HELP - Berkeley v. Texas

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

Texas or Berkeley?

Texas w/$$$
6
67%
Berkeley @ sticker
3
33%
 
Total votes: 9

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Tigerlily74
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HELP - Berkeley v. Texas

Postby Tigerlily74 » Fri Mar 27, 2015 7:48 pm

Hi Guys,

I am currently on the waitlist for Harvard (like everyone else in this thread...), and have been accepted to most of the T14, but my GPA is on the lower end and has prevented me from getting good scholarship money (either outright or through negotiation) at most.

I've narrowed down my realistic choices to Berkeley and Texas based on the following factors:

*My husband and I want to settle in the West, preferably CA but not necessary - no interest in NYC/DC whatsoever
*I want to study environmental/energy law and they both have exceptionally good programs
*Lifestyle

Two main problems/what I would appreciate feedback on: $$$$ and prestige/mobility of degree

Obviously, Berkeley is going to open more doors, and CA is a tough nut to crack out of Texas unless you graduate in the top of your class. However, I will have low debt coming out of Texas (less than $70,000), whereas Berkeley is looking like sticker ($260,000 debt at graduation).

What would you do? Thank you for any advice you can offer!

BigZuck
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Re: HELP - Berkeley v. Texas

Postby BigZuck » Fri Mar 27, 2015 7:52 pm

I don't think I would do either. What are your middle ground options?

Are you from California?

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Tigerlily74
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Re: HELP - Berkeley v. Texas

Postby Tigerlily74 » Fri Mar 27, 2015 7:57 pm

I am not originally from California - from the West, went to undergrad in CA and love it. I have decent offers from UVA, Duke, Cornell, Northwestern, and USC, but Columbia, Penn, Berk are all at sticker.

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KMart
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Re: HELP - Berkeley v. Texas

Postby KMart » Fri Mar 27, 2015 8:01 pm

Why not USC?

BigZuck
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Re: HELP - Berkeley v. Texas

Postby BigZuck » Fri Mar 27, 2015 8:05 pm

Why is UT in the running but not USC? They're basically the same school but one places in Southern CA and the other places in TX.

I go to UT, I think it's not a good choice for CA if you're a Californian. But given that you're not a Californian that makes it a non-starter. If you're thinking of UT because Austin sounds cool and they have a good Energy program that's not a good enough reason to go. Subprograms like that don't really matter and I love Austin but going to school here might be insurmountable if you want to find a job in CA.

I wouldn't pay that much to go to Cal but obviously tons of people would/do.

What kind of lawyer job are you hoping to get?

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Tigerlily74
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Re: HELP - Berkeley v. Texas

Postby Tigerlily74 » Fri Mar 27, 2015 8:07 pm

I have a $100,000 offer from USC, but COA debt still then comes out to about $150,00 - I'm not sure, but in this economy I'm not sure USC is worth that much debt ...

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ILoveYou
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Re: HELP - Berkeley v. Texas

Postby ILoveYou » Fri Mar 27, 2015 8:10 pm

I'm with Zuck; neither seems great. If you'd be alright staying in TX or otherwise not landing CA, Texas could work. A lot of this depends on your career goals though.


Total COA at the other schools that gave you decent offers?

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Winston1984
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Re: HELP - Berkeley v. Texas

Postby Winston1984 » Fri Mar 27, 2015 8:11 pm

What are your offers from Duke, UVA, Cornell, and NU? You could get to CA from those. Probably have to be okay with NY though.

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rpupkin
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Re: HELP - Berkeley v. Texas

Postby rpupkin » Fri Mar 27, 2015 8:14 pm

Winston1984 wrote:What are your offers from Duke, UVA, Cornell, and NU? You could get to CA from those. Probably have to be okay with NY though.

Yeah, if you're deadset against NYC (as OP is), then Cornell is crazy.

Duke/UVA could make sense if the scholarships are substantial enough.

BigZuck
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Re: HELP - Berkeley v. Texas

Postby BigZuck » Fri Mar 27, 2015 8:17 pm

ILoveYou wrote:I'm with Zuck; neither seems great. If you'd be alright staying in TX or otherwise not landing CA, Texas could work. A lot of this depends on your career goals though.


Total COA at the other schools that gave you decent offers?

Yeah. I just don't like the idea of anyone attending UT without a laser focus on getting a job in TX, being ok with modest career outcomes, and, ideally, pre-existing ties to TX (and ideally ideally being a Texan)

This is problematic in a lot of ways. The OP has a great lsat but is a splitter. The OP wants CA but isn't a Californian. Attending college there might help. But if the OP goes to, like, Northwestern and targets SF the OP might be dead in the water even if the OP went to Cal/Stanford undergrad. LA might be easier to get without strong ties. I'm hoping the OP went to school in LA and wants to target LA.

BigZuck
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Re: HELP - Berkeley v. Texas

Postby BigZuck » Fri Mar 27, 2015 8:18 pm

rpupkin wrote:
Winston1984 wrote:What are your offers from Duke, UVA, Cornell, and NU? You could get to CA from those. Probably have to be okay with NY though.

Yeah, if you're deadset against NYC (as OP is), then Cornell is crazy.

Duke/UVA could make sense if the scholarships are substantial enough.

Why Duke but not Cornell? Do you think CA employers think less of a Cornell degree vs a Duke degree? I'd imagine it would be the same, and NYC is the fallback for both.

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Tigerlily74
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Re: HELP - Berkeley v. Texas

Postby Tigerlily74 » Fri Mar 27, 2015 8:21 pm

Duke - 54,000 COA 190,000
UVA - 90,000 COA 150,000
NU - 75,000 COA 160,000
Cornell - 45,000 (not responding to negotiation request...not seriously considering as we would have to go NY)

I would only feel the need to do BL if I had a large debt load to finance - otherwise, I would prefer government/non-profit work, which is why Berkeley at sticker is so frightening.

I spoke with an old professor of mine this morning, who also happens to be a partner at one of the top-5 BL firms in LA, and he seems to believe that I would be able to pay off Berkeley debt and it is the best choice... he thinks choosing Columbia would also be acceptable at sticker, but the others (UVA, Duke, Cornell, NU) they do not consider seriously when hiring unless you are in the top 10% of your class.

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Tigerlily74
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Re: HELP - Berkeley v. Texas

Postby Tigerlily74 » Fri Mar 27, 2015 8:25 pm

Also - I realize he is working in BL and at a premier firm, which I do not need to be hired by to be happy, but his overall message was that unless you go to a T6 or CA T20, you will not have a good shot at getting hired there.

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rinkrat19
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Re: HELP - Berkeley v. Texas

Postby rinkrat19 » Fri Mar 27, 2015 8:29 pm

I'm betting that "energy law" at Boalt and Texas are two very different animals. Specialty programs aren't terribly relevant for the job you eventually get, of course, but be aware that "energy" in TX means Big Oil and not much else.

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ILoveYou
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Re: HELP - Berkeley v. Texas

Postby ILoveYou » Fri Mar 27, 2015 8:31 pm

BigZuck wrote:
ILoveYou wrote:I'm with Zuck; neither seems great. If you'd be alright staying in TX or otherwise not landing CA, Texas could work. A lot of this depends on your career goals though.


Total COA at the other schools that gave you decent offers?

Yeah. I just don't like the idea of anyone attending UT without a laser focus on getting a job in TX, being ok with modest career outcomes, and, ideally, pre-existing ties to TX (and ideally ideally being a Texan)

This is problematic in a lot of ways. The OP has a great lsat but is a splitter. The OP wants CA but isn't a Californian. Attending college there might help. But if the OP goes to, like, Northwestern and targets SF the OP might be dead in the water even if the OP went to Cal/Stanford undergrad. LA might be easier to get without strong ties. I'm hoping the OP went to school in LA and wants to target LA.



Right, absolutely. And being a splitter can hurt you out west, which I think prob explains Berk. I would worry about OPs goals from any of these options. It really sounds like Berk would be your best choice, but sticker is a crazy price tag.

E: have you tried to negotiate at all of them?
Last edited by ILoveYou on Fri Mar 27, 2015 8:38 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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Tigerlily74
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Re: HELP - Berkeley v. Texas

Postby Tigerlily74 » Fri Mar 27, 2015 8:37 pm

Hi ILoveYou - thanks for taking the time to chime in. Backstory is boring - I don't want to post too many details for privacy reasons, but my husband is from overseas (Asia-Pacific region) and we have been living/working in very large metropolitan areas for the past 4 years (10 million people+). We do not want to be in that sort of environment anymore neither of us can stand the big-city lifestyle or mentality. We need to be on the West Coast for easier access to his family in addition to our own personalities/lifestyle preferences. I am originally from a smaller Western state with no appreciable legal market, but I went to a top undergrad in SoCal.

BigZuck
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Re: HELP - Berkeley v. Texas

Postby BigZuck » Fri Mar 27, 2015 8:37 pm

rinkrat19 wrote:"energy" in TX means Big Oil and not much else.

Not true.

Do you mean in the state? Texas is the largest producer of wind energy in the country, there are developing solar farms, etc. Its not just oil.

Do you mean at the school? There's tons of classes/institutes/symposiums, etc on energy and environmental related things that aren't oil and gas.

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rpupkin
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Re: HELP - Berkeley v. Texas

Postby rpupkin » Fri Mar 27, 2015 8:38 pm

BigZuck wrote:
rpupkin wrote:
Winston1984 wrote:What are your offers from Duke, UVA, Cornell, and NU? You could get to CA from those. Probably have to be okay with NY though.

Yeah, if you're deadset against NYC (as OP is), then Cornell is crazy.

Duke/UVA could make sense if the scholarships are substantial enough.

Why Duke but not Cornell? Do you think CA employers think less of a Cornell degree vs a Duke degree? I'd imagine it would be the same, and NYC is the fallback for both.

Yeah, I think you're basically right. Both UVA and Duke have more of a presence out here in California, mostly because--unlike Cornell--neither has a natural home market. And I think it's a little easier to get a job from an out-of-state school when you have more alumni from your law school working in the state. So I do think UVA or Duke could be a little better for California big law. But it's a slight effect and probably not worth basing a decision on.

BigZuck
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Re: HELP - Berkeley v. Texas

Postby BigZuck » Fri Mar 27, 2015 8:40 pm

Tigerlily74 wrote:Hi ILoveYou - thanks for taking the time to chime in. Backstory is boring - I don't want to post too many details for privacy reasons, but my husband is from overseas (Asia-Pacific region) and we have been living/working in very large metropolitan areas for the past 4 years (10 million people+). We do not want to be in that sort of environment anymore neither of us can stand the big-city lifestyle or mentality. We need to be on the West Coast for easier access to his family in addition to our own personalities/lifestyle preferences. I am originally from a smaller Western state with no appreciable legal market, but I went to a top undergrad in SoCal.

If you don't want to be in a big city then I don't see why you would even bother trying to go to a top school. If you want to be a small town lawyer go to a lower ranked CA school on a full ride and hustle.

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Tigerlily74
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Re: HELP - Berkeley v. Texas

Postby Tigerlily74 » Fri Mar 27, 2015 8:41 pm

Thank you everyone for your advice/opinions - I really do appreciate your taking the time! :D

I know neither choice is ideal, and if I had fewer family obligations, it would be much easier to choose one of the less expensive/more transferable degrees from an East Coast school.

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ILoveYou
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Re: HELP - Berkeley v. Texas

Postby ILoveYou » Fri Mar 27, 2015 8:43 pm

Damn, OP, this is a tough one. With your goals and options, Im afraid you might end up gunning for biglaw at Boalt :(. Any chance a r /r is an option?

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Tigerlily74
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Re: HELP - Berkeley v. Texas

Postby Tigerlily74 » Fri Mar 27, 2015 8:53 pm

It is looking like BL at Boalt may have to be the choice...I have the option to retake the LSAT, but I'm at 173 and don't expect I would go much higher. Unfortunately, I was quite unwell my first year of college = low GPA that I wish more than anything I could do something about, but such is life.

Berkeley has not yet released the majority of scholarship awards - however, I am ineligible for need-based aid, and a non-URM, which is more than likely going to translate into a low offer (or nothing at all).

lumpkin
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Re: HELP - Berkeley v. Texas

Postby lumpkin » Fri Mar 27, 2015 9:03 pm

I vote for Berkeley because I hate America and want to speak Arabic.

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banjo
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Re: HELP - Berkeley v. Texas

Postby banjo » Fri Mar 27, 2015 9:06 pm

I'd probably take UVA at 150k COA. It's over 100k cheaper than Berkeley, not in a big city, and should get you back West if you can sell your ties. Whatever that partner said doesn't seem right. People at median get CA callbacks at CLS, so why would those firms only consider top 10% from UVA?

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Tigerlily74
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Re: HELP - Berkeley v. Texas

Postby Tigerlily74 » Fri Mar 27, 2015 9:13 pm

Hi, thanks for your message - he put it directly as possible - it isn't fair and it doesn't necessarily mean they are getting the best people possible, but they look at either T6/Berkeley grads and then top USC/UCLA grads - period.

It's just one anecdote/experience though, so of course I will consider along with everything else. :D




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