Northwestern w/ 60k vs. Cornell w/ 45k

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bobbybird
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Northwestern w/ 60k vs. Cornell w/ 45k

Postby bobbybird » Wed Apr 29, 2015 1:22 pm

Hey guys. I've pored over this decision for a while now, and I figured it was time to see if there was anything I was missing that could help me decide between the two.

The way I'm looking at the whole thing is this: I want to maximize both my employment opportunities and lifestyle after graduation. As I have no ties to either region, I am up to work in either.
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The benefits of Cornell:

Employment: Cornell total Biglaw + Fed Clerk numbers beat Northwestern by 9.3% (74.3% to 65%) which is huge. However, this is almost entirely attributable to Cornell feeding into NYC Big Law, which gives it a huge boost in employment numbers. I keep going back and forth between saying "9.3% is un-ignorable" and "that 9.3% is due to Cornell's location"

The difficulty here is this: lifestyle. If I was totally focused on employment, I would go Cornell in a heartbeat. However, going to Northwestern means there's a possibility to work in Big Law in Chicago, which is HUGE for me. 160k in Chicago is like making 300k in NYC. I would be able to live more comfortably while also saving much more, meaning I'd be able to pay down my law school debt far quicker. On top of this, speaking with individuals who have worked in Chicago Big Law has let me know that the 70-80 hour expectation of work in NYC Big Law is more like an exception in Chicago. The idea that I'd be able to make the same amount of money, save more, live more comfortably, and work significantly less really entices me to go to Northwestern and try my hand at getting work in Chicago after graduation. It seems like if I go to Cornell, the chances of getting Big Law in Chicago is almost zero.

I may be overthinking the whole thing. Although big law is the most likely outcome, who knows if I'll even be competitive there, or if that's what I'll want after three years of school. That are a million factors that'll arise in my three years of law school and who knows if my only option out of Northwestern is NYC big law anyway, if that.

I'm trying to be clear about my dilemma, but I know that I may not have been. Can you guys help me clear the clutter in my brain? Thanks to anyone who takes the time to read this.

My numbers: 168, 3.6x

Other scholarship information: I've requested a scholarship increase from Northwestern, and if I receive it, I'll use that offer to request an increase from Cornell.

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Mullens
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Re: Northwestern w/ 60k vs. Cornell w/ 45k

Postby Mullens » Wed Apr 29, 2015 1:26 pm

I think there is another factor here with employment stats that you haven't accounted for, Northwestern's large JD-MBA program and the likelihood that those students enter careers in business instead of law. The JD-MBA students make up about 10% of the class each year. You can see Northwestern's JD Advantage Employment Numbers here. If you want Chicago biglaw, Northwestern with more money is probably a better idea.

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rpupkin
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Re: Northwestern w/ 60k vs. Cornell w/ 45k

Postby rpupkin » Wed Apr 29, 2015 1:39 pm

bobbybird wrote:The benefits of Cornell:

Employment: Cornell total Biglaw + Fed Clerk numbers beat Northwestern by 9.3% (74.3% to 65%) which is huge. However, this is almost entirely attributable to Cornell feeding into NYC Big Law, which gives it a huge boost in employment numbers. I keep going back and forth between saying "9.3% is un-ignorable" and "that 9.3% is due to Cornell's location"

The difficulty here is this: lifestyle. If I was totally focused on employment, I would go Cornell in a heartbeat. However, going to Northwestern means there's a possibility to work in Big Law in Chicago, which is HUGE for me.

This is weird. Of course you should go to NU in these circumstances. Also, the 9% BL+FC different is not "huge," even if you don't take into account the various self-selection factors that explain the difference. Those damn BL+FC totals are proving to be more misleading than USWNR.

bobbybird
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Re: Northwestern w/ 60k vs. Cornell w/ 45k

Postby bobbybird » Wed Apr 29, 2015 1:41 pm

Mullens wrote:I think there is another factor here with employment stats that you haven't accounted for, Northwestern's large JD-MBA program and the likelihood that those students enter careers in business instead of law. The JD-MBA students make up about 10% of the class each year. You can see Northwestern's JD Advantage Employment Numbers here. If you want Chicago biglaw, Northwestern with more money is probably a better idea.


Hey Mullens thanks for the response. I had seen that and was convinced that the JD-MBA self-selection out of legal work was the primary reason why Northwestern's employment lagged behind some of its peers, but what's given me pause is this year, only 7.6% of the class went to business jobs (as opposed to 13.7% last year) and yet legal employment barely improved. On top of that, Northwestern's unemployed percentage went up 3%. It's at least made me worried that the difference in employment numbers isn't just totally a function of people self-selecting out of legal work.

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mt2165
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Re: Northwestern w/ 60k vs. Cornell w/ 45k

Postby mt2165 » Wed Apr 29, 2015 1:58 pm

If it was in between Cornell and NU (with more money) and I wanted Chicago, the clear answer is NU. Numbers aside, I'm sure similarly situated people in the classes of these two schools do similarly in terms of outcome, and being in the market you want to end up in is critical-though not to say Chicago out of Cornell is impossible but definitely way harder. But I also wouldn't go into law school with the notion that you'll have some sort of work/life balance in Chicago BL-yeah COL is better but you could very well still hate it and be debt pwned.

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OhBoyOhBortles
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Re: Northwestern w/ 60k vs. Cornell w/ 45k

Postby OhBoyOhBortles » Wed Apr 29, 2015 2:01 pm

NU, not even a question. Congrats!

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TasmanianToucan
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Re: Northwestern w/ 60k vs. Cornell w/ 45k

Postby TasmanianToucan » Wed Apr 29, 2015 2:15 pm

I wouldn't worry too much about that 9.3%. That's a data point from a single year. They're fairly similar- two good law schools that specialize in feeding the biglaw market of a major city. So really, you could answer this question most easily by developing a geographic preference. So what will it be, Metropolis or Gotham City?

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downbeat14
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Re: Northwestern w/ 60k vs. Cornell w/ 45k

Postby downbeat14 » Wed Apr 29, 2015 2:37 pm

Def take NU for $ and goals. Just don't end up below median.

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usn26
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Re: Northwestern w/ 60k vs. Cornell w/ 45k

Postby usn26 » Wed Apr 29, 2015 2:41 pm

Sounds like you prefer NU. Go for it. The schools are basically interchangeable.

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rpupkin
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Re: Northwestern w/ 60k vs. Cornell w/ 45k

Postby rpupkin » Wed Apr 29, 2015 2:45 pm

usn26 wrote:Sounds like you prefer NU. Go for it. The schools are basically interchangeable.

Not really. With the exception of HYS, all schools are at least somewhat regional. OP's goal is Chicago big law. NU is better than Cornell for this goal, just like Berkeley would be better than, say, Duke or UVA for California big law.

bobbybird
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Re: Northwestern w/ 60k vs. Cornell w/ 45k

Postby bobbybird » Wed Apr 29, 2015 2:56 pm

rpupkin wrote:
bobbybird wrote:The benefits of Cornell:

Employment: Cornell total Biglaw + Fed Clerk numbers beat Northwestern by 9.3% (74.3% to 65%) which is huge. However, this is almost entirely attributable to Cornell feeding into NYC Big Law, which gives it a huge boost in employment numbers. I keep going back and forth between saying "9.3% is un-ignorable" and "that 9.3% is due to Cornell's location"

The difficulty here is this: lifestyle. If I was totally focused on employment, I would go Cornell in a heartbeat. However, going to Northwestern means there's a possibility to work in Big Law in Chicago, which is HUGE for me.

This is weird. Of course you should go to NU in these circumstances. Also, the 9% BL+FC different is not "huge," even if you don't take into account the various self-selection factors that explain the difference. Those damn BL+FC totals are proving to be more misleading than USWNR.


Hey, thanks for your advice! Can you expand a bit on why the 9% difference isn't huge? It just seems like a big difference to me but maybe there's some factors I'm not considering.

bobbybird
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Re: Northwestern w/ 60k vs. Cornell w/ 45k

Postby bobbybird » Wed Apr 29, 2015 2:59 pm

Also, thanks to everyone and your advice/encouragement. Very helpful to hear a common consensus from people who have an idea of what they're talking about (advice about this stuff from people without knowledge of law school can get kind of stressful).

bobbybird
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Re: Northwestern w/ 60k vs. Cornell w/ 45k

Postby bobbybird » Wed Apr 29, 2015 3:03 pm

mt2165 wrote:If it was in between Cornell and NU (with more money) and I wanted Chicago, the clear answer is NU. Numbers aside, I'm sure similarly situated people in the classes of these two schools do similarly in terms of outcome, and being in the market you want to end up in is critical-though not to say Chicago out of Cornell is impossible but definitely way harder. But I also wouldn't go into law school with the notion that you'll have some sort of work/life balance in Chicago BL-yeah COL is better but you could very well still hate it and be debt pwned.


Thanks for the advice. Yeah, I don't expect any real work/life balance in BL regardless, but moreso my goal is to preserve some semblance of longevity. 80 hours a week just doesn't seem maintainable for very long unless you're a very specific type of person. If I can minimize the hours per week, my thinking is that I can hash it in big law for more years, leading to more favorable exit opportunities and a much smaller student debt load.

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ILoveYou
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Re: Northwestern w/ 60k vs. Cornell w/ 45k

Postby ILoveYou » Wed Apr 29, 2015 3:04 pm

bobbybird wrote:
Hey, thanks for your advice! Can you expand a bit on why the 9% difference isn't huge? It just seems like a big difference to me but maybe there's some factors I'm not considering.



Not addressed to me, but for one thing, NU has a considerable number of students who self-select into business fields, etc. who would likely be able to land biglaw if they sought it. Not saying it's all of that 9%, but it is something you should think about when comparing BL+FC numbers at schools like these.

I'll add my name to the "Go to NU!" crowd. It's where I'm headed, though, so take that with a few mountains of salt :D. Good luck, and congrats on your cycle!

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Desert Fox
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Re: Northwestern w/ 60k vs. Cornell w/ 45k

Postby Desert Fox » Wed Apr 29, 2015 3:10 pm

bobbybird wrote:
rpupkin wrote:
bobbybird wrote:The benefits of Cornell:

Employment: Cornell total Biglaw + Fed Clerk numbers beat Northwestern by 9.3% (74.3% to 65%) which is huge. However, this is almost entirely attributable to Cornell feeding into NYC Big Law, which gives it a huge boost in employment numbers. I keep going back and forth between saying "9.3% is un-ignorable" and "that 9.3% is due to Cornell's location"

The difficulty here is this: lifestyle. If I was totally focused on employment, I would go Cornell in a heartbeat. However, going to Northwestern means there's a possibility to work in Big Law in Chicago, which is HUGE for me.

This is weird. Of course you should go to NU in these circumstances. Also, the 9% BL+FC different is not "huge," even if you don't take into account the various self-selection factors that explain the difference. Those damn BL+FC totals are proving to be more misleading than USWNR.


Hey, thanks for your advice! Can you expand a bit on why the 9% difference isn't huge? It just seems like a big difference to me but maybe there's some factors I'm not considering.


4.8% of the difference is JD/MBA's who all make over 100k going into something other than biglaw.

So now you got a ~4% difference. Which is tiny compared to year to year variance. Also only 16% of Northwestern grads go to NY, 59% at Cornell do.

It isn't clear that Cornell has any real advantage.

californiauser
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Re: Northwestern w/ 60k vs. Cornell w/ 45k

Postby californiauser » Wed Apr 29, 2015 3:14 pm

Northwestern--no question.

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Desert Fox
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Re: Northwestern w/ 60k vs. Cornell w/ 45k

Postby Desert Fox » Wed Apr 29, 2015 3:18 pm

californiauser wrote:Northwestern--no question.


I wouldn't say no question. While NU and Cornell do roughly the same, if OP looks like the sort of person who doesn't want to work in NYC, his OCI may be hard if he gets mediocre grades.

Though I'm not sure if Cornell gives you NYC ties.

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Desert Fox
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Re: Northwestern w/ 60k vs. Cornell w/ 45k

Postby Desert Fox » Wed Apr 29, 2015 3:19 pm

Desert Fox wrote:
californiauser wrote:Northwestern--no question.


I wouldn't say no question. While NU and Cornell do roughly the same, if OP looks like the sort of person who doesn't want to work in NYC, his OCI may be hard if he gets mediocre grades.

Though I'm not sure if Cornell gives you NYC ties.



Really I'd probably just say neither. Even NU with 60k, we are talking about over 200k debt. Too much.

BigZuck
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Re: Northwestern w/ 60k vs. Cornell w/ 45k

Postby BigZuck » Wed Apr 29, 2015 3:20 pm

I agree on NU. I'd retake June to try and squeeze more money out of them though. Right now you're staring down the barrel of 250K debt which, as we all know, is a buttload.

I think you're overrating the virtues of working Chicago big law vs NYC big law and especially the "buying power" of 160K in Chicago compared to NYC.

Eta: damn, scooped by Erwin
Last edited by BigZuck on Wed Apr 29, 2015 3:21 pm, edited 1 time in total.

californiauser
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Re: Northwestern w/ 60k vs. Cornell w/ 45k

Postby californiauser » Wed Apr 29, 2015 3:21 pm

Desert Fox wrote:
californiauser wrote:Northwestern--no question.


I wouldn't say no question. While NU and Cornell do roughly the same, if OP looks like the sort of person who doesn't want to work in NYC, his OCI may be hard if he gets mediocre grades.

Though I'm not sure if Cornell gives you NYC ties.


True. I wouldn't feel comfortable taking over 150k from any law school. Between the options presented, I would pick Northwestern without hesitation.

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WeeBey
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Re: Northwestern w/ 60k vs. Cornell w/ 45k

Postby WeeBey » Wed Apr 29, 2015 6:32 pm

Although spending 200k on really any school is a bad idea IMO, I think it really depends if OP is K-JD.

As a K-JD, I'd be much more comfortable at Cornell and would be willing to pay $15k more.




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