Harvard vs. Columbia ($$) vs. Michigan ($$$$)

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

Decisions, Decisions:

1) Harvard: ~152K at repayment (~165K total, 2.9 years to pay off)
24
52%
2) Columbia: Butler - ~80K at repayment (~84K total, 1.5 years to pay off)
8
17%
3) Michigan: Darrow w/ 10K stipend - No debt
14
30%
 
Total votes: 46

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ChemEng1642
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Harvard vs. Columbia ($$) vs. Michigan ($$$$)

Postby ChemEng1642 » Mon Apr 06, 2015 11:34 pm

Please don't quote!

First I feel incredibly blessed with the options I have given that I am a splitter!

The schools you are considering and COA:
I have narrowed it down to these three:
Harvard Debt: ~152K at repayment (~165K total, 2.9 years to pay off)
Columbia Debt: Butler - ~80K at repayment (~84K total, 1.5 years to pay off)
Michigan Debt: Darrow w/ 10K stipend - No debt

Values are based on LS22's spreadsheet and tailored to my situation. I also included an interesting metric of how many years it would take me to pay off the debt if I had a big law salary and wanted to make at least the same post-tax value that I currently make (current pre-tax salary ~72K). Figured I at least know I can function with that salary.

I also have a full ride to UT, 105K from Northwestern, and smaller than Butler amounts from Penn, NYU, and Chicago if people are interested. Rejected at Stanford and Yale as well.

How you will be financing your COA, i.e. loans, family, or savings:
Savings (I feel comfortable putting in 15K per year given what I currently have), and Loans (Private loan from my parents, 0% interest rate while in school and a fixed 5% rate starting in January of 2019). Another major factor is that I will be living with my significant other while in law school and he will be working. While he isn't covering my COL entirely, it does save me quite a bit. I assumed no bonuses, or 1L SA, though I did assume a 2L SA because honestly if I can't get that out of Columbia or Harvard then I've done something horribly wrong.

Where you are from and where you want to work, and other places where you have significant ties (if any):
From Massachusetts and would like to end up in Boston. However, I also don't want to make my SO change jobs after three years so I'll also consider the area where my law school is as well. The only thing I am really averse to is NYC Biglaw. My SO and I would like to eventually settle in the north east, but we also have ties in Texas as we've lived there for a few years too.

Your general career goals:
My interest is in IP/Cyberlaw (not necessarily patent though), and I would like to eventually end up in-house for a large company (preferably tech but I don't know how possible that is in my location).

Your LSAT/GPA numbers:
175/3.6X

How many times you have taken the LSAT:
Twice

Misc:
The only other major relevant factor is that my SO is more likely to get a job that he wants out of NYC/BOS than he would out of Ann Arbor, but he won't end up jobless in any place. He would also prefer NYC and BOS to Ann Arbor but will be moving with me where I go regardless.

I know where I'm leaning but I'd love to hear everyone's opinions!

UPDATE: Update because some things weren't clear. I would be okay with NYC or Boston for law school but would like to end up outside of NYC (Boston because that's where I'm from and would eventually like to settle near family) after law school (basically not NYC Big Law). SO's preference is NYC >> BOS >>>>> Ann Arbor because he's originally from NY.
Last edited by ChemEng1642 on Tue Apr 07, 2015 8:02 pm, edited 2 times in total.

AspiringAcademic
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Re: Harvard vs. Columbia ($$) vs. Michigan ($$$$)

Postby AspiringAcademic » Mon Apr 06, 2015 11:48 pm

So, two threshold questions:
1.) in addition to leaving you with no debt, the Darrow leaves you with a surplus (given the contributions you are assuming for the other schools). How much is it?
2.) what happens to your SO's earning potential in each market? It sounds like you are making this decision as a unit so it matters if, say, Boston pays him 10k more than Ann Arbor.

My guess is that this will come out Harvard given your desire to be in Boston, the heavy nyc focus of Columbia, and the stress and money saved through geographic stability. But it's worth gaming out the Darrow a bit more.

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RunnerRunner
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Re: Harvard vs. Columbia ($$) vs. Michigan ($$$$)

Postby RunnerRunner » Tue Apr 07, 2015 12:12 am

Huh. This is an interesting question, cause in a vacuum I've always considered these options to be pretty much equivalent (H sticker, C Butler, and Mich. Darrow). But, obviously, your life isn't lived in a vacuum, so I guess I agree that Harvard may be the way to go considering you don't want NYC, you DO want Boston, and Ann Arbor doesn't sound like your jam. I think the fact that you seem to be pretty financially stable helps as well, otherwise I'd be a little more tempted by the Darrow. Ultimately, my recommendation is based on the fact that it seems like you want to live in Boston and don't want to make the SO move around, I'm sure you could get a job in basically any city from any of these schools. Congrats on a great cycle!

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Mack.Hambleton
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Re: Harvard vs. Columbia ($$) vs. Michigan ($$$$)

Postby Mack.Hambleton » Tue Apr 07, 2015 12:16 am

someone with experience should speak on IP hiring, might make the advantage of paying more for the higher ranked school negligible

congrats on ur great cycle tho

BigZuck
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Re: Harvard vs. Columbia ($$) vs. Michigan ($$$$)

Postby BigZuck » Tue Apr 07, 2015 12:20 am

Money/career goal wise I think Michigan makes the most sense. It's up to you to figure out what makes the most sense for both you and the SO.

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BiglawAssociate
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Re: Harvard vs. Columbia ($$) vs. Michigan ($$$$)

Postby BiglawAssociate » Tue Apr 07, 2015 1:29 am

I'd choose Michigan. It depends on whether your SO can get a job in Ann Arbor though.

I think most people hate being lawyers, so I'd go with the full ride like 99% of the time. If you haven't worked biglaw, you just don't get it.

CanadianWolf
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Re: Harvard vs. Columbia ($$) vs. Michigan ($$$$)

Postby CanadianWolf » Tue Apr 07, 2015 1:38 am

Seems like Harvard & Michigan are the top two given your priorities & goals. In my opinion, Harvard is worth the cost in your situation.

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ChemEng1642
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Re: Harvard vs. Columbia ($$) vs. Michigan ($$$$)

Postby ChemEng1642 » Tue Apr 07, 2015 9:21 am

AspiringAcademic wrote:So, two threshold questions:
1.) in addition to leaving you with no debt, the Darrow leaves you with a surplus (given the contributions you are assuming for the other schools). How much is it?
2.) what happens to your SO's earning potential in each market? It sounds like you are making this decision as a unit so it matters if, say, Boston pays him 10k more than Ann Arbor.

My guess is that this will come out Harvard given your desire to be in Boston, the heavy nyc focus of Columbia, and the stress and money saved through geographic stability. But it's worth gaming out the Darrow a bit more.


Hello!

1) Assuming I get a 2L SA position at Michigan, I can have no debt while not dipping into my savings. So that would be a +45K relative to Harvard and Columbia.
2) Oh! Interesting question. Hmm we haven't done that research yet but if I had to guess it would be NYC pay >> Boston pay >>>> Michigan pay.

Thank you everyone for your opinions! I also forgot to add a poll last night but there's one up now! The more opinions the merrier!

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jbagelboy
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Re: Harvard vs. Columbia ($$) vs. Michigan ($$$$)

Postby jbagelboy » Tue Apr 07, 2015 12:40 pm

I reread, and I think Harvard is very fair here as well. I didn't catch that you don't want NY firms. It's not difficult to work in Boston from CLS at all if you're from there (or even if you're not), but if you feel Boston is "home" for you and your SO and that's where you want to be, the debt divergence is not enormous enough to make H a bad choice.
Last edited by jbagelboy on Tue Apr 07, 2015 12:56 pm, edited 2 times in total.

The Dark Shepard
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Re: Harvard vs. Columbia ($$) vs. Michigan ($$$$)

Postby The Dark Shepard » Tue Apr 07, 2015 12:51 pm

CLS sounds like TCR other than the problem of not wanting to make your SO not get a new job twice in 3 years. However, Ann Arbor doesn't sound like a good long-term option either. In this scenario, HLS might be the best choice, particularly with SO's income. Depends on how much these intangible values are worth to you.

AspiringAcademic
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Re: Harvard vs. Columbia ($$) vs. Michigan ($$$$)

Postby AspiringAcademic » Tue Apr 07, 2015 1:27 pm

With Michigan at +45k, Harvard is 200k more expensive. That's harsh. I'm normally a fan of full rides, but the two-body problem makes things more complicated in this case. Maybe get some Michigan specific advice about Boston placement? I know nothing relevant.

This will come down to personal preference, and a lot depends on how much you want to accommodate your SO and what your collective financial position will be. My advice is to work out your monthly budget and your savings (paying careful attention to taxes, and your SO's position) for the first 2-3 years post law school given each option. Don't forget that moving for summer associate positions is hard and annoying. It's worth something to not have to.

Good luck! You have good options, but I don't envy your tradeoffs.

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WeeBey
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Re: Harvard vs. Columbia ($$) vs. Michigan ($$$$)

Postby WeeBey » Tue Apr 07, 2015 4:03 pm

Your savings should be included in the COA. So thats 300k for H (assuming no need aid), 200k at Columbia with the Butler, and Michigan, at probably 15-20k with the darrow.

Especially with IP, the placement differences between these schools shrinks. In a vaccum, Michigan is the best option.

However, you say you dont want to work in NYC and your SO wouldnt like AA.

So I say it should be between Harvard and Michigan. With ties to the northeast, and an IP background you should be able to find something in the NE with good grades from Michigan. But you do have more security from Harvard. Either way, you should be content with having to spend at least a few years in NYC since they do the bulk of the hiring.

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ChemEng1642
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Re: Harvard vs. Columbia ($$) vs. Michigan ($$$$)

Postby ChemEng1642 » Tue Apr 07, 2015 4:14 pm

WeeBey wrote:Your savings should be included in the COA. So thats 300k for H (assuming no need aid), 200k at Columbia with the Butler, and Michigan, at probably 15-20k with the darrow.


Hello!

Just to clarify - my contributed savings are only 45K so did you mean 210K for H and 130K for Columbia? And I guess I should clarify - If I had to do NYC Biglaw of course I would do it over no job, but that is the worst desired Big Law outcome for me personally assuming I have to do some amount of Big Law before going in-house. But anyway thank you for your perspective!

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ChemEng1642
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Re: Harvard vs. Columbia ($$) vs. Michigan ($$$$)

Postby ChemEng1642 » Tue Apr 07, 2015 8:03 pm

Hello everyone!

I reread my post and your responses and clarified some things in an UPDATE at the bottom of the OP. I would love you all if you read that! If you need to change your poll choice you can!

BigZuck
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Re: Harvard vs. Columbia ($$) vs. Michigan ($$$$)

Postby BigZuck » Tue Apr 07, 2015 8:15 pm

ChemEng1642 wrote:Hello everyone!

I reread my post and your responses and clarified some things in an UPDATE at the bottom of the OP. I would love you all if you read that! If you need to change your poll choice you can!

I'm not really sure what you're looking for here. You want us to tell you what you should think/decide when it comes to things like your SO's job or preferences?

I think Bay hit it right on the head, I think objectively speaking Michigan is the right money/career choice. The other schools are too expensive and the better job prospects don't justify the cost difference. But that doesn't mean you should reflexively just go to Michigan of course. There are multiple lives hanging in the balance here, and only you know how you should deal with that. It's beyond TLS' expertise.

I mean, I had a SO too and I chose the best place for her. Maybe that's helpful for you?

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bruinfan10
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Re: Harvard vs. Columbia ($$) vs. Michigan ($$$$)

Postby bruinfan10 » Wed Apr 08, 2015 10:44 am

AspiringAcademic wrote:With Michigan at +45k, Harvard is 200k more expensive. That's harsh. I'm normally a fan of full rides, but the two-body problem makes things more complicated in this case. Maybe get some Michigan specific advice about Boston placement? I know nothing relevant.

OP, I'm assuming you have a hard science background and you're working in an IP-friendly field now? If so, I'm pretty sure the extra hiring safety HLS gives you isn't worth 200k.

Also, I'd visit AA with the SO. I went to UM sight unseen just because it made the most sense cost-wise for me, figured it'd be some regular Midwestern town like Des Moines or St. Louis. It's actually more like a mini (and cleaner) version of Berkeley dropped in the midwest. Might make things easier for you if you realize you're not living with children of the corn.

Hutz_and_Goodman
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Re: Harvard vs. Columbia ($$) vs. Michigan ($$$$)

Postby Hutz_and_Goodman » Wed Apr 08, 2015 10:52 am

This is a situation where H makes sense
congrats

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cron1834
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Re: Harvard vs. Columbia ($$) vs. Michigan ($$$$)

Postby cron1834 » Wed Apr 08, 2015 6:53 pm

Darrow.

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Mack.Hambleton
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Re: Harvard vs. Columbia ($$) vs. Michigan ($$$$)

Postby Mack.Hambleton » Wed Apr 08, 2015 7:23 pm

bruinfan10 wrote:
AspiringAcademic wrote:With Michigan at +45k, Harvard is 200k more expensive. That's harsh. I'm normally a fan of full rides, but the two-body problem makes things more complicated in this case. Maybe get some Michigan specific advice about Boston placement? I know nothing relevant.

OP, I'm assuming you have a hard science background and you're working in an IP-friendly field now? If so, I'm pretty sure the extra hiring safety HLS gives you isn't worth 200k.



this is what I was alluding to earlier btw

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yot11
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Re: Harvard vs. Columbia ($$) vs. Michigan ($$$$)

Postby yot11 » Wed Apr 08, 2015 7:36 pm

bruinfan10 wrote:
AspiringAcademic wrote:With Michigan at +45k, Harvard is 200k more expensive. That's harsh. I'm normally a fan of full rides, but the two-body problem makes things more complicated in this case. Maybe get some Michigan specific advice about Boston placement? I know nothing relevant.

OP, I'm assuming you have a hard science background and you're working in an IP-friendly field now? If so, I'm pretty sure the extra hiring safety HLS gives you isn't worth 200k.

Also, I'd visit AA with the SO. I went to UM sight unseen just because it made the most sense cost-wise for me, figured it'd be some regular Midwestern town like Des Moines or St. Louis. It's actually more like a mini (and cleaner) version of Berkeley dropped in the midwest. Might make things easier for you if you realize you're not living with children of the corn.


OP said he wasn't necessarily interested in patents, more soft IP. I don't think that soft IP gets you any hiring advantage, regardless of your STEM background, but I could be wrong. Not saying that OP should go H over Darrow, but I don't think that OP will have any sort of hiring advantage over other Michigan students (or wherever OP goes).

lumpkin
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Re: Harvard vs. Columbia ($$) vs. Michigan ($$$$)

Postby lumpkin » Wed Apr 08, 2015 7:42 pm

Shake down Columbia. It is not that hard.

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RareExports
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Re: Harvard vs. Columbia ($$) vs. Michigan ($$$$)

Postby RareExports » Sat Apr 11, 2015 8:13 pm

How did you/the SO like Ann Arbor? That's what I think it comes down to.




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