Cutting it close (Help me)

(Rankings, Profiles, Tuition, Student Life, . . . )

Where should I go?

Cornell
24
57%
Michigan
2
5%
Virginia
1
2%
Berkeley
0
No votes
Stanford
15
36%
 
Total votes: 42

Diem
Posts: 3
Joined: Mon Mar 16, 2015 8:59 pm

Cutting it close (Help me)

Postby Diem » Wed Mar 25, 2015 10:37 pm

-The schools you are considering and total Cost of Attendance (COA) of each. COA = cost of tuition + fees + books + cost of living (COL) + accumulated interest - scholarships.

Cornell: Free (family would pay for living, and I got a full-ride)
Michigan: ~$90,000
Virginia: ~$80,000
Berkeley*: ~$165,000
Stanford*: ~$180,000

Berkeley and Stanford haven't gotten back to me about aid yet (they really know how to make someone feel the pressure). I assume I'll get a fair amount from Berkeley, and I believe I should get something from Stanford. Until I find out for sure, let's assume sticker at both. Feel free to give advice about how much each school would need to offer to be a good deal for me.

-How you will be financing your COA, i.e. loans, family, or savings
My family has decided to help me with some living expenses (how much depends on where exactly I'll be, Charlottesville would be much easier to pay for than Palo Alto), and I'll be paying for any other expenses with loans.

-Where you are from and where you want to work, and other places where you have significant ties (if any)
I live in Michigan, but I am not picky at all as to where I want to work. Part of me does want to explore somewhere else, but I'm not particularly interested in NYC.

-Your general career goals
I am pursuing academia, possibly focusing on Constitutional law or Civil Rights law. I really want to do law research, and I am also very interested in obtaining a JD/PhD in Psychology (Stanford seems to make this very achievable and encourages it, and Cornell's administration seems eager to help me with their new, similar program).

-Your LSAT/GPA numbers
168/3.9x URM

-How many times you have taken the LSAT
Once, and I'm not too keen on retaking.

TheOnePercent
Posts: 100
Joined: Sun Mar 15, 2015 8:22 pm

Re: Cutting it close (Help me)

Postby TheOnePercent » Wed Mar 25, 2015 10:44 pm

Diem wrote:I am pursuing academia, possibly focusing on Constitutional law or Civil Rights law.

How much research have you done into the viability/statistical probability of landing a teaching position from a non-Yale?

arturobelano
Posts: 40
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Re: Cutting it close (Help me)

Postby arturobelano » Wed Mar 25, 2015 10:49 pm

You're not going to be too keen on this response, either...

If you were just pursuing BIGLAW, I think your answer here would be Cornell with a bullet. Your interest in legal academia, however, complicates things (which I think you're aware of.) Given your high GPA and URM status, you would probably competitive at HY/Chi with even 3 or 4 extra points. The difference Harvard and Yale make in the probability of that outcome is worth you taking a year if you're fairly sure that's where your trajectory ideally heads (Chi's placement record is not as great, but it may be worth it were you to be competitive for a Ruby or whatever.) You may also qualify for fellowships either inside or outside of the institution due to your goals and URM status, so I think it's worth holding off on these good outcomes for an ideal one.

Now, that being said, you're going to have an advantage in the faculty hiring process because of your URM status - you may be able to play ball from any of the T14. That said, to maximize your probably of landing legal academia - which, although not a unicorn outcome, is a rare outcome for sure - your best bet is HY/maybe Chi.

EDIT: JK on all this just go to Yale: http://leiterrankings.com/new/2011_LawTeachers.shtml

DOUBLE EDIT: That said, if you get a Ruby, it's worth evaluating whether a 3x chance (with a muuuuuch lower absolute difference) in reaching your career aims is worth $300K+.

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Winston1984
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Re: Cutting it close (Help me)

Postby Winston1984 » Wed Mar 25, 2015 10:55 pm

Are you comfortable with the (very likely) possibility you don't get academia? Like are you academia or bust?

Diem
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Joined: Mon Mar 16, 2015 8:59 pm

Re: Cutting it close (Help me)

Postby Diem » Wed Mar 25, 2015 11:06 pm

Winston1984 wrote:Are you comfortable with the (very likely) possibility you don't get academia? Like are you academia or bust?


Although it would be my preferred destination, I don't believe that it is "academia or bust". I don't think I'd be happy with BigLaw, but there are quite a few jobs in public interest that I am interested in, as well as working with the government.

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yomisterd
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Re: Cutting it close (Help me)

Postby yomisterd » Wed Mar 25, 2015 11:11 pm

arturobelano wrote:You're not going to be too keen on this response, either...

If you were just pursuing BIGLAW, I think your answer here would be Cornell with a bullet. Your interest in legal academia, however, complicates things (which I think you're aware of.) Given your high GPA and URM status, you would probably competitive at HY/Chi with even 3 or 4 extra points. The difference Harvard and Yale make in the probability of that outcome is worth you taking a year if you're fairly sure that's where your trajectory ideally heads (Chi's placement record is not as great, but it may be worth it were you to be competitive for a Ruby or whatever.) You may also qualify for fellowships either inside or outside of the institution due to your goals and URM status, so I think it's worth holding off on these good outcomes for an ideal one.

Now, that being said, you're going to have an advantage in the faculty hiring process because of your URM status - you may be able to play ball from any of the T14. That said, to maximize your probably of landing legal academia - which, although not a unicorn outcome, is a rare outcome for sure - your best bet is HY/maybe Chi.

EDIT: JK on all this just go to Yale: http://leiterrankings.com/new/2011_LawTeachers.shtml

DOUBLE EDIT: That said, if you get a Ruby, it's worth evaluating whether a 3x chance (with a muuuuuch lower absolute difference) in reaching your career aims is worth $300K+.


this.

you aren't KEEN on retaking? that's silly. it could be the difference of like $180k and/or an actual shot at academia. that seems worth taking a three hour test.

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rahulg91
Posts: 349
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Re: Cutting it close (Help me)

Postby rahulg91 » Wed Mar 25, 2015 11:18 pm

Cornell for free for any non-academia job is a great outcome.

Cornell for free for an academic job is probably not a great outcome.

I'd still go to Cornell for free.

TheOnePercent
Posts: 100
Joined: Sun Mar 15, 2015 8:22 pm

Re: Cutting it close (Help me)

Postby TheOnePercent » Wed Mar 25, 2015 11:19 pm

yomisterd wrote:you aren't KEEN on retaking? that's silly. it could be the difference of like $180k and/or an actual shot at academia. that seems worth taking a three hour test.

Non-ironically also endorse the re-take. You're just a few points from a really special cycle that would make your highly aspirational career goals at least possible (and/or soften the financial blow if you fall short).

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Rigo
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Re: Cutting it close (Help me)

Postby Rigo » Wed Mar 25, 2015 11:34 pm

It's hard to say since we don't know Berkeley or Stanford aid, but I don't think UVA & Michigan are worth that much more than Cornell.

The Dark Shepard
Posts: 450
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Re: Cutting it close (Help me)

Postby The Dark Shepard » Thu Mar 26, 2015 12:09 am

Have you been rejected from H/Y/Chicago yet?

With your current options I think the only two schools in play are Cornell and Stanford. Stanford's the best chance for you unicorn goals, but it still isn't a good shot

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Mack.Hambleton
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Re: Cutting it close (Help me)

Postby Mack.Hambleton » Thu Mar 26, 2015 1:26 am

Aren't those usually HYS numbers for urms already?

Diem
Posts: 3
Joined: Mon Mar 16, 2015 8:59 pm

Re: Cutting it close (Help me)

Postby Diem » Thu Mar 26, 2015 8:57 am

The Dark Shepard wrote:Have you been rejected from H/Y/Chicago yet?


I got rejected from H/Y, and I got into Chicago with only $15k in aid, so that's not really an option...

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Winston1984
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Re: Cutting it close (Help me)

Postby Winston1984 » Thu Mar 26, 2015 9:47 am

I would just go with Stanford. Seems like you really don't want biglaw anyway.

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Sirius Blackstone
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Re: Cutting it close (Help me)

Postby Sirius Blackstone » Thu Mar 26, 2015 9:53 am

Winston1984 wrote:I would just go with Stanford. Seems like you really don't want biglaw anyway.


+1

Hutz_and_Goodman
Posts: 1413
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Re: Cutting it close (Help me)

Postby Hutz_and_Goodman » Thu Mar 26, 2015 10:00 am

If you're really dead set on academia then S will give you the best chance
But to have a real shot you will need to be top 10% at S, and even then you may not get a job as a professor
If I were you id go to C for free. Great school, you're already used to cold weather, you will likely have a good outcome, and if you kill it grades-wise and get a COA clerkship then academia is still an outside possibility

abl
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Re: Cutting it close (Help me)

Postby abl » Thu Mar 26, 2015 11:29 am

Ok, there are many misconceptions here about academia.

First, there is no advantage to going to Harvard over Stanford for academia (but this doesn't matter because the OP doesn't have Harvard on the table). If anything, Stanford's probably a better bet than Harvard.

Second, the primary impact of class rank on academia chances is indirect. The biggest factor in getting an academic job is your publication record. Your class rank will not impact that in any way. Following that, probably the second most important factors are the law school that you attended and, if you have one, what dual degree you have. A PhD in psychology (especially from a top school) will be enormously helpful in landing a tenure track teaching position, assuming at least your psychology research plays well with your law research. Following these, the next most important factor is your practical experience. Clerkships and whatnot fall into this category. Sometimes this sort of experience can effectively just be like a checked prestige box -- a way for law schools to pretend like their faculty have real experience in the field (which tends to be silly because most academics do a clerkship and then spend 1-3 years in biglaw getting no particularly relevant experience at all). Regardless, this is the first factor that your grades will play a role in--and the primary thing that your class rank will help with is with giving you the flexibility to land a relevant job to your academic interests: an AUSA/DOJ position if you're interested in crim law, an NRDC fellowship if you want enviro law, etc. (Your class rank will also be crucial in landing a clerkship, although I think the importance of clerkships is overrated for PhD candidates.)

Given all of this, one of the key parts of your decision should be your PhD. If you're seriously interested, and really do believe that you have a good shot of being admitted to the program of either school, I'd give strong consideration to which school has a PhD program better suited to your interests. As you probably know, PhD programs are far less fungible than top law schools. The experience, training, mentorship, etc that you're going to get from one top program may be drastically different from another based on nothing else other than your specific research interest. If Cornell is a great fit for what you're interested in, but Stanford is not, that should probably be the tiebreaker. If you end up getting a PhD, it's going to probably take up more of your time and effort than your JD--so your main choice should probably be around that. I suspect that getting a PhD at Stanford will be much easier. The school is ridiculously encouraging of joint degree programs and tons of students pursue them. There will be support systems (and lots of fellow joint degree students) at Stanford that simply don't exist at Cornell. I'm not sure this should trump Cornell being a better academic fit for your interests--but it definitely should serve as a tiebreaker (and maybe even more than that).

Assuming all things roughly equivalent on the PhD front, Stanford's going to give you a much better shot of academia. Academia stats are skewed by the lack of students who seriously pursue academia. Nevertheless, your chances of landing academia out of Cornell are vanishingly small (especially if you don't get a PhD). You're going to need to perform well enough at Cornell (top 10%?) to get a clerkship to have a real shot of landing an academic job, or you're going to have to be a publishing beast (which is something you should be similarly striving for--but not counting on--at either school). On the other hand, Stanford gives you more flexibility to not hit things out of the park academically, and likely alleviates the need for doing a clerkship in the first place. I know less about Cornell, but a substantial percentage, if not outright majority, of students interested in academia coming from Stanford ultimately end up in a tenure track position. The absolute numbers of students are low, but the barriers to entry and otherwise desirable job options coming out of a top law school contribute to relatively few students seeking legal academia to begin with.

It's also worth noting that biglaw, as a fallback, is going to be a much safer option coming out of Stanford than Cornell. This is especially the case if you're looking to avoid NYC biglaw (and you should be looking to avoid NYC biglaw).

Here's my question to you: why do you think you want to do academia? Have you taught previously? Have you researched previously? I'd think long and hard about this question. Because if this is more than a stab in the dark (and is instead somewhat of an educated guess), I think it'd be worth a substantial COA difference for you to attend Stanford. Stanford gives you a very real shot at this (dreamy in so many ways) job, whereas Cornell does not.




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