CLS (25k) v. UChi (15k) v. GULC (75k) v. Duke (67.5k) HELP

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

Where would you go?

Columbia
26
34%
UChicago
29
38%
GULC
10
13%
Duke
12
16%
 
Total votes: 77

AS33
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CLS (25k) v. UChi (15k) v. GULC (75k) v. Duke (67.5k) HELP

Postby AS33 » Wed Mar 21, 2012 8:55 am

I really didn't want to make a post, but I knew it would come down to this, as I really have no clue what to do.

My goal is big law. Where? Well, I'm open to NY, DC, or pretty much anywhere in CA. I know my chances of big law are better at Columbia and Chicago, but I don't have any money saved, and I'd probably be looking at around 200k in debt around graduation.

Things worth mentioning:

-I'm waiting to hear from Columbia regarding financial aid.
-Chicago is reconsidering their scholarship offer and I'm waiting to hear from them as well.
-I live in DC now, my rent is super cheap, and I wouldn't move if I went to GULC.

It's down to the wire and I need some advice!! Thanks!

EDIT: I chose Columbia. Thanks everyone for your feedback!
Last edited by AS33 on Tue Apr 17, 2012 2:23 pm, edited 2 times in total.

dixiecupdrinking
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Re: Columbia v. UChi (15k) v. GULC (75k) v. Duke (67.5k) HELP

Postby dixiecupdrinking » Wed Mar 21, 2012 9:11 am

I voted GULC; this is a close call and having a good living situation in DC already tipped the balance. YMMV depending on how much you value not moving. I think you can forget Duke. If you're going to move for law school it shouldn't be for a roughly equal school with roughly equal money. I wouldn't take out the extra money for Chicago or Columbia, but that's just me.

AS33
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Re: Columbia v. UChi (15k) v. GULC (75k) v. Duke (67.5k) HELP

Postby AS33 » Wed Mar 21, 2012 9:23 am

Thanks. For those of you who picked (or think) Columbia or Chicago, do you mind sharing why?

duckmoney
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Re: Columbia v. UChi (15k) v. GULC (75k) v. Duke (67.5k) HELP

Postby duckmoney » Wed Mar 21, 2012 9:43 am

Either Chicago or Columbia will give you the best chance of big law. GULC should be out; its biglaw placement rates are terrible. Duke is better, but not for only $50k more debt than Chicago.

Between Chicago and Columbia, visit both and see what you like. Also figure out where you want to practice. Chicago will give you a little more flexible because it may open up the Chicago market as an option. Columbia won't necessarily give you an edge on NYC hiring in terms of grade cutoffs, but it will give you greater access to employers in NYC. Both give you about an equal chance of getting to DC or any other market you have ties to.

Note the Chicago cost of living is cheaper than Columbia, so if they don't give you financial aid then Chicago will be considerably cheaper.

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jkpolk
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Re: Columbia v. UChi (15k) v. GULC (75k) v. Duke (67.5k) HELP

Postby jkpolk » Wed Mar 21, 2012 9:52 am

Prestige/placement. I'd take Columbia for NYCbut maybe Chicago

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sn20
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Re: Columbia v. UChi (15k) v. GULC (75k) v. Duke (67.5k) HELP

Postby sn20 » Wed Mar 21, 2012 10:01 am

With peer schools (Columbia/Chicago), take the one with the lower overall cost. With your uncertainty over where you want to work, they'll accomplish the same thing/get you into biglaw (whereas it is far from guaranteed at Duke/Gtown)

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Doorkeeper
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Re: Columbia v. UChi (15k) v. GULC (75k) v. Duke (67.5k) HELP

Postby Doorkeeper » Wed Mar 21, 2012 10:03 am

Columbia for NYC biglaw placement. You don't need to be as debt averse as people who have nebulous goals out of law school. If you want biglaw, and you get biglaw, you will be able to pay off your loans on schedule so long as you don't live a crazy luxurious lifestyle. Therefore, you go to the school that gives you the best chance at getting biglaw. That is undoubtedly Columbia or Chicago. Since you want NYC, my preference was for Columbia over Chicago.

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jrthor10
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Re: Columbia v. UChi (15k) v. GULC (75k) v. Duke (67.5k) HELP

Postby jrthor10 » Wed Mar 21, 2012 10:04 am

duckmoney wrote:Either Chicago or Columbia will give you the best chance of big law. GULC should be out; its biglaw placement rates are terrible. Duke is better, but not for only $50k more debt than Chicago.

Between Chicago and Columbia, visit both and see what you like. Also figure out where you want to practice. Chicago will give you a little more flexible because it may open up the Chicago market as an option. Columbia won't necessarily give you an edge on NYC hiring in terms of grade cutoffs, but it will give you greater access to employers in NYC. Both give you about an equal chance of getting to DC or any other market you have ties to.

Note the Chicago cost of living is cheaper than Columbia, so if they don't give you financial aid then Chicago will be considerably cheaper.



I think terrible is an overstatement and also very relative. Putting 1/3 of your class into big law is not terrible, nor is it good.

duckmoney
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Re: Columbia v. UChi (15k) v. GULC (75k) v. Duke (67.5k) HELP

Postby duckmoney » Wed Mar 21, 2012 10:22 am

jrthor10 wrote:
duckmoney wrote:Either Chicago or Columbia will give you the best chance of big law. GULC should be out; its biglaw placement rates are terrible. Duke is better, but not for only $50k more debt than Chicago.

Between Chicago and Columbia, visit both and see what you like. Also figure out where you want to practice. Chicago will give you a little more flexible because it may open up the Chicago market as an option. Columbia won't necessarily give you an edge on NYC hiring in terms of grade cutoffs, but it will give you greater access to employers in NYC. Both give you about an equal chance of getting to DC or any other market you have ties to.

Note the Chicago cost of living is cheaper than Columbia, so if they don't give you financial aid then Chicago will be considerably cheaper.



I think terrible is an overstatement and also very relative. Putting 1/3 of your class into big law is not terrible, nor is it good.


You're right, its not terrible in an absolute sense - plenty of law schools would kill for those numbers. But Chicago and Columbia send about twice that much into biglaw. Compared to that, its pretty terrible.

AS33
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Re: Columbia v. UChi (15k) v. GULC (75k) v. Duke (67.5k) HELP

Postby AS33 » Wed Mar 21, 2012 11:17 am

Seems like many people think Chicago/Columbia is worth the price for big law dreams

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Nelson
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Re: Columbia v. UChi (15k) v. GULC (75k) v. Duke (67.5k) HELP

Postby Nelson » Wed Mar 21, 2012 11:23 am

I think it would be foolish to turn down that much Duke money to pay sticker at Columbia or Chicago. The placement difference is not that large. Where are MVP in this equation?

AS33
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Re: Columbia v. UChi (15k) v. GULC (75k) v. Duke (67.5k) HELP

Postby AS33 » Wed Mar 21, 2012 11:29 am

Nelson wrote:I think it would be foolish to turn down that much Duke money to pay sticker at Columbia or Chicago. The placement difference is not that large. Where are MVP in this equation?


Do you think it would be foolish to turn down the gtown $, though?

M- rejected
V- didn't apply
P- waitlisted and withdrew

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Nelson
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Re: Columbia v. UChi (15k) v. GULC (75k) v. Duke (67.5k) HELP

Postby Nelson » Wed Mar 21, 2012 11:36 am

AS33 wrote:
Nelson wrote:I think it would be foolish to turn down that much Duke money to pay sticker at Columbia or Chicago. The placement difference is not that large. Where are MVP in this equation?


Do you think it would be foolish to turn down the gtown $, though?

M- rejected
V- didn't apply
P- waitlisted and withdrew

TLS "T13" joking aside, there seems to be a clear distinction between the rest of the lower T14 and Georgetown just because of GULC's huge class. Given that they are roughly the same price, I'd go to Duke over GULC in this case. I think taking out 200k+ in loans is a bad decision at any law school, but others may disagree.

AS33
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Re: Columbia v. UChi (15k) v. GULC (75k) v. Duke (67.5k) HELP

Postby AS33 » Wed Mar 21, 2012 1:23 pm

Thanks for your input, Nelson

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bk1
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Re: Columbia v. UChi (15k) v. GULC (75k) v. Duke (67.5k) HELP

Postby bk1 » Wed Mar 21, 2012 2:00 pm

I would argue that cost differences between CLS/UChi aren't important (and that they are also unimportant for GULC/Duke). 15k is nothing compared to the 200-250k debt that each of these schools will cost so you should pick your preference (also realize that your estimate of 200k is off considering sticker price at CLS/UChi is around 250k at graduation once you account for interest). Similarly, GULC/Duke are close enough in price that money probably shouldn't be a reason (however that might change if there is a significant difference between your CoL in DC and your CoL in Durham based on your current cheap apartment).

I'll agree that GULC gets hurt by its large class size but I feel that TLS exaggerates the difference between it and the rest of the T14 (consider that GULCers are more likely to want govt work and are more likely to target DC, one of the hardest markets, rather than NYC, one of the easiest markets). I could be wrong but I feel that it is a lot of conjecture on either side of the argument. I understand that this is a simplistic analysis but looking at NLJ250 data (which of course doesn't account for clerkships and a myriad other things): GULC was within 0.5% of UMich in 2011, within 0.5% of Duke in 2010, over 1% ahead of Cornell in 2009, roughly 5% behind UMich (50vs55) in 2008, roughly 5% behind Berkeley (48vs53) in 2007, almost 5% ahead of Berkeley (53vs49) in 2006, and tied with Berkeley in 2005. Yes GULC is the laggard at the tail end of the T14 because it has a lot of students, but I would not say that the difference is substantial enough to dismiss it outright when compared to another lower T14 at similar cost.

So T6 at basically sticker vs lower T14 with around 70k. With interest at graduation that looks like something like around 250k debt at a T6 vs around 150k debt at a lower T14 (use this: --LinkRemoved--). I'm not so sure this is cut and dry. I actually think it leans pretty heavily in favor of Duke/GULC. Of course CLS/UChi will give better shots at biglaw, but paying back that debt is something to consider. 250k debt at graduation is going to take something like 5 years to pay off on a biglaw salary. But only 20% of associates make it that far so there is an 80% chance that you will leave before that for a lower paying job that will make repaying what you have left difficult (or conversely there is a chance that you want to be in that 80% yet can't leave a job you dislike because you have debt to pay). On the other hand, 150k debt means you could be debt free after 3 years on a biglaw salary (and 3 years is roughly the median length that people stay in biglaw). Of course there is more risk with the lower T14 in that you won't make biglaw, but there's also the risk with the T6 that if you do make biglaw you won't stay long enough to get your debt down to a reasonable level.

I'm voting for your preference of Duke/GULC. If they are similar cost (factoring in that cheap apartment you have) then I'd pick whichever one you prefer (this includes things like GULC's position at the bottom of the T14, how much you want to avoid the expenses/time/effort associated with moving, how much you prefer to stay in your current surroundings, how much you like each school, etc).

AS33
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Re: Columbia v. UChi (15k) v. GULC (75k) v. Duke (67.5k) HELP

Postby AS33 » Wed Mar 21, 2012 4:05 pm

This actually has been very eye opening - mostly because I find myself secretly hoping everyone tells me to go to Columbia and these are feelings I guess I didn't realize before. At least, if anything, I now know where my heart lies. But I do like Chicago......gah. Thanks everyone for your input, really appreciate it!

enigmabk
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Re: Columbia v. UChi (15k) v. GULC (75k) v. Duke (67.5k) HELP

Postby enigmabk » Wed Mar 21, 2012 9:07 pm

Columbia Or Chicago even with sticker, especially because it will give you better access to the higher ranked biglaw firms which in return can potentially give higher bonuses (especially at watchell)

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bk1
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Re: Columbia v. UChi (15k) v. GULC (75k) v. Duke (67.5k) HELP

Postby bk1 » Wed Mar 21, 2012 10:57 pm

enigmabk wrote:Columbia Or Chicago even with sticker, especially because it will give you better access to the higher ranked biglaw firms which in return can potentially give higher bonuses (especially at watchell)


Very few firms give sizeable bonuses so this is not something I would consider when making a school choice (and not to mention that bonuses count for a small fraction of compensation in large firms).

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Bronck
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Re: Columbia v. UChi (15k) v. GULC (75k) v. Duke (67.5k) HELP

Postby Bronck » Wed Mar 21, 2012 11:01 pm

bk1 wrote:
enigmabk wrote:Columbia Or Chicago even with sticker, especially because it will give you better access to the higher ranked biglaw firms which in return can potentially give higher bonuses (especially at watchell)


Very few firms give sizeable bonuses so this is not something I would consider when making a school choice (and not to mention that bonuses count for a small fraction of compensation in large firms).


I think this guy is onto something. Columbia --> Wachtell/Boies/Susman/etc or bust

Lol at saying that higher ranked biglaw firms are more likely to give bigger bonuses. *cough* Cravath *cough*

AS33
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Re: Columbia v. UChi (15k) v. GULC (75k) v. Duke (67.5k) HELP

Postby AS33 » Mon Apr 16, 2012 10:16 am

Thanks everyone for your feedback! For those of you who are wondering, I ended up picking Columbia at 25k.




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