Michigan ($$) v. Virginia

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MechE603

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Michigan ($$) v. Virginia

Postby MechE603 » Tue Apr 18, 2017 11:02 am

Hey all, bear with me for this,

I'm looking for advice (quickly because Virginia's deposit deadline is today at 5pm) on choosing between two schools that seem to be pretty equally regarded (tied for US News rankings) with a difference in aid money of $50,000 over three years. I am financing it all on my own with loans, in addition to significant but not extreme undergraduate debt.
I know the financially prudent decision looks like Michigan, who offered me $50,000, and not Virginia, who offered me nothing and refused to budge when I asked them to consider Michigan's aid. At the same time I know that I enjoyed Virginia significantly more, not to say I disliked Michigan I just really liked Virginia, and that in the areas that I hope to work, they outperform Michigan. I've analyzed all the employment data (from 2015 and the newly released 2016 grads) and it looks like there is a +12% difference in people going to big law from Virginia (60%) compared to Michigan (48%) and a less significant +2% difference in people going into federal clerkships; these make it so that roughly 14% more people at Virginia are able to find jobs in the practice areas that I am aiming for. Michigan has slightly better overall employment numbers (bar passage required 92% versus 90%) but with a +4% difference in mid law and a +5% difference in the less desired state clerkships. Finally, Virginia released their salary data for 2016 and had an overall median and 75th percentile of 180,000 with a private sector 25th percentile of 180,000 as well; Michigan on the other hand has not released their salary data but when I asked they told me that "most people in the private sector make either 160,000 or 180,000." I know that their overall median salary is not 180,000 because less than half of their students matriculated into big law, but I am just worried that the money I received from Michigan will not matter if I'm only able to receive a salary of $160,000 (or less for some reason) while mostly everybody at Virginia is starting at $180,000. (tldr; the money given would be quickly overshadowed by lost earning potential).
A little more about myself, I know that I want to do a federal clerkship after graduation and then matriculate into big law (preferably in NY/Boston but also open to California and DC) ideally working with intellectual property (engineering background so preferably something involving technology/patents) and entrepreneurship (startup formation/venture financing/etc). This brings me to my last concern, from everything I have gathered (and this may be wrong) Virginia seems to have a stronger patent/licensing program while Michigan seems to have a stronger entrepreneurship program, and I slightly prefer the clinical offerings of Virginia.
I think this about covers the predicament I am in, and if anybody has any opinions on what I should do or any additional insight that would help me, it would be much appreciated. Thanks in advance. (Sorry if anything I wrote doesn't make perfect sense, I was a little rushed writing this)

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SeewhathappensLarry

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Re: Michigan ($$) v. Virginia

Postby SeewhathappensLarry » Tue Apr 18, 2017 11:29 am

MechE603 wrote:Hey all, bear with me for this,

I'm looking for advice (quickly because Virginia's deposit deadline is today at 5pm) on choosing between two schools that seem to be pretty equally regarded (tied for US News rankings) with a difference in aid money of $50,000 over three years. I am financing it all on my own with loans, in addition to significant but not extreme undergraduate debt.
I know the financially prudent decision looks like Michigan, who offered me $50,000, and not Virginia, who offered me nothing and refused to budge when I asked them to consider Michigan's aid. At the same time I know that I enjoyed Virginia significantly more, not to say I disliked Michigan I just really liked Virginia, and that in the areas that I hope to work, they outperform Michigan. I've analyzed all the employment data (from 2015 and the newly released 2016 grads) and it looks like there is a +12% difference in people going to big law from Virginia (60%) compared to Michigan (48%) and a less significant +2% difference in people going into federal clerkships; these make it so that roughly 14% more people at Virginia are able to find jobs in the practice areas that I am aiming for. Michigan has slightly better overall employment numbers (bar passage required 92% versus 90%) but with a +4% difference in mid law and a +5% difference in the less desired state clerkships. Finally, Virginia released their salary data for 2016 and had an overall median and 75th percentile of 180,000 with a private sector 25th percentile of 180,000 as well; Michigan on the other hand has not released their salary data but when I asked they told me that "most people in the private sector make either 160,000 or 180,000." I know that their overall median salary is not 180,000 because less than half of their students matriculated into big law, but I am just worried that the money I received from Michigan will not matter if I'm only able to receive a salary of $160,000 (or less for some reason) while mostly everybody at Virginia is starting at $180,000. (tldr; the money given would be quickly overshadowed by lost earning potential).
A little more about myself, I know that I want to do a federal clerkship after graduation and then matriculate into big law (preferably in NY/Boston but also open to California and DC) ideally working with intellectual property (engineering background so preferably something involving technology/patents) and entrepreneurship (startup formation/venture financing/etc). This brings me to my last concern, from everything I have gathered (and this may be wrong) Virginia seems to have a stronger patent/licensing program while Michigan seems to have a stronger entrepreneurship program, and I slightly prefer the clinical offerings of Virginia.
I think this about covers the predicament I am in, and if anybody has any opinions on what I should do or any additional insight that would help me, it would be much appreciated. Thanks in advance. (Sorry if anything I wrote doesn't make perfect sense, I was a little rushed writing this)




I'm at UVA. I would go with Michigan here. I don't know a thing about the patent programs but I can't imagine they are vastly different. I think there is something to be said for PI self-selection at Michigan to explain the gap in BL+FC numbers between the two schools. I know 50k seems like monopoly money right now, but as a 3L I promise it will feel very real once you are staring at your loan repayment plans.

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Dr. Nefario

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Re: Michigan ($$) v. Virginia

Postby Dr. Nefario » Tue Apr 18, 2017 11:31 am

Don't do UVA at sticker. That is an awful decision. Take Michigan and run.

MechE603

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Re: Michigan ($$) v. Virginia

Postby MechE603 » Tue Apr 18, 2017 11:37 am

SeewhathappensLarry wrote:I'm at UVA. I would go with Michigan here. I don't know a thing about the patent programs but I can't imagine they are vastly different. I think there is something to be said for PI self-selection at Michigan to explain the gap in BL+FC numbers between the two schools. I know 50k seems like monopoly money right now, but as a 3L I promise it will feel very real once you are staring at your loan repayment plans.

Yeah, I know it's a lot of money, I just wanted to make sure that I wasn't giving up significant opportunities by taking the money. On the PI front, I thought so too, but there's really only a 1% difference between Michigan and Virginia for public interest work (Michigan seems to be shifting from PI to FC) the whole gap is accounted for when you look at state clerkships and mid law, which is what scares me (people wanting to do firms and clerkships and being stuck with the generally less preferred options in each)

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jewkidontheblock

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Re: Michigan ($$) v. Virginia

Postby jewkidontheblock » Tue Apr 18, 2017 11:38 am

Don't worry about the $160k vs. $180k discrepancy. Large firms in the biggest markets have all pretty much moved to $180k. If there's a difference in private sector salaries, it's because Michigan sends more people to secondary markets that pay below $180k but also have substantially lower costs of living. While one could make the argument that there's some difference in your chances of getting a big law job at Michigan vs. UVA, there's no risk of you making $160k where you would otherwise make $180k.

The issue you're seeing is because firms moved from $160k to $180k last year, so a report that isn't updated wouldn't reflect that.

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SeewhathappensLarry

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Re: Michigan ($$) v. Virginia

Postby SeewhathappensLarry » Tue Apr 18, 2017 11:46 am

MechE603 wrote:
SeewhathappensLarry wrote:I'm at UVA. I would go with Michigan here. I don't know a thing about the patent programs but I can't imagine they are vastly different. I think there is something to be said for PI self-selection at Michigan to explain the gap in BL+FC numbers between the two schools. I know 50k seems like monopoly money right now, but as a 3L I promise it will feel very real once you are staring at your loan repayment plans.

Yeah, I know it's a lot of money, I just wanted to make sure that I wasn't giving up significant opportunities by taking the money. On the PI front, I thought so too, but there's really only a 1% difference between Michigan and Virginia for public interest work (Michigan seems to be shifting from PI to FC) the whole gap is accounted for when you look at state clerkships and mid law, which is what scares me (people wanting to do firms and clerkships and being stuck with the generally less preferred options in each)


I mean it's anecdotal but all the people I know at Michigan are from the Midwest and they and many of their peers target Midwest markets. So markets like Detroit, Columbus, Cincinnati, etc. all have law firms that perhaps are the midlaw range you are referring to. Those cities would pay 160 on the top end, though like other posters have said the COL is way lower. If you are looking for NY, DC, Cali, etc. I don't think Michigan puts you at a disadvantage compared to UVA. Maybe at the margins but that is not worth 50k.

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UVA2B

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Re: Michigan ($$) v. Virginia

Postby UVA2B » Tue Apr 18, 2017 11:52 am

SeewhathappensLarry wrote:
MechE603 wrote:Hey all, bear with me for this,

I'm looking for advice (quickly because Virginia's deposit deadline is today at 5pm) on choosing between two schools that seem to be pretty equally regarded (tied for US News rankings) with a difference in aid money of $50,000 over three years. I am financing it all on my own with loans, in addition to significant but not extreme undergraduate debt.
I know the financially prudent decision looks like Michigan, who offered me $50,000, and not Virginia, who offered me nothing and refused to budge when I asked them to consider Michigan's aid. At the same time I know that I enjoyed Virginia significantly more, not to say I disliked Michigan I just really liked Virginia, and that in the areas that I hope to work, they outperform Michigan. I've analyzed all the employment data (from 2015 and the newly released 2016 grads) and it looks like there is a +12% difference in people going to big law from Virginia (60%) compared to Michigan (48%) and a less significant +2% difference in people going into federal clerkships; these make it so that roughly 14% more people at Virginia are able to find jobs in the practice areas that I am aiming for. Michigan has slightly better overall employment numbers (bar passage required 92% versus 90%) but with a +4% difference in mid law and a +5% difference in the less desired state clerkships. Finally, Virginia released their salary data for 2016 and had an overall median and 75th percentile of 180,000 with a private sector 25th percentile of 180,000 as well; Michigan on the other hand has not released their salary data but when I asked they told me that "most people in the private sector make either 160,000 or 180,000." I know that their overall median salary is not 180,000 because less than half of their students matriculated into big law, but I am just worried that the money I received from Michigan will not matter if I'm only able to receive a salary of $160,000 (or less for some reason) while mostly everybody at Virginia is starting at $180,000. (tldr; the money given would be quickly overshadowed by lost earning potential).
A little more about myself, I know that I want to do a federal clerkship after graduation and then matriculate into big law (preferably in NY/Boston but also open to California and DC) ideally working with intellectual property (engineering background so preferably something involving technology/patents) and entrepreneurship (startup formation/venture financing/etc). This brings me to my last concern, from everything I have gathered (and this may be wrong) Virginia seems to have a stronger patent/licensing program while Michigan seems to have a stronger entrepreneurship program, and I slightly prefer the clinical offerings of Virginia.
I think this about covers the predicament I am in, and if anybody has any opinions on what I should do or any additional insight that would help me, it would be much appreciated. Thanks in advance. (Sorry if anything I wrote doesn't make perfect sense, I was a little rushed writing this)



I'm at UVA. I would go with Michigan here. I don't know a thing about the patent programs but I can't imagine they are vastly different. I think there is something to be said for PI self-selection at Michigan to explain the gap in BL+FC numbers between the two schools. I know 50k seems like monopoly money right now, but as a 3L I promise it will feel very real once you are staring at your loan repayment plans.


Also at UVA, and seconding this advice. UVA's placement is a bit better than Michigan, but not enough to justify the extra $50k.



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