FL Law or Bust: Harvard, Columbia ($), Duke ($$$), or UF ($$$)

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blergblerg

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FL Law or Bust: Harvard, Columbia ($), Duke ($$$), or UF ($$$)

Postby blergblerg » Fri Jan 27, 2017 7:05 pm

Although I haven't heard back from every school yet (waiting on Uchi, S, and Y), I have enough offers to warrant discussion. I've heard FL is a very insular market that's difficult to break into, and my biggest goal is to practice in Florida. But, I also realize my priorities may change, so I put some value the portability of a better degree. I've thought about risk (risk of underemployment vs risk of sacrificing QOL for loan payments) quite a bit, and ultimately I'd rather sacrifice some lifestyle to get the location I want than the reverse.

Stats: 3.9x, 175+, non-urm, K-JD (considering deferring a year for work experience, but not set on it)
Payment: Loan$. Although I haven't received financial aid yet, I don't expect it to be very substantial (i.e. decision-swaying). No undergrad debt.
Preferences: FL Academia (possibly later in my career)> FL Biglaw > FL Midlaw > Academia anywhere else > Biglaw anywhere else.
Ties: SO and I are both from FL and our families live there, but I did not attend high school in-state.

I'm aware "FL Academia" is an incredible long-shot- should I give up on trying for both, and just pick one before deciding on a school?

Of the offers I've received so far, these are the only ones I'm seriously considering:
-Harvard (COA): $310,000
-Columbia (Butler- COL + 1/2 tuition): $186,000 (leaning away from this)
-Duke (Mordecai- COL): $88,000
-UF (COL): $70,000 (Duke eliminates this as an option, right?)

My basic question is this: how likely is it that I can reach my goal(s)- living in Florida, academia- given each of these options? My thought is that Duke may place somewhat well in FL because of its T-14 status + its proximity (but it precludes academia). LIPP is pretty appealing to me because if I somehow completely strike out, I wouldn't be on the hook for payments I couldn't make (in return for a commitment to practice anylaw for 10 years- which I will do regardless), so the downside isn't so bad. This debt is a monster, and missing out on the career/location I want is equally terrifying.

Thank you for your time everyone!

EDIT: Would also like to clerk.

runinthefront

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Re: FL Law or Bust: Harvard, Columbia ($), Duke ($$$), or UF ($$$)

Postby runinthefront » Fri Jan 27, 2017 7:19 pm

Duke is the easy choice here, in my opinion. Also, doing well at Duke doesn't preclude FL academia (though academia anywhere, from any of these schools, is a long shot).
Last edited by runinthefront on Fri Jan 26, 2018 11:12 pm, edited 2 times in total.

Npret

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Re: FL Law or Bust: Harvard, Columbia ($), Duke ($$$), or UF ($$$)

Postby Npret » Fri Jan 27, 2017 7:19 pm

Just to be clear your talking about being an academic at a law school in Florida. Not any other type of academics.

Are you talking about biglaw in Florida?

Would you clerk anywhere in the country?

Mikey

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Re: FL Law or Bust: Harvard, Columbia ($), Duke ($$$), or UF ($$$)

Postby Mikey » Fri Jan 27, 2017 7:23 pm

Academia is tough no matter what school you go to, but Duke at that price is not a bad deal. I think that with your numbers, you would be doing yourself a huge disservice by going to UF. Not that there's anything wrong with the school, but if you can get into H/C/D, I don't think you should go to UF.

curry1

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Re: FL Law or Bust: Harvard, Columbia ($), Duke ($$$), or UF ($$$)

Postby curry1 » Fri Jan 27, 2017 7:24 pm

blergblerg wrote:Although I haven't heard back from every school yet (waiting on Uchi, S, and Y), I have enough offers to warrant discussion. I've heard FL is a very insular market that's difficult to break into, and my biggest goal is to practice in Florida. But, I also realize my priorities may change, so I put some value the portability of a better degree. I've thought about risk (risk of underemployment vs risk of sacrificing QOL for loan payments) quite a bit, and ultimately I'd rather sacrifice some lifestyle to get the location I want than the reverse.

Stats: 3.9x, 175+, non-urm, K-JD (considering deferring a year for work experience, but not set on it)
Payment: Loan$. Although I haven't received financial aid yet, I don't expect it to be very substantial (i.e. decision-swaying). No undergrad debt.
Preferences: FL Academia (possibly later in my career)> FL Biglaw > FL Midlaw > Academia anywhere else > Biglaw anywhere else.
Ties: SO and I are both from FL and our families live there, but I did not attend high school in-state.

I'm aware "FL Academia" is an incredible long-shot- should I give up on trying for both, and just pick one before deciding on a school?

Of the offers I've received so far, these are the only ones I'm seriously considering:
-Harvard (COA): $310,000
-Columbia (Butler- COL + 1/2 tuition): $186,000 (leaning away from this)
-Duke (Mordecai- COL): $88,000
-UF (COL): $70,000 (Duke eliminates this as an option, right?)

My basic question is this: how likely is it that I can reach my goal(s)- living in Florida, academia- given each of these options? My thought is that Duke may place somewhat well in FL because of its T-14 status + its proximity (but it precludes academia). LIPP is pretty appealing to me because if I somehow completely strike out, I wouldn't be on the hook for payments I couldn't make (in return for a commitment to practice anylaw for 10 years- which I will do regardless), so the downside isn't so bad. This debt is a monster, and missing out on the career/location I want is equally terrifying.

Thank you for your time everyone!

EDIT: Would also like to clerk.



Columbia and UF are clearly out, I would do Duke in your situation. There aren't many firms that pay 180k in FL and servicing 310k in debt would be pretty hard on a midlaw/pseudo-biglaw salary. You might very well get one of those few 180 spots out of H, but you can't be close to certain that will be the case. (This advice is all conditioned on you being truly FL or bust.) Shooting for academia is like saying you want a SCOTUS clerkship, not realistic regardless of which school you go to. Also odd that you're so set on academia given that you are kjd and likely don't have a serious research agenda developed/ might not even understand what being an academic entails.

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sublime

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Re: FL Law or Bust: Harvard, Columbia ($), Duke ($$$), or UF ($$$)

Postby sublime » Fri Jan 27, 2017 7:28 pm

Would your SO not be living with you or contributing to COL? Also, your COL seems high for Gainesville.

Don't go to UF. I lean Duke, but once ls starts your stats don't matter and you are just a student at a not that great regional school.

ETA. Also I was raised in FL, went away for ls, and am now in NYC. Getting back to Florida shouldn't be a problem if I want that, it's just harder straight out of ls

runinthefront

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Re: FL Law or Bust: Harvard, Columbia ($), Duke ($$$), or UF ($$$)

Postby runinthefront » Fri Jan 27, 2017 7:29 pm

Columbia's clerkship numbers are very misleading, if that's the sole reason why Columbia is "out." I do agree however that when you compare costs between Columbia and Duke, Columbia should be out.
Last edited by runinthefront on Fri Jan 26, 2018 11:12 pm, edited 1 time in total.

grades??

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Re: FL Law or Bust: Harvard, Columbia ($), Duke ($$$), or UF ($$$)

Postby grades?? » Fri Jan 27, 2017 7:32 pm

Duke 100% here. I would say I did a callback with a FL biglaw office during oci and out of the 8 (4 partners 4 associates) interviewers, 7 were top 10% UF grads and 1 Harvard grad. But that was one office. Might speak to FL biglaw, but probably not.

But the Mordecai is a legit scholarship and given your options, 100% taking it is the right choice.

blergblerg

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Re: FL Law or Bust: Harvard, Columbia ($), Duke ($$$), or UF ($$$)

Postby blergblerg » Fri Jan 27, 2017 8:21 pm

-I would clerk anywhere.
-SO will not be living with me/defraying COL.
-Would be open to non-law academia (business I suppose) but this seems even less likely (would love any info on this!)
-To the FL big law question, yes? Not quite sure what you're asking.
-I don't have a research agenda- would this put me at an unbelievable disadvantage? Do most people come in with one? My understanding is that law school/early career would be a good time to define this. I'm interested in working first.
^^To this point, are you suggesting most people go to another graduate school first to define an agenda?

Much appreciated! :D

curry1

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Re: FL Law or Bust: Harvard, Columbia ($), Duke ($$$), or UF ($$$)

Postby curry1 » Fri Jan 27, 2017 8:31 pm

blergblerg wrote:-I would clerk anywhere.
-SO will not be living with me/defraying COL.
-Would be open to non-law academia (business I suppose) but this seems even less likely (would love any info on this!)
-To the FL big law question, yes? Not quite sure what you're asking.
-I don't have a research agenda- would this put me at an unbelievable disadvantage? Do most people come in with one? My understanding is that law school/early career would be a good time to define this. I'm interested in working first.
^^To this point, are you suggesting most people go to another graduate school first to define an agenda?

Much appreciated! :D


I would say that it's quite rare these days to get an academic position without another graduate degree (usually a PHD). This can be done before, after or in coordination with a JD, it just seems odd to be set on academia without having done any(?) graduate work or research. I'm not sure how a few years at a biglaw firm would give you insight into a research agenda (unless you want to be a tax law prof or something). Best of luck with everything, you have some great options already!

Npret

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Re: FL Law or Bust: Harvard, Columbia ($), Duke ($$$), or UF ($$$)

Postby Npret » Fri Jan 27, 2017 8:43 pm

blergblerg wrote:-I would clerk anywhere.
-SO will not be living with me/defraying COL.
-Would be open to non-law academia (business I suppose) but this seems even less likely (would love any info on this!)
-To the FL big law question, yes? Not quite sure what you're asking.
-I don't have a research agenda- would this put me at an unbelievable disadvantage? Do most people come in with one? My understanding is that law school/early career would be a good time to define this. I'm interested in working first.
^^To this point, are you suggesting most people go to another graduate school first to define an agenda?

Much appreciated! :D


Have you looked into what is required for an academic position at any law school? It can be a slog and tenured positions are rare around the country, not just Florida.

Florida biglaw is extremely competitive. The firms have small classes so there aren't that many spots open. I don't know how much they favor the top students at local schools over T14 schools. I don't know how to find that data.

All in all,I would take the Mordecai at Duke. I would also expand my idea of what might be an acceptable career.

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Re: FL Law or Bust: Harvard, Columbia ($), Duke ($$$), or UF ($$$)

Postby cavalier1138 » Fri Jan 27, 2017 8:54 pm

Just to reiterate: Duke is the right choice out of those options.

But in general, tying yourself to a single state for academia is probably a losing strategy. Academia is hard enough to break into, and locking yourself in to a region (especially somewhere like Florida, where you're not exactly in an academic hub) is just making things unnecessarily harder. If you'll be satisfied with just getting to practice in FL, then I think you're probably in good shape.

lavarman84

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Re: FL Law or Bust: Harvard, Columbia ($), Duke ($$$), or UF ($$$)

Postby lavarman84 » Sat Jan 28, 2017 1:43 am

I know Florida pretty well. Choose Duke. Getting a SA in Florida isn't the easiest thing, but Duke is highly respected down here. You have ties (make sure to find a way to indicate that in your resume or cover letter somehow). You'll just have to apply broadly. The Florida biglaw and midlaw SA classes aren't huge. It's competitive.

For biglaw, grades and law school matter a lot (as always). For midlaw, networking becomes much more important. I don't know if you're currently in Florida, but I might consider reaching out for some informational interviews the summer before you start law school at some Florida midlaw firms. Networking with attorneys from those firms before law school will give you a leg up when applying for summer employment.

Also, if you do well at Duke, you should be able to land a Florida D. Ct. clerkship (just gotta apply widely...which means doing more than checking OSCAR as a lot of D. Ct. judges down here don't use OSCAR).

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jbagelboy

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Re: FL Law or Bust: Harvard, Columbia ($), Duke ($$$), or UF ($$$)

Postby jbagelboy » Mon Jan 30, 2017 1:20 pm

Duke is the best choice, then CLS, then HLS, then UF. Don't spend $170,000--or for that matter $310,000--when you could go for five figs.

While Duke, Columbia, and Harvard all offer top opportunities, UF is substantially different and would make your goals much more difficult to reach.

Paul Campos

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Re: FL Law or Bust: Harvard, Columbia ($), Duke ($$$), or UF ($$$)

Postby Paul Campos » Mon Jan 30, 2017 1:28 pm

"I want to be an academic" means "I don't want to be a lawyer." The two careers have almost nothing to do with each other.

If you want to be an academic go get a Ph.D. If you want to be a lawyer go to Duke (only recommended if you actually want to be a lawyer and have a realistic idea of what that might mean).

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Re: FL Law or Bust: Harvard, Columbia ($), Duke ($$$), or UF ($$$)

Postby CanadianWolf » Tue Jan 31, 2017 9:44 am

Duke, but be sure to frame your Harvard acceptance letter.

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Re: FL Law or Bust: Harvard, Columbia ($), Duke ($$$), or UF ($$$)

Postby BigZuck » Tue Jan 31, 2017 9:52 am

Don't go to law school unless you want to be a lawyer

Don't try to be an academic if you're tied down to a very particular geographic area

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aaronbursar

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Re: FL Law or Bust: Harvard, Columbia ($), Duke ($$$), or UF ($$$)

Postby aaronbursar » Tue Jan 31, 2017 10:00 am

Worse stats with even 1 year of work experience get a fair number of Hamiltons from C. But the likelihood of that is probably not quite enough to warrant giving up a Mordecai and doing a year of something you don't really want to do.

lavarman84

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Re: FL Law or Bust: Harvard, Columbia ($), Duke ($$$), or UF ($$$)

Postby lavarman84 » Sat Feb 04, 2017 6:17 am

aaronbursar wrote:Worse stats with even 1 year of work experience get a fair number of Hamiltons from C. But the likelihood of that is probably not quite enough to warrant giving up a Mordecai and doing a year of something you don't really want to do.


Since his goal seems to be working in Florida, there's no real benefit to this. Duke gets just as much respect down here as Columbia (I'd argue more).



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