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Postby ShootzBraddah » Sat Mar 07, 2015 2:54 pm

-The schools you are considering:
Harvard, Chicago, Duke, Berkeley

-The total Cost of Attendance (COA) of each:
Harvard: $297,869 (no aid information yet)
Chicago: $200,933 ($75K scholarship)
Duke: $65,142 (Mordecai, need decision by April 1)
Berkeley: TBD (Waiting to hear if they will offer a matching scholarship)

-How you will be financing your COA, i.e. loans, family, or savings:
Loans and Family (Dad said he could contribute $20K each year). I have no undergrad debt due to scholarships.

-Where you are from and where you want to work, and other places where you have significant ties (if any):
I am from Indiana. I live and work in Hawaii. I want to live in San Francisco, Hawaii, Chicago, or Washington, D.C.

-Your general career goals:
I would like to pursue a career in public interest, government, or academia. I have a background in business and economics, so an In-House position could be interesting in the future. I am okay with the lower salary expectations of these options as long as I am not crushed by debt.

-Your LSAT/GPA numbers:
173, 4.01

-How many times you have taken the LSAT:
2 times

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Re: Harvard/Chicago/Duke$

Postby thatsnotmyname » Sat Mar 07, 2015 3:02 pm

ShootzBraddah wrote:-Your general career goals
I would like to pursue a career in public interest, government, or academia. I have a background in business and economics, so an In-House position could be interesting in the future. I am okay with the lower salary expectations of these options as long as I am not crushed by debt.

Congrats on the great options! I think taking the full-tuition scholarship at Duke makes by far the most sense in your situation. I would take Duke in a heartbeat if I were you. You'll be graduating 100% debt-free from a law school that provides you with great career prospects if you take the Mordecai. Having no debt will allow you to pursue opportunities that you may be interested in that you would not otherwise have if you had the large debt burden that Chicago and Harvard will leave you with hanging over your head. Chicago and especially Harvard providing better opportunities for breaking into academia but that added benefit is not worth the $180K+ debt you would be taking out to fund.

I think it's unlikely that Berkeley will match a full-tuition scholarship, but make sure that their office of financial aid knows that you have to make a decision by April 1 on the Mordecai so that you know for sure that they are not willing to offer the same package as Duke.

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Postby MistakenGenius » Sat Mar 07, 2015 3:19 pm

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Re: Harvard/Chicago/Duke$

Postby Jurssiczz » Sat Mar 07, 2015 3:21 pm

Logically, you should pick Duke but it would be very hard to turn down harvard. I think that you should either pick Duke or Harvard and forget about the rest.

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Re: Harvard/Chicago/Duke$

Postby ub3r » Sat Mar 07, 2015 4:02 pm

Out of curiosity, was Stanford ever an option for you? Your numbers look good for them and that would cement your San Francisco desires.

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Re: Harvard/Chicago/Duke$

Postby ShootzBraddah » Sat Mar 07, 2015 4:30 pm

Thank you all for your replies! This has been helpful for me.

MistakenGenius and ub3r: I applied to Stanford and Yale in October, but haven't heard back. At this point, I'm assuming either rejections or waitlists.

Thanks again!

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Re: Harvard/Chicago/Duke$

Postby jbagelboy » Sat Mar 07, 2015 4:40 pm

MistakenGenius wrote:I completely disagree with Thatsnotmyname. I would throw out Chicago completely since it's nowhere near worth that much. But, considering your goals, Harvard is the clear winner. LIPP is one of the best LRAP programs if you decide to do public interest. Duke, while perfectly fine for Biglaw (and by far the best Biglaw school in the South), is not the best at getting public interest or governmental work. The biggest factor though is academia. Yale would of course be preferable for that, but Harvard is #2 for Academia in the country. Beyond HYS and sometimes Chicago, the amount of academics produced by law schools is negligible. If you go to Duke, I would say you might as well give up any dreams of academia. For most people, the full-ride is the ideal outcome since Duke will get you into Biglaw as well as pretty much anyone. But your goals do not match with Duke at all. Harvard's the right decision in your case.

Sometimes I feel like you just say things that you hear or read without taking time to evaluate them independently, which dilutes your normally sound advise. Have you actually looked at sampling of where law professors are coming from? Leiter's survey provides some useful actual data, although obviously it changes year to year. http://leiterreports.typepad.com/blog/2 ... ers_o.html. Yes, Yale and Harvard are #1 and #2 by a long shot, but Columbia and Stanford produce an equal number per capita after that, with Chicago following closely behind. If 15 is non-negligible, then how is 9-13 "negligible"?

Duke doesn't produce a lot of faculty, but neither does any school in any year. Academia is not a particularly reasonable goal in the first place.

Also, MG, have you really looked at LIPP? There's substantial consensus that in many respects its not as strong a public interest repayment program as many others, including YLS, CLS and NYU. Why do you say it is? Can you support that claim or are you relying on a transient impression?

OP, I would negotiate with Chicago and see if they will raise their offer to $90k or $105. If you can get debt below $100k there I'd take it. If Chicago only offers $75k, I agree that's not sufficient to justify taking it over the Mordecai, or Harvard if your parents will pay your tuition.

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Re: Harvard/Chicago/Duke$

Postby chuckbass » Sat Mar 07, 2015 4:50 pm

The problem is that even if you do go to HLS for the increased shot at academia, odds are you still won't get academia.

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Re: Harvard/Chicago/Duke$

Postby jingosaur » Sat Mar 07, 2015 5:55 pm

I would say H because of your goals. At the very least, wait until you hear back about financial aid.

Have you tried negotiating with Chicago yet? They've gone up to $90k when people show them $120k at NU so I assume that a Mordechai will make them bump you up to at least that. They have a pretty solid LRAP and good placement into some of the things that you want to do so a nice bump can make them a real contender.

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