GULC$$, NU$$ or CU$$$, family matters?

(Rankings, Profiles, Tuition, Student Life, . . . )
User avatar
TripleM
Posts: 108
Joined: Wed May 11, 2016 8:35 am

GULC$$, NU$$ or CU$$$, family matters?

Postby TripleM » Mon Apr 24, 2017 6:38 pm

First, I realize that due to the complexity of family and relationships that no one can be expected to answer the question, "Which school should I chose?". I'm really looking to get folks' thoughts on this to help me sort through my own.

I'm old AF and this is almost certainly my terminal degree. I've got a great wife and a cute little kid (see avatar). They're both the best things going in town (this or any other) in my mind.

My perfect job would be to litigate political issues (voting rights, redistricting etc...) but would be happy working in any number of mid-sized public interesting (stet) firms (I know they're uncommon but they do exist). Unicorn scenario?... graduate, put in a couple of years at a big DC democratic leaning firm before returning to Colorado to work remotely. Yes, it's unlikely and while it's my target, it's not the scenario I'm depending on.

I'll be financing school with loans. My wife will likely work, reducing these costs and I plan to work summers, but I'm not accounting for any of that in these COA numbers. These numbers run higher than the generic COA numbers because I've adjusted it to reflect the higher cost of housing a whole family.

GULC- $127.5k (COA $160k)
NU- $120k (COA $180K)
CU Boulder- full ride (COA $105k)

GULC- Obviously the single best choice for someone interested in politics. I lived in DC and love it. Since I hope that my summers will be in DC this would offer the advantage of not having to move the family each summer. DC firm placement is great. Disadvantages- Haven't heard great things about the student experience. Wife is a teacher and DC isn't a great place to teach school.

NU- Loved the campus and got a great feel. I liked the small class. I think my wife could really like Chicago. Highest ranked school into which I've been accepted. More families than most T13 and most likely easiest in which to find a supportive community for my wife. DC firm placement should be no problem.

The disadvantage to both of these schools is that I'd be moving my wife and kid away from our support network. My wife's mother and sister are both here in Colorado as are most of her best friends. She has a great network of friends and Moms who can help her, especially while I'm a 1L. We have few, if any, friends in either Chicago or DC.

CU- ranked 36th. Great regionally but not much play in DC. By far the cheapest option and if my wife were to work I'd probably get my degree with less than 50k in loans, perhaps none at all. The faculty have been extremely supportive. The obvious advantages are that my family will have great support and that it's the cheapest. The disadvantage is that I'll have to be a top performer in my class to have any shot at my goals, something which is never a smart bet.

So that's it. Thoughts? I'm happy to get anyone's take. If you've got a family please don't pass this up without sharing your experience with me.

EDIT: Thanks to an eagle eyed poster I ran the numbers again, using housing numbers that are more realistic for a family.
Last edited by TripleM on Mon Apr 24, 2017 10:17 pm, edited 2 times in total.

User avatar
trebekismyhero
Posts: 782
Joined: Fri May 22, 2015 5:26 pm

Re: GULC$$, NU$$ or CU$$$, family matters?

Postby trebekismyhero » Mon Apr 24, 2017 6:44 pm

I'd go with NU. Try to get a little more $ from them, but they're your best shot at your goals. Even if you don't get exactly what you want, you'll almost certainly get a big law job that can support your family

User avatar
luckyirish13
Posts: 208
Joined: Fri Mar 24, 2017 6:45 pm

Re: GULC$$, NU$$ or CU$$$, family matters?

Postby luckyirish13 » Mon Apr 24, 2017 7:21 pm

It sounds like you're very committed to PI? If that is the case, then pick the school that has the best LRAP program, which I believe in your case would be Georgetown. If you are planning to work in public service, a good LRAP program like Georgetown's will all but cover your loan for 10 years, at which time PSLF would kick in and you will be clear of debt. For that reason, it might actually be cheaper to attend Georgetown than it would be to attend Boulder, since the actual amount you will pay will be extremely low or non-existent under LRAP.

With a $65,000 PI salary after graduating from Georgetown, you would be paying $0 a month, or $443 a month with Northwestern's LRAP. https://docs.google.com/spreadsheets/d/ ... 1769017008

UC Boulder isn't on here, but they probably have a similar program. Either way, look into Georgetown's LRAP. If you're committed to public interest (and it sounds like you are) LRAP could very well cover 100% of your loans. This is of course, dependent on you actually getting a PI job after graduation.

User avatar
trebekismyhero
Posts: 782
Joined: Fri May 22, 2015 5:26 pm

Re: GULC$$, NU$$ or CU$$$, family matters?

Postby trebekismyhero » Mon Apr 24, 2017 7:25 pm

luckyirish13 wrote:It sounds like you're very committed to PI? If that is the case, then pick the school that has the best LRAP program, which I believe in your case would be Georgetown. If you are planning to work in public service, a good LRAP program like Georgetown's will all but cover your loan for 10 years, at which time PSLF would kick in and you will be clear of debt. For that reason, it might actually be cheaper to attend Georgetown than it would be to attend Boulder, since the actual amount you will pay will be extremely low or non-existent under LRAP.

With a $65,000 PI salary after graduating from Georgetown, you would be paying $0 a month, or $443 a month with Northwestern's LRAP. https://docs.google.com/spreadsheets/d/ ... 1769017008

UC Boulder isn't on here, but they probably have a similar program. Either way, look into Georgetown's LRAP. If you're committed to public interest (and it sounds like you are) LRAP could very well cover 100% of your loans. This is of course, dependent on you actually getting a PI job after graduation.


Doesn't sound like OP was that PI focused. More that he would like to work at a firm that was committed to the interests he cares about (Wilmer Hale, Perkins Coie, Jenner, etc.)

User avatar
A. Nony Mouse
Posts: 28683
Joined: Tue Sep 25, 2012 11:51 am

Re: GULC$$, NU$$ or CU$$$, family matters?

Postby A. Nony Mouse » Mon Apr 24, 2017 7:29 pm

What level/kind of politics? I think you could go into state government and get into state voting issues from CU, but national would be REALLY hard. (I also think you'd be way better off starting out in Colorado than trying to return there and work remotely, but that's just me.)

User avatar
trebekismyhero
Posts: 782
Joined: Fri May 22, 2015 5:26 pm

Re: GULC$$, NU$$ or CU$$$, family matters?

Postby trebekismyhero » Mon Apr 24, 2017 7:32 pm

A. Nony Mouse wrote:What level/kind of politics? I think you could go into state government and get into state voting issues from CU, but national would be REALLY hard. (I also think you'd be way better off starting out in Colorado than trying to return there and work remotely, but that's just me.)


All really depends on what OP wants. But if OP wanted to do national issues first, it would seem to me that they would be better off starting at a firm in DC and then lateraling to CO. And a place like Wilmer does have a denver office at least now

RedPurpleBlue
Posts: 451
Joined: Wed Dec 14, 2016 9:41 pm

Re: GULC$$, NU$$ or CU$$$, family matters?

Postby RedPurpleBlue » Mon Apr 24, 2017 7:34 pm

I think your NU COA is at minimum $20k too high.

viewtopic.php?f=1&t=225195

I maxed out all the numbers in the above calculator and you clocked in around $155k, not $175k. Once you throw in contributions from your wife, you could be sitting decently below <$150k in debt.

User avatar
jbagelboy
Posts: 10180
Joined: Thu Nov 29, 2012 7:57 pm

Re: GULC$$, NU$$ or CU$$$, family matters?

Postby jbagelboy » Mon Apr 24, 2017 7:40 pm

I think you are oversimplifying DC biglaw. For the firms you're talking about, you'll have to perform very well at both NU and Georgetown to make them realistic.

User avatar
A. Nony Mouse
Posts: 28683
Joined: Tue Sep 25, 2012 11:51 am

Re: GULC$$, NU$$ or CU$$$, family matters?

Postby A. Nony Mouse » Mon Apr 24, 2017 8:11 pm

trebekismyhero wrote:
A. Nony Mouse wrote:What level/kind of politics? I think you could go into state government and get into state voting issues from CU, but national would be REALLY hard. (I also think you'd be way better off starting out in Colorado than trying to return there and work remotely, but that's just me.)


All really depends on what OP wants. But if OP wanted to do national issues first, it would seem to me that they would be better off starting at a firm in DC and then lateraling to CO. And a place like Wilmer does have a denver office at least now

Oh, sure, but I meant more that I don't think OP is going to get one of those national jobs coming out of CU. (And to me "working remotely" suggests "working for a DC firm from CO," not "moving from DC to the CO office of a DC firm," though maybe "remotely" was just meant to suggest "working on national issues from somewhere other than DC").

User avatar
TripleM
Posts: 108
Joined: Wed May 11, 2016 8:35 am

Re: GULC$$, NU$$ or CU$$$, family matters?

Postby TripleM » Mon Apr 24, 2017 8:55 pm

All really depends on what OP wants. But if OP wanted to do national issues first, it would seem to me that they would be better off starting at a firm in DC and then lateraling to CO. And a place like Wilmer does have a denver office at least now[/quote]
Oh, sure, but I meant more that I don't think OP is going to get one of those national jobs coming out of CU. (And to me "working remotely" suggests "working for a DC firm from CO," not "moving from DC to the CO office of a DC firm," though maybe "remotely" was just meant to suggest "working on national issues from somewhere other than DC").[/quote]

Hey everyone, thanks for all the thoughtful replies. I really appreciate it.

To clarify, my dream scenario would be to work in the political practice of a firm like Perkins Coie, starting in DC and then eventually working for that same practice, but from Colorado. My aspiration would be be work on these issues on a national level. I'd be very happy working on them on a state level, but there's not a lot of work here in Colorado. We haven't had the voter ID battles and districts are only redrawn every 10 years. Sure, they'll be litigated for a couple of years but then it winds down and the folks litigating it locally don't have super deep pockets. I'd have a lot more work in the south, but we're not interested in a permanent move to the south.

User avatar
TripleM
Posts: 108
Joined: Wed May 11, 2016 8:35 am

Re: GULC$$, NU$$ or CU$$$, family matters?

Postby TripleM » Mon Apr 24, 2017 9:01 pm

RedPurpleBlue wrote:I think your NU COA is at minimum $20k too high.

viewtopic.php?f=1&t=225195

I maxed out all the numbers in the above calculator and you clocked in around $155k, not $175k. Once you throw in contributions from your wife, you could be sitting decently below <$150k in debt.


You're right. I need to go back and revisit my numbers. I'll get into the spreadsheet. I think that all of my numbers might actually be high. It's been so long since I created my own spreadsheet that I'm not sure if I was adjusting upwards to account for the additional cost of a family. Room and board is going to be much more expensive than the amounts given by the school.

More likely, though, I was just wrong and need to redo them. Looking more closely, I think I was using "debt at repayment" numbers from LST which isn't the most accurate approach. I'll redo and update.

CurvedSurface
Posts: 20
Joined: Sun Mar 22, 2015 9:21 pm

Re: GULC$$, NU$$ or CU$$$, family matters?

Postby CurvedSurface » Mon Apr 24, 2017 9:11 pm

Agree with bagelboy that you have to do exceptionally well at Northwestern or Georgetown (or really almost any school) to land the kind of work you're talking about. This is very unicorn.

Would you be happy with generic big law? If not, it may be hard to justify the debt you're looking at.

Also, what is your professional background now? Will it lend itself to a narrative that helps you land unicorn voting rights work? More generally, what kind of jobs would your network help you land, if at all?

Npret
Posts: 1163
Joined: Mon Jan 23, 2017 11:42 am

Re: GULC$$, NU$$ or CU$$$, family matters?

Postby Npret » Mon Apr 24, 2017 9:15 pm

OP don't go to law school expecting to get this dream job.
You need to change your expectations and deal with reality. Do a lot more research.

jjking
Posts: 42
Joined: Wed Apr 28, 2010 5:13 pm

Re: GULC$$, NU$$ or CU$$$, family matters?

Postby jjking » Mon Apr 24, 2017 9:25 pm

Perkins Coie political dep't basically requires a clerkship. None of your schools are good for that.

carsondalywashere
Posts: 471
Joined: Tue Apr 04, 2017 7:33 pm

Re: GULC$$, NU$$ or CU$$$, family matters?

Postby carsondalywashere » Mon Apr 24, 2017 10:00 pm

Do you mind me asking where you're getting you Coa for NU? Their website says 240, and you're coming up with 295?

Edit - of course, you have a family, which most likely accounts for the difference...

Edit 2 - already been raised, my b

User avatar
TripleM
Posts: 108
Joined: Wed May 11, 2016 8:35 am

Re: GULC$$, NU$$ or CU$$$, family matters?

Postby TripleM » Mon Apr 24, 2017 10:05 pm

Again, thank you all for the thoughts. I appreciate the cold water some of you have thrown my way. As I've said, even I see that this scenario is highly unlikely but it's good to have all of you re-affirm that. It's my dream scenario, but clearly I need to plan based on more realistic assumptions.

Happy with generic big law? Happy is probably not the right word. I believe I could tolerate it for a few years. I'd be more interested in settling into one of the mid-sized firms doing work for progressive causes/candidates. There are a couple locally and while they pay far less than big law, I believe I'd find them satisfying.

I have a reasonable background. Staffed national campaigns. I've received offers from U.S. Senators to make formal recommendations and informal calls on my behalf (there are no guarantees on follow through but they volunteered so I'll take them at their word).

As much as I love NU, I'm starting to see that I'd need more aid from them to make it work.

I did re-do cost numbers and NU actually became a bit more expensive. Not good.

User avatar
trebekismyhero
Posts: 782
Joined: Fri May 22, 2015 5:26 pm

Re: GULC$$, NU$$ or CU$$$, family matters?

Postby trebekismyhero » Tue Apr 25, 2017 9:38 am

jjking wrote:Perkins Coie political dep't basically requires a clerkship. None of your schools are good for that.


That's not true. I know several attorneys in perkins coie political and none had a clerkship. They all had campaign experience though

jjking
Posts: 42
Joined: Wed Apr 28, 2010 5:13 pm

Re: GULC$$, NU$$ or CU$$$, family matters?

Postby jjking » Tue Apr 25, 2017 2:36 pm

trebekismyhero wrote:
jjking wrote:Perkins Coie political dep't basically requires a clerkship. None of your schools are good for that.


That's not true. I know several attorneys in perkins coie political and none had a clerkship. They all had campaign experience though


I'm not going to spend time fighting you on this but I was told by someone there that associates nowadays basically need one to get hired.

User avatar
trebekismyhero
Posts: 782
Joined: Fri May 22, 2015 5:26 pm

Re: GULC$$, NU$$ or CU$$$, family matters?

Postby trebekismyhero » Tue Apr 25, 2017 2:41 pm

jjking wrote:
trebekismyhero wrote:
jjking wrote:Perkins Coie political dep't basically requires a clerkship. None of your schools are good for that.


That's not true. I know several attorneys in perkins coie political and none had a clerkship. They all had campaign experience though


I'm not going to spend time fighting you on this but I was told by someone there that associates nowadays basically need one to get hired.


Then it is a new requirement because I know several associates in that department and they didn't clerk

User avatar
Glasseyes
Posts: 536
Joined: Sun Nov 10, 2013 7:19 pm

Re: GULC$$, NU$$ or CU$$$, family matters?

Postby Glasseyes » Sun Apr 30, 2017 1:21 am

trebekismyhero wrote:
jjking wrote:
trebekismyhero wrote:
jjking wrote:Perkins Coie political dep't basically requires a clerkship. None of your schools are good for that.


That's not true. I know several attorneys in perkins coie political and none had a clerkship. They all had campaign experience though


I'm not going to spend time fighting you on this but I was told by someone there that associates nowadays basically need one to get hired.


Then it is a new requirement because I know several associates in that department and they didn't clerk


Yeah, this. I know one of the partners in that group and they seem to care much more about relevant experience than generic pedigree. Getting in will still be hard as hell because it's small, hyper-specific, and in-demand, but it's not like trying to land Susman where missing out on main journal or getting the occasional B+ is gonna throttle your chances. OP: it's fine to have a dream firm like that, but dig around and make sure you have a realistic understanding of the more likely outcomes (e.g., midsize firms barely exist, etc).

User avatar
CR7
Posts: 71
Joined: Tue Jan 03, 2017 10:09 am

Re: GULC$$, NU$$ or CU$$$, family matters?

Postby CR7 » Sun Apr 30, 2017 7:48 am

OP, you sound like you really want to work in politics, have you thought about any alternatives to law school? You mentioned in one post that you'll be nearing 50 as you finish up school, I would recommend looking into all options on the table, not just law school related options. There are several political organizations and offices in D.C. that focus on issues that you mentioned above.

Also do you have any work experience in politics?




Return to “Choosing a Law School”

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: Eleven and 5 guests