But seriously... Why Harvard?

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Ernert
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Re: But seriously... Why Harvard?

Postby Ernert » Sun Oct 09, 2011 4:52 am

I think this is an a more important question to current law students: how many people like the OP do you have to deal with on a daily basis? Because... wow. Even if you are legitimately curious and want to learn more about something that is normally considered a given, there is no need to be such a condescending douchetard in literally every single post you make.

As far as your question, lay prestige + substantially higher expenditures per student definitely offer just as if not substantially more strong (read: tenuous) correlations to legal career success as entering student LSAT scores do to law school school ranking. Choosing to accept one weak correlation as absolute truth while denying others just as ferociously does not make you discerningly skeptical: it just shows that you are pointlessly argumentative.

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PDaddy
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Re: But seriously... Why Harvard?

Postby PDaddy » Sun Oct 09, 2011 5:04 am

thisguy456 wrote:
rgndvo wrote:The latter is brighter and scored far higher on the LSAT, which is a decent predictor of career success.


????


Double ????

At best, high test scores are "sufficient" predictors of career success, not necessary ones. Lots of inept douches score well on tests. Practicing law is about so much more than that. Can the attorney relate to people, is s/he empathetic, creative and quick. Is s/he observant and intuitive about human emotion. Can s/he negotiate...can s/he sell ideas to people?

Is s/he passionate about the field of law in which s/he practices? Can the attorney manage stress well? Does s/he work well under pressure? Does s/he harbor any deep-seeded racist or chauvinistic views that are likely to surface in the way s/he practices law? How organized is s/he? What are his/her most deeply inbedded morals like? Does s/he tend to follow rules or is s/he self-centered, arrogant and careless? Can s/he be corrupted?

delusional
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Re: But seriously... Why Harvard?

Postby delusional » Sun Oct 09, 2011 9:23 am

Based on OP's post history, I'll assume that he's really serious, although he's beating a dead horse.

I've never been anywhere else, but the reason I chose HLS is the different demeanor that I saw there compared to the other schools I went to. People in other T14s, even T6es, were tenser and more neurotic ETA when discussing grades and jobs. I attribute this to the grades and jobs ETA being significantly easier at HLS.

When I asked, in other schools, about jobs, they clammed up and said how tough it's gotten, talked about the hope of being above median, etc. At HLS, they unanimously said that everyone who tried to get a job had one, and that even ITE, (ETA) even with an LP, all you had to do was settle a bit, and you'd find a job.

Also, LIPP means that if you strike out at OCI, you don't have to compete for the same PI jobs as everyone else who struck out and everyone else who really wanted to do PI. You can go home, work for your local dog bite lawyer, and LIPP will cover you until you find something permanent.

The third reason I chose Harvard was the financial aid. Everyone thinks that they don't give any, but that's not true. If you are from a lower income family, or if you are over 28 years old, or if you have children, you may find out that their need-based aid is better than the merit aid from other places. Example - if your family has no major income surplus, and you have no major assets, you can reasonably expect to graduate with significantly less debt than people who got the Hamilton at Columbia.

Now that I'm here, I think it's pretty likely that the educational experience is also of relatively high quality. I have four really good professors, two of whom have significant and high level experience in their fields; the other two are also well known outside of school as experts in particular fields (although not necessarily the ones they teach). I've read Paul Campos's blog, and people here, there, and on ATL seem to agree with his claim that profs mail it in - mine don't.

I don't know what extra talks, courses, and groups other schools have, but since I've been here, there have been extra talks with five or six legal figures that I had heard of outside the context of school - Elena Kagan, Eugene Volokh, etc. Even Justice Breyer came just before the semester, although he spoke in French.

Lastly, what everyone else said already also has some truth to it. It may be circular, but if it's true, it's true. People assume that Harvard is good because people assume that Harvard is good. If you have the opportunity, take advantage of it.

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ph14
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Re: But seriously... Why Harvard?

Postby ph14 » Sun Oct 09, 2011 9:38 am

delusional wrote:Based on OP's post history, I'll assume that he's really serious, although he's beating a dead horse.

I've never been anywhere else, but the reason I chose HLS is the different demeanor that I saw there compared to the other schools I went to. People in other T14s, even T6es, were tenser and more neurotic ETA when discussing grades and jobs. I attribute this to the grades and jobs ETA being significantly easier at HLS.

When I asked, in other schools, about jobs, they clammed up and said how tough it's gotten, talked about the hope of being above median, etc. At HLS, they unanimously said that everyone who tried to get a job had one, and that even ITE, (ETA) even with an LP, all you had to do was settle a bit, and you'd find a job.

Also, LIPP means that if you strike out at OCI, you don't have to compete for the same PI jobs as everyone else who struck out and everyone else who really wanted to do PI. You can go home, work for your local dog bite lawyer, and LIPP will cover you until you find something permanent.

The third reason I chose Harvard was the financial aid. Everyone thinks that they don't give any, but that's not true. If you are from a lower income family, or if you are over 28 years old, or if you have children, you may find out that their need-based aid is better than the merit aid from other places. Example - if your family has no major income surplus, and you have no major assets, you can reasonably expect to graduate with significantly less debt than people who got the Hamilton at Columbia.

Now that I'm here, I think it's pretty likely that the educational experience is also of relatively high quality. I have four really good professors, two of whom have significant and high level experience in their fields; the other two are also well known outside of school as experts in particular fields (although not necessarily the ones they teach). I've read Paul Campos's blog, and people here, there, and on ATL seem to agree with his claim that profs mail it in - mine don't.

I don't know what extra talks, courses, and groups other schools have, but since I've been here, there have been extra talks with five or six legal figures that I had heard of outside the context of school - Elena Kagan, Eugene Volokh, etc. Even Justice Breyer came just before the semester, although he spoke in French.

Lastly, what everyone else said already also has some truth to it. It may be circular, but if it's true, it's true. People assume that Harvard is good because people assume that Harvard is good. If you have the opportunity, take advantage of it.


To add in my perspective, I don't feel like it is quite this rosy. I do know of people who struck out.

delusional
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Re: But seriously... Why Harvard?

Postby delusional » Sun Oct 09, 2011 9:45 am

ph14 wrote:
To add in my perspective, I don't feel like it is quite this rosy. I do know of people who struck out.

I don't think we disagree. Some people don't have jobs, but the 2Ls and 3Ls that I've spoken to seem pretty unanimous that if they weren't holding out for that perfect job, they'd be okay. Also, you have to compare it to the other options - in Penn, Columbia, Georgetown, etc. you don't have to look too carefully to find people without jobs.

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DoubleChecks
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Re: But seriously... Why Harvard?

Postby DoubleChecks » Sun Oct 09, 2011 12:21 pm

delusional wrote:
ph14 wrote:
To add in my perspective, I don't feel like it is quite this rosy. I do know of people who struck out.

I don't think we disagree. Some people don't have jobs, but the 2Ls and 3Ls that I've spoken to seem pretty unanimous that if they weren't holding out for that perfect job, they'd be okay. Also, you have to compare it to the other options - in Penn, Columbia, Georgetown, etc. you don't have to look too carefully to find people without jobs.


I have heard of people who struck out at EIP -- though to be fair, these people generally still end up with jobs by graduation (probably not their top choices, and in some instances, maybe not even biglaw). But to be fair, I have only heard of these people. Essentially everyone I've met or talked to seems to have a job, and the few who don't were still looking. It also seemed to have very little to do with grades. That was probably my biggest takeaway from EIP -- biglaw firms (V3 and down, but on a very rough sliding scale) don't seem to care too much about our grades (or rather it doesn't hold you back). Plenty of people below median doing better/just as well as above median students. Obviously top grades are helpful, and even necessary with the handful of most selective firms, but generally speaking you were fine (can't speak about multiple LP holders, but I do know of people w/ one LP with nice biglaw jobs).

I personally believe that those who struck out at EIP (note: once again, not saying they will remain jobless -- I think most if not all get something eventually) struck out because of poor bidding, focusing on a tough market w/ not-so-rosy grades, and/or poor interviewing skills (i.e. not coming across as professional enough or maybe simply bad luck in not meshing with their interviewers).

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Re: But seriously... Why Harvard?

Postby Renzo » Sun Oct 09, 2011 12:45 pm

rgndvo wrote: It is crystal-clear that the LSAT is to some extent predictive of law school success.


Let's talk about this for a second, since you seem to think it's crystal-clear. According to LSAC's own study, which is the most optimistic I've ever seen, GPA and LSAT together have a predictive value for first-year law school performance of 0.47.

This means that in a class of 300 students, on average you can predict where a student will fall within a range of 378 students (the average student will fall within a range of 189 spots above or below the rank you would predict based on GPA+LSAT).

In other words, you can reliably predict that a student will fall someplace between first and last in the class, based on LSAT & GPA. So what, exactly, is your point about LSAT and prediction?

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Re: But seriously... Why Harvard?

Postby delusional » Sun Oct 09, 2011 12:53 pm

Renzo wrote:
rgndvo wrote: It is crystal-clear that the LSAT is to some extent predictive of law school success.


Let's talk about this for a second, since you seem to think it's crystal-clear. According to LSAC's own study, which is the most optimistic I've ever seen, GPA and LSAT together have a predictive value for first-year law school performance of 0.47.

This means that in a class of 300 students, on average you can predict where a student will fall within a range of 378 students (the average student will fall within a range of 189 spots above or below the rank you would predict based on GPA+LSAT).

In other words, you can reliably predict that a student will fall someplace between first and last in the class, based on LSAT & GPA. So what, exactly, is your point about LSAT and prediction?

I have no idea what you wrote but it can't possibly make sense.

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Re: But seriously... Why Harvard?

Postby vulpixie » Sun Oct 09, 2011 10:23 pm

PDaddy wrote:
thisguy456 wrote:
rgndvo wrote:The latter is brighter and scored far higher on the LSAT, which is a decent predictor of career success.


????


Double ????


I think the OP was implying that there isn't any difference in career success between H students and GT students, if one controls for intelligence. The argument being that, since intelligence is largely immutable, a rational person would have no reason to choose Harvard over any of the other T14s aside from "vanity".

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DoubleChecks
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Re: But seriously... Why Harvard?

Postby DoubleChecks » Sun Oct 09, 2011 10:28 pm

vulpixie wrote:I think the OP was implying that there isn't any difference in career success between H students and GT students, if one controls for intelligence. The argument being that, since intelligence is largely immutable, a rational person would have no reason to choose Harvard over any of the other T14s aside from "vanity".


But isn't that all under the assumption that everything is under one's control? So much about legal hiring and law school are not. I liked the analogy a poster in this thread made earlier: going to HLS over GTown, for the equally intelligent person or whatever, is like buying better insurance.

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Re: But seriously... Why Harvard?

Postby rgndvo » Sun Oct 09, 2011 10:30 pm

vulpixie wrote:
PDaddy wrote:
thisguy456 wrote:
rgndvo wrote:The latter is brighter and scored far higher on the LSAT, which is a decent predictor of career success.


????


Double ????


I think the OP was implying that there isn't any difference in career success between H students and GT students, if one controls for intelligence. The argument being that, since intelligence is largely immutable, a rational person would have no reason to choose Harvard over any of the other T14s aside from "vanity".


Indeed, that was my argument.

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Re: But seriously... Why Harvard?

Postby rgndvo » Sun Oct 09, 2011 10:34 pm

DoubleChecks wrote:
vulpixie wrote:I think the OP was implying that there isn't any difference in career success between H students and GT students, if one controls for intelligence. The argument being that, since intelligence is largely immutable, a rational person would have no reason to choose Harvard over any of the other T14s aside from "vanity".


But isn't that all under the assumption that everything is under one's control? So much about legal hiring and law school are not. I liked the analogy a poster in this thread made earlier: going to HLS over GTown, for the equally intelligent person or whatever, is like buying better insurance.


There are arguments on both sides here. I do regret if snark on my part derailed this thread, or pushed you into the interpretation that I was closed-minded. The anonymous nature of the Internet tends to facilitate snark.

But come on dude: it came from both sides. And the argument that the LSAT is not a decent predictor of success in law school is flatly false. Sure, there are cases where a 168 will be a better law student and lawyer than one with a 175, but schools accord much more weight to the 175's application for a reason. It's more precise still to predict that a group of students with a higher median LSAT (Harvard students) will be better law students than a group with a lower median (Georgetown).

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Re: But seriously... Why Harvard?

Postby DoubleChecks » Sun Oct 09, 2011 10:38 pm

rgndvo wrote:
DoubleChecks wrote:
vulpixie wrote:I think the OP was implying that there isn't any difference in career success between H students and GT students, if one controls for intelligence. The argument being that, since intelligence is largely immutable, a rational person would have no reason to choose Harvard over any of the other T14s aside from "vanity".


But isn't that all under the assumption that everything is under one's control? So much about legal hiring and law school are not. I liked the analogy a poster in this thread made earlier: going to HLS over GTown, for the equally intelligent person or whatever, is like buying better insurance.


There are arguments on both sides here. I do regret if snark on my part derailed this thread, or pushed you into the interpretation that I was closed-minded. The anonymous nature of the Internet tends to facilitate snark.

But come on dude: it came from both sides. And the argument that the LSAT is not a decent predictor of success in law school is flatly false. Sure, there are cases where a 168 will be a better law student and lawyer than one with a 175, but schools accord muhc more weight to the 175's application for a reason.


Okay, that is fair. I will remove all further snark from this thread (for now!!! lol). I would not say it is flatly false. By itself, it isn't that great. In conjunction with GPA, it is like .4x correlation or something, I forget. Which is good, but not great. And one reason you're forgetting why schools put so much weight on the LSAT is because USNWR does for rankings haha.

You say there are arguments on both sides, but isn't it actually somewhat lopsided? I don't think there are that many (if any) people supporting your supposition...and to be fair, most of us are actually law students in law school.

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Re: But seriously... Why Harvard?

Postby rgndvo » Sun Oct 09, 2011 10:46 pm

DoubleChecks wrote:
rgndvo wrote:
DoubleChecks wrote:
vulpixie wrote:I think the OP was implying that there isn't any difference in career success between H students and GT students, if one controls for intelligence. The argument being that, since intelligence is largely immutable, a rational person would have no reason to choose Harvard over any of the other T14s aside from "vanity".


But isn't that all under the assumption that everything is under one's control? So much about legal hiring and law school are not. I liked the analogy a poster in this thread made earlier: going to HLS over GTown, for the equally intelligent person or whatever, is like buying better insurance.


There are arguments on both sides here. I do regret if snark on my part derailed this thread, or pushed you into the interpretation that I was closed-minded. The anonymous nature of the Internet tends to facilitate snark.

But come on dude: it came from both sides. And the argument that the LSAT is not a decent predictor of success in law school is flatly false. Sure, there are cases where a 168 will be a better law student and lawyer than one with a 175, but schools accord muhc more weight to the 175's application for a reason.


Okay, that is fair. I will remove all further snark from this thread (for now!!! lol). I would not say it is flatly false. By itself, it isn't that great. In conjunction with GPA, it is like .4x correlation or something, I forget. Which is good, but not great. And one reason you're forgetting why schools put so much weight on the LSAT is because USNWR does for rankings haha.

You say there are arguments on both sides, but isn't it actually somewhat lopsided? I don't think there are that many (if any) people supporting your supposition...and to be fair, most of us are actually law students in law school.


This thread really needs to die. People can evaluate our intuition-based arguments for themselves, but I will try to summarize the evidence below. Let me know if you, Pineapple (*not* saying that to be snarky, I just like writing and reading the word "pineapple" :P ), if you think I am being uncharitable or leaving something out:

The evidence for the contention that H is the best is: the testament of the vast majority of TLS-ers who comment on the subject. That might seem spurious evidence, but the sample size is big (and emphatic) enough that it should be accorded some weight.

The evidence against the contention is the data I've invoked, showing little to no difference in median starting salaries from Harvard to G-town. This data could be biased or even massaged, but the TLS data also might suffer from a bias.

Funny thing is: Chicago is my top choice as of now (though Harvard will be considered if I break 172). Georgetown was just a hypothetical example. :P

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Re: But seriously... Why Harvard?

Postby vulpixie » Sun Oct 09, 2011 10:49 pm

rgndvo wrote:Chicago is my top choice as of now (though Harvard will be considered if I break 172). Georgetown was just a hypothetical example. :P


As an AA male, you don't need to break 172 to get into Harvard. Unless your grades are unbelievably crappy. :roll:

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Re: But seriously... Why Harvard?

Postby rgndvo » Sun Oct 09, 2011 10:56 pm

vulpixie wrote:
rgndvo wrote:Chicago is my top choice as of now (though Harvard will be considered if I break 172). Georgetown was just a hypothetical example. :P


As an AA male, you don't need to break 172 to get into Harvard. Unless your grades are unbelievably crappy. :roll:


I want $$$$. H apparently doesn't give that for non-need based reasons. I am also upper-middle class, and thus unlikely to get financially help for need.

My brother is a better student than I but -- not being 1/4 black -- is shooting for T6 sticker, or T14 with a modest scholarship.. He is about as good at the LSAT as am I and thinks he broke 172 in Oct as well. It'd be fun to go to the same school. I'm worried that my folks couldn't afford to pay sticker for both of us; that is biasing me toward the scholarship offer.

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Re: But seriously... Why Harvard?

Postby DoubleChecks » Sun Oct 09, 2011 10:59 pm

rgndvo wrote:This thread really needs to die. People can evaluate our intuition-based arguments for themselves, but I will try to summarize the evidence below. Let me know if you, Pineapple (*not* saying that to be snarky, I just like writing and reading the word "pineapple" :P ), if you think I am being uncharitable or leaving something out:

The evidence for the contention that H is the best is: the testament of the vast majority of TLS-ers who comment on the subject. That might seem spurious evidence, but the sample size is big (and emphatic) enough that it should be accorded some weight.

The evidence against the contention is the data I've invoked, showing little to no difference in median starting salaries from Harvard to G-town. This data could be biased or even massaged, but the TLS data also might suffer from a bias.

Funny thing is: Chicago is my top choice as of now (though Harvard will be considered if I break 172). Georgetown was just a hypothetical example. :P


Not that you weren't being charitable, I just thought we ended up talking about something slightly different. Where was that data again of median starting salaries from HLS and GTown being the same? I mean, that sounds different from your "single intelligent and rational actor" scenario. A simple look at employment rates at biglaw would settle the HLS vs. Gtown (or other top law school) discussion in HLS' favor easily. Employers hire more deeply into HLS' class, in general, than at say another T14 school that is not HYS. Once again, this seems different from your "rational actor" point (which I would disprove on other grounds).

More relevant to your "rational actor" point, people in this thread have highlighted how the reputation of HLS goes further in legal hiring and life than many other T14s. It may be irrational, but can't simply be dismissed because of that. Also, a myriad number of law students have mentioned how random law school grades are. You just can't assume a certain rank in a law school based off of your GPA+LSAT.

Mitterrand
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Re: But seriously... Why Harvard?

Postby Mitterrand » Sun Oct 09, 2011 11:05 pm

Harvard apparently produces more living billionaires than any other school in the country. That's reason enough for me.

http://www.forbes.com/2008/05/19/billio ... llieu.html

vulpixie
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Re: But seriously... Why Harvard?

Postby vulpixie » Sun Oct 09, 2011 11:15 pm

Mitterrand wrote:Harvard apparently produces more living billionaires than any other school in the country. That's reason enough for me.


The other way to interpret that data is that people who have the IQs/work-ethic/family-connections to become billionaires are more likely to attend Harvard than any other university. Correlation, causality, etc.

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Re: But seriously... Why Harvard?

Postby foxtrottortxof » Sun Oct 09, 2011 11:17 pm

Also, re: reported median salaries, it's probably something like this (I'm pulling actual percentages largely out of the air):

\ = 160k
/ = <160k

Harvard: \\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\//////// Median: 160k

Chicago: \\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\////////////////////// Median: 160k

Gtown: \\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\//////////////////////////// Median: 160k

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vanwinkle
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Re: But seriously... Why Harvard?

Postby vanwinkle » Mon Oct 10, 2011 12:05 am

This whole thread is ridiculous.

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thelaststraw05
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Re: But seriously... Why Harvard?

Postby thelaststraw05 » Mon Oct 10, 2011 12:45 am

rgndvo wrote:The evidence against the contention is the data I've invoked, showing little to no difference in median starting salaries from Harvard to G-town. This data could be biased or even massaged, but the TLS data also might suffer from a bias.


I agree that this thread needs to die, but this needs to be responded to.

You are technically correct. Both Harvard and Gtown have median reported starting salaries of $160k. That is because pretty much every biglaw job pays $160k. If 51% of Gtown grads get market paying biglaw jobs and 90% of Harvard grads get market paying biglaw jobs, they will both have the same median starting salary.

That is thin evidence to state your case on.

Further, the assertion that a good LSAT and GPA can predict your law school performance is also (as has been pointed out) generally wrong. There is a correlation, but it is a weak correlation. The fact that transfer students tend to perform very well at their new schools is evidence of this. Transfer students often are coming in with both LSAT and UGPA beneath the medians of their class and tend to be high performers.

I think the person who argued that going to Harvard is like insurance got it right. Just like with insurance, you can't choose to get it when you find out you need it. If you under-perform on your finals in December of 1L, you can't take a mulligan and have them graded on a pass/fail system just because you COULD have gone to Harvard. On the other hand, you could go to Harvard and make sure that all of those finals are graded on a pass/fail scale and enjoy your career in biglaw.

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Re: But seriously... Why Harvard?

Postby foxtrottortxof » Mon Oct 10, 2011 2:23 pm

thelaststraw05 wrote:
rgndvo wrote:The evidence against the contention is the data I've invoked, showing little to no difference in median starting salaries from Harvard to G-town. This data could be biased or even massaged, but the TLS data also might suffer from a bias.


I agree that this thread needs to die, but this needs to be responded to.

You are technically correct. Both Harvard and Gtown have median reported starting salaries of $160k. That is because pretty much every biglaw job pays $160k. If 51% of Gtown grads get market paying biglaw jobs and 90% of Harvard grads get market paying biglaw jobs, they will both have the same median starting salary.

That is thin evidence to state your case on.

Further, the assertion that a good LSAT and GPA can predict your law school performance is also (as has been pointed out) generally wrong. There is a correlation, but it is a weak correlation. The fact that transfer students tend to perform very well at their new schools is evidence of this. Transfer students often are coming in with both LSAT and UGPA beneath the medians of their class and tend to be high performers.

I think the person who argued that going to Harvard is like insurance got it right. Just like with insurance, you can't choose to get it when you find out you need it. If you under-perform on your finals in December of 1L, you can't take a mulligan and have them graded on a pass/fail system just because you COULD have gone to Harvard. On the other hand, you could go to Harvard and make sure that all of those finals are graded on a pass/fail scale and enjoy your career in biglaw.


Just for clarity's sake, Harvard doesn't have a pass/fail system, it's DS/H/P/LP/NC. Yale, first semester, is the only school I know of with a true pass/fail system.

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TaipeiMort
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Re: But seriously... Why Harvard?

Postby TaipeiMort » Mon Oct 10, 2011 2:36 pm

Chicago significantly outplaces Harvard in several important areas: Overall biglaw/midlaw placement, Supreme Court clerkships, partners at law firms.

However, even I am not foolish enough to argue that Harvard doesn't have some really huge advantages. Their loan forgiveness program is amazing. They offer huge lay prestige, have huge $$$ in their endowment, and the best of the class is better equipped to succeed than arguably anyone (Yale and Stanford negate the "upper-crust" advantage by not grading).

If you are a supreme court, POTUS, or world leadership gunner, who is better?

However, if you can't get to the top, Harvard may not be the best option.

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bk1
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Re: But seriously... Why Harvard?

Postby bk1 » Mon Oct 10, 2011 2:40 pm

vanwinkle wrote:This whole thread is ridiculous.


You don't say.




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