UVA, Mich, Northwestern, Vandy $$$

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

What do you think?

UVA (in-state)
35
64%
Michigan
11
20%
Northwestern
1
2%
Vandy (95k)
8
15%
 
Total votes: 55

aes6b
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UVA, Mich, Northwestern, Vandy $$$

Postby aes6b » Mon Mar 05, 2012 10:31 pm

Hey guys, I already did some searching on various combinations of these options, but I just wanted to throw this out there to see if I get some different responses specific to my situation.

Deciding factors:
    Ideal Markets - flexible (preferably Chicago or DC or could also do ATL, but I'm realistic and just trying to get a job somewhere)
    Interested in biglaw or private firm work at least until my loans are paid off and then to do something with gov/in-house maybe
    Decent opportunity to clerk would be great, but definitely not a deciding factor
    I'd describe myself as a really social person, so being around other fun people that like to go out is pretty important to me - not necessarily too rowdy, but I like to have a good time

I should also mention that I'm still waiting on financial aid from Northwestern (though not really expecting to get anything) and I've been involved with Americorps, so I should have like another 10k (I think?) in grant money from that to go wherever...

PLEASE HELP! And if you could provide a brief explanation for your responses that would be great. Thanks!

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2014
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Re: UVA, Mich, Northwestern, Vandy $$$

Postby 2014 » Mon Mar 05, 2012 10:50 pm

I'm leaning toward U.Va. as a gut feeling, but that will limit you in Chicago in comparison to Michigan or NU (Most Likely. It is also possible that since less people at UVA want Chicago you will have less competition for OCI spots).

A couple of thoughts for you.

How debt averse are you? Are you okay being a quarter million in debt? Because if not Vandy is really your best and only option given those choices.
How old are you? NU's median age is roughly 2 years higher than other schools, 25 v 23 if i remember correctly, and while that alone doesn't seem too big, from what I can see it seems like NU gets a marginally larger amount of married folks who are probably less likely to be as social as you describe yourself.

U.Va. and Michigan are very much peer schools and both are probably going to give you the opportunity to have the social experience you are looking for. U.Va. has a slightly larger class and its proximity to DC will perhaps be an advantage if you decide to go into government as you suggest you might. Additionally Charlottesville's weather is on average milder than Ann Arbor. I think Michigan has slightly better clerk rates, but not by some huge margin.

So imo if you are comfortable with the debt it comes down to U.Va. v Michigan which is a cost and locational preference thing. In state at U.Va. is going to be cheaper than OOS at Mich and the COL between the two places is basically identical. So U.Va. being cheaper and probably better for DC and ATL than Michigan at the cost of probably being worse for Chicago would be my call.

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bk1
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Re: UVA, Mich, Northwestern, Vandy $$$

Postby bk1 » Mon Mar 05, 2012 10:58 pm

Where are you from? Do you have ties to Chicago?

bdubs
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Re: UVA, Mich, Northwestern, Vandy $$$

Postby bdubs » Mon Mar 05, 2012 11:00 pm

I would choose Northwestern if you really think you want Chicago. You won't have as great of a shot here if you're at Michigan or UVA and don't otherwise have ties (it sounds like you don't if you get in state at UVA). UVA sends a larger percent of its class to DC, but it's still super competitive to get a biglaw job there. They also use a preselect system for OCI which limits your reach with employers who might be a stretch for your GPA. There are also less people gunning for DC at Northwestern (from what i've seen/heard), so that also works in your favor for getting interviews.

aes6b
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Re: UVA, Mich, Northwestern, Vandy $$$

Postby aes6b » Mon Mar 05, 2012 11:11 pm

I'm from VA and have no ties to Chicago, which is pretty much why I've been hanging onto Northwestern for so long (and I really do love vibe I've gotten from the school). However, I am fairly debt averse, and the thought of going anywhere at sticker is rather terrifying, so if forced to abandon my hopes of living in Chicago, I guess I would be okay with staying in the south.

At this point, I'm just trying to figure out if the benefits of these other schools, predominantly the better job prospects, are worth passing up for the scholly from Vandy.

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bk1
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Re: UVA, Mich, Northwestern, Vandy $$$

Postby bk1 » Mon Mar 05, 2012 11:18 pm

The only way you could realistically get Chicago is through NU. If you're okay with NYC I think the answer is Vandy. Even though it will give you a lower chance at your goals, it is 100k less. This is assuming you don't get money from the other 3. One thing I would check into how the larger southern markets (e.g. ATL) would view a Vandy student whose ties were to VA. Would they consider hiring that person or consider them a flight risk? I don't know but it's something worth thinking about.
2014 wrote:while that alone doesn't seem too big, from what I can see it seems like NU gets a marginally larger amount of married folks who are probably less likely to be as social as you describe yourself.

It's not really noticeable here. The people with families don't really go out to bar review but otherwise there's plenty of people being very social on a regular basis.

CanadianWolf
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Re: UVA, Mich, Northwestern, Vandy $$$

Postby CanadianWolf » Tue Mar 06, 2012 11:28 am

Tough decision because strong arguments can be made for each school based on your circumstances. Congratulations !

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Perdevise
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Re: UVA, Mich, Northwestern, Vandy $$$

Postby Perdevise » Tue Mar 06, 2012 12:16 pm

I think most AmeriCorps programs give about 5k in educational grants for completing service.

aes6b
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Re: UVA, Mich, Northwestern, Vandy $$$

Postby aes6b » Tue Mar 06, 2012 12:58 pm

Thanks SO MUCH for all the feedback!
I'll be in Nashvegas next week for ASW, so I'll be able to check it out and see if I could see myself spending the next 3 years there. I already know I love Cville and Chicago, so maybe the trip will help me narrow it down a bit more. Though like you said, they are all great options and I'm grateful for even having a choice to make.

Also, I was in an Americorps program for 2 years (5k per year, I think...)

Another question - do y'all know where I can get the percentage of students that each school sends into biglaw each year? I've glanced at the stats listed on each website, but I don't recall seeing numbers specific to biglaw (it was just numbers of students going into general private practice). Thanks in advance!

NJPitcher
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Re: UVA, Mich, Northwestern, Vandy $$$

Postby NJPitcher » Tue Mar 06, 2012 1:15 pm

aes6b wrote:Thanks SO MUCH for all the feedback!
I'll be in Nashvegas next week for ASW, so I'll be able to check it out and see if I could see myself spending the next 3 years there. I already know I love Cville and Chicago, so maybe the trip will help me narrow it down a bit more. Though like you said, they are all great options and I'm grateful for even having a choice to make.

Also, I was in an Americorps program for 2 years (5k per year, I think...)

Another question - do y'all know where I can get the percentage of students that each school sends into biglaw each year? I've glanced at the stats listed on each website, but I don't recall seeing numbers specific to biglaw (it was just numbers of students going into general private practice). Thanks in advance!


viewtopic.php?f=1&t=150681

Useful, albeit not exactly what you were asking for.

auntjulia
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Re: UVA, Mich, Northwestern, Vandy $$$

Postby auntjulia » Tue Mar 06, 2012 1:24 pm

My thoughts based on anecdote from people at UVA and Michigan is that UVA students are having a better time with jobs right now. I think this is supported by the data released most recently by the schools.

I'd say UVA (or Vandy if you're very worried about debt. 95k at vandy makes it a compelling choice)

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bk1
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Re: UVA, Mich, Northwestern, Vandy $$$

Postby bk1 » Tue Mar 06, 2012 1:27 pm

aes6b wrote:Another question - do y'all know where I can get the percentage of students that each school sends into biglaw each year? I've glanced at the stats listed on each website, but I don't recall seeing numbers specific to biglaw (it was just numbers of students going into general private practice). Thanks in advance!


(Thanks to beachbum for compiling these.)

NLJ 2011
NLJ 2010
NLJ 2009
NLJ 2008
NLJ 2007
NLJ 2006
NLJ 2005

Several notes:

1. These are the 250 largest firms and about the best proxy for biglaw. There are more firms that fall under that umbrella (e.g. pay market salary of 160k in NYC or whatever it is in other cities) such as litigation boutiques who aren't as large (e.g. Keker), but this is the best we got.

2. This doesn't include A3 clerkships. People who get A3 clerkships could get have gone into biglaw (in fact many of them have offers to return to their biglaw firms after they finish clerking). Schools like HYS are lower on this list since they generally place more A3 clerks than other schools.

3. It doesn't account for self-selection. For example, HYS kids have more opportunities to go to prestigious PI/gov work (e.g. DoJ) than lower ranked schools and they will often choose this over biglaw. On the other hand since lower ranked schools don't have as much of an opportunity to do this they will choose biglaw instead.

4. This data is lagged. The latest data is for class of 2011. However class of 2011 basically got hired for these jobs in fall of 2009. (To get biglaw you interview during the first summer of your second year during OCI, you then spend your next summer with that firm, and if all goes well you get a full time offer to return.)

aes6b
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Re: UVA, Mich, Northwestern, Vandy $$$

Postby aes6b » Tue Mar 06, 2012 2:28 pm

bk1, I think that I am in love with you...THANK YOU! This is exactly what I was looking for

aes6b
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Re: UVA, Mich, Northwestern, Vandy $$$

Postby aes6b » Tue Mar 06, 2012 2:54 pm

So, if I just am looking at employment prospects (particularly biglaw), wouldn't Northwestern be the clear-cut winner?
Obviously Mich and VA place more students in clerkships, but if my primary interest is making sure I'm employed after school, is Northwestern worth taking over UVA and Michigan?

Also, would this mean that in order to get biglaw from Vandy, I'd have to be around top 20% versus above median at the other schools?

chiwachiwa
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Re: UVA, Mich, Northwestern, Vandy $$$

Postby chiwachiwa » Tue Mar 06, 2012 3:06 pm

aes6b wrote:So, if I just am looking at employment prospects (particularly biglaw), wouldn't Northwestern be the clear-cut winner?
Obviously Mich and VA place more students in clerkships, but if my primary interest is making sure I'm employed after school, is Northwestern worth taking over UVA and Michigan?

Also, would this mean that in order to get biglaw from Vandy, I'd have to be around top 20% versus above median at the other schools?

The guy that gave you the data pretty much answered these questions.

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bk1
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Re: UVA, Mich, Northwestern, Vandy $$$

Postby bk1 » Tue Mar 06, 2012 3:17 pm

aes6b wrote:So, if I just am looking at employment prospects (particularly biglaw), wouldn't Northwestern be the clear-cut winner?
Obviously Mich and VA place more students in clerkships, but if my primary interest is making sure I'm employed after school, is Northwestern worth taking over UVA and Michigan?

Also, would this mean that in order to get biglaw from Vandy, I'd have to be around top 20% versus above median at the other schools?


1. NU - I don't think NU is the obvious winner at all based on NLJ250 data (as noted above however, if you want Chicago then yes NU is the winner). NU takes more people with work experience and people believe that this helps boost their employment stats (I'm not sure how true this is. I'm inclined to believe it but I haven't gone through OCI here yet). I'm also not sure if NU is more self-selective towards PI than other schools (which it might be since it tends to take people who have worked in finance/consulting/etc moreso than other schools). The general belief is that the lower T14 are peer schools if you want to work in NYC biglaw (but of course in other markets it generally pans out that: NU has an edge for Chicago, Duke/UVA have an edge for the South, Berkeley has an edge for CA, Penn has an edge for NYC, etc). And as I said before, A3 clerks generally could have gone to biglaw had they chosen to do that instead so it's not like you can say that just because a school places fewer kids in biglaw and more in clerkships that it is therefore worse at biglaw.

2. Vandy - No, it doesn't mean that. As I said, this data is lagged. The class of 2011 did OCI in 2009 and were the first class to to really feel the brunt of the economic collapse. You will be doing OCI in 2013 if you start law school this fall. Things won't be as good as the boom times of the mid 2000's but they won't be as bad as the bottom of the legal market that was 2009. Recent OCI data on TLS seems to suggest that Vandy has definitely rebounded but of course is still below the T14.

As I said in my above post, I think if you're okay with NYC biglaw that Vandy for at half price is better than sticker at a T14. If you absolutely need Chicago biglaw then NU.

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BruceWayne
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Re: UVA, Mich, Northwestern, Vandy $$$

Postby BruceWayne » Tue Mar 06, 2012 3:28 pm

If you're from VA just go to UVA. Unfortunately you've chosen some really bad markets. Chicago is brutally competitive for people who aren't from the midwest and don't have high grades (although if you pull the latter you could get Chicago from UVA without ties). Further they got hit hard during the downturn. DC is not super ties focused (but they care more than people on here make it seem) and they are doing well in terms of the economy. However, they are very grade focused. If you beat the median at UVA you should be able to land a a DC firm job, but that's one hell of an if. Atlanta is downright brutal. Very high grades requirements, devastated during the downturn, and somewhat ties focused. Being from VA won't really hurt you for Atlanta but it won't necessarily help you.

In terms of just getting a job UVA is probably your best bet because you will be in good shape for Richmond (as someone from VA) even if you get bad grades and Birmingham as well. You'll have a shot at Tidewater and other VA law firms too.

If you get good grades from UVA you can get at least one of the 3 markets you listed as your targets.

If you go to Michigan, NU, or Vandy and get bad grades I really don't know what will happen to you. You probably won't get VA firms, you almost definitely won't get Chicago, DC, or Atlanta. You'd be lucky as hell to get NYC if you choose Vandy, and you'd be lucky to get NYC from Michigan or NU.

Finally you should almost totally ignore NLJ stats. You have to learn that various stats have to be interpreted in the context of the individual choosing to go to law school. For you, as a Southerner the nlj stats aren't nearly as useful. They are heavily tilted to NYC firms. Many of the firms that will still hire you if you pull bad grades from UVA won't necessarily even pop up on the nlj stats (Richmond firms, other VA firms, Birmingham firms etc.). And the other thing to remember is that those firms that make up a majority of the nlj250 and where schools like Penn place a lot of people into are mega firms with very rigid hiring structures. In other words if you go to those schools and pull bad grades you're assed out. They have strict cut-offs that they do not dip below. However, the obvious caveat is that those mega firms have lower cutoffs at those schools. But still we're mainly talking about NYC firms so that wouldn't be that beneficial to you.

Just go to UVA (note that all of this assumes you are not interested in Public Interest. If you are that changes the calculus).

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AreJay711
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Re: UVA, Mich, Northwestern, Vandy $$$

Postby AreJay711 » Tue Mar 06, 2012 3:34 pm

I think Vandy. People often pretend like the difference between 100K and 200K for whatever reason but it is huge. Obviously, it makes no difference if you are unemployed or barely employed and maybe not a huge difference QOL-wise if you are at biglaw for 5+ years (maybe you have to live without a guest bedroom for example) but for most people it will be a significant drag to have to pay an extra $1200 a month on your 10 year repayment.

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AreJay711
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Re: UVA, Mich, Northwestern, Vandy $$$

Postby AreJay711 » Tue Mar 06, 2012 3:38 pm

BruceWayne wrote:If you're from VA just go to UVA. Unfortunately you've chosen some really bad markets. Chicago is brutally competitive for people who aren't from the midwest and don't have high grades (although if you pull the latter you could get Chicago from UVA without ties). Further they got hit hard during the downturn. DC is not super ties focused (but they care more than people on here make it seem) and they are doing well in terms of the economy. However, they are very grade focused. If you beat the median at UVA you should be able to land a a DC firm job, but that's one hell of an if. Atlanta is downright brutal. Very high grades requirements, devastated during the downturn, and somewhat ties focused. Being from VA won't really hurt you for Atlanta but it won't necessarily help you.

In terms of just getting a job UVA is probably your best bet because you will be in good shape for Richmond (as someone from VA) even if you get bad grades and Birmingham as well. You'll have a shot at Tidewater and other VA law firms too.

If you get good grades from UVA you can get at least one of the 3 markets you listed as your targets.

If you go to Michigan, NU, or Vandy and get bad grades I really don't know what will happen to you. You probably won't get VA firms, you almost definitely won't get Chicago, DC, or Atlanta. You'd be lucky as hell to get NYC if you choose Vandy, and you'd be lucky to get NYC from Michigan or NU.

Finally you should almost totally ignore NLJ stats. You have to learn that various stats have to be interpreted in the context of the individual choosing to go to law school. For you, as a Southerner the nlj stats aren't nearly as useful. They are heavily tilted to NYC firms. Many of the firms that will still hire you if you pull bad grades from UVA won't necessarily even pop up on the nlj stats (Richmond firms, other VA firms, Birmingham firms etc.). And the other thing to remember is that those firms that make up a majority of the nlj250 and where schools like Penn place a lot of people into are mega firms with very rigid hiring structures. In other words if you go to those schools and pull bad grades you're assed out. They have strict cut-offs that they do not dip below. However, the obvious caveat is that those mega firms have lower cutoffs at those schools. But still we're mainly talking about NYC firms so that wouldn't be that beneficial to you.

Just go to UVA (note that all of this assumes you are not interested in Public Interest. If you are that changes the calculus).


Personal anecdote: UVA also cleans house on the Eastern Shore of Maryland for everything -- the judges, the best firms, the elected states attorneys, and the county attorneys. I'm sure the other schools do the same in their local areas so as a contingency plan you might want to look at what will happen and where you want to be if you are bottom of the curve. (Not that these people were at the bottom of the curve but they are likely less grades focused)

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BruceWayne
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Re: UVA, Mich, Northwestern, Vandy $$$

Postby BruceWayne » Tue Mar 06, 2012 3:40 pm

]
AreJay711 wrote:I think Vandy. People often pretend like the difference between 100K and 200K for whatever reason but it is huge. Obviously, it makes no difference if you are unemployed or barely employed and maybe not a huge difference QOL-wise if you are at biglaw for 5+ years (maybe you have to live without a guest bedroom for example) but for most people it will be a significant drag to have to pay an extra $1200 a month on your 10 year repayment.


I would have said this too but being from VA he should really try to retain his ability to work for firms there. I'm not sure what Vandy would do to him in that regard.

My other problem with Vandy is that they have students that are just as intelligent as UVA, Michigan, NU etc. but it has significantly less prestige in the eyes of employers. That means equivalent competition for good grades but with significantly higher grade requirements from firms---that's a horrible horrible combination.
Last edited by BruceWayne on Tue Mar 06, 2012 5:14 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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bk1
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Re: UVA, Mich, Northwestern, Vandy $$$

Postby bk1 » Tue Mar 06, 2012 3:42 pm

BruceWayne wrote:You'd be lucky as hell to get NYC if you choose Vandy, and you'd be lucky to get NYC from Michigan or NU.


wut. How can you argue in one breath that NLJ250 should be ignored because it's NYC-centric and then in another say that schools that do well in the NLJ250 would require OP to get lucky to get NYC from?

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BruceWayne
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Re: UVA, Mich, Northwestern, Vandy $$$

Postby BruceWayne » Tue Mar 06, 2012 5:11 pm

bk1 wrote:
BruceWayne wrote:You'd be lucky as hell to get NYC if you choose Vandy, and you'd be lucky to get NYC from Michigan or NU.


wut. How can you argue in one breath that NLJ250 should be ignored because it's NYC-centric and then in another say that schools that do well in the NLJ250 would require OP to get lucky to get NYC from?


If you read the post ( I can tell you skimmed it) you would see that I was discussing his prospects from these schools if he got bad grades. Even if he goes to a school with high nlj placement (i.e high NYC firm placement) if he gets bad grades it, for the most part, won't matter for the big NYC firms. They have very strict grade cut offs. Their hiring model is almost like a law school admissions model. It's very paper centric. Second, Michigan hasn't really done that well in the nlj250. They don't funnel a huge percentage of their class into giant NYC firms. Their class spreads out across the country. That hurts you when it comes to placement metrics like the nlj250 that measure placement according to who puts the most grads into the largest 250 firms.

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bk1
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Re: UVA, Mich, Northwestern, Vandy $$$

Postby bk1 » Tue Mar 06, 2012 5:37 pm

BruceWayne wrote:If you read the post ( I can tell you skimmed it) you would see that I was discussing his prospects from these schools if he got bad grades. Even if he goes to a school with high nlj placement (i.e high NYC firm placement) if he gets bad grades it, for the most part, won't matter for the big NYC firms. They have very strict grade cut offs. Their hiring model is almost like a law school admissions model. It's very paper centric. Second, Michigan hasn't really done that well in the nlj250. They don't funnel a huge percentage of their class into giant NYC firms. Their class spreads out across the country. That hurts you when it comes to placement metrics like the nlj250 that measure placement according to who puts the most grads into the largest 250 firms.


How can you say that Michigan hasn't done well? They seem to be pretty comparable to other T14's outside of 2011 (which, if we assume that people from Mich are explaining it correctly, was due to bad CSO advice).

I did skim it and I agree with you that if he has bad grades that things will be tough. My response to that is twofold: (1) that is why Vandy is a good idea since even if he has bad grades his debtload is far far less than the other schools, and (2) it's not like grades exist in a pure dichotomy of "good" and "bad"... there is a whole host of grade ranges.

aes6b
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Re: UVA, Mich, Northwestern, Vandy $$$

Postby aes6b » Tue Mar 06, 2012 5:51 pm

BruceWayne wrote:]
AreJay711 wrote:I think Vandy. People often pretend like the difference between 100K and 200K for whatever reason but it is huge. Obviously, it makes no difference if you are unemployed or barely employed and maybe not a huge difference QOL-wise if you are at biglaw for 5+ years (maybe you have to live without a guest bedroom for example) but for most people it will be a significant drag to have to pay an extra $1200 a month on your 10 year repayment.


I would have said this too but being from VA he should really try to retain his ability to work for firms there. I'm not sure what Vandy would do to him in that regard.

My other problem with Vandy is that they have students that are just as intelligent as UVA, Michigan, NU etc. but it has significantly less prestige in the eyes of employers. That means equivalent competition for good grades but with significantly higher grade requirements from firms---that's a horrible horrible combination.


I'm a SHE by the way :), but I definitely can see what you're saying since it's just as likely (if not more likely) that I could be below median...it's a mindset that I hate to have, but it's best to be as realistic as possible

I just also can't imagine that anywhere (except maybe HYS) could be worth sticker. Do you think that I could negotiate something from UVA with that money from Vandy or will they just laugh in my face?




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