Harvard or Stanford for non-traditional law jobs?

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HLS or SLS for non-law career paths?

Harvard Law
9
45%
Stanford Law
11
55%
 
Total votes: 20

Now
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Harvard or Stanford for non-traditional law jobs?

Postby Now » Thu Jul 19, 2012 11:07 pm

I submitted a seat deposit to Stanford, got off the wait list at Harvard, and have until tomorrow to decide. I am interested in the intersection of law, psychology, and behavioral economics, and would like to eventually enter academia. I do not want to do public interest and I am not enthused by the prospect of big law (except taking the corporate route as a springboard for a business career). I received similar financial aid packages from both schools. My impression is that Stanford might give me a slight edge for law jobs, but that the Harvard brand will give me an advantage for jobs outside of the legal field.

Harvard Pros:
Slightly stronger brand and broader course selection
Emphasis on producing leaders, not just lawyers

Stanford Pros:
Greater focus on interdisciplinary training
More relaxed, collegial culture (I think)

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fatduck
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Re: Harvard or Stanford for non-traditional law jobs?

Postby fatduck » Thu Jul 19, 2012 11:10 pm

pick whichever one you want to spend 3 years at, flip a coin, it doesn't really matter

harvard isn't going to make you into a "leader" and the stanford "brand" isn't going to hold you back from whatever you want to do

CanadianWolf
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Re: Harvard or Stanford for non-traditional law jobs?

Postby CanadianWolf » Thu Jul 19, 2012 11:19 pm

Go to the higher ranked school. :D If you don't like it, it's easier to "transfer down". :D

On a more serious note: Attend Stanford for the first two years & attend Harvard as a visiting student for your final year so you can experience both law schools.

Now
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Re: Harvard or Stanford for non-traditional law jobs?

Postby Now » Fri Jul 20, 2012 12:17 am

One more piece of info: I would like to study law in California to have the West Coast experience, but I ultimately want to move to Boston to raise a family. I feel like it would be easier to go to SLS and summer in Boston than to attend HLS and summer in the Bay Area, but have no idea if this is actually the case. (My parents plan to retire in New England, but I have no personal ties to Boston.)

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Doorkeeper
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Re: Harvard or Stanford for non-traditional law jobs?

Postby Doorkeeper » Sat Jul 21, 2012 12:02 am

Now wrote:One more piece of info: I would like to study law in California to have the West Coast experience, but I ultimately want to move to Boston to raise a family. I feel like it would be easier to go to SLS and summer in Boston than to attend HLS and summer in the Bay Area, but have no idea if this is actually the case. (My parents plan to retire in New England, but I have no personal ties to Boston.)

If you want to start off in California, especially SF/SV, Stanford will get you in the market better unless you already have ties to SF.

Now
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Re: Harvard or Stanford for non-traditional law jobs?

Postby Now » Sat Jul 21, 2012 4:38 pm

Doorkeeper wrote:
Now wrote:One more piece of info: I would like to study law in California to have the West Coast experience, but I ultimately want to move to Boston to raise a family. I feel like it would be easier to go to SLS and summer in Boston than to attend HLS and summer in the Bay Area, but have no idea if this is actually the case. (My parents plan to retire in New England, but I have no personal ties to Boston.)

If you want to start off in California, especially SF/SV, Stanford will get you in the market better unless you already have ties to SF.


I visited California for the first time during ASW and have no ties to the area, but the same is also true for Boston (where I want to end up). I do not want to return to my home region (the South) and don't have relevant work experience, so I am basically starting from scratch. Is it true that even Harvard/Stanford are somewhat regional? Would it be easier to get a job in Boston/Cambridge from Stanford, or a job in SF/SV from Harvard, ceteris paribus?

Is it true that it is virtually impossible to get below a "Pass" at SLS?

* HLS extended my deposit deadline to next week in order to allow time to process my financial aid appeal.
Last edited by Now on Sat Jul 21, 2012 5:06 pm, edited 2 times in total.

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sunynp
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Re: Harvard or Stanford for non-traditional law jobs?

Postby sunynp » Sat Jul 21, 2012 4:44 pm

You have too much uncertainty in what you want. Either school is great. You should go to the place that will get you where you plan to live after law school, not where your parents plan to retire someday. No one can plan that far ahead with accuracy.

I would go to Harvard because I am from the East and have no interest in California. California is farther away from your family and that seems to matter to you. Also California's economy seems more fragile than that of New York or Mass.

If you want to live in California after law school, go to Stanford. California seems like some pipe dream you want to experience but not the place you see your future.

Now
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Re: Harvard or Stanford for non-traditional law jobs?

Postby Now » Sat Jul 21, 2012 5:11 pm

sunynp wrote:You have too much uncertainty in what you want. Either school is great. You should go to the place that will get you where you plan to live after law school, not where your parents plan to retire someday. No one can plan that far ahead with accuracy.

I would go to Harvard because I am from the East and have no interest in California. California is farther away from your family and that seems to matter to you. Also California's economy seems more fragile than that of New York or Mass.

If you want to live in California after law school, go to Stanford. California seems like some pipe dream you want to experience but not the place you see your future.


Very true re:California. Ideally, I would go to law school in California (because I want to have the California experience), but have my first job in Boston. Will a degree from SLS hold me back from Boston/NY markets?

AllTheLawz
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Re: Harvard or Stanford for non-traditional law jobs?

Postby AllTheLawz » Sat Jul 21, 2012 5:12 pm

Now wrote:
Doorkeeper wrote:
Now wrote:One more piece of info: I would like to study law in California to have the West Coast experience, but I ultimately want to move to Boston to raise a family. I feel like it would be easier to go to SLS and summer in Boston than to attend HLS and summer in the Bay Area, but have no idea if this is actually the case. (My parents plan to retire in New England, but I have no personal ties to Boston.)

If you want to start off in California, especially SF/SV, Stanford will get you in the market better unless you already have ties to SF.


I visited California for the first time during ASW and have no ties to the area, but the same is also true for Boston (where I want to end up). I do not want to return to my home region (the South) and don't have relevant work experience, so I am basically starting from scratch. Is it true that even Harvard/Stanford are somewhat regional? Would it be easier to get a job in Boston/Cambridge from Stanford, or a job in SF/SV from Harvard, ceteris paribus?

Is it true that it is virtually impossible to get below a "Pass" at SLS? I met someone at HLS that got a low pass and certainly don't feel that below median, maybe even bottom 10%, is an impossibility for me...

* HLS extended my deposit deadline to next week in order to allow time to process my financial aid appeal.


Neither Harvard nor Stanford is "somewhat regional". In fact, at Harvard the placement between New England and the west coast is pretty much dead even over the last 5 years. Dont be afraid of LPs. I am not at all the law school type of smart, plus I got placed in the section that produced about 25% of the incoming Law Review class and I managed to avoid any LPs.

The schools are so even you just pick which one you like best. Neither is better for "non-traditional" law jobs because the credentials that you established before law school will be what matters for those. Stop trying to split atoms. Choose based on which one better fits your personality.

ETA: People at both schools say it is "virtually impossible" to get an LP. I have learned from students on the ground at SLS that the statement is false at both schools.. A small segment at SLS gets LPs, just as they do at HLS. No one talks about grades, so no one talks about getting LPs.
Last edited by AllTheLawz on Sat Jul 21, 2012 5:33 pm, edited 2 times in total.

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IAFG
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Re: Harvard or Stanford for non-traditional law jobs?

Postby IAFG » Sat Jul 21, 2012 5:19 pm

Now wrote: I am interested in the intersection of law, psychology, and behavioral economics, and would like to eventually enter academia.

What have you done in this arena? Who do you know/know of doing this sort of work? Why are you ready to go to law school this year?

Now
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Re: Harvard or Stanford for non-traditional law jobs?

Postby Now » Sat Jul 21, 2012 5:36 pm

IAFG wrote:
Now wrote: I am interested in the intersection of law, psychology, and behavioral economics, and would like to eventually enter academia.

What have you done in this arena? Who do you know/know of doing this sort of work? Why are you ready to go to law school this year?


I do not have experience in this area, but have been in touch with professors from HLS (related to the Project on Law and Mind Sciences), and am confident there will be lots of opps to explore my interests at HLS. By "eventually enter academia", I mean teach at some point down the road. I have already decided that law school this year is the right choice for me. Since I'm 100% committed to law school, I would rather focus attention on which school is a better choice (HLS vs SLS) than revisit the "why law school" question.

Thanks again for all of the feedback!

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IAFG
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Re: Harvard or Stanford for non-traditional law jobs?

Postby IAFG » Sat Jul 21, 2012 6:00 pm

Now wrote:
IAFG wrote:
Now wrote: I am interested in the intersection of law, psychology, and behavioral economics, and would like to eventually enter academia.

What have you done in this arena? Who do you know/know of doing this sort of work? Why are you ready to go to law school this year?


I do not have experience in this area, but have been in touch with professors from HLS (related to the Project on Law and Mind Sciences), and am confident there will be lots of opps to explore my interests at HLS. By "eventually enter academia", I mean teach at some point down the road. I have already decided that law school this year is the right choice for me. Since I'm 100% committed to law school, I would rather focus attention on which school is a better choice (HLS vs SLS) than revisit the "why law school" question.

Thanks again for all of the feedback!

Yeah, well, I've heard this story before, and it consistently ends in failure, depression, flaming out and eventual biglaw.

But I am sure with your no experience and some vague convos with profs you'll avoid the same fate, so, cheers!

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Doorkeeper
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Re: Harvard or Stanford for non-traditional law jobs?

Postby Doorkeeper » Sat Jul 21, 2012 6:28 pm

Now wrote:
Doorkeeper wrote:
Now wrote:One more piece of info: I would like to study law in California to have the West Coast experience, but I ultimately want to move to Boston to raise a family. I feel like it would be easier to go to SLS and summer in Boston than to attend HLS and summer in the Bay Area, but have no idea if this is actually the case. (My parents plan to retire in New England, but I have no personal ties to Boston.)

If you want to start off in California, especially SF/SV, Stanford will get you in the market better unless you already have ties to SF.


I visited California for the first time during ASW and have no ties to the area, but the same is also true for Boston (where I want to end up). I do not want to return to my home region (the South) and don't have relevant work experience, so I am basically starting from scratch. Is it true that even Harvard/Stanford are somewhat regional? Would it be easier to get a job in Boston/Cambridge from Stanford, or a job in SF/SV from Harvard, ceteris paribus?

Is it true that it is virtually impossible to get below a "Pass" at SLS?

* HLS extended my deposit deadline to next week in order to allow time to process my financial aid appeal.

1. If you're starting from scratch and want to work at X region that you have no ties it, it is always better to go to a school in X's region. This is especially true if it's for your first job out of law school. You can acquire ties or make up reasons why you want to lateral to another firm later in life, but for your first job it will be impossible for you to have a cogent reason as to why you want to work in SF/SV if you have no ties and you don't have any experience living there. Both SF/SV and Boston are somewhat insular legal markets. You want to go to the school in the area you want to first work in.

2. Yes, it is very rare to get a LP at Stanford. It seems to happen less than a LP at Harvard from what anecdotal evidence I've gathered.

3. Stanford also has professors in the areas you want to work in both inside and outside the law school. They also have a better neuroscience program than Harvard if you want to get involved with a lab.

Now
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Re: Harvard or Stanford for non-traditional law jobs?

Postby Now » Sat Jul 21, 2012 6:49 pm

IAFG wrote:
Now wrote:
IAFG wrote:
Now wrote: I am interested in the intersection of law, psychology, and behavioral economics, and would like to eventually enter academia.

What have you done in this arena? Who do you know/know of doing this sort of work? Why are you ready to go to law school this year?


I do not have experience in this area, but have been in touch with professors from HLS (related to the Project on Law and Mind Sciences), and am confident there will be lots of opps to explore my interests at HLS. By "eventually enter academia", I mean teach at some point down the road. I have already decided that law school this year is the right choice for me. Since I'm 100% committed to law school, I would rather focus attention on which school is a better choice (HLS vs SLS) than revisit the "why law school" question.

Thanks again for all of the feedback!

Yeah, well, I've heard this story before, and it consistently ends in failure, depression, flaming out and eventual biglaw.

But I am sure with your no experience and some vague convos with profs you'll avoid the same fate, so, cheers!


I appreciate your concern. Even though big law isn't my #1 career choice, I would be grateful to take a big law job. I realize how difficult it is to get a law teaching job and think of academia as a pipe dream/long term goal. My decision to go to law school is not based on the assumption that I will land a non-traditional law job--I realize how hard these jobs are to come by, especially w/o relevant experience.

Now
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Re: Harvard or Stanford for non-traditional law jobs?

Postby Now » Sat Jul 21, 2012 6:54 pm

Doorkeeper wrote:
Now wrote:
Doorkeeper wrote:
Now wrote:One more piece of info: I would like to study law in California to have the West Coast experience, but I ultimately want to move to Boston to raise a family. I feel like it would be easier to go to SLS and summer in Boston than to attend HLS and summer in the Bay Area, but have no idea if this is actually the case. (My parents plan to retire in New England, but I have no personal ties to Boston.)

If you want to start off in California, especially SF/SV, Stanford will get you in the market better unless you already have ties to SF.


I visited California for the first time during ASW and have no ties to the area, but the same is also true for Boston (where I want to end up). I do not want to return to my home region (the South) and don't have relevant work experience, so I am basically starting from scratch. Is it true that even Harvard/Stanford are somewhat regional? Would it be easier to get a job in Boston/Cambridge from Stanford, or a job in SF/SV from Harvard, ceteris paribus?

Is it true that it is virtually impossible to get below a "Pass" at SLS?

* HLS extended my deposit deadline to next week in order to allow time to process my financial aid appeal.

1. If you're starting from scratch and want to work at X region that you have no ties it, it is always better to go to a school in X's region. This is especially true if it's for your first job out of law school. You can acquire ties or make up reasons why you want to lateral to another firm later in life, but for your first job it will be impossible for you to have a cogent reason as to why you want to work in SF/SV if you have no ties and you don't have any experience living there. Both SF/SV and Boston are somewhat insular legal markets. You want to go to the school in the area you want to first work in.

2. Yes, it is very rare to get a LP at Stanford. It seems to happen less than a LP at Harvard from what anecdotal evidence I've gathered.

3. Stanford also has professors in the areas you want to work in both inside and outside the law school. They also have a better neuroscience program than Harvard if you want to get involved with a lab.


Thank you!

My impression is that HLS has more options w/i the law school (larger size=more classes, etc.), but that SLS allows you to take more courses outside the law school for credit (I think 31 credits of non-law classes can count toward your law degree, as compared to 10-12 credits at HLS).

It seems like this decision is really going to come down to where I want to live immediately after law school.

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IAFG
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Re: Harvard or Stanford for non-traditional law jobs?

Postby IAFG » Sat Jul 21, 2012 11:23 pm

Now wrote:I appreciate your concern. Even though big law isn't my #1 career choice, I would be grateful to take a big law job. I realize how difficult it is to get a law teaching job and think of academia as a pipe dream/long term goal. My decision to go to law school is not based on the assumption that I will land a non-traditional law job--I realize how hard these jobs are to come by, especially w/o relevant experience.

Okay. I realize it's not what you asked, but IMO it's a set-up for failure and misery to go to ANY [edit: top] law school with a bad attitude about biglaw, because it's what most people will end up doing. Everything else is much harder to land (and without the right confluence of factors, may be impossible). If you'll be content starting your career at a firm, that's a different story.

marcellus
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Re: Harvard or Stanford for non-traditional law jobs?

Postby marcellus » Mon Jul 23, 2012 12:09 pm

I have similar career interests to the OP. Both schools are excellent and really either one would probably be ok.

If I were in your position, I'd try to think which one would set me up better for the career path I were looking for. For example, if you're interested in law and mind sciences, you will likely need a PhD or PhD-like expertise with the literature you're interested in. Which school would be better preparation for pursuing a PhD or where you could learn enough about your subfield of choice?

Also, which law school has more key people for your field? Do you agree with those key people's theories? If yes, feel free to go. If not, don't go to the one where you'll have strong differences of opinion with the profs.

Message me if you have any more questions.
Last edited by marcellus on Tue Jul 24, 2012 9:01 am, edited 1 time in total.

MaxWeber
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Re: Harvard or Stanford for non-traditional law jobs?

Postby MaxWeber » Mon Jul 23, 2012 4:18 pm

AllTheLawz wrote:
Now wrote:
Doorkeeper wrote:
Now wrote:One more piece of info: I would like to study law in California to have the West Coast experience, but I ultimately want to move to Boston to raise a family. I feel like it would be easier to go to SLS and summer in Boston than to attend HLS and summer in the Bay Area, but have no idea if this is actually the case. (My parents plan to retire in New England, but I have no personal ties to Boston.)

If you want to start off in California, especially SF/SV, Stanford will get you in the market better unless you already have ties to SF.


I visited California for the first time during ASW and have no ties to the area, but the same is also true for Boston (where I want to end up). I do not want to return to my home region (the South) and don't have relevant work experience, so I am basically starting from scratch. Is it true that even Harvard/Stanford are somewhat regional? Would it be easier to get a job in Boston/Cambridge from Stanford, or a job in SF/SV from Harvard, ceteris paribus?

Is it true that it is virtually impossible to get below a "Pass" at SLS? I met someone at HLS that got a low pass and certainly don't feel that below median, maybe even bottom 10%, is an impossibility for me...

* HLS extended my deposit deadline to next week in order to allow time to process my financial aid appeal.


Neither Harvard nor Stanford is "somewhat regional". In fact, at Harvard the placement between New England and the west coast is pretty much dead even over the last 5 years. Dont be afraid of LPs. I am not at all the law school type of smart, plus I got placed in the section that produced about 25% of the incoming Law Review class and I managed to avoid any LPs.

The schools are so even you just pick which one you like best. Neither is better for "non-traditional" law jobs because the credentials that you established before law school will be what matters for those. Stop trying to split atoms. Choose based on which one better fits your personality.

ETA: People at both schools say it is "virtually impossible" to get an LP. I have learned from students on the ground at SLS that the statement is false at both schools.. A small segment at SLS gets LPs, just as they do at HLS. No one talks about grades, so no one talks about getting LPs.


there are no "LPs" at SLS; there are "Rs," but only one has been given out in the past 4 years that the grading system has existed, according to the dean of student affairs, and it was to a student who affirmatively blew off a class as a 3L and tried to BS the exam.

presuming that you werent just inventing these assertions, im not sure who your source is, but mine is better.




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