Mich/NU

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Michigan or Northwestern for PI?

Poll ended at Sat Apr 01, 2017 8:45 am

Michigan ($215k)
7
88%
Northwestern ($205k)
1
13%
 
Total votes: 8

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half moon

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Mich/NU

Postby half moon » Fri Mar 31, 2017 8:45 am

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Last edited by half moon on Sat Apr 01, 2017 5:20 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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UVA2B

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Re: Mich/NU

Postby UVA2B » Fri Mar 31, 2017 9:23 am

That's a ton of balls in the air for making this decision at all easy. I'm going to say Michigan because price matters less when you're talking about living a life on LRAP, but you might want to consider whether your SO (if ever becomes spouse) and their income will factor into your LRAP calculations. I shudder at the prospect of having $400k+ debt, even with household income approaching the same amount, which is what you're probably talking about if LRAP is tied to household income vice just your own.

I think the dispositive part will be whether you're tied by household income (again, should you ever get married) in the LRAP. If not, pick whichever you like better. If so, they're both really, really expensive options that will still be a mountain of debt for you and SO to cover, and that should make you at least pause.

Also, if you really want to get into PI work like environmental law, you should probably dispel the idea of "Biglaw for a few years" from your head right now. If you go Biglaw, you're HIGHLY unlikely to ever move into environmental PI work afterward. And if you're sure you want PI work, you almost assuredly will hate Biglaw unless something in you changes while in law school. People wanting to do PI work need to gun excessively for that type of PI work, because those spots will be reserved for people with a demonstrated and consistent interest in that field. You'll find out very quickly in law school who is entirely committed to PI and who is just feigning it, but abandons that quickly when OCI rolls around, etc. Friends I have who are all-in on PI are just that, crazily all-in.

All in, I think you can pick whichever you like better because the costs and outcomes are pretty similar, but definitely try to figure out how committed you are to PI, and if so, look into the LRAPs and their stipulations.

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half moon

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Re: Mich/NU

Postby half moon » Fri Mar 31, 2017 9:32 am

UVA2B wrote:Also, if you really want to get into PI work like environmental law, you should probably dispel the idea of "Biglaw for a few years" from your head right now. If you go Biglaw, you're HIGHLY unlikely to ever move into environmental PI work afterward.


Thanks for that detailed response! I guess I should clarify. I am fully committed to PI. I've heard there are some types of PI/Gov jobs that are easier to get into if you have big law on the resume, which was the only reason it came up. I do think I'd hate big law, and if doing it for a few years won't help my long term goals, I would like to avoid it. My attitude was more "if I have to, I could put up with it for a bit." I'd much prefer going directly into PI after law school.

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Re: Mich/NU

Postby Rigo » Fri Mar 31, 2017 9:36 am

If you slink into NYU or Columbia, I'd seriously consider going there for the superior LRAPs.
100% research the details of the LRAP when it comes to spousal contribution since she'll likely have a high paying job at some point (and also a shit ton of debt between you two).

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Re: Mich/NU

Postby Rigo » Fri Mar 31, 2017 9:46 am

Spirit airlines has super cheap flights from Detroit to KC. Michigan would make a LDR more affordable over time. A minor thing to consider.

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half moon

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Re: Mich/NU

Postby half moon » Fri Mar 31, 2017 9:48 am

Rigo wrote:If you slink into NYU or Columbia, I'd seriously consider going there for the superior LRAPs.
100% research the details of the LRAP when it comes to spousal contribution since she'll likely have a high paying job at some point (and also a shit ton of debt between you two).


I'd like to, and I've been waitlisted at Columbia, UChi, and Harvard. Still waiting to hear on NYU. My LSAT = 172, but my wreck of a uGPA has been keeping me out of the T6 so far.

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half moon

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Re: Mich/NU

Postby half moon » Fri Mar 31, 2017 10:36 am

Rigo wrote:Spirit airlines has super cheap flights from Detroit to KC. Michigan would make a LDR more affordable over time. A minor thing to consider.


Good point! It wouldn't make or break the decision if there was a clear better choice, but since the schools seems so close this is definitely non-trivial. I've flown Spirit once and it was pretty bad, but I'm willing to put up with quite a bit for $150 round trip. :D

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ILoveYou

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Re: Mich/NU

Postby ILoveYou » Fri Mar 31, 2017 11:11 am

I agree with everything that's already been said, but just wanted to chime in as someone who went NU here (though obviously not your exact circumstances): I'd say Michigan.

PI is totally attainable out of NU, and I know a couple of people headed into great jobs in environmental law and the like, but it is definitely true that Michigan does better there. NU is working really hard to raise its PI offerings/profile (in fact added 2 dedicated PI faculty positions since I entered and now guarantees funding for summer public interest positions up to I think $10k if you do some volunteer hours throughout the year), but it's just not where Michigan is right now. And as mentioned, I'm not sure what kind of household income/loan repayment situation you'll be looking at, but it's true that NU's LRAP isn't stellar.

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half moon

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Re: Mich/NU

Postby half moon » Fri Mar 31, 2017 12:11 pm

ILoveYou wrote:I agree with everything that's already been said, but just wanted to chime in as someone who went NU here (though obviously not your exact circumstances): I'd say Michigan.

PI is totally attainable out of NU, and I know a couple of people headed into great jobs in environmental law and the like, but it is definitely true that Michigan does better there. NU is working really hard to raise its PI offerings/profile (in fact added 2 dedicated PI faculty positions since I entered and now guarantees funding for summer public interest positions up to I think $10k if you do some volunteer hours throughout the year), but it's just not where Michigan is right now. And as mentioned, I'm not sure what kind of household income/loan repayment situation you'll be looking at, but it's true that NU's LRAP isn't stellar.

Thanks! This seems to fit with the general impression I've heard before, but its good to hear from someone who attended one of the two schools. I've been really impressed with the way NU seems to be investing quite a bit of the Pritzker donation into boosting their PI program. Even with a big push in that direction though, I wonder if it'll take them at least a few years for their PI program to be viewed as on par with Michigan.



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