NYU (full-ride) vs. Harvard (sticker) for Clerkships/BigFed

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

Should the OP take the full ride at NYU or go to Harvard?

full ride at NYU
62
65%
Harvard at sticker
33
35%
 
Total votes: 95

Magnacromion
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NYU (full-ride) vs. Harvard (sticker) for Clerkships/BigFed

Postby Magnacromion » Wed Apr 10, 2013 1:55 am

I realize that the question of CCN with a full ride versus Harvard at sticker has been discussed ad nauseum on these forums. I find myself in a similar position, but I have somewhat different career aspirations from most of the others who have asked this question. I'm not particularly interested in BigLaw, at least not as a junior associate. Rather, I'd really like to gun for a job as an appellate advocate, even if that's a really unlikely outcome. It is what my heart desires, so I figure I should follow my dreams.

It's possible I'd qualify for some need-based grant aid at Harvard, but that's far from a given. My family is solidly middle-class.

I'd like to take a shot at a Court of Appeals clerkship when I graduate, and then I'd like to see if I can get an appellate job in BigFed, like DOJ Honors Civil Appellate, OLC, or OSG. Would taking the full ride at NYU greatly reduce my chances of getting the clerkship and BigFed? Or is this the sort of thing that either I'll be good enough to do or I won't, and it's not going to matter too much where I go within the T6? What sort of class rank do you think I'd need to have this sort of career out of NYU? Out of Harvard?

NYU would allow me to put a named scholarship (the "Vanderbilt Scholarship") on my resume, and they would give me some opportunities for additional work experience with one of their affiliated think tanks. I've also visited NYU and I really love the place. Furthermore, it sounds like they're willing to throw a lot of resources behind scholarship recipients who are gunning for clerkships and other high-prestige positions (particularly if they end up ranking highly). That said, their clerkship percentages are abysmal compared to Harvard and the rest of the T6. I'd like to believe this is at least in part due to self-selection (NYU grads are more interested in BigLaw than clerkships and academia/they want to stay in NYC), but I'm not sure. If it helps, I don't really want to stay in NYC (I much prefer DC or just about any other large coastal city), and I'd totally be willing to clerk in flyover country.

I'm guessing Yale is the credited response here, but I was unceremoniously dinged there. Still haven't heard anything from Stanford.

Thanks for any advice you can offer (particularly from 2Ls, 3Ls, and alums who have been through this already).

dissonance1848
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Re: NYU (full-ride) vs. Harvard (sticker) for Clerkships/BigFed

Postby dissonance1848 » Wed Apr 10, 2013 2:20 am

Harvard is going to give you roughly twice the chance of NYU for clerking (roughly 10% vs roughly 20%), and would definitely give you the edge for BigGov.

However, TLS CW is that you should go to a school assuming median.

If you hit median at Harvard, you will not be getting Fed clerkships, or really breaking into BigFed..... but you will have a lot of debt, and need biglaw.

If you are median at NYU, you will get Biglaw, with little debt, and then have more flexibility for whats next.

If risk averse, take NYU.

If you want to gamble quite a bit, take Harvard.

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Re: NYU (full-ride) vs. Harvard (sticker) for Clerkships/BigFed

Postby jbagelboy » Wed Apr 10, 2013 2:35 am

dissonance1848 wrote:Harvard is going to give you roughly twice the chance of NYU for clerking (roughly 10% vs roughly 20%), and would definitely give you the edge for BigGov.

However, TLS CW is that you should go to a school assuming median.

If you hit median at Harvard, you will not be getting Fed clerkships, or really breaking into BigFed..... but you will have a lot of debt, and need biglaw.

If you are median at NYU, you will get Biglaw, with little debt, and then have more flexibility for whats next.

If risk averse, take NYU.

If you want to gamble quite a bit, take Harvard.


i think this is a good answer. although i'm not harvard ever qualifies as a gamble.

Magnacromion
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Re: NYU (full-ride) vs. Harvard (sticker) for Clerkships/BigFed

Postby Magnacromion » Wed Apr 10, 2013 10:36 am

dissonance1848 wrote:Harvard is going to give you roughly twice the chance of NYU for clerking (roughly 10% vs roughly 20%), and would definitely give you the edge for BigGov.

However, TLS CW is that you should go to a school assuming median.

If you hit median at Harvard, you will not be getting Fed clerkships, or really breaking into BigFed..... but you will have a lot of debt, and need biglaw.

If you are median at NYU, you will get Biglaw, with little debt, and then have more flexibility for whats next.

If risk averse, take NYU.

If you want to gamble quite a bit, take Harvard.


Mmm…I was actually curious about the odds of that. I'm well above the 75th percentile LSAT and GPA for both schools, I got a full scholarship at NYU, and I also have a sibling who went to NYU and who I'm pretty sure was in the top 5 or 10 students there several years ago. Any idea how much success in law school runs in families? And don't scholarship recipients/students with above-median numbers stand a statistically better chance at doing well on exams?

Thanks for the responses. Can anyone tell me what class rank/GPA at NYU is required for a CoA clerkship?

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Re: NYU (full-ride) vs. Harvard (sticker) for Clerkships/BigFed

Postby dixiecupdrinking » Wed Apr 10, 2013 10:50 am

If you mean the class of 2012 when you talk about NYU's "abysmal" clerkship placement, just know that that year was a bizarre outlier and doesn't reflect how many NYU grads should be clerking going forward. It's not going to be Harvard-level but it's just as good as all the non HYS top schools for clerkships.

For a COA clerkship, off the top of my head I'd say top 1/3 gives you a shot at less sought after circuits, top 1/4 gives you a pretty decent chance at them and a longshot chance at the top circuits. You'd want to be in the top 10% to have a substantial chance at 2/9/DC clerkships and a very good shot at other circuits. If you're willing to do a trial level clerkship then that obviously opens a lot more options. If you have a specific question you can PM me, I have the GPA data for various courts around here somewhere.

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beepboopbeep
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Re: NYU (full-ride) vs. Harvard (sticker) for Clerkships/BigFed

Postby beepboopbeep » Wed Apr 10, 2013 11:03 am

dixiecupdrinking wrote:I have the GPA data for various courts around here somewhere.


Want to post that in its own thread? I'm sure OP isn't the only one wondering.

Magnacromion
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Re: NYU (full-ride) vs. Harvard (sticker) for Clerkships/BigFed

Postby Magnacromion » Wed Apr 10, 2013 11:09 am

beepboopbeep wrote:
dixiecupdrinking wrote:I have the GPA data for various courts around here somewhere.


Want to post that in its own thread? I'm sure OP isn't the only one wondering.


+1! I've been looking around for that but can't find it anywhere. Schools seem to hem and haw about it: "Your grades aren't the only thing that matters." I'm not sure I fully believe them (though there's certainly some truth in that).

Magnacromion
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Re: NYU (full-ride) vs. Harvard (sticker) for Clerkships/BigFed

Postby Magnacromion » Wed Apr 10, 2013 11:12 am

Here's something I found on another forum which shall not be named:

NYU 2005 numbers

Graduating class:

COA: 19

District Court: 22

State Supreme Court (or other State High Court): 3

Other: 4

Total:48

Recent Graduates

COA: 11

DC: 11

State Supreme: 2

Other: 1

Total: 25

“In general terms, students with a GPA above 3.67(A-) should consider themselves very competitive for court of appeals “feeder” judges, as well as for court of appeals judges in the most competitive metropolitan areas. Such students should also consider applying to at least some other courts of appeals and/or district court judges.

Students with GPAs between 3.5 and 3.67 may have difficulty obtaining interviews with “feeder” and geographically competitive judges, but each year some obtain not only interviews but offers. Generally students with a GPA in this range have had success obtaining clerkships with other courts of appeals and on district courts, including district courts in the competitive metropolitan areas, or highly regarded state supreme courts.

Students with GPAs between 3.33 and 3.50 may have difficulty obtaining a court of appeals clerkship or one on the district courts in the competitive metropolitan areas. You may wish to concentrate on other district courts and on state supreme courts.

Students with GPA between 3.16 and 3.33 have had particular success district courts outside competitive metropolitan areas, as well as magistrate judges and lower state courts.

Students with GPAs between 3.0 and 3.16 may wish to apply to a mix of district courts outside competitive metropolitan areas as well as magistrate and bankruptcy judges and lower state courts.

Students with GPAs below 3.0 in general have difficulty securing clerkships. There have been, however, some successful candidates, especially recent graduates with a GPA in this range.”


These numbers are dated (2005), and NYU changed its curve dramatically in 2008 so the numbers are not directly comparable. A 3.67 then is probably roughly comparable to a 4.0 now. HTH dixiecupdrinking. That'd be awesome if you posted the full data.

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Re: NYU (full-ride) vs. Harvard (sticker) for Clerkships/BigFed

Postby dixiecupdrinking » Wed Apr 10, 2013 11:23 am

I'm not certain how sensitive the data is supposed to be but I'm not super comfortable posting it all publicly, sorry guys. (Not to mention it is a ton of data to post.) I will say that what Magnacromion posted seems like it is very broadly still accurate, ignoring the GPAs which are based on the old curve. Where it says 3.67+, substitute "top 10%," 3.5-3.67 = "top 25%," 3.33-3.50 = "top 33%," and 3.16-3.33 = "top half." I think that gives you a fair idea of how things continue to shake out IME.

thsmthcrmnl
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Re: NYU (full-ride) vs. Harvard (sticker) for Clerkships/BigFed

Postby thsmthcrmnl » Wed Apr 10, 2013 11:41 am

Nah. Competitive for feeders at NYU is top ten people, not top ten percent.

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Re: NYU (full-ride) vs. Harvard (sticker) for Clerkships/BigFed

Postby dixiecupdrinking » Wed Apr 10, 2013 11:47 am

thsmthcrmnl wrote:Nah. Competitive for feeders at NYU is top ten people, not top ten percent.

You're right. I was thinking more of the second part of that sentence. I think top 10% is certainly competitive for 2nd Circuit etc. I guess depends on what they mean by "very competitive," though, it's not like you can bank on it.

Anyway, I think I sidetracked things here. I don't want to give the impression that NYU is in the same league as HLS as far as clerkships, just that you can count on more than the 6% or whatever it was in 2012 getting fed clerkships.

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Re: NYU (full-ride) vs. Harvard (sticker) for Clerkships/BigFed

Postby jselson » Wed Apr 10, 2013 11:51 am

I'm making a similar decision (Butler v Harvard) with similar goals, and I'm choosing Harvard, fwiw.

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Re: NYU (full-ride) vs. Harvard (sticker) for Clerkships/BigFed

Postby Stinson » Wed Apr 10, 2013 11:57 am

First off, congrats on great options. Second, OP should be looking here:

http://www.law.harvard.edu/current/sfs/ ... arios.html

Scroll down to the bottom, where Harvard's SFS office basically runs the LIPP numbers for you on repayment in fed gov jobs. (It's for DoJ but I would imagine other areas are going to be fairly similar as the salary scale is similar across areas.) The highlights are that LIPP will be paying most of your loan payment when you start out (it will also pay almost all of it during your theoretical clerkship if you go on to a legal job after the clerkship), and that will change as you make more money. As you travel up the GS scale over the years, you will be paying more of the money, and basically all of it by the time you hit the top of the federal salary scale towards the end of your repayment time. (At that point, if you are still in fed gov, you will be making something around $160k+locality pay.)

Because fed gov pays a lot more than most PI, LIPP certainly isn't going to foot most of the bill, at least over all ten years of repayment. That said, you would still be in a pretty decent financial position. You also mentioned that you might want to switch into the private sector, and if so it is worth noting that LIPP is better suited for such a transition than most LRAP's because it pays as you go and requires no particular number of years. If you switch into biglaw after seven years, 70% of your loans will be paid off, which is pretty cool. It will really give you flexibility to do what you want, not having to forego an opportunity that may come along. The reverse is also true - if you get shut out of fed gov because it's really hard to get and fall back on big law (as in, do something like split 2L summer between a firm and a fed gov agency that you think might hire you), you will safely be able to transition to a government job after a few years at a firm without a massive financial hit, because LIPP will kick in to take care of the loan payments. No matter the path you take, your loans will be gone after ten years. You may even find you like big law a bit more when you aren't tied to it by the threat of financial oblivion.

Given all this, my instinct is to go Harvard if clerkship/fed gov is what you want. Those are very difficult goals, and you will need all the help you can get. The clerkship % difference is big enough to care about, and Harvard has a number of federal/alumni connections that will be invaluable if you want a shot at fed gov, which is super hard to get here in the age of austerity. (If you have any friends in competitive house districts, you might want to encourage them to vote in 2014 if you want to better your chances. :D )

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Re: NYU (full-ride) vs. Harvard (sticker) for Clerkships/BigFed

Postby Magnacromion » Wed Apr 10, 2013 12:17 pm

jselson wrote:I'm making a similar decision (Butler v Harvard) with similar goals, and I'm choosing Harvard, fwiw.


Thanks. I was also offered a Butler (half tuition at Columbia), and I would generally agree with your decision, particularly if your goals are similar to mine. Half tuition at Columbia is nice, and if BigLaw is your thing, I would take the money and run. But if your goal is more elite outcomes, I think Harvard > Columbia + Butler. That said, I would probably say that Harvard < Columbia + Hamilton (full ride). I think a full ride at CCN is worth consideration, but I would take Harvard over a half ride.

Congrats on your excellent options, btw.

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Re: NYU (full-ride) vs. Harvard (sticker) for Clerkships/BigFed

Postby sinfiery » Wed Apr 10, 2013 12:20 pm

OP, if you didn't get BigFed and didn't get a Clerkship but were left with Biglaw in NYC as your outcome, how would you feel?

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Re: NYU (full-ride) vs. Harvard (sticker) for Clerkships/BigFed

Postby dcg2120 » Wed Apr 10, 2013 12:29 pm

Hey--I'm in a somewhat similar position. What do people think of the "soft" benefits mentioned in OP (school support, potentially better recs) and prestige differences between HLS and NYU? Are those significant factors, and if so what's the CW on how they balance out against each other?

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jselson
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Re: NYU (full-ride) vs. Harvard (sticker) for Clerkships/BigFed

Postby jselson » Wed Apr 10, 2013 1:03 pm

Magnacromion wrote:
jselson wrote:I'm making a similar decision (Butler v Harvard) with similar goals, and I'm choosing Harvard, fwiw.


Thanks. I was also offered a Butler (half tuition at Columbia), and I would generally agree with your decision, particularly if your goals are similar to mine. Half tuition at Columbia is nice, and if BigLaw is your thing, I would take the money and run. But if your goal is more elite outcomes, I think Harvard > Columbia + Butler. That said, I would probably say that Harvard < Columbia + Hamilton (full ride). I think a full ride at CCN is worth consideration, but I would take Harvard over a half ride.

Congrats on your excellent options, btw.


The Hamilton would def be tougher, but I think Ruby v HLS is the hardest for non-Biglaw goals, since Chi has outcomes in-between HLS and CLS. I'd still probably do HLS over Hamilton because LIPP is fantastic. Ruby v HLS would come down to personal preference of the school, area, class size, etc. But luckily (sadly?), I don't have to make that decision - half-scholarship at each of CCN, and HLS has the easiest CoL, so a portion of that difference is made up, especially if I get a small need-based grant.

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Re: NYU (full-ride) vs. Harvard (sticker) for Clerkships/BigFed

Postby twenty » Wed Apr 10, 2013 1:54 pm

Understand that most of the federal agencies, including DOJ, are undergoing hiring freezes to varying effects. My agency requires the approval of the Secretary in order to hire anyone right now. I'm sure that many other federal agencies are similar in that regard. A 20%~ chance of getting a top clerkship from Harvard doesn't seem worth it for 200k+ debt.

On the other hand, NYU opens up fresh doors that you might not otherwise be able to access because of debt. If you have some savings and/or can work over your summers, you could feasibly take a SAUSA spot with the DOJ and weasel your way in once the hiring freeze is over. Or you can start in Biglaw and rage-quit after a year.

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Re: NYU (full-ride) vs. Harvard (sticker) for Clerkships/BigFed

Postby timbs4339 » Wed Apr 10, 2013 2:01 pm

Biglaw does not foreclose a clerkship. Many federal judges are switching to hiring people with a few years of work experience, and at some litigation firms people regularly leave at 1-2 years to do a clerkship. The "revolving door" from the top litigation firms to the DOJ/fed agencies is well-known. So if you aren't one of the few that can get it right out of law school, you might be able to a few years down the road.

That said, if you would absolutely despise doing biglaw you probably shouldn't go to either school. NYU because it might be the way you ultimately reach your goals, and H because if you don't get your goals, you'll need it to pay down the debt.

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Re: NYU (full-ride) vs. Harvard (sticker) for Clerkships/BigFed

Postby Stinson » Wed Apr 10, 2013 2:05 pm

A lot of threads like this feature the mysterious magic door opening. Having no debt affects the financial viability of taking a PI job (and less so relative to having a program like LIPP), not one's ability to get such a job. It is really hard to get such a job. What doors will be open, outside of non-legal jobs I guess, though LIPP covers even those in the public sector, with no debt from NYU that will be closed with debt+LIPP from Harvard?

There is an unknown variable here, I admit, which is the extent to which the scholarship itself - the prestige, the network of alumni who also have it - would help OP get the job he wants. He'd have to talk to alums with the scholarship to figure that out, and even there only with a massive grain of salt if any of those alums got their jobs before 2008.

Also, OP, does the scholarship have any stipulations at all? You don't have to do PI to keep the money, right?

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Re: NYU (full-ride) vs. Harvard (sticker) for Clerkships/BigFed

Postby okinawa » Wed Apr 10, 2013 5:49 pm

Your chances of a COA clerkship are small at either school, as are your chances at the type of bigfed you're talking about. There are years where some components of the DOJ don't hire at all, and on good years, the placements you are talking about hire maybe 2 people. You will have only a very small amount of control over how well you rank, and the fact that you got 2-3 more questions correct on the LSAT doesn't stop the kid sitting next to you at Harvard or NYU from dominating you on a 4 hour in class essay exam. Most people come to schools like that with great credentials, and 90% of them don't end up in the top 10%.

So assume that you'll probably not get a COA clerkship or a DOJ OLC position. Would you rather be looking at a Plan B with no debt, or have to factor in 200k+ of loans into every decision you make for the next 10+ years? NYU has one of the highest % of grads going into government work in the T14, so if your plan B is less ultra-prestige-based bigfed, there is a support system for that.

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Re: NYU (full-ride) vs. Harvard (sticker) for Clerkships/BigFed

Postby twenty » Wed Apr 10, 2013 6:43 pm

Stinson wrote:A lot of threads like this feature the mysterious magic door opening. Having no debt affects the financial viability of taking a PI job (and less so relative to having a program like LIPP), not one's ability to get such a job. It is really hard to get such a job. What doors will be open, outside of non-legal jobs I guess, though LIPP covers even those in the public sector, with no debt from NYU that will be closed with debt+LIPP from Harvard?


1) As I pointed out earlier, SAUSA.
2) Term positions (even fantastic term positions) suddenly become a lot less preferable in contrast to permanent spots if you have to be employed full time to get LIPP. These go from fellowships to many term federal spots.
3) In the event you hate law, you bomb law school, you develop schizophrenia, or you win the lottery, a free JD from NYU is a lot more flexible than an expensive JD from Harvard.
4) A lot of "PI" (not really PI, more government and military) pay quite a bit more than the minimum for LRAP, but substantially less than biglaw. According to Harvard's LIPP calculator, assuming you're making 100k a year, staying on LRAP for ten years (A 90k-100k a year salary is pretty feasible with the feds), LIPP will only pick up HALF your loans -- the other half you'll be paying. That ends up being about 130k on the low end paid by you.

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Re: NYU (full-ride) vs. Harvard (sticker) for Clerkships/BigFed

Postby Magnacromion » Wed Apr 10, 2013 7:13 pm

sinfiery wrote:OP, if you didn't get BigFed and didn't get a Clerkship but were left with Biglaw in NYC as your outcome, how would you feel?


Depends. NYC is probably just about my last choice of locale, but I guess I could live with it. Generally, I think the BigLaw shops in NY are the least humane and most sweatshop-esque, all other things being equal.

The hours at BigLaw might not bother me if I could do intellectually challenging work and be treated with respect, as a colleague and an adult. That's a big if. I am wary of BigLaw because my general impression is that the partners (and senior associates) treat junior associates like their b**** and give them mind-numbingly boring, paper-pushing work. I've already worked one job where I had to organize other people's documents and maintain someone else's calendar, and I hated it (not to mention I really sucked at it).

I like the idea of BigFed in part because I believe that Uncle Sam is generally a force for good, but also because I think there's an outside chance I could do the sort of work I actually want to do with the Feds. I'm very interested in briefing merits, but I'd rather be fed to a pack of angry lions than deal with trivial bs like doc review, contract review, or discovery disputes. I want to be writing merits briefs during my first month on the job. I'm more likely to brief merits in an appellate gig, and I'm more likely to get an appellate gig with the Feds. (Most BigLaw appellate lawyers have previous experience with the DOJ.) I would also want to work on my own terms, setting my own hours as long as the work gets done and I bill enough hours. This is much more likely with the Feds than with BigLaw.

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Re: NYU (full-ride) vs. Harvard (sticker) for Clerkships/BigFed

Postby Magnacromion » Wed Apr 10, 2013 7:20 pm

jselson wrote:
Magnacromion wrote:
jselson wrote:I'm making a similar decision (Butler v Harvard) with similar goals, and I'm choosing Harvard, fwiw.


Thanks. I was also offered a Butler (half tuition at Columbia), and I would generally agree with your decision, particularly if your goals are similar to mine. Half tuition at Columbia is nice, and if BigLaw is your thing, I would take the money and run. But if your goal is more elite outcomes, I think Harvard > Columbia + Butler. That said, I would probably say that Harvard < Columbia + Hamilton (full ride). I think a full ride at CCN is worth consideration, but I would take Harvard over a half ride.

Congrats on your excellent options, btw.


The Hamilton would def be tougher, but I think Ruby v HLS is the hardest for non-Biglaw goals, since Chi has outcomes in-between HLS and CLS. I'd still probably do HLS over Hamilton because LIPP is fantastic. Ruby v HLS would come down to personal preference of the school, area, class size, etc. But luckily (sadly?), I don't have to make that decision - half-scholarship at each of CCN, and HLS has the easiest CoL, so a portion of that difference is made up, especially if I get a small need-based grant.


jselson, I think I would make the same decision as you were I in your shoes. I think Harvard is TCR for you. But I hope you'll carefully research LIPP before you sign on the dotted line. Yes, LIPP's eligibility criteria are very broad. However, the dollar values of the assistance is often lacking, particularly at higher income levels. If you're making $100k or so, you might end up having to make the entire monthly payment with no assistance. IMHO, making the full payments on ~$180k worth of debt is difficult at any income level below $150k or so. You may feel differently, so just run the numbers for yourself, figure out what your monthly payments will be, and make sure you know what you're signing up for. From what I've read, LIPP isn't half as generous as many people make it out to be. Still, I think that given your options, you've made a wise choice. Congrats!

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Re: NYU (full-ride) vs. Harvard (sticker) for Clerkships/BigFed

Postby Magnacromion » Wed Apr 10, 2013 7:30 pm

Stinson wrote:A lot of threads like this feature the mysterious magic door opening. Having no debt affects the financial viability of taking a PI job (and less so relative to having a program like LIPP), not one's ability to get such a job. It is really hard to get such a job. What doors will be open, outside of non-legal jobs I guess, though LIPP covers even those in the public sector, with no debt from NYU that will be closed with debt+LIPP from Harvard?

There is an unknown variable here, I admit, which is the extent to which the scholarship itself - the prestige, the network of alumni who also have it - would help OP get the job he wants. He'd have to talk to alums with the scholarship to figure that out, and even there only with a massive grain of salt if any of those alums got their jobs before 2008.

Also, OP, does the scholarship have any stipulations at all? You don't have to do PI to keep the money, right?


Remember that I'll still have debt with NYU—cost of living is something like $25k per year. It'll just be a lot less debt. As for LIPP, I'm not convinced it's all it's cracked up to be. 9 times out of 10, I think I'll still be richer with any given job if I take the scholly from NYU than if I go to Harvard, LIPP or no. That assumes I'd get the same job coming out of either school. You are correct that the jobs I'm looking at are among the most competitive in the entire field short of academia. I'm guessing that median at NYU can't get them, median at Harvard can't get them, and probably even median at Yale can't get them. I'll need to do well wherever I go.

To the best of my knowledge, the only stipulation is that I don't fail out. It's not a Root-Tilden-Kern or anything of the like. No PI requirement. In past years, they've just called it a "Dean's Scholarship". I didn't apply separately for it. The admissions office just randomly gave it to me.




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