Chicago vs HLS? (No $)

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madrigal
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Chicago vs HLS? (No $)

Postby madrigal » Sun Apr 29, 2012 12:08 pm

I know everyone has been restating the same questions here, but I am stuck on a decision for tomorrow and was hoping for some opinions.

I am choosing between Harvard and UChicago: I got into UofC from the waitlist and will not be getting any money from either school. I visited Harvard for an ASW, and really liked the experience overall.

I have a SO (of 6 years) at UChicago doing a PhD program, and I moved out to Hyde Park with her a year ago. Most of the Hyde Park criticism I've read on here is accurate, and while I'm perfectly happy here, I also see how it can be an isolating place to suddenly be left alone in. I don't think she totally understands why I would want to turn down a top-tier law school here to go after the bigger name in Harvard.

Career-wise, I see myself doing Biglaw, but I also need to be flexible in where I end up working, since I have a SO who will be looking for academic jobs that won't necessarily be in the big legal markets.

The sticker price for these schools is so insane, and so if Harvard is the better investment of that money, then that is what I need to do. It does feel like a Harvard degree is more portable nationally if only because of the name and alumni network, but I have also heard that for Biglaw, Chicago is just as good (or even better, if I believe the admissions pitch about the scarcity of UChicago graduates compared to the demand for them).

I'll admit that the prestige factor of HLS is not nonexistent for me, but ultimately that's not a good decision metric for taking on this kind of debt. I keep hearing that I'll "do fine" at either school, and if there's really not that much of a difference other than the name for Biglaw, then I may as well go to Chicago. I have read comments to this effect on TLS, but usually in the context of getting money at a CCN school vs sticker at Harvard.

So really, my questions for the board are:
Long-term, is it really a better investment to go to HLS than UChicago?
Can a long-distance relationship work in law school?

Thanks for reading my post. My mind is not at all made up, and I'd appreciate some perspective.

CanadianWolf
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Re: Chicago vs HLS? (No $)

Postby CanadianWolf » Sun Apr 29, 2012 12:14 pm

If paying full tuition, then visit both before deciding. This really comes down to a decision based on personal considerations in your case since career prospects are strong from both law schools.

Since your post indicates that you're torn between the two, my impression is that you want to attend Harvard since you & your SO are already at Chicago--which is also your present location if I read your post correctly.

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kwais
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Re: Chicago vs HLS? (No $)

Postby kwais » Sun Apr 29, 2012 12:19 pm

I can only speak to the long-distance thing. Distance and law school have no power over a solid relationship. But they can surely expose cracks in a troubled relationship.

CanadianWolf
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Re: Chicago vs HLS? (No $)

Postby CanadianWolf » Sun Apr 29, 2012 12:19 pm

Regarding your question about whether or not Harvard Law School is a better long-term investment than Chicago Law, the answer is probably yes, but most evaluate law schools based on short to medium term outlooks (i.e. job placement immediately upon completion of law school & within 5-7 years after law school).

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Xifeng
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Re: Chicago vs HLS? (No $)

Postby Xifeng » Sun Apr 29, 2012 12:20 pm

Going to +1 everything kwais said. People in long-term relationships do break up during law school, but it's not a harbinger of death or anything.

You may want to consider your overall cost of attendance for the schools, rather than just that you're paying sticker. If your SO is in Chicago, are you going to be able to save on rent and things? That's an important factor.

I'm not super sure about the whole markets thing, but I do know that there isn't "biglaw" everywhere, it's mostly in the major legal markets. So you may want to take that into consideration.

I don't think you can make a wrong choice here.

Stinson
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Re: Chicago vs HLS? (No $)

Postby Stinson » Sun Apr 29, 2012 12:28 pm

This is tough. If you just want biglaw there is no reason not to go to Chicago; as long as you don't do badly you'll get a job in Chicago. In terms of portability, yeah HLS is probably better.

You need to think about it this way and then think about your SO's job prospects. Harvard's portability advantage over Chicago will be most pronounced at EIP/OCI. If your SO will complete her PhD and will know where she's working within the next year, you will know where you need to go by EIP, and HLS will indeed better enable you to get a job in more diverse places. I remember being at EIP, walking by doors and thinking, "Wow, I never thought there would be a big firm from [insert random city here] at EIP."

If, however, your SO is not going to finish for a while and not know where she's heading for a while, there is less of a difference. After you've been practicing for a few years, your lateral options are going to be strongly influenced by the firm where you are working and the kind of work you do in addition where you went to school. HLS will retain its advantage in terms of alumni (sheer, brute force numbers), but from a big Chicago firm you will be a commodity in many different markets as well.

PhD hiring is such an awful roulette wheel I really feel for you in terms of planning.

madrigal
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Re: Chicago vs HLS? (No $)

Postby madrigal » Sun Apr 29, 2012 12:53 pm

Thanks for the replies. My SO will be probably be finishing her program at the same time as me (3 more years), so realistically I won't know where I'm headed long-term in time for EIP consideration. Clerking for a year is something I was thinking of, as is coming out as a lateral from a Chicago firm, although I'll admit that the lateral process is one that I don't know all that much about.

The grades factor is another consideration for me - I'd like to think that I'll do well at either school, but having the safety net at Harvard makes me feel a lot more comfortable.

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Dany
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Re: Chicago vs HLS? (No $)

Postby Dany » Sun Apr 29, 2012 12:57 pm

Are you POSITIVE you can't get any money from Chicago? If necessary, I'd deposit at both schools and keep negotiating.

If sticker at both, I'd choose Harvard, unless your SO will greatly decrease your cost of attendance. But if you really wanted to be in the same place for the next 3 years, UChicago isn't a bad choice.

concurrent fork
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Re: Chicago vs HLS? (No $)

Postby concurrent fork » Sun Apr 29, 2012 1:00 pm

madrigal wrote:but I have also heard that for Biglaw, Chicago is just as good (or even better, if I believe the admissions pitch about the scarcity of UChicago graduates compared to the demand for them).

btw anyone making this claim is cheerleading for UChi. It's impossible to account for self-selection when you compare biglaw placement between these schools.

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quiver
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Re: Chicago vs HLS? (No $)

Postby quiver » Sun Apr 29, 2012 1:00 pm

madrigal wrote: Clerking for a year is something I was thinking of
madrigal wrote:The grades factor is another consideration for me - I'd like to think that I'll do well at either school, but having the safety net at Harvard makes me feel a lot more comfortable.
madrigal wrote:I visited Harvard for an ASW, and really liked the experience overall.
madrigal wrote:I see myself doing Biglaw, but I also need to be flexible in where I end up working,
For all these reasons I'd say go to Harvard. You liked it there, the degree is a bit more portable, it will give you a better shot at clerkships and an equally or marginally better shot at biglaw. Obviously you're the only one who knows your relationship and that seems to be a huge factor here, but on the information you gave I say go to Harvard and get summer jobs in Chicago.

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rayiner
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Re: Chicago vs HLS? (No $)

Postby rayiner » Sun Apr 29, 2012 1:09 pm

Chicago. Your job prospects will be similar and eternal HLS prestige has gotta be outweighed by relationship harmony. 1L broke up multiple marriages in my section--add long distance and you're really testing things. As for portability, SO in the city is always a good tie for job purposes.

PMan99
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Re: Chicago vs HLS? (No $)

Postby PMan99 » Sun Apr 29, 2012 1:20 pm

There are pluses and minuses to both.

I actually think Harvard's greatest strength in this situation is LIPP. Like you said, you could easily end up trying to get a job in a legal market that isn't big. Are you willing to bet 250k+ that you'll be able to find a nonprofit/gov job (needed for Chicago's LRAP) in Seattle? Buffalo? State College, PA? At least Harvard's LIPP gives you the ability to take a small law position in one of these states and actually pay down your debt. These are small, insular markets with tiny amounts of hiring each year. If you're at the top of your class, no worries. But below median with no ties? You're going to have trouble from H and C, but at least H gives you a wider range of opportunities to struggle with.

But Chicago also has some pretty big strengths to you - namely your SO. I'd actually probably chose Chicago if your SO could get a position in a major market. But it's up to you to decide how likely that is.

madrigal
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Re: Chicago vs HLS? (No $)

Postby madrigal » Sun Apr 29, 2012 2:00 pm

PMan99 wrote:Are you willing to bet 250k+ that you'll be able to find a nonprofit/gov job (needed for Chicago's LRAP) in Seattle? Buffalo? State College, PA? At least Harvard's LIPP gives you the ability to take a small law position in one of these states and actually pay down your debt.


Right, this is something I was thinking as well. Academic hiring for PhDs (in English no less) is just too unpredictable for me to count on being in a big market. I care less about striking it rich than I do about being able to have a decent job and pay off my debt wherever I end up.

concurrent fork
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Re: Chicago vs HLS? (No $)

Postby concurrent fork » Sun Apr 29, 2012 2:55 pm

madrigal wrote:
PMan99 wrote:Are you willing to bet 250k+ that you'll be able to find a nonprofit/gov job (needed for Chicago's LRAP) in Seattle? Buffalo? State College, PA? At least Harvard's LIPP gives you the ability to take a small law position in one of these states and actually pay down your debt.


Right, this is something I was thinking as well. Academic hiring for PhDs (in English no less) is just too unpredictable for me to count on being in a big market. I care less about striking it rich than I do about being able to have a decent job and pay off my debt wherever I end up.

This is, IMO, one of the best (and most overlooked) reasons to take HLS. UChi advertises itself as having the best LRAP program following its redesign, but LIPP is still significantly better. Not only does LIPP cover private firm jobs, but IIRC it will also pay up to $30K in undergrad debt.

It's by no means a deal breaker, but if you think you will be working at a small firm in a small market, it's definitely something to think about.
Last edited by concurrent fork on Sun Apr 29, 2012 2:58 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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Dany
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Re: Chicago vs HLS? (No $)

Postby Dany » Sun Apr 29, 2012 2:57 pm

Dany wrote:Are you POSITIVE you can't get any money from Chicago?

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Tadatsune
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Re: Chicago vs HLS? (No $)

Postby Tadatsune » Sun Apr 29, 2012 3:10 pm

As it stands, HLS is a better choice if you can withstand 3 years of separation.

That is, however, a big "if." Only the two of you can make that call.

If I were you, I would demand money from Chicago.

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Flash
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Re: Chicago vs HLS? (No $)

Postby Flash » Sun Apr 29, 2012 3:14 pm

Dany wrote:
Dany wrote:Are you POSITIVE you can't get any money from Chicago?

This. Chicago's not worth sticker.

09042014
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Re: Chicago vs HLS? (No $)

Postby 09042014 » Sun Apr 29, 2012 3:16 pm

rayiner wrote:Chicago. Your job prospects will be similar and eternal HLS prestige has gotta be outweighed by relationship harmony. 1L broke up multiple marriages in my section--add long distance and you're really testing things. As for portability, SO in the city is always a good tie for job purposes.


Harvard because his girlfriend will get a job at Podunk State and then they'll break up because the shitty college town has no legal industry.

Mista Bojangles
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Re: Chicago vs HLS? (No $)

Postby Mista Bojangles » Sun Apr 29, 2012 3:18 pm

Tadatsune wrote:As it stands, HLS is a better choice if you can withstand 3 years of separation.

That is, however, a big "if." Only the two of you can make that call.

If I were you, I would demand money from Chicago.


This. But don't tip your hand about the SO, because then they might feel like they have you by the balls, and be less likely to make a good offer. Just tell them straight up you're in at HLS, still really like Chi but can't justify paying sticker for it, see what they come up with. I bet you get some $.

Paul Campos
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Re: Chicago vs HLS? (No $)

Postby Paul Campos » Sun Apr 29, 2012 3:20 pm

Desert Fox wrote:
rayiner wrote:Chicago. Your job prospects will be similar and eternal HLS prestige has gotta be outweighed by relationship harmony. 1L broke up multiple marriages in my section--add long distance and you're really testing things. As for portability, SO in the city is always a good tie for job purposes.


Harvard because his girlfriend will get a job at Podunk State and then they'll break up because the shitty college town has no legal industry.



Plus when he's a miserable 2L in Hyde Park he's going to break up with her because she "made" him go to Chicago instead of HLS (this involves the classic but almost unavoidable category mistake of thinking that your own law school is somehow particularly awful).

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Flash
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Re: Chicago vs HLS? (No $)

Postby Flash » Sun Apr 29, 2012 3:25 pm

Paul Campos wrote:
Desert Fox wrote:
rayiner wrote:Chicago. Your job prospects will be similar and eternal HLS prestige has gotta be outweighed by relationship harmony. 1L broke up multiple marriages in my section--add long distance and you're really testing things. As for portability, SO in the city is always a good tie for job purposes.


Harvard because his girlfriend will get a job at Podunk State and then they'll break up because the shitty college town has no legal industry.



Plus when he's a miserable 2L in Hyde Park he's going to break up with her because she "made" him go to Chicago instead of HLS (this involves the classic but almost unavoidable category mistake of thinking that your own law school is somehow particularly awful).

Except for Chicago is particularly awful.

wjs98
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Re: Chicago vs HLS? (No $)

Postby wjs98 » Sun Apr 29, 2012 3:28 pm

Flash wrote:
Dany wrote:
Dany wrote:Are you POSITIVE you can't get any money from Chicago?

This. Chicago's not worth sticker.


Maybe not when you're also into Harvard, but in a vacuum, this always strikes me as an unreasonable assertion. In terms of expected value, AT LEAST CCN is worth sticker, if not lower into the T14.

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Emma.
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Re: Chicago vs HLS? (No $)

Postby Emma. » Sun Apr 29, 2012 3:31 pm

Mista Bojangles wrote:
Tadatsune wrote:As it stands, HLS is a better choice if you can withstand 3 years of separation.

That is, however, a big "if." Only the two of you can make that call.

If I were you, I would demand money from Chicago.


This. But don't tip your hand about the SO, because then they might feel like they have you by the balls, and be less likely to make a good offer. Just tell them straight up you're in at HLS, still really like Chi but can't justify paying sticker for it, see what they come up with. I bet you get some $.


I definitely think that if you can do this without coming across like you are just gaming the admissions dept, you should go for it. It would help if you felt like you could 100% commit to UChi with money. Then you could tell them straight up that you will definitely attend if they make it worth your while financially.

When does your SO finish her program (i.e. is she going to still be finishing up after you graduate)? Does she really need to be in HP for the whole program or can you guys move up north and commute down to school?

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TaipeiMort
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Re: Chicago vs HLS? (No $)

Postby TaipeiMort » Sun Apr 29, 2012 3:35 pm

For Big law the opportunities are similar-- H having better top-level opportunities and C making it slightly easier to get A big law job due to the smaller class. Hyde Park sucks and you'll probably be stuck here if in a relationship while at U of C. Sounds like you may be happiest at H which would make it better. Decide for yourself- H is likely best.

The caveates I would give is if you are a type of conservative, as this will open up highend opportunities at Chicago which may be better than H's or you are an ideological diversitu person that would be really happy with a culture which facilitates argument and discourse with profs and classmates.

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rayiner
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Re: Chicago vs HLS? (No $)

Postby rayiner » Sun Apr 29, 2012 3:50 pm

Desert Fox wrote:
rayiner wrote:Chicago. Your job prospects will be similar and eternal HLS prestige has gotta be outweighed by relationship harmony. 1L broke up multiple marriages in my section--add long distance and you're really testing things. As for portability, SO in the city is always a good tie for job purposes.


Harvard because his girlfriend will get a job at Podunk State and then they'll break up because the shitty college town has no legal industry.


At least he doesn't have to worry about her banging hot undergrads--it's U Chi after all.




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