Philadelphia/Penn-Villanova-Temple take the money?

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frank1477

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Philadelphia/Penn-Villanova-Temple take the money?

Postby frank1477 » Thu Apr 20, 2017 6:53 am

Hi everyone,

I'm a 0L trying to decide which offer to accept. I will try to keep this from becoming too prolix. I have a 3.88 GPA and a 171 LSAT. Penn offered a half scholarship (30k per year) and both Villanova and Temple offered full scholarships without stips. I fully intend to stay here in Philadelphia and work BigLaw. I love it here and it loves me back. I must be honest, I've essentially eliminated Temple at this point because I view Villanova as a peer and their campus is much better and in a more secure area.

That said, I have serious reservations about the possibility of taking on 90k in student loan debt which will probably be about 120k with interest by the time I pay it off, minimum. I understand that attending Penn Law would give me more "flexibility" when it comes to class rank and being competitive for BigLaw jobs however I have no interest in being median or even top 20 or top 10 percent. I am interested in being number one and sharing that spot with no one else. I understand that this may be a relatively common belief but I am beyond confident in myself.

Locally, BigLaw is littered with Villanova grads. Obviously, there are not nearly as many as Penn grads because of the aforementioned "flexibility" but nevertheless there are a few Villanova grads in very high places with Morgan Lewis in particular, off the top of my head. After working several years in BigLaw and building a rock solid book of business, I intend to start my own firm. I would like to do this about 5 years after LS in a perfect world. Hence, the lack of student loans is a very important factor for me.

Does anyone have any experience with a situation like this that could offer some advice?

Thank you all in advance.

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jchiles

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Re: Philadelphia/Penn-Villanova-Temple take the money?

Postby jchiles » Thu Apr 20, 2017 7:02 am

If Philly biglaw is the goal than Penn > Villanova even though nova does place reasonably well in philly and suburban philly biglaw. I am skeptical that a 5th year biglaw associate would have the contacts/skills to move to successfully move to solo practice but someone else can probably speak more intelligently on that topic.

Don't go to penn, nova, temple or any school thinking you will be number one. Confidence is fine but you have to be realistic.

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Re: Philadelphia/Penn-Villanova-Temple take the money?

Postby cavalier1138 » Thu Apr 20, 2017 7:27 am

Penn.

If you want biglaw, it's literally the only one that gives you a reasonable shot. I join in the skepticism about going solo after five years in biglaw, but you should do your own research into the Philadelphia market.

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Re: Philadelphia/Penn-Villanova-Temple take the money?

Postby saf18hornet » Thu Apr 20, 2017 8:17 am

As it stands, I do think the extra 90k+interest for Penn is worth it here. We're talking only a 16% BigLaw chance at Villanova..... and by stepping foot onto Penn's campus, you are basically guaranteed BigLaw if you want it.

How was your success in trying to negotiate more money from Nova or Penn?
With the way Nova has been throwing out money the past few years, I wonder what your odds of an extra 5-10k a year stipend are? That would be a big help there on the main line. Also, even though Nova and Temple are far from "peer" schools for Philly, I'm sure they care if they may lose you to there only two regional competitors (let's be honest, Drexel is not a real Law School) - there may be another 5k a year to get from them, when every little bit counts.

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Re: Philadelphia/Penn-Villanova-Temple take the money?

Postby cavalier1138 » Thu Apr 20, 2017 8:37 am

saf18hornet wrote:As it stands, I do think the extra 90k+interest for Penn is worth it here. We're talking only a 16% BigLaw chance at Villanova..... and by stepping foot onto Penn's campus, you are basically guaranteed BigLaw if you want it.

How was your success in trying to negotiate more money from Nova or Penn?
With the way Nova has been throwing out money the past few years, I wonder what your odds of an extra 5-10k a year stipend are? That would be a big help there on the main line. Also, even though Nova and Temple are far from "peer" schools for Philly, I'm sure they care if they may lose you to there only two regional competitors (let's be honest, Drexel is not a real Law School) - there may be another 5k a year to get from them, when every little bit counts.


How would an additional 5k from Nova matter when it's still the wrong choice?

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Ronan

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Re: Philadelphia/Penn-Villanova-Temple take the money?

Postby Ronan » Thu Apr 20, 2017 8:40 am

Jesus Christ Penn is a no brainer here if you want Philly big law.

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Clemenceau

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Re: Philadelphia/Penn-Villanova-Temple take the money?

Postby Clemenceau » Thu Apr 20, 2017 8:46 am

Ronan wrote:Jesus Christ Penn is a no brainer here if you want Philly big law.


This is the answer.

OP, PM me if you want to speak with someone who faced the exact same decision a few years ago.

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UVA2B

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Re: Philadelphia/Penn-Villanova-Temple take the money?

Postby UVA2B » Thu Apr 20, 2017 8:47 am

If you intend to go into Philly Biglaw, Penn is the only reasonable choice. Half tuition still gives you a ton of debt at Penn, but it gives you a reasonable shot at your goals, particularly if you're from there. Nova and Temple only make sense if you'd "like" Philly Biglaw, but really you'd be happy with any legal work in Philly and really want to minimize cost. They likely won't get you to your end goal, but minimizing debt over giving yourself the best shot at a merely desirable outcome while being happy with the more likely outcome (small law firm, local government, etc.) is perfectly fine. It really depends how badly you want Philly Biglaw.

To echo Cav and jchiles here, not exactly sure how starting your own firm after 5 years in Biglaw makes sense here, considering your Biglaw experience will very unlikely give you the requisite skills/training to make a solo shop profitable because solo shops do very different work than Biglaw firms. If you did 20 years, made partner, and became a subject matter expert in an area of law, it makes total sense. But how is a former 5th year associate doing transactional/commercial litigation going to bring in any business that will generate actual revenue?

Finally, it's nice that you want to be number one in your class anywhere. Seriously, it's a great goal. And you'll find plenty of friends who want the same thing at law school. But being number one in your class should never even begin to enter your mind before you get started with law school. You might end up killing it and getting at/near your goal, but statistical evidence shows at best a mediocre correlation between LSAT/GPA and law school performance, so to bank on it is demonstrably silly.
Last edited by UVA2B on Thu Apr 20, 2017 8:53 am, edited 1 time in total.

cavalier1138

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Re: Philadelphia/Penn-Villanova-Temple take the money?

Postby cavalier1138 » Thu Apr 20, 2017 8:52 am

Oh FFS, I missed the "I'm super-confident that I'll be number one in the class" nonsense.

OP: you have less than a 1% chance at being number one in the class. Your confidence means nothing. Your go-get-'em attitude means nothing. You cannot go to law school with that idiotic plan.

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Re: Philadelphia/Penn-Villanova-Temple take the money?

Postby guynourmin » Thu Apr 20, 2017 10:08 am

cavalier1138 wrote:Oh FFS, I missed the "I'm super-confident that I'll be number one in the class" nonsense.

OP: you have less than a 1% chance at being number one in the class. Your confidence means nothing. Your go-get-'em attitude means nothing. You cannot go to law school with that idiotic plan.


beyond confident, though.

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Re: Philadelphia/Penn-Villanova-Temple take the money?

Postby ernie » Thu Apr 20, 2017 10:25 am

frank1477 wrote:I have no interest in being median or even top 20 or top 10 percent. I am interested in being number one and sharing that spot with no one else. I understand that this may be a relatively common belief but I am beyond confident in myself.

1L sucks. I hated almost every second of it.

But the very, very best part was how many of the know-it-all hotshot "I'm going to clerk for SCOTUS" gunners become very, very quiet once first semester grades came in.

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Re: Philadelphia/Penn-Villanova-Temple take the money?

Postby poptart123 » Thu Apr 20, 2017 10:25 am

penn

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Re: Philadelphia/Penn-Villanova-Temple take the money?

Postby saf18hornet » Thu Apr 20, 2017 10:58 am

cavalier1138 wrote:
How would an additional 5k from Nova matter when it's still the wrong choice?


Because as you know, the OP clearly doesn't care what the right choice is. I simply asked him if he tried to get more money so he could have a better warm fuzzy feeling about making the wrong choice. We have two different objectives here.

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Re: Philadelphia/Penn-Villanova-Temple take the money?

Postby BigZuck » Thu Apr 20, 2017 11:05 am

These offers aren't very good for the OPs numbers or am I missing something? Half scholarship at Penn will probably put you in about 180Kish debt (certainly more than 120K)

I think my answer is Cornell/Duke here.

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Re: Philadelphia/Penn-Villanova-Temple take the money?

Postby Clemenceau » Thu Apr 20, 2017 2:17 pm

cavalier1138 wrote:Oh FFS, I missed the "I'm super-confident that I'll be number one in the class" nonsense.

OP: you have less than a 1% chance at being number one in the class. Your confidence means nothing. Your go-get-'em attitude means nothing. You cannot go to law school with that idiotic plan.


On this note, OP also feel free to PM me if you want some sobering news about philly biglaw recruiting at "very high places like Morgan Lewis" for Nova students.

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Re: Philadelphia/Penn-Villanova-Temple take the money?

Postby frank1477 » Thu Apr 20, 2017 5:10 pm

Hey all,

First, thank you all very much for your input. I'm a OL. I know nothing which is why I am here. It appears that I've come off a bit arrogant in my original post. I did not intend for that. Of course, after a re-read I understand how those few sentences could sound especially ridiculous given your perspective having experienced LS. So for that I apologize.

Second, you all have given me a lot to think about. My goal is BigLaw (as cheap as possible). I don't want to be paying off loans until I'm 40.

On that note, does anyone have experience with leaving a T14 with around 150k in debt? How long does it take to pay off with a 180k+ job?

Thank you all for your help.

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Re: Philadelphia/Penn-Villanova-Temple take the money?

Postby cavalier1138 » Thu Apr 20, 2017 5:36 pm

frank1477 wrote:Hey all,

First, thank you all very much for your input. I'm a OL. I know nothing which is why I am here. It appears that I've come off a bit arrogant in my original post. I did not intend for that. Of course, after a re-read I understand how those few sentences could sound especially ridiculous given your perspective having experienced LS. So for that I apologize.

Second, you all have given me a lot to think about. My goal is BigLaw (as cheap as possible). I don't want to be paying off loans until I'm 40.

On that note, does anyone have experience with leaving a T14 with around 150k in debt? How long does it take to pay off with a 180k+ job?

Thank you all for your help.


It depends on how aggressive you want to be with repayment. $150k is quite easy to manage on a biglaw salary. Less debt is always nice, but I don't think you'll have any problems.

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Re: Philadelphia/Penn-Villanova-Temple take the money?

Postby Rigo » Fri Apr 21, 2017 10:53 pm

Here I was expecting you to be considering Penn sticker when I entered thread.

100% Penn.

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UVA2B

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Re: Philadelphia/Penn-Villanova-Temple take the money?

Postby UVA2B » Fri Apr 21, 2017 11:41 pm

Just wanted to point out to new commenters ITT that the OP is entirely well intentioned and seeking advice. This is not a situation deserving of callous responses because the OP is uninformed. The OP seems atypically open to advice, and as such deserves the best TLS has to offer.

Penn is the best choice here for a litany of reasons, and I appreciate everyone confirming that.

ETA: none of the responses have actually been at all callous to this point, just pointing out the OP seems particularly responsive to quality advice

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Re: Philadelphia/Penn-Villanova-Temple take the money?

Postby enoca » Sat Apr 22, 2017 12:52 pm

Are you living at home for free? You don't seem to be including COL in any of your debt calculations. That's a big chunk of most people's debt burden right there, and even folks with "full rides" are gonna end up with a fair number of loans.

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Re: Philadelphia/Penn-Villanova-Temple take the money?

Postby BigZuck » Sat Apr 22, 2017 4:45 pm

UVA2B wrote:Just wanted to point out to new commenters ITT that the OP is entirely well intentioned and seeking advice. This is not a situation deserving of callous responses because the OP is uninformed. The OP seems atypically open to advice, and as such deserves the best TLS has to offer.

Penn is the best choice here for a litany of reasons, and I appreciate everyone confirming that.

ETA: none of the responses have actually been at all callous to this point, just pointing out the OP seems particularly responsive to quality advice

Eh...I still think Duke/Cornell is probably the best option here. Penn isn't worth 180K debt IMO.

If the OP is living at home (like really and truly living at home and parents are footing all of COL) then I can hop on board the Penn train.

Still seems to me like someone with OP's numbers should have better options but I might have been out of the law school admissions game too long.

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Re: Philadelphia/Penn-Villanova-Temple take the money?

Postby UVA2B » Sat Apr 22, 2017 4:51 pm

BigZuck wrote:
UVA2B wrote:Just wanted to point out to new commenters ITT that the OP is entirely well intentioned and seeking advice. This is not a situation deserving of callous responses because the OP is uninformed. The OP seems atypically open to advice, and as such deserves the best TLS has to offer.

Penn is the best choice here for a litany of reasons, and I appreciate everyone confirming that.

ETA: none of the responses have actually been at all callous to this point, just pointing out the OP seems particularly responsive to quality advice

Eh...I still think Duke/Cornell is probably the best option here. Penn isn't worth 180K debt IMO.

If the OP is living at home (like really and truly living at home and parents are footing all of COL) then I can hop on board the Penn train.

Still seems to me like someone with OP's numbers should have better options but I might have been out of the law school admissions game too long.


Yeah, if Duke/Cornell were on the table for the OP, they might be a better value if getting bigger scholarship. Just to be clear: are you reading in other options not presented, or do you have reason to believe OP is just leaving them out? There's certainly something to be said for applying smartly and having all options on the table, but Penn for Philly Biglaw on a half scholarship is a pretty solid position to be in.

In the theoretical there could be better options on the table, but we don't know anything about that right now.

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Re: Philadelphia/Penn-Villanova-Temple take the money?

Postby BigZuck » Sat Apr 22, 2017 9:06 pm

UVA2B wrote:
BigZuck wrote:
UVA2B wrote:Just wanted to point out to new commenters ITT that the OP is entirely well intentioned and seeking advice. This is not a situation deserving of callous responses because the OP is uninformed. The OP seems atypically open to advice, and as such deserves the best TLS has to offer.

Penn is the best choice here for a litany of reasons, and I appreciate everyone confirming that.

ETA: none of the responses have actually been at all callous to this point, just pointing out the OP seems particularly responsive to quality advice

Eh...I still think Duke/Cornell is probably the best option here. Penn isn't worth 180K debt IMO.

If the OP is living at home (like really and truly living at home and parents are footing all of COL) then I can hop on board the Penn train.

Still seems to me like someone with OP's numbers should have better options but I might have been out of the law school admissions game too long.


Yeah, if Duke/Cornell were on the table for the OP, they might be a better value if getting bigger scholarship. Just to be clear: are you reading in other options not presented, or do you have reason to believe OP is just leaving them out? There's certainly something to be said for applying smartly and having all options on the table, but Penn for Philly Biglaw on a half scholarship is a pretty solid position to be in.

In the theoretical there could be better options on the table, but we don't know anything about that right now.

There's just a lot of things missing or I'm just not seeing the whole picture here I guess.

Ultimately on this one I disagree with the hive. Of what has been presented, my answer would be "None of the above."

Does Philly big law even pay 180K? 180K debt for a 160K (or 180K) big law job just isn't worth it to me.

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Re: Philadelphia/Penn-Villanova-Temple take the money?

Postby UVA2B » Sat Apr 22, 2017 9:21 pm

BigZuck wrote:
UVA2B wrote:
BigZuck wrote:
UVA2B wrote:Just wanted to point out to new commenters ITT that the OP is entirely well intentioned and seeking advice. This is not a situation deserving of callous responses because the OP is uninformed. The OP seems atypically open to advice, and as such deserves the best TLS has to offer.

Penn is the best choice here for a litany of reasons, and I appreciate everyone confirming that.

ETA: none of the responses have actually been at all callous to this point, just pointing out the OP seems particularly responsive to quality advice

Eh...I still think Duke/Cornell is probably the best option here. Penn isn't worth 180K debt IMO.

If the OP is living at home (like really and truly living at home and parents are footing all of COL) then I can hop on board the Penn train.

Still seems to me like someone with OP's numbers should have better options but I might have been out of the law school admissions game too long.


Yeah, if Duke/Cornell were on the table for the OP, they might be a better value if getting bigger scholarship. Just to be clear: are you reading in other options not presented, or do you have reason to believe OP is just leaving them out? There's certainly something to be said for applying smartly and having all options on the table, but Penn for Philly Biglaw on a half scholarship is a pretty solid position to be in.

In the theoretical there could be better options on the table, but we don't know anything about that right now.

There's just a lot of things missing or I'm just not seeing the whole picture here I guess.

Ultimately on this one I disagree with the hive. Of what has been presented, my answer would be "None of the above."

Does Philly big law even pay 180K? 180K debt for a 160K (or 180K) big law job just isn't worth it to me.


From what I've gleaned from OP through here and some side discussion, OP focused entirely on staying in Philly both for school and beyond. So I'm working under the assumption that they didn't apply as smartly as they maybe could have because of their laser focus on Philly. In that sense, neither and reapplying would be solid advice.

Penn will still be pretty expensive, and I wouldn't be comfortable with that level of debt personally, but at this level of debt I try to be somewhat deferential when everything else makes sense, and in this case I think it does. Penn is just about the best option for getting Philly Biglaw, especially for a local, the scholarship/discount level is good/not great, and I'm also assuming they will be able to live cheaply in Philly since everything else I've been given is that it's a true Philly local (so living in boy/girlhood room and commuting to school). These are all admittedly assumptions, but given what I know of OP now, I think they are all fair assumptions.



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