Berkeley v Columbia. Please help!

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

Berk or Columbia?

Berkeley
13
38%
Columbia
21
62%
 
Total votes: 34

AwesomeLawyer
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Berkeley v Columbia. Please help!

Postby AwesomeLawyer » Fri May 01, 2015 2:00 pm

Thanks everyone for the input.
Last edited by AwesomeLawyer on Fri May 29, 2015 10:43 pm, edited 4 times in total.

hearsay77
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Re: Berkeley v Columbia. Please help!

Postby hearsay77 » Fri May 01, 2015 2:19 pm

Those prices are too high for PI. What are your stats/how many times did you take the LSAT? Do you have other options?

AwesomeLawyer
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Re: Berkeley v Columbia. Please help!

Postby AwesomeLawyer » Fri May 01, 2015 2:30 pm

I know it is high :(( I am a splitter with a high GPA. Took the test two times. I am not looking at other T14 schools due to either being rejected or getting lower financial aid even after negotiations, and CLS and Berk are really my favorites :)

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Redamon1
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Re: Berkeley v Columbia. Please help!

Postby Redamon1 » Fri May 01, 2015 2:35 pm

Less debt is always better for PI, but in both cases here the debt load is large enough that you'll probably have to rely on LRAPs, so maybe the price difference matters less (though I could not tell if 150k is how much you would take out in loans or if your debt load would be lower after factoring in personal savings and family contributions). How much more debt you are willing to shoulder to be close to family is a very personal consideration. Being away from your SO for 3 years would suck, though you should know that from Berkeley you can spend your summers interning in NYC and can do a "field placement" aka a full-time externship for a semester for academic credit in NYC at a nonprofit, government agency, or international institution. There's also the Harvard-Berkeley exchange program to which you can apply for your third year, in case that's of interest. If you're asking how much PI career prospects you would be giving up by going to Berkeley, I would say probably not much. The Berkeley degree carries east very well (including to Europe). Though it's true that proximity to prospective PI employers helps you build personal and professional connections during the year, the summers and field placement options I mentioned above can probably provide equivalent access from Boalt. One thing Columbia has that Berkeley doesn't is established academic partnerships with European law schools, in case you're interested in doing a dual degree of some kind. Berkeley has several professors/centers/clinics that could to work with you on human rights and comparative law issues, but it would take more individual legwork from you if you wanted to spend time at an academic institution in Europe for credit. But otherwise, I think the career outcomes for your interests would be pretty similar from both schools.

AwesomeLawyer
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Re: Berkeley v Columbia. Please help!

Postby AwesomeLawyer » Fri May 01, 2015 2:50 pm

Sorry, it was confusing, $150 is the amount of loans I will be left with, after all contributions included. I am considering Berkeley's placement programs and the HLS exchange program (if my grades would be high enough for that, i guess) to be somewhat closer to my SO if I go to Berk :) I was told by another Berk graduate that, since I will be relying on LRAP anyways, the difference is not that substantial, so it all comes down to personal preference. Thank you very much for your answer.

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transferror
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Re: Berkeley v Columbia. Please help!

Postby transferror » Fri May 01, 2015 2:55 pm

Redamon1 wrote:Less debt is always better for PI, but in both cases here the debt load is large enough that you'll probably have to rely on LRAPs, so maybe the price difference matters less (though I could not tell if 150k is how much you would take out in loans or if your debt load would be lower after factoring in personal savings and family contributions).


I agree with this. I don't think there's a substantial difference between 150k and 220k *IF* you are going to put all of your eggs in the PI basket anyway, because you'll need LRAP in either scenario and it seems Columbia's offers a little more stability.

Sounds like you know this and are committed to PI so go for it

AwesomeLawyer
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Re: Berkeley v Columbia. Please help!

Postby AwesomeLawyer » Fri May 01, 2015 3:05 pm

Thanks for the response and encouragement :)

UpandDown97
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Re: Berkeley v Columbia. Please help!

Postby UpandDown97 » Fri May 01, 2015 3:06 pm

Columbia might give you a better shot at PI by virtue of lesser competition compared to Berkely where a ton of people are gunning for PI.

Agree with above as well. If you're going to use LRAP or similar, then 70k doesn't particularly matter. Plus, with the potential that government programs may be capped by Congress/the President, it might be better to go to the school with better/more stable PI loan forgiveness programs.

krads153
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Re: Berkeley v Columbia. Please help!

Postby krads153 » Fri May 01, 2015 3:27 pm

Don't go to law school.......You're looking at at least 210k debt from Berkeley to do PI and something like 270k from Columbia. I don't get why you'd consider it considering how both the REpublicans and Democrats want to cut down PSLF and I bet a lot of law schools will have to revamp LRAP.

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Redamon1
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Re: Berkeley v Columbia. Please help!

Postby Redamon1 » Fri May 01, 2015 3:33 pm

UpandDown97 wrote:Columbia might give you a better shot at PI by virtue of lesser competition compared to Berkely where a ton of people are gunning for PI.


Not sure about this. If anything, I think this cuts the other way. PI hiring is even more connections-oriented than other fields, so going to a school with other PI-interested students, faculty, and alumni is a plus for network building. Also, PI is a vast category, so assuming OP has pretty specific professional interest, I would imagine there wouldn't be more than a few students at any school planning to apply for the exact same job/org in the same city as OP. Plus, unlike firms, it's not like an NGO is looking for a small smattering of students from a mix of T14 schools when it hires full-time attorneys. So from any school you're competing with other qualified candidates from all the other schools; you're not especially competing with other candidates from your own school.

UpandDown97
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Re: Berkeley v Columbia. Please help!

Postby UpandDown97 » Fri May 01, 2015 3:36 pm

krads153 wrote:Don't go to law school.......You're looking at at least 210k debt from Berkeley to do PI and something like 270k from Columbia. I don't get why you'd consider it considering how both the REpublicans and Democrats want to cut down PSLF and I bet a lot of law schools will have to revamp LRAP.



Schools are contractually obligated to honor the payment programs they offer. So OP, don't listen to this fear mongerer.

krads153
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Re: Berkeley v Columbia. Please help!

Postby krads153 » Fri May 01, 2015 3:36 pm

THis is just one non profit - but take a look at NYLAG's hiring.

http://nylag.org/news/2015/04/pro-bono-pioneers

A lot of CUNY/Fordham law students. A lot of non profits in NYC only want to hire Pro Bono Scholars so they can get fellowship funding. CUNY is known as a PI school in NYC and is super cheap as well.

Just saying - there's no real boost going to a T-14 for most PI orgs.

I'm not in PI but I do pro bono work and as a result know a bunch of people in PI....general consensus is that it's a terrible idea to take on a lot of debt for PI.

It's mainly about connections and how much of a background you have. A lot of people going into PI have limited debt loads (and also intentionally choose schools like CUNY with low tuition) so they can afford to work in PI.

As a side note, if any of you are interested in applying for a fellowship and if you are also a Pro Bono Scholar - PM me. A non profit that I work with is looking for a Pro Bono Scholar for a fellowship application.

krads153
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Re: Berkeley v Columbia. Please help!

Postby krads153 » Fri May 01, 2015 3:58 pm

UpandDown97 wrote:
krads153 wrote:Don't go to law school.......You're looking at at least 210k debt from Berkeley to do PI and something like 270k from Columbia. I don't get why you'd consider it considering how both the REpublicans and Democrats want to cut down PSLF and I bet a lot of law schools will have to revamp LRAP.



Schools are contractually obligated to honor the payment programs they offer. So OP, don't listen to this fear mongerer.


They may be contractually obligated UNDER the payment programs they offer - but not contractually obligated to provide a certain payment program. If you revamp LRAP, you are changing the payment program itself. LRAPs have changed at almost every T-14 throughout the years; some have changed to tie with IBR for example.

Also if you ever plan on getting married, your spousal income will likely count under the LRAP programs - not fun if your spouse doesn't make a ton of money but makes enough to force you to pay a ton more on your loans.

AwesomeLawyer
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Re: Berkeley v Columbia. Please help!

Postby AwesomeLawyer » Fri May 01, 2015 4:09 pm

krads153 wrote:THis is just one non profit - but take a look at NYLAG's hiring.

http://nylag.org/news/2015/04/pro-bono-pioneers

A lot of CUNY/Fordham law students. A lot of non profits in NYC only want to hire Pro Bono Scholars so they can get fellowship funding. CUNY is known as a PI school in NYC and is super cheap as well.

Just saying - there's no real boost going to a T-14 for most PI orgs.

I'm not in PI but I do pro bono work and as a result know a bunch of people in PI....general consensus is that it's a terrible idea to take on a lot of debt for PI.

It's mainly about connections and how much of a background you have. A lot of people going into PI have limited debt loads (and also intentionally choose schools like CUNY with low tuition) so they can afford to work in PI.

As a side note, if any of you are interested in applying for a fellowship and if you are also a Pro Bono Scholar - PM me. A non profit that I work with is looking for a Pro Bono Scholar for a fellowship application.



I appreciate your input and I see your point. I am very familiar with NYLAG and other legal services in NYC and I know they have attorneys from Harvard, Yale, Cornell, etc., as well as CUNY and Fordham. The management tends to be from the first group though... My goal is to shoot for international NGOs and eventually move to Europe. CLS and Berkeley are mose suited for that and CLS's LRAP covers international work, but I will have to save $ for taxes at the end.

AwesomeLawyer
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Re: Berkeley v Columbia. Please help!

Postby AwesomeLawyer » Fri May 01, 2015 4:21 pm

krads153 wrote:
UpandDown97 wrote:
krads153 wrote:Don't go to law school.......You're looking at at least 210k debt from Berkeley to do PI and something like 270k from Columbia. I don't get why you'd consider it considering how both the REpublicans and Democrats want to cut down PSLF and I bet a lot of law schools will have to revamp LRAP.



Schools are contractually obligated to honor the payment programs they offer. So OP, don't listen to this fear mongerer.


They may be contractually obligated UNDER the payment programs they offer - but not contractually obligated to provide a certain payment program. If you revamp LRAP, you are changing the payment program itself. LRAPs have changed at almost every T-14 throughout the years; some have changed to tie with IBR for example.

Also if you ever plan on getting married, your spousal income will likely count under the LRAP programs - not fun if your spouse doesn't make a ton of money but makes enough to force you to pay a ton more on your loans.


CLS has an IBR LRAP plan and a plan that is not tied to the government programs - for income over 50k you pay 34.5% for the difference, no cap.

If I get married, my SO will likely have substantially bigger income, but I do not want to go into Law School considering that this would be my financial plan.

krads153
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Re: Berkeley v Columbia. Please help!

Postby krads153 » Fri May 01, 2015 4:29 pm

AwesomeLawyer wrote:
krads153 wrote:THis is just one non profit - but take a look at NYLAG's hiring.

http://nylag.org/news/2015/04/pro-bono-pioneers

A lot of CUNY/Fordham law students. A lot of non profits in NYC only want to hire Pro Bono Scholars so they can get fellowship funding. CUNY is known as a PI school in NYC and is super cheap as well.

Just saying - there's no real boost going to a T-14 for most PI orgs.

I'm not in PI but I do pro bono work and as a result know a bunch of people in PI....general consensus is that it's a terrible idea to take on a lot of debt for PI.

It's mainly about connections and how much of a background you have. A lot of people going into PI have limited debt loads (and also intentionally choose schools like CUNY with low tuition) so they can afford to work in PI.

As a side note, if any of you are interested in applying for a fellowship and if you are also a Pro Bono Scholar - PM me. A non profit that I work with is looking for a Pro Bono Scholar for a fellowship application.



I appreciate your input and I see your point. I am very familiar with NYLAG and other legal services in NYC and I know they have attorneys from Harvard, Yale, Cornell, etc., as well as CUNY and Fordham. The management tends to be from the first group though... My goal is to shoot for international NGOs and eventually move to Europe. CLS and Berkeley are mose suited for that and CLS's LRAP covers international work, but I will have to save $ for taxes at the end.


Yeah, I noticed some of the management from other non profits like MFY also tend to be from T-14s...but their recent hires have not been. The management tend to be several years out though and started working as staff attorneys initially - maybe because tuition cost a lot less several years ago, T-14 grads were more inclined to do PI instead of biglaw. It seems like recent hires for a lot of non profits have gone to CUNY, etc. though.

Not sure about NGO hiring, so can't give much input there.

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jbagelboy
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Re: Berkeley v Columbia. Please help!

Postby jbagelboy » Fri May 01, 2015 8:48 pm

definitely CLS with your background, personal issues and goals

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OhBoyOhBortles
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Re: Berkeley v Columbia. Please help!

Postby OhBoyOhBortles » Fri May 01, 2015 8:54 pm

AwesomeLawyer wrote:I know it is high :(( I am a splitter with a high GPA. Took the test two times. I am not looking at other T14 schools due to either being rejected or getting lower financial aid even after negotiations, and CLS and Berk are really my favorites :)


Retake. You will have much better offers than this with a higher lsat

AwesomeLawyer
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Re: Berkeley v Columbia. Please help!

Postby AwesomeLawyer » Fri May 01, 2015 11:46 pm

OhBoyOhBortles wrote:
AwesomeLawyer wrote:I know it is high :(( I am a splitter with a high GPA. Took the test two times. I am not looking at other T14 schools due to either being rejected or getting lower financial aid even after negotiations, and CLS and Berk are really my favorites :)


Retake. You will have much better offers than this with a higher lsat


I appreciate your response, but this is not very helpful. You guys are asking what my numbers are and how many times I took it as if this is the only consideration you have to take into account. Everyone's circumstances are different. I might as well be retaking LSATs until I am 40 and get into Yale on a full ride at the end, but this is not something that works for me. If it works for you guys, all the best to you.

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Mack.Hambleton
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Re: Berkeley v Columbia. Please help!

Postby Mack.Hambleton » Sat May 02, 2015 12:53 am

and the ones who retook will be going for much less debt or for free while you're subsidizing their education by becoming a debt slave

AwesomeLawyer
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Re: Berkeley v Columbia. Please help!

Postby AwesomeLawyer » Sat May 02, 2015 1:06 am

Mack.Hambleton wrote:and the ones who retook will be going for much less debt or for free while you're subsidizing their education by becoming a debt slave


Those who retook LSAT might go for free and i am glad for them. I will be subsidizing their education either way (or, most likely, not, since I am taking the LRAP route), the difference is that I start now or wait another 2-3 years. Guys, I undestand you worked hard to retake your LSATs (I did too) and I applaud you for that, but again, do not judge without knowing everyone's situation.
Last edited by AwesomeLawyer on Sat May 02, 2015 1:47 am, edited 1 time in total.

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WeeBey
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Re: Berkeley v Columbia. Please help!

Postby WeeBey » Sat May 02, 2015 1:11 am

Berk.

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lokikoala
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Re: Berkeley v Columbia. Please help!

Postby lokikoala » Sat May 02, 2015 12:36 pm

.
Last edited by lokikoala on Tue May 05, 2015 5:38 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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BiglawAssociate
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Re: Berkeley v Columbia. Please help!

Postby BiglawAssociate » Sat May 02, 2015 12:54 pm

lokikoala wrote:seems like you can't go wrong here - what did you choose?


you mean RIGHT

LOL at taking on this much debt for PI. Doesn't OP know PI has tons of trust fund kids and people with full schollies? They aint "suffering" like OP will be.

I wish 0Ls who don't manage their own fucking money would STFU about debt loads for PI.

Taking on 200k+ debt for PI is stupid as shit IMO. Just watch that debt grow to like 600k in that 10 year period and hope that you actually keep your PI job for 10 years...and that the government/your school doesn't fuck you over by changing the programs on you. LOLOLOL.

UpandDown97
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Re: Berkeley v Columbia. Please help!

Postby UpandDown97 » Sat May 02, 2015 1:23 pm

BiglawAssociate wrote:
lokikoala wrote:seems like you can't go wrong here - what did you choose?


you mean RIGHT

LOL at taking on this much debt for PI. Doesn't OP know PI has tons of trust fund kids and people with full schollies? They aint "suffering" like OP will be.

I wish 0Ls who don't manage their own fucking money would STFU about debt loads for PI.

Taking on 200k+ debt for PI is stupid as shit IMO. Just watch that debt grow to like 600k in that 10 year period and hope that you actually keep your PI job for 10 years...and that the government/your school doesn't fuck you over by changing the programs on you. LOLOLOL.


Can someone explain to me how the latter part could be true? Even if they change the program, wouldn't that not affect me as the PI student? Is there not a contract that guarentees my payment program? aren't I immune from any changes and I'd be grandfathered in if anything?

Big Law is not the only path in law. Perhaps be a bit more respectful.




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