Michigan ($$$$) vs. Chicago ($)

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

Michigan or Chicago?

Michigan (no debt)
4
40%
Chicago (75k in debt)
6
60%
 
Total votes: 10

sleepiestbee
Posts: 2
Joined: Sat Apr 11, 2015 8:43 pm

Michigan ($$$$) vs. Chicago ($)

Postby sleepiestbee » Sat Apr 11, 2015 9:17 pm

Longtime lurker here who now needs advice. I've narrowed my choices down to two: Michigan and Chicago. After merit scholarships and family savings are taken into account, my loan situation looks like the following:

Michigan loan debt: $0
Chicago loan debt: $75,000

I am extremely conflicted. I simply must end up in Seattle when all is said and done (and yes, I do have Seattle ties). I am not necessarily sold on Biglaw; ideally I would like to clerk for a couple of years and eventually make my way to the DOJ if possible. I would appreciate some semblance of work/life balance both in law school and in my future career.

I really loved MLaw and Ann Arbor when I visited a few months ago. Unfortunately I couldn't make it to M's ASW, so I feel like I may have missed out on some valuable information, but I felt very comfortable and at home there. I like their national reach, but I am concerned by their precipitous decline in the rankings and their 13.5% underemployment rate according to LST. What is happening to them? Are they going to stabilize at some point? Is going to Michigan and hoping for the best (i.e., federal clerkship followed by a job in the PNW) foolhardy or a reasonable gamble?

Chicago, well...Chicago has fantastic placement and a solid spot in the T6. I'm just not as comfortable there. I have lived in Hyde Park for the past six years and feel ready for a change, but I also understand that law school is about getting a job, not enjoying oneself (although hopefully these outcomes won't be as mutually exclusive as I fear). Contemplating another three years in the city gives me an inexplicable feeling of dread, but is it worth it for the higher rank and better placement? Is one school more likely than another to net me that Seattle job?

Please help. I'd like to decide ASAP so I can get a good night's sleep for once.

Mal Reynolds
Posts: 12630
Joined: Mon Oct 03, 2011 12:16 am

Re: Michigan ($$$$) vs. Chicago ($)

Postby Mal Reynolds » Sat Apr 11, 2015 9:22 pm

Well if you only want to clerk, exit into the DOJ and work exclusively in Seattle just go where you feel comfortable.

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anyriotgirl
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Re: Michigan ($$$$) vs. Chicago ($)

Postby anyriotgirl » Sat Apr 11, 2015 9:33 pm

I hate when these threads treat the bank of mom and dad like a scholarship.

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rpupkin
Posts: 3864
Joined: Mon Dec 09, 2013 10:32 pm

Re: Michigan ($$$$) vs. Chicago ($)

Postby rpupkin » Sat Apr 11, 2015 9:57 pm

sleepiestbee wrote:I simply must end up in Seattle when all is said and done (and yes, I do have Seattle ties). I am not necessarily sold on Biglaw; ideally I would like to clerk for a couple of years and eventually make my way to the DOJ if possible. I would appreciate some semblance of work/life balance both in law school and in my future career.

Chances are that you've got quite a bit of disappointment headed your way. In light of that, I would minimize debt and go with Michigan.

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BiglawAssociate
Posts: 355
Joined: Thu Mar 12, 2015 12:05 am

Re: Michigan ($$$$) vs. Chicago ($)

Postby BiglawAssociate » Sat Apr 11, 2015 10:02 pm

rpupkin wrote:
sleepiestbee wrote:I simply must end up in Seattle when all is said and done (and yes, I do have Seattle ties). I am not necessarily sold on Biglaw; ideally I would like to clerk for a couple of years and eventually make my way to the DOJ if possible. I would appreciate some semblance of work/life balance both in law school and in my future career.

Chances are that you've got quite a bit of disappointment headed your way. In light of that, I would minimize debt and go with Michigan.


Seriously - if you want work/life balance, don't become a lawyer.

Even PI people work longer than 40 hour weeks while getting paid less than teachers.

sleepiestbee
Posts: 2
Joined: Sat Apr 11, 2015 8:43 pm

Re: Michigan ($$$$) vs. Chicago ($)

Postby sleepiestbee » Sat Apr 11, 2015 10:12 pm

About that work/life balance--I feel like should clarify. I don't mind hard work or brutal hours (and God knows I've been there and done that while working on the PhD). What I'm not sold on is the rat race that is the partner track with the 80+ hour work weeks doing work I may not find worth doing.

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BiglawAssociate
Posts: 355
Joined: Thu Mar 12, 2015 12:05 am

Re: Michigan ($$$$) vs. Chicago ($)

Postby BiglawAssociate » Sat Apr 11, 2015 10:17 pm

sleepiestbee wrote:About that work/life balance--I feel like should clarify. I don't mind hard work or brutal hours (and God knows I've been there and done that while working on the PhD). What I'm not sold on is the rat race that is the partner track with the 80+ hour work weeks doing work I may not find worth doing.


Some of my coworkers left to go to the DOJ, so I'll give you an idea of their stats. None were T-14 grads, but all were former federal clerks with good grades from their law school. They generally clerked for 1 to 2 years, then worked biglaw another 3 to 4 years. All were in litigation.

Doing trials is a lot of work and the DOJ also does other stuff that isn't fun to me (like regulatory investigations). DOJ hours are generally better than biglaw, but they still work hard and generally long hours since it's one of the most "prestigious" government agencies. If you're coming from a law firm you'll likely end up doing a lot of white collar stuff (which, to me, is boring).

Substantively working for the DOJ might be very similar to biglaw litigation/regulatory work, except you end up with more responsibility/more in court time.

That said, if clerking/DOJ is what you want, I don't think it really matters if you go to Michigan or Chicago. What matters a lot more is your grades at whatever law school you end up at.

Nomo
Posts: 700
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Re: Michigan ($$$$) vs. Chicago ($)

Postby Nomo » Sat Apr 11, 2015 10:40 pm

Since you're from Seattle you should be able to get a job in Seattle from either school. I doubt that either gives you a big advantage with Seattle biglaw (but you don't want that anyways). Clerking in Seattle is going to be really tough either way. And working for the DOJ in Seattle (that's pretty much just the US Attorney's Office, right?) is even less likely - you'll probably need to clerk and get multiple years of work experience to even get a shot.

That said, it sound like you should minimize debt and go with Michigan. Chicago isn't offering any notable advantages that are of interest to you.

Or maybe you shouldn't go to law school at all. Its going to be tough to get your goals.

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A. Nony Mouse
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Re: Michigan ($$$$) vs. Chicago ($)

Postby A. Nony Mouse » Sat Apr 11, 2015 10:53 pm

Nomo wrote:Clerking in Seattle is going to be really tough either way. And working for the DOJ in Seattle (that's pretty much just the US Attorney's Office, right?) is even less likely - you'll probably need to clerk and get multiple years of work experience to even get a shot.

I definitely agree with the above. It's just hard to target a specific market like Seattle when pursuing jobs with such limited openings. I guess I wonder what exactly you mean by working for the DOJ? It includes a LOT of agencies, but a lot of the jobs are going to be in DC.

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zombie mcavoy
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Joined: Mon Mar 02, 2015 10:11 pm

Re: Michigan ($$$$) vs. Chicago ($)

Postby zombie mcavoy » Sat Apr 11, 2015 10:56 pm

anyriotgirl wrote:I hate when these threads treat the bank of mom and dad like a scholarship.




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