Uchi v. Michigan v. WashU v. Minnesota

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JD_Kingfish

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Uchi v. Michigan v. WashU v. Minnesota

Postby JD_Kingfish » Wed Apr 19, 2017 9:44 am

Hi TLS,
I am having trouble deciding which school is the most worth it out of the above options. The COA of each is as follows:
Uchi=~240K
Michigan=~175K
Washu=~125K
Minnesota=~50K

These are relatively high estimates based on what the school's list as COA on their websites. I will also be living with my S.O. and utilizing a "thrifty" budgeting plan for Law School, so I'm expecting COA to be actually about 15-20K less expensive than the values above. I am from the upper midwest (i.e. Minnesota, Wisconsin, Illinois, Michigan, etc) and plan to stay in this region after graduation. Big Law goals but not big law or bust. Is the cost of Uchi or Michigan worth it in my case?

Thanks in advance.

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UVA2B

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Re: Uchi v. Michigan v. WashU v. Minnesota

Postby UVA2B » Wed Apr 19, 2017 9:51 am

If you're from MN, UMN for that debt is manageable if you'd be willing to do smaller firm work that pays less should Biglaw not work out. If you're not from MN, then I'd recommend going to Michigan. That's still a lot of debt for Michigan, but gives you more geographic flexibility within the region while relatively limiting debt compared to UChicago.

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Re: Uchi v. Michigan v. WashU v. Minnesota

Postby ponderingmeerkat » Wed Apr 19, 2017 9:56 am

I'm going to say it comes down to two schools, UM and Michigan. WUSTL isn't worth 75K more than UM for upper Midwest biglaw goals. UChi isn't worth 65K more than Michigan for generic biglaw goals.

So this leaves you with these two options. Me, personally, being debt averse, I'd probably choose UM, enjoy the freedom that comes with a 50K debt load and prepare to live in Minneapolis for the foreseeable. But, I think a case can be made for Michigan if you're really wanting Chicago Biglaw or a little flexibility in outcome (as well as having a higher tolerance for risk/debt).
Last edited by ponderingmeerkat on Fri Jan 26, 2018 8:39 pm, edited 1 time in total.

JD_Kingfish

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Re: Uchi v. Michigan v. WashU v. Minnesota

Postby JD_Kingfish » Wed Apr 19, 2017 10:31 am

Thanks for the responses. I was sort of expecting more WashU recommendations because it seems like a good in between school (comparatively to MN and Mich). Do you think Washu would be a bad move given its recent upward trend in admissions and employment numbers? (Note: currently trying to negotiate to get WashU's COA below 100K) I am geographically flexible for employment right after graduation. I would just like to get back in the Upper midwest within 5-10 years after graduation. Settle down and shit. I like Minneapolis but UMN's ~22% BL+FC rate is very concerning.

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Re: Uchi v. Michigan v. WashU v. Minnesota

Postby Dr. Nefario » Wed Apr 19, 2017 10:54 am

I would probably go Michigan here solely for increased biglaw ability and the chance to maintain and create Midwest ties. Its a bit of a sticky mix. If you could pull any of them down 25k, then I'd switch to that school. But I'm not so sure I'd go to UM unless I was completely okay with small firm work

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Re: Uchi v. Michigan v. WashU v. Minnesota

Postby UVA2B » Wed Apr 19, 2017 11:01 am

If upper Midwest meant STL, then WUSTL enters the equation, but going to WUSTL to end up in Milwaukee is a not great call at all, and WUSTL doesn't place strong enough in Chicago to make $125k the best investment.

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Re: Uchi v. Michigan v. WashU v. Minnesota

Postby guynourmin » Wed Apr 19, 2017 11:03 am

JD_Kingfish wrote:Thanks for the responses. I was sort of expecting more WashU recommendations because it seems like a good in between school (comparatively to MN and Mich). Do you think Washu would be a bad move given its recent upward trend in admissions and employment numbers? (Note: currently trying to negotiate to get WashU's COA below 100K) I am geographically flexible for employment right after graduation. I would just like to get back in the Upper midwest within 5-10 years after graduation. Settle down and shit. I like Minneapolis but UMN's ~22% BL+FC rate is very concerning.


The current debt load at WUSTL means you have to get BL to service it, but you are no where near guaranteed to get BL from WUSTL, so it just seems so much riskier than Michigan. Yes, $50,000 is a lot of money, and its probably more like 65-70 at repayment, BUT it alleviates most of the risk that going to WUSTL takes on.

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Re: Uchi v. Michigan v. WashU v. Minnesota

Postby JD_Kingfish » Wed Apr 19, 2017 11:26 am

UVA2B wrote:If upper Midwest meant STL, then WUSTL enters the equation, but going to WUSTL to end up in Milwaukee is a not great call at all, and WUSTL doesn't place strong enough in Chicago to make $125k the best investment.

Thanks, I really appreciate the feedback and I agree with you. I don't think I will go to WUSTL unless I can get the COA down significantly. I am aware their placement in Chicago is not great but does it make a difference if you have ties to Chicago or can their poor placement not be overcome by ties?

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Re: Uchi v. Michigan v. WashU v. Minnesota

Postby njdevils2626 » Wed Apr 19, 2017 11:30 am

UVA2B wrote:If upper Midwest meant STL, then WUSTL enters the equation, but going to WUSTL to end up in Milwaukee is a not great call at all, and WUSTL doesn't place strong enough in Chicago to make $125k the best investment.


Even for STL, you can really only feel safe getting a job in the city if you're from STL. STL is the most insanely ties-sensitive hiring market.

They've got this ridiculously weird simultaneous superiority and inferiority complex where they think they're the greatest city on earth and everyone should want to be there but, unless you're actually from there and have never left, you are 100% certain to flee.

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UVA2B

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Re: Uchi v. Michigan v. WashU v. Minnesota

Postby UVA2B » Wed Apr 19, 2017 11:32 am

JD_Kingfish wrote:
UVA2B wrote:If upper Midwest meant STL, then WUSTL enters the equation, but going to WUSTL to end up in Milwaukee is a not great call at all, and WUSTL doesn't place strong enough in Chicago to make $125k the best investment.

Thanks, I really appreciate the feedback and I agree with you. I don't think I will go to WUSTL unless I can get the COA down significantly. I am aware their placement in Chicago is not great but does it make a difference if you have ties to Chicago or can their poor placement not be overcome by ties?


It's not that WUSTL can't get you to Chicago with or without ties: it can, and ties will help. It's more that WUSTL doesn't place there strong enough to make that gamble. This entirely depends on your risk aversion, but it's too risky to me.

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Re: Uchi v. Michigan v. WashU v. Minnesota

Postby DaniWeston08 » Thu Apr 20, 2017 11:10 am

Hi UVA2B,

I just wanted to jump in and add my two cents! I am a current MN law student, and I just wanted to dispel some things that have been said. I went to Minnesota for the sole reason that I had unlimited options nationwide, big law, small firm, and public interest because I had no idea where I wanted to be or what I wanted to do after graduation. Minnesota is absolutely a big law school. Our students fill the majority of summer associate spots, and incoming young associates at all the big firms in Minneapolis, who then go on to make partner, and many also go to big law firms around the U.S. For instance, my roommate will be at Dorsey & Whitney after graduating this year, many friends will be at Faegre Baker Daniels, Briggs & Morgan, and Fredrikson & Byron for their 2L summers, another friend will be at Sidley Austin in Chicago after they graduate in a few weeks, others will be spending their 2L summers at Sullivan & Cromwell, Millbank, and Baker Botts in NY. I myself, will be heading to Hogan Lovells in Washington D.C. this summer, after turning down 5 offers in to huge firms in NY and 2 offers in Minneapolis.

My whole take on your dilemma is to go where you will get the most bang for your buck, in terms of quality of education, quantity of opportunities, and options for your 2L summer and post graduation. When looking at your cost breakdown, Minnesota law is an absolute NO BRAINER. You can totally get to Chicago, or any other city, from MN law while not leaving school in crippling debt, plus have the advantage of living in a major metro city during school to build networks and take advantage of all the opportunities the Twin Cities has to offer but not paying an outrageous cost of living. Our career center has formal interview programs in Minneapolis, Milwaukee, Chicago, New York, D.C., and San Fran, not to mention all the informal programs and our alumni network in every other part of the U.S.

To me, Minnesota is the right choice. I know this because I was in a pretty similar situation to you, was worried about taking on too much debt but making sure to get a national brand and a top rated education. I 100% am so happy I went to Minnesota, I am working for my DREAM firm, and paying much less to get there, while living in the great Midwest, something a lot of my summer colleagues cannot say!

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Re: Uchi v. Michigan v. WashU v. Minnesota

Postby cavalier1138 » Thu Apr 20, 2017 11:14 am

DaniWeston08 wrote:I just wanted to jump in and add my two cents! I am a current MN law student, and I just wanted to dispel some things that have been said. I went to Minnesota for the sole reason that I had unlimited options nationwide, big law, small firm, and public interest because I had no idea where I wanted to be or what I wanted to do after graduation.


Are you claiming that all students at your school have "unlimited options nationwide"? Based on the actual numbers, it sounds like the majority of your classmates aren't taking advantage of those.

Minnesota is a great school if you want to work in Minnesota. Trying to compare it to Michigan is idiotic.

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UVA2B

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Re: Uchi v. Michigan v. WashU v. Minnesota

Postby UVA2B » Thu Apr 20, 2017 12:09 pm

DaniWeston08 wrote:Hi UVA2B,

I just wanted to jump in and add my two cents! I am a current MN law student, and I just wanted to dispel some things that have been said. I went to Minnesota for the sole reason that I had unlimited options nationwide, big law, small firm, and public interest because I had no idea where I wanted to be or what I wanted to do after graduation. Minnesota is absolutely a big law school. Our students fill the majority of summer associate spots, and incoming young associates at all the big firms in Minneapolis, who then go on to make partner, and many also go to big law firms around the U.S. For instance, my roommate will be at Dorsey & Whitney after graduating this year, many friends will be at Faegre Baker Daniels, Briggs & Morgan, and Fredrikson & Byron for their 2L summers, another friend will be at Sidley Austin in Chicago after they graduate in a few weeks, others will be spending their 2L summers at Sullivan & Cromwell, Millbank, and Baker Botts in NY. I myself, will be heading to Hogan Lovells in Washington D.C. this summer, after turning down 5 offers in to huge firms in NY and 2 offers in Minneapolis.

My whole take on your dilemma is to go where you will get the most bang for your buck, in terms of quality of education, quantity of opportunities, and options for your 2L summer and post graduation. When looking at your cost breakdown, Minnesota law is an absolute NO BRAINER. You can totally get to Chicago, or any other city, from MN law while not leaving school in crippling debt, plus have the advantage of living in a major metro city during school to build networks and take advantage of all the opportunities the Twin Cities has to offer but not paying an outrageous cost of living. Our career center has formal interview programs in Minneapolis, Milwaukee, Chicago, New York, D.C., and San Fran, not to mention all the informal programs and our alumni network in every other part of the U.S.

To me, Minnesota is the right choice. I know this because I was in a pretty similar situation to you, was worried about taking on too much debt but making sure to get a national brand and a top rated education. I 100% am so happy I went to Minnesota, I am working for my DREAM firm, and paying much less to get there, while living in the great Midwest, something a lot of my summer colleagues cannot say!


You're right, UMN is a fantastic law school that can place people in markets outside of MN. That wasn't my point. What are the majority of graduates doing? What are the graduates at median doing following graduation? What is the statistically most likely outcome for a graduate of UMN? These are the questions you should be answering, not anecdotally suggesting people can place outside of MN. I hope you'll agree that you couldn't realistically predict how you'd perform in law school before getting there, and given that ~25% of graduates are going to traditional Biglaw firms, you'd need to do well at UMN to be in that ~25% (or at least to give yourself anything beyond an outside shot of being in that ~25%). But if you go to UMN planning to practice outside the region, you're making a particularly risky gamble because few students (for sure under 10% I would imagine, although data can't reliably tell you the exact amount of graduates practicing in other regions in those traditionally desirable positions that will cover debt).

I feel pretty confident that my advice holds for someone considering attending UMN: if you'd like to end up in MN, and you'd be comfortable if you don't end up getting Biglaw following graduation, UMN for $50k debt is a great outcome. But if wanting to practice in other markets (like Chicago has been mentioned), it's possible to get but not advisable to go into law school if you aren't comfortable with the aforementioned reality in UMN's placement power outside of MN.



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