rpupkin wrote:FLSFHYS wrote:Emailed a partner at a V70 firm in LA that I happen to know with the question in the OP, and here is a part of his response:
"You can be in top third at Columbia and get a good job at most LA firms. At Northwestern you may have to be in the top 10-15% <...> The top-third vs. top 10-15% example is not hypothetical—I was extensively involved in recruiting at *different V50 firm name*, and this is roughly consistent with the grade cutoffs the firm used in deciding who to even consider for a call-back interview"
Seems to go against the common wisdom on these forums, but, considering this guy's credentials, it just made me lean towards Columbia that much more :/
Although I won't go so far as to say that the partner was being untruthful or imprecise, I don't think his estimates are representative of the overall market. I've always thought that CLS and Chicago got a slight overall bump over the non-HYSB T14 in Southern California, but it's not on the order of top 33% versus top 10%-15%. The firm I summered at basically treated all non-HYS T14 schools the same in terms of grades. The firm I'm at now might give a CLS student a slight bump over a NU or a Penn or a Duke student, but it would be something like a 5% bump, if that.
Look, a CLS student has a slightly better chance of getting job in Cali compared to a NU student. Is that slight chance worth an extra $200K+ in debt? It's not even a close question.
I totally get what you're saying, and I damn near put in my NU deposit today, but then I read that guy's email. I can't speak to the numbers he's citing, but his involvement in recruiting at his firm is on the company's website. And I don't see a reason why he would be giving me false information. Another part of the same email quoted a friend of his (a partner at a V150 lit boutique in LA) to whom he described my situation, and his advice was pretty much the same: "a freeride from NU is incredibly attractive, but tell him to be in the top 15-20% if he wants good firms in Cali. Columbia is a safer bet".
I'm pretty damn confused to be honest. A bunch of faceless strangers (no offense) on a law school admissions forum pretty much unanimously advise A, while 2 people with verified credentials who currently make hiring decisions in the market that I'm dead set on are telling me B. Looks like a "resolve the paradox" question to me One possibility that I see is that NU is great in a lot of places in the US, and incredibly portable to possibly 90% of the markets, but falls somewhat short in SoCal (or Cali in general) due to how insular the market is and how (comparatively) limited the jobs are. Unfortunately, I am dead set on Cali, and a law school's placement statistics are only as good to me as they relate to this market. I do realize how crushing the debt can be, but in no way does it seem unmanageable. Hell, if I'll be making $4k/month payments, what I'll have left after Cali taxes will still be several times better than what I live on now. Not having debt upon graduation and having that $4k month in the pocket instead seems very attractive, but for several personal reasons I will be miserable if I can't get an LA gig. The additional SoCal placement safety cushion I get from Columbia's prestige, in a way, seems like a safer route. I will have to incur significant debt for the next 8-10 years, but paying it off will be an eventuality, and I'll have much better chances of paying it off while living where I really want to live.
In any case, I need to do a lot of digging in the next few days. NU gave me a small deadline extension, so I'll spend the next few days doing just that. Additional input/advice is still greatly appreciated.