UW vs. Berkeley for Seattle biglaw

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UW vs. Berkeley for Seattle biglaw

University of Washington (COA: $60K)
44
47%
UC Berkeley (COA: $160K)
49
53%
 
Total votes: 93

PNW Noob
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UW vs. Berkeley for Seattle biglaw

Postby PNW Noob » Wed Jun 22, 2011 1:26 am

Long time stalker. I would like to get a TLS perspective on this situation. I want biglaw in Seattle. Kind of a (fairly regional) T14 vs. regional best (in insular market) scenario.

Option 1: Significant scholarship along with in-state tuition at UW. 3-year cost of attendance = $60K

Option 2: Small scholarship at UC Berkeley. 3-year cost of attendance = $160K

Thank you

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NZA
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Re: UW vs. Berkeley for Seattle biglaw

Postby NZA » Wed Jun 22, 2011 1:28 am

First, congrats on Boalt.

Second...are you from the NW? I think the general consensus is that if you have a reason to be in the NW market (you grew up here, you went to school here, etc.), then you stand a chance of getting a job regardless of where you go.

I really don't think you could go wrong with Boalt, especially if you're a native. You could probably look at the firms that went to Boalt's OCI and see if firms like Perkins & Coie or K&L Gates were there, just for fun.

ETA: There are people who probably have way better advice, for the record.

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Rock-N-Roll
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Re: UW vs. Berkeley for Seattle biglaw

Postby Rock-N-Roll » Wed Jun 22, 2011 1:41 am

I'm curious OP. Did you get into Boalt off the waitlist? It's no biggie, just asking because the decision deadline is now long-gone (i.e. June 1st).

Also, if you're calculating total COA for Boalt the same way I am, then $160,000 would actually, I think, be a pretty decent scholarship for them. It's around $70,000.

PNW Noob
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Re: UW vs. Berkeley for Seattle biglaw

Postby PNW Noob » Wed Jun 22, 2011 1:54 am

Thank you NZA. I guess my major reservation is the $100K difference.

I'm curious OP. Did you get into Boalt off the waitlist? It's no biggie, just asking because the decision deadline is now long-gone (i.e. June 1st).

Also, if you're calculating total COA for Boalt the same way I am, then $160,000 would actually, I think, be a pretty decent scholarship for them. It's around $70,000.


Yes, I am off Berkeley's waitlist. I should have also stipulated that my COA estimates include some savings in addition to scholarships.

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Rock-N-Roll
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Re: UW vs. Berkeley for Seattle biglaw

Postby Rock-N-Roll » Wed Jun 22, 2011 2:12 am

I'm a 0L like you, and so I'm likely stating something obvious to you here, but have you checked out the websites of firms in the seattle area and looked up where their partners and associates graduated from? If a significant number came from UW, and you are super determined to stay in Seattle, then I guess that would be a point in the UW column given that it's a lot cheaper for you.

Also, the Boalt TLSers seem really friendly. Maybe you could post in the Berkeley 2014 thread or PM one of 'em to get some inside info about Boalt's placement in Seattle. Best of luck in your decision.

shoeshine
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Re: UW vs. Berkeley for Seattle biglaw

Postby shoeshine » Wed Jun 22, 2011 2:16 am

They may go deeper into the class at B.

Seattle is insular but they also recognize the quality/prestige of students coming from T14 schools.

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NZA
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Re: UW vs. Berkeley for Seattle biglaw

Postby NZA » Wed Jun 22, 2011 2:25 am

100K is a lot of money, especially when you're looking at a school in a region that you know you want to practice in. :?

But, frankly, it doesn't look like you could make a bad choice, here.

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crossarmant
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Re: UW vs. Berkeley for Seattle biglaw

Postby crossarmant » Wed Jun 22, 2011 8:47 am

$100k less debt at the best school in the NW, where you want to stay? Go with UW. Prestige of a T14 is great and all, but practicality and cost-effectiveness is underrated here.

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Kronk
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Re: UW vs. Berkeley for Seattle biglaw

Postby Kronk » Wed Jun 22, 2011 9:01 am

Hey. Boalt student here. I would probably go to UW if I were you, but it sort of depends on your priorities. i.e. if, in the off chance you can't get a biglaw job in Seattle, you would rather do BigLaw in another location than another type of job in Seattle, obviously go to Boalt.

That said, it's sort of a wash. You'll probably need to be really high in your class at UW to get BigLaw in Seattle (10-20% or very diverse). That's never a guarantee, even if you have a higher LSAT score than a lot of your classmates. That said, only about half of Boalt students are getting NLJ250 jobs (which includes a bunch of below-market paying firms), so you'll have to do decently well at Boalt, too. Not to mention a good portion of those 50% are in bigger markets like L.A. and NY that are still hiring Summer Associates like they're working for free, and I'm sure Seattle is harder to get into right now that NYC or L.A.

In addition, we don't have many PNW firms coming to OCIP this year, so you'll be doing the grunt work, and while I would assume with area ties and Boalt on your resume you'll draw some interest, you'll have to do a lot of the grunt work in applying to those firms. I would weigh all of those considerations with what $100,000 means to you. $160,000 of debt is pretty much biglaw, LRAP, or bust territory, so if you don't get the type of job you want at Boalt you may be stuck doing work you don't want to do to qualify for LRAP. If you don't get BigLaw from UW, you can still do pretty much anything you want, including checking out some midlaw firms and keeping the BigLaw dream alive by trying to lateral in a few years.

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cinephile
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Re: UW vs. Berkeley for Seattle biglaw

Postby cinephile » Wed Jun 22, 2011 9:04 am

crossarmant wrote:$100k less debt at the best school in the NW, where you want to stay? Go with UW.

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Re: UW vs. Berkeley for Seattle biglaw

Postby PNW Noob » Fri Jun 24, 2011 1:56 am

Thank you to all who replied.

Seeing as there are compelling things about both schools, does anyone have a comment on some of the other strengths of these schools (e.g. quality of instruction, engagement of the student body, strength of the alumni network, etc.)?

Thanks again

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ndirish2010
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Re: UW vs. Berkeley for Seattle biglaw

Postby ndirish2010 » Fri Jun 24, 2011 9:33 am

UW. If you end up bottom of the class from Berkeley, you're fucked. At UW, it's manageable.

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Kronk
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Re: UW vs. Berkeley for Seattle biglaw

Postby Kronk » Fri Jun 24, 2011 9:49 am

ndirish2010 wrote:UW. If you end up bottom of the class from Berkeley, you're fucked. At UW, it's manageable.


This. I love Berkeley to death. I'm above median. I have parents who would probably help me if I got didn't get a job. Still, there is a piece of me that feels asphyxiated by the thought of not getting a job despite doing alright in law school.

As far as classmates, instructors, environment, weather, proximity to things, life outside of law school, etc. goes, I don't think you can beat Berkeley, though.

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jcl2
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Re: UW vs. Berkeley for Seattle biglaw

Postby jcl2 » Fri Jun 24, 2011 12:23 pm

I'm a UW student, so obviously a little biased, but I think UW is probably the slightly better choice. As others have said, regardless of how you do at UW, 60K in debt will be manageable, things might be kind of rough if you end up below median at Boalt.

To be competitive for the true biglaw jobs in Seattle you probably need to be in the top 20% of the class at UW, but from what I have heard, unless you are at HYS, you also need to be pretty close to top 20% and have Seattle connections at a T14 school to have a shot at those jobs. There are a lot of great jobs outside of "biglaw," where being at UW probably gives you a distinct advantage. I know there is sort of consensus on this site that "midlaw" is a myth, but as far as I can tell it really does exist in the northwest; there are a lot of 20-50 attorney firms that start associates in the 80-100k range. Additionally, a lot of students here end up in government jobs starting in the 55-75k range (where they work fewer hours and loans are forgiven after 10 years). Ultimately, everyone seems to end up doing alright.

Bottom line, if you are dead set on biglaw, and willing to take a little risk, then maybe Boalt is the better option, if your first priority is living in the NW and/or you are a little more risk averse, then go with UW.

As for the quality of education, etc. I have really enjoyed my experience, the atmosphere is very collegial, there are lots of opportunities to get involved in extracurriculars, the alumni network in the region is very good, and the majority of my professors have been awesome. Also, I'm very optimistic about the direction the new dean seems to be taking the school.

Good luck with your decision!

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worldtraveler
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Re: UW vs. Berkeley for Seattle biglaw

Postby worldtraveler » Fri Jun 24, 2011 1:00 pm

Do you mean a scholarship at Berkeley or a grant for the first year?

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Re: UW vs. Berkeley for Seattle biglaw

Postby PNW Noob » Fri Jun 24, 2011 8:44 pm

Kronk wrote:
ndirish2010 wrote:UW. If you end up bottom of the class from Berkeley, you're fucked. At UW, it's manageable.


This. I love Berkeley to death. I'm above median. I have parents who would probably help me if I got didn't get a job. Still, there is a piece of me that feels asphyxiated by the thought of not getting a job despite doing alright in law school.

As far as classmates, instructors, environment, weather, proximity to things, life outside of law school, etc. goes, I don't think you can beat Berkeley, though.


This is certainly part of what makes me nervous about Boalt. I guess I'm trying to determine if the risk is worth it. Boalt was really my dream school even before I started my cycle. So this decision is turning into a struggle between the school I've always had my heart set on and the much more practical/safe option.

As for the quality of education, etc. I have really enjoyed my experience, the atmosphere is very collegial, there are lots of opportunities to get involved in extracurriculars, the alumni network in the region is very good, and the majority of my professors have been awesome. Also, I'm very optimistic about the direction the new dean seems to be taking the school.


I've been able to visit both schools. When I was at UW, I didn't get a very good (as in: incomplete, not: bad) vibe from the student body. I was able to attend a class and everyone seemed upbeat and chummy, but I wasn't able to talk to very many students. The administrators seemed quite cheerful though.

Do you mean a scholarship at Berkeley or a grant for the first year?


It's the latter, a need-based grant. I've been assuming that this will carry on for the other two years. Is this not the case? How do these work?

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Rock-N-Roll
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Re: UW vs. Berkeley for Seattle biglaw

Postby Rock-N-Roll » Fri Jun 24, 2011 10:15 pm

PNW Noob wrote: Boalt was really my dream school even before I started my cycle. So this decision is turning into a struggle between the school I've always had my heart set on and the much more practical/safe option.


Wait. You didn't say this before. So your decision isn't entirely about your ability to get a job in Seattle.

As far as the employment data that we have goes, Boalt is no worse than any other T10 school in the sense that if you are towards the top of the class at a T10 you will likely do well in your employment hunt and if not it will be harder to do well.

And you said it yourself actually: If Boalt is your dream school then it's really about whether or not you are willing to stake $100,000 tuition difference on going to your dream school and being successful there. Right?

CindyLarson84
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Re: UW vs. Berkeley for Seattle biglaw

Postby CindyLarson84 » Sat Jun 25, 2011 9:13 pm

I'm currently a 1L summer associate at a big law Seattle firm and talking to most of the lawyers I work with, there seems to be a consensus that their firm like Seattle grads (whether UW or Seattle U) and the alumni network of both of these schools is very strong in the Seattle area...

That saying, I am more likely than not transferring to UW (was just accepted). I'm currently on a full ride at Santa Clara and while I lucked out this summer (and the fact that I'm a minority) finding a summer associate position this year, I've already began constructing a very solid network in the Seattle area..

If you for sure want to practice in the Seattle area, go to UW, get in the top percent of your class, network, and you'll be solid.

scat_cat
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Re: UW vs. Berkeley for Seattle biglaw

Postby scat_cat » Sun Jun 26, 2011 5:47 pm

This is really hard, but I would probably go to Berkeley. Yes, many people at Seattle firms are UW or Seattle U grads, but the big firms in Seattle are hiring very few summers at present (like, I think no more than 25 people total), and if you want to end up in Seattle eventually, your best strategy might well be to start at a competitive firm in California, which you can probably do from farther into the class at Berkeley. Also, know that there is no conventionally defined biglaw in Seattle--no firms are hiring at 160K right now. I don't know the exact numbers, but I think K&L, Perkins, and DWT are all around 125ish. (COA doesn't entirely offset, unless you're comparing NYC.) I'm from Seattle and might want to make it back eventually, but I chose a firm elsewhere for job security, prestige/clerkship chances, fit with firm personality, and--do not underestimate this--quantity of interesting work. And I really thought I wanted to land at a Seattle firm when I started law school.

Whatever you do, work really, really hard in law school. Seattle is a tough market.

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Shaggier1
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Re: UW vs. Berkeley for Seattle biglaw

Postby Shaggier1 » Sun Jun 26, 2011 6:03 pm

They may go deeper into the class at B.


I think this is the key. If you know you want BigLaw, you need to look at how deep NW firms will go into the classes at each respective school. This is difficult to determine, but it is possible.

FWIW, I attend Boalt and I know multiple 2L's who are at Seattle firms this summer (Including K&L Gates and Perkins Coie, among others).

cornellbeez
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Re: UW vs. Berkeley for Seattle biglaw

Postby cornellbeez » Sun Jun 26, 2011 9:37 pm

PNW Noob wrote:
Do you mean a scholarship at Berkeley or a grant for the first year?


It's the latter, a need-based grant. I've been assuming that this will carry on for the other two years. Is this not the case? How do these work?


No. It won't carry over. You won't get anything 2L/3L years, especially if you get in-state.

Not sure how to answer this question. Seattle biglaw is tough to crack from any school.

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Rock-N-Roll
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Re: UW vs. Berkeley for Seattle biglaw

Postby Rock-N-Roll » Sun Jun 26, 2011 10:33 pm

cornellbeez wrote:
PNW Noob wrote:
Do you mean a scholarship at Berkeley or a grant for the first year?


It's the latter, a need-based grant. I've been assuming that this will carry on for the other two years. Is this not the case? How do these work?


No. It won't carry over. You won't get anything 2L/3L years, especially if you get in-state.

Not sure how to answer this question. Seattle biglaw is tough to crack from any school.


Cornellbeez: Are you speaking from experience as a Berkeley student (yes I noticed Cornell is in your user name) or are you speculating on this point?

If you are speaking from personal experience, does it not matter if your finances haven't changed from year to year (i.e. on your FAFSA)?

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ahduth
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Re: UW vs. Berkeley for Seattle biglaw

Postby ahduth » Mon Jun 27, 2011 6:09 pm

NZA wrote:100K is a lot of money, especially when you're looking at a school in a region that you know you want to practice in. :?

But, frankly, it doesn't look like you could make a bad choice, here.


I'd go Berkeley. What's your reason for wanting to stay in Seattle - if you have kids there, or a parent you need to care for or something, then UW no question. Otherwise... Berkeley places all over the west coast, and elsewhere. 100k is a certainly one hell of a lot of money, but I'd be certain you want to stay in Seattle.

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Re: UW vs. Berkeley for Seattle biglaw

Postby SchopenhauerFTW » Tue Jun 28, 2011 1:04 am

Kronk wrote:
ndirish2010 wrote:UW. If you end up bottom of the class from Berkeley, you're fucked. At UW, it's manageable.


This. I love Berkeley to death. I'm above median. I have parents who would probably help me if I got didn't get a job. Still, there is a piece of me that feels asphyxiated by the thought of not getting a job despite doing alright in law school.

As far as classmates, instructors, environment, weather, proximity to things, life outside of law school, etc. goes, I don't think you can beat Berkeley, though.

You're a Boalt student and this worries you? :? Well then. Crap.

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20160810
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Re: UW vs. Berkeley for Seattle biglaw

Postby 20160810 » Tue Jun 28, 2011 2:39 am

There are literally like 30 paying 2L SA gigs given out in Seattle every year. In short, don't ever go to law school planning on getting "Seattle biglaw," especially if that means you're going to go to UW over Boalt absent a full ride. Go to Boalt. You'll be perfectly competitive in Seattle, and, best of all, if you don't luck into one of those 30-or-so jobs, you'll be competitive elsewhere.




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