Cleveland or Pittsburgh?

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

What say you?

Down by the (3) Riverside
30
77%
Get comfy in the Dawg Pound
9
23%
 
Total votes: 39

JDizzle
Posts: 27
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Cleveland or Pittsburgh?

Postby JDizzle » Wed Apr 06, 2011 7:47 pm

Hi all. Need help deciding where to begin my legal studies in the fall.

Things to note:
- Taking a year off and retaking the LSAT is not an option.
- Interested in a career as a litigator. Won't mind working in a DA's office if it means I get to be in court. Would like to know that I could at least stand a chance at mid-law, though.
- Ultimately I want to work in Virginia/North Carolina (Outer Banks) geographic area. I know neither of these schools will put me there right after graduation, but which would get me there faster?

Case Western Reserve University School of Law Cleveland, OH.
Pros
- $10,000 per year scholarship
- Currently have a part-time job in C-land that pays well which I could keep throughout LS.
- Very familiar w/ Cleveland (know the neighborhood in which I want to live, good places to hang, places to avoid, my social and business contacts are growing, etc.)

Cons
- Grew up near Cleveland and went to undergrad in Ohio (ie: I'm ready to get the hell out)

Intangibles
- Competition in Cleveland law market from C-M grads and OSU grads.
- Not stoked about the prospect of spending the next several years in Cleveland. Not the end of the world, but not excited.

University of Pittsburgh School of Law Pittsburgh, PA.
Pros
- Pitt's campus is beautiful, and aesthetics matter to me.
- Pittsburgh is a much more livable city than Cleveland, and I'd prefer to live in Pittsburgh immediately following LS graduation than in Cleveland.
- $8K per year merit scholarship

Cons
- Currently no job in Pittsburgh, but I have already begun seeking out part time work.
- No connections in the Pittsburgh legal market.

Intangibles
- Could likely get in-state tuition for 2L and 3L, saving $8K a year.
- Pitt offers a lot of merit-based scholarships to 2L and 3L students, more than I've seen at any other school I checked out. I'd like to think I'm capable of performing well enough to be in contention for one of those.
- Could likely get me into the VA/NC region more quickly.
- Could potentially mean taking on $18K more in debt than if I were to attend Case.
- Still have to find a job in Pittsburgh.

Basically, I would much prefer to study at Pitt and be in the city of Pittsburgh (better city). That said, I don't know if that preference is worth taking on the extra debt to go to a LS that is slightly less highly regarded than Case.

What say you, TLS?
Last edited by JDizzle on Tue May 03, 2011 12:31 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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Always Credited
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Re: Cleveland or Pittsburgh?

Postby Always Credited » Wed Apr 06, 2011 7:50 pm

Go to Pittsburgh and come to terms with probably never leaving.

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Hannibal
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Re: Cleveland or Pittsburgh?

Postby Hannibal » Wed Apr 06, 2011 8:18 pm

Pittsburgh is a hugely underrated city. Your degree won't take you anywhere straight out of school (people's inability to leave down the road is way overstated on TLS), but you don't want to be stuck in Cleveland for even a minor amount of time.

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Attorney
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Re: Cleveland or Pittsburgh?

Postby Attorney » Wed Apr 06, 2011 8:40 pm

I agree with everything the Fine Young Hannibal just conveyed.
Pitttttsburgh!

CanadianWolf
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Re: Cleveland or Pittsburgh?

Postby CanadianWolf » Wed Apr 06, 2011 8:49 pm

You are young. If you don't make the move now, then maybe never.

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ndirish2010
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Re: Cleveland or Pittsburgh?

Postby ndirish2010 » Thu Apr 07, 2011 10:22 am

Pitt all the way.

Whatever1
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Re: Cleveland or Pittsburgh?

Postby Whatever1 » Thu Apr 07, 2011 11:53 am

I voted CM Law. It has a really nice law building and you could get a law degree for under $20,000 total. Thats like $75,000 less than at Pitt. Is living 2 hours up the highway on the Lake not worth $75,000 to you? To me it would be. CM can get you a decent job in Cleveland if you do well, just like Pitt would get you a good job in Pittsburgh if you do well. I know you said you're ready to leave Cleveland, but I think the price is right. Cleveland is not THAT much different than Pittsburgh.

Case2L
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Re: Cleveland or Pittsburgh?

Postby Case2L » Thu Apr 07, 2011 12:29 pm

Pitt has a great campus, and the law building is just blocks away from the Carnegie Museum. I say Pitt all the way.

HeavenWood
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Re: Cleveland or Pittsburgh?

Postby HeavenWood » Thu Apr 07, 2011 2:09 pm

Hannibal wrote:Pittsburgh is a hugely underrated city. Your degree won't take you anywhere straight out of school (people's inability to leave down the road is way overstated on TLS), but you don't want to be stuck in Cleveland for even a minor amount of time.


On paper, Cleveland and Pittsburgh are almost identical. I thought this would be true in real life as well.

Then I visited Cleveland.

Moral of the story? Go to Pitt.

Whatever1
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Re: Cleveland or Pittsburgh?

Postby Whatever1 » Thu Apr 07, 2011 3:38 pm

HeavenWood wrote:
Hannibal wrote:Pittsburgh is a hugely underrated city. Your degree won't take you anywhere straight out of school (people's inability to leave down the road is way overstated on TLS), but you don't want to be stuck in Cleveland for even a minor amount of time.


On paper, Cleveland and Pittsburgh are almost identical. I thought this would be true in real life as well.

Then I visited Cleveland.

Moral of the story? Go to Pitt.


I'm not sure I understand the negative comments about Cleveland. I'm not from there and had never been there before last month when I visited both CM and Pitt. From reading the TLS comments I thought I was going to love Pittsburgh, hate Cleveland. Actually the opposite happened. I genuinely liked Cleveland better. Not sure what all the love for Pittsburgh is about but that's me. I was disappointed. I went to Shadyside, Mt Washington, downtown, Squirrel Hill, and Friendship. All neighborhoods I had heard were nice. And I can say that the Little Italy and shaker square areas of Cleveland seemed nicer to me with more stuff to do. Who knows, maybe if you're there for more than 2 days you see that it sucks, but I kind of liked it.

JDizzle
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Re: Cleveland or Pittsburgh?

Postby JDizzle » Thu Apr 07, 2011 5:42 pm

CanadianWolf wrote:You are young. If you don't make the move now, then maybe never.


That's my line of thinking is well...if not now, then when? That's a large part of the reason why taking a year off is not an option for me: I took this year off to re-charge after getting my undergrad degree in 3 years and to better prepare for the LSAT. What happened?--I got a decent paying job, did marginally better on the LSAT but still not well enough to put me into the T25, smoked pot, and led an active social life. It was fine for a year, but I fear another year of living like this will ruin my ambition to go to LS or even grad school.

Whatever1 wrote:I voted CM Law. It has a really nice law building and you could get a law degree for under $20,000 total. Thats like $75,000 less than at Pitt. Is living 2 hours up the highway on the Lake not worth $75,000 to you? To me it would be. CM can get you a decent job in Cleveland if you do well, just like Pitt would get you a good job in Pittsburgh if you do well. I know you said you're ready to leave Cleveland, but I think the price is right. Cleveland is not THAT much different than Pittsburgh.


Yes, it would be significantly cheaper for me to go to CM, and that's the biggest kink in making this decision. Unfortunately, after spending a fair amount of time in Cleveland I can tell you Pittsburgh is that much better of a city than Cleveland.

Brief example: Pittsburgh is regularly listed as one of the most (if not the most) livable cities in the country. Cleveland is on the bottom end of that list. I used to not be a "Cleveland hater," and I'm still not really a hater, but there's just so much poverty, corruption, depression, and failing infrastructure (save for the Cleveland Clinic/other hospitals) in the city that it weighs on your soul after a while.

Thanks for the all opinions and advice, everyone. Please keep it coming! April 15th is a-comin' quickly!

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mpj_3050
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Re: Cleveland or Pittsburgh?

Postby mpj_3050 » Thu Apr 07, 2011 5:54 pm

Are you 100% sure you can get in-state at Pitt for 2L/3L? Even with residency wouldn't Pitt's total tuition be around 80k?

But...I actually will go against the grain and say Cleveland State because of the price. I know Pittsburgh is a good city but that is a significant amount of money. But you can IBR with the government loans so it depends on the risk you are willing to take.

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joeshmo39
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Re: Cleveland or Pittsburgh?

Postby joeshmo39 » Thu Apr 07, 2011 6:15 pm

This is a brutal choice. Have you tried to call C-M and see if they can make the stipulations on the scholarship a little more forgiving? Top 1/3 is no cake walk and you never know what's going to happen.

I'm from Pittsburgh so I of course agree it's a better city than Cleveland and I also agree it's generally underrated. I would worry about the price of Pitt though. Another thing to consider is that Pitt will place somewhat better in D.C. than C-M will, though, again, it's at the bottom of the list. That aside, you'd be better off being stuck in Pittsburgh than you would in Cleveland, and stuck you will be most likely. I do know someone who went to Pitt Law last year who works for NASA in D.C. now. It's not impossible, it's just not something to bank on.

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The Gentleman
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Re: Cleveland or Pittsburgh?

Postby The Gentleman » Thu Apr 07, 2011 6:23 pm

Go to Pitt, but wear your Indians/Cavs/Browns jerseys to class everyday. Gotta represent.

JDizzle
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Re: Cleveland or Pittsburgh?

Postby JDizzle » Thu Apr 07, 2011 7:31 pm

mpj_3050 wrote:Are you 100% sure you can get in-state at Pitt for 2L/3L?


From their website:

Pitt Law Residency Requirements wrote:Higher tuition rate is charged to non-residents. If you have lived in the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania for 12 consecutive months immediately prior to enrollment at any college or university in the state, you may be eligible for reduced tuition rates.


I can say that I'm 100% sure that it's possible, assuming I take residence in PA 12 consecutive months prior to the start of my 2L year. I have heard conflicted reports as to the difficulty of being granted resident tuition, but I'm willing to jump through the bureaucratic hoops to make it happen.

mpj_3050 wrote:Even with residency wouldn't Pitt's total tuition be around 80k?


$84,750 tuition burden paying out-of-state for the first year and in-state for the second and third years.

mpj_3050 wrote:But...I actually will go against the grain and say Cleveland State because of the price. I know Pittsburgh is a good city but that is a significant amount of money. But you can IBR with the government loans so it depends on the risk you are willing to take.


Thanks for explaining why you chose C-M. I agree that there's a significant amount of debt at stake and am not sure that it's worth it, hence my angst.

To be fair, let's examine the "worse case scenario" for attending both schools:

C-M
$6200 per year tuition (assuming I keep my present $12K scholarship all 3 years)
$22,496 per year living expenses (assuming I lose my present job and don't find another one)
--------------
$86,088 in loans at graduation (again, worse case scenario)

Pitt
$84,750 tuition for 3 years (assumes in-state tuition cost for 2L and 3L and that I'm not awarded a merit scholarship during those years)
$53,906 living expenses/fees for 3 years and PA bar exam (assumes I make ZERO money during those 3 years; no job)
--------------
$138,656 in loans at graduation (once again, worse case scenario)

Now, is it likely that I'll lose my job if I stay in Cleveland?--no, so we can pretty much count on the debt load at graduation from C-M to be closer to $25-$30K.

It is, however, equally unlikely that I will not be able to find some sort of part-time job in Pittsburgh (bartending, teaching music lessons, coaching tennis, campus tour guide, whatever), so we can say the debt load at graduation from Pitt would be closer to $92-$95K.

Don't know if that makes a difference to most people, but those are the numbers I've been crunching. Cheers!

Case2L
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Re: Cleveland or Pittsburgh?

Postby Case2L » Thu Apr 07, 2011 9:53 pm

I love Cleveland, but Pitt is just a better school than C-M. Even with the information you just provided, I still say Pitt. Pittsburgh is a nice city, and Pitt has a much nicer campus, IMO, than CSU. I've been to both campuses several times, and Pitt has much more of a collegiate, academic feel to it. I think you will enjoy your time at Pitt more than you would at C-M, and quality of life is important for those three years.

JDizzle
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Re: Cleveland or Pittsburgh?

Postby JDizzle » Fri Apr 08, 2011 12:27 pm

Case2L wrote:I love Cleveland, but Pitt is just a better school than C-M. Even with the information you just provided, I still say Pitt. Pittsburgh is a nice city, and Pitt has a much nicer campus, IMO, than CSU. I've been to both campuses several times, and Pitt has much more of a collegiate, academic feel to it. I think you will enjoy your time at Pitt more than you would at C-M, and quality of life is important for those three years.


Thanks for your thoughts. I agree with everything you said, especially about Pitt having a nicer campus than CSU. Quality of life is important to me and will probably be more-so during law school.

Just to clarify, in my initial post I said my ultimate goal is to settle in the VA/NC area. I know a lot of people on here talk about VA/DC, but I'd like get to North Carolina and have no desire to work in DC. I'd really like to settle in the Richmond area or the Raleigh/Outer Banks area of NC.

Whatever1
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Re: Cleveland or Pittsburgh?

Postby Whatever1 » Fri Apr 08, 2011 2:12 pm

JDizzle wrote:
Case2L wrote:I love Cleveland, but Pitt is just a better school than C-M. Even with the information you just provided, I still say Pitt. Pittsburgh is a nice city, and Pitt has a much nicer campus, IMO, than CSU. I've been to both campuses several times, and Pitt has much more of a collegiate, academic feel to it. I think you will enjoy your time at Pitt more than you would at C-M, and quality of life is important for those three years.


Thanks for your thoughts. I agree with everything you said, especially about Pitt having a nicer campus than CSU. Quality of life is important to me and will probably be more-so during law school.

Just to clarify, in my initial post I said my ultimate goal is to settle in the VA/NC area. I know a lot of people on here talk about VA/DC, but I'd like get to North Carolina and have no desire to work in DC. I'd really like to settle in the Richmond area or the Raleigh/Outer Banks area of NC.


Sorry, didn't notice the point about wanting to go to the Richmond area or NC. In that case I change my mind and say go to Pitt. You atleast have a shot to move somewhere with them, not so sure that's true with CM.

JDizzle
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Re: Cleveland or Pittsburgh?

Postby JDizzle » Fri Apr 29, 2011 2:44 pm

OK everyone, I'm bringing this old thread back to life!

New developments:

Case Western Reserve University School of Law has accepted me with a $10K per year scholarship (working on getting more).

Pitt Law has given me an $8K per year scholarship (could try to get more, but it was difficult to get the $8K).

The NEW decision:

Cleveland
CWRU - $96,330 in tuition debt upon graduation. I'll be able to pay my own COL.

Pittsburgh
Pitt - $114,000 in debt after 3 years of law school if I take out loans for EVERYTHING (including COL). $60,750 in debt after 3 years of law school if I can find a job that will cover COL.

So, how good of a school is Case? I hear that the degree is surprisingly transportable. Worth nearly $100K in debt?

What say you now, TLS?

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BarbellDreams
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Re: Cleveland or Pittsburgh?

Postby BarbellDreams » Fri Apr 29, 2011 3:01 pm

I go to Pitt so I am obviously biased but I have been to both schools and can honestly say that even without the job and paying everything in full an extra 18k total for Pitt is worth it over Case. I didn't mind Case's facilities but was worried about their market and the heavy competition they face from OSU. I then came to Pitt and realize we have NO competition in our market and more than half the recruiters graduated from Pitt themselves.

Case2L
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Re: Cleveland or Pittsburgh?

Postby Case2L » Fri Apr 29, 2011 3:05 pm

You should still factor in where you would rather live - Cleveland or Pittsburgh. If you are fine with either city, I would say Case because it's cheaper. If you prefer living in Pittsburgh long-term, then is is worth it to pay more and go to Pitt (You probably should not look into getting a job, especially your 1st year - law school IS your job). From your original post, you said you would rather live in Pittsburgh than in Cleveland - do you still hold that position?

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Fred_McGriff
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Re: Cleveland or Pittsburgh?

Postby Fred_McGriff » Sat Apr 30, 2011 11:30 am

Pittsburgh is a better place to live than Cleveland.

JDizzle
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Re: Cleveland or Pittsburgh?

Postby JDizzle » Sat Apr 30, 2011 11:39 am

Case2L wrote:You should still factor in where you would rather live - Cleveland or Pittsburgh. If you are fine with either city, I would say Case because it's cheaper. If you prefer living in Pittsburgh long-term, then is is worth it to pay more and go to Pitt (You probably should not look into getting a job, especially your 1st year - law school IS your job). From your original post, you said you would rather live in Pittsburgh than in Cleveland - do you still hold that position?


I do still maintain that I would rather live in Pitt than Cleveland long term (still want to get to North Carolina, though). However, if Case is regarded more highly than Pitt I would be willing to suck it up for 3 years of law school and stay in Cleveland for a better law education. Like I said earlier, I've heard a JD from Case is surprisingly portable after graduation--does that still hold true ITE?

Pitt also offers more opportunities for merit scholarships during 2L and 3L than Case...something that could drive the overall cost down.

BarbellDreams wrote:I go to Pitt so I am obviously biased but I have been to both schools and can honestly say that even without the job and paying everything in full an extra 18k total for Pitt is worth it over Case. I didn't mind Case's facilities but was worried about their market and the heavy competition they face from OSU. I then came to Pitt and realize we have NO competition in our market and more than half the recruiters graduated from Pitt themselves.


I'm also concerned with the competition from OSU and C-M in Cleveland. Though I've heard that part of the reason Case doesn't have as strong of a presence in Cleveland is because the top 25% of the class leaves the state (hell, I would too). The lack of competition in the Pitt legal market is certainly a draw.

BobSacamano
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Re: Cleveland or Pittsburgh?

Postby BobSacamano » Sun May 01, 2011 1:50 pm

I would choose Pitt over Case Western, but just as an FYI:

- Getting in-state at Pitt is not a lock. You'll likely have to go through an appeals process, which isn't really that bad. You'll have to dedicate yourself to Pennsylvania though.

- The "lack of competition" in the job market is certainly a draw, at least on paper, but there's sort of a lack of job market at the moment. There are rumors that only 15% (or so) of the 3L class has a job lined up for next year. Not sure how credible those rumors are.

- This should really come down to cost + employment prospects + where you want to live. Don't worry about which school is more highly regarded, because there's really no difference.

JDizzle
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Re: Cleveland or Pittsburgh?

Postby JDizzle » Sun May 01, 2011 7:14 pm

BobSacamano wrote:I would choose Pitt over Case Western, but just as an FYI:

- Getting in-state at Pitt is not a lock. You'll likely have to go through an appeals process, which isn't really that bad. You'll have to dedicate yourself to Pennsylvania though.

- The "lack of competition" in the job market is certainly a draw, at least on paper, but there's sort of a lack of job market at the moment. There are rumors that only 15% (or so) of the 3L class has a job lined up for next year. Not sure how credible those rumors are.

- This should really come down to cost + employment prospects + where you want to live. Don't worry about which school is more highly regarded, because there's really no difference.


Thank you very much for the feedback! Great to hear from someone who (I presume) attends/attended Pitt.

Let's see...

Cost: Nearly a tie, but with my job in Cleveland I give the nod to Case.

Employment Prospects: Again, nearly a tie. Less competition in Pittsburgh, but rumors of 15% of the 3L class having a job lined-up is kinda scary. More competition in Cleveland from C-M and OSU grads. Anyone know how the Cleveland legal market compares to Pitt? That said, I do have more connections to the legal market in the Cleveland area than in the Pittsburgh area. Call this one a tie at "not spectacular right now from either school."

Where I Want to Live: At the moment, I say Pittsburgh. However, I have admittedly spent very little time actually in the city and on Pitt's campus. I'm way more familiar w/ Cleveland and Case, so maybe I'm just romanticizing Pittsburgh. If I'm going to be stuck in a city following graduation from LS, I would prefer it be Pittsburgh, but it's definitely a toss-up. Still, I'm going with Pittsburgh.

Well, imagine that...Case - 1, Pitt - 1, and 1 tie. I've got to send Pitt a $200 seat deposit tomorrow, so I'll probably bite the bullet just to buy myself some more time to make this call.

Keep the thoughts/ideas comin', please! Thanks all!




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