Am I crazy to go to Berkeley over NYU?

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NYU or Berkeley

NYU
23
43%
Berkeley
30
57%
 
Total votes: 53

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Smoking Gunner
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Am I crazy to go to Berkeley over NYU?

Postby Smoking Gunner » Sat Mar 21, 2015 9:34 am

So I'm split between Berkeley and NYU. My ultimate goal is NYC biglaw, but SF biglaw is a very close second. The cost is the same for both schools (parents are paying). I visited Berkeley and loved it, and I was totally set on going there, but I recently got into NYU (which I thought would be a WL/ding for sure), and now I'm not so sure.

I've lived in NYC my entire life, and my family lives there, so they are pushing very hard for NYU. However, if I go to NYU I feel like my family will be a big distraction, as they generally think I study too much, so they won't understand me blowing off some sort of family function to study. Also, I have a lot of friends in NYC who would want to go out all the time--something I don't have much of a desire to do during law school.

Berkeley's grading system is a huge plus, and the whole anti-gunner vibe there just makes me feel like I have a better chance of doing well there. But on the other hand, I've never lived out west, and I don't know how big of an adjustment that would be. Although, I can't imagine 70 degrees and sunny year round is particularly hard to get used to.

So is it crazy to choose Berkeley over NYU if I ultimately want to get NYC biglaw (but would also be happy with SF biglaw)? Is an NYU degree really looked at that much more favorably by employers? Or will I have pretty much the same options assuming I do well at both schools (big assumption I know, but bear with me).

Thanks in advance for any advice.

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Indy16
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Re: Am I crazy to go to Berkeley over NYU?

Postby Indy16 » Sat Mar 21, 2015 9:41 am

qwerty125 wrote:So I'm split between Berkeley and NYU. My ultimate goal is NYC biglaw, but SF biglaw is a very close second. The cost is the same for both schools (parents are paying). I visited Berkeley and loved it, and I was totally set on going there, but I recently got into NYU (which I thought would be a WL/ding for sure), and now I'm not so sure.

I've lived in NYC my entire life, and my family lives there, so they are pushing very hard for NYU. However, if I go to NYU I feel like my family will be a big distraction, as they generally think I study too much, so they won't understand me blowing off some sort of family function to study. Also, I have a lot of friends in NYC who would want to go out all the time--something I don't have much of a desire to do during law school.

Berkeley's grading system is a huge plus, and the whole anti-gunner vibe there just makes me feel like I have a better chance of doing well there. But on the other hand, I've never lived out west, and I don't know how big of an adjustment that would be. Although, I can't imagine 70 degrees and sunny year round is particularly hard to get used to.

So is it crazy to choose Berkeley over NYU if I ultimately want to get NYC biglaw (but would also be happy with SF biglaw)? Is an NYU degree really looked at that much more favorably by employers? Or will I have pretty much the same options assuming I do well at both schools (big assumption I know, but bear with me).

Thanks in advance for any advice.


Both great schools, both great options. I feel like if the cost is the same NYU is your best pick because your goal is NYC big law. You'll probs have to sit the family down and set ground rules but youre an adult. Of course NYU will be better for NYC practice and Berkeley will be better for practice out west, I think that's really where your decision boils down to. I think having family in the area should be regarded as a plus, though, not a negative.

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Clemenceau
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Re: Am I crazy to go to Berkeley over NYU?

Postby Clemenceau » Sat Mar 21, 2015 9:45 am

Ehh I mean it would be an unorthodox choice for nyc biglaw

But you're gonna be debt-free, which I think makes it more excusable

I frankly dont know much about berkeleys biglaw placement. Perhaps if someone has access to their oci success rate, or rough gpa cutoffs for NYC firms? Not sure how readily available that data is, but I'd wanna see it if I were making your decision.

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tacocat
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Re: Am I crazy to go to Berkeley over NYU?

Postby tacocat » Sat Mar 21, 2015 9:48 am

They're both great schools and they're both basically free thanks to your family. Congrats on hitting the jackpot. Tbh, you sound like you've made up your mind but are looking for validation. Go with your gut. Intuition is a powerful thing; don't ignore it. Also, there's something to be said for having some new experiences in your life, which living on the west coast would accomplish. If you were NYC biglaw or bust it might be easier, but you're not. So, again, go with your gut.

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Smoking Gunner
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Re: Am I crazy to go to Berkeley over NYU?

Postby Smoking Gunner » Sat Mar 21, 2015 9:52 am

Clemenceau wrote:Ehh I mean it would be an unorthodox choice for nyc biglaw

But you're gonna be debt-free, which I think makes it more excusable

I frankly dont know much about berkeleys biglaw placement. Perhaps if someone has access to their oci success rate, or rough gpa cutoffs for NYC firms? Not sure how readily available that data is, but I'd wanna see it if I were making your decision.


Yeah, good point. When I visited Berkeley, all the students I talked to said that pretty much everyone who tries for biglaw gets it because the majority of students are interested in PI. Obviously I need to take that with a grain of salt coming from current students, but at the same time they don't really have any incentive to lie to prospective students.

But assuming biglaw is as attainable as these students made it out to be, would it be smarter to go to Berkeley where I feel like I'll do better academically? Also, I know that's pure speculation, but based on the grading system and the general vibes I got from Berkeley, I definitely think I can do well there. So would top 15% at Berkeley be much better than top 30% at NYU? Or would NYU still have a leg up for nyc biglaw?

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Smoking Gunner
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Re: Am I crazy to go to Berkeley over NYU?

Postby Smoking Gunner » Sat Mar 21, 2015 9:55 am

tacocat wrote:They're both great schools and they're both basically free thanks to your family. Congrats on hitting the jackpot. Tbh, you sound like you've made up your mind but are looking for validation. Go with your gut. Intuition is a powerful thing; don't ignore it. Also, there's something to be said for having some new experiences in your life, which living on the west coast would accomplish. If you were NYC biglaw or bust it might be easier, but you're not. So, again, go with your gut.


My gut says Berkeley, but that really only makes me like 55/45 in favor of Berkeley. I'm just looking for as much advice as possible to make the best decision.

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tacocat
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Re: Am I crazy to go to Berkeley over NYU?

Postby tacocat » Sat Mar 21, 2015 10:04 am

qwerty125 wrote:
tacocat wrote:They're both great schools and they're both basically free thanks to your family. Congrats on hitting the jackpot. Tbh, you sound like you've made up your mind but are looking for validation. Go with your gut. Intuition is a powerful thing; don't ignore it. Also, there's something to be said for having some new experiences in your life, which living on the west coast would accomplish. If you were NYC biglaw or bust it might be easier, but you're not. So, again, go with your gut.


My gut says Berkeley, but that really only makes me like 55/45 in favor of Berkeley. I'm just looking for as much advice as possible to make the best decision.

Fair enough, dude/dudette. It's a tough decision. Common sense says you'd be able to go further down in your class at NYU and get NYC biglaw (though your lifelong ties to NYC would be helpful if you went west coast for school, I'd imagine). But I don't think anyone can tell you specifically what rank at one school equals what rank at the other, in part due to the large amount of non-NYC self-selection at Berkeley. The conservative call here is NYU. The gut call is Berk. Best of luck to you.

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Aeon
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Re: Am I crazy to go to Berkeley over NYU?

Postby Aeon » Sat Mar 21, 2015 10:14 am

If you do decently well at Berkeley, you will likely have little trouble coming back to NYC to work. If you go to NYU, even if you do well, you will have a great deal of difficulty finding work in California due to a lack of ties. If you think you might want to end up in SF, then Berkeley is the logical choice.

03152016
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Re: Am I crazy to go to Berkeley over NYU?

Postby 03152016 » Sat Mar 21, 2015 10:33 am

there are good reasons to pick berk over nyu. you haven't listed any of them
family functions? friends wanting to go out? these are terrible reasons to choose one law school over another
the grading system? you do realize berkeley has graded lrw, right?
the "anti-gunner" vibe? there will be plenty of gunners at berkeley, don't you worry. no more or less than nyu. both schools are pi-heavy and have a location that is a little counter-culture/free-wheeling, but that doesn't change the fact that most people who attend both schools are used to working hard and being above the curve

it sounds like you're trying to find reasons to have this adventure to california for law school
by all means, if going to berk makes you happy, do it
but don't fool yourself into thinking that family functions, the grading system, and gunners is a valid justification

Kungfu Wontons
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Re: Am I crazy to go to Berkeley over NYU?

Postby Kungfu Wontons » Sat Mar 21, 2015 10:37 am

Stopped lurking and made an account to answer this. Go to Berkeley.

You aren't the only person to have lived in NYC all your life, have all your friends / family here, and want a change. Getting away from the comfort of home will make you a better person and a stronger candidate for whatever you want to do. That's how life works. And it seems like you're a capable enough person to handle the move. The small difference between B and N in placement doesn't matter much for this decision.

Your gut's giving you a preference for B because you'll be better off at B, your brain just hasn't had enough life experience data yet to understand why. try to really listen to your gut for these types of decisions, and then go with it.

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Re: Am I crazy to go to Berkeley over NYU?

Postby 03152016 » Sat Mar 21, 2015 10:42 am

Kungfu Wontons wrote:Stopped lurking and made an account to answer this. Go to Berkeley.

You aren't the only person to have lived in NYC all your life, have all your friends / family here, and want a change. Getting away from the comfort of home will make you a better person and a stronger candidate for whatever you want to do. That's how life works. And it seems like you're a capable enough person to handle the move. The small difference between B and N in placement doesn't matter much for this decision.

Your gut's giving you a preference for B because you'll be better off at B, your brain just hasn't had enough life experience data yet to understand why. try to really listen to your gut for these types of decisions, and then go with it.

def not troll

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Re: Am I crazy to go to Berkeley over NYU?

Postby Kungfu Wontons » Sat Mar 21, 2015 10:44 am

Brut wrote:there are good reasons to pick berk over nyu. you haven't listed any of them
family functions? friends wanting to go out? these are terrible reasons to choose one law school over another
the grading system? you do realize berkeley has graded lrw, right?
the "anti-gunner" vibe? there will be plenty of gunners at berkeley, don't you worry. no more or less than nyu. both schools are pi-heavy and have a location that is a little counter-culture/free-wheeling, but that doesn't change the fact that most people who attend both schools are used to working hard and being above the curve

it sounds like you're trying to find reasons to have this adventure to california for law school
by all means, if going to berk makes you happy, do it
but don't fool yourself into thinking that family functions, the grading system, and gunners is a valid justification


Brut, we kind of have to read between the lines on this one. OP clearly has concerns with the proximity of family / friends. This is a real, non-trivial concern. OP's listed reasons may not fit exactly with what you think are relevant decision-criteria, but they are his way of making sense of it all. That makes his concerns important.

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Re: Am I crazy to go to Berkeley over NYU?

Postby 03152016 » Sat Mar 21, 2015 10:45 am

also just adding onto my last post op, you said you "ultimately want to get NYC biglaw (but would also be happy with SF biglaw)"
it's perfectly reasonable to attend any school with solid bl/fc placement (berk included) with the intention of targeting nyc
but you mentioned having the same options from either school if you do well, which is sort of the wrong question
the right question is, will you have the same options from either school if you don't do well
literally everyone walks into 1L thinking they'll do well. but half of the class will be below median
the reason nyu is the "safer" choice is that it's really quite hard to strike out, especially if you target nyc (88% success rate just through oci alone)

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DCfilterDC
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Re: Am I crazy to go to Berkeley over NYU?

Postby DCfilterDC » Sat Mar 21, 2015 10:47 am

Just go to berk. Honestly even if you're reasons are crap (not saying they are, but let's pretend they are). The fact you're so anti-law school in NYC you're already setting yourself up to resent your experiences at nyu. Other than big law in NYC, berk is pretty much a peer with NYU, and your interest in potentially being in California makes berk a stronger option anyway.

Great options at no cost beyond the opportunity cost. Be at the place that you won't resent.

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Re: Am I crazy to go to Berkeley over NYU?

Postby Kungfu Wontons » Sat Mar 21, 2015 10:49 am

Brut wrote:
Kungfu Wontons wrote:Stopped lurking and made an account to answer this. Go to Berkeley.

You aren't the only person to have lived in NYC all your life, have all your friends / family here, and want a change. Getting away from the comfort of home will make you a better person and a stronger candidate for whatever you want to do. That's how life works. And it seems like you're a capable enough person to handle the move. The small difference between B and N in placement doesn't matter much for this decision.

Your gut's giving you a preference for B because you'll be better off at B, your brain just hasn't had enough life experience data yet to understand why. try to really listen to your gut for these types of decisions, and then go with it.

def not troll


Nope, not troll

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Capitol_Idea
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Re: Am I crazy to go to Berkeley over NYU?

Postby Capitol_Idea » Sat Mar 21, 2015 10:50 am

Kungfu Wontons wrote:
Brut wrote:
Kungfu Wontons wrote:Stopped lurking and made an account to answer this. Go to Berkeley.

You aren't the only person to have lived in NYC all your life, have all your friends / family here, and want a change. Getting away from the comfort of home will make you a better person and a stronger candidate for whatever you want to do. That's how life works. And it seems like you're a capable enough person to handle the move. The small difference between B and N in placement doesn't matter much for this decision.

Your gut's giving you a preference for B because you'll be better off at B, your brain just hasn't had enough life experience data yet to understand why. try to really listen to your gut for these types of decisions, and then go with it.

def not troll


Nope, not troll


Well that obviously resolves it

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Re: Am I crazy to go to Berkeley over NYU?

Postby 03152016 » Sat Mar 21, 2015 10:51 am

DCfilterDC wrote:Other than big law in NYC, berk is pretty much a peer with NYU, and your interest in potentially being in California makes berk a stronger option anyway.

op said he ultimately wanted nyc biglaw specifically, no?
sf sounded more like a fallback for him than the goal. at least from my reading of the op

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DCfilterDC
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Re: Am I crazy to go to Berkeley over NYU?

Postby DCfilterDC » Sat Mar 21, 2015 10:55 am

Brut wrote:
DCfilterDC wrote:Other than big law in NYC, berk is pretty much a peer with NYU, and your interest in potentially being in California makes berk a stronger option anyway.

op said he ultimately wanted nyc biglaw specifically, no?
sf sounded more like a fallback for him than the goal. at least from my reading of the op



True enough. I just meant more that this wasn't an equal cost question between nyu and usc. I see your point, but still think if he's going to end up blaming every small thing on staying in NYC, he should just do berk

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Re: Am I crazy to go to Berkeley over NYU?

Postby MarkfromWI » Sat Mar 21, 2015 10:58 am

qwerty125 wrote:However, if I go to NYU I feel like my family will be a big distraction, as they generally think I study too much, so they won't understand me blowing off some sort of family function to study. Also, I have a lot of friends in NYC who would want to go out all the time--something I don't have much of a desire to do during law school.


I voted Berkeley. Normally, I think moving away for law school from the market you want to practice in is an awful idea, but I think NYC may be the lone exception to that rule. If there's any place that's "easy" to get back to, I'd have to think NYC is it. And it's not like you're leaving NYC to go to UCI or some CA shithole. You're still going to a great law school, and the firms don't need to know that you could have stayed in NY.

If you do decide to go to NYU, which is completely defensible, definitely sit down with your friends and family and have a talk with them about the quoted above. I was in the same boat and understand that it's very difficult and they probably won't understand. You have to do what's right for you, though, and maybe if you explain it to them ahead of time they'll be a bit more understanding.

ETA: I started writing this, then left the computer for 1/2 hour or so before coming back to finish. Just to address Brut, family pressure is definitely a legitimate concern, especially when considering schools of this caliber. It's not like he's deciding between T14 OR getting away from family. S/He can do both. I am fortunate enough to have very close family relationships and close friendships and understand the pressure they can put on you to spend time in ways that aren't conducive to good academic performance. It can be very difficult to say no and the feeling that you're disappointing them or letting them down by doing so is powerful.

OP, the concern over pressure from friends/family is very real and in your situation is a legitimate factor when making a decision like this. If your situation was different (e.g. trying to get back to a more ties-sensitive market, or the schools weren't of the same caliber) it probably shouldn't be weighted as heavily as I'm advocating. But for you, if you'd feel more comfortable with it, I see no problem going with B over NYU.

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Smoking Gunner
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Re: Am I crazy to go to Berkeley over NYU?

Postby Smoking Gunner » Sat Mar 21, 2015 11:00 am

DCfilterDC wrote:
Brut wrote:
DCfilterDC wrote:Other than big law in NYC, berk is pretty much a peer with NYU, and your interest in potentially being in California makes berk a stronger option anyway.

op said he ultimately wanted nyc biglaw specifically, no?
sf sounded more like a fallback for him than the goal. at least from my reading of the op



True enough. I just meant more that this wasn't an equal cost question between nyu and usc. I see your point, but still think if he's going to end up blaming every small thing on staying in NYC, he should just do berk


I don't want it to sound like I hate everything about nyc. I love nyc. My relationship with my parents just isn't very good--they're paying for my education, but that's kind of where it stops. And if I'm close to home they're going to want to see me a lot, and I think that could negatively affect my academic performance.

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DCfilterDC
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Re: Am I crazy to go to Berkeley over NYU?

Postby DCfilterDC » Sat Mar 21, 2015 11:01 am

qwerty125 wrote:
DCfilterDC wrote:
Brut wrote:
DCfilterDC wrote:Other than big law in NYC, berk is pretty much a peer with NYU, and your interest in potentially being in California makes berk a stronger option anyway.

op said he ultimately wanted nyc biglaw specifically, no?
sf sounded more like a fallback for him than the goal. at least from my reading of the op



True enough. I just meant more that this wasn't an equal cost question between nyu and usc. I see your point, but still think if he's going to end up blaming every small thing on staying in NYC, he should just do berk


I don't want it to sound like I hate everything about nyc. I love nyc. My relationship with my parents just isn't very good--they're paying for my education, but that's kind of where it stops. And if I'm close to home they're going to want to see me a lot, and I think that could negatively affect my academic performance.


Then don't go to nyu. You already know your answer. No need for further validation.

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Smoking Gunner
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Re: Am I crazy to go to Berkeley over NYU?

Postby Smoking Gunner » Sat Mar 21, 2015 11:04 am

True enough. I just meant more that this wasn't an equal cost question between nyu and usc. I see your point, but still think if he's going to end up blaming every small thing on staying in NYC, he should just do berk[/quote]

I don't want it to sound like I hate everything about nyc. I love nyc. My relationship with my parents just isn't very good--they're paying for my education, but that's kind of where it stops. And if I'm close to home they're going to want to see me a lot, and I think that could negatively affect my academic performance.[/quote]

Then don't go to nyu. You already know your answer. No need for further validation.[/quote]

I don't want my parents to be the determining factor in where I go to school if one school is clearly the better objective choice. I'm just listing that as one potential negative.

03152016
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Re: Am I crazy to go to Berkeley over NYU?

Postby 03152016 » Sat Mar 21, 2015 11:08 am

@mark
the way i see it, it's easier to resolve these family issues by talking it out than moving across the country
i suppose it's possible that there are some very serious, out of control family issues that could make it necessary for op to skip town
i don't know if the parents are emotionally abusive or narcissists, and i'm certainly not going to ask op to go into that level of detail
if that is the case, it's a little more understandable. still, if you're planning on heading back to nyc to work in three years, in a job where you'll have very little time to go out with friends or attend family functions, it seems to me like you're just delaying the inevitable
it sounds like op may benefit from family counseling of some kind

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Re: Am I crazy to go to Berkeley over NYU?

Postby Big Dog » Sat Mar 21, 2015 11:09 am

Is an NYU degree really looked at that much more favorably by employers?



no.

Other than big law in NYC, berk is pretty much a peer with NYU,


Given the massive self-selection that occurs in LS matriculations, I would be careful making such a blanket statement with no statistics, and having adjusted for hometown/undergrad college.
Last edited by Big Dog on Sat Mar 21, 2015 11:12 am, edited 1 time in total.

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Smoking Gunner
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Re: Am I crazy to go to Berkeley over NYU?

Postby Smoking Gunner » Sat Mar 21, 2015 11:11 am

Brut wrote:@mark
the way i see it, it's easier to resolve these family issues by talking it out than moving across the country
i suppose it's possible that there are some very serious, out of control family issues that could make it necessary for op to skip town
i don't know if the parents are emotionally abusive or narcissists, and i'm certainly not going to ask op to go into that level of detail
if that is the case, it's a little more understandable. still, if you're planning on heading back to nyc to work in three years, in a job where you'll have very little time to go out with friends or attend family functions, it seems to me like you're just delaying the inevitable
it sounds like op may benefit from family counseling of some kind


Don't need family counseling--I'm just very different from the rest of my family, and they don't quite understand that--that's about as much detail as I'd like to go into about that.




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