T2 public interest to NYU/CLS

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zor
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T2 public interest to NYU/CLS

Postby zor » Wed Jan 30, 2013 6:17 pm

I'm a T2 in the NYC area. Where I am now, I have a full ride, a named fellowship and named scholarship, and I get to be a big fish in a small pond. I also have ZERO interest in biglaw--I'm into public interest.

My goals: clerk for a year or two, then move on to a national public interest org (or vice versa). I don't want direct services (if I did, I'd stay here--there isn't much snootiness in that field). I want a post-grad fellowship, DOJ honors, or ACLU/NAACP-level work. And I'd really like the possibility of academia at some point long in the future, as a second or third career. And that's where I worry about the name and the rank and the credentialism.

Specific concerns: my school gives credit for externships, so I'd make a ton of professional connections (which I understand can be much more important in securing PI work than grades or rank), while for some reason NYU doesn't give credit to extern so you have to take a full courseload. I would probably no longer be in the top of the class. And, of course, the debt.

Anyone, specifically graduates, with public interest experience have any advice about whether it's better to be the top where I am now, with the awards and honors and law review and moot court and all that, or to go to a better-ranked school?

Second semester update: Top 2%; 3.97 GPA. I also made appellate moot court, and though they haven't released any info from law review, I likely graded on (but did the writing competition just in case so I should write on as well). Right now I'm applying to NYU/CLS, Harvard, and Yale (mostly for shits and giggles). Though I haven't quite decided if I would go if accepted.

Summer update: I was admitted to NYU. What do I do??
Last edited by zor on Mon Jul 01, 2013 2:45 pm, edited 3 times in total.

keg411
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Re: T2 public interest to NYU/CLS

Postby keg411 » Wed Jan 30, 2013 6:39 pm

I'm not PI, and I transferred, but I think you should stay based on your post since you want to clerk (as long as you don't mind the commute and transferring won't help ease that). Congrats on rocking law school.

If you weren't interested in clerkships (or it wasn't your top goal), I'd tell you to consider NYU because of their public interest faculty, but I think since you want to clerk and your grades are that high, you're better off staying put and will have a better chance of reaching your goals (in terms of clerking, publishing, etc.). Because even with a top GPA, there is still a risk that when you transfer your grades will drop to where you're not competitive for clerkships (it happened to me; although I didn't really want to clerk).

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quiver
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Re: T2 public interest to NYU/CLS

Postby quiver » Thu Jan 31, 2013 12:53 am

keg411 wrote:I'm not PI, and I transferred, but I think you should stay based on your post since you want to clerk (as long as you don't mind the commute and transferring won't help ease that). Congrats on rocking law school.

If you weren't interested in clerkships (or it wasn't your top goal), I'd tell you to consider NYU because of their public interest faculty, but I think since you want to clerk and your grades are that high, you're better off staying put and will have a better chance of reaching your goals (in terms of clerking, publishing, etc.). Because even with a top GPA, there is still a risk that when you transfer your grades will drop to where you're not competitive for clerkships (it happened to me; although I didn't really want to clerk).
Interesting. This is one perspective but I actually think your career goals cut the other way.

zor wrote:My goals: clerk at the district court/2nd circuit for a year or two, then move on to a national public interest org. I don't want direct services (if I did, I'd stay here--there isn't much snootiness in that field). I want a post-grad fellowship, DOJ honors, or ACLU/NAACP-level work. And that's where I worry about the name and the rank and the credentialism.
Ok so those are all ridiculously difficult positions to attain, even with a top school on your resume. Federal clerkships are extremely tough to get nowadays given the amount of qualified applicants and alumni hiring. And you want to clerk on the 2nd Cir.?!? Absent a special connection to a 2nd Cir. judge, getting a clerkship at that level is nearing impossible from your current school. District court is slightly more attainable but if you're looking for SDNY/EDNY that's also going to be an Everest-like uphill battle.

Similarly, post-grad PI fellowships and DOJ Honors are widely regarded as extraordinarily difficult to get because 1) there are tons of applicants with absurd stats (including people coming from federal clerkships), 2) more people are willing to go the gov/PI route due to generous loan forgiveness programs, and 3) there are very very few spots. For example, just scan the list of Skadden Fellows: http://www.skaddenfellowships.org/fellows-list. Sure, maybe one person from a T2/T3 school will sneak in, but almost all the Fellows are from T20 schools (and most from the T6). I can assure you that similar fellowships, nationally recognized PI organizations like the ACLU, and DOJ honors are as competitive (if not more so).

I really cannot emphasize enough how hard it is to attain the positions you set out; people with great grades from top schools are aiming for those.

To me, your goals seem to weigh heavily in favor of transferring. Obviously you'll have to take on a ton of debt but, in the somewhat unlikely situation where you hit your goal(s), you'll get to take advantage of some good loan forgiveness programs. Additionally, as Keg pointing out, you'll have to perform extremely well at your transfer school to have a chance at these jobs. It's risky but there are ways to game the system (take lots of seminars with easier curves, etc.).

zor wrote:Specific concerns: my school gives credit for externships, so I'd make a ton of professional connections (which I understand can be much more important in securing PI work than grades or rank), while for some reason NYU doesn't give credit to extern so you have to take a full courseload. I haven't been able to figure out if that's true at CLS.
CLS gives credit for certain externships. See: http://web.law.columbia.edu/social-justice/students/classes-clinics-externships/externships

zor wrote:Neither NYU nor CLS seem to let more than one or two transfers on law review (though I'd probably get another journal).
CLS requires transfers to participate in the write-on competition with native 1Ls in May (i.e. before you'll even have your second semester grades). That's a lot of time and effort to put in when you 1) don't know if your grades will drop to the point of not being able to get in, and 2) don't know for sure if you'll be accepted even if your grades don't drop (or drop a little). This pretty much just reinforces your point that you'll probably have to accept a secondary journal at your transfer school. However, I know CLS allows 2Ls to try and get onto LR by way of submitting a publishable note (although that's very difficult as well).

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Re: T2 public interest to NYU/CLS

Postby keg411 » Thu Jan 31, 2013 2:13 am

I think OP has a better chance of getting a clerkship as #1-2 in his/her current class than having to be a random NYU/CLS transfer with no LR. If OP goes to RU-N/SHU, he/she has an excellent chance of getting a DNJ clerkship (and probably moreso than a random transfer to NYU/CLS where his/her grades could fall off a cliff and eliminate clerking entirely as a possibility).

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Uncle.Joe
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Re: T2 public interest to NYU/CLS

Postby Uncle.Joe » Thu Jan 31, 2013 9:45 am

Also I would assume it would be tough for OP to get the quality of recommendations necessary to get a good clerkship as a transfer. Although it is tough to get fed clerk from a T2. I would ask career services to put you in touch with who in the 3L class has a clerkship to get a sense of what is attainable and what their stats are.

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quiver
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Re: T2 public interest to NYU/CLS

Postby quiver » Thu Jan 31, 2013 1:38 pm

keg411 wrote:I think OP has a better chance of getting a clerkship as #1-2 in his/her current class than having to be a random NYU/CLS transfer with no LR. If OP goes to RU-N/SHU, he/she has an excellent chance of getting a DNJ clerkship (and probably moreso than a random transfer to NYU/CLS where his/her grades could fall off a cliff and eliminate clerking entirely as a possibility).
This is one school of thought (and a perfectly valid one) but I still go the other way. LR is not the be-all-end-all of clerkships and I think having CLS/NYU would open many more clerkship doors than LR at OP's current school. Even with the toughness of today's clerkship market, the application process is still, to a certain extent, a numbers game. Having CLS/NYU on the resume will allow OP to apply more broadly, and the CLS/NYU name recognition may be able to get OP interviews that her current school could not. The name recognition of CLS/NYU will also help her when shooting for her other goals as well.

Obviously it is a higher-risk-higher-reward situation because OP still needs to perform well at the transfer school. However, like I mentioned in my last post, I think there are ways to game the system and increase your odds of getting good grades.

Just a sidenote on DNJ: the competitiveness of that district has increased over the last few years. The increased difficulty of the clerkship market overall has forced people who would've been competitive for SDNY/EDNY/EDPA clerkships into DNJ. That is to say, even top students at local schools are no longer locks for an A.III clerkship in their home market.

Uncle.Joe wrote:Also I would assume it would be tough for OP to get the quality of recommendations necessary to get a good clerkship as a transfer. Although it is tough to get fed clerk from a T2. I would ask career services to put you in touch with who in the 3L class has a clerkship to get a sense of what is attainable and what their stats are.
I disagree with this. In many ways, it's easier to get closer to professors in 2L/3L years anyway because of smaller class sizes in seminars, more time to volunteer as an RA, etc. Transfers who actually put in the effort to connect with professors seem to have no trouble getting very good recommendations.

This is all speculation at this point anyway. OP still needs to maintain those grades (or close to it) in order for this thread to actually become relevant. OP: come back when you have all your 1L grades.

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Re: T2 public interest to NYU/CLS

Postby keg411 » Thu Jan 31, 2013 2:19 pm

People from my old school are getting DNJ clerkships. Yes, there is definitely increased competitiveness, but the absolute top people at the locals are still going to get them. I just think it's too high-risk/high-reward especially for someone with a 4.17 who is clearly #1-2 in his/her class that has a giant scholarship. I just think there's more of an advantage to being #1 at a T2 then being a random transfer at CLS/NYU.

I'll put it this way -- if I had OP's credentials coming out of first semester/1L, I probably would've stayed put no matter what my career goals were.

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zor
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Re: T2 public interest to NYU/CLS

Postby zor » Thu Jan 31, 2013 3:21 pm

Thank you for all the perspectives.

Just to clarify a few points: a clerkship from my current school wouldn't be impossible. We have a few 3Ls who have clerkships lined up in SDNY/EDNY, and at least one with a 2nd Circuit one. Obviously 10% of class isn't going this route, but they get a few every year who do get it, I would think around 5.

Re: DOJ Honors, that program is (allegedly) not very interested in your school or its ranking--they're just competitive all around and strongly prefer those who have interned with them and have work experience. (Correct me if I'm mistaken.) Skadden is notoriously snooty and barely dips beyond the T3, but Equal Justice Works and AmeriCorps are not, and this school has had 5-10 EJW fellowships in the past ten years. It's obviously easier if you went to Harvard, but the possibility isn't entirely shut out.

So basically: it's *possible* I could get what I want if I stay, and it's *possible* I could get what I want if I leave, but which is the better bet? Does the possibility of losing my GPA transferring (and also this semester, obviously), named fellowship, rank, scholarship, and the lack of law review/moot court hurt my odds more than whatever odds I'd gain with the name recognition? It's so hard to tell...

I guess I'll be back in June with my grades asking again.

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Re: T2 public interest to NYU/CLS

Postby XxSpyKEx » Fri Feb 01, 2013 9:50 pm

zor wrote:I'm a T2 in the NYC area. To my absolute shock, I did very, very well my first semester of law school (4.17 GPA--wtf, right??). Not at all a gunner, had plenty of time to live my life (not in the library!), and with an hour commute each way to boot in which I read only for fun. We don't have our rank at this point, but someone I spoke to who transferred to NYU last year was 3.9 GPA and ranked 11. So it's very possible I am in the top few people. I've had several people take me aside and recommend that I transfer, probably to NYU/CLS (I assume HYS is not a possibility from my school?).

Here's the thing: where I am now, I have a full ride, a named fellowship and named scholarship, and I get to be a big fish in a small pond. I will almost certainly make both Law Review and Moot Court, assuming I keep up my grades. I also have ZERO interest in biglaw--I'm into public interest. Even without my grades back, I got 6 interviews for the summer so far, all at great places. So I think I've got a good resume, interview well, and obviously my school didn't hold me back when it came to unpaid labor.

But paid, post-graduate employment worries me. My goals: clerk at the district court/2nd circuit for a year or two, then move on to a national public interest org. I don't want direct services (if I did, I'd stay here--there isn't much snootiness in that field). I want a post-grad fellowship, DOJ honors, or ACLU/NAACP-level work. And that's where I worry about the name and the rank and the credentialism.

Specific concerns: my school gives credit for externships, so I'd make a ton of professional connections (which I understand can be much more important in securing PI work than grades or rank), while for some reason NYU doesn't give credit to extern so you have to take a full courseload. I haven't been able to figure out if that's true at CLS. Neither NYU nor CLS seem to let more than one or two transfers on law review (though I'd probably get another journal). I would probably no longer be in the top of the class. And, of course, the debt.

Anyone, specifically graduates, with public interest experience have any advice about whether it's better to be the top where I am now, with the awards and honors and law review and moot court and all that, or to go to a better-ranked school?


HYS is possible from your school with that GPA and class rank (you're likely the top student at your school). FWIW, a guy from my 1L t3 transferred to H, and his GPA was lower than yours (we didn't have A+s, and there were typically a few people who had 4.0s after the first year). S also took a transfer from a t3 that same year. I'm pretty sure with a 4.17 GPA and good LORs, you at a minimum have a shot at transferring to HYS. And imo, even HYS is much better than your t2 with LR, moot court, and your GPA. Furthermore, transfers tend to do really well at their transfer schools (e.g. there has been one transfer at the t10 I transferred to who didn't graduate with honors, according to our dean), and your odds at a lot of these jobs you're seeking are significantly better with top grades at a top law school than top grades at a mediocre law school. Moreover, one thing a lot of people overlook is the value of having a really strong alum network after graduation. I graduated in 2011, and found alums from my school to be an invaluable resource, which I wouldn't have had if I hadn't transferred. (Simply having that connection can get you into the door at a lot of places, especially if you attend a law school where alums are really loyal to their alma mater, like the school I went to.)

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Re: T2 public interest to NYU/CLS

Postby InSport » Sat Feb 09, 2013 2:24 am

zor wrote:Thank you for all the perspectives.

Just to clarify a few points: a clerkship from my current school wouldn't be impossible. We have a few 3Ls who have clerkships lined up in SDNY/EDNY, and at least one with a 2nd Circuit one. Obviously 10% of class isn't going this route, but they get a few every year who do get it, I would think around 5.

Re: DOJ Honors, that program is (allegedly) not very interested in your school or its ranking--they're just competitive all around and strongly prefer those who have interned with them and have work experience. (Correct me if I'm mistaken.) Skadden is notoriously snooty and barely dips beyond the T3, but Equal Justice Works and AmeriCorps are not, and this school has had 5-10 EJW fellowships in the past ten years. It's obviously easier if you went to Harvard, but the possibility isn't entirely shut out.

So basically: it's *possible* I could get what I want if I stay, and it's *possible* I could get what I want if I leave, but which is the better bet? Does the possibility of losing my GPA transferring (and also this semester, obviously), named fellowship, rank, scholarship, and the lack of law review/moot court hurt my odds more than whatever odds I'd gain with the name recognition? It's so hard to tell...

I guess I'll be back in June with my grades asking again.


Zor - one thing to keep in mind: NYU has an excellent LRAP. If you're interested in public interest, you won't necessarily accumulate much debt. Currently, graduates who enter public interest work that earn $80k or less do not have to make loan payments. That amount has increased every so often, so it could bump up to $85-90k. As you probably know, after 10 years the federal government forgives the remaining balance entirely.

Also, depending on the federal agency/NGO, public interest can be very competitive (as it sounds like you know). If you were to transfer to NYU or CLS and still do fairly well, you'll have great prospects. Then again, you'll have strong prospects if you stay put.

I haven't graduated yet, but I am a NYU transfer, and I am looking to do public interest work as well. I worked in policy advocacy for a national NGO before law school. If you'd like to ask me about my transfer experience or anything else, feel free to PM me.

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zor
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Re: T2 public interest to NYU/CLS

Postby zor » Sun Jun 09, 2013 11:51 am

Grades are out and I'm back in June asking again. No ranks yet, but based on data from last year I should be in the top 5%.

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Re: T2 public interest to NYU/CLS

Postby michaelbluth » Sun Jun 09, 2013 4:03 pm

zor wrote:Grades are out and I'm back in June asking again. No ranks yet, but based on data from last year I should be in the top 5%.


I suspect I'm at the same school as you, and am in a similar-though-not-quite-as-good boat (3.9 instead of 3.97 but also PI focused). I can't offer much advice (and will probably be lurking here to read the advice you get), but I'm applying to HYS (doubt I'll get in to any of them, but there's a difference between a 3.9 and a 3.97), Columbia and NYU.

A rising 3L friend of mine had a few friends transfer to Harvard last year and says that they're all doing well grade wise and doing exactly what they want to be doing this summer. (I have no idea if that's PI or big law, though. We got interrupted before we could finish the conversation.) Another friend I was speaking with a few minutes ago has a friend who did the NYU transfer and is equally happy with her choice.

The advice I'm getting from professors is an unqualified DO IT. I'm not sure that I'm taking that advice (each conversation I have tends to change my mind again). The debt terrifies me, then I remember LRAP. Ultimately, we're both in good shape either way. I have a feeling this is a decision I'm going to end up making based on instinct and feel.

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zor
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Re: T2 public interest to NYU/CLS

Postby zor » Sun Jun 09, 2013 4:14 pm

michaelbluth wrote:
I suspect I'm at the same school as you, and am in a similar-though-not-quite-as-good boat (3.9 instead of 3.97 but also PI focused). I can't offer much advice (and will probably be lurking here to read the advice you get), but I'm applying to HYS (doubt I'll get in to any of them, but there's a difference between a 3.9 and a 3.97), Columbia and NYU.

A rising 3L friend of mine had a few friends transfer to Harvard last year and says that they're all doing well grade wise and doing exactly what they want to be doing this summer. (I have no idea if that's PI or big law, though. We got interrupted before we could finish the conversation.) Another friend I was speaking with a few minutes ago has a friend who did the NYU transfer and is equally happy with her choice.

The advice I'm getting from professors is an unqualified DO IT. I'm not sure that I'm taking that advice (each conversation I have tends to change my mind again). The debt terrifies me, then I remember LRAP. Ultimately, we're both in good shape either way. I have a feeling this is a decision I'm going to end up making based on instinct and feel.


Ditto this experience. My professors all told me to do it (which shocked me), but the debt it scary. And yes, we seem to be at the same school.

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Re: T2 public interest to NYU/CLS

Postby michaelbluth » Sun Jun 09, 2013 4:44 pm

zor wrote:
michaelbluth wrote:Ditto this experience. My professors all told me to do it (which shocked me), but the debt it scary. And yes, we seem to be at the same school.


It shocked me as well. It's funny, at this point, professors are saying do it, family and people who know me well are saying don't. And I'm sitting on the fence. I'd be curious to know what you ultimately decide, and either way, my fingers are crossed for you:)

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quiver
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Re: T2 public interest to NYU/CLS

Postby quiver » Mon Jun 10, 2013 3:50 pm

michaelbluth wrote:It's funny, at this point, professors are saying do it, family and people who know me well are saying don't.
I had this exact same experience during my transfer process.

I know I already posted in this thread, but I can out myself a bit more and give more personalized advice if you guys PM me. FWIW: T2 to CCN transfer (class of 2013).

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zor
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Re: T2 public interest to NYU/CLS

Postby zor » Mon Jul 01, 2013 2:47 pm

Just posting to update that I got into NYU, so I do have a real decision to make. I'm still on the fence, but leaning toward transferring.




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