Northwestern (150k) vs Columbia (75k)

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Northwestern (150k) vs Columbia (75k)

Northwestern (150k scholarship)
67
68%
Columbia (75k scholarship)
31
32%
 
Total votes: 98

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untar614
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Northwestern (150k) vs Columbia (75k)

Postby untar614 » Wed May 01, 2013 5:11 pm

Edit: Updated with decision and explanation

Hey everyone, in case anyone came back here looking, I wanted to let you all know what I did, and for posterity's sake, or anyone just curious for curiosity's sake, why. I ultimately chose Columbia, which I know goes against the majority opinion here. The reason is this: ultimately, I am going to law school solely for the purpose of attaining the highly desirable positions (aka biglaw + fed clerk). If I miss out on that, I will consider the next three years and any debt I've accrued and opportunity I've forsaken to be a complete waste. I have no desire to be some small-time run of the mill lawyer. For that reason I first and foremost had to look at the employment prospects. I wish there were several years of data to go off be, but unfortunately there is not, and last year Columbia outplaced Northwestern by about 17% in desirable outcomes. I'd consider that pretty substantial. Columbia also has the benefit of being in NYC, the biggest and safest market to target, allowing more networking opportunities there throughout the year. The scholarship Columbia offered me is not too far off from a half tuition Butler, and on it's own, I think anyone would consider it better than just a "good" option. If we were talking sticker, that would have definitely moved me the other way, as even with biglaw, life would still be rough dealing with all that debt. But this, while still a decent amount, is not unbearable with biglaw. Yes, if I strike out, Northwestern's debt load would have been better to deal with, but if I do, I'll be going on IBR/PAYE while I figure out some other career path to take anyway. And yes, the low debt with biglaw would have been the nicest, but ultimately I felt the need to assure as best I could that I actually get that.

It seemed a lot of the driving force behind the Northwestern votes was this notion that I was "IP secure", and so the disparity in employment somehow didn't apply to me. (In case anyone missed it, I majored in biology) Well in light of this, I did a lot of research and asked a lot of people I was fortunate to be able to talk to - law students and recent grads doing IP, some computer engineers, others with PhDs in life science, as well as a friend who did computer engineering for undergrad, went to Wake Law, and now works at the USPTO. All have told me that 1) as TLS seems well aware of, that EE and CompE/CS are the hot fields, and also 2) there's nowhere near that level of demand for bio stuff and 3) no big time law firm is going to hire a bachelors to do serious technical stuff - there are plenty of PhDs out there. So I think TLS in general needs to cool it a bit on the "IP secure" jibe.

I do thank you all for your input. Don't think your time was wasted, as after this, I was seriously considering Northwestern. Actually, if BigZuck knew me IRL, he'd know that throwing a "YOLO" out there was a great way to make me go against that, hahah.
Last edited by untar614 on Tue Jun 25, 2013 4:46 pm, edited 1 time in total.

Ti Malice
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Re: Northwestern (150k) vs Columbia (75k)

Postby Ti Malice » Wed May 01, 2013 5:38 pm

The GULC debt calculator has you with ~$102K of debt at repayment from NU and with ~$205K of debt at repayment from CLS. There's just no way that CLS makes sense here.

By the way, you can try negotiating with CLS, but it's going to be a waste of time without an LSAT above their 75th (as you probably know). You're lucky that they offered you as much as they did. The next step up is a Butler, and even if they have more to give out, your current numbers are not going to get you a Butler.

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bk1
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Re: Northwestern (150k) vs Columbia (75k)

Postby bk1 » Wed May 01, 2013 5:45 pm

Retake could net you HYS (if you wanted that) or full rides at CCN. That said, I'm not 100% sure that a year off really is worth the difference between CCN and lower T14s with the same debt level. It might be, but I think that it's up in the air enough that it's a personal call. Your goals don't seem aimed towards HYS though you do consider yourself a prestige whore. And the Chicago market isn't particularly relevant if you want NYC. You'd be fine gunning for NYC from NU.

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Re: Northwestern (150k) vs Columbia (75k)

Postby 09042014 » Wed May 01, 2013 5:48 pm

If you are thinking about doing patent litigation, the difference between these schools will be pretty minor. I'm curious what your UG degree is in, some are more in demand than others. Northwestern places nationally, so you don't have to commit to living in Chicago forever.

If you end up wanting to do patent prosecution, firms won't really care between NW and Columbia at all. Those firms aren't really prestige whorish.

I just don't think you'll get 75K (really more like 90-100k when you do cost of living adjustments and include interest) worth of upgraded job prospects out of Columbia. In NLJ data northwestern and columbia have been about tied 3/5 years and NW has been about 10% below 2/5 years. And they both kinda suck at clerkships though that might be a bit self selection because both schools send a lot of people into transactional work. I think the difference is well worth 75k for a normal person. Someone who wants IP lit, the difference is even lower.

Patent lit associate with little-to-no debt = baller.

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Re: Northwestern (150k) vs Columbia (75k)

Postby 09042014 » Wed May 01, 2013 5:49 pm

bk1 wrote:Retake could net you HYS (if you wanted that) or full rides at CCN. That said, I'm not 100% sure that a year off really is worth the difference between CCN and lower T14s with the same debt level. It might be, but I think that it's up in the air enough that it's a personal call. Your goals don't seem aimed towards HYS though you do consider yourself a prestige whore. And the Chicago market isn't particularly relevant if you want NYC. You'd be fine gunning for NYC from NU.


Retaking isn't worth his opportunity cost of 1 year. It definitely isn't worth it if he ends up paying 200k to go to Harvard.

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bk1
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Re: Northwestern (150k) vs Columbia (75k)

Postby bk1 » Wed May 01, 2013 5:52 pm

Desert Fox wrote:
bk1 wrote:Retake could net you HYS (if you wanted that) or full rides at CCN. That said, I'm not 100% sure that a year off really is worth the difference between CCN and lower T14s with the same debt level. It might be, but I think that it's up in the air enough that it's a personal call. Your goals don't seem aimed towards HYS though you do consider yourself a prestige whore. And the Chicago market isn't particularly relevant if you want NYC. You'd be fine gunning for NYC from NU.


Retaking isn't worth his opportunity cost of 1 year. It definitely isn't worth it if he ends up paying 200k to go to Harvard.

I generally agree but there could be instances where it might if he could get enough need aid from HYS.

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Nelson
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Re: Northwestern (150k) vs Columbia (75k)

Postby Nelson » Wed May 01, 2013 5:54 pm

Northwestern. There's no such thing as a dream school for law unless "dream" is just a word for "best job prospects per dollar."

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jbagelboy
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Re: Northwestern (150k) vs Columbia (75k)

Postby jbagelboy » Wed May 01, 2013 6:05 pm

I would say Northwestern at this level, although congrats on the Columbia scholarship! you must have demonstrated a lot of need to get these offers with your stats (which are really good but rarely THIS good).

I think retake/reapply is completely unnecessary here. You have a full ride to a T14 school and a near half ride to a T4 school. These are both really solid options . Others may beg to differ, but unless you are HYS or bust you will just be losing a year of income.

For major firms, the differences in hiring between these two schools are minor. They may draw slightly deeper into the CLS class, but if you are committed to patent law then that 5% margin matters even less.

I will say that I know what you mean about "dream school", and I disagree with the other poster on this to some degree. If you have dreamed about going somewhere and actually get in with a good scholarship, its really tough to turn down. Obviously you should look at this decision objectively, but I understand where you are coming from.

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untar614
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Re: Northwestern (150k) vs Columbia (75k)

Postby untar614 » Wed May 01, 2013 6:20 pm

Nelson wrote:Northwestern. There's no such thing as a dream school for law unless "dream" is just a word for "best job prospects per dollar."


Hahaha, point taken.

Thanks for running the numbers Ti.

My degree was in biology. From an above-average state flagship school, so no HYP type bump. So I'm concerned that won't do much when there are ppl with advanced degrees around. As for patent litigation, I'll do it if it's what gets me a job, but I've heard it involves lots of traveling, and I hate have to travel a lot. Also, I'm not thrilled by the thought of doing something like defending Myriad Genetics' patent on the BRCA genes (which I find ridiculous myself). Late career, possibly interested in academia, not sure though, and I know CLS isn't a huge academic center either.

Right now S and Y are off the table - only H is possibly still in play (JS1 next week). I've generally PT'ed in the 176-179 range.

As for potential need aid, I got a small (a couple thou) in perkins loans from CLS, so maybe I'm not completely boned on that end. I'll be 25 this time next year, so still not at that magical 26 year line.

I know ppl here tend to be very debt averse - I am too. So I know that makes the NW money really tempting. I guess I should lay out my main reasons for considering CLS despite the money difference (in approx. order of importance):

1) Absolutely do not want to strike out. With up to a 15% difference, I should be pretty safe at CLS at median as long as my interviewing isn't terrible and I do my legwork. At median at NW, going off 2012 numbers should be safe, but slightly below and things may get iffy

2) Being able to go somewhere and just settle down there for a while

3) Certain family members I would live to live by

4) Dat prefteej (but srsly, I wonder what it may help with down the road)


but of course, that's a lot of extra money, and I'd probably have somewhat nicer living conditions at Northwestern (and probably a car)

idk, I'm struggling with this one.

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jbagelboy
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Re: Northwestern (150k) vs Columbia (75k)

Postby jbagelboy » Wed May 01, 2013 6:29 pm

untar614 wrote: Late career, possibly interested in academia, not sure though, and I know CLS isn't a huge academic center either.

I know ppl here tend to be very debt averse - I am too. So I know that makes the NW money really tempting. I guess I should lay out my main reasons for considering CLS despite the money difference (in approx. order of importance):

1) Absolutely do not want to strike out. With up to a 15% difference, I should be pretty safe at CLS at median as long as my interviewing isn't terrible and I do my legwork. At median at NW, going off 2012 numbers should be safe, but slightly below and things may get iffy

2) Being able to go somewhere and just settle down there for a while

3) Certain family members I would live to live by

4) Dat prefteej (but srsly, I wonder what it may help with down the road)


but of course, that's a lot of extra money, and I'd probably have somewhat nicer living conditions at Northwestern (and probably a car)

idk, I'm struggling with this one.


There are law professors with CLS degrees; just not coming directly out of school like at yale. I think it depends much more on what you do with your life after you graduate at that point. I'm headed to CLS, and I hope to be able to route myself into academia later in life too, although I know I'd have to make the right connections.

Reason 1) is legitimate, but the reality is you have to perform well no matter where you go to law school. Reason 2) is rather vague; reason 3) should only be used to justify if its an SO, and 4).. well, I've always considered Northwestern prestigious in its own right, it just lacks the "Ivy" label. I honestly don't know how much that is worth these days, and its impossible for any 0L or current law student to gauge.

09042014
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Re: Northwestern (150k) vs Columbia (75k)

Postby 09042014 » Wed May 01, 2013 6:32 pm

I don't believe there is a 15% less chance of you striking out at Columbia than at Northwestern.

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bizzybone1313
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Re: Northwestern (150k) vs Columbia (75k)

Postby bizzybone1313 » Wed May 01, 2013 6:33 pm

Why is 26 years old a magical line? What about that age makes it distinct about attending law school?

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untar614
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Re: Northwestern (150k) vs Columbia (75k)

Postby untar614 » Wed May 01, 2013 6:35 pm

Desert Fox wrote:I don't believe there is a 15% less chance of you striking out at Columbia than at Northwestern.

I think I know what you mean, but I'm having trouble chewing on that sentence.

You mean you think that I, personally, should not be at much risk of striking out at NW (assuming of course I work as hard and intelligently as I can)? I'm guessing this is based on my numbers compared to NW's range, but isn't the general wisdom to not try and correlate entrance # and law school grades?

bizzybone1313 wrote:Why is 26 years old a magical line? What about that age makes it distinct about attending law school?


that's when there is a significant dropoff in how much your parents' income impacts your need-based aid

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NoodleyOne
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Re: Northwestern (150k) vs Columbia (75k)

Postby NoodleyOne » Wed May 01, 2013 6:42 pm

It may be because you're IP eligible. I also hear IP lit is some of the more exciting BigLaw work, but take that with a grain of salt. If you're IP eligible, you may be able to outperform NU's ranking for job prospects. I think NU is a good choice here.

09042014
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Re: Northwestern (150k) vs Columbia (75k)

Postby 09042014 » Wed May 01, 2013 6:46 pm

untar614 wrote:
Desert Fox wrote:I don't believe there is a 15% less chance of you striking out at Columbia than at Northwestern.

I think I know what you mean, but I'm having trouble chewing on that sentence.

You mean you think that I, personally, should not be at much risk of striking out at NW (assuming of course I work as hard and intelligently as I can)? I'm guessing this is based on my numbers compared to NW's range, but isn't the general wisdom to not try and correlate entrance # and law school grades?


Because patent litigation is hot right now and it's really easy to get a job. The firms that would recruit you with below median grades just aren't going to distinguish between these two schools.

And I'd say there probably isn't even a 15% chance difference for the average student. I'd guess maybe 5-10%. For you, I'd guess effectively zero.

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Cobretti
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Re: Northwestern (150k) vs Columbia (75k)

Postby Cobretti » Wed May 01, 2013 10:25 pm

Untar y u no love us?

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untar614
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Re: Northwestern (150k) vs Columbia (75k)

Postby untar614 » Thu May 02, 2013 12:40 am

Cobretti wrote:Untar y u no love us?

dude, you know i love you. I'm just scared man (hahaha, I love this intro - let's romcom this up). ASW was awesome.

I'm scared that after all this effort I could end up with anything less than greatness. I'm not shooting for mediocrity.

I'd like to be able to just sit back and relax and not worry, just waiting to get started with a plan already in place and ready to get this bromance going.

But I just worry about selling myself short and how I might be impacted as to what I can ultimately achieve. I guess I'll have to see what I can manage. hmu on fb when u get a chance.

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Bronck
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Re: Northwestern (150k) vs Columbia (75k)

Postby Bronck » Thu May 02, 2013 12:42 am

Patent secure is real, bro. Go to NU and enjoy pocketing money far sooner.

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Re: Northwestern (150k) vs Columbia (75k)

Postby timbs4339 » Thu May 02, 2013 12:47 am

This was exactly my situation 4 years ago. I chose CLS. I chose poorly. Take NU.

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Re: Northwestern (150k) vs Columbia (75k)

Postby M458 » Thu May 02, 2013 2:51 am

Do you think you'd like to work in Chicago? If you go to CLS, you're far less likely to be able to end up back in Chicago due to your lack of ties (or so the story seems to go here on TLS). Going to NU leaves both the Chicago and NYC doors open...plus a whole hell of a lot more $$$ in your pocket to start off with.

It pretty much seems like if you want big law IP coming from NU, you'll be able to get it provided you're not an awful interviewer.

Go to CLS if you want that *prestige* and if you think you're constantly going to ask yourself "what if?" throughout your 3 years in school. But I think in this case NU can get you the opportunities you're looking for while making much more financial sense. Now if Harvard lets you in, then re-evaluate (I still think NU would be the right choice even in that scenario, but I know a lot of people would disagree with me).

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jbagelboy
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Re: Northwestern (150k) vs Columbia (75k)

Postby jbagelboy » Thu May 02, 2013 3:34 am

M458 wrote:Do you think you'd like to work in Chicago? If you go to CLS, you're far less likely to be able to end up back in Chicago due to your lack of ties (or so the story seems to go here on TLS). Going to NU leaves both the Chicago and NYC doors open...plus a whole hell of a lot more $$$ in your pocket to start off with.


This is wrong. You can go from CLS to work in Chicago as long as you have a legitimate reason to. Firms will dig just as deeply into the class at CLS for their Chicago offices as they would NU, but they will screen you just to make sure you aren't trying to use it as leverage for another offer in NYC, SF, ect, which you might not experience from NU. This doesn't hurt your chances though, it just means you have to demonstrate a reason or tie, which shouldn't be hard if actually DO want to work there.

It's actually just all about 1L grades. CLS is a national school and if you get the grades it won't be a weaker shot in any major market.

source: hiring partner at Sidley Austin in Chicago, former partner at Skadden in SF and Chicago.

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bk1
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Re: Northwestern (150k) vs Columbia (75k)

Postby bk1 » Thu May 02, 2013 3:53 am

jbagelboy wrote:This is wrong. You can go from CLS to work in Chicago as long as you have a legitimate reason to. Firms will dig just as deeply into the class at CLS for their Chicago offices as they would NU, but they will screen you just to make sure you aren't trying to use it as leverage for another offer in NYC, SF, ect, which you might not experience from NU. This doesn't hurt your chances though, it just means you have to demonstrate a reason or tie, which shouldn't be hard if actually DO want to work there.

It's actually just all about 1L grades. CLS is a national school and if you get the grades it won't be a weaker shot in any major market.

Nobody is arguing this and that's not what he said. His point was that if OP has no other Chicago ties (which seems quite possible), NU gives OP one in a way that CLS does not.

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Richie Tenenbaum
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Re: Northwestern (150k) vs Columbia (75k)

Postby Richie Tenenbaum » Thu May 02, 2013 4:08 am

untar614 wrote: I've generally PT'ed in the 176-179 range.


You should give serious thought to retaking in June, if it's not too late to sign up. While I generally agree with the other posters who say it's not worth waiting a year in this situation, retaking in June gives you the chance at getting more scholarship money from Columbia this year.


RC fail. Just reread the OP. As is, NU seems to be the better choice with what you want to do. Best of luck in June though--both on the test and getting extra money from Columbia if you do well.

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Re: Northwestern (150k) vs Columbia (75k)

Postby El Principe » Thu May 02, 2013 4:22 am

Northwestern sounds really really nice

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untar614
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Re: Northwestern (150k) vs Columbia (75k)

Postby untar614 » Thu May 02, 2013 8:12 am

Ok so unless I can somehow manage to pull more money from cls, nw seems to be the answer everyone is giving. Just to clarify though, everyone seems to base this off ip secure. What if I find I hate ip lit and don't do ip ( or would really like to do something else)? I've heard it involves lots of travel, and if this is true I'd definitely rather avoid it - I'd do it if I have to to get the job, but would much rather not. Would that change anything?

And on location, its not a big deal to me.I wouldn't mind chicago but I think I'd prefer nyc. More important to me though is being able to stay in one place. I'm really sick of moving cities and having to start over so many times.




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