A fun UCLA/Berkeley riddle. Help!

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

What would you do?

UCLA at full-ride + living stipend + PI & named scholar distinction
20
49%
Berkeley at $10k less than full-ride
21
51%
 
Total votes: 41

teachteacha
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A fun UCLA/Berkeley riddle. Help!

Postby teachteacha » Sun Jun 30, 2013 3:46 pm

Option 1: Berkeley at $10k short of a full-ride
Option 2: UCLA at full-ride scholarship + living stipend (weird, I know). At UCLA, I'd be apart of the Epstein PI program and one of only two named Stache scholars.

So the puzzle is: does the $35k extra per year from UCLA (including COA) and the advantage of being a named scholarship recipient and apart of a small PI cohort at UCLA mitigate the difference in rank and potential networking/job placement advantages at Berkeley.

According to the program head at UCLA, a recent Stache scholar went on to clerk for the SC. I'm interested in clerking, academia, and other non-traditional uses of the degree. Not looking for big law gigs. (Hence my worry that the name brand of school is even more important.)

My fam, friends, and boyfriend are all in LA and I see myself working in Cali in the long-run.

I have 24 hours to figure this out. Thank you for any savvy input you all might have.

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shifty_eyed
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Re: A fun UCLA/Berkeley riddle. Help!

Postby shifty_eyed » Sun Jun 30, 2013 3:48 pm

Touch choice, but you can't go wrong either way. Family + SO in LA might tip the scales to UCLA for me. BUT if you are the type who would always wonder "what if I had gone to Berkeley?", then you should go.

muskies970
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Re: A fun UCLA/Berkeley riddle. Help!

Postby muskies970 » Sun Jun 30, 2013 3:50 pm

I'm only a 0L, but I think you obviously can't go wrong with either. Getting academia or clerking from either school won't be easy, but I think being part of a named scholarship small cohort would definitely give you the edge that being a regular student at berkeley could not. Further, your friends and family are all in LA and graduating completely debt free for PI would be awesome.

Tough decision, but personally I'd go with UCLA

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t-14orbust
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Re: A fun UCLA/Berkeley riddle. Help!

Postby t-14orbust » Sun Jun 30, 2013 3:51 pm

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Last edited by t-14orbust on Tue Jul 23, 2013 4:27 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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CO2016YEAH
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Re: A fun UCLA/Berkeley riddle. Help!

Postby CO2016YEAH » Sun Jun 30, 2013 4:08 pm

A bit of a tough choice, but I'll echo what others have said in that you can't make a "wrong" choice here.

I do think there may be a higher portion of the student population at Berkeley with PI and do-gooder aspirations. No doubt the PI interest helped you pick up that sweet UCLA deal. In hindsight, I might have decided to push forward with PI ambitions in my app to UCLA. I've heard since my denial that it likely would have made a world of difference. Less PI presence at UCLA could stand to benefit you and your career aspirations.

For me UCLA appears to be the hands down winner. You have connections and ties to SoCal, and the debt difference is substantial. I think you will be set up just fine for PI out of UCLA's program. I believe there is not an overwhelming PI leaning in SoCal (outside of pd/da), which is why UCLA puts considerable effort into attracting and admitting students with their PI programs.

Imo, Berkeley might be a better choice if you had biglaw ambitions, but UCLA doesn't suck in that area either.

Admittedly, I'm partial to SoCal over Norcal and UCLA in particular. Nevertheless, the circumstances make UCLA a compelling choice just the same. It's not "t-14" but it's pretty darn close. Zero debt tips the scales.

Totally jealous over here. :) Good luck with your decision and congratulations!

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Monochromatic Oeuvre
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Re: A fun UCLA/Berkeley riddle. Help!

Postby Monochromatic Oeuvre » Sun Jun 30, 2013 4:44 pm

Mental image of "Stache Scholar":

Image

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twenty
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Re: A fun UCLA/Berkeley riddle. Help!

Postby twenty » Sun Jun 30, 2013 5:06 pm

edit> just read this:

I'm interested in clerking, academia, and other non-traditional uses of the degree


You're not going to get clerking or academia from UCLA period, and you're very unlikely to get those from Berkeley. Since you don't really want to practice law, UCLA, since it's free.

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jselson
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Re: A fun UCLA/Berkeley riddle. Help!

Postby jselson » Sun Jun 30, 2013 5:33 pm

twentypercentmore wrote:edit> just read this:

I'm interested in clerking, academia, and other non-traditional uses of the degree


You're not going to get clerking or academia from UCLA period, and you're very unlikely to get those from Berkeley. Since you don't really want to practice law, UCLA, since it's free.


Given this, isn't TCR retake for HYS, revise your goals, or don't go?

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Typhoon24
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Re: A fun UCLA/Berkeley riddle. Help!

Postby Typhoon24 » Sun Jun 30, 2013 5:56 pm

UCLA.

Not sure how much "non-traditional use" you can get out of the degree from there, but it's the better choice since it is closer to home and free.

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jbagelboy
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Re: A fun UCLA/Berkeley riddle. Help!

Postby jbagelboy » Sun Jun 30, 2013 6:03 pm

Typhoon24 wrote:UCLA.

Not sure how much "non-traditional use" you can get out of the degree from there, but it's the better choice since it is closer to home and free.


I basically disagree with this logic. Cal is near free, and its a significantly more well respected law degree, even in los angeles.

I can't help but think that despite your named scholarships, you would be missing out on something by not going to Cal.

Obviously you have two extremely good options, and there's an attraction to staying close to home (I'm from LA area too). I wouldn't fault you for going to UCLA w/ the PI program. However, it seems like you are aiming for flexibility in your career, and the Boalt degree would allow for more of that. Plus, the bay area is awesome, and it would be nice to get out for a while

disclaimer: almost chose Berkeley myself, I love the law school, I think its way underrated on TLS, so I'm definitely partial towards it.

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sinfiery
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Re: A fun UCLA/Berkeley riddle. Help!

Postby sinfiery » Sun Jun 30, 2013 7:03 pm

If you are to go, Berkeley. As you said, the name of the degree for something like this will likely carry some weight and it will be far harder to convey what this particular program is than just having a better school on your resume that is to me, as a 0L, bent towards a PI focus relative to other schools in its domain.

That being said, if you are 100% committed to PI, having 105k in debt at graduation can be a huge burden given your likely salary outcome. 0 debt is amazing.

I pick UCLA if you are more dedicated to PI and if you are more dedicated to academia/clerking, first option should be retake for HYS followed by Berkeley

Redfactor
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Re: A fun UCLA/Berkeley riddle. Help!

Postby Redfactor » Sun Jun 30, 2013 7:43 pm

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

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twenty
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Re: A fun UCLA/Berkeley riddle. Help!

Postby twenty » Sun Jun 30, 2013 7:49 pm

jselson wrote:Given this, isn't TCR retake for HYS, revise your goals, or don't go?


Even from HYS, clerking, academia and super prestigious PI are far from "ask and you will receive." Since OP is fairly opposed to biglaw, and is looking for "non-traditional options", I'd bet you anything OP ends up in a PMF-style program (which no debt would give a lot of flexibility towards). In which case UCLA >>>> UCB.

Yeah, TCR is get over it, retake, gun for something obtainable, but if you don't really want to practice law, UCLA for free is pretty legit. UCB with 70k+ debt is not so much.

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CO2016YEAH
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Re: A fun UCLA/Berkeley riddle. Help!

Postby CO2016YEAH » Sun Jun 30, 2013 7:53 pm

Oh, I did forget one thing, though.

I have not looked into the program at all, but I know a Boalt grad who was doing PI work and said her payments were completely taken care of every month. Your Boalt COA might wind up being pretty much free anyways, if you accomplish your career objectives.

You'll have to check it out, though. I have done no legwork on this.

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Tom Joad
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Re: A fun UCLA/Berkeley riddle. Help!

Postby Tom Joad » Sun Jun 30, 2013 7:54 pm

If your vision of PI is working for state or local government being a prosecutor or public defender, do UCLA.

If your vision of PI is working for the federal government or a prestigious PI firm, do UCB.

Both are good choices.

Ti Malice
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Re: A fun UCLA/Berkeley riddle. Help!

Postby Ti Malice » Mon Jul 01, 2013 3:07 am

Two very nice options, but I vote for Berkeley. It's just a significantly more respected degree, especially if you want the flexibility of being able to work outside of LA. If your non-BigLaw job options aren't great in LA at graduation, Berkeley would do a much better job of getting you a good job that you could use to get back to LA at a later date. The cost difference is definitely substantial, given the living stipend at UCLA, but that's not a bad price for a degree from Boalt. (I'm leaving out the personal considerations of SO and family here. You have to weigh those on your own.)

By the way, what are the other things you mean by "non-traditional uses"? An Article III clerkship is very unlikely out of Berkeley, and it's only a one- or two-year gig anyway. Academia is also very unlikely. Does "non-traditional" use include practicing in an area of PI law?

I don't know anything at all about the Epstein PI program, but I will tell you that most named scholarships don't mean much of anything when it comes to employment. Posters on TLS vastly overestimate the significance of these scholarships for things other than debt reduction. People with Hamiltons and Butlers aren't getting any special boosts out of Columbia, for instance. NYU's RTK PI scholarship is one of the very few exceptions; it's fairly well-known in the PI world, and it comes with a ton of meaningful institutional support. These programs all tout special benefits, but not all provide benefits that actually matter.

UCLA with zero debt is obviously a very safe choice. If you're dead-set against actually practicing law, I would say go there over Berkeley, since it's free (though I would really say just don't go to law school). If you would be happy as a PI lawyer, Berkeley will open more doors.

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Redamon1
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Re: A fun UCLA/Berkeley riddle. Help!

Postby Redamon1 » Mon Jul 01, 2013 7:58 pm

Ti Malice wrote:Two very nice options, but I vote for Berkeley. It's just a significantly more respected degree, especially if you want the flexibility of being able to work outside of LA. If your non-BigLaw job options aren't great in LA at graduation, Berkeley would do a much better job of getting you a good job that you could use to get back to LA at a later date. The cost difference is definitely substantial, given the living stipend at UCLA, but that's not a bad price for a degree from Boalt. (I'm leaving out the personal considerations of SO and family here. You have to weigh those on your own.)

By the way, what are the other things you mean by "non-traditional uses"? An Article III clerkship is very unlikely out of Berkeley, and it's only a one- or two-year gig anyway. Academia is also very unlikely. Does "non-traditional" use include practicing in an area of PI law?

I don't know anything at all about the Epstein PI program, but I will tell you that most named scholarships don't mean much of anything when it comes to employment. Posters on TLS vastly overestimate the significance of these scholarships for things other than debt reduction. People with Hamiltons and Butlers aren't getting any special boosts out of Columbia, for instance. NYU's RTK PI scholarship is one of the very few exceptions; it's fairly well-known in the PI world, and it comes with a ton of meaningful institutional support. These programs all tout special benefits, but not all provide benefits that actually matter.

UCLA with zero debt is obviously a very safe choice. If you're dead-set against actually practicing law, I would say go there over Berkeley, since it's free (though I would really say just don't go to law school). If you would be happy as a PI lawyer, Berkeley will open more doors.


All of this. And let me emphasize the bolded part. You will get no special treatment at UCLA (other than the money, of course, which is definitely valuable). Berkeley also has a strong PI contingent of students and great connections. So whatever you loose at UCLA, you make up with the brand name, connections, and school activities at Berkeley IMO. Good luck!

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Doorkeeper
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Re: A fun UCLA/Berkeley riddle. Help!

Postby Doorkeeper » Mon Jul 01, 2013 8:07 pm

Berkeley is the better option here, but if you're serious about academia, then you need a PhD or retake for HYS.

Also, there's almost no shot in you getting back to LA if you want academia.

This being said, if what you really want is a respected PI gig, then Berkeley is the way to go.




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