120K at UCLA or 45K at Michigan for SF PI Law

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Michigan or UCLA?

UCLA with 9k in debt
54
69%
Michigan with 94k in debt
24
31%
 
Total votes: 78

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wamanda
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120K at UCLA or 45K at Michigan for SF PI Law

Postby wamanda » Fri Jul 15, 2011 12:51 pm

All right, here is my situation: Just got off the WL at Michigan. They caught me at the extreme last second. I was set to sign a lease on an apartment in LA Sunday.

Some background: I am from a suburb outside of LA originally. Hated the suburb, okay with LA, but definitely not crazy about it. Moved to San Francisco right when I turned 18, haven't looked back. I was actually deadset against UCLA for a while until I realized I disliked LA but loved the actual school. I've had a really good experiences at all the welcome events and the people seem great. Plus, thanks to TLS, I negotiated to double my original scholarship offer, so I decided to go. Since then, I have grown very accustomed to the idea of living in LA, teaching myself to see the positives and all (including no debt!). If nothing else, I know what to expect from LA. I could be decently happy there, maybe really happy for a couple years. Plus, the weather. Amazing.

I visited Ann Arbor a few months back. It was all right. The campus is great, but I'm more of a big city person, so I'm not sure if I would get bored in a college town (is there time to get bored in law school?). It is liberal though, which is definitely a good fit for me. I'm a little worried about the winters and not being able to take much of my stuff with me, but the school is pretty amazing. Its attitude and culture seem to fit me, as do those of UCLA. Ann Arbor is basically more of a question mark for me. LA is more of an ellipsis, but at least I know what I am getting into there. So far, UMich's admissions office is telling me I qualify for at least 45K (total), maybe a bit more, which is right at that middle point where I don't know which school is a better deal.

So, career prospects. I am committed to PI Law. I want to end up working in SF. However, I could see myself stopping off to work in Boston or New York or somewhere for a while, as I am a bit of a wanderer too. From these boards, the consensus seems to be that Michigan is great for wanderers and places better in SF than LA, despite California cultural advantage.

Does anyone contest these points? They aren't discussed in great length on here really. Does UCLA limit me to LA, or to all of California? I could probably live with being tied to California generally. Also, how good is Michigan's new LRAP exactly? How much could it compete with a 120K scholly from UCLA? How much money from Michigan would make them the obvious choice?

Any advice is appreciated. Thanks, guys. Without this board I would have neither of these offers.

EDIT: Just got the official offer from Michigan--$20K per year. With COL adjustments, Michigan will cost me ~$55K more than UCLA.

EDIT: UCLA countered and somehow(?) offered $30K more. I'm not sure if this is even a question anymore...
Last edited by wamanda on Tue Jul 19, 2011 1:18 am, edited 4 times in total.

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bk1
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Re: 120K at UCLA or 45K at Michigan for SF PI Law

Postby bk1 » Fri Jul 15, 2011 12:57 pm

wamanda wrote:So, career prospects. I am committed to PI Law. I want to end up working in SF. However, I could see myself stopping off to work in Boston or New York or somewhere for a while, as I am a bit of a wanderer too. From these boards, the consensus seems to be that Michigan is great for wanderers and places better in SF than LA, despite California cultural advantage.


Considering how atrocious NorCal's economy is (especially since it is worse than SoCal's) I doubt that any school can legitimately place better in SF than LA. That being said I think the clear answer here is UMich. CA is not doing well and I think the fact that UMich opens you up to markets other than CA is a big plus and while the debt is a lot more at UMich than it is at UCLA, you can fall back on their LRAP program if you go into public interest.

All in all, I think this is hands down UMich because while you may ideally want to work in SF, the fact that UMich opens up other markets makes it a lot easier for you to find a job, especially since you are open to working outside of CA.

CanadianWolf
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Re: 120K at UCLA or 45K at Michigan for SF PI Law

Postby CanadianWolf » Fri Jul 15, 2011 1:00 pm

Assuming no stipulations, UCLA's offer gives you more freedom & less stress--although it is a close call.

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wamanda
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Re: 120K at UCLA or 45K at Michigan for SF PI Law

Postby wamanda » Fri Jul 15, 2011 1:21 pm

It IS a close call! I wish Michigan would just give me $90K and call it a day. :P

Michigan does offer more national opportunities, but would I be successfully able to break into Boston or New York? Those cities have so many amazing regional schools that I am not sure if the Michigan brand would help that much (however, I know I have basically no chance of breaking into those from UCLA).

Also, does anyone know much about the new LRAP? On the website, it claims that "Michigan's program means a graduate carrying, for example, $100,000 of federal debt and earning $65,000 would be responsible for an annual out-of-pocket payment of just $90. Michigan Law would pay the rest." Is this true though or exaggerated? I expect to make around 60K so, if true, this could be the tiebreaker. But, would I have to stay in the program ten years? I am way too indecisive to commit to that long of a period, although their flexibility of covered positions is pretty great.

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bk1
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Re: 120K at UCLA or 45K at Michigan for SF PI Law

Postby bk1 » Fri Jul 15, 2011 1:23 pm

wamanda wrote:Michigan does offer more national opportunities, but would I be successfully able to break into Boston or New York? Those cities have so many amazing regional schools that I am not sure if the Michigan brand would help that much (however, I know I have basically no chance of breaking into those from UCLA).


Boston probably not if you don't have ties, but NYC definitely. From what I've been told, NYC doesn't really care about ties. Not to mention that Michigan (like most of the T14) primarily places in NYC.

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wamanda
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Re: 120K at UCLA or 45K at Michigan for SF PI Law

Postby wamanda » Sat Jul 16, 2011 11:47 am

I am kind of surprised that the poll is leaning so strongly toward UCLA right now. Any of you voters care to share your reasoning?

Azmatt
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Re: 120K at UCLA or 45K at Michigan for SF PI Law

Postby Azmatt » Sat Jul 16, 2011 12:19 pm

I would guess it's the perceived uncertainty in the job markets at anything outside the T6 combined with debt-adverse we're all keyed into (being TLS freaks). Plus, it's her home area with a sick scholarship in addition to having contacts/roots/maybe COA perks going to UCLA (depending on how often your freeways closedown).

Versus uncertainty in UoM scholarship/Weather/COA/Apartment hunting/regional leverage with her degree.

It doesn't sound like she has a definite reason why Michigan would be a better choice aside from ranking alone. Granted, she's looking for these reasons, but I don't imagine she'll find that. I think at either school, she'll need to kick but to get the dream job she's looking for and will have a hell of a time at either making it happen. That's just the 1L dynamic I imagine. Pragmatism points towards UCLA at this point without a concrete reason to pick Michigan. I'm not an expert on the real employment opportunity difference between UM or UCLA, but I personally don't imagine it's enough to uproot her decision at attending UCLA... Especially if she does well.

Don't listen to me. :) Just felt like contributing. Great job with your cycle so far. Wish you the best where ever you attend.






BTW: F Michigan. Go Irish! :)



.. just realized I responded to the OP's response to her own thread not knowing she was the OP. Go me.

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wamanda
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Re: 120K at UCLA or 45K at Michigan for SF PI Law

Postby wamanda » Sat Jul 16, 2011 9:29 pm

Thanks for your thoughts, everyone!

I am wondering though: would going to UCLA definitely preclude me from practicing in NY or Boston or...anywhere outside of California? That point is fairly important to me. Michigan's national rep is one of its biggest pulls for me at the moment.

Also, just want to reiterate, I am from the LA area, but I don't really enjoy living there (although no clue if I would enjoy Ann Arbor particularly). But Ann Arbor does have lower cost of living. Having family somewhat nearby isn't particularly a selling point for me, so I would rather focus on career opportunities and things like that.

tamlyric
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Re: 120K at UCLA or 45K at Michigan for SF PI Law

Postby tamlyric » Sat Jul 16, 2011 9:54 pm

Sent PM.

313D313
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Re: 120K at UCLA or 45K at Michigan for SF PI Law

Postby 313D313 » Sat Jul 16, 2011 10:06 pm

While Michigan will give you more options nationally, i think a lot of members voted for UCLA because you have a very good opportunity there: full scholly at a good school in a region you are ok living in. Not many have this opportunity.

You also have to think about how well you have to perform at Michigan to have a shot at Boston or NY. Is the extra debt you will incur worth it to you?
Either way, i think you cannot go wrong.

Good Luck!

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Borhas
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Re: 120K at UCLA or 45K at Michigan for SF PI Law

Postby Borhas » Sat Jul 16, 2011 10:11 pm

Michigan doesn't place that much better than UCLA, I'd go to UCLA

plus if you've lived in LA all your life I don't think you'd make it Ann Arbor

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ahduth
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Re: 120K at UCLA or 45K at Michigan for SF PI Law

Postby ahduth » Sat Jul 16, 2011 11:28 pm

Borhas wrote:Michigan doesn't place that much better than UCLA, I'd go to UCLA


I'd like to say "not sure if serious," but I'm too old for that. So I'll just leave it at, "what"?

Michigan is an elite school. UCLA is not. The details are money and willingness to be trapped in California.

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Borhas
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Re: 120K at UCLA or 45K at Michigan for SF PI Law

Postby Borhas » Sat Jul 16, 2011 11:37 pm

totally serious

Michigan is elite like Cornell is elite, meaning, not very elite, kind of like UCLA but slightly better. Employment prospects seem to reflect this

JGWentworth
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Re: 120K at UCLA or 45K at Michigan for SF PI Law

Postby JGWentworth » Sun Jul 17, 2011 12:32 pm

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Last edited by JGWentworth on Tue Jan 21, 2014 7:11 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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FlightoftheEarls
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Re: 120K at UCLA or 45K at Michigan for SF PI Law

Postby FlightoftheEarls » Sun Jul 17, 2011 1:04 pm

JGWentworth wrote:
wamanda wrote:Thanks for your thoughts, everyone!

I am wondering though: would going to UCLA definitely preclude me from practicing in NY or Boston or...anywhere outside of California? That point is fairly important to me. Michigan's national rep is one of its biggest pulls for me at the moment.

Also, just want to reiterate, I am from the LA area, but I don't really enjoy living there (although no clue if I would enjoy Ann Arbor particularly). But Ann Arbor does have lower cost of living. Having family somewhat nearby isn't particularly a selling point for me, so I would rather focus on career opportunities and things like that.


Boston is going to be tough from either school without New England ties, but you would definitely have a better shot coming out of Michigan.

However, UCLA can definitely travel to NY. Top 30% at UCLA are fine might be competitive for NY (most choose to remain in CA, however, for the better quality of life).

Top 50% may have been competitive for NYC in good days. This was also back when almost anyone with a pulse at a T10 could get NYC biglaw. That's very much not the case anymore, and I highly doubt that top 30% can just get NYC with a snap of their fingers. Many firms have reduced their SA hiring to only T14 schools, mine included. This change will affect schools like UT and UCLA disproportionately, at least until class sizes increase back to 2006/2007 sizes.

JGWentworth
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Re: 120K at UCLA or 45K at Michigan for SF PI Law

Postby JGWentworth » Sun Jul 17, 2011 1:52 pm

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Last edited by JGWentworth on Mon May 07, 2012 2:52 pm, edited 1 time in total.

stmayer
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Re: 120K at UCLA or 45K at Michigan for SF PI Law

Postby stmayer » Mon Jul 18, 2011 4:21 am

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Last edited by stmayer on Wed Aug 24, 2011 11:35 am, edited 1 time in total.

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ahduth
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Re: 120K at UCLA or 45K at Michigan for SF PI Law

Postby ahduth » Mon Jul 18, 2011 10:14 am

stmayer wrote:In answer to the OP, I just chose a 60k scholarship at UMich over a full ride at UCLA because of UMich's superior clerkship opportunities, its greater access to non-CA legal markets, and because I buy into the promise of a collegial learning environment in Ann Arbor. The fact that CA is broke and that the UC's are raising tuition, increasing class sizes, and slashing course offerings across the board (I went to UCLA for undergrad and also considered accepting an offer from Boalt this cycle) also factored into my decision; with UMich being 97% privately funded, it seems like now might be a good time to get out of the UC system. Plus cost of living in Ann Arbor is dirt cheap compared to LA. And, since I'd love the option of working at a top firm for a few years, attending a top-10 versus a top-20 school was a plus for me. Not sure if any of that resonates with you, but that's what helped me pull the trigger on an almost identical decision.


I dinged UCLA for similar reasons. Between tuition hikes and the COL in LA, the 120k I was offered didn't seem entirely rock solid (although I of course then decided to go to school in the most expensive market in the country, but w/e).

All these folks telling you Michigan isn't a cut above UCLA haven't done their homework. Your case is just muddled, because you want to go back to California to work. I'd personally probably take Michigan, but I don't think you're going wrong either way here.

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Borhas
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Re: 120K at UCLA or 45K at Michigan for SF PI Law

Postby Borhas » Mon Jul 18, 2011 11:40 am

ahduth wrote:All these folks telling you Michigan isn't a cut above UCLA haven't done their homework.


strawman yada yada yada

JGWentworth
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Re: 120K at UCLA or 45K at Michigan for SF PI Law

Postby JGWentworth » Mon Jul 18, 2011 1:38 pm

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Last edited by JGWentworth on Mon May 07, 2012 2:54 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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wamanda
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Re: 120K at UCLA or 45K at Michigan for SF PI Law

Postby wamanda » Mon Jul 18, 2011 6:51 pm

Sigh...I guess I should have expected posting on TLS to just confuse me more. So many responses here are so diametrically opposed that it is really hard to figure out who is getting their facts wrong.

Based on my own research, it appears that Michigan places at least slightly better in San Francisco and definitely gives me more national access. The question is really in gradations: Michigan will give me more career opportunities, but is the opportunity difference ample enough to justify the extra cost? This is the hard part for me.

That said, I just got the official email from Michigan. They upped my offer to $20,000 per year. Does that influence anyone's perspective? Now, the difference between my debt at the two schools will only be $55,000. Also, please someone give an opinion on Michigan's new LRAP if you know anything. It is definitely important to consider the possibility that Michigan could end up only costing me $900 after ten years in the program, but I can't tell if the possibility is firm enough to bank on.

Thanks, everyone! Deciding soon...

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Borhas
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Re: 120K at UCLA or 45K at Michigan for SF PI Law

Postby Borhas » Mon Jul 18, 2011 7:13 pm

Michigan's LRAP is fine

you're only getting contradictory advice because it's a close call. The only people that are BSing you are those that thinks it's obvious. Take solace in the fact that whatever choice you make won't be significantly better or worse than other. At least, not based on your goals.

In these wishy washy situations it's best to be decisive and don't look back

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bk1
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Re: 120K at UCLA or 45K at Michigan for SF PI Law

Postby bk1 » Mon Jul 18, 2011 7:15 pm

Borhas wrote:you're only getting contradictory advice because it's a close call. The only people that are BSing you are those that thinks it's obvious. Take solace in the fact that whatever choice you make won't be significantly better or worse than other. At least, not based on your goals.


Personally I think that the opening up of non-CA markets (primarily NYC) is the primary reason to take Michigan (on top of the prestige/prospects boost), but considering regional preferences and the amount of money from UCLA I agree it is a close call. I can see arguments for both sides even if I strongly lean towards Michigan.

tamlyric
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Re: 120K at UCLA or 45K at Michigan for SF PI Law

Postby tamlyric » Mon Jul 18, 2011 7:16 pm

I assume you've seen this, but just in case . . .

--LinkRemoved--

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Bless
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Re: 120K at UCLA or 45K at Michigan for SF PI Law

Postby Bless » Mon Jul 18, 2011 7:51 pm

I would never choose Michigan over UCLA, and especially not with more debt, so I don't even see how this is a debate.


Then again, I'm from South Florida, so that probably explains it. Good luck.




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