UVA (sticker) vs. UT ($$)

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UVA (sticker) vs. UT ($$)

UVA (COA: $225k)
41
59%
UT (COA: $100K)
29
41%
 
Total votes: 70

objctnyrhnr

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Re: UVA (sticker) vs. UT ($$)

Post by objctnyrhnr » Mon May 04, 2020 1:21 pm

The Lsat Airbender wrote:
HydroFlask666 wrote:I am. I find it upsetting that people are recommending OP take on $250k+ debt in this now uncertain economy. I also find it upsetting that people are talking as if UVA provides some sort of guaranteed minimum outcome.
I don't think anyone's thrilled about UVA at sticker, but it's a reasonable economic decision in a vacuum. And OP is unlikely to create substantially better opportunities; they would have to retake up into the 173+ area, which isn't a walk in the park, and even then might not get a T13 merit scholarship.

Obviously, it's possible to strike out on biglaw from any school, but 83% of UVA grads landed biglaw or a federal clerkship last year which is basically as good as it gets. UVA could take a 20-point hit due to a recession (they've reduced their class size since 2012, so it probably wouldn't even be that bad) and biglaw would remain perfectly attainable, if not guaranteed, for someone with median-ish grades. The same cannot be said about UT.

The likelihood of economic trouble in the next five years militates in favor of buying this insurance, not against. T13s retain a greater proportion of their EV when everybody's BL+FC goes down—do the math.
+1.

When you are talking about this level of school and are planning for biglaw, I think sometimes it makes sense to go near sticker at a school that gives you a significant biglaw window. Remember = half of all law students are below median; can’t forget that.

Personally I wasn’t convinced I was after biglaw when I decided what school to go to. But if I had been, I would have made a move to UVA under these circumstances, where my options were generally similar to OP’s.

(Epilogue to my story is I went to one of those very strong regional t20s/t30s with significant money over a couple t13 options like this, fedclerked, went the public sector/PI route per my original plan, then transitioned to biglaw...but my window for the clerkship was far narrower than it would have been if I had gone to a UVA and required me to catch some luck, as did my biglaw transition.)

ChosenOneNow

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Re: UVA (sticker) vs. UT ($$)

Post by ChosenOneNow » Mon May 04, 2020 1:28 pm

I am quite debt averse as well. But, based on your FC + biglaw goals, I do think that UVA makes sense in this scenario.

If you were content with mid-law or any good legal employment outcome, UT would make more sense. But, it is harder to get FC + big-law from UT, especially in an uncertain economy. Just minimize your living expenses at UVA to the extent possible and aggressively begin paying toward your loans when you start working. If you don't, with compound interest, that level of debt can really hinder your finances as you grow older.

nightfly

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Re: UVA (sticker) vs. UT ($$)

Post by nightfly » Mon May 04, 2020 2:22 pm

Very grateful to everyone who has taken the time to share their perspective and vote in the poll!

Prior to COVID-19, I was pretty sure I would be heading to Texas, despite the sizeable outcome delta between UT and UVA (57% vs. 83% BL+FC in 2018, respectively). But with so much uncertainty re the economy (and to a lesser extent the recently released ABA disclosures showing that UT's BL+FC numbers dropped 6% in 2019), I am leaning UVA, whose grads fared significantly better during the last recession (though class size at UT has dropped by about a quarter since 2013). It boils down to the fact I'd rather land BL with an extra $125K in debt out of UVA than be stuck with TX midlaw and still saddled with six-figure loans to pay off.

What annoys me, though, is that I have a hard time believing that a median student at UVA is a vastly superior future lawyer to a median student at UT—certainly not to the extent that justifies the significant difference in outcomes for those median students. I really don't like that by opting for UVA, I might be feeding into the prestige-obsessed legal culture.

QContinuum

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Re: UVA (sticker) vs. UT ($$)

Post by QContinuum » Mon May 04, 2020 2:30 pm

nightfly wrote:What annoys me, though, is that I have a hard time believing that a median student at UVA is a vastly superior future lawyer to a median student at UT—certainly not to the extent that justifies the significant difference in outcomes for those median students. I really don't like that by opting for UVA, I might be feeding into the prestige-obsessed legal culture.
It annoys me too. The cliff-edge drops in placement power between schools #13 and #14, and between schools #19 and #20, make zero sense. A gradual decline in placement power as you move down the rankings, sure, makes sense. A cliff-edge drop from Cornell to Georgetown, or from Vandy to BU? Makes no sense.

But c'est la vie. Even if you choose UT, that wouldn't make any dent in the prestige-obsessed legal culture.

nightfly

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Re: UVA (sticker) vs. UT ($$)

Post by nightfly » Tue May 05, 2020 12:51 pm

QContinuum wrote: As for geographic flexibility: UT placed a whopping 71% of its 2019 grads in Texas. The state that takes the second-most UT grads, California, took less than 4% of UT's class of 2019. D.C. took another <4%.

In contrast, the state that takes the most UVA grads, New York, only took 23% of UVA's 2019 grads. D.C., the jurisdiction that takes the second-most UVA grads, took 21%. UVA's home state of Virginia only took 10%. That's geographic flexibility.
QContinuum wrote: It annoys me too. The cliff-edge drops in placement power between schools #13 and #14, and between schools #19 and #20, make zero sense. A gradual decline in placement power as you move down the rankings, sure, makes sense. A cliff-edge drop from Cornell to Georgetown, or from Vandy to BU? Makes no sense.
I am wondering how much NY BL placement accounts for the cliff-edge drop from T13 to T20. I wonder because 1) I've read that NY is the easiest BL market to crack, and 2) I have no interest in practicing in NY (to the point where I'd likely opt for midlaw in Ft. Worth over BL in NY if those were my only options).

NY is far and away the largest BL market (https://taxprof.typepad.com/taxprof_blo ... count.html), but it accounts for <4% of UT's ~50% BL+FC placement compared to 23% of UVA's ~80%. If we subtract NY placement, it's UT ~46% vs. UVA ~57%. Obviously there is still a significant difference, but the gap definitely closes when NY BL placement is discounted. (The same is true across the board for other mid-to-low T13s that warrant comparison, e.g., Berkeley, whose 68% BL+FC number drops to 54% when NY is excluded and Michigan, whose 68% BL+FC drops to 41% sans NY.)

So what percentage of middle-to-low T13 grads who land NY BL target that outcome vs. what percentage wind up there as a BL last resort? Is it easier for a median UVA student to get NY BL or DC/Chi/CA/TX BL? What about a below-median UVA student? What I'm trying to get at is this: how much is the BL+FC placement cushion provided by UVA specifically (and other mid-to-low T13s generally) over UT specifically (and other T20 "super regionals" generally) deflated if NY outcomes are removed from the equation?

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QContinuum

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Re: UVA (sticker) vs. UT ($$)

Post by QContinuum » Tue May 05, 2020 2:18 pm

nightfly wrote:I am wondering how much NY BL placement accounts for the cliff-edge drop from T13 to T20. I wonder because 1) I've read that NY is the easiest BL market to crack, and 2) I have no interest in practicing in NY (to the point where I'd likely opt for midlaw in Ft. Worth over BL in NY if those were my only options).

NY is far and away the largest BL market (https://taxprof.typepad.com/taxprof_blo ... count.html), but it accounts for <4% of UT's ~50% BL+FC placement compared to 23% of UVA's ~80%. If we subtract NY placement, it's UT ~46% vs. UVA ~57%. Obviously there is still a significant difference, but the gap definitely closes when NY BL placement is discounted. (The same is true across the board for other mid-to-low T13s that warrant comparison, e.g., Berkeley, whose 68% BL+FC number drops to 54% when NY is excluded and Michigan, whose 68% BL+FC drops to 41% sans NY.)

So what percentage of middle-to-low T13 grads who land NY BL target that outcome vs. what percentage wind up there as a BL last resort? Is it easier for a median UVA student to get NY BL or DC/Chi/CA/TX BL? What about a below-median UVA student? What I'm trying to get at is this: how much is the BL+FC placement cushion provided by UVA specifically (and other mid-to-low T13s generally) over UT specifically (and other T20 "super regionals" generally) deflated if NY outcomes are removed from the equation?
NYC is absolutely far and away the largest BigLaw market in the country, and - as a consequence - the easiest market to get BigLaw in straight out of law school. Take NYC out of the picture and there's a significant chance of striking out from the "lower" T13, unless you have ~top quarter or better grades (which you can't rely on ex ante).

Importantly, it's far easier to lateral from NYC BigLaw to other major markets. Starting in NYC BigLaw doesn't lock you into working in NYC for the rest of your career. Many who start in NYC lateral to, say, CA or DC or TX or FL or what have you as third/fourth/fifth-year associates. (Third year is when your value as a lateral really picks up, though it's doable to lateral as a second-year.) UVA -> NYC BigLaw for 3 years -> Houston BigLaw for 2+ years -> in-house legal position in Texas, for instance, is a very "safe" trajectory out of UVA.

But if you're allergic to NYC to the extent that you can't stomach the thought of working in NY for even 2-3 years, and would prefer to never work in BigLaw - ever - then that changes the equation. If you're truly OK with working midlaw or small law in Texas, then go to UT. UT will definitely get you a legal job in Texas. Be clear though: the BigLaw boat generally comes once and done. It's not really a thing to start out in midlaw/small law and then "grind" one's way up into BigLaw - doesn't happen, outside of rare exceptions.

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