Seeking Validation

(Rankings, Profiles, Tuition, Student Life, . . . )
User avatar
Sarastro

Bronze
Posts: 389
Joined: Tue Jun 14, 2016 3:25 pm

Seeking Validation

Postby Sarastro » Wed Jun 29, 2016 4:28 pm

I don't think I'm too unique or special here, so this thread might be clutter, sorry. I'm just wondering if someone can tell me I'm an idiot or validate this as a sound plan to act on (or both):

Data: 3.65 / 175 / 2yr WE in chemistry / Nothing-too-special-softs
Geography: Born/raised/educated in Midwest, SO will be at Michigan State next year.
Goals: Plan on staying in the Midwest or possibly TX/OK. Not yet sure if Biglaw or patent stuff is for me or not. Public Interest might be more what I'm leaning towards, but I'm pretty ignorant and would like to keep my options open if possible.
Money: I'm very uncomfortable with the idea of taking on too much debt. I'll have maybe $30k cash on hand and the rest will be loans.

Plan: Blanket T14, see what sticks. Also apply to [at least] Washington University, Notre Dame, UT Austin.

Given my admittedly vague goals, would University of Michigan be a smart first choice, the thinking being (1) T14, (2) Places well in Midwest, (3) Would also be very close to SO, (4) Chance for scholarships? Is that too low/high a goal if I'm debt-averse and want dat $$$? Have I overlooked a school/resource/something that I should examine more closely?

Also, is taking the patent bar worthwhile, even if I'm not sure I want to do patents? My degree is just a BS in Molecular Biology, not nuclear physics or anything. Would it help with $$ or just be a tie-breaker kind of thing?

Appreciate your time, guys/gals, and sorry for the noob questions. I'm still learning and everyone here is much more knowledgeable than me, so I'm trying my best to take advantage of you all.

User avatar
PeanutsNJam

Gold
Posts: 4558
Joined: Tue Jul 10, 2012 1:57 pm

Re: Seeking Validation

Postby PeanutsNJam » Wed Jun 29, 2016 4:32 pm

Northwestern is your best bet if you're risk averse and are for sure Midwest only, you should get a full or close to full scholarship there.

I don't think taking the patent bar before law school would help you get scholarship money, but if you have the time and drive to do it might as well.

SFSpartan

Bronze
Posts: 474
Joined: Tue Apr 09, 2013 10:01 pm

Re: Seeking Validation

Postby SFSpartan » Wed Jun 29, 2016 5:16 pm

I think your plan makes total sense, as does M as your first choice ,given that your SO will be at State. That said, N is a better school, and you do have a good shot there with your #s (credit to PNJ here).

As PNJ said, I don't think that patent bar eligibility will help you with scholarship $$$. However, it can help offset your cost of attendance. A few of my classmates took the patent bar before school and basically paid off school with the 6 figure salaries that their biglaw firms paid them to work as patent agents during LS. I'm in SF though, and the patent market is probably bigger than in the Midwest, so take that with a grain of salt.

favabeansoup

Bronze
Posts: 416
Joined: Tue Nov 17, 2015 1:26 pm

Re: Seeking Validation

Postby favabeansoup » Wed Jun 29, 2016 7:08 pm

Northwestern or Michigan for sure. Which one will depend on various things like how much money each gives you. You're going to get something at both, but will just have to compare that with other softs like distance with SO. Northwestern is "better" school, but that doesn't discount Michigan entirely, especially if they give you a good package.

I wouldn't take the patent bar. It's not going to help you with scholarship money at all. Especially don't do it unless you are going to do patent work, because if you have it firms will be pushing you 100% to that route. Tons of people wait until during law school to get it anyway, so you won't be at a disadvantage for firms really.

User avatar
Sarastro

Bronze
Posts: 389
Joined: Tue Jun 14, 2016 3:25 pm

Re: Seeking Validation

Postby Sarastro » Wed Jun 29, 2016 8:19 pm

I appreciate the responses, it's extremely helpful!

Northwestern definitely is a good option that I think I haven't given enough consideration. I trust TLS' consensus, but I'm just curious why Northwestern is considered a better school than Michigan. I haven't researched Northwestern very much yet, but it seems to historically be a couple slots down from Michigan in rankings. I know the rankings are very close to meaningless at that point and I'm not saying -2 ranks will affect my decision at all- I'm just curious what you guys are weighting differently, since you seem to be in agreement that N is tangibly better than M.

SFSpartan wrote:A few of my classmates took the patent bar before school and basically paid off school with the 6 figure salaries that their biglaw firms paid them to work as patent agents during LS. I'm in SF though, and the patent market is probably bigger than in the Midwest, so take that with a grain of salt.

I'm curious, do you what the work load was like for them that they were able to do that during school? Is it just that as a 2L/3L they had enough flexibility to work school around that or what? Working to make 6 figures while in LS seems absolutely herculean to me.

User avatar
GFox345

Bronze
Posts: 276
Joined: Sun Jul 12, 2015 3:53 am

Re: Seeking Validation

Postby GFox345 » Wed Jun 29, 2016 10:20 pm

favabeansoup wrote:Northwestern or Michigan for sure. Which one will depend on various things like how much money each gives you. You're going to get something at both, but will just have to compare that with other softs like distance with SO. Northwestern is "better" school, but that doesn't discount Michigan entirely, especially if they give you a good package.

I wouldn't take the patent bar. It's not going to help you with scholarship money at all. Especially don't do it unless you are going to do patent work, because if you have it firms will be pushing you 100% to that route. Tons of people wait until during law school to get it anyway, so you won't be at a disadvantage for firms really.


What is your reasoning behind Northwestern being a better school?

User avatar
GFox345

Bronze
Posts: 276
Joined: Sun Jul 12, 2015 3:53 am

Re: Seeking Validation

Postby GFox345 » Wed Jun 29, 2016 10:23 pm

Sarastro wrote:I appreciate the responses, it's extremely helpful!

Northwestern definitely is a good option that I think I haven't given enough consideration. I trust TLS' consensus, but I'm just curious why Northwestern is considered a better school than Michigan. I haven't researched Northwestern very much yet, but it seems to historically be a couple slots down from Michigan in rankings. I know the rankings are very close to meaningless at that point and I'm not saying -2 ranks will affect my decision at all- I'm just curious what you guys are weighting differently, since you seem to be in agreement that N is tangibly better than M.

SFSpartan wrote:A few of my classmates took the patent bar before school and basically paid off school with the 6 figure salaries that their biglaw firms paid them to work as patent agents during LS. I'm in SF though, and the patent market is probably bigger than in the Midwest, so take that with a grain of salt.

I'm curious, do you what the work load was like for them that they were able to do that during school? Is it just that as a 2L/3L they had enough flexibility to work school around that or what? Working to make 6 figures while in LS seems absolutely herculean to me.


The common argument that I've seen for NU being the better school is that it tends to place slightly more people into big law and slightly less into PI/Gov. You'd be hard pressed to find a practicing attorney that would say that NU is definitively better. They are usually just considered to be peers. You should, generally speaking, go to whichever one of the two of them is cheaper. I can't see any scenario in which paying more for NU is justified.

Edit: But your plan does make total sense. You are likely to get a large scholarship at both M and N. Remember though, if they give you the same amount of money, that N is about $40k more expensive than N for total COA. That's something that people often overlook. The $150k ED scholarship at NU is still about 40k short of full tuition and (having lived in the downtown Chicago area I can tell you that you'll be forced to choose between a considerable daily commute and a pretty pricey living situation. AA is much cheaper, so that should factor into your calculus as well.

User avatar
Barack O'Drama

Gold
Posts: 3260
Joined: Mon Dec 03, 2012 7:21 pm

Re: Seeking Validation

Postby Barack O'Drama » Wed Jun 29, 2016 11:31 pm

Sounds like an ED to NU might be something to consider if you're certain on staying in the mid-west.
Last edited by Barack O'Drama on Fri Jan 26, 2018 10:44 pm, edited 1 time in total.

SFSpartan

Bronze
Posts: 474
Joined: Tue Apr 09, 2013 10:01 pm

Re: Seeking Validation

Postby SFSpartan » Thu Jun 30, 2016 12:10 am

Sarastro wrote:I appreciate the responses, it's extremely helpful!

Northwestern definitely is a good option that I think I haven't given enough consideration. I trust TLS' consensus, but I'm just curious why Northwestern is considered a better school than Michigan. I haven't researched Northwestern very much yet, but it seems to historically be a couple slots down from Michigan in rankings. I know the rankings are very close to meaningless at that point and I'm not saying -2 ranks will affect my decision at all- I'm just curious what you guys are weighting differently, since you seem to be in agreement that N is tangibly better than M.

SFSpartan wrote:A few of my classmates took the patent bar before school and basically paid off school with the 6 figure salaries that their biglaw firms paid them to work as patent agents during LS. I'm in SF though, and the patent market is probably bigger than in the Midwest, so take that with a grain of salt.

I'm curious, do you what the work load was like for them that they were able to do that during school? Is it just that as a 2L/3L they had enough flexibility to work school around that or what? Working to make 6 figures while in LS seems absolutely herculean to me.


I'll start with the question you asked me and go from there. It seemed like they were busy, but not exceptionally so. They could do it because they figured out LS during 1L and boiled it down to a formula. That allowed them to get great grades while skating by on 10-20 hours of work during classes, and then going hard during finals. They also didn't do LR, which takes up a significant amount of time and is mostly bullshit. Honestly, after 1L, LS is mostly a 2 year vacation. So they worked instead of doing the dumb shit that a significant portion of students do, like get daydrunk on a Tuesday and watch excessive amounts of Netflix.

Again, I'm in SF, and I'm not sure you could do this at M (though you should be fine at NU). I could see the commute alone being a huge obstacle, given that Honigman, Miller Canfield, etc. are all near RenCen. This could be changing though - Ann Arbor has a budding tech community, and I could see some West Coast firms opening up shops there (I believe Gunderson already has).

As another poster pointed out, UM has a lower large firm score than NU, which is why NU is considered better. NU is also connected to a larger market, and Chicago biglaw tends to have larger classes than MI biglaw.

User avatar
Mullens

Silver
Posts: 1043
Joined: Wed Dec 18, 2013 1:34 am

Re: Seeking Validation

Postby Mullens » Thu Jun 30, 2016 12:32 am

No point in applying to Notre Dame because they're stingy with money and you're 100% going to get into better schools. You probably also don't need to apply to Texas or WashU unless you become deadset on Texas. Even if you do apply to both, the chances of you attending or even using their scholarship for leverage elsewhere seems negligible.

Northwestern and Michigan are peer schools. Pretty much any difference between them levels out from year to year.

I don't think there's any point in having a "favorite" going into process and I think it often clouds people's judgment when they do decide where to go to school because it leads to strange attachments (same thing with people who pick schools based on how they feel about admissions staffs and the process at each school, since you're not going to interact with any of those people ever again when you start school).

You should blanket the T-14 and then make a decision based on money and job outcomes. If you're super debt-averse then ED to Northwestern ($150,000 scholarship) is something you should consider, but I'd be surprised if you don't end up with similar scholarships through just blanketing the T14 and negotiating.

User avatar
Sarastro

Bronze
Posts: 389
Joined: Tue Jun 14, 2016 3:25 pm

Re: Seeking Validation

Postby Sarastro » Thu Jun 30, 2016 1:28 pm

Thank you again, guys, for the responses. They're all immensely helpful to me as I try to gauge what's realistic and what's intelligent to pursue.

Mullens wrote:I don't think there's any point in having a "favorite" going into process and I think it often clouds people's judgment when they do decide where to go to school because it leads to strange attachments (same thing with people who pick schools based on how they feel about admissions staffs and the process at each school, since you're not going to interact with any of those people ever again when you start school).

This especially I think is useful [life] advice, at least for me. I think I'm the kind of person that falls prey to that kind of thinking from time to time, perhaps as evidenced by the OP.

SFSpartan wrote:I'll start with the question you asked me and go from there. It seemed like they were busy, but not exceptionally so. They could do it because they figured out LS during 1L and boiled it down to a formula. That allowed them to get great grades while skating by on 10-20 hours of work during classes, and then going hard during finals. They also didn't do LR, which takes up a significant amount of time and is mostly bullshit. Honestly, after 1L, LS is mostly a 2 year vacation. So they worked instead of doing the dumb shit that a significant portion of students do, like get daydrunk on a Tuesday and watch excessive amounts of Netflix.

Well it's encouraging even that that's doable- Most of what I've read has made LS sound like a constant grind that is just particularly soul crushing the first year. Makes me feel better about the process in general, even if IP ends up not geographically being a possibility.



Return to “Choosing a Law School�

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: trmckenz and 14 guests