HLS v. SLS v. CLS v. NYU

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HLS v. SLS v. CLS v. NYU

Harvard (170K debt)
15
16%
Stanford (150K debt)
20
22%
Columbia (30K debt)
52
57%
NYU (70K debt)
4
4%
 
Total votes: 91

Thurgreat marshall
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HLS v. SLS v. CLS v. NYU

Postby Thurgreat marshall » Sat Apr 07, 2012 1:21 pm

I'm having an extremely tough time with this decision, mainly because I'm not entirely sure what I want to do upon graduation. At a high-level, I'll probably plan to do Big Law in New York for 2-5 years, then I think I want to transition into something a little less intense and little more benign ... more public interest-oriented. That could be legal work or something else.

I haven't visited SLS yet, but I don't think location is going to end up being a driving criterion for me. Prestige is a consideration, but probably not enough to justify the hefty price tags on HLS AND SLS since all schools place well enough in NY Big Law. NYU seems to have a really dynamic faculty and student body, which is becoming a big draw for me (I don't really want to go to school with a-holes and really uptight people), and also has a strong public interest ethos and alum network, but Columbia is cheaper and seems have the slight employment edge in most other areas. Stanford seems to have a little bit of everything (prestige, chill student body, etc.), plus a cool plug into Silicon Valley (entrepreneurialism is a budding interest of mine), and Harvard is, well, Harvard.

In short, please help! Really appreciate any comments and insight offered.

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Gail
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Re: HLS v. SLS v. CLS v. NYU

Postby Gail » Sat Apr 07, 2012 1:22 pm

Sounds like you really liked NYU and 70k in debt is really no big deal.

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Bronck
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Re: HLS v. SLS v. CLS v. NYU

Postby Bronck » Sat Apr 07, 2012 1:24 pm

Honestly, I'd go with CLS here. If you had said that you wanted clerkships, academia, etc then I would have suggested Stanford or Harvard, but since you want to do biglaw in NYC, it's hard to pass up a nearly free education at Columbia.

TheRedMamba
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Re: HLS v. SLS v. CLS v. NYU

Postby TheRedMamba » Sat Apr 07, 2012 1:35 pm

Thurgreat marshall wrote: I haven't visited SLS yet, but I don't think location is going to end up being a driving criterion for me.


visit and rethink that last part

dc1s
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Re: HLS v. SLS v. CLS v. NYU

Postby dc1s » Sat Apr 07, 2012 1:38 pm

TheRedMamba wrote:
Thurgreat marshall wrote: I haven't visited SLS yet, but I don't think location is going to end up being a driving criterion for me.


visit and rethink that last part

chasgoose
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Re: HLS v. SLS v. CLS v. NYU

Postby chasgoose » Sat Apr 07, 2012 1:41 pm

NYU should be eliminated immediately. Despite what is bandied about on here, NYU and CLS are basically the same (NYU is a little more dynamic and laid-back/CLS is a bit more gunnery and ever-so-slightly more prestigious) but $10-20k more is the most anyone should pay based on "fit" at either school. You are going to have pretty much identical job opportunities and be largely surrounded by the same type of people. CLS does tend to get the more intense prestige-whorey types, but its not like NYU is filled with a bunch of party-happy slackers. They are both ginormous schools, neither one is going to be completely filled with any one "type." The subtle differences between the two are not worth $40k.

For CLS v. HLS v. SLS, I would probably take CLS, but since you have a less clear vision of what you want post-law school, HLS/SLS are going to keep a lot more doors open and that might be worth $100k in the long run. Between HLS/SLS, I would probably take SLS because it's cheaper and seems to fit your interests/personality more, but HLS wouldn't be a terrible decision.

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booboo
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Re: HLS v. SLS v. CLS v. NYU

Postby booboo » Sat Apr 07, 2012 1:42 pm

One: Have you tried to get NYU to match that amount from CLS?

Two: I would take SLS (NYU 1L). Small student body allows for a higher "demand" for SLS students. SLS, from your options, sends the least amount of people to NY Big Law (class percentage wise). All the Big Law firms are not the same. There is a stratification based on the amount of business, the industry "prestige", etc. SLS will offer you the best chance to work at a firm that you may not have a chance at working at, when comparing class ranks between the four schools. If you look at some Legal Employment threads, the V10 (many, if not all, are based in NY) have very few SLS grads. That means better news for you. You would also be competing with less of your classmates for SA positions in a particular market.

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FryBreadPower
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Re: HLS v. SLS v. CLS v. NYU

Postby FryBreadPower » Sat Apr 07, 2012 1:43 pm

I don't think I can say anything but Columbia given your preference for NYC biglaw. The difference between CLS cost and the other schools is pretty dramatic. (Not necessarily NYU, but why drop an extra $40k?)

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Nelson
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Re: HLS v. SLS v. CLS v. NYU

Postby Nelson » Sat Apr 07, 2012 1:43 pm

Columbia and don't think twice. I'm sure Palo Alto is great, but it's not worth 150 thousand dollars in debt.

timbs4339
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Re: HLS v. SLS v. CLS v. NYU

Postby timbs4339 » Sat Apr 07, 2012 1:52 pm

I'd have to say CLS here, but if the amounts were reversed I'd say NYU. Disclaimer: I'm a CLS 3L.

Thurgreat marshall
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Re: HLS v. SLS v. CLS v. NYU

Postby Thurgreat marshall » Sat Apr 07, 2012 2:04 pm

booboo wrote:One: Have you tried to get NYU to match that amount from CLS?

Two: I would take SLS (NYU 1L). Small student body allows for a higher "demand" for SLS students. SLS, from your options, sends the least amount of people to NY Big Law (class percentage wise). All the Big Law firms are not the same. There is a stratification based on the amount of business, the industry "prestige", etc. SLS will offer you the best chance to work at a firm that you may not have a chance at working at, when comparing class ranks between the four schools. If you look at some Legal Employment threads, the V10 (many, if not all, are based in NY) have very few SLS grads. That means better news for you. You would also be competing with less of your classmates for SA positions in a particular market.


I'm working on negotiating with NYU now, and there's a chance that they match my CLS offer. Not a guarantee, though.

I see your point on Stanford. Of the four in question, I know that SLS is among the least represented in NY Big Law, and I guess one can reasonably infer that that amounts to a modest edge. I guess my trouble with this is, since I don't know where I want to end up afterward, how much is that edge worth? Since I hope to get off the autobahn after Big Law -- not put my career into 12th gear to take more money and work longer hours for something that I ultimately believe less in -- how prestigious does my firm experience have to be? Would a more prestigious job give me the ability to later get a cushier position with a better salary, that doesn't command all my time and energy?

kaiser
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Re: HLS v. SLS v. CLS v. NYU

Postby kaiser » Sat Apr 07, 2012 2:05 pm

NYU 2L chiming in:

NYU and CLS are peer schools, especially when it comes to biglaw in NYC. If your goal is NYC big firm, your primary decider should be $$. I mean, if you love NYU, the Village, and the vibe you got there THAT much more, then its not like it would be a bad decision to pick it. But I don't think such preferences should outweigh $40K. Given that choice, I would absolutely go for the $$, whichever way the $$ went (i.e. if it was NYU offering the $$, I'd say pick NYU). But I still vote CLS here

EMZE
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Re: HLS v. SLS v. CLS v. NYU

Postby EMZE » Sat Apr 07, 2012 2:11 pm

IMHO

Since biglaw is something you only want for a short time, Columbia is your best bet. The exception would be if you can get NYU/HLS/SLS to match or at least come down on their price, which you should start cracking on now.

To try and put it in terms the total amount you'll make to pay off debt using the 2-5 year range for your time in biglaw, I drew this up right quick. I'm not including bonuses. I used a tax rate of 35% in an effort to incorporate state tax, but obviously this will vary. If you work in NYC, you are going to pay municipal tax or something too, but I haven't lived in NYC for about 10 years so I don't recall the rate.

Anyway

Years - Total - Post tax total
1 - 160K - ~105k
2 - 330k - ~215k
3 - 515k - ~335k
4 - 725k - ~ 470k
5 - 955k - ~ 620k

Factor in debt and living expenses and money saved for retirement, and you can probably figure out how much you will be able to live on after paying debt.

All of those schools will set you up well for making the figures above. It should definitely be a goal to try and pay off law school debt before leaving from biglaw. Personally, I think it would be awesome to be able to put money into savings and/or retirement accounts while you are still making biglaw money. Assuming you are young, it would be pretty awesome to have a retirement account with >100k before the age of 30.

TL;DR - your options are all incredible but your desired short duration for big law makes minimzing your debt much more important.

Thurgreat marshall
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Re: HLS v. SLS v. CLS v. NYU

Postby Thurgreat marshall » Sat Apr 07, 2012 2:14 pm

timbs4339 wrote:I'd have to say CLS here, but if the amounts were reversed I'd say NYU. Disclaimer: I'm a CLS 3L.


Thanks, much appreciated. So I guess the money's the main factor for you, but what about if the offers were equal? Not to play "what ifs" here, just a real possibility that I want to entertain and prepare for.

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soj
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Re: HLS v. SLS v. CLS v. NYU

Postby soj » Sat Apr 07, 2012 2:16 pm

Should be between CLS and SLS, IMO, with 120K being enough to favor CLS. I'd go with CLS, but SLS is probably a fine decision, too.

You shouldn't worry about SLS's low placement in NYC. I heard NYC Biglaw from SLS is super easy, and many SLS students treat it as a backup. The most competitive NYC firms probably go a little deeper into SLS's class than CLS's class.

I'm leaning CLS in a similar situation. It's tough because I'd like to end up in NorCal (with NYC my second choice) but have weak ties there. If I went to CLS, unless I got really good grades, I'd probably play it safe and focus on NYC rather than waste bids in the competitive and insular NorCal market. With so many NYC firms at OCI and the vast majority of my classmates targeting NYC, it'll just be too tempting to take the path of least resistance and risk. Is the $$ worth it if it'll shut me out, by choice or otherwise, of my top choice market? I've gone back and forth on this a lot, but I think once I start repaying my loans (or, God forbid, end up unemployed), I'll regret turning down the money by going to SLS more than I'll regret turning down the prestige, employment opportunities, and quality of life by going to CLS.

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bazinga!
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Re: HLS v. SLS v. CLS v. NYU

Postby bazinga! » Sat Apr 07, 2012 2:22 pm

with that extra 40K over three years you could drop an extra grand a month on rent and live in a sweet place in the village to get the dynamic feel. or not and stay only $30K in debt, pay it off in 1-2 years at BigLaw and do whatever you want with a fancy CLS degree. not trying to discount the feel and fit of schools, but this seems like a no-brainer.

if nyu matches sure just pick where you feel more comfortable, like the students, faculty, housing, etc..

fisherb
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Re: HLS v. SLS v. CLS v. NYU

Postby fisherb » Sat Apr 07, 2012 2:31 pm

You may want to reserve judgment until you visit SLS. I would see how I feel after you visit, even though you may correctly believe that the location won't make a difference.

Regardless of that, given your big law/public interest/more relaxed class preferences, SLS may ultimately be the best fit for you. At the end of the day you should go wherever you see yourself really thriving and being able to enjoy your life because that will also be where you will do the best. Of course money is a factor, but you don't want to be in a position 30 years from now where you look back to see that money (which may seem like more now than later) was the driving factor in your decision-making.

dixiecupdrinking
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Re: HLS v. SLS v. CLS v. NYU

Postby dixiecupdrinking » Sat Apr 07, 2012 2:33 pm

Another NYU student who says CLS, unless NYU matches. If they do happen to match, then if you prefer NYU over CLS definitely go there.

JasonR
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Re: HLS v. SLS v. CLS v. NYU

Postby JasonR » Sat Apr 07, 2012 2:36 pm

CLS, unless NYU matches or comes close.

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Elston Gunn
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Re: HLS v. SLS v. CLS v. NYU

Postby Elston Gunn » Sat Apr 07, 2012 2:36 pm

At a high-level, I'll probably plan to do Big Law in New York for 2-5 years, then I think I want to transition into something a little less intense and little more benign ... more public interest-oriented. That could be legal work or something else.


If you had said that you wanted to transition into something prestigious after Biglaw, then I might've recommended SLS (as I imagine the fed clerkship you'd have a real shot at there+possibly more prestigious firm would greatly increase your exit options, even if the SLS name didn't), but since you're looking for something more "benign" instead I think CLS is the way to go.

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AntipodeanPhil
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Re: HLS v. SLS v. CLS v. NYU

Postby AntipodeanPhil » Sat Apr 07, 2012 4:25 pm

chasgoose wrote:NYU should be eliminated immediately.

+ 1

For NYU big law, CLS is a little better than NYU, despite what some people claim, and since it's $40k cheaper, NYU shouldn't even be on your list.

chasgoose
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Re: HLS v. SLS v. CLS v. NYU

Postby chasgoose » Sat Apr 07, 2012 4:44 pm

Thurgreat marshall wrote:
timbs4339 wrote:I'd have to say CLS here, but if the amounts were reversed I'd say NYU. Disclaimer: I'm a CLS 3L.


Thanks, much appreciated. So I guess the money's the main factor for you, but what about if the offers were equal? Not to play "what ifs" here, just a real possibility that I want to entertain and prepare for.


It sounds like you like NYU better (otherwise you wouldn't even be debating this issue). If NYU matches or comes close ($10-$20k) then you should take it. Despite what some 0L's say on here, NYU=CLS in every important factor in terms of opportunities available post-graduation. I can't think of a single job that would be available to a CLS student that wouldn't be available to an NYU student who is similarly ranked.

Remember, you are going to be spending most of the next 3 years at either of the two schools. Even though they are far more similar than different, $10-20k is not an unreasonable amount to spend to go to the school that you think will make you happiest based on whatever subtle distinctions attract you to them. $40k, however, is too much. You aren't going to be $40k happier attending NYU than you would be attending CLS.

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quiver
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Re: HLS v. SLS v. CLS v. NYU

Postby quiver » Sat Apr 07, 2012 7:14 pm

Bronck wrote:Honestly, I'd go with CLS here. If you had said that you wanted clerkships, academia, etc then I would have suggested Stanford or Harvard, but since you want to do biglaw in NYC, it's hard to pass up a nearly free education at Columbia.
This is all that really needs to be said here I think. Any advantage that HLS or SLS has over CLS for NYC biglaw is minimal at best. If you like the Village that much than live there and commute to CLS; it's not a far trip. If NYU matches then pick the one of CLS/NYU that you like more. Because you're aiming for biglaw (and not clerkships/academia), and because you're aiming for NYC biglaw, this is really pretty simple I think. Take the money.




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