PLEASE HELP!! Northwestern vs. UHouston

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

Which would you choose in my position?

University of Houston with $0 debt
58
66%
Northwestern University with ~$230,000 debt
30
34%
 
Total votes: 88

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bk1
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Re: PLEASE HELP!! Northwestern vs. UHouston

Postby bk1 » Sun Apr 28, 2013 11:13 pm

rickgrimes69 wrote:Normally I'd agree with you, but OP is a bit of a special snowflake in this case. A born and bred local is going to have a natural advantage in an insular market like Houston. Not to mention, graduating with no debt is a rare blessing and gives OP the option to do basically whatever he wants, right down to hanging a shingle (if it comes down to that). Biglaw is a lot less likely to happen, but OP is ok with that. I just don't see any good reason why NU is worth $230,000 more to the OP, given the stated goals and circumstances.

OP may have better odds than average and may be free from debt, but it would foolish for anyone attending UH to think can get a job easily. Getting a legal job is hard. Plenty of people with good grades and ties, from local schools and national schools, struggle to find legal employment every year.

muskies970
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Re: PLEASE HELP!! Northwestern vs. UHouston

Postby muskies970 » Mon Apr 29, 2013 12:02 am

Northwestern.

As long as you get in the top 70 percent of the class you should be able to get a big law job/ other favorable employment. I say this because if you drop below the 70th percent at either school you're in a bad spot, and assuming you're at median graduating from either school nw is a much better outcome.

Don't like the thought of funding your classmates' education? Work your ass off. I personally would be worried about being complacent at a lower tiered school and the negative externalities of the academic environment compared to being at nw.

The debt load is a lot, but I think TLS has a younger bias and you have to think long term into your mid life and the kind of career, mobillity, and legal connections you want. But I would still work NW for any money you can get, possibly deposit at both for negotiation purposes

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Re: PLEASE HELP!! Northwestern vs. UHouston

Postby bk1 » Mon Apr 29, 2013 12:09 am

muskies970 wrote:As long as you get in the top 70 percent of the class you should be able to get a big law job/ other favorable employment. I say this because if you drop below the 70th percent at either school you're in a bad spot, and assuming you're at median graduating from either school nw is a much better outcome.

What? No. Just because 70% of the class gets favorable outcomes does not mean it is the top 70% of the class.

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Re: PLEASE HELP!! Northwestern vs. UHouston

Postby muskies970 » Mon Apr 29, 2013 12:44 am

bk1 wrote:
muskies970 wrote:As long as you get in the top 70 percent of the class you should be able to get a big law job/ other favorable employment. I say this because if you drop below the 70th percent at either school you're in a bad spot, and assuming you're at median graduating from either school nw is a much better outcome.

What? No. Just because 70% of the class gets favorable outcomes does not mean it is the top 70% of the class.


Agreed, but If op ends up not in top 70 percent at Houston then he's out a scholarship. So there's roughly an equal chance at UH of losing the scholarship or getting big law (and that's not counting possible section stacking). At least if that happens at NW there's a year to get back to median and it's stills NW. Again at median I still think NW is better for OPs interests in career outcomes. And if in the top 1-20 percent I'd still give the edge to NW because of clerkship opportunities and bonus/ possible scholarship negotiation.

Op ask yourself ten years out once the debt is paid off do you want to have had the NW or Houston experience and opportunities

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Re: PLEASE HELP!! Northwestern vs. UHouston

Postby bk1 » Mon Apr 29, 2013 12:49 am

muskies970 wrote:At least if that happens at NW there's a year to get back to median and it's stills NW.

You realize that biglaw hiring is essentially done before your second year grades? Clawing your way back to median as a 2L isn't all that meaningful.

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Re: PLEASE HELP!! Northwestern vs. UHouston

Postby muskies970 » Mon Apr 29, 2013 1:01 am

bk1 wrote:
muskies970 wrote:At least if that happens at NW there's a year to get back to median and it's stills NW.

You realize that biglaw hiring is essentially done before your second year grades? Clawing your way back to median as a 2L isn't all that meaningful.


You realize you're taking one line of my response out of context. Yes I do realize that, hence the use of "at least" as in that's still a better outcome then trying to get hired fro. Houston with bottom 30percent grades and now paying as much as you would have at northwestern.

Just trying to lay out three equally likely scenarios at either school, top third, median, or bottom third. If OP is equally likely at either school to get the same outcome, I think NW has the edge in all three. Do you disagree?

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Re: PLEASE HELP!! Northwestern vs. UHouston

Postby empyreanrrv » Mon Apr 29, 2013 1:04 am

muskies970 wrote:
bk1 wrote:
muskies970 wrote:At least if that happens at NW there's a year to get back to median and it's stills NW.

You realize that biglaw hiring is essentially done before your second year grades? Clawing your way back to median as a 2L isn't all that meaningful.


You realize you're taking one line of my response out of context. Yes I do realize that, hence the use of "at least" as in that's still a better outcome then trying to get hired fro. Houston with bottom 30percent grades and now paying as much as you would have at northwestern.

Just trying to lay out three equally likely scenarios at either school, top third, median, or bottom third. If OP is equally likely at either school to get the same outcome, I think NW has the edge in all three. Do you disagree?


You're saying bottom third at NW with nearly a quarter-million in debt is a better scenario than bottom-third at UH with no debt? Without biglaw, OP is screwed at NW. It is also questionable whether biglaw + debt is a better outcome than small law job + no debt. I would say these two are even at the least.

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Re: PLEASE HELP!! Northwestern vs. UHouston

Postby muskies970 » Mon Apr 29, 2013 1:09 am

Did you read the thread? Top 70 percent scholarship stipulation.

ETA: OP wants biglaw. Also I'd take big law with debt from NW over small job with no debt from UH because again long term there's much more career flexibility and opportunities over the course of a lifetime
Last edited by muskies970 on Mon Apr 29, 2013 1:14 am, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: PLEASE HELP!! Northwestern vs. UHouston

Postby Micdiddy » Mon Apr 29, 2013 1:11 am

muskies970 wrote:Did you read the thread? Top 70 percent scholarship stipulation.

ETA: OP wants biglaw


But if he loses the UH scholly he should just drop out, hence still no big law and no debt. Bottom 1/3 at NW either he drops out and has debt +no jd, or stays in and has even more debt and no big law.

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Re: PLEASE HELP!! Northwestern vs. UHouston

Postby empyreanrrv » Mon Apr 29, 2013 1:16 am

My bad-- if it is top 70% then I'd say both outcomes for bottom third are even in that OP should drop out if he loses scholarship or misses biglaw from NW. For this decision, it really comes down to how badly OP wants biglaw.

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Re: PLEASE HELP!! Northwestern vs. UHouston

Postby muskies970 » Mon Apr 29, 2013 1:17 am

Micdiddy wrote:
muskies970 wrote:Did you read the thread? Top 70 percent scholarship stipulation.

ETA: OP wants biglaw


But if he loses the UH scholly he should just drop out, hence still no big law and no debt. Bottom 1/3 at NW either he drops out and has debt +no jd, or stays in and has even more debt and no big law.


Could he reapply for other schools at that time? Or is all chance of a lawyer then gone? That's a tough outcome, dropping out, if OP is set on practicing law and has no fallback options

muskies970
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Re: PLEASE HELP!! Northwestern vs. UHouston

Postby muskies970 » Mon Apr 29, 2013 1:19 am

empyreanrrv wrote:My bad-- if it is top 70% then I'd say both outcomes for bottom third are even in that OP should drop out if he loses scholarship or misses biglaw from NW. For this decision, it really comes down to how badly OP wants biglaw.


Agreed, which he stated he does. This is where I find TLS frustrating in that there is the debt averse bias for those 22 to 30 years old who haven't paid it off yet and still have it looming. Obviously it's a tough choice and it'll be a lot of work, but it's not a horrible option and OP worked as a paralegal in a firm already.

TCR is NW

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Re: PLEASE HELP!! Northwestern vs. UHouston

Postby Micdiddy » Mon Apr 29, 2013 1:20 am

muskies970 wrote:
Micdiddy wrote:
muskies970 wrote:Did you read the thread? Top 70 percent scholarship stipulation.

ETA: OP wants biglaw


But if he loses the UH scholly he should just drop out, hence still no big law and no debt. Bottom 1/3 at NW either he drops out and has debt +no jd, or stays in and has even more debt and no big law.


Could he reapply for other schools at that time? Or is all chance of a lawyer then gone? That's a tough outcome, dropping out, if OP is set on practicing law and has no fallback options


Of course it's a tough outcome, but a million times better then not dropping out, amassing debt, and still not practicing law.

empyreanrrv wrote:My bad-- if it is top 70% then I'd say both outcomes for bottom third are even in that OP should drop out if he loses scholarship or misses biglaw from NW. For this decision, it really comes down to how badly OP wants biglaw.


How does that make it even if in one scenario he's ~75k in debt and in the other he has no debt?

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Re: PLEASE HELP!! Northwestern vs. UHouston

Postby empyreanrrv » Mon Apr 29, 2013 1:23 am

muskies970 wrote:ETA: OP wants biglaw. Also I'd take big law with debt from NW over small job with no debt from UH because again long term there's much more career flexibility and opportunities over the course of a lifetime


I'm not convinced this is always the right call because of biglaw attrition rates and the amount of debt OP would have. Again, this comes back to the TLS problem of not having enough employment data post-biglaw. Getting biglaw is only part of the battle-- keeping it long enough to pay down debts can still be a challenge.

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Re: PLEASE HELP!! Northwestern vs. UHouston

Postby muskies970 » Mon Apr 29, 2013 1:25 am

So even if bottom third at Houston has a slight edge in that when he drops out he'll have no debt as compared to NW with 75k debt (even though I would feel decently comfortable about being able to work back up second and third year at NW and find some legal employment).

What about if he ends up at median or top third?

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Re: PLEASE HELP!! Northwestern vs. UHouston

Postby empyreanrrv » Mon Apr 29, 2013 1:26 am

Micdiddy wrote:How does that make it even if in one scenario he's ~75k in debt and in the other he has no debt?


Okay it is obviously too late for me to be posting-- I'm throwing in the towel for tonight :)

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Re: PLEASE HELP!! Northwestern vs. UHouston

Postby muskies970 » Mon Apr 29, 2013 1:31 am

empyreanrrv wrote:
Micdiddy wrote:How does that make it even if in one scenario he's ~75k in debt and in the other he has no debt?


Okay it is obviously too late for me to be posting-- I'm throwing in the towel for tonight :)


Because at Houston he has no choice but to drop out. At northwestern there's still a chance to reassess the situation and find work. I'm assuming, maybe incorrectly, 1l's at NW in the bottom 30percent have gone on to find employment, even big law, and not all dropped out...

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Re: PLEASE HELP!! Northwestern vs. UHouston

Postby Micdiddy » Mon Apr 29, 2013 1:36 am

muskies970 wrote:
empyreanrrv wrote:
Micdiddy wrote:How does that make it even if in one scenario he's ~75k in debt and in the other he has no debt?


Okay it is obviously too late for me to be posting-- I'm throwing in the towel for tonight :)


Because at Houston he has no choice but to drop out. At northwestern there's still a chance to reassess the situation and find work. I'm assuming, maybe incorrectly, 1l's at NW in the bottom 30percent have gone on to find employment, even big law, and not all dropped out...


At the risk of an extra 150k in debt and almost assuredly striking out? Seems like the worst choice possible. If sticker with 50/50 at big law is getting this much debate, then sticker with extremely little chance at big law is just plain awful, period.

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Re: PLEASE HELP!! Northwestern vs. UHouston

Postby muskies970 » Mon Apr 29, 2013 1:45 am

Micdiddy wrote:
muskies970 wrote:
empyreanrrv wrote:
Micdiddy wrote:How does that make it even if in one scenario he's ~75k in debt and in the other he has no debt?


Okay it is obviously too late for me to be posting-- I'm throwing in the towel for tonight :)


Because at Houston he has no choice but to drop out. At northwestern there's still a chance to reassess the situation and find work. I'm assuming, maybe incorrectly, 1l's at NW in the bottom 30percent have gone on to find employment, even big law, and not all dropped out...


At the risk of an extra 150k in debt and almost assuredly striking out? Seems like the worst choice possible. If sticker with 50/50 at big law is getting this much debate, then sticker with extremely little chance at big law is just plain awful, period.


But at least the option is on the table, I wouldn't take it. We're getting off track though.

Houston = 60% chance of being unemployed, working for a firm between 2-10 employees, or part time / short term for 12% shot at big law

NW = 50 percent chance for big law versus 10% unemployed.

Given Paye options and OPs stated goals and work experience telling him to go to houston is transposing your own risk averse nature and job outcome sarisfaction onto him and is not solid advice.
If OP changes their mind and does not want big law, I say Houston in a second and never look back.

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Re: PLEASE HELP!! Northwestern vs. UHouston

Postby Micdiddy » Mon Apr 29, 2013 2:12 am

Not sure if we're looking at the same numbers, but according to LST:

Houston c/o 2012, 105/262 in unemployed, self-employed, 2-10, and part-time/short-term.
Northwestern 42/295.

Houston 17.6% biglaw
Northwestern 49.2 biglaw.

Clearly NU has a big edge with employment (though I am not sure why you had to exaggerate it even more :? )

With that said, transporting any debt-averse mindset is extremely solid advice. If your 4 foot 9 friend wanted to be an NBA star, and you advised him not to, no one would yell at you for ignoring his "stated goals."

Anyway, what it comes down to is Northwestern at sticker is just objectively bad. Houston for free is not great, but is free.

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Re: PLEASE HELP!! Northwestern vs. UHouston

Postby muskies970 » Mon Apr 29, 2013 4:00 pm

I was drawing from LST to show that at NW there's a 50% or more chance to achieve his goals (and thats not excluding clerkships, business, and PI self selection) which would alleviate the main debt concerns. Sure he wouldnt be living lavishly for a few years while paying back the debt, BUT again OP wants biglaw and unlike my 4'9" friend he has a great legitimate shot at a top school like NW.

Again we have Houston with less than a dice roll's shot at his desired outcome. Who cares if your debt free if you hate your job prospects/ outcome and wish you had gone to NW the rest of your life. I imagine the QOL for a sticker NW grad working big law is the same as one graduating debt free from Houston working in a small firm in terms of take home income (albeit th long hours which again OP has been surrounded by as a paralegal and would like)
But down the road mid career is when that NW degree and connections may really increase a lot

The play it safe mentality on TLS is admirable and I'm all for not making stupid choices, but again it's easy for you to tell someone to play it safe and settle for something else then what they want when it's their dreams, lives, and work ethic on the line...

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Re: PLEASE HELP!! Northwestern vs. UHouston

Postby 09042014 » Mon Apr 29, 2013 4:06 pm

The choice is between shit law with no debt ---> Houston (and about a 30% chance of having to drop out because your scholarship is gone)

Or a 2/3rds shot at big law with a lot of debt and a 1/3 shot of doing shitlaw anyway with a ton of debt. ----> Northwestern (and I think it's closer to 80/20 by now)


If you don't want to work shit law, don't go to Houston. If you are afraid of the crush debt of Northwestern, don't go there either. You don't have to do one or the other.

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Re: PLEASE HELP!! Northwestern vs. UHouston

Postby y2zipper » Tue Apr 30, 2013 12:54 am

You're certainly in an interesting spot. You have two options, and both carry significant risk of different types. What this decision comes down to is how you calculate that because ultimately, you have to live with your pick.

There's no doubt that NU has better upside. Obviously you'd rather have those opportunities, but you're looking at an 8-10 year investment. 3 years of school plus the time in biglaw to pay it off with your financial future hanging in the balance is a risky proposition no matter how you look at it. It's not unheard of that you'll make it and there's a good chance you'll get the opportunity, so if you look in the mirror and say that you want biglaw at all costs, take Northwestern and understand that you can't change your mind.

If youre unwilling to take biglaw off the table, discussion over. if you're not sure, Houston is a different kind of risk. You're options are limited, you wouldn't have the prestige, but you also wouldn't have the debt. If you can live with not being a lawyer at all and that's less risky to you the money, then you should take Houston.

That's the best way I can outline the choices.

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Re: PLEASE HELP!! Northwestern vs. UHouston

Postby Hutz_and_Goodman » Tue Apr 30, 2013 9:46 am

y2zipper wrote:You're certainly in an interesting spot. You have two options, and both carry significant risk of different types. What this decision comes down to is how you calculate that because ultimately, you have to live with your pick.

There's no doubt that NU has better upside. Obviously you'd rather have those opportunities, but you're looking at an 8-10 year investment. 3 years of school plus the time in biglaw to pay it off with your financial future hanging in the balance is a risky proposition no matter how you look at it. It's not unheard of that you'll make it and there's a good chance you'll get the opportunity, so if you look in the mirror and say that you want biglaw at all costs, take Northwestern and understand that you can't change your mind.

If youre unwilling to take biglaw off the table, discussion over. if you're not sure, Houston is a different kind of risk. You're options are limited, you wouldn't have the prestige, but you also wouldn't have the debt. If you can live with not being a lawyer at all and that's less risky to you the money, then you should take Houston.

That's the best way I can outline the choices.


This isn't true. If you are attending a school that has, let's say, 15-20% big law, consider this: 1. that's not an insignificant portion of the class 2. as a full scholarship student, with above median gpa and LSAT, you likely have better chance of being in that group than the average student.

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Re: PLEASE HELP!! Northwestern vs. UHouston

Postby romothesavior » Tue Apr 30, 2013 9:49 am

Desert Fox wrote:The choice is between shit law with no debt ---> Houston (and about a 30% chance of having to drop out because your scholarship is gone)

Or a 2/3rds shot at big law with a lot of debt and a 1/3 shot of doing shitlaw anyway with a ton of debt. ----> Northwestern (and I think it's closer to 80/20 by now)


If you don't want to work shit law, don't go to Houston. If you are afraid of the crush debt of Northwestern, don't go there either. You don't have to do one or the other.

This is spot on. If OP wants a cheaper option than NW with better biglaw odds than Houston he should wait and retake and do it over.




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