
once they were in the interview, that they had nothing to say in a scholarly vein. On the other hand, as noted
below, having some sort of practical experience before teaching may be advantageous, and many applicants
find a clerkship a more congenial option than law practice.


In the last two years, we have placed 17 Stanford JDs in tenure-track teaching jobs. Most of these people were not in the top 10% of their class (many were not even in the top 25%), but almost all of them had published articles....Of all the traditional criteria for hiring, grades probably continue to have the most significance at the entry level. But—at least for Stanford graduates—they matter much less than they used to, and much less than most prospective applicants think they do. In general, law schools will be nervous about people who graduated in the bottom half of the class. But even that will not be fatal if other things in your record (writing, references, job talk, interviews) give them confidence that you are smart, and will be able to command the respect of your students in conventional law courses. For graduates with a Ph.D. in an allied field, law school grades seem to have even less significance than for other applicants.


Both from the Stanford pdf. My last post came across stronger than I intended it--I agree grades and clerkships are relevant (and moreso at Michigan)--but many academics I've spoken to have suggested neither top grades nor clerkships are still "necessary" conditions (as long as one has a good publishing track record and research potential), a claim that is supported by the pdf.

abl
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Re: Darrow v. Stanford

Postby abl » Thu Mar 31, 2011 1:58 am

Gotcha. I think our definitions of top/good grades also differ; I would count top 25% at Stanford as being "top" grades (top 25% at Stanford is probably >/= top 10% at Michigan which is probably >/= top 5% at UCLA, which is probably >/= top 2-3% pretty much anywhere lower on the prestige totem pole). Top 25% at Stanford (whatever that means with the new grading system) is good enough to get a feeder judge if you have everything else going for you, and good enough to get a CoA clerkship if you had just some of the right things going for you...

My point wasn't so much that you need to be one of the top couple students in your class to have a shot at academia (assuming you don't want to literally go straight from a clerkship/fellowship to academia), but merely that if you are top 40% at Michigan or below median at Stanford, and don't get a clerkship, that you'll need more than an above average publication to get yourself a decent academic job (a phenomenal publication will prob do, or an above average publication combined with intensive professor lobbying on your behalf, or an outstanding career as a practitioner...etc).

The Real Jack McCoy
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Re: Darrow v. Stanford

Postby The Real Jack McCoy » Thu Mar 31, 2011 11:13 am

abl wrote:Gotcha. I think our definitions of top/good grades also differ; I would count top 25% at Stanford as being "top" grades (top 25% at Stanford is probably >/= top 10% at Michigan which is probably >/= top 5% at UCLA, which is probably >/= top 2-3% pretty much anywhere lower on the prestige totem pole). Top 25% at Stanford (whatever that means with the new grading system) is good enough to get a feeder judge if you have everything else going for you, and good enough to get a CoA clerkship if you had just some of the right things going for you...

My point wasn't so much that you need to be one of the top couple students in your class to have a shot at academia (assuming you don't want to literally go straight from a clerkship/fellowship to academia), but merely that if you are top 40% at Michigan or below median at Stanford, and don't get a clerkship, that you'll need more than an above average publication to get yourself a decent academic job (a phenomenal publication will prob do, or an above average publication combined with intensive professor lobbying on your behalf, or an outstanding career as a practitioner...etc).


I see--I think we're mostly in agreement in that case. In any event, I agree that, all other things being equal, a Stanford JD makes the most sense for those interested in academia, though Michigan seems to do quite well in academic placement relative to its peer schools.

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NikaneOkie
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Re: Darrow v. Stanford

Postby NikaneOkie » Fri Apr 01, 2011 1:19 am

Thank you all for your conscientious and well-thought-out replies.

So, would it be fair to say that the consensus is 'interested in academia --> go to Stanford; interested in big law --> take the Darrow'?
I am interested in academia, but I don't want to be a position where, should I undergo a transformation of opinion in that regard, I will find myself regretting my decision.
Perhaps that is not possible.

I have some other significant ties to Michigan, but I think perhaps, going along in my career, any setback I experienced might leave me questioning whether it was the result of not attending Stanford.
At the same time, it seems there is a strange dichotomy of the general consensus that Ann Arbor is A material, while Palo Alto is D material and the belief that Stanford students enjoy their lives more.
Simply due to weather perhaps?

Forgive me for again soliciting your thoughts on this fortunate dilemma.

legends159
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Re: Darrow v. Stanford

Postby legends159 » Fri Apr 01, 2011 1:55 am

do a JD/Phd at Stanford and you can go to law school for free

abl
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Re: Darrow v. Stanford

Postby abl » Sun Apr 03, 2011 12:46 pm

I can't think of a single reason why the Darrow at Michigan is preferable to full price at SLS for biglaw; if you go to biglaw, you're going to have no problem paying off your debt anywhere (and 100-200k in debt really will be a drop in the bucket). If you go to Stanford you WILL get biglaw, regardless of how you do. If you get the Darrow at Michigan, you're going to have to actually perform (my sense is that you'll have to be average) to get biglaw. It's not a huge hump to overcome, but it's something. And why risk it?

The one career path that I can think of that the Darrow at Michigan might be preferable (and only might) is if you're planning on using your JD to do something non-legal. You could end up in a career that doesn't qualify for the LRAP but also doesn't make paying back the loans super easy. Or, the debt at Stanford could weigh heavily on your (risky) decision to pursue non-legal jobs with a JD, and cause you to either go into public interest law for the LRAP or a firm for the money, instead of your true dream of a non-legal job.

Other than that, I think Stanford is an easy choice over the Darrow for firms (see immediately above), a fairly easy choice for public interest law (given that Stanford's generous LRAP will quickly equal the Darrow)), and a somewhat more difficult but still persuasive choice for academia (see posts above). I'd say it's somewhat more of a toss-up if you're looking for a non-legal job.

abl
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Re: Darrow v. Stanford

Postby abl » Sun Apr 03, 2011 12:58 pm

Having lived in both Palo Alto and Ann Arbor, I think that the distinction's a little more nuanced than what you describe. Personally, I like Ann Arbor a fair amount more. AA's a nice midwestern college down while Palo Alto is a somewhat posh Bay Area suburb. Now that said, it's not like Palo Alto's a sh-thole, and I imagine if you were to survey 100 young adults who have lived in both places, it would break down fairly evenly as to which town was preferred.

Palo Alto (and Stanford's) big advantage location-wise becomes evident once you start to look outside of Palo Alto. San Francisco is an incredible city, and the Bay Area is a fantastic place to live. Climate aside (and the lovely climate will become a significant part of your living here), there is really no category that Ann Arbor + environs close to equal the Bay Area. If you like cities, San Francisco's great (and you have San Jose--somewhat closer to Detroit in city quality, although very different in culture--nearby for variety). If you like nature, there are unbelievably beautiful mountains and beaches within an hour drive. If you like skiing, Tahoe (3-4 hours) is far better than anything within about about 16 hours of Ann Arbor. If you like wine, Napa is easily accessible. I could go on and on.

I think the biggest factor motivating the relative happiness of each student body (and both schools seemed to me to have fairly happy students) is Stanford's relative prestige and grading system. Because of the grading system, you're not really competing against your fellow students, and because of Stanford's prestige, you don't need to. This leads to a far less stressed out and competitive group of students than what you would find at a comparable school with a different grading system. Now, Michigan students seem *relatively* relaxed and cooperative compared with other schools with A-F grading systems, but I do think that compared to Stanford, Yale, or maybe Harvard, Michigan students are going to be more stressed and more competitive.

Kretzy
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Re: Darrow v. Stanford

Postby Kretzy » Sun Apr 03, 2011 1:01 pm

legends159 wrote:do a JD/Phd at Stanford and you can go to law school for free


Big +1. Takes 6 years (shaves at least 2 off of doing them separately), and if admitted, you only pay for the first year of law school. Everything else is covered by the university. I don't even want academia and thought REALLY hard about applying for a PhD here this year.

OP, you can't go wrong. Visit both, and talk to students who want to do academia at both (have admissions hook you in with them to chat, go to the academia panel during ASW, chat with profs, etc.). See if Stanford will get you in contact with one of those 17 placed in the past 2 years, and if Michigan will do the same.




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