Chicago ($) v. UVA ($$)

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

Which one?*

Chicago (30k)
9
60%
UVA (75k)
6
40%
 
Total votes: 15

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RSterling
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Chicago ($) v. UVA ($$)

Postby RSterling » Tue Apr 16, 2013 11:51 am

I made one of these a while back, but things have changed a bit since then. I'm aiming for biglaw either in D.C. or in my home market on the West Coast (secondary market) with the hope of eventually transitioning to government. I have my eye on the DOJ Honors program, but obviously that's a total crapshoot.

I have no interest in academia, but I am very interested in doing a federal clerkship.

Here are my thoughts on each:

Chicago

Pros: Higher ranking, in a city with a lot of opportunities, and great placement into clerkships and prestigious firm jobs.

Cons: Very expensive. High cost of living. South Chicago doesn't seem like the greatest place, and I don't know if I would fit into the UChicago culture that well. I'm not convinced that UChicago has the prestige to make it a better deal than some of the other schools.

UVA

Pros: This is the only school that I've visited, and I really enjoyed Charlottesville. The people I met were all nice, and I definitely could see myself at UVA. Money is nice. Biglaw/clerkship prospects are good. The numbers they gave us at ASW were all very encouraging.

This is where I'm currently leaning.

Cons: Lower prestige. It might distance myself from West Coast markets, but everything I heard from west-coast bound students at ASW seems to counter that. There's even a student-group for west-coast-bound students.Not the cheapest option. I'm not sure if UVA's rankings and prospects are worth the money I'd be giving up at Duke/Cornell

Duke

Pros: Seems to have an atmosphere similar to UVA. A little more $$. Numbers suggest that clerkship and biglaw placement are on the rise.

Cons: I've heard a lot of poor reviews about Durham. Everything seems much more spread out. Not sure if the extra 6k is worth giving up the (slighter) lower placement numbers when compared to other schools.

Cornell

Pros: $$$$

Cons: The only reason I would go here is for the money. Ithaca weather seems awful and I'm not interested in NYC except as a last resort. But maybe the money's worth it?


There are all my initial thoughts, so I apologize if they read as if a drunken 4-year-old wrote them. Thanks for all the help. TLS has been great from the LSAT through this cycle, so I really want to know this board's opinion.


*I'm waitlisted at Harvard and still waiting on Stanford. If any of these options come through, I'll probably take them in a heartbeat. If you think that'd be a bad idea, feel free to speculate on this point as well.
Last edited by RSterling on Thu Apr 18, 2013 6:49 pm, edited 4 times in total.

envisciguy
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Re: Chicago ($) v. UVA ($$) v. Duke ($$) v. Cornell ($$$)

Postby envisciguy » Tue Apr 16, 2013 12:01 pm

Don't let the 6k difference between Duke and UVA influence you. In the scheme of law school expenses, that's nothing. If you're between those two, consider the cost a wash and base your decision on other factors. I wouldn't pay 40-50k more for Chicago, but some other posters would disagree. I'd rule out Cornell though - tuition is the highest, so the scholarship is a little less than it looks.

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trobriander
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Re: Chicago ($) v. UVA ($$) v. Duke ($$) v. Cornell ($$$)

Postby trobriander » Tue Apr 16, 2013 12:04 pm

As someone familiar with Duke, I can say that it's actually an excellent place to live. There's a lot to do and tons of opportunities for extracurriculars/going out/internships. In Charlottesville, you're probably going to have to travel to DC/Richmond to do much of anything. I can't speak to the placement rates but the community at Duke is very collaborative and the faculty is excellent (not to mention very accessible). The small class size can be a huge advantage, so I'd definitely take that into consideration. If you have more questions about Duke feel free to PM me.

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WokeUpInACar
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Re: Chicago ($) v. UVA ($$) v. Duke ($$) v. Cornell ($$$)

Postby WokeUpInACar » Tue Apr 16, 2013 12:07 pm

Given your preferences, UVA.

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RSterling
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Re: Chicago ($) v. UVA ($$) v. Duke ($$) v. Cornell ($$$)

Postby RSterling » Tue Apr 16, 2013 12:20 pm

I do consider Duke/UVA a wash, and I've already had to deposit at UVA so I'm leaning there.

I'm surprised by how many people think that Chicago is worth 45k+extra col. Is the prestige difference really that big? Like I mentioned, I'm interested in doing a clerkship, but I'm not really gunning for an elite V10. I'm more interested in doing biglaw in my secondary home market.

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twenty
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Re: Chicago ($) v. UVA ($$) v. Duke ($$) v. Cornell ($$$)

Postby twenty » Tue Apr 16, 2013 12:23 pm

but I am very interested in doing a federal clerkship.


Count on not getting this no matter where you go.

I'd go with Chicago here. I don't think UVA or Duke would be bad decisions, per se, but Chicago is 1) more likely to get you into D.C./your secondary and 2) has a marginally better track record of getting BigFed. Maybe it's the grading system.

You're going to be in a ton of debt no matter what, and you're going to need a reasonably secure biglaw shop to pay it off if you don't get Feds/DOJ. The 40k difference ends up being an extra 4~ months in biglaw.

Also, Chicago LRAP > UVA/Duke LRAP.

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WokeUpInACar
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Re: Chicago ($) v. UVA ($$) v. Duke ($$) v. Cornell ($$$)

Postby WokeUpInACar » Tue Apr 16, 2013 12:25 pm

twentypercentmore wrote:
but I am very interested in doing a federal clerkship.


Count on not getting this no matter where you go.

I'd go with Chicago here. I don't think UVA or Duke would be bad decisions, per se, but Chicago is 1) more likely to get you into D.C./your secondary and 2) has a marginally better track record of getting BigFed. Maybe it's the grading system.

You're going to be in a ton of debt no matter what, and you're going to need a reasonably secure biglaw shop to pay it off if you don't get Feds/DOJ. The 40k difference ends up being an extra 4~ months in biglaw.

Also, Chicago LRAP > UVA/Duke LRAP.

Chicago is really more likely to get D.C.? Obviously there's some self-selection, but UVA places 3 times as many students into D.C. as Chicago. Also 45k+COL+interest probably ends up being more like 70k than 40k.

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twenty
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Re: Chicago ($) v. UVA ($$) v. Duke ($$) v. Cornell ($$$)

Postby twenty » Tue Apr 16, 2013 12:36 pm

WokeUpInACar wrote:Chicago is really more likely to get D.C.? Obviously there's some self-selection, but UVA places 3 times as many students into D.C. as Chicago.


I'd go so far as to say it's self-selection on both ends. One, people with ties to NoVA/DC will pick UVA over other schools. Second, come OCI time, a lot of UVA's top 2Ls are going to be targeting any DC firms while top CCN students gun for V10.

At the very least, assuming they're equal in D.C. placing power, Chicago certainly has an advantage in secondary markets not dominated by a T14 school. (i.e, I'm assuming "secondary market" isn't SF.)

Also 45k+COL+interest probably ends up being more like 70k than 40k.


As much as I hate to say it, as long as OP is okay with working in biglaw, once you get past 150k or so the debt load stops mattering as much. Of course there's a huge difference between 270k debt and 151k, but I'd go so far as to say even 70k probably doesn't really matter much in the long run. Either way you're going to need a pretty secure biglaw gig.

Big Dog
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Re: Chicago ($) v. UVA ($$) v. Duke ($$) v. Cornell ($$$)

Postby Big Dog » Tue Apr 16, 2013 12:41 pm

I'm aiming for biglaw either in D.C.


UVa/Duke


or in my home market on the West Coast (secondary market)


Chicago

with the hope of eventually transitioning to government. I have my eye on the DOJ Honors program


UVa/Duke

I am very interested in doing a federal clerkship.


Chicago/Duke

Duke wins. :P

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RSterling
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Re: Chicago ($) v. UVA ($$) v. Duke ($$) v. Cornell ($$$)

Postby RSterling » Tue Apr 16, 2013 12:48 pm

twentypercentmore wrote:
WokeUpInACar wrote:Chicago is really more likely to get D.C.? Obviously there's some self-selection, but UVA places 3 times as many students into D.C. as Chicago.


I'd go so far as to say it's self-selection on both ends. One, people with ties to NoVA/DC will pick UVA over other schools. Second, come OCI time, a lot of UVA's top 2Ls are going to be targeting any DC firms while top CCN students gun for V10.

At the very least, assuming they're equal in D.C. placing power, Chicago certainly has an advantage in secondary markets not dominated by a T14 school. (i.e, I'm assuming "secondary market" isn't SF.)

Also 45k+COL+interest probably ends up being more like 70k than 40k.


As much as I hate to say it, as long as OP is okay with working in biglaw, once you get past 150k or so the debt load stops mattering as much. Of course there's a huge difference between 270k debt and 151k, but I'd go so far as to say even 70k probably doesn't really matter much in the long run. Either way you're going to need a pretty secure biglaw gig.


You make some great points, but I'm not sure about the bolded. The way I see it, not everyone gets to stay in biglaw as long as they'd like, and an extra 70k to pay off would take at least an extra year of biglaw to pay off. I'm not sure if Chicago real or perceived placement power in secondary markets is worth that cash.

Secondary market is not SF. Think more Pacific Northwest.

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jbagelboy
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Re: Chicago ($) v. UVA ($$) v. Duke ($$) v. Cornell ($$$)

Postby jbagelboy » Tue Apr 16, 2013 12:55 pm

I voted UVA. I don't think Chicago is worth the $ difference here since you want to practice in DC. And you actually liked Charlottesville, which means its a safer bet.

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twenty
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Re: Chicago ($) v. UVA ($$) v. Duke ($$) v. Cornell ($$$)

Postby twenty » Tue Apr 16, 2013 1:05 pm

RSterling wrote:You make some great points, but I'm not sure about the bolded. The way I see it, not everyone gets to stay in biglaw as long as they'd like


Keep in mind that the secondary market biglaw career culture is going to be significantly different from NYC biglaw. The reason your interviewer will grill you about ties is because they want to make sure you're not a flight risk for at least a couple years, preferably longer. In NYC, they want you out by 5-6 years so they can hire a newly minted grad and pay them a lot less to do the same work.

I'm definitely not the right person to ask about your particular region's biglaw culture, but I think it might be worth reaching out to a few hiring partners to see how the "up and out" culture prevalent in NYC compares to what I presume to be Seattle or Portland.

Of course, if you DO end up in DC, Chicago, or NYC, then this becomes a moot point, since at that point, you do have to factor in that you're probably not going to be a 5th year associate. I'm not sure what kind of debt numbers you're looking at, but you probably would have to count on cutting your salary down by about half around year four to go in house or over to the feds.

20141023
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Re: Chicago ($) v. UVA ($$) v. Duke ($$) v. Cornell ($$$)

Postby 20141023 » Tue Apr 16, 2013 1:09 pm

.
Last edited by 20141023 on Mon Feb 16, 2015 12:35 am, edited 1 time in total.

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RSterling
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Re: Chicago ($) v. UVA ($$) v. Duke ($$) v. Cornell ($$$)

Postby RSterling » Tue Apr 16, 2013 1:49 pm

Thanks for the info, everyone. This is all really helpful.

Quick question: Is it even worth bringing my UVA offer to Chicago? My guess is that it's not worth much leverage-wise.

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NoodleyOne
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Re: Chicago ($) v. UVA ($$) v. Duke ($$) v. Cornell ($$$)

Postby NoodleyOne » Tue Apr 16, 2013 1:51 pm

It couldn't hurt. Might not help, though. It's going to come down to how much UChi wants you.

I put down UVA, but you're right in that I think UVA/Duke is a wash. From what I understand Durham isn't that bad a spot, though, so I imagine the two places are rather similar in atmosphere (as in the town around it).

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RSterling
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Re: Chicago ($) v. UVA ($$) v. Duke ($$) v. Cornell ($$$)

Postby RSterling » Thu Apr 18, 2013 6:29 pm

Withdrew from Duke and Cornell today. Updated the poll to see what everyone thinks about these two options.




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