NYU Furman Academic v. H/S at close to sticker

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What would you choose?

NYU w/ Furman: 45k
20
77%
Harvard: 200k
3
12%
Stanford: 200k
3
12%
 
Total votes: 26

bill.nye
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NYU Furman Academic v. H/S at close to sticker

Postby bill.nye » Sat Feb 28, 2015 1:17 pm

Hello. Long time lurker, first time poster. I have read lots of advice topics on choosing a law school, but I could not find anything on this exact topic.

I am a semi-finalist for the Furman Academic Scholarship at NYU, a full tuition scholarship that matches aspiring legal academics with faculty mentors. According to NYU, each student receives at least three faculty members, intensive mentoring, and guaranteed summer research funding. It is my understanding that graduates of the program usually come out with 1-2 papers of publishable quality, and most scholars publish a note before they graduate. The program has been around about 12 years and the alumni of the program are impressive.

If I am selected for the scholarship, I will have a short turnaround time to decide. This post is part of me attempting to figure out where I stand on the scholarship beforehand, so that in the event I am offered it, I will be able to confidently make a decision. For these purposes, I am going to pretend that I have actually been offered the scholarship.


If so, my options would be:

NYU w/Furman: 45k in loans (family + savings will cover approximately half of living expenses, conservatively estimated)
Stanford: 200k in loans
Harvard: 200k in loans
UChicago: no word on scholarships yet, though I think I may be a contender for the Ruby
Yale: no decision yet
+ multiple full ride offers from lower ranked T10 schools


As I see it, the benefit of the Furman is that I would have much more flexibility in pursuing academia, since I would not be weighed down by heavy debt or by a 10 year public service commitment. If I attend Stanford (which I would likely pick over Harvard), it would be many years before I could transition into academia because their LRAP program does not cover academia. If I go the BigLaw path, I am unsure how I would handle billing 2000 hours while also trying to publish. If I seek out faculty at Stanford or Harvard, I think I could also graduate with 3 faculty advisors willing to go to bat for me. But at NYU, that mentorship would be guaranteed (it seems - obviously variables in the mix here too). Additionally, it seems that at NYU, the possibility of entering academia would, at least initially, be less dependent on my grades, though obviously, I would still work as hard as possible and aim for law review, federal clerkships, etc.


Am I correctly assessing the situation? If you were in my shoes, what would you pick?


I have read many of the forums on TLS about legal academia and about law school debt. I am very much aware of how competitive legal academia is and how brutal 200k of debt would be. I also realize I am very fortunate to have these options and I welcome frank, but polite advice, especially if there is an aspect of that I am overlooking. Thank you!

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UnicornHunter
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Re: NYU Furman Academic v. H/S at close to sticker

Postby UnicornHunter » Sat Feb 28, 2015 1:26 pm

Take the full ride and it's not even close. You should feel bad for asking.

edit: the more interesting question is whether the hypothetical Furman or the hypothetical Ruby would be a better deal. Usually, I would lean towards the stipend/lower COL, but the institutional support you'd get with the Furman seems pretty helpful.

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LetsGoMets
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Re: NYU Furman Academic v. H/S at close to sticker

Postby LetsGoMets » Sat Feb 28, 2015 1:33 pm

Almost everyone will tell you to take the NYU full ride, most not so politely. Just a heads up.

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Hand
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Re: NYU Furman Academic v. H/S at close to sticker

Postby Hand » Sat Feb 28, 2015 1:39 pm

Your decision problem, schematized:

NYU: -$45K + (X * Value(academic employment)) + (1-X * Value(other outcome))
H/S: -$200K + (Y * Value(academic employment)) + (1-Y * Value(other outcome))

In general, we know that X, the probability of securing academic employment from NYU, is smaller than Y, the probability of securing academic employment from H/S. However, arguably we should not take the general success rate of NYU students seeking academic employment to be relevant, but rather the success rate of Furman fellows. When we do that, it's not at all obvious that Y >>> X. Perhaps it is even true that in that scenario, X = Y. In which case, your choice is obvious. Even if Y > X, I doubt that Y is that much greater than X that it's worth $155K.

How much the difference is worth of course also depends on just how desirable the relevant outcomes are. Do you have experience teaching? Because teaching will be what you'll be doing a lot of time when you secure academic employment. And I can assure you that plenty of people find they don't care for it once they do it for a while.

Nomo
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Re: NYU Furman Academic v. H/S at close to sticker

Postby Nomo » Sat Feb 28, 2015 1:50 pm

NYU. I think that getting good articles into good journals will do more for your potential academic career than attendance at Harvard or Stanford. Lack of debt at NYU will give you more career flexibility, not just to take academia, but to do something else if academia doesn't work out for you. (Its worth remembering that the faculty hiring market is bad and its getting worse each year).

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A. Nony Mouse
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Re: NYU Furman Academic v. H/S at close to sticker

Postby A. Nony Mouse » Sat Feb 28, 2015 1:52 pm

I agree with all the above. Obviously the credited wisdom is that Y is best for academia (S and H very close behind). But I think if you know you want to go all in on academia, the opportunity to publish - and the structured assistance in doing so - combined with the money is worth the incremental prestige boost from YSH. Pedigree is certainly important for legal academia, but pedigree alone is not going to produce the research agenda/track record that you need to succeed in academia. Personally, I think having the kind of personal mentorship geared specifically towards academia that the Furman purports to give would be of more material assistance than simply having the H or S name on your resume.

Now, can you create a similar kind of support system at HS? Sure, they obviously have the resources/faculty, and doubtless plenty of experience with and faculty interested in supporting academic aspirations. Especially if you're self-directed, you are going to be able to build an academic agenda/record anywhere. But I'm not sure the debt would be worth it if you can get similar support at NYU - getting out good publications is going to be more significant than whether your resume says NYU or S or H. I also think that if you go biglaw to address the debt, publishing while big-law-ing would be extremely difficult (however, publishing while clerking would probably be less so, so that's something to keep in mind).

Full disclosure: I have no personal experience with legal academia, or with the Furman, or the support systems H/S have, so make of my comments what you will. But I do have experience in non-legal academia, and in trying to carve out a research agenda and publish. If you really want academia, you need to publish. If you already have a really clear idea of what you want to do and know exactly what you want to publish, and how, and when, and just need somewhere to go to do so, all these schools can provide that. But if you're like most aspiring academics and have some idea but are still developing your research plans and skills, mentorship and support makes a HUGE difference. While all top schools will offer resources for those who know how to take advantage of them, law school is a professional program much more geared toward producing lawyers than academics.

Also, if the Ruby and Yale come into play, that might complicate things (especially depending on where in the country you'd like to be).

And finally, think hard about what you'd do if you didn't get academia, and why you want academia. It's talked about as a cushy gig - and certainly in terms of hours/pay/autonomy it's miles above biglaw and lots of other options. But if you take it seriously and in terms of what you spend your time doing, it requires a certain mindset that not everyone has.

bill.nye
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Re: NYU Furman Academic v. H/S at close to sticker

Postby bill.nye » Sat Feb 28, 2015 1:57 pm

Thank you everyone for the replies. FYI - I am leaning towards NYU if I get the Furman.

If by the grace of God I end up in the dream scenario of being offered a Ruby and a Furman scholarship, I would likely still choose NYU because Chicago has relatively few faculty in my area of research.

The only thing that might complicate all of this is if I am accepted to Yale.


hereisonehand wrote:How much the difference is worth of course also depends on just how desirable the relevant outcomes are. Do you have experience teaching? Because teaching will be what you'll be doing a lot of time when you secure academic employment. And I can assure you that plenty of people find they don't care for it once they do it for a while.



Yes, I do have teaching experience. I don't want to out myself because I am not sure how many semi-finalists there are and my CV is somewhat idiosyncratic, but I have significant teaching experience and several publications under my belt.

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Mack.Hambleton
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Re: NYU Furman Academic v. H/S at close to sticker

Postby Mack.Hambleton » Sat Feb 28, 2015 2:57 pm

Preemptive thread

Come back when you actually know your choices

bill.nye
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Re: NYU Furman Academic v. H/S at close to sticker

Postby bill.nye » Sat Feb 28, 2015 3:04 pm

Mack.Hambleton wrote:Preemptive thread

Come back when you actually know your choices


Yes. Obviously preemptive. If selected, I will only have ~ 24 hrs to decide.

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A. Nony Mouse
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Re: NYU Furman Academic v. H/S at close to sticker

Postby A. Nony Mouse » Sat Feb 28, 2015 3:24 pm

Mack.Hambleton wrote:Preemptive thread

Come back when you actually know your choices

Nothing wrong with making this thread - it's a bit of a different dilemma from the usual "which T14 should I go to if I get into these schools."

The Dark Shepard
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Re: NYU Furman Academic v. H/S at close to sticker

Postby The Dark Shepard » Sat Feb 28, 2015 5:38 pm

I'd take it and not look back. You risk not getting a Ruby, but there's no guarantee you will get that and the different is not substantial enough to risk a guaranteed thing.

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jbagelboy
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Re: NYU Furman Academic v. H/S at close to sticker

Postby jbagelboy » Sat Feb 28, 2015 8:13 pm

Take the Furman to NYU. Its a program specifically designed to create professors and you'll have full flexibility to do so. At H or S your chances of penetrating legal academia are still very, very low. Congrats on the full ride, enjoy the Village .

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BizBro
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Re: NYU Furman Academic v. H/S at close to sticker

Postby BizBro » Sat Feb 28, 2015 8:23 pm

Furman and it's not even close.




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