Harvard vs. Rubenstein vs. Darrow (Non-Biglaw/clerkship)

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Harvard vs. Rubenstein vs. Darrow (Non-Biglaw/clerkship)

Post by cesmoc » Sun Feb 20, 2011 6:19 pm

I hate to rehash this thread topic, especially since a lot of other posters have done it recently but I would like to ask everyone for some advice. Also, my goals seem to be much different than most TLS posters. Here's some information about my situation:

-22 yr old, graduated college in May 2010, been working full-time at a law firm since October.
-Lived in CA my whole life, I would like to live here after LS but not dead-set on it. (Haven't gotten into SLS yet)
-I am pretty debt averse, only have about 7000 in UG debt but I am pretty uncomfortable with taking on 160-200 K for LS. (I would probably take on about 60K at Chicago for COL, 40K for UMich, 160-200K for HLS)

I am extremely torn between these options because and searching TLS hasn't helped me so far because most of the forums are about these schools' various differences in terms of BigLaw placement and clerkship opportunities, neither of which I am particularly interested in. My main goals are to work as a public defender or district attorney and then work my way into local government. After interning in this field and speaking with several judges and attorneys, it is my understanding that the prestige of the school you go to doesn't matter as much as with other fields.

I also understand that many counties and cities are not hiring for these positions right now which makes taking on less debt for my legal education a much more attractive option if I have to wait until these positions open up after graduation.

I have not visited any of these schools yet but am going to their ASWs so this may be a little premature.

I understand that Harvard's supreme lay prestige seems to help for people interested in government work but does it help enough to justify taking on that much more debt? (I am not expecting to receive a lot of need based aid at HLS) I have looked into Harvard's LIPP program and it does seem to help but I would like to begin saving money for a house, car, etc. and not be in poverty until I am 35.

TLS has been an invaluable resource for me in this process and I appreciate all the help.

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Re: Harvard vs. Rubenstein vs. Darrow (Non-Biglaw/clerkship)

Post by BruceWayne » Sun Feb 20, 2011 6:29 pm

If you want to work as an ADA you should go with the Darrow.Tuition will be free and if you take out any loans for housing food etc. Michigan's good LRAP will cover it all with no problem. I'd recommend Chicago but I don't think they have as good of an LRAP--although with an ADA's salary you should still be fine even under Chicago's.

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Re: Harvard vs. Rubenstein vs. Darrow (Non-Biglaw/clerkship)

Post by Knock » Sun Feb 20, 2011 6:36 pm


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Re: Harvard vs. Rubenstein vs. Darrow (Non-Biglaw/clerkship)

Post by LLB2JD » Sun Feb 20, 2011 6:41 pm

lol @ knock.

@ OP, I don't have much to say except that given your options with Rub...n and Darrow, it might boil down to other intangibles such as city e.t.c. I'll personally choose Chicago simply because I'll enjoy a more metropolitan environment and also because it is probably a more prestigious school.

As for Harvard, depending on how "poor" you are, you might get some decent need based aid. Besides that, if you end up with 160k-200k, you'll have to service it in some way and might include doing things for a few years that you find insufferable.

Nice options and Congrats. Whatever you decide on would be a great decision.


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Re: Harvard vs. Rubenstein vs. Darrow (Non-Biglaw/clerkship)

Post by legends159 » Sun Feb 20, 2011 6:43 pm

if you are serious about public interest work (ADA/gov't) right out of law school you should take the money so you won't be tempted to go into biglaw when debt starts to scare you.

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Re: Harvard vs. Rubenstein vs. Darrow (Non-Biglaw/clerkship)

Post by samsonyte16 » Sun Feb 20, 2011 7:12 pm

This forum tends to think Darrow > HLS a bit more than people in the real world, but I think in your case Michigan or Chicago makes the most sense. Your chances of landing a local district attorney's job would be approximately the same from all three schools, and would depend much more on your experience and dedication to that sort of work than on whether you went to Harvard or Michigan/Chicago. Also, I think it's worth noting that Harvard's ridiculous alumni network (one of it's big draws, imo) probably won't do as much for you in local government, especially if you settle down in California.

I don't think the difference in price between Michigan and Chicago is large enough for it to be a significant factor in your decision. I would visit both schools, and try to figure out which one offers more criminal law opportunities, and which one best fits your personality. Congratulations, awesome options! Also, I'm weighing Darrow and HLS too. Feel free to PM me if you want to chat about it more.


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Re: Harvard vs. Rubenstein vs. Darrow (Non-Biglaw/clerkship)

Post by CanadianWolf » Sun Feb 20, 2011 8:22 pm



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Re: Harvard vs. Rubenstein vs. Darrow (Non-Biglaw/clerkship)

Post by rundoxierun » Sun Feb 20, 2011 8:31 pm

If you arent expecting substantial grant aid from HLS (if you come from a family with 6 figure income and not a ton of kids) I would say visit Chicago and Michigan and see which you like best. If you are expecting substantial grant aid from HLS the decision becomes near impossible.

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