NYU Sticker v Michigan w/$45k

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NYU or Michigan w/ $45k (total cost diff $70k)

NYU
17
46%
Michigan (45k)
20
54%
 
Total votes: 37

IncorrectReversal
Posts: 39
Joined: Tue Feb 02, 2010 6:00 pm

NYU Sticker v Michigan w/$45k

Postby IncorrectReversal » Tue Apr 05, 2011 11:08 am

Hey guys,

I know this is not a new debate, however it is getting really close to decision time and every day i flip flop on how I feel.

I will be completely financing my legal education, so debt is obviously an issue. I am definitely interested in NYC biglaw, which is why NYU has always had preference for me. However, i have begin to realize that to me biglaw is really just a means to an end (paying off debt and opening doors). I really dont think id be happy making a career out of it and the sacrifices that entails.

The issue I have really been struggling to find a definite answer is whether Michigan significantly limits the NYC biglaw opportunities i have compared with NYU and beyond that general career prospects (clerkship etc.) With COL differences and interest I will owe 70k more from NYU upon graduation than Michigan. Despite liking NYU and nyc better than Michigan after visiting, I think that if the job/career prospects are near identical I cannot justify the cost difference.

Is there a real difference between my nyc biglaw prospects at the two schools. I heard a few horror stories about Michigan and nyc biglaw two years back, but dont know if its true. Is it worth 70k? I have become increasingly stressed about the effects debt has on limiting what I can do with my life and the ability to follow your passion (which i doubt will be biglaw in the end).

Thanks for the help everyone! I have really been trying to get as many opinions as possible, its a life changing decision! I welcome all opinions

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Aberzombie1892
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Re: NYU Sticker v Michigan w/$45k

Postby Aberzombie1892 » Tue Apr 05, 2011 11:14 am

That's a hard one. Would you be happy getting a firm job wherever you have ties to if that isn't NY?

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FlightoftheEarls
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Re: NYU Sticker v Michigan w/$45k

Postby FlightoftheEarls » Tue Apr 05, 2011 11:23 am

IncorrectReversal wrote:Hey guys,

I know this is not a new debate, however it is getting really close to decision time and every day i flip flop on how I feel.

I will be completely financing my legal education, so debt is obviously an issue. I am definitely interested in NYC biglaw, which is why NYU has always had preference for me. However, i have begin to realize that to me biglaw is really just a means to an end (paying off debt and opening doors). I really dont think id be happy making a career out of it and the sacrifices that entails.

The issue I have really been struggling to find a definite answer is whether Michigan significantly limits the NYC biglaw opportunities i have compared with NYU and beyond that general career prospects (clerkship etc.) With COL differences and interest I will owe 70k more from NYU upon graduation than Michigan. Despite liking NYU and nyc better than Michigan after visiting, I think that if the job/career prospects are near identical I cannot justify the cost difference.

Is there a real difference between my nyc biglaw prospects at the two schools. I heard a few horror stories about Michigan and nyc biglaw two years back, but dont know if its true. Is it worth 70k? I have become increasingly stressed about the effects debt has on limiting what I can do with my life and the ability to follow your passion (which i doubt will be biglaw in the end).

Thanks for the help everyone! I have really been trying to get as many opinions as possible, its a life changing decision! I welcome all opinions

NYU will have an edge in NYC biglaw (which is a very big consideration, and I don't want to understate it), and is relatively comparable to Michigan outside of the NYC market. Be careful not to assume, however, that it has an edge in clerkship placement just because it's ranked higher - it doesn't, but rather seems to be lagging behind almost all of the T14.

The real reason why I would suggest you take NYU is because you seemed to have liked it much more than Michigan upon visiting - that alone to me may be worth the extra debt. Of course, I had the opposite experience and couldn't be happier that I'll have saved 80k on tuition by choosing Michigan over NYU for the same NYC job I would have landed anyways, but I am not you. What I did learn, however, is that personal happiness really shouldn't be understated between peer (or nearly peer schools) - take NYU.

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tea_drinker
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Re: NYU Sticker v Michigan w/$45k

Postby tea_drinker » Tue Apr 05, 2011 11:43 am

I agree to what flighttotheearls said. Whatever the difference is between Michigan and NYU (which I don't think is much) is made up by that 45K. So you are looking at two pretty similar options. It just drills down to where you will be happy spending your three years, and as you have said, you prefer NYC.

Question for thought: do mid-sized and small firms in NYC do OCI at Michigan? If yes, then advantage Michigan. If not, then advantage to NYU.

alumniguy
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Re: NYU Sticker v Michigan w/$45k

Postby alumniguy » Tue Apr 05, 2011 11:57 am

IncorrectReversal wrote:I will be completely financing my legal education, so debt is obviously an issue. I am definitely interested in NYC biglaw, which is why NYU has always had preference for me. However, i have begin to realize that to me biglaw is really just a means to an end (paying off debt and opening doors). I really dont think id be happy making a career out of it and the sacrifices that entails.


You should go to Michigan. If you have ALREADY seen the light that biglaw is generally just a means to an end, then you are ahead of 99.5% of your soon to be classmates. Congrats on that realization btw! As someone who is in biglaw and has only recently come to such a realization, I don't think biglaw is worth it. I had massive debt and have slowly been paying if off. It will take me about 4 years to pay back $150k in debt. I don't love my job and I am staying primarily because I need to pay off debt (there just aren't a ton of exit opportunities for junior associates). It isn't the work so much, but the lack of work/life balance. My hours are completely unpredictable and you WILL make plenty of personal sacrifices while you are in NYC biglaw.

Michigan has much better clerkship opportunities. I would also assume it places better in Chicago, which is a great city btw. Moreover, I imagine that biglaw in Chicago has slightly more sustainable work/life balance than in NYC. There is incredible turnover in the NYC associate ranks and not everyone who leaves has great exit opportunities. If you go to NYU at sticker you can be assured that you'll be forced into biglaw for several years post-graduation simply to be able to pay back your loans.

Do you want to end up in NYC for sure? If so, that may change the calculation a bit, but I would still probably suggest Michigan. Michigan is a great school and it opens up plenty of doors in NYC. You aren't deciding be NYU and Fordham or some other 20s/30s school. Both Michigan and NYU are extremely well regarded and it is going to depend on how well you do (and other personal factors). But one is not going to open up any more doors than the other.

IncorrectReversal
Posts: 39
Joined: Tue Feb 02, 2010 6:00 pm

Re: NYU Sticker v Michigan w/$45k

Postby IncorrectReversal » Tue Apr 05, 2011 1:04 pm

Wanted to clarify a few things and further the discussion:

I definitely would prefer NYC biglaw to biglaw anywhere else. Furthermore, I would obviously prefer a top 10 firm etc which i believe surely recruit more at NYU than Michigan. That being said, the issue for me is still whether those trade offs are worth the debt. Is it worth the extra 2 years it will take me to pay off, or the limiting it will have on my career option?

Also, i definitely liked NYU better than Michigan, but was not in love with either school. If I was, and knew id enjoy one immensely better, id go there. I feel like in law school you are extremely busy and neither school will significantly impact me.

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bk1
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Re: NYU Sticker v Michigan w/$45k

Postby bk1 » Tue Apr 05, 2011 1:07 pm

IncorrectReversal wrote:Wanted to clarify a few things and further the discussion:

I definitely would prefer NYC biglaw to biglaw anywhere else. Furthermore, I would obviously prefer a top 10 firm etc which i believe surely recruit more at NYU than Michigan. That being said, the issue for me is still whether those trade offs are worth the debt. Is it worth the extra 2 years it will take me to pay off, or the limiting it will have on my career option?

Also, i definitely liked NYU better than Michigan, but was not in love with either school. If I was, and knew id enjoy one immensely better, id go there. I feel like in law school you are extremely busy and neither school will significantly impact me.


Getting a V10 is going to be extraordinarily difficult out of either. I wouldn't use it as a criteria to choose between these schools.

Since you want NYC biglaw hands down, I say NYU as Michigan is still going to leave you with around $150k debt.

vicuna
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Re: NYU Sticker v Michigan w/$45k

Postby vicuna » Tue Apr 05, 2011 1:36 pm

IncorrectReversal wrote:Wanted to clarify a few things and further the discussion:

I definitely would prefer NYC biglaw to biglaw anywhere else. Furthermore, I would obviously prefer a top 10 firm etc which i believe surely recruit more at NYU than Michigan. That being said, the issue for me is still whether those trade offs are worth the debt. Is it worth the extra 2 years it will take me to pay off, or the limiting it will have on my career option?

Also, i definitely liked NYU better than Michigan, but was not in love with either school. If I was, and knew id enjoy one immensely better, id go there. I feel like in law school you are extremely busy and neither school will significantly impact me.


Go to NYU. Anecdotal evidence suggests that NYC BigLaw firm go noticeably deeper into NYU's class than at MVP, therefore giving you more insurance for mediocre grades. In terms of clerkships, NYU may seem weaker statistically than Michigan, but others have argued that this disparity is due to NYU students applying to more competitive judges (i.e. in the NYC area).

The clincher, as others as mentioned, is that you prefer NYU more. This preference is difficult to quantify, but should be a deciding factor. You will perform better in your classes if you are happier.

alumniguy
Posts: 426
Joined: Fri Mar 18, 2011 3:24 pm

Re: NYU Sticker v Michigan w/$45k

Postby alumniguy » Tue Apr 05, 2011 1:41 pm

IncorrectReversal wrote:Wanted to clarify a few things and further the discussion:

I definitely would prefer NYC biglaw to biglaw anywhere else. Furthermore, I would obviously prefer a top 10 firm etc which i believe surely recruit more at NYU than Michigan. That being said, the issue for me is still whether those trade offs are worth the debt. Is it worth the extra 2 years it will take me to pay off, or the limiting it will have on my career option?

Also, i definitely liked NYU better than Michigan, but was not in love with either school. If I was, and knew id enjoy one immensely better, id go there. I feel like in law school you are extremely busy and neither school will significantly impact me.


For someone who is debt averse, 200k of debt must be a scary thing (and it should be). That is a lot of debt. A lot of debt. Your exit options at both schools is going to depend on how well you do. If you can get a V10 as an NYU student (i.e., you hit it out of the park as a 1L), you're going to be competitive for a V10 from Michigan if you hit it out of the park as a 1L.

Does OP have any idea what practicing law is about? I only ask because you've said you aren't sure if you are willing to make the sacrifices that biglaw requires. If this is what you are thinking now, just wait until you are here. In biglaw, you don't suffer only your first two years. Your first two-three years you hours are long and unpredictable - you're figuring out not only the substantive area of the law but your figuring out how the firm runs/what's involved in a deal. As you get more senior, you take on significant responsibility and your hours are long and you must remain available 24/7. Do you get to structure your days more, sure. Will you be able to take vacations, sure. But as a mid-level/senior if you are running the deals you are going to be expected to be available 24/7. You're the point person on the deal that the opposing side contacts. The partner expects that you are on top of the deal and will look to you to advise him of what is/isn't important. I've seen it time and time again. It's demanding. There is a reason class attrition is high and it is because biglaw is incredibly demanding - especially in NYC.

For non-firm exit opportunities, you're talking 4-5 years in biglaw. This will be enough to get you to an investment bank or in-house. But that could be an excruciating 4-5 years and the majority of the class isn't around by year 4/5, they barely last three.

Will the extra 45k matter in the long run - not if you land biglaw. You'll be fine if you last 4-5 years and land a good exit opp. You'll like be fine no matter what (at the very least because you'll force yourself to do well and make life sacrifices because, well you're 200k in debt). Will it matter if you don't - marginally. Your debt payments are going to be high whether it is 200k or 150k.

* * *

I would imagine that with your credentials (4.03 & Ivy) you could land a pretty good job without going to law school. You won't have the $150k debt, you'll likely need to put in the same amount of hard work you would have as a junior associate. Have you thought about business side? A consulting gig or investment banking? Being a lawyer (if you're a transactional lawyer) exposes you to the same finance/business deals but you're working on papering the deal - while the business side is focusing on the deal terms/feasibility. Many transactional lawyers would probably like to go to the business side, but didn't have the UG resume to get them there. For you, I'd imagine it would be a real possibility. You could also probably get to a well respected MBA program - only two years of debt.

In my experience, people who really like law like the non-business side of law, i.e., they like debating policy and arguing about caselaw, often don't find the same desire for the practical day-to-day activities of a lawyer.




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