BlackCanary wrote:I'm more interested in why you were considering transferring, if it's not too personal.
Sure. To preface this, my friends told me there would be anarchy if Cusenation ever disavowed WUSTL and left for another school.
It wasn't something I even considered until after I got my first semester grades. The only way I would forfeit a full ride and incur the expenses/inconveniences of moving to a different city would be if I had HYSCCN options. Data showed that I was pretty secure to be admitted to UChicago via Early Decision and that I had a pretty secure shot at NYU and CLS if I maintained my performance through the Spring term. Harvard and Stanford were within reach but not secure, i needed to do a little better for them, but they were within the realm of possibility since I could conceivably do better this semester.
It's hard not to consider the option when those schools are on the table. I would probably get the same-or-similar job from WUSTL since I only want BigLaw. If I was interested in clerking or academia, then I would probably leave. But the WUSTL kids with my grades usually have the option to work at the same firms that the HYSCCN kids do (minus Wachtell i guess).
But ultimately those schools offer a level of prestige that can't be matched by WUSTL (or any other school below them). And the markets I'm targeting (Boston, NYC, DC) tend to be more prestige-obsessed than others. So it wasn't that I had anything to lose by staying at WUSTL, I just had a lot to gain by attending HYSCCN in terms of prestige and alumni network.
I had some honest talks with CSO, faculty, my parents, practicing attorneys at major Vault firms, WUSTL students who had transferred (to UChi and Harvard). Ultimately it became clear that there were situations where it made sense and where it didn't.
Unfortunately I don't have Harvard-goals. I'm not gunning to become partner at one of these megafirms (even if I wanted to, I know for a fact i would change my mind once I was in the trenches). I'm not trying to clerk for SCOTUS or make a big name for myself in government or something. I just want to practice law in the private sector and have a chance at having a life outside of work. Not only would I have to borrow Harvard-level-loans for non-Harvard-goals, once you attend those schools, there's an expectation that you commit to the prestige/money rat race. You don't go to Harvard and then go to an AmLaw 200. You don't go to Columbia to work for the local DA's office. You go to HYSCCN to take advantage of their placement in the Vault megafirms. Some people told me that I could transfer to HYSCCN, then just go to a smaller-mid-level-firm. But that didn't make sense to me. Any added prestige I would get from attending those schools wouldn't really help me in those firms. The prestige currency has its maximum worth in the hallowed halls of academia and megafirms, not in the lifestyle AmLaw 200 firm where the attorneys get to spend time with their families.
There were other soft considerations too. I like WUSTL and my friends/classmates. The thought of having to make new friends again and network with professors all over again wasn't appealing. But those are things that I would have overcome if I had decided to leave i guess, but they were still considerations.
Finally, I know for a fact that I'm not hungry enough to survive the 5-7 years in BigLaw to pay off those loans. Doing well 1L year is nothing compared to working 90-100 hour weeks for 5-7 years in a BigLaw environment. Especially because I have personal goals that conflict with that lifestyle (namely getting married and starting a family).
One of the biggest ironies I see among 0L's: They attend T14 at sticker because they're too cautious to assume that they'll be top 33-25% at a lower ranked law school, but they're bold enough to think they can survive 5-7 years in BigLaw. That doesn't make sense. If you're cautious enough to think you'll only be median, then you should also be cautious enough to assume that you won't survive the requisite years in BigLaw to pay off T14 loans. Based on my own experience, doing sufficiently well in 1L isn't extremely difficult. And based on what I've heard/read, doing well in 1L is hilariously easy compared to surviving that many years in BigLaw in this market.
Feel free to PM me if you have specific questions