Hamilton at Columbia vs. Yale/Harvard

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chris0805
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Postby chris0805 » Sun Jan 25, 2009 2:22 pm

My inclination would be to go to Yale, unless you really want to stay in NY (then go to CLS) or if you want to do a joint MBA/JD or joint MPP/JD (then go to harvard).

If you go biglaw, the loans will be a drop in the bucket and if you go PI, Yale's LRAP will cover you well enough. If you're interested in biglaw, I think the opportunities will be similar from all three of these schools. Still, I think the Yale experience is worth the price tag.

Just as an FYI: If you want to maximize your money, you shouldn't clerk. A $200K bonus for SCOTUS clerks is great, but most SCOTUS clerks have been clerking for three years (minimum two). They were getting paid 130K+ less for those years. People clerk to become better lawyers or get their foot in the door for academia, not to maximize their net worth. Though, I guess you could argue you would have greater job security and that likely has some monetary value. A firm would likely be pretty hesitant to fire a past SCOTUS clerk.

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Bosque
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Re:

Postby Bosque » Sun Jan 25, 2009 3:26 pm

chris0805 wrote:Just as an FYI: If you want to maximize your money, you shouldn't clerk. A $200K bonus for SCOTUS clerks is great, but most SCOTUS clerks have been clerking for three years (minimum two). They were getting paid 130K+ less for those years. People clerk to become better lawyers or get their foot in the door for academia, not to maximize their net worth. Though, I guess you could argue you would have greater job security and that likely has some monetary value. A firm would likely be pretty hesitant to fire a past SCOTUS clerk.


I have a feeling most people who have clerked or want to clerk for the SCOTUS know they are not doing it for the money.

Hell, I would give my left nut to be a SCOTUS clerk, if you will pardon the expression. I could die happy after that.

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mallard
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Re: Re:

Postby mallard » Sun Jan 25, 2009 3:27 pm

Bosque wrote:Hell, I would give my left nut to be a SCOTUS clerk, if you will pardon the expression. I could die happy after that.


Sometimes I read posts like this and wonder... I don't know. I mean, really?

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Bosque
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Re: Re:

Postby Bosque » Sun Jan 25, 2009 3:30 pm

mallard wrote:
Bosque wrote:Hell, I would give my left nut to be a SCOTUS clerk, if you will pardon the expression. I could die happy after that.


Sometimes I read posts like this and wonder... I don't know. I mean, really?


Different strokes for different folks Mallard. I am just not really in this for the money.

By the way, I cannot remember which thread it was I was reading, but you are on fire today. :P

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mallard
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Re: Hamilton at Columbia vs. Yale/Harvard

Postby mallard » Sun Jan 25, 2009 3:31 pm

Hey, thanks!

I'm not in this for the money either, no question about that; but I see a little bit too much of myself in statements like "If I could become a SCOTUS clerk, I could die happily afterwards."

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Bosque
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Re: Hamilton at Columbia vs. Yale/Harvard

Postby Bosque » Sun Jan 25, 2009 3:37 pm

Ah, ok. I understand.

I admit I was speaking a bit in hyperbole. If I don't get to clerk for the SCOTUS, it is certainly not the end of the world. But I know I would be really happy doing it at the same time.

In any case, I am sure that even if we both got it, some other "life affirming" goal would appear on the horizon that would make our lives complete. And then another, and another...

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mallard
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Re: Hamilton at Columbia vs. Yale/Harvard

Postby mallard » Sun Jan 25, 2009 3:39 pm

Exactly.

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LisaMBA09
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Re: Hamilton at Columbia vs. Yale/Harvard

Postby LisaMBA09 » Sun Jan 25, 2009 3:48 pm

Cartwright4 wrote:Thanks guys! This is great advice.

Here is the LSD discussion I mentioned that someone wanted:

http://www.lawschooldiscussion.org/prel ... 538.0.html

It's three years old but very good nonetheless.

And as for the gf, we've been together 3 years but she's def not gonna block opportunities for me.


First of all, I want to congratulate you! wow and what an accomplishment...from reading some of the posts, I think a few are envious at such a dilemma - me included ;)

with that being said, I have to completely agree with a previous poster...NO $$ching-ching to attend Columbia? No student loan payments until you are 90 years old?
yes, Yale is completely enticing...but I would be more excited about being debt-free and with a choice of jobs when I get out!
congrats!

lavaina
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Re: Hamilton at Columbia vs. Yale/Harvard

Postby lavaina » Sun Jan 25, 2009 3:58 pm

chris,

Could you please, when you have a moment, head over to the "Why Columbia is better than NYU" thread and add your cogent, well-balanced arguments. Please ignore the inflammatory title of the thread and the rampant, useless discussion that has ensued to help the OP understand what some of the small, positive differences of choosing Columbia over NYU might be.

Your presence would be a godsend.

magnumxlv
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Re: Hamilton at Columbia vs. Yale/Harvard

Postby magnumxlv » Sun Jan 25, 2009 4:16 pm

Yale, especially since you're not sure what you want to do.

If you go to Columbia and decide you want to to clerk at SCOTUS or go into academia right after law school, but aren't right at the top of the class, you might not get what you want and end up regretting your decision.

To get the same opportunities at Yale, you still need to be high up in your class, but not AS high as Columbia.

Think of it in terms of standard deviations. At Columbia you might need to be 2 standard deviations above the mean in order to get the top jobs (minus biglaw), but at Yale you probably just need to be 1 standard deviation above the mean, if that, which is much easier to obtain.

I don't have a chance at Yale, and Columbia even w/o a Hamilton is a reach, but even taking the Hammie into consideration, I'd choose Yale any day.

I don't think you would EVER regret the choice to attend Yale because you can easily make back the Hamilton money and more in the future, but you may well end up regretting the choice to attend Columbia if you feel limited by what the degree has allowed you to accomplish.

parkway45
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Re: Hamilton at Columbia vs. Yale/Harvard

Postby parkway45 » Sun Jan 25, 2009 5:58 pm

I turned down the hamilton for sls partly because of a relationship...otherwise, I would have taken the cash...(but i do love sls). My advice is to take the money (i also turned down yls...i would have taken the cash over yls too)

KP429
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Re: Hamilton at Columbia vs. Yale/Harvard

Postby KP429 » Sun Jan 25, 2009 6:31 pm

parkway45 wrote:I turned down the hamilton for sls partly because of a relationship...otherwise, I would have taken the cash...(but i do love sls). My advice is to take the money (i also turned down yls...i would have taken the cash over yls too)


Parkway, thank you for your insight, but could you elaborate a little more on your decision-making process?

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Cartwright4
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Re: Hamilton at Columbia vs. Yale/Harvard

Postby Cartwright4 » Sun Jan 25, 2009 8:19 pm

KP429 wrote:Parkway, thank you for your insight, but could you elaborate a little more on your decision-making process?


I would definitely like to hear more of your thoughts as well. BTW, I finally got the actual Hamilton Columbia acceptance (my parents had just read it to me over the phone since I was away for the weekend), and there is indeed a faculty mentorship, along with the opportunity to do research with this mentor in the upperclass years. Do you guys thing this might significantly impact the decision in any way, since it might reduce the academia/clerkship gap?

The letter also offers a one-on-one meeting with one of the senior admissions officers if I'd like - I think I will definitely take them up on this and try to get their full sales-pitch (in addition to contacting Y and H and getting them to put me in touch with people who turned down the Hamilton).

Thanks for all the advice!

KP429
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Re: Hamilton at Columbia vs. Yale/Harvard

Postby KP429 » Sun Jan 25, 2009 8:43 pm

Cartwright4 wrote:
KP429 wrote:Parkway, thank you for your insight, but could you elaborate a little more on your decision-making process?


I would definitely like to hear more of your thoughts as well. BTW, I finally got the actual Hamilton Columbia acceptance (my parents had just read it to me over the phone since I was away for the weekend), and there is indeed a faculty mentorship, along with the opportunity to do research with this mentor in the upperclass years. Do you guys thing this might significantly impact the decision in any way, since it might reduce the academia/clerkship gap?

The letter also offers a one-on-one meeting with one of the senior admissions officers if I'd like - I think I will definitely take them up on this and try to get their full sales-pitch (in addition to contacting Y and H and getting them to put me in touch with people who turned down the Hamilton).

Thanks for all the advice!


Yeah, it's very strange to me that so many Hamilton recipients (at least on LSN) ended up choosing one of YHS anyway despite the fellowship. It could be that the recipients are, more often than not, looking for something super prestigious that they feel can only be achieved at YHS (clerkships, academia, etc.) or perhaps money just isn't that big of a concern for them and their families. Coming from a less privileged background, debt would be a huge concern for me and graduating with no debt would seem to allow one a much higher degree of flexibility when it comes to pursuing a career path post-law school.

Also, I can't remember what thread it was but I read somewhere on here that a Hamilton recipient asked the CLS admissions office to put them in touch with current students who chose the Hamilton over HYS and they could only find _one_ 3L who had made that choice. Something doesn't seem to add up.

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Cartwright4
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Re: Hamilton at Columbia vs. Yale/Harvard

Postby Cartwright4 » Sun Jan 25, 2009 10:55 pm

Hey KP,

I think we're going through a very similar thought process. While I heard about what you're talking about (the lack of Hamilton fellows who turned down YHS), the LSD discussion seems more balanced and there is at least one or two people on there who made the opposite decision. I will try to meet with the Columbia admissions people since they offered it, and I will try to get all the information I can on current Hamiltons as well as the mentorship aspect of the fellowship. I'll report back what I hear.

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Re: Hamilton at Columbia vs. Yale/Harvard

Postby huckabees » Mon Jan 26, 2009 1:05 am

I think more people choose the Hamilton over Y/H than what these boards would lead you to think.

I know one 3L and one 2L who made that choice.

Though I can't give you their contact info, I can tell you that they don't regret making the decision, and that the 3L is headed to WLRK (which is what s/he wanted).

ccw1234
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Re: Hamilton at Columbia vs. Yale/Harvard

Postby ccw1234 » Mon Jan 26, 2009 11:40 am

. . .
Last edited by ccw1234 on Sun Jul 18, 2010 8:34 am, edited 1 time in total.

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Skadden Stairs
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Re: Hamilton at Columbia vs. Yale/Harvard

Postby Skadden Stairs » Mon Jan 26, 2009 4:25 pm

PS- Props to the OP for being the first person to recognize why it can be so irksome when lurkers only post to get help...

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skiridedrive
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Re: Hamilton at Columbia vs. Yale/Harvard

Postby skiridedrive » Mon Jan 26, 2009 7:26 pm

Personally, I would go with Columbia.

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extragnarls
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Re: Hamilton at Columbia vs. Yale/Harvard

Postby extragnarls » Mon Jan 26, 2009 7:36 pm

KP429 wrote:Yeah, it's very strange to me that so many Hamilton recipients (at least on LSN) ended up choosing one of YHS anyway despite the fellowship... Coming from a less privileged background, debt would be a huge concern for me and graduating with no debt would seem to allow one a much higher degree of flexibility when it comes to pursuing a career path post-law school.


It is strange. Likewise, on LSN I've seen that a large percentage of folks in my numbers-neighborhood routinely attend Columbia over significant $ at Michigan, Virginia, or even Chicago. I always chalked it up to a desire to live in NY, have the lay prestige of CLS, etc. but I was/am kind of surprised nonetheless.

Jay Obee
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Re: Hamilton at Columbia vs. Yale/Harvard

Postby Jay Obee » Mon Jan 26, 2009 8:01 pm

extragnarls wrote:
KP429 wrote:Yeah, it's very strange to me that so many Hamilton recipients (at least on LSN) ended up choosing one of YHS anyway despite the fellowship... Coming from a less privileged background, debt would be a huge concern for me and graduating with no debt would seem to allow one a much higher degree of flexibility when it comes to pursuing a career path post-law school.


It is strange. Likewise, on LSN I've seen that a large percentage of folks in my numbers-neighborhood routinely attend Columbia over significant $ at Michigan, Virginia, or even Chicago. I always chalked it up to a desire to live in NY, have the lay prestige of CLS, etc. but I was/am kind of surprised nonetheless.


I am not surprised. A lot of people who are choosing between these schools have families that are extremely successful. This means that they 1) have a very strong sense that they will be rich as well following law school and have no problem paying off school debt and/or 2) have family that will outright pay for tuition. People from more modest backgrounds don't trust that they will be as successful even from the best schools, and aren't as comfortable with the risk, especially given that their family won't be able to absorb the cost.

Face it. For a certain class of people, paying 40k a year for tuition isn't that big of a deal. I'm not one of those people, but I wish I were.

sbalive
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Re: Hamilton at Columbia vs. Yale/Harvard

Postby sbalive » Mon Jan 26, 2009 9:03 pm

Jay Obee wrote:
extragnarls wrote:
KP429 wrote:Yeah, it's very strange to me that so many Hamilton recipients (at least on LSN) ended up choosing one of YHS anyway despite the fellowship... Coming from a less privileged background, debt would be a huge concern for me and graduating with no debt would seem to allow one a much higher degree of flexibility when it comes to pursuing a career path post-law school.


It is strange. Likewise, on LSN I've seen that a large percentage of folks in my numbers-neighborhood routinely attend Columbia over significant $ at Michigan, Virginia, or even Chicago. I always chalked it up to a desire to live in NY, have the lay prestige of CLS, etc. but I was/am kind of surprised nonetheless.


I am not surprised. A lot of people who are choosing between these schools have families that are extremely successful. This means that they 1) have a very strong sense that they will be rich as well following law school and have no problem paying off school debt and/or 2) have family that will outright pay for tuition. People from more modest backgrounds don't trust that they will be as successful even from the best schools, and aren't as comfortable with the risk, especially given that their family won't be able to absorb the cost.


There was a thread a while back discussing parental education backgrounds and getting into issues like the likelihood to apply/succeed at top law schools, etc. This is a perfect example of what's going on here. There's something about being 1st generation to go to college, 1st generation to go to grad school, 1st generation out of economically disadvantaged background, etc. ... This concept of "comfort level" with risk is really significant. One of the arguments when UC Merced was opened in California's central valley was that even when students had UC-level SAT scores/GPAs, working-class, often Hispanic families in the region were sending their kids to the local Cal State or even community college instead of taking the risk of having them leave home and accumulate additional expenses. Many students are hesitant at the undergrad level to go to elite schools where they may face daunting tuition costs - while better-off students are more able to the risk. It doesn't have anything to do with families being able to bear costs - in this era of over-leveraged families with giant mortgages, straining to keep up expenses with 2 incomes, etc. - it may not be practical for even upper middle-class families to come to the rescue... But they still send kids to college with large debtloads.

The willingness to risk is a huge hurdle... And there are opportunities one gets at HYS that you won't get at other law schools, and opportunities you can get at CCN you can't get in the lower tier of the T14, and opportunities you won't get below the T14. Even in science/engineering, there's a big premium placed on the "name" of your PhD-granting school - but at least there are far more concrete ways to evaluate students who excel at lesser-known schools - or else the reputation of particular research groups can exceed those of the school as a whole. By contrast, JDs are typically not associated with particular faculty or research projects, outside of just being on law review or journals - whose prestige is associated with the institution. It seems that concrete achievements matter less.

That said, certain schools like Duke and Virginia (and Vanderbilt and Texas) have historically offered shots at academia through clerkships and a "scholarly reputation"... and other schools like Georgetown offer a chance to excel in government, etc. But, it's not the same - you just can't compare the context of the student body (both in terms of academic strength but also orientation, ambition, etc.), connections / networking (Obama's administration is an easy example), faculty, and most importantly how people perceive you and what you bring to them. (Even for lower-tier academic jobs, universities always want top-names, preferably Harvard/Yale JD's because they know that's a way students evaluate faculties.) The same goes for firms, etc.

You can never go back and re-do your law education... You owe it to yourself to make it what it can be, especially when you're talking about schools in an echelon where it's not impossible to pay off debt and they have good LRAP programs. Trust me, it's not about having rich parents or other fall-backs. It's about having a feeling of security - and yes, sometimes this ends up being recklessness (kids who sign up for credit cards and run up massive bills in college, 20-somethings who bought $400K condos with $0 down) but it also means a willingness to strive for the top.

In my case, I made decisions for my Bachelor's degree and PhD based on finances and location. I learned my lesson. Next time - especially for something as abstract as a JD - I'm going to the absolutely highest-ranked university possible (ok, I might take Berkeley, but that's a special case).

Jay Obee
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Re: Hamilton at Columbia vs. Yale/Harvard

Postby Jay Obee » Mon Jan 26, 2009 9:24 pm

Sbalive: Some of my comment about wealth was about actual payment of the tuition by family but also, as you so wordily worded, based upon the confidence and comfort with risk that is correllated with prior family success in such ventures (e.g. educated parents) or family income. I think we are pretty much in agreement.

However, while your scenario presumes acceptance to two schools, one local and cheap and one excellent and out of town, I would pose that the biggest barrier for people who aren't part of the mainstream middle or upper class is that they simply sell themselves short by not even applying. Basically a two tiered problem, people need to know that they should apply and, once in, they should go. Everyone needs that overbearing parent that won't be happy unless she can brag to her friends that her daughter is smarter than theirs and pushes you to apply to Harvard. Some of us on TLS are that surrogate :lol:

pathos2025
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Re: Hamilton at Columbia vs. Yale/Harvard

Postby pathos2025 » Mon Jan 26, 2009 11:21 pm

Quick question: does anyone know if the Hamilton is only awarded during the first round of admission decisions or if they still hand out a few once the very last few applications come in? I just applied to Columbia very late, as I got into Harvard early and felt satisfied with that. However, Columbia offered a fee waiver and I figured I would toss in an application and see what happened. But, I don't know if I would even be in the running for a Hamilton at this late stage in the game: are they all gone or is it possible a few remain?

Thanks!

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mallard
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Re: Hamilton at Columbia vs. Yale/Harvard

Postby mallard » Mon Jan 26, 2009 11:32 pm

All gone, I'm pretty sure.




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