Columbia($) vs. Duke($$) vs. UCLA($$$)

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

Total CoA:

Columbia: $192,000
27
38%
NYU: $180,000
5
7%
Cornell: $164,000
0
No votes
NW: $142,000
0
No votes
Duke: $130,000
11
15%
Vandy: $115,000
0
No votes
UTexas: $87,000
2
3%
UCLA $Free
26
36%
Georgetown: ?????
1
1%
 
Total votes: 72

Banosby
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Columbia($) vs. Duke($$) vs. UCLA($$$)

Postby Banosby » Sat Apr 14, 2012 4:15 pm

So, I've finally heard back on money from everywhere except Georgetown, and they've indicated they're not going to get back to me for a couple of weeks. I don't really have a good idea of what I should be doing, so I'm looking to the collective TLS wisdom for advice.

Pertinent facts:

1. I'm focused on 'prestigious PI' after graduation. First choice would be DoJ, then state Attorneys General (MA, then CA, then NY, in that order), then clerkship - USAO (CA, then MA, then NY, in that order).

2. While I care where I practice (see above), I don't care much about the location where I go to school, although I have a slight preference for NY. The ASWs that I've been to haven't made much of an impression on me one way or the other.

3. UCLA being more or less free is dependent upon a service related fee waiver that the guidelines indicate I am eligible for, but they won't guarantee anything until I register for classes, so there is some possibility, presumably slight, that UCLA would end up being much more expensive (but still the cheapest option).

4. Columbia, Duke, and Georgetown are the only schools I know of that have programs placing you in the DoJ for a semester, which seems very important given I want to work for the DoJ. Anyone else knows any different, I'd love to hear about it.

Thoughts?

lawyerwannabe
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Re: Columbia($) vs. Duke($$) vs. UCLA($$$)

Postby lawyerwannabe » Sat Apr 14, 2012 4:18 pm

It is definitely between Columbia and Duke. I voted CLS just because I consider it a school that is invaluable to have on your resume for the rest of your career (along with HYS). This is tough for me to say especially since I am a Duke student.

Banosby
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Re: Columbia($) vs. Duke($$) vs. UCLA($$$)

Postby Banosby » Sat Apr 14, 2012 4:52 pm

Thanks for the reply. How has Duke been treating you?

Anyone who's been voting for UCLA/Columbia have any thoughts on why one over the other?

lawyerwannabe
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Re: Columbia($) vs. Duke($$) vs. UCLA($$$)

Postby lawyerwannabe » Sat Apr 14, 2012 5:04 pm

Great. Don't get me wrong. I love Duke, but it seems like anyone with a pulse can get BigLaw out of CLS. Their placement power would greatly ease the stresses of 1L in my opinion which would be pretty awesome.

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NinerFan
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Re: Columbia($) vs. Duke($$) vs. UCLA($$$)

Postby NinerFan » Sat Apr 14, 2012 5:22 pm

lawyerwannabe wrote:Great. Don't get me wrong. I love Duke, but it seems like anyone with a pulse can get BigLaw out of CLS. Their placement power would greatly ease the stresses of 1L in my opinion which would be pretty awesome.


Not sure how this helps OP's stated desire for a PI job.

fakehunter
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Re: Columbia($) vs. Duke($$) vs. UCLA($$$)

Postby fakehunter » Sat Apr 14, 2012 5:55 pm

I voted for Duke. I'm not sure about LRAP programs at either schools but for a PI job, an extra 60k isn't something to scoff at. Plus, CoL is so much lower in Durham than NYC, so that will make a big difference, too.

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quiver
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Re: Columbia($) vs. Duke($$) vs. UCLA($$$)

Postby quiver » Sat Apr 14, 2012 6:04 pm

Where do you have ties?

Banosby
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Re: Columbia($) vs. Duke($$) vs. UCLA($$$)

Postby Banosby » Sat Apr 14, 2012 6:25 pm

Well, I'm from Northern California (about 14 hours from UCLA), but I've been in the MA/RI area going to undergrad, working, and going to grad school for the past 12 years or so. Family friends in DC and personal friends in NY.

And ya, LRAP is a pretty big concern for me. If there was no LRAP/IBR, I'd pick UCLA in a minute. But who knows if I'll actually land a PI job, right?

And thanks for all the replies; any and all advice, particularly with reasons supporting them, are appreciated.

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cjcregg
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Re: Columbia($) vs. Duke($$) vs. UCLA($$$)

Postby cjcregg » Sat Apr 14, 2012 6:47 pm

Isn't the most important question here whether schools other than Columbia and NYU can land you a prestigious PI job? I was appalled to learn in my visit to Georgetown that after graduating, grads end up in an entry level program at DoJ. I was advised that a lateral move from BigLaw to gov was the best way to land a prestigious gov job. The admissions officer I spoke to at Gtown didn't mention the DoJ semester program and didn't mention the affect that program might have on getting a post-grad job.

Therefore, (and I don't really know much about gov placement at any of these schools) if you were to go to a less prestigious school, you might have to do BigLaw following graduation in order to have a shot at DoJ. Based on conversations I had with a few current law students who were also interested in State AG, they also felt that they needed to do BigLaw prior to that to establish credentials.

I would say its most likely that NYU/CU get you your first PI choices. Still, the name of the school prob matters less than the connections you're able to develop while you're there. I wouldn't take for granted that the DoJ semester program guarantees 'prestigious' placement following graduation. I'd ask CU for evidence or talk to alumni. I'd also ask someone at NYU how they manage to get people in those types of jobs w/o the semester program.

I am sure all of these schools would be eager to provide you w/ this sort of information as information is cheaper than scholarships.

If you're dead-set on PI, and prestigious PI, I think you're best route is CU, NYU and LRAPing. Still, if asked Duke might provide you w/ a compelling enough roadmap to convince you that they can also deliver.

I understand that there aren't really any answers here. They are just the questions I think you should be asking.

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quiver
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Re: Columbia($) vs. Duke($$) vs. UCLA($$$)

Postby quiver » Sat Apr 14, 2012 6:58 pm

Banosby wrote:1. I'm focused on 'prestigious PI' after graduation. First choice would be DoJ, then state Attorneys General (MA, then CA, then NY, in that order), then clerkship - USAO (CA, then MA, then NY, in that order).
Like you said, LRAPs are the key concern for this stuff so I would look closely at those first. CLS and NYU probably have the best LRAPs on your list and will give you the best chance (everything else being equal) of placing you into prestigious positions (i.e. DOJ or clerkship). NYU is commonly cited as having a stronger PI presence (both institutionally and in terms of employment) than CLS but I would visit both and see for yourself if you haven't already. Both can place into DOJ if you have the other requisite credentials. With ties to the other areas, you shouldn't have a problem in terms of placement from any T14 and you'd probably be fine from UCLA too.


Banosby wrote:2. While I care where I practice (see above), I don't care much about the location where I go to school, although I have a slight preference for NY. The ASWs that I've been to haven't made much of an impression on me one way or the other.
CLS vs. NYU then anyway. Cornell isn't worth the consideration here I don't think.

Banosby wrote:4. Columbia, Duke, and Georgetown are the only schools I know of that have programs placing you in the DoJ for a semester, which seems very important given I want to work for the DoJ. Anyone else knows any different, I'd love to hear about it.
Not sure how much weight you should put on this factor. You have 2 summers to establish a foothold in DOJ and CLS/NYU should be able to get you those summer positions anyway. It might be a slight plus for CLS over NYU if you're completely on the fence though.

IMO, if you're dead set on PI then the LRAPs are the key consideration, which obviously points to CLS/NYU given their LRAPs and your preference for a NY school. Little/no debt from UCLA would be nice, but if you're going to be using IBR and/or LRAP then the amount of debt shouldn't matter too much anyway. Plus CLS/NYU will give you a better chance at those prestigious positions. I would choose on preference between those two.

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Elston Gunn
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Re: Columbia($) vs. Duke($$) vs. UCLA($$$)

Postby Elston Gunn » Sat Apr 14, 2012 7:46 pm

0L, but everything I've gotten from reading this board has led me to believe that getting DOJ right out of LS is near-impossible. I'm not sure about DOJ specifically, but most Honors programs (i.e. entry level BigFed) are incredibly competitive for federal clerks. I don't know about AGs, but I would ask around. If you really want BigFed, then your best path may be: get gov internships/externships while in LS-->work in biglaw for 2-3 years, hopefully on something relevant to DOJ-->lateral.

In this case, firm prestige may actually matter quite a bit, so that could be another argument for NYU/CLS. I'd probably choose Duke though, especially since if you were able to lateral, by the time you got there you probably would only partially qualify for LRAP (BigFed pays pretty well), and so would be in a similar predicament debt-wise to someone who leaves big law after 2-3 years for an in-house position or smaller firm.

CanadianWolf
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Re: Columbia($) vs. Duke($$) vs. UCLA($$$)

Postby CanadianWolf » Sat Apr 14, 2012 7:49 pm

UCLA--is an explanation really needed ?

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Elston Gunn
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Re: Columbia($) vs. Duke($$) vs. UCLA($$$)

Postby Elston Gunn » Sat Apr 14, 2012 7:52 pm

CanadianWolf wrote:UCLA--is an explanation really needed ?


Yeah. UCLA should seriously be getting more love too. It depends how desperately OP wants prestigious government stuff (though again, maybe AG's offices aren't so prestige conscious).

ETA: OP, I think you may need to reexamine your career goals, and ask yourself if you'd be satisfied with "lesser" outcomes than the ones you're saying you're targeting. I mean, your third choice is a clerkship (I assume federal), which is about the most prestigious thing you can do out of LS.

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Dany
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Re: Columbia($) vs. Duke($$) vs. UCLA($$$)

Postby Dany » Sat Apr 14, 2012 7:56 pm

I wouldn't spend $200k at any of your other choices when you can go to UCLA for free. Prestigious PI and clerkships are REALLY hard to get, and when those doesn't pan out, graduating debt-free is going to leave you with more options.

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quiver
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Re: Columbia($) vs. Duke($$) vs. UCLA($$$)

Postby quiver » Sat Apr 14, 2012 8:11 pm

Elston Gunn wrote:ETA: OP, I think you may need to reexamine your career goals, and ask yourself if you'd be satisfied with "lesser" outcomes than the ones you're saying you're targeting. I mean, your third choice is a clerkship (I assume federal), which is about the most prestigious thing you can do out of LS.
Yeah I agree with this too.

rad lulz
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Re: Columbia($) vs. Duke($$) vs. UCLA($$$)

Postby rad lulz » Sat Apr 14, 2012 8:14 pm

.
Last edited by rad lulz on Mon Apr 22, 2013 11:59 am, edited 1 time in total.

Banosby
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Re: Columbia($) vs. Duke($$) vs. UCLA($$$)

Postby Banosby » Sat Apr 14, 2012 11:23 pm

First, allow me to thank everyone who has offered advice and input. I really do appreciate all of it. I'm going to try and respond to some of the comments in the hope that I can help clarify my position.

quiver wrote:
Elston Gunn wrote:ETA: OP, I think you may need to reexamine your career goals, and ask yourself if you'd be satisfied with "lesser" outcomes than the ones you're saying you're targeting. I mean, your third choice is a clerkship (I assume federal), which is about the most prestigious thing you can do out of LS.
Yeah I agree with this too.


I realize that my first post was somewhat misleading. I'm not at all interested in the prestige of these positions, I just happen to be interested in an area of law best practiced with these organizations. Specifically, I'm interested in working with the PIN section of the DoJ, or doing similar work elsewhere. This only really answers part of the above charge, but to clarify, if I end up doing similar work in less prestigious positions, I'd be quite happy. For the other half:

Elston Gunn wrote:0L, but everything I've gotten from reading this board has led me to believe that getting DOJ right out of LS is near-impossible. I'm not sure about DOJ specifically, but most Honors programs (i.e. entry level BigFed) are incredibly competitive for federal clerks. I don't know about AGs, but I would ask around. If you really want BigFed, then your best path may be: get gov internships/externships while in LS-->work in biglaw for 2-3 years, hopefully on something relevant to DOJ-->lateral.

In this case, firm prestige may actually matter quite a bit, so that could be another argument for NYU/CLS. I'd probably choose Duke though, especially since if you were able to lateral, by the time you got there you probably would only partially qualify for LRAP (BigFed pays pretty well), and so would be in a similar predicament debt-wise to someone who leaves big law after 2-3 years for an in-house position or smaller firm.


I have no illusions (I hope) about securing any of the positions that I'm looking for. All of the 3Ls that I've spoken to who've been looking for these sorts of posts as well as all of the professors with whom I've spoken haven't been sanguine about my chances. This might lead me to hedge my bets by going to UCLA, or it might lead me to double down and do everything I can to increase my odds by going to Columbia. Advice like the above is quite useful; it suggests that I ought to be looking for firm work directly out of school given my long-term goals, which is an option I hadn't considered.

quiver wrote:
Banosby wrote:4. Columbia, Duke, and Georgetown are the only schools I know of that have programs placing you in the DoJ for a semester, which seems very important given I want to work for the DoJ. Anyone else knows any different, I'd love to hear about it.
Not sure how much weight you should put on this factor. You have 2 summers to establish a foothold in DOJ and CLS/NYU should be able to get you those summer positions anyway. It might be a slight plus for CLS over NYU if you're completely on the fence though.


My interest in externships with the DoJ is based on two factors. First, from what I understand, there are a lot of students who internship with them over the summer, but very few who work with them during the semester. I would presumably get more networking benefit out of working there when I was the only one doing so. Also, if I externship there over the summer, I may be able to internship in a similar position elsewhere during my 2L summer, thereby diversifying my experience and setting up a different job when I graduate should the DoJ not work out (which, of course, seems like a likelihood).

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quiver
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Re: Columbia($) vs. Duke($$) vs. UCLA($$$)

Postby quiver » Sun Apr 15, 2012 12:22 pm

Banosby wrote:My interest in externships with the DoJ is based on two factors. First, from what I understand, there are a lot of students who internship with them over the summer, but very few who work with them during the semester. I would presumably get more networking benefit out of working there when I was the only one doing so. Also, if I externship there over the summer, I may be able to internship in a similar position elsewhere during my 2L summer, thereby diversifying my experience and setting up a different job when I graduate should the DoJ not work out (which, of course, seems like a likelihood).
Yeah, again, I'm not sure if this is correct. With respect to your latter point, you could always just switch them and do DOJ over the summer and a different externship during the semester (which also have less interns during the semester than over the summer). For example, if you do CLS/NYU there's USAOs (SDNY and EDNY), AG, DA, etc. all in NYC during the semester. To your former point, I'm not sure how much extra networking you'll get done just because there are less interns there. And, as mentioned before, the other places you'll intern during the semester will also have less interns during the semester than over the summer and may or may not provide a better chance for post-grad employment.

Of course all of this is in the abstract, but my main point was just that you shouldn't put too much weight on being able to intern at DOJ during the semester.

rad lulz
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Re: Columbia($) vs. Duke($$) vs. UCLA($$$)

Postby rad lulz » Sun Apr 15, 2012 1:36 pm

Consider firm work, yes. Read up on white collar crime.

It's hard to give you advice when your career goal is basically next to unachievable.

timbs4339
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Re: Columbia($) vs. Duke($$) vs. UCLA($$$)

Postby timbs4339 » Sun Apr 15, 2012 4:24 pm

CLS 3L here. It's going to be very challenging to get DOJ out of law school right now even with internships. You'll probably need to spend a few years working for a large litigation firm first. The huge NYC litigation firms send many associates into the DOJ.

Even state attorney general's offices are very competitive. I intern for NY right now and my bureau has a two-year rule (must have two years of practice experience to be considered). Columbia does have a great State AG center led by James Tierney (who is an awesome contact to have if that is your goal). And if you want to intern or work during the semester it would be much better to be going to school in New York. I highly recommend interning for the NY State AG which is an awesome experience.

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NinerFan
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Re: Columbia($) vs. Duke($$) vs. UCLA($$$)

Postby NinerFan » Sun Apr 15, 2012 4:53 pm

Not really sure what you mean by the service related fee waiver, but if it's not a big deal, UCLA free > your other options.

Banosby
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Re: Columbia($) vs. Duke($$) vs. UCLA($$$)

Postby Banosby » Sun Apr 15, 2012 11:17 pm

NinerFan wrote:Not really sure what you mean by the service related fee waiver, but if it's not a big deal, UCLA free > your other options.


California waives tuition fees for people who've been injured in the service and their children at all state schools.

rad lulz wrote:Consider firm work, yes. Read up on white collar crime.

It's hard to give you advice when your career goal is basically next to unachievable.


You could always tell me to retake. Kinda disappointed I haven't heard that yet to be honest. But point taken, and will do.

timbs4339 wrote:CLS 3L here. It's going to be very challenging to get DOJ out of law school right now even with internships. You'll probably need to spend a few years working for a large litigation firm first. The huge NYC litigation firms send many associates into the DOJ.


Hmmmm...once again, point taken. This makes the whole LRAP/IBR thing less appealing. I know I can enter the program after a couple of years of non-eligible employment, but at that point it isn't nearly as useful.

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Funkycrime
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Re: Columbia($) vs. Duke($$) vs. UCLA($$$)

Postby Funkycrime » Mon Apr 16, 2012 2:29 pm

I picked Georgetown for the lulz.




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