Yet another...Columbia vs. NYU vs. Penn vs. Berkeley

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Where should I go?

 
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imchuckbass58
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Yet another...Columbia vs. NYU vs. Penn vs. Berkeley

Postby imchuckbass58 » Sun Apr 12, 2009 4:41 pm

So, I'm fortunate enough to have quite an attractive decision to make, but that doesn't mean it's easy.

Out of the above choices, which should I choose, given the following background:

--No scholarship money from any school

--I've lived in New York for 20 out of 24 years of my life. Mixed feelings on this. On one hand, I love the city and have lots of friends and family here, on the other hand, I can't help shake the feeling that this is a golden opportunity to go somewhere else, meet new people and experience something different (I can always come back if I decide I like NYC better).

--Agnostic as to where I want to practice, but definitely a big city (NY, DC, SF, LA, CH).

--Not interested in "pure" PI (legal aid, ACLU, NAACP LDF). Would love to have a shot at clerkships, academia or prestigious gov't work (DOJ, attorney general's office, fed agencies, etc), but realize all these are relatively tough to get and that I shouldn't count on them. Most likely will work in biglaw straight out of school, and am fine with this prospect.

--I have something of a business background (2 years in mgmt. consulting) and applying for a JD/MBA or transitioning into a business role after practicing for a while are definite possibilities, though I'm not set on this.

--Have visited Columbia and NYU, but will not get to visit Penn and Berkeley since I am out of the country until July.

Pros and cons as I see them:

Berkeley
Pros: California location, grading system, general laid back/collegial atmosphere.
Cons: Some people don't like Berkeley's location, slightly less prestigious, more pull on the west coast than the east coast.

Penn
Pros: Not in NYC, also pretty collegial, has Wharton.
Cons: Slightly less prestigious, Philadelphia strikes me as nothing special.

NYU
Pros: Relatively aid back, PI focus, great faculty, in NYC.
Cons: Huge, less attractive location within NYC than Columbia (from my perspective), in NYC.

Columbia
Pros: Killer faculty, arguably (with NYU) best name of the bunch, ridiculous placement, superior location within NYC, in NYC.
Cons: Reputation for being intense/having gunners, in NYC.

Any thoughts?

Go_Cardinals
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Re: Yet another...Columbia vs. NYU vs. Penn vs. Berkeley

Postby Go_Cardinals » Sun Apr 12, 2009 4:44 pm

Same 4 schools, in the same situation. Where you leaning? From those 4 I've narrowed it to Berkeley v. Columbia, but am stuck as far as picking one from those 2.

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muddywaters
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Re: Yet another...Columbia vs. NYU vs. Penn vs. Berkeley

Postby muddywaters » Sun Apr 12, 2009 4:46 pm

I would go with Columbia here, but would wager that you would pick Berkeley if you visited.

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Margarets
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Re: Yet another...Columbia vs. NYU vs. Penn vs. Berkeley

Postby Margarets » Sun Apr 12, 2009 4:55 pm

Pros: Killer faculty, arguably (with NYU) best name of the bunch, ridiculous placement, superior location within NYC, in NYC.


Are you sure NYU has "the best name" of the bunch? If this is all about lay prestige, that isn't true.

And do you really think CLS is in a superior location? I dunno, I prefer the Village to Morningside Heights. Even if you don't like the Village, it's easy to escape to other areas. What do you do in Morningside Heights? Wait for the 1 train to take you to the lower part of the Upper West Side? Walk down Morningside Park?

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kurla88
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Re: Yet another...Columbia vs. NYU vs. Penn vs. Berkeley

Postby kurla88 » Sun Apr 12, 2009 5:01 pm

I can understand wanting to get out of the city where you've lived so long, but I really don't feel like this is a question... for the same price Columbia provides way better opportunities, especially for clerkships and other prestige-driven jobs you mentioned. Having your support group there will also be really nice.

Negotiate for some scholarship money at Penn or Berkeley... then they'll be options.

imchuckbass58
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Re: Yet another...Columbia vs. NYU vs. Penn vs. Berkeley

Postby imchuckbass58 » Sun Apr 12, 2009 5:02 pm

Margarets wrote:
Pros: Killer faculty, arguably (with NYU) best name of the bunch, ridiculous placement, superior location within NYC, in NYC.


Are you sure NYU has "the best name" of the bunch? If this is all about lay prestige, that isn't true.

And do you really think CLS is in a superior location? I dunno, I prefer the Village to Morningside Heights. Even if you don't like the Village, it's easy to escape to other areas. What do you do in Morningside Heights? Wait for the 1 train to take you to the lower part of the Upper West Side? Walk down Morningside Park?


Yeah, when I said name I guess I meant among lawyers -- lay prestige doesn't really matter to me (should it?)

My thoughts on the village vs. morningside heighs debate is that the particular area where NYU is is a friggin circus. The whole Bleecker/MacDougal area is constantly full of drunk high schoolers from Jersey. Also, the NYU dorms BLOW, and as much as I'd love to live in one of those nice townhouses in the West Village, I'm not sure it's in the cards given a law student budget.

If I went to Columbia, I'd probably live on the UWS with some friends -- I know it's stroller country, but it's closer to where stuff is and reasonably priced.

Also, I like the more campusy feel of Columbia. NYU is basically just 2 buildings in the middle of the city.

Not saying that Columbia is in all cases superior -- this is just my perspective. I could easily see someone going for NYU of Columbia based on location given different likes and dislikes.

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Someperson
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Re: Yet another...Columbia vs. NYU vs. Penn vs. Berkeley

Postby Someperson » Sun Apr 12, 2009 5:05 pm

kurla88 wrote:I can understand wanting to get out of the city where you've lived so long, but I really don't feel like this is a question... for the same price Columbia provides way better opportunities, especially for clerkships and other prestige-driven jobs you mentioned. Having your support group there will also be really nice.

Negotiate for some scholarship money at Penn or Berkeley... then they'll be options.


Yeah, TITCR.

Columbia and NYU are clearly the better options, Penn really doesn't deserve a mention at all in this group (Because the Author doesn't like Philly)... Berkeley would make sense if you wanted to live on the West Coast, but it's placement statistics aren't up to par with Columbia or NYU in any major cities besides the ones in CA.

And to OP's latest post: Go to Columbia. It's ranked higher then NYU, and you clearly prefer it. No harm, no foul.

Go_Cardinals
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Re: Yet another...Columbia vs. NYU vs. Penn vs. Berkeley

Postby Go_Cardinals » Sun Apr 12, 2009 5:08 pm

Look, I too am in this dificult position, but I must say most of these "placement" statistics are self-selection. If you were to believe them then you'd think that a law firm prefers a columbia grad to say a harvard grad - thats just stupid. Columbia grads have a greater tendency to want to stay at NY at the famous top ranked firms. That doesn't make them more qualified or better applicants. Cal grads, if they choose to apply, likely stand an equal chance of being hired. the Columbia name is not so much better within the legal community, as it is within the lay world. If you care what a stranger thinks of you, then Columbia is the right choice. Otherwise, Columbia and CAL are on equal footing.

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Cleareyes
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Re: Yet another...Columbia vs. NYU vs. Penn vs. Berkeley

Postby Cleareyes » Sun Apr 12, 2009 5:11 pm

Go_Cardinals wrote: Cal grads, if they choose to apply, likely stand an equal chance of being hired. the Columbia name is not so much better within the legal community, as it is within the lay world. If you care what a stranger thinks of you, then Columbia is the right choice. Otherwise, Columbia and CAL are on equal footing.


Do you have any evidence whatsoever to back this up, or did you just pull the opinion from the air?

There's nothing wrong with Berkeley, it's a great school, but Columbia is in the CCN tier and places better not just in law firms but in clerkships and academia as well.

Go_Cardinals
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Re: Yet another...Columbia vs. NYU vs. Penn vs. Berkeley

Postby Go_Cardinals » Sun Apr 12, 2009 5:19 pm

its called common sense. look at vaults top law school rankings. they are a joke. Harvard is like 8 and Yale 11. Does that make sense to you? its called self-selection.

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Cleareyes
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Re: Yet another...Columbia vs. NYU vs. Penn vs. Berkeley

Postby Cleareyes » Sun Apr 12, 2009 5:21 pm

Go_Cardinals wrote:I pulled it out of my butt.


Okay.

Self-selection clearly plays a part, but by all objective metrics Columbia has slightly better prospects than Berk. That doesn't mean it's always better than Berk, but you can't just decide that there's no difference based on nothing.

aryncita
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Re: Yet another...Columbia vs. NYU vs. Penn vs. Berkeley

Postby aryncita » Sun Apr 12, 2009 5:24 pm

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Last edited by aryncita on Mon Aug 09, 2010 1:25 am, edited 1 time in total.

Go_Cardinals
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Re: Yet another...Columbia vs. NYU vs. Penn vs. Berkeley

Postby Go_Cardinals » Sun Apr 12, 2009 5:26 pm

I would agree there is a marginal advantage to columbia, but its mostly because of the reputation of the undergraduate campus, not the law school.

@ the point where this is the 100th thread with these same 2 schools, i think its clear the same kids are getting into both. IE the schools are about equal. The legal community at large is not dumb.

Those statistics you site on firm placement is mostly self-selection. As for clerkships and academia, the vault rankings show the schools as being by percent (remember columbia is almost twice the size of cal) almost identitical. Columbia has a slight edge, however Cal has a better slope.

aryncita
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Re: Yet another...Columbia vs. NYU vs. Penn vs. Berkeley

Postby aryncita » Sun Apr 12, 2009 5:29 pm

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Last edited by aryncita on Mon Aug 09, 2010 1:25 am, edited 1 time in total.

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MeTalkPrettyOneDay
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Re: Yet another...Columbia vs. NYU vs. Penn vs. Berkeley

Postby MeTalkPrettyOneDay » Sun Apr 12, 2009 5:44 pm

imchuckbass58 wrote:[CLS] Cons: Reputation for being intense/having gunners

Did you talk with students when you visited CLS? Based on the students I talked with at the ASW and the general vibe I got, I think this reputation is seriously overblown. Students seemed generally friendly, said they work (it's law school!) but also have lives, and emphasized that CLS is not a competitive place.

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jacktripper
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Re: Yet another...Columbia vs. NYU vs. Penn vs. Berkeley

Postby jacktripper » Sun Apr 12, 2009 5:45 pm

Go to Columbia, you like the area and it's a great school.

imchuckbass58
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Re: Yet another...Columbia vs. NYU vs. Penn vs. Berkeley

Postby imchuckbass58 » Sun Apr 12, 2009 5:56 pm

MeTalkPrettyOneDay wrote:
imchuckbass58 wrote:[CLS] Cons: Reputation for being intense/having gunners

Did you talk with students when you visited CLS? Based on the students I talked with at the ASW and the general vibe I got, I think this reputation is seriously overblown. Students seemed generally friendly, said they work (it's law school!) but also have lives, and emphasized that CLS is not a competitive place.


I think the reputation is overblown, but I do stand by the impression that CLS is less "chill" than other schools.

I think the stereotype of huge dbags running around burning notes or buying E&Es or making snide comments in class is largely not true, but I have often heard the sentiment "people are not overtly competitive with others, but work very hard for themselves" more so than at other schools.

Furthermore, the impression I got at Columbia ASW was "the people here are not nearly as bad as people say they are" not "the people here are awesome and really laid back" (which I have heard at other schools).

Maybe I'm reading too much into this. I'm less concerned about this for two reasons though:

-If I go to Columbia I'll have a substantial non-law school social life, so if the environment gets stifling, I have an outlet.

-I swear I'm not a douche, but I think I probably have a different idea of "chill" than the average law student. Coming from an industry where pulling 65-70 hour weeks was the norm, "working hard" in law school doesn't seem that soul-crushing.

The one thing that I think might matter is the grading system. From what I hear, at Berkeley, pretty much everyone except the top of the class gets a sprinkling of Passes and High Passes. At Columbia, every +/- gradation shows up and (to some degree) matters.

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Re: Yet another...Columbia vs. NYU vs. Penn vs. Berkeley

Postby dresden doll » Sun Apr 12, 2009 5:57 pm

aryncita wrote:I don't want to start another flame war over Penn's ranking, but bear in mind that many observers have noted that their USNWR rank seems to be unjustifiably high. Even if you accept the USNWR rankings as completely valid, you'll note that Penn's reputation scores are significantly lower than the scores of comparably ranked schools. (And in spite of their notorious yield protection practices and the fact that they aren't required to admit in-state students with lower numbers, their selectivity numbers are pretty comparable to the numbers at Michigan and Virginia.) Some have suggested that Penn is fudging (or outright lying about) their faculty expenditures number, since that number also gets a very heavy weight and USNWR doesn't publish it. To me, Penn is on a lower tier than all the other schools you are considering. Personally I wouldn't consider it at all unless they offered you money or you visited it and absolutely loved it there.


+1 for the observation that Penn is ranked unjustifiably high by USNWR. I've always liked its interdisciplinary approach and think it's a very good school overall but the fact that it's tied with Chicago is a joke.

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Cara
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Re: Yet another...Columbia vs. NYU vs. Penn vs. Berkeley

Postby Cara » Sun Apr 12, 2009 9:16 pm

CLS if you want to stay in NYC, Berkeley if you want to have a change of scenery.

huckabees
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Re: Yet another...Columbia vs. NYU vs. Penn vs. Berkeley

Postby huckabees » Mon Apr 13, 2009 10:14 am

Cleareyes wrote:
Go_Cardinals wrote:I pulled it out of my butt.


Okay.

Self-selection clearly plays a part, but by all objective metrics Columbia has slightly better prospects than Berk. That doesn't mean it's always better than Berk, but you can't just decide that there's no difference based on nothing.


:lol:

Did you just intentionally misquote someone?

huckabees
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Re: Yet another...Columbia vs. NYU vs. Penn vs. Berkeley

Postby huckabees » Mon Apr 13, 2009 10:15 am

Go_Cardinals wrote:I would agree there is a marginal advantage to columbia, but its mostly because of the reputation of the undergraduate campus, not the law school.

@ the point where this is the 100th thread with these same 2 schools, i think its clear the same kids are getting into both. IE the schools are about equal. The legal community at large is not dumb.

Those statistics you site on firm placement is mostly self-selection. As for clerkships and academia, the vault rankings show the schools as being by percent (remember columbia is almost twice the size of cal) almost identitical. Columbia has a slight edge, however Cal has a better slope.


I think a large number get into both, but it is clear from LSN that there are also plenty who are admitted to Berkeley and not to CLS.

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Unemployed
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Re: Yet another...Columbia vs. NYU vs. Penn vs. Berkeley

Postby Unemployed » Mon Apr 13, 2009 10:22 am

huckabees wrote:
Go_Cardinals wrote:I would agree there is a marginal advantage to columbia, but its mostly because of the reputation of the undergraduate campus, not the law school.

@ the point where this is the 100th thread with these same 2 schools, i think its clear the same kids are getting into both. IE the schools are about equal. The legal community at large is not dumb.

Those statistics you site on firm placement is mostly self-selection. As for clerkships and academia, the vault rankings show the schools as being by percent (remember columbia is almost twice the size of cal) almost identitical. Columbia has a slight edge, however Cal has a better slope.


I think a large number get into both, but it is clear from LSN that there are also plenty who are admitted to Berkeley and not to CLS.


And then there are plenty of people who get into CLS but not Berkeley, because according to Berkeley's "holistic approach," they are not good enough human beings :twisted:

whyamihere
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Re: Yet another...Columbia vs. NYU vs. Penn vs. Berkeley

Postby whyamihere » Mon Apr 13, 2009 10:25 am

aryncita wrote:I don't want to start another flame war over Penn's ranking, but bear in mind that many observers have noted that their USNWR rank seems to be unjustifiably high. Even if you accept the USNWR rankings as completely valid, you'll note that Penn's reputation scores are significantly lower than the scores of comparably ranked schools. (And in spite of their notorious yield protection practices and the fact that they aren't required to admit in-state students with lower numbers, their selectivity numbers are pretty comparable to the numbers at Michigan and Virginia.) Some have suggested that Penn is fudging (or outright lying about) their faculty expenditures number, since that number also gets a very heavy weight and USNWR doesn't publish it. To me, Penn is on a lower tier than all the other schools you are considering. Personally I wouldn't consider it at all unless they offered you money or you visited it and absolutely loved it there.


did you get rejected by penn or something? you hate on penn in almost every thread you're in

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Re: Yet another...Columbia vs. NYU vs. Penn vs. Berkeley

Postby huckabees » Mon Apr 13, 2009 10:32 am

Unemployed wrote:
huckabees wrote:
Go_Cardinals wrote:I would agree there is a marginal advantage to columbia, but its mostly because of the reputation of the undergraduate campus, not the law school.

@ the point where this is the 100th thread with these same 2 schools, i think its clear the same kids are getting into both. IE the schools are about equal. The legal community at large is not dumb.

Those statistics you site on firm placement is mostly self-selection. As for clerkships and academia, the vault rankings show the schools as being by percent (remember columbia is almost twice the size of cal) almost identitical. Columbia has a slight edge, however Cal has a better slope.


I think a large number get into both, but it is clear from LSN that there are also plenty who are admitted to Berkeley and not to CLS.


And then there are plenty of people who get into CLS but not Berkeley, because according to Berkeley's "holistic approach," they are not good enough human beings :twisted:


This is true too.

(Are you speaking from personal experience or do you just enjoy that emoticon? :wink: )

Although I'm sure this will be disputed, I think Berkeley also gives a significantly greater advantage to earlier applicants than CLS does.

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Re: Yet another...Columbia vs. NYU vs. Penn vs. Berkeley

Postby DaveDude » Mon Apr 13, 2009 10:39 am

Go where you think you would be happiest. In these cases it's a personal decision. They're all good schools that will give you similar opportunities.

Since you seem to have an inclination to business (esp. w/ management consulting experience), Penn might give you networking opportunities that are better than the other schools, but if you don't like Philly that seems to be a wash.

Congrats on some fantastic choices.




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