UChicago (30K) v. Northwestern (90K)

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

UChi or NU?

Poll ended at Wed Jul 25, 2012 1:59 am

UChicago (30K)
34
52%
Northwestern (90K)
31
48%
 
Total votes: 65

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kennethellenparcell
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UChicago (30K) v. Northwestern (90K)

Postby kennethellenparcell » Wed Jul 18, 2012 1:59 am

TLS, I really need help!

Recently got off the waitlist at Chicago. My target market is Chicago, primarily interested in biglaw.

I'm leaning towards Northwestern but am I an idiot to pass up UChicago? I've thought about this a great deal but just wanted to post on TLS to see if anyone had any additional insight into reasons one choice would be better than the other given my career goals.

It's a good choice to have to make, but a really tough one for me! Any insight is very much appreciated.

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BruceWayne
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Re: UChicago (30K) v. Northwestern (90K)

Postby BruceWayne » Wed Jul 18, 2012 2:10 am

The only legit answer to this is to find out how deep into the class Chicago firms hire from UChicago and NU. Basically you need students from both schools to pm you the GPA data from each. I will say this, from browsing Kirkland Chicago profiles for associates from UChicago, a scary number of them graduated with honors. That would make me lean towards the extra 30k but again ask around for those hiring charts.

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Emma.
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Re: UChicago (30K) v. Northwestern (90K)

Postby Emma. » Wed Jul 18, 2012 2:11 am

For Chicago biglaw, I don't think UChi is worth 60k more than NU. Don't get me wrong, I love my school and don't think you'd be crazy to choose it over NU, especially if you wanted to head somewhere like Cali, or aspired to teach or something, but given your plans I'd go with NU.

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rayiner
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Re: UChicago (30K) v. Northwestern (90K)

Postby rayiner » Wed Jul 18, 2012 2:42 am

I think in any year U Chicago has an edge in the super-elite firms (firms like W&C, Bartlit, or Susman). I don't think it ever has more than a marginal advantage in Chicago itself, especially at K&E and Sidley.

What's unclear is what overall placement looks like at the moment. I'm normally one to price small but measurable differences in placement very highly. But the recent ABA data suggests that U Chicago's placement isn't unassailable in the way, say, Columbia's is. Based on the data we have, C/O 2010 U Chicago is definitely worth more than C/O 2010 NU, and the exact opposite is true for C/O 2011 U Chicago versus C/O 2011 NU.

There are plausible narratives for either side re: which data is more representative. C/O 2010 was all about no-offers, and NU was heavily represented at some firms that had miserable offer rates that year (I think Latham hired more NU grades pre-ITE than K&E). On the other hand, C/O 2011 was just about scrambling for jobs that didn't exist, and it might be that U Chicago OCS didn't react as well as NU's OCS, or that NU's WE requirement helped the class stand out at a time when firms were cutting to the bone.

$60k is basically $700 a month in your pocket, which is a nice amount of money. On the other hand, if the difference in getting big law between the two schools is 10%, then $60k only values a big law career at $600k over a non big law one, which I think is very low. If I entertained the notion that the difference in placement really was 10%, then I'd pick U Chicago no question. Unfortunately, you kind of have to decide whether you believe that given the ambiguity of the data.

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rickgrimes69
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Re: UChicago (30K) v. Northwestern (90K)

Postby rickgrimes69 » Wed Jul 18, 2012 5:48 am

UChi will give you more national mobility, but if you're interested in Chicago Biglaw, that's NU's bread and butter. I don't think it's worth 60k given your goals.

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Teflon_Jeff
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Re: UChicago (30K) v. Northwestern (90K)

Postby Teflon_Jeff » Wed Jul 18, 2012 11:16 am

NU, but I would bet when you notify Chi, they offer more money, so don't do anything final till you get some max offers.

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2014
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Re: UChicago (30K) v. Northwestern (90K)

Postby 2014 » Wed Jul 18, 2012 3:31 pm

I'd probably do NU but don't think you can go wrong with either.

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Ruxin1
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Re: UChicago (30K) v. Northwestern (90K)

Postby Ruxin1 » Wed Jul 18, 2012 3:33 pm

How strong are your chicago ties?

CanadianWolf
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Re: UChicago (30K) v. Northwestern (90K)

Postby CanadianWolf » Wed Jul 18, 2012 3:37 pm

Close call. Visit both, then decide. Or withdraw from Chicago to see if they'll respond with an increased offered.

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kennethellenparcell
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Re: UChicago (30K) v. Northwestern (90K)

Postby kennethellenparcell » Wed Jul 18, 2012 3:42 pm

Thanks so much for all the insight so far! I think it's a close call too, which the poll confirms.

Ruxin1 wrote:How strong are your chicago ties?


My Chicago ties are very strong (family is here, any law firm connections I have are here).

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Doorkeeper
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Re: UChicago (30K) v. Northwestern (90K)

Postby Doorkeeper » Wed Jul 18, 2012 3:58 pm

1. Do you have any other ambitions aside from Chicago biglaw?

2. Have you informed Chicago of Northwestern's offer?

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rayiner
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Re: UChicago (30K) v. Northwestern (90K)

Postby rayiner » Wed Jul 18, 2012 4:39 pm

I just realized there is another way to crunch the U Chicago/NU data, one which factors out the possibility of excluding hyper-elite firms under 50 attorneys that pay $160k+. Both schools post salary information:
http://www.law.northwestern.edu/career/statistics,
--LinkRemoved--

For U Chicago C/O 2011, ~90,[1] of 203 grads reported $160k, and 19 reported federal clerkships = ~54%
For NU C/O 2011, 126 of 287 grads reported $160k,[2] and 23 reported federal clerkships = 52%

Looks quite comparable, though it seems NU folks did quite a bit better in the $100-$160k range, possibly by being more aggressive in targeting secondary markets.

What's the take-away (other than that I'm bored and sick of studying for the bar)? Who knows. I don't think you're going to be kicking yourself regretting taking $90k at NU. If you strike out at NU, the data suggests that the odds are you would've struck out at U Chicago too. At the end of the day, that's what you're really worried about when you take money over rank, right?

[1] Eyeballing; looks like 88 to me.
[2] Assuming all the $160k+ salaries are private sector.

attractive_NUisance
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Re: UChicago (30K) v. Northwestern (90K)

Postby attractive_NUisance » Wed Jul 18, 2012 4:45 pm

Northwestern will give you an equal shot at Chicago big law firms unless you are dying to work at the most prestigious place in the world. Maybe worth it to negotiate for more money at both schools.

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Samara
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Re: UChicago (30K) v. Northwestern (90K)

Postby Samara » Wed Jul 18, 2012 5:10 pm

Wow, congrats KEP! I voted for NU in a completely unbiased way, of course. :wink:

For serious though, I can't hope to augment Ray's data crunching but from the information I've gathered, the two are on pretty equal footing for Chicago biglaw. I guess you get a small boost for NY as a backup? Maybe? I'm a big fan of UChicago, but I think for $60k and much better classmates, NU is the way to go. That ended up being far less helpful and informative than I set out to be.

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DaleCooper
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Re: UChicago (30K) v. Northwestern (90K)

Postby DaleCooper » Wed Jul 18, 2012 6:27 pm

Northwestern wins by a mile (or seven) on price, location, facilities, student culture, student happiness, nearby dining options, library window view, and almost everything else you can possibly imagine. The only thing it doesn't win on is placement in certain career paths that you aren't interested in.

I assume you've visited both schools and are just worried about lifestyle vs. US News ranking... if not, take a trip and then put down your deposit at Northwestern. :wink:

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kennethellenparcell
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Re: UChicago (30K) v. Northwestern (90K)

Postby kennethellenparcell » Thu Jul 19, 2012 8:11 am

Rayiner, thanks so much! This is extremely helpful. Yes, what I ultimately want is to find a job so I can eat things other than ramen noodles and spam and comfortably pay off my loans. Prestige itself will not feed me.

rayiner wrote:I just realized there is another way to crunch the U Chicago/NU data, one which factors out the possibility of excluding hyper-elite firms under 50 attorneys that pay $160k+. Both schools post salary information:
http://www.law.northwestern.edu/career/statistics,
--LinkRemoved--

For U Chicago C/O 2011, ~90,[1] of 203 grads reported $160k, and 19 reported federal clerkships = ~54%
For NU C/O 2011, 126 of 287 grads reported $160k,[2] and 23 reported federal clerkships = 52%

Looks quite comparable, though it seems NU folks did quite a bit better in the $100-$160k range, possibly by being more aggressive in targeting secondary markets.

What's the take-away (other than that I'm bored and sick of studying for the bar)? Who knows. I don't think you're going to be kicking yourself regretting taking $90k at NU. If you strike out at NU, the data suggests that the odds are you would've struck out at U Chicago too. At the end of the day, that's what you're really worried about when you take money over rank, right?

[1] Eyeballing; looks like 88 to me.
[2] Assuming all the $160k+ salaries are private sector.

for10s88
Posts: 17
Joined: Fri Dec 10, 2010 4:36 pm

Re: UChicago (30K) v. Northwestern (90K)

Postby for10s88 » Thu Jul 19, 2012 10:37 am

The thing about loans is that $60,000 turns into more than 60k once interest is factored in, especially now that all grad loans start accumulating interest immediately. A relatively close estimate is that an extra $60,000 will cost you $720 per month for 10 years (if you're on a 10 year track). That's a lot of money. When you factor in the employment statistics of NU, which fares better than almost all of the T14 in the private sector, I think Northwestern is a no-brainer. You'll save money and have an excellent shot at Chicago Big-Law.




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