HELP! T15 conundrum

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

Where should I go?

Columbia (180K debt)
4
4%
Chicago (116K debt)
31
31%
NYU ($145K debt)
0
No votes
UVA (95K debt)
6
6%
Duke (66K debt)
28
28%
Cornell (32K debt)
20
20%
Texas (Free)
10
10%
 
Total votes: 99

difficultdecision
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HELP! T15 conundrum

Postby difficultdecision » Wed Apr 17, 2013 8:10 pm

Hi all,
I feel grateful to have this complicated decision in front of me but I need some help figuring it out. I currently work in finance making a very good salary but have always had an interest in the law and want to make the move now. I'm not 100% sure what area of law I want to go into, but I'm fairly interested in tax/startup law, or a career in public interest. I'd also like to go to a school that has some opportunity to do a clerkship (though I understand these are very hard to get outside HYS). Additionally, I'm pretty certain that I don't want to work longer than 1-2 years in biglaw (I prefer smaller companies or public interest jobs), and ultimately want to end up in the mid-Atlantic area (anywhere from Pennsylvania to North Carolina) which is where I'm from.

What I'm really curious about is whether attending Duke or Cornell vs the other schools on the list is going to close any major doors for me in the future. I've heard a fair amount about how "prestige" of the law school matters in future career options, but I don't know if this actually true or just BS.

That being said, here are the choices (figures are net of scholarships and personal savings, and include cost of living):

Columbia (180K debt)
Pros: great job opportunities, NYC is great, most prestigious school I got into
Cons: high cost, supposedly stressful student life

Chicago (116K debt)
Pros: great job opportunities at a much cheaper price, great teaching, still fairly prestigious, good geographical reach, higher clerkship chances, big-city opportunities, good lrap and clinical opportunities
Cons: Weather is awful, student body may be a little too academically focused, concerned about quality of student life

NYU ($145K debt)
Pros: great clinics, strong public interest focus, strong lrap, great location and lots of friends in NYC, good job prospects
Cons: fairly costly vs. Chicago

UVA (95K debt)
Pros: great student life, strong public interest focus and sizeable clerkship numbers (at least according to LST), cheaper cost of living, great ties and alumni network to the region I see myself in
Cons: biglaw job opportunities don't seem to be available to below median class members, 95K is still a lot of debt


Duke (66K debt)

Pros: relatively strong job numbers, cheap cost of living and attendance cost, good clinical opportunities, good placement in mid-Atlantic region
Cons: would need a car, not really into Duke sports, not as prestigious as other schools on the list


Cornell (32K debt)

Pros: one of the cheapest options on the list, law school seems in the heart of campus
Cons: no transactional clinics, very BigLaw / NYC focused (few seem to venture south of Philly), really really bad weather, not as prestigious as other schools on the list

Texas (free)
Pros: Austin is great, student life seems awesome, go to school for free in a growing region
Cons: Not sure I want to live for the rest of my life in Texas, don't have any ties to the region


Your voting and any comments would greatly be appreciated. I really don't know what to do.
Thanks!

Ti Malice
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Re: HELP! T15 conundrum

Postby Ti Malice » Wed Apr 17, 2013 8:21 pm

Interesting options. I would cut everything but Chicago, Duke, and Cornell. (Texas is out because you have no ties and because you aren't sure you would want to live in the state long-term. Texas is also not worth only $32K less than Cornell.)
Last edited by Ti Malice on Wed Apr 17, 2013 8:21 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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Doorkeeper
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Re: HELP! T15 conundrum

Postby Doorkeeper » Wed Apr 17, 2013 8:21 pm

Things to do immediately:
1. Use scholarships at NYU and Chicago to negotiate with Columbia.
2. Use scholarships at Chicago and UVA to negotiate with NYU.
3. Use scholarships at Chicago and Duke to negotiate with UVA.

How much are you really interested in tax law? I believe NYU has the best tax law program in the country and that they like to the NYU JDs into their Tax LLM program. That might be a consideration to take into account if you're sincere in your interest in tax.

I would cut Columbia, Cornell and Texas from this list immediately.

Then the comparison is between the schools with better overall placement (Chicago or NYU), and the schools that are cheaper and in your geographic region of interest (Duke and UVA).
Last edited by Doorkeeper on Wed Apr 17, 2013 8:23 pm, edited 2 times in total.

Ti Malice
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Re: HELP! T15 conundrum

Postby Ti Malice » Wed Apr 17, 2013 8:22 pm

Doorkeeper wrote:Things to do immediately:
1. Use scholarships at NYU and Chicago to negotiate with Columbia.
2. Use scholarship at Chicago and UVA to negotiate with NYU.


Yeah, do that first. For some reason I had imagined you had already finished with scholarship negotiations.

bananapeanutbutter
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Re: HELP! T15 conundrum

Postby bananapeanutbutter » Wed Apr 17, 2013 8:48 pm

Duke no question given preferences. I don't think UVa is worth 30k more. CCN not necessary for your region. Penn? You'd be gold for Philly and Delaware, which is on the mid-Atlantic, not super competitive and has a fair amount of in house work for straight out.

jessemllr
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Re: HELP! T15 conundrum

Postby jessemllr » Wed Apr 17, 2013 8:52 pm

Desired location = Duke

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Micdiddy
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Re: HELP! T15 conundrum

Postby Micdiddy » Wed Apr 17, 2013 8:53 pm

If those are your cons about Chicago, you're in luck! Chicago is a fantastic city, I am sure you will love it there.
With that said, as previously stated, basically your choosing between Chi, Duke and Cornell (assuming scholarships stay the same).
I would probably choose Cornell, a cheap JD from there sounds like a decent win. You can still do big law for a bit before you find whatever market you're looking (if you find it, that is).

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Nelson
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Re: HELP! T15 conundrum

Postby Nelson » Wed Apr 17, 2013 8:59 pm

For the midatlantic geographic target and lack of interest in big law, Duke or Cornell seem like your best options.

bananapeanutbutter
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Re: HELP! T15 conundrum

Postby bananapeanutbutter » Wed Apr 17, 2013 9:00 pm

Micdiddy wrote:If those are your cons about Chicago, you're in luck! Chicago is a fantastic city, I am sure you will love it there.
With that said, as previously stated, basically your choosing between Chi, Duke and Cornell (assuming scholarships stay the same).
I would probably choose Cornell, a cheap JD from there sounds like a decent win. You can still do big law for a bit before you find whatever market you're looking (if you find it, that is).

if you really like the mid-atlantic it's worth 30k no question. to some degree, non-HYS is always a 10 year investment in a region. even with ties and the top 14, idk how portable cornell is.

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JamMasterJ
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Re: HELP! T15 conundrum

Postby JamMasterJ » Wed Apr 17, 2013 9:07 pm

Cornell and Chicago are the only possible choices, with the possible exception of Duke.

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Nelson
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Re: HELP! T15 conundrum

Postby Nelson » Wed Apr 17, 2013 9:09 pm

Chicago would get you back to the east coast easily, but if you already have qualms about biglaw before you've even started law school, I wouldn't take that much debt.

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romothesavior
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Re: HELP! T15 conundrum

Postby romothesavior » Wed Apr 17, 2013 9:29 pm

What's a t15

No but really I vote Duke. Make sure you negotiate. Also if you go big law you'll likely need more than 1-2 years to meaningfully lateral in house.

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Doorkeeper
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Re: HELP! T15 conundrum

Postby Doorkeeper » Wed Apr 17, 2013 10:08 pm

Cornell, although at a great price, really doesn't make sense for OP (nor does it really seem to interest the OP). 1. No transactional clinics. 2. OP has stated an interest in tax/startup law. 3. OP has stated an interest in non-NY mid-Atlantic locations. I think this is currently an option between Chicago and Duke. Also note that NYU would win over Chicago if they would match the scholarship and UVA would win over Duke if they would increase the scholarship.

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NoodleyOne
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Re: HELP! T15 conundrum

Postby NoodleyOne » Wed Apr 17, 2013 10:29 pm

Negotiate around, but right now I think you're a coinflip for Chicago or Duke.

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jbagelboy
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Re: HELP! T15 conundrum

Postby jbagelboy » Wed Apr 17, 2013 10:37 pm

I voted Chicago. That debt is manageable even without biglaw, you have a high salary network to fall back on, and your "cons", no offense, are not particularly substantive.

Its too bad, if you got more $ from Columbia you'd be perfect for their Oxford dual LLM exchange program for Finance and Law.

Congrats either way great choices

Big Dog
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Re: HELP! T15 conundrum

Postby Big Dog » Wed Apr 17, 2013 10:45 pm

For the midatlantic geographic target and lack of interest in big law, Duke or


Virginia....

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NoodleyOne
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Re: HELP! T15 conundrum

Postby NoodleyOne » Wed Apr 17, 2013 10:55 pm

Big Dog wrote:
For the midatlantic geographic target and lack of interest in big law, Duke or


Virginia....

If he can get UVA to up his offer, then it's definitely in play. As it stands now though, I think the risk/reward ratio isn't as good as a few of the other options on the list.

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Lacepiece23
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Re: HELP! T15 conundrum

Postby Lacepiece23 » Wed Apr 17, 2013 11:09 pm

NoodleyOne wrote:
Big Dog wrote:
For the midatlantic geographic target and lack of interest in big law, Duke or


Virginia....

If he can get UVA to up his offer, then it's definitely in play. As it stands now though, I think the risk/reward ratio isn't as good as a few of the other options on the list.


I voted Cornell. Who cares about a transactional clinic? OP can get everything that OP wants from there for 32k. Sounds like a pretty sweet deal to me. Having minimal debt would be awesome for an interest in start up, and if OP guns for OP with minimal debt Cornell would be great because there are so few here that want that that our public interest staff gives there upmost attention to those that do, and from what I have heard are excellent.

difficultdecision
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Re: HELP! T15 conundrum

Postby difficultdecision » Thu Apr 18, 2013 8:38 am

Thanks so much for your responses and advice! A couple of answers to some questions that were asked / points raised:

1) Applied and accepted to Penn, but no aid was given, and I don't think it's worth $75k more than UVA. So I ruled it out.

2) Favorite place / campus environment by far is UVA, but not sure how that should affect my decision or if it's really that important.

3) I'm really struggling to figure out if choosing Cornell / Duke vs. UVA vs CCN will close doors down the road. I know there's a slight change in level of prestige as you move through these three categories, but is it really that much? Thanks again!

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JamMasterJ
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Re: HELP! T15 conundrum

Postby JamMasterJ » Thu Apr 18, 2013 11:11 am

difficultdecision wrote:Thanks so much for your responses and advice! A couple of answers to some questions that were asked / points raised:

1) Applied and accepted to Penn, but no aid was given, and I don't think it's worth $75k more than UVA. So I ruled it out.

2) Favorite place / campus environment by far is UVA, but not sure how that should affect my decision or if it's really that important.

3) I'm really struggling to figure out if choosing Cornell / Duke vs. UVA vs CCN will close doors down the road. I know there's a slight change in level of prestige as you move through these three categories, but is it really that much? Thanks again!

way more likely that it closes doors now than down the road. Down the line, any of these will be sufficient, whereas, as you know, they have varying levels of job placement for your first job.

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nickb285
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Re: HELP! T15 conundrum

Postby nickb285 » Thu Apr 18, 2013 12:13 pm

Duke for location, Cornell for debt aversion. Up to you which is more important.




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