Choosing between HLS and YLS

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

Harvard or Yale? (Based on the post, please)

Harvard
28
36%
Yale
50
64%
 
Total votes: 78

adx
Posts: 6
Joined: Wed Apr 04, 2012 7:07 am

Re: Choosing between HLS and YLS

Postby adx » Fri Apr 27, 2012 7:54 pm

As you can see from my profile, I'm in at HLS and WL'd at YLS, so take my advice with a huge grain of salt. That being said, having lived abroad you'd be surprised at the prestige difference between Harvard and Yale. All of my int'l friends - bankers, consultants, even the lawyers - are universally convinced that HLS is superior, to the extent that if I do end up at YLS, I'm sure I'll have trouble explaining it to them. So if you want to work internationally, it's not just that HLS has more 'lay' prestige - it will also have more professional prestige.

Given that you can probably get the initial biglaw litigation experience you want out of both H & Y, in the long-run the HLS networking and 'brand' strengths will matter more for your career if you end up abroad. So what it really comes down to is how attached you are to that career path, vs. a school that will likely give you a better student experience and (if you end up at median, since I think tops at HLS & YLS both open up massive opportunities) slightly better career opportunities domestically.

abba12
Posts: 24
Joined: Tue Mar 20, 2012 5:35 pm

Re: Choosing between HLS and YLS

Postby abba12 » Sat Apr 28, 2012 12:10 am

adx wrote:So if you want to work internationally, it's not just that HLS has more 'lay' prestige - it will also have more professional prestige.

So what it really comes down to is how attached you are to that career path, vs. a school that will likely give you a better student experience and (if you end up at median, since I think tops at HLS & YLS both open up massive opportunities) slightly better career opportunities domestically.


Thanks, adx. Obviously I can't predict whether my interests will suddenly change down the road, but I am pretty enthusiastic about this path, both because it sounds like a more interesting career choice and because it will get me where I want to be for personal reasons.

This prestige issue is a stumbling block. I'd assumed that at least in the legal field (abroad), Yale is still recognized as at least Harvard's equal, no?

Anyway, here are some points I've heard in recent conversations:
  • Current Harvard 3L: The HLS flagship negotiation and mediation program is very strong and useful. Not having taken certain classes won't shut you out from a particular career path, although signalling to employers that you are serious about that path by taking such courses or clinics is helpful, so it's not totally irrelevant. If the field is narrow, having expert faculty at the school you're looking at would be a good thing.
  • Current Yale 1L: The negotiation program at Harvard, while very useful in general, isn't really what I should be looking at anyway if I want to do specifically arbitration, which is different and a quite distinct area. (It's true that I was somewhat conflating these two, so the fact that YLS does have the one expert professor may be sufficient, though I think he's on leave for spring 2013.) If you're motivated by grades, go to Harvard so you don't just sit around and slip through the cracks.
  • Current Yale 2L also interested in international arbitration: 1) Preparing for arbitration in school should not be a great concern, given that top schools are purposefully generalist. Training happens on the job. 2) HLS has more classes, but they're harder to get into. Even if you get into them, it's hard to get close to professors. 3) Yale students are a rarer commodity, making them more sought after. 4) Yale is ranked first, so the "best students" go to it, so Yale is ranked first: a self-fulfilling prophecy, but something that guarantees an excellent group of peers.

adx
Posts: 6
Joined: Wed Apr 04, 2012 7:07 am

Re: Choosing between HLS and YLS

Postby adx » Sat Apr 28, 2012 1:30 am

abba12 wrote:
adx wrote:So if you want to work internationally, it's not just that HLS has more 'lay' prestige - it will also have more professional prestige.

So what it really comes down to is how attached you are to that career path, vs. a school that will likely give you a better student experience and (if you end up at median, since I think tops at HLS & YLS both open up massive opportunities) slightly better career opportunities domestically.


This prestige issue is a stumbling block. I'd assumed that at least in the legal field (abroad), Yale is still recognized as at least Harvard's equal, no?[/list]


Hmm. I should say that the people that I know are young professionals in those fields with a UK background working in different countries. I don't know if lawyers who work in international arbitration, or lawyers with more years of experience would be more familiar with Yale's reputation vs. Harvard. Yale is still regarded as an elite school (and the second US school that most people abroad would be likely to name, after Harvard). Upon reflection, I think the people best qualified to speak to what benefits there might be to the Harvard name internationally are HLS and YLS grads who work abroad. If there's still time before the deposit deadlines, I'd reach out to both schools to see who they could put you in touch with. I'm sure what they have to say would be far more valuable than anything TLS'ers could tell you.

As a fellow 0L, I also don't know how useful the negotiation program is. I think DoubleChecks over at the Harvard thread in the 'Choosing a Law School' section of the forums took it, so it might be worth contacting them.

I have heard the same things re: the quality of Yale's student body and the value of the better student/faculty ratio. I think those things shouldn't be underestimated. Another thing that would be worth looking into is whether you can break into international arbitration from median at Harvard. Yale might be a 'safer' option.

Also, re: Yale students being a rarer commodity - that is definitely true domestically. I found it interesting though that none of the 3 students above (at least in your rendering) mentioned international networks. Does HLS having a larger and more internationally-minded student body compound its networking advantages? Or is the number of both HLS and YLS grads working abroad small enough that it doesn't make a practical difference? Again, a question probably best answered by getting in touch with the grads themselves. Best of luck!

ETA: Got in touch with a Oxbridge lawyer turned i-banker who said this: "HLS seems to have a better "brand" overseas than Yale--this is not to say that Yale is considered a lesser school by any means, but when American law schools are thought of, HLS is generally thought of first, and has more immediate recognition and prestige."




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