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GW or W&M?

Poll ended at Fri Jul 12, 2013 4:32 am

GW
8
53%
W&M
7
47%
 
Total votes: 15

aliyblue
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Postby aliyblue » Fri Jul 05, 2013 4:32 am

EDIT: Removed.
Last edited by aliyblue on Tue Dec 23, 2014 10:17 pm, edited 2 times in total.

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chuckbass
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Re: GW ($) vs. W&M ($$ and Fellowship)

Postby chuckbass » Fri Jul 05, 2013 7:17 am

Given the fact that you'll be working, and you'd only have 50k in debt, GW sounds like a good option. Despite your network, I think you would still have to rely on OCI for biglaw, unless your network is full of biglaw partners in DC.

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untar614
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Re: GW ($) vs. W&M ($$ and Fellowship)

Postby untar614 » Fri Jul 05, 2013 7:39 am

Would you keep the same workload at GW? and thus, how much would you be making from that job? Also, what kind of job are you working?

aliyblue
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Re: GW ($) vs. W&M ($$ and Fellowship)

Postby aliyblue » Fri Jul 05, 2013 2:56 pm

EDIT: Removed.
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Monochromatic Oeuvre
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Re: GW ($) vs. W&M ($$ and Fellowship)

Postby Monochromatic Oeuvre » Fri Jul 05, 2013 4:04 pm

Would it be correct to assume that you therefore make $85k-$100k in your current position?

That's a pretty high opportunity cost to taking on debt and eating through your savings at schools where you most likely will not end up with Biglaw.

aliyblue
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Re: GW ($) vs. W&M ($$ and Fellowship)

Postby aliyblue » Fri Jul 05, 2013 4:56 pm

EDIT: Removed.
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rickgrimes69
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Re: GW ($) vs. W&M ($$ and Fellowship)

Postby rickgrimes69 » Fri Jul 05, 2013 6:37 pm

aliyblue wrote:Indeed, and yes, that is what I'm making now. That said, for what I want to do (which is to advance in my career and become an expert in a very specialized practice area), I need a JD. I've thought this through for a few years, and I'm aware of the risks, but I am certain that I'll regret not doing this in retrospect.


You can't be sure you won't regret it. If all you need is a JD, go to wherever you can for as cheaply as possible. But keep in mind that you're currently making a lot more than you are likely to make out of either school.

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Monochromatic Oeuvre
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Re: GW ($) vs. W&M ($$ and Fellowship)

Postby Monochromatic Oeuvre » Fri Jul 05, 2013 8:05 pm

What exactly are you trying to do? If you just need a JD, go somewhere for free. But if you need a place with strong placement, neither school is good enough. Basically, whatever you're trying to do, neither of these schools is TCR.

aliyblue
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Re: GW ($) vs. W&M ($$ and Fellowship)

Postby aliyblue » Fri Jul 05, 2013 11:01 pm

EDIT: Removed.
Last edited by aliyblue on Fri Jul 12, 2013 9:51 am, edited 1 time in total.

BigZuck
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Re: GW ($) vs. W&M ($$ and Fellowship)

Postby BigZuck » Fri Jul 05, 2013 11:26 pm

It's unclear to me what your connections will be getting you

If its a guaranteed big law job no matter what, then go to Catholic or one of the other DC cesspools on a fully.

If you actually need to rely on the placement ability of the school you go to, then neither. Retake.

Are you saying that its somewhere in the middle? Like, they'll give you a job as long as you don't go to a bottom feeder? A middling school is good enough?

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Monochromatic Oeuvre
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Re: GW ($) vs. W&M ($$ and Fellowship)

Postby Monochromatic Oeuvre » Sat Jul 06, 2013 7:55 am

If placement into DC Biglaw matters, than neither of these schools will do.

Actually, if you're only content with going to DC, don't go to law school unless you get into HYS. It's very rare that someone makes it back to DC outside of the top third from any non-HYS school. You're making a decent amount of money right now, there's no point in spending $250k when the most likely outcome sucks.

aliyblue
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Re: GW ($) vs. W&M ($$ and Fellowship)

Postby aliyblue » Sat Jul 06, 2013 10:14 am

EDIT: Removed.
Last edited by aliyblue on Fri Jul 12, 2013 9:51 am, edited 1 time in total.

BigZuck
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Re: GW ($) vs. W&M ($$ and Fellowship)

Postby BigZuck » Sat Jul 06, 2013 10:22 am

aliyblue wrote:I'm not tremendously worried about doing worse than the top third, but it's more of a concern at GW, especially since I'll also be working. Another relevant thing I should probably mention is that I'm on the priority WL at GULC. Who knows what will happen with that, though.

Monochromatic Oeuvre, I understand what you're saying, but you're overstating how bad it is out there. Within the practice group at the firm I'm at, we have associates (junior and senior) from GULC, GW, and Maryland(!), along with Harvard and Columbia.

Big Zuck, I'm pushing 30 and don't want to put this off any longer, so retaking is not something I want to do. The connections I have are former employers (including my current one), folks i worked with in the past, and old family friends who have the ability to get in touch with the hiring partners at a few firms in the DC area. DC is a pretty tight-knit legal community, and there is much to be said for a phone call from a friend and a round at Burning Tree. My end of the bargain involves being in the top 15-20 percent wherever I go. The school matters less, but it still matters. Are you saying that both of these schools are pretty much the same as far as prestige?


I'm saying both don't place well into big law so you probably won't get it. I'm also pushing thirty and this is my second cycle in a row so I don't really have any sympathy for you there. It's not my fault you waited this long. I'm also less confident than you are that you will finish in the top 20%.

Retake if you want a decent shot at big law. If I were you I would be T14 or bust. But really the best thing you could do for yourself is just stick with your current job, you have a pretty sweet income right now in a crappy job market.

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Monochromatic Oeuvre
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Re: GW ($) vs. W&M ($$ and Fellowship)

Postby Monochromatic Oeuvre » Sat Jul 06, 2013 1:21 pm

aliyblue wrote:Monochromatic Oeuvre, I understand what you're saying, but you're overstating how bad it is out there.


No, I'm not. I promise.

Within the practice group at the firm I'm at, we have associates (junior and senior) from GULC, GW, and Maryland(!), along with Harvard and Columbia.


That doesn't imply you're likely to get a Biglaw job from any of those schools. Non-zero chance =/= good chance.

Big Zuck, I'm pushing 30 and don't want to put this off any longer, so retaking is not something I want to do.


What about paying $250k and having nothing to show for it? How smart is that on either side of 30?

The connections I have are former employers (including my current one), folks i worked with in the past, and old family friends who have the ability to get in touch with the hiring partners at a few firms in the DC area.


Connections mean less than most people who have them assume they will mean. As someone with a few connections myself, take my word for it: It is not at all a guarantee of a Biglaw job.

DC is a pretty tight-knit legal community


No, it isn't. There are 40,000 lawyers here.

and there is much to be said for a phone call from a friend and a round at Burning Tree


Guarantee you anyone at Burning Tree doesn't give a shit where you went to law school, particularly if it wasn't Harvard or Yale. Also, if you can afford to be a member of Burning Tree, then you definitely don't need to go to law school.

My end of the bargain involves being in the top 15-20 percent wherever I go.


What makes you think you will do this? Why you, and not the 80-85% of the school that will miss it? What makes you so special?

I'm not tremendously worried about doing worse than the top third


Somebody please call me when a 0L says "I think I'll probably finish below median."

aliyblue
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Re: GW ($) vs. W&M ($$ and Fellowship)

Postby aliyblue » Sat Jul 06, 2013 4:04 pm

EDIT: Removed.
Last edited by aliyblue on Fri Jul 12, 2013 9:51 am, edited 1 time in total.

BigZuck
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Re: GW ($) vs. W&M ($$ and Fellowship)

Postby BigZuck » Sat Jul 06, 2013 4:38 pm

aliyblue wrote:Gentlemen, I'm not looking for a point-by-point takedown of my posts. I'm looking for advice with the choices that I have presented here. MO, I can see that your advice is basically that I shouldn't be a lawyer given the choices that I have. I appreciate your opinion, but I have no use for that advice.

I agree that it was inaccurate to state that it's a "tight-knit community." Perhaps I should clarify. The attorneys that practice political law in this city (not to be confused with lobbyists) are a tight-knit group. I've worked within this group of professionals for a few years now, and I'm aware of size of that community. It isn't large.

I never said that finishing above the top 15-20% was a guarantee, but I can tell you that coming off of seven years putting in long hours at challenging work has taught me more than a few things about how to succeed at what I put my mind to, and that this grants me an advantage over your average kid coming straight out of undergrad, or someone who has worked at a paralegal job for a couple of years before entering school.

I place faith in my connections and recommendations because they have earned me jobs in the past. Also, I'm a woman, so I'm not a member at Burning Tree. I wasn't referring to myself, but rather to people I've worked for. Lots of things - more than most would expect - are accomplished on golf courses in this city. I recommend that anyone who wants to really give themselves a leg up take up the sport. I'm fortunate enough to have worked for people who are willing to go to bat for me, since I have done well by them.


I take it you're either a splitter or a reverse splitter, yes? So while you can claim that your work ethic will set you apart, one could just as easily point to your spotty academic record or your relatively low LSAT score to argue that you won't be any good at school. Just because K-JDs might not have your life experience doesn't mean they won't be able to dominate you in an academic setting. It's all about who writes the best exams.

The whole point is that you will probably be just as average as the rest of us. You're not special, I don't care what your mom tells you. Your "connections" don't really sound like they are going to get you anything so you're going to have to expect to get the average outcome at whatever school you attend. At these two schools that means no big law. If you really want big law (and I would not give up your current job for anything less) then you have to go to a T14 (and some would say T13). Those are the only schools that can and do place 50% or more into big law.

Retake or don't go (or be content doing small law I guess but I wouldn't be if I already had an 80-100K job)

aliyblue
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Re: GW ($) vs. W&M ($$ and Fellowship)

Postby aliyblue » Sat Jul 06, 2013 4:52 pm

EDIT: Removed.
Last edited by aliyblue on Fri Jul 12, 2013 9:51 am, edited 1 time in total.

bruin91
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Re: GW ($) vs. W&M ($$ and Fellowship)

Postby bruin91 » Sat Jul 06, 2013 5:05 pm

Is retaking not an option? You have a very good paying job, taking a year off can't hurt too much. I'd agree with you though on the point that only you know how strong your connections are, not a bunch of strangers on an online forum. But what we can offer you is advice on the prudent decision for the average person without said connections. Your COA at GW seems a bit too high and there seems like there is no urgency to attend law school this fall, so we just want to help you make the financially wise decision and not lose cash that you can save up. I'd take GW if you absolutely must go now. Graduating top 20% of your class would yield biglaw in DC. It's a risk, and obviously up to you. I'd also note that while no one is "special", it's silly to assume OP would not be 20% just as it silly to assume he will be. You know nothing to comment, and to make an assumption that he will be median, while convenient, misses the point about the exact tradeoffs for a decision to be made.

BigZuck
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Re: GW ($) vs. W&M ($$ and Fellowship)

Postby BigZuck » Sat Jul 06, 2013 5:13 pm

aliyblue wrote:BigZuck, I'm not trying to argue with you here. I don't know you, and you don't know me, so I'd appreciate it if you could refrain from making broad assumptions about how well I did in college nearly a decade ago, or how well I did on the LSAT. For the record, it's 3.5/165, so although I didn't shoot the lights out (again, I was in school more than seven years ago, and any admissions officer will tell you that GPA matters less for candidates like me), I'm not exactly an idiot, or a splitter of any sort.

Is there anyone else on the forum who has struggled with this decision - or, better yet, students or recent graduates of either school who have any advice to offer?


Adcoms say a lot of stuff that is not true, why would you believe them? You got in because they want your money and/or your numbers, not because of your capacity to be a first rate lawyer or your inherant awesomeness or whatever they said on the form letter that they send out to all admits.

I never called you an idiot. I just said that you're more than likely just as mediocre as the rest of us. That's not a bad thing.

You almost certainly will be mediocre if you go to the PT program at GW. Most people there will have similar numbers to you and probably a lot of them will have cool jobs in DC. If you have to finish in the top 20% for your connections to work for you (which is what you would need at Wake or GW to get big law anyway so your connections sound pretty much meaningless) then that is just way too much of a gamble to take IMO. Believe me, your classmates will be just as capable as you.

I'm not really sure what someone who has decided between these two schools or a recent grad can help you with that http://www.lawschooltransparency.com cannot. I mean they could probably give you good food and apartment recommendations and the like but all you really need to know about employment is right there.

BigZuck
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Re: GW ($) vs. W&M ($$ and Fellowship)

Postby BigZuck » Sat Jul 06, 2013 5:23 pm

bruin91 wrote:Is retaking not an option? You have a very good paying job, taking a year off can't hurt too much. I'd agree with you though on the point that only you know how strong your connections are, not a bunch of strangers on an online forum. But what we can offer you is advice on the prudent decision for the average person without said connections. Your COA at GW seems a bit too high and there seems like there is no urgency to attend law school this fall, so we just want to help you make the financially wise decision and not lose cash that you can save up. I'd take GW if you absolutely must go now. Graduating top 20% of your class would yield biglaw in DC. It's a risk, and obviously up to you. I'd also note that while no one is "special", it's silly to assume OP would not be 20% just as it silly to assume he will be. You know nothing to comment, and to make an assumption that he will be median, while convenient, misses the point about the exact tradeoffs for a decision to be made.


Wut? Not sure what you mean by the last sentence.

Without having ever gone to law school how can anyone assume they will be anything but average? The OP is just as likely to be top 20% as bottom 20% and statistically speaking neither are the most likely scenario. The most likely scenario is she will be smack dab at the middle.

Agreed on how tough it is to calculate the value of the connections. The OP said she would have to be top 15-20%. She should find out what the firms cutoff is for hiring a rando from one of these schools. If they would only consider top 3% or something then her connections might give her a little boost. But if they expect 15-20% for everyone then they are meaningless. She should also find out what class rank they would expect for her coming from Catholic or American or from GULC and other T14s that would accept a 3.5. The OP really needs to get a stronger grasp on what her connections mean before taking the gamble IMO.

But really she should probablu just keep the job or aim higher.

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Monochromatic Oeuvre
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Re: GW ($) vs. W&M ($$ and Fellowship)

Postby Monochromatic Oeuvre » Sat Jul 06, 2013 5:37 pm

I'm looking for advice with the choices that I have presented here.


If I asked whether I should shoot myself in the face or shoot myself in the balls, you'd rightly respond that not doing either was the prudent move. You're presenting a false dichotomy. Retaking or not going are ALWAYS options, despite the wave of self-righteous applicants who insist otherwise.

I never said that finishing above the top 15-20% was a guarantee, but I can tell you that coming off of seven years putting in long hours at challenging work has taught me more than a few things about how to succeed at what I put my mind to, and that this grants me an advantage over your average kid coming straight out of undergrad, or someone who has worked at a paralegal job for a couple of years before entering school.


LOL at the notion that having been out of school for seven years puts you in a better position than someone who has just come out of school to succeed in a school. If there's a lean either way, the students who are in "study mode" are properly better equipped to manage a study schedule than someone who may have entirely forgotten how he/she used to study for exams. But almost certainly there's no lean either way, and there's no difference between K-JDs and those with WE in terms of 1L grades. Glad you've learned "how to succeed at what you put your mind to", but you're graded on an effing curve. Everyone in the class is as smart as you and they all work as hard as you. So again, don't assume you're a special snowflake or you're be in for a rude, unemployed awakening.

I place faith in my connections and recommendations because they have earned me jobs in the past.


Using connections to get a job as an analyst =/= using connections to get a job as an associate. Just because I lifted 150 pounds in the past does not mean I can lift 300 pounds today. As you might have noticed, it's much more difficult to become a Biglaw associate, and your connections won't get you a job unless you are the child of a partner.

General life advice: Thinking you're the exception rather than the rule usually ends up poorly.

PS Retake is still clearly the correct answer.

rad lulz
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Re: GW ($) vs. W&M ($$ and Fellowship)

Postby rad lulz » Sat Jul 06, 2013 6:05 pm

If you have to get top 20% to work those connections to get the practice area you want (you call it "my end of the bargain")

I wouldn't go at all

That's like an 80% chance of failure

ESPECIALLY since election law is a ridiculously niche area

Connections are great for getting in the door, but if you have middling grades, it's not gonna be a good situation

bruin91
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Re: GW ($) vs. W&M ($$ and Fellowship)

Postby bruin91 » Sat Jul 06, 2013 6:23 pm

BigZuck wrote:
bruin91 wrote:Is retaking not an option? You have a very good paying job, taking a year off can't hurt too much. I'd agree with you though on the point that only you know how strong your connections are, not a bunch of strangers on an online forum. But what we can offer you is advice on the prudent decision for the average person without said connections. Your COA at GW seems a bit too high and there seems like there is no urgency to attend law school this fall, so we just want to help you make the financially wise decision and not lose cash that you can save up. I'd take GW if you absolutely must go now. Graduating top 20% of your class would yield biglaw in DC. It's a risk, and obviously up to you. I'd also note that while no one is "special", it's silly to assume OP would not be 20% just as it silly to assume he will be. You know nothing to comment, and to make an assumption that he will be median, while convenient, misses the point about the exact tradeoffs for a decision to be made.


Wut? Not sure what you mean by the last sentence.

Without having ever gone to law school how can anyone assume they will be anything but average? The OP is just as likely to be top 20% as bottom 20% and statistically speaking neither are the most likely scenario. The most likely scenario is she will be smack dab at the middle.

Agreed on how tough it is to calculate the value of the connections. The OP said she would have to be top 15-20%. She should find out what the firms cutoff is for hiring a rando from one of these schools. If they would only consider top 3% or something then her connections might give her a little boost. But if they expect 15-20% for everyone then they are meaningless. She should also find out what class rank they would expect for her coming from Catholic or American or from GULC and other T14s that would accept a 3.5. The OP really needs to get a stronger grasp on what her connections mean before taking the gamble IMO.

But really she should probablu just keep the job or aim higher.


My point was that making the assumption that OP would be average, while convenient for analysis purposes, misses the point on explaining the tradeoffs. I just want you to be more conservative with your assumptions is all. Don't tell OP he is unlikely to get top 20%; you don't even know him or his capabilities. You can warn him that "no one is special" and warn him of his studious and intelligent peers, but to make the assumption that he will probably be average is fallacious. You can't assume averageness just as you cannot assume top 20%. You assume average because it's more fair and enables you to give uniform feedback, which I get. But I think it would be more prudent to give the feedback as "Median at GW has poor employment prospects", and "Only top 1/3 get big law" than to make the leap of judgement and tell a stranger that it is likely that he will rank median, because as you said, no one can possibly know until the end of 1L.

(For the record, I'm not attacking you. This is a flaw I see in most TLS posters. Good intentioned reasoning and fair analysis but a bit too strong of assumptions, often leading to overly cynical conclusions)

rad lulz
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Re: GW ($) vs. W&M ($$ and Fellowship)

Postby rad lulz » Sat Jul 06, 2013 6:43 pm

bruin91 wrote:My point was that making the assumption that OP would be average, while convenient for analysis purposes, misses the point on explaining the tradeoffs. I just want you to be more conservative with your assumptions is all. Don't tell OP he is unlikely to get top 20%; you don't even know him or his capabilities. You can warn him that "no one is special" and warn him of his studious and intelligent peers, but to make the assumption that he will probably be average is fallacious. You can't assume averageness just as you cannot assume top 20%. You assume average because it's more fair and enables you to give uniform feedback, which I get. But I think it would be more prudent to give the feedback as "Median at GW has poor employment prospects", and "Only top 1/3 get big law" than to make the leap of judgement and tell a stranger that it is likely that he will rank median, because as you said, no one can possibly know until the end of 1L.

(For the record, I'm not attacking you. This is a flaw I see in most TLS posters. Good intentioned reasoning and fair analysis but a bit too strong of assumptions, often leading to overly cynical conclusions)

As far "you don't know him or his capabilities," that may be true, but law school exams are unlike any other type of exams, and everyone works hard and studies. It's not even fair to say that OP knows his own abilities

As to the rest of all that stuff, did you fall asleep during the stats portion of Algebra II?

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Ramius
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Re: GW ($) vs. W&M ($$ and Fellowship)

Postby Ramius » Sat Jul 06, 2013 6:44 pm

Someone at GW or WM could speak better to this, but don't grades act in a classic bell curve distribution? That would mean that the assumption that a student will end up at median is actually correctly conservative. Sure, any given student has as much chance as anyone else to be top 20%, but if you're picking a ball out of a 400 ball bin with 200 red balls, 100 blue balls and 100 green balls, you should probably put money on picking a red ball, even though the chance exists for a blue or green ball.




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