Unique situation: Fordham vs Miami

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brunocarneiro

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Unique situation: Fordham vs Miami

Postby brunocarneiro » Mon Feb 27, 2017 10:53 pm

My situation is a little peculiar -

I got into University of Miami with near full tuition scholarship, and Fordham with less than half of tuition covered.

Both my parents are judges in Brazil and are going to shoulder the cost regardless of where I choose to attend - however, my country is facing a very unstable political situation and there is no guarantee that the government will be able to pay judges their full salary throughout the next 3 years (although it probably will).

The scholarship money would affect the living stipend I'd have to work with while in law school; furthermore, I have gone to undergrad at Miami and love the city. I have been to New York, but never lived there, although I have a fair amount of professional and personal connections in both cities (more so in Miami).

I speak fluent portuguese and will spend my summer making my spanish fluent as well - I am not an American citizen so I will need an employer to sponsor me within 2 years of graduation (or get an LLM).

I'm strongly considering flying to New York to try to negotiate my scholarship offer, but I wanted some sincere opinions before making a decision. Retaking the LSAT is not an option, since as I said the more time passes, the more my country's political situation deteriorates and the riskier the whole ordeal gets.

What do I do?

Rubbishdump

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Re: Unique situation: Fordham vs Miami

Postby Rubbishdump » Tue Feb 28, 2017 2:47 am

Study the LSAT instead of Spanish, retake. Go to fordham if not.

lavarman84

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Re: Unique situation: Fordham vs Miami

Postby lavarman84 » Tue Feb 28, 2017 3:05 am

Why do you need to fly to NY to negotiate? You can do it over the phone or via email.

What are your goals after law school?

cavalier1138

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Re: Unique situation: Fordham vs Miami

Postby cavalier1138 » Tue Feb 28, 2017 6:14 am

Bear in mind that it's very difficult to find a firm that will sponsor you for a visa, so most international students strongly recommend going to a T14 to maximize your chances at biglaw (the only firms that reliably do sponsor students). I know that Brazil is in a rough spot right now, but you can't shape your future around a potential governmental collapse.

If you go to Miami or Fordham, you're shooting yourself in the foot, and I think any international student would tell you the same. Talk to other people who need sponsorship and find out where it's actually possible to get it.

And I'm also completely confused about the "flying to NY" bit. You don't need to do that, and it wouldn't particularly help.

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Re: Unique situation: Fordham vs Miami

Postby brunocarneiro » Tue Feb 28, 2017 12:29 pm

cavalier1138 wrote:Bear in mind that it's very difficult to find a firm that will sponsor you for a visa, so most international students strongly recommend going to a T14 to maximize your chances at biglaw (the only firms that reliably do sponsor students). I know that Brazil is in a rough spot right now, but you can't shape your future around a potential governmental collapse.

If you go to Miami or Fordham, you're shooting yourself in the foot, and I think any international student would tell you the same. Talk to other people who need sponsorship and find out where it's actually possible to get it.

And I'm also completely confused about the "flying to NY" bit. You don't need to do that, and it wouldn't particularly help.


So you guys are really saying that its better to do nothing as opposed to getting a JD (and potentially LLM) either basically for free or paid for with no debt at Miami or Fordham? My parents - who are paying for it all - told me to go now, I don't have the option of waiting a year.

To be honest just the other day in my apartment elevator I met a Brazilian who went to UMiami and got sponsored, she said she'd be willing to help me out with the process. I also have a friend who got an offer to come work for a top firm without even having a JD (foreign legal expert, they paid for his LLM in addition to sponsoring) and he also said he'd be willing to help. I have other contacts in other big firms, all of whom have made this path seem possible - I don't know if there's an unusual demand for Brazilians in Miami or if these are all isolated cases.

I'd be happy with a job paying 60k a year, I don't need much more than that - anything beyond that I'd probably donate, invest or save.

Regarding flying to NY; this is just my way of being, I'd rather negotiate important things in person when possible, and it is also admitted students day this saturday, might as well go...

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Re: Unique situation: Fordham vs Miami

Postby cavalier1138 » Tue Feb 28, 2017 12:54 pm

brunocarneiro wrote:
cavalier1138 wrote:Bear in mind that it's very difficult to find a firm that will sponsor you for a visa, so most international students strongly recommend going to a T14 to maximize your chances at biglaw (the only firms that reliably do sponsor students). I know that Brazil is in a rough spot right now, but you can't shape your future around a potential governmental collapse.

If you go to Miami or Fordham, you're shooting yourself in the foot, and I think any international student would tell you the same. Talk to other people who need sponsorship and find out where it's actually possible to get it.

And I'm also completely confused about the "flying to NY" bit. You don't need to do that, and it wouldn't particularly help.


So you guys are really saying that its better to do nothing as opposed to getting a JD (and potentially LLM) either basically for free or paid for with no debt at Miami or Fordham? My parents - who are paying for it all - told me to go now, I don't have the option of waiting a year.

To be honest just the other day in my apartment elevator I met a Brazilian who went to UMiami and got sponsored, she said she'd be willing to help me out with the process. I also have a friend who got an offer to come work for a top firm without even having a JD (foreign legal expert, they paid for his LLM in addition to sponsoring) and he also said he'd be willing to help. I have other contacts in other big firms, all of whom have made this path seem possible - I don't know if there's an unusual demand for Brazilians in Miami or if these are all isolated cases.

I'd be happy with a job paying 60k a year, I don't need much more than that - anything beyond that I'd probably donate, invest or save.

Regarding flying to NY; this is just my way of being, I'd rather negotiate important things in person when possible, and it is also admitted students day this saturday, might as well go...


Your friends/acquaintances are in unique situations, but if they're actually in a position to help you (not just advise you) with getting sponsored, then leverage that. But you don't have any legal degree yet (unless I missed something), so the case of the foreign legal expert who was brought in by a firm is not even close to what you would be experiencing.

If your parents have contacts in the US, maybe that can help you out, but I'd really urge you to ask international students on these forums about their experiences getting sponsored. Nothing I have heard about the process makes it sound as easy as you seem to think it will be, especially coming from a lower-tier school.

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Re: Unique situation: Fordham vs Miami

Postby brunocarneiro » Tue Feb 28, 2017 1:12 pm

I do believe I have the ties to land me that first job, even if just for a summer + for a year after graduation (a lot of money in itself) without having to worry about sponsorship.

After that I could even do the inverse of what my friend did and get hired by a biglaw with a Brazil office as a foreign legal expert in US law.

Given there will be no debt, can you guys explain to me why you see this as such a grim path?

Furthermore, is Fordham that much better than Miami that it would justify making my parents go through the hassle (paying half tuition vs paying next to nothing)?
Last edited by brunocarneiro on Tue Feb 28, 2017 1:49 pm, edited 1 time in total.

cavalier1138

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Re: Unique situation: Fordham vs Miami

Postby cavalier1138 » Tue Feb 28, 2017 1:23 pm

brunocarneiro wrote:I do believe I have the ties to land me that first job, even if just for a summer + for a year after graduation (a lot of money in itself) without having to worry about sponsorship.

After that I could even do the inverse of what my friend did and get hired by a biglaw with a Brazil office as a foreign legal expert in US law.

Given there will be no debt, can you guys explain to me why you see this as such a grim path?

Furthermore, is Fordham that much better than Miami that it would justify making my parents go through the hassle (paying half tuition paying next to nothing)?


I'm glad you're confident, but the reason I think it's a "grim path" (your wording, not mine), is that you may not be able to stay in the US after that first year. You're banking everything on getting that sponsorship, and that's not a done deal from either school. You won't have debt at Miami, but you may also not have a long-term job.

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Re: Unique situation: Fordham vs Miami

Postby areyn22 » Tue Feb 28, 2017 1:27 pm

brunocarneiro wrote:I do believe I have the ties to land me that first job, even if just for a summer + for a year after graduation (a lot of money in itself) without having to worry about sponsorship.

After that I could even do the inverse of what my friend did and get hired by a biglaw with a Brazil office as a foreign legal expert in US law.

Given there will be no debt, can you guys explain to me why you see this as such a grim path?

Furthermore, is Fordham that much better than Miami that it would justify making my parents go through the hassle (paying half tuition paying next to nothing)?


Have you thought about UF or FSU? You wouldn't be in Miami, but I think both are better Florida schools than UM and would probably give you more money than Fordham. Don't know anything about sponsorship, though.

brunocarneiro

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Re: Unique situation: Fordham vs Miami

Postby brunocarneiro » Tue Feb 28, 2017 1:59 pm

It isn't a done deal from any school, plus I'm not "banking everything" because I don't have much to lose - except for my time and effort, plus I still get to walk out with a JD, maybe an LLM as well.

I thought of the other FL schools but I'm not willing to move to a smaller city / town, especially given that I already am established in Miami. So, given there will be no debt either way, are my prospects at Fordham worth the burden? Or should I stick with the safe, cheap option + quality of life benefits of a bigger living stipend?

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Re: Unique situation: Fordham vs Miami

Postby cavalier1138 » Tue Feb 28, 2017 2:03 pm

brunocarneiro wrote:It isn't a done deal from any school, plus I'm not "banking everything" because I don't have much to lose - except for my time and effort, plus I still get to walk out with a JD, maybe an LLM as well.


If you don't value 3-4 years of your time that highly, then no, you aren't losing anything. But I don't think that a JD/LLM has the universal, magical power that you seem to be endowing it with. I could get a JD from Florida Coastal. Doesn't mean I can get a job as a lawyer. The degree is meaningless without the shot at the employment you want (or in your case, need).

brunocarneiro

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Re: Unique situation: Fordham vs Miami

Postby brunocarneiro » Tue Feb 28, 2017 2:24 pm

Do you think my job prospects graduating from Miami law are that bad? I just spoke to a few law students on-campus and they seem to think (based on their own anecdotal experience obviously) UM law has a decent pull within the Miami market at least...

In that case, would Fordham be the "non-waste-of-time" choice? Or do you genuinely think its not worth it to attend either one given no debt and decent connections? If that's what you think, I respect it and would like to hear more about why

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Re: Unique situation: Fordham vs Miami

Postby Wipfelder » Tue Feb 28, 2017 2:36 pm

brunocarneiro wrote:Do you think my job prospects graduating from Miami law are that bad? I just spoke to a few law students on-campus and they seem to think (based on their own anecdotal experience obviously) UM law has a decent pull within the Miami market at least...

In that case, would Fordham be the "non-waste-of-time" choice? Or do you genuinely think its not worth it to attend either one given no debt and decent connections? If that's what you think, I respect it and would like to hear more about why


9% of graduates out of U of Miami got Big Law jobs in 2015, the types of jobs you want to get a Visa. Like 44% got jobs at firms, public interest, or Fed Clerkship's.

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Re: Unique situation: Fordham vs Miami

Postby brunocarneiro » Tue Feb 28, 2017 3:12 pm

To become a judge in Brazil, you need to pass an exam that less than 0.1% of applicants pass - both my parents passed, 9% doesn't scare me, especially with no debt attached. 44% for other jobs / experience that I can still bring back with me to my home country if I can't stay. How much better are the figures for Fordham?

Consider I've already been here for undergrad for 4 years paying about half tuition, why not take my shot at being a lawyer now? What do you suggest I do, give up in face of adversity and return to my country with nothing to show for it?

It's a free shot at my dream, I'm just asking if the Fordham degree is worth the drop in quality of life and change in market

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Re: Unique situation: Fordham vs Miami

Postby Npret » Tue Feb 28, 2017 3:18 pm

brunocarneiro wrote:To become a judge in Brazil, you need to pass an exam that less than 0.1% of applicants pass - both my parents passed, 9% doesn't scare me, especially with no debt attached. 44% for other jobs / experience that I can still bring back with me to my home country if I can't stay. How much better are the figures for Fordham?

Consider I've already been here for undergrad for 4 years paying about half tuition, why not take my shot at being a lawyer now? What do you suggest I do, give up in face of adversity and return to my country with nothing to show for it?

It's a free shot at my dream, I'm just asking if the Fordham degree is worth the drop in quality of life and change in market

I vote no. Don't come to NYC to go to Fordham. Keep your costs low and keep networking and using you connections.

I don't think Fordham is worth it if you don't want to be in NYC and don't have the same connections.NYC is insanely expensive.

Also, don't fly here to negotiate. It's weird and you will seem weird. I do better in person too but you can email and call. They won't be able to give you an answer on the spot anyway.

If you are coming to NYC to visit the campus I suppose you could bring it up while here, but don't fly up to negotiate.

Your problem is going to be finding a sponsor but that's still a lottery (with some exceptions) and may be changed before you graduate.

If I were you I would try to fall in love with a US citizen and get married. You sound like you come from a good family and are a reasonably ambitious person. I bet you could find a partner. I would make it a priority and you might have a happier life anyway.
Last edited by Npret on Tue Feb 28, 2017 3:24 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: Unique situation: Fordham vs Miami

Postby BoyJord » Tue Feb 28, 2017 3:23 pm

Npret wrote:
brunocarneiro wrote:I'm just asking if the Fordham degree is worth the drop in quality of life and change in market

I vote no. Don't come to NYC to go to Fordham. Keep your costs low and keep networking and using you connections.

I don't think Fordham is worth it if you don't want to be in NYC and don't have the same connections.NYC is insanely expensive.


+1 on UM > Fordham
* I have no experience with this and am not an authority on the subject but here is my opinion *
Stay in Miami, you have connections with the city. Stay in Miami and keep costs low. Stay in Miami and work hard to get the grades and make the connections you need to start a good career with the JD. It seems like you are already leaning towards the UM route. I do not think Fordham is worth the relocation or the increase in CoL/debt.

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Re: Unique situation: Fordham vs Miami

Postby Wipfelder » Tue Feb 28, 2017 3:40 pm

brunocarneiro wrote:To become a judge in Brazil, you need to pass an exam that less than 0.1% of applicants pass - both my parents passed, 9% doesn't scare me, especially with no debt attached. 44% for other jobs / experience that I can still bring back with me to my home country if I can't stay. How much better are the figures for Fordham?

Consider I've already been here for undergrad for 4 years paying about half tuition, why not take my shot at being a lawyer now? What do you suggest I do, give up in face of adversity and return to my country with nothing to show for it?

It's a free shot at my dream, I'm just asking if the Fordham degree is worth the drop in quality of life and change in market


My point was you have a 9% chance of getting a job that gives you a work visa. I'm not sure your parents successs equates to success on your part; it's not like you got .1% on the LSAT, or you'd be looking at different schools. Fordham does quite a bit better at BigLaw jobs.

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Re: Unique situation: Fordham vs Miami

Postby Npret » Tue Feb 28, 2017 3:48 pm

Wipfelder wrote:
brunocarneiro wrote:To become a judge in Brazil, you need to pass an exam that less than 0.1% of applicants pass - both my parents passed, 9% doesn't scare me, especially with no debt attached. 44% for other jobs / experience that I can still bring back with me to my home country if I can't stay. How much better are the figures for Fordham?

Consider I've already been here for undergrad for 4 years paying about half tuition, why not take my shot at being a lawyer now? What do you suggest I do, give up in face of adversity and return to my country with nothing to show for it?

It's a free shot at my dream, I'm just asking if the Fordham degree is worth the drop in quality of life and change in market


My point was you have a 9% chance of getting a job that gives you a work visa. I'm not sure your parents successs equates to success on your part; it's not like you got .1% on the LSAT, or you'd be looking at different schools. Fordham does quite a bit better at BigLaw jobs.

The problem is that getting a work visa is still a lottery even with a big law job. Not everyone gets their visa even if they work for a big NYC law firm. If you don't get a visa, I don't know what firms will do with you, some may send you elsewhere or back home, but that seems unlikely with Brazil. Add into that the high likelihood that the Visa process will be changed by the time OP graduates. He shouldn't pay a lot more money to go to Fordham. It would be a big mistake imo.

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Re: Unique situation: Fordham vs Miami

Postby BobBoblaw » Tue Feb 28, 2017 4:04 pm

brunocarneiro wrote:To become a judge in Brazil, you need to pass an exam that less than 0.1% of applicants pass - both my parents passed, 9% doesn't scare me, especially with no debt attached.


Dude, what do you think the odds are that your parents both passed that test on their own merits? Was Brazil a meritocracy back when they took the test? If so, when did that change?


You'd probably be better leveraging your parents connections to get in house with a Brazilian multinational rather than betting on biglaw for a work visa. I'll bet Odebrecht needs a whole fuckton of good lawyers right about now, lol.

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Re: Unique situation: Fordham vs Miami

Postby BlendedUnicorn » Tue Feb 28, 2017 4:12 pm

There's a very real possibility that by the time you graduate law school Congress will have raised the minimum H-1B salary requirement to a point where only big law firms will be able to sponsor you: https://arstechnica.com/tech-policy/201 ... big-raise/

I think people telling you to retake are right. No JD is better than a JD you can't use. I get that it's a tough situation but that just makes it more important for you to maximize your chances of success.

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Re: Unique situation: Fordham vs Miami

Postby brunocarneiro » Tue Feb 28, 2017 5:28 pm

I also got into GWU, Washington and Lee and am waiting on a few more places, does that change anything? Its unlikely they'd give me money though.

Moving on, the judicial branch in Brazil is a meritocracy - my parents came from nothing, and recently my cousin also went through the same process and is about to become a judge. No strings were pulled. Its the other branches that are a mess (hence why its the judiciary cleaning up corruption atm).

I know their success doesn't guarantee my own, but my point is they succeeded against harsher odds. I didn't make top .1% on the LSAT, but that is correlated with IQ (which I can't change), I was rushed by my parents to apply this cycle, and english is not my first language - still, I was better than 90% of test takers.

As I said, retaking is not an option, that much is beyond my control. It's now or never for me, and a 9% shot is better than no shot - you all get to tell me "I told you so" if things don't work out.

I didn't know about the potential increase in salary minimum, that sucks.

I don't have a problem being sent elsewhere if the visa process doesn't work out, nor do I rule out marrying someone (not specifically for papers though).

I understand I'm fucked, but I have enough examples in my life to justify taking a shot at this. I'll go to NY, visit Fordham and talk about the scholarship before making a decision, but you guys have pretty much convinced me to stay in Miami.

I don't understand what it is about 9% that seems so scary to you guys, but those are the cards I was dealt. Thanks for putting it into perspective, I'll go into law school much more motivated now.

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Re: Unique situation: Fordham vs Miami

Postby Npret » Tue Feb 28, 2017 5:35 pm

I think he might legitimately have a reason to not retake given his visa issues and his parents situation - unless maybe June would help him.

I don't think he should go into debt or spend more money for the chance of possibly getting a biglaw visa.

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Re: Unique situation: Fordham vs Miami

Postby cavalier1138 » Tue Feb 28, 2017 5:39 pm

brunocarneiro wrote:I don't understand what it is about 9% that seems so scary to you guys, but those are the cards I was dealt. Thanks for putting it into perspective, I'll go into law school much more motivated now.


I'm guessing that you haven't been told how the 1L forced curve works for grading.

I get that it's free. But that's three years you could be doing something with more than a 9% chance of success.

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Re: Unique situation: Fordham vs Miami

Postby Wustlmike19 » Tue Feb 28, 2017 5:43 pm

brunocarneiro wrote:I also got into GWU, Washington and Lee and am waiting on a few more places, does that change anything? Its unlikely they'd give me money though.

Moving on, the judicial branch in Brazil is a meritocracy - my parents came from nothing, and recently my cousin also went through the same process and is about to become a judge. No strings were pulled. Its the other branches that are a mess (hence why its the judiciary cleaning up corruption atm).

I know their success doesn't guarantee my own, but my point is they succeeded against harsher odds. I didn't make top .1% on the LSAT, but that is correlated with IQ (which I can't change), I was rushed by my parents to apply this cycle, and english is not my first language - still, I was better than 90% of test takers.

As I said, retaking is not an option, that much is beyond my control. It's now or never for me, and a 9% shot is better than no shot - you all get to tell me "I told you so" if things don't work out.

I didn't know about the potential increase in salary minimum, that sucks.

I don't have a problem being sent elsewhere if the visa process doesn't work out, nor do I rule out marrying someone (not specifically for papers though).

I understand I'm fucked, but I have enough examples in my life to justify taking a shot at this. I'll go to NY, visit Fordham and talk about the scholarship before making a decision, but you guys have pretty much convinced me to stay in Miami.

I don't understand what it is about 9% that seems so scary to you guys, but those are the cards I was dealt. Thanks for putting it into perspective, I'll go into law school much more motivated now.


I am a current UM student, I just PM'ed you.

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Re: Unique situation: Fordham vs Miami

Postby lavarman84 » Tue Feb 28, 2017 8:04 pm

brunocarneiro wrote:To become a judge in Brazil, you need to pass an exam that less than 0.1% of applicants pass - both my parents passed, 9% doesn't scare me, especially with no debt attached. 44% for other jobs / experience that I can still bring back with me to my home country if I can't stay. How much better are the figures for Fordham?

Consider I've already been here for undergrad for 4 years paying about half tuition, why not take my shot at being a lawyer now? What do you suggest I do, give up in face of adversity and return to my country with nothing to show for it?

It's a free shot at my dream, I'm just asking if the Fordham degree is worth the drop in quality of life and change in market


Fuck it. I'm with you. Go for it. You won't have any debt, at least. I'd say stick with Miami unless Fordham significantly raises its offer. No reason to make your parents pay such a huge amount of money.



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