Cornell vs Berkeley vs NYU for Placement into Intl Offices

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Cornell vs Berkeley vs NYU for Placement into Intl Offices

Postby Pandongzi » Tue Apr 21, 2015 3:11 am

Hey All,

I have two questions that are interrelated -- the first being of the standard "which-school-should-I-choose" variety and the second more broadly concerning how one's choice of law school impacts the likelihood of working abroad).

I'm choosing between Cornell, Berk, and NYU.

Cornell: COA (with a 105k scholarship and accounting for family contributions and personal savings) is about 50k.

NYU and Berkeley have thus far offered me nothing. (Still waiting on matching offer from Berkeley, but not terribly optimistic.) COA would therefore be super high (easily 200k+).

Based on the numbers, Cornell seems like the logical choice, but there are a few other considerations that have prevented me from making a final commitment:

1.) My SO is Chinese, and I have many years of working experience in China. I am fluent in Mandarin and have ties here that extend back into my childhood. While my SO will accompany me to the U.S. for law school, we both would like to return to China ASAP after I graduate. NYU seems to have strong academic/extracurricular offerings pertaining to Chinese law/practicing in China, but I don't how credible these "intl law" programs really are.

2.) More generally, I wonder if a degree from Berkeley/NYU would open more doors when looking for work at firms' intl offices in places like Beijing/Guangzhou/Shanghai/Shenzhen/Hong Kong. This thought isn't rooted in any concrete data, which is why I'm turning to y'all for input. [In fact, if you have any info concerning how/when to best look for work in international offices, please PM me!]

3.) I worry that Ithaca won't offer much in the way of job/educational prospects for my SO. NYU and the Bay Area appeal to us for this reason. SO will likely apply to master's programs this fall, and her family would foot the bill for those educational expenses. I think Ithaca has a grand total of two universities (right?), which limits her flexibility.

4.) Final thought: for practical (i.e., money) reasons (and maybe visa reasons as well), it seems that big law stateside for at least a few years is unavoidable. I don't have strong regional ties anywhere, which would make the NYC area a logical candidate.

Thanks, everyone! I recognize that many of you might not be able to answer my China-specific questions, but any and all input would be greatly appreciated!


Posts: 15
Joined: Mon Jun 11, 2012 2:22 pm

Re: Cornell vs Berkeley vs NYU for Placement into Intl Offices

Postby law-school-hacker » Wed Apr 29, 2015 10:47 am

I normally tell people to take the money and run, but this is an exception. I think you may want to go to NYU rather than Cornell. It's a close question. Berkeley is a wonderful law school, but they do not send many people to the law firms that have big China offices in general. I am not sure that the California law firms are the dominant American firms in China. In this regard, NYU is better than Berkeley in terms of big law firm placements in China -- this is my anecdotal sense. (One of my roommates is Chinese-American, and she works out of Shanghai for BigLaw).

Your Chinese work and language background are actually a big deal to big firms, and I think that combined with NYU's closer recruiting connections to law firms in the region will tip the balance in your favor.

I don't know what you mean by 'credibility' in terms of Chinese academics and extracurriculars at NYU, but you may be right in that they may be enriching to you, but in terms of job placement, these don't matter much one way or another. There is the old Chinese law scholar there, Jerome Cohen (a million years old). (To be fair to NYU, I'm not sure that NYU law sells its Chinese law programs as "helpful to getting you a law job in China." To beat a dead horse, it is more the NYU name and plethora of law partners who went to NYU AND the need that big law firms constantly have for people with certain language abilities.)

I am happy to put you in touch with a couple of friends on practicing in China if you PM me.

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