Columbia (sticker) v. UCLA ($75k)

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Columbia (sticker) or UCLA ($75k)?

Columbia (sticker)
33
69%
UCLA (75k)
15
31%
 
Total votes: 48

Mauls
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Columbia (sticker) v. UCLA ($75k)

Postby Mauls » Tue Apr 24, 2012 1:08 pm

I am from LA and want to practice in LA (biglaw), but I am intrigued by Columbia's name and national reputation. I went to undergrad in LA as well, so Columbia would allow me to get out of LA and enjoy NYC for a few years, but I would be paying a premium for the experience. Still negotiating with both schools.

Any advice would be much appreciated.

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jkpolk
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Re: Columbia (sticker) v. UCLA ($75k)

Postby jkpolk » Tue Apr 24, 2012 1:20 pm

Mauls wrote:I am from LA and want to practice in LA (biglaw), but I am intrigued by Columbia's name and national reputation. I went to undergrad in LA as well, so Columbia would allow me to get out of LA and enjoy NYC for a few years, but I would be paying a premium for the experience. Still negotiating with both schools.

Any advice would be much appreciated.


Columbia is damn expensive, going to be well more than 75k difference between the COAs. If there is a chance you see yourself wanting to work in NYC, Columbia would be the safe play to keep options open. If you are set on LA, I'm not sure it makes much sense to pay 100k+ for a NY "experience" and a marginally better degree. But money is fungible, seems like a tough call.

AtticusJimbo
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Re: Columbia (sticker) v. UCLA ($75k)

Postby AtticusJimbo » Tue Apr 24, 2012 1:24 pm

polkij333 wrote:
Mauls wrote:I am from LA and want to practice in LA (biglaw), but I am intrigued by Columbia's name and national reputation. I went to undergrad in LA as well, so Columbia would allow me to get out of LA and enjoy NYC for a few years, but I would be paying a premium for the experience. Still negotiating with both schools.

Any advice would be much appreciated.


Columbia is damn expensive, going to be well more than 75k difference between the COAs. If there is a chance you see yourself wanting to work in NYC, Columbia would be the safe play to keep options open. If you are set on LA, I'm not sure it makes much sense to pay 100k+ for a NY "experience" and a marginally better degree. But money is fungible, seems like a tough call.


orly?

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Nelson
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Re: Columbia (sticker) v. UCLA ($75k)

Postby Nelson » Tue Apr 24, 2012 1:27 pm

Columbia at sticker isn't worth it for your goals. Any in between options?

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birdlaw117
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Re: Columbia (sticker) v. UCLA ($75k)

Postby birdlaw117 » Tue Apr 24, 2012 1:28 pm

Nelson wrote:Columbia at sticker isn't worth it for your goals. Any in between options?

Columbia at sticker is probably more worth it than UCLA for OP's goals.

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jkpolk
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Re: Columbia (sticker) v. UCLA ($75k)

Postby jkpolk » Tue Apr 24, 2012 1:30 pm

AtticusJimbo wrote:
polkij333 wrote:
Mauls wrote:I am from LA and want to practice in LA (biglaw), but I am intrigued by Columbia's name and national reputation. I went to undergrad in LA as well, so Columbia would allow me to get out of LA and enjoy NYC for a few years, but I would be paying a premium for the experience. Still negotiating with both schools.

Any advice would be much appreciated.


Columbia is damn expensive, going to be well more than 75k difference between the COAs. If there is a chance you see yourself wanting to work in NYC, Columbia would be the safe play to keep options open. If you are set on LA, I'm not sure it makes much sense to pay 100k+ for a NY "experience" and a marginally better degree. But money is fungible, seems like a tough call.


orly?


After OP's first job, I doubt it will matter much for him/her.

Edit: Obviously just my opinion and not claiming to be authoritative, based only conjecture/UCLA alums I've met
Last edited by jkpolk on Tue Apr 24, 2012 1:33 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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Nelson
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Re: Columbia (sticker) v. UCLA ($75k)

Postby Nelson » Tue Apr 24, 2012 1:32 pm

birdlaw117 wrote:
Nelson wrote:Columbia at sticker isn't worth it for your goals. Any in between options?

Columbia at sticker is probably more worth it than UCLA for OP's goals.

210k in debt? Hardly ever worth it. Definitely not worth it for someone who just wants to practice at a firm. If there really are no T14 with money options here, then UCLA makes a lot more sense.
Last edited by Nelson on Tue Apr 24, 2012 1:33 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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birdlaw117
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Re: Columbia (sticker) v. UCLA ($75k)

Postby birdlaw117 » Tue Apr 24, 2012 1:32 pm

polkij333 wrote:After OP's first job, I doubt it will matter much for him/her.

Assuming OP gets the same first job, that is... which is a pretty big and unwarranted assumption.

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jkpolk
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Re: Columbia (sticker) v. UCLA ($75k)

Postby jkpolk » Tue Apr 24, 2012 1:33 pm

birdlaw117 wrote:
polkij333 wrote:After OP's first job, I doubt it will matter much for him/her.

Assuming OP gets the same first job, that is... which is a pretty big and unwarranted assumption.


If UCLA can't land graduates into LA Big Law the school should fold.

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birdlaw117
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Re: Columbia (sticker) v. UCLA ($75k)

Postby birdlaw117 » Tue Apr 24, 2012 1:34 pm

Nelson wrote:
birdlaw117 wrote:
Nelson wrote:Columbia at sticker isn't worth it for your goals. Any in between options?

Columbia at sticker is probably more worth it than UCLA for OP's goals.

250k in debt? Hardly ever worth it. Definitely not worth it for someone who just wants to practice at a firm. If there really are no T14 with money options here, then UCLA makes a lot more sense.

the difference between 150k in debt and 225k in debt is less significant. If OP can't pay back 225k in debt he probably can't pay back 150k in debt. And he has a better chance of getting a job that pays back that debt from Columbia.

timbs4339
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Re: Columbia (sticker) v. UCLA ($75k)

Postby timbs4339 » Tue Apr 24, 2012 1:34 pm

Mauls wrote:I am from LA and want to practice in LA (biglaw), but I am intrigued by Columbia's name and national reputation. I went to undergrad in LA as well, so Columbia would allow me to get out of LA and enjoy NYC for a few years, but I would be paying a premium for the experience. Still negotiating with both schools.

Any advice would be much appreciated.


CLS would give you a backup into NYC biglaw if you didn't get LA (within reason, there are still some people who strike out), whereas at UCLA you will probably have to be in the top-third to have a shot at any biglaw. I don't know how important it is to be in LA for the first few years of practice, but it's really a binary proposition. Either you get biglaw out of law school (and can pay down whatever debt you have) or you don't (and are stuck with a lot of debt from either school). You can always try to lateral to LA in a few years.

I will add that for my year (c/o 2012, EIP in 2010) you needed top 1/3 to be assured of a Cali job and I know a few people with w/e outside of that range who got jobs in CA.
Last edited by timbs4339 on Tue Apr 24, 2012 1:40 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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birdlaw117
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Re: Columbia (sticker) v. UCLA ($75k)

Postby birdlaw117 » Tue Apr 24, 2012 1:35 pm

polkij333 wrote:
birdlaw117 wrote:
polkij333 wrote:After OP's first job, I doubt it will matter much for him/her.

Assuming OP gets the same first job, that is... which is a pretty big and unwarranted assumption.


If UCLA can't land graduates into LA Big Law the school should fold.

It's not that UCLA can't put graduates into LA Big Law. It's that CLS can do it better. And the quality of the firm also has an impact on exit options, which seemed to be what you were talking about, no?

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Nelson
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Re: Columbia (sticker) v. UCLA ($75k)

Postby Nelson » Tue Apr 24, 2012 1:37 pm

birdlaw117 wrote:
Nelson wrote:
birdlaw117 wrote:
Nelson wrote:Columbia at sticker isn't worth it for your goals. Any in between options?

Columbia at sticker is probably more worth it than UCLA for OP's goals.

250k in debt? Hardly ever worth it. Definitely not worth it for someone who just wants to practice at a firm. If there really are no T14 with money options here, then UCLA makes a lot more sense.

the difference between 150k in debt and 225k in debt is less significant. If OP can't pay back 225k in debt he probably can't pay back 150k in debt. And he has a better chance of getting a job that pays back that debt from Columbia.

It's not like Columbia is a guarantee of biglaw. Worst case scenario at either school, OP is IBRing forever. Best case scenario at Columbia, he has to hack it in biglaw for a lot more than 3 years to get that 225k under control.

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cjcregg
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Re: Columbia (sticker) v. UCLA ($75k)

Postby cjcregg » Tue Apr 24, 2012 1:38 pm

I would pick Columbia in a heartbeat. The extra 75k+ at Columbia buys you security in that if you can't get in the door in NYC and in CA, the rest of the country is still very accessible to you. A UCLA JD is probably confined to CA, LA in particular. In terms of law and lay prestige, these two schools are in totally different universes.

Money is buying you an increased probability of landing a job:
UCLA- 23.7% no long term employment
Columbia- 6.05% no LT employment

Increased probability of landing a job in a 501+ firm:
UCLA- 28%
Columbia- 58.8%
https://docs.google.com/spreadsheet/pub ... d3c&gid=11

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jkpolk
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Re: Columbia (sticker) v. UCLA ($75k)

Postby jkpolk » Tue Apr 24, 2012 1:38 pm

birdlaw117 wrote:It's not that UCLA can't put graduates into LA Big Law. It's that CLS can do it better. And the quality of the firm also has an impact on exit options, which seemed to be what you were talking about, no?


You make good points, but I think comes down to how you value the margin between CLS and UCLA. Obviously both at sticker CLS is the right play

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smaug_
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.

Postby smaug_ » Tue Apr 24, 2012 1:41 pm

.
Last edited by smaug_ on Sat Aug 11, 2012 9:12 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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birdlaw117
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Re: Columbia (sticker) v. UCLA ($75k)

Postby birdlaw117 » Tue Apr 24, 2012 1:42 pm

Nelson wrote:It's not like Columbia is a guarantee of biglaw. Worst case scenario at either school, OP is IBRing forever. Best case scenario at Columbia, he has to hack it in biglaw for a lot more than 3 years to get that 225k under control.

True, but the odds of each scenario are not equal at both schools, which you seem to not be including in your analysis.

polkij333 wrote:
birdlaw117 wrote:It's not that UCLA can't put graduates into LA Big Law. It's that CLS can do it better. And the quality of the firm also has an impact on exit options, which seemed to be what you were talking about, no?


You make good points, but I think comes down to how you value the margin between CLS and UCLA. Obviously both at sticker CLS is the right play

Agreed. It's a question of which risk OP is more concerned about. Risk of not getting biglaw vs. issue with having more debt.

To me, biglaw = you can pay off 225k and you have a better chance of that at CLS. At UCLA OP could get biglaw and be in a better position, but the odds of being in a worse position are much higher.

timbs4339
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Re: Columbia (sticker) v. UCLA ($75k)

Postby timbs4339 » Tue Apr 24, 2012 1:46 pm

I think the question is whether the extra 75K in debt is worth the extra cushion. If you are median at CLS, you are probably still getting biglaw, maybe not preferred market or Vault range, but you can find a firm to take you with proper bidding. Heck, if you are 25th percentile the odds are still in your favor. However, median/25th percentile at UCLA is not getting biglaw and as such is going to have a much longer repayment term than the CLS person. You can pay off 75K in debt within 2 years including the money from SAing and so cost will equalize, only the biglaw person is going to have much better exit options.

I doubt it is that much more difficult to get top 1/3 or 20% at CLS than it is at UCLA. The student bodies are basically the same and there is enough randomness thrown in. OP should also not assume he will do worse at CLS or better at UCLA.

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Mr. Somebody
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Re: Columbia (sticker) v. UCLA ($75k)

Postby Mr. Somebody » Tue Apr 24, 2012 1:50 pm

Lower t14 with money would be the happy medium here but 75k is not enough to choose UCLA over cls imo

JasonR
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Re: Columbia (sticker) v. UCLA ($75k)

Postby JasonR » Tue Apr 24, 2012 1:54 pm

I wouldn't be interested in sticker at CLS, but CLS is still the clear winner here.

UCLA is not offering you nearly enough money for you to turn down Columbia. The idea that the difference in the power of the degrees is "marginal" is one of the more absurd things I've read here. You're going to be deep in debt from either school, but the extra cost of attending CLS is more than worth it for the far greater security it provides you. You're basically screwed at UCLA if you don't make the top third of the class. Big firms hire very deep into Columbia's class, and the name will leave open back-up options all over the country.

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Nelson
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Re: Columbia (sticker) v. UCLA ($75k)

Postby Nelson » Tue Apr 24, 2012 1:55 pm

birdlaw117 wrote:
Nelson wrote:It's not like Columbia is a guarantee of biglaw. Worst case scenario at either school, OP is IBRing forever. Best case scenario at Columbia, he has to hack it in biglaw for a lot more than 3 years to get that 225k under control.

True, but the odds of each scenario are not equal at both schools, which you seem to not be including in your analysis.

Didn't say that it was. But I wouldn't take Columbia at sticker without significant cash on hand and/or family resources. The debt is too great and will have a huge impact on your financial situation for too long.

Mr. Somebody wrote:Lower t14 with money would be the happy medium here

TCR

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jkpolk
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Re: Columbia (sticker) v. UCLA ($75k)

Postby jkpolk » Tue Apr 24, 2012 1:57 pm

By "marginal" i meant there is an undefined margin of difference, not that the difference is negligible. I'm convinced about CLS here, changing my vote.

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2014
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Re: Columbia (sticker) v. UCLA ($75k)

Postby 2014 » Tue Apr 24, 2012 1:59 pm

Is Berkeley with 45 or 50k not an option here?

catch12
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Re: Columbia (sticker) v. UCLA ($75k)

Postby catch12 » Tue Apr 24, 2012 2:03 pm

As someone from LA, I can tell you the difference in perception between UCLA and Columbia comes down to this:

The more prestigious LA firms' cutoffs are top half at Columbia and top third at UCLA. Being in those ranges doesn't guarantee a job, and people below that can get those jobs still, but you're talking about roughly, ROUGHLY a 15% higher chance at LA biglaw from Columbia.

Is that worth 75k to you? Thats the real decision, and obviously only you can make it.

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birdlaw117
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Re: Columbia (sticker) v. UCLA ($75k)

Postby birdlaw117 » Tue Apr 24, 2012 2:09 pm

catch12 wrote:The more prestigious LA firms' cutoffs are top half at Columbia and top third at UCLA. Being in those ranges doesn't guarantee a job, and people below that can get those jobs still, but you're talking about roughly, ROUGHLY a 15% higher chance at LA biglaw from Columbia.

Not sure where you get 15% from. If OP is hoping to get one of the jobs that you describe grade cutoffs for the difference is roughly a 50% increase going to Columbia instead of UCLA (not factoring in a change in class rank moving from UCLA to CLS).




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