Wisconsin vs. George Mason vs. Pitt ($$$$)

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

Where should I go?

Pitt ($$$$)
13
72%
Wisconsin
2
11%
George Mason
3
17%
 
Total votes: 18

Incubateus
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Wisconsin vs. George Mason vs. Pitt ($$$$)

Postby Incubateus » Thu Mar 01, 2012 11:48 am

PITT:
Pros: I'm from Pittsburgh and went to Pitt for undergrad. I know DAs, ADAs, judges, and quite a few named partners at firms in the area. I can definitely network these into a job as a lawyer (probably not biglaw, but I'm alright with that) and I will only have living expenses to pay for in debt (ballpark of 40k).
Cons: I'm getting quite sick of living in this shit weather and do not want to live here for the rest of my life. Pittsburgh is just too grey and I've exhausted everything there is to do in the area. Moreover, Pitt's ranking isn't so stellar. It would still allow me to get a job here or in Cleveland, but neither are really inhabitable: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ysmLA5TqbIY. Also, I can already network Pittsburgh with my Pitt undergrad degree (not exactly the same, but it has some validity).

GEORGE MASON:
Pros: I love DC/NOVA (weather, culture, etc.) and wouldn't mind having a job there. I really like economics (almost went for my Phd) and anti-trust law; GMU teaches a lot of Austrian School Econ (another favorite). Several of their faculty (Tyler Cowen, Walter Williams, Josh Wright) are very well respected in their fields and would be amazing to study under. Although they have removed the program from their website, I was told that I could probably work out the MA in Econ through the school. I would like to practice anti-trust litigation or work on economic legal policy so the school's specialty is a real plus. I wouldn't mind working for the government (and paying off my loans over ten years through that program), which Mason places quite well with. Finally, Mason's ranking is quite good (especially for the niche area I'm interested in).
Cons: I would be paying sticker (at least for 1L) (150k in debt over 3 years). I'm obviously hoping to get in state or a 2L scholarship on grades (or even transfer up), but I'm aware of these probabilities so this is still a con. The school also looks more like a mini-mall/office building. I would rather have a real building, but it doesn't bother me too much (certainly better than Pitt's law school building). Finally, they don't seem to be well-grounded in the rankings, having jumped from the 100s ten years or so ago up to the mid 30s -- I'm waiting for the new calculations of the USNWR including the more detailed job placement #s before I make my final decision.

WISCONSIN:
Pros: Cool area. Well ranked school over the past 30 years. Has name recognition. Is a very nice school in terms of architecture.
Cons: Cold as fuck. Would be paying sticker (no hope of anything less, 130k over 3 years). Places well in Wisconsin and somewhat into Chicago (I found a lot of Wisconsin grads among hiring partners there). I think I would enjoy the intellectual aspects of GMU more.

Notes:

I've been waitlisted at Notre Dame, W&L, and Washington... so I would definitely go to one of those in lieu of being accepted. I have also yet to hear back from WUSTL, Emory, or William and Mary, and again, in lieu. But I'm banking on realistic hopes. If you have any insight as to the odds of hearing a positive message back from these schools, please comment.

Weather is a huge factor for me. In good weather I have a lot of motivation to get up and do things, whereas in bad weather I tend to sleep a lot and have a general malaise of tiredness throughout the day.

It sounds nuts to a lot of people, but I'm in this for the long haul. This is my second career and I know it's what I want to do. I don't need biglaw and I don't really need the big bucks either. I just need to be able to pay off my debt in 15 or so years and live a comfortable life. I even have hopes of hanging up my own shingle one day, so there is always that.

That being said, I understand that a degree with name reputation will hang on me for years after I have paid off my debt, opening doors that would not have otherwise been opened. So with this all in mind,

WHERE SHOULD I GO?

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goldenflash19
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Re: Wisconsin vs. George Mason vs. Pitt ($$$$)

Postby goldenflash19 » Thu Mar 01, 2012 11:56 am

Def don't do GMU @ sticker. DC market is flooded with good schools plus incoming T14 grads. I won't do Wisco @ sticker either. It's just too much money. Pitt is your best option considering it's a strong regional school in an area in which you have strong ties (I can sympathize w/ you on the inhabitableness, I'm from CLE area, Go Browns!). If you're not content with Pitt, I'd retake.

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Samara
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Re: Wisconsin vs. George Mason vs. Pitt ($$$$)

Postby Samara » Thu Mar 01, 2012 11:57 am

The problem with Wisconsin is that you have no ties there and its Chicago biglaw placement is pretty small. So, at sticker, that would be a risky prospect. Similar situation at George Mason. DC is competitive and you don't have ties to Virginia. Pitt would be super cheap and probably give you the best job prospects considering your strong ties there. I would think you could get some experience in Pittsburgh and then lateral to another area or something down the road. Your other choices just seem really risky to me. If you got WUSTL, it might make sense to go there, but it would still be risky.

Incubateus
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Re: Wisconsin vs. George Mason vs. Pitt ($$$$)

Postby Incubateus » Thu Mar 01, 2012 12:01 pm

I'm not making retake an option. There is a lot of reasoning behind that which I won't go into.

I also forgot to mention, I have an uncountable number of ties into DC (whitehouse, SEC, FTC, etc.). A lot of my extended family is from the area so that's not a problem for GMU. Wisconsin though, could be somewhat troublesome.

tennisking88
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Re: Wisconsin vs. George Mason vs. Pitt ($$$$)

Postby tennisking88 » Thu Mar 01, 2012 12:12 pm

Incubateus wrote:I'm not making retake an option. There is a lot of reasoning behind that which I won't go into.

I also forgot to mention, I have an uncountable number of ties into DC (whitehouse, SEC, FTC, etc.). A lot of my extended family is from the area so that's not a problem for GMU. Wisconsin though, could be somewhat troublesome.


A few thoughts. First off, rankings do not matter after the top 10-14 schools. Everything is regional after that. Mason, at 40, is regarded in the DC region as a peer to American and Maryland. In VA, it's an inferior to WM and W&L. If you have "uncountable ties" to DC, then you should go to the cheapest option possible, as your personal ties will matter much more to employment than any "leg up" in prestige for one school over another. Now, the cost. Estimated total cost (out of state) for GM is $61,332. This is last year, and it's bound to go up again this year. From what I've read on here, it's extremely difficult to get in state residency, and even if you do, Mason is stingy with granting you in-state status. I would use the search function for a more thorough discussion of this (or just call the school). Assuming you don't get in-state status, you can count on 180-190k in debt.

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top30man
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Re: Wisconsin vs. George Mason vs. Pitt ($$$$)

Postby top30man » Thu Mar 01, 2012 12:28 pm

tennisking88 wrote:
Incubateus wrote:I'm not making retake an option. There is a lot of reasoning behind that which I won't go into.

I also forgot to mention, I have an uncountable number of ties into DC (whitehouse, SEC, FTC, etc.). A lot of my extended family is from the area so that's not a problem for GMU. Wisconsin though, could be somewhat troublesome.


A few thoughts. First off, rankings do not matter after the top 10-14 schools. Everything is regional after that. Mason, at 40, is regarded in the DC region as a peer to American and Maryland. In VA, it's an inferior to WM and W&L. If you have "uncountable ties" to DC, then you should go to the cheapest option possible, as your personal ties will matter much more to employment than any "leg up" in prestige for one school over another. Now, the cost. Estimated total cost (out of state) for GM is $61,332. This is last year, and it's bound to go up again this year. From what I've read on here, it's extremely difficult to get in state residency, and even if you do, Mason is stingy with granting you in-state status. I would use the search function for a more thorough discussion of this (or just call the school). Assuming you don't get in-state status, you can count on 180-190k in debt.

This. DC is just too competitive to think of doing mason at sticker. Do all of your connections lead to a guaranteed job offer? If not, Pitt is the only option sans retake since it effectively owns the market outside of t14 grads coming back.

Randomnumbers
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Re: Wisconsin vs. George Mason vs. Pitt ($$$$)

Postby Randomnumbers » Thu Mar 01, 2012 12:35 pm

Don't go to Wisconsin if you don't want to work in Wisconsin. Don't go to Wisconsin if you hate the cold. Don't go to Wisconsin if you are going to pay OOS sticker and want to work in DC.

It seems like GMU is the better choice - about the same cost as DC, better name recognition in the market you want, and it isn't as cold as Wisconsin would be. However, since you have ties to the market, I think the obvious answer would be to just take the free ride at Pitt, and not care about the weather since you'll be in the library all day anyways.

kakaa001
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Re: Wisconsin vs. George Mason vs. Pitt ($$$$)

Postby kakaa001 » Thu Mar 01, 2012 12:38 pm

I'd pick Wisconsin. Its cold, but at least you have a decent football team to root on and you've got name recognition and you're top in the area.

You obviously do not want to go to Pitt. Its a last resort as you seem to indicate. And frankly, I don't blame you.

GMU is just plain no. You'll pay way too much, be in an uber-competitive region, and honestly, the weather sucks in DC too. I'm from there. Don't get me started.

Question: If weather is so important, why did you apply to those schools? Why not sunny Florida or warm California??

Incubateus
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Re: Wisconsin vs. George Mason vs. Pitt ($$$$)

Postby Incubateus » Thu Mar 01, 2012 12:42 pm

I applied to a lot of schools with shitty weather for the same reason that I applied to safety schools: In case I didn't get in anywhere else and in case they gave me a boatload of cash. Also, I had a lot of fee waivers.

tennisking88
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Re: Wisconsin vs. George Mason vs. Pitt ($$$$)

Postby tennisking88 » Thu Mar 01, 2012 12:51 pm

kakaa001 wrote: GMU is just plain no. You'll pay way too much, be in an uber-competitive region, and honestly, the weather sucks in DC too. I'm from there. Don't get me started.


I don't understand how DC weather is THAT much better than Pitt. It's not that much further South...

tennisking88
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Re: Wisconsin vs. George Mason vs. Pitt ($$$$)

Postby tennisking88 » Thu Mar 01, 2012 12:57 pm

I mean I can understand being tired of the CITY of Pittsburgh, and wanting to live in a different city, but the weather thing sounds odd to me.

Incubateus
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Re: Wisconsin vs. George Mason vs. Pitt ($$$$)

Postby Incubateus » Thu Mar 01, 2012 1:00 pm

Right now in Pittsburgh it is 42 degrees. In DC it is 65. Also, DC has nearly double the number of sunny days.

HeavenWood
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Re: Wisconsin vs. George Mason vs. Pitt ($$$$)

Postby HeavenWood » Thu Mar 01, 2012 1:37 pm

Incubateus wrote:Right now in Pittsburgh it is 42 degrees. In DC it is 65. Also, DC has nearly double the number of sunny days.

Pittsburgh's a great city, so go fuck yourself for not appreciating it. Also, you know as well as I do that it's in far, far better shape than the Cleve. :wink:

In all seriousness, given that these are all strictly regional schools, the fact you would (1) graduate with very little debt, and (2) given your ties/connections, you would be almost guaranteed a job, it's the only one on the list that really makes sense attending. But if you don't want to be stuck in the Burgh for the foreseeable future, you definitely need to retake/reapply.

tennisking88
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Re: Wisconsin vs. George Mason vs. Pitt ($$$$)

Postby tennisking88 » Thu Mar 01, 2012 2:32 pm

Incubateus wrote:Right now in Pittsburgh it is 42 degrees. In DC it is 65. Also, DC has nearly double the number of sunny days.


One of the more retarded reasons to take out 150k+ more in debt.

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JCFindley
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Re: Wisconsin vs. George Mason vs. Pitt ($$$$)

Postby JCFindley » Thu Mar 01, 2012 3:29 pm

I have lived in WI and live in NOVA now.

The weather really is MUCH better here than in Pitt.......

Can't speak to the schools themselves as I am at the same point as you in this but I will speak a little about the weather in WI.... It is COLD! And I mean wicked cold...... But, there are actually a LOT of things to do in WI even in the winter. They are actually quite enjoyable so long as you learn to bundle up. Madison is probably one of the most social campuses in the US. There is always something to do in Madison. The social scene revolves around the school there. In the DC/Arlington/Alexandria area there is a vibrant young professional scene but not so much for college students....

Good luck

JC

JamesChapman23
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Re: Wisconsin vs. George Mason vs. Pitt ($$$$)

Postby JamesChapman23 » Thu Mar 01, 2012 9:34 pm

Tyler Cowen teaches in the law school? The best folks at GMU work in the economics department- James Buchanan, Tyler Cowen, Russ Roberts, Don Boudreaux, Lawrence White, peter boettke, etc.

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tww909
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Re: Wisconsin vs. George Mason vs. Pitt ($$$$)

Postby tww909 » Fri Mar 02, 2012 12:31 am

it would be a mistake to go to wisconsin given what you've said. madison is nice, cool area is definitely true, but you need to worry about getting a job. i see several problems with that:

1. wisconsin's chicago placement is nothing like the number of hiring partners in chicago who went to UW would suggest. last year 3 people worked at nlj250 firms in chicago, and only 6 people worked at firms of any size in chicago. this year the numbers are only slightly better with something 4-5 2Ls summering at NLJ firms.

1a. wisconsin's job placement generally is not great. it may seem sustainable to pay of 130k in 10 years, but if you a median student you will struggle to find a job. not that this isn't true of any of the other schools, but i'm more qualified to comment on wisconsin. 25% of the class doesn't find a job that is JD required after graduation. meaning a quarter of them are very likely making jobs that pay in the 50s-60s if they're lucky. 130k/10 years means that you're going to be paying 13k+interest per year. that is a big chunk of 50-60k. sure you can do it, but it's not going to be pleasant.

according to LST 45.8% of the class of '09 is employed at a law firm. that is not just disheartening that's affirmatively frightening given that Art.III clerkship placement is between 0 and 1 people per year. more than half the class will probably never work in a law firm. you will probably be lucky to make over 60k a year upon graduation and work in a firm.

2. it doesn't sound like you want to be somewhere cold. wisconsin is very very cold. i live in california now and laugh when people bitch about it being in the 40s at night. that would be a beautiful day in wisconsin this time of year.

2a. going to UW will not be temporary cold, but likely cold for the rest of your life. this is because the school places almost solely into wisconsin, and almost exclusively in the upper midwest.

ps - and i actually love wisconsin...

Incubateus
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Re: Wisconsin vs. George Mason vs. Pitt ($$$$)

Postby Incubateus » Fri Mar 02, 2012 12:31 am

To my knowledge he has taught law and literature and I want to say another course, but I can't remember which one. Also, Josh Wright and Ilya Somin are very strong experts in the field, to name a few.

Incubateus
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Re: Wisconsin vs. George Mason vs. Pitt ($$$$)

Postby Incubateus » Fri Mar 02, 2012 12:35 am

I also mentioned the 10 year deal because after working for the federal government (I'm not sure about state govt's) your debt will be wiped clean. You simply have to pay the minimum for those ten years. When I visited Notre Dame the one admissions officer told me about the program. GMU places well into the federal government and that's why I mentioned the program.

tennisking88
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Re: Wisconsin vs. George Mason vs. Pitt ($$$$)

Postby tennisking88 » Fri Mar 02, 2012 12:37 am

Incubateus wrote: GMU places well into the federal government


News to me, and I work for the fed gov't.

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descartesb4thehorse
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Re: Wisconsin vs. George Mason vs. Pitt ($$$$)

Postby descartesb4thehorse » Fri Mar 02, 2012 1:07 am

OP, you're making a very unwise investment about your future if you pick anything other than Pitt. Your school choices are only tolerable with huge scholarships. If you want out of Pittsburgh, move out of Pittsburgh, but don't take out 200k for law school just to move to a different city.

If you don't like that reality, retake. If you don't like that reality and are going to be a stick in the mud about not retaking, then don't go to law school. The dumbest thing I've ever heard from 0Ls is that they refuse to retake because a 4-hour test is more daunting than being in severe debt until they're close to retirement age. Grow up.




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