SLS v HLS

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bretby
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Re: SLS v HLS

Postby bretby » Wed Apr 08, 2015 9:30 am

I just had a long conversation with a former prof about various schools, and he said that hands down Harvard provided the best legal education, most notably in the 1L year. He also said that the atmosphere at Harvard was more.....challenging than at SLS, YLS, etc., and that the vast majority of students would not say they fully enjoyed their years at HLS, but would say that it was a worthwhile experience. Just another 2 cents...

Fred Norris
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Re: SLS v HLS

Postby Fred Norris » Wed Apr 08, 2015 11:10 am

bretby wrote:I just had a long conversation with a former prof about various schools, and he said that hands down Harvard provided the best legal education, most notably in the 1L year. He also said that the atmosphere at Harvard was more.....challenging than at SLS, YLS, etc., and that the vast majority of students would not say they fully enjoyed their years at HLS, but would say that it was a worthwhile experience. Just another 2 cents...


Thanks for this. I had a different experience in a way. I recently talked to a prominent professor who turned down Y and H for S. He Is convinced that in the past half decade, S I'd edging the others out.

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Re: SLS v HLS

Postby rpupkin » Wed Apr 08, 2015 11:16 am

bretby wrote:I just had a long conversation with a former prof about various schools, and he said that hands down Harvard provided the best legal education, most notably in the 1L year. He also said that the atmosphere at Harvard was more.....challenging than at SLS, YLS, etc., and that the vast majority of students would not say they fully enjoyed their years at HLS, but would say that it was a worthwhile experience. Just another 2 cents...

I seriously wonder if your former prof's opinion is based on the movie The Paper Chase. I am not kidding.

Seriously, what insight does your former prof have into the "legal education" provided by the two schools during 1L? HLS has changed dramatically over the past 20-30 years. SLS has changed as well. The differences your professor is commenting on very likely no longer exist (if they ever did).

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bretby
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Re: SLS v HLS

Postby bretby » Wed Apr 08, 2015 11:19 am

rpupkin wrote:
bretby wrote:I just had a long conversation with a former prof about various schools, and he said that hands down Harvard provided the best legal education, most notably in the 1L year. He also said that the atmosphere at Harvard was more.....challenging than at SLS, YLS, etc., and that the vast majority of students would not say they fully enjoyed their years at HLS, but would say that it was a worthwhile experience. Just another 2 cents...

I seriously wonder if your former prof's opinion is based on the movie The Paper Chase. I am not kidding.

Seriously, what insight does your former prof have into the "legal education" provided by the two schools during 1L? HLS has changed dramatically over the past 20-30 years. SLS has changed as well. The differences your professor is commenting on very likely no longer exist (if they ever did).



He is my former professor, but he is a current law professor with significant insight into the schools in question.

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CicerBRo
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Re: SLS v HLS

Postby CicerBRo » Wed Apr 08, 2015 11:20 am

HLS mah homie. I love it here. <3

Or SLS. Just visit both and decide what you like better. /thread

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Re: SLS v HLS

Postby rpupkin » Wed Apr 08, 2015 11:25 am

bretby wrote:
rpupkin wrote:
bretby wrote:I just had a long conversation with a former prof about various schools, and he said that hands down Harvard provided the best legal education, most notably in the 1L year. He also said that the atmosphere at Harvard was more.....challenging than at SLS, YLS, etc., and that the vast majority of students would not say they fully enjoyed their years at HLS, but would say that it was a worthwhile experience. Just another 2 cents...

I seriously wonder if your former prof's opinion is based on the movie The Paper Chase. I am not kidding.

Seriously, what insight does your former prof have into the "legal education" provided by the two schools during 1L? HLS has changed dramatically over the past 20-30 years. SLS has changed as well. The differences your professor is commenting on very likely no longer exist (if they ever did).



He is my former professor, but he is a current law professor with significant insight into the schools in question.

I have some insight into the two schools as well, and I really have no idea what your professor friend is talking about. What does he think are the meaningful differences between SLS and HLS re legal education during the 1L year?

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bretby
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Re: SLS v HLS

Postby bretby » Wed Apr 08, 2015 11:28 am

rpupkin wrote:
bretby wrote:
rpupkin wrote:
bretby wrote:I just had a long conversation with a former prof about various schools, and he said that hands down Harvard provided the best legal education, most notably in the 1L year. He also said that the atmosphere at Harvard was more.....challenging than at SLS, YLS, etc., and that the vast majority of students would not say they fully enjoyed their years at HLS, but would say that it was a worthwhile experience. Just another 2 cents...

I seriously wonder if your former prof's opinion is based on the movie The Paper Chase. I am not kidding.

Seriously, what insight does your former prof have into the "legal education" provided by the two schools during 1L? HLS has changed dramatically over the past 20-30 years. SLS has changed as well. The differences your professor is commenting on very likely no longer exist (if they ever did).



He is my former professor, but he is a current law professor with significant insight into the schools in question.

I have some insight into the two schools as well, and I really have no idea what your professor friend is talking about. What does he think are the meaningful differences between SLS and HLS re legal education during the 1L year?


He thinks that the 1L academic experience at HLS (curriculum + pedagogy + expectations) is substantively superior, not just to SLS, but also to YLS, etc. etc.

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Re: SLS v HLS

Postby nothingtosee » Wed Apr 08, 2015 11:32 am

bretby wrote:
He thinks that the 1L academic experience at HLS (curriculum + pedagogy + expectations) is substantively superior, not just to SLS, but also to YLS, etc. etc.

NAME NAMES

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Re: SLS v HLS

Postby rpupkin » Wed Apr 08, 2015 11:34 am

bretby wrote:He thinks that the 1L academic experience at HLS (curriculum + pedagogy + expectations) is substantively superior, not just to SLS, but also to YLS, etc. etc.

I think that was once true. Not anymore, though. HLS even got rid of real grades! (And what is "etc. etc." referring to?)

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bretby
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Re: SLS v HLS

Postby bretby » Wed Apr 08, 2015 11:44 am

rpupkin wrote:
bretby wrote:He thinks that the 1L academic experience at HLS (curriculum + pedagogy + expectations) is substantively superior, not just to SLS, but also to YLS, etc. etc.

I think that was once true. Not anymore, though. HLS even got rid of real grades! (And what is "etc. etc." referring to?)



Etc., etc., referring to other law schools - as in HLS offers a substantively superior 1L academic experience than any other law school. Of course, you may be right. I think his opinion also has weight, though, as he has been in and around several top law schools for the past 20 years.

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Re: SLS v HLS

Postby abl » Wed Apr 08, 2015 12:07 pm

bretby wrote:
rpupkin wrote:
bretby wrote:He thinks that the 1L academic experience at HLS (curriculum + pedagogy + expectations) is substantively superior, not just to SLS, but also to YLS, etc. etc.

I think that was once true. Not anymore, though. HLS even got rid of real grades! (And what is "etc. etc." referring to?)



Etc., etc., referring to other law schools - as in HLS offers a substantively superior 1L academic experience than any other law school. Of course, you may be right. I think his opinion also has weight, though, as he has been in and around several top law schools for the past 20 years.


Yea, and I've heard this exact thing from experienced top law professors about Stanford being superior, about Michigan being superior, and about Chicago being superior. I am sure that if I talked with more professors, I could round out the rest of the T14 before too long. I think the lesson here is that every law prof has his or her own set of biases and preferences, and that folks love to make strong counterculture-esque statements about how some non-Yale school is actually the best. (And it may well be true that Yale is not the best; but I would be suspicious of any comment to that end.) Personally, I wouldn't put much or any stock in these sorts of comments (which, even when they do come from personal experience--and they very rarely do--are almost always going to be based on some pet peeve or another of a professor: like breaking conlaw into two classes instead of three, whether corporations is a required course, whether legal ethics is part of the 1L curriculum, how practices vs. skills-focused LRW is, etc).

Now, there are some relevant differences between the schools. Yale does not offer grades the first semester. Stanford's 1L includes a semester followed by two quarters. Harvard probably has the greatest variability in 1L professors. Each of these could be construed as an advantage or disadvantage. My personal preference is biased towards thinking that more classes and more class hours = more learning, so it is my belief that Stanford provides the best 1L education. But you could legitimately argue for any of these schools, as well as any number of other top law schools.

Regardless, I don't think this is a great basis for deciding between these schools. The chances that you, as a 0L (or whatever single professor you're able to commit to some confident statement about the relative 1L quality), make your decision around the most relevant set of factors to you--given the limited information you'll have about 1L curriculum--is vanishingly small. And, I'm not sure that the marginal differences between these school's respective 1L curriculums are big enough to justify a decision between the schools even assuming that you did have perfect information not only about the schools' respective strengths and weaknesses but about your own learning style. Maybe you will learn more in your 1L at Stanford given its semester-quarter-quarter 1L schedule than you would at Harvard or Yale. But that advantage is almost certainly going to be so far overwhelmed by the schools' differences in culture, geography, schedules, clinics, etc.

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Re: SLS v HLS

Postby abl » Wed Apr 08, 2015 12:29 pm

I also want to add:

School culture will impact more than just your interactions with your fellow students. It'll also impact your relationship with administrators, with alumni, and, potentially most crucially, with professors. While attending HYS, I took a number of classes from professors visiting from the other two of HYS. I noticed that there is a pretty significant divide between the way east coast professors and the way that west coast professors engage their students. In my experience, this seemed to be amplified the most at Harvard, where I thought professors were much more likely to cold call their students, engage in strict socratic method, and generally take a more formal and aggressive stance in the classroom, than at Stanford (or Yale). Like most of the other differences between these three schools, which style is best for you will be a personal preference. Personally, I liked the style of the Stanford professors that I had the most, who I thought were much more likely to treat their students like colleagues and much less likely to condescend, than Harvard professors (Yale professors were somewhere in the middle). But the more aggressive and formal style of Harvard is going to be better for some students.*

*Take this all with a big grain of salt, as my sample size was obviously very limited. Have other HYS students noticed anything of this sort? For what it's worth, I also have heard several professors at my HYS comment on these differences.

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Re: SLS v HLS

Postby bretby » Wed Apr 08, 2015 3:50 pm

abl wrote:I also want to add:

School culture will impact more than just your interactions with your fellow students. It'll also impact your relationship with administrators, with alumni, and, potentially most crucially, with professors. While attending HYS, I took a number of classes from professors visiting from the other two of HYS. I noticed that there is a pretty significant divide between the way east coast professors and the way that west coast professors engage their students. In my experience, this seemed to be amplified the most at Harvard, where I thought professors were much more likely to cold call their students, engage in strict socratic method, and generally take a more formal and aggressive stance in the classroom, than at Stanford (or Yale). Like most of the other differences between these three schools, which style is best for you will be a personal preference. Personally, I liked the style of the Stanford professors that I had the most, who I thought were much more likely to treat their students like colleagues and much less likely to condescend, than Harvard professors (Yale professors were somewhere in the middle). But the more aggressive and formal style of Harvard is going to be better for some students.*

*Take this all with a big grain of salt, as my sample size was obviously very limited. Have other HYS students noticed anything of this sort? For what it's worth, I also have heard several professors at my HYS comment on these differences.


Very well said. Finding a match to one's learning style is super important, and your characterization of Harvard professors is accurate.

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Re: SLS v HLS

Postby goldenflash19 » Wed Apr 08, 2015 4:59 pm

abl wrote:I also want to add:

School culture will impact more than just your interactions with your fellow students. It'll also impact your relationship with administrators, with alumni, and, potentially most crucially, with professors. While attending HYS, I took a number of classes from professors visiting from the other two of HYS. I noticed that there is a pretty significant divide between the way east coast professors and the way that west coast professors engage their students. In my experience, this seemed to be amplified the most at Harvard, where I thought professors were much more likely to cold call their students, engage in strict socratic method, and generally take a more formal and aggressive stance in the classroom, than at Stanford (or Yale). Like most of the other differences between these three schools, which style is best for you will be a personal preference. Personally, I liked the style of the Stanford professors that I had the most, who I thought were much more likely to treat their students like colleagues and much less likely to condescend, than Harvard professors (Yale professors were somewhere in the middle). But the more aggressive and formal style of Harvard is going to be better for some students.*

*Take this all with a big grain of salt, as my sample size was obviously very limited. Have other HYS students noticed anything of this sort? For what it's worth, I also have heard several professors at my HYS comment on these differences.


I like your characterization of SLS professors as treating students more like colleagues. This has been my experience here (especially in seminars). None of my classes have truly been Socratic in the Paper Chase sense. A lot of 1L classes use the panel system for calling and allow you to plan for it, and even the classes I have had that did cold call were pretty chill (factual questions or just laid back questioning in general). It varies from class to class naturally, but things are much more laid back here in comparison to what I've heard from friends who go to HLS.

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Re: SLS v HLS

Postby koalacity » Thu Apr 09, 2015 12:24 am

On one hand, there's this (which was an April Fool's joke, but as is often true with Onion-style articles, it's actually pretty accurate about the misery the quarter system inflicts, at least during 1L IME): https://stanfordlawlreview.wordpress.com/2015/04/01/law-school-to-return-to-semesters-beginning-next-year-quarter-system-experiment-deemed-colossal-failure/

On the other hand, Boston's weather seems unequivocally terrible, whereas ours is perfect. I generally think I made the right choice for this reason alone.

One thing to consider that's very rarely discussed: I think Stanford's grading system is worse than Harvard's (and definitely worse than Yale's). 1) Only 30% get Hs at SLS, as opposed to nearly 40% at HLS (and when you add up the percentage of DSes and Hs, it may be over 40% since DS is a separate grade at H, whereas book prizes are not a separate grade at SLS, and so they count against the 30% H limit). 2) SLS retains the mandatory curve for seminars. HLS does not (it's discretionary for classes under a certain size). I didn't even consider this when I was choosing schools, but it's something you should consider (especially given that 1Ls at SLS take so many electives first year)-just trust me on this.

Also, the small class size can be great in some ways, but terrible in others.

Additionally, housing costs in the Bay Area are absolutely insane. You'll be mostly insulated from this during 1L (assuming you live on campus), but if you don't get on-campus housing 2L/3L and/or want to move off campus to get out of the bubble, get ready to weep at those prices. OTOH, the Cambridge housing market also seemed pretty awful, and while it's significantly less expensive than Palo Alto, it seems like the apartments were less nice.

Where you want to be long-term matters enormously for this discussion. If the answer is California, pick SLS. If the answer is a secondary or tertiary market not on the west coast (especially in the midwest or south), my strong impression is that Harvard will help you much, much more. If the answer is DC or NY, it's probably a toss-up between the two.

Oh, and if you really care about trying to clerk for SCOTUS (disclaimer: literally no one should ever pick a school on this basis), for some reason Harvard really crushes Stanford on this front. Again, this really shouldn't matter to anyone, but based on Fred Norris' posts, it seems like something he might care about. But if that's really what you want, you should be going to Yale anyway.

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Re: SLS v HLS

Postby jbagelboy » Thu Apr 09, 2015 12:30 am

koalacity wrote:On one hand, there's this (which was an April Fool's joke, but as is often true with Onion-style articles, it's actually pretty accurate about the misery the quarter system inflicts, at least during 1L IME): https://stanfordlawlreview.wordpress.com/2015/04/01/law-school-to-return-to-semesters-beginning-next-year-quarter-system-experiment-deemed-colossal-failure/

On the other hand, Boston's weather seems unequivocally terrible, whereas ours is perfect. I generally think I made the right choice for this reason alone.

One thing to consider that's very rarely discussed: I think Stanford's grading system is worse than Harvard's (and definitely worse than Yale's). 1) Only 30% get Hs at SLS, as opposed to nearly 40% at HLS (and when you add up the percentage of DSes and Hs, it may be over 40% since DS is a separate grade at H, whereas book prizes are not a separate grade at SLS, and so they count against the 30% H limit). 2) SLS retains the mandatory curve for seminars. HLS does not (it's discretionary for classes under a certain size). I didn't even consider this when I was choosing schools, but it's something you should consider (especially given that 1Ls at SLS take so many electives first year)-just trust me on this.

Also, the small class size can be great in some ways, but terrible in others.

Additionally, housing costs in the Bay Area are absolutely insane. You'll be mostly insulated from this during 1L (assuming you live on campus), but if you don't get on-campus housing 2L/3L and/or want to move off campus to get out of the bubble, get ready to weep at those prices. OTOH, the Cambridge housing market also seemed pretty awful, and while it's significantly less expensive than Palo Alto, it seems like the apartments were less nice.

Where you want to be long-term matters enormously for this discussion. If the answer is California, pick SLS. If the answer is a secondary or tertiary market not on the west coast (especially in the midwest or south), my strong impression is that Harvard will help you much, much more. If the answer is DC or NY, it's probably a toss-up between the two.

Oh, and if you really care about trying to clerk for SCOTUS (disclaimer: literally no one should ever pick a school on this basis), for some reason Harvard really crushes Stanford on this front. Again, this really shouldn't matter to anyone, but based on Fred Norris' posts, it seems like something he might care about. But if that's really what you want, you should be going to Yale anyway.


You guys have curved seminars? Rough dude. That blows.

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Re: SLS v HLS

Postby Fred Norris » Thu Apr 09, 2015 2:20 am

koalacity wrote:
Oh, and if you really care about trying to clerk for SCOTUS (disclaimer: literally no one should ever pick a school on this basis), for some reason Harvard really crushes Stanford on this front. Again, this really shouldn't matter to anyone, but based on Fred Norris' posts, it seems like something he might care about. But if that's really what you want, you should be going to Yale anyway.


No. Not sure what you are basing that off of.

http://www.leiterrankings.com/new/2013_ ... ment.shtml

I am taking this as an imperfect measure of how the professional world (where it matters) compares an HLS degree to an SLS degree. In short, if the Supreme Court views H and S the same (ignoring the issue of whether one school self-selects more to Supreme Court clerkships), then any reasonable person in a position to hire you will as well.

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Re: SLS v HLS

Postby pamphleteer » Thu Apr 09, 2015 2:45 am

I've lived in the Bay Area for almost my entire life and I like parts of San Francisco a lot but lmao forever at the "one of the world's best cities" comment. SF is fine for what it is, which is more or less an oversized suburb with a pathetic public transportation system (BART doesn't even run past midnight), a music scene that died in the 90's and generic food options. Also everything is expensive as fuck and the entire city is now infested with aspie tech nerds.

Still way better than Boston, though. But, seriously, SF is not even one of the U.S.'s best cities let alone the world's. The weather is awesome and the people who've lived there since before the tech boom are generally pretty cool. That's about it. At this point I almost prefer Oakland.

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Re: SLS v HLS

Postby koalacity » Thu Apr 09, 2015 3:27 am

Fred Norris wrote:
koalacity wrote:
Oh, and if you really care about trying to clerk for SCOTUS (disclaimer: literally no one should ever pick a school on this basis), for some reason Harvard really crushes Stanford on this front. Again, this really shouldn't matter to anyone, but based on Fred Norris' posts, it seems like something he might care about. But if that's really what you want, you should be going to Yale anyway.


No. Not sure what you are basing that off of.

http://www.leiterrankings.com/new/2013_ ... ment.shtml

I don't care enough to find a source for this, but it's absolutely true that in recent years (maybe the last 5?), SLS has underperformed relative to HY for SCOTUS clerkships. Look it up.

Fred Norris wrote:I am taking this as an imperfect measure of how the professional world (where it matters) compares an HLS degree to an SLS degree. In short, if the Supreme Court views H and S the same (ignoring the issue of whether one school self-selects more to Supreme Court clerkships), then any reasonable person in a position to hire you will as well.

Huh? Do you seriously think that, say, a midlaw firm in the south is going to have the same opinion as to the relative prestige of law schools/hirability of students from those schools as the Supreme Court does?

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Re: SLS v HLS

Postby jbagelboy » Thu Apr 09, 2015 8:38 am

[double post]
Last edited by jbagelboy on Thu Apr 09, 2015 8:41 am, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: SLS v HLS

Postby Fred Norris » Thu Apr 09, 2015 8:39 am

Between 2007 (below) and 2013 (link above), Stanford's per capita rate went from being BELOW that of Harvard to being Above.

Does this make it certain that what you are saying is false? No, but we would have to assume some pretty wacky movement from 2008-Present.

http://www.leiterrankings.com/jobs/2000 ... erks.shtml

I should have qualified my other statement - I was referring only to those seeking very prestigious jobs rather than a job in a small region or overseas. I wouldn't argue that one answer to the question of what you can do with an HLS degree but not an SLS degree is have little trouble finding a job in Bismark.

With the above said, in terms of lay prestige, things are shifting (in the eyes of parents and high school students, Stanford is now the dream school). I do think this trend will consider, but it is not an overnight thing.
Last edited by Fred Norris on Thu Apr 09, 2015 8:42 am, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: SLS v HLS

Postby jbagelboy » Thu Apr 09, 2015 8:40 am

koalacity wrote:
Fred Norris wrote:
koalacity wrote:
Oh, and if you really care about trying to clerk for SCOTUS (disclaimer: literally no one should ever pick a school on this basis), for some reason Harvard really crushes Stanford on this front. Again, this really shouldn't matter to anyone, but based on Fred Norris' posts, it seems like something he might care about. But if that's really what you want, you should be going to Yale anyway.


No. Not sure what you are basing that off of.

http://www.leiterrankings.com/new/2013_ ... ment.shtml

I don't care enough to find a source for this, but it's absolutely true that in recent years (maybe the last 5?), SLS has underperformed relative to HY for SCOTUS clerkships. Look it up.

Fred Norris wrote:I am taking this as an imperfect measure of how the professional world (where it matters) compares an HLS degree to an SLS degree. In short, if the Supreme Court views H and S the same (ignoring the issue of whether one school self-selects more to Supreme Court clerkships), then any reasonable person in a position to hire you will as well.

Huh? Do you seriously think that, say, a midlaw firm in the south is going to have the same opinion as to the relative prestige of law schools/hirability of students from those schools as the Supreme Court does?


It's not a fair proxy at all for hiring generally. It's actually a pretty terrible one. Whether your profs and judge calls can get you on SCOTUS is probably a roughly accurate statement of your chances in legal academia, though. But that's about it.

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Re: SLS v HLS

Postby Fred Norris » Thu Apr 09, 2015 9:19 am

My point is that from what we see, the supreme court judges don't make much of a distinction between H and S. Why is it outrageous for me to assume that those at AUSA etc.. are equally well-informed, reasonable people?

If we are to believe that an SLS degree is viewed inherently less favorably than an HLS degree, we'd have to believe that professors are doing a great job of bridging that gap, but then in turn circuit court judges are as well, when recommending them to the supreme court. The first part is reasonable; the second part is not. SLS will advocate for you because you went to Stanford. A judge will advocate for you on the same grounds that he would advocate for an HLS alum.

I fully understand that SLS, you have a much better chance of finding a professor to advocate for you in a unique fashion. But this doesn't mean that at HLS, those who do find a professor to advocate for them receive a less enthusiastic effort.

My point really remains this: with the exception of very regional places TODAY, there is little difference in the value between an HLS and SLS degree and as a result the choice between the two comes down to personal preferences (small class vs. big etc..) rather than future career prospects.
Last edited by Fred Norris on Thu Apr 09, 2015 9:30 am, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: SLS v HLS

Postby jbagelboy » Thu Apr 09, 2015 9:24 am

Fred Norris wrote:So where in the top jobs are you saying that 1) Supreme Court Clerkships offer no advantage and 2) HLS has the clear advantage?


Of course an individual gains an advantage from having a SCOTUS clerkship for their career, but that's a very different claim from what you wrote, which was that how a supreme court judge looks at you as a candidate in the granularity between similarly regarded law schools serves as a proxy for how all legal employers would ("how the professional world compares an HLS degree to an SLS degree"). That's just ridiculous.

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Re: SLS v HLS

Postby jbagelboy » Thu Apr 09, 2015 9:26 am

Fred Norris wrote:So where in the top jobs are you saying that 1) Supreme Court Clerkships offer no advantage and 2) HLS has the clear advantage?

My point is that from what we see, the supreme court judges don't make much of a distinction between H and S. Why is it outrageous for me to assume that those at AUSA etc.. are equally well-informed, reasonable people?


Okay, we agree on the result, I just think your reasoning is unnecessarily circuitous.




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