Harvard vs. Berkeley for Northern California PI

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

Securing long-term PI position in the Bay Area?

Harvard
32
63%
Berkeley
19
37%
 
Total votes: 51

MissouriMisery
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Harvard vs. Berkeley for Northern California PI

Postby MissouriMisery » Tue Feb 04, 2014 5:02 pm

Hello! I am so happy to have been accepted to Harvard a few weeks ago. Before this I was set on Berkeley, my top "realistic" choice at the start of the cycle. I will be submitting a matching scholarship request to B once I receive all of my financial aid offers, which of course will weigh into this decision.

I am certain that I want to practice public interest law in the bay area.

-The total Cost of Attendance (COA) of each:
Berkeley: For now I am not expecting any aid, but I will be asking for around a 100k matching scholarship (Using Berkeley's Matching Scholarship program).
Harvard: After thorough research of the financial aid materials, I have concluded that I will receive minimal need-based aid.

-How you will be financing your COA, i.e. loans, family, or savings: Loans

-Where you are from and where you want to work, and other places where you have significant ties (if any): I want to work in northern California. I have ties in new england and in southern california.

-Your general career goals: Public interest - health advocacy for underserved populations (short term- small non-profit work, long term- more competitive "prestigious PI" that is highly specific to my interests)

-Your LSAT/GPA numbers: 3.61 / 171

-How many times you have taken the LSAT: Once

Notes:
--I have been in the work force for many years, and am absolutely certain that my career goals will not change. (Really, no big law!).
--At Berkeley I can extern throughout all of law school with the very organizations that I would like to work for.


So, my questions for you all are:
--Which school will be better for placement into a long-term PI position in the Bay Area?
--Given the scenario, how much money would you need from Berkeley to go? If both were sticker, would it be reasonable to consider turning down H for B?


I would also prefer that this discussion not devolve into a comparison of Berkeley's LRAP vs. Harvard's LIPP. I am fully informed about both of their programs, and I am more concerned with the above two questions for the purposes of this thread.

Looking forward to hearing your input.
Last edited by MissouriMisery on Wed Feb 05, 2014 12:24 pm, edited 6 times in total.

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Otunga
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Re: Harvard vs. Berkeley(?$) for norcal PI

Postby Otunga » Tue Feb 04, 2014 5:13 pm

Are you saying you have 100k at Harvard? That would factor significantly into the decision haha. Edit- it appears you don't as you implied you might be paying sticker. Am I not getting what 'matching' means in the context here?

MissouriMisery
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Re: Harvard vs. Berkeley(?$) for Northern California PI

Postby MissouriMisery » Tue Feb 04, 2014 6:08 pm

Otunga wrote:Are you saying you have 100k at Harvard? That would factor significantly into the decision haha. Edit- it appears you don't as you implied you might be paying sticker. Am I not getting what 'matching' means in the context here?


Sorry, I was referring to the "Matching Scholarship" program at UC Berkeley (http://www.law.berkeley.edu/6957.htm). When the time comes, I will be applying for a matching scholarship using an offer from a peer school (in the range of 100k over 3 years)

I edited the post to make that easier to understand.

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worldtraveler
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Re: Harvard vs. Berkeley(?$) for Northern California PI

Postby worldtraveler » Tue Feb 04, 2014 6:24 pm

This is really tough without knowing final financial numbers. If you want to be in the bay area in the end, do you want to live elsewhere first or would you be happier just going to school there too?

MissouriMisery
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Re: Harvard vs. Berkeley(?$) for Northern California PI

Postby MissouriMisery » Tue Feb 04, 2014 6:31 pm

worldtraveler wrote:This is really tough without knowing final financial numbers. If you want to be in the bay area in the end, do you want to live elsewhere first or would you be happier just going to school there too?


Thanks for your response worldtraveler. I would be perfectly happy to live elsewhere for a few years first, and my SO is down for spending 3 years in Boston if that is whats best for our future. We do like Boston and have family in the northeast. However, our end goal is absolutely to be in the Bay Area.

izha
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Re: Harvard vs. Berkeley(?$) for Northern California PI

Postby izha » Tue Feb 04, 2014 6:34 pm

MissouriMisery wrote:
Otunga wrote:Are you saying you have 100k at Harvard? That would factor significantly into the decision haha. Edit- it appears you don't as you implied you might be paying sticker. Am I not getting what 'matching' means in the context here?


Sorry, I was referring to the "Matching Scholarship" program at UC Berkeley (http://www.law.berkeley.edu/6957.htm). When the time comes, I will be applying for a matching scholarship using an offer from a peer school (in the range of 100k over 3 years)

I edited the post to make that easier to understand.

Unless you are URM you won't get anything close to $100K with your numbers, and, actually, probably nothing. Go to H.

MissouriMisery
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Re: Harvard vs. Berkeley(?$) for Northern California PI

Postby MissouriMisery » Tue Feb 04, 2014 6:37 pm

izha wrote:
MissouriMisery wrote:
Otunga wrote:Are you saying you have 100k at Harvard? That would factor significantly into the decision haha. Edit- it appears you don't as you implied you might be paying sticker. Am I not getting what 'matching' means in the context here?


Sorry, I was referring to the "Matching Scholarship" program at UC Berkeley (http://www.law.berkeley.edu/6957.htm). When the time comes, I will be applying for a matching scholarship using an offer from a peer school (in the range of 100k over 3 years)

I edited the post to make that easier to understand.

Unless you are URM you won't get anything close to $100K with your numbers, and, actually, probably nothing. Go to H.


Ah, I had heard they were not too generous with their matching scholarships. And you are right, I am not a URM. This is why I put a question mark next to the money, because it is unlikely (though possible). At Berkeley I can extern throughout all of law school with the very organizations that I would like to work for.

I am curious which is better head to head for that particular market?

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Otunga
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Re: Harvard vs. Berkeley(?$) for Northern California PI

Postby Otunga » Tue Feb 04, 2014 6:39 pm

izha wrote:
MissouriMisery wrote:
Otunga wrote:Are you saying you have 100k at Harvard? That would factor significantly into the decision haha. Edit- it appears you don't as you implied you might be paying sticker. Am I not getting what 'matching' means in the context here?


Sorry, I was referring to the "Matching Scholarship" program at UC Berkeley (http://www.law.berkeley.edu/6957.htm). When the time comes, I will be applying for a matching scholarship using an offer from a peer school (in the range of 100k over 3 years)

I edited the post to make that easier to understand.

Unless you are URM you won't get anything close to $100K with your numbers, and, actually, probably nothing. Go to H.


0L, but I tend to agree here. Unless B is significantly cheaper than H (what's a sufficient enough difference is the tough part to narrow down), I think one has to take H even if their big goal is to work PI back in Cali.

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Dingo Starr
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Re: Harvard vs. Berkeley for Northern California PI

Postby Dingo Starr » Tue Feb 04, 2014 7:16 pm

What peer school is offering ~100k? Berkeley's idea of what a peer is may be different from yours.

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worldtraveler
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Re: Harvard vs. Berkeley for Northern California PI

Postby worldtraveler » Tue Feb 04, 2014 7:20 pm

I would pick Berkeley in your case. The ability to extern there and make contacts is really key. Both Harvard and Berkeley have post-grad funding for PI people too, which is by far the most important criteria.

MissouriMisery
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Re: Harvard vs. Berkeley for Northern California PI

Postby MissouriMisery » Tue Feb 04, 2014 7:48 pm

worldtraveler wrote:I would pick Berkeley in your case. The ability to extern there and make contacts is really key. Both Harvard and Berkeley have post-grad funding for PI people too, which is by far the most important criteria.


I see that you are a Berkeley student... How much funding is really available for PI students? With so many students going in to PI, is there a ton of competition for those fellowships or other $?

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worldtraveler
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Re: Harvard vs. Berkeley for Northern California PI

Postby worldtraveler » Tue Feb 04, 2014 7:54 pm

MissouriMisery wrote:
worldtraveler wrote:I would pick Berkeley in your case. The ability to extern there and make contacts is really key. Both Harvard and Berkeley have post-grad funding for PI people too, which is by far the most important criteria.


I see that you are a Berkeley student... How much funding is really available for PI students? With so many students going in to PI, is there a ton of competition for those fellowships or other $?


I graduated already.

There is plenty of funding for everyone to have summer fellowships, and pretty much anyone who needs one gets a postgrad $10,000 grant to do PI work. They also had 35 or 30 $30,000 year long fellowships for the first time this year. That should be continuing.

There really aren't THAT many PI dedicated people. Probably 20% of the class at the most. All the talk of certain schools being more PI dedicated than others is pretty overblown.

MissouriMisery
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Re: Harvard vs. Berkeley for Northern California PI

Postby MissouriMisery » Tue Feb 04, 2014 7:56 pm

Dingo Starr wrote:What peer school is offering ~100k? Berkeley's idea of what a peer is may be different from yours.


So far the only "peer" school that has given me financial aid information is Michigan, and they gave a great offer. However I will wait to hear from C/P before filling out the matching scholarship. Berkeley lists their "peer schools" on the matching scholarship website.

Regardless, in the end it will come down to Berkeley vs Harvard...Berkeley for location and access to the PI market, and Harvard because Harvard.

MissouriMisery
Posts: 36
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Re: Harvard vs. Berkeley for Northern California PI

Postby MissouriMisery » Tue Feb 04, 2014 7:58 pm

worldtraveler wrote:
MissouriMisery wrote:
worldtraveler wrote:I would pick Berkeley in your case. The ability to extern there and make contacts is really key. Both Harvard and Berkeley have post-grad funding for PI people too, which is by far the most important criteria.


I see that you are a Berkeley student... How much funding is really available for PI students? With so many students going in to PI, is there a ton of competition for those fellowships or other $?


I graduated already.

There is plenty of funding for everyone to have summer fellowships, and pretty much anyone who needs one gets a postgrad $10,000 grant to do PI work. They also had 35 or 30 $30,000 year long fellowships for the first time this year. That should be continuing.

There really aren't THAT many PI dedicated people. Probably 20% of the class at the most. All the talk of certain schools being more PI dedicated than others is pretty overblown.


Thanks for your response. A $10,000 grant? Sounds pretty small to live on for a year, but glad to hear that they are supporting most PI grads with something at least.

Did your PI-oriented classmates who wanted jobs in the Bay Area have success securing long-term employment in their field?

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worldtraveler
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Re: Harvard vs. Berkeley for Northern California PI

Postby worldtraveler » Tue Feb 04, 2014 8:05 pm

MissouriMisery wrote:
worldtraveler wrote:
MissouriMisery wrote:
worldtraveler wrote:I would pick Berkeley in your case. The ability to extern there and make contacts is really key. Both Harvard and Berkeley have post-grad funding for PI people too, which is by far the most important criteria.


I see that you are a Berkeley student... How much funding is really available for PI students? With so many students going in to PI, is there a ton of competition for those fellowships or other $?


I graduated already.

There is plenty of funding for everyone to have summer fellowships, and pretty much anyone who needs one gets a postgrad $10,000 grant to do PI work. They also had 35 or 30 $30,000 year long fellowships for the first time this year. That should be continuing.

There really aren't THAT many PI dedicated people. Probably 20% of the class at the most. All the talk of certain schools being more PI dedicated than others is pretty overblown.


Thanks for your response. A $10,000 grant? Sounds pretty small to live on for a year, but glad to hear that they are supporting most PI grads with something at least.

Did your PI-oriented classmates who wanted jobs in the Bay Area have success securing long-term employment in their field?


No the $10,000 one is for 4 months. There are 2 different types of post-grad grants.

Almost every recent grad from law school in a PI job has a fellowship, whether school funded or an outside one. That's true of pretty much every school. There simply aren't funds to hire new grads at PI organizations.

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jselson
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Re: Harvard vs. Berkeley for Northern California PI

Postby jselson » Tue Feb 04, 2014 8:26 pm

I would kill myself if I had to walk up those hills everyday. Go to Harvard. (Also, Harvard's free if you get PI, and Harvard gives you a better chance of getting PI.)

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Dingo Starr
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Re: Harvard vs. Berkeley for Northern California PI

Postby Dingo Starr » Tue Feb 04, 2014 8:46 pm

MissouriMisery wrote:
Dingo Starr wrote:Harvard because Harvard.

Berkeley is my dream school and I would never turn down Harvard, even though it would totally screw up my family dynamic for 3 years.

MissouriMisery
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Re: Harvard vs. Berkeley for Northern California PI

Postby MissouriMisery » Wed Feb 05, 2014 12:05 am

worldtraveler wrote:
No the $10,000 one is for 4 months. There are 2 different types of post-grad grants.

Almost every recent grad from law school in a PI job has a fellowship, whether school funded or an outside one. That's true of pretty much every school. There simply aren't funds to hire new grads at PI organizations.


Gotcha. Thanks. For my interest another post grad option will be to get a good PI fellowship, either school funded or otherwise. If I wasn't so focused on NorCal the decision would be easier. Is harvard > berkeley for post grad PI fellowships or funding ?

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JCougar
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Re: Harvard vs. Berkeley for Northern California PI

Postby JCougar » Wed Feb 05, 2014 12:46 am

While Berkely is great for most PI, it's on the tail end of hiring for what I'd call "Prestigious PI."

There's some civil rights firms even in the San Francisco area that won't hire from Berkely--like Altshuler Berzon. They'll hire from Stanford, and Harvard, though (but to be fair, I know people from Harvard that wanted to interview at Altshuler Berzon but couldn't get one). And if you want to do ACLU/SPLC, etc., going to Harvard makes it many times easier. This should give you some idea about how selective Prestigious PI can get.

I think you gotta go to for the big H on this one.

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gnomgnomuch
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Re: Harvard vs. Berkeley for Northern California PI

Postby gnomgnomuch » Wed Feb 05, 2014 1:00 am

id choose Harvard, because its network can help you out more (plus you can almost guarantee biglaw in case youre interests change).

also... HOW DID YOU LAND HARVARD WITH A 3.61 AND A 171!!! You're app must have been PERFECT. congratulations, you really cant go wrong.

and finally... you've given me hope! (ill have a 3.7 when I apply, so maybe all hope is not gone).

MissouriMisery
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Re: Harvard vs. Berkeley for Northern California PI

Postby MissouriMisery » Wed Feb 05, 2014 9:52 am

gnomgnomuch wrote:id choose Harvard, because its network can help you out more (plus you can almost guarantee biglaw in case youre interests change).

also... HOW DID YOU LAND HARVARD WITH A 3.61 AND A 171!!! You're app must have been PERFECT. congratulations, you really cant go wrong.

and finally... you've given me hope! (ill have a 3.7 when I apply, so maybe all hope is not gone).


Thanks for your input, and best of luck with your applications! I have tons of work experience and a post grad degree, have been out of UG for an embarrassingly long time, and have a compelling reason for going back to school. For me, The application process has been considerably more holistic than the internet made it seem. Good luck!

JCougar wrote:While Berkely is great for most PI, it's on the tail end of hiring for what I'd call "Prestigious PI."

There's some civil rights firms even in the San Francisco area that won't hire from Berkely--like Altshuler Berzon. They'll hire from Stanford, and Harvard, though (but to be fair, I know people from Harvard that wanted to interview at Altshuler Berzon but couldn't get one). And if you want to do ACLU/SPLC, etc., going to Harvard makes it many times easier. This should give you some idea about how selective Prestigious PI can get.

I think you gotta go to for the big H on this one.


Interesting, thanks for your response. I guess the problem is that without attending law school first, it can be tough to determine just how "prestigious" my specific interest within health advocacy will be. On one hand, I have the impression that getting a non-profit job in NorCal would require some strong ties and longitudinal dedication to their organization -- this is my most likely path. On the other hand, harvard would put me in a better position for clerking or getting tougher post grad PI fellowships that may make me a more attractive hire for these same organizations. As a 0L, it is tough to know which is more important. If you or anybody else has experience or opinions on this matter, I would love the input! Thank you all!

AllTheLawz
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Re: Harvard vs. Berkeley for Northern California PI

Postby AllTheLawz » Wed Feb 05, 2014 1:24 pm

This one is pretty clear cut for H. LIPP>>LRAP, H placement >> Berkeley placement. If 100% dedicated to PI the finaid offers are pretty irrelevant (especially since you probably can't afford a house in the bay anytime soon).

MissouriMisery
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Re: Harvard vs. Berkeley for Northern California PI

Postby MissouriMisery » Wed Feb 05, 2014 1:36 pm

AllTheLawz wrote:This one is pretty clear cut for H. LIPP>>LRAP, H placement >> Berkeley placement. If 100% dedicated to PI the finaid offers are pretty irrelevant (especially since you probably can't afford a house in the bay anytime soon).


Thanks for your input. So H placement >> B placement even for PI in NorCal? If this is the consensus then I agree it is a very easy call!

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Redamon1
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Re: Harvard vs. Berkeley for Northern California PI

Postby Redamon1 » Wed Feb 05, 2014 1:51 pm

Why don't you try to set up a few informational interviews with attorneys working in the health organizations you are interested in? I'm not trying to downplay the difficulty of getting a PI job, but not all PI positions are as prestige-driven as, say, a Skadden Fellowship. As you have identified, for most PI hiring, a personal connection to employers (through geographical proximity, externships, summer job) incredibly helpful. Few people, if anyone, on this board will know what your particular prospective employers look for and whether the H brand would trump B's strong placement in NorCal PI.

AllTheLawz
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Re: Harvard vs. Berkeley for Northern California PI

Postby AllTheLawz » Wed Feb 05, 2014 3:08 pm

MissouriMisery wrote:
AllTheLawz wrote:This one is pretty clear cut for H. LIPP>>LRAP, H placement >> Berkeley placement. If 100% dedicated to PI the finaid offers are pretty irrelevant (especially since you probably can't afford a house in the bay anytime soon).


Thanks for your input. So H placement >> B placement even for PI in NorCal? If this is the consensus then I agree it is a very easy call!


Honestly, there are very, very few direct entry level routes to PI so what you are really asking about is fellowship opportunities. Tons of fellowship opportunities at H and from there its just about finding a place that is willing to take you on for a year or two. After that, there is a very good chance you will be back in the job market.




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