HLS v. UChi ($$) v. Northwestern ($$$$)

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HLS v. UChi $$ v. NU $$$$ ???

HLS at $240K debt at repayment
8
8%
UChicago at $170K debt
11
11%
Northwestern at $50K debt
79
81%
 
Total votes: 98

mk87

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HLS v. UChi ($$) v. Northwestern ($$$$)

Postby mk87 » Thu Apr 17, 2014 3:52 pm

Hi everyone – I have benefited greatly from TLS advice in the past and am looking for some more collective wisdom now. Please don’t quote the OP. Thanks in advance for your thoughts!

Here are my current options:
HLS ($240K debt at repayment); UChicago ($170K debt at repayment); Northwestern ($50K debt at repayment – full tuition scholly). (Thanks to LS22 for the cost analysis spreadsheet!)

Financing: I will be financing COA almost entirely through loans along with a small amount of savings.

Background: I am from the Midwest originally and have about four years of relevant work experience. Currently living in Los Angeles. My SO is likely to pursue an advanced degree after I finish law school and her top choice school is in the Bay Area. We plan to live in Los Angeles or the Bay Area in the long term. I am confident that all three of these schools can get me back to LA but I would be especially curious to hear what you think about differences in prospects for the Bay Area (considering I currently have no ties on paper).

Career interests: Soft IP work in copyright/trademark/licensing. My work background is largely tied to media and entertainment and I continue to feel drawn to these areas. Of course, my focus may shift over the next few years. Definitely interested more in corporate transactional work than litigation at this point. I am likely to aim for a biglaw 2L SA gig, but don’t see myself working in biglaw for more than 3-4 years. Would hope to transition in-house or another alternative with more work/life balance, but I realize my flexibility to do so will be affected by the debt. No current interest in clerking or academia.

Other factors: I am accepted into the Doctoroff Program at UChi and there was really impressive feedback from the pilot batch of Doctoroff students I met at ASW. If you’re not familiar - this is a new certificate program in business leadership that would match me with a “business mentor” for all three years. This mentor would likely help set me up with a 1L summer position and I am told that there is a very broad range of opportunities in finance, media, and various large corporations. There are also apparently exclusive networking events and some other perks. I would be obligated to take a few core business classes from the Booth MBA faculty, but this is very much in line with my interests.

Location: Family and friends are in Chicago, which to me is a huge plus. My SO and I won’t know anyone going into Cambridge and we have a lot of concerns about this added pressure.

Negotiations: I am attempting to get an increased scholly from UChi, but HLS and NU COAs won’t be changing.

Stats: 174 LSAT (on third try), 3.8x GPA.

Thanks again for your feedback!

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transferror

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Re: HLS v. UChi ($$) v. Northwestern ($$$$)

Postby transferror » Thu Apr 17, 2014 4:00 pm

Because you're IP, you you are gold at any of these schools, so go with Northwestern unless you think the Doctoroff Program is worth 120k. I doubt it, though.

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Re: HLS v. UChi ($$) v. Northwestern ($$$$)

Postby kaiser » Thu Apr 17, 2014 4:06 pm

That huge scholarship from Northwestern will make life so much easier for you. Plus its a great school, and has really solid placement. That isn't to say Chicago may not be slightly better, but it certainly isn't 100K better. And you can just toss aside H honestly, since it would be insane to think of it as 200K better than Northwestern.

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Re: HLS v. UChi ($$) v. Northwestern ($$$$)

Postby Power_of_Facing » Thu Apr 17, 2014 4:24 pm

transferror wrote:Because you're IP, you you are gold at any of these schools, so go with Northwestern unless you think the Doctoroff Program is worth 120k. I doubt it, though.


"Soft IP," which may not translate to patent bar eligibility, so this could mean huge carat differences in terms of the OP's "gold" employability status.

Still, I agree that Northwestern is the correct call here.

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Re: HLS v. UChi ($$) v. Northwestern ($$$$)

Postby mk87 » Thu Apr 17, 2014 5:16 pm

Thanks to everyone for the input! To further clarify - I do not have a technical degree and therefore believe I would be ineligible for the patent bar.

Can anyone speak as to differences in employment prospects in the Bay Area comparing UChi and Northwestern? My understanding is that the Bay is an especially tough market to get into without ties and it would make a big impact for me if there were tangible differences between these schools. My SO could conceivably attend a school in LA but I'd like to maximize the Bay as being an option. Of course, my SO would probably also prefer that I not go to debtors' prison.

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Re: HLS v. UChi ($$) v. Northwestern ($$$$)

Postby Power_of_Facing » Thu Apr 17, 2014 5:51 pm

mk87 wrote:Thanks to everyone for the input! To further clarify - I do not have a technical degree and therefore believe I would be ineligible for the patent bar.

Can anyone speak as to differences in employment prospects in the Bay Area comparing UChi and Northwestern? My understanding is that the Bay is an especially tough market to get into without ties and it would make a big impact for me if there were tangible differences between these schools. My SO could conceivably attend a school in LA but I'd like to maximize the Bay as being an option. Of course, my SO would probably also prefer that I not go to debtors' prison.


OL here, so take my advice for what it's worth, but know that I have had long conversations with biglaw hiring partners (I work at a firm) about just this issue as it pertains to a different west coast city...

My sense is that UChi is regarded much more favorably than NU, but that NU still puts you in great contention for desirable positions. An NU resume coming from someone with ties to the region, which you can explain via your SO in your cover letter and during interviews, is going to be taken seriously. Grades/ties being equal, a UChi candidate is preferable, but not so much that you should forgo a full ride to NU.

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Re: HLS v. UChi ($$) v. Northwestern ($$$$)

Postby lawschool22 » Thu Apr 17, 2014 5:58 pm

There really is no reason imho to choose any of the other schools at this cost differential given your goals. You can definitely rule Harvard out (I think most people would agree with this) and I still don't think Chicago offers enough advantage to be worth $120k more.

Life after law school will be much easier with $120k less debt, and I am confident you will be able to get the career you want coming from NU.

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Re: HLS v. UChi ($$) v. Northwestern ($$$$)

Postby Nonconsecutive » Thu Apr 17, 2014 6:11 pm

Northwestern by a landslide given your situation.

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Re: HLS v. UChi ($$) v. Northwestern ($$$$)

Postby Nomo » Thu Apr 17, 2014 6:15 pm

Northwestern. No question.

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rayiner

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Re: HLS v. UChi ($$) v. Northwestern ($$$$)

Postby rayiner » Thu Apr 17, 2014 8:31 pm

$170k is not unmanageable debt, so if you'd feel bitter for the rest of your life at the foregone prestige points, just go to U of C. That said, "soft IP" basically doesn't exist. There are a tiny handful of firms that work in that area. If you're really wedded to the field, I'd say go to Chicago because Debevoise (NY) is one of the few firms that does a lot of that work, and they don't recruit at NU.

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Re: HLS v. UChi ($$) v. Northwestern ($$$$)

Postby Jaqen » Thu Apr 17, 2014 9:44 pm

Northwestern unless you get more $ from Chicago.

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Re: HLS v. UChi ($$) v. Northwestern ($$$$)

Postby hcrimson2014 » Thu Apr 17, 2014 9:54 pm

rayiner wrote:$170k is not unmanageable debt, so if you'd feel bitter for the rest of your life at the foregone prestige points, just go to U of C. That said, "soft IP" basically doesn't exist. There are a tiny handful of firms that work in that area. If you're really wedded to the field, I'd say go to Chicago because Debevoise (NY) is one of the few firms that does a lot of that work, and they don't recruit at NU.


But is Uchi really worth 120k more than NU even taking into account the prestige difference?

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Re: HLS v. UChi ($$) v. Northwestern ($$$$)

Postby PrideandGlory1776 » Thu Apr 17, 2014 10:09 pm

Northwestern or Harvard either way is fine

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Re: HLS v. UChi ($$) v. Northwestern ($$$$)

Postby 20141023 » Thu Apr 17, 2014 10:18 pm

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Re: HLS v. UChi ($$) v. Northwestern ($$$$)

Postby igo2northwestern » Thu Apr 17, 2014 10:53 pm

mk87 wrote:I am likely to aim for a biglaw 2L SA gig, but don’t see myself working in biglaw for more than 3-4 years. Would hope to transition in-house or another alternative with more work/life balance, but I realize my flexibility to do so will be affected by the debt. No current interest in clerking or academia.

Other factors: Doctoroff Program that would match me with a “business mentor” for all three years. This mentor would likely help set me up with a 1L summer position and I am told that there is a very broad range of opportunities in finance, media, and various large corporations. There are also apparently exclusive networking events and some other perks. I would be obligated to take a few core business classes from the Booth MBA faculty, but this is very much in line with my interests.

Location: Family and friends are in Chicago.


I know tons of people going to Biglaw in the Bay Area, and personally can attest to the minimal difficulty in heading there (provided that you have a resume that conveys a California interest).

As for getting a 1L summer position via the Doctoroff, I would advise that you do not put much emphasis on this at all -- there are selective 1L jobs, but 2L recruiting will focus (much, much) more on your grades & interviewing ability, your objective is to get a Biglaw job, and 1L jobs are easy to come by. Northwestern's firm placements are as good as Chicago's, and the school takes advantage of the branding that its students have work experience. This is in contrast to the reputation that Chicago students have some personality issues.

I am aware of at least two V15 firms that did not hire a single UChicago student in their flagship offices.

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Re: HLS v. UChi ($$) v. Northwestern ($$$$)

Postby WheninLaw » Fri Apr 18, 2014 1:43 am

igo2northwestern wrote:
mk87 wrote:I am likely to aim for a biglaw 2L SA gig, but don’t see myself working in biglaw for more than 3-4 years. Would hope to transition in-house or another alternative with more work/life balance, but I realize my flexibility to do so will be affected by the debt. No current interest in clerking or academia.

Other factors: Doctoroff Program that would match me with a “business mentor” for all three years. This mentor would likely help set me up with a 1L summer position and I am told that there is a very broad range of opportunities in finance, media, and various large corporations. There are also apparently exclusive networking events and some other perks. I would be obligated to take a few core business classes from the Booth MBA faculty, but this is very much in line with my interests.

Location: Family and friends are in Chicago.


I know tons of people going to Biglaw in the Bay Area, and personally can attest to the minimal difficulty in heading there (provided that you have a resume that conveys a California interest).

As for getting a 1L summer position via the Doctoroff, I would advise that you do not put much emphasis on this at all -- there are selective 1L jobs, but 2L recruiting will focus (much, much) more on your grades & interviewing ability, your objective is to get a Biglaw job, and 1L jobs are easy to come by. Northwestern's firm placements are as good as Chicago's, and the school takes advantage of the branding that its students have work experience. This is in contrast to the reputation that Chicago students have some personality issues.

I am aware of at least two V15 firms that did not hire a single UChicago student in their flagship offices.


I think you should go to NU at current cost, but do take issue with this post. NU's firm placement is not as good as Chicago's. There is a gap, and NU students can only shill "oh it is because so many of us do not want big law" so much. The thought that employers think NU=work experience and UoC=weird is stupid. The former is what the school markets, not what the legal market believes. Your silly anecdote about the two v15 firms is, well, silly.

OP - UoC has very real placement advantages over NU in every sense. Is it worth X amount? That's up to you. As of now, I'd say no.

mk87

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Re: HLS v. UChi ($$) v. Northwestern ($$$$)

Postby mk87 » Fri Apr 18, 2014 2:38 am

Thanks again to everyone. To those who suggest that UChi might be the better bet with an increased scholarship, how much of an increase would it take to sway you? $15K? $30K? Ruby or GTFO? Mainly trying to save face in light of the lopsided poll.

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Re: HLS v. UChi ($$) v. Northwestern ($$$$)

Postby 20141023 » Fri Apr 18, 2014 2:51 am

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Re: HLS v. UChi ($$) v. Northwestern ($$$$)

Postby WheninLaw » Fri Apr 18, 2014 10:10 am

mk87 wrote:Thanks again to everyone. To those who suggest that UChi might be the better bet with an increased scholarship, how much of an increase would it take to sway you? $15K? $30K? Ruby or GTFO? Mainly trying to save face in light of the lopsided poll.


This is a personal decision that depends on your goals. Personally, I took UoC with a $15K/year scholarship over NU with a $30K/scholarship.

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Re: HLS v. UChi ($$) v. Northwestern ($$$$)

Postby lawschool22 » Fri Apr 18, 2014 10:13 am

mk87 wrote:Thanks again to everyone. To those who suggest that UChi might be the better bet with an increased scholarship, how much of an increase would it take to sway you? $15K? $30K? Ruby or GTFO? Mainly trying to save face in light of the lopsided poll.


Does this hypothetical really matter? If Chicago gets back with an increased offer, post the updated COA and we will go from there. As it stands, choose NU.

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Re: HLS v. UChi ($$) v. Northwestern ($$$$)

Postby Big Dog » Fri Apr 18, 2014 10:14 am

the genies of a UoC degree for the Bay Area would be marginal over NU, and certainly not worth six figures. HLS would only work if your SO was also in Boston earning the advanced degree at the same time, which is not the case.

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Re: HLS v. UChi ($$) v. Northwestern ($$$$)

Postby rayiner » Fri Apr 18, 2014 10:56 am

WheninLaw wrote:I think you should go to NU at current cost, but do take issue with this post. NU's firm placement is not as good as Chicago's. There is a gap, and NU students can only shill "oh it is because so many of us do not want big law" so much.


I don't think anyone would claim that NU isn't a school that heavily targets big law, or that there isn't a gap. That said, I think the size of the gap is often overstated. If you look at LST, the "big firms + clerkships" average over 3 years at Chicago is 65.8% versus 60.1% at NU.

Moreover, each of those years between 5-8% of NU's class was JD-MBA's who opted out of law for six-figure business jobs (this is backed up by NU's detailed salary statistics, which show 75% of the class of 2013 in six-figure jobs or federal clerkships, versus only 63% of the class at big firms and federal clerkships). I don't know how many U of C JD-MBA's opted out of big law, but the program is so small (being 4 years rather than the typical 3), that I don't imagine it affects the numbers as much as it does at NU (which has the largest JD-MBA program in the country).

Where the gap really opens up is at very selective firms and clerkships, and in DC. U of C probably gives you a 3x better chance at landing a feeder clerkship, and a much better chance at W&C/Covington/Wilmer/A&P/etc in DC. But I don't think U of C is really all that much more secure for the bottom of the class, or at least not in any way that's really backed up by the numbers. Also, it's placement has really suffered during the recession. It's federal clerkship placement over the last three years is under 12% versus 15-25% historically. It used to be fourth only to HYS in terms of clerkships, but over the last three years has been trailing UVA and Penn in that regard.

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Re: HLS v. UChi ($$) v. Northwestern ($$$$)

Postby WheninLaw » Fri Apr 18, 2014 11:33 am

rayiner wrote:
WheninLaw wrote:I think you should go to NU at current cost, but do take issue with this post. NU's firm placement is not as good as Chicago's. There is a gap, and NU students can only shill "oh it is because so many of us do not want big law" so much.


I don't think anyone would claim that NU isn't a school that heavily targets big law, or that there isn't a gap. That said, I think the size of the gap is often overstated. If you look at LST, the "big firms + clerkships" average over 3 years at Chicago is 65.8% versus 60.1% at NU.

Moreover, each of those years between 5-8% of NU's class was JD-MBA's who opted out of law for six-figure business jobs (this is backed up by NU's detailed salary statistics, which show 75% of the class of 2013 in six-figure jobs or federal clerkships, versus only 63% of the class at big firms and federal clerkships). I don't know how many U of C JD-MBA's opted out of big law, but the program is so small (being 4 years rather than the typical 3), that I don't imagine it affects the numbers as much as it does at NU (which has the largest JD-MBA program in the country).

Where the gap really opens up is at very selective firms and clerkships, and in DC. U of C probably gives you a 3x better chance at landing a feeder clerkship, and a much better chance at W&C/Covington/Wilmer/A&P/etc in DC. But I don't think U of C is really all that much more secure for the bottom of the class, or at least not in any way that's really backed up by the numbers. Also, it's placement has really suffered during the recession. It's federal clerkship placement over the last three years is under 12% versus 15-25% historically. It used to be fourth only to HYS in terms of clerkships, but over the last three years has been trailing UVA and Penn in that regard.


I definitely do not disagree with most of this - however, class of 2012 is 15% federal clerkships, and the class of 2014 will be 15%+ (I can think of 25 people off the top of my head that already have one). I don't think the big law gap is large at all. What I took issue with is the stupid notion that employers avoid UoC because of the personality of the student body. It is 0L garbage, and it confuses me that any non-0L would say it with a straight face.

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Re: HLS v. UChi ($$) v. Northwestern ($$$$)

Postby jbagelboy » Fri Apr 18, 2014 11:54 am

Voted Northwestern for many of the reasons cited above. Congrats!
Please let us know what you end up deciding.

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Re: HLS v. UChi ($$) v. Northwestern ($$$$)

Postby igo2northwestern » Sat Apr 19, 2014 2:58 am

WheninLaw wrote:
rayiner wrote:
WheninLaw wrote:I think you should go to NU at current cost, but do take issue with this post. NU's firm placement is not as good as Chicago's. There is a gap, and NU students can only shill "oh it is because so many of us do not want big law" so much.


I don't think anyone would claim that NU isn't a school that heavily targets big law, or that there isn't a gap. That said, I think the size of the gap is often overstated. If you look at LST, the "big firms + clerkships" average over 3 years at Chicago is 65.8% versus 60.1% at NU.

Moreover, each of those years between 5-8% of NU's class was JD-MBA's who opted out of law for six-figure business jobs (this is backed up by NU's detailed salary statistics, which show 75% of the class of 2013 in six-figure jobs or federal clerkships, versus only 63% of the class at big firms and federal clerkships). I don't know how many U of C JD-MBA's opted out of big law, but the program is so small (being 4 years rather than the typical 3), that I don't imagine it affects the numbers as much as it does at NU (which has the largest JD-MBA program in the country).

Where the gap really opens up is at very selective firms and clerkships, and in DC. U of C probably gives you a 3x better chance at landing a feeder clerkship, and a much better chance at W&C/Covington/Wilmer/A&P/etc in DC. But I don't think U of C is really all that much more secure for the bottom of the class, or at least not in any way that's really backed up by the numbers. Also, it's placement has really suffered during the recession. It's federal clerkship placement over the last three years is under 12% versus 15-25% historically. It used to be fourth only to HYS in terms of clerkships, but over the last three years has been trailing UVA and Penn in that regard.


I definitely do not disagree with most of this - however, class of 2012 is 15% federal clerkships, and the class of 2014 will be 15%+ (I can think of 25 people off the top of my head that already have one). I don't think the big law gap is large at all. What I took issue with is the stupid notion that employers avoid UoC because of the personality of the student body. It is 0L garbage, and it confuses me that any non-0L would say it with a straight face.

Try calming down a bit -- this is, after all, your friendly Internet discussion board.

I wasn't saying that employers generally avoid UoC because of its student body's personality. I was saying that Northwestern students enjoy a reputation of being less socially awkward, there are a few firms that particularly disfavor socially awk candidates, and chances at Biglaw are somewhat of a wash. Rayiner identified some of the rationale behind this main conclusion.

If OP is aiming for clerkships, go for those clerkships at UoC. C/O 2012 had 22 students (15%) at UoC, and 22 students (7.7%) at NU; There is a difference here, which I did not mention because that's not OP's goal. I should add that this year's clerkships will likely exceed the 7.7%, since I'm aware that there were some very key changes in NU's clerkship hiring plans. You might still argue that that the 6.3% extra clerkers could get Biglaw easily. But so can the greater proportion of students here who go for T3 Consulting/Hedge funds/IBD/etc.

The argument I've made, of course, is to support the point that NU at $$$$ shouldn't be passed up -- rather than to say that UoC is full of unpleasant people who are disadvantaged re: careers.* Hope you didn't take it that way.

*They're just full of unpleasant people.**

**Kidding.



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