What's the deal with Harvard students?

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Desert Fox
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Re: What's the deal with Harvard students?

Postby Desert Fox » Thu Mar 19, 2015 5:29 pm

abl wrote:
Desert Fox wrote:I understand if you don't want to say what you do, but unless it's blowjob inspector, I really doubt it's objectively worth 2mil over biglaw. I also doubt HLS makes a unicorn job 10% more likely compared to CLS since it wouldn't unicorn even if the difference was 10% HLS vs 0% CLS.


I just plugged myself into a lifetime earnings calculator. Over my lifetime, I should earn around $16 million. If you're asking me if I think the difference between my current career and the career I would have had is worth making $16 million instead of $18 million, that's an easy "yes" for me. It's worth a hell of a lot more than that over my lifetime. ($25 million? $30 million? It's hard to say -- I make enough money to be able to largely support my desired lifestyle, so there's serious diminishing value to the added earnings.)

And there's no way to objectively value this, because it's entirely based on my relative subjective enjoyment of these two careers. But once again, I don't think I'm particularly out of the ordinary in how much subjective value I place on things like getting to do substantive cutting edge legal work that makes the world a better place instead of doing doc review for an oil company that will largely get re-done by someone else.


1) How the hell are you getting a lifetime earnings from a calculator? Just extrapolating your current salary out with raises. This seems specious. Also CHECK YOU DISCOUNT RATE

2) z=10% is way too high from CLS to HLS in absolute percentages. If you are using relative percentages your whole equation is fucked up. What kind of unicorn job do you have a 10% chance of getting at HLS?

3) When you say, But I don't value a, but really value b highly! you take it from a math equation and just introduce your rationalization

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Tiago Splitter
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Re: What's the deal with Harvard students?

Postby Tiago Splitter » Thu Mar 19, 2015 5:30 pm

It's just stupid to argue that you're getting all of this intangible utility out of your "low paying job" while then telling us you'll average 400k over your 40 year career.

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Re: What's the deal with Harvard students?

Postby Mal Reynolds » Thu Mar 19, 2015 5:30 pm

MistakenGenius wrote:
Desert Fox wrote:
rpupkin wrote:
jbagelboy wrote:You're turning this from advocating a particular position to becoming defensive about your own, intentionally or unintentionally. I don't think anyone's saying - and I'm certainly not - that you made a mistake taking on some added debt many years ago to go to a higher ranked school.

Actually, I think you are saying that. You're suggesting that abl made a mistake but got lucky.


Exactly, you can't judge this with a hindsight bias. Even if ABL is clerking for Ginsberg right now, something I concede HLS at 180K+ more debt would be a good trade off, it's still like 1/100 shot that just happened to pay off.

I could take 40k to the casino and let it roll on black 4 times in a row. That 6% of the time I walk away with my loans paid off and enough money to buy a BMW outright, doesn't make it a good choice.


God, just shut the hell up DF. We get it, you hate your job.

This thread has gone on for about 9 pages too long. If you think someone is making an objectively bad decision going to HYS, you're an idiot. I agree for Biglaw the Hamilton is the objectively BETTER decision, but HYS is still an outcome many would kill for, even for sticker. And you seem to keep forgetting that not everyone wants the shitty biglaw life. If they want academia, then I would say the Hamilton is the objectively worse decision, since you're not getting academia from Columbia.

LSATneurotic, I thought you were banned?


LJL

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Desert Fox
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Re: What's the deal with Harvard students?

Postby Desert Fox » Thu Mar 19, 2015 5:31 pm

If you are trolling us bravo, 180 job. I truly mean it.

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Re: What's the deal with Harvard students?

Postby UnicornHunter » Thu Mar 19, 2015 5:31 pm

Desert Fox wrote:
1) lol 1Ls

2) Legal academia is a stupid reason to pay 180k more for HLS. You are mortgaging your future of a longshot chance at academia before you spend 1 minute in legal academia.

3) Legal academia hiring is dead for a long time. Hiring fell off a cliff now that demand for law school screeched to a hault. HLS only placed 60% as many into academia in 13 than 09. It'll be even less going forward.

4) historically HLS only seems about 2-3 times better at placing academics. But that 2-3 times more people into academia is like 2% of the class population. It's like how second hand smoke doubles your chance of lung cancer, but not to many people are dropping dead from it. Doubling a small number is still small.


5) A lot of people who get legal academia already have Ph.Ds in related fields. If you have a good Ph.D in, say, econ and you are good at law school, you can probably get into legal academia from any t-14 school. If you don't have these things, your odds are much worse than the base 2-3% or whatever H puts into Academia. HYS traditionally have drawn from a higher caliber of students when it comes to "softs." This explains some of their placement power into unicorn positions. If you do not have a unicorn background, you're at a disadvantage. If you do have a unicorn background, it's just as helpful at CCN(PVDBMNCG....) as it is at HYS.

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Re: What's the deal with Harvard students?

Postby jbagelboy » Thu Mar 19, 2015 5:38 pm

I'm gonna put out one more competing CW to simplify. When choosing between schools, it's most rational to assume median performance. Median at CLS will summer at a V20 or go into IB/consulting if they have that background, maybe transition in-house or go partner track. Median at HLS will summer at a V20 or go into IB/consulting if they have that background, then maybe transition in-house or go partner track. Except one can have the financial advantages another can't

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Re: What's the deal with Harvard students?

Postby Fawkes » Thu Mar 19, 2015 5:39 pm

TheUnicornHunter wrote:
Fawkes wrote:
Desert Fox wrote:
It's not "Crushing" to pay it off in 10 years, but you won't get 10 years in biglaw. I tried a 5 year payoff plan and it was too hard. And most don't even make it 5 years. If you go inhouse making 140k a year, yea, that's still okay. But you still are paying a lot of your income for 10 years.



Yeah, if I go the HYS route, I fully expect for the debt repayment to take about 10 years. It is good to consider the debt implications strongly, so I'm glad you're pointing them out. Even my friend who got quite a decent amount of grants from HYS and is about 5 years out is still paying off her debt, so I never thought of HYS debt as something negligible. Granted, she went the PI route instead of BigLaw, so her situation will not apply to a lot of people.

Desert Fox wrote:Jumping in front of a bus is a person decision, but it is still stupid. I've never heard one even halfway reasonable situation where HLS is worth 180k in debt more than CLS.


This analogy is misguided. Attending HYS is hardly equivalent to jumping in front of a bus. The choice here depends on your utility function. It may be difficult to understand someone else's utility function, but in the end, it is more rational to maximize your utility rather than your life earnings. I'm not pushing for one choice over the other, which would be silly as I have yet to make my own final decision. I'm just trying to point out that different things matter more to different people. Example: why some people choose high-salary jobs like BigLaw while others choose PI

Financially, choosing the scholarship makes sense in pretty much all cases. However, just as an example, if you know you're going to be miserable choosing Columbia (extreme scenario, I know), then perhaps forking out that giant pile of money is worth it to you.


How would you know that? I think the general point is that as a 0L you don't have enough information to know how to value the difference in utility between H and C. Given the significant uncertainty involved it makes a lot of sense to hedge your bets by taking the free option.

Imagine 2 wheel of fortune style wheels. They have the same prizes, except that one has one extra panel with a great reward (this is a duplicate of a panel on both wheels, essentially doubling the chances of the great outcome.) you can spin the first wheel for free or pay 150,000k to spin the second wheel. Youd have to be crazy to pay to spin the second wheel.


I am a 0L, and I'm not arguing that I have perfect information-far from it. My information comes from my own research and what my friends who are grads/students from these law schools tell me. So yes, I don't have the perfect information necessary to make a perfect utility analysis, but neither does any alumni unless you've somehow attended and received a JD from both schools and, thus, have been able to compare your outcomes from both schools directly. What I do know, which is crucial in this decision-making process, is how my own utility function is derived. This is true for others making this decision as well; they likely know best how their utility is derived.

Your analogy suggests that the only thing beneficial about HYS is the greater chance of unique job outcomes. This is not the case for a lot of people. Other things matter, and not all of them are quantifiable things. For example, people may care about location, atmosphere/culture, certain special programs specific to certain schools, specific student opportunities at certain schools, just to name a few.

My point is, the "objectively" better choice depends on a person's utility composition. I just think it's silly that some people on these forums insult others for not taking the money or insult people for turning down HYS (though I have yet to see that occur). Try to understand that their utility composition is probably just different than yours.

This discussion is probably being dragged out longer than necessary considering there are so many threads on the full-ride vs. HYS topic. I just wanted to say my piece since it seems a "hive-mind" like approach is often taken on this topic, but I think I should stop since the whole thing is becoming redundant. My apologies for contributing to the repetitiveness of it all.

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Re: What's the deal with Harvard students?

Postby abl » Thu Mar 19, 2015 5:43 pm

Desert Fox wrote:
abl wrote:
Desert Fox wrote:I understand if you don't want to say what you do, but unless it's blowjob inspector, I really doubt it's objectively worth 2mil over biglaw. I also doubt HLS makes a unicorn job 10% more likely compared to CLS since it wouldn't unicorn even if the difference was 10% HLS vs 0% CLS.


I just plugged myself into a lifetime earnings calculator. Over my lifetime, I should earn around $16 million. If you're asking me if I think the difference between my current career and the career I would have had is worth making $16 million instead of $18 million, that's an easy "yes" for me. It's worth a hell of a lot more than that over my lifetime. ($25 million? $30 million? It's hard to say -- I make enough money to be able to largely support my desired lifestyle, so there's serious diminishing value to the added earnings.)

And there's no way to objectively value this, because it's entirely based on my relative subjective enjoyment of these two careers. But once again, I don't think I'm particularly out of the ordinary in how much subjective value I place on things like getting to do substantive cutting edge legal work that makes the world a better place instead of doing doc review for an oil company that will largely get re-done by someone else.


1) How the hell are you getting a lifetime earnings from a calculator? Just extrapolating your current salary out with raises. This seems specious. Also CHECK YOU DISCOUNT RATE

2) z=10% is way too high from CLS to HLS in absolute percentages. If you are using relative percentages your whole equation is fucked up. What kind of unicorn job do you have a 10% chance of getting at HLS?

3) When you say, But I don't value a, but really value b highly! you take it from a math equation and just introduce your rationalization


1. Do you have a better way of doing that? But it doesn't matters whether the number's $16 million or $8 million. My point is really that when you take it in the context of an entire lifetime's worth of earnings (at a reasonably high, if not biglaw, salary), the added utility of $2 million is not as big as it might seem (it's a 25% increase in lifetime salary assuming the $8 number). I don't think discount rate applies because we're not actually talking about real salary $$s -- we're talking about the hypothetical respective values derived from different parts of your life (making money and working a job). But regardless, I think my point stands with or without discount rates.

2. I disagree. I mean, I suppose it depends on how you define unicorn jobs, but I do think that in absolute value terms, 10% more of the Harvard class are doing wicked awesome things than the Columbia class. The question isn't what single unicorn job 10% of the class at Harvard is doing. It's what % of the Harvard class is, in the aggregate, doing some unicorn job. Go back and read the early pages of this convo, where this was a big part of the discussion. I picked 10% because I thought that was what folks mostly agreed on.

3. What? As I stated earlier, I'm happy walking through in detail why specifically I value the utility that I gain from working at my job instead of big law over 10x more than I value the utility that I gain from having an additional $15,000 in spending money each year. But I thought it was pretty obvious from my post that all of these numbers were meant more to clarify my earlier post on the subject (that many seemed to misread). If you really think the point of any of these is to get the math perfect, you're missing the point entirely. The math is only there to provide a rough-sketches illustration.

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Re: What's the deal with Harvard students?

Postby nerd1 » Thu Mar 19, 2015 5:46 pm

I would re-frame the question if I were you. "What's the deal with people not taking full-rides at CC?" or something like that.
The title as it currently stands looks like you are trying to provoke some meaningless fights here.

Obviously, not all of HLS students were offered full-rides at Columbia or Chicago.

As a student at HLS, I do think full-rides at Columbia or Chicago (or half-ride depending on how debt-averse you are) definitely may be a better option for most people than HLS.

If you want to clerk, HLS clearly will give you an edge over the two schools the extent of which may be worth the price for many students. If you are aiming for biglaw in major US markets, HLS is a safer option all else equal. Firms dig deeper into class at HLS. But whether this kind of insurance is worth the price is up to you. And if this biglaw part is what you don't understand about some Harvard students abandoning $$$s from Columbia Chicago, I would agree.

Having said that, I myself only applied to seven schools when I was applying, and many other HLS students did likewise. You just do not know how well you will do in law school. It's so unpredictable. If you end up, after your 1L year, in the top of your class or in the top 10% at Michigan, Georgetown, etc, obviously you will be able to get whatever biglaw job you want. But you never know that. People choose schools assuming they will fall somewhere in the middle after their 1st year, or perhaps below median since we are risk-averse. It's better to be below median at HYS than at Columbia. And if you choose Duke $$$ over HLS, you could end up below the median and the difference in outcome could be scary: you could have gotten a biglaw job at OCS during your 2L year if you had gone to HLS, but now you could end up unemployed even after graduation.

And yes, a lot of people here are from wealthy families or had ibanking, MBB jobs before coming here. Hence they never were tempted by scholarship offers.
Last edited by nerd1 on Thu Mar 19, 2015 5:53 pm, edited 2 times in total.

abl
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Re: What's the deal with Harvard students?

Postby abl » Thu Mar 19, 2015 5:49 pm

jbagelboy wrote:I'm gonna put out one more competing CW to simplify. When choosing between schools, it's most rational to assume median performance. Median at CLS will summer at a V20 or go into IB/consulting if they have that background, maybe transition in-house or go partner track. Median at HLS will summer at a V20 or go into IB/consulting if they have that background, then maybe transition in-house or go partner track. Except one can have the financial advantages another can't


It's a clever point, but I think you're wrong: making your decision this way entirely disregards whatever placement advantage that Harvard has (and I think we all agree it has some advantage), and would therefore justify Columbia over Harvard even if Harvard only costs $1 more -- which I think we all would agree is the wrong basis for this decision.

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Re: What's the deal with Harvard students?

Postby jbagelboy » Thu Mar 19, 2015 5:56 pm

Fawkes wrote:
TheUnicornHunter wrote:
Fawkes wrote:
Desert Fox wrote:
It's not "Crushing" to pay it off in 10 years, but you won't get 10 years in biglaw. I tried a 5 year payoff plan and it was too hard. And most don't even make it 5 years. If you go inhouse making 140k a year, yea, that's still okay. But you still are paying a lot of your income for 10 years.



Yeah, if I go the HYS route, I fully expect for the debt repayment to take about 10 years. It is good to consider the debt implications strongly, so I'm glad you're pointing them out. Even my friend who got quite a decent amount of grants from HYS and is about 5 years out is still paying off her debt, so I never thought of HYS debt as something negligible. Granted, she went the PI route instead of BigLaw, so her situation will not apply to a lot of people.

Desert Fox wrote:Jumping in front of a bus is a person decision, but it is still stupid. I've never heard one even halfway reasonable situation where HLS is worth 180k in debt more than CLS.


This analogy is misguided. Attending HYS is hardly equivalent to jumping in front of a bus. The choice here depends on your utility function. It may be difficult to understand someone else's utility function, but in the end, it is more rational to maximize your utility rather than your life earnings. I'm not pushing for one choice over the other, which would be silly as I have yet to make my own final decision. I'm just trying to point out that different things matter more to different people. Example: why some people choose high-salary jobs like BigLaw while others choose PI

Financially, choosing the scholarship makes sense in pretty much all cases. However, just as an example, if you know you're going to be miserable choosing Columbia (extreme scenario, I know), then perhaps forking out that giant pile of money is worth it to you.


How would you know that? I think the general point is that as a 0L you don't have enough information to know how to value the difference in utility between H and C. Given the significant uncertainty involved it makes a lot of sense to hedge your bets by taking the free option.

Imagine 2 wheel of fortune style wheels. They have the same prizes, except that one has one extra panel with a great reward (this is a duplicate of a panel on both wheels, essentially doubling the chances of the great outcome.) you can spin the first wheel for free or pay 150,000k to spin the second wheel. Youd have to be crazy to pay to spin the second wheel.


I am a 0L, and I'm not arguing that I have perfect information-far from it. My information comes from my own research and what my friends who are grads/students from these law schools tell me. So yes, I don't have the perfect information necessary to make a perfect utility analysis, but neither does any alumni unless you've somehow attended and received a JD from both schools and, thus, have been able to compare your outcomes from both schools directly. What I do know, which is crucial in this decision-making process, is how my own utility function is derived. This is true for others making this decision as well; they likely know best how their utility is derived.

Your analogy suggests that the only thing beneficial about HYS is the greater chance of unique job outcomes. This is not the case for a lot of people. Other things matter, and not all of them are quantifiable things. For example, people may care about location, atmosphere/culture, certain special programs specific to certain schools, specific student opportunities at certain schools, just to name a few.

My point is, the "objectively" better choice depends on a person's utility composition. I just think it's silly that some people on these forums insult others for not taking the money or insult people for turning down HYS (though I have yet to see that occur). Try to understand that their utility composition is probably just different than yours.

This discussion is probably being dragged out longer than necessary considering there are so many threads on the full-ride vs. HYS topic. I just wanted to say my piece since it seems a "hive-mind" like approach is often taken on this topic, but I think I should stop since the whole thing is becoming redundant. My apologies for contributing to the repetitiveness of it all.


Sure but these don't play out one way or the other. So its useless. Some people want to live i. New york, some in Chicago, some in the Bay or New england, people want to work with a particular professor or clinic.. Doesnt matter for general advise

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Re: What's the deal with Harvard students?

Postby Pneumonia » Thu Mar 19, 2015 5:59 pm

abl wrote:
jbagelboy wrote:I'm gonna put out one more competing CW to simplify. When choosing between schools, it's most rational to assume median performance. Median at CLS will summer at a V20 or go into IB/consulting if they have that background, maybe transition in-house or go partner track. Median at HLS will summer at a V20 or go into IB/consulting if they have that background, then maybe transition in-house or go partner track. Except one can have the financial advantages another can't


It's a clever point, but I think you're wrong: making your decision this way entirely disregards whatever placement advantage that Harvard has (and I think we all agree it has some advantage), and would therefore justify Columbia over Harvard even if Harvard only costs $1 more -- which I think we all would agree is the wrong basis for this decision.


Yeah totally for sure. $1 = $180,000. Naturally.

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Re: What's the deal with Harvard students?

Postby abl » Thu Mar 19, 2015 6:02 pm

Pneumonia wrote:
abl wrote:
jbagelboy wrote:I'm gonna put out one more competing CW to simplify. When choosing between schools, it's most rational to assume median performance. Median at CLS will summer at a V20 or go into IB/consulting if they have that background, maybe transition in-house or go partner track. Median at HLS will summer at a V20 or go into IB/consulting if they have that background, then maybe transition in-house or go partner track. Except one can have the financial advantages another can't


It's a clever point, but I think you're wrong: making your decision this way entirely disregards whatever placement advantage that Harvard has (and I think we all agree it has some advantage), and would therefore justify Columbia over Harvard even if Harvard only costs $1 more -- which I think we all would agree is the wrong basis for this decision.


Yeah totally for sure. $1 = $180,000. Naturally.


Straw man. Point is that as a basis for decisionmaking, it overlooks a factor that we all agree exists (which is, in fact, the factor that is the topic of this discussion).

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Re: What's the deal with Harvard students?

Postby Desert Fox » Thu Mar 19, 2015 6:03 pm

abl wrote:
Desert Fox wrote:
abl wrote:
Desert Fox wrote:I understand if you don't want to say what you do, but unless it's blowjob inspector, I really doubt it's objectively worth 2mil over biglaw. I also doubt HLS makes a unicorn job 10% more likely compared to CLS since it wouldn't unicorn even if the difference was 10% HLS vs 0% CLS.


I just plugged myself into a lifetime earnings calculator. Over my lifetime, I should earn around $16 million. If you're asking me if I think the difference between my current career and the career I would have had is worth making $16 million instead of $18 million, that's an easy "yes" for me. It's worth a hell of a lot more than that over my lifetime. ($25 million? $30 million? It's hard to say -- I make enough money to be able to largely support my desired lifestyle, so there's serious diminishing value to the added earnings.)

And there's no way to objectively value this, because it's entirely based on my relative subjective enjoyment of these two careers. But once again, I don't think I'm particularly out of the ordinary in how much subjective value I place on things like getting to do substantive cutting edge legal work that makes the world a better place instead of doing doc review for an oil company that will largely get re-done by someone else.


1) How the hell are you getting a lifetime earnings from a calculator? Just extrapolating your current salary out with raises. This seems specious. Also CHECK YOU DISCOUNT RATE

2) z=10% is way too high from CLS to HLS in absolute percentages. If you are using relative percentages your whole equation is fucked up. What kind of unicorn job do you have a 10% chance of getting at HLS?

3) When you say, But I don't value a, but really value b highly! you take it from a math equation and just introduce your rationalization


1. Do you have a better way of doing that? But it doesn't matters whether the number's $16 million or $8 million. My point is really that when you take it in the context of an entire lifetime's worth of earnings (at a reasonably high, if not biglaw, salary), the added utility of $2 million is not as big as it might seem (it's a 25% increase in lifetime salary assuming the $8 number). I don't think discount rate applies because we're not actually talking about real salary $$s -- we're talking about the hypothetical respective values derived from different parts of your life (making money and working a job). But regardless, I think my point stands with or without discount rates.

2. I disagree. I mean, I suppose it depends on how you define unicorn jobs, but I do think that in absolute value terms, 10% more of the Harvard class are doing wicked awesome things than the Columbia class. The question isn't what single unicorn job 10% of the class at Harvard is doing. It's what % of the Harvard class is, in the aggregate, doing some unicorn job. Go back and read the early pages of this convo, where this was a big part of the discussion. I picked 10% because I thought that was what folks mostly agreed on.

3. What? As I stated earlier, I'm happy walking through in detail why specifically I value the utility that I gain from working at my job instead of big law over 10x more than I value the utility that I gain from having an additional $15,000 in spending money each year. But I thought it was pretty obvious from my post that all of these numbers were meant more to clarify my earlier post on the subject (that many seemed to misread). If you really think the point of any of these is to get the math perfect, you're missing the point entirely. The math is only there to provide a rough-sketches illustration.


1) You at least have to account for the 180K+ blow to your net worth of over time. But like someone asked, what kind of unicorn job are we talking about that is so high paying and so much better than biglaw. Can you give me examples that are sorta close, so you dont out yourself.

2) I sincerely doubt that, unless you are defining unicorn so broadly that it just means kinda nice job like DOJ Civil Rights division or ACLU. The job you are talking about is one that is supposed to be amazing yet pays *barely* less than private practice over a career. No way that 10% of HLS can get a job like that.

3) Even if 10% was accurate, you are still pulling your 2mil (or whatever it is) number of your ass. If Cadwalder offered the average 0L a 2 mil starting bonus 99.999999% of them would accept.

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Re: What's the deal with Harvard students?

Postby Pneumonia » Thu Mar 19, 2015 6:07 pm

abl wrote:
Pneumonia wrote:
abl wrote: It's a clever point, but I think you're wrong: making your decision this way entirely disregards whatever placement advantage that Harvard has (and I think we all agree it has some advantage), and would therefore justify Columbia over Harvard even if Harvard only costs $1 more -- which I think we all would agree is the wrong basis for this decision.


Yeah totally for sure. $1 = $180,000. Naturally.


Straw man. Point is that as a basis for decisionmaking, it overlooks a factor that we all agree exists (which is, in fact, the factor that is the topic of this discussion).


The placement advantage (if there is one) is that Median at CLS gets these outcomes while Median -15% or whatever get them at H. It's not placement into better jobs really, just increased placement power into the same job.

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Re: What's the deal with Harvard students?

Postby abl » Thu Mar 19, 2015 6:18 pm

Desert Fox wrote:
1) You at least have to account for the 180K+ blow to your net worth of over time. But like someone asked, what kind of unicorn job are we talking about that is so high paying and so much better than biglaw. Can you give me examples that are sorta close, so you dont out yourself.

2) I sincerely doubt that, unless you are defining unicorn so broadly that it just means kinda nice job like DOJ Civil Rights division or ACLU. The job you are talking about is one that is supposed to be amazing yet pays *barely* less than private practice over a career. No way that 10% of HLS can get a job like that.

3) Even if 10% was accurate, you are still pulling your 2mil (or whatever it is) number of your ass. If Cadwalder offered the average 0L a 2 mil starting bonus 99.999999% of them would accept.


1. That's assuming you save it all. I'm assuming that I (like most people) would simply spend this additional income.

2. I would classify the ACLU and DOJ Civil Rights as being unicorn jobs. I don't think a job has to pay nearly as much as biglaw to be a unicorn job -- I think it's more about mixing decent pay with substantive rewarding work experience (or balancing these things). I'd also probably define a boutique like Bancroft as being a unicorn job--because it affords the opportunity for young lawyers to contribute in important substantive ways to some of the most interesting and complex legal questions (while paying very well). What I mean by a unicorn job is that it provides a healthy balance of experience, salary, and public impact without demanding unreasonable hours. Only a very, very small percentage of legal work fits this bill.

3. I got my $2 mil number from a different poster. That's what I was using that number (but I think it's based on the 10% and $200k debt numbers). I agree that the average 0L would accept a $2 million starting bonus. I don't agree that it'd always or even usually be the correct utility-weighing decision (and once again, we're not talking about $2 million in actual money -- we're talking about $2 million in value).

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Re: What's the deal with Harvard students?

Postby abl » Thu Mar 19, 2015 6:19 pm

Pneumonia wrote:
abl wrote:
Pneumonia wrote:
abl wrote: It's a clever point, but I think you're wrong: making your decision this way entirely disregards whatever placement advantage that Harvard has (and I think we all agree it has some advantage), and would therefore justify Columbia over Harvard even if Harvard only costs $1 more -- which I think we all would agree is the wrong basis for this decision.


Yeah totally for sure. $1 = $180,000. Naturally.


Straw man. Point is that as a basis for decisionmaking, it overlooks a factor that we all agree exists (which is, in fact, the factor that is the topic of this discussion).


The placement advantage (if there is one) is that Median at CLS gets these outcomes while Median -15% or whatever get them at H. It's not placement into better jobs really, just increased placement power into the same job.


Dude, read the rest of the thread. That's not really accurate, not really what we've been talking about for the past 5 pages, and I'm sick of repeating myself.

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Re: What's the deal with Harvard students?

Postby nerd1 » Thu Mar 19, 2015 6:29 pm

Pneumonia wrote:
abl wrote:
Pneumonia wrote:
abl wrote: It's a clever point, but I think you're wrong: making your decision this way entirely disregards whatever placement advantage that Harvard has (and I think we all agree it has some advantage), and would therefore justify Columbia over Harvard even if Harvard only costs $1 more -- which I think we all would agree is the wrong basis for this decision.


Yeah totally for sure. $1 = $180,000. Naturally.


Straw man. Point is that as a basis for decisionmaking, it overlooks a factor that we all agree exists (which is, in fact, the factor that is the topic of this discussion).


The placement advantage (if there is one) is that Median at CLS gets these outcomes while Median -15% or whatever get them at H. It's not placement into better jobs really, just increased placement power into the same job.


But all else equal, firms prefer HLS over CLS. Assuming very similar resumes, interview skills, and grads, Wachtell would rather recruit the HLS student. I mean, all else equal, why wouldn't you adopt this approach if you were Martin Lipton? It's harder to maintain the same grades at HLS than at CLS, both because of differences in student body (e.g. entering grades/test scores serving as proxies) and 1L curriculum (e.g. at CLS, you only take three finals in December. At HLS you take four.)

(Of course, not all else are equal in most cases though.)

So the kinds of firms you may end up working at can potentially differ too depending on your choice.

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Re: What's the deal with Harvard students?

Postby Pneumonia » Thu Mar 19, 2015 6:32 pm

nerd1 wrote: But all else equal, firms prefer HLS over CLS. Assuming very similar resumes, interview skills, and grads, Wachtell would rather recruit the HLS student. I mean, all else equal, why wouldn't you adopt this approach if you were Martin Lipton? It's harder to maintain the same grades at HLS than at CLS, both because of differences in student body (e.g. entering grades/test scores serving as proxies) and 1L curriculum (e.g. at CLS, you only take three finals in December. At HLS you take four.)

(Of course, not all else are equal in most cases though.)

So the kinds of firms you may end up working at can potentially differ too depending on your choice.


Of course, I just think the number of people that would get the job coming from HLS and also wouldn't get the job coming from CLS is negligible and not worth paying the extra $$$ for.

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Re: What's the deal with Harvard students?

Postby Desert Fox » Thu Mar 19, 2015 6:35 pm

abl wrote:
Desert Fox wrote:
1) You at least have to account for the 180K+ blow to your net worth of over time. But like someone asked, what kind of unicorn job are we talking about that is so high paying and so much better than biglaw. Can you give me examples that are sorta close, so you dont out yourself.

2) I sincerely doubt that, unless you are defining unicorn so broadly that it just means kinda nice job like DOJ Civil Rights division or ACLU. The job you are talking about is one that is supposed to be amazing yet pays *barely* less than private practice over a career. No way that 10% of HLS can get a job like that.

3) Even if 10% was accurate, you are still pulling your 2mil (or whatever it is) number of your ass. If Cadwalder offered the average 0L a 2 mil starting bonus 99.999999% of them would accept.


1. That's assuming you save it all. I'm assuming that I (like most people) would simply spend this additional income.

2. I would classify the ACLU and DOJ Civil Rights as being unicorn jobs. I don't think a job has to pay nearly as much as biglaw to be a unicorn job -- I think it's more about mixing decent pay with substantive rewarding work experience (or balancing these things). I'd also probably define a boutique like Bancroft as being a unicorn job--because it affords the opportunity for young lawyers to contribute in important substantive ways to some of the most interesting and complex legal questions (while paying very well). What I mean by a unicorn job is that it provides a healthy balance of experience, salary, and public impact without demanding unreasonable hours. Only a very, very small percentage of legal work fits this bill.

3. I got my $2 mil number from a different poster. That's what I was using that number (but I think it's based on the 10% and $200k debt numbers). I agree that the average 0L would accept a $2 million starting bonus. I don't agree that it'd always or even usually be the correct utility-weighing decision (and once again, we're not talking about $2 million in actual money -- we're talking about $2 million in value).


The problem is you are using different types of unicorn jobs to determine the likelihood of getting one than you are for calculating the extra utility to use your words. I'll give you 10% better chance at HLS if you are defining it as elite lit boutique or elite PI. I just don't think 2mil is anywhere near the value of going to Bancroft v. like Covington or A&P.

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Tiago Splitter
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Re: What's the deal with Harvard students?

Postby Tiago Splitter » Thu Mar 19, 2015 6:35 pm

nerd1 wrote: I mean, all else equal, why wouldn't you adopt this approach if you were Martin Lipton? It's harder to maintain the same grades at HLS than at CLS, ... because of ... 1L curriculum (e.g. at CLS, you only take three finals in December. At HLS you take four.)

This just happened

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Re: What's the deal with Harvard students?

Postby rpupkin » Thu Mar 19, 2015 6:40 pm

Tiago Splitter wrote:
nerd1 wrote: I mean, all else equal, why wouldn't you adopt this approach if you were Martin Lipton? It's harder to maintain the same grades at HLS than at CLS, ... because of ... 1L curriculum (e.g. at CLS, you only take three finals in December. At HLS you take four.)

This just happened

I stopped reading after "Martin Lipton." He didn't even go to a T5 and thus has no place in this discussion.

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Re: What's the deal with Harvard students?

Postby abl » Thu Mar 19, 2015 6:45 pm

Desert Fox wrote:
abl wrote:
Desert Fox wrote:
1) You at least have to account for the 180K+ blow to your net worth of over time. But like someone asked, what kind of unicorn job are we talking about that is so high paying and so much better than biglaw. Can you give me examples that are sorta close, so you dont out yourself.

2) I sincerely doubt that, unless you are defining unicorn so broadly that it just means kinda nice job like DOJ Civil Rights division or ACLU. The job you are talking about is one that is supposed to be amazing yet pays *barely* less than private practice over a career. No way that 10% of HLS can get a job like that.

3) Even if 10% was accurate, you are still pulling your 2mil (or whatever it is) number of your ass. If Cadwalder offered the average 0L a 2 mil starting bonus 99.999999% of them would accept.


1. That's assuming you save it all. I'm assuming that I (like most people) would simply spend this additional income.

2. I would classify the ACLU and DOJ Civil Rights as being unicorn jobs. I don't think a job has to pay nearly as much as biglaw to be a unicorn job -- I think it's more about mixing decent pay with substantive rewarding work experience (or balancing these things). I'd also probably define a boutique like Bancroft as being a unicorn job--because it affords the opportunity for young lawyers to contribute in important substantive ways to some of the most interesting and complex legal questions (while paying very well). What I mean by a unicorn job is that it provides a healthy balance of experience, salary, and public impact without demanding unreasonable hours. Only a very, very small percentage of legal work fits this bill.

3. I got my $2 mil number from a different poster. That's what I was using that number (but I think it's based on the 10% and $200k debt numbers). I agree that the average 0L would accept a $2 million starting bonus. I don't agree that it'd always or even usually be the correct utility-weighing decision (and once again, we're not talking about $2 million in actual money -- we're talking about $2 million in value).


The problem is you are using different types of unicorn jobs to determine the likelihood of getting one than you are for calculating the extra utility to use your words. I'll give you 10% better chance at HLS if you are defining it as elite lit boutique or elite PI. I just don't think 2mil is anywhere near the value of going to Bancroft v. like Covington or A&P.


I think many people at ACLU/DOJ/Bancroft/etc would disagree with you re that valuation. Also, my point isn't that the total has to be $2 million more for everyone. Each person's individual calculation will be different because every person's utility and actual debt load will be different. My point was just that $2 million could be reasonable for some -- such as me, for example.

Anyways, the real problem is that we have no idea what are the actual hiring rates of people interested in elite jobs at Harvard or Columbia, and we do not know if Harvard gives you a 5%, 10%, or 30% advantage (which is not out of the question -- if 75% of people at Harvard who want a DOJ position get one, whereas 45% of Columbia people who want those positions get one, then Harvard confers a 30% advantage to those interested in DOJ positions (regardless of whether only 5% of the class at Harvard and 3% of the class at Columbia actually get DOJ positions) ). I think that's what you're getting at with your "different jobs" point. Look to some of the earliest posts in this now-long thread for more on this. I do think that 10% is on the conservative side (and I cite the earlier posts as evidence).

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Re: What's the deal with Harvard students?

Postby Desert Fox » Thu Mar 19, 2015 7:09 pm

If that is how you define unicorn, then yea I think 10% if a fair estimate.

I just think that ALCU being worth 2 mil more than a generic non-profit is patently absurd.

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Re: What's the deal with Harvard students?

Postby downbeat14 » Thu Mar 19, 2015 7:14 pm

It's official everyone:

abl will convince themselves of literally anything to help them sleep at night because they literally are a debt slave to the government and can't own up and admit like other posters on here who will tell you it was a mistake. Keep drinking the koolaid buddy...

Lol @ people a few pages back saying that I'm taking a full ride "off the backs of" other people who didn't do as well. That's just fucking hilarious. Let's just re-distribute everything so it's all just equal. Because you know, life is totally fair and all. Everyone just gets the same everything despite the effort they may have done or the challenges they may have faced. Hilarious.

And abl, I think we are just going to have to agree to disagree on the fact that the average person paying sticker debt at Harvard is making a really stupid decision. Whatever... I understand from your perspective this is what you have to think in order not to hate yourself for taking on all that debt.

But seriously, you really shouldn't say "oh it's very unlikely that you are going to be able to put away that kind of money" after I already told you I'm very frugal. This is for your own good an reputation on here (I'm wondering if you might be an epic troll, which if so bravo).

Shit I save more than that 1750 or whatever per month into my fund for my living expense contribution for next year (I've saved $20K over the last 5 months), and I make less than half of what I'll make as a 1st year associate. Just so you know, between my SO and my projected 1st year income, we will pulling in 11K after taxes. I think I'll manage putting away around 14% (?) of that into a mutual fund each month.

You really just look like an idiot for making unwarranted assumptions about something you have no idea about like some stranger on the internet's personal life and self-control with spending habits. I'm sorry that you wouldn't be able to control your own spending habits in my situation, but don't project your own stupidity onto my decisions, it's really silly looking to other people when you do that. Not that I'm personally offended (seriously idgaf), but you just look dumb doing that and it takes a lot of credibility from everything else you are saying. I don't like seeing you unravel like this in front of everyone :lol:

If you yourself are saying that you wouldn't be able to control your spending habits and make sound and responsible financial decisions, then why should anyone on here believe you when you say that you made a good decision taking on all that debt to go to HLS?




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