HLS or SLS?

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lawyerwannabe
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Re: HLS or SLS?

Postby lawyerwannabe » Tue Jan 03, 2012 7:53 pm

In this thread:

Taipei continues to put his/her school (Chicago) in the same group as HYS and even suggest it is better than H.

He trolls T5 and Chicago hard.

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vincanity1
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Re: HLS or SLS?

Postby vincanity1 » Tue Jan 03, 2012 7:59 pm

kwais wrote:Mort has now proven that he can troll for Chicago in the most subtle of ways and also proven that he can drop this "Harvard has a diluted faculty" thing in response to any question. Mad skills.

TLS: Hey Mort, what time is Jeopardy on tonight?

Mort: Umm, let me think, well Harvard has a diluted faculty, so 7pm.


I LOLed at this

chuckbasstard
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Re: HLS or SLS?

Postby chuckbasstard » Tue Jan 03, 2012 11:43 pm

Had this decision last year and chose SLS. I think you should definitely visit both if you have the opportunity. I was leaning toward Harvard until I went to Stanford's admitted students weekend, and was 100% set on Stanford after the first day. I was attracted to the small class size and quality of life, and was really impressed by government opportunities on the east coast and abroad. There's a large number of 1Ls interested in doing work in policy/politics in NY/DC, and I too have heard the thing about Yale and Stanford students having an edge over Harvard because of significantly smaller class sizes (although I wouldn't give that too much weight in making a decision). After our first quarter I'm in love with Stanford, but that said, you really can't possibly go wrong at this point. Congrats!

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Tom Joad
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Re: HLS or SLS?

Postby Tom Joad » Wed Jan 04, 2012 1:05 am

If I am lucky enough to get waitlisted at either of them you should go to the one that just flat out rejected me. I will keep you posted.

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Hjones33
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Re: HLS or SLS?

Postby Hjones33 » Wed Jan 04, 2012 1:37 am

kwais wrote:Mort has now proven that he can troll for Chicago in the most subtle of ways and also proven that he can drop this "Harvard has a diluted faculty" thing in response to any question. Mad skills.

TLS: Hey Mort, what time is Jeopardy on tonight?

Mort: Umm, let me think, well Harvard has a diluted faculty, so 7pm.


Thanks for making me laugh, that was good.

keg411
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Re: HLS or SLS?

Postby keg411 » Wed Jan 04, 2012 10:26 am

OP: go to both ASW's, see what type of financial aid package you get (HYS usually give pretty decent need-based packages even though they don't give merit scholarships), and then make a decision. No need to rush and you have fantastic options.

dolfan0516
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Re: HLS or SLS?

Postby dolfan0516 » Wed Jan 04, 2012 10:56 am

keg411 wrote:OP: go to both ASW's, see what type of financial aid package you get


From original post-
abacus wrote:Since I am living abroad and cannot afford to fly in to visit either school

keg411
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Re: HLS or SLS?

Postby keg411 » Wed Jan 04, 2012 10:59 am

dolfan0516 wrote:
keg411 wrote:OP: go to both ASW's, see what type of financial aid package you get


From original post-
abacus wrote:Since I am living abroad and cannot afford to fly in to visit either school


Damn. I just think this type of decision is really really tough for OP to make without a visit, so that kind of sucks.

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pupshaw
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Re: HLS or SLS?

Postby pupshaw » Wed Jan 04, 2012 3:36 pm

Go to HLS and free up another spot at my dream school. Thanks! :)

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annyong
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Re: HLS or SLS?

Postby annyong » Wed Jan 04, 2012 3:43 pm

Is there a noticeable difference between the two in terms of clerkships? I've heard some say that Harvard has an advantage and some say that the class size give Stanford an advantage. I'm aware that they're peer schools and it mostly comes down to fit, just wondering since I'm now very grateful to be making the HLS v. SLS as well.

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hdivschool
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Re: HLS or SLS?

Postby hdivschool » Wed Jan 04, 2012 3:49 pm

annyong wrote:Is there a noticeable difference between the two in terms of clerkships? I've heard some say that Harvard has an advantage and some say that the class size give Stanford an advantage. I'm aware that they're peer schools and it mostly comes down to fit, just wondering since I'm now very grateful to be making the HLS v. SLS as well.


Stanford has the edge percentage-wise, 24% vs. 18% for 2009. If I recall correctly, Harvard has an edge w/r/t the most prestigious clerkships.

Also, won't both schools partially reimburse you for the plane ticket?

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crumpetsandtea
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Re: HLS or SLS?

Postby crumpetsandtea » Wed Jan 04, 2012 3:54 pm

joemoviebuff wrote:Can't really go wrong here. I personally would choose Stanford but only because I'd rather be in California than Cambridge. You might consider which one would be cheaper but I don't know if that would really make much difference. Congrats on your acceptances

+1 to this. I would for sure go to Stanford. As a disclaimer though, I am from California, would love to stay in California, and loooove warm weather (and am going to school in Chicago...LOL lord help me XD). If you really are stuck and can't visit, though, see if you can get money from either of them.

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Stig
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Re: HLS or SLS?

Postby Stig » Wed Jan 04, 2012 11:07 pm

Thread with lots of information on SLS: Stanford Students Taking Qs. Some other admits have found it helpful, and hopefully you will as well!

I wouldn't bother spending time on debating career prospects; you can do whatever you like from either school. I've seen all of SLS's placements for 1L/2L summers and after 3L graduation and I imagine that HLS's looks just as good. The best way to chose is to visit and see how happy you may be at both schools. Since it doesn't sound like you'll be able to do that, I'd talk to as many students as possible to get a feel for what life is like at the schools.

I would also consider working hard to see if there is any creative way for you to swing a visit to both schools. You'll be at this school for 3 years, will spend over $200,00 on the degree, and build relationships there that will last for the rest of your life. Stanford gives a $400 travel stipend, and I think HLS has a smaller one as well. Visiting is absolutely the best way to decide.

Also, I'll just leave this here:

Image
(album here)

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kilgoretrout66
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Re: HLS or SLS?

Postby kilgoretrout66 » Thu Jan 05, 2012 12:08 am

Abacus, we are in VERY similar situations (I'm also from the East Coast, just got in to S as well as H, not applying to Y, living abroad and am consequently unable to visit either ASW ...)

There is no single right answer to this, obviously, but let me add my two cents:

The put-downs directed at Harvard for its alleged competitiveness seem overblown, since most of them come from people who don't actually go to the school, but it probably does feel relatively "colder" than SLS by virtue of its size. Dean Deal, for example, answered an email I sent her within 3 hours (she seems super-nice, by the way).

That said, I'm choosing Harvard. I'm very interested in environmental law and international law, and while SLS surely offers good opportunities in those fields, nowhere can match the size, resources, and influence of HLS. This seems especially true internationally because of its prestige and large alumni network, not to mention the the study abroad programs it has available. (Also, the big school social/extracurricular aspect appeals to me after going to a small liberal arts college for undergrad)

The small class experience at Stanford sounds wonderful, but for my situation Harvard just makes more sense. I really wish I could visit both places, but it seems like there's enough information out there to make an informed decision... It's a personal choice, so don't let any online trolls unduly influence you one way or the other - they're both fabulous schools. Good luck!

z3201
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Re: HLS or SLS?

Postby z3201 » Thu Jan 05, 2012 1:24 am

SLS 1L here. I didn't apply to Harvard, but I have a fair number of friends from undergrad who had to make this decision, and a handful chose each. In general, I think we're all happy with where we ended up. We all love the material, as both schools have very interesting, engaging professors who make it hard not to love studying the law. The main difference that I've noticed, however, is that my friends at Harvard don't seem as attached to the school itself. I'm very excited to get back to Stanford and see everyone I've missed over the break, and I really feel personally connected to most of my class. My friends at Harvard have made good friends there too, but they're not super enthused about the student body as a whole. That may come later, though, since the school is so big. Again, they're still happy at school, and I'm obviously working with a pretty small sample size, just thought I'd throw in the experiences of people I know at both schools. You really can't go wrong with this decision.

And in terms of career prospects, I think it all sort of balances out. Alumni-wise, for example, HLS has a larger alumni network, but you probably get the same amount of *boost* from alums at both schools since SLS classes are smaller and alumni are pretty enthusiastic (I have an SLS alum contact at the organization I want to work for, and she has really gone above and beyond, which likely wouldn't have happened if I were one of ten SLS people applying). In terms of wanting to do something not-so-lawyery after graduation, HLS has more lay prestige, but SLS makes it easier to take classes outside of the law school, so you might be better prepared for other fields. Point being, each school has its advantages and it really comes down to where you think you'll fit in best. Good luck!

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JamMasterJ
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Re: HLS or SLS?

Postby JamMasterJ » Thu Jan 05, 2012 1:50 am

kilgoretrout66 wrote:Abacus, we are in VERY similar situations (I'm also from the East Coast, just got in to S as well as H, not applying to Y, living abroad and am consequently unable to visit either ASW ...)

There is no single right answer to this, obviously, but let me add my two cents:

The put-downs directed at Harvard for its alleged competitiveness seem overblown, since most of them come from people who don't actually go to the school, but it probably does feel relatively "colder" than SLS by virtue of its size. Dean Deal, for example, answered an email I sent her within 3 hours (she seems super-nice, by the way).

That said, I'm choosing Harvard. I'm very interested in environmental law and international law, and while SLS surely offers good opportunities in those fields, nowhere can match the size, resources, and influence of HLS. This seems especially true internationally because of its prestige and large alumni network, not to mention the the study abroad programs it has available. (Also, the big school social/extracurricular aspect appeals to me after going to a small liberal arts college for undergrad)

The small class experience at Stanford sounds wonderful, but for my situation Harvard just makes more sense. I really wish I could visit both places, but it seems like there's enough information out there to make an informed decision... It's a personal choice, so don't let any online trolls unduly influence you one way or the other - they're both fabulous schools. Good luck!

If you're interested in working outside the US, the "Harvard is Harvard" thing is really important to consider

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hung jury
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Re: HLS or SLS?

Postby hung jury » Thu Jan 05, 2012 4:27 pm

Congrats on your two t4 acceptances!

I chose SLS over HLS because the students seemed happier, I liked the small class size, I preferred Cali to Mass (and SLS housing to Harvard housing), and the job prospects seemed marginally better (more precisely, it seemed fewer students fell through the cracks at SLS and SLS seemed stronger in those jobs requiring strong faculty support, e.g., clerkships and academia). SLS has exceeded my expectations thus far but I don't know how things would have been at HLS, so take that for what it is worth.

Had I planned to do international work, however, the choice would have been a much tougher one.

Good luck with your decision!

Maroon+Cardinal
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Re: HLS or SLS?

Postby Maroon+Cardinal » Thu Jan 05, 2012 5:46 pm

I didn't have the choice to make, (I'm at SLS. I love it. A lot.) but I think it should probably come down to where you'd rather spend three years. The differences in job placements, etc. are probably marginal and very situation specific.

One thing to keep in mind about "size" -- you can only take/do so many things at once. So having 3700 opportunities in the general area you are interested is probably less important than having a few really good programs/opportunities in the specific area you actually want to pursue.

One nice thing about the small size at SLS is that is kinda forces community -- it's much harder for people of any particular perspective/geographic region/ethnicity/etc. to be isolated, because each particular group is small enough that you more or less have to get to know people of other backgrounds/perspectives, etc.

All things being equal, the SLS experience is probably somewhat more "enjoyable," due to the weather, campus, size of school, very laid back atmosphere, etc. I went to a super intense undergrad and I worked really hard. I loved it, but I didn't really want to return to that atmosphere, after three years in a fairly stressful job. I am very glad I chose a law school with the vibe that Stanford has. I am truly enjoying my time.

That being said, I'm sure Harvard is a fantastic place. I can think of many worse positions in life than choosing between SLS and HLS.

defrutamadre
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Re: HLS or SLS?

Postby defrutamadre » Fri Jan 06, 2012 5:14 am

I'm also making this decision, and like you OP I'm abroad and won't be able to make it to the states for ASW or even for a visit.

I think career prospects for your first job out of law school are very similar at both schools (with a tiny bit more security on Stanford's end) and that the biggest differences come from each respective environment/atmosphere. Like a lot of posters have said, what I've gleaned is that students at Stanford are generally happier, and feel much more attached to their school and student body--I realize this is a generalization made from a rather small sample size, though.

When I think about where I want to be a student, I lean Stanford. I'm very interested in public interest and when it comes to PI opportunities, both schools come out pretty equal. I actually sat down and made a list of the classes, clinics, organizations and journals I'd be interested in at both schools to see if having that info side-by-side would help me make a decision, but all it showed is that both schools have what I want. Harvard did have a more extensive list with more focused interests--Journal of Race and Ethnic Justice, Gender Violence, Child Advocacy and Ghana Project Clinics, classes on intersections between social movements and the law--but like maroon+cardinal says, I remember that we only get to choose our classes for 4 semesters, that there's a cap on the clinics I can take (and that there are others I would prioritize with my time), and that the larger student body may mean I won't always get my first choice class/clinic. At Stanford, although there's relatively fewer options for clinics and classes, the quarter system means you are able to take a greater variety of those classes, and the option of taking a clinic full-time really appeals to me. Faculty at Harvard have been really gracious with their time when I contact them--they email me back, and with lengthy responses!--but I get the sense that at Harvard, although those relationships are available, you have to actively seek them out. Since the winter quarter just started I haven't had the chance to get in contact with Stanford profs yet, but I've heard that interacting with them isn't a choice--it happens--and that Stanford professors are more willing to stick their neck out for you than Harvard profs. Again, generalization :?

When I think about the full length of my career, that's when I lean Harvard. Despite what everyone says on TLS about Harvard being a diploma mill, about the relatively unstable employment prospects at the bottom of Harvard's class, I've found that the Harvard name and network is actually much more tangibly extensive. I realize I haven't gone to law school yet, but when I told my parents/friends/bosses that I'm stuck between Stanford and Harvard, they have put me in contact with friends of friends of friends (or children/nieces/all sorts of extended family members of friends of friends of friends) who are willing to talk about their experiences. And out of the 8 email threads that came from those contacts, 7 of them have been Harvard grads. I know Stanford students make the argument that the Stanford network is more tight-knit and so when you see a fellow alumn, you go to greater lengths to help them out/support them, but I did find it interesting that Harvard's numbers have been so advantageous in this regard. No one in my family is involved in the legal field, and because I went to college in California all of my professional networks are based there, but even then Harvard contacts have been more frequent and equally as helpful. I was surprised. I also talked to another PI Lawyer who works in LA and she told me flat-out that if I want to work in the East Coast and have no ties, Harvard will be an advantage. The diversity that firms want is something that she finds to be true only in biglaw; when it comes to public interest or government, any market can be rather insular. Having a Harvard or Stanford diploma can make you the exception, certainly, but she says its something to consider. Since you're from the East Coast already, maybe this isn't something to consider as heavily, but as someone from the midwest who has no idea where the future will head geographically, keeping all of my post-high school experience in California does seem limiting in a way.

Conclusion: I dunno!! Bah. sucks we can't visit :( and I apologize for the length of this post!

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sunynp
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Re: HLS or SLS?

Postby sunynp » Fri Jan 06, 2012 7:22 am

I think you need to visit the schools no matter what obstacles you have to overcome. If you had a family emergency, you would figure out a way to get home. Just because you can't go wrong with either school careerwise, that doesn't mean each school is equally good for you as an individual.

If it is truly impossible for you to get here to visit, then spend a lot of time researching faculty and emailing the ones in areas you are interested in studying. How they respond might tell you about what to expect from them as a student. If you aren't sure, just contact a number of different faculty- even email the deans if you have questions.

Really the only way to answer this question is to see and experience the schools. If you can't do that, work hard to get as much info from professors and info about cost, etc.

This is a major life decision.

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igelchen
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Re: HLS or SLS?

Postby igelchen » Wed Jan 11, 2012 4:24 pm

Thank you to all you folks contributing to this thread, although it seems that having good arguments for both schools makes the choice even more difficult…with that said, it also makes it clear that one can’t go wrong either way!

I guess have a slightly different reaction to the prospect of being in a competitive environment. I understand that the stereotype of Harvard is all gunners, Stanford is all relaxed, is a caricature—with that said, it does seem to be the case that some folks choose S because they want a more “relaxed” environment. Am I the only one who is turned off by this? Of course I don’t want my classmates ripping out pages of library books or spilling coffee on my laptop. But beyond that, I think competition can be healthy and important to one’s education—we’re entering a field that is extraordinarily competitive, and to start honing that skillset in school seems to make perfect sense. This doesn't mean you still can't be best-friends with the folks you're arguing with, or have a beer with them later...I guess I just got my fill of the warm and cuddly feeling in undergrad.

The only other thing that’s kept going through my mind is that Stanford is lovingly referred to as “the farm”…Cambridge may not be NYC, but for a city-dweller like me it does seem more attractive than Palo Alto.

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weezer21
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Re: HLS or SLS?

Postby weezer21 » Wed Jan 11, 2012 5:08 pm

Somehow I highly doubt that even at the "relaxed" SLS everyone holds hands and sings camp songs. It's law school and there is competition everywhere. People didn't get into top schools by not being at least a little competitive.

simpletimes
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Re: HLS or SLS?

Postby simpletimes » Thu Jan 12, 2012 4:36 am

SLS is as competitive as you want it to be.

You can not give a damn about class and be fine, or you can work your ass off and still not be where you want to be. From my experience here, everyone is intrinsically motivated - some people care about grades, other people care about other things. The idea that everyone is just sitting relaxing is over-stated. You won't, however, have the same type of institutional pressure to do one thing excellently as many of the older east coast schools tend to have. That's probably as much because of the area as the school itself, but such are attitudes.

z3201
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Re: HLS or SLS?

Postby z3201 » Thu Jan 12, 2012 8:43 pm

I think the whole "competitive" vs. "relaxed" thing might not be the right way to describe the different environments. I definitely wouldn't call most of my friends "relaxed"--we're all pretty intense in pretty much every aspect of our lives. I think the big thing is that we're super collaborative. Studying for finals with two of my best friends was one of the most effective things I've ever done, in part because we were slightly competitive. But we were competitive in the sense that if the two of them seemed to know more about a topic, I wanted to get on their level; I was never trying to outdo them, and I certainly never wanted to hide information from them. In fact, I really really wanted them to do well, which didn't diminish my desire to do well too.

I don't know if HLS is like this, having never attended, but I'm sure there are environments where collaboration isn't as common, and where people are actually trying to do better than each other. I think that would probably encourage me to dislike my peers, and would prevent me from having as solid an understanding of the material (studying with other people allowed me to fill the gaps in my understanding that I didn't even know were there). But that's just me--you have to figure out what works best for you.

z3201
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Re: HLS or SLS?

Postby z3201 » Thu Jan 12, 2012 9:05 pm

igelchen wrote:Thank you to all you folks contributing to this thread, although it seems that having good arguments for both schools makes the choice even more difficult…with that said, it also makes it clear that one can’t go wrong either way!

I guess have a slightly different reaction to the prospect of being in a competitive environment. I understand that the stereotype of Harvard is all gunners, Stanford is all relaxed, is a caricature—with that said, it does seem to be the case that some folks choose S because they want a more “relaxed” environment. Am I the only one who is turned off by this? Of course I don’t want my classmates ripping out pages of library books or spilling coffee on my laptop. But beyond that, I think competition can be healthy and important to one’s education—we’re entering a field that is extraordinarily competitive, and to start honing that skillset in school seems to make perfect sense. This doesn't mean you still can't be best-friends with the folks you're arguing with, or have a beer with them later...I guess I just got my fill of the warm and cuddly feeling in undergrad.

The only other thing that’s kept going through my mind is that Stanford is lovingly referred to as “the farm”…Cambridge may not be NYC, but for a city-dweller like me it does seem more attractive than Palo Alto.


I realized I also want to respond to some of these things directly:

Yes, the profession can be competitive, but I think that aspect of it is overstated and it's not really a skill that you have to "hone." What lawyers really need to learn is how to stay driven while still maintaining professionalism and even collegiality, and I don't think there's a better place to prepare someone for that than SLS. If you watch actual oral arguments, the lawyers on opposite sides aren't ripping each other to shreds. They're arguing for their client, but before and after they're making smalltalk, and they're sometimes letting the other side use their copies of documents if there's a mix-up, etc.. If you're not being nice, you'll give the judge a bad impression. If you want to do transactions rather than litigation, you have to make sure you actually have an ability to work with the other side while attempting to get whatever you want. Over-competition creates high transaction costs that are bad for everyone.

Also, I too hate "warm and cuddly" cultures where there's pressure to be happy and complaining is bad. SLS isn't like that. It's just that most people are genuinely really happy because the school is supportive. I've still had a lot of stimulating legal debates with my peers, though. I just don't hate them afterwards.

That said, if you want to go to Harvard, go to Harvard. It's a great school. I'm just responding to your SLS concerns so you can make an informed decision.




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