ED to UVA or RD to all?

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ED to UVA or RD to all?

Postby IHaveAQueueOrTwo » Mon Jul 18, 2016 8:28 am

Hey everyone,

My stats:
LSAT: 165 (3rd take: 163, Cancel, 165)
GPA: 3.92
Undergrad: Top 15 USNWR
Softs: Average
Recommendations: Should be fantastic
State of Residency: IA
URM Status: Not a URM

Background and schools I'm applying to:

I'm an Iowa native who will be applying to law school during this upcoming cycle. I'm currently deciding on whether I should apply ED to UVA or apply RD to all the schools on my list (Iowa, Cornell, Notre Dame, Berkeley, UVA).

Why I chose those schools
[*]Iowa - home state and where I want to practice
[*]Cornell - revamped LRAP (only other comparable LRAPs are Penn, Chicago, and NYU I believe), good clerkship and PI numbers, small class size, similar to my UG which I'm fond of, some clinic programs that I like and aren't at other T14s
[*]Notre Dame - strong school for my region (midwest), I'm Catholic, strong PI/Gov't, likely scholarship at $20,000/yr.+ with my numbers
[*]Berkeley - gets me a connection with the West coast, which I am somewhat (although not heavily) considering for long-term living/work, would be nice to get in but not a big deal if I don't, and I don't see any other CA school that I can get into that would be worth attending
[*]UVA - amazing clerkship percentages, high D.C. placement, great success placing within federal agencies for both summer and post-graduation, solid clinical offerings, supposedly amazing school culture (at the law school level, I don't really care what the undergrad culture is)

Why I'm not applying to the other T-14 Schools
[*]HYS + Columbia - Not getting into them due to low LSAT and no URM
[*]NYU - great PI and Gov't but the NYC area does not appeal to me whatsoever, class size is a bit large (same complaint with GULC), Iowa often has comparable clerkship numbers
[*]Chicago - great school for Big Law and business placement, but I think the PI community would be too small for me. I know it's competitive at top PI/Gov't levels, but I want a school with considerable resources dedicated to PI and a considerable percentage of graduates going into PI/gov't
[*]Penn - Seems decent for PI, but it looks like Penn is more NYC centric than D.C., and it overall looks like much more of a school for those interested in industry/big law. Clerkships are in the middle of IA and UVA, on par with Berkeley and Cornell most years.
[*]Northwestern - same deal as Chicago
[*]Michigan - I would possibly receive a little money, but I couldn't justify whatever they gave me over Iowa, since I think Iowa will go as far in IA as Michigan will, and I think the opportunities outside of Big Law that Michigan affords me aren't really worth it (to me).
[*]Duke - I think Duke is far more regional than UVA and has very little PI support (or is at least highly self-selected), guaranteed summer funding for PI
[*]GULC - Like NYU, I appreciate the PI/Gov't focus. But GULC is clearly the weakest of the T14 by a long shot, and I'm not a fan of the large class size. I also believe that most other T14s would fair better in D.C. and that GULC just likely has 1. more students than almost every law school and 2. more self-selecting into D.C. so it appears GULC has a boost for being in D.C. when it likely doesn't.

Cost Breakdown

I'll likely (almost absolutely) receive no money at UVA (regardless of RD or ED) or Berkeley, $15,000-$25,000/yr. at Notre Dame, and full-tuition at Iowa (above both GPA/LSAT 75th percentiles and 40% of Iowa Law students have full-tuition+ scholarships). So, monetarily, UVA ED would be at sticker (as I'm sure it often is). Does this matter all too much? I'm not really sure, because I'm very dead set on using LRAP + IBR/PAYE + PSLF. However, I do have a not so little fear of PSLF vanishing in the next decade and a half (I would love input on if this is a valid concern or if you think it'll stick around for awhile longer than that). At Iowa, I would likely be attending for COA. I haven't talked to my parents about it yet, but they might even be willing to cover COA partially or in full (no real financial burden for them, luckily); however, there there is no guarantee of that. They have already generously covered my undergraduate costs. If I attend anywhere else, I am 100% taking on the loans by myself (likely direct plus federal loans).

Where I'm at now

At this point, I'm considering UVA ED, because I view UVA as the best fit for my goals if I wish to compete for some of the more interesting (and thus competitive) PI, Fed Gov't, and Clerkship opportunities (primarily the ones in D.C.). And, it looks like UVA would be a decent option if for some reason PSLF got eliminated while I was in law school and I needed to find Big Law employment for a few years. I find all of their career statistics (http://www.law.virginia.edu/html/about/ ... htm#career) to be pretty compelling, especially their PILA stats (http://www.law.virginia.edu/html/public ... antees.htm) which show 69/126 recipients got grants for federal government summer work.

However, the one catch is that I'm not sure I'd like to work in D.C. long-term (given I get one of the very competitive jobs, which isn't even likely). I fairly certain that I'd probably like to return to Iowa. So, I don't really know if UVA -> D.C. -> IA would really give me any better opportunities than if I just want from Iowa -> IA market. The jobs that most interest me in Iowa would be Public Defender, ACLU of Iowa, DoJ (south or north IA), HUD IA, or IRS IA. Would I still be competitive for those positions (maybe even moreso) if I just went to Iowa and finished at the top of my class (assuming I can do so, which you definitely shouldn't count on, but we're doing so for the sake of figuring things out)?

Really, the long-term goal would be any of the jobs I listed above in Iowa minus Public Defender (which I could see myself doing for a few years out of law school but probably not long term).

I'm hesitant to apply to UVA through RD, because I've read over and over how ED is a really big boost at UVA, and if it's really the great opportunity I think it is then I don't want to risk losing it. With the stats I have, It's probably a 50/50 on if I get accepted through RD, which makes me a bit squeamish. Again, based off everything I've looked at, UVA seems to be my best option outside of HYS (which I'm clearly not getting into) for my goals when it comes to T-14 schools.

My question to you all

Would UVA ED be a better option over Iowa if my long-term career goal would be to hold some of the harder to get federal/PI jobs in Iowa and eliminate my debt through PSLF/LRAP/IBR/PAYE?

Thanks for your time everyone. I really appreciate it! I know I typed out a lot of information. I'm open to any and all critiques, except messages that involve "retake," because I'm perfectly fine with the financial scenario I'd get at Iowa and comfortable enough with the debt load at UVA.

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Re: ED to UVA or RD to all?

Postby twenty » Mon Jul 18, 2016 10:29 am

Definitely Iowa, unless there's some severe stipulation on the scholarship.


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Re: ED to UVA or RD to all?

Postby pittsburghpirates » Mon Jul 18, 2016 4:48 pm

If you want to work in Iowa, it seems to me that Iowa for free would be a good option given your goals. I can't speak to whether PSLF will be around long term, but whether you would be comfortable going $290K in debt (latest sticker cost according to LST for UVA) and have that hanging over your head for 10 years at a minimum will depend on your risk tolerance. A lot can happen in law school (location preferences may change, may decide you need to be at a firm to get to where you want to be, etc.) and changing your mind could prove costly.

Honestly, with your excellent GPA you will likely get advice to sit out until you can retake the LSAT. Based on LSN, it looks like you have a pretty good shot to get into at least one of the lower T14 but likely with a small scholarship. If you are dead set on applying this year, I would not apply ED to UVA. It looks like you have a decent chance to get in anyway and applying ED will take away all of your leverage to negotiate. But retaking the LSAT for a few more points could be huge. Students have gotten DIllard scholarships (full tuition to UVA) with GPAs similar to yours and 170/171 LSATs in the past few cycles. Best of luck OP

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Re: ED to UVA or RD to all?

Postby twenty » Mon Jul 18, 2016 10:09 pm

I'm honestly not sure he does need to retake. Some of those jobs (i.e, DOJ in Iowa) are simply unattainable straight out of law school; i.e, they don't hire recent grads. ACLU in Iowa, I don't honestly think your chances are any worse going to Iowa than to UVA. They might even be better coming from Iowa, actually. For public defender in Iowa, I'd take Iowa over Columbia even if both were free.

If OP wanted biglaw, this would be a different story, but it seems like he's talking about "needing" to do biglaw rather than "wanting" to, so hey.

(I'm getting more cavalier about this the older I get.)

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