Univ. of Virginia vs GW

(Rankings, Profiles, Tuition, Student Life, . . . )

UVA or GW?

GW (almost full scholarship)
2
20%
UVA (assuming no scholarship)
8
80%
 
Total votes: 10

bciara96

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Univ. of Virginia vs GW

Postby bciara96 » Sun Dec 01, 2019 4:03 pm

Okay so far I've been accepted to GW and UVA. I also applied to Georgetown and Duke. I am interested in criminal law, likely criminal defense. GW is offering me $50,000 a year and UVA doesn't release scholarship info until February, but I think I'll receive little to nothing there. My undergrad GPA was a 3.9, my lsat was a 167, and my graduate GPA is a 3.8 (I'm currently enrolled in a masters program at Johns Hopkins for Applied Economics).

I currently live in the DC area so it would be nice to not have to relocate, but UVA was my top choice going in and the cost of living is cheaper in Charlottesville. I know people say top ten is really only for Big Law but I am fairly prideful and I'm looking for a challenge. School has always been easy for me in the past.

GW is offering me a lot of money, nearly full tuition. With living expenses, I think I'll need about $30,000 in loans each year. If I get no money from Virginia, expenses will be about $80,000 each year.

I know this is premature and it probably makes more sense to just wait until February so I can figure out if I'm getting a scholarship, but I like to plan ahead. Is it worth it to go to UVA when GW is offering me so much money? If UVA offers me just a little bit of money, does that change your answer? I'm interested in clerkships and constitutional law, but I'm pretty sure I want to practice in criminal law. I haven't seen a lot of information about job placement in the criminal law field for either school.

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Re: Univ. of Virginia vs GW

Postby AdieuCali » Mon Dec 02, 2019 12:05 am

The credited response is that law school will still be there in 2021 and you should wait a cycle and retake. A few extra points will give you multiple T13 full- and half-rides as well as a long shot at HYS. (https://mylsn.info/x2yrby)
The economy is good and a year of post-grad work experience will eventually help you at OCI. Heck, just retake in January; the registration deadline is in a couple days. February isn't too late to apply or update schools with your new score.

Anyways, it's unlikely that you'll get aid from UVA, but I don't think that's a foregone conclusion. The best way to increase your UVA & GW scholarships this spring is to bring Mich w/$$$ or Chicago w/$ acceptances to the bargaining table. You definitely need to apply to UChi through Cornell, if for no other reason than to strengthen your scholarship bargaining position.
Image

It's fine if you don't want know exactly what kind of law you want to practice as a 0L. Your interest in economics generally points towards transactional rather than criminal law. The ABA doesn't require schools to track the type of practice graduates enter (e.g. lit, corp, legal aid, crim), only types of employers (big-, mid-, small- firm, gov, & PI). So it's difficult to determine how many students any given school places in criminal law.

Your desire for pride/prestige is rational here. Law is a prestige-obsessed profession, so law school rankings generally correlate with the quality of jobs after graduation. The higher the ranking, the more likely you are to get Art. III clerkships, Biglaw, FedGov Honors, academia, or impact PI. Fed clerkships open even more doors and you're currently passing up an opportunity to go to a clerk-mill like Chicago (the home of law & econ!) Of course you'll then need to balance those opportunities with COA.

TL;DR 1) Retake. 2) If not, get the rest of your T13 apps in ASAP 3) bring all the admits and schollys back to TLS in March/April and the community will help you balance cost and opportunities and give you negotiation advice. Good luck!

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Re: Univ. of Virginia vs GW

Postby cavalier1138 » Mon Dec 02, 2019 6:23 am

I co-sign everything AdieuCali posted. I just want to pry more into this part:

bciara96 wrote:I am interested in criminal law, likely criminal defense ... (I'm currently enrolled in a masters program at Johns Hopkins for Applied Economics).


That seems like a weird combo. What do you envision the practice of criminal defense being?

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Re: Univ. of Virginia vs GW

Postby QContinuum » Mon Dec 02, 2019 12:55 pm

Thirding everything in AdieuCali's excellent post above. A few additional thoughts:
bciara96 wrote:I currently live in the DC area so it would be nice to not have to relocate, but UVA was my top choice going in and the cost of living is cheaper in Charlottesville. I know people say top ten is really only for Big Law but I am fairly prideful and I'm looking for a challenge. School has always been easy for me in the past.

In the world of law schools, there is the T13 (top 13 law schools, as ranked by USNWR), then the T20 (law schools 14 through 19, as ranked by USNWR), then the T1/T2 (law schools 20-50 (T1), and 51-99 (T2)), then everything else (T3/T4). There is not really such a thing as the T10 as there is no "cliff-edge" drop in prestige or placement power between schools 10 and 11.

Within the T13, 0Ls should almost always apply as broadly as possible. Geographic flexibility, to the maximum extent possible, is key. It almost never makes sense to, say, be willing to live in Charlottesville but not Durham, or to rule out the entire Northeast. Of course, once acceptances are in hand, it's perfectly valid to be willing to pay a bit more money to attend law school in one's preferred location - but, ex ante, it's really a bad move to just not apply to a whole bunch of schools.

I'd also add that it's unlikely that attending UVA would be more "challenging" than attending GWU. If anything, attending GWU is likely to be significantly more "challenging" because law school grades are so much more important there than at UVA. (If you really want a "challenge", try being the #1 ranked student in your class year at a T3.) The reason for attending a T13 law school is job placement power, not a "challenging" law school experience.

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Re: Univ. of Virginia vs GW

Postby bciara96 » Mon Dec 02, 2019 7:35 pm

cavalier1138 wrote:I co-sign everything AdieuCali posted. I just want to pry more into this part:

bciara96 wrote:I am interested in criminal law, likely criminal defense ... (I'm currently enrolled in a masters program at Johns Hopkins for Applied Economics).


That seems like a weird combo. What do you envision the practice of criminal defense being?


It's definitely a weird combo. I finished my undergrad in 2 years and felt too young for law school (I was a really young 20) so I paused to teach for a bit just to grow up and mature. I wasn't happy with my undergrad so I thought about how if I could do it all over again, I'd major in economics. It didn't make sense to get another bachelor's so I figured I'd just go get a masters. It was a bit of a detour and the only classes I've really enjoyed have been the ones that tie together economics and government/law. I wouldn't factor the topic of my masters in to anything, it was kind of just a "why not" type thing.

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Re: Univ. of Virginia vs GW

Postby bciara96 » Mon Dec 02, 2019 7:46 pm

QContinuum wrote:Thirding everything in AdieuCali's excellent post above. A few additional thoughts:
bciara96 wrote:I currently live in the DC area so it would be nice to not have to relocate, but UVA was my top choice going in and the cost of living is cheaper in Charlottesville. I know people say top ten is really only for Big Law but I am fairly prideful and I'm looking for a challenge. School has always been easy for me in the past.

In the world of law schools, there is the T13 (top 13 law schools, as ranked by USNWR), then the T20 (law schools 14 through 19, as ranked by USNWR), then the T1/T2 (law schools 20-50 (T1), and 51-99 (T2)), then everything else (T3/T4). There is not really such a thing as the T10 as there is no "cliff-edge" drop in prestige or placement power between schools 10 and 11.

Within the T13, 0Ls should almost always apply as broadly as possible. Geographic flexibility, to the maximum extent possible, is key. It almost never makes sense to, say, be willing to live in Charlottesville but not Durham, or to rule out the entire Northeast. Of course, once acceptances are in hand, it's perfectly valid to be willing to pay a bit more money to attend law school in one's preferred location - but, ex ante, it's really a bad move to just not apply to a whole bunch of schools.

I'd also add that it's unlikely that attending UVA would be more "challenging" than attending GWU. If anything, attending GWU is likely to be significantly more "challenging" because law school grades are so much more important there than at UVA. (If you really want a "challenge", try being the #1 ranked student in your class year at a T3.) The reason for attending a T13 law school is job placement power, not a "challenging" law school experience.


That's a helpful point you make about challenging vs job placement power.

I want to attend law school somewhere that I'd like to live. I hear what you're saying about limiting based off of geographic location but there really is a limited area of where I want to live. I'd go down to Durham but I'm not really trying to stray any further than that. What your comment makes me think of though: how good is GW with job placement? UVA is obviously better, but assuming I have the grades, would there be difficulty in finding a good job in criminal law (in the Virginia/DC area)? Does that answer change if I decided to move back home to Florida? I'm trying to find out what UVA can really offer me that GW can't.

*also, is "Big Law" a specific area or does it just refer to the size of the firm?

Thanks so much for the feedback so far!

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Re: Univ. of Virginia vs GW

Postby bciara96 » Mon Dec 02, 2019 8:18 pm

AdieuCali wrote:The credited response is that law school will still be there in 2021 and you should wait a cycle and retake. A few extra points will give you multiple T13 full- and half-rides as well as a long shot at HYS. (https://mylsn.info/x2yrby)

It's fine if you don't want know exactly what kind of law you want to practice as a 0L. Your interest in economics generally points towards transactional rather than criminal law. The ABA doesn't require schools to track the type of practice graduates enter (e.g. lit, corp, legal aid, crim), only types of employers (big-, mid-, small- firm, gov, & PI). So it's difficult to determine how many students any given school places in criminal law.

Your desire for pride/prestige is rational here. Law is a prestige-obsessed profession, so law school rankings generally correlate with the quality of jobs after graduation. The higher the ranking, the more likely you are to get Art. III clerkships, Biglaw, FedGov Honors, academia, or impact PI. Fed clerkships open even more doors and you're currently passing up an opportunity to go to a clerk-mill like Chicago (the home of law & econ!) Of course you'll then need to balance those opportunities with COA.

TL;DR 1) Retake. 2) If not, get the rest of your T13 apps in ASAP 3) bring all the admits and schollys back to TLS in March/April and the community will help you balance cost and opportunities and give you negotiation advice. Good luck!


Thank you for your feedback! I've actually taken the LSAT three times (over the span of a couple years-- I was originally planning on law school straight out of undergrad but decided against it so I could mature a bit) and I feel like I've put off law school for so long that I just don't want to wait. I'm not retaking or waiting (although I see the merit in both) so I'm just going with the options that I have.

I'm definitely interested in criminal law. I know the master's degree is a weird combo so try to ignore that part, I mainly just included it for the GPA. I'd be interesting in working for a defense firm or working as a prosecutor. I'm not sure if I care too much what size the firm is, but I would like to make around $100k at the minimum (because hey, law school is expensive) (*** as I'm typing this I'm wondering if that's an unlikely salary given the jobs I listed). I'm pretty certain I want to practice in the Virginia/DC area but I could see myself potentially practicing in Florida (although not likely, it's too hot).

I'm really just trying to figure out if UVA can really offer me a lot more than GW since I'm not interested in Big Law (at least -- based on what my understanding of Big Law is). I am interested in clerkships, but mainly just as something that would be really cool, not as something that is overwhelmingly important. My dad keeps stressing the idea of low debt, which makes sense, but I know law school rankings can really matter depending on goals.

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Re: Univ. of Virginia vs GW

Postby QContinuum » Mon Dec 02, 2019 8:24 pm

bciara96 wrote:That's a helpful point you make about challenging vs job placement power.

I want to attend law school somewhere that I'd like to live. I hear what you're saying about limiting based off of geographic location but there really is a limited area of where I want to live. I'd go down to Durham but I'm not really trying to stray any further than that.

Happy to help, and welcome to TLS!

Wanting to attend law school where you want to live makes sense for law schools outside the T13/T20. In fact, it's critical for those schools, because law schools outside the T13/T20 primarily place their graduates into the local market. So, for instance, you would definitely not want to attend a T1 (top 50) law school located on the West Coast if you wanted to end up practicing on the East Coast.

But the T13 law schools place nationally, and so it doesn't make sense to limit oneself geographically. This is especially the case during the application stage, because if you get a terrific scholarship offer at NYU, for instance, you could use that as leverage to negotiate more money from UVA.

And even beyond negotiating, if the COA differential between attending Michigan vs. UVA ends up being, say, $80k (which is entirely possible), would you really want to pay an extra $80k (plus interest) out of your post-tax dollars just so you can avoid living in Ann Arbor for two and half years? (Looking at your MyLSN figures, you stand a 73% chance of getting $80k out of Michigan, but a 67% chance of getting into UVA at sticker.) Keep in mind, law school isn't really three calendar years. You can (should) spend your summers wherever you choose (and in fact you should definitely spend your 1L and 2L summers working in your desired post-grad market), and you'll also have winter holidays and Thanksgiving and spring break. You're only really stuck at law school for something like 7 months each year.

bciara96 wrote:What your comment makes me think of though: how good is GW with job placement? UVA is obviously better, but assuming I have the grades, would there be difficulty in finding a good job in criminal law (in the Virginia/DC area)? Does that answer change if I decided to move back home to Florida? I'm trying to find out what UVA can really offer me that GW can't.

What do you mean by "criminal law"? Do you mean a position with the U.S. DoJ? With the ACLU or EFF or other national advocacy organization? Do you aspire to become a federal prosecutor? Or are you more interested in becoming a state/local public defender? Or working in the trenches in state/local legal aid, repping indigent clients?

As for GWU's job placement ability, 28% of its 2018 grads and 30% of its 2017 grads failed to secure full-time legal employment after graduation. We're not talking about "BigLaw" or "good jobs" or even "bad jobs" - we're talking about any legal job requiring bar passage, regardless of salary. It's almost a one in three chance of not being able to find work as a lawyer after attending law school. In contrast, 93% of UVA's 2018 grads had full-time lawyering jobs, and up to an additional 4% likely held competitive academic fellowships.

(I'd further note that the legal market has been red-hot these past few years, and so job placement numbers are likely to take a plunge if the economy crashes at some point before 2023.)

bciara96 wrote:I'm definitely interested in criminal law. I know the master's degree is a weird combo so try to ignore that part, I mainly just included it for the GPA. I'd be interesting in working for a defense firm or working as a prosecutor. I'm not sure if I care too much what size the firm is, but I would like to make around $100k at the minimum (because hey, law school is expensive) (*** as I'm typing this I'm wondering if that's an unlikely salary given the jobs I listed). I'm pretty certain I want to practice in the Virginia/DC area but I could see myself potentially practicing in Florida (although not likely, it's too hot).

Law schools won't care about your Master's GPA. They care only about your LSAC GPA, which only includes grades you earned prior to receiving your Bachelor's degree.

Legal salaries are bimodal. See https://www.nalp.org/salarydistrib Jobs with starting salaries just over $100k are rare. You would be looking at either BigLaw with a starting salary of $180-190k in D.C. (or a bit less than that in FL), or a starting salary in the ~$40-70k range.

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Re: Univ. of Virginia vs GW

Postby AJordan » Mon Dec 02, 2019 8:31 pm

You're asking good questions, so kudos. Biglaw can mean a bunch of different things but the main idea is that Biglaw = market lock-step payment structure so 1st years come in at $190k+bonus (adjusted for market when appropriate). The idea is that there is no real experience that will set up a lawyer for future opportunity that is equivalent to the experience one gets by starting in biglaw. That pipeline shuts for almost everyone who didn't get it (depending on a few variables) as soon as the OCI ship has sailed.

You're looking to go criminal defense, and that's admirable; we need good, smart people doing that work. However, choosing to do that work right now changes your calculus to the point where you'll want to go to the area you're going to want to live/practice so you can intern/network with the local PD office(s) and get yourself the cheapest education that still carries sufficient respect to land that job. However, in doing so, you potentially close doors to the biglaw path that otherwise you could have had at a similar cost with, as said above, five more correct answers on the LSAT. There's absolutely nothing that says you can't go to UVA for the cost GW would cost you at the moment and then decide after six months or your first year that yes, in fact, criminal defense is what you really want to do. UVA places predominantly in biglaw but they have strong clerkship rates and a dedicated pathway for public interest.

The problem is the shadow side. It's not so easy to go to GW thinking public interest, decide you'd rather use your econ, and gun for biglaw. Then you're in a situation where median grades put you at a disadvantage to land one of those jobs whereas the equivalent position at UVA would make you close to guaranteed to land one. I caution that your bit about "assuming I have the grades" is much easier said than done. People at GW aren't demonstrably worse than people at UVA for the most part. Oftentimes they're simply people who, for whatever reason, don't want to try to get 5 more questions right on the LSAT.

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Re: Univ. of Virginia vs GW

Postby nixy » Mon Dec 02, 2019 8:46 pm

Starting at $100k out of law school in criminal law is pretty unlikely. If you mean that's what you'd like to make eventually, a bit more likely. State prosecutors and public defenders often won't make that until/unless they get experienced enough to reach supervisory levels, although some of the California counties can come close sooner (and they're also extremely competitive). Other localities pay terribly, though. (The very expensive state next to mine starts assistant DAs at $56k.) Federal prosecutors/defenders will hit $100k after a few years (more or fewer depending on local cost of living), but you won't get those jobs straight out of school (and even if you did you wouldn't make $100k until you have a certain level of experience).

Private criminal defense attorneys can make a lot of money, but it's much more hit or miss - you need to find a firm that does particularly well, or build up your own practice over time. I don't think there are many firms that start associates at $100k, but I could be wrong.

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Re: Univ. of Virginia vs GW

Postby AdieuCali » Mon Dec 02, 2019 10:11 pm

There's been some other useful replies that cover the importance of job placement, geographic diversity, etc. but I'd add two thoughts from my personal experience.

1) It sounds like you're maybe 23-24 years old, in a master's program that doesn't really interest you, after completing an uninteresting undergrad, and working as a teacher, which you weren't passionate about. Before you throw yourself into another 3 year JD program (and incur the opportunity cost of not working during that time), it might be worth exploring other career paths. This is not meant to be derogatory - you seem much more put-together than most people in your age bracket. I'm simply saying there is truly no rush to get to law school. The average age for entering 1Ls is closer to 25 than 22. I started law school at 30+ and very few of my fellow Billy Madison, esquires have ever expressed any regret at starting later.

2) Don't close the door on Biglaw before you even start. When I was a 1L, 5 or 6 people in my section were dead set on PI. All but 2 are going BL after graduation. It's not just the money. BL's opportunities, job security, and quality/high expectation of legal work can't be matched. As one other poster mentioned, you can always go from BL :arrow: PI, but not always vice versa. People talk a lot about a school's BL placement because it's a useful proxy for "good legal job at graduation." Also worth noting that you are prestige-focused person (nothing wrong with that; so am I). That means you will want federal prosecutor, federal clerkships, etc. DC is the most competitive legal market for both firms and government. DOJ and DDC tend to recruit from the top of the T13. These jobs are possible from GW, but highly unlikely.

3) One thing that hasn't been brought up is the Biglaw version of criminal law: White Collar Defense & Investigations. You won't be defending indigent clients and won't get any courtroom time until you're a senior associate, but white collar groups make up a big chunk of many DC BL firms and are generally feeders into AUSA/DOJ/FPD. https://www.chambers-associate.com/practice-areas/litigation/becoming-a-white-collar-litigator-the-view-from-cahill

4) If you take nothing else from this thread and you are dead set on law school now, remember this: you NEED to launch applications to every school from UChi-Cornell now. Because a) you will get scholarships elsewhere which you will need to negotiate with UVA & b) because you should really be open-minded about where you would be willing to live for 3 autumns and 2-3 springs. I'm went from California to a mid-T13 on the East Coast. I thought I would hate it here, but it's been great. And because it has national reach, I was able to get BL offers in NY, SoCal, & DC.

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Re: Univ. of Virginia vs GW

Postby bciara96 » Tue Dec 03, 2019 11:03 pm

Can anyone speak to the geographical reach of GW? Would I basically just be limited to the DC/Northern Virginia area? The east coast? How much does this change depending on whether I'm in the top 5%/10%/25% of my class?

I LOVE all the feedback so far. I'm realizing I have some things I need to research (like different jobs in the criminal field). I don't really care too much about salary except for the fact that I'll have large amounts of debt. I've made $60k as a teacher so I'd like to make more than that. I've been thinking private practice with a defense firm but I don't think I realized that there's bigger opportunities still within criminal law. Thanks to everyone who's helped so far!

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Re: Univ. of Virginia vs GW

Postby cavalier1138 » Wed Dec 04, 2019 8:24 am

bciara96 wrote:Can anyone speak to the geographical reach of GW? Would I basically just be limited to the DC/Northern Virginia area? The east coast? How much does this change depending on whether I'm in the top 5%/10%/25% of my class?


Yes, you'd have to plan on being limited to NOVA/DC, unless you have strong ties to another region. That can change based on your class placement, but you should always assume median outcomes.

bciara96 wrote:I don't really care too much about salary except for the fact that I'll have large amounts of debt. I've made $60k as a teacher so I'd like to make more than that.


First of all, you don't have to take on large amounts of debt if you're smart about this. But more importantly, you need to look more closely at how bimodal legal salaries are. People have already mentioned your likely salary in criminal practice. But more generally, if you aren't earning $190k after graduation (biglaw), you're most likely earning $45-60k. That can obviously go up over time, but you should not plan on making more than your current salary after graduation, especially in criminal practice.

That leads to the bigger red flag for me: Your first posts made it sound like you were dead-set on criminal law. But it doesn't seem like you're all that familiar with that practice area (for example, most lawyers cannot just jump into private criminal defense straight out of school). And that's fine. You don't need to know--and can't possibly know--everything about the actual practice of law. But a lot of 0Ls think they want to do criminal law because that's the only area most people are exposed to before law school. And as others have mentioned, you might discover you don't want to spend your career defending an endless stream of difficult clients from criminal charges. Going to GW means that your grades can cut off a wide range of other options, while a T13 can keep a lot of those doors open.

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Re: Univ. of Virginia vs GW

Postby bciara96 » Wed Dec 04, 2019 11:18 pm

cavalier1138 wrote:Going to GW means that your grades can cut off a wide range of other options, while a T13 can keep a lot of those doors open.


Is it T13 or T14? Does it really make difference between those two?

What if Georgetown gets pulled into the mix (I applied there but haven't heard back yet -- run with me on this assumption). Would I still have those open doors/additional options at Georgetown?

Also does it mean anything for scholarship opportunities/potential at UVA that I got accepted earlier in the cycle? From my understanding (which could 100% be wrong) acceptances don't usually come in until after the New Year. ALSO how good of a ranking would a school have to be to use their scholarship offer to negotiate with UVA. Is it strictly other T13/14 schools? Would GW have any pull at all?

I have lots to consider, thank you so much for your feedback!

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Re: Univ. of Virginia vs GW

Postby The Lsat Airbender » Thu Dec 05, 2019 12:38 am

As a wise man once said, Georgetown is a good school, but it admits too many students. There’s a substantial drop off in outcomes, statistically, from a school like UVA. (Georgetown is still well ahead of GW, for what that’s worth.)

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Re: Univ. of Virginia vs GW

Postby cavalier1138 » Thu Dec 05, 2019 6:28 am

bciara96 wrote:What if Georgetown gets pulled into the mix (I applied there but haven't heard back yet -- run with me on this assumption). Would I still have those open doors/additional options at Georgetown?


As mentioned, Georgetown has a leg up on GW, but its placement lags behind the T13. More importantly, why are you still hyper-focused on schools in your immediate area? You're going to have to move for UVA, so why not apply to Duke, Cornell, etc. (and/or retake the LSAT) to give yourself better options and negotiation leverage?

bciara96 wrote:Also does it mean anything for scholarship opportunities/potential at UVA that I got accepted earlier in the cycle? From my understanding (which could 100% be wrong) acceptances don't usually come in until after the New Year. ALSO how good of a ranking would a school have to be to use their scholarship offer to negotiate with UVA. Is it strictly other T13/14 schools? Would GW have any pull at all?


No, pretty much, and no. Schools negotiate scholarships based on offers from peer schools. GW is not a peer school of UVA.

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Re: Univ. of Virginia vs GW

Postby QContinuum » Thu Dec 05, 2019 12:19 pm

bciara96 wrote:
cavalier1138 wrote:Going to GW means that your grades can cut off a wide range of other options, while a T13 can keep a lot of those doors open.


Is it T13 or T14? Does it really make difference between those two?

It's T13, because Georgetown's placement power lags behind Vandy, so it doesn't make any sense to categorize Georgetown as a "T14" while relegating Vandy to the "T20". Also, there's a significant drop in placement power from Cornell, the "last" T13, to Georgetown. So there's good reason to place the cutoff after Cornell (the placement power "cliff"), and no reason to place the cutoff after Georgetown (because why not have Vandy as the "fourteenth school" instead of Georgetown?).

BigLaw and federal clerkship placement numbers are a good rough proxy of a school's overall placement power (even for non-BigLaw positions). Here are the numbers for four of the T20s, including Georgetown:
  • Vandy 63%
  • Georgetown 60%
  • UT 57%
  • WUSTL 52%

You see Georgetown fits in nicely with the rest of the T20 in terms of placement power. By way of comparison, here are the numbers for a few of the T13s, including the "last" T13, Cornell:
  • Cornell 75%
  • Northwestern 76%
  • Duke 77%
  • Penn 80%
  • Columbia 82%
  • UVA 83%

And finally, here's GWU:
  • GWU 36%

You see we're not making up the "cliff"-edge drops between the T13, the T20, and the T1. I'd further note that the T13 placement numbers have been fairly stable over many years, while Vandy, Georgetown and UT have only recently climbed up to ~60%, so it's anyone's guess whether this new high-water mark is a blip or a stable new reality. Historically those schools have placed around or under 50%. If 2008 is any guide, the next time there's an economic slowdown, T20 placement numbers will take a disproportionately hard hit. (T13 placement numbers suffered in '08 too, of course, but not anywhere near as much as T20 placement numbers suffered back then.)

bciara96 wrote:ALSO how good of a ranking would a school have to be to use their scholarship offer to negotiate with UVA. Is it strictly other T13/14 schools? Would GW have any pull at all?

Look at the data above and you will see why UVA (correctly) doesn't consider GWU, or even Georgetown, to be peer schools. This isn't to say GWU/Georgetown are bad schools - Georgetown's the second-strongest T20, after only Vanderbilt - but they just aren't on the same level as the T13.

bciara96

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Re: Univ. of Virginia vs GW

Postby bciara96 » Sat Dec 07, 2019 12:16 pm

Is there a situation where you would recommend GW? Not necessarily vs UVA but just recommending it in general. It's ranked like 22 which led me to think it was a good school but everyone seems to be ragging on it a little bit. I'm not sure if that's specifically when compared to UVA or if it's actually not a good school.

Thanks!

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Re: Univ. of Virginia vs GW

Postby cavalier1138 » Sat Dec 07, 2019 12:34 pm

bciara96 wrote:Is there a situation where you would recommend GW? Not necessarily vs UVA but just recommending it in general. It's ranked like 22 which led me to think it was a good school but everyone seems to be ragging on it a little bit. I'm not sure if that's specifically when compared to UVA or if it's actually not a good school.

Thanks!


I would recommend it under two conditions:

1) You get a full scholarship, AND
2) You do not want the option of biglaw or other similarly competitive career tracks.

The vast majority of lawyers do not practice in big firms, the federal government, the UN, etc. And that's a good thing. The problem is that most 0Ls don't understand that (a) they're very likely cutting off those options by attending a lower-ranked school and (b) they're very likely not going to earn enough money to pay back six figures of debt from that lower-ranked school.

A law school's worth is based on its ability to get its graduates jobs and, more specifically, to get them jobs that will enable them to reasonably pay off whatever debt they accrue during school. GW may have great professors, an amazing clinical program, and boundless academic opportunities. None of that is worth a thing once you're out the door. So don't ask whether it's a "good school"; ask whether it's a school that will set you up for the career you want and won't financially ruin you.

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Re: Univ. of Virginia vs GW

Postby bciara96 » Sat Dec 07, 2019 1:07 pm

cavalier1138 wrote:1) You get a full scholarship, AND
2) You do not want the option of biglaw or other similarly competitive career tracks...The vast majority of lawyers do not practice in big firms, the federal government, the UN, etc.


Is that what you mean by similarly competitive career tracks? If I wanted to be a federal prosecutor (not saying I do), is that under the competitive career tracks umbrella?

cavalier1138 wrote:ask whether it's a school that will set you up for the career you want and won't financially ruin you.


If I pick UVA without scholarship money, as it seems most people are recommending (actually most people are saying retake LSAT and apply to more schools but that didn't really go to my Choice A vs Choice B thing), and decide not to go into a big firm/competitive career track and just do something more basic, that decision would be financially ruining because I wouldn't be making enough to pay off the massive amount of debt I'd have accumulated.

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Re: Univ. of Virginia vs GW

Postby The Lsat Airbender » Sat Dec 07, 2019 1:47 pm

You’re obviously much better off retaking and getting a better deal, but T14 schools are aware of that issue and have programs like this:

https://www.law.virginia.edu/public-ser ... orgiveness

Another point of distinction between the best schools and the good-but-not-great ones



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