Harvard Student(s) Answering Your Questions

A forum for applicants and admitted students to ask law students and graduates about law school and the practice of law.
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wert3813
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Re: Harvard Student(s) Answering Your Questions

Postby wert3813 » Wed May 15, 2013 12:30 am

CyanIdes Of March wrote:
GertrudePerkins wrote:
CyanIdes Of March wrote:I'm trying to find hours/pay-scale/experiences for Harvard grads working in Criminal Defense, can anyone direct me to a good source of information?
"Criminal Defense" could mean a lot of things, ranging from public defender to a relatively small private practice (like Marty Weinberg's) to doing criminal defense from within a BigLaw firm. The pay probably varies significantly among the possibilities encompassed by "Criminal Defense," and I don't think there's anything Harvard-specific about it. That is, the nature of what you do (and how much you get paid) as, say, a lawyer for DC's PDS is the same whether you went to Harvard or to UCLA. And Harvard grads definitely go down all of these paths.

In short, in order to get some more specific data, you need to be more specific about what you mean by "Criminal Defense."


Yea sorry about that, wasn't clear enough. I'm looking mainly for BigLaw.

Is Biglaw criminal defense a thing? I know most firms have a small white collar group and a FCPA group but are there really big law firms where you can go and focus exclusively on criminal defense? What about non-white collar crime?

GertrudePerkins
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Re: Harvard Student(s) Answering Your Questions

Postby GertrudePerkins » Wed May 15, 2013 9:07 am

wert3813 wrote:
CyanIdes Of March wrote:
GertrudePerkins wrote:
CyanIdes Of March wrote:I'm trying to find hours/pay-scale/experiences for Harvard grads working in Criminal Defense, can anyone direct me to a good source of information?
"Criminal Defense" could mean a lot of things, ranging from public defender to a relatively small private practice (like Marty Weinberg's) to doing criminal defense from within a BigLaw firm. The pay probably varies significantly among the possibilities encompassed by "Criminal Defense," and I don't think there's anything Harvard-specific about it. That is, the nature of what you do (and how much you get paid) as, say, a lawyer for DC's PDS is the same whether you went to Harvard or to UCLA. And Harvard grads definitely go down all of these paths.

In short, in order to get some more specific data, you need to be more specific about what you mean by "Criminal Defense."


Yea sorry about that, wasn't clear enough. I'm looking mainly for BigLaw.

Is Biglaw criminal defense a thing? I know most firms have a small white collar group and a FCPA group but are there really big law firms where you can go and focus exclusively on criminal defense? What about non-white collar crime?

I think Wert3813 is right that BigLaw criminal defense is not really what one normally thinks of as criminal defense. Lots of BigLaw firms do FCPA (Foreign Corrupt Practices Act) work, but that's not like defending a regular criminal prosecution. Instead, the firm plays more of an investigatory role, fleshing if there was an FCPA violation and how bad it was, and then serves as a negotiator with the government, figuring some kind of settlement. I think this all occurs before the filing of any indictment, and my understanding is that corporations are essentially never willing to litigate an FCPA charge because the downside risk is too catastrophic. I'm not sure, but I think lots of corporate white collar defense (i.e., defending a corporation that's under criminal investigation) is similar.

That said, BigLaw firms do sometimes serve as defense counsel for individual defendants charged with crimes. O'Melveny & [deleted] has been defending Jeffrey Skilling of Enron, for example, and the BigLaw firm where I worked last summer was defending (all the way to trial) an individual hedge fund manager charged with criminal securities fraud. But I just don't think BigLaw firms do enough of that kind of traditional criminal defense that any associate or partner could work predominantly (let alone exclusively) on such matters.

But, OP, as for pay, most BigLaw firms follow similar, lock-step compensation schemes that start at $160K for first year associates and then go up $5-10K each year thereafter. (If you want more precise numbers, try to get ahold of the Vault Guide to the Top 100 Law Firms.)

mommalee
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Re: Harvard Student(s) Answering Your Questions

Postby mommalee » Wed May 15, 2013 10:13 pm

yarsten wrote:Question for those who have families (if there are any) but others can chime in as well...

According to the rates listed online, Harvard health insurance will be over $10k/year for my family (spouse and child). That seems a little pricey...
Has anyone tried private health insurance or even Medicaid? If Medicaid, how would that work as far as getting a waiver before you're even in the state?


I'm incoming, but I thought about this as well as I have a family. I am pretty sure that if you apply for Medicaid you could impact your grant money.

As a condition of receiving institutional financial aid, students must report all forms of external assistance, including taxable and untaxed income from any federal or state public assistance programs. All forms of public assistance (including but not limited to WIC, SNAP, TAFDC/EAEDC, or fuel assistance) received by a student, spouse or dependent child(ren) are considered as a financial resource in the determination of financial need. HLS institutional financial aid, starting with HLS Grant assistance, will be reduced dollar-for-dollar by the amount of public assistance received.


http://www.law.harvard.edu/current/sfs/ ... rried.html

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Searchparty
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Re: Harvard Student(s) Answering Your Questions

Postby Searchparty » Thu May 16, 2013 9:14 am

mommalee wrote:
yarsten wrote:Question for those who have families (if there are any) but others can chime in as well...

According to the rates listed online, Harvard health insurance will be over $10k/year for my family (spouse and child). That seems a little pricey...
Has anyone tried private health insurance or even Medicaid? If Medicaid, how would that work as far as getting a waiver before you're even in the state?


I'm incoming, but I thought about this as well as I have a family. I am pretty sure that if you apply for Medicaid you could impact your grant money.

As a condition of receiving institutional financial aid, students must report all forms of external assistance, including taxable and untaxed income from any federal or state public assistance programs. All forms of public assistance (including but not limited to WIC, SNAP, TAFDC/EAEDC, or fuel assistance) received by a student, spouse or dependent child(ren) are considered as a financial resource in the determination of financial need. HLS institutional financial aid, starting with HLS Grant assistance, will be reduced dollar-for-dollar by the amount of public assistance received.


http://www.law.harvard.edu/current/sfs/ ... rried.html



Also incoming, but it seems as though those programs listed give a specific dollar amount and are food stamps (or similar to)... Which ultimately lessens your living budget. I'm not sure how they'd calculate a dollar for dollar reduction for health insurance. Although, I could see you getting that health insurance fee reducing your budget (~2300 for single).

j2d123abc
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Re: Harvard Student(s) Answering Your Questions

Postby j2d123abc » Fri May 17, 2013 12:03 pm

Anyone know about the USAO clinic? Good experience?

delusional
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Re: Harvard Student(s) Answering Your Questions

Postby delusional » Fri May 17, 2013 4:47 pm

.

CupOfTea
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Re: Harvard Student(s) Answering Your Questions

Postby CupOfTea » Fri May 17, 2013 5:12 pm

Also curious to know how difficult/competitive it is to participate in the USAO and Supreme Court clinics

delusional
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Re: Harvard Student(s) Answering Your Questions

Postby delusional » Fri May 17, 2013 5:35 pm

Searchparty wrote:
mommalee wrote:
yarsten wrote:Question for those who have families (if there are any) but others can chime in as well...

According to the rates listed online, Harvard health insurance will be over $10k/year for my family (spouse and child). That seems a little pricey...
Has anyone tried private health insurance or even Medicaid? If Medicaid, how would that work as far as getting a waiver before you're even in the state?


I'm incoming, but I thought about this as well as I have a family. I am pretty sure that if you apply for Medicaid you could impact your grant money.

As a condition of receiving institutional financial aid, students must report all forms of external assistance, including taxable and untaxed income from any federal or state public assistance programs. All forms of public assistance (including but not limited to WIC, SNAP, TAFDC/EAEDC, or fuel assistance) received by a student, spouse or dependent child(ren) are considered as a financial resource in the determination of financial need. HLS institutional financial aid, starting with HLS Grant assistance, will be reduced dollar-for-dollar by the amount of public assistance received.


http://www.law.harvard.edu/current/sfs/ ... rried.html



Also incoming, but it seems as though those programs listed give a specific dollar amount and are food stamps (or similar to)... Which ultimately lessens your living budget. I'm not sure how they'd calculate a dollar for dollar reduction for health insurance. Although, I could see you getting that health insurance fee reducing your budget (~2300 for single).
This is a new policy, so it's conceivable that SFS hasn't thought of this either.

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PinkCow
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Re: Harvard Student(s) Answering Your Questions

Postby PinkCow » Fri May 17, 2013 6:38 pm

CupOfTea wrote:Also curious to know how difficult/competitive it is to participate in the USAO and Supreme Court clinics



USAO clinic is a complete lottery, so only competitive in the sense that you're going to have to rank it very highly and even then might not get it.

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pushkin
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Re: Harvard Student(s) Answering Your Questions

Postby pushkin » Mon May 20, 2013 8:13 pm

PinkCow wrote:
CupOfTea wrote:Also curious to know how difficult/competitive it is to participate in the USAO and Supreme Court clinics



USAO clinic is a complete lottery, so only competitive in the sense that you're going to have to rank it very highly and even then might not get it.


To add to that, it's fairly easy to get a USAO job for 1L out of HLS, especially if you're willing to look outside SDNY/EDNY/D.Mass and have your act together in time for the (comparatively) early application dates. There's also a second prosecution clinic in the state court system where you actually get on your feet and can do motions/trials, as well as a phenomenal defense clinic (CJI) that allows the same. So lots of chances to do criminal work if that's your thing.

SCOTUS clinic is pretty competitive, as far as I know. Not clear how much of it is just self-selection (possibly a great deal), but the folks I know who've done it are largely HLR/Ames Semis/high-profile RA types (those are "or" not "and"). But again, may just be that the most traditionally law-school ambitious folks tend to cluster.

gertie
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Re: Harvard Student(s) Answering Your Questions

Postby gertie » Tue May 21, 2013 2:22 pm

Does anyone know of any Harvard students who were on Medicaid while in Law School instead of Harvard's health plan or a private insurance plan? I know that MA is expaning Medicaid come January '14 so I thought I'd look into this

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yarsten
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Re: Harvard Student(s) Answering Your Questions

Postby yarsten » Tue May 21, 2013 3:37 pm

gertie wrote:Does anyone know of any Harvard students who were on Medicaid while in Law School instead of Harvard's health plan or a private insurance plan? I know that MA is expaning Medicaid come January '14 so I thought I'd look into this


I asked a similar question above. I know of a couple of people on MassHealth (MA medicaid) that said that for them the application process wasn't very difficult.

As to my original question, for those interested, if you are receiving aid from Harvard and you use MassHealth your aid will be deducted by the amount you save. This also goes for all government assistance programs, as discussed previously. This applies for students with families who have a dependent care allowance(s) in their budget. I'm not sure about single students, because that would mean they would be reducing your already minimal student budget and I thought they didn't do that, but I don't know.

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acrossthelake
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Re: Harvard Student(s) Answering Your Questions

Postby acrossthelake » Thu May 23, 2013 4:21 pm

I won't name names, but I see that some of the 3L posters in this thread made latin honors. Congrats you guys. :)

Also, any info on Halperin v. Abrams for Tax?

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DoubleChecks
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Re: Harvard Student(s) Answering Your Questions

Postby DoubleChecks » Thu May 23, 2013 8:08 pm

acrossthelake wrote:I won't name names, but I see that some of the 3L posters in this thread made latin honors. Congrats you guys. :)

Also, any info on Halperin v. Abrams for Tax?


I can't comment on Abrams, but I have heard only bad things about Halperin lol.

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iThwl
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Re: Harvard Student(s) Answering Your Questions

Postby iThwl » Fri May 24, 2013 5:04 am

Could anyone compare Robert Clark & Guhan Subramanian for corporations? which one do you recommend?

hlsperson1111
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Re: Harvard Student(s) Answering Your Questions

Postby hlsperson1111 » Fri May 24, 2013 9:12 am

I didn't take it with either of them, but I have a slightly older (c/o 2011) friend who strongly, strongly recommended that I take it with Subramanian if that was an option.

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pupshaw
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Re: Harvard Student(s) Answering Your Questions

Postby pupshaw » Fri May 24, 2013 9:32 am

Non 1L class grades are out, or at least some of them are.

CupOfTea
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Re: Harvard Student(s) Answering Your Questions

Postby CupOfTea » Fri May 24, 2013 11:39 am

How should a person with no ties to Chicago aim for Chicago? What kinds of grades are needed for Big law there and what's the competition like? Any chance of getting a clerkship there or is that UChicago territory? My SO will be doing grad school + residency there so that's where it looks like I'm headed post-graduation. Thank you :)

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wert3813
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Re: Harvard Student(s) Answering Your Questions

Postby wert3813 » Fri May 24, 2013 12:23 pm

CupOfTea wrote:How should a person with no ties to Chicago aim for Chicago? What kinds of grades are needed for Big law there and what's the competition like? Any chance of getting a clerkship there or is that UChicago territory? My SO will be doing grad school + residency there so that's where it looks like I'm headed post-graduation. Thank you :)


As long as people are answering this question does the following look right? Assume moderate ties.

1. NY
2. Bos
3. Chic
4. LA
5. DC
6. SF

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acrossthelake
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Re: Harvard Student(s) Answering Your Questions

Postby acrossthelake » Fri May 24, 2013 12:46 pm

CupOfTea wrote:How should a person with no ties to Chicago aim for Chicago? What kinds of grades are needed for Big law there and what's the competition like? Any chance of getting a clerkship there or is that UChicago territory? My SO will be doing grad school + residency there so that's where it looks like I'm headed post-graduation. Thank you :)


Your SO doing grad school & residency there will count as a tie as long as you can communicate that it's a truly serious relationship. If you've been together like 4 years, say so. This will be easier if the SO is at least a fiance, if not a spouse. I don't know very many people who did Chicago, and the ones I know who did were all from the region. It's not really a region people flock to when they aren't from there, so I think it's less a competition with grades issue, and more a communicating that you want to be there. Mind you, not a ton of Chicago offices come to EIP in the first place, so you'll want a backup market.

wert3813 wrote:
CupOfTea wrote:How should a person with no ties to Chicago aim for Chicago? What kinds of grades are needed for Big law there and what's the competition like? Any chance of getting a clerkship there or is that UChicago territory? My SO will be doing grad school + residency there so that's where it looks like I'm headed post-graduation. Thank you :)


As long as people are answering this question does the following look right? Assume moderate ties.

1. NY
2. Bos
3. Chic
4. LA
5. DC
6. SF


Is this supposed to be a ranking from hardest to easiest? If so, though I'm not sure a ranking is ever going to be that accurate because it loses nuance. It changes from year to year, but at least last year OCS told us that D.C. was the roughest (and the grade-pickiest), followed by LA, followed by SF. This is all considering some sort of ties, though. However, from what I could gather from people who did the Chi market (people I know at UChi & Northwestern), the Chicago market was brutal last year because I think it contracted. Boston is sensitive to the year in that it's sort of cyclical--most people here are only really interested in the big 4 (Ropes, Wilmer, Goodwin, and Bingham), but some years they overhire and other years they underhire, so it really depends what year you are in their swings.

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wert3813
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Re: Harvard Student(s) Answering Your Questions

Postby wert3813 » Fri May 24, 2013 1:47 pm

acrossthelake wrote:
CupOfTea wrote:How should a person with no ties to Chicago aim for Chicago? What kinds of grades are needed for Big law there and what's the competition like? Any chance of getting a clerkship there or is that UChicago territory? My SO will be doing grad school + residency there so that's where it looks like I'm headed post-graduation. Thank you :)


Your SO doing grad school & residency there will count as a tie as long as you can communicate that it's a truly serious relationship. If you've been together like 4 years, say so. This will be easier if the SO is at least a fiance, if not a spouse. I don't know very many people who did Chicago, and the ones I know who did were all from the region. It's not really a region people flock to when they aren't from there, so I think it's less a competition with grades issue, and more a communicating that you want to be there. Mind you, not a ton of Chicago offices come to EIP in the first place, so you'll want a backup market.

wert3813 wrote:
CupOfTea wrote:How should a person with no ties to Chicago aim for Chicago? What kinds of grades are needed for Big law there and what's the competition like? Any chance of getting a clerkship there or is that UChicago territory? My SO will be doing grad school + residency there so that's where it looks like I'm headed post-graduation. Thank you :)


As long as people are answering this question does the following look right? Assume moderate ties.

1. NY
2. Bos
3. Chic
4. LA
5. DC
6. SF


Is this supposed to be a ranking from hardest to easiest? If so, though I'm not sure a ranking is ever going to be that accurate because it loses nuance. It changes from year to year, but at least last year OCS told us that D.C. was the roughest (and the grade-pickiest), followed by LA, followed by SF. This is all considering some sort of ties, though. However, from what I could gather from people who did the Chi market (people I know at UChi & Northwestern), the Chicago market was brutal last year because I think it contracted. Boston is sensitive to the year in that it's sort of cyclical--most people here are only really interested in the big 4 (Ropes, Wilmer, Goodwin, and Bingham), but some years they overhire and other years they underhire, so it really depends what year you are in their swings.


So basically the only "easy" market is NY?

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DoubleChecks
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Re: Harvard Student(s) Answering Your Questions

Postby DoubleChecks » Fri May 24, 2013 2:56 pm

iThwl wrote:Could anyone compare Robert Clark & Guhan Subramanian for corporations? which one do you recommend?


DEFINITELY Subramanian. I have heard great things about him. Lots of friends took his classes and liked them. Clark is aight for corps; I had him. He was kind of boring (but I mean, it is corps), is slightly entertaining when he sings his songs, but deep down is probably a bit racist/sexist/etc. Maybe not even that deep down. It becomes apparent when certain comments slip out of his mouth, and when I heard he was the HLS dean during the whole Frug and gender inequality scandal in the 90s, my reaction was, "Hm, not surprised." Sounds harsh, but he's not a bad guy -- more like one of those old privileged ones who don't realize calling someone an 'Oriental' is now deemed inappropriate. I personally found it more entertaining than offensive, and again, it isn't particularly apparent or anything. Certainly not Mnookin-level inappropriate haha.

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DoubleChecks
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Re: Harvard Student(s) Answering Your Questions

Postby DoubleChecks » Fri May 24, 2013 2:57 pm

CupOfTea wrote:How should a person with no ties to Chicago aim for Chicago? What kinds of grades are needed for Big law there and what's the competition like? Any chance of getting a clerkship there or is that UChicago territory? My SO will be doing grad school + residency there so that's where it looks like I'm headed post-graduation. Thank you :)


Legal market seems to be picking up in most places, so I don't know about anymore, but I do know a year or two ago, Chicago was one of the tougher markets to get into. Its legal economy was sort of hard hit...I knew someone who was almost magna and didn't get in; older yr than me though (so worse economy), and his interviewing abilities are almost certainly questionable lol.

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DoubleChecks
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Re: Harvard Student(s) Answering Your Questions

Postby DoubleChecks » Fri May 24, 2013 3:05 pm

wert3813 wrote:So basically the only "easy" market is NY?


Okay, well I always have to plug this though so...you're missing one major market that is pretty easy and imo the best (but arguable with NYC and maybe LA, depending on preferences): TX.

For 1L SA, usually needs ties, and probably need more ties to get 2L SA in Dallas compared to Houston, and DEFINITELY need ties to get into small, competitive Austin...but Houston 2L SAs are given out like candy to HLS students. I mean, show genuine interest in the market, but you don't really need ties. Just interest. They know if you take the 2L SA to TX, very little chance you're going to be going elsewhere from 3L OCI anyways haha.

The TX legal market is also one of the most robust. NYC and TX probably the most robust two. Too much work if anything. TONS of NYC firms have recently tried to break into the Houston market (most of my TX comments really only talk about Houston as I have limited experience with Dallas/San Antonio/Austin markets) because of oil & gas/energy. So if you still want a NYC-based firm, there are some good ones that just opened up and are doing well. Latham comes to mind first -- cutting edge transactional work (no lit really), VERY successful in VERY little time...Sidley is another out-of-state firm that just opened up and is attracting great partners/business. Regardless, in answering your question, the TX legal market is relatively easy to break into for 2L yr, esp. Houston, and is certainly one of the most successful ones in the country at the moment.

COL is like a third of NYC's...real estate is DIRT cheap...no state income tax. Starting biglaw scale is also $160k, though the lockstep doesn't grow as quickly as NYC's, and the bonuses are smaller. That being said, after taxes are factored in (NYC has a city tax too), they become much more similar...and once housing and COL is factored in, not even close. Probably can repay loans considerably faster in TX biglaw. We also work fewer hours and have nicer people. Still work biglaw (biglaw is biglaw is biglaw), but not NYC crazy. I have tons of friends who are working in NYC and summered there -- the stories of the personalities and work hours are foreign to me. We still have our days and a few outlier people, but generally, I have never been stressed due to the PEOPLE at my firms (I SA'd at multiple firms). We're less "brutally efficient" down here in TX :P

Okay okay, done plugging.

GertrudePerkins
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Re: Harvard Student(s) Answering Your Questions

Postby GertrudePerkins » Fri May 24, 2013 3:43 pm

DoubleChecks wrote:
iThwl wrote:Could anyone compare Robert Clark & Guhan Subramanian for corporations? which one do you recommend?


DEFINITELY Subramanian. I have heard great things about him. Lots of friends took his classes and liked them. Clark is aight for corps; I had him. He was kind of boring (but I mean, it is corps), is slightly entertaining when he sings his songs, but deep down is probably a bit racist/sexist/etc. Maybe not even that deep down. It becomes apparent when certain comments slip out of his mouth, and when I heard he was the HLS dean during the whole Frug and gender inequality scandal in the 90s, my reaction was, "Hm, not surprised." Sounds harsh, but he's not a bad guy -- more like one of those old privileged ones who don't realize calling someone an 'Oriental' is now deemed inappropriate. I personally found it more entertaining than offensive, and again, it isn't particularly apparent or anything. Certainly not Mnookin-level inappropriate haha.
Seconded. Clark uses a predetermined "panel" system for class participation, which might sound good if you dislike true cold-calling, but it just sucks all of the energy out of the room. Really boring classroom experience. Think Ben Stein in Ferris Bueller's Day Off; just a few notches above that.




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