Columbia (sticker) vs. Duke (75K)

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Columbia v. Duke

Columbia at sticker
57
48%
Duke with 72K
61
52%
 
Total votes: 118

liam_obrien
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Columbia (sticker) vs. Duke (75K)

Postby liam_obrien » Tue Apr 17, 2012 5:05 pm

Goals: Big law in either NYC or New Orleans (the only place other than NYC that my wife and I can ever see ourselves living). Also aiming to clerk but I realize that it's a bit of a crapshoot.

Currently living in Brooklyn but my wife's job is portable. Would cover most of our living costs in Durham so that I wouldn't have to borrow for much besides tuition. It would cover some of that cost in NYC but obviously not nearly as much.

Is Columbia worth the extra cash? What advantages does it have over Duke other than big law employers will go a bit deeper into the class?

shaville
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Re: Columbia (sticker) vs. Duke (75K)

Postby shaville » Tue Apr 17, 2012 5:14 pm

Columbia is not worth 100k more than Duke. No way.

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sach1282
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Re: Columbia (sticker) vs. Duke (75K)

Postby sach1282 » Tue Apr 17, 2012 5:20 pm

It really depends on how badly you want to work in NYC. New Orleans is currently the hardest city in the entire country to get a job in, and you either want to live there or in the easiest city in the country to get a legal job in... I mean, realistically, you'll be working in NYC. Ordinarily I would vote Duke, but, given that you essentially ONLY want to live in NYC, Columbia might be worth it. If your geographical preferences included anywhere else, Duke is the answer.

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erikjc
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Re: Columbia (sticker) vs. Duke (75K)

Postby erikjc » Tue Apr 17, 2012 8:23 pm

shaville wrote:Columbia is not worth 100k more than Duke. No way.


Why is that? I would think Harvard (sticker) is worth more than Duke (75k), and Columbia is ranked right below Harvard.

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smokeylarue
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Re: Columbia (sticker) vs. Duke (75K)

Postby smokeylarue » Tue Apr 17, 2012 8:33 pm

You and virtually everyone who got into Columbia got probably at least 60k from Duke/Michigan/Cornell. You wouldn't be the first or last person to choose Columbia over $$ from a lower T-14, it's quite common. I say go for your best shot at Big Law in NYC, which is Columbia by far.

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monkey85
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Re: Columbia (sticker) vs. Duke (75K)

Postby monkey85 » Tue Apr 17, 2012 8:46 pm

Stay in NYC, enjoy the summer without the hassle of moving, attend Columbia. When you graduate, you'll have a great degree that will get you your NYC biglaw and be portable to many other regions later on in life.

dabbadon8
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Re: Columbia (sticker) vs. Duke (75K)

Postby dabbadon8 » Tue Apr 17, 2012 8:54 pm

You would be paying approximately 10k per percentage point of extra placement into big law based on the most recent numbers. (Didn't look at clerkships, etc). Assuming you want big law, you would be betting ~100k on being in that 10 percent (given it's not like there's a point on curve where every gets biglaw above, and not if below it). That's quite the wager. I think you could rationally make the choice to go to columbia at sticker but it wouldn't be based purely on a monetary cost benefit analysis.

norcalChk
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Re: Columbia (sticker) vs. Duke (75K)

Postby norcalChk » Tue Apr 17, 2012 10:20 pm

Columbia's location in NYC might be factor, allowing for more networking opportunities/internships so you can land that NY job. That may be worth the extra cash for you. But having less debt gives you more options upon graduation.

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Tiago Splitter
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Re: Columbia (sticker) vs. Duke (75K)

Postby Tiago Splitter » Tue Apr 17, 2012 10:33 pm

dabbadon8 wrote:You would be paying approximately 10k per percentage point of extra placement into big law based on the most recent numbers. (Didn't look at clerkships, etc). Assuming you want big law, you would be betting ~100k on being in that 10 percent (given it's not like there's a point on curve where every gets biglaw above, and not if below it). That's quite the wager. I think you could rationally make the choice to go to columbia at sticker but it wouldn't be based purely on a monetary cost benefit analysis.


You could easily do it based off a monetary analysis if you consider the difference in lifetime earnings.

Sirius
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Re: Columbia (sticker) vs. Duke (75K)

Postby Sirius » Tue Apr 17, 2012 10:43 pm

1. You want to work in NYC -> Get apartment year around and not move and/or fly. If you have apt. at Duke you might be able to sublet, you might not.

2. Interviews --> You will be trying to get NYC --> Columbia in NYC

3. CoL NYC >>> Duke.

Overall, this is much more than 75K in scholarships money. You need to factor in apartments/CoL/travel expenses etc. and then come back with a final number. Odds are going to Duke over Columbia would equal 75K in scholarships + 20K in CoL saved over 3 years.

dabbadon8
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Re: Columbia (sticker) vs. Duke (75K)

Postby dabbadon8 » Tue Apr 17, 2012 10:44 pm

Tiago Splitter wrote:
dabbadon8 wrote:You would be paying approximately 10k per percentage point of extra placement into big law based on the most recent numbers. (Didn't look at clerkships, etc). Assuming you want big law, you would be betting ~100k on being in that 10 percent (given it's not like there's a point on curve where every gets biglaw above, and not if below it). That's quite the wager. I think you could rationally make the choice to go to columbia at sticker but it wouldn't be based purely on a monetary cost benefit analysis.


You could easily do it based off a monetary analysis if you consider the difference in lifetime earnings.


Right, because there is a meaningful difference in long term career trajectory between the two schools. All those Columbia grads must be getting those jobs that are impossible to get from the other T14 schools or maybe just going there makes you a rainmaker.

http://www.forbes.com/2011/03/07/rich-l ... ide_3.html

dissonance1848
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Re: Columbia (sticker) vs. Duke (75K)

Postby dissonance1848 » Tue Apr 17, 2012 10:54 pm

Hard to say. Given the need to hedge against being median and needing biglaw to payoff the debt, CLS makes a far amount of sense, but I can see Duke as reasonable too, since the money gives leeway for Duke median.

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erikjc
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Re: Columbia (sticker) vs. Duke (75K)

Postby erikjc » Tue Apr 17, 2012 11:01 pm

dabbadon8 wrote:
Tiago Splitter wrote:
dabbadon8 wrote:You would be paying approximately 10k per percentage point of extra placement into big law based on the most recent numbers. (Didn't look at clerkships, etc). Assuming you want big law, you would be betting ~100k on being in that 10 percent (given it's not like there's a point on curve where every gets biglaw above, and not if below it). That's quite the wager. I think you could rationally make the choice to go to columbia at sticker but it wouldn't be based purely on a monetary cost benefit analysis.


You could easily do it based off a monetary analysis if you consider the difference in lifetime earnings.


Right, because there is a meaningful difference in long term career trajectory between the two schools. All those Columbia grads must be getting those jobs that are impossible to get from the other T14 schools or maybe just going there makes you a rainmaker.

http://www.forbes.com/2011/03/07/rich-l ... ide_3.html


It's interesting that the picture they use for Duke is the building that was the old law school. Richard Nixon may have walked its halls at one point, but it is now home to undergrads. Just saying!

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Tiago Splitter
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Re: Columbia (sticker) vs. Duke (75K)

Postby Tiago Splitter » Tue Apr 17, 2012 11:02 pm

dabbadon8 wrote:
Tiago Splitter wrote:
dabbadon8 wrote:You would be paying approximately 10k per percentage point of extra placement into big law based on the most recent numbers. (Didn't look at clerkships, etc). Assuming you want big law, you would be betting ~100k on being in that 10 percent (given it's not like there's a point on curve where every gets biglaw above, and not if below it). That's quite the wager. I think you could rationally make the choice to go to columbia at sticker but it wouldn't be based purely on a monetary cost benefit analysis.


You could easily do it based off a monetary analysis if you consider the difference in lifetime earnings.


Right, because there is a meaningful difference in long term career trajectory between the two schools. All those Columbia grads must be getting those jobs that are impossible to get from the other T14 schools or maybe just going there makes you a rainmaker.

http://www.forbes.com/2011/03/07/rich-l ... ide_3.html


So why even point out the 10% difference in placement if it doesn't matter? Look, your first job makes a big impact on your lifetime earnings as a lawyer. The difference in lifetime earnings for the people who end up in that middle range, where Biglaw happens from Columbia but not Duke, is substantial.
Last edited by Tiago Splitter on Tue Apr 17, 2012 11:08 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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StrictlyBusiness
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Re: Columbia (sticker) vs. Duke (75K)

Postby StrictlyBusiness » Tue Apr 17, 2012 11:08 pm




I have nothing to dispute those numbers directly, but I'm going to take any list with a grain of salt after it puts BU over Harvard and ND over Chicago.

Duke is probably the better choice here, but there has to be some serious self-selection going on for their grads to make more "mid-career" than Columbia and Harvard grads.

As an update: I was able to find their methodology and they basically just used the median salary of those in the private sector around age 45. Touché Forbes. I still think Columbia opens many doors Duke may not, and obviously lower ranked schools (Yale out of the top 25) on that list are perfectly acceptable choices.

dabbadon8
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Re: Columbia (sticker) vs. Duke (75K)

Postby dabbadon8 » Tue Apr 17, 2012 11:20 pm

Tiago Splitter wrote:
dabbadon8 wrote:
Tiago Splitter wrote:
dabbadon8 wrote:You would be paying approximately 10k per percentage point of extra placement into big law based on the most recent numbers. (Didn't look at clerkships, etc). Assuming you want big law, you would be betting ~100k on being in that 10 percent (given it's not like there's a point on curve where every gets biglaw above, and not if below it). That's quite the wager. I think you could rationally make the choice to go to columbia at sticker but it wouldn't be based purely on a monetary cost benefit analysis.


You could easily do it based off a monetary analysis if you consider the difference in lifetime earnings.


Right, because there is a meaningful difference in long term career trajectory between the two schools. All those Columbia grads must be getting those jobs that are impossible to get from the other T14 schools or maybe just going there makes you a rainmaker.

http://www.forbes.com/2011/03/07/rich-l ... ide_3.html


So why even point out the 10% difference in placement if it doesn't matter? Look, your first job makes a big impact on your lifetime earnings as a lawyer. The difference in lifetime earnings for the people who end up in that middle range, where Biglaw happens from Columbia but not Duke, is substantial.


The placement difference matters initially to land that first biglaw job. However most people only stay in big law for 3~5 years. So what you're talking about is having a 10% better chance at making 160k/market/whatever straight out of school. After those couple years most people burn out or are forced out and have to transfer to something else, likely lower paying. So whether you're at Columbia or Duke, those biglaw years are going to be limited for most people. So odds are you are talking about paying 100k for a 10% chance at getting a job you'll only likely have for a few years. Yeah, there are good exit options out of big law, but the people who don't make biglaw at duke/columbia typically aren't picking up trash on the freeway either (maybe sheep farming). Point of all this being is that there isn't some major long term difference in career trajectory and there is a steep cost to pay for the immediate relative increase in job prospects. There are many good reasons one would choose Columbia, but the idea that it will some how magically make you tons more money in your career isn't one of them.

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Tiago Splitter
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Re: Columbia (sticker) vs. Duke (75K)

Postby Tiago Splitter » Tue Apr 17, 2012 11:28 pm

The conventional wisdom is that people who miss BigLaw and people who get BigLaw aren't generally making the same amounts five years later. But we'll have to agree to disagree, and in fairness the data on salaries that far out is fairly sparse. My main point is that it's not an open-and-shut case that there is no way to argue for Columbia over Duke on monetary differences.


Also, FWIW, the difference in placement into BigLaw (100+ attorneys) and Art. III clerkships between Columbia and Duke was 21% in 2010.

viewtopic.php?f=1&t=181415

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TUP
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Re: Columbia (sticker) vs. Duke (75K)

Postby TUP » Wed Apr 18, 2012 5:34 pm

I had a similar decision (but with NYU) and took the money. Tuition/COA increases have become absolutely ridiculous. You're basically looking at 140k or 240k debt. To put those numbers in perspective, even if you do get big law and live like a pauper (in NYC) to pay down ~$4k/month, you'll still have over 140k principal after 2.5 years. Keep in mind conventional wisdom is that half of the average SA class is gone by year 3, and not to higher paying jobs.

Also, 240k might make New Orleans impossible with a lower market base and compressed raises, even considering a lower COL.

lawyerwannabe
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Re: Columbia (sticker) vs. Duke (75K)

Postby lawyerwannabe » Wed Apr 18, 2012 5:41 pm

Tiago Splitter wrote:The conventional wisdom is that people who miss BigLaw and people who get BigLaw aren't generally making the same amounts five years later. But we'll have to agree to disagree, and in fairness the data on salaries that far out is fairly sparse. My main point is that it's not an open-and-shut case that there is no way to argue for Columbia over Duke on monetary differences.


Also, FWIW, the difference in placement into BigLaw (100+ attorneys) and Art. III clerkships between Columbia and Duke was 21% in 2010.

http://www.top-law-schools.com/forums/v ... 1&t=181415


This is when the bottom fell out, pretty sure, and a lot of Duke people got no-offered by southern firms or targeted wrong markets. There is a difference. But it is probably not 21%.

Note: voted Columbia

tiffanysims
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Re: Columbia (sticker) vs. Duke (75K)

Postby tiffanysims » Thu Jul 05, 2012 6:19 am

According to data from payscale.com and Forbes, Duke grads earn an average mid career salary of $221,000. That's more than every other law school except Stanford. Of course, the data is self reported, and could be slightly flawed, but the fact remains that there is no smoke without a fire. There is probably some underlying truth to the assertion that Duke grads make a lot of money, and do inordinately well at big law firms. I would go to Duke without too much hesitation, but of course that's just me.

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rickgrimes69
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Re: Columbia (sticker) vs. Duke (75K)

Postby rickgrimes69 » Thu Jul 05, 2012 8:17 am

shaville wrote:Columbia is not worth 100k more than Duke. No way.

TMC116
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Re: Columbia (sticker) vs. Duke (75K)

Postby TMC116 » Thu Jul 05, 2012 9:04 am

rickgrimes69 wrote:
shaville wrote:Columbia is not worth 100k more than Duke. No way.


+1

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Doorkeeper
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Re: Columbia (sticker) vs. Duke (75K)

Postby Doorkeeper » Thu Jul 05, 2012 10:43 am

Edit- old thread.
Last edited by Doorkeeper on Thu Jul 05, 2012 2:51 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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BruceWayne
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Re: Columbia (sticker) vs. Duke (75K)

Postby BruceWayne » Thu Jul 05, 2012 10:53 am

erikjc wrote:
shaville wrote:Columbia is not worth 100k more than Duke. No way.


Why is that? I would think Harvard (sticker) is worth more than Duke (75k), and Columbia is ranked right below Harvard.


People have got to stop using US News to determine relative placement power. The gap between Harvard and Columbia is HUGE; the gap between Duke and Columbia is real but it's not huge. That said for a NYC firm job it is pretty substantial. But that cost differential is so substantial that it neutralizes it.

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Ohiobumpkin
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Re: Columbia (sticker) vs. Duke (75K)

Postby Ohiobumpkin » Thu Jul 05, 2012 11:31 am

shaville wrote:Columbia is not worth 100k more than Duke. No way.


+1




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