Help Me Decide: GULC ($$$) vs. UMich ($$)

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GULC or UMich

GULC
29
62%
UMich
18
38%
 
Total votes: 47

Zeephyr
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Help Me Decide: GULC ($$$) vs. UMich ($$)

Postby Zeephyr » Tue Apr 26, 2011 11:18 pm

My application cycle has left me to choose between these two options, and I could really use some different perspectives on the situation.

Background: I want to give myself a good shot at an NLJ250 firm at graduation, but a good PI/LRAP safety net would not go amiss. I have no other specific area of interest, and I am very flexible about where I live following law school. My goal has been to stay at $120k or less in debt by the end of my third year.

Below are some of the differences between the two schools for the factors I have found pertinent. If any info seems incorrect, let me know; and if you have factors/information you think pertinent, let me know that as well



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Last edited by Zeephyr on Tue Apr 26, 2011 11:21 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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dr123
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Re: Help Me Decide: GULC ($$$) vs. UMich ($$)

Postby dr123 » Tue Apr 26, 2011 11:20 pm

Public Interest isnt a "back up plan" for people who miss out on big law.

There are a shit ton of people who go to LS for the sole purpose of working in PI

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AreJay711
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Re: Help Me Decide: GULC ($$$) vs. UMich ($$)

Postby AreJay711 » Tue Apr 26, 2011 11:24 pm

The only issue I have with is is that many people here sat it is hard to guess class rank like that. While that might be an ok estimate formula for the entire class, it doesn't really work that well for an individual. Etiher way, all signs point to Gtown and work your ass off to be above median.

CanadianWolf
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Re: Help Me Decide: GULC ($$$) vs. UMich ($$)

Postby CanadianWolf » Tue Apr 26, 2011 11:30 pm

Based on your original post in this thread, Georgetowm seems to be the better option for you.

Zeephyr
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Re: Help Me Decide: GULC ($$$) vs. UMich ($$)

Postby Zeephyr » Tue Apr 26, 2011 11:46 pm

dr123 wrote:Public Interest isnt a "back up plan" for people who miss out on big law.

There are a shit ton of people who go to LS for the sole purpose of working in PI



I am aware of that. But my primary goal is BigLaw which, from what I have read, is harder to attain than my secondary (but still desirable) option - PI. The question I am asking, in part, is which school has the best combination of these primary and secondary options, with the priviso that I place more importance on the former.

whymeohgodno
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Re: Help Me Decide: GULC ($$$) vs. UMich ($$)

Postby whymeohgodno » Tue Apr 26, 2011 11:47 pm

Mich does. But GTOWN is offering a lot more $. I would take Gtown.

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dr123
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Re: Help Me Decide: GULC ($$$) vs. UMich ($$)

Postby dr123 » Tue Apr 26, 2011 11:49 pm

Zeephyr wrote:
dr123 wrote:Public Interest isnt a "back up plan" for people who miss out on big law.

There are a shit ton of people who go to LS for the sole purpose of working in PI



I am aware of that. But my primary goal is BigLaw which, from what I have read, is harder to attain than my secondary (but still desirable) option - PI. The question I am asking, in part, is which school has the best combination of these primary and secondary options, with the priviso that I place more importance on the former.


Im just saying most people who work in PI have a strong track record of Public service, I've never met a public interest lawyer who is in PI because they struck out at big law

Meerkat Manor
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Re: Help Me Decide: GULC ($$$) vs. UMich ($$)

Postby Meerkat Manor » Tue Apr 26, 2011 11:50 pm

can't really beat 40k a year at a t15

Zeephyr
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Re: Help Me Decide: GULC ($$$) vs. UMich ($$)

Postby Zeephyr » Tue Apr 26, 2011 11:56 pm

dr123 wrote:
Zeephyr wrote:
dr123 wrote:Public Interest isnt a "back up plan" for people who miss out on big law.

There are a shit ton of people who go to LS for the sole purpose of working in PI



I am aware of that. But my primary goal is BigLaw which, from what I have read, is harder to attain than my secondary (but still desirable) option - PI. The question I am asking, in part, is which school has the best combination of these primary and secondary options, with the priviso that I place more importance on the former.


Im just saying most people who work in PI have a strong track record of Public service, I've never met a public interest lawyer who is in PI because they struck out at big law


Neither have I, but I don't recall meeting anyone who was in BigLaw because they struck out at PI either. I hope the fields are not mutually exclusive. Maybe I just don't know enough lawyers.

Zeephyr
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Re: Help Me Decide: GULC ($$$) vs. UMich ($$)

Postby Zeephyr » Wed Apr 27, 2011 10:43 am

AreJay711 wrote:The only issue I have with is is that many people here sat it is hard to guess class rank like that. While that might be an ok estimate formula for the entire class, it doesn't really work that well for an individual. Etiher way, all signs point to Gtown and work your ass off to be above median.


Very true. I have tried looking at rank in class from a whole bunch of angles. The numbers I have come up with are derived from weighted averages of LSAT/GPA index scores from LSN, LSP, and hourumd. I then add a few percentage points to each score for myself based on the number of students with advanced degrees at the different schools (GULC lists 14% somewhere and UMich 12% [No, I did not add anywhere near 12-14% to my raw score]). That gives me around 60th percentile for GTown and 50th for UMich. This is obviously a flawed and arbitrary method, but I certainly want to have some rough estimate of where I can expect to rank in my class, everything else being equal. Of course, the real outcome will depend on a lot of unquantifiable factors, but the rough estimate helps to re-assure at the very least.

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buckilaw
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Re: Help Me Decide: GULC ($$$) vs. UMich ($$)

Postby buckilaw » Wed Apr 27, 2011 10:57 am

Are you sure your need based aid at Mich is not guaranteed? I recieved a similar grant and the way I read the aid package led me to believe that the full amount of the grant is guaranteed regardless of changes in income. You may want to double check the language or call the financial aid office if you are seriously considering Mich.

bdubs
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Re: Help Me Decide: GULC ($$$) vs. UMich ($$)

Postby bdubs » Wed Apr 27, 2011 11:05 am

How are you arriving at the $100k cost of GULC? That seems really high.

Zeephyr
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Re: Help Me Decide: GULC ($$$) vs. UMich ($$)

Postby Zeephyr » Wed Apr 27, 2011 11:12 am

buckilaw wrote:Are you sure your need based aid at Mich is not guaranteed? I recieved a similar grant and the way I read the aid package led me to believe that the full amount of the grant is guaranteed regardless of changes in income. You may want to double check the language or call the financial aid office if you are seriously considering Mich.


Sorry, I completed my spreadsheet just a few days ago, right before I received my aid notification for need. I didn't receive any need-based aid (which I believe may decrease); the $45k is merit-based ($15k per year) which will not decrease. Thanks for pointing that out.

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kapital98
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Re: Help Me Decide: GULC ($$$) vs. UMich ($$)

Postby kapital98 » Wed Apr 27, 2011 11:20 am

Very nice analysis. Thanks for the post.

Also, the cold winters in Michigan are a HUGE negative if your not used to them... and a negative even if you are :)

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Bildungsroman
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Re: Help Me Decide: GULC ($$$) vs. UMich ($$)

Postby Bildungsroman » Wed Apr 27, 2011 11:23 am

Zeephyr wrote:
AreJay711 wrote:The only issue I have with is is that many people here sat it is hard to guess class rank like that. While that might be an ok estimate formula for the entire class, it doesn't really work that well for an individual. Etiher way, all signs point to Gtown and work your ass off to be above median.


Very true. I have tried looking at rank in class from a whole bunch of angles. The numbers I have come up with are derived from weighted averages of LSAT/GPA index scores from LSN, LSP, and hourumd. I then add a few percentage points to each score for myself based on the number of students with advanced degrees at the different schools (GULC lists 14% somewhere and UMich 12% [No, I did not add anywhere near 12-14% to my raw score]). That gives me around 60th percentile for GTown and 50th for UMich. This is obviously a flawed and arbitrary method ,but I certainly want to have some rough estimate of where I can expect to rank in my class, everything else being equal. Of course, the real outcome will depend on a lot of unquantifiable factors, but the rough estimate helps to re-assure at the very least.


Seriously, do yourself a favor and throw out any consideration of where you'll end up in terms of class rank. There's no way for you to predict right now; the correlation that LSAT/GPA have to class rank is far too weak to justify any sort of estimation.

Zeephyr
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Re: Help Me Decide: GULC ($$$) vs. UMich ($$)

Postby Zeephyr » Wed Apr 27, 2011 11:25 am

bdubs wrote:How are you arriving at the $100k cost of GULC? That seems really high.


I did the math awhile ago, so things might have changed. Here's what I did: 0L COA at Gtown is $67,788. I added 4% on top of this and compounded yearly through my 3L year which gives a total of $220,071. Take off the $120k in aid and that's $100k and change. There is probably a more accurate way of doing this (ideally, use the 1L figure, which is out by now; separate tuition from COL, compounding the former with the inflation rate and the latter with the expected %age of tuition increase). I guess I was too lazy, so I just did a blanket 4% for COA.

The expected percentage of tuition increase at GTown is difficult to guess. I believe they have not raised tuition in three years, but I can't believe I can make it through my three years unscathed by a hike. The question is whether the increase will be small in keeping with the evident desire to keep tuition lower. Or will it be high because of latent costs that have gone unmet due to three years of not raising the rate?

bdubs
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Re: Help Me Decide: GULC ($$$) vs. UMich ($$)

Postby bdubs » Wed Apr 27, 2011 11:31 am

Zeephyr wrote:
bdubs wrote:How are you arriving at the $100k cost of GULC? That seems really high.


I did the math awhile ago, so things might have changed. Here's what I did: 0L COA at Gtown is $67,788. I added 4% on top of this and compounded yearly through my 3L year which gives a total of $220,071. Take of the $120k in aid and that's $100k and change. There is probably a more accurate way of doing this (ideally, use the 1L figure, which is out by now; separate tuition from COL, compounding the former with the inflation rate and the latter with the expected %age of tuition increase). I guess I was too lazy, so I just did a blanket 4% for COA.

The expected percentage of tuition increase at GTown is difficiult to guess. I believe they have not raised tuition in three years, but I can't believe I can make it through my three years unscathed by a hike. The question is whether the increase will be small in keeping with the evident desire to keep tuition lower. Or will it be high because of latent costs that have gone unmet due to three years of not raising the rate?


Looking at the budget it seems likely that $100,000 would be about right, although it seems a bit ridiculous to think that a scholarship that covers 87% of tuition would still leave you with $100,000 of debt over 3 years.

How much would your spouse sacrifice in income in Ann Arbor?

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sambeber
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Re: Help Me Decide: GULC ($$$) vs. UMich ($$)

Postby sambeber » Wed Apr 27, 2011 11:38 am

Do you think you'll be happier in Ann Arbor or Washington D.C., law school notwithstanding?

Zeephyr
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Re: Help Me Decide: GULC ($$$) vs. UMich ($$)

Postby Zeephyr » Wed Apr 27, 2011 11:41 am

bdubs wrote:
Zeephyr wrote:
bdubs wrote:How are you arriving at the $100k cost of GULC? That seems really high.


I did the math awhile ago, so things might have changed. Here's what I did: 0L COA at Gtown is $67,788. I added 4% on top of this and compounded yearly through my 3L year which gives a total of $220,071. Take of the $120k in aid and that's $100k and change. There is probably a more accurate way of doing this (ideally, use the 1L figure, which is out by now; separate tuition from COL, compounding the former with the inflation rate and the latter with the expected %age of tuition increase). I guess I was too lazy, so I just did a blanket 4% for COA.

The expected percentage of tuition increase at GTown is difficiult to guess. I believe they have not raised tuition in three years, but I can't believe I can make it through my three years unscathed by a hike. The question is whether the increase will be small in keeping with the evident desire to keep tuition lower. Or will it be high because of latent costs that have gone unmet due to three years of not raising the rate?


Looking at the budget it seems likely that $100,000 would be about right, although it seems a bit ridiculous to think that a scholarship that covers 87% of tuition would still leave you with $100,000 of debt over 3 years.

How much would your spouse sacrifice in income in Ann Arbor?



Yes, the costs are staggering. My spouse is just now entering the job market - but because of my spuse's field of study, DC would have far more opportunities and likely a higher pay. It is extremely difficult to know how much the difference in pay would be.

Zeephyr
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Re: Help Me Decide: GULC ($$$) vs. UMich ($$)

Postby Zeephyr » Wed Apr 27, 2011 12:01 pm

sambeber wrote:Do you think you'll be happier in Ann Arbor or Washington D.C., law school notwithstanding?


Probably DC, but only by a slight margin. My spouse would much prefer DC.

bdubs
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Re: Help Me Decide: GULC ($$$) vs. UMich ($$)

Postby bdubs » Wed Apr 27, 2011 12:03 pm

Zeephyr wrote:
sambeber wrote:Do you think you'll be happier in Ann Arbor or Washington D.C., law school notwithstanding?


Probably DC, but only by a slight margin. My spouse would much prefer DC.


From what I have heard, law school can be really hard on a relationship. The last thing you want is a spouse who not only feels neglected by you, but is also bored and hates their job.

c_dubya_s
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Re: Help Me Decide: GULC ($$$) vs. UMich ($$)

Postby c_dubya_s » Wed Apr 27, 2011 12:12 pm

For the good of your relationship, I'd choose DC & GULC. Less debt and a happier SO are two very important factors. Career prospects numbers-wise may be a little worse, but you can still definitely make it if you work hard.

Two other things:

1) Not to pile on, but the whole "class rank" thing is pretty arbitrary. You really have no way of knowing, and I would not factor that into the decision-making process at all.
2) GULC may be separated from the undergrad campus, but it's still pretty huge for a law school. Depends what you mean by a small-school feel.

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The Gentleman
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Re: Help Me Decide: GULC ($$$) vs. UMich ($$)

Postby The Gentleman » Wed Apr 27, 2011 12:21 pm

I had a very similar thread a few days back (viewtopic.php?f=1&t=153951) trying to choose between GULC w/ 120k and Penn w/ 70k.

How would your SO feel about being uprooted from her career in three years because of your first post-LS gig? This will almost certainly happen at UMich, but not at GULC. Granted, the DC biglaw market is saturated and you'll need stellar grades to crack it, but I imagine that there are a number of smaller/mid-size firms in DC that most GULC grads pass over because of their massive debt load. So if you could keep your debt to 80-90k (which is certainly doable if your SO kicks in a bigger chink of your COL), then you'd open up a whole new market sector that's financially unavailable to most of your classmates. There's no way that you could have this luxury with 170k of debt at Mich. But that's just one consideration among many.

disabilityadvocate
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Re: Help Me Decide: GULC ($$$) vs. UMich ($$)

Postby disabilityadvocate » Wed Apr 27, 2011 1:11 pm

Don't under estimate the importance of giving your spouse opportunities. No matter how loving, supportive, and perfect they are, if they have to waste three years to be with you at law school, its going to influence you both negatively, and hurt your performance in law school.

I'm having the same struggle with GULC versus USC.

Remember, you married them because they were worth it.

Zeephyr
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Re: Help Me Decide: GULC ($$$) vs. UMich ($$)

Postby Zeephyr » Wed Apr 27, 2011 1:45 pm

The Gentleman wrote:I had a very similar thread a few days back (viewtopic.php?f=1&t=153951) trying to choose between GULC w/ 120k and Penn w/ 70k.

How would your SO feel about being uprooted from her career in three years because of your first post-LS gig? This will almost certainly happen at UMich, but not at GULC. Granted, the DC biglaw market is saturated and you'll need stellar grades to crack it, but I imagine that there are a number of smaller/mid-size firms in DC that most GULC grads pass over because of their massive debt load. So if you could keep your debt to 80-90k (which is certainly doable if your SO kicks in a bigger chink of your COL), then you'd open up a whole new market sector that's financially unavailable to most of your classmates. There's no way that you could have this luxury with 170k of debt at Mich. But that's just one consideration among many.


I have learned two things thus far. (1) My class rank calculus can be tossed out the window, (2) my spouse's opinon matters a lot (believe me, I already knew this :wink: )

As far as my spouse is concerned, uprooting after 3 years of law school is not a problem. Outside of college, sp. has never lived in one place for more than six months (that includes childhood). It is getting sp. to agree to live in one place for more than a couple of years that is the difficulty. That is why, on the whole, law school is much more of a cost/benefit issue for us than preference issue - we want to be able to have options quickly after law school. So getting a high paying position that pays off debt is important, but having less debt is almost equally important. The sooner we don't have to worry about law school debt the better.

Thanks for the advice about mid-size firms; that is an option I have not explored all that much.




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