BU vs BC vs Northeastern ($) for public interest

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BU vs BC vs Northeastern for public interest

Boston University (sticker)
11
30%
Boston College (sticker)
16
43%
Northeastern University ($25.5K+$3K stipend)
10
27%
 
Total votes: 37

SunnyO
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BU vs BC vs Northeastern ($) for public interest

Postby SunnyO » Sat Apr 02, 2011 11:19 am

Hi all, I’m a first time poster so hoping to get lots of help :)

The facts: I’m based in Boston now, but looking to move to DC or abroad after law school. I am 100% committed to public interest, just not sure if I want to do client-based work in the US or more gov’t/NGO-type work abroad (big difference, I know).

I’m trying to decide between BU, BC, and Northeastern – the first two are at sticker, and Northeastern is giving me $25,500 over three years plus a $3,000 stipend for an unpaid internship. Here are my initial thoughts:

BU – highest ranked (US News), but seems very geared towards firms
BC – great clinics, seems to have better LRAP
NULS – I LOVE the co-op program and overall attitude, but in this jobs environment I wonder if NULS is more of a gamble

Thanks so much!

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Blindmelon
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Re: BU vs BC vs Northeastern ($) for public interest

Postby Blindmelon » Sat Apr 02, 2011 11:46 am

How much will NE cost you total? Want to work in DC - did you apply to GW or WM?

concurrent fork
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Re: BU vs BC vs Northeastern ($) for public interest

Postby concurrent fork » Sat Apr 02, 2011 12:05 pm

You should really go to school in DC

SunnyO
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Re: BU vs BC vs Northeastern ($) for public interest

Postby SunnyO » Sat Apr 02, 2011 12:45 pm

For personal reasons I have to be in Boston for the next few years. NE would cost $101,034 plus living expenses. I will definitely qualify for CCRA loan forgiveness and will hopefully get LRAP, since my salary will likely be low.

I'm looking for comments on the quality of each program for networking and job placement in public interest law. Thanks so much!

sullidop
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Re: BU vs BC vs Northeastern ($) for public interest

Postby sullidop » Sat Apr 02, 2011 12:55 pm

SunnyO wrote:For personal reasons I have to be in Boston for the next few years. NE would cost $101,034 plus living expenses. I will definitely qualify for CCRA loan forgiveness and will hopefully get LRAP, since my salary will likely be low.

I'm looking for comments on the quality of each program for networking and job placement in public interest law. Thanks so much!


If you are 100% sure that's what you want to do, just go to your favorite school and don't think about the debt. Why do I say this? In all these situations, you will not terminate the debt using IBR within ten years so the debt difference does not matter (since CCRA forgiveness is not taxable, this does not figure into the equation). Therefore, it provides a perverse incentive to take out the maximum loans possible. Indeed, I would max out the plus loans and either live comfortably or stash it away for the future.

The general logic is that the better law schools place better in more prestigious PI & gov because the competition for those agencies/orgs is really high. Therefore, NEU is out and you'd choose between BC & BU.

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Cupidity
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Re: BU vs BC vs Northeastern ($) for public interest

Postby Cupidity » Sat Apr 02, 2011 12:57 pm

BU > BC for public interest, in terms of placement and career services. We also have LRAP which is "ok," it is comparable to BC's but is better than Northeastern. We also have a Public Interest Program which provides 4k summer scholarships to 1L's in public interest.

Northeastern has a solid public interest program through, and your COA would be lower.

SunnyO
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Re: BU vs BC vs Northeastern ($) for public interest

Postby SunnyO » Sat Apr 02, 2011 1:06 pm

Cupidity wrote:BU > BC for public interest, in terms of placement and career services.

Thanks everyone! Can you give a bit more detail why you think BU>BC? From what I've read, BC has a more public interest-friendly culture, and seems to have more to offer programatically (Center for Human Rights and Int'l Justice, semester in practice, several int'l focused journals).

That said, I missed both admitted student days because I was traveling overseas for my job - so all my information is from the internets. Correct me if I'm wrong...

tram988
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Re: BU vs BC vs Northeastern ($) for public interest

Postby tram988 » Sat Apr 02, 2011 2:09 pm

SunnyO wrote:
Cupidity wrote:BU > BC for public interest, in terms of placement and career services.

Thanks everyone! Can you give a bit more detail why you think BU>BC? From what I've read, BC has a more public interest-friendly culture, and seems to have more to offer programatically (Center for Human Rights and Int'l Justice, semester in practice, several int'l focused journals).

That said, I missed both admitted student days because I was traveling overseas for my job - so all my information is from the internets. Correct me if I'm wrong...

Yeah I don't think BU> BC for public interest. IF anything, BC has an edge, or more likely, they are entirely comparable since BC does have a better LRAP than BU. Also, BC gives summer stipends for students working in the public interest. I think it's difficult to distinguish the two schools, other than by LRAP.

Also, NE has a good PI program, but I still think BC/BU are better in terms of placement.

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Blindmelon
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Re: BU vs BC vs Northeastern ($) for public interest

Postby Blindmelon » Sat Apr 02, 2011 2:34 pm

tram988 wrote:BC gives summer stipends for students working in the public interest. I think it's difficult to distinguish the two schools, other than by LRAP.

Also, NE has a good PI program, but I still think BC/BU are better in terms of placement.


BU does too - LRAP non-withstanding. I think it also depends on what you want to do and where.

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Attorney
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Re: BU vs BC vs Northeastern ($) for public interest

Postby Attorney » Sat Apr 02, 2011 3:46 pm

tram988 wrote:BC does have a better LRAP than BU.

This. If I was totally set on PI, I'd be concerned about the LRAP @ BU.

Oh, and Northeastern shouldn't figure in here.

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TheGorgeousHydrangea
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Re: BU vs BC vs Northeastern ($) for public interest

Postby TheGorgeousHydrangea » Fri Apr 08, 2011 4:52 pm

Attorney wrote:
tram988 wrote:BC does have a better LRAP than BU.

This. If I was totally set on PI, I'd be concerned about the LRAP @ BU.

Oh, and Northeastern shouldn't figure in here.



Don't forget that Northeastern has a co-op program that will give you the ability to intern full-time at an NGO and/or PI firm. In this job market, it is about who you know. These internships would give you the ability to do TONS of networking.

Put Northeastern back in the mix and look at all these programs holistically!!!

SunnyO
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Re: BU vs BC vs Northeastern ($) for public interest

Postby SunnyO » Mon Apr 11, 2011 11:42 am

Thanks, everyone - you've been great!!

Update: Just when I thought BC was the right choice for me, BU decided to give me $15k/year. I visited the finaid office at BC and talked to some (really nice) people in an attempt to negotiate, but no answer yet even after following up.

The thing is, even with the BU scholarship - as sullidop pointed out - my IBRs wouldn't be any different, and BC seems to have a more consistently generous LRAP. So even though overall debt would be higher at BC, my monthly payments would be lower over the 10 years of making IBR.

I think Northeastern is out. The co-op program is great and I love the culture there, but if I am driven enough I can create my own equivalent through part-time semester work and summer/winter work - and the opportunities, name recognition, and alumni networks at BU and BC are more of a guarantee.

Do you guys think I am on the right track? Still leaning towards BC, that is. And one small - but important - issue: even though I'm an atheist, I like the Jesuit-influenced disposition towards public service at BC.

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Blindmelon
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Re: BU vs BC vs Northeastern ($) for public interest

Postby Blindmelon » Mon Apr 11, 2011 1:25 pm

SunnyO wrote:Thanks, everyone - you've been great!!

Update: Just when I thought BC was the right choice for me, BU decided to give me $15k/year. I visited the finaid office at BC and talked to some (really nice) people in an attempt to negotiate, but no answer yet even after following up.

The thing is, even with the BU scholarship - as sullidop pointed out - my IBRs wouldn't be any different, and BC seems to have a more consistently generous LRAP. So even though overall debt would be higher at BC, my monthly payments would be lower over the 10 years of making IBR.

I think Northeastern is out. The co-op program is great and I love the culture there, but if I am driven enough I can create my own equivalent through part-time semester work and summer/winter work - and the opportunities, name recognition, and alumni networks at BU and BC are more of a guarantee.

Do you guys think I am on the right track? Still leaning towards BC, that is. And one small - but important - issue: even though I'm an atheist, I like the Jesuit-influenced disposition towards public service at BC.


BC's LRAP, while definitely better than BU's isn't great (the income gap isn't that high). Also, you may want to do PI, but that could change. I wanted to do PI, but realized the PI I wanted to do was too competitive without work experience and so I'll be working for a bigfirm for a bit. If you do fedgov work, you'll bust the BC income cap within a year or two, so it won't help that much. Since you want to do international stuff, the competition is stiff, and you made need to do firm work or something beforehand.

Since BU is now $45,000 cheaper, I think its slam-dunk BU. PI is competitive, so you can't assume you'll get a job in it, if you get a fed-job you'll bust BC's income cap and so cheaper is better, and lower debt = more freedom to do what you want when you get out of school. Also, less debt = less stress about money. BU/BC are peers in almost every sense, so to me, saving $45,000 is the duh thing to do. That is, unless BC comes back with a better offer.

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orm518
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Re: BU vs BC vs Northeastern ($) for public interest

Postby orm518 » Mon Apr 11, 2011 1:36 pm

With the money options in front of you, the poster above puts it correctly, while IBR would make BC and BU equal if you go PI, if for some chance you don't the $45k at BU will make it that fraction easier.

As for the PI focus of either school, I can only speak to BU. As far as a general culture goes, once you find the niche inside the 30,000 students (grad+ugrad), there are many people who care about PI/PS issues. This culture carries over into the professional realm at the graduate level. I know several BU Law and Medical students who all report that at those levels placement into PI positions is supported and nurtured by Career Services and administration figures. It may not be as prominent as BC's Jesuit influence, but it's there.

And FWIW, my BU Law friends don't shut up about how awesome their professors are.

Lastly, once you're inside the country's tallest law building you can't see the ugly outside! Good luck!

Slevin Kelevra 2011
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Re: BU vs BC vs Northeastern ($) for public interest

Postby Slevin Kelevra 2011 » Mon Apr 11, 2011 3:02 pm

BC has better LRAP and significantly better placement in public interest than either Northeastern or BU. However, I wouldn't go to BC if I were you.

If you want to do public interest, you should keep your debt to a minimum. Unless you get significant money from BC or even BU, you shouldn't really be looking at these schools. You should be trying to get a good school at a good cost. LRAP is great, but the best route is to keep your debt down altogether. This is where Northeastern comes in for the Boston schools. Not a bad option and very well known for its public interest program. If you can get a significant scholarship from Northeastern, this should be your choice out of the schools you listed.

All that being said, if you want to work in DC, you should be looking at DC schools in the 50-100 range (for scholarships). You should apply to American and the other DC schools if that is where you want to work. You can apply to GW and while you'll probably get in, you may not get the scholarship sufficient to allow you to do public interest. American and some of the other lower ranked schools may throw some money your way.

So basically, while I think the Boston schools you are looking at are great, I don't think you should really be considering them if you want to work in DC. You should look at the other schools in the DC area that offer you scholarships.

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Borhas
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Re: BU vs BC vs Northeastern ($) for public interest

Postby Borhas » Mon Apr 11, 2011 3:17 pm

If you want to do public interest, you should keep your debt to a minimum.


In a world w/ IBR + LRAPs, wouldn't debt be a smaller concern for PI than for anyone else?

SunnyO
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Re: BU vs BC vs Northeastern ($) for public interest

Postby SunnyO » Mon Apr 11, 2011 5:29 pm

Slevin Kelevra 2011 wrote:BC has better LRAP and significantly better placement in public interest than either Northeastern or BU.

You should apply to American and the other DC schools if that is where you want to work.


Thanks so much for your input. Would you mind sharing where you got those PI placement results?

I'm planning on internships in the DC area and abroad, so I'm not too concerned. Networking+determination is usually a good combination.

SunnyO
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Re: BU vs BC vs Northeastern ($) for public interest

Postby SunnyO » Mon Apr 11, 2011 5:32 pm

Borhas wrote:
If you want to do public interest, you should keep your debt to a minimum.


In a world w/ IBR + LRAPs, wouldn't debt be a smaller concern for PI than for anyone else?


In this moment, your logic seems counter-intuitively correct - but in an environment where the federal government almost shut down and money is tight everywhere, I'm not about to sign on for that much debt without some really careful consideration.

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Borhas
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Re: BU vs BC vs Northeastern ($) for public interest

Postby Borhas » Mon Apr 11, 2011 6:17 pm

SunnyO wrote:
Borhas wrote:
If you want to do public interest, you should keep your debt to a minimum.


In a world w/ IBR + LRAPs, wouldn't debt be a smaller concern for PI than for anyone else?



In this moment, your logic seems counter-intuitively correct - but in an environment where the federal government almost shut down and money is tight everywhere, I'm not about to sign on for that much debt without some really careful consideration.


IBR is not going anywhere, it doesn't really cost the gov't much money, and it's been expanding not retracting so IBR itself is reliable (there was a pretty good discussion of this in another thread...)

If you assume that the slowing economy will hurt PI/gov't employment prospect more than others then your point is right on... but that's dubious.

However, hiring freezes are killer, so in that situation, you'd face the prospect of being qualified for a job, and not getting a job and being stuck w/ a lot of debt, but if you have no income, then your payments would still be pretty low (though no help from LRAP for job less folks). That would be the worst case scenario. And, in CA a very real concern for a lot of jobs, even PD/DA jobs for people graduating last year and this year, and probably next year... but 3-4 years from now it'll probably pick up again.

General economy concerns though apply equally to everyone so there's no reason to say PI/Gov't workers should be more worried about debt.

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Blindmelon
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Re: BU vs BC vs Northeastern ($) for public interest

Postby Blindmelon » Tue Apr 12, 2011 2:15 pm

Slevin Kelevra 2011 wrote:BC has better LRAP and significantly better placement in public interest than either Northeastern or BU. However, I wouldn't go to BC if I were you.


Uh. Where the hell did you get that from? Pure speculation BS I presume. That silly magazine (not USNews) puts BU as 1 of the top 5 public interest schools - we put people into DOJ honors, SEC, etc. every year, people do legal aid throughout the country (many people go to New Orleans) and I know a bunch of people doing fedgov work in DC. While BU may not be optimal for PI, I would just like to out your random speculation. I doubt you'll find a discernible difference in PI placement between BU and BC.

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orm518
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Re: BU vs BC vs Northeastern ($) for public interest

Postby orm518 » Tue Apr 12, 2011 2:38 pm

Blindmelon wrote:
Slevin Kelevra 2011 wrote:BC has better LRAP and significantly better placement in public interest than either Northeastern or BU. However, I wouldn't go to BC if I were you.


Uh. Where the hell did you get that from? Pure speculation BS I presume.


This really should be the TLS uniform:

Image

SunnyO
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Re: BU vs BC vs Northeastern ($) for public interest

Postby SunnyO » Tue Apr 12, 2011 10:10 pm

OK everyone - first, I finally visited BU and the building is really not as bad as everyone makes it out to be. The location is great, and the views are lovely.

BUT I decided on BC, due to some combination of excellent programming in my field, some awesome faculty I have been talking to, convincing testimony from both current students and alumni, and overall warm and fuzzy feelings.

And with that, I bid TLS adieu - thanks for all the memories ;)




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