Michigan vs GW

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malcolm
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Michigan vs GW

Postby malcolm » Sat Mar 30, 2013 1:17 pm

I really appreciate any feedback. This is a pretty tough decision for me. Here are the facts:

GW: 20k/yr
UM: 10k/yr

169/3.5X (degree-granting GPA = 3.99)

So, COA works out to be almost identical after factoring in scholarships and costs of living. Edit: I've not negotiated aid with either yet, but think that when I do I'd be able to get a little more money out of both.

I know I don't want BigLaw, and am pretty sure about public interest. I will probably want to clerk right away (though I realize this may change over the next three years). I'm interested in government work, NGOs, international human rights. Possibly public defense.

I'm waitlisted at Columbia, Gtown, Chicago, and UVA, but since if I did get into any of them I'd probably be paying sticker (right?), I'm kinda considering them non-options.

I'm concerned about job prospects at GW. Michigan feels like a safer option. They've got a much better LRAP. From what I'm hearing, Michigan's relative prestige and GW's location kinda offset each other when it comes to the types of opportunities I'm looking for. Still, it feels like with Michigan I'm just playing a little more safe. And if I freaked out so much about the debt over the next three years that I did want to consider BigLaw, I'd be in much better shape. I'm also a UM undergrad, so I know I do like Ann Arbor a lot. Still, I'd really much rather be in DC.

Federal clerkships from the just-released data have Mich at ~10% and GW at ~5%. Public interest about 5% better for GW, government even more so.

Anyway, like I said, really struggling with this. Any input would be much appreciated.

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bowser
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Re: Michigan vs GW

Postby bowser » Sat Mar 30, 2013 1:25 pm

I'm not an expert on this, but from the goals you describe you need to go to Michigan. I don't think 10% to 5% represents the true difference in clerkship opportunities from those two schools.

A much higher percentage of Michigan grads get lawyer jobs. 60% of c/o 2012 at GW got full-time lawyer jobs that were not funded by the school. 81% did at Michigan.

muskies970
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Re: Michigan vs GW

Postby muskies970 » Sat Mar 30, 2013 1:31 pm

Just at first glance I'm not sure how COA can be the same, GW Law is around $5000 (prob more) cheaper in tuition than Michigan and I don't think the COL in AA is [i]that[i] much cheaper. Can you do the actual math and let us know? Sorry to be nitpicky.

Some pros in favor of GW is that you would have much more access to externships/ work in D.C. during your Fall and Spring semesters doing PI and govt work, whereas that would be much more limited in Michigan. During the summer everyone tries to get into D.C., so even though Michigan is a reputable t14 that could be a lot harder to do.
What kind of LRAP program does GW have? Although everyone on this site bashes the number of non lawyer jobs, anecdotally I'm sure at least some of them were individuals self selecting to do jd advantage or other gov't jobs because they changed their mind on the type of work they wanted to do (not lawyer) or had better prospects that way, so I would take the pure statistics with a grain of salt and ask the admissions office to clarify about that potential dilemma.

ETA: COA at both schools is roughly 75k (even if you're in state at michigan) COL is the same from both school's websites as is tuition. So right there you're taking at least 30k more in debt at Michigan (plus interest) is around 34k more, not a huge amount.

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bowser
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Re: Michigan vs GW

Postby bowser » Sat Mar 30, 2013 2:16 pm

You have to take everything with a grain of salt. It's highly unlikely 20% of Michigan and 40% of GW legitimately decided law wasn't really what they wanted to do. There are many people graduating from these T-20 or T-14 law schools with employment prospects much, much dimmer than what they expected when they went.

80-90% of the graduates of either of these schools made a significant effort to get Biglaw or a federal clerkship (for most of those, it was their primary goal of coming to school in the first place), and many of them never got it. I know OP isn't interested in Biglaw but my point is the vast majority of people at schools like Michigan or GW do want to be lawyers; many of them ending up not working as lawyers when they graduate indicates more the job market for lawyers than their discovery of new non-lawyer interests.

malcolm
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Re: Michigan vs GW

Postby malcolm » Sat Mar 30, 2013 2:26 pm

Thanks for the input you two.

Bowser: I'm curious why you think Michigan is the clear choice. I know they have place a higher percentage of grads into bar-required (especially when considering GW's school-employment program), but it looks like most or many of those come from BigLaw, which I'm not interested in. (I'm looking at the 2012-2013 ABA employment data). Also, why do you say the difference I described in clerkship opportunities might not be accurate? This also comes from the ABA data, but I'm interested in your opinion on this because it's definitely one area that might push me toward Michigan.

Muskies: So, I've looked pretty closely at cost. Tuition is actually ~$1500 more at GW. COA is $68k at Mich, $78k at GW. That's using the school's own numbers, but from living in Ann Arbor for two years and having a girlfriend in DC for three, I know cost COL in AA is actually much cheaper. So about a $10k/yr difference in COA, and a $10k difference the other way in scholarship money, which makes COA in the end nearly equal.

Some of the other stuff you mention—esp. access during the year to externships and other connections—is obviously on the plus side for GW. And I think you're probably right that even though Michigan is a T10 school, there must be a lot of competition for those summer positions in DC from the rest of the T14, many of which are of course ranked higher than Michigan. And yeah, govt jobs and self-selecting into JD advantage probably explains some of the discrepancy. Have you looked at the data? I'm wondering where the law school provided jobs (there are 130 out of a class of 575) fall. Into firms, govt, PI, etc. and if they're bar passage required or jd advantage. Obviously, that's a question for the school. If I get an answer I'll post it, in case anyone's curious.

Another aspect here, though a slightly irrational one, is that I'm just finding it difficult to turn down the option to go to a top ten school...

Anyway, thanks again for the input.

hunter.d
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Re: Michigan vs GW

Postby hunter.d » Sat Mar 30, 2013 2:31 pm

A great number of people go to DC schools to potentially work on the hill or in some other "jd advantage" position. I think your access to Federal clerkship is better from Michigan but still tough while GW offers you significantly greater access to government, NGO, and non-profit while in school. You can't discount the opportunity to work as 2L and 3L and build a "commitment to public service" resume which is vital for those jobs whereas biglaw it is a lot more focused on grades, 1L summer, interview (in that order). If I was you I would push GW to make the decision for you with increased aid. Your well above average for them, they might give you a lot more aid if they realize your are very seriously considering coming.

hunter.d
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Re: Michigan vs GW

Postby hunter.d » Sat Mar 30, 2013 2:34 pm

Just anecdotally I know GULC for example gets bashed pretty hard here for its Biglaw/Clerkship score but it has the highest government/PI placement out of the T-14. That's not an accident. Much more public service minded people try to get to DC when they don't have HYS to entertain.

malcolm
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Re: Michigan vs GW

Postby malcolm » Sat Mar 30, 2013 2:50 pm

hunter.d wrote:A great number of people go to DC schools to potentially work on the hill or in some other "jd advantage" position. I think your access to Federal clerkship is better from Michigan but still tough while GW offers you significantly greater access to government, NGO, and non-profit while in school. You can't discount the opportunity to work as 2L and 3L and build a "commitment to public service" resume which is vital for those jobs whereas biglaw it is a lot more focused on grades, 1L summer, interview (in that order). If I was you I would push GW to make the decision for you with increased aid. Your well above average for them, they might give you a lot more aid if they realize your are very seriously considering coming.


Good advice. I think I can get over the turning down top ten thing, and the worse access to fed clerkships, so it seems like GW is looking much better. I hadn't really considered the serious value in demonstrating over the 2L and 3L years a commitment to public service, in terms of landing a job like that after school. I suppose would probably outweigh the prestige factor in most cases. Still, I'd have some opportunity to establish that demonstrated commitment at Michigan, it would just be at less interesting places during the year.

What do you think about trying to get in off GULC's waitlist? I know they'd not give me much if any money, but they have a great PI repayment program from what I understand.

As for trying for increased aid, you think the way to go is to emphasize that they are a very real option for me, and that money might make the decision? I would obviously present my UM offer so they could see I have an offer from a T10 (and my undergrad institution) that equalizes COA.

Thanks!

BigZuck
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Re: Michigan vs GW

Postby BigZuck » Sat Mar 30, 2013 3:33 pm

What is the exact cost of attendance for both, including interest? That will help greatly.

Also, can't imagine choosing GW over Michigan at equal cost baring exceptional circumstances.

hunter.d
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Re: Michigan vs GW

Postby hunter.d » Sat Mar 30, 2013 3:54 pm

malcolm wrote:
hunter.d wrote:A great number of people go to DC schools to potentially work on the hill or in some other "jd advantage" position. I think your access to Federal clerkship is better from Michigan but still tough while GW offers you significantly greater access to government, NGO, and non-profit while in school. You can't discount the opportunity to work as 2L and 3L and build a "commitment to public service" resume which is vital for those jobs whereas biglaw it is a lot more focused on grades, 1L summer, interview (in that order). If I was you I would push GW to make the decision for you with increased aid. Your well above average for them, they might give you a lot more aid if they realize your are very seriously considering coming.


Good advice. I think I can get over the turning down top ten thing, and the worse access to fed clerkships, so it seems like GW is looking much better. I hadn't really considered the serious value in demonstrating over the 2L and 3L years a commitment to public service, in terms of landing a job like that after school. I suppose would probably outweigh the prestige factor in most cases. Still, I'd have some opportunity to establish that demonstrated commitment at Michigan, it would just be at less interesting places during the year.

What do you think about trying to get in off GULC's waitlist? I know they'd not give me much if any money, but they have a great PI repayment program from what I understand.

As for trying for increased aid, you think the way to go is to emphasize that they are a very real option for me, and that money might make the decision? I would obviously present my UM offer so they could see I have an offer from a T10 (and my undergrad institution) that equalizes COA.

Thanks!


Disclaimer: I am going to one of the schools referenced below next year, you can pm if you want more details.

For GW and GULC I think you need to consider how much schools are sweating it this year. They don't want to unnecessarily promise money (GW) and hurt their yield rates(GULC) because they need every dime and their yield rates are taking a hit. When you go to negotiate with GW just give a thoughtful justification of why they are probably your top option over UM if it saves you money. Because of DC opportunities its well worth it to go to a top 20 v. a T14 but you would probably need a discount to do it. Same thing for GULC, if they feel like you really might go by getting off the waitlist then it's not wasted space on their acceptance rate and all DC schools like that spin on their location for PI/Gov people.

malcolm
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Re: Michigan vs GW

Postby malcolm » Sat Mar 30, 2013 4:30 pm

BigZuck wrote:What is the exact cost of attendance for both, including interest? That will help greatly.

Also, can't imagine choosing GW over Michigan at equal cost baring exceptional circumstances.


Exact COA:

UM: $215,720
GW: $220,710

This is "total indebtedness at repayment" using GULC's calculator.

Something I left out: At GW I would live mostly rent-free, bringing COA down to $173,424. At UM, I would possibly live mostly rent-free for 2L and 3L years. (I have a girlfriend in DC who would consider moving to MI after a year).

Thing is, I don't want this decision to come down to $40-50k. I'd like to make it based mostly on the merits of the two schools, in terms of which will provide the best opportunities given my interests. So I'm curious, do you think the things I mentioned above (no interest in biglaw, desire to work in PI, govt, NGOs etc.) constitute exceptional circumstances? What makes you say you can't imagine choosing GW?

Thanks for the input, by the way.

Ti Malice
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Re: Michigan vs GW

Postby Ti Malice » Sat Mar 30, 2013 4:41 pm

This is not even a close question. No one in their right mind would pick GW in this situation.

TooOld4This
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Re: Michigan vs GW

Postby TooOld4This » Sat Mar 30, 2013 4:45 pm

I honestly don't understand the struggle unless you have a family that is tying you to DC.

There is no argument short of that that makes GWU the right choice -- and even then, at that price, the right answer might be not to go.

With your debt load you will need Michigan's better LRAP and/or the ability to get BigLaw to pay off your debt.

Clerking figures on LST don't just count Article III clerkships, they also count state clerkships.

GWU had a huge program to pay its own graduates to prop up its employment numbers. It then started cutting the (very low) salary to try to get people off the program. (See Above the Law)

Higher placement in BigLaw generally means more options. It's easier to opt out rather than opt into it.

Ti Malice
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Re: Michigan vs GW

Postby Ti Malice » Sat Mar 30, 2013 4:49 pm

TooOld4This wrote:Clerking figures on LST don't just count Article III clerkships, they also count state clerkships.


The LST figure is for Article III clerkships. But I agree with everything else you said.

OP, the advice you're getting from the 0Ls on this thread may sound like good advice, but it really isn't.

Big Dog
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Re: Michigan vs GW

Postby Big Dog » Sat Mar 30, 2013 4:52 pm

Anyway, like I said, really struggling with this.


If you "struggle' with this, are you sure you should even should go to LS?

This is a no-brainer if there ever was one on TLS.

hunter.d
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Re: Michigan vs GW

Postby hunter.d » Sat Mar 30, 2013 4:57 pm

People on TLS have a biglaw bias but I do agree that Michigan is the better choice as is. If GW ups there offer significantly that changes things.

Ti Malice
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Re: Michigan vs GW

Postby Ti Malice » Sat Mar 30, 2013 5:03 pm

It's not about a bias toward BigLaw. (I'm not interested in BigLaw myself.) Michigan will have an advantage over GW in any area of law.

TooOld4This
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Re: Michigan vs GW

Postby TooOld4This » Sat Mar 30, 2013 5:03 pm

hunter.d wrote:People on TLS have a biglaw bias but I do agree that Michigan is the better choice as is. If GW ups there offer significantly that changes things.


No BigLaw bias. The fact is that GWU has trouble placing a significant portion of their class in any job. BigLaw placement is a proxy for how many options graduates had. GWU does not release its NALP numbers. This, coupled with the issue of hiring its own grads (and then trying to cut funding to kick them out of the program) is a huge problem.
Ti Malice wrote:The LST figure is for Article III clerkships. But I agree with everything else you said.



Thanks for correcting me!

hunter.d
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Re: Michigan vs GW

Postby hunter.d » Sat Mar 30, 2013 5:35 pm

Ti Malice wrote:It's not about a bias toward BigLaw. (I'm not interested in BigLaw myself.) Michigan will have an advantage over GW in any area of law.


Agreed. But if a couple rounds of scholarship negotiation gets OP near full ride then I think it is a very logical choice.

BigZuck
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Re: Michigan vs GW

Postby BigZuck » Sat Mar 30, 2013 5:51 pm

Ti Malice wrote:
TooOld4This wrote:Clerking figures on LST don't just count Article III clerkships, they also count state clerkships.


The LST figure is for Article III clerkships. But I agree with everything else you said.

OP, the advice you're getting from the 0Ls on this thread may sound like good advice, but it really isn't.


Go on...

OP, how do you plan on paying off 200K (or 160K or whatever) with a degree from GW? Honest question.

And how do you plan on paying off 200K+ without big law?

Also I would be very careful about making decisions based on or expecting the support of a girlfriend. Lots of them have the nasty habit of becoming not a girlfriend eventually.

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lawschoolwoohoo
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Re: Michigan vs GW

Postby lawschoolwoohoo » Sat Mar 30, 2013 6:07 pm

Not a question. Go to Michigan and don't look back.

Ti Malice
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Re: Michigan vs GW

Postby Ti Malice » Sat Mar 30, 2013 6:09 pm

BigZuck wrote:Go on...

OP, how do you plan on paying off 200K (or 160K or whatever) with a degree from GW? Honest question.

And how do you plan on paying off 200K+ without big law?

Also I would be very careful about making decisions based on or expecting the support of a girlfriend. Lots of them have the nasty habit of becoming not a girlfriend eventually.


I guess I should have named the particular 0Ls. Look at my other posts in the thread and you'll see which posters I was talking about.

hunter.d wrote:Agreed. But if a couple rounds of scholarship negotiation gets OP near full ride then I think it is a very logical choice.


Well, yeah, but that's a radically different scenario from the one we're presently considering (i.e. one where GW's COA is actually higher than Michigan's).

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hephaestus
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Re: Michigan vs GW

Postby hephaestus » Sat Mar 30, 2013 6:38 pm

lawschoolwoohoo wrote:Not a question. Go to Michigan and don't look back.

malcolm
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Re: Michigan vs GW

Postby malcolm » Sat Mar 30, 2013 8:49 pm

Ti Malice wrote:This is not even a close question. No one in their right mind would pick GW in this situation.
Ti Malice wrote:
OP, the advice you're getting from the 0Ls on this thread may sound like good advice, but it really isn't.


Is it really that clear cut? Do you not think GW's location might be a better place to develop a track toward a public interest career, and is it really irrational to think I won't be one of the 20% of graduates who has to rely on GW's school-funded program? These aren't rhetorical questions, I'm interested in your opinion.

TooOld4This wrote:I honestly don't understand the struggle unless you have a family that is tying you to DC.

There is no argument short of that that makes GWU the right choice -- and even then, at that price, the right answer might be not to go.

With your debt load you will need Michigan's better LRAP and/or the ability to get BigLaw to pay off your debt.

Clerking figures on LST don't just count Article III clerkships, they also count state clerkships.

GWU had a huge program to pay its own graduates to prop up its employment numbers. It then started cutting the (very low) salary to try to get people off the program. (See Above the Law)

Higher placement in BigLaw generally means more options. It's easier to opt out rather than opt into it.


No family tying me to DC. My family is actually in Michigan (as am I). But is there really no argument in favor of GW? I'm interested in why you say that. I know Michigan has a better LRAP, but with IBR and PSLF it looks like I'd be in decent shape. And I know GW has a school-funded program. It employs 20%. GW probably admits some people who aren't cut out for it and then ends up employing them. I intend not to be one of the (presumably) bottom of my class no matter where I end up, but certainly there.

Big Dog wrote:
If you "struggle' with this, are you sure you should even should go to LS?

This is a no-brainer if there ever was one on TLS.


Why would me "struggling" with this indicate that I shouldn't go to law school? Serious question, if you were being serious. And why is this a no-brainer? Another serious question. I'm trying to get as many opinions on this as I can, but I need them to be backed up for me to make any use of them.

Ti Malice wrote:It's not about a bias toward BigLaw. (I'm not interested in BigLaw myself.) Michigan will have an advantage over GW in any area of law.


So, in your opinion, this holds true for DC as well, even if GW affords much more opportunity for developing contacts in the public sector?

BigZuck wrote:
OP, how do you plan on paying off 200K (or 160K or whatever) with a degree from GW? Honest question.

And how do you plan on paying off 200K+ without big law?

Also I would be very careful about making decisions based on or expecting the support of a girlfriend. Lots of them have the nasty habit of becoming not a girlfriend eventually.

Haha, yeah, I'm aware of that habit. We've been together almost six years, but I'm doing my best to make this decision independent of that. As for paying off the debt, I planned to take advantage of IBR and PSLF. It would work out to me paying back something like 80K.

lawschoolwoohoo wrote:Not a question. Go to Michigan and don't look back.


Why do you say that?

--------
And again, thanks for chiming in everybody.

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lawschoolwoohoo
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Re: Michigan vs GW

Postby lawschoolwoohoo » Sat Mar 30, 2013 10:16 pm

malcolm wrote:
lawschoolwoohoo wrote:Not a question. Go to Michigan and don't look back.


Why do you say that?

--------
And again, thanks for chiming in everybody.


GW is hugely expensive, even with your bigger scholly there because the COA is insane. Have you looked into apartments there? Seriously, bro. $$$. I know the area.

Secondly, Michigan has a huge amount of prestige and is frankly a much better school, academically, professionally, literally in every way. It's ranked extremely well and is the best school in the area in which it is located. The degree itself is also insanely portable. It's got a great rep. GW not so much. Employment chances are way less good at GW and the name itself is less prestigious. Plus, you're competing for those government jobs with GTown, which is a better school.

From your posts, it seems like despite what everyone is telling you, there's a major part of you that wants GW. That said, if you're so set on GW, at least squeeze more money out of them. Just to give you an idea, I got a somewhat significantly larger scholarship than you did at GW (not to sound like an asshole, but instead suggest you too could get more money), and I got flat out denied at Michigan. So clearly you are a pretty desirable applicant and GW should make it worth your while to go there-tell then you got into Michigan with $ there and see if they'll throw you a bone. I turned them and their scholarship down yesterday, so hopefully my $$ will go to you if you do decide to go there. Hope it helps.




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