Columbia vs. Berkeley

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monathenomad
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Columbia vs. Berkeley

Postby monathenomad » Wed Apr 24, 2013 9:38 pm

Anybody here in a similar situation and made a decision? Just curious to know what factors were important in swaying you one way or the other.

Doorkeeper wrote:1) Scholarship amounts?
2) What do you want to do?
3) Where do you want to work after law school?


1) I totally understand money is a very important (if not the most important) factor for many people but it is minor for me. I am very much in debt to my loving and supportive parents (literally).
2) Business law - probably transnational contracts. I have a strong Chinese background and would like to work for a U.S. firm with offices in China.
3) California. Hands down. Unfortunately, I went to undergrad at Berkeley and I don't want keep staying in one area. I think spending three years in NY will help give me perspective and make me excited to come back to California and spend the rest of my life there (potentially). Alternatively, I wouldn't mind working overseas for a few years and then coming back to California. But ultimately, California is where I see my long-term future.

Edit: Realized I didn't actually answer question 1. Sticker at both.
Last edited by monathenomad on Wed Apr 24, 2013 11:20 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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ssanonymous
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Re: Columbia vs. Berkeley

Postby ssanonymous » Wed Apr 24, 2013 9:47 pm

My friend was in this situation last year, and she chose Berkeley. Berkeley offered her 1/2 tuition while Columbia offered her nothing. She also visited Columbia and said the students were noticeably unhappy. Finally, she wants to work in California. Hope this helps.

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jbagelboy
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Re: Columbia vs. Berkeley

Postby jbagelboy » Wed Apr 24, 2013 9:52 pm

Yes - making same decision.

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ssanonymous
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Re: Columbia vs. Berkeley

Postby ssanonymous » Wed Apr 24, 2013 9:59 pm

jbagelboy wrote:Yes - making same decision.


Have you visited? Columbia and Berkeley could not be more different. I visited Columbia, and then took myself off of the waitlist (not that I would've gotten off of it).

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Doorkeeper
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Re: Columbia vs. Berkeley

Postby Doorkeeper » Wed Apr 24, 2013 10:04 pm

1) Scholarship amounts?
2) What do you want to do?
3) Where do you want to work after law school?

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NoodleyOne
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Re: Columbia vs. Berkeley

Postby NoodleyOne » Wed Apr 24, 2013 10:05 pm

Doorkeeper wrote:1) Scholarship amounts?
2) What do you want to do?
3) Where do you want to work after law school?

As well as savings and parental contribution and other mitigating circumstances. Also... DAT IVY PREFTIGE.

monathenomad
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Re: Columbia vs. Berkeley

Postby monathenomad » Wed Apr 24, 2013 10:13 pm

Doorkeeper wrote:1) Scholarship amounts?
2) What do you want to do?
3) Where do you want to work after law school?


1) I totally understand money is a very important (if not the most important) factor for many people but it is minor for me. I am very much in debt to my loving and supportive parents (literally).
2) Business law - probably transnational contracts. I have a strong Chinese background and would like to work for a U.S. firm with offices in China.
3) California. Hands down. Unfortunately, I went to undergrad at Berkeley and I don't want keep staying in one area. I think spending three years in NY will help give me perspective and make me excited to come back to California and spend the rest of my life there (potentially). Alternatively, I wouldn't mind working overseas for a few years and then coming back to California. But ultimately, California is where I see my long-term future.

Edit: Realized I didn't actually answer question 1. Sticker at both.
Last edited by monathenomad on Wed Apr 24, 2013 10:18 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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Hjones33
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Re: Columbia vs. Berkeley

Postby Hjones33 » Wed Apr 24, 2013 10:16 pm

The information asked for above is pretty important for this decision.

While my choice wasn't just Columbia vs. Berkeley, I did choose Cal over Columbia. The tuition at both schools was the same and the only difference in money for me was the cost of living. My decision might be pretty different than yours because I want to go into government/public interest work and I liked Cal's opportunities for that and I also want to live on the west coast. Cal's atmosphere seemed to be more my type, even though that was minimal in my decision.

monathenomad
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Re: Columbia vs. Berkeley

Postby monathenomad » Wed Apr 24, 2013 10:32 pm

NoodleyOne wrote:
Doorkeeper wrote:1) Scholarship amounts?
2) What do you want to do?
3) Where do you want to work after law school?

As well as savings and parental contribution and other mitigating circumstances. Also... DAT IVY PREFTIGE.


Yeah...as much as I hate to admit it, the whole prestige thing is a factor (especially abroad). Berkeley is a great school, but it's not "elite" (and that can be a good or bad thing depending on who you talk to). :roll:

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Doorkeeper
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Re: Columbia vs. Berkeley

Postby Doorkeeper » Wed Apr 24, 2013 10:43 pm

You want to go to Columbia, so go to Columbia. Nobody would fault you for the decision.

monathenomad
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Re: Columbia vs. Berkeley

Postby monathenomad » Wed Apr 24, 2013 10:51 pm

Doorkeeper wrote:You want to go to Columbia, so go to Columbia. Nobody would fault you for the decision.


Except myself. But yeah I suppose I could just go and hope I don't regret it. I think the one thing that worries me is quality of life. I know I would never be miserable at Berkeley but I don't feel a sense of excitement thinking about going to Berkeley (not because of prestige but because of lack of "newness" I guess?). Columbia could be either way.

Also, I am definitely proud to have been a Calbear and definitely realized that people respect Berkeley. I think the "prestige" factor is skewed for me because I've already spent four years at Berkeley. If I was a Columbia undergrad, I think my feelings for the two schools would be flipped.

froglee
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Re: Columbia vs. Berkeley

Postby froglee » Wed Apr 24, 2013 11:07 pm

ssanonymous wrote:My friend was in this situation last year, and she chose Berkeley. Berkeley offered her 1/2 tuition while Columbia offered her nothing. She also visited Columbia and said the students were noticeably unhappy. Finally, she wants to work in California. Hope this helps.


Why aren't they happy?
Last edited by froglee on Thu Apr 25, 2013 11:03 am, edited 1 time in total.

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NoodleyOne
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Re: Columbia vs. Berkeley

Postby NoodleyOne » Wed Apr 24, 2013 11:35 pm

monathenomad wrote:
Doorkeeper wrote:You want to go to Columbia, so go to Columbia. Nobody would fault you for the decision.


Except myself. But yeah I suppose I could just go and hope I don't regret it. I think the one thing that worries me is quality of life. I know I would never be miserable at Berkeley but I don't feel a sense of excitement thinking about going to Berkeley (not because of prestige but because of lack of "newness" I guess?). Columbia could be either way.

Also, I am definitely proud to have been a Calbear and definitely realized that people respect Berkeley. I think the "prestige" factor is skewed for me because I've already spent four years at Berkeley. If I was a Columbia undergrad, I think my feelings for the two schools would be flipped.

Sounds like you think the grass may be greener.

My guess is that it probably isn't.

Ti Malice
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Re: Columbia vs. Berkeley

Postby Ti Malice » Thu Apr 25, 2013 12:30 am

monathenomad wrote:
NoodleyOne wrote:
Doorkeeper wrote:1) Scholarship amounts?
2) What do you want to do?
3) Where do you want to work after law school?

As well as savings and parental contribution and other mitigating circumstances. Also... DAT IVY PREFTIGE.


Yeah...as much as I hate to admit it, the whole prestige thing is a factor (especially abroad). Berkeley is a great school, but it's not "elite" (and that can be a good or bad thing depending on who you talk to). :roll:


Don't be so sure about that. Berkeley (as a university) is more prestigious in much of East Asia than in the US. It seems that for many Chinese, for instance, it's second only to Harvard.

But none of that would matter to me. CLS at sticker beats Boalt at sticker.

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jbagelboy
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Re: Columbia vs. Berkeley

Postby jbagelboy » Thu Apr 25, 2013 3:46 am

Ti Malice wrote:
monathenomad wrote:
NoodleyOne wrote:
Doorkeeper wrote:1) Scholarship amounts?
2) What do you want to do?
3) Where do you want to work after law school?

As well as savings and parental contribution and other mitigating circumstances. Also... DAT IVY PREFTIGE.


Yeah...as much as I hate to admit it, the whole prestige thing is a factor (especially abroad). Berkeley is a great school, but it's not "elite" (and that can be a good or bad thing depending on who you talk to). :roll:


Don't be so sure about that. Berkeley (as a university) is more prestigious in much of East Asia than in the US. It seems that for many Chinese, for instance, it's second only to Harvard.

But none of that would matter to me. CLS at sticker beats Boalt at sticker.


+1 to all of this. Berkeley is arguably just as prestigious a university as Columbia worldwide. It has more top ranked programs than Columbia University. Even if your strictly talking about lay prestige, Berkeley is more well known as a research institution and more highly regarded in many parts of the world

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Vincent
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Re: Columbia vs. Berkeley

Postby Vincent » Thu Apr 25, 2013 6:31 am

[Are you who I think you are?]

I vote Berkeley. If you are, message me on FB and I'll talk more - it's 3:31 am and I'm tired right now :)

law2015
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Re: Columbia vs. Berkeley

Postby law2015 » Thu Apr 25, 2013 11:31 am

I think you should go to Berkeley. First year is tough and it is nice to have friends and family for support. Also you plan on coming back to CA so CLS is not that much if at all better than Berk.

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thelawyler
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Re: Columbia vs. Berkeley

Postby thelawyler » Thu Apr 25, 2013 11:35 am

Sounds like you won't really regret having the opportunity to live in NYC before settling down in CA for good. Do it.

cebuboy
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Re: Columbia vs. Berkeley

Postby cebuboy » Sun Apr 28, 2013 6:54 am

jbagelboy wrote:
+1 to all of this. Berkeley is arguably just as prestigious a university as Columbia worldwide. It has more top ranked programs than Columbia University. Even if your strictly talking about lay prestige, Berkeley is more well known as a research institution and more highly regarded in many parts of the world



Even in Europe, specifically in the UK, the Berkeley brand name carries more weight than the Columbia name, both in the academia and business community.

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sinfiery
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Re: Columbia vs. Berkeley

Postby sinfiery » Sun Apr 28, 2013 10:26 am

Yeah, in terms of overall grad school rankings, Berkeley is on par with Harvard, Princeton and Stanford. Columbia really isn't even close.



But you are going to law school and CLS is a better regarded law school. I would take CLS given that getting back to cali seems very possible from there.

Big Dog
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Re: Columbia vs. Berkeley

Postby Big Dog » Sun Apr 28, 2013 10:45 am

Yeah, in terms of overall grad school rankings, Berkeley is on par with Harvard, Princeton and Stanford. Columbia really isn't even close.



But you are going to law school and CLS is a better regarded law school


I'm not sure that the Asia-Pacific rim is that detailed.

Thus, Berkeley.

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smaug_
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Re: Columbia vs. Berkeley

Postby smaug_ » Sun Apr 28, 2013 11:02 am

I'm not really sure what to make of this thread. You should probably go to Cal because you're interested in working in CA and also have an interest in China, but the assertion that Cal is held in better esteem in the legal community in East Asia seem poorly founded to me. I think both schools punch above their weight in East Asia, but that's due to the specific ties they have and not due to their lay prestige internationally. Both schools have well regarded East Asian/Chinese Legal Studies programs.

But, again, given that you'd rather be in California than NYC, Berkeley is probably the right choice.

dixiecupdrinking
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Re: Columbia vs. Berkeley

Postby dixiecupdrinking » Sun Apr 28, 2013 11:17 am

I think CLS will put you in a marginally better position to do transactional work than Berkeley. Though, if you speak the language, then you will be highly sought after to do international work from either school, particularly with China, where there's a lot of growth at the moment. The prestige of these schools in China is (in addition to seeming completely speculative in this thread) not that relevant because you will be looking for jobs with U.S. law firms, in the U.S. That, combined with your personal desire to get out of Berkeley for a while, equals a vote for CLS.

Important to note that you can't really go wrong here, though.

monathenomad
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Re: Columbia vs. Berkeley

Postby monathenomad » Sun Apr 28, 2013 8:04 pm

Yeah, I realize getting into the top of "prestige" can start to get fuzzy and debate-y. I think ultimately in this situation (since the options are so comparable), I'm gonna go with whatever makes me happy. Thinking about California (weather, food, people) does make me feel at home while New York makes me pretty nervous (plus I'm sure the excitement will wear off within the first week of law school). I also know that social interaction and the support of friends are pretty important to my happiness and academic performance, so I guess it's gonna be Cal for another 3 years.

Thanks for all the advice guys :D Good luck to everyone else making difficult decisions! If it's really that difficult, there probably isn't a "wrong" choice. Also, my friend told me (very wisely) that regardless of what I choose, I will probably find a way to justify it, thereby making it the "right" choice all along.

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TaipeiMort
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Re: Columbia vs. Berkeley

Postby TaipeiMort » Sun Apr 28, 2013 8:32 pm

dixiecupdrinking wrote:I think CLS will put you in a marginally better position to do transactional work than Berkeley. Though, if you speak the language, then you will be highly sought after to do international work from either school, particularly with China, where there's a lot of growth at the moment. The prestige of these schools in China is (in addition to seeming completely speculative in this thread) not that relevant because you will be looking for jobs with U.S. law firms, in the U.S. That, combined with your personal desire to get out of Berkeley for a while, equals a vote for CLS.

Important to note that you can't really go wrong here, though.


Kind of right, kind of wrong. Basically, U.S. satellites in China take people on the basis of their pedigree, as well as the reach of their alumni network. Columbia has about as far a reach as anyone (maybe better), with Harvard, NYU, Berkeley, and Chicago also being heavy hitters.

Basically, there are two types of Hong Kong/Beijing/Shanghai/Taipei/Singapore/Australia (in that order) satellites which hire U.S. people. The first type are the Magic Circle firms, as well as Baker Mckenzie and a few others which large and sophisticated operations and hire a few a year. You will mainly be doing capital markets if you are in Hong Kong, and likely general corporate/securities if somewhere else.

The next tier are the smaller shops (see Vinson & Elkins, Skadden, Perkins Coie, Sidley, etc.) which actually have 8-25 attorneys in an office. The hiring in these offices is pretty sporadic and basically consists of one entry-level person from one of the aforementioned schools getting a job every year or two pretty randomly and on the basis of practice need. For example, securities practices were growing last year and a few firms hired one person, but now this area is down, and other areas might be up. Firms generally hate to do this because it is hard to send said person back stateside if 1) they fail, or 2) the practice dies down. So, you are rolling the dice in these instances, but it also can be a good thing, as these offices usually pay for COL adjustments, school for your kids, and a lot of other perks depending upon location.

It is easier to get over to the second group of offices by starting out at OMM Palo Alto or whatever and then lateraling once you actually have skill. Something to reiterate is that you don't learn how to be a corporate lawyer in law school. It is like learning to skateboard-- you have to learn the basics and practice a ton before you can ollie and then nosegrab or whatever. You want to be in an office that gives you a ton of practice on the basics, and once you understand these agreements you are actually employable and should then lateral out.




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