Columbia v. GTown ($) v. Mich ($) v. UMN ($$$)

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

Which should I choose?

Columbia ($276,000)
36
40%
UMN ($70,000)
40
44%
Georgetown ($208,000)
2
2%
Michigan ($206,000)
13
14%
 
Total votes: 91

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ph5354a
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Re: Columbia v. GTown ($) v. Mich ($) v. UMN ($$$)

Postby ph5354a » Tue Apr 23, 2013 8:08 pm

OP, how familiar are you with NYC? It's one thing to be interested in living/working there at some point, but at CLS it's going to be a necessity for the start of your career with your debt load. If its possible you're not a big city person, or if you haven't spent much time in NYC, I would be nervous putting myself in that position.

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you'rethemannowdawg
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Re: Columbia v. GTown ($) v. Mich ($) v. UMN ($$$)

Postby you'rethemannowdawg » Tue Apr 23, 2013 8:24 pm

ph5354a wrote:OP, how familiar are you with NYC? It's one thing to be interested in living/working there at some point, but at CLS it's going to be a necessity for the start of your career with your debt load. If its possible you're not a big city person, or if you haven't spent much time in NYC, I would be nervous putting myself in that position.


Sorry, I should have made that more clear in the OP. I currently live and work in NYC and have family out here. I'm not opposed to doing biglaw in the area (and it's actually always been kind of a dream of mine,) but would only want to do it temporarily. I'm a big lover of the Midwest and it's where I want to eventually settle down, many of my family and friends are there and that's more important to me in the long run than working for a V5 or bigFed.

In the short run, though, I'm young and free and somewhat curious about what living in NYC would be like on a salary over 30k (what I currently make.) Based on this discussion, it's pretty clear to me that CLS would be at least a 7 year investment in New York or a market paying firm in Chicago (which I would be just as happy with as NY.) Does CLS confer any advantage over Mich for Chicago biglaw? Or is it true that the "CCN" tier only matters in NY?

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Lavitz
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Re: Columbia v. GTown ($) v. Mich ($) v. UMN ($$$)

Postby Lavitz » Tue Apr 23, 2013 9:51 pm

you'rethemannowdawg wrote:Sorry, I should have made that more clear in the OP. I currently live and work in NYC and have family out here. I'm not opposed to doing biglaw in the area (and it's actually always been kind of a dream of mine,) but would only want to do it temporarily. I'm a big lover of the Midwest and it's where I want to eventually settle down, many of my family and friends are there and that's more important to me in the long run than working for a V5 or bigFed.

In the short run, though, I'm young and free and somewhat curious about what living in NYC would be like on a salary over 30k (what I currently make.)

It's good that you're familiar with the city, but would you say you have a good idea of what biglaw life is like?

I'm not sure you'd have enough free time working biglaw to enjoy the city. I have the same salary in NYC and I don't think a 160K salary with 250K debt would be much of an improvement for QoL in the short term. Personally, I would be putting that extra cash on hand towards loan payments or emergency savings. If you did choose to spend your free time spending the extra money, you'd be extending the time it takes to repay your loans. With the high burnout rate in biglaw, I'd be concerned about lasting long enough to get the debt to a manageable level. Then again, I'm probably one of the more debt-averse people around here.

Still, since you want to end up in MN anyway, I'm voting UMN.

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Re: Columbia v. GTown ($) v. Mich ($) v. UMN ($$$)

Postby SportsFan » Tue Apr 23, 2013 11:28 pm

JamesDean1955 wrote:
ph5354a wrote:
SportsFan wrote:
Crowing wrote:I hate to get all TaipeiMort ITT, but I still haven't seen any actual evidence to suggest a separation of H in particular from CC (unless you are targeting academia or a clerkship). H really doesn't look any more impressive than CC on LST this year; I wish we could more specifically compare things like grade cutoffs at biglaw firms since everybody is just going to cry the unsupportable and undeniable "self-selection" if we look at placement numbers.

Penn has higher A3+biglaw than Harvard. Penn and Michigan are peers. Therefore Michigan is a better choice than HYS.

m i doin dis rite?


I think Crowing's point was that traditional peer groups don't seem to correlate to A3+big law stats, so the fact that P and M are peers isn't relevant here.


I agree with the above if you exclude HYS, and if you take out the A3 I'd agree with it in general (i.e. only biglaw stats). Traditional arbitrary peer groups are overrated and TLS needs to stop getting such a hard on for them.

ETA:
Tekrul wrote:I'm voting Columbia, I guess.


Although not at all crazy about any of these choices at those prices.

Yeah this is what I was trying to get at. And I'd just gotten out of a final like an hour before I posted earlier, so I was in a weird mood. :lol:

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Re: Columbia v. GTown ($) v. Mich ($) v. UMN ($$$)

Postby jerries » Wed Apr 24, 2013 12:22 am

Sorry, I check in on TLS occasionally and never post, but I have some limited experience here and I thought I would offer some relatively worthless insight.

I had a pretty similar choice to make 2 years ago- UMN full ride, MVP half-tuition, UChi with a small amount (check my previous threads). I'm from Minnesota and I was dead set on eventually working in Minneapolis. I also thought it would be pretty awesome to run wild for a few years in a major city while I'm young (Chicago specifically) and then come back home to settle down.

I generally agree with most of the stuff that's been thrown around in this thread and I think it's revealed the significant risk that accompanies either of your choices (simplified to UMN v. the field).

If you go with UMN, it's not as big of a financial gamble. You'll take on a substantial amount of debt, but it won't be crippling, and you'll be free to take any job with a reasonable salary. The real risk here is being relegated to obscurity. TBH, you probably won't make it out of Mpls (I think little more than a handful get true Biglaw/prestigious COA/something of the like), and like other posters have mentioned, you want to be top 20% to get a good shot at the big firms in Mpls. If not, you need to hustle, get incredibly lucky, work at a small firm (not necessarily bad, but it doesn't seem to be what you want), or join the circus.

If you go with the field, you markedly increase your chances of gainful employment-Mpls somewhat and exponentially elsewhere. The major hang-up here is the massive debt, which is guaranteed. You'll probably be able to get a job to pay it off, but you'll be figuratively chained to it. If you start at a big firm in Mpls, this debt is that much harder to pay down. Market rate is no pittance, but salaries are relatively low and compressed compared to major markets, and it makes 200k+ even more ridiculous. When I was making my decision, several attorneys at major firms in Mpls advised me to keep my debt as low as possible. I think people, myself included, have difficulty conceptualizing such a large non-dischargeable financial burden.

Ultimately, I went with UMN, and currently, I don't regret it one bit. However, I was lucky enough to get in with one of the big firms in town (for now), and I was fine forgoing a couple of fun years in Chicago (which could have actually sucked billing 2500+ hours). Instead I take a couple of weekends per year with a small portion of the massive wads of cash I saved by going to UMN. Given my long term goals, I guess I viewed the T10 as imperfect "slacker insurance," and I personally thought the debt would inhibit my life much more than a regional degree.

But you have your own goals to evaluate. I don't know how IBR, the "BigFed" aspiration, or any number of other variables play into this. I'll admit that UMN is TTT in many ways and you may be seriously SOL. Also, 70k is somewhat pricey. However, if you want to settle in MN, a T10 degree, though awesome, won't add inches to your dick, and you may end up in the same position that you would have been in if you kicked ass at UMN, only with a couple hundred thousand in debt to carry around.

Just one guy's take, and take it with a huge grain of salt. I personally disregarded the TLS consensus when I made my choice.

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Re: Columbia v. GTown ($) v. Mich ($) v. UMN ($$$)

Postby tortuga » Wed Apr 24, 2013 2:54 am

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Last edited by tortuga on Fri May 17, 2013 11:35 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: Columbia v. GTown ($) v. Mich ($) v. UMN ($$$)

Postby dixiecupdrinking » Wed Apr 24, 2013 10:14 am

tortuga wrote:
dixiecupdrinking wrote:
tortuga wrote:
dixiecupdrinking wrote:I'd go to Minnesota. $275,000 of non-dischargeable debt can completely ruin your life. These days, going to a school like Columbia without any aid is reserved for the wealthy and those who favor risk to an irrational degree. Even if everything breaks right for you, those loans are a massive psychological burden that you'll be carrying around for a decade. It sucks but that's the current landscape; we are living in a plutocratic age.


I don't get this. Columbia students have a better chance at a positive outcome than students at any other law school in the country. For most applicants (with a few exceptions), if you'd be willing to pay sticker at H/Y/S, you should be willing to pay sticker at Columbia (and Chicago for that matter). If you don't think any school is worth sticker, that's a different matter, but to characterize "a school like Columbia" as being riskier than others is absurd.

What I mean by "a school like Columbia" is "a school that charges $50,000 in tuition, is in an expensive city, and gives comparatively little aid."

Even assuming HYS aren't better than Columbia or Chicago (and they are, but let's assume they aren't), they give actual need-based aid. Columbia doesn't.

A "positive outcome," meaning, really, biglaw, isn't even that positive when you are paying down close to $300,000. A negative outcome is devastating.


I never said HYS weren't better schools than CC or P. I only said that it is ridiculous to portray attending these schools as being significantly more risky than attending HYS for the typical law school applicant, because it isn't.

Also, Columbia gives need-based aid. I know this because I will be receiving it. And for what it's worth, I'm non-URM, decidedly middle class, and have average to sub-average numbers for CLS. I'm not sure if HYS is more generous in its financial aid packages than CCNP - you might be right for all I know, but it certainly isn't true that CLS doesn't give out financial aid.

Loan repayment was mentioned somewhere and I think that's the only valid argument that I've seen where there might be a significant risk difference between these schools for an average student. Loan repayment is more flexible at YLS and HLS than at CC because it includes alumni working in private practice as well as public service. SLS's program looks remarkable similar to CLS' LRAP at least in terms of its structure and the types of employment that is eligible under the program (they have almost identical terms of condition), though I'm sure someone will correct me if I'm worng. The difference in flexibility would likely impact a very small percentage of students, however, because, really, what employed YLS or HLS graduate working in the private sector makes a public interest salary?

And, in regards to non-biglaw, non-clerkship outcomes, it's not as if HYS is placing tons of people in gov't positions right out of law school. Yale sent 3% of its 2012 class into government work, Harvard sent 4%, and Stanford sent less than 2%. To put that into perspective, CLS sent 7.5% of its 2012 class into gov't. This, of course, says nothing about the type of gov't work these people are pursuing, but regardless, we're not talking about a lot of students. I'd guess that a federal clerkship would give you a leg up in the Honors Program application process, but there are so few entry-level jobs in BigFed right now that it's sort of a moot point. Also, HLS only places marginally better in federal clerkships than Chicago does, so YLS and SLS are really the only schools at a major advantage here.

Lastly, to add my own anecdotal evidence to the discussion, I worked, for a while, in what TLS would consider "prestigious PI" - i.e. the kind of shit that people give up serious money to do because it's interesting, meaningful work that makes the New York Times. Here's a news flash - this place isn't dominated by HYS grads. They are here, yes, but in no greater number than the Berkeley, Chicago, Columbia, NYU or Duke grads. In fact, Michigan and Georgetown grads, out of all the others, seem to be the most represented (and I'm not working in DC). Take that for what it's worth - it might be different in other PI fields.

Dude, I am a graduating 3L at NYU, almost went to CLS myself. I'll be going to a biglaw firm. Things went about as well for me as they could have. I have a "positive outcome." I am telling you that it would suck to have $275,000 in debt right now. That's true if it's Harvard, Yale, Columbia, Minnesota, whatever. I am not shitting on CLS here, I am shitting on $275,000 in debt. Don't be so defensive. CLS is a good school. It's not magic and it's not worth $275,000. The only distinction I am drawing between CLS and HYS—which is why I said let's assume they are equal schools, because that argument is irrelevant here—is that the latter give true need-based aid which will frequently eliminate the necessity of borrowing $275,000. That is clearly not the case for many people at CLS, and at any rate is not true for the OP here, who has said that they will have to borrow the whole amount.

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Kalinda
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Re: Columbia v. GTown ($) v. Mich ($) v. UMN ($$$)

Postby Kalinda » Thu Apr 25, 2013 12:19 am

OP I skipped the second page so if someone has mentioned this sorry for the double post, one option to return to MN is working in-house after a big-law stint. Minnesota has more Fortune 500 companies per capita than any other state (seventh in the nation). 3M, General Mills, Target Corps, United Healthcare, Medtronic to name a few. Majority of these companies are growing as well with the exception of a few (Best Buy is what comes to mind immediately). For whatever reasons despite majority of these companies offering great pay and good benefits, it's still hard to recruit good talent from either Coast. I'm speaking generally here, but I feel as though if you wanted to come back to the Twin Cities, there would be more opportunities other than big-law compared to surrounding states.

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Re: Columbia v. GTown ($) v. Mich ($) v. UMN ($$$)

Postby Tekrul » Thu Apr 25, 2013 12:32 am

Damn, this thread has gotten contentious.

Just wanted to throw out a reminder that while I voted for Columbia, it was with the caveat that you understand that getting back to debt equilibrium will be an additional 5 year commitment after law school before you can realistically start moving back to MN. Hopefully, you'll be able to lateral there just by telling your bosses you want to be considered for movement to an office there if they have one whenever there's an opening. Less ideally, by applying for jobs en mass.

At that point, you will likely be in the same or a relatively similar position you would have been in if you had just gone to UMN (same level of debt, similar job) with the added factor of being 5 years older than you would have been if you had gone to MN. The reason I say Columbia, however, is for the edge you are providing yourself in terms of landing a bigger, better position back in MN from a top firm in NY from a high rank in the CLS class. As CLS is a zero sum game in that, even with the high COA you will eventually end up with the insignificant debt UMN is offering, the only price being time, and with the added benefit of possibly having a more favorable outcome, I say it's the way to go.

Give bigger dreams a shot in exchange for 5 years? And the mediocre outcome still resulting in no debt? I think Columbia is your school, man.

Again, I don't know how badly you want to start building your life in MN. I know I'm starting my own family pretty soon and I couldn't be away from the tri-state area. It's gotta be your choice.

Edit: grammar OCD

Edit 2: I see your 'young' and 'free' and living in NYC with a high salary post. Your take home after taxes from NYC biglaw is going to be close to 100k. Debt repayment will be 35-40k. COL will be around 30k if you live frugally. You'll be working so much you won't have all that much time to spend that leftover cash. And that cash is better spent going into a Roth or saving up to make a down payment on a house in MN so you can start building equity once you move over there.

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Re: Columbia v. GTown ($) v. Mich ($) v. UMN ($$$)

Postby you'rethemannowdawg » Thu Apr 25, 2013 9:53 am

Really appreciate all of the responses, guys. This kind of info is exactly why I come here. Also, I'm honored that a thread I started was able to host a portion of the Great TLS YS(HC)C(N)(P?) debate.

I've been crunching a lot of numbers in the last few days, and researching the MN legal market. At this point, I'm leaning towards Columbia. I'm realizing that I would be ok with spending 5 years in biglaw after school, and I'm also realizing that I would need to do very well at UMN to give myself a shot at a good outcome.

The "young and free" comment was a bit of a joke. I currently live in NYC and my take home income after taxes and housing is pretty low, so even the biglaw income after housing and loans would be an improvement.

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Re: Columbia v. GTown ($) v. Mich ($) v. UMN ($$$)

Postby you'rethemannowdawg » Thu Apr 25, 2013 9:55 am

Also, if Leiter is reading this thread, please pm me some info based on your latest rankings.

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Re: Columbia v. GTown ($) v. Mich ($) v. UMN ($$$)

Postby BigZuck » Thu Apr 25, 2013 10:07 am

you'rethemannowdawg wrote:Really appreciate all of the responses, guys. This kind of info is exactly why I come here. Also, I'm honored that a thread I started was able to host a portion of the Great TLS YS(HC)C(N)(P?) debate.

I've been crunching a lot of numbers in the last few days, and researching the MN legal market. At this point, I'm leaning towards Columbia. I'm realizing that I would be ok with spending 5 years in biglaw after school, and I'm also realizing that I would need to do very well at UMN to give myself a shot at a good outcome.

The "young and free" comment was a bit of a joke. I currently live in NYC and my take home income after taxes and housing is pretty low, so even the biglaw income after housing and loans would be an improvement.


What would you say are your chances of staying in big law for 5 years after school?

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Re: Columbia v. GTown ($) v. Mich ($) v. UMN ($$$)

Postby you'rethemannowdawg » Thu Apr 25, 2013 10:13 am

BigZuck wrote:
you'rethemannowdawg wrote:Really appreciate all of the responses, guys. This kind of info is exactly why I come here. Also, I'm honored that a thread I started was able to host a portion of the Great TLS YS(HC)C(N)(P?) debate.

I've been crunching a lot of numbers in the last few days, and researching the MN legal market. At this point, I'm leaning towards Columbia. I'm realizing that I would be ok with spending 5 years in biglaw after school, and I'm also realizing that I would need to do very well at UMN to give myself a shot at a good outcome.

The "young and free" comment was a bit of a joke. I currently live in NYC and my take home income after taxes and housing is pretty low, so even the biglaw income after housing and loans would be an improvement.


What would you say are your chances of staying in big law for 5 years after school?


I'm aware of the high biglaw attrition rate, if that's what you mean.

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Re: Columbia v. GTown ($) v. Mich ($) v. UMN ($$$)

Postby BigZuck » Thu Apr 25, 2013 10:19 am

you'rethemannowdawg wrote:
BigZuck wrote:
you'rethemannowdawg wrote:Really appreciate all of the responses, guys. This kind of info is exactly why I come here. Also, I'm honored that a thread I started was able to host a portion of the Great TLS YS(HC)C(N)(P?) debate.

I've been crunching a lot of numbers in the last few days, and researching the MN legal market. At this point, I'm leaning towards Columbia. I'm realizing that I would be ok with spending 5 years in biglaw after school, and I'm also realizing that I would need to do very well at UMN to give myself a shot at a good outcome.

The "young and free" comment was a bit of a joke. I currently live in NYC and my take home income after taxes and housing is pretty low, so even the biglaw income after housing and loans would be an improvement.


What would you say are your chances of staying in big law for 5 years after school?


I'm aware of the high biglaw attrition rate, if that's what you mean.


I was curious if you had dug deep into this and kind of figured out the likelihood of staying that long in big law (how you could possibly do that I'm not sure) or if it was just one of those "yeah, but that won't be me" type of things.

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Re: Columbia v. GTown ($) v. Mich ($) v. UMN ($$$)

Postby untar614 » Thu Apr 25, 2013 10:25 am

BigZuck wrote:
you'rethemannowdawg wrote:
BigZuck wrote:
you'rethemannowdawg wrote:Really appreciate all of the responses, guys. This kind of info is exactly why I come here. Also, I'm honored that a thread I started was able to host a portion of the Great TLS YS(HC)C(N)(P?) debate.

I've been crunching a lot of numbers in the last few days, and researching the MN legal market. At this point, I'm leaning towards Columbia. I'm realizing that I would be ok with spending 5 years in biglaw after school, and I'm also realizing that I would need to do very well at UMN to give myself a shot at a good outcome.

The "young and free" comment was a bit of a joke. I currently live in NYC and my take home income after taxes and housing is pretty low, so even the biglaw income after housing and loans would be an improvement.


What would you say are your chances of staying in big law for 5 years after school?


I'm aware of the high biglaw attrition rate, if that's what you mean.


I was curious if you had dug deep into this and kind of figured out the likelihood of staying that long in big law (how you could possibly do that I'm not sure) or if it was just one of those "yeah, but that won't be me" type of things.

In the other thread about "remember when sticker at T10 was a good idea", it seemed like the whole biglaw attrition situation was much better than a lot of us thought. Apparently only like a quarter at most are gone under 3 years, and beyond that, most of the attrition is from people choosing to leave, and most have pretty good options - at least that's the impression I got from all that.

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Re: Columbia v. GTown ($) v. Mich ($) v. UMN ($$$)

Postby ph5354a » Thu Apr 25, 2013 10:29 am

It's good to do your research, but these things are impossible to predict. The most positive impressions of big law for me have come from the people I talk to in person, the most negative impressions have come from TLS. My strategy has been to gather objective facts (hours worked, billable requirements, weekend hours, etc.) and try to imagine how I would feel working under those conditions, but that's extremely imperfect.

Probably the best way to get a sense of it is to talk to people in big law that know you and your work ethic extremely well and get their honest opinion about how they think you will fare, but because so much of your experience will depend on those working around and above you, which seems to vary greatly, I don't know how anyone can possibly predict this. Research and realistic expectations are necessary, but not sufficient, to coming to any kind of useful conclusion in this regard.

I miss the LSAT.

Edit: I don't mean to derail your thread, OP. This is an important consideration, I just don't know how anybody can pretend to know how they will do in big law, so it's really hard to factor that into your decision. I struggled with the same thing.




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