WashU or Notre Dame? (c/o 2023)

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JJ3865

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WashU or Notre Dame? (c/o 2023)

Post by JJ3865 » Wed Mar 18, 2020 6:42 pm

I'm getting close to making a decision on law school, but I'm a bit torn between two schools. Main issue is that Notre Dame has given me the best scholarship offer, but WashU is a bit more highly ranked and seems to be rising as well. I visited and liked both campuses. I REALLY loved my ND visit and thought I'd made up my mind after that, but after talking to a friend who attends WashU law, I'm a bit hesitant to make my decision. I want to do some sort of Public Interest work, and ND seems to really support their PI students. They've also really taken an interest in me and I talked to one of the deans on the phone a few weeks ago because we have a lot in common.
WashU is a bit closer to home, it's a bigger city, and WashU seems to be more diverse than NDLS. I'm not catholic but I identified a lot with the mission of NDLS. But the lack of diversity does concern me a bit.
Scholarships: I was offered about 90% tuition from NDLS and about 70% from WashU.
I don't have my heart set on any particular location for employment. I'm from KY and may want to go back there, but I also don't want to be too limited.

For anyone who has attended, is considering these schools, or has just researched them, what is your take?

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Re: WashU or Notre Dame? (c/o 2023)

Post by antelope » Wed Mar 18, 2020 9:46 pm

Was accepted to both of them as well, and, based on recent years, WashU seems to have better outcomes than NDLS, but there's not a large difference. Personally, I'd pick WashU, but NDLS wouldn't be bad for your goals either. What did your friend say about WashU?

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Re: WashU or Notre Dame? (c/o 2023)

Post by UVA2B » Wed Mar 18, 2020 10:48 pm

If you believe you're 100% dedicated to PI, focus on the LRAP. That should be the main consideration, followed by the geography, specific organizations, and soft factors such as whether you liked the campus, student body, or how often you talk to people at the school who are actively recruiting you to attend.

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Re: WashU or Notre Dame? (c/o 2023)

Post by cavalier1138 » Thu Mar 19, 2020 5:33 am

Can you be more specific about what kind of PI you want to do and where?

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Re: WashU or Notre Dame? (c/o 2023)

Post by Legally_Tired » Thu Mar 19, 2020 10:45 am

NDLS student here — The "better outcomes" really is a terrible argument at this level. Neither school is T14, you will have to be above median at either for a safe shot at BL, and having been here I can tell you that the support for PI is pretty solid at ND.

If you're deadset on PI then take the bigger scholarship with the better LRAP (I'm not sure of WUSTL's LRAP, but ND's is stellar). Should you change your mind halfway through and want a few bucks, you can definitely get Big Law from ND.

EDIT: I am also a Diverse 1L and more than willing to chat about my experience here. We were a very tight group this year, no one had to feel alone.

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Re: WashU or Notre Dame? (c/o 2023)

Post by QContinuum » Sat Mar 21, 2020 12:55 am

Legally_Tired wrote:NDLS student here — The "better outcomes" really is a terrible argument at this level. Neither school is T14, you will have to be above median at either for a safe shot at BL, and having been here I can tell you that the support for PI is pretty solid at ND.
I don't think it's a "terrible argument" to point out that WUSTL's stronger than NDLS. NDLS placed 43.4% of its class of '18 into BigLaw or a federal clerkship; compare to WUSTL at 52.1%. It's not night and day, but it's still a 9% difference, which isn't insignificant. And BigLaw placement prowess usually is a good rough proxy for PI strength, as well.

If (big if!) the schools' LRAPs are comparable (and I'd encourage OP to take a very close look at this - LRAPs can actually differ greatly in coverage and terms), then I think at equal COA, t's defensible to choose NDLS if OP strongly prefers NDLS, but in a vacuum, at equal COA, WUSTL has the edge.

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Re: WashU or Notre Dame? (c/o 2023)

Post by Legally_Tired » Sat Mar 21, 2020 12:55 pm

QContinuum wrote:
Legally_Tired wrote:NDLS student here — The "better outcomes" really is a terrible argument at this level. Neither school is T14, you will have to be above median at either for a safe shot at BL, and having been here I can tell you that the support for PI is pretty solid at ND.
I don't think it's a "terrible argument" to point out that WUSTL's stronger than NDLS. NDLS placed 43.4% of its class of '18 into BigLaw or a federal clerkship; compare to WUSTL at 52.1%. It's not night and day, but it's still a 9% difference, which isn't insignificant. And BigLaw placement prowess usually is a good rough proxy for PI strength, as well.

If (big if!) the schools' LRAPs are comparable (and I'd encourage OP to take a very close look at this - LRAPs can actually differ greatly in coverage and terms), then I think at equal COA, t's defensible to choose NDLS if OP strongly prefers NDLS, but in a vacuum, at equal COA, WUSTL has the edge.
The point is still the same — highlighting the insignificance of the differences — if you want Big Law at either of these schools you had better be at/above the median.

Considering all things are not equal, OP has a 90% scholarship to one vs 70% to the other... the schools are more than comparable enough to just pick less debt. There is no PI outcome you can get at WashU — that you could not get at NDLS — that would warrant taking on more loans.

The LRAPs are very similar, a quick skim of both notes that ND's may be a bit more comprehensive (eg; covers clerkships and non-law related positions at its own discretion), this too, is probably a negligible difference.

I urge OP to check out the language of each:

WashU:
https://law.wustl.edu/admissions/tuitio ... e-program/

NDLS:
https://law.nd.edu/for-alumni/alumni-re ... e-program/

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Re: WashU or Notre Dame? (c/o 2023)

Post by JJ3865 » Mon Mar 30, 2020 12:28 pm

Thank you everyone for the responses, they were very helpful! I'll be looking into your suggestions!

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Re: WashU or Notre Dame? (c/o 2023)

Post by Sackboy » Mon Mar 30, 2020 1:21 pm

Could you break out your cost of attendance at both schools for us (i.e. tuition + living expenses)? That can make these conversations a bit easier than looking at purely scholarship discounts.

I don't know why there is any discussion of BL placement going on. That's irrelevant to OP's goals. Take a close look at each school's LRAP.

I was raised Catholic but am no longer a participant and am kind of uneasy about the whole thing, but I will say that ND does have an amazing campus and Catholics truly do believe in good works, which I think aligns well with your interests. I imagine the PI culture at ND is quite good.

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Re: WashU or Notre Dame? (c/o 2023)

Post by QContinuum » Mon Mar 30, 2020 4:47 pm

Sackboy wrote:I was raised Catholic but am no longer a participant and am kind of uneasy about the whole thing, but I will say that ND does have an amazing campus and Catholics truly do believe in good works, which I think aligns well with your interests. I imagine the PI culture at ND is quite good.
So ND isn't like BYU, where you'd get in trouble for "fraternizing" with the opposite sex (let alone the same sex...), or drinking coffee or tea (let alone alcohol), or any number of things you wouldn't normally consider to have moral implications. It's not draconian in that sense.

That said, ND is a Catholic school in a red state. ND's student health insurance plan, and its on-campus student health services and pharmacy, offer only a limited scope of contraceptives (see https://hr.nd.edu/benefits/contraceptiv ... questions/), and do not cover or offer emergency contraception or abortion (even in cases of rape). And even off-campus, outside the scope of ND health insurance coverage, abortion access is generally limited in Indiana (see https://www.guttmacher.org/state-policy ... s-abortion). This is something you should seriously consider and plan ahead for (no one ever really anticipates needing emergency contraception until all of a sudden, they need it).

This is in contrast to WashU, which does offer the full scope of contraceptive coverage (including emergency contraception): https://students.wustl.edu/contraceptio ... formation/ and also offers unbiased counseling and support for a range of relationship and sexual health issues through SARAH: http://sarah.wustl.edu/about-us/

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Re: WashU or Notre Dame? (c/o 2023)

Post by TirantMartorell » Sat Apr 04, 2020 1:59 am

NDLS alum here.

The employment outcome difference between ND and WashU is a very recent trend. Only in the last 2 years reported (2017 and 2018) have the outcomes been better for WashU. The marginally better outcomes at WashU based on the past 2 years of data should not be the main thing to base your decision on, especially when ND has given you more money and you seem to have a better gut feeling about ND. I graduated slightly above median and got a job through OCI at a big firm outside the midwest.

Take the better scholarship at ND and join a community that will follow you throughout the rest of your life. The ND alumni network is a family and active everywhere. Private message me if you want more info.

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Re: WashU or Notre Dame? (c/o 2023)

Post by cavalier1138 » Sat Apr 04, 2020 9:55 am

TirantMartorell wrote:NDLS alum here.

The employment outcome difference between ND and WashU is a very recent trend. Only in the last 2 years reported (2017 and 2018) have the outcomes been better for WashU. The marginally better outcomes at WashU based on the past 2 years of data should not be the main thing to base your decision on, especially when ND has given you more money and you seem to have a better gut feeling about ND. I graduated slightly above median and got a job through OCI at a big firm outside the midwest.

Take the better scholarship at ND and join a community that will follow you throughout the rest of your life. The ND alumni network is a family and active everywhere. Private message me if you want more info.
Notre Dame might be the better choice for OP based on the money, but cool your jets. Every school has an active network and "family" for their graduates. Notre Dame isn't a special case.

The OP should be focusing on LRAP and the type of PI they're interested in practicing. Gut feelings and brochure-taglines should be the last considerations in school selection.

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Re: WashU or Notre Dame? (c/o 2023)

Post by The Lsat Airbender » Sat Apr 04, 2020 12:01 pm

cavalier1138 wrote:Notre Dame might be the better choice for OP based on the money, but cool your jets. Every school has an active network and "family" for their graduates. Notre Dame isn't a special case.
I think it's reasonable to say that ND alumni are more, well, devoted to their alma mater that most schools', but it's more of an undergrad thing, and it means more for Catholics.

People make the same mistake with HLS—yeah, you get to put the name of the university on your resume, and the law-school network is great, but you're not joining the special club of Harvard College grads, nor the old-line WASP social circles aligned therewith.

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Re: WashU or Notre Dame? (c/o 2023)

Post by QContinuum » Sat Apr 04, 2020 10:27 pm

The Lsat Airbender wrote:
cavalier1138 wrote:Notre Dame might be the better choice for OP based on the money, but cool your jets. Every school has an active network and "family" for their graduates. Notre Dame isn't a special case.
I think it's reasonable to say that ND alumni are more, well, devoted to their alma mater that most schools', but it's more of an undergrad thing, and it means more for Catholics.

People make the same mistake with HLS—yeah, you get to put the name of the university on your resume, and the law-school network is great, but you're not joining the special club of Harvard College grads, nor the old-line WASP social circles aligned therewith.
The law school-vs.-undergrad network distinction is, I think, particularly pronounced for Notre Dame. ND undergrad is terrific, with a strong national reputation and nationwide placement, and an especially tight-knit and supportive alumni network. This is far less the case for the law school. The law school alumni network isn't nearly as tight-knit as the undergrad alumni network, and the law school, while a solid program, doesn't have anywhere near the national reputation and nationwide placement the college does.

With HLS, sure, it's not the same as Harvard College, but HLS is still about as strong as a law school can get.

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Re: WashU or Notre Dame? (c/o 2023)

Post by The Lsat Airbender » Sat Apr 04, 2020 10:47 pm

QContinuum wrote:
The Lsat Airbender wrote:
cavalier1138 wrote:Notre Dame might be the better choice for OP based on the money, but cool your jets. Every school has an active network and "family" for their graduates. Notre Dame isn't a special case.
I think it's reasonable to say that ND alumni are more, well, devoted to their alma mater that most schools', but it's more of an undergrad thing, and it means more for Catholics.

People make the same mistake with HLS—yeah, you get to put the name of the university on your resume, and the law-school network is great, but you're not joining the special club of Harvard College grads, nor the old-line WASP social circles aligned therewith.
The law school-vs.-undergrad network distinction is, I think, particularly pronounced for Notre Dame. ND undergrad is terrific, with a strong national reputation and nationwide placement, and an especially tight-knit and supportive alumni network. This is far less the case for the law school. The law school alumni network isn't nearly as tight-knit as the undergrad alumni network, and the law school, while a solid program, doesn't have anywhere near the national reputation and nationwide placement the college does.

With HLS, sure, it's not the same as Harvard College, but HLS is still about as strong as a law school can get.
Agreed. (It goes the other way, too - NYU and UChicago JDs tend to be pretty loyal to their school/classmates whereas those universities have famous problems with undergrad camaraderie.)

I don't mean to drag this thread too far off-topic. This is all just to say that cultural differences are not huge and OP should go wherever is cheaper, discounting for any difference in expected LRAP eligibility as well.

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Re: WashU or Notre Dame? (c/o 2023)

Post by bluedolphin » Sun Apr 05, 2020 12:34 am

JJ3865 wrote:I'm getting close to making a decision on law school, but I'm a bit torn between two schools. Main issue is that Notre Dame has given me the best scholarship offer, but WashU is a bit more highly ranked and seems to be rising as well. I visited and liked both campuses. I REALLY loved my ND visit and thought I'd made up my mind after that, but after talking to a friend who attends WashU law, I'm a bit hesitant to make my decision. I want to do some sort of Public Interest work, and ND seems to really support their PI students. They've also really taken an interest in me and I talked to one of the deans on the phone a few weeks ago because we have a lot in common.
WashU is a bit closer to home, it's a bigger city, and WashU seems to be more diverse than NDLS. I'm not catholic but I identified a lot with the mission of NDLS. But the lack of diversity does concern me a bit.
Scholarships: I was offered about 90% tuition from NDLS and about 70% from WashU.
I don't have my heart set on any particular location for employment. I'm from KY and may want to go back there, but I also don't want to be too limited.

For anyone who has attended, is considering these schools, or has just researched them, what is your take?
I'm old and a Washu grad, have you tried negotiating? I know they used to match and I didbt really hear of anyone when I was applying who had more ND money than WashU money.

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Re: WashU or Notre Dame? (c/o 2023)

Post by TirantMartorell » Sun Apr 05, 2020 2:18 am

cavalier1138 wrote:
TirantMartorell wrote:NDLS alum here.

The employment outcome difference between ND and WashU is a very recent trend. Only in the last 2 years reported (2017 and 2018) have the outcomes been better for WashU. The marginally better outcomes at WashU based on the past 2 years of data should not be the main thing to base your decision on, especially when ND has given you more money and you seem to have a better gut feeling about ND. I graduated slightly above median and got a job through OCI at a big firm outside the midwest.

Take the better scholarship at ND and join a community that will follow you throughout the rest of your life. The ND alumni network is a family and active everywhere. Private message me if you want more info.
Notre Dame might be the better choice for OP based on the money, but cool your jets. Every school has an active network and "family" for their graduates. Notre Dame isn't a special case.

The OP should be focusing on LRAP and the type of PI they're interested in practicing. Gut feelings and brochure-taglines should be the last considerations in school selection.
Sorry man, but the ND alumni network is special. I have degrees from 3 schools, one of them Ivy and can tell you that ND alumns are particularly more passionate about their school and their fellow alumni. That's just the case.

The other responses saying that this does not apply to the law school do not know what they are talking about. Law students are often less willing to engage in ND stuff and less willing to join alumni groups because many retain their primary loyalty to their undergrad. It's their choice if they want to be less engaged, but law students and law alumni who want to be active are treated like anyone else and receive the same benefits.

Here's a tip for any ND law student: don't just go from your off campus apt to the law bulding without ever engaging in any other aspect of ND - you're missing out. Best advice: become an assistant rector at an undergrad dorm - it's an amazing experience and well compensated financially. The dorm life is so integral to ND that you'll be asked "what dorm were you in" all the time. As a law student, you wont' have an answer to that unless you were an AR and had that experience.

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Re: WashU or Notre Dame? (c/o 2023)

Post by TirantMartorell » Sun Apr 05, 2020 2:24 am

bluedolphin wrote:
JJ3865 wrote:I'm getting close to making a decision on law school, but I'm a bit torn between two schools. Main issue is that Notre Dame has given me the best scholarship offer, but WashU is a bit more highly ranked and seems to be rising as well. I visited and liked both campuses. I REALLY loved my ND visit and thought I'd made up my mind after that, but after talking to a friend who attends WashU law, I'm a bit hesitant to make my decision. I want to do some sort of Public Interest work, and ND seems to really support their PI students. They've also really taken an interest in me and I talked to one of the deans on the phone a few weeks ago because we have a lot in common.
WashU is a bit closer to home, it's a bigger city, and WashU seems to be more diverse than NDLS. I'm not catholic but I identified a lot with the mission of NDLS. But the lack of diversity does concern me a bit.
Scholarships: I was offered about 90% tuition from NDLS and about 70% from WashU.
I don't have my heart set on any particular location for employment. I'm from KY and may want to go back there, but I also don't want to be too limited.

For anyone who has attended, is considering these schools, or has just researched them, what is your take?
I'm old and a Washu grad, have you tried negotiating? I know they used to match and I didbt really hear of anyone when I was applying who had more ND money than WashU money.
The above is true - during my time at NDLS, it seemed that WashU was more generous with money. Perhaps try to negotiate. Giving out a lot of money helped WashU raise their LSAT medians quite a bit, now at 168 vs 165 at ND. I don't know what OP's stats are, but given that LSAT medians have now diverged quite a bit, the same candidate may be extremely attractive to ND and now not so attractive to WashU just based on numbers.

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Re: WashU or Notre Dame? (c/o 2023)

Post by lavarman84 » Sun Apr 05, 2020 3:04 am

TirantMartorell wrote:Sorry man, but the ND alumni network is special. I have degrees from 3 schools, one of them Ivy and can tell you that ND alumns are particularly more passionate about their school and their fellow alumni. That's just the case.
Anecdotally, I agree. I did not go to Notre Dame, but I clerked for a judge who was a ND alum. The judge did not always hire ND alums, but he did want to personally review every application from them. That was not true of other schools (he left it to the clerks to decide which applications made it to him unless he received a call from somebody he knew and respected about a candidate).

OP, since ND seems to be quite a bit cheaper and they're essentially peer schools, I'd go with ND.

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Re: WashU or Notre Dame? (c/o 2023)

Post by cavalier1138 » Sun Apr 05, 2020 10:38 am

lavarman84 wrote:
TirantMartorell wrote:Sorry man, but the ND alumni network is special. I have degrees from 3 schools, one of them Ivy and can tell you that ND alumns are particularly more passionate about their school and their fellow alumni. That's just the case.
Anecdotally, I agree. I did not go to Notre Dame, but I clerked for a judge who was a ND alum. The judge did not always hire ND alums, but he did want to personally review every application from them. That was not true of other schools (he left it to the clerks to decide which applications made it to him unless he received a call from somebody he knew and respected about a candidate).
I promise that you see similar behavior from judges/hiring partners/whoever with regards to all alma maters. Except when it results in HYS students getting preferential treatment for clerkships, we just call it "elitism."

OP: Law school "culture" is largely a myth perpetuated by people who have convinced themselves that it exists. Again, ND may well be the right choice for you, but not because of some intangible idea of "community" or "feel." The alumni community isn't going to make your loans disappear; you need to focus on LRAP provisions.

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Re: WashU or Notre Dame? (c/o 2023)

Post by QContinuum » Sun Apr 05, 2020 4:44 pm

TirantMartorell wrote:Sorry man, but the ND alumni network is special. I have degrees from 3 schools, one of them Ivy and can tell you that ND alumns are particularly more passionate about their school and their fellow alumni. That's just the case.

The other responses saying that this does not apply to the law school do not know what they are talking about. Law students are often less willing to engage in ND stuff and less willing to join alumni groups because many retain their primary loyalty to their undergrad. It's their choice if they want to be less engaged, but law students and law alumni who want to be active are treated like anyone else and receive the same benefits.

Here's a tip for any ND law student: don't just go from your off campus apt to the law bulding without ever engaging in any other aspect of ND - you're missing out. Best advice: become an assistant rector at an undergrad dorm - it's an amazing experience and well compensated financially. The dorm life is so integral to ND that you'll be asked "what dorm were you in" all the time. As a law student, you wont' have an answer to that unless you were an AR and had that experience.
You are, again, talking about the ND undergrad network, not the law school network, which is separate and much weaker. We all agree that the ND undergrad network is particularly strong, and complements the college's strong national reputation and placement power. Thing is, that's the college, not ND Law.

Your post above proposes a good way for ND Law students to position themselves to take advantage of the undergrad network - by becoming an AR - but again, it's still the undergrad network, not the law school network. You yourself concede that ND Law students are "less willing to join alumni groups", reflecting the law school's weaker network. And you also agree that, in general, putting aside being an AR in an undergrad dorm, ND Law students will have some difficulty fully leveraging the undergrad network (to the extent the undergrad network is even helpful - many will not have gone into law, and many who have gone into law will have attended law school elsewhere, and may feel equal or even more loyalty to their law school alma mater than to ND Law students).

Finally, there are a limited number of AR spots, and the vast majority of ND Law students will not be ARs. I'd argue no one should matriculate to ND Law blithely assuming they'll be able to land an AR spot. And, of course, being an AR isn't quite the same as actually having attended ND undergrad. It's like how TAing undergrad classes at Harvard doesn't magically get you treated as a Harvard College alum.

I also want to re-flag the issue with reproductive health coverage at ND, which was raised earlier ITT. I think that should be seriously considered, as one part of the calculus. I don't say it should be dispositive, but it should be factored in, unless OP is (1) a man, and (2) in addition to being male, is also gay or asexual. Otherwise no one can conclusively rule out whether they will need EC, and so cannot rule out whether ND's theological decisions re: reproductive health coverage will impact them during their time at NDLS.

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