The only tough call would be full darrow at mich v. YLS. The nice thing about YLS is that there are no grades first semester and barely any subsequently. I think that this is something that I only came to appreciate as a 1L, seeing my buds at other law schools hammering out stuff meaninglessly based on whatever preferences their professors might have in order to get an A or whatever. Also, Yale's COAP program is...well...ridiculously awesome. And you won't have to ever worry about performing at any particularly high level in order to get a good job. Those are the perks, but you incur a lot of debt. The competition at Mich will be far more intense, but man no debt sounds really f&*&ing awesome. Ultimately, I think the YLS v. Mich comes down to a couple of questions:msoftceo wrote:I used LSN to compile some stats for the Darrow over the previous three cycles. Highlights:
70% of full Darrows got into one of HYS
89% of those chose HYS
30% of full Darrows did not get into one of HYS
73% of those chose Michigan
So far, I'm thinking I agree with heyguys, even if LSN's Darrows didn't.
1) Do you want to do academia? If so, go with Yale.
2) Is there some other specific reason that you want to go to Yale? If so, pick Yale.
3) Are you absolutely certain that you want to work as a lawyer? If not, then go Mich.
So, there are some reasons for going to YLS over the Darrow. I would mostly stress the lack of grades though--it's hard to appreciate how important that is as a 0L. But ultimately, it would have made more sense for me to pick the full Darrow had I been so offered.
As far as SLS and HLS:
HLS: I can't imagine a reason to pick HLS over Mich with full Darrow. I think that for most who make that decision, it's a prestige matter that I strongly suspect they would regret having made down the road. I mean, is the difference between the two really worth 150,000 dollars? I just can't imagine that it is. There is some risk mitigation, but HLS still has some level of competition (although greatly diminished compared to other law schools besides YLS), but probably not as much as Mich.
SLS: as a 0L, this would be a tough call. SLS has a lot of points of allure, albeit different ones from HLS: while the allure of HLS is prestige and potential to meet future world-shakers, for SLS it's the atmosphere generally, living in California, (maybe) a preference for the quarter system, etc. I think that the climate and atmosphere would weigh particularly for a 0L. That said, I would strongly suspect that if you gave a Darrow person who chose SLS the chance to choose again after understanding law school better, she would go with the Darrow.
So, ultimately, I could see a 0L pick any of the three over a Darrow; hell, as a 0L I probably would have unthinkingly taken any of the three over the Darrow. However, now that I'm a 1L and have debts and commitments, I would definitely take the Darrow no question.