fallingup wrote:UCLA scholarship would bring COA to 75K. Still waiting on Michigan scholarship. Cornell and NU are not options for me because my partner is starting grad school in the fall as well - we refuse to be long distance and he got into Ann Arbor, Hopkins, and Columbia and is waiting on UCLA, Harvard, and UNC so my options are limited by that. Duke is not a desirable option for us for personal reasons but we would choose it an extreme scenario (ie, if I got a great scholarship but did not from Michigan). I might consider Georgetown if I got a great scholarship but I'd more likely use that to negotiate with Michigan.
I absolutely want big law and nothing else - I have a decent upper 5 figures job right now already, I'm not trying to go to law school to work in the legal equivalent of my current job. Basically I am praying and dreaming that Penn somehow comes through OR that Michigan gives me a workable scholarship OR that my partner gets into Harvard so we are forced to be long distance (because I am not getting into lolHLS and if he gets into his program there, duh he has to go) and I am then free to choose NU with scholarship.
The wrench in all this? I want to practice in CA.
Ugh, very tough. I don't see wanting to practice in CA as (such) a wrench. I see the big honking wrench as leaving an upper five figure job for a less-than-50% chance at a big law job while your school choices are being constrained by your boyfriend. JMHO, but since you are leaving what sounds like a very good job, you should have a higher standard for what kind of employment outcomes you are willing to accept from schools. Why leave a 70K-90K/year job for a 30% chance of making 145-160K/year in big law and a greater than 50% chance you make less than you do now? This is about what you should expect from UCLA or USC.
If you are set on big law, which it sounds like you are, the truth is that none of these schools are good choices, regardless of whether you have a scholarship. Penn would be fine (although for me I would probably still hesitate to leave a job like yours for it), but I am not sure about its placement power in CA. How open would you be to a backup plan of doing a few years in NYC after law school in a firm with CA offices and moving to the CA office? Duke and NU are borderline okay choices with still a lot of risk, but they do place noticeably better than UCLA/USC as a whole....as far as CA goes, I am not sure. I am sorry I am naming all the schools that conflict with your boyfriend's plans, but it seems like his programs are located near the law schools with the worst big law prospects. As I mentioned before, I don't think Michigan's increased big law placement is significant enough to choose it over USC/UCLA although maybe I am not being totally rational in saying Duke/NU at 50% NLJ 250 are better than Mich at 40% NLJ 250. I guess it is that 40% NLJ 250 is only 1/3 better placement than USC/UCLA's 30% while Duke/NU's 50% is 70% better than USC/UCLA's 30%.
Two of your statements about you and your bf seem to conflict. You said first that you guys have decided you won't do long distance but later you said you hope he gets into Harvard so that you can be free to go where you want since HLS is out of the question. To me that sounds like he is insisting on you guys being in the same city and that you would obviously prefer that but are not absolutely wed to it if it makes more sense for your careers to do long distance for school. Is that right? Obviously it is not up to me to dictate your personal life, but given the constraints you already have of absolutely wanting big law in a very difficult legal market, I would question the sense of adding another restriction/complication.
Anyway there is still a lot to unfold this cycle. You don't have to make any decisions now, and you should view whatever scholarship offers you do get from schools as starting off points for negotiation because schools are going to start becoming desperate in the later spring and summer trying to hit their target enrollment and medians with a drastically reduced applicant pool. Generally I think this will cause schools to offer bigger scholarships than in the past (and shrinking classes) as opposed to admitting people they wouldn't have admitted in the past, but there may be some of the latter, particularly with regard to reverse splitters and splitters with super-low GPAs. For you, it sounds like what is more important is not reducing cost but getting accepted to a school that places sufficiently in big law to make it worth your while, so hopefully you'll have some of those unprecedented acceptances in the next few months, perhaps off a WL. Good luck!
zman wrote:if you get a SA job at the end of your first and second year you will get a big chunk of your COA living taken care of.
I'm not sure why you said this, but it is very unusual to get an SA after your 1L year. I don't think anyone should be counting on that. URMs have some shot at a 1L SA, but that's about it (and if you are a URM, you should also look into SEO, which is a good way to both make money your 0L summer and get your foot in the door for a 1L SA). 2L SAs do reduce your COA somewhat, but if your school doesn't place more than 50% into SAs in the first place (like USC/UCLA), I don't think you should be counting on that reduction.