CoaltoNewCastle wrote:Do you really think the bottom 20 or so percent at Columbia are just as well off as the bottom 20 or so percent at Harvard in NYC? Harvard is still Harvard and in a normal economy people want Harvard students even if they're near the bottom of their class. No employers actually think Columbia is as good as Harvard, not even Biglawyers in NYC. Yes, this is just speculation, but I still think it's very logical and clear that 1)there are a lot of lurking variables that make it seem like Columbia places as well as or better than Harvard in NYC and 2)Harvard is much more prestigious than Columbia, to everybody.
Also using V5 or V20 firms is silly. If you want to compare the value of your investment in Columbia vs. Harvard, and your goal is Biglaw/a market rate job, you should be looking at what your chances are of getting that kind of job at each school. NLJ250 is a much better way to tell if you'll get a market rate job. I personally will not just be thinking about what happens if I finish in the top 10-20% at the school I end up. What happens if I finish in the bottom 20% (of a group of very, very smart and hard-working people) will be much more important to me.
But even looking at V5 and seeing that Columbia does better, that doesn't mean that a top 10% student at Columbia has a better shot at getting V5 than a top 10% student at Harvard. Top 10% students at Harvard are able to get the unbelievable jobs that transcend Biglaw if they want so I think the reverse of your logic about who Columbia students are competing with is true, because it means that top 10% CLS students are on an even footing with the top 20-25% HLS students who want Biglaw jobs.
Though I will likely end up at CLS and not HLS, this isn't just self-delusion: I know many many many nyc biglaw partners (the fathers of pretty much every single person I went to school with, nearly every family friend, neighbor etc) and from the many I've spoken to about law school they basically see no difference between CLS and HLS. They see yale as being special (in terms of its intellectualism) but in terms of firm hiring basically see Columbia and Harvard as occupying the same top position. I've asked about this explicitly and even those who attended HLS answered that in the nyc world CLS is seen as about as prestigious as possible. This likely has to do with the fact that everyone works in firms filled with CLS partners etc and its hard to see a school as anything but the best when you're constantly seeing its alums at the top of your universe.
That said, for everything but nyc biglaw go with hls.
Also, I know its super hard to place top 1/3 or top 10% or whatever at a T6 school, but all the children of these gazillions of lawyers I grew up around who now go or graduated from CLS, HLS, NYU, etc (yea, its hard to feel like my accomplishments count for anything) all pretty much stress how stupid or at least unimpressive the average student at all these schools is (YLS students on the other hand say quite the opposite... I know 17 people at yale right now and got dinged this week... not a good feeling). Clearly a lot of this is empty talk and bravado but I do think many over estimate the brilliance of T10 law students and the difficulty of law course work (0L here but I took 9 classes at a T10 law school as an undergraduate because they were cross listed as philosophy or political science graduate courses). I can't speak to 1L courses like torts or property, but from my experience and that of everyone I respect intellectually who I've spoken to, having any serious UG experience working in philosophy, political theory, or government and thus being used to close analytic reading and writing (apparently something MANY law students aren't prepared for) makes law school quite a lot easier than the rumors. My UG was supposedly filled with some of the smartest and most intellectually driven students in the country; however it was obvious in all the introductory survey courses requiring an analytic approach to philosophical texts this kids mostly had no idea what the hell to do, no idea how to read and no idea how to write. Truth is, people always tend to be a lot more mediocre than our expectations.
also, I really don't think they are any opportunities unavailable to a James Kent Scholar at columbia. top 10% at cls can compete for the same boutique, federal, and clerkship jobs that top hls students shoot for.