Hamilton or HLS

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vanwinkle
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Re: Hamilton or HLS

Postby vanwinkle » Tue Jan 26, 2010 5:52 pm

Kiersten1985 wrote:a. Make a poll
b. You're my hero
c. Leaving CLS debt free would have to be the most amazing thing ever
d. You should apply to Yale and then not go if only to decrease their yield... :twisted:

Technically OP would not be debt free, he/she would need to take out loans for COL. However it would still be significantly less debt.

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vanwinkle
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Re: Hamilton or HLS

Postby vanwinkle » Tue Jan 26, 2010 5:52 pm

jayzon wrote:Maybe I'm not as prestige-whorish as some, or perhaps I underestimate the difference between Harvard and Columbia. IMHO, the Hamilton is prestigious on its own, and a full ride to a school as great as Columbia is life-changing, both in terms of career possibilities and in respect to the massive reduction in debt.

I will freely admit I am a prestige whore.

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Re: Hamilton or HLS

Postby MellonCollie » Tue Jan 26, 2010 5:53 pm

jayzon wrote:
vanwinkle wrote:
jayzon wrote:Second of all: I would find it almost impossible to turn down the Hamilton, if I were in your shoes.

I find it interesting how there seem to be very few people on the fence about this, it's either "It's obvious you should take the Hamilton" or "It's obvious you should go to Harvard".


Maybe I'm not as prestige-whorish as some, or perhaps I underestimate the difference between Harvard and Columbia. IMHO, the Hamilton is prestigious on its own, and a full ride to a school as great as Columbia is life-changing, both in terms of career possibilities and in respect to the massive reduction in debt.


Agree - especially the TIMING of the reduction in debt. It allows you to have a great career and be completely unencumbered in your late 20s, which IMO is huge.

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vanwinkle
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Re: Hamilton or HLS

Postby vanwinkle » Tue Jan 26, 2010 6:01 pm

MellonCollie wrote:Agree - especially the TIMING of the reduction in debt. It allows you to have a great career and be completely unencumbered in your late 20s, which IMO is huge.

This could be one reason why it doesn't matter to me as much; my late 20s are about to end before I graduate law school, so either way I'm gonna be "old" by the time I get debt paid off.

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badwillhunting
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Re: Hamilton or HLS

Postby badwillhunting » Tue Jan 26, 2010 6:02 pm

MellonCollie wrote:
vanwinkle wrote:
jayzon wrote:Second of all: I would find it almost impossible to turn down the Hamilton, if I were in your shoes.

I find it interesting how there seem to be very few people on the fence about this, it's either "It's obvious you should take the Hamilton" or "It's obvious you should go to Harvard".



Yeah, but I fluctuate between those two poles on an hourly basis as well.



i'm in the same boat. while i feel amazingly lucky to be in this boat and am unbelievably overjoyed, both the thought of passing on $153,000 and the thought of passing on HLS make me want to vomit. who knew too much of a good thing could induce seasickness?

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Nom Sawyer
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Re: Hamilton or HLS

Postby Nom Sawyer » Tue Jan 26, 2010 6:02 pm

MellonCollie wrote:
jayzon wrote:
vanwinkle wrote:
jayzon wrote:Second of all: I would find it almost impossible to turn down the Hamilton, if I were in your shoes.

I find it interesting how there seem to be very few people on the fence about this, it's either "It's obvious you should take the Hamilton" or "It's obvious you should go to Harvard".


Maybe I'm not as prestige-whorish as some, or perhaps I underestimate the difference between Harvard and Columbia. IMHO, the Hamilton is prestigious on its own, and a full ride to a school as great as Columbia is life-changing, both in terms of career possibilities and in respect to the massive reduction in debt.


Agree - especially the TIMING of the reduction in debt. It allows you to have a great career and be completely unencumbered in your late 20s, which IMO is huge.


Yep, this is def true.. but its not unprecedented for H to give out decent grants.. best decision would probably be to wait till H financial aid estimate comes out and then run the numbers with COL versus Columbia. (Do they give you a deadline for accepting the Hamilton?)

MellonCollie
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Re: Hamilton or HLS

Postby MellonCollie » Tue Jan 26, 2010 6:03 pm

vanwinkle wrote:
MellonCollie wrote:Agree - especially the TIMING of the reduction in debt. It allows you to have a great career and be completely unencumbered in your late 20s, which IMO is huge.

This could be one reason why it doesn't matter to me as much; my late 20s are about to end before I graduate law school, so either way I'm gonna be "old" by the time I get debt paid off.



Haha, fair enough.

I think I'm going to have to talk to a) Hamilton that chose Columbia b) Hamilton that chose HLS c) Career centers for both places and d) LIPP/LRAP participants before I feel like I can make a good decison, just because there's so much I don't know about future career/life impact. At least I have something to do at work for the next few weeks!

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Re: Hamilton or HLS

Postby MellonCollie » Tue Jan 26, 2010 6:03 pm

[quote="SolarWind]
Yep, this is def true.. but its not unprecedented for H to give out decent grants.. best decision would probably be to wait till H financial aid estimate comes out and then run the numbers with COL versus Columbia. (Do they give you a deadline for accepting the Hamilton?)[/quote]

It's just may 1, so plenty of time.

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Nom Sawyer
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Re: Hamilton or HLS

Postby Nom Sawyer » Tue Jan 26, 2010 6:08 pm

MellonCollie wrote: Its just may 1...


Oh yeah, you got plenty of time then... you can take your time and ask around & get a clear picture before you have to make any decisions.

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BeastCoastHype
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Re: Hamilton or HLS

Postby BeastCoastHype » Tue Jan 26, 2010 6:16 pm

Columbia all the way. Here are my reasons:

a) Columbia Law School drops jaws/pops eyeballs as much as you need it to. Telling people you go to CLS is meaningful on it's own. It's not like a scholarship at Berkeley or UVA where you have to explain exactly how good it is when talking to a layperson. Columbia is ultra prestigious in its own right.

b) I think the gap between Harvard and Columbia has narrowed significantly in the last 5-10 years, to the point where lawyers will be unlikely to distinguish much between the two when you graduate. Population growth alone is going to continue to push CLS toward the same numerical ceiling Harvard has already hit, and there is good evidence for this in the fact that Columbia already has matched Harvard's LSAT range over the course of just a few years. I think things are trending toward the top group becoming HYSc - CN, rather than HYS - CCN. Eventually it will be HYSC - CN.

c) Do you know how awesome it will be not to have debt? You can do WHATEVER YOU WANT. There are plenty of clerks from both schools, and many appellate lawyers as well. If you want to do public interest work, you can do so comfortably. If you want to make money, you can immediately start investing. Imagine how much sooner you can retire/how much better your life will be if you immediately start investing in property etc. when you start working.

d) The odds of doing well enough to clerk at either are low. If you go to Harvard, pay all that money, and then graduate as a mediocre or worse student, you are really going to regret going into all that debt for essentially no reason.

xcountryjunkie
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Re: Hamilton or HLS

Postby xcountryjunkie » Tue Jan 26, 2010 6:19 pm

I agree with a lot that has been said about the freedom of not having debt, but I feel like someone should mention quality of life (QoL) factors. Have you visited both, and if so, is there one that you think you'd enjoy more? To get a clerkship you're going to have to do very well, and if you're not happy where you are then that is less likely.

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Re: Hamilton or HLS

Postby Reverethong » Tue Jan 26, 2010 6:23 pm

xcountryjunkie wrote:I agree with a lot that has been said about the freedom of not having debt, but I feel like someone should mention quality of life (QoL) factors. Have you visited both, and if so, is there one that you think you'd enjoy more? To get a clerkship you're going to have to do very well, and if you're not happy where you are then that is less likely.


I've visited Harvard, but not Columbia (although I do love NYC). I figure that I'm not going to make any decision until after the ASW's in April so that I can see which school is a better 'fit'.

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AliceB
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Re: Hamilton or HLS

Postby AliceB » Tue Jan 26, 2010 6:29 pm

Kiersten1985 wrote:a. Make a poll
b. You're my hero
c. Leaving CLS debt free would have to be the most amazing thing ever
d. You should apply to Yale and then not go if only to decrease their yield... :twisted:


+1

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extragnarls
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Re: Hamilton or HLS

Postby extragnarls » Tue Jan 26, 2010 7:25 pm

BeastCoastHype wrote:a) Columbia Law School drops jaws/pops eyeballs as much as you need it to. Telling people you go to CLS is meaningful on it's own. It's not like a scholarship at Berkeley or UVA where you have to explain exactly how good it is when talking to a layperson. Columbia is ultra prestigious in its own right.


Fair point re: the state schools. But a lay prestige argument is a strange choice here, what with Harvard being in its own stratosphere in this particular category. It handily trumps Yale, even, among the lay folk. Why didn't OP apply to Yale, again?

BeastCoastHype wrote:c) Do you know how awesome it will be not to have debt? You can do WHATEVER YOU WANT. There are plenty of clerks from both schools, and many appellate lawyers as well. If you want to do public interest work, you can do so comfortably. If you want to make money, you can immediately start investing. Imagine how much sooner you can retire/how much better your life will be if you immediately start investing in property etc. when you start working.


Hamilton is full tuition, right? So he's still got to pay cost of living, and in NYC that'll be on the high end of the spectrum and OP will still be looking at like $75,000 in debt, since those three years are spent in school and not working to offset the living costs. That's more than just pennies.

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vanwinkle
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Re: Hamilton or HLS

Postby vanwinkle » Tue Jan 26, 2010 7:38 pm

extragnarls wrote:Hamilton is full tuition, right? So he's still got to pay cost of living, and in NYC that'll be on the high end of the spectrum and OP will still be looking at like $75,000 in debt, since those three years are spent in school and not working to offset the living costs. That's more than just pennies.

This was a point I tried to make earlier. COL for NYC is not cheap and that won't be covered by the scholarship.

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englawyer
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Re: Hamilton or HLS

Postby englawyer » Tue Jan 26, 2010 7:42 pm

i would go HLS, but I have different career goals than the OP. Primarily, I could be interested in exiting law at some point into the business world and think the Harvard brand is worth the debt there.

i disagree with the notion that CLS has the same numerical quality as HLS. while the LSAT ranges are very similar, HLS still has a substantially better GPA range. as it stands, columbia's 75th gpa is still below harvard's median. I would guess that if HLS lowered its standards for GPA, they could pull off a much higher inter-quartile LSAT range.

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Re: Hamilton or HLS

Postby heyguys » Tue Jan 26, 2010 7:43 pm

Only reasonable thing that would merit turning down Hamilton is YLS, and only under very particular circumstances IMO.

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Notor
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Re: Hamilton or HLS

Postby Notor » Tue Jan 26, 2010 8:00 pm

extragnarls wrote:Hamilton is full tuition, right? So he's still got to pay cost of living, and in NYC that'll be on the high end of the spectrum and OP will still be looking at like $75,000 in debt, since those three years are spent in school and not working to offset the living costs. That's more than just pennies.

Harvard COL will be extremely high as well. Maybe not as high as NYC, but Boston/Cambridge area is also pricey. A really utilitarian 1 bedroom is well over $1000 a month just for rent.

Take the free JD from Columbia, going well over $200k in debt with compounding interest to pursue something that is not a guarantee (and as a 0L, I would be wary of saying that it is for sure what you want to do) is unwise.

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Re: Hamilton or HLS

Postby nicdmx » Tue Jan 26, 2010 10:13 pm

I am now faced with the same decision...plus have Stanford and a UVA Dean's scholarship in the mix.

My potential career interests are pretty broad and include politics, appeals litigation, and Wilson Sonsini style tech / VC / IP practice.

Its a great position to be in, but also very complicated.

I'm going to obviously visit each school and see what sort of aid package I get. I feel like grant based aid is totally up in the air at this point. I have a significant amount in the bank right now and fairly large 401k savings that I don't want to touch for law school. Given that I'm not sure I can expect much need based aid except for the fact that I have close to 25k of negative equity in a house and a mortgage payment of 2800/month. I'm not sure how these facts will play in my financial aid applications.

I don't see my self in NYC long term, most likely I'll end up in DC, Boston, Silicon Valley, or San Diego.

I met with a Partner (to network a bit, get some career advice) at a V50 firm in DC and he was really excited for Harvard, even when I told him later about my Stanford admission. I'll have to let him know about the Hamilton from Columbia and see where he would rank that relative to HLS.

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Re: Hamilton or HLS

Postby imchuckbass58 » Tue Jan 26, 2010 10:17 pm

First off, congrats OP.

As a CLS student, given your goals, I would encourage you to go to Harvard. The only real areas where (in my opinion) Harvard places noticeably better than CLS is in clerkships, academia, and DC appellate litigation.

If your goal was NYC biglaw, I'd say take the money at Columbia no question since H and C's placement in New York is pretty much the same, but that's not your goal.

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Re: Hamilton or HLS

Postby jas5076 » Tue Jan 26, 2010 11:07 pm

vanwinkle wrote:
extragnarls wrote:Hamilton is full tuition, right? So he's still got to pay cost of living, and in NYC that'll be on the high end of the spectrum and OP will still be looking at like $75,000 in debt, since those three years are spent in school and not working to offset the living costs. That's more than just pennies.

This was a point I tried to make earlier. COL for NYC is not cheap and that won't be covered by the scholarship.


This estimate is without the assumption of summer 2L employment correct? The OP is obivously very brilliant, I think it is reasonable to think that he/she will be able to secure a Big Law Summer Job during 2L summer. This would further help to negate the low debt level that he/she would be leaving Columbia with. I won't go as far to assume 1L summer employment, which is possible but not likely.

OP: I would choose Columbia because of the great job opportunities and significantly low debt level come from such a great school!

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Re: Hamilton or HLS

Postby BeastCoastHype » Wed Jan 27, 2010 2:33 am

extragnarls wrote:
BeastCoastHype wrote:a) Columbia Law School drops jaws/pops eyeballs as much as you need it to. Telling people you go to CLS is meaningful on it's own. It's not like a scholarship at Berkeley or UVA where you have to explain exactly how good it is when talking to a layperson. Columbia is ultra prestigious in its own right.


Fair point re: the state schools. But a lay prestige argument is a strange choice here, what with Harvard being in its own stratosphere in this particular category. It handily trumps Yale, even, among the lay folk. Why didn't OP apply to Yale, again?

BeastCoastHype wrote:c) Do you know how awesome it will be not to have debt? You can do WHATEVER YOU WANT. There are plenty of clerks from both schools, and many appellate lawyers as well. If you want to do public interest work, you can do so comfortably. If you want to make money, you can immediately start investing. Imagine how much sooner you can retire/how much better your life will be if you immediately start investing in property etc. when you start working.


Hamilton is full tuition, right? So he's still got to pay cost of living, and in NYC that'll be on the high end of the spectrum and OP will still be looking at like $75,000 in debt, since those three years are spent in school and not working to offset the living costs. That's more than just pennies.


Re: A)

Sure, Harvard obviously has the name advantage, no doubt about it. But my point is that there are diminishing returns to this prestige thing. Columbia is at a level where the marginal value of the additional return on name recognition is beneath the marginal cost of attending Harvard. You don't need to go to the place with the highest possible level of prestige when you have a free ticket to one that already has an extraordinarily high prestige level. Sure there is some level of importance attached to it, but at the end of the day no one will question the credentials of either CLS or HLS grads, and most law offices like diversity of schools. The legal world is much more human and personal than people who haven't started law school or tested the job market believe it to be. Going to Harvard rather than Columbia is unlikely to change the OP's employment prospects in any meaningful way.

Re: b)

Sure, he'll have SOME debt, everyone will. $75,000 in principal is a high estimate though. When I looked at Columbia I saw student housing for $850/month. Rent is the vast majority of an ordinary person's expense. If I had to guess I would say that the first year would cost about $20,000 and about $12,000 - $15,000 for 2L and 3L. Even if we use your estimate, I would still much rather walk away with $75k in principal than $200k+.

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Re: Hamilton or HLS

Postby BenJ » Wed Jan 27, 2010 4:18 am

Unless you have a burning desire to go into politics or academia, or to practice somewhere abroad (none of which should be set in stone before attending anyway), take the Hamilton and Columbia. You're clearly brilliant. Provided you work hard, you will excel at Columbia and will be in solid position for basically any legal career path you want upon graduation. Plus, you'll do it all with no debt (except for CoL, anyway, but Columbia does have a fairly good program for mitigating NYC's high CoL).

Harvard's main value lies in its portability, but Columbia (and to a lesser extent NYU) get around that by being in the most legal-job-heavy city in the country. Harvard also has important advantages in politics and academia, and to a lesser extent in the judiciary. Finally, a Harvard degree will be the most recognized degree if you want to practice in Canada or the UK or some other Anglophone country. But those are circumstances faced by few. Columbia reaches Harvard's strength in pretty much everything else. Think about it this way: You're getting money for nothing at Columbia--why turn that down?

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joshikousei
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Re: Hamilton or HLS

Postby joshikousei » Wed Jan 27, 2010 4:30 am

first of all, congratulations! what a great decision that you need to make. :-)

i'd take the hamilton, especially given your interests. i would only (strongly consider/choose) HLS over the hamilton if you wanted to practice abroad.

fyi, there was a great thread about this decision last year... i'll try to find it.

edit: hamilton thread from last year's cycle, but still some pertinent opinions

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vanwinkle
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Re: Hamilton or HLS

Postby vanwinkle » Wed Jan 27, 2010 11:17 am

jas5076 wrote:This estimate is without the assumption of summer 2L employment correct? The OP is obivously very brilliant, I think it is reasonable to think that he/she will be able to secure a Big Law Summer Job during 2L summer.

I just have to respond to this to say that this is not how law school works.

Every single person who gets into CLS is going to be "obviously very brilliant". They're all going to be competing for the same jobs. And ITE, law firms are cutting down on hiring and focusing a lot more seriously on things like grades. OP has a high potential for success, but it is not "reasonable" to assume paid summer employment at this point.

You must be a 0L if you're making statements like this. It's foolish to to just assume paid employment, even for T6 folks, these days.




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