For the Canadians here, what is your rationale for applying to the U.S.?
This question has been stuck on my mind for the last while, because I'm not 100% sure I actually want to work in the US after graduation, but at the same time I want a change of venue (a.k.a. move out of Toronto). The more I think about it, the less appealing $250K worth of debt looks (In all likelihood I'll be paying sticker at T14) but I really want to do Columbia ED next cycle as I would love to live in NYC. Just a confused guy overall.
I can't speak for others, but I will speak for myself. I am in a situation very similar to you, in that I will probably pay sticker for attending a T14, and I have applied ED to Columbia cuz of my wierd love for NYC.
One reason why I applied to the U.S. is exactly what you said - I wanted a change of scenary. But then again, I am still struggling in deciding whether its worth going south of the border just to live a more "interesting life", since competition is much more fierce, tuition much higher, and where we are at a disadvantage for jobs because of our status as Canadians (though the truth of this last point is still disputed). One could easily argue for us torontoians, going to UBC, UVic, or McGill if you spoke French, would also be a great change of scenary, with much less of a cost and an education that you really can't complain about. (personally, I am very much tempted to attend UBC, and may still end up going there instead)
So beyond the desire to move to a new environment, the main reason why I am even considering such a high risk, expensive investment is the prestige these institutions offer. I fancy persuing an international career, and unfortunately, the Canadian Law schools simply don't get recognized enough outside of Canada (maybe as far as the borders of North America, but not much further than that). This is quite sad, because our law schools really do offer great education and produce fantastic lawyers, but in the legal world, as it is in the rest of the world, the brand is what most people are concerned with. The US schools are much more valued in the international community, much more valued by professionals and scholars alike, so theoretically, getting a J.D. from those schools will give you a slight edge on the international frontier.
As the posts above suggest, UofT and McGill do have some international credibility, but those are out of the picture for me since one is in Toronto (a city which I love but needs to get out for awhile), and one requires me to parle francais, which I don’t.
All said and done, I am still very confused, probably just as much as you are, about where to go.