WUSTL vs. Michigan vs. T30 Midwest Schools

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

Which school should I choose?

Michigan ($45k) = ~$165k debt
57
56%
WUSTL ($135k) = ~$65k debt
36
35%
UIUC ($90k) = ~$90k debt
2
2%
Iowa (Full w/ top 37.5% stip) = ~60k debt
2
2%
Ohio State (Full + Stipend) ~$45k debt
5
5%
 
Total votes: 102

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punkyg0608
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WUSTL vs. Michigan vs. T30 Midwest Schools

Postby punkyg0608 » Wed Feb 22, 2012 5:26 pm

I'm in a tough situation. I was thrilled when I got into Michigan, but WUSTL just gave me a giant scholarship. I think my decision will boil down to one of these two, though I have a few other options. I know TLS highly favors Biglaw and the T14, but please read my whole post before voting because I'm not the average 0L.

I grew up in St. Louis and went to UG in Missouri, and I basically can't decide between WUSTL and Michigan. Right now I'm almost dead set on moving back to St. Louis after law school, as my entire family lives there and I love the city. With that being said, there's always a chance that I'll change my mind, and I would feel a little uncomfortable limiting myself to St. Louis.

In addition, I don't want to be forced into working extremely long hours simply to pay off debt, and I'm not gunning for the biggest paycheck possible. I'm not sure I would like Biglaw, though I'm open to it for a few years if necessary. I just want a decent paycheck and good working hours, if possible.

In the end, I'm not sure if the extra prestige that Michigan can offer will pay off the extra debt, especially in St. Louis. If WUSTL can get me whatever job I want in St. Louis and I can save $100k on school, then I would much prefer that option. (Does anyone know how these schools are viewed in St. Louis?) Also, my long-term girlfriend goes to school in Indiana, and Ann Arbor would be quite a bit closer to her than St. Louis.

Any help would be appreciated! Thank you TLS for being awesome!

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Samara
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Re: WUSTL vs. Michigan vs. T30 Midwest Schools

Postby Samara » Wed Feb 22, 2012 5:36 pm

I'd say you're definitely right in making the two options to consider WUSTL and Michigan. UIUC, Iowa and tOSU would not make sense considering your goals.

If I were you, I would choose Michigan. At UMich, chances are high at median that you will find employment that will allow you to pay off your debt reasonably quickly (Biglaw, LRAP, etc.). At WUSTL, chances are sketchy at median and $65k is still a substantial amount of debt. The problem is that legal employment is mostly bimodal, so it's kind of all or nothing.

Also, what if you want to move out of St. Louis one day, or even upon graduation? Michigan will give you a level of portability that WUSTL simply cannot match.

ETA: Hopefully, romo or someone can chime in on the specifics of the St. Louis market.

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Nelson
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Re: WUSTL vs. Michigan vs. T30 Midwest Schools

Postby Nelson » Wed Feb 22, 2012 5:38 pm

The advantage of Michigan is access to larger law markets as a backup if you don't get a job in your target secondary market. If you will only consider working in St. Louis and would take any job there over biglaw in Chicago/NYC, then I would go with WUSTL. Otherwise, I think Mich with 45k if there's a possibility you'll be interested in the major biglaw markets.

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Doorkeeper
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Re: WUSTL vs. Michigan vs. T30 Midwest Schools

Postby Doorkeeper » Wed Feb 22, 2012 5:39 pm

1) Try to negotiate more aid from Michigan. Considering your personal and family ties to St. Louis, I think you can make a better case than most in your scholarship situation for Michigan to increase its aid.

2) Look into Michigan's LRAP to see what types of work it covers.

3) Ignore all other schools listed

You sound pretty dead set on St. Louis, so WUSTL might not be bad...but if you have doubts or want to experiment with different jobs before you settle down in StL, I'd go Michigan, especially if those different jobs are covered by Mich's LRAP.

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BuckinghamB
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Re: WUSTL vs. Michigan vs. T30 Midwest Schools

Postby BuckinghamB » Thu Feb 23, 2012 12:37 am

The nice thing about Michigan's LRAP is that it covers any JD-required job, not just public sector work. This is one of the main reasons I decided to attend next year. HTH. --LinkRemoved--

Betharl
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Re: WUSTL vs. Michigan vs. T30 Midwest Schools

Postby Betharl » Thu Feb 23, 2012 1:03 am

BuckinghamB wrote:The nice thing about Michigan's LRAP is that it covers any JD-required job, not just public sector work. This is one of the main reasons I decided to attend next year. HTH. --LinkRemoved--


Ya, I was also going to mention this and it is a big reason I voted for Michigan. Because of Michigan's LRAP you shouldn't be forced into working in Big Law if you don't want to (as you mentioned in the OP). This combined with the greater prestige/opportunites at Mich make it the easy choice in my opinion. Also, you are definetely right to narrow your field down to Michigan and WUSTL.

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beachbum
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Re: WUSTL vs. Michigan vs. T30 Midwest Schools

Postby beachbum » Thu Feb 23, 2012 1:16 am

If you were gunning for STL biglaw, I'd say take Michigan and never look back; in my (admittedly limited) experience, STL firms have proven to be very receptive to the T14 name.

But since you're not gunning for biglaw, you have strong STL ties (which negates the "flight risk" worry of WUSTL students), and $100k is a hell of a lot of money, I think WUSTL wins this one pretty easily. WUSTL is still a very good school and, while it might take some work to land the "top" jobs in the city (which you don't seem too worried about, anyway), the school will still put you in good position for gainful employment. And in the grand scheme of things, $65k is not going to kill you.

You also have the added benefit of actually being in your market for law school (networking), which can go a long way in a city like St. Louis.

charliep
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Re: WUSTL vs. Michigan vs. T30 Midwest Schools

Postby charliep » Thu Feb 23, 2012 1:19 am

did you actually get the moritz, or are you just speculating? i'm only curious because they claim to begin reviewing applicants for the award in march

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Crowing
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Re: WUSTL vs. Michigan vs. T30 Midwest Schools

Postby Crowing » Thu Feb 23, 2012 1:39 am

This thread is very relevant to my interests - I'm also a native St. Louisan. If anybody could shed some light on the current status of the legal job market in St. Louis it would be greatly appreciated!

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romothesavior
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Re: WUSTL vs. Michigan vs. T30 Midwest Schools

Postby romothesavior » Thu Feb 23, 2012 2:50 am

I find myself saying T14 over WUSTL in a lot of cases, but this is a situation where I can confidently say WUSTL is a good decision. Will you get biglaw? Maybe not. It'll take good grades. But you can get a job here in STL if you play your cards right and do the right things while in law school. And you won't need biglaw, because your debt will be low. You could even work part-time during the school year (not during 1L, I don't recommend that) and graduate with almost no debt.

Also, 65k just for living expenses is on the very high end for STL. I go out to bars and restaurants way more than I should, and I limit myself to about 15-20k on living expenses fairly easily.

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romothesavior
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Re: WUSTL vs. Michigan vs. T30 Midwest Schools

Postby romothesavior » Thu Feb 23, 2012 2:56 am

Crowing wrote:This thread is very relevant to my interests - I'm also a native St. Louisan. If anybody could shed some light on the current status of the legal job market in St. Louis it would be greatly appreciated!

It is a tough market because it is so small. It used to be that top half of the class grades + ties to STL = shot at big firm work here. Not so anymore. The big firms have really scaled back on their hiring, and that has made it tough here. I think things are slowly getting better, but not by leaps and bounds.

That said, I am fairly confident in a native St. Louisan's chances of getting decent employment here. The St. Louis boost is huge. If you're not from St. Louis, it is a really tough sell because of how parochial it is, as I found out the hard way. But if you want to stay in the region and have ties here, then WUSTL with a scholarship is a really good option that you should consider strongly.

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punkyg0608
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Re: WUSTL vs. Michigan vs. T30 Midwest Schools

Postby punkyg0608 » Thu Feb 23, 2012 3:20 am

charliep wrote:did you actually get the moritz, or are you just speculating? i'm only curious because they claim to begin reviewing applicants for the award in march


I know TLS hates voting on hypotheticals, but this is definitely speculation. I added it simply to decide whether to consider traveling to Columbus to interview for the scholarship or to just let OSU drop off my radar. I expected nobody to choose it, and having 2 votes so far surprises me. Do you think it's worth pursuing? Then again, several posts have said I was right to narrow my options to WUSTL and Michigan, so I don't know. Although OSU is a great option financially, I would worry about my chances of returning to St. Louis. I very well may end up somewhere else, but I definitely want the option of St. Louis if I still want it after 3 years.

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romothesavior
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Re: WUSTL vs. Michigan vs. T30 Midwest Schools

Postby romothesavior » Thu Feb 23, 2012 3:23 am

I think your only real options at this point are WUSTL (which is basically a full ride) and Michigan.

rad lulz
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Re: WUSTL vs. Michigan vs. T30 Midwest Schools

Postby rad lulz » Thu Feb 23, 2012 3:26 am

I'd WUSTL for the reasons Romo and BB mention.

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punkyg0608
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Re: WUSTL vs. Michigan vs. T30 Midwest Schools

Postby punkyg0608 » Thu Feb 23, 2012 3:26 am

Doorkeeper wrote:1) Try to negotiate more aid from Michigan. Considering your personal and family ties to St. Louis, I think you can make a better case than most in your scholarship situation for Michigan to increase its aid.

2) Look into Michigan's LRAP to see what types of work it covers.

3) Ignore all other schools listed

You sound pretty dead set on St. Louis, so WUSTL might not be bad...but if you have doubts or want to experiment with different jobs before you settle down in StL, I'd go Michigan, especially if those different jobs are covered by Mich's LRAP.


Thanks everyone for the advice! You are all completely awesome and I appreciate every post/vote!

In terms of negotiation, I've heard that 1. Michigan doesn't negotiate, 2. Michigan negotiates only once and 3. Michigan won't negotiate against a lower-ranked school like WUSTL. Of course it can't hurt to try, but I would expect nothing. Anyone have experience with this?

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thexfactor
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Re: WUSTL vs. Michigan vs. T30 Midwest Schools

Postby thexfactor » Thu Feb 23, 2012 10:15 am

You said that you want to make good money and not work a lot of hours. Well the problem is that there aren't a lot of midlaw firms that consistantly hire summer associates. As one poster said, since law is bimodal you either start out with a 100k+ job or 40k job.

As a wustler.. I would pick Michigan. Even if you want to work in STL.
From michigan, you would probably be competitive in STL biglaw with median grades. You prob need top quarter grades to have a chance at wustl.

It basically comes down to 100k for 2-3x better biglaw placement. Not only are more kids placed at better firms at Michigan, but you also have the option, if you ever change your mind, of working in chicago, LA, DC, NY. All these are acheivable with median grades at Michigan. At WUSTL you would likely need to be in the top 10% to get any consideration from those places.

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Samara
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Re: WUSTL vs. Michigan vs. T30 Midwest Schools

Postby Samara » Thu Feb 23, 2012 10:24 am

romothesavior wrote:I find myself saying T14 over WUSTL in a lot of cases, but this is a situation where I can confidently say WUSTL is a good decision. Will you get biglaw? Maybe not. It'll take good grades. But you can get a job here in STL if you play your cards right and do the right things while in law school. And you won't need biglaw, because your debt will be low. You could even work part-time during the school year (not during 1L, I don't recommend that) and graduate with almost no debt.

Also, 65k just for living expenses is on the very high end for STL. I go out to bars and restaurants way more than I should, and I limit myself to about 15-20k on living expenses fairly easily.

That's a good point, 65k seems pretty high for living expenses and doesn't factor in summer or part-time employment. You really could minimize the debt pretty effectively. With that in mind, I think it comes down to how set you are on St. Louis.

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20130312
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Re: WUSTL vs. Michigan vs. T30 Midwest Schools

Postby 20130312 » Thu Feb 23, 2012 10:27 am

Whether you choose WUSTL or Michigan, you will never look back and say "That was a bad choice." Congrats on having two solid options, OP.

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Re: WUSTL vs. Michigan vs. T30 Midwest Schools

Postby keg411 » Thu Feb 23, 2012 12:30 pm

rad lulz wrote:I'd WUSTL for the reasons Romo and BB mention.


I think it's super closer. WUSTL with ties seems to be a pretty sweet spot, but I think Michigan's LRAP is a pretty big deal since OP won't be forced to take a certain type of job based on debt level. Granted, I go to Michigan and romo goes to WUSTL, so we both have a bit of bias here.

OP, go to both ASW's before you decide and see what happens. I think it's close enough in your situation so you can decide on things like "feel". And as much as I think it's hard to pass up a T10 school, I can definitely see why you would want to be "home" and why that may be the more pragmatic choice.

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punkyg0608
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Re: WUSTL vs. Michigan vs. T30 Midwest Schools

Postby punkyg0608 » Sat Feb 25, 2012 2:13 pm

InGoodFaith wrote:Whether you choose WUSTL or Michigan, you will never look back and say "That was a bad choice." Congrats on having two solid options, OP.


Thank you! I really appreciate this post! I've been stressing out so much over my decision, but I need to keep it in perspective and realize I have good options.

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punkyg0608
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Re: WUSTL vs. Michigan vs. T30 Midwest Schools

Postby punkyg0608 » Sat Feb 25, 2012 2:19 pm

Samara wrote:Also, 65k just for living expenses is on the very high end for STL. I go out to bars and restaurants way more than I should, and I limit myself to about 15-20k on living expenses fairly easily.

That's a good point, 65k seems pretty high for living expenses and doesn't factor in summer or part-time employment. You really could minimize the debt pretty effectively. With that in mind, I think it comes down to how set you are on St. Louis.[/quote]

Good to know that 15k is a possibility! I was assuming 20k per year, plus at least 5k of total tuition increases. Just a rough estimate.

keg411 wrote:
rad lulz wrote:I'd WUSTL for the reasons Romo and BB mention.


I think it's super closer. WUSTL with ties seems to be a pretty sweet spot, but I think Michigan's LRAP is a pretty big deal since OP won't be forced to take a certain type of job based on debt level. Granted, I go to Michigan and romo goes to WUSTL, so we both have a bit of bias here.

OP, go to both ASW's before you decide and see what happens. I think it's close enough in your situation so you can decide on things like "feel". And as much as I think it's hard to pass up a T10 school, I can definitely see why you would want to be "home" and why that may be the more pragmatic choice.


Thanks everyone for the advice! I'm definitely going to ASWs so hopefully that will clear things up a bit.

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thexfactor
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Re: WUSTL vs. Michigan vs. T30 Midwest Schools

Postby thexfactor » Sat Feb 25, 2012 4:26 pm

i think you are giving up too much to go to WUSTL. My vote is for Michigan all the way.
Roughly 2.5x better chance to get a good job.

100k extra for much better chances at having a career is a good trade.

Have you seen Wustl's recent NLJ placement?
http://www.law.com/jsp/nlj/PubArticleNL ... 2543436520

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punkyg0608
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Re: WUSTL vs. Michigan vs. T30 Midwest Schools

Postby punkyg0608 » Sun Feb 26, 2012 12:39 am

thexfactor wrote:i think you are giving up too much to go to WUSTL. My vote is for Michigan all the way.
Roughly 2.5x better chance to get a good job.

100k extra for much better chances at having a career is a good trade.

Have you seen Wustl's recent NLJ placement?
http://www.law.com/jsp/nlj/PubArticleNL ... 2543436520


I actually hadn't seen that, and the difference between WUSTL and Michigan is worth noting. But I have a few questions now. As I said in my OP, I'm not really interested in biglaw, which is all that's listed on the NLJ250. So if I don't want any of these firms, does this difference even matter? Will these schools have similar placement in midlaw, small firms, and even outside of firms? Or will this 2.5x better chance at Michigan be just as significant for non-biglaw jobs? Basically, when you say "career" do you actually mean career, or only biglaw career?

Finally, is it true what has been said in this thread, that even if someone doesn't want biglaw it's best to take whatever job you can get and then figure out what you want to do from there? I understand that you shouldn't turn down a job, but of course I'd rather start off at a job I think I will enjoy.

Thank you all again! Every bit of feedback and every vote helps immensely!

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johansantana21
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Re: WUSTL vs. Michigan vs. T30 Midwest Schools

Postby johansantana21 » Sun Feb 26, 2012 12:42 am

I'd like to change my vote after seeing the NLJ250 for Michigan.

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beachbum
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Re: WUSTL vs. Michigan vs. T30 Midwest Schools

Postby beachbum » Sun Feb 26, 2012 12:47 am

johansantana21 wrote:I'd like to change my vote after seeing the NLJ250 for Michigan.


It's one year of data, and a year where Michigan kids allegedly got screwed by Career Services, who was urging them to bid Chicago. It's fairly safe to say that, based on recent historical data, Michigan has about 2.5-3x the placement power of WUSTL.

WUSTL still makes the most sense for OP, though.




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