SLS v HLS

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Fred Norris
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Re: SLS v HLS

Postby Fred Norris » Thu Apr 09, 2015 9:31 am

jbagelboy wrote:
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.


Sorry - made a few edits, but yeah.

myspiritanimal
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Re: SLS v HLS

Postby myspiritanimal » Thu Apr 09, 2015 9:37 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.

Can you expand on the grading at SLS? Most students with whom I've spoken seem to think the grading system is a boon. You seem not to agree. Is that because you dislike the grading system structurally? Or, do you think it's just not as lax as YLS and HLS?

Also, what about the small size is "terrible?"

Thanks!

eph
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Re: SLS v HLS

Postby eph » Thu Apr 09, 2015 1:54 pm

Where do you want to work? Something like 85% of S grads stay out west. You can come east and be a shiny penny but you won't run into a lot of S grads. This is exaggerated by the small class size. So it depends on if you feel networking will be important. Clearly many many more H grads on the east coast. The weather was lovely in Cambridge this winter so maybe a nod to H for that.

Instinctive
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Re: SLS v HLS

Postby Instinctive » Thu Apr 09, 2015 2:55 pm

myspiritanimal wrote:
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.

Can you expand on the grading at SLS? Most students with whom I've spoken seem to think the grading system is a boon. You seem not to agree. Is that because you dislike the grading system structurally? Or, do you think it's just not as lax as YLS and HLS?

Also, what about the small size is "terrible?"

Thanks!


Re: small size, for me at least

There are people you can't really get away from sometimes. I went to a high school where my graduating class was larger than all the students at SLS combined, and while it's awesome in a lot of ways, it can be a bit tiresome at times.

Awesome ways? Whatever you want to do, there's really not much competition to do it. Extra curriculars as well as career-wise.


Re: grading system

I think it's a boon over all the non-HYS schools, but it does kind of suck to have such a strict curve. Then again, it doesn't seem to hurt at all in job-hunting, so maybe it's only a perceived downside and not a real one.

Instinctive
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Re: SLS v HLS

Postby Instinctive » Thu Apr 09, 2015 2:59 pm

eph wrote:Where do you want to work? Something like 85% of S grads stay out west. You can come east and be a shiny penny but you won't run into a lot of S grads. This is exaggerated by the small class size. So it depends on if you feel networking will be important. Clearly many many more H grads on the east coast. The weather was lovely in Cambridge this winter so maybe a nod to H for that.


It's possible that I'm wrong on this, but this feels like an exaggeration. DC/NYC/Texas combine for more than 15%, based on what I can recall from OCS showing us the data on where people go.

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jbagelboy
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Re: SLS v HLS

Postby jbagelboy » Thu Apr 09, 2015 3:11 pm

eph wrote:The weather was lovely in Cambridge this winter so maybe a nod to H for that.


LOL

mono172000
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Re: SLS v HLS

Postby mono172000 » Thu Apr 09, 2015 4:05 pm

Instinctive wrote:
eph wrote:Where do you want to work? Something like 85% of S grads stay out west. You can come east and be a shiny penny but you won't run into a lot of S grads. This is exaggerated by the small class size. So it depends on if you feel networking will be important. Clearly many many more H grads on the east coast. The weather was lovely in Cambridge this winter so maybe a nod to H for that.


It's possible that I'm wrong on this, but this feels like an exaggeration. DC/NYC/Texas combine for more than 15%, based on what I can recall from OCS showing us the data on where people go.


Yeah I think it's a bit of an exaggeration. Based on a quick glance at this website, it looks like it's closer to 60% each year: https://www.law.stanford.edu/careers/pr ... -by-region

Fred Norris
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Re: SLS v HLS

Postby Fred Norris » Fri Apr 10, 2015 11:54 am

Having some problem finding the concrete info, but this is also a consideration:

At SLS you can take an unlimited number of courses outside of the law school, while at HLS you are limited to about 4, right?

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polareagle
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Re: SLS v HLS

Postby polareagle » Fri Apr 10, 2015 1:04 pm

I considered both, and it was a tough choice. Ultimately chose H and glad with that decision, though I'm sure I would've loved S as well. Everything below should be read through the lens of personal preference and with the knowledge that both choices are wonderful and you can't really go wrong between them.

For me, it seemed like the DC opportunities at H were just stronger, and that was probably the most important factor to me. I'd say that's been borne out. (At least, that H has strong DC connections, I obviously can't compare S's b/c I don't go there.) We have a several professors who work in DC and fly up to teach as adjuncts. The same is true with many practitioners coming up for lunch talks or to visit class. (Joe Biden and John Roberts both popped up unannounced on campus within a day of each other this year, though I would hardly call that common. Mitt Romney is speaking as I write this, but he's a local.)

Our size also means that DC is decked out in alums. Went on a trip down to DC with our ACS chapter last year and met with alums at Justice, the White House, and on the Hill. Our alums also set us up with meetings with a Stanford Alum (Sri Srinivasan) and two Columbia alums (Justice Ginsburg and Donald Verrilli). And the whole thing was doable for $200 on the US Airways Shuttle and only missing a day and half of class. Tons of my friends (really, several dozen people I'm friends with) will be in DC at firms, PDS, government, etc. this summer. I think our size, historic strength in DC, and proximity really do help us a lot in the whole DC game).

This next part is super, super subjective. And again, S is a wonderful school.
But I didn't love the "drink the kool-aid" mentality at S's ASW. I believe the students there are genuinely very happy (and how could they not be with such a great school in such a great place?) But I felt like they were putting on a little too much effort. At least five separate times, H was mentioned by name to me during ASW. Why? S never came up during H's ASW.

I actually remember once during the S ASW, from a podium, their student government guy (who seemed like the most laid back guy in the world, and I much appreciated him pumping beer for me from a keg later that night) was talking about how at H you write your check to the law school not the university, unlike at S, which signifies how separate H's schools are and how close together S is. A couple issues I had with this. First, it's not true (though that hardly matters). Second, why the f*** was somebody at S talking about H's check-writing policies during an official ASW speech? S is an amazing place, and I think it's probably a better school for many students than H, but there's no need to be so blatant about trying to grab cross-admits.

Fred Norris
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Re: SLS v HLS

Postby Fred Norris » Fri Apr 10, 2015 2:24 pm

These are great points. My question is this : isn't it reasonable to hold that your professors at SLS would know the same high ranking HLS grads in DC? It would just be harder to make that connect.

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bretby
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Re: SLS v HLS

Postby bretby » Fri Apr 10, 2015 2:39 pm

Fred Norris wrote:These are great points. My question is this : isn't it reasonable to hold that your professors at SLS would know the same high ranking HLS grads in DC? It would just be harder to make that connect.


Why would they know them? I mean, I get that SLS profs are probably well-connected, but on what grounds would you assume they know all the same HLS grads in DC?

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polareagle
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Re: SLS v HLS

Postby polareagle » Fri Apr 10, 2015 2:39 pm

Fred Norris wrote:These are great points. My question is this : isn't it reasonable to hold that your professors at SLS would know the same high ranking HLS grads in DC? It would just be harder to make that connect.


I think that's absolutely reasonable, so this isn't a question of, say, getting a clerkship with Srinivasan or anything. S is almost certainly better placed in that regard b/c he went there and is probably closer to the faculty there. And I doubt anybody in DC is turning down a call from Larry Kramer.

I guess the idea is more that, in a huge number of federal agencies, branches, divisions, etc., there's are line workers (be they recent grads or career employees) who are H alums who will themselves take a cold email from an H student. I experienced this both summers in doing my job search, and I got positive responses from practically every one of the many H alums I reached out to. They were willing, at the very least, to chat on the phone about what they did. Some also forwarded on my resume, gave me advice, etc. It's in that regard that I think H might have an advantage just because there are so gosh darn many of us, there have been for a long time, and a lot of us historically have and continue to go to DC.

myspiritanimal
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Re: SLS v HLS

Postby myspiritanimal » Fri Apr 10, 2015 3:04 pm

polareagle wrote:
Fred Norris wrote:These are great points. My question is this : isn't it reasonable to hold that your professors at SLS would know the same high ranking HLS grads in DC? It would just be harder to make that connect.


I think that's absolutely reasonable, so this isn't a question of, say, getting a clerkship with Srinivasan or anything. S is almost certainly better placed in that regard b/c he went there and is probably closer to the faculty there. And I doubt anybody in DC is turning down a call from Larry Kramer.

I guess the idea is more that, in a huge number of federal agencies, branches, divisions, etc., there's are line workers (be they recent grads or career employees) who are H alums who will themselves take a cold email from an H student. I experienced this both summers in doing my job search, and I got positive responses from practically every one of the many H alums I reached out to. They were willing, at the very least, to chat on the phone about what they did. Some also forwarded on my resume, gave me advice, etc. It's in that regard that I think H might have an advantage just because there are so gosh darn many of us, there have been for a long time, and a lot of us historically have and continue to go to DC.

The opposite argument, though, also holds. Smaller alumni bodies tend to stick together, which can foster a more cooperative community. I've seen this time and time again with regard to certain small undergrad alumni bodies.

That said, both have benefits. Large bodies provide more people to meet and greet. And many alumni, I'm sure, care a lot about students and recent graduates. Small bodies, though, may promote a bit more caring, connections, etc.

It's likely all situational, but I think these broad scenarios do, at times, ring true.
Last edited by myspiritanimal on Fri Apr 10, 2015 3:11 pm, edited 2 times in total.

hdunlop
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Re: SLS v HLS

Postby hdunlop » Fri Apr 10, 2015 3:05 pm

polareagle wrote:But I didn't love the "drink the kool-aid" mentality at S's ASW. I believe the students there are genuinely very happy (and how could they not be with such a great school in such a great place?) But I felt like they were putting on a little too much effort. At least five separate times, H was mentioned by name to me during ASW. Why? S never came up during H's ASW.


Harvard's ASW is all about selling dat Harvard brand. Prestige brands sell their prestige and don't bother with admitting they have competition, regardless of whether that competition is above or below them. I didn't hear peep about Yale at Harvard's ASW either. Just thinking about it too, lots of people who get in at S/Y got into H too and not necessarily vice versa.

I didn't go to Stanford's ASW but six months on I certainly have a strong feeling of "how could anyone even have to think about this decision." I'd guess H comes up because it's the only school people actually have to think about other than Y or a strong scholarship choice which no one's going to argue about.

Admittedly I think Harvard's probably better in DC unless you're trying a west coast angle. Certainly western Congressional offices. Maybe agencies that are mostly out west (Interior, maybe Energy, I dunno)?

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polareagle
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Re: SLS v HLS

Postby polareagle » Fri Apr 10, 2015 3:14 pm

myspiritanimal wrote:
polareagle wrote:
Fred Norris wrote:These are great points. My question is this : isn't it reasonable to hold that your professors at SLS would know the same high ranking HLS grads in DC? It would just be harder to make that connect.


I think that's absolutely reasonable, so this isn't a question of, say, getting a clerkship with Srinivasan or anything. S is almost certainly better placed in that regard b/c he went there and is probably closer to the faculty there. And I doubt anybody in DC is turning down a call from Larry Kramer.

I guess the idea is more that, in a huge number of federal agencies, branches, divisions, etc., there's are line workers (be they recent grads or career employees) who are H alums who will themselves take a cold email from an H student. I experienced this both summers in doing my job search, and I got positive responses from practically every one of the many H alums I reached out to. They were willing, at the very least, to chat on the phone about what they did. Some also forwarded on my resume, gave me advice, etc. It's in that regard that I think H might have an advantage just because there are so gosh darn many of us, there have been for a long time, and a lot of us historically have and continue to go to DC.

The opposite argument, though, also holds. Smaller alumni bodies tend to stick together, which can foster a more cooperative community. I've seen this time and time again with regard to certain small undergrad alumni bodies.

That said, both have benefits. Large bodies provide more people to meet and greet. And many alumnus, I'm sure, care a lot about students and recent graduates. Small bodies, though, may promote a bit more caring.

It's likely all situational, but I think these broad scenarios do, at times, play out.


I agree with this to a point (and have seen this play out with regard to my small undergrad--I even used to say the same thing on tours), but I don't think it holds as well in this case (I'm literally only talking about DC and then DC with a focus on BigGov). That's I guess what I was trying to get it with my own success rate with calling H alums. It's not like an S alum would've or could've done more for me than chat with me, meet with me, pass along my resume, and give me advice. But because I was calling a bigger pool, I had more options.

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polareagle
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Re: SLS v HLS

Postby polareagle » Fri Apr 10, 2015 3:16 pm

hdunlop wrote:
polareagle wrote:But I didn't love the "drink the kool-aid" mentality at S's ASW. I believe the students there are genuinely very happy (and how could they not be with such a great school in such a great place?) But I felt like they were putting on a little too much effort. At least five separate times, H was mentioned by name to me during ASW. Why? S never came up during H's ASW.


Harvard's ASW is all about selling dat Harvard brand. Prestige brands sell their prestige and don't bother with admitting they have competition, regardless of whether that competition is above or below them. I didn't hear peep about Yale at Harvard's ASW either. Just thinking about it too, lots of people who get in at S/Y got into H too and not necessarily vice versa.

I didn't go to Stanford's ASW but six months on I certainly have a strong feeling of "how could anyone even have to think about this decision." I'd guess H comes up because it's the only school people actually have to think about other than Y or a strong scholarship choice which no one's going to argue about.

Admittedly I think Harvard's probably better in DC unless you're trying a west coast angle. Certainly western Congressional offices. Maybe agencies that are mostly out west (Interior, maybe Energy, I dunno)?


I think you're totally right. And by no means am I suggesting that Stanford students are sitting around regretting their choice--how could they after this winter? That experience I relayed just really got to me because it was completely surreal. Probably just a one-off fluke from two years ago.

myspiritanimal
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Re: SLS v HLS

Postby myspiritanimal » Fri Apr 10, 2015 3:18 pm

polareagle wrote:
myspiritanimal wrote:
polareagle wrote:
Fred Norris wrote:These are great points. My question is this : isn't it reasonable to hold that your professors at SLS would know the same high ranking HLS grads in DC? It would just be harder to make that connect.


I think that's absolutely reasonable, so this isn't a question of, say, getting a clerkship with Srinivasan or anything. S is almost certainly better placed in that regard b/c he went there and is probably closer to the faculty there. And I doubt anybody in DC is turning down a call from Larry Kramer.

I guess the idea is more that, in a huge number of federal agencies, branches, divisions, etc., there's are line workers (be they recent grads or career employees) who are H alums who will themselves take a cold email from an H student. I experienced this both summers in doing my job search, and I got positive responses from practically every one of the many H alums I reached out to. They were willing, at the very least, to chat on the phone about what they did. Some also forwarded on my resume, gave me advice, etc. It's in that regard that I think H might have an advantage just because there are so gosh darn many of us, there have been for a long time, and a lot of us historically have and continue to go to DC.

The opposite argument, though, also holds. Smaller alumni bodies tend to stick together, which can foster a more cooperative community. I've seen this time and time again with regard to certain small undergrad alumni bodies.

That said, both have benefits. Large bodies provide more people to meet and greet. And many alumnus, I'm sure, care a lot about students and recent graduates. Small bodies, though, may promote a bit more caring.

It's likely all situational, but I think these broad scenarios do, at times, play out.


I agree with this to a point (and have seen this play out with regard to my small undergrad--I even used to say the same thing on tours), but I don't think it holds as well in this case (I'm literally only talking about DC and then DC with a focus on BigGov). That's I guess what I was trying to get it with my own success rate with calling H alums. It's not like an S alum would've or could've done more for me than chat with me, meet with me, pass along my resume, and give me advice. But because I was calling a bigger pool, I had more options.

Perhaps the question is whether more, slightly looser bonds are better than less, slightly stronger bonds. (This assumes, of course, that the strength of bonds reflects the size of alumni bodies.) Maybe, in your case, the former was better.

hdunlop
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Re: SLS v HLS

Postby hdunlop » Fri Apr 10, 2015 3:36 pm

polareagle wrote:I think you're totally right. And by no means am I suggesting that Stanford students are sitting around regretting their choice--how could they after this winter? That experience I relayed just really got to me because it was completely surreal. Probably just a one-off fluke from two years ago.

Well, that it came up in a formal speech is probably a fluke, but I would guess among students it's pretty common. Harvard is the 800lb gorilla without a doubt; anyone who gets in seriously considers it whether it's reasonable for them or not. Harvard is, after all, Harvard.

I think there's such a confirmation bias thing in all these decisions -- most people think they chose right because it's what they chose, and many people are critical of people choosing differently because they perceive it somehow as an attack on the choice they made.

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MyNameIsFlynn!
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Re: SLS v HLS

Postby MyNameIsFlynn! » Fri Apr 10, 2015 3:51 pm

myspiritanimal wrote:
polareagle wrote:
myspiritanimal wrote:
polareagle wrote:
I think that's absolutely reasonable, so this isn't a question of, say, getting a clerkship with Srinivasan or anything. S is almost certainly better placed in that regard b/c he went there and is probably closer to the faculty there. And I doubt anybody in DC is turning down a call from Larry Kramer.

I guess the idea is more that, in a huge number of federal agencies, branches, divisions, etc., there's are line workers (be they recent grads or career employees) who are H alums who will themselves take a cold email from an H student. I experienced this both summers in doing my job search, and I got positive responses from practically every one of the many H alums I reached out to. They were willing, at the very least, to chat on the phone about what they did. Some also forwarded on my resume, gave me advice, etc. It's in that regard that I think H might have an advantage just because there are so gosh darn many of us, there have been for a long time, and a lot of us historically have and continue to go to DC.

The opposite argument, though, also holds. Smaller alumni bodies tend to stick together, which can foster a more cooperative community. I've seen this time and time again with regard to certain small undergrad alumni bodies.

That said, both have benefits. Large bodies provide more people to meet and greet. And many alumnus, I'm sure, care a lot about students and recent graduates. Small bodies, though, may promote a bit more caring.

It's likely all situational, but I think these broad scenarios do, at times, play out.


I agree with this to a point (and have seen this play out with regard to my small undergrad--I even used to say the same thing on tours), but I don't think it holds as well in this case (I'm literally only talking about DC and then DC with a focus on BigGov). That's I guess what I was trying to get it with my own success rate with calling H alums. It's not like an S alum would've or could've done more for me than chat with me, meet with me, pass along my resume, and give me advice. But because I was calling a bigger pool, I had more options.

Perhaps the question is whether more, slightly looser bonds are better than less, slightly stronger bonds. (This assumes, of course, that the strength of bonds reflects the size of alumni bodies.) Maybe, in your case, the former was better.


That question was answered by the poster to whom you responded, who suggested that HLS grads were willing to do whatever they could to help in his or her job search. In other words, the only basis for differentiation was the size of the network, not the strength of bonds w/ alums.

I had a similar experience in the context of clerkship hunting (which I assume is basically equivalent to BigGov for our purposes). Fellow HLS alums were almost always willing to talk, give advice, and many pushed my resume in front of their judge. The size of the network helped get me in front of more judges than if I was applying from a school with a smaller network. As others have noted, though, geography will definitely play a role in the decisionmaking process.

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polareagle
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Re: SLS v HLS

Postby polareagle » Fri Apr 10, 2015 4:01 pm

MyNameIsFlynn! wrote:
myspiritanimal wrote:
polareagle wrote:
myspiritanimal wrote:
The opposite argument, though, also holds. Smaller alumni bodies tend to stick together, which can foster a more cooperative community. I've seen this time and time again with regard to certain small undergrad alumni bodies.

That said, both have benefits. Large bodies provide more people to meet and greet. And many alumnus, I'm sure, care a lot about students and recent graduates. Small bodies, though, may promote a bit more caring.

It's likely all situational, but I think these broad scenarios do, at times, play out.


I agree with this to a point (and have seen this play out with regard to my small undergrad--I even used to say the same thing on tours), but I don't think it holds as well in this case (I'm literally only talking about DC and then DC with a focus on BigGov). That's I guess what I was trying to get it with my own success rate with calling H alums. It's not like an S alum would've or could've done more for me than chat with me, meet with me, pass along my resume, and give me advice. But because I was calling a bigger pool, I had more options.

Perhaps the question is whether more, slightly looser bonds are better than less, slightly stronger bonds. (This assumes, of course, that the strength of bonds reflects the size of alumni bodies.) Maybe, in your case, the former was better.


That question was answered by the poster to whom you responded, who suggested that HLS grads were willing to do whatever they could to help in his or her job search. In other words, the only basis for differentiation was the size of the network, not the strength of bonds w/ alums.

I had a similar experience in the context of clerkship hunting (which I assume is basically equivalent to BigGov for our purposes). Fellow HLS alums were almost always willing to talk, give advice, and many pushed my resume in front of their judge. The size of the network helped get me in front of more judges than if I was applying from a school with a smaller network. As others have noted, though, geography will definitely play a role in the decisionmaking process.


That is what I was trying to get at, but ultimately, I think myspiritanimal is right that this involves a weighing process. I think it's important that somebody hell-bent on DC (as I was/am) use this as one of the many factors they should consider.

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Kronk
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Re: SLS v HLS

Postby Kronk » Fri Apr 10, 2015 4:03 pm

Stanford students have a 3-degree inclination in the angle of their chins.

I'm not sure how that compares to Harvard but if someone knows the Harvard figure, it's certainly relevant.

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CicerBRo
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Re: SLS v HLS

Postby CicerBRo » Fri Apr 10, 2015 4:03 pm

polareagle wrote:I considered both, and it was a tough choice. Ultimately chose H and glad with that decision, though I'm sure I would've loved S as well. Everything below should be read through the lens of personal preference and with the knowledge that both choices are wonderful and you can't really go wrong between them.

For me, it seemed like the DC opportunities at H were just stronger, and that was probably the most important factor to me. I'd say that's been borne out. (At least, that H has strong DC connections, I obviously can't compare S's b/c I don't go there.) We have a several professors who work in DC and fly up to teach as adjuncts. The same is true with many practitioners coming up for lunch talks or to visit class. (Joe Biden and John Roberts both popped up unannounced on campus within a day of each other this year, though I would hardly call that common. Mitt Romney is speaking as I write this, but he's a local.)

Our size also means that DC is decked out in alums. Went on a trip down to DC with our ACS chapter last year and met with alums at Justice, the White House, and on the Hill. Our alums also set us up with meetings with a Stanford Alum (Sri Srinivasan) and two Columbia alums (Justice Ginsburg and Donald Verrilli). And the whole thing was doable for $200 on the US Airways Shuttle and only missing a day and half of class. Tons of my friends (really, several dozen people I'm friends with) will be in DC at firms, PDS, government, etc. this summer. I think our size, historic strength in DC, and proximity really do help us a lot in the whole DC game).

This next part is super, super subjective. And again, S is a wonderful school.
But I didn't love the "drink the kool-aid" mentality at S's ASW. I believe the students there are genuinely very happy (and how could they not be with such a great school in such a great place?) But I felt like they were putting on a little too much effort. At least five separate times, H was mentioned by name to me during ASW. Why? S never came up during H's ASW.

I actually remember once during the S ASW, from a podium, their student government guy (who seemed like the most laid back guy in the world, and I much appreciated him pumping beer for me from a keg later that night) was talking about how at H you write your check to the law school not the university, unlike at S, which signifies how separate H's schools are and how close together S is. A couple issues I had with this. First, it's not true (though that hardly matters). Second, why the f*** was somebody at S talking about H's check-writing policies during an official ASW speech? S is an amazing place, and I think it's probably a better school for many students than H, but there's no need to be so blatant about trying to grab cross-admits.


You made the right choice. Congrats!!

abl
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Re: SLS v HLS

Postby abl » Fri Apr 10, 2015 4:08 pm

hdunlop wrote:
polareagle wrote:I think you're totally right. And by no means am I suggesting that Stanford students are sitting around regretting their choice--how could they after this winter? That experience I relayed just really got to me because it was completely surreal. Probably just a one-off fluke from two years ago.

Well, that it came up in a formal speech is probably a fluke, but I would guess among students it's pretty common. Harvard is the 800lb gorilla without a doubt; anyone who gets in seriously considers it whether it's reasonable for them or not. Harvard is, after all, Harvard.

I think there's such a confirmation bias thing in all these decisions -- most people think they chose right because it's what they chose, and many people are critical of people choosing differently because they perceive it somehow as an attack on the choice they made.


The earlier poster nailed it: most people from SLS gets into HLS. That is not the case with HLS folks. It's not that SLS is more selective -- it's just much, much smaller. As a consequence, you'd expect the SLS-HLS decision to be on the forefront of most admits minds at Stanford. Not so at Harvard.

Regarding DC, my sense is that it's probably the second biggest market for SLS students after SF. I'm sure there are more total numbers of Harvard alums there, but I doubt that there's a meaningful difference in the two schools' networks. Unless you're looking to do something really unusual, you don't need a huge alumni network to pay enormous dividends. There's no doubt in my mind that the SLS alumni network in DC is more than big enough to fulfill any reasonable networking request you might have. As someone who is now several years out of law school, has had >1 post-law school jobs, and therefore has actually been on both sides of networking with a full time job on the line, I don't think that this would be a good reason to choose Harvard over Stanford. In fact, I suspect that any advantages to be gained from the size of HLS's DC network are made up for (or more than made up for) by the slight edge in relative strength of the SLS network combined with the uniqueness effect in hiring (which, all else being roughly equal, provides a slight bias towards the more unusual commodity).

Incidentally, with respect to this last point, I think there are other benefits to being relatively unique, including added alumni support benefits, added collegiality among students/applicants/alumni, and a weird thing that happens in hiring where the final slate seems to disproportionately consist of the top candidate from each of just a few top schools (as opposed to the top overall candidates--who may all come from the same school)--whereby it is beneficial to have fewer people from your school competing for the position with you.*

*Thus, in circumstances where three candidates are called back for interviews and HLS candidates are the 2nd and 3rd most desirable candidates, I've commonly seen the YLS/SLS/Columbia/etc candidate who's the 4th most desirable candidate called back instead of the "second best" of the HLS folks.

myspiritanimal
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Re: SLS v HLS

Postby myspiritanimal » Fri Apr 10, 2015 4:35 pm

I agree with this to a point (and have seen this play out with regard to my small undergrad--I even used to say the same thing on tours), but I don't think it holds as well in this case (I'm literally only talking about DC and then DC with a focus on BigGov). That's I guess what I was trying to get it with my own success rate with calling H alums. It's not like an S alum would've or could've done more for me than chat with me, meet with me, pass along my resume, and give me advice. But because I was calling a bigger pool, I had more options.[/quote]
Perhaps the question is whether more, slightly looser bonds are better than less, slightly stronger bonds. (This assumes, of course, that the strength of bonds reflects the size of alumni bodies.) Maybe, in your case, the former was better.[/quote]

That question was answered by the poster to whom you responded, who suggested that HLS grads were willing to do whatever they could to help in his or her job search. In other words, the only basis for differentiation was the size of the network, not the strength of bonds w/ alums.

I had a similar experience in the context of clerkship hunting (which I assume is basically equivalent to BigGov for our purposes). Fellow HLS alums were almost always willing to talk, give advice, and many pushed my resume in front of their judge. The size of the network helped get me in front of more judges than if I was applying from a school with a smaller network. As others have noted, though, geography will definitely play a role in the decisionmaking process.[/quote]

It wasn't, actually. He found alums to be helpful, but he didn't (and couldn't) measure the level of helpfulness against that of SLS. Same goes for you. I'm sure you found alums helpful, but that's not to say that SLS alums wouldn't do more for an SLS grad.

I'm not arguing either way. I think it's an interesting question, and one that definitely wasn't (and probably cannot be) conclusively answered.

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MyNameIsFlynn!
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Re: SLS v HLS

Postby MyNameIsFlynn! » Fri Apr 10, 2015 5:37 pm

myspiritanimal wrote:I agree with this to a point (and have seen this play out with regard to my small undergrad--I even used to say the same thing on tours), but I don't think it holds as well in this case (I'm literally only talking about DC and then DC with a focus on BigGov). That's I guess what I was trying to get it with my own success rate with calling H alums. It's not like an S alum would've or could've done more for me than chat with me, meet with me, pass along my resume, and give me advice. But because I was calling a bigger pool, I had more options.

Perhaps the question is whether more, slightly looser bonds are better than less, slightly stronger bonds. (This assumes, of course, that the strength of bonds reflects the size of alumni bodies.) Maybe, in your case, the former was better.[/quote]

That question was answered by the poster to whom you responded, who suggested that HLS grads were willing to do whatever they could to help in his or her job search. In other words, the only basis for differentiation was the size of the network, not the strength of bonds w/ alums.

I had a similar experience in the context of clerkship hunting (which I assume is basically equivalent to BigGov for our purposes). Fellow HLS alums were almost always willing to talk, give advice, and many pushed my resume in front of their judge. The size of the network helped get me in front of more judges than if I was applying from a school with a smaller network. As others have noted, though, geography will definitely play a role in the decisionmaking process.[/quote]

It wasn't, actually. He found alums to be helpful, but he didn't (and couldn't) measure the level of helpfulness against that of SLS. Same goes for you. I'm sure you found alums helpful, but that's not to say that SLS alums wouldn't do more for an SLS grad.

I'm not arguing either way. I think it's an interesting question, and one that definitely wasn't (and probably cannot be) conclusively answered.[/quote]

Obviously we're drawing different conclusions from the text of the same post. In any case, I agree with you that it's an interesting question and that there may not be a definitive answer.




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