Would I be stupid to choose Berkeley full tuition over the Ruby? Forum

(Rankings, Profiles, Tuition, Student Life, . . . )
Post Reply
Yman

New
Posts: 7
Joined: Thu Jan 21, 2021 7:39 pm

Would I be stupid to choose Berkeley full tuition over the Ruby?

Post by Yman » Fri Apr 01, 2022 2:39 pm

Hi all,
I was fortunate enough to receive the Ruby from UChicago, and used it to negotiate with other schools. Berkeley offered me full tuition, and in terms of location and school culture, I definitely prefer it to Chicago. I also have deep ties to the Bay Area and want to work in California.

However, I know the Ruby is considered the best deal in law school admissions and UChicago is considered a better school than Berkeley. Would I be stupid to choose Berkeley just because I think I’d be happier there?

talons2250

New
Posts: 61
Joined: Wed Mar 16, 2022 11:15 pm

Re: Would I be stupid to choose Berkeley full tuition over the Ruby?

Post by talons2250 » Fri Apr 01, 2022 2:45 pm

You should absolutely go to Berkeley, given your ties to the Bay Area, the fact that you want to end up working in California, and (most importantly) your prediction that you'll be happier there. The vast majority of people in the legal profession don't obsess over rankings like people on these forums do and they consider Berkeley and Chicago to be pretty much peer schools. This is a no brainer.

Wubbles

Bronze
Posts: 419
Joined: Tue Feb 20, 2018 5:55 pm

Re: Would I be stupid to choose Berkeley full tuition over the Ruby?

Post by Wubbles » Fri Apr 01, 2022 2:49 pm

talons2250 wrote:
Fri Apr 01, 2022 2:45 pm
You should absolutely go to Berkeley, given your ties to the Bay Area, the fact that you want to end up working in California, and (most importantly) your prediction that you'll be happier there. The vast majority of people in the legal profession don't obsess over rankings like people on these forums do and they consider Berkeley and Chicago to be pretty much peer schools. This is a no brainer.
The reason Chicago gets boosted so much for the Ruby is because it also covers living expenses and not just tuition (unless something has changed recently)

tlsguy2020

New
Posts: 75
Joined: Tue Dec 15, 2020 3:05 pm

Re: Would I be stupid to choose Berkeley full tuition over the Ruby?

Post by tlsguy2020 » Fri Apr 01, 2022 3:07 pm

Unless the cost of attendance is significantly different, I wouldn’t go to Chicago. Firms in the bay generally do not treat Chicago students better than Berkeley students. If you already have ties to California, you’ll likely be treated equally but have less networking opportunities. and by all accounts, Berkeley is a more pleasant place to live than Hyde Park.

nixy

Gold
Posts: 4006
Joined: Fri Feb 16, 2018 8:58 am

Re: Would I be stupid to choose Berkeley full tuition over the Ruby?

Post by nixy » Fri Apr 01, 2022 4:23 pm

The Ruby covering living expenses (assuming it still does) gives it some financial edge, but I agree that in this context, Berkeley is the right move. I don't think that a Chicago student with ties would struggle to get something in the Bay Area, but full tuition is a good enough deal that I don't see a basis to move away for 3 years just to move back. I also think that when everything else is equal, attending LS in the region where you want to practice is always better than moving away. (Don't get me wrong, if you had a burning passion to spend 3 years in Chicago or NYC or something before going back to CA, that would be fine, but if you know you want to work in CA and you like Berkeley's culture and location better, just go to Berkeley.)

Want to continue reading?

Register now to search topics and post comments!

Absolutely FREE!


showusyourtorts

New
Posts: 84
Joined: Tue Sep 01, 2020 5:59 pm

Re: Would I be stupid to choose Berkeley full tuition over the Ruby?

Post by showusyourtorts » Fri Apr 01, 2022 6:58 pm

OP, can you clarify whether/the extent to which the Ruby gives an additional stipend over full tuition? It may not make much of a difference, but I suppose it could make the difference between ~100k debt or so when in California.

Congrats and a great deal either way.

CanadianWolf

Diamond
Posts: 11271
Joined: Wed Mar 24, 2010 4:54 pm

Re: Would I be stupid to choose Berkeley full tuition over the Ruby?

Post by CanadianWolf » Sun Apr 03, 2022 9:34 am

Yman wrote:
Fri Apr 01, 2022 2:39 pm
Hi all,
I was fortunate enough to receive the Ruby from UChicago, and used it to negotiate with other schools. Berkeley offered me full tuition, and in terms of location and school culture, I definitely prefer it to Chicago. I also have deep ties to the Bay Area and want to work in California.

However, I know the Ruby is considered the best deal in law school admissions and UChicago is considered a better school than Berkeley. Would I be stupid to choose Berkeley just because I think I’d be happier there?
No.

Access

New
Posts: 47
Joined: Wed Jul 10, 2019 11:22 pm

Re: Would I be stupid to choose Berkeley full tuition over the Ruby?

Post by Access » Sun Apr 03, 2022 12:59 pm

Personally I would take the Ruby, but I'm not you. This was your strategy all along: to use it as a negotiation chip. And it worked. You got exactly what you wanted. Enjoy it and don't feel like you have to conform to others' ideas of success.

User avatar
VirginiaFan

New
Posts: 77
Joined: Fri Apr 14, 2017 4:16 pm

Re: Would I be stupid to choose Berkeley full tuition over the Ruby?

Post by VirginiaFan » Sun Apr 03, 2022 1:35 pm

Unless you're independently wealthy, you'll regret turning down the Ruby for the rest of your life. Don't be an idiot.

Want to continue reading?

Register for access!

Did I mention it was FREE ?


The Lsat Airbender

Gold
Posts: 1595
Joined: Wed Jan 30, 2019 7:34 pm

Re: Would I be stupid to choose Berkeley full tuition over the Ruby?

Post by The Lsat Airbender » Sun Apr 03, 2022 7:55 pm

VirginiaFan wrote:
Sun Apr 03, 2022 1:35 pm
Unless you're independently wealthy, you'll regret turning down the Ruby for the rest of your life. Don't be an idiot.
This seems hyperbolic to me. We're presumably talking about a five-figure sum here. I'd go with Chicago personally but taking a full-ride at Berk is hardly going to be a lifelong regret.

User avatar
VirginiaFan

New
Posts: 77
Joined: Fri Apr 14, 2017 4:16 pm

Re: Would I be stupid to choose Berkeley full tuition over the Ruby?

Post by VirginiaFan » Mon Apr 04, 2022 8:34 am

The Lsat Airbender wrote:
Sun Apr 03, 2022 7:55 pm
VirginiaFan wrote:
Sun Apr 03, 2022 1:35 pm
Unless you're independently wealthy, you'll regret turning down the Ruby for the rest of your life. Don't be an idiot.
This seems hyperbolic to me. We're presumably talking about a five-figure sum here. I'd go with Chicago personally but taking a full-ride at Berk is hardly going to be a lifelong regret.
Maybe I'm missing something, but wouldn't the difference be around 300k? Tuition and COL at Berk v. 0 cost at Chicago.

OP, go to Chicago. It's rare that there are such black and white issues in life, but this is one of them. Better school for 0 dollars. You can consider it a 3 year job that pays you 100k a year, and then you can go back to the bay.

nixy

Gold
Posts: 4006
Joined: Fri Feb 16, 2018 8:58 am

Re: Would I be stupid to choose Berkeley full tuition over the Ruby?

Post by nixy » Mon Apr 04, 2022 8:39 am

VirginiaFan wrote:
Mon Apr 04, 2022 8:34 am
The Lsat Airbender wrote:
Sun Apr 03, 2022 7:55 pm
VirginiaFan wrote:
Sun Apr 03, 2022 1:35 pm
Unless you're independently wealthy, you'll regret turning down the Ruby for the rest of your life. Don't be an idiot.
This seems hyperbolic to me. We're presumably talking about a five-figure sum here. I'd go with Chicago personally but taking a full-ride at Berk is hardly going to be a lifelong regret.
Maybe I'm missing something, but wouldn't the difference be around 300k? Tuition and COL at Berk v. 0 cost at Chicago.

OP, go to Chicago. It's rare that there are such black and white issues in life, but this is one of them. Better school for 0 dollars. You can consider it a 3 year job that pays you 100k a year, and then you can go back to the bay.
The whole point is that they have full tuition at Berkeley. So the question is whether paying for (only) COL at Berkeley is worth it.

Joachim2017

Bronze
Posts: 245
Joined: Sun Dec 01, 2019 8:17 pm

Re: Would I be stupid to choose Berkeley full tuition over the Ruby?

Post by Joachim2017 » Mon Apr 04, 2022 9:21 am

You need to think long-term. How sure are you that you only want to work on the West Coast? Life can take all kinds of turns, both based on your own interests/desires or other things that happen. Chicago is objectively a much better school with much better options down the line. With the Ruby in hand? C'mon. Even taking into account the "everyone's different" caveat, this is one of those clear cases where the right answer is Chicago. It's just 3 years, anyway.

Register now!

Resources to assist law school applicants, students & graduates.

It's still FREE!


Rule23andMe

New
Posts: 34
Joined: Thu Mar 04, 2021 11:28 am

Re: Would I be stupid to choose Berkeley full tuition over the Ruby?

Post by Rule23andMe » Mon Apr 04, 2022 9:57 am

Joachim2017 wrote:
Mon Apr 04, 2022 9:21 am
You need to think long-term. How sure are you that you only want to work on the West Coast? Life can take all kinds of turns, both based on your own interests/desires or other things that happen. Chicago is objectively a much better school with much better options down the line. With the Ruby in hand? C'mon. Even taking into account the "everyone's different" caveat, this is one of those clear cases where the right answer is Chicago. It's just 3 years, anyway.
Really disagree with it being a clear case, + agree with the others saying
1) It's not *that* much of a financial difference
2) Chicago isn't *that* much better (if at all?) for California goals (+ certainly doesn't close the door for other options)
3) If OP knows they have a clear preference for California (as stated, + "deep ties" suggests a long-term preference as well) . . .
it's more than justifiable to go with Berkeley here

nixy

Gold
Posts: 4006
Joined: Fri Feb 16, 2018 8:58 am

Re: Would I be stupid to choose Berkeley full tuition over the Ruby?

Post by nixy » Mon Apr 04, 2022 10:05 am

Rule23andMe wrote:
Mon Apr 04, 2022 9:57 am
Joachim2017 wrote:
Mon Apr 04, 2022 9:21 am
You need to think long-term. How sure are you that you only want to work on the West Coast? Life can take all kinds of turns, both based on your own interests/desires or other things that happen. Chicago is objectively a much better school with much better options down the line. With the Ruby in hand? C'mon. Even taking into account the "everyone's different" caveat, this is one of those clear cases where the right answer is Chicago. It's just 3 years, anyway.
Really disagree with it being a clear case, + agree with the others saying
1) It's not *that* much of a financial difference
2) Chicago isn't *that* much better (if at all?) for California goals (+ certainly doesn't close the door for other options)
3) If OP knows they have a clear preference for California (as stated, + "deep ties" suggests a long-term preference as well) . . .
it's more than justifiable to go with Berkeley here
Agree with this. I get the reasons for going to Chicago, but that doesn’t make Berkeley a *bad* choice.

blackacre10

New
Posts: 21
Joined: Mon Mar 16, 2015 10:04 pm

Re: Would I be stupid to choose Berkeley full tuition over the Ruby?

Post by blackacre10 » Mon Apr 04, 2022 1:52 pm

Not the same exact situation, but I chose Berkeley over CCN at similar cost. Like you, I'm from CA and had a very strong interest in staying in CA. I ended up in biglaw and at each of my firms, there were a handful of Chicago grads (more than Columbia and NYU actually). With that said, the vast majority of Berkeley students stay in CA after graduating. Berkeley places exceptionally well in CA. It might be selection bias, of course, but I think you can count on getting biglaw in CA by going to Berkeley. I don't know if the same can be said about Chicago. When I did OCI, I only placed bids on CA firms (both LA and Bay Area). It's hard to say how well a Chicago student would do by employing the same strategy (or whether that strategy would even be wise for a Chicago student), but I ended up with a decent chunk of offers at median at Berkeley.

User avatar
VirginiaFan

New
Posts: 77
Joined: Fri Apr 14, 2017 4:16 pm

Re: Would I be stupid to choose Berkeley full tuition over the Ruby?

Post by VirginiaFan » Thu Apr 07, 2022 12:13 am

nixy wrote:
Mon Apr 04, 2022 8:39 am
VirginiaFan wrote:
Mon Apr 04, 2022 8:34 am
The Lsat Airbender wrote:
Sun Apr 03, 2022 7:55 pm
VirginiaFan wrote:
Sun Apr 03, 2022 1:35 pm
Unless you're independently wealthy, you'll regret turning down the Ruby for the rest of your life. Don't be an idiot.
This seems hyperbolic to me. We're presumably talking about a five-figure sum here. I'd go with Chicago personally but taking a full-ride at Berk is hardly going to be a lifelong regret.
Maybe I'm missing something, but wouldn't the difference be around 300k? Tuition and COL at Berk v. 0 cost at Chicago.

OP, go to Chicago. It's rare that there are such black and white issues in life, but this is one of them. Better school for 0 dollars. You can consider it a 3 year job that pays you 100k a year, and then you can go back to the bay.
The whole point is that they have full tuition at Berkeley. So the question is whether paying for (only) COL at Berkeley is worth it.
Oh, I don't know how I missed that. Choose your favorite then, no wrong decisions.

Get unlimited access to all forums and topics

Register now!

I'm pretty sure I told you it's FREE...


Yman

New
Posts: 7
Joined: Thu Jan 21, 2021 7:39 pm

Re: Would I be stupid to choose Berkeley full tuition over the Ruby?

Post by Yman » Wed May 04, 2022 12:21 pm

Hi all, just wanted to provide a bit more info on the financial aspect, now that I have more specifics. While most of my Berk tuition is covered, I would still have to pay about 9k/yr in tuition (27k total) there, as well all of COL, of course. For Chicago, I would have to pay 0 in tuition and also get a 60k total stipend. So that makes a difference of about 90k between the two schools. However, I would likely not have to go into debt to finance Berkeley, and as I said before, I do prefer the Bay Area both for school and post-grad. I also have a surprisingly cheap place, just a five minute walk from the law school. But still, is it worth a somewhat decent financial difference to choose Berk in this instance?

talons2250

New
Posts: 61
Joined: Wed Mar 16, 2022 11:15 pm

Re: Would I be stupid to choose Berkeley full tuition over the Ruby?

Post by talons2250 » Wed May 04, 2022 12:37 pm

Given that you prefer to live in the Bay Area and plan to work in California after graduation, I would choose Berkeley if the finances aren't an issue, which appears to be the case based on the numbers you have crunched. With finances aside, the only reason to choose Chicago would be because some people think of Chicago as more prestigious. I don't think Chicago places better in California than Berkeley does and I think it's unlikely that California employers (or any employers?) typically go further into the class at Chicago grades-wise than they do at Berkeley for hiring purposes.

Many of the people who will be hiring you graduated from law school over a decade ago. Twelve years ago, Berkeley and Chicago were tied for 6: https://abovethelaw.com/2009/04/u-s-new ... -rankings/. Twelve years from now, there could be another rankings shake up and it's not inconceivable that Berkeley might one day edge out Chicago in rankings. All this is to say that I just don't believe that rankings within the T14 really matter for the vast majority of law graduates, unless it's a 10-spot difference or something like that.

User avatar
nealric

Moderator
Posts: 3913
Joined: Fri Sep 25, 2009 9:53 am

Re: Would I be stupid to choose Berkeley full tuition over the Ruby?

Post by nealric » Mon May 09, 2022 5:28 pm

VirginiaFan wrote:
Sun Apr 03, 2022 1:35 pm
Unless you're independently wealthy, you'll regret turning down the Ruby for the rest of your life. Don't be an idiot.
Setting aside that OP still has a full ride, someone going to a top law school like Brk or Chi is unlikely to deeply regret a $300k debt for the "rest of their life." That's a ton of money for a 22 year old prospective law student or new graduate, but most reasonably successful lawyers with a T6 background and a modicum of financial sense would have a net worth of many multiples of that by late middle age. Another $300k probably wouldn't significantly change their life.

And if you haven't hit that milestone 20-30 years out of Chicago, you probably wouldn't have hit it 20-30 years out of Brk either. Or, if you were planning on public interest, the debt is likely meaningless anyways.

The main point is that career success is far more important to your future finances than how much you borrow to obtain it. The difference between a wildly successful legal career, a middling one, and a failed one could be tens of millions in lifetime earnings. The "debt trap" scenario where you borrow $300k and struggle to repay it is only relevant if your career never really gets off the ground. That's a big risk if you go to a third tier school, but much less so from a top school.

The Lsat Airbender

Gold
Posts: 1595
Joined: Wed Jan 30, 2019 7:34 pm

Re: Would I be stupid to choose Berkeley full tuition over the Ruby?

Post by The Lsat Airbender » Mon May 09, 2022 9:05 pm

nealric wrote:
Mon May 09, 2022 5:28 pm
VirginiaFan wrote:
Sun Apr 03, 2022 1:35 pm
Unless you're independently wealthy, you'll regret turning down the Ruby for the rest of your life. Don't be an idiot.
Setting aside that OP still has a full ride, someone going to a top law school like Brk or Chi is unlikely to deeply regret a $300k debt for the "rest of their life." That's a ton of money for a 22 year old prospective law student or new graduate, but most reasonably successful lawyers with a T6 background and a modicum of financial sense would have a net worth of many multiples of that by late middle age. Another $300k probably wouldn't significantly change their life.
I disagree with this. $300k at 25 years old, allowed to ferment in the stock market, is going to be four or five million, net of inflation, at 65. A fortune for any lawyer save a handful of biglaw/class-action rockstars. It's hard to imagine the marginal value between two T14 schools being so much.

User avatar
nealric

Moderator
Posts: 3913
Joined: Fri Sep 25, 2009 9:53 am

Re: Would I be stupid to choose Berkeley full tuition over the Ruby?

Post by nealric » Tue May 10, 2022 12:53 pm

The Lsat Airbender wrote:
Mon May 09, 2022 9:05 pm
nealric wrote:
Mon May 09, 2022 5:28 pm
VirginiaFan wrote:
Sun Apr 03, 2022 1:35 pm
Unless you're independently wealthy, you'll regret turning down the Ruby for the rest of your life. Don't be an idiot.
Setting aside that OP still has a full ride, someone going to a top law school like Brk or Chi is unlikely to deeply regret a $300k debt for the "rest of their life." That's a ton of money for a 22 year old prospective law student or new graduate, but most reasonably successful lawyers with a T6 background and a modicum of financial sense would have a net worth of many multiples of that by late middle age. Another $300k probably wouldn't significantly change their life.
I disagree with this. $300k at 25 years old, allowed to ferment in the stock market, is going to be four or five million, net of inflation, at 65. A fortune for any lawyer save a handful of biglaw/class-action rockstars. It's hard to imagine the marginal value between two T14 schools being so much.
Think about the difference between a lawyer making $250k and one making $500k. Then compound an additional $100k of savings every year from the latter inflation adjusted for 30 years. Perhaps there is not much marginal difference between two similarly situated schools like Brk and Chi, but the point is that lifetime earnings is going to be FAR more important to your eventual financial outcome than how much you borrow. No 30-year biglaw partner is going to be second guessing their choice of schools or lamenting the student loans they took out.

Communicate now with those who not only know what a legal education is, but can offer you worthy advice and commentary as you complete the three most educational, yet challenging years of your law related post graduate life.

Register now, it's still FREE!


Post Reply

Return to “Choosing a Law School”