UT $$ vs. NU for aspiring litigator from CA

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

Where you you go?

NU @ Sticker (290k)
12
38%
UT with $$ (110k)
20
63%
 
Total votes: 32

yackob
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UT $$ vs. NU for aspiring litigator from CA

Postby yackob » Thu Jun 27, 2013 2:24 pm

Hi all,

Facing a tricky decision and thought I might as well consult the peanut gallery ;)

UT for $110k vs. NU @ sticker (290k- working on trying to get some money but not expecting anything)

I have $17k in student loans left from undergrad and have used potential savings over the last few years to cut those down.

I'm from California and have never lived anywhere else. I'd ideally want to live there or in D.C. after law school but job quality is a much more important consideration for me than location.

I'm primarily interested in appellate litigation and have some interest in intellectual property litigation (and relevant work experience) as well. But I could easily see myself finding some other area of litigation, probably civil, that I grow to find more interesting or find better job opportunities in. Anything that produces some societal good would be a huge plus for me (public interest, anti-trust, etc.). I'm also more than willing to work for below market rates in exchange for a more interesting job with better work-life balance which also suggests a possible PI track.

What would you do? I won't be retaking but in case someone suggests it anyway I had a 2.7 and 170 with 2 years WE (and some other good softs) so I'm not sure it would help much anyway.

Thanks,
Jacob

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sundance95
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Re: UT $$ vs. NU for aspiring litigator from CA

Postby sundance95 » Thu Jun 27, 2013 2:28 pm

Dude, the answer is so easily UT its not even funny. NU is not repeat not worth $180K more than UT.

I'm also a CA person, went to UVA and now am SAing in SF.

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WokeUpInACar
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Re: UT $$ vs. NU for aspiring litigator from CA

Postby WokeUpInACar » Thu Jun 27, 2013 2:30 pm

DId you not apply to Georgetown, GW, USC, UCLA? The two schools you have here seem pretty bad for your goals.

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Dmini7
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Re: UT $$ vs. NU for aspiring litigator from CA

Postby Dmini7 » Thu Jun 27, 2013 2:33 pm

WokeUpInACar wrote:DId you not apply to Georgetown, GW, USC, UCLA? The two schools you have here seem pretty bad for your goals.


+1. If your interest are socal, (OC area especially), I would actually think UT would be viewed sort of positively. But the two schools you have as options are really not ideal for wanting to get back to California.

BigZuck
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Re: UT $$ vs. NU for aspiring litigator from CA

Postby BigZuck » Thu Jun 27, 2013 2:34 pm

sundance95 wrote:Dude, the answer is so easily UT its not even funny. NU is not repeat not worth $180K more than UT.

I'm also a CA person, went to UVA and now am SAing in SF.


UT would be a really bad decision here IMO.

With that gpa if I wanted big law I would roll the dice on NU or just not go to law school (probably the latter because I'm a weeny and 300K scares me)

BigZuck
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Re: UT $$ vs. NU for aspiring litigator from CA

Postby BigZuck » Thu Jun 27, 2013 2:35 pm

Dmini7 wrote:
WokeUpInACar wrote:DId you not apply to Georgetown, GW, USC, UCLA? The two schools you have here seem pretty bad for your goals.


+1. If your interest are socal, (OC area especially), I would actually think UT would be viewed sort of positively. But the two schools you have as options are really not ideal for wanting to get back to California.


Why?

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IAFG
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Re: UT $$ vs. NU for aspiring litigator from CA

Postby IAFG » Thu Jun 27, 2013 2:37 pm

UT is still 6 figure debt that really, you would need biglaw to dig out out of.

Shame you're a splitter. CA schools hate splitters so hard.

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shifty_eyed
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Re: UT $$ vs. NU for aspiring litigator from CA

Postby shifty_eyed » Thu Jun 27, 2013 2:41 pm

IAFG wrote:UT is still 6 figure debt that really, you would need biglaw to dig out out of.

Shame you're a splitter. CA schools hate splitters so hard.

Not so much this cycle. UCLA and USC have been throwing tons of money at splitters. Not sure why neither is an option for OP, unless they still refuse to dip below 3.0

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IAFG
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Re: UT $$ vs. NU for aspiring litigator from CA

Postby IAFG » Thu Jun 27, 2013 2:54 pm

shifty_eyed wrote:
IAFG wrote:UT is still 6 figure debt that really, you would need biglaw to dig out out of.

Shame you're a splitter. CA schools hate splitters so hard.

Not so much this cycle. UCLA and USC have been throwing tons of money at splitters. Not sure why neither is an option for OP, unless they still refuse to dip below 3.0

there's historically been a 3.0 soft floor.

y2zipper
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Re: UT $$ vs. NU for aspiring litigator from CA

Postby y2zipper » Thu Jun 27, 2013 2:56 pm

TCR is retake undergrad, lol. I'm trying to run into this same problem.

But nah, you have to take Northwestern or not attend here. You can't take a regional for six figures when you don't want to work in the region. The difference in debt isn't significant here. It's a big number, but you need big law either way.

The life of a 2.7 is paying sticker. NU is a top 14 degree and those have national portability. You also get a chance at big law at median and you need that to pay off the debt. You can show ties to CA and use those to try to get back. You also don't seem sure about your goals and the T14 gives you flexibility.

y2zipper
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Re: UT $$ vs. NU for aspiring litigator from CA

Postby y2zipper » Thu Jun 27, 2013 2:59 pm

IAFG wrote:
shifty_eyed wrote:
IAFG wrote:UT is still 6 figure debt that really, you would need biglaw to dig out out of.

Shame you're a splitter. CA schools hate splitters so hard.

Not so much this cycle. UCLA and USC have been throwing tons of money at splitters. Not sure why neither is an option for OP, unless they still refuse to dip below 3.0

there's historically been a 3.0 soft floor.


Might make LA worth an app for my 3.01, but thinking to myself here...

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shifty_eyed
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Re: UT $$ vs. NU for aspiring litigator from CA

Postby shifty_eyed » Thu Jun 27, 2013 3:15 pm

IAFG wrote:
shifty_eyed wrote:
IAFG wrote:UT is still 6 figure debt that really, you would need biglaw to dig out out of.

Shame you're a splitter. CA schools hate splitters so hard.

Not so much this cycle. UCLA and USC have been throwing tons of money at splitters. Not sure why neither is an option for OP, unless they still refuse to dip below 3.0

there's historically been a 3.0 soft floor.

Mylsn.info shows that from 2009 to last cycle, only 33% and 37% of applicants to UCLA and USC respectively were admitted with a 170+ and 3.0-3.5. This cycle, 67% and 77%, with about half getting money (average 80k UCLA 90k USC).
If that's not a huge increase in splitter friendliness, I don't know what is.

More relevant for the OP, it looks like UCLA had 10 applicants this cycle with 170+ and <3.0, and only two were outright accepted. USC had 4, and they were all rejected. So while the two schools have become much more splitter friendly overall, 3.0 seems to remain a hard floor.

yackob
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Re: UT $$ vs. NU for aspiring litigator from CA

Postby yackob » Thu Jun 27, 2013 3:35 pm

@ all

Thank you for the (quick) replies. All feedback is appreciated.

If anyone saying NU has more portability out of state/to CA could provide some backing that would be really appreciated. I've been hearing UT has solid rep from local lawyers (SF) and that really the main edge NU has is that more CA firms show up to their OCI but if one is persistent the "prestige" edge is smaller.

Also re: UT is regional consider that most NU alums stay in the midwest so I'm not sure their alumni network in CA is that much better than UT's

DId you not apply to Georgetown, GW, USC, UCLA? The two schools you have here seem pretty bad for your goals.


Haha yea I've been thinking about that as well. But honestly my main goal is interesting job that involves keeping at least part of my soul. I am not enamoured with any specific PI cause over the others and in the private sector could easily see myself being persuaded that X specialized form of litigation is a better opportunity than appellate.

Anyways:

Gtown-waitlist ergo no $- seems inferior to both options
GW- withdraw because cost was slightly more than Texas and job prospects were a lot worse. Way I figure it I have to crush 1L to get a good job from GW (gov/public interest litigation), but if I can do that I can probably get the job from UT or NU at least as easily. But GW's backup options are much much worse than other options.
USC/UCLA- Didn't apply because I wanted to try living outside of CA. Maybe that was a bad decision networking wise but given cost of living and saturated legal market it didn't seem like a good idea to permanently tie myself to CA without a basis for comparison. Plus I'm from the bay so access to socal but no real edge up here isn't a huge plus for me. My COA would also be much higher than Texas because of the out of state tuition waiver program and COL difference.

P.S. you look familiar have I seen you on a UT thread?

Dude, the answer is so easily UT its not even funny. NU is not repeat not worth $180K more than UT.

I'm also a CA person, went to UVA and now am SAing in SF.


Sweet deal I'm in SF as well. Do you know any UT people and/or have a sense of what it's rep is like out here? I've got anecdotes but could always use more. UT alums tendency to self-select Texas kind of distorts their statistics.

the two schools you have as options are really not ideal for wanting to get back to California.


Job satisfaction > location for me. Especially with big law hours and limited options available to most students. My gut says Chicago would be a much better place to live than Dallas or Houston which is realistically where most of the Texas jobs are but I'm not sure how heavily to weigh that.

But nah, you have to take Northwestern or not attend here. You can't take a regional for six figures when you don't want to work in the region. The difference in debt isn't significant here. It's a big number, but you need big law either way.


I kind of like this perspective/rationalization. But I'm not sure it's true. Here's a take home comparison (after taxes) for both debt amounts at various salaries under various payment plans:

NU- 25 year 10 year UT Income 25 years 10 years 5 years- high interest estimate, 50% of what calculator says for 10 years.
80000 2172.333 882.3333 80000 3222.333 2541.333 1474.367
90000 2714 1424 90000 3764 3083 2016.033
100000 3255.667 1965.667 100000 4305.667 3624.667 2557.7
110000 3797.333 2507.333 110000 4847.333 4166.333 3099.367
120000 4339 3049 120000 5389 4708 3641.033
130000 4880.667 3590.667 130000 5930.667 5249.667 4182.7
140000 5422.333 4132.333 140000 6472.333 5791.333 4724.367
150000 5964 4674 150000 7014 6333 5266.033
160000 6505.667 5215.667 160000 7555.667 6874.667 5807.7
170000 7047.333 5757.333 170000 8097.333 7416.333 6349.367

(apologies for format)

Seems like mid size firms are a lot more doable from UT.
Last edited by yackob on Thu Jun 27, 2013 3:57 pm, edited 4 times in total.

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IAFG
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Re: UT $$ vs. NU for aspiring litigator from CA

Postby IAFG » Thu Jun 27, 2013 3:37 pm

yackob wrote:If anyone saying NU has more portability out of state/to CA could provide some backing that would be really appreciated. I've been hearing UT has solid rep from local lawyers (SF) and that really the main edge NU has is that more CA firms show up to their OCI but if one is persistent the "prestige" edge is smaller.

It would be nice if schools tracked what people's target market was at the start of OCI and where they ended up, but they don't, so no one will have this data. Instead, we can just look at where people end up. But that's stupid due to self-selection.

Redfactor
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Re: UT $$ vs. NU for aspiring litigator from CA

Postby Redfactor » Thu Jun 27, 2013 3:37 pm

.
Last edited by Redfactor on Mon Sep 09, 2013 6:56 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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IAFG
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Re: UT $$ vs. NU for aspiring litigator from CA

Postby IAFG » Thu Jun 27, 2013 3:39 pm

Redfactor wrote:Neither of the options are ideal.

If you must go to law school this fall, I would take UT.

290k debt is sooooo much. It won't be fun to pay off even with biglaw.

110k won't be fun to pay off if you miss out on biglaw, but it's possible. Don't forget you still stand a good shot at biglaw being top 1/3 at UT.

Easy to say before you've taken your first LS exam. It's a lot of money to bet on an unknown.

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jselson
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Re: UT $$ vs. NU for aspiring litigator from CA

Postby jselson » Thu Jun 27, 2013 3:40 pm

y2zipper wrote:TCR is retake undergrad, lol. I'm trying to run into this same problem.

But nah, you have to take Northwestern or not attend here. You can't take a regional for six figures when you don't want to work in the region. The difference in debt isn't significant here. It's a big number, but you need big law either way.

The life of a 2.7 is paying sticker. NU is a top 14 degree and those have national portability. You also get a chance at big law at median and you need that to pay off the debt. You can show ties to CA and use those to try to get back. You also don't seem sure about your goals and the T14 gives you flexibility.


IAWTP

Redfactor
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Re: UT $$ vs. NU for aspiring litigator from CA

Postby Redfactor » Thu Jun 27, 2013 3:49 pm

.
Last edited by Redfactor on Mon Sep 09, 2013 6:55 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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TurtlesAllTheWayDown
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Re: UT $$ vs. NU for aspiring litigator from CA

Postby TurtlesAllTheWayDown » Thu Jun 27, 2013 4:13 pm

How did you get that sort of scratch from UT, a historically homer-friendly and GPA-loving school?

I'm not calling BS or anything, but my tuition (granted, from two years ago) would have been pretty much the same, and I was in-state, had the same LSAT, and almost a full grade point higher GPA. Have admissions really changed that much? Crazy.

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shifty_eyed
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Re: UT $$ vs. NU for aspiring litigator from CA

Postby shifty_eyed » Thu Jun 27, 2013 4:22 pm

TurtlesAllTheWayDown wrote:How did you get that sort of scratch from UT, a historically homer-friendly and GPA-loving school?

I'm not calling BS or anything, but my tuition (granted, from two years ago) would have been pretty much the same, and I was in-state, had the same LSAT, and almost a full grade point higher GPA. Have admissions really changed that much? Crazy.

Yep, they really have.

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jbagelboy
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Re: UT $$ vs. NU for aspiring litigator from CA

Postby jbagelboy » Thu Jun 27, 2013 4:23 pm

TurtlesAllTheWayDown wrote:How did you get that sort of scratch from UT, a historically homer-friendly and GPA-loving school?

I'm not calling BS or anything, but my tuition (granted, from two years ago) would have been pretty much the same, and I was in-state, had the same LSAT, and almost a full grade point higher GPA. Have admissions really changed that much? Crazy.


Yea dude. this cycle is revolutionary. Anyone with a 170 and a pulse is getting NYU and down w/ $.

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sundance95
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Re: UT $$ vs. NU for aspiring litigator from CA

Postby sundance95 » Thu Jun 27, 2013 4:30 pm

yackob wrote:
sundance95 wrote:Dude, the answer is so easily UT its not even funny. NU is not repeat not worth $180K more than UT.

I'm also a CA person, went to UVA and now am SAing in SF.


Sweet deal I'm in SF as well. Do you know any UT people and/or have a sense of what it's rep is like out here? I've got anecdotes but could always use more. UT alums tendency to self-select Texas kind of distorts their statistics.

I think you hit the nail on the head with the bolded. Yes, I know UT folks here in the city, including one UT alum who graduated in 2008 w/no law review and began her career at Gibson Dunn SF. I knew another at Bay Area Legal Aid. Obviously single anecdotes aren't super useful, but if you come in knowing that you aren't going to not simply rely on OCI and are going to network hard, UT is definitely the better choice IMO. Obviously you will need to do relatively well to get back, but I think that is true of NU also. Since you have legit ties that helps a lot.

I did something similar, and ended up at a SF-only mid-size firm (think Farella/Shartsis/Coblentz). I worked much harder to get that offer than the biglaw SF/SV offers I got--I wrote multiple letters, first after 1 semester 1L, then again after 1L grades came in, then told them I'd be in town to interview when I was here for other callbacks, etc. It takes that kind of persistence to break into the SF-only firms--you might want to search some firm websites and reach out to any UT alums you find to get their impressions (and also to initiate a contact that you can call on later).

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bk1
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Re: UT $$ vs. NU for aspiring litigator from CA

Postby bk1 » Thu Jun 27, 2013 4:56 pm

UT just is not on the same level as UVA that your advice is meh, imo.

Both options suck. Not sure which sucks more. NU will give you a better shot at places that won't care about ties (e.g. NYC). UT suffers since you probably would have a rough time gunning for TX and that's its best market. But 300k is a shit ton more than 100k. I'd probably go UT, though the likely credited option is neither.

Appellate litigation is a pipe dream. If you have an in demand science degree then UT for patent is probably not a bad idea.

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TurtlesAllTheWayDown
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Re: UT $$ vs. NU for aspiring litigator from CA

Postby TurtlesAllTheWayDown » Thu Jun 27, 2013 5:01 pm

jbagelboy wrote:
TurtlesAllTheWayDown wrote:How did you get that sort of scratch from UT, a historically homer-friendly and GPA-loving school?

I'm not calling BS or anything, but my tuition (granted, from two years ago) would have been pretty much the same, and I was in-state, had the same LSAT, and almost a full grade point higher GPA. Have admissions really changed that much? Crazy.


Yea dude. this cycle is revolutionary. Anyone with a 170 and a pulse is getting NYU and down w/ $.


Ahhhh, there's my problem. I'm all out of pulse.

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jbagelboy
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Re: UT $$ vs. NU for aspiring litigator from CA

Postby jbagelboy » Thu Jun 27, 2013 5:13 pm

OP, I have similar goals. I'd be happy doing IP or appellate lit. mild preference for CA but not really.

I get NU, but not UT. If this was UCLA @ 100K v NU sticker, I'd go for UCLA. But I can't speak to how UT would do in california. not as well, I would bet. It's not a school designed with national reach, and those who are positing it as such seem to be missing the point -- you can't guarantee top 1/3. With a 2.7, I don't see how you have much choice tho. I think UT is TCR with the expectation that you work in texas for a few years in the field you're interested in/at a firm with lots of CA offices, and then try to lateral out to CA later, although that part of the trajectory is murky to all of us.

bk1 wrote:Appellate litigation is a pipe dream.


by this, I'm assuming you mean that it's only a select few attorneys at large firms who work at the appellate level because there's much less $$ in it? Doesn't mean those jobs don't exist. If you do get a job at a V10 (or a major firm like Sidley in Chicago), you can be "that guy", but it helps to 1) clerk first and 2) carve out that niche for yourself early. I know two appellate lit attorneys at large firms, family friends, both clerked AIII and they would help me chart out their path if I was able to clerk too (or work at their firm). It is a real, legit practice area tho, just minuscule and very competitive. correct me if I'm wrong?




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