Another Stanford vs. Harvard

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Stanford or Harvard

Stanford
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54%
Harvard
35
46%
 
Total votes: 76

ParisHilton

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Another Stanford vs. Harvard

Postby ParisHilton » Tue Mar 28, 2017 6:19 am

Thank you very much in advance for your help. I have visited both schools and like both about equally based on visits. Equal $ at both.

Goals:
    (I realize many of these are difficult to achieve, but consider these aspirational)
    -Considering criminal, environmental, and constitutional law and would like to do clinical work and write for review
    -CoA Clerkship->Big Law/Boutique Litigation->U.S. Attorney's Office->Possibly judge
    -Prefer to practice in NYC

About me:
    -Stanford undergrad class of 15' (still trying to decide if it is a good idea to spend 7 years at one university even though I really liked undergrad)
    -Have many friends in the bay area, but consider the area around Stanford boring
    -Almost certain I want to end up on East Coast
    -Like the idea of a smaller, more laid back class
    -Like the idea of living in a city more than suburbs
    -Enjoy having closer relationships with professors
    -Don't care about the weather

Thanks again! I really do appreciate your input. Would love to see, but also written answers if possible!

cavalier1138

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Re: Another Stanford vs. Harvard

Postby cavalier1138 » Tue Mar 28, 2017 6:24 am

If you want to work on the East Coast, Harvard.

What's your total COA at these schools, and do you have any other T14 offers with money (especially CCN)? Your goals don't particularly require HYS, so if there's a lower-cost option for you in the T14, that might be a much better choice.

ponderingmeerkat

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Re: Another Stanford vs. Harvard

Postby ponderingmeerkat » Tue Mar 28, 2017 10:28 am

I find it hard to believe costs of attendance are, no shit, in reality, perfectly 100% identical. My guess is they might be within 10-20K of each other, which people on TLS tend to shorthand as "identical". But, keep in mind that while $15,000 might seem like "budget dust" in an environment where you're addressing totals >$300,000, it's still 15 fucking grand. (Think how much you'd agonize over the purchase of a motorcycle or car--making sure you got the best deal, haggling with the dealership over a thousand or two, etc.)

Point being, don't fall for the classic "percentage of price" fallacy. Given that each school has offsetting pros/cons from your perspective and each school has similar placement power nationally (you can totally get an East Coast COA clerkship and NYC biglaw from Stanford), I'd probably "gnat's ass" the financials and go to wherever saves you high-four/low-five figures. Hell buy yourself a lightly-used Corolla that'll last a decade with the difference.

Congrats on the great outcome!

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Nacho_Verde

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Re: Another Stanford vs. Harvard

Postby Nacho_Verde » Tue Mar 28, 2017 4:37 pm

ponderingmeerkat wrote:I find it hard to believe costs of attendance are, no shit, in reality, perfectly 100% identical. My guess is they might be within 10-20K of each other, which people on TLS tend to shorthand as "identical". But, keep in mind that while $15,000 might seem like "budget dust" in an environment where you're addressing totals >$300,000, it's still 15 fucking grand. (Think how much you'd agonize over the purchase of a motorcycle or car--making sure you got the best deal, haggling with the dealership over a thousand or two, etc.)

Point being, don't fall for the classic "percentage of price" fallacy. Given that each school has offsetting pros/cons from your perspective and each school has similar placement power nationally (you can totally get an East Coast COA clerkship and NYC biglaw from Stanford), I'd probably "gnat's ass" the financials and go to wherever saves you high-four/low-five figures. Hell buy yourself a lightly-used Corolla that'll last a decade with the difference.

Congrats on the great outcome!


.... They'll match each other in need offers, while taking COA into account. So it's pretty much identical.

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luckyirish13

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Re: Another Stanford vs. Harvard

Postby luckyirish13 » Tue Mar 28, 2017 4:53 pm

I think you already know which one to choose, even if you haven't fully realized it. It's written all over your OP.
ParisHilton wrote:-CoA Clerkship->Big Law/Boutique Litigation->U.S. Attorney's Office->Possibly judge
-Prefer to practice in NYC
Both Stanford and Harvard can set you up to do this, but only one of them is located in a place that maximizes your connections and opportunities along this career path.
ParisHilton wrote:About me:
-Stanford undergrad class of 15' (still trying to decide if it is a good idea to spend 7 years at one university even though I really liked undergrad)
-Have many friends in the bay area, but consider the area around Stanford boring
This sentiment already suggests you'd be "settling" by staying at Stanford. You liked your undergrad, but even you aren't convinced you want to spend 3 more years doing the same thing, especially since the area around bores you.
ParisHilton wrote:-Almost certain I want to end up on East Coast
Need I say more? Actually let me rephrase that. Need you say more?

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Re: Another Stanford vs. Harvard

Postby T3TON » Tue Mar 28, 2017 6:46 pm

Tour both. This will be a personal choice about which environment you prefer and which school is better for your personal growth. Things in your post go both ways (small class sizes, closer relationships with profs, clerkships=Stanford, exploring east coast, preferring cities, not like Palo Alto=Harvard).

Wanting to work on the east coast is not by itself a reason to prefer Harvard, and the available biglaw data generally runs the other way (i.e., some picky New York firms will hire deeper into Stanford's class due to supply/demand). But ultimately they are peer schools and you will be fine from either. Pick wherever you think youll be happiest for 3 years.

ETA: forgot to add that there is a real difference in clerkship outcomes, which might tip the balance towards Stanford
Last edited by T3TON on Tue Mar 28, 2017 6:52 pm, edited 4 times in total.

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existentialcrisis

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Re: Another Stanford vs. Harvard

Postby existentialcrisis » Tue Mar 28, 2017 6:49 pm

I dunno if I buy the above. Just visit both and pick which one you like better. But I don't think that HLS gives you a better chance at any of your goals. If anything it has worse clerkship numbers, and SLS grads are rarer at NYC firms which would make you more sought after.

Also not sure why you're dead set on a COA clerkship if the goal is AUSA. Although, to be fair, I'm not an expert on government hiring.

Edit: by the above I meant Irish, but I don't feel like quoting that on my phone.

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nimbus cloud

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Re: Another Stanford vs. Harvard

Postby nimbus cloud » Tue Mar 28, 2017 6:51 pm

ParisHilton wrote:I have visited both schools and like both about equally based on visits. Equal $ at both.


For those who didn't see this.

If you want to end up on the East Coast, go to Harvard.

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rpupkin

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Re: Another Stanford vs. Harvard

Postby rpupkin » Tue Mar 28, 2017 6:52 pm

OP,

I'm sure you realize that some of your personal preferences point toward Stanford, others toward Harvard.

If I had your preferences and just wasn't sure, I guess I'd break the tie in favor of expanding my network and going to Harvard. But Stanford would be fine too.
Last edited by rpupkin on Tue Mar 28, 2017 6:53 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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existentialcrisis

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Re: Another Stanford vs. Harvard

Postby existentialcrisis » Tue Mar 28, 2017 6:52 pm

nimbus cloud wrote:
ParisHilton wrote:I have visited both schools and like both about equally based on visits. Equal $ at both.


For those who didn't see this.

If you want to end up on the East Coast, go to Harvard.


Why?

T3TON

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Re: Another Stanford vs. Harvard

Postby T3TON » Tue Mar 28, 2017 6:56 pm

nimbus cloud wrote:
ParisHilton wrote:I have visited both schools and like both about equally based on visits. Equal $ at both.


For those who didn't see this.

If you want to end up on the East Coast, go to Harvard.


Touring=/=visiting. And the major east coast markets (NY/DC) are two of the locations where Stanford's advantage is most pronounced.

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rpupkin

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Re: Another Stanford vs. Harvard

Postby rpupkin » Tue Mar 28, 2017 6:58 pm

T3TON wrote:
nimbus cloud wrote:
ParisHilton wrote:I have visited both schools and like both about equally based on visits. Equal $ at both.


For those who didn't see this.

If you want to end up on the East Coast, go to Harvard.


Touring=/=visiting. And major east coast markets are some of the the locations where Stanford's advantage is most pronounced.

There's some silly trolling going on for both schools now. Name one East Coast market where SLS has a "pronounced advantage."

Both schools are excellent for the East Coast. And the West Coast.

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Re: Another Stanford vs. Harvard

Postby T3TON » Tue Mar 28, 2017 8:22 pm

rpupkin wrote:
T3TON wrote:
nimbus cloud wrote:
ParisHilton wrote:I have visited both schools and like both about equally based on visits. Equal $ at both.


For those who didn't see this.

If you want to end up on the East Coast, go to Harvard.


Touring=/=visiting. And major east coast markets are some of the the locations where Stanford's advantage is most pronounced.

There's some silly trolling going on for both schools now. Name one East Coast market where SLS has a "pronounced advantage."

Both schools are excellent for the East Coast. And the West Coast.


I didnt say Stanford has a "pronounced advantage" anywhere. I said it has a slight advantage in some markets, and NY is one of the markets where that advantage is most pronounced (albeit still small). Conversely there are markets where Harvard is advantaged. NY just isnt one of them.

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Re: Another Stanford vs. Harvard

Postby lawlorbust » Tue Mar 28, 2017 8:31 pm

HLS student here. If your priority is maximizing your odds for "prestige-track" opportunities, stay at Stanford. But ask yourself deep down what you're really likely to do out of law school. If the answer is biglaw litigation, take the full-ride at NYU/CLS.

Also, "East Coast" is not a helpful geographical indicator. If Boston, HLS. If some smaller market, e.g., Stamford or Philly or Wilmington, probably HLS? Doubt it matters much against SLS. If DC or NYC, can't imagine there's any edge going to HLS.
Last edited by lawlorbust on Tue Mar 28, 2017 8:39 pm, edited 2 times in total.

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rpupkin

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Re: Another Stanford vs. Harvard

Postby rpupkin » Tue Mar 28, 2017 8:33 pm

T3TON wrote:I didnt say Stanford has a "pronounced advantage" anywhere. I said it has a slight advantage in some markets, and NY is one of the markets where that advantage is most pronounced (albeit still small). Conversely there are markets where Harvard is advantaged. NY just isnt one of them.

What do you base this on? It's not consistent with my experience, and it's not supported by any data I'm aware of.

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Re: Another Stanford vs. Harvard

Postby ParisHilton » Tue Mar 28, 2017 9:42 pm

Thank you for all the responses so far, they are really helpful.

-COA will be very similar as I will be paying full sticker (although I do think the point of considering sums of $ as purely relative and therefore insignificant is a good one)
-By east coast I did mean essentially NYC
-I am confused why some are saying I shouldn't limit myself to aspiring for a CoA clerkship? In NYC, the Court of Appeals is the state's highest court.

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BlendedUnicorn

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Re: Another Stanford vs. Harvard

Postby BlendedUnicorn » Tue Mar 28, 2017 9:48 pm

ParisHilton wrote:Thank you for all the responses so far, they are really helpful.

-COA will be very similar as I will be paying full sticker (although I do think the point of considering sums of $ as purely relative and therefore insignificant is a good one)
-By east coast I did mean essentially NYC
-I am confused why some are saying I shouldn't limit myself to aspiring for a CoA clerkship? In NYC, the Court of Appeals is the state's highest court.


Federal court clerkships are generally considered more prestigious than any state clerkship.

Anyway, the HLS poster was right- if you want to end up doing litigation at a big law firm (or boutique firm) in NYC the answer is neither.

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rpupkin

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Re: Another Stanford vs. Harvard

Postby rpupkin » Tue Mar 28, 2017 9:51 pm

ParisHilton wrote:Thank you for all the responses so far, they are really helpful.

-COA will be very similar as I will be paying full sticker (although I do think the point of considering sums of $ as purely relative and therefore insignificant is a good one)
-By east coast I did mean essentially NYC
-I am confused why some are saying I shouldn't limit myself to aspiring for a CoA clerkship? In NYC, the Court of Appeals is the state's highest court.

I think you're responding to this comment:

Also not sure why you're dead set on a COA clerkship if the goal is AUSA. Although, to be fair, I'm not an expert on government hiring.

I think the poster's point is that an aspiring AUSA would benefit more from a trial-level (i.e., district-court) clerkship than they would from a COA clerkship. A district-court clerkship would give you more relevant experience.

Also, for what it's worth, people who pursue the kind of career you're looking at generally clerk in federal court. There's nothing wrong with clerking in a state court, but you're probably not going to end up doing that if your goal is clerkship-->lit boutique-->AUSA. And in federal court, the basic Article-III hierarchy is Supreme Court --> Court of Appeals --> District Court.

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Re: Another Stanford vs. Harvard

Postby lawlorbust » Tue Mar 28, 2017 9:56 pm

HuntedUnicorn wrote:
ParisHilton wrote:Thank you for all the responses so far, they are really helpful.

-COA will be very similar as I will be paying full sticker (although I do think the point of considering sums of $ as purely relative and therefore insignificant is a good one)
-By east coast I did mean essentially NYC
-I am confused why some are saying I shouldn't limit myself to aspiring for a CoA clerkship? In NYC, the Court of Appeals is the state's highest court.


Federal court clerkships are generally considered more prestigious than any state clerkship.

Anyway, the HLS poster was right- if you want to end up doing litigation at a big law firm (or boutique firm) in NYC the answer is neither.


As much as I do love my school, cynical me wants to also point out that "I think I want to do NYC biglaw and it'd be cool to do a COA clerkship and eventually move to a USAO" is by far the most common goal that incoming HLS folks have. Step 1 is very easy, step 2 not so much, step 3 obviously even harder.

Not to say that things are meaningfully different at Stanford. (I don't think they are.) IMO the real question is the tradeoff between getting a better shot at intangible aspirations and solid $$. But still, after saying all that, I don't think that HLS is ever an objectively wrong choice. Good luck!
Last edited by lawlorbust on Tue Mar 28, 2017 10:00 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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BlendedUnicorn

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Re: Another Stanford vs. Harvard

Postby BlendedUnicorn » Tue Mar 28, 2017 9:59 pm

lawlorbust wrote:
HuntedUnicorn wrote:
ParisHilton wrote:Thank you for all the responses so far, they are really helpful.

-COA will be very similar as I will be paying full sticker (although I do think the point of considering sums of $ as purely relative and therefore insignificant is a good one)
-By east coast I did mean essentially NYC
-I am confused why some are saying I shouldn't limit myself to aspiring for a CoA clerkship? In NYC, the Court of Appeals is the state's highest court.


Federal court clerkships are generally considered more prestigious than any state clerkship.

Anyway, the HLS poster was right- if you want to end up doing litigation at a big law firm (or boutique firm) in NYC the answer is neither.


As much as I do love my school, cynical me wants to also point out that "I think I want to do NYC biglaw and it'd be cool to do a COA clerkship and eventually move to a USAO" is by far the most common goal that incoming HLS folks have. Step 1 is very easy, step 2 not so much, step 3 obviously even harder.

Not to say that things are meaningfully different at Stanford. (I don't think they are.) IMO the real question is the tradeoff between getting a better shot at intangible aspirations and solid $$. But still, after all that, I don't think that choosing HLS is ever an objectively wrong choice. Good luck!


To be clear, what I'm saying is that if OP is choosing between Stanford and Harvard, they probably also have really great options at schools like Columbia, Nyu, Chicago, Penn, UVA, etc... and whatever intangible late-career benefit might flow from having gone to Stanford or Harvard are almost certainly not worth the additional $$$. Less debt=more freedom to pursue goals.

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Re: Another Stanford vs. Harvard

Postby Rigo » Tue Mar 28, 2017 10:00 pm

I think there's some confusion here as to what we're referring to when we say Court of Appeals, or maybe I'm just misreading one of OP's comments.

Most people are talking about The United States circuit courts when we say CoA. As in A3 federal courts.

We are not talking about The New York Court of Appeals, or what would be called the Supreme Court in any other state.

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BlendedUnicorn

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Re: Another Stanford vs. Harvard

Postby BlendedUnicorn » Tue Mar 28, 2017 10:01 pm

Rigo wrote:I think there's some confusion here as to what we're referring to when we say Court of Appeals, or maybe I'm just misreading one of OP's comments.

Most people are talking about The United States circuit courts when we say CoA. As in A3 federal courts.

We are not talking about The New York Court of Appeals, or what would be called the Supreme Court in any other state.


Yeah but OP appears to be talking about New York's court.

e. based on:

ParisHilton wrote:Thank you for all the responses so far, they are really helpful.

-COA will be very similar as I will be paying full sticker (although I do think the point of considering sums of $ as purely relative and therefore insignificant is a good one)
-By east coast I did mean essentially NYC
-I am confused why some are saying I shouldn't limit myself to aspiring for a CoA clerkship? In NYC, the Court of Appeals is the state's highest court.

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Re: Another Stanford vs. Harvard

Postby Rigo » Tue Mar 28, 2017 10:05 pm

HuntedUnicorn wrote:
Rigo wrote:I think there's some confusion here as to what we're referring to when we say Court of Appeals, or maybe I'm just misreading one of OP's comments.

Most people are talking about The United States circuit courts when we say CoA. As in A3 federal courts.

We are not talking about The New York Court of Appeals, or what would be called the Supreme Court in any other state.


Yeah but OP appears to be talking about New York's court.

e. based on:

ParisHilton wrote:Thank you for all the responses so far, they are really helpful.

-COA will be very similar as I will be paying full sticker (although I do think the point of considering sums of $ as purely relative and therefore insignificant is a good one)
-By east coast I did mean essentially NYC
-I am confused why some are saying I shouldn't limit myself to aspiring for a CoA clerkship? In NYC, the Court of Appeals is the state's highest court.

Yeah I know, I just think some other people might not be picking up on that/know that little naming idiosyncrasy in New York.
If everyone is on the same page, I'll go back to lurking.

E: I was unclear myself when saying "we are not talking about X.." I meant to just lay out the two interpretations.

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BlendedUnicorn

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Re: Another Stanford vs. Harvard

Postby BlendedUnicorn » Tue Mar 28, 2017 10:10 pm

Fair.

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Re: Another Stanford vs. Harvard

Postby dirac » Tue Mar 28, 2017 10:15 pm

lawlorbust wrote:
HuntedUnicorn wrote:
ParisHilton wrote:Thank you for all the responses so far, they are really helpful.

-COA will be very similar as I will be paying full sticker (although I do think the point of considering sums of $ as purely relative and therefore insignificant is a good one)
-By east coast I did mean essentially NYC
-I am confused why some are saying I shouldn't limit myself to aspiring for a CoA clerkship? In NYC, the Court of Appeals is the state's highest court.


Federal court clerkships are generally considered more prestigious than any state clerkship.

Anyway, the HLS poster was right- if you want to end up doing litigation at a big law firm (or boutique firm) in NYC the answer is neither.


As much as I do love my school, cynical me wants to also point out that "I think I want to do NYC biglaw and it'd be cool to do a COA clerkship and eventually move to a USAO" is by far the most common goal that incoming HLS folks have. Step 1 is very easy, step 2 not so much, step 3 obviously even harder.

Not to say that things are meaningfully different at Stanford. (I don't think they are.) IMO the real question is the tradeoff between getting a better shot at intangible aspirations and solid $$. But still, after saying all that, I don't think that HLS is ever an objectively wrong choice. Good luck!


A 2L at HLS, I enjoyed every minute here and am convinced Harvard should be the absolute choice for OP. That said, you have my full respect for your objective consideration (although I do not agree with your opinion). I am very proud to study in the same law school as you.



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