GW vs. UMD

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Marylander25
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GW vs. UMD

Postby Marylander25 » Wed Apr 01, 2015 2:53 pm

Back again after some soul searching.

Currently choosing between:

GW: $180k COA (still negotiating)
Maryland: $80k COA (tuition virtually free)
Neither includes contributions of family and SO, which could cut costs by as much as half at either school.

Would like to ultimately practice environmental law in the Chesapeake Bay watershed, ideally at a midsize firm or a smaller practice group in a large firm. I'd prefer to end up in DC still but also love Baltimore. Willing to pursue a higher salary at a larger firm doing other work initially if it will improve my options later on. I have a master's degree and some work experience in environmental policy (water quality, working waterfronts, and energy) in DC, including professional connections at a few large firms. I've spent the last six years in the DC area, but also have significant family ties in Baltimore.

3.64/165 first time

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buckiguy_sucks
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Marylander25
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Re: GW vs. UMD

Postby Marylander25 » Wed Apr 01, 2015 3:06 pm

buckiguy_sucks wrote:Obligatory retake and go to GW for much cheaper or GULC for cheap

Also how do family/spouse cut each in half? In one instance that's 40k and in the other that's 90k, pretty extreme difference.

Definitely not GW at that price (unless you want to be a politician) not sure what Maryland is worth with those goals



I appreciate you getting the retake advice out of the way early, and I've definitely considered it. Right now I think I'd rather have school cost a little bit more than put off going for yet another year. Other contributions cut in half because cost of living will be shared evenly, which would be almost half at UMD, maybe a third at GW based on the data provided by the schools and my experience in the DC housing market.

FSK
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Re: GW vs. UMD

Postby FSK » Wed Apr 01, 2015 3:08 pm

You're not getting a large firm from UMD, and your area of interest is a complete unicorn. Price for both is unconscionable.

Seriously, you need to retake.

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buckiguy_sucks
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timbs4339
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Re: GW vs. UMD

Postby timbs4339 » Thu Apr 02, 2015 11:56 am

Retake is by far the better option unless you have maxed. We're not talking "a little bit more," we're talking tens of thousands of dollars. I'm not sure what kind of background you come from where that's not a substantial amount of money.

If not retake, UMD.

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Capitol_Idea
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Re: GW vs. UMD

Postby Capitol_Idea » Thu Apr 02, 2015 12:38 pm

To emphasize, the 'retake' advice isn't merely about 'prestige' (or the real-life benefits of getting a better deal: less debt, better job prospects). The underlying theme you need to be taking away from this is that you only get one bite at the apple.

Once you start at a law school, you are beginning an irreversible track that will either end with you getting a job at a salary/debt ratio you can handle, or not. Things need to get done on a certain timeline (2L Summer work leading in to an offer, for example).

The clock doesn't start ticking until you actually go to law school, though, so you have all the time in the world to maximize your ability to get into a good school, nab a sweet scholarship, and mold yourself into a kick-ass student and mature professional ready for the legal market. I took 6 years from undergrad to law school - it was well worth it. I know others who took much, much more time.

There is *almost* no good reason for rushing into law school. Either you care enough about your future that you will do things right and set yourself for a stable and rewarding career, or you don't care enough, in which case why are you even getting the degree.

Retake. Sit out a cycle and get some more W/E. Re-apply.

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AreJay711
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Re: GW vs. UMD

Postby AreJay711 » Thu Apr 02, 2015 12:46 pm

flawschoolkid wrote:You're not getting a large firm from UMD, and your area of interest is a complete unicorn. Price for both is unconscionable.

Seriously, you need to retake.


Well, I might quibble with the underlined. Chesapeake Bay environmental law is mostly going to be land use shit for developers on the water. A few people get big law, especially if they can snag a clerkship. But you should retake.

You should go to GW if you aren't going to listen. With PAYE, the cost of both schools is the same over the next 24 years if you have a less than optimal outcome. You are more likely to find something decent from GW.

MDGW15
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Re: GW vs. UMD

Postby MDGW15 » Thu Apr 02, 2015 1:40 pm

I work in a big firm in DC and there are several attorneys who graduated from GW and 1 from UMD. Big law from those schools are by no means impossible....I spoke to attorneys from the respective law schools and they all said that they loved their experience there, did not regret it, and definitely recommend attending.

Finances should however be taken under serious consideration. I assume that you are a MD resident, and UMD would probably be cheaper....and since you don't mind working in Baltimore upon graduation it might not be such a bad idea. GW on the other hand is really expensive. Without any scholarships, it's hard defending attending it. I went to the UMD admitted student event on Saturday, and I remember a current student who is also interested in environmental law. I believe MD has some type of certificate program.

Ultimately the choice is yours. I would recommend doing more research into each school's environmental law program.

FSK
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Re: GW vs. UMD

Postby FSK » Thu Apr 02, 2015 1:45 pm

MDGW15 wrote:I work in a big firm in DC and there are several attorneys who graduated from GW and 1 from UMD. Big law from those schools are by no means impossible....I spoke to attorneys from the respective law schools and they all said that they loved their experience there, did not regret it, and definitely recommend attending.

Finances should however be taken under serious consideration. I assume that you are a MD resident, and UMD would probably be cheaper....and since you don't mind working in Baltimore upon graduation it might not be such a bad idea. GW on the other hand is really expensive. Without any scholarships, it's hard defending attending it. I went to the UMD admitted student event on Saturday, and I remember a current student who is also interested in environmental law. I believe MD has some type of certificate program.

Ultimately the choice is yours. I would recommend doing more research into each school's environmental law program.


This advice ignores the fact that we can look at the schools large firm + fed clerk numbers and see that UMD has a score less than 10%. NB, UMD has overall of less than 55% - this is abysmal.

http://www.lstscorereports.com/schools/ ... yers/2013/

GW's is nearly 30

http://www.lstscorereports.com/schools/ ... yers/2013/

Both of these are terribly chances - 30 or 10 that is. That even ignores the relative quality of those jobs (GW students end up at most of the top firms, even if in small numbers. Williams & Connolly takes 1 person from GW most years, for instance). "Top" firms probably don't even touch UMD.

Informative
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Re: GW vs. UMD

Postby Informative » Fri Apr 10, 2015 2:26 pm

Given your goal of environmental law in MD, I would go with UMD. Easy choice. I wouldn't even consider GW.

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bsktbll28082
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Re: GW vs. UMD

Postby bsktbll28082 » Sat Apr 11, 2015 7:31 pm

I agree with zacharus's "one bite of the apple" statement. I screwed myself not sitting out a cycle or doing another retake (did 1). It really can be worth it in the long run. I might have started at GW instead of transferring.

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zombie mcavoy
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Re: GW vs. UMD

Postby zombie mcavoy » Sat Apr 11, 2015 7:42 pm

MDGW15 wrote:I work in a big firm in DC and there are several attorneys who graduated from GW and 1 from UMD. Big law from those schools are by no means impossible....I spoke to attorneys from the respective law schools and they all said that they loved their experience there, did not regret it, and definitely recommend attending.

Finances should however be taken under serious consideration. I assume that you are a MD resident, and UMD would probably be cheaper....and since you don't mind working in Baltimore upon graduation it might not be such a bad idea. GW on the other hand is really expensive. Without any scholarships, it's hard defending attending it. I went to the UMD admitted student event on Saturday, and I remember a current student who is also interested in environmental law. I believe MD has some type of certificate program.

Ultimately the choice is yours. I would recommend doing more research into each school's environmental law program.

Informative wrote:Given your goal of environmental law in MD, I would go with UMD. Easy choice. I wouldn't even consider GW.


bsktbll28082 wrote:I agree with zacharus

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pancakes3
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Re: GW vs. UMD

Postby pancakes3 » Sat Apr 11, 2015 7:52 pm

Maryland is quietly a dumpster fire in its own right. Placement-wise there's only a marginal difference between UMD and Baltimore. Also, UMD is firmly in Baltimore, and doesn't place into DC/Fed very well. It might be higher ranked but DC dumpster-fires like American and Catholic though lower ranked, have better shots at fed jerbs (i.e. EPA).

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chuckbass
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Re: GW vs. UMD

Postby chuckbass » Sat Apr 11, 2015 7:53 pm

Why not an MPP and work in policy? Much less risk there, considering what you want is still kind of unicornish even with a retake.

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Other25BeforeYou
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Re: GW vs. UMD

Postby Other25BeforeYou » Sun Apr 12, 2015 11:19 pm

bsktbll28082 wrote:I agree with zacharus's "one bite of the apple" statement. I screwed myself not sitting out a cycle or doing another retake (did 1). It really can be worth it in the long run. I might have started at GW instead of transferring.

Ugh yes. If I'd retaken after my first time I'd probably still have gone to the same school, but I might not still be a million bajillion dollars in debt three years out. Two or three more points would've probably cut my debt load by half or more. Why oh why didn't I wait another year?

Marylander25
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Re: GW vs. UMD

Postby Marylander25 » Mon Apr 13, 2015 10:51 am

scottidsntknow wrote:Why not an MPP and work in policy? Much less risk there, considering what you want is still kind of unicornish even with a retake.


I've thought about this a lot, and I have an MPP and work in policy. It's the actual legal work that I'm after, though. I'd rather have a more or less generic litigation job for 5-10 years and then transition into environmental work down the line than keep doing more of the same. Worst case, if I can't find legal work and the debt is crushing, I'll fall back on the MPP.


Got substantially more money from GW after first deposits without negotiating, which I'm still going to try. All factors considered, my debt burden there now would be $90-100k. Would I be able to use the June LSAT as leverage?

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bsktbll28082
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Re: GW vs. UMD

Postby bsktbll28082 » Tue Apr 21, 2015 10:12 am

I don't think 90k is bad for GW.

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Capitol_Idea
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Re: GW vs. UMD

Postby Capitol_Idea » Tue Apr 21, 2015 10:21 am

bsktbll28082 wrote:I don't think 90k is bad for GW.

Agreed - it's GREAT for GW. Terrible for the student, though.

CanadianWolf
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Re: GW vs. UMD

Postby CanadianWolf » Tue Apr 21, 2015 10:23 am

zachrus85 has given you solid advice.

I agree that a retake with an increase of just two or three points should substantially enhance your options. If you're currently employed & can stay put for another year, then the T-14 or a full scholarship from many Tier One law schools is within your reach.

Nevertheless, if you must go this year, ask GW for more money & see what develops.

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mi-chan17
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Re: GW vs. UMD

Postby mi-chan17 » Tue Apr 21, 2015 11:40 am

In generally I agree that retaking is always a solid option. Assuming that you'll ignore that advice, though, I don't think going to GW for less than $100k is a bad idea. I'd definitely take it over UMD for $80k, any day of the week.

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pancakes3
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Re: GW vs. UMD

Postby pancakes3 » Wed Apr 22, 2015 7:59 am

GW's 2 big strikes against it is that the non-IP employment is dismal, and the overall employment numbers are inflated with school-funded jobs. Still better than MD, but you owe it to yourself for a retake - which is that much harder to pull the trigger on, now that you made a deposit.

FSK
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Re: GW vs. UMD

Postby FSK » Wed Apr 22, 2015 8:04 am

If your debt burden from GW is sub 100K, and you're not going to retake, I say go for it.

FSK
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Re: GW vs. UMD

Postby FSK » Wed Apr 22, 2015 8:04 am

pancakes3 wrote:GW's 2 big strikes against it is that the non-IP employment is dismal, and the overall employment numbers are inflated with school-funded jobs. Still better than MD, but you owe it to yourself for a retake - which is that much harder to pull the trigger on, now that you made a deposit.


You can get biglaw if you're top 1/3 and hustle. Top 10% has great options generally. The bottom of the class is el-fucked though.

Marylander25
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Re: GW vs. UMD

Postby Marylander25 » Wed Apr 22, 2015 12:10 pm

Is sitting out and retaking really such a recipe for success? There's a thread full of people who tried it and it worked, but how many people go that route and end up with the same or worse outcomes?

And what is the process? Do I just reuse the same essays and have profs send the same LORs or is this a clean slate deal?




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