Harvard or a Lower-Ranked School with $$

(Applications Advice, Letters of Recommendation . . . )
starstruck393
Posts: 657
Joined: Wed Jan 28, 2009 7:19 pm

Re: Harvard or a Lower-Ranked School with $$

Postby starstruck393 » Thu Jan 07, 2010 1:27 pm

The Brainalist wrote:I find it odd that people think a person who has no idea what they want to do or where they want to live should take out the most amount of loans. That sounds like a disaster.

This person should 1) figure out if they want to even go to law school and why, and 2) if she can't figure that out then avoid dropping 200k on her education if at all possible. The lack of debt will provide far more freedom than a slightly better school.

I do think people here over-guess how much better it is at harvard in this economy than at Columbia. There is really no data on how they've done yet. The grades thing sounds nice, but Berkeley has the same thing and it doesn't make 100% of the people in their class safe from failure. If Harvard's employment numbers end up being 99% for the class of 2009 and CCN's are 60% or 80%, I'll be a believer, but I'm not going to bet full tuition on Harvard until I see that statistic. I seriously am not putting down a deposit until I see some real numbers.


This. With the economy how it's been, and how hard endowments have taken hits, there's no guarantee that LRAP at the top schools will still be available in 5-10 years. Minimized debt gives you a freedom that far surpasses slightly better chances at getting jobs.

And I think people need to consider that although getting a job is important, keeping a job is just as important. The HYS degree will only help you in getting your first few jobs. If you suck, you're going to get fired, especially in this economy. And it won't take long for a few firings to outweigh the HYS name when you're trying to find work. If you've minimized your debt, at least you can pack it up and move elsewhere, without that huge weight around your neck.

Some people argue to bet on yourself more, bet that you'd do well in ls, in taking the money at a lower ranked school, in response to the conventional wisdom that HYS is a safer bet. I'd argue that HYS at sticker actually is betting more on yourself, betting that you do well enough in the profession to be able to pay back all of your loans.

ali & ali
Posts: 52
Joined: Wed Sep 30, 2009 12:47 pm

Re: Harvard or a Lower-Ranked School with $$

Postby ali & ali » Thu Jan 07, 2010 8:10 pm

charlym wrote:
ali & ali wrote:I'm talking a potential half ride at Columbia or potential full ride at Duke. What would your goals be to make you choose CLS with money over Harvard, kurama?


Take the potential half-ride from CLS... It would be nice to have someone else from Lebanon with me next year!



If I went to Columbia, would that mean that we would have mezza parties, and I could finally make my delicious mjeddara? It does sound tempting...

The Brainalist wrote:I find it odd that people think a person who has no idea what they want to do or where they want to live should take out the most amount of loans. That sounds like a disaster.


Actually, for me, I kind know what kind of law I want to get into, but, as for every 0L, it's still a vague idea. I do know that I want a degree that has an international reach and would even be useful outside of the legal field (+1 to Harvard). Even if I had no idea what I wanted, I think a case can definitely be made for going to Harvard because the degree is so portable. So, if after 5 years I feel that law isn't for me, I can have a legitimate shot at getting a job in some business that wants to feel good about itself and hire a Harvard grad.

starstruck393 wrote:Minimized debt gives you a freedom that far surpasses slightly better chances at getting jobs.


But if we're talking about geographical freedom (in and outside the States), do you still think that a degree from Duke or NYU would open up the same doors as a degree from Harvard or Yale?

User avatar
The Brainalist
Posts: 317
Joined: Wed Oct 14, 2009 1:12 pm

Re: Harvard or a Lower-Ranked School with $$

Postby The Brainalist » Thu Jan 07, 2010 9:03 pm

ali & ali wrote:

If I went to Columbia, would that mean that we would have mezza parties, and I could finally make my delicious mjeddara? It does sound tempting...

The Brainalist wrote:I find it odd that people think a person who has no idea what they want to do or where they want to live should take out the most amount of loans. That sounds like a disaster.


Actually, for me, I kind know what kind of law I want to get into, but, as for every 0L, it's still a vague idea. I do know that I want a degree that has an international reach and would even be useful outside of the legal field (+1 to Harvard). Even if I had no idea what I wanted, I think a case can definitely be made for going to Harvard because the degree is so portable. So, if after 5 years I feel that law isn't for me, I can have a legitimate shot at getting a job in some business that wants to feel good about itself and hire a Harvard grad.

starstruck393 wrote:Minimized debt gives you a freedom that far surpasses slightly better chances at getting jobs.


But if we're talking about geographical freedom (in and outside the States), do you still think that a degree from Duke or NYU would open up the same doors as a degree from Harvard or Yale?


5 years of slavery is what you trade, though. That is the point. Full ride at NYU, and you can start your life right away.

Also, I've been looking at adertisements for lateral jobs in big firms, just to get a sense of what it is like. There are a lot more advertisements for positions in offices abroad. They require expertise in sophisticated areas of law, like foreign tax or banking law, and proficiency in the language. If you have the skills, I don't think they are going to care if you went to NYU instead of harvard. It isn't as if you are going to be sending your resume to someone who doesn't know anything about law schools in the US, like some farmer in a mountain village in China who has heard of Harvard but not NYU or Duke. The places you are sending your application to are not going to send back every NYU resume they get and only accept Harvard resumes. They are going to know of the top law schools and look to see if you have what it takes to make it rain. If they don't, it probably isn't a very good place to work. NYU grads, I'm certain, are placed in large firms with an international presence all the time. The whole "international portability" thing is just another way of saying that some waitress in a cafe in france will be impressed with my school name, and is pretty much irrelevant.


If you know what kind of law you want to get into, please tell us. If you are interested in doing law, as a profession, though, there isn't going to be a difference in all likelihood between going to Harvard and going to Michigan, since both make fine lawyers. With a half-tuition scholarship to UPenn/Chicago or full scholarship to Duke, you'd have the freedom to pick up the dual degree in business or a masters, which would probably make you far more flexible than 200k in debt and a law degree from harvard.

I'm willing to bet you are more enamored with the ability of your degree to impress rice-pickers in Malaysia than anything truly practical about the degree. That really seems to be the case with a lot of people on this board, given that 90% of Harvard grads end up practicing the same law as 90% of grads from NYU. People are willing to pay a lot of money to have a shot at being that special 10% at Harvard, though. Then again, I'm still waiting for the real numbers to come out to settle this once and for all. If there is even a 10% difference in employment rates between CCN and Harvard, I'll come to the dark side, folks. I'll pay full bill. Not for Harvard, though (yes, this is all blatant stanford trolling).

User avatar
The Brainalist
Posts: 317
Joined: Wed Oct 14, 2009 1:12 pm

Re: Harvard or a Lower-Ranked School with $$

Postby The Brainalist » Thu Jan 07, 2010 9:19 pm

Just FYI, Skadden Paris office associates: columbia (2) (LLM and JD), Stanford (1 LLM), GULC (1 LLM), Fordham (1 LLM), NYLS (1 JD).

Looks like nobody has heard of Harvard there. Well, then welcome to planet Earth, Monseur Paris, and enjoy your visit. http://www.myharvardlawyer.us/eugene_action.html

User avatar
IAFG
Posts: 6665
Joined: Mon Jun 15, 2009 1:26 pm

Re: Harvard or a Lower-Ranked School with $$

Postby IAFG » Thu Jan 07, 2010 9:25 pm

i would take the money at CLS. true, the h-bomb opens some doors, but having crushing debt to pay back closes doors too.

User avatar
GeePee
Posts: 1273
Joined: Fri Jul 03, 2009 7:35 pm

Re: Harvard or a Lower-Ranked School with $$

Postby GeePee » Thu Jan 07, 2010 9:31 pm

IAFG wrote:i would take the money at CLS. true, the h-bomb opens some doors, but having crushing debt to pay back closes doors too.

Unless Harvard comes out and offers you something like a 1/3 or 1/2 tuition need package, I think I'd take the money at CLS also.

ali & ali
Posts: 52
Joined: Wed Sep 30, 2009 12:47 pm

Re: Harvard or a Lower-Ranked School with $$

Postby ali & ali » Thu Jan 07, 2010 9:38 pm

I'm quite interested in cultural property law. For example, countries like Egypt, Iraq and Turkey are starting to ask for their stuff back from countries like Germany, Britain and France. There isn't much precedent for this, and I think the legal aspect is fascinating. Studying this would probably eventually lead to dealings with the international art market and companies like Sotheby's.

The Brainalist wrote:If you are interested in doing law, as a profession, though, there isn't going to be a difference in all likelihood between going to Harvard and going to Michigan, since both make fine lawyers.


You make some really good points Brainalist, but you don't think that, especially ITE, a degree from Harvard would have more clout in, say, San Fransisco, than a degree from NYU? And about the five years of slavery...I think I would want to start off at a larger firm anyway, just to get my feet on the ground in the profession. I want to work in the private sector, so I might be spending five years at that firm anyway.

You're definitely right about the people hiring abroad, though. They will be looking for people with a certain skill set, and it won't much matter if they come from #5 or #2. I'll be honest, one of the biggest reasons that I would be afraid to choose Columbia or Duke (with $$) over Harvard would be the ultra-competitive atmospheres and the lower career prospects (perhaps all of the scary JD Underground stories have gotten to me). Call me crazy, but I think a degree from H or Y opens doors that a degree from Duke might not. The lack of formal grades would also be a plus. :wink:

Don't get me wrong though, I'm playing devil's advocate to you. I want both sides of this argument to play out. The reason I asked this question in the first place is because I'm torn about the decision. I appreciate your opinion.

annabell
Posts: 97
Joined: Fri Nov 20, 2009 2:34 pm

Re: Harvard or a Lower-Ranked School with $$

Postby annabell » Thu Jan 07, 2010 11:31 pm

IAFG wrote:i would take the money at CLS. true, the h-bomb opens some doors, but having crushing debt to pay back closes doors too.


This is one of the best descriptions of the delimma I have ever seen. Well put!

User avatar
sayan
Posts: 316
Joined: Mon Dec 15, 2008 7:05 am

Re: Harvard or a Lower-Ranked School with $$

Postby sayan » Fri Jan 08, 2010 1:29 am

HLS tuition and CLS tuition are roughly the same at around 45k. Let's say you get half tuition scholarship from CLS. You save 23k a year for 69k savings over 3 years.

Amortized over a 30-year career, that's only 2.3k per year. Just having the better clerking opportunities and lateral mobility make it worth it IMO.

There's also less pressure at HLS also with the H/P system vs. CLS grading system. Even if you argue that the H will now become mandatory to succeed at HLS, 35% of the class gets it as opposed to 5-10% A's in other law schools.

User avatar
84Sunbird2000
Posts: 756
Joined: Wed Oct 21, 2009 5:39 pm

Re: Harvard or a Lower-Ranked School with $$

Postby 84Sunbird2000 » Fri Jan 08, 2010 2:09 am

sayan wrote:HLS tuition and CLS tuition are roughly the same at around 45k. Let's say you get half tuition scholarship from CLS. You save 23k a year for 69k savings over 3 years.

Amortized over a 30-year career, that's only 2.3k per year. Just having the better clerking opportunities and lateral mobility make it worth it IMO.

There's also less pressure at HLS also with the H/P system vs. CLS grading system. Even if you argue that the H will now become mandatory to succeed at HLS, 35% of the class gets it as opposed to 5-10% A's in other law schools.


See, but you are forgetting about interest. Also, that debt is likely not on a 30-year repayment schedule. Also, also, unless you make a lot of money off the bat, it's a lot more disabling than 2.3k per year.

User avatar
Dignan
Posts: 1110
Joined: Sun Feb 08, 2009 5:52 pm

Re: Harvard or a Lower-Ranked School with $$

Postby Dignan » Fri Jan 08, 2010 2:12 am

The Brainalist wrote: If you have the skills, I don't think they are going to care if you went to NYU instead of harvard. It isn't as if you are going to be sending your resume to someone who doesn't know anything about law schools in the US, like some farmer in a mountain village in China who has heard of Harvard but not NYU or Duke. The places you are sending your application to are not going to send back every NYU resume they get and only accept Harvard resumes.

You'd be surprised. Over at Volokh Conspiracy, there was a thread this summer about how competitive federal clerkships were this past year. A current COA clerk was assigned the responsibility of taking an initial pass at the 1,200 clerkship applications. The judge instructed the clerk to look only at applications submitted by graduates of Harvard, Stanford, or Yale; all other applications were immediately discarded. If you had finished first in your class at Columbia or NYU, your application would not have even been looked at by this judge.

Obviously, not all federal judges proceed like the one in the story. Still, it goes to show that the prestige impact of Harvard (and Yale and Stanford) goes well beyond remote Chinese farmers. There are people out there--important people in the legal world--who do think that Harvard is a class apart from NYU and Duke. It's naive to believe otherwise.

Having said that, I'd still take significant money at Columbia over sticker at Harvard, particularly if my primary goal was a job in big law.

User avatar
sayan
Posts: 316
Joined: Mon Dec 15, 2008 7:05 am

Re: Harvard or a Lower-Ranked School with $$

Postby sayan » Fri Jan 08, 2010 2:22 am

kwhitegocubs wrote:
sayan wrote:HLS tuition and CLS tuition are roughly the same at around 45k. Let's say you get half tuition scholarship from CLS. You save 23k a year for 69k savings over 3 years.

Amortized over a 30-year career, that's only 2.3k per year. Just having the better clerking opportunities and lateral mobility make it worth it IMO.

There's also less pressure at HLS also with the H/P system vs. CLS grading system. Even if you argue that the H will now become mandatory to succeed at HLS, 35% of the class gets it as opposed to 5-10% A's in other law schools.


See, but you are forgetting about interest. Also, that debt is likely not on a 30-year repayment schedule. Also, also, unless you make a lot of money off the bat, it's a lot more disabling than 2.3k per year.


With interest, a few more assumptions need to be made but you're right it's relevant and alters the amount doled out over 15/30 years of (hypothetical) payments. However, HLS has a pretty nice LRAP so its loan repayment never really becomes disabling. No clue at Columbia.

I would think that after graduating HLS you're either making small money (clerk, PI, government etc.) so the LRAP kicks in and debt isn't an issue or you're making 130k+ and paying off the loan faster is very possible with frugal living for a couple more years. In neither case is the debt crushing or punishing.

bahama
Posts: 145
Joined: Thu Jul 30, 2009 11:23 pm

Re: Harvard or a Lower-Ranked School with $$

Postby bahama » Fri Jan 08, 2010 2:40 am

kwhitegocubs wrote:
sayan wrote:HLS tuition and CLS tuition are roughly the same at around 45k. Let's say you get half tuition scholarship from CLS. You save 23k a year for 69k savings over 3 years.

Amortized over a 30-year career, that's only 2.3k per year. Just having the better clerking opportunities and lateral mobility make it worth it IMO.

There's also less pressure at HLS also with the H/P system vs. CLS grading system. Even if you argue that the H will now become mandatory to succeed at HLS, 35% of the class gets it as opposed to 5-10% A's in other law schools.


See, but you are forgetting about interest. Also, that debt is likely not on a 30-year repayment schedule. Also, also, unless you make a lot of money off the bat, it's a lot more disabling than 2.3k per year.


Even with interest it's about 6-7k per year.

Regardless of the repayment schedule (and most people with that kind of debt are going to be on 25 or 30 yr type schedules) you still would amortize the cost over the course of your career since that is the time period you are getting the benefit from the degree.

User avatar
DoubleChecks
Posts: 2333
Joined: Fri Sep 25, 2009 4:35 pm

Re: Harvard or a Lower-Ranked School with $$

Postby DoubleChecks » Fri Jan 08, 2010 2:45 am

starstruck393 wrote:
And I think people need to consider that although getting a job is important, keeping a job is just as important. The HYS degree will only help you in getting your first few jobs. If you suck, you're going to get fired, especially in this economy. And it won't take long for a few firings to outweigh the HYS name when you're trying to find work. If you've minimized your debt, at least you can pack it up and move elsewhere, without that huge weight around your neck.



wait, why should i assume ill be consistently fired from all my law jobs? lol

User avatar
sayan
Posts: 316
Joined: Mon Dec 15, 2008 7:05 am

Re: Harvard or a Lower-Ranked School with $$

Postby sayan » Fri Jan 08, 2010 2:59 am

DoubleChecks wrote:
starstruck393 wrote:
And I think people need to consider that although getting a job is important, keeping a job is just as important. The HYS degree will only help you in getting your first few jobs. If you suck, you're going to get fired, especially in this economy. And it won't take long for a few firings to outweigh the HYS name when you're trying to find work. If you've minimized your debt, at least you can pack it up and move elsewhere, without that huge weight around your neck.



wait, why should i assume ill be consistently fired from all my law jobs? lol


It's called assuming a false premise and then using it to come to a (false) conclusion. See, the LSAT really is useful. :lol:

User avatar
GeePee
Posts: 1273
Joined: Fri Jul 03, 2009 7:35 pm

Re: Harvard or a Lower-Ranked School with $$

Postby GeePee » Fri Jan 08, 2010 3:48 am

sayan wrote:
kwhitegocubs wrote:
sayan wrote:HLS tuition and CLS tuition are roughly the same at around 45k. Let's say you get half tuition scholarship from CLS. You save 23k a year for 69k savings over 3 years.

Amortized over a 30-year career, that's only 2.3k per year. Just having the better clerking opportunities and lateral mobility make it worth it IMO.

There's also less pressure at HLS also with the H/P system vs. CLS grading system. Even if you argue that the H will now become mandatory to succeed at HLS, 35% of the class gets it as opposed to 5-10% A's in other law schools.


See, but you are forgetting about interest. Also, that debt is likely not on a 30-year repayment schedule. Also, also, unless you make a lot of money off the bat, it's a lot more disabling than 2.3k per year.


With interest, a few more assumptions need to be made but you're right it's relevant and alters the amount doled out over 15/30 years of (hypothetical) payments. However, HLS has a pretty nice LRAP so its loan repayment never really becomes disabling. No clue at Columbia.

I would think that after graduating HLS you're either making small money (clerk, PI, government etc.) so the LRAP kicks in and debt isn't an issue or you're making 130k+ and paying off the loan faster is very possible with frugal living for a couple more years. In neither case is the debt crushing or punishing.

LIPP really isn't all that great. It has some benefits, but the CLS LRAP actually nets you more income over several income levels significant to PI jobs.

User avatar
IAFG
Posts: 6665
Joined: Mon Jun 15, 2009 1:26 pm

Re: Harvard or a Lower-Ranked School with $$

Postby IAFG » Fri Jan 08, 2010 3:48 am

bahama wrote:
Regardless of the repayment schedule (and most people with that kind of debt are going to be on 25 or 30 yr type schedules) you still would amortize the cost over the course of your career since that is the time period you are getting the benefit from the degree.

the idea that 5-10 years into your career that HLS vs. CLS is going to make a significant difference in your future career prospects is a bit silly. CLS is still one of the best law schools in the country.

User avatar
sayan
Posts: 316
Joined: Mon Dec 15, 2008 7:05 am

Re: Harvard or a Lower-Ranked School with $$

Postby sayan » Fri Jan 08, 2010 6:33 am

IAFG wrote:
bahama wrote:
Regardless of the repayment schedule (and most people with that kind of debt are going to be on 25 or 30 yr type schedules) you still would amortize the cost over the course of your career since that is the time period you are getting the benefit from the degree.

the idea that 5-10 years into your career that HLS vs. CLS is going to make a significant difference in your future career prospects is a bit silly. CLS is still one of the best law schools in the country.


It depends on if you're magna at HLS or not :p

A big if, I admit.

heyguys
Posts: 285
Joined: Tue Mar 10, 2009 8:57 pm

Re: Harvard or a Lower-Ranked School with $$

Postby heyguys » Fri Jan 08, 2010 7:18 am

I'm a 1L at YLS, and here's my perspective on HYS v. 'lower ranked' school with $$:

I think that if you get into YLS, the only options that would supersede that acceptance would be a full ride at either Columbia, UMich, or Penn (am I forgetting other schools that have full schollys?). The primary consideration here is risk mitigation: Yale doesn't rank, doesn't have meaningful grades, and everyone gets a job. With particular emphasis on the first two considerations, when you enter YLS you're taking far less of a risk. Honestly, I have no idea where I would be in UMich or Columbia's classes--for all I know, I would be in the bottom quarter. I mean, someone does end up there....

As far as HLS and SLS, they are far more of a risk mitigating decision than other schools (obviously), probably outside of Yale. That isn't to say Yale is better than either of them--it's just that for each individual student coming in, they face less of a risk of ending up screwed down the road. Honestly, you could dick around at Yale for 3 years as long as you completed your writing requirements and still graduate with a stellar job. This might be the same for HLS and SLS, but I would think to a lesser degree because employers and such know that the grading hierarchy is far less arbitrary.

I think the overriding issue is one of taking on debt in general vis-a-vis not taking on debt in general. If you get a half scholly at Mich or Columbia, I don't think it would be worth it to pass up HYS because of the aforementioned risk considerations. In fact, taking out 70k in loans for CLS might constitute a bigger risk than taking out 140k at HLS or SLS because you're assuming a lot about your performance relative to your peers.

So, the long and short of it is that I would personally recommend that if you get a full scholarship somewhere (which I did not, and would have taken if offered), then go there. You'll have to work harder than you would at HYS, but the risk mitigation is probably greater than going to a HYS for sticker (although I should say that at least YLS and SLS are quite generous with their need-based aid).

User avatar
sayan
Posts: 316
Joined: Mon Dec 15, 2008 7:05 am

Re: Harvard or a Lower-Ranked School with $$

Postby sayan » Fri Jan 08, 2010 7:37 am

heyguys wrote:I'm a 1L at YLS, and here's my perspective on HYS v. 'lower ranked' school with $$:

I think that if you get into YLS, the only options that would supersede that acceptance would be a full ride at either Columbia, UMich, or Penn (am I forgetting other schools that have full schollys?). The primary consideration here is risk mitigation: Yale doesn't rank, doesn't have meaningful grades, and everyone gets a job. With particular emphasis on the first two considerations, when you enter YLS you're taking far less of a risk. Honestly, I have no idea where I would be in UMich or Columbia's classes--for all I know, I would be in the bottom quarter. I mean, someone does end up there....

As far as HLS and SLS, they are far more of a risk mitigating decision than other schools (obviously), probably outside of Yale. That isn't to say Yale is better than either of them--it's just that for each individual student coming in, they face less of a risk of ending up screwed down the road. Honestly, you could dick around at Yale for 3 years as long as you completed your writing requirements and still graduate with a stellar job. This might be the same for HLS and SLS, but I would think to a lesser degree because employers and such know that the grading hierarchy is far less arbitrary.

I think the overriding issue is one of taking on debt in general vis-a-vis not taking on debt in general. If you get a half scholly at Mich or Columbia, I don't think it would be worth it to pass up HYS because of the aforementioned risk considerations. In fact, taking out 70k in loans for CLS might constitute a bigger risk than taking out 140k at HLS or SLS because you're assuming a lot about your performance relative to your peers.

So, the long and short of it is that I would personally recommend that if you get a full scholarship somewhere (which I did not, and would have taken if offered), then go there. You'll have to work harder than you would at HYS, but the risk mitigation is probably greater than going to a HYS for sticker (although I should say that at least YLS and SLS are quite generous with their need-based aid).


Can't graduate with honors from YLS?

annabell
Posts: 97
Joined: Fri Nov 20, 2009 2:34 pm

Re: Harvard or a Lower-Ranked School with $$

Postby annabell » Fri Jan 08, 2010 9:48 am

sayan wrote:With interest, a few more assumptions need to be made but you're right it's relevant and alters the amount doled out over 15/30 years of (hypothetical) payments. However, HLS has a pretty nice LRAP so its loan repayment never really becomes disabling. No clue at Columbia.

I would think that after graduating HLS you're either making small money (clerk, PI, government etc.) so the LRAP kicks in and debt isn't an issue or you're making 130k+ and paying off the loan faster is very possible with frugal living for a couple more years. In neither case is the debt crushing or punishing.


Unfortunately, manygovernment lawyers start out at a GS-11, so they are only eligible for loan repayments (and at a much smaller rate than someone making less than $42,000) for several years before their salary is over the $85,000 limit for LIPP (GS-13 starts out at $89). Repaying $7,000/year with an aftertax income of about $67,500 (asuming a $90,000 salary) is a huge commitment, especially because state and local taxes aren't factored in there. And no more PSI to help those who are interested in low-paying public service careers. Most of those higher paying government law jobs are only in DC as well, which means a high cost of living on top of the loan repayments.

I am not saying that taking the debt from Harvard is a bad idea; however, I would not take out that debt and assume that Harvard's LRAP will save me if I end up in a middle-income job.

bahama
Posts: 145
Joined: Thu Jul 30, 2009 11:23 pm

Re: Harvard or a Lower-Ranked School with $$

Postby bahama » Fri Jan 08, 2010 11:01 pm

IAFG wrote:
bahama wrote:
Regardless of the repayment schedule (and most people with that kind of debt are going to be on 25 or 30 yr type schedules) you still would amortize the cost over the course of your career since that is the time period you are getting the benefit from the degree.

the idea that 5-10 years into your career that HLS vs. CLS is going to make a significant difference in your future career prospects is a bit silly. CLS is still one of the best law schools in the country.


The first job you get affects what options you have for the 2nd, 3rd, 4th job etc. As does the network that you have. So where you start can make a difference 5-10 yrs down the road.

The difference between HLS and CLS isn't very big, but neither is 6-7k or even 10k per year in loan payments. If the difference means the HLS grad gets a firm that still pays 160k and the CLS grad gets one that pays 145k (both of which are common among top vault firms) then paying more for HLS was worth it. Or if the HLS grad is able to negotiate a 10k higher salary when they go in house a few years down the road, then paying more for HLS was worth it. Or, if they decide not to go the BigLaw route, it may be worth it for someone to pay more for HLS because it may provide more options for clerking, PI work, etc. Or they don't know where they want to live and the slightly greater portability of the HLS name is worth the extra expense. Is the bet that HLS will provide these advantages over CLS worth it? It comes down to a personal decision on whether you prefer the lower debt or a hard to quantify potential advantage from going to a higher ranked school.

I'm not saying HLS clearly is worth that much more than CLS, that would be silly since both are great schools. But there are perfectly legitimate reasons above why someone might (and many people do) turn down good money at CLS to go to HLS.

User avatar
TheLuckyOne
Posts: 318
Joined: Tue Jul 01, 2008 1:00 pm

Re: Harvard or a Lower-Ranked School with $$

Postby TheLuckyOne » Fri Jan 08, 2010 11:30 pm

ali & ali wrote:I have to agree with the others-- if you want to practice abroad, Harvard has the most name recognition (although Columbia will do you well too)... If you get the half-ride at Columbia, just visit both schools and choose the one you'd be more comfortable at


I would actually have to explain that Columbia is not the same as Colombia and that's in the US. Also, to explain how cool it is I would have to say that it's two spots after Harvard. So, my point is that when it comes to the outside of the States, it's Harvard ------> Stanford -> Yale -----> no one have probably heard of anything else (with a few outliers, of course) :lol: Stanford and Yale could be interchangeable, though.

The Brainalist wrote:5 years of slavery is what you trade, though. That is the point. Full ride at NYU, and you can start your life right away.

Also, I've been looking at adertisements for lateral jobs in big firms, just to get a sense of what it is like. There are a lot more advertisements for positions in offices abroad. They require expertise in sophisticated areas of law, like foreign tax or banking law, and proficiency in the language. If you have the skills, I don't think they are going to care if you went to NYU instead of harvard. It isn't as if you are going to be sending your resume to someone who doesn't know anything about law schools in the US, like some farmer in a mountain village in China who has heard of Harvard but not NYU or Duke. The places you are sending your application to are not going to send back every NYU resume they get and only accept Harvard resumes. They are going to know of the top law schools and look to see if you have what it takes to make it rain. If they don't, it probably isn't a very good place to work. NYU grads, I'm certain, are placed in large firms with an international presence all the time. The whole "international portability" thing is just another way of saying that some waitress in a cafe in france will be impressed with my school name, and is pretty much irrelevant.


If you know what kind of law you want to get into, please tell us. If you are interested in doing law, as a profession, though, there isn't going to be a difference in all likelihood between going to Harvard and going to Michigan, since both make fine lawyers. With a half-tuition scholarship to UPenn/Chicago or full scholarship to Duke, you'd have the freedom to pick up the dual degree in business or a masters, which would probably make you far more flexible than 200k in debt and a law degree from harvard.

I'm willing to bet you are more enamored with the ability of your degree to impress rice-pickers in Malaysia than anything truly practical about the degree. That really seems to be the case with a lot of people on this board, given that 90% of Harvard grads end up practicing the same law as 90% of grads from NYU. People are willing to pay a lot of money to have a shot at being that special 10% at Harvard, though. Then again, I'm still waiting for the real numbers to come out to settle this once and for all. If there is even a 10% difference in employment rates between CCN and Harvard, I'll come to the dark side, folks. I'll pay full bill. Not for Harvard, though (yes, this is all blatant stanford trolling).


I cannot believe that after somewhat constructive and sensible response you said that. LOL, so is there any reason that would not violate your claims?

User avatar
Sogui
Posts: 621
Joined: Mon Feb 23, 2009 12:32 am

Re: Harvard or a Lower-Ranked School with $$

Postby Sogui » Sat Jan 09, 2010 12:07 am

I'd take sticker Harvard over a full-ride nearly anywhere else.

But I'm perfectly irrational like that.

User avatar
The Brainalist
Posts: 317
Joined: Wed Oct 14, 2009 1:12 pm

Re: Harvard or a Lower-Ranked School with $$

Postby The Brainalist » Sat Jan 09, 2010 6:39 pm

ali & ali wrote:
You make some really good points Brainalist, but you don't think that, especially ITE, a degree from Harvard would have more clout in, say, San Fransisco, than a degree from NYU? And about the five years of slavery...I think I would want to start off at a larger firm anyway, just to get my feet on the ground in the profession. I want to work in the private sector, so I might be spending five years at that firm anyway.



I don't think that. I have yet to see any data about ITE that says anything about that kind of placement. As with "international" reach. I think it is largely unsupported with anything other than speculation combined with echo chamber Harvard lust. The 2L in the NYU Q's thread suggested that everyone who wanted a firm job in CA got one, but I have no reason to trust that anymore than the Harvard grad who came on here saying she knew no one who was not employed (even I know someone from Harvard who got hosed).

sayan wrote:HLS tuition and CLS tuition are roughly the same at around 45k. Let's say you get half tuition scholarship from CLS. You save 23k a year for 69k savings over 3 years.

Amortized over a 30-year career, that's only 2.3k per year. Just having the better clerking opportunities and lateral mobility make it worth it IMO.

There's also less pressure at HLS also with the H/P system vs. CLS grading system. Even if you argue that the H will now become mandatory to succeed at HLS, 35% of the class gets it as opposed to 5-10% A's in other law schools.


This is the same BS I got from a used car salesman last year. Yes, the monthly payments are lower, but I don't want to be making payments for 30 years. Here is an easier calculation. Say you are class of 2006 at Harvard and you take a big law firm job. You want to get out of Loans fast so you pay 40k every year on your 200k loan. When you pay off your loans, you are going to do what you really wanted to do, become a federal prosecutor. Lots of job openings at US Attorney's offices 2007 and 2008. You have a coworker class of 2006 U Penn, he leaves in 2008 for US Attorney's Office because he only had 80k in loans. It is now 2010. Congratulations, your loans are now down to an acceptable level and you are sick of Biglaw and want to be a federal prosecutor. Too bad the economy is in the pooper, they aren't hiring at federal prosecutor's office. They aren't hiring anywhere. This is the effect of lost opportunity costs, things you miss out on while indentured.

Also, H/P grades are pretty. They make me feel warm and fuzzy. Jury is maybe still out on the effect. Before ITE, 99% of people form Columbia did fine with grades. If there is a significant employment rate difference between H and Col when the numbers come out for ITE, it may be because of the grades, it may just be because H is better. I won't care either way.

Dignan wrote: You'd be surprised. Over at Volokh Conspiracy, there was a thread this summer about how competitive federal clerkships were this past year. A current COA clerk was assigned the responsibility of taking an initial pass at the 1,200 clerkship applications. The judge instructed the clerk to look only at applications submitted by graduates of Harvard, Stanford, or Yale; all other applications were immediately discarded. If you had finished first in your class at Columbia or NYU, your application would not have even been looked at by this judge.


This is a given. There are going to be many appellate judges that only hire from certain schools. I read somewhere on leiter's site that, for SCOTUS clerks anyway, the number of students placed from certain schools is more a reflection of having a couple judges in their pockets. Some judges, only Yale and Harvard. Scalia, usually good for 1 Chicago clerk. I PROMISE you that I am not going to clerk for the supreme court. I guarantee it. I love me. I can do 50 push ups. I don't think a supreme court clerkship is in my future even from Yale.

Even from Harvard, the odds of me getting an appellate clerkship with a judge who refuses to even look at the #1 grad from Columbia are not even worth thinking about. Once that judge limited the scope to the 200 YHS grads, I'm pretty sure she's not looking for a median grad from a state UG.

At any rate, we are all well aware of the clerking numbers for the top 10 schools, that data is readily available. I'm willing to bet 90% of people who clerk just go to being a lawyer afterwards anyways. If I decided to take out full boat to go to H just because there are a couple judges who have school preferences for clerks, either before or after clerking I'd still be forced to do 5 years indentured servitude in Biglaw. No thanks. If, after a couple of years in a top law firm I decide I want to go into government or go into a small firm, seek a doctorate, or have kids, I don't think adding the extra year of clerking for crappy pay in front of my indentured servitude would have been worth it. It just adds an extra year in front without increasing my ability to seize upon opportunities in that scenario. Not that I think clerking is bad, I just think it is a sacrifice that can be better made if you don't compound it with having to pay off full loans.

bahama wrote:
The first job you get affects what options you have for the 2nd, 3rd, 4th job etc. As does the network that you have. So where you start can make a difference 5-10 yrs down the road.



I just haven't seen anything that supports any difference between where 90% of people at Columbia end up and 90% of people from Harvard end up as to their 2nd, 3rd, or 4th jobs. The clerkship stat is there, but if they just end up going to the same job practicing law in a v10 law firm as a columbia grad after that, then it the statistic stands for nothing more than the ability to get clerkships, not long term potential. Harvard grads with clerkships are working right along side undistinguished columbia grads who never clerked. My understanding is that people clerk, then often return to the same firm they had summered at 2L (although I read on ATL that there was a firm in LA with a ton of SCOTUS clerks, which, again, I will never work in such a firm even from Yale). Once you are at this high level of acheivement, which is where all Harvard and (just to change schools) Chicago grads stand, people spend so much time trying to differentiate the schools based on what only 10 students from Harvard acheived and 1 from Chicago. At the end of the day, though, it either doesn't matter for 99% of us or, even those who do acheive the higher levels of distinction don't really have anywhere to go after that but to the same careers as the people who were just above median in T6, unless it is teaching. Congratulations, you clerked for SCOTUS! We'd like to offer you a job at wachtell, the number 1 firm in the US, where you can work with 49 Columbia grads, none of whom clerked for the Supreme Court.




Return to “Law School Admissions Forum”

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: Bing [Bot] and 1 guest