Questions on Hamilton and Rubenstein

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TY22
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Questions on Hamilton and Rubenstein

Postby TY22 » Mon Mar 02, 2015 5:19 pm

I am hoping for advice on choosing between the Rubenstein and Hamilton scholarships. Specifically, does anyone have thoughts on the following issues? I tried looking through past threads, but many were old or focused on the HYS vs these scholarships issues.

I know I am asking a very lengthy question, and I would be more than grateful to receive partial replies on any part or parts anyone feels like answering. Thank you!

1) I understand both scholarships come with faculty mentorship. Are there any other support systems or added opportunities in place for either scholarship, whether it comes to in school opportunities or employment?

2) Does Chicago have a significant advantage for judicial clerkships, or is the difference in percentages of grads doing clerkships mostly a matter of self selection among the graduates?

3) Is there any real relative advantage in firm placement between the two based on geographic market, or is it mostly self selection? I am deciding between NYC and a large southern city (hometown).

4) I understand Columbia does not force profs to give B- on the curve, and Chicago has a weird grading system. Any perceived advantages or disadvantages between the two?

5) Is law review easier to get in one or the other? What about honors?

6) I understand Columbia has a forced curve to 3.3. Does that apply to all courses, or are some small seminars exempt? Does Chicago have a forced curve system, and if so, which course types does it apply to? If not, do students generally feel grading standards are fair between different instructors?

7) Any advantage in being in Chicago or NYC in terms of applying for 1L summer jobs? For example, some advantage in being able to physically visit the firms?

8 ) The Rubenstein comes with an additional 45k for living expenses, but what is the estimated cost of living difference between NYC and Chicago for three years? I want to add the two to come up with a total to weigh against any other preferences.

9) Any general differences in student body culture that might appeal to or not appeal to certain personalities?

10) Any other difference in terms of competitiveness and difficulty of competing for grades in one school or the other? Does one school attract a more perfectionist student body?

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Hikikomorist
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Postby Hikikomorist » Mon Mar 02, 2015 6:34 pm

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Last edited by Hikikomorist on Sun Oct 02, 2016 11:38 am, edited 1 time in total.

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malleus discentium
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Re: Questions on Hamilton and Rubenstein

Postby malleus discentium » Mon Mar 02, 2015 6:38 pm

Without knowing your goals we can't give the best advice. It sounds like you want to clerk then go to biglaw. Chicago has an edge for clerking, but they are equal for biglaw generally. It will be easier to get NYC from Columbia and Chicago from Chicago, obviously, but both are great for biglaw. If you're looking to go somewhere that isn't NYC or Chicago, both schools are probably going to be equal.
The fact that the Ruby has living expenses is a huge edge for it--IMO a big enough edge that Chicago presumptively wins and you would need specific reasons for Columbia.
Which school has easier honors/LR shouldn't really be part of your decision.
Chicago has a reputation for a more serious/conservative student body ("Chicago is where fun goes to die"). I don't think this is true, but you'd probably have to attend ASW and talk to current students to get a feel for the environment.
The good news is that you truly cannot go wrong here. Attend both ASWs, because fit is probably going to be the most important thing for you at this point. Congratulations! :D
Do not take HYS when you get them.

TY22
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Re: Questions on Hamilton and Rubenstein

Postby TY22 » Mon Mar 02, 2015 7:40 pm

Hikkomorist wrote:I can't imagine Chicago having a higher COL than NYC, much less a $15,000 difference per year.


I meant the other way. For example, if columbia cost of living would be an additional 5k a year or so, then as long as I don't prefer Columbia 60k more than Chicago, I would take Chicago. Just trying to determine what the Columbia additional cost would be, in case I do end up preferring Columbia.

TY22
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Re: Questions on Hamilton and Rubenstein

Postby TY22 » Mon Mar 02, 2015 7:44 pm

malleus discentium wrote:Without knowing your goals we can't give the best advice. It sounds like you want to clerk then go to biglaw. Chicago has an edge for clerking, but they are equal for biglaw generally. It will be easier to get NYC from Columbia and Chicago from Chicago, obviously, but both are great for biglaw. If you're looking to go somewhere that isn't NYC or Chicago, both schools are probably going to be equal.
The fact that the Ruby has living expenses is a huge edge for it--IMO a big enough edge that Chicago presumptively wins and you would need specific reasons for Columbia.
Which school has easier honors/LR shouldn't really be part of your decision.
Chicago has a reputation for a more serious/conservative student body ("Chicago is where fun goes to die"). I don't think this is true, but you'd probably have to attend ASW and talk to current students to get a feel for the environment.
The good news is that you truly cannot go wrong here. Attend both ASWs, because fit is probably going to be the most important thing for you at this point. Congratulations! :D
Do not take HYS when you get them.


You guessed my goals correctly, clerking then biglaw. Thanks so much for your advice and thoughts. I will be attending both ASW (one in a couple of days), and I'm trying to get the preliminary research out of the way so that I can, as you suggest, focus on fit.

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jbagelboy
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Re: Questions on Hamilton and Rubenstein

Postby jbagelboy » Mon Mar 02, 2015 11:39 pm

2) No. Chicago has a smaller student body, and the applicants have more geographic flexibility, i.e. they aren't all 2/9/DC.

3) Only at the fringes. Chicago has closer networking and connection to midwestern markets and Texas, CLS has more dominant placement in elite firms in New York (just looking at class sizes), they are equal in California. I'd say mostly self-selection, and I don't think it will matter for the south.

4) Very few profs give B- at CLS, so you're on a 4-grade scale. Chicago is on a multi-grade scale, but my sense is that doesn't wind up having a significant impact on job prospects. There are pros and cons to having more grades vs. less grades and two basic schools of thought: the smaller range provides a cushion for the bottom, since if you're at the bottom of all your classes you'll still be OK with straight B's or P's, whereas the being on the bottom of a higher number *seems* worse; conversely, with only four grades, scoring a B+ could mean almost honors or just above a B, whereas more grades on the scale provides more differentiation so you can stand out in a positive way. I prefer the four grade scale simplicity, but reasonable folks can disagree.

5) How hard it is to get onto law review shouldn't inform your decision. But, there is one significant difference. Chicago very conspicuously does not consider diversity when evaluating law review applications, whereas CLS does (as does every other T14). This means Chicago's will come down more precisely to grades and write-on and provide no advantage to a diverse applicant (female, lgbt, person of color), whereas CLS offers 15 write-on only spots, and 30 based on a combination of roughly 1/3 diversity, 1/3 write-on and 1/3 grades. (Then again, this could change because Chicago LR takes a lot of flak for it and proposals to add diversity are made pretty regularly, another reason not to consider this too strongly).

6) First, CLS doesn't produce or calculate GPAs or class rank. Thus, Columbia doesn't have a "forced" curve; it has one recommended grade breakdown for all 1L courses, one for 2L/3L lectures and a third, far more generous one for seminars (60%+ of each seminar gets an A-range grade). It's estimated that median lands around a B+ at the end of 1L year, or 3.3. However, the exact distribution will differ for each class; PM me if you want the ranges. Grading standards are not entirely fair between instructors at either school. There are always harsher profs who grade toward the bottom of the curve and lenient profs who give as many honors grades as possible.

7) No.

8 ) The Rubenstein is the better scholarship financially. This should be an important consideration; not dispositive, but important.

9) I definitely think there are but this question is inevitably case by case. From my perspective CLS was a lot better for me but there will be lots of shitty people and lots of great people at both schools. Class size is a big difference; CLS is roughly twice the size, but still manageable at 360-370, so you won't feel socially claustrophobic but you aren't in a diploma mill. I think the TLSers at Chicago have enjoyed their experiences though.

10) Not sure what you're getting at here. Students at both schools will work exceptionally hard. I have not found CLS to be "competitive" between students in a negative way, though. Sure there are irritating try-hards, but on the whole the student body is very supportive, collaborative and social. Law students cultivate very strong personal friendships and relationships and the environment is not as toxic as some people might depict it since no one is existentially worried about their future employment.

Good luck!

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elterrible78
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Re: Questions on Hamilton and Rubenstein

Postby elterrible78 » Mon Mar 02, 2015 11:46 pm

TY22 wrote:
Hikkomorist wrote:I can't imagine Chicago having a higher COL than NYC, much less a $15,000 difference per year.


I meant the other way. For example, if columbia cost of living would be an additional 5k a year or so, then as long as I don't prefer Columbia 60k more than Chicago, I would take Chicago. Just trying to determine what the Columbia additional cost would be, in case I do end up preferring Columbia.



Have a feeling you'd fit in pretty well here at the U of C.

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UnicornHunter
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Re: Questions on Hamilton and Rubenstein

Postby UnicornHunter » Mon Mar 02, 2015 11:56 pm

jbagelboy wrote:6) First, CLS doesn't produce or calculate GPAs or class rank. Thus, Columbia doesn't have a "forced" curve; it has one recommended grade breakdown for all 1L courses, one for 2L/3L lectures and a third, far more generous one for seminars (60%+ of each seminar gets an A-range grade). It's estimated that median lands around a B+ at the end of 1L year, or 3.3. However, the exact distribution will differ for each class; PM me if you want the ranges. Grading standards are not entirely fair between instructors at either school. There are always harsher profs who grade toward the bottom of the curve and lenient profs who give as many honors grades as possible.



Not necessarily true at Chicago anymore. After the profs grade along the recommended curve, the registrar's office collects all the grades and smoothes out the curves to eliminate inconsistencies between profs. Apparently there were a couple profs who were notorious for wrecking the bottom of the class.

eta: not that I think any of it matters. The two are as fungible as peer schools can possibly be. I think the COL of Hyde Park + the stipend make this an easy call.

TY22
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Re: Questions on Hamilton and Rubenstein

Postby TY22 » Tue Mar 03, 2015 12:05 am

Jbagelboy,

Thank you so much for your incredibly detailed reply! You mentioned PMing for the specific grade ranges, but I think I'm already good with the level of detail you have provided, and I think I now understand how it works. You've really helped me out enormously and I appreciate how much time you put in.

Eltterrible,

Lol, I walked into that one.

TheUnicornHunter,

As a small question, is grading at Chicago generally similar otherwise to what jbagelboy mentioned for Columbia, in terms of different curves for blackletter law courses vs seminars? Just curious, I will probably end up taking almost entirely blackletter law, but of course it isn't a significant factor.

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UnicornHunter
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Re: Questions on Hamilton and Rubenstein

Postby UnicornHunter » Tue Mar 03, 2015 12:30 am

TY22 wrote:Jbagelboy,

Thank you so much for your incredibly detailed reply! You mentioned PMing for the specific grade ranges, but I think I'm already good with the level of detail you have provided, and I think I now understand how it works. You've really helped me out enormously and I appreciate how much time you put in.

Eltterrible,

Lol, I walked into that one.

TheUnicornHunter,

As a small question, is grading at Chicago generally similar otherwise to what jbagelboy mentioned for Columbia, in terms of different curves for blackletter law courses vs seminars? Just curious, I will probably end up taking almost entirely blackletter law, but of course it isn't a significant factor.


Good question. On information and belief, the 1L BLL classes are curved to a 177, legal writing is curved to a 178, and some of the seminars are curved to a 179. (For me) the important thing is that after 1L you can take classes from other UC schools, and they're graded to a P/F curve. I don't know what the upper level BLL courses are curved to. If you're looking for a meaningful distinction between the two schools, this probably isn't it.

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BizBro
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Re: Questions on Hamilton and Rubenstein

Postby BizBro » Tue Mar 03, 2015 12:37 am

I would probably take the Ruby because that living stipend is no joke. You can get NYC big law / clerkships from UC. You're going to need to do well at either school to get the super prefstigious clerkships anyway.

TY22
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Re: Questions on Hamilton and Rubenstein

Postby TY22 » Tue Mar 03, 2015 1:10 am

Thank you TheUnicornHunter and BizBro for your replies!

I do have a follow-up question, on the subject of grading. English is not my first language, and while I seem to write well in prepared papers for undergraduate courses, I do not yet really know how well I will perform on very time pressured issue spotting exams (I think I write more slowly than native speakers when I try to be accurate, not too slow but perhaps enough to make a difference if a 3 hour exam is aimed at most students only just finishing in time). Am I right in assuming both Columbia and Chicago are pretty much the same in having high time pressure in exams, or is there any difference there?

Alternatively, is one school more protective for the bottom third of the class? Not that I am resigning myself to that, and I will work very hard to train myself in the kind of quick writing involved, but it seems prudent to at least consider that possibility. This is actually one of the reasons I am strongly considering Yale even given the huge debt-load, given the option to write papers in place of exams in some courses.

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jbagelboy
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Re: Questions on Hamilton and Rubenstein

Postby jbagelboy » Tue Mar 03, 2015 1:35 am

TY22 wrote:Thank you TheUnicornHunter and BizBro for your replies!

I do have a follow-up question, on the subject of grading. English is not my first language, and while I seem to write well in prepared papers for undergraduate courses, I do not yet really know how well I will perform on very time pressured issue spotting exams (I think I write more slowly than native speakers when I try to be accurate, not too slow but perhaps enough to make a difference if a 3 hour exam is aimed at most students only just finishing in time). Am I right in assuming both Columbia and Chicago are pretty much the same in having high time pressure in exams, or is there any difference there?

Alternatively, is one school more protective for the bottom third of the class? Not that I am resigning myself to that, and I will work very hard to train myself in the kind of quick writing involved, but it seems prudent to at least consider that possibility. This is actually one of the reasons I am strongly considering Yale even given the huge debt-load, given the option to write papers in place of exams in some courses.


most 1L classes will be exam driven in less than four hours at all schools, although some classes at CLS and I'm sure at chicago as well will have take-home exams or essay options. as for a safety net, students near the bottom of the class at both Chicago and Columbia can find summer associate positions through OCI. The key with sub-par grades will be strong interviewing; the strike-outs, to the limited degree they exist, are mostly either extremely unlucky or unprepared weirdos across the board.

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jbagelboy
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Re: Questions on Hamilton and Rubenstein

Postby jbagelboy » Tue Mar 03, 2015 1:37 am

also for these scholarships you must have scored a 175+ on the LSAT, which means you are well equipped for the "speed" of law school exam reading and writing. Now, the quality of the analysis and argument, that's unrelated to the LSAT, but hamilton and rubenstein recipients tend to do well in law school since their backgrounds necessitate the commitment.

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Tiago Splitter
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Re: Questions on Hamilton and Rubenstein

Postby Tiago Splitter » Tue Mar 03, 2015 10:25 am

jbagelboy wrote:8 ) The Rubenstein is the better scholarship financially. This should be an important consideration; not dispositive, but important.

For me it would be dispositive. You'd have to have some pretty compelling reasons to be in NYC to turn down all that extra money.

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jbagelboy
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Re: Questions on Hamilton and Rubenstein

Postby jbagelboy » Tue Mar 03, 2015 10:27 am

Tiago Splitter wrote:
jbagelboy wrote:8 ) The Rubenstein is the better scholarship financially. This should be an important consideration; not dispositive, but important.

For me it would be dispositive. You'd have to have some pretty compelling reasons to be in NYC to turn down all that extra money.


Yea, true. I'd much rather live in Manhattan than Hyde Park but that's worth the CoL difference, not the stipend also.

TY22
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Re: Questions on Hamilton and Rubenstein

Postby TY22 » Tue Mar 03, 2015 1:52 pm

Jbagelboy,

Thank you again for your replies. I'm still lacking in some confidence (writing has always been a slower process than reading for me, and I tend to make English errors if I don't carefully proofread), but I do intend to work very hard in conquering that. I really appreciate all the detailed information and suggestions.

Tiago Splitter,

I guess that's right, given the info in this thread it only matters if after Admitted Students Programs I have a substantially different impression about where I will be happy.




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