NW with a full ride or Harvard?

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Free Ride to NW or Harvard

 
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Oklahoma Mike
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Re: NW with a full ride or Harvard?

Postby Oklahoma Mike » Wed Feb 06, 2008 8:56 pm

If all you want is biglaw (especially if you are doing it for the money) NU no question.
That 200K+ you would make in loan payments over the first five years of your career could be thrown straight into a retirement account.
Say you are making 5% interest compounded yearly (you could make more or less than this, this is somewhat conservative an estimate- but for simplicity sake we'll go with it.)
If you pay 40 grand a year into that account for five years at the end of the five years you'd have about 230 grand stashed away. (200 grand that you paid and 30 grand in interest earned.)
If you just leave that alone for 30 years you'll have a million bucks. Not a bad little pad to your retirement. The money invested early is worth way more than the money invested later.


Now, if you aren't just chasing the money- then HLS makes more sense. If you want a SCOTUS clerkship, or to go the academic route it's a much better choice even with the debt.

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Spidermonkey
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Re: NW with a full ride or Harvard?

Postby Spidermonkey » Wed Feb 06, 2008 9:24 pm

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Last edited by Spidermonkey on Mon Feb 11, 2008 6:54 pm, edited 1 time in total.

prettypithy
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Re: NW with a full ride or Harvard?

Postby prettypithy » Wed Feb 06, 2008 9:27 pm

Are you instate for Boalt? For NYU and Columbia, the cost benefits of NW rise because of the obscene COL in Manhattan. I think for financial reasons, I'd choose NW over those two. But Boalt is great for IP, in NorCal (also great for IP) and if its instate, its worth considering because the cost is no where near as high (I think the rumored tuition rise still doesn't bring it any where near the privates in cost).

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Spidermonkey
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Re: NW with a full ride or Harvard?

Postby Spidermonkey » Wed Feb 06, 2008 9:29 pm

Not an in-stater...but I would be for 2L and 3L.

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babygonzo
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Re: NW with a full ride or Harvard?

Postby babygonzo » Wed Feb 06, 2008 9:30 pm

While it obviously means missing out on your first-year associate paycheck (which, keep in mind, you will probably not have time or energy to enjoy), waiting a year has a lot of benefits that you might be over looking.... travel, get some real life experience, work, etc..you'd be amazed at how enjoyable and fulfilling a year without homework can be and how much better you will probably end up performing in law school if you do (which, in terms of long-term pay off, means better chances of placing high in your class.,..leads to better jobs, bigger paychecks, etc...)... the best decision i've ever made is taking time off before doing more school (1 year pre-MA, now almost 5 pre-law).... wouldn't trade it for all the money in the world.

other things to consider: what is class size at NW and other "soft factors"....no doubt, harvard is harvard, but if what you really want is the chance to rise to the top, consider just how big a group you're fighting against...more than class rank, that's going to affect opportunities to work with profs, law review, etc....

just saying, if you're looking at long term economics, make sure you see the whole picture.

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Oklahoma Mike
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Re: NW with a full ride or Harvard?

Postby Oklahoma Mike » Wed Feb 06, 2008 9:36 pm

What's your background before law school? Engineer? Advanced degrees? Filed patents before?
The free ride at NU is a great option. I'd say do it over Columbia and NYU no question. However, with Berkeley it's a much tougher call. I think it gives you better IP options than NU, so it really depends on how confident you are on your ability to easily move into IP since with a good enough background you can do so easily from any t14.

hobbla
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Re: NW with a full ride or Harvard?

Postby hobbla » Wed Feb 06, 2008 11:03 pm

I guess I should state that I don't care too much about money. That little excel thing shows that I'm actually not losing out on $135k by going to Harvard over NW (it's more like $50k in the short run).

I never plan on living lavishly, in fact I'm going to try to be as cheap as possible most of the time so I have money to travel.

Harvard's international name recognition does appeal to me a lot. I would definitely like to live in other countries throughout my life, and Harvard definitely has name recognition.

I know this is just anecdotal evidence, which as future lawyers we all look down upon (including myself), but while I was in South America this winter break many conversations ended up like this:

SA(South American): Bueno! What do you guys study (in spanish)?
Me: Well I'm studying economics right now, but I plan on going to law school next year (in bad spanish).
SA: Where?
Me: Well I'm not sure yet, maybe NYU or the University of Chicago?
SA: Michael Jordan! Scottie Pippen! Chicago Bulls!
Me: Yeah heh
SA: How about Harvard?
Me: Maybe, hopefully (I hadn't been accepted yet).

Long story short, going to Uchicago (and possibly NW) would lead me to lots of conversations about the Chicago bulls, whereas Harvard might help me land a job, but who knows...

thanks again for all the advice. More than anything else I like seeing lots of different viewpoints from recent UG's (like me) and older, wiser people:)

prettypithy
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Re: NW with a full ride or Harvard?

Postby prettypithy » Wed Feb 06, 2008 11:11 pm

hobbla wrote:SA(South American): Bueno! What do you guys study (in spanish)?
Me: Well I'm studying economics right now, but I plan on going to law school next year (in bad spanish).
SA: Where?
Me: Well I'm not sure yet, maybe NYU or the University of Chicago?
SA: Michael Jordan! Scottie Pippen! Chicago Bulls!
Me: Yeah heh
SA: How about Harvard?
Me: Maybe, hopefully (I hadn't been accepted yet).


Do you plan on working abroad?

hobbla
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Re: NW with a full ride or Harvard?

Postby hobbla » Thu Feb 07, 2008 1:04 am

yes, I do plan on working abroad

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nonunique
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Re: NW with a full ride or Harvard?

Postby nonunique » Thu Feb 07, 2008 1:30 am

To Spidermonky: Boalt is certainly attractive for IP. On the other hand, Chicago is a major IP market (not bay area or DC, but up there). Those are the only two I personally see any difficulty choosing between.

To hobbla: everybody knows Georgetown too...and Columbia. And, when you get to the point of making hiring decisions at major international firms, they know the whole enchilada. What kind of asinine major company wouldn't bother researching the hierarchy of US law schools before hiring from them.

That said, Harvard certainly has a much better international program. My point is, do it for their program, not for common name recognition. Those aren't the people hiring you (I hope). If your ego really needs that kind of stroking, you should look into Princeton Law too. ;)

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katiemarie
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Re: NW with a full ride or Harvard?

Postby katiemarie » Thu Feb 07, 2008 1:50 am

I simply couldn't bring myself to turn down Harvard if I was in that situation. My financial backers -- ahem, I mean parents -- might feel otherwise, though.

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katiemarie
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Re: NW with a full ride or Harvard?

Postby katiemarie » Thu Feb 07, 2008 1:56 am

nonunique wrote:If your ego really needs that kind of stroking, you should look into Princeton Law too. ;)


Haha ohhhh yeah...I'm still waiting on them for a fee waiver. What gives?? 8)

MechE
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Re: NW with a full ride or Harvard?

Postby MechE » Thu Feb 07, 2008 2:14 am

To all of the people saying 160k is 160k, it's not. You don't have the same type of opportunities coming out of NW as you do out of Harvard. You might still be making 160k your first year, and then 170 and 180 the next two, but that's just base salary. When you start to look at bonuses there's more differentiation in the pack of firms paying NY market. A first year at a top 16 firm probably got a 35k or larger bonus for last year. If you graduate from harvard you're almost guaranteed a job at one of those firms. It will be much harder if you're coming from NW.
And that doesn't even take into account the exit opportunities involved with working with a higher quality client base. The more prestigious your law school, the more prestigious your law firm, and the more prestigious your clients. Those clients are the ones who you are going to be begging for a job 3 years later when you find out you aren't on the partner track. It's the difference between Goldman and Wachovia.
Biglaw is more prestige driven than any field other than academia and if you go to Harvard and make law review you're at the head of the pack.

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Oklahoma Mike
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Re: NW with a full ride or Harvard?

Postby Oklahoma Mike » Thu Feb 07, 2008 2:36 am

There is self selection involved, in that Harvard grads often go into academia after their clerkships, but the Ciolli stuff seems to indicate that NU places just a bit better than Harvard when you take into account prestige of the firm (NU has a higher TQS in the NY region than Harvard does.)
So sure, your opportunities coming out of Harvard are better- but within biglaw they aren't significantly different. I don't think Harvard is enough better to really make the difference you claim. You are guaranteed a biglaw job when you graduate, but it isn't guaranteed to be vault10. Those firms actually look pretty closely at grades and or class rank when hiring even when looking at Harvard grads.

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nonunique
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Re: NW with a full ride or Harvard?

Postby nonunique » Thu Feb 07, 2008 2:37 am

if you go to Harvard and make law review you're at the head of the pack.


I don't think anyone is disputing this...good luck making it. Sincerely. Also, I don't think any ATL reader believes your outlook on bonuses. Yes, there's a NYC bonus (that some firms match in several of their other markets), there's often a lower bonus in other cities (which in Chicago, for instance, is generally made up for in COL). So what? Does everyone at Harvard work in NYC? Does NU not place in the top firms there?

You're right, Harvard will open more doors for you (ignoring method problems, about 3 times as many at V5, 1.5 times as many at V10 and V25...which I think covers your "top 16 firm" mark). Is 1.5 worth that money to you?

Regardless, he's not looking for the money.

MechE
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Re: NW with a full ride or Harvard?

Postby MechE » Thu Feb 07, 2008 4:40 am

nonunique wrote:
I don't think anyone is disputing this...good luck making it. Sincerely. Also, I don't think any ATL reader believes your outlook on bonuses. Yes, there's a NYC bonus (that some firms match in several of their other markets), there's often a lower bonus in other cities (which in Chicago, for instance, is generally made up for in COL). So what? Does everyone at Harvard work in NYC? Does NU not place in the top firms there?

You're right, Harvard will open more doors for you (ignoring method problems, about 3 times as many at V5, 1.5 times as many at V10 and V25...which I think covers your "top 16 firm" mark). Is 1.5 worth that money to you?


My point with law review is that if you go to Harvard, not only are you already more prestigious than anyone other than Yale and possibly Stanford, but you have the opportunity to bump yourself even above yale if you manage to get on law review.

I think what's a lot more telling than even the vault 5 numbers are the selectivity numbers: "Percentage of class and raw numbers of class placed at the reported 20 most selective firms according to Vault." where Harvard has a 2.5:1 edge. In the 2007 data Harvard had 40 summers at the top 3 and northwestern had 3. Are you going to assert that they don't want those jobs?

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nonunique
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Re: NW with a full ride or Harvard?

Postby nonunique » Thu Feb 07, 2008 11:04 am

Actually, yes. Yes I am. The V10/V25 numbers are inconsistent with the "20 most prestigious according to Vault" numbers. Clearly NU students are landing summer associateships and choosing not to come back (okay, not clearly, but that's how it seems to me). Or are you suggesting that they aren't asked to come back?

I think (and I can only back this up anecdotally) a lot of NU students go through the same calculus already described. "Sure, I could break my back at that NYC firm and make the big money...and pay for Manhattan. Or, I could NOT break my back at that Chicago/wherever firm and make the big money...and pay for Chicago/wherever." Those "most prestigious" firms are office specific.

The Ciolli numbers seem to indicate there's at least some parity. Again, nobody is saying Harvard isn't better...I don't know why you can't fathom that. I think the majority here are saying that Harvard isn't THAT much better. You'll make just as much money coming out of NU...and you'll be debt free. If money isn't what you want (academia, etc.), the calculus changes.

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mumbling2myself
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Re: NW with a full ride or Harvard?

Postby mumbling2myself » Thu Feb 07, 2008 11:21 am

While I would probably choose NU debt free over HLS, I think it should be pointed out that the opportunity cost isn't the 160k first year's salary. The actual cost is your last year's salary. Assuming you don't defer and work 45 years as an atty., and retire making 300k (which could be a ton higher or an awful lot lower, but I'm pulling numbers out of my ass, so bear with me), the actual difference between that career and a similar one starting debt free from NU is the one 300k year, not the 160k year in the beginning. Unless you extend your work-life by one year, your opportunity cost comes at the end, not the start.

I think if you're chasing the biggest money possible, HLS and no waiting is probably the way to go, but if you're looking at law school as a means to an end, and that end is a happy and well balanced life, the freedom coming from a lack of debt may be much more important than the freedom coming from a Harvard pedigree.

Oh, and I know of at least one classmate at NU who was offered the same deal, called financial aid and told them about HLS/other opportunities. They got the deferment requirement waived. Just a thought.

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Spidermonkey
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Re: NW with a full ride or Harvard?

Postby Spidermonkey » Thu Feb 07, 2008 12:11 pm

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Last edited by Spidermonkey on Mon Feb 11, 2008 6:52 pm, edited 2 times in total.

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Spidermonkey
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Re: NW with a full ride or Harvard?

Postby Spidermonkey » Thu Feb 07, 2008 12:13 pm

OP:

I agree with mumbling2myself. Call up NU, tell them your options, and see what they say. Couldn't hurt at this point.

Good luck in your decision.

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nonunique
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Re: NW with a full ride or Harvard?

Postby nonunique » Thu Feb 07, 2008 12:39 pm

With all respect to my colleague, mumbling, the tradeoff is still that last year of salary vs. the first several years' investment (rather than debt payment). We'd have to assume a hell of a lot to get final year's salary, but if I understand compounding interest correctly, I think it is reasonable to believe the balance falls in NU's favor. Someone (conservatively) suggested it could mean a million dollar payout when you retire (THAT vs. your final year's salary from HLS).

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mumbling2myself
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Re: NW with a full ride or Harvard?

Postby mumbling2myself » Thu Feb 07, 2008 12:50 pm

nonunique wrote:With all respect to my colleague, mumbling, the tradeoff is still that last year of salary vs. the first several years' investment (rather than debt payment). We'd have to assume a hell of a lot to get final year's salary, but if I understand compounding interest correctly, I think it is reasonable to believe the balance falls in NU's favor. Someone (conservatively) suggested it could mean a million dollar payout when you retire (THAT vs. your final year's salary from HLS).


I don't mean to make any value judgement based solely on money. In my mind, the monetary difference between the two options is just one of several considerations (the freedom from debt, for me, is more important). I just wanted to make sure that, if you are relying on that calculation, you're comparing the right sums.

hobbla
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Re: NW with a full ride or Harvard?

Postby hobbla » Thu Feb 07, 2008 5:06 pm

oooh my thank you very much mumbling

I might be calling them up then.

As I said before I don't care too much about money, but I do think having a Harvard degree would open up a lot more doors (not nationally among law firms, but internationally among businesses/governments in general).

Also Harvard Law School has it's own basketball court! just for the law students! That will probably seal the deal in the end.

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nonunique
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Re: NW with a full ride or Harvard?

Postby nonunique » Thu Feb 07, 2008 6:58 pm

Damnit! Superior Harvard athletics wins again! :P

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mumbling2myself
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Re: NW with a full ride or Harvard?

Postby mumbling2myself » Thu Feb 07, 2008 9:33 pm

nonunique wrote:Damnit! Superior Harvard athletics wins again! :P


Why did you think people were so into the Ivy League??

Edit: Wait a sec... we go to Northwestern. Do we even have a basketball team?




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