Top 10% T1, going back and forth... (Now with a dumb poll)

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What should I do?

Stay here. Top 10% has a great shot at Chicago BigLaw. 30k per year. Obvious benefits of staying. I like it here. Similar grades 2nd semester get me great shot at LR.
4
18%
Transfer. Although I'd take a Chicago job, would prefer NY/Philly. Closer to home, better (although still small) possibility at clerkship/academia. Would more than double my debt, well into six digits.
3
14%
Send out apps and decide whether to transfer after seeing where I got in/if nothing else, try to negotiate more scholarship money
15
68%
 
Total votes: 22

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JoeFish
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Top 10% T1, going back and forth... (Now with a dumb poll)

Postby JoeFish » Thu Jan 26, 2012 5:34 pm

So, here's my story. I go to a midwestern T1 (you can all easily figure out which). I am firmly within the top 10%, and just outside top 5%. I feel different about transferring every day. Half of the time I really want to, and half of the time I really don't.

So, a couple factors. First of all, I love it here. Absolutely love it. The town is perfect for me, I've made a bunch of great friends, and generally feel great about living here. I'm not 100% on the idea of living in a city, but if I get a biglaw job, I'll have to anyway, and it's probably better to start earlier.

Second, I understand my school to have a reputation for being very anti-transfer. I went in to talk to a professor whose class I did well in, and basically said "I'm looking for advice on transferring. Pros, cons, and the like. I'm still very early in the process." She was exceedingly against it, and flat out told me that she would not help me or give me a letter of recommendation. I have the feeling that another of my first semester professors will say the same thing. I have no idea what my third graded-class professor will say, but am pretty confident that my legal writing professor would give me a recommendation (after first trying to talk me out of transferring) and my legal research professor (who's since taken a position at another school) would have no problems giving me a glowing review (although the class was half a semester, non-graded, and 1 credit. Even though it might be my best possibility, should I even be considering asking him?). I'm not bitter about my school, or individual professors, being anti-transfer. I completely understand the conflict of interest, and that they'd want to keep their best students (and am flattered that they do indeed want to keep me). But it's also slightly off-putting.

The main reason I keep going back and forth is that I can't decide what my primary priorities are. I would take a biglaw job in Chicago without a moment's hesitation if it's my best option, but being 11 hours from home has become a little trying. All things equal, I would take NY>Philly>Chicago>>>Everywhere Else. I have Philadelphia ties (used to live there, grandparents currently live/work there, grandfather works with some fairly well-known lawyers). If I can keep my grades where they are, I'd have a pretty good shot at Chicago biglaw. Given certain occurrences that have recently transpired around here, though, I have absolutely no bloody idea what OCI's going to be like this year, or where our ranking is going to end up (mid-30s? it doesn't appear to have affected our Chicago connections too much, but who the hell's going to apply this year?!). I'm fairly good at interviewing, I think, and networking/mass mailing doesn't come naturally to me. Neither does asking for LORs.

Also, I can't decide whether I really want to clerk or not. I would love to get into academia, but I'm by no means married to that idea. It's hard to describe how I feel about it. I could definitely see myself as a professor, but I'm not getting into HYS anyway, and I don't want a fairly small chance at something to be my deciding factor in making such a big choice. If I do pursue transferring, I'll try for NYU, Columbia, Penn, GTown, and maybe Duke (I heard UVA only takes in-state transfers?). As I said, I'd be happy with biglaw, though, too.

I am really agonizing. Money's a big factor - although I'm definitely planning on getting something that will allow me to pay back my debt (which is greatly reduced here given the fairly large, but not full, scholarship I'm receiving), I have very little economic wiggle-room. My parents' combined income is not much more than a year's tuition at a law school, and I have a brother in college plus another who will be in college in a few years. Is need-based aid possible for transfers? We're not below the poverty line, but we're not as far away as most law students' families seem to be.

Further, I don't think my parents want me to transfer. This is only a very, very small concern. They've always backed me, and won't tell me not to transfer, but I don't think they'll wholeheartedly approve, even if it's to a T6 (we have no lawyers in the family, which is all pretty unfamiliar with the legal world). I'm perfectly willing to tell my parents, "hey, I'm in my 20s, this is what's right for me." If I do end up deciding it's right for me.

So, what would all of you illustrious posters say? Is it a no-brainer to go, even if I'll burn some bridges here, spend a lot of money applying, and have a somewhat unpleasant semester trying to jump through hoops to get the administration to sign off (I know, it's easy to say "that's exactly the kind of place you want to get out of," but in practice it's not that simple)? Or are there people out there who do indeed think that, given the fact that I'd be perfectly content with Chicago Biglaw, at least for a few years, the fact that I'm getting a pretty big scholarship, the fact that I love the area, and the fact that I'm not too sure what sorts of LORs I can get are important considerations?

Should I start talking to professors now, or wait until later (say, early March)? I'm probably not going to do GTown EA, but would that greatly improve my chances of at least having one acceptance that I could maybe use to negotiate up to a full scholly?

Additionally, is it ever possible to ask a second semester professor for a LOR? There's one here who I've talked to a few times, and absolutely love. We have a lot in common, and he's young, a visiting professor in his first year (so ostensibly little or no conflict of interest), and had a prestigious clerkship as an HYS graduate (so would at least understand where I'm coming from if I wanted to do that).

I know this has been a massive wall of text, and for that I apologize. Answer one question, all of my questions, give me advice, tell me do obviously do it, tell me to obviously not do it... just help me. I'll appreciate it.

TL;DR: Top 10% at T1. School has good Chicago connections, but reputation has been hurt recently. OP has personal ties to Philly area. Historically, T10% has quite a good shot at Chicago Biglaw. Would be happy with Chicago Biglaw. Far from home. Would slightly prefer NYC/Philly to Chicago. School is somewhat anti-transfer; one professor explicitly said "I won't help you." Could still get 2 solid LORs I think. Can't decide if I really want Clerkship/Academia or Biglaw. Really love it here in a medium-sized town; concerned about living in a city but will have to get used to it if I want Biglaw. Money is an issue, have a big but not full scholarship. Help please.
Last edited by JoeFish on Fri Jan 27, 2012 9:12 pm, edited 3 times in total.

concurrent fork
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Re: Top 10% T1, going back and forth...

Postby concurrent fork » Thu Jan 26, 2012 8:04 pm

Transferring doesn't make sense for a lot of people. You have a significant scholarship, are in a city you like, and you will probably land biglaw. A "slight preference" for NYC doesn't seem worth relocating and paying sticker for the next 2 years (HYS being a possible exception but your rank is not high enough).

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Richie Tenenbaum
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Re: Top 10% T1, going back and forth...

Postby Richie Tenenbaum » Thu Jan 26, 2012 8:22 pm

If you really want academia, transferring could make sense. While it's an uphill battle regardless of whether you transfer or not, I think your chances increase a good amount if you are able to transfer to, say, Chicago (or Columbia/NYU), especially if you are able to write on to LR.

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Sapientia
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Re: Top 10% T1, going back and forth...

Postby Sapientia » Fri Jan 27, 2012 1:05 pm

JoeFish wrote:Additionally, is it ever possible to ask a second semester professor for a LOR? There's one here who I've talked to a few times, and absolutely love. We have a lot in common, and he's young, a visiting professor in his first year (so ostensibly little or no conflict of interest), and had a prestigious clerkship as an HYS graduate (so would at least understand where I'm coming from if I wanted to do that).


I'm interested in this as well.

keg411
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Re: Top 10% T1, going back and forth...

Postby keg411 » Fri Jan 27, 2012 2:55 pm

OP, stay where you are at and mass mail firms in Philly and NYC in mid-July. Also try and find alums of your school in those markets, email them, and see if they will meet with you and chat when you are in the area. Also consider spending your 1L summer in NYC/Philly.

JewishFightClub
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Re: Top 10% T1, going back and forth... (Now with a dumb poll)

Postby JewishFightClub » Sun Jan 29, 2012 6:23 pm

I don't believe that there will be anything more than a marginal affect on OCI. What you should do is go through the motions, get your 10k scholly increase and if you happen to get into UPenn go if you don't stay. And possibly change your TLS name because like 30 of us know who you are.

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JoeFish
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Re: Top 10% T1, going back and forth... (Now with a dumb poll)

Postby JoeFish » Mon Jan 30, 2012 1:09 am

JewishFightClub wrote: And possibly change your TLS name because like 30 of us know who you are.

Well, I didn't exactly make it too hard, did I? I'm not particularly concerned about being "outed". If you ask me a question IRL I'll say pretty much the same thing.

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tyro
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Re: Top 10% T1, going back and forth... (Now with a dumb poll)

Postby tyro » Mon Jan 30, 2012 1:30 am

JewishFightClub wrote:I don't believe that there will be anything more than a marginal affect on OCI.

Wondering if you could elaborate given that he has a chance at T6?

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JoeFish
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Re: Top 10% T1, going back and forth... (Now with a dumb poll)

Postby JoeFish » Mon Jan 30, 2012 1:33 am

tyro wrote:Wondering if you could elaborate given that he has a chance at T6?


He means that the recent scandal here probably won't really affect OCI here at this school. I tend to agree, because our ties are strong and I don't think firms really care. They'll ask, and there might be a tiny affect, but I don't think anyone cancelled their reservation, as it were.

JewishFightClub
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Re: Top 10% T1, going back and forth... (Now with a dumb poll)

Postby JewishFightClub » Mon Jan 30, 2012 3:43 pm

That is what I meant, don't get read into my comment that I think our OCI will compare with that of a T6. Yeah I wondered if you had made it obvious by design or not.

Have you talked to anyone (administration or upper classmen) about getting the additional scholly funds, I have a friend who did the same or slightly behind you that is trying to do the same thing.

CanadianWolf
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Re: Top 10% T1, going back and forth... (Now with a dumb poll)

Postby CanadianWolf » Mon Jan 30, 2012 5:30 pm

Apply to Chicago, Penn & NYU to determine your options. If admitted to Chicago & you want Chicago, NYC or Philly, then the choice seems easy.

JewishFightClub
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Re: Top 10% T1, going back and forth... (Now with a dumb poll)

Postby JewishFightClub » Mon Jan 30, 2012 6:28 pm

How do you people in real cities pay to live there out of curiosity? A full loan allotment at NYU is like 24k, am I missing something or is everyone who goes there going with massive savings, getting money from their parents, or taking out large private loans?

Honestly curious

jd-mba
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Re: Top 10% T1, going back and forth... (Now with a dumb poll)

Postby jd-mba » Thu Feb 02, 2012 11:54 am

JewishFightClub wrote:How do you people in real cities pay to live there out of curiosity? A full loan allotment at NYU is like 24k, am I missing something or is everyone who goes there going with massive savings, getting money from their parents, or taking out large private loans?

Honestly curious


Big loan allotments. Not everywhere is as stingy as NYU or BU (which allots like $900 or something for rent, a nice 1bd in Boston is easily $1800). Northwestern allots somewhere around $1300-$1400 for rent, which is about market rate for a decent 1bd or in Streeterville, maybe a bit more with rent increasing lately, you'd be able to save some if you opted for a studio. Also, some come from wealthy backgrounds, some come in with savings, etc.

OP, just transfer. Don't play the what-if game with yourself, unless you absolutely love your school so much that you can honestly tell yourself that 1) you won't wonder what would have happened and 2) you won't brag to people that you could have transferred to HYS or CCN but didn't because you love your school (no one likes these kind of people).




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