Thanks for all of the the responses. I have responded to a few of them below
yeslekkkk wrote:Sure you can justify Harvard all you want, but at the end of the day, it probably would feel a lot better without $115,000 more on your back. Michigan is a great school and will still open up opportunities for you (at a much lower cost). Have you visited both campuses? Does one feel better? I vote for Michigan... BUT I think you're the only person who is going to be able to answer which choice is better for you.
We love both cities and have ties to both cities. It is one of the reasons that we are so set on just these two schools. Also NYstate mentioned that she/he was surprised these are our only choices. Sure we could try to squeeze money out of NU or Duke, but realistically AA is a great place and they do particularly well in the public sector compared to some peers. Outperforming numbers + powerful softs = these are our choices!
AllTheLawz wrote:Wow.. this really degraded with a lot of sketchy advice. Truth is that these options are close enough that no degree of guidance is going to help you. It all comes down to you sitting down with your husband, planning your future and making some investment/salary allocation/career choices.
Honestly, as an older student (though you didn't say how much older) you should have been able to recognize this as a personal/family decision pretty quickly. If you didn't, you should really question whether you want to make this decision now or if you should wait to figure your life out a bit.
You are right, this is a personal/family decision. However, I will say that the guidance from this forum is certainly helping. Just one example- we had miscalculated the total amount of debt we would have from each school, and we also learned about interest rates being strangely at 6-8% even though the finaid government website clearly states 5.41 and 6.41%. At the very least this has been a great way to lay all of our thoughts out to anonymous and helpful people who understand the options.
My husband and I have been talking about this decision for 3 years. When to apply, what schools to shoot for, and what we would do if it came down to $$ vs rank. Ever since my admission to Harvard we have been talking about almost nothing else. We never expected that I would get in to Harvard (dream school) or get money from a T10 like Michigan (realistic dream school). Calling family and friends who have been through it before, researching loans, etc etc. In fact most of these posts we are writing together, just making sure that we are not overlooking any important details. But maybe it is just a way to cope with all of the stress as we figure this out.
NYstate wrote:I no longer understand OPs goals. I did notice on LST that the largest employer of Michigan is New York, which is something OP is going it have to address. Good luck OP. I hope you figure this out. It is nice to see someone who is actually daunted by the huge amount of money law schools charge.
cotiger wrote:Honestly, I'm nt super clear on OP's goals, either. If it's ACLU or bust, then yeah Harvard gives her a better shot, but that's unlikely, and you're right that it probably doesn't make sense to go to law school at all. The bigger desire I'm hearing is just generally non-biglaw with a preference for super-prestigious PI, which I think the greatly reduced debt load of Michigan is a better bet than the small chance of prestigious PI at Harvard.
You are right, I have not been very transparent about my goals. To be honest I have a fairly specific dream job, and there are a variety of paths to get there. And it is incredibly difficult to achieve. It is the reason that Harvard, though illogical and expensive, is still in consideration.
I am not, however, "this prestigious dream job" or bust. Over the past many years through my work I have encountered dozens of JD required professions that I would absolutely love to attain. Most of these, of course, are in the public interest. And again, to cite back to my OP, most of these PI jobs are with small organizations who cannot afford to train new grads. This is why my "goal" is to clerk and get a PI fellowship. It is my impression that anybody looking for long term PI work should be aiming for post-grad funding.
There are also a small number of big law jobs that I would be excited to work in for a few years, if only to gain experience in a specific field of law. The first example that comes to mind (though there are many) is health law. These firms seem like a great way to be trained in the structure of our healthcare system, which in the end may make one more employable by organizations that help people understand their rights and navigate the system. The same can be said about employment law. This is not my ideal path, but if I were to find myself lining up for OCI, I would certainly be pushing for specific fields.
Can anybody speak more to this? Is this a naive pre-law pipe dream? All of my post-grad law friends seem to think that our plan is reasonable, but then again they all graduated top of their class and had no problem finding work.