Hamilton vs. ?!

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CardinalRules
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Re: Hamilton vs. ?!

Postby CardinalRules » Tue Jan 26, 2010 5:59 am

barca wrote:I'm debating between HLS and CLS Hamilton as well - good to see someone on the same boat! haha. While I havent heard from Y or S, I would take both of my current options over S - and with Y being competitive as it is :wink: I want to have a decision in mind based on what I have at the moment.

I'm international and want to be involved with int'l organizations or go into public service in my country way down the future so the Harvard name is obviously worth something, but 153k in this economy is kinda painful to turn down. Does H ever offer any kind of financial aid to protect admitted applicants from being stolen by the Hamilton? My family could pay the tuition, but not terribly wealthy, even like 20k from Harvard would cinch it :roll:


You might get the 20k. I don't think that Harvard really cares about competing with the Hamilton, though.

heyguys
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Re: Hamilton vs. ?!

Postby heyguys » Tue Jan 26, 2010 7:11 am

Bar academia (and by that, I mean you're only going to law school to do academia, and you already have a PhD) or something involving your having a kid (i.e. you have a family, and your SO can only get a job in New Haven for some reason), I can't imagine a reason compelling enough to merit passing up the Hamilton for any reason whatsoever. Seriously, take the Hamilton--the 1L version of you will be very glad that you did.

sam.emton
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Re: Hamilton vs. ?!

Postby sam.emton » Tue Jan 26, 2010 10:58 am

http://www.justice.gov/oarm/arm/hp/lawschools.htm - students from a ton of law schools get into the DOJ Honors Program. I'm sure there are many more from the top law schools.

However, everyone on this site needs to be careful when they say that LRAPs will completely save people from paying off huge amounts of debt. These programs can be extremely helpful, but you need to do research first on your specific situation.

Compare the Harvard LIPP figures to the DOJ Honors Program salaries (http://www.justice.gov/oarm/arm/hp/hpsalary.htm#a and http://www.opm.gov/oca/09tables/pdf/saltbl.pdf). If you are living in DC, after a few years when you move up to GS-12/GS-13, you won't be getting very much benefit of the LIPP as your salary will be $75-$90,000. However, you will still have to be paying $12-16,000 in loans every year (even while getting LIPP benefits). With the high COL in DC and an aftertax income of $60-70,000, you'd be paying over 20% of your salary towards loan repayments every year even with the LIPP. Making $80,000 with an aftertax income of $60,000 and $14,000 in loan repayment/year, your income (after tax and loan payments) drops to $46,000. You can live in DC with that income, but I don't know how many people would want to.

Also, if you plan on getting married before you are 30 (no idea if you are a girl or guy), but they take your spouse's income into account. So if your spouse makes more money than you, you will also get fewer LRAP benefits. I don't know the details, but I'm sure you can research it if this may affect you.

While Harvard may make it slightly easier to get some prestigious government jobs, the amount of debt you have may, unfortunately, keep you from being able to afford them without working in biglaw for a few years first to pay off your debt.

It's a personal decision; neither choice is wrong, good luck in making your decision!!

MellonCollie
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Re: Hamilton vs. ?!

Postby MellonCollie » Tue Jan 26, 2010 12:10 pm

Thanks for all of the advice folks!

Any other opinions from past Hamilton recipients / current students making this choice?

generals10
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Re: Hamilton vs. ?!

Postby generals10 » Tue Jan 26, 2010 1:17 pm

Just found out about the Hamilton yesterday. At this point I am leaning towards choosing it over Harvard, but a Yale acceptance or a decent financial aid package from Stanford might change things...

chopsticks3092
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Re: Hamilton vs. ?!

Postby chopsticks3092 » Fri Jan 29, 2010 7:40 pm

Got the ugly envelope today with a Hamilton! Very unsure at this point of where I stand on the SLS vs. Hamilton decision. Have not heard back yet from H or Y.

This is all complicated by the fact that I am not sure which area of law I want to go into. I have ideas, but they are far from clear and certain.

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tinman
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Re: Hamilton vs. ?!

Postby tinman » Fri Jan 29, 2010 8:05 pm

barca wrote:I'm debating between HLS and CLS Hamilton as well - good to see someone on the same boat! haha. While I havent heard from Y or S, I would take both of my current options over S - and with Y being competitive as it is :wink: I want to have a decision in mind based on what I have at the moment.

I'm international and want to be involved with int'l organizations or go into public service in my country way down the future so the Harvard name is obviously worth something, but 153k in this economy is kinda painful to turn down. Does H ever offer any kind of financial aid to protect admitted applicants from being stolen by the Hamilton? My family could pay the tuition, but not terribly wealthy, even like 20k from Harvard would cinch it :roll:


Officially, no. Harvard, Yale, and Stanford do not offer merit-based aid. But rules are made for the lawsmiths to bend, no?

So, yes, these schools sometimes change your aid package in light of the Hamilton. That cannot be proven of course, as they will not officially change your aid package because of a competing scholarships, but these schools have tremendous leeway in the aid they can offer each of us. And they want you to choose them.

You will get a package from these schools based largely on 1) your liquid equity (stocks, bonds, CDs, and back accounts that you can sell or empty without penalty, 2) your real property (this depends on your school, I think. I believe Yale exempts your primary residence, 3) your parent's salary (and other financial details). As far as I know, they will not consider your family income if you are older than 29 (at Yale) or independent (after college) for more than five years at Stanford.

Many of your might not have many stocks and bond or real estate (if you are free out of college). Keep in mind before you fill out your financial aid that I think all three exempt money in retirement accounts. If through work or through an IRA (you can still open an IRA for 2009 as well as 2010), you can move some of your money to a requirement account, you should absolutely do this. Any liquid assets you have will fly out the door.

Probably most of you will be handicapped by 3. Schools really do not care if your parents actually pay. After all, most parents don't pay. But I think they use 3) instead as a proxy for socioeconomic status.

Schools will reconsider their determination of all of these factors. For example, if you parents are sick or retiring ... or if there is some other reason they look richer on paper than in reality, schools should take this into account. And I honestly think they will be more likely to take it into account if you have a Hamilton in your back pocket.

If you come to them and they think you position is "my parents are wealthy and could actually pay for school, but could you please give me more money despite Harvard being my top choice of the schools I got into?" they will not likely help you out. But if they trust that your position is "my father has cancer and will not be working next year despite earning a handsome living this year, and I really want to go to Stanford but I cannot make it work without aid especially because I have a full scholarship to Columbia that I can't turn down at this point and because I will be helping to support my family financial when I finish school," I think you can expect to get some aid even if NeedAccess calculations say you are undeserving.

Anyway congrats to all of you. The Hamilton is a real honor.

barca
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Re: Hamilton vs. ?!

Postby barca » Tue Feb 02, 2010 8:28 am

Thanks for the help guys!

MellonCollie
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Re: Hamilton vs. ?!

Postby MellonCollie » Tue Feb 02, 2010 2:37 pm

The more that I think about it, the more I realize that I would take Stanford over both the Hamilton and HLS in a heartbeat. Other than that, I think I'm going to Columbia.

Thanks for the advice!

dcchillin
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Re: Hamilton vs. ?!

Postby dcchillin » Tue Feb 02, 2010 2:45 pm

I only got a Butler, but I'm pretty confident I'd take it over HLS/Stanford, but that might just be because I want to be in NY, want to do big law, and HLS has kept me waiting...

(If I had gotten a Hamilton, though, I probably would have withdrawn all of my apps)

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AliceB
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Re: Hamilton vs. ?!

Postby AliceB » Tue Feb 02, 2010 3:13 pm

Many of the responses on this thread seem rather short sighted. In the short term, being in debt and paying it back will no doubt blow. But, after you're out of debt, you will type HLS, CLS, YLS, or SLS on your resume and every application for every job you ever apply for over the course of the rest of your life. In thirty years, will you kick yourself for selling out to the highest bidder? Or will you be happy knowing that you chose your alma mater based on the best fit for you?

MellonCollie
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Re: Hamilton vs. ?!

Postby MellonCollie » Tue Feb 02, 2010 3:18 pm

AliceB wrote:Many of the responses on this thread seem rather short sighted. In the short term, being in debt and paying it back will no doubt blow. But, after you're out of debt, you will type HLS, CLS, YLS, or SLS on your resume and every application for every job you ever apply for over the course of the rest of your life. In thirty years, will you kick yourself for selling out to the highest bidder? Or will you be happy knowing that you chose your alma mater based on the best fit for you?


It's not really about the money - it's the lack of obligation. I might end up doing biglaw anyway, but at least this way, it'll be by choice. For me, spending 3 - 4 years doing something I don't want to do will be absolutely soul crushing.

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AliceB
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Re: Hamilton vs. ?!

Postby AliceB » Tue Feb 02, 2010 3:26 pm

MellonCollie wrote:
AliceB wrote:Many of the responses on this thread seem rather short sighted. In the short term, being in debt and paying it back will no doubt blow. But, after you're out of debt, you will type HLS, CLS, YLS, or SLS on your resume and every application for every job you ever apply for over the course of the rest of your life. In thirty years, will you kick yourself for selling out to the highest bidder? Or will you be happy knowing that you chose your alma mater based on the best fit for you?


It's not really about the money - it's the lack of obligation. I might end up doing biglaw anyway, but at least this way, it'll be by choice. For me, spending 3 - 4 years doing something I don't want to do will be absolutely soul crushing.


I suppose I think that 3 years of indentured servitude is a relatively small price to pay for having no regrets in terms of school choice. In addition, even with a substantial debt load, you can still do almost anything you want. It will just take longer to pay them off.

MellonCollie
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Re: Hamilton vs. ?!

Postby MellonCollie » Tue Feb 02, 2010 3:28 pm

AliceB wrote:
MellonCollie wrote:
AliceB wrote:Many of the responses on this thread seem rather short sighted. In the short term, being in debt and paying it back will no doubt blow. But, after you're out of debt, you will type HLS, CLS, YLS, or SLS on your resume and every application for every job you ever apply for over the course of the rest of your life. In thirty years, will you kick yourself for selling out to the highest bidder? Or will you be happy knowing that you chose your alma mater based on the best fit for you?


It's not really about the money - it's the lack of obligation. I might end up doing biglaw anyway, but at least this way, it'll be by choice. For me, spending 3 - 4 years doing something I don't want to do will be absolutely soul crushing.


I suppose I think that 3 years of indentured servitude is a relatively small price to pay for having no regrets in terms of school choice. In addition, even with a substantial debt load, you can still do almost anything you want. It will just take longer to pay them off.



Different strokes dood. I just think I'll be making it harder on myself than I need to - the HLS diploma isn't going to help me sleep at night.

dcchillin
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Re: Hamilton vs. ?!

Postby dcchillin » Tue Feb 02, 2010 4:09 pm

AliceB wrote:Many of the responses on this thread seem rather short sighted. In the short term, being in debt and paying it back will no doubt blow. But, after you're out of debt, you will type HLS, CLS, YLS, or SLS on your resume and every application for every job you ever apply for over the course of the rest of your life. In thirty years, will you kick yourself for selling out to the highest bidder? Or will you be happy knowing that you chose your alma mater based on the best fit for you?


If a potential employer turns you down 30 years down the line for a Harvard graduate, then its your own fault. At some point, your body of work as a lawyer is going to start mattering more than what law school you went to.

MellonCollie
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Re: Hamilton vs. ?!

Postby MellonCollie » Tue Feb 02, 2010 4:12 pm

dcchillin wrote:
AliceB wrote:Many of the responses on this thread seem rather short sighted. In the short term, being in debt and paying it back will no doubt blow. But, after you're out of debt, you will type HLS, CLS, YLS, or SLS on your resume and every application for every job you ever apply for over the course of the rest of your life. In thirty years, will you kick yourself for selling out to the highest bidder? Or will you be happy knowing that you chose your alma mater based on the best fit for you?


If a potential employer turns you down 30 years down the line for a Harvard graduate, then its your own fault. At some point, your body of work as a lawyer is going to start mattering more than what law school you went to.


I feel the same way, but maybe it's just my ignorance of legal hiring.

From pre-ls work experience, the first job is critical for getting the second job, the second job is critical for the third job, and so on.

I'd rather have the freedom to take the appropriate first job and focus on my career from there, but again, I'll need to go talk to career services to see what the actual ramifications are for my career path.

generals10
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Re: Hamilton vs. ?!

Postby generals10 » Wed Mar 10, 2010 9:56 am

Bumping this after attending both admitted student programs.

I basically left CLS thinking I was 90% going there, and was equally certain at one point during the Harvard ASW that I was going to Harvard. I'm not one of the "easy call" people, at least I don't think: my ideal career path is, I think, federal clerkship-->big firm litigation for 2-3 years-->federal government (DOJ or Department of Education) OR boutique lit. It seems like for the big firm part, CLS is almost on par, but Harvard does present an advantage for clerkships and government as well as super-selective boutiques.

A line of thinking I can't get away from is this: If there were no money involved, I would go to Harvard without question. If I had gotten a Butler at Columbia, I probably would've paused for a second, but still would have gone to Harvard without stressing too much. So my decision is basically made tough by the extra $75K. This is a lot of money, don't get me wrong. But I will pay off my loans eventually, and I am in better financial shape going into law school than many (no UG debt due to scholarship, grateful parents who will cover most living expenses).

I liked CLS, but at times I was borderline intoxicated by Harvard. Part of me is worried that however rational it may be to take the Hamilton--I fully realize that there's a very good chance the marginal advantages of Harvard will never actually affect me--I will always regret not going to Harvard. I think that I might rather deal with the pain of ten years of loans I didn't really have to take on than risk wondering if I missed out on some small but important advantage.

Anyone else with updated thoughts?

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CG614
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Re: Hamilton vs. ?!

Postby CG614 » Wed Mar 10, 2010 10:06 am

dcchillin wrote:
AliceB wrote:Many of the responses on this thread seem rather short sighted. In the short term, being in debt and paying it back will no doubt blow. But, after you're out of debt, you will type HLS, CLS, YLS, or SLS on your resume and every application for every job you ever apply for over the course of the rest of your life. In thirty years, will you kick yourself for selling out to the highest bidder? Or will you be happy knowing that you chose your alma mater based on the best fit for you?


If a potential employer turns you down 30 years down the line for a Harvard graduate, then its your own fault. At some point, your body of work as a lawyer is going to start mattering more than what law school you went to.



A little stretch, no? Even 5-10 years out, the degree is not as important as the work you have been performing since law school. The degree just gets you the interview.

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englawyer
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Re: Hamilton vs. ?!

Postby englawyer » Wed Mar 10, 2010 10:33 am

i did not get the hamilton, but was invited for a nyu scholarship, so similar decision.

i see two possible regrets:

#1. $$$ over harvard. the "what if" regret. "what if i got top 10% at h?" "what if a job opportunity would have opened up because of H"?

#2. harvard over $$$. financial regret. working in biglaw, sending 2k/month to harvard

you really gotta figure out which of these two bothers you more. for me it would tend to be #1.

i also think that the harvard brand opens up doors outside of law further in the future and harvard has more alumni working in tons of alternative fields. using the "hey we went to the same school!" networking angle can be very effective so it is attractive to know the types and breadth of opportunities that will be there down the line.

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tinman
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Re: Hamilton vs. ?!

Postby tinman » Thu Mar 11, 2010 10:29 pm

englawyer wrote:i did not get the hamilton, but was invited for a nyu scholarship, so similar decision.

i see two possible regrets:

#1. $$$ over harvard. the "what if" regret. "what if i got top 10% at h?" "what if a job opportunity would have opened up because of H"?

#2. harvard over $$$. financial regret. working in biglaw, sending 2k/month to harvard

you really gotta figure out which of these two bothers you more. for me it would tend to be #1.

i also think that the harvard brand opens up doors outside of law further in the future and harvard has more alumni working in tons of alternative fields. using the "hey we went to the same school!" networking angle can be very effective so it is attractive to know the types and breadth of opportunities that will be there down the line.


I think this is well said. You can have regrets either way. Do you want your regret to be: Man, I wish I wasn't spending so much money? or Man, I wonder which sort of doors would have been open to me from Harvard?

For what it's worth, I'm a 1L at Yale who turned down the Hamilton last year. I am so happy with law school right now. I'm so glad I made this choice.

I already had Ph.D. from a fancy top school, so I would have taken the Hamilton over Harvard. But if I didn't have the Ph.D., I would have taken Harvard, I think, and been glad for it.

You only get one chance to do life. I say: Go for Broke!

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im_blue
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Re: Hamilton vs. ?!

Postby im_blue » Sun Mar 14, 2010 1:54 am

CG614 wrote:
dcchillin wrote:
AliceB wrote:Many of the responses on this thread seem rather short sighted. In the short term, being in debt and paying it back will no doubt blow. But, after you're out of debt, you will type HLS, CLS, YLS, or SLS on your resume and every application for every job you ever apply for over the course of the rest of your life. In thirty years, will you kick yourself for selling out to the highest bidder? Or will you be happy knowing that you chose your alma mater based on the best fit for you?


If a potential employer turns you down 30 years down the line for a Harvard graduate, then its your own fault. At some point, your body of work as a lawyer is going to start mattering more than what law school you went to.



A little stretch, no? Even 5-10 years out, the degree is not as important as the work you have been performing since law school. The degree just gets you the interview.

This is a common 0L myth. Your law school will still matter 5-10 years out of school, say if you're trying to switch jobs. The legal world is full of prestige whores.

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rowlf
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Re: Hamilton vs. ?!

Postby rowlf » Sun Apr 04, 2010 6:07 pm

generals10 wrote:Bumping this after attending both admitted student programs.

I basically left CLS thinking I was 90% going there, and was equally certain at one point during the Harvard ASW that I was going to Harvard. I'm not one of the "easy call" people, at least I don't think: my ideal career path is, I think, federal clerkship-->big firm litigation for 2-3 years-->federal government (DOJ or Department of Education) OR boutique lit. It seems like for the big firm part, CLS is almost on par, but Harvard does present an advantage for clerkships and government as well as super-selective boutiques.

A line of thinking I can't get away from is this: If there were no money involved, I would go to Harvard without question. If I had gotten a Butler at Columbia, I probably would've paused for a second, but still would have gone to Harvard without stressing too much. So my decision is basically made tough by the extra $75K. This is a lot of money, don't get me wrong. But I will pay off my loans eventually, and I am in better financial shape going into law school than many (no UG debt due to scholarship, grateful parents who will cover most living expenses).

I liked CLS, but at times I was borderline intoxicated by Harvard. Part of me is worried that however rational it may be to take the Hamilton--I fully realize that there's a very good chance the marginal advantages of Harvard will never actually affect me--I will always regret not going to Harvard. I think that I might rather deal with the pain of ten years of loans I didn't really have to take on than risk wondering if I missed out on some small but important advantage.

Anyone else with updated thoughts?


PM'd you before seeing this. I'm in the same financial situation as you --- no student loans, parents who'll cover living expenses. I'd also have taken HLS over the Butler no sweat. I'm leaning toward HLS. Because of these marginal advantages and because I LOVED Harvard when I visited. LOVED it as a place to be. And again, I'm quite serious about trying to be an academic. I'm visiting Columbia next week. If I love it just as much, that keeps Columbia alive. If I don't like it, I think it's done.

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rowlf
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Re: Hamilton vs. ?!

Postby rowlf » Sun Apr 04, 2010 6:14 pm

englawyer wrote:i did not get the hamilton, but was invited for a nyu scholarship, so similar decision.

i see two possible regrets:

#1. $$$ over harvard. the "what if" regret. "what if i got top 10% at h?" "what if a job opportunity would have opened up because of H"?

#2. harvard over $$$. financial regret. working in biglaw, sending 2k/month to harvard

you really gotta figure out which of these two bothers you more. for me it would tend to be #1.

i also think that the harvard brand opens up doors outside of law further in the future and harvard has more alumni working in tons of alternative fields. using the "hey we went to the same school!" networking angle can be very effective so it is attractive to know the types and breadth of opportunities that will be there down the line.


This is a useful dichotomy. Except given Harvard's LIPP, it's unclear that you have to work in biglaw, although there would be psychological pressure to do that you wouldn't experience if you went to Columbia.

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sayan
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Re: Hamilton vs. ?!

Postby sayan » Sun Apr 04, 2010 9:19 pm

Harvard does give need-based grant aid... deciding on C v. H before seeing what H will offer is pretty myopic IMO.

I know of multiple people getting 25k+ in grant aid this year from HLS because they (and their family) are not well-off. Even getting 20k+ a year for 3 years would narrow the scholarship difference down to about 80k (after COL). Not too high of a price to pay for that cutting edge in a hyper-competitive environment.

The decision is a bit more difficult if grant-aid is spare or non-existent, but I think englawyer sums it up nicely.

MellonCollie
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Re: Hamilton vs. ?!

Postby MellonCollie » Tue Apr 06, 2010 1:04 am

I've heard that there is a Hamilton presentation/reception at the ASW, but have not heard anything about it yet. (I've been counting on this to get in touch with current Hamilton fellows to talk to them about their choice.)

Does anyone know about this?

Thanks!




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