H v. T10 for appellate lit

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

What should DetroitRed choose?

HLS (~150-175k debt at graduation)
37
28%
Columbia (~100k debt at graduation - Butler)
4
3%
Duke (0 debt at graduation - Mordecai)
84
64%
UVA (~45k debt at graduation)
7
5%
 
Total votes: 132

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Dog
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Re: H v. T10 for appellate lit

Postby Dog » Fri Feb 20, 2015 12:42 pm

To the guy who asked:
I have seen statistics before on a much lower ranked school with harsh stips where 75% of full ride students finished in the top third or so (admittedly, not 100% sure of the rank). By calculating totals for non-scholarship students, the percentage for the same rank had to be extremely low, like 10-15% tops.

It's an extreme example and not totally relevant as there is probably greater disparity in student quality. But the sticker people had to finish top 15% or so among their peers whereas it was top 75% for the full ride kids. It's also worth mentioning retention rates were lower in earlier years (as low as ~50%).

Sorry OP I'm leaving before I mess up your thread. Go wings!

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Re: H v. T10 for appellate lit

Postby 052220152 » Fri Feb 20, 2015 12:47 pm

DetroitRed wrote:
mvp99 wrote:
DetroitRed wrote:
nothingtosee wrote:Serious question:

How can you possibly know you want to do appellate litigation?


I've talked to lawyers in the field and it seems interesting.

Not sure what sort of response you expect given my 0L status.


Exactly. So take the path with less debt.


I'm not sure what you're saying "exactly" to. Just because I'm not in law school doesn't mean that I can't meaningfully discriminate between different employment outcomes and the more/less plausible routes by which I might reach my preferred employment outcome.

Moreover, I don't think a year, or two, or even three of law school would give me a significantly better understanding of the different types of legal employment or the likelihood of obtaining them. I mean, I'd be able to talk to current law students and alumni. Oh wait, that's what I'm doing already.


You realize this is terrible reasoning right?

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Re: H v. T10 for appellate lit

Postby 052220152 » Fri Feb 20, 2015 12:47 pm

DetroitRed wrote:
timbs4339 wrote:I was an appellate clerk on a SSC for two years. Aside from being a law professor being on a court of last resort is the purest form of law you can get into. It was fun, but by the end of it I was tearing my hair out to get on a doc review or write a motion to compel.

I'm not saying turn down H- it definitely has better placement into elite clerkships and DC lit firms, but "sounds interesting" isn't really a great justification to spend 175K. I wonder if you're more interested in the perceived prestige of the practice area than the actual work. At almost any large firm's lit department, if you are put on the right cases you can help out on the appeal or you can do pro bono appeals where you'll actually get to write the brief instead of doing legal research for midlevels/seniors.


My reasons are actually more sound than "sounds interesting." I just didn't want to submit these reasons to the (generally derisory) TLS crowd for fear of derailing the thread.


What are your reasons

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Re: H v. T10 for appellate lit

Postby 052220152 » Fri Feb 20, 2015 12:49 pm

Dog wrote:To the guy who asked:
I have seen statistics before on a much lower ranked school with harsh stips where 75% of full ride students finished in the top third or so (admittedly, not 100% sure of the rank). By calculating totals for non-scholarship students, the percentage for the same rank had to be extremely low, like 10-15% tops.

It's an extreme example and not totally relevant as there is probably greater disparity in student quality. But the sticker people had to finish top 15% or so among their peers whereas it was top 75% for the full ride kids. It's also worth mentioning retention rates were lower in earlier years (as low as ~50%).

Sorry OP I'm leaving before I mess up your thread. Go wings!



At the top schools I doubt there is any meaningful correlation between full riders and where they place in the class. Maybe they tend to be at the bottom less, but I guarantee you they aren't all bunched at the top

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Re: H v. T10 for appellate lit

Postby beepboopbeep » Fri Feb 20, 2015 1:00 pm

Jim Jones wrote:
DetroitRed wrote:My reasons are actually more sound than "sounds interesting." I just didn't want to submit these reasons to the (generally derisory) TLS crowd for fear of derailing the thread.


What are your reasons


Jim Jones wrote:You realize this is terrible reasoning right?


lol this is going to go well

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Pneumonia
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Re: H v. T10 for appellate lit

Postby Pneumonia » Fri Feb 20, 2015 1:07 pm

Dog wrote:There's nothing fallacious about adding relevant info in predicting class rank. An estimate that uses relevant info such as GPA and LSAT will be more accurate than one that just assumes median for everyone. While the difference in students at Duke and H might not seem significant, median students and top 20% students at a school may not seem significantly different either. Small advantages help.

Also, being top 10% at Duke does not make you a "real safe bet" at top 10% at Harvard, especially if you're towards the bottom of that 10%.

If you factor something like 10% increased employment odds into your decision, it's not absurd to consider small class rank advantages. What if easier class rank cancels out 5% of that advantage? That's 50%. That's huge.


The point of what I said was that about top 10% at Duke = very close to top 10% at Harvard. It may not be a direct mapping function, but the variance is so small that it's not worth taking into consideration. Top 10% at Duke vs. top 20% at Harvard is a distinction not even worth parsing.

Both outcomes are awesome, but in this case one of them is debt free. OP should take that one, the basic point being that if you'e good enough to get appellate lit at H you're gonna be good enough to get it at Duke, especially with a Mordecai on the resume.

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Re: H v. T10 for appellate lit

Postby Cogburn87 » Fri Feb 20, 2015 1:23 pm

Jim Jones wrote:
What are your reasons

Preftige, obvs

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ExBiglawAssociate
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Lol

Postby ExBiglawAssociate » Fri Feb 20, 2015 1:34 pm

Just because something is hard to achieve doesn't mean it's worth working toward. At the very least, you should have a contingency plan for if/when you don't make it as an appellate guru. FWIW, there are plenty of T10 Coif types at my firm who do not do appellate, either because they were passed over for someone lucky enough to get a SCOTUS clerkship or some other reason (the most likely being that there is just not enough appellate work to go around).

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Re: Lol

Postby DetroitRed » Fri Feb 20, 2015 1:47 pm

Biglaw_Associate_V20 wrote:Just because something is hard to achieve doesn't mean it's worth working toward. At the very least, you should have a contingency plan for if/when you don't make it as an appellate guru. FWIW, there are plenty of T10 Coif types at my firm who do not do appellate, either because they were passed over for someone lucky enough to get a SCOTUS clerkship or some other reason (the most likely being that there is just not enough appellate work to go around).


Right, which is one reason (among many) that it's wrong to assume that my wanting to do appellate lit has anything to do with it's being hard to achieve.

Anyway, we've gotten a bit far afield. My main question is whether the advantage of HLS evaporates after OCI. My guess is that it doesn't, but quantifying precisely how much the long-term advantage is worth is difficult, which is why I'm fielding the question.

I mean, Harvard's 2017 class has ~ 560 students. Judging by 25-75 and median data, I'd imagine at least 200 students at HLS faced a decision similar to mine last cycle. Surely they can't all have been deluded. There must be some reason, other than preftige or the chance at competitive work, that these people decided to take out $150k in loans to attend HLS.

edited to correct old-timey language
Last edited by DetroitRed on Fri Feb 20, 2015 1:51 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: H v. T10 for appellate lit

Postby Nomo » Fri Feb 20, 2015 1:49 pm

There isn't much appellate work and it doesn't bring in much cash. To guarantee that you'll get in an appellate group you'll need a SCOTUS clerkship, though obviously its possible to get in with a circuit clerkship.

Beyond that, are you really sure you'd prefer appellate work. Most people seem to prefer litigation at the trial level, where they have the opportunity to develop an initial strategy and build their own case. If the reason is that you never want to be in court then maybe you'd prefer something like ERISA litigation where everything is on paper (not that there are many court appearances in biglaw civil lit anyways).

Anyways, I'd pick Duke, even with your goals. I don't know this, but I can't imagine the Harvard name does a lot for you after OCI. Partnership prospects are going to be related to the work you've done and your ability to bring in business.

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Re: Lol

Postby baal hadad » Fri Feb 20, 2015 1:50 pm

DetroitRed wrote:
Biglaw_Associate_V20 wrote:Just because something is hard to achieve doesn't mean it's worth working toward. At the very least, you should have a contingency plan for if/when you don't make it as an appellate guru. FWIW, there are plenty of T10 Coif types at my firm who do not do appellate, either because they were passed over for someone lucky enough to get a SCOTUS clerkship or some other reason (the most likely being that there is just not enough appellate work to go around).


Right, which is one reason (among many) that it's wrong to assume that my wanting to do appellate lit has anything to do with it's being hard to achieve.

Anyway, we've gotten a bit far afield. My main question is whether the advantage of HLS evaporates after OCI. My guess is that it doesn't, but quantifying precisely how much the long-term advantage is worth is difficult, which is why I'm fielding the question.

I mean, Harvard's 2017 class has ~ 560 students. Judging by 25-75 and median data, I'd imagine at least 200 students at HLS faced a decision similar to mine last cycle. Surely they can't all have been deluded. There must be some reason, other than prefstige or the chance at competitive work, that these people decided to take out $150k in loans to attend HLS.

Bc those people were dumb

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Re: Lol

Postby Mullens » Fri Feb 20, 2015 1:54 pm

DetroitRed wrote:
Biglaw_Associate_V20 wrote:Just because something is hard to achieve doesn't mean it's worth working toward. At the very least, you should have a contingency plan for if/when you don't make it as an appellate guru. FWIW, there are plenty of T10 Coif types at my firm who do not do appellate, either because they were passed over for someone lucky enough to get a SCOTUS clerkship or some other reason (the most likely being that there is just not enough appellate work to go around).


Right, which is one reason (among many) that it's wrong to assume that my wanting to do appellate lit has anything to do with it's being hard to achieve.

Anyway, we've gotten a bit far afield. My main question is whether the advantage of HLS evaporates after OCI. My guess is that it doesn't, but quantifying precisely how much the long-term advantage is worth is difficult, which is why I'm fielding the question.

I mean, Harvard's 2017 class has ~ 560 students. Judging by 25-75 and median data, I'd imagine at least 200 students at HLS faced a decision similar to mine last cycle. Surely they can't all have been deluded. There must be some reason, other than prefstige or the chance at competitive work, that these people decided to take out $150k in loans to attend HLS.


They're either blinded by prestige or have rich parents. FWIW, all the people I personally know at HLS have parents/grandparents/trust paying their tuition. It's only four people, but it's still something.

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Re: H v. T10 for appellate lit

Postby Pneumonia » Fri Feb 20, 2015 1:55 pm

Also because they're parents paid. 200 is a big overestimate as well.

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Re: Lol

Postby kaiser » Fri Feb 20, 2015 1:55 pm

DetroitRed wrote:
Biglaw_Associate_V20 wrote:Just because something is hard to achieve doesn't mean it's worth working toward. At the very least, you should have a contingency plan for if/when you don't make it as an appellate guru. FWIW, there are plenty of T10 Coif types at my firm who do not do appellate, either because they were passed over for someone lucky enough to get a SCOTUS clerkship or some other reason (the most likely being that there is just not enough appellate work to go around).


Right, which is one reason (among many) that it's wrong to assume that my wanting to do appellate lit has anything to do with it's being hard to achieve.

Anyway, we've gotten a bit far afield. My main question is whether the advantage of HLS evaporates after OCI. My guess is that it doesn't, but quantifying precisely how much the long-term advantage is worth is difficult, which is why I'm fielding the question.

I mean, Harvard's 2017 class has ~ 560 students. Judging by 25-75 and median data, I'd imagine at least 200 students at HLS faced a decision similar to mine last cycle. Surely they can't all have been deluded. There must be some reason, other than prefstige or the chance at competitive work, that these people decided to take out $150k in loans to attend HLS.


Some are fully gung-ho about prestige and willing to pay any price to achieve it (i.e. fools). Some want to go into academia or shoot for the tippy top government positions. Some have mommy and daddy footing the bill so the marginal price difference doesn't influence their calculus. Some perhaps didn't get as much scholarship at lower T10 schools as you did, so it makes their choice tougher than yours.

But to someone in your shoes, who is genuinely unsure, and wants to keep doors open, thats not something you pay 175K for. The marginal difference in cost seems to far outweight the marginal benefits, especially given your goals, interests, etc. The career flexiblity and financial flexibility you will have is something you will cherish very soon after law school and for decades to come. As a recent grad, I can't stress enough to you how important that is, and how many indebted students I know who wish they had taken full rides.

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Re: Lol

Postby DetroitRed » Fri Feb 20, 2015 2:01 pm

kaiser wrote:
DetroitRed wrote:
Biglaw_Associate_V20 wrote:Just because something is hard to achieve doesn't mean it's worth working toward. At the very least, you should have a contingency plan for if/when you don't make it as an appellate guru. FWIW, there are plenty of T10 Coif types at my firm who do not do appellate, either because they were passed over for someone lucky enough to get a SCOTUS clerkship or some other reason (the most likely being that there is just not enough appellate work to go around).


Right, which is one reason (among many) that it's wrong to assume that my wanting to do appellate lit has anything to do with it's being hard to achieve.

Anyway, we've gotten a bit far afield. My main question is whether the advantage of HLS evaporates after OCI. My guess is that it doesn't, but quantifying precisely how much the long-term advantage is worth is difficult, which is why I'm fielding the question.

I mean, Harvard's 2017 class has ~ 560 students. Judging by 25-75 and median data, I'd imagine at least 200 students at HLS faced a decision similar to mine last cycle. Surely they can't all have been deluded. There must be some reason, other than prefstige or the chance at competitive work, that these people decided to take out $150k in loans to attend HLS.


Some are fully gung-ho about prestige and willing to pay any price to achieve it (i.e. fools). Some want to go into academia or shoot for the tippy top government positions. Some have mommy and daddy footing the bill so the marginal price difference doesn't influence their calculus. Some perhaps didn't get as much scholarship at lower T10 schools as you did, so it makes their choice tougher than yours.

But to someone in your shoes, who is genuinely unsure, and wants to keep doors open, thats not something you pay 175K for. The marginal difference in cost seems to far outweight the marginal benefits, especially given your goals, interests, etc. The career flexiblity and financial flexibility you will have is something you will cherish very soon after law school and for decades to come. As a recent grad, I can't stress enough to you how important that is, and how many indebted students I know who wish they had taken full rides.


Yeah, that makes sense. Unfortunately, it's one of those things you cannot fully grasp a priori.

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Re: H v. T10 for appellate lit

Postby kaiser » Fri Feb 20, 2015 2:04 pm

^^^

Exactly. I understand why this seems like a tough choice to you. And if I were also a 0L, this would seem like a much tougher choice to me as well. But if you discounted the "0L factor" from the poll and just asked actual grads, it would be essentially a unanimous vote for Duke. And there is a reason for that.

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Re: H v. T10 for appellate lit

Postby Desert Fox » Fri Feb 20, 2015 2:17 pm

Even if you are sure you want appellate, which you admit you aren't, it is not worth it.

~10% of HLS students get appellate clerkships, which is essential prerequisite. Duke is probably about 3%. That is only a 7% difference. And the vast majority of people who do appellate clerkships don't do any appellate work in big law. I think 25% would be very generous. So that 7% is now 1.75%. Lets call it 2%.

150k for a 2% differential? Is it worth 7.5 Million to you? Because that is how you are valuing it. Hell even if you got with a full 7% difference that is 2.1 million.

To do a job you heard is cool.

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Re: H v. T10 for appellate lit

Postby run26.2 » Fri Feb 20, 2015 2:20 pm

Recent grad who has done appellate work. I agree with kaiser's post. It will be tough to guarantee you will get into and get good experience doing appellate work at one of these firms for many reasons, some of which will be beyond your control (how many grads they hire, how much work they have, clients' expectations, etc.). They all have many attorneys trying to do that work, so it is hard to guarantee. To me, that makes the flexibility of less debt much more appealing.

Also, I haven't read the whole thread to understand your question about whether the advantage of Harvard evaporates post-OCI. When it is time to change jobs, yes, Harvard will give you and advantage (assuming, we're not talking about summa at Duke v. no latin honors at Harvard, for instance). But if you stay at the same place, it will not give you much if any advantage in terms of the work you get.
Last edited by run26.2 on Fri Feb 20, 2015 2:25 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: H v. T10 for appellate lit

Postby Desert Fox » Fri Feb 20, 2015 2:22 pm

For what I understand, the bulk of appellate work is actually done by smaller nonbiglaw firms which charge a lot lower rates. While HLS is probably better for MayerBrown DC, I'm not sure it is all that better for some small firm in North Carolina that does appellate work for NC SCOTUSNC

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do people read these?

Postby smaug » Fri Feb 20, 2015 2:28 pm

Anyway, we've gotten a bit far afield. My main question is whether the advantage of HLS evaporates after OCI. My guess is that it doesn't, but quantifying precisely how much the long-term advantage is worth is difficult, which is why I'm fielding the question.

It doesn't, but that advantage isn't going to get you to appellate lit on its own. Does that make sense? I'm sure that if you tracked the long, long term, H students have some marginal bump over others.

But, whether you're a candidate for the type of work that you're talking about will be determined very, very early in your career. You'll have, at most, two or three shots. (OCI, and post clerkship hiring). You're not going to lateral into an appellate lit position on the strength of your H degree. A Duke student who is otherwise credentialed won't instantly lose against a Harvard student.

That's why taking the money makes sense here. Yes, H has some upside advantage over Duke, but you don't seem to care much about the areas where that upside advantage is more prominent—in sleeping your way into solid Vault-ranked firm.

You will probably get biglaw out of either one. (Or, that's a reasonable expectation.) You can probably get biglaw lit out of either one. (That's still a reasonable expectation.) You probably will not get W&C out of either schools, and if that's your only measure of success, you're probably going to fail.

So, take the one that has fewer downsides. That's Duke. If you strike out, you don't have debt. If you end up in an area of Biglaw that you dislike, you can leave. At Harvard, you're way more likely to end up in a position that's suboptimal and feel stuck there.

I mean, Harvard's 2017 class has ~ 560 students. Judging by 25-75 and median data, I'd imagine at least 200 students at HLS faced a decision similar to mine last cycle. Surely they can't all have been deluded. There must be some reason, other than prefstige or the chance at competitive work, that these people decided to take out $150k in loans to attend HLS.

This is pretty specious reasoning, just FYI. Scads of smart people make bad decisions about law school, be they at Harvard, Columbia, American, or Cooley. Don't be one of them.

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Re: H v. T10 for appellate lit

Postby smaug » Fri Feb 20, 2015 2:30 pm

Desert Fox wrote:For what I understand, the bulk of appellate work is actually done by smaller nonbiglaw firms which charge a lot lower rates. While HLS is probably better for MayerBrown DC, I'm not sure it is all that better for some small firm in North Carolina that does appellate work for NC SCOTUSNC

I'm sure this is true, but OP is the type who is dreaming of Bancroft and Kellogg without knowing it. Saying "I want to do appellate work at W&C, Cov, or WH D.C." just screams "I want to be on top of the prestige heap."

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Re: H v. T10 for appellate lit

Postby DetroitRed » Fri Feb 20, 2015 3:00 pm

Jason Taverner wrote:
Desert Fox wrote:For what I understand, the bulk of appellate work is actually done by smaller nonbiglaw firms which charge a lot lower rates. While HLS is probably better for MayerBrown DC, I'm not sure it is all that better for some small firm in North Carolina that does appellate work for NC SCOTUSNC

I'm sure this is true, but OP is the type who is dreaming of Bancroft and Kellogg without knowing it. Saying "I want to do appellate work at W&C, Cov, or WH D.C." just screams "I want to be on top of the prestige heap."


Sure, Bancroft or Kellogg or Susman is probably closer to what I'm talking about. I chose what I figured would be better known firms since I imagine there's more (anec-)data on them as opposed to small lit firms that hire like ~3 associates per year.

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Re: H v. T10 for appellate lit

Postby Desert Fox » Fri Feb 20, 2015 3:18 pm

DetroitRed wrote:
Jason Taverner wrote:
Desert Fox wrote:For what I understand, the bulk of appellate work is actually done by smaller nonbiglaw firms which charge a lot lower rates. While HLS is probably better for MayerBrown DC, I'm not sure it is all that better for some small firm in North Carolina that does appellate work for NC SCOTUSNC

I'm sure this is true, but OP is the type who is dreaming of Bancroft and Kellogg without knowing it. Saying "I want to do appellate work at W&C, Cov, or WH D.C." just screams "I want to be on top of the prestige heap."


Sure, Bancroft or Kellogg or Susman is probably closer to what I'm talking about. I chose what I figured would be better known firms since I imagine there's more (anec-)data on them as opposed to small lit firms that hire like ~3 associates per year.


Why the burning desire to do federal appellate instead of state? Other than the egregious prestige striving you are planning on doing.

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Re: H v. T10 for appellate lit

Postby 052220152 » Fri Feb 20, 2015 3:23 pm

op, the odds are overwhelmingly large that you're not going to do federal appellate lit, and that you will end up doing something else. what would you rather do, not appellate lit with 175k of debt, or not appellate lit with 0 debt. thats why you should go to duke.

also, theres no way that you even know that appellate lit is actually what you really want to do. unless those reasons you're withholding are better than the ones youre giving now.

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Re: H v. T10 for appellate lit

Postby timbs4339 » Fri Feb 20, 2015 3:38 pm

OP if you really want to do appellate work take the Mordecai and apply to work at a DA/PD appellate office. You will be writing briefs on day 1 and arguing in front of your SSC within 2 years.




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