Help me decide! Penn sticker or Michigan $$+

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rothschildvonwalmart

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Help me decide! Penn sticker or Michigan $$+

Post by rothschildvonwalmart » Tue Apr 28, 2020 7:16 pm

I want to do FC+BL and then ideally work for the government in some capacity (ideally something with international law). I have Philadelphia ties and would prefer to live in a city, although that is not a make/break factor for me. We're looking at probably ~$140k debt with Mich and ~$300k debt with Penn

crazywafflez

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Re: Help me decide! Penn sticker or Michigan $$+

Post by crazywafflez » Tue Apr 28, 2020 7:40 pm

I'd take Mich here. These are peer schools. You being from Philly and potentially wanting to settle there gives Penn some credit here but I think Mich is the clear choice. I'd even try showing your Mich package to Penn and seeing if they'd give you some more money. I think it is okay to pick Penn over Mich at maybe a 10-20k difference (even then though, it isn't like Penn is worth 10-20k more than Mich), but at a 150k difference?! I think Michigan is the clear winner here.
International law is kind of a unicorn job if you're thinking UN type stuff. If you're literally just thinnking trades and contract works for like Tyson foods to Zurich markets then you can do that from a T1 school (if you get hired) and speak another language and make the connections.
For FC + BL I think the difference between these two schools is negligible and I'd for sure pick Mich at these pricing points.
Best of luck.

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Sackboy

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Re: Help me decide! Penn sticker or Michigan $$+

Post by Sackboy » Tue Apr 28, 2020 9:43 pm

Michigan.

While I wouldn't go as far as saying the two are peers (I think Michigan and Berkeley have had some questionable BL placement in recent years compared to the rest of the lower T13), Penn is certainly not worth $160k more than Michigan.

As for international law, I'd just urge you to do some more research. "International law" isn't really a thing (or as remotely sexy as it sounds).

QContinuum

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Re: Help me decide! Penn sticker or Michigan $$+

Post by QContinuum » Wed Apr 29, 2020 11:22 am

Sackboy wrote:As for international law, I'd just urge you to do some more research. "International law" isn't really a thing (or as remotely sexy as it sounds).
Eh, unicorn international law positions - with State, with the UN - do exist. Thing is, they're extremely hard to get even from YLS. They require a relevant background and skills (preferably a "high-demand" foreign language that fewer Americans speak, like Arabic; at least some previous international policy/advocacy/work experience; and optimally an additional technical "hook", like a public health background, or an international development background). They require above-and-beyond networking during law school. And they require a hefty dollop of luck. Finally, these positions don't tend to lend themselves to a "FC+BL, then international law" career path. I know a few folks who've gotten unicorn international law positions, but they all did so right out of law school (or, in some cases, right out of grad school following law school). I haven't heard of anyone who lateraled into international law from BigLaw.

Note: In the above I use "international law" to refer to international law gigs in government, as OP mentioned. I do not use "international law" to refer to BigLaw cap markets positions in London/Hong Kong, which involve practicing U.S. law (and not international law).

Anon-non-anon

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Re: Help me decide! Penn sticker or Michigan $$+

Post by Anon-non-anon » Wed Apr 29, 2020 12:44 pm

I'll be the contrarian here and say if you have a strong inclination for philly long term, it may be worth the extra cash up front. Penn is a bit better school and philly is very insular. You already have ties there, making getting in from Michigan more doable, but I imagine there's few easier ways to get one of the coveted philly big law slots as being from philly --> penn --> philly area clerkship

Not saying Michigan will make it too hard to get into philly later, but I bet it's a pretty hefty difference.

If you just kinda like philly but would be happy to explore, Michigan seems like a great option but as others have said, try to negotiate with penn.

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Sackboy

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Re: Help me decide! Penn sticker or Michigan $$+

Post by Sackboy » Wed Apr 29, 2020 1:16 pm

Anon-non-anon wrote:I'll be the contrarian here and say if you have a strong inclination for philly long term, it may be worth the extra cash up front. Penn is a bit better school and philly is very insular. You already have ties there, making getting in from Michigan more doable, but I imagine there's few easier ways to get one of the coveted philly big law slots as being from philly --> penn --> philly area clerkship

Not saying Michigan will make it too hard to get into philly later, but I bet it's a pretty hefty difference.

If you just kinda like philly but would be happy to explore, Michigan seems like a great option but as others have said, try to negotiate with penn.
If the inclination is Philly long-term, OP can just go Michigan --> NY Biglaw for 2 years --> Philly biglaw, all while saving $160k.
QContinuum wrote: Eh, unicorn international law positions - with State, with the UN - do exist.
Yep, they do exist to an extent. They "aren't really a thing" to the extent that (1) the jobs barely exist, and (2) "international law" is frequently just dealing with the laws of two separate jurisdictions than it is dealing with a shared international body of law. Even when you get to work with a shared body of international law, it's not "sexy" in the regard that you're basically just dealing with a "choice of law" provision, but you're not super familiar with that set of laws from law school. I'm asking OP to reexamine the interest, because most students I run into think international law is some cool special area of law that is uniquely exciting or world changing. It's, unfortunately, not, and if you don't like the underlying legal principles - contracts, criminal law, etc. - you're probably not going to love international law. The benefit of international law is that you get to tell people at cocktail parties that you practice international law.

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TrynaLaw

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Re: Help me decide! Penn sticker or Michigan $$+

Post by TrynaLaw » Wed Apr 29, 2020 2:44 pm

Michigan makes more sense, you can get FC+ BL in a big city and then transition out from either school. $300,000 is an enormous amount of debt and if you decide to move to government sooner rather than later $160K less debt could really matter.

MarkmanPapers

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Re: Help me decide! Penn sticker or Michigan $$+

Post by MarkmanPapers » Wed Apr 29, 2020 2:47 pm

Anon-non-anon wrote:I'll be the contrarian here and say if you have a strong inclination for philly long term, it may be worth the extra cash up front. Penn is a bit better school and philly is very insular. You already have ties there, making getting in from Michigan more doable, but I imagine there's few easier ways to get one of the coveted philly big law slots as being from philly --> penn --> philly area clerkship
Mild counterpoint: the Philly firms--Especially those aside from MLB/Dechert--tend to be suspicious of Penn students because they know that Penn kids can sleepwalk into NYC V50 jobs. Yes, even Penn kids with Philly ties can get caught in this, as they might be seen as preferring to start in NYC and lateral back to Philly later. Not to say that Penn does not have an edge here over Michigan for Philly ties, but it's smaller than you may think.

vbalenciaga

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Re: Help me decide! Penn sticker or Michigan $$+

Post by vbalenciaga » Wed Apr 29, 2020 11:26 pm

Michigan and it’s not close. The only way penn would make sense was if you were completely set on being in philly.

Anon-non-anon

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Re: Help me decide! Penn sticker or Michigan $$+

Post by Anon-non-anon » Thu Apr 30, 2020 9:39 am

MarkmanPapers wrote:
Anon-non-anon wrote:I'll be the contrarian here and say if you have a strong inclination for philly long term, it may be worth the extra cash up front. Penn is a bit better school and philly is very insular. You already have ties there, making getting in from Michigan more doable, but I imagine there's few easier ways to get one of the coveted philly big law slots as being from philly --> penn --> philly area clerkship
Mild counterpoint: the Philly firms--Especially those aside from MLB/Dechert--tend to be suspicious of Penn students because they know that Penn kids can sleepwalk into NYC V50 jobs. Yes, even Penn kids with Philly ties can get caught in this, as they might be seen as preferring to start in NYC and lateral back to Philly later. Not to say that Penn does not have an edge here over Michigan for Philly ties, but it's smaller than you may think.
Mild counter-counterpoint. You're saying a resume that shows philly ties, with penn law, applying specifically to a philly law firm or a philly office of a larger firm -- the firm is gonna say, oh, he might be going to NYC V50 anyway so we're not going to interview him?

That's hard for me to believe. Does that mean it would be easier to get in the door being a really good student at Temple or something, rather than a really good student at Penn? I really find that even harder to believe. With the exception of just going to a higher ranked school, what could make you more attractive to a philly office?

edit - bc I said something that mighta been wrong

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