Full @ Vandy vs 2/3rds @ Mich vs 1/3rd @ UVA vs Wait

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Which option is the best?

Vanderbilt
18
29%
Michigan
29
47%
UVA
1
2%
Wait and retake/travel
14
23%
 
Total votes: 62

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Future Ex-Engineer

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Full @ Vandy vs 2/3rds @ Mich vs 1/3rd @ UVA vs Wait

Postby Future Ex-Engineer » Mon Apr 10, 2017 10:06 am

Yes, this is another one of those threads. However, this isn't 'Should I take a fully paid for degree at Yale vs Stanford?' or a 'Should I go to Barry or Cooley on a 1/4th conditional scholarship?'.

Background info: 168/3.98 - PT average is 170 with highs of 173 on a number of tests. That was my situation having studied for about a month at the time of the December test. Now that I have LG nailed, I would focus most of my time on drilling LR by type if I started studying heavily again (went -2 RC, -0 LG, -11 LR on December 2016). Currently I have an objectively 'good' technical job that pays me well (so I'm in no rush), but ultimately is unsatisfying both in lack of intellectual/personality diversity (the town I work in is mostly old white male tech people), and in lack of personal interest in the work I'm doing.

Career goals (obviously subject to change in school since everyone says they will): Shorter term work in the IC as a field agent (yes, this is a reasonable path to get there, so that's not what is being debated here), and longer term I'd like to teach (probably as an adjunct since I don't have a huge interest in publishing right now). Fallback if IC doesn't work out is IP litigation - I have a master's and work experience in electrical engineering, so I don't think I'll have a problem getting into that role if other things don't work out. I also think this would be interesting work, it's just not at the very top of my list of interests.

The options at hand:
1) Vanderbilt Law Merit Scholars Award - full ride at Vandy. I love the city of Nashville, and really like how integrated the law school felt with the other graduate schools at Vanderbilt, but the school itself felt a little small, and I wasn't 'wowed' by their ASW.

2) 2/3rds tuition scholarship at Michigan - I really liked Ann Arbor and to be quite honest liked their students the most out of all the schools I visited. That being said, Michigan is cold, and the thought of taking out 110k in loans for school is a lot.

3) 1/3rd tuition scholarship at UVA - This was my #1 choice going into the cycle, and I really enjoyed their ASW and felt like their faculty and career services were top notch. I also like the college town feel of Charlottesville. All together though, 180k in debt is a huge amount to take on for someone who never had to take out loans for undergraduate or graduate school.

4) Wait. As in re-take the LSAT in June or September and shoot for 170+. I am very confident that I could score 170+ on the real thing, as I have in practice many times. I also would be able to take the real deal under optimal conditions this time around (my first take was completely cold - didn't know anything about the LSAT and kind of took it on a whim, second take was on four hours of sleep due to work). This should give me at least a couple full ride options in the top 10 as well as give me a good shot at H and S with a non-zero chance at Y. I would also in this scenario leave my job some time in the first quarter of 2018 and get to travel for 3-4 months and see a lot of places I've always wanted to visit before starting school.

Over the past couple of weeks, option 4 has become the most appealing in my mind, and I think it makes the most sense (or I wouldn't want to choose it), but a number of alumni/current lawyers I have spoken with have advised me heavily to go ahead and bite the bullet and start school in the fall. I think they are objectively right in their reasoning that I am currently dealing with a pretty ideal situation school-wise (the vast majority of people don't even have a shot at these types of options), but I think they are wrong in saying that I will be worse off if I delay for a year and end up retaking/traveling. I also think the admissions game is very different than when they were in school, so I'm trying to figure out the best choice.

Questions/comments/thoughts are all very encouraged.

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Re: Full @ Vandy vs 2/3rds @ Mich vs 1/3rd @ UVA vs Wait

Postby rwhyAn » Mon Apr 10, 2017 10:21 am

I'm not in the "retake or don't go" camp, but I think in your case a retake would be wise. You have great stats. Your GPA is almost perfect, and if you could raise your LSAT by even a couple of points, you'd probably be looking at a full-ride at Michigan and acceptance into some of the top 5 schools. If you could negotiate Mich into giving you a full scholarship, that wouldn't be a bad play.

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Re: Full @ Vandy vs 2/3rds @ Mich vs 1/3rd @ UVA vs Wait

Postby guynourmin » Mon Apr 10, 2017 10:26 am

You have good options, but if you aren't opposed to retaking then you definitely should!

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Re: Full @ Vandy vs 2/3rds @ Mich vs 1/3rd @ UVA vs Wait

Postby Npret » Mon Apr 10, 2017 10:28 am

I don't know what IC As field agent means?
You want to be FBI or undercover spy or what?

I'm not sure how great hiring is in IP litigation for electrical engineers. Has it slowed down?

I don't understand wanting either of these jobs over the lucrative job you have now but I did corporate so not helpful I guess. My feeling is that old white guys are everywhere still so not sure how much change you will see in that regard.
Last edited by Npret on Mon Apr 10, 2017 10:31 am, edited 1 time in total.

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Thomas Hagan, ESQ.

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Re: Full @ Vandy vs 2/3rds @ Mich vs 1/3rd @ UVA vs Wait

Postby Thomas Hagan, ESQ. » Mon Apr 10, 2017 10:29 am

Congrats on your great options. I really feel like you can justify going in either direction (there's really no wrong choice here). Seems like you got the $$ you deserve based on your numbers (you might be able to get more) but if you want to take the year off and travel and start law school with a more fresh mind, that doesn't seem like a bad idea either.

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Re: Full @ Vandy vs 2/3rds @ Mich vs 1/3rd @ UVA vs Wait

Postby cavalier1138 » Mon Apr 10, 2017 10:31 am

I agree that retaking would be valuable for you (and that lawyers who graduated pre-recession don't have a clue when it comes to this subject in today's market).

But I have some questions about your job track. Assuming that a JD really does get you work as a field agent, how long do you see yourself doing this? And is a JD really the best way to get yourself into that job?

More importantly, when you say you want to work in academia, what do you mean? The idea of someone wanting to work long-term as an adjunct faculty member in any institution is kind of incomprehensible to me, and that's putting it kindly. What do you want to teach? Where do you want to teach it?

And the fallback of IP litigation does seem like a good option for you, but it just seems so far off from your main career interests. Is that really a career track you'd be happy in?

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Re: Full @ Vandy vs 2/3rds @ Mich vs 1/3rd @ UVA vs Wait

Postby MOLaw » Mon Apr 10, 2017 10:46 am

I would say take the full ride at Vandy. Nashville is incredible!

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Re: Full @ Vandy vs 2/3rds @ Mich vs 1/3rd @ UVA vs Wait

Postby Npret » Mon Apr 10, 2017 10:52 am

My vote was to retake and get more money next year. Law schools used to have to report all scores but now they just report the highest. That may be a change from when the people advising you to go now applied to law school. There is no reason to pay more for school than you need to do.

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Re: Full @ Vandy vs 2/3rds @ Mich vs 1/3rd @ UVA vs Wait

Postby Rigo » Mon Apr 10, 2017 11:27 am

Either retake or Michigan, I'd say.

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Re: Full @ Vandy vs 2/3rds @ Mich vs 1/3rd @ UVA vs Wait

Postby OneHandedEconomist » Mon Apr 10, 2017 11:33 am

Rigo wrote:Either retake or Michigan, I'd say.


Idk, I say Michigan, Vandy, or retake are all good options.

UVA should be out.

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Re: Full @ Vandy vs 2/3rds @ Mich vs 1/3rd @ UVA vs Wait

Postby Rigo » Mon Apr 10, 2017 11:41 am

OneHandedEconomist wrote:
Rigo wrote:Either retake or Michigan, I'd say.

Idk, I say Michigan, Vandy, or retake are all good options.

Yeah I don't think Vandy is a shitty option. I just generally default to T13 at $100-120k if Biglaw is a goal.

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Re: Full @ Vandy vs 2/3rds @ Mich vs 1/3rd @ UVA vs Wait

Postby SUPERCHEF » Mon Apr 10, 2017 12:04 pm

mrgstephe wrote:Background info: 168/3.98 - PT average is 170 with highs of 173 on a number of tests. That was my situation having studied for about a month at the time of the December test. Now that I have LG nailed, I would focus most of my time on drilling LR by type if I started studying heavily again (went -2 RC, -0 LG, -11 LR on December 2016). Currently I have an objectively 'good' technical job that pays me well (so I'm in no rush), but ultimately is unsatisfying both in lack of intellectual/personality diversity (the town I work in is mostly old white male tech people), and in lack of personal interest in the work I'm doing.

Wow dude, if you're going -2 for RC and -0 for LG, you absolutely have a shot at at least 173. LR is actually much more formulaic and straightforward than it seems to be at first. Put some time into 1) understanding the fundamentals of LR and 2) drilling LR by type and I see no reason you couldn't go -4 LR at least. That would put you in 175+ range if you don't regress on the others.

I found Mike Kim's LSAT Trainer really useful on LR (but weak on the others). If you retake with the aim of improving LR I would highly recommend giving it a look.

grades??

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Re: Full @ Vandy vs 2/3rds @ Mich vs 1/3rd @ UVA vs Wait

Postby grades?? » Mon Apr 10, 2017 12:23 pm

with that gpa, the answer is straightforward retake. A few more points and you are in play everywhere

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Re: Full @ Vandy vs 2/3rds @ Mich vs 1/3rd @ UVA vs Wait

Postby Future Ex-Engineer » Mon Apr 10, 2017 1:49 pm

Npret wrote:I don't know what IC As field agent means?
You want to be FBI or undercover spy or what?

I'm not sure how great hiring is in IP litigation for electrical engineers. Has it slowed down?

I don't understand wanting either of these jobs over the lucrative job you have now but I did corporate so not helpful I guess. My feeling is that old white guys are everywhere still so not sure how much change you will see in that regard.


Yep, field agent being most likely FBI. I'd be down for other orgs, but feel my skill set is most closely aligned with the Bureau.
Every adcom and professor I've talked with about IP has been very over the top in saying that I'd be a shoe-in for IP with a masters in EE. At Michigan/UVA, the career services even said they thought I'd have a decent shot at a 1L summer paid gig given my background.

As far as wanting a career change: I have found that over the years, money is not a primary motivator for me. So, if I can get a job that seems intrinsically helpful/useful to keep me occupied, I would be happier doing that than just living the standard upper middle class American life. I ultimately want to teach on the side when I retire and philanthropic work with an organization like Restore International.

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Re: Full @ Vandy vs 2/3rds @ Mich vs 1/3rd @ UVA vs Wait

Postby Future Ex-Engineer » Mon Apr 10, 2017 1:55 pm

cavalier1138 wrote:I agree that retaking would be valuable for you (and that lawyers who graduated pre-recession don't have a clue when it comes to this subject in today's market).

But I have some questions about your job track. Assuming that a JD really does get you work as a field agent, how long do you see yourself doing this? And is a JD really the best way to get yourself into that job?

More importantly, when you say you want to work in academia, what do you mean? The idea of someone wanting to work long-term as an adjunct faculty member in any institution is kind of incomprehensible to me, and that's putting it kindly. What do you want to teach? Where do you want to teach it?

And the fallback of IP litigation does seem like a good option for you, but it just seems so far off from your main career interests. Is that really a career track you'd be happy in?


I would want to do field agent work for the bulk of my career (20 years is standard for that kind of work). The traditional paths are JD/Accounting/Military. I don't want to do the military route (as it completely limits my options, and I've already spent 6 years in higher academia), and with a JD at any of the schools I'm interested in, I could cross register with their business schools and brush up on my accounting/finance skills.

Academia is something that I'm more interested in for retirement...or to do on the side. I just enjoy teaching, but I didn't find that out until I was teaching as part of my graduate studies in engineering school. So, I'd like to be able to do that in the future just because of the personal satisfaction. Ideally I'd return to my alma mater (they don't have a law school, but have some pre-law courses) and teach a combination of low level engineering, pre-law, and engineering ethics as a sort of crossover.

As for IP lit, it really is a fallback because it sounds lucrative (even more so than my current career track - starting salary in IP lit is similar to the high end of what I could make long term in engineering unless I become a VP). The thought is I could work that sort of job long enough for early retirement and gain time freedom to philanthropic work that I'm actually interested in. That route would be much quicker than if I stayed in my current career trajectory.

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Re: Full @ Vandy vs 2/3rds @ Mich vs 1/3rd @ UVA vs Wait

Postby Future Ex-Engineer » Mon Apr 10, 2017 1:57 pm

rwhyAn wrote:I'm not in the "retake or don't go" camp, but I think in your case a retake would be wise. You have great stats. Your GPA is almost perfect, and if you could raise your LSAT by even a couple of points, you'd probably be looking at a full-ride at Michigan and acceptance into some of the top 5 schools. If you could negotiate Mich into giving you a full scholarship, that wouldn't be a bad play.


FWIW, I got into NYU with 25k/yr and Chicago. Didn't apply to Columbia, and am waitlisted at H/S, so I think a couple points bump would definitely make the very top a reality.

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Re: Full @ Vandy vs 2/3rds @ Mich vs 1/3rd @ UVA vs Wait

Postby Rigo » Mon Apr 10, 2017 1:58 pm

I just don't really get how law school will help you.
Seems like you have a good thing going, and biglaw (most likely outcome) probably isn't going to fulfill you on the intrinsically helpful/useful level. If not biglaw, I just don't really see how a law degree fits in with your other goals (granted I don't know the FBI bureaucracy though).

Eta: A JD is really a sure fire path to becoming a field agent? That's surprising.

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Re: Full @ Vandy vs 2/3rds @ Mich vs 1/3rd @ UVA vs Wait

Postby Tiago Splitter » Mon Apr 10, 2017 2:04 pm

I'd think with medians down those numbers could get you a full ride in the T14. Are you still waiting to hear from places like Cornell and Northwestern?

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Re: Full @ Vandy vs 2/3rds @ Mich vs 1/3rd @ UVA vs Wait

Postby Future Ex-Engineer » Mon Apr 10, 2017 2:05 pm

Tiago Splitter wrote:I'd think with medians down those numbers could get you a full ride in the T14. Are you still waiting to hear from places like Cornell and Northwestern?


Got 2/3rds offer at Cornell and didn't apply to NU. Didn't try pushing Cornell as I don't have a huge desire to live in Ithaca, and it was essentially the same offer as Michigan

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Re: Full @ Vandy vs 2/3rds @ Mich vs 1/3rd @ UVA vs Wait

Postby Tiago Splitter » Mon Apr 10, 2017 2:07 pm

mrgstephe wrote:
Tiago Splitter wrote:I'd think with medians down those numbers could get you a full ride in the T14. Are you still waiting to hear from places like Cornell and Northwestern?


Got 2/3rds offer at Cornell and didn't apply to NU. Didn't try pushing Cornell as I don't have a huge desire to live in Ithaca, and it was essentially the same offer as Michigan

If you do re-apply make sure to apply everywhere and keep negotiating until the bitter end.

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Re: Full @ Vandy vs 2/3rds @ Mich vs 1/3rd @ UVA vs Wait

Postby foregetaboutdre » Mon Apr 10, 2017 3:11 pm

mrgstephe wrote:
Npret wrote:I don't know what IC As field agent means?
You want to be FBI or undercover spy or what?

I'm not sure how great hiring is in IP litigation for electrical engineers. Has it slowed down?

I don't understand wanting either of these jobs over the lucrative job you have now but I did corporate so not helpful I guess. My feeling is that old white guys are everywhere still so not sure how much change you will see in that regard.


Yep, field agent being most likely FBI. I'd be down for other orgs, but feel my skill set is most closely aligned with the Bureau.
Every adcom and professor I've talked with about IP has been very over the top in saying that I'd be a shoe-in for IP with a masters in EE. At Michigan/UVA, the career services even said they thought I'd have a decent shot at a 1L summer paid gig given my background.

As far as wanting a career change: I have found that over the years, money is not a primary motivator for me. So, if I can get a job that seems intrinsically helpful/useful to keep me occupied, I would be happier doing that than just living the standard upper middle class American life. I ultimately want to teach on the side when I retire and philanthropic work with an organization like Restore International.


FWIW If you have a masters in EE and for some reason really don't want to wait, almost everyone I know who had a legit IP background (like yourself) got paying gigs at firms or in-house after 1L. So if you're truly just after *a job* vandy is a good option. I'm not sure if Michigan would give you a big boost at the FBI either tbh, but I have nothing to base that off of. There's a benefit to going somewhere for free in a nice place to live (Nashville) if you're not set on exclusive BL firms, PI, or clerking. If you are: retake or go to Michigan.

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Re: Full @ Vandy vs 2/3rds @ Mich vs 1/3rd @ UVA vs Wait

Postby Rigo » Mon Apr 10, 2017 4:57 pm

Vandy just posted really good new employment numbers. 56.59% bigLaw+fedclerk.
You should look at trends and not a single year, but that should be encouraging for someone with a Vandy full ride.

I'm gonna change my vote to Vandy (I was thinking about this before I even saw the numbers) if you end up going just because your career path is nontraditional and it will likely come down more to the connections you make/have made and summer jobs than OCI. Go for free.

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Re: Full @ Vandy vs 2/3rds @ Mich vs 1/3rd @ UVA vs Wait

Postby jbagelboy » Mon Apr 10, 2017 4:59 pm

d00d I almost think Vandy. Michigan is justified but Vanderbilt is too.

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Re: Full @ Vandy vs 2/3rds @ Mich vs 1/3rd @ UVA vs Wait

Postby OneHandedEconomist » Mon Apr 10, 2017 5:06 pm

jbagelboy wrote:d00d I almost think Vandy. Michigan is justified but Vanderbilt is too.


OP, doesn't that scholarship come with a 5k a year stipend?

I say Vandy.

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Re: Full @ Vandy vs 2/3rds @ Mich vs 1/3rd @ UVA vs Wait

Postby Npret » Mon Apr 10, 2017 5:35 pm

Can you just apply to the FBI now with a masters degree?



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