UCLA or UT?

(Rankings, Profiles, Tuition, Student Life, . . . )
whydoieven

New
Posts: 11
Joined: Wed Sep 26, 2018 9:10 pm

UCLA or UT?

Postby whydoieven » Fri May 10, 2019 9:01 pm

Hello, I am choosing between UT and UCLA, or reapplying. My stats are 178/3.5. Here's what I'm looking at:

UT Austin projected debt: ~65k
UCLA projected debt: ~55k
For completeness, Berkeley projected debt: ~225k

I am a Texas resident with deep ties to the state; I work in oil and gas right now and would like to to focus on environmental and energy law going forward. For whatever reason, UCLA gave me a solid amount of money.. I am not sure where I want to live long term, but I think I would like to end up working in biglaw in the mountain west region where most of my family lives now or back in Texas. I have been very disappointed in my cycle (waitlisted everywhere except HYSChi, where I have been rejected) and was really hoping for Michigan/UVA to come through. But that's the past and at this point I think it's either reapply or go to UCLA/UT.

I'm worried that UCLA would geographically isolate me and I could never go back to Texas/outside CA, and that the median outcomes there are not going to be what I would want out of a law career. UT has similar issues, but from what I can tell it seems to have a better shot at at least getting you a good job in Texas where, if nothing else, the COL is low.

Thank you in advance.

edit: I'm an idiot and miscalculated.

LBJ's Hair

Bronze
Posts: 166
Joined: Tue Jun 28, 2016 8:17 pm

Re: UCLA or UT?

Postby LBJ's Hair » Fri May 10, 2019 10:21 pm

Why wouldn't you go to UT if you're seriously considering practicing in Texas (no idea what BigLaw is available in Mountain West, likely not much) are only paying $50K total, and your other option is Berkeley for $200K more? Seems like an easy choice to me.

For your goals, this is a totally fine outcome. For Texas BigLaw, UT for $50K >>>>> UVA/Michigan/whatever at $250K, no question. Dunno why you care about being rejected, they weren't going to give you a big scholarship considering your GPA.

whydoieven

New
Posts: 11
Joined: Wed Sep 26, 2018 9:10 pm

Re: UCLA or UT?

Postby whydoieven » Fri May 10, 2019 10:31 pm

I agree it’s a great outcome for someone wanting to stay in Texas - and things have improved a lot since I last posted here haha. I’m just worried about getting trapped in the curve at UT/UCLA and end up with a poor (imo) outcome.

And I would be lying if I said wasn’t interested in prestige.

Kiwilaw

New
Posts: 17
Joined: Fri Mar 22, 2019 2:59 pm

Re: UCLA or UT?

Postby Kiwilaw » Sat May 11, 2019 12:13 am

It would definitely be up to your location preference, but I can't imagine reapplying would be a good idea for you - you have nothing to improve on your app.

whydoieven

New
Posts: 11
Joined: Wed Sep 26, 2018 9:10 pm

Re: UCLA or UT?

Postby whydoieven » Sat May 11, 2019 9:17 am

Even with the possibility of an improved personal statement/letters/etc. ? I think I could put together a much stronger app this coming cycle, I was flying blind this past year.

Kiwilaw

New
Posts: 17
Joined: Fri Mar 22, 2019 2:59 pm

Re: UCLA or UT?

Postby Kiwilaw » Sat May 11, 2019 9:22 am

I've heard others on here say that schools don't like to accept students a second time, since they worry they might not attend. I'm not sure how true it is. But to be honest, you're unlikely to get huge money from a T14 anyway. I'd probably choose between the 2 if I were you, and take the known factor. UT law is still the top school in the region - it has prestige in the state.

LBJ's Hair

Bronze
Posts: 166
Joined: Tue Jun 28, 2016 8:17 pm

Re: UCLA or UT?

Postby LBJ's Hair » Sat May 11, 2019 11:06 am

whydoieven wrote:Even with the possibility of an improved personal statement/letters/etc. ? I think I could put together a much stronger app this coming cycle, I was flying blind this past year.


This is dumb. The #s are driving 99% of your application, and they're not changing. (Do not, under any circumstances, retake the LSAT. I assume you aren't going to, but don't.) The recommendations almost never matter. Same with the personal statement. So what's going to happen is you reapply, you're forced to report that you applied last year, the school will compare the two applications, and they'll see they're the same except you have a new essay or w/e. If you get in, it will be for very little money, and so you'd be better off going to UT at its present cost anyway.

Moreover, no one practicing in Texas will consider UVA/Michigan an appreciably "better" school. HYS sure maybe, but you're not getting in with that GPA. If the prestige thing really bothers you, crush it 1L and transfer.

To recap: You're saying you want to delay law school for a year...for a chance to go to a lower T10 school for $250K when, right now, you can go to UT (when you want to do BigLaw *in Texas*) for $50K. Not Yale, but UVA and Michigan. Just...no.
Last edited by LBJ's Hair on Sat May 11, 2019 11:14 am, edited 1 time in total.

cavalier1138

Platinum
Posts: 5891
Joined: Fri Mar 25, 2016 8:01 pm

Re: UCLA or UT?

Postby cavalier1138 » Sat May 11, 2019 11:13 am

If you want to work in Texas, UT for that price is about as good as it gets. Don't chase prestige for prestige's sake.

QContinuum

Moderator
Posts: 2116
Joined: Mon Aug 07, 2017 9:52 am

Re: UCLA or UT?

Postby QContinuum » Sat May 11, 2019 2:53 pm

UT's most recent (2018) employment stats show BigLaw placement of 57%. This is a meteoric rise from its 2017 stats of 44% and 2016 stats of 45% (and UT's 2015 stats were also in the low/mid 40s, IIRC). So it's anyone guess whether 2018 will be sustainable, esp. if the economy takes a dip. The safe bet is to assume placement in the low/mid 40s, as that is where UT has historically placed.

Compare to UVA at 83% (2018), 79% (2017), 77% (2016). It's clear there's an appreciable placement power gap between UT and UVA. Until 2018, the median UT student struck out of BigLaw - and even in the class of '18, the median UT student was still perched precariously on the edge. At UVA, meanwhile, the median student is almost essentially a lock, and you'd have to get down to bottom quarter before you'd need to start worrying about your grades freezing you out.

So I think some of the posters ITT have been overly dismissive about the placement differential between UT and the "lower" T13. It's real, it exists, it really makes a difference. But at the same time, I'm extremely hesitant to advise shelling out an extra $200k. Especially since OP has deep TX ties and has oil & gas industry experience, I think they're in about as safe a position to land TX BigLaw as any prospective Texas Law student.

LBJ's Hair

Bronze
Posts: 166
Joined: Tue Jun 28, 2016 8:17 pm

Re: UCLA or UT?

Postby LBJ's Hair » Sat May 11, 2019 4:43 pm

Hmm those numbers look a little odd to me? For example, UVA only sent 71% of its class to any law firm last year. So not sure where those placement rates are coming from. https://www.law.virginia.edu/career-ser ... -graduates. Based on mean/median salaries at law firms, UT has been fine. It's ~$150K for both, past three years. https://law.utexas.edu/career/employmen ... tatistics/

But sure, there's some value to the brand; UVA places a little better. Although I don't think that's $200K worth more, especially if OP wants to be in Texas. If s/he wants a lower T10 at sticker though, just go to...Berkeley...which s/he got into? Wasting a year reapplying specifically for UVA is stupid.
Last edited by LBJ's Hair on Sat May 11, 2019 4:49 pm, edited 1 time in total.

QContinuum

Moderator
Posts: 2116
Joined: Mon Aug 07, 2017 9:52 am

Re: UCLA or UT?

Postby QContinuum » Sat May 11, 2019 4:47 pm

LBJ's Hair wrote:Hmm those numbers look a little odd to me? For example, UVA only sent 71% of its class to any law firm last year. https://www.law.virginia.edu/career-ser ... -graduates

TLS' standard metric of "BigLaw placement" is to sum up graduates going to law firms with 100+ attorneys, plus federal clerks, then divide by the total number of graduates. This is all based on ABA employment data, so it's consistent from school to school.

LBJ's Hair wrote:But sure, there's some value to the brand, although I don't think it's $200K worth more, especially if OP wants to be in Texas. If s/he wants a lower T10 at sticker though, just go to...Berkeley...which s/he got into?

My sole hesitation with UT is that it doesn't sound like OP actually wants to practice in TX. They talk about the "mountain West," which is hard to get anyway because there's not much of a BigLaw market out there - Denver's the only one I can think of, and even Denver's tiny. But if I was targeting the "mountain West," I'd much rather have a T13 degree than a UT degree. I don't think a UT J.D. travels that well outside TX (same with the other T20s and their respective regions).

LBJ's Hair

Bronze
Posts: 166
Joined: Tue Jun 28, 2016 8:17 pm

Re: UCLA or UT?

Postby LBJ's Hair » Sat May 11, 2019 4:49 pm

QContinuum wrote:
LBJ's Hair wrote:Hmm those numbers look a little odd to me? For example, UVA only sent 71% of its class to any law firm last year. https://www.law.virginia.edu/career-ser ... -graduates

TLS' standard metric of "BigLaw placement" is to sum up graduates going to law firms with 100+ attorneys, plus federal clerks, then divide by the total number of graduates. This is all based on ABA employment data, so it's consistent from school to school.

LBJ's Hair wrote:But sure, there's some value to the brand, although I don't think it's $200K worth more, especially if OP wants to be in Texas. If s/he wants a lower T10 at sticker though, just go to...Berkeley...which s/he got into?

My sole hesitation with UT is that it doesn't sound like OP actually wants to practice in TX. They talk about the "mountain West," which is hard to get anyway because there's not much of a BigLaw market out there - Denver's the only one I can think of, and even Denver's tiny. But if I was targeting the "mountain West," I'd much rather have a T13 degree than a UT degree. I don't think a UT J.D. travels that well outside TX (same with the other T20s and their respective regions).


OK sure, but then s/he should go to...Berkeley?

QContinuum

Moderator
Posts: 2116
Joined: Mon Aug 07, 2017 9:52 am

Re: UCLA or UT?

Postby QContinuum » Sat May 11, 2019 4:51 pm

LBJ's Hair wrote:OK sure, but then s/he should go to...Berkeley?

Right. So IMO, if OP wants TX BigLaw and would be perfectly happy (being completely honest with themselves) with working in Houston (or Dallas; but almost certainly not Austin) on oil/gas-related legal work after graduation, then they should definitely attend UT. If OP doesn't want to practice in TX post-graduation, but still wants BigLaw, they should attend Berkeley.

LBJ's Hair

Bronze
Posts: 166
Joined: Tue Jun 28, 2016 8:17 pm

Re: UCLA or UT?

Postby LBJ's Hair » Sat May 11, 2019 4:52 pm

QContinuum wrote:
LBJ's Hair wrote:OK sure, but then s/he should go to...Berkeley?

Right. So IMO, if OP wants TX BigLaw and would be perfectly happy (being completely honest with themselves) with working in Houston (or Dallas; but almost certainly not Austin) on oil/gas-related legal work after graduation, then they should definitely attend UT. If OP doesn't want to practice in TX post-graduation, but still wants BigLaw, they should attend Berkeley.


agree 1000%

whydoieven

New
Posts: 11
Joined: Wed Sep 26, 2018 9:10 pm

Re: UCLA or UT?

Postby whydoieven » Sun May 12, 2019 10:49 am

Thank you all for the advice, I really appreciate it.

At this point I am operating under the assumption that I will be going to UT and riding every waitlist until the end. My main issue with attending Berkeley at near sticker is the already high and seemingly endlessly rising COL, although it was my top choice going into this process and I certainly understand the superior rep/placement it has. I loved my visit there and it has been very hard adjusting to going back to TX.

I am debt averse and do not want to end up in BL (or anywhere else for that matter) with a large monthly payment that I cannot handle should I end up burned out. I operate under the assumption that anything that can go wrong, will go wrong.

FWIW, if I stay in TX I will be gunning for Dallas, not Houston. Hurricanes suck and I would prefer to never have to evacuate by boat again.

LBJ's Hair

Bronze
Posts: 166
Joined: Tue Jun 28, 2016 8:17 pm

Re: UCLA or UT?

Postby LBJ's Hair » Sun May 12, 2019 2:20 pm

whydoieven wrote:Thank you all for the advice, I really appreciate it.

At this point I am operating under the assumption that I will be going to UT and riding every waitlist until the end. My main issue with attending Berkeley at near sticker is the already high and seemingly endlessly rising COL, although it was my top choice going into this process and I certainly understand the superior rep/placement it has. I loved my visit there and it has been very hard adjusting to going back to TX.

I am debt averse and do not want to end up in BL (or anywhere else for that matter) with a large monthly payment that I cannot handle should I end up burned out. I operate under the assumption that anything that can go wrong, will go wrong.

FWIW, if I stay in TX I will be gunning for Dallas, not Houston. Hurricanes suck and I would prefer to never have to evacuate by boat again.


Totally get it. I don't think you'll come out money ahead if you delay a year and try for Michigan/UVA instead of Berkeley, though. The COA will probably be lower at Michigan/UVA, but you have to factor in that you'll be starting your BigLaw career one year later, and thus forgoing $200K pre-tax of earnings (offset by however much you'll be making in the year you reapply, assuming you're staying at your job).

So financially, think the move is to start law school sooner, rather than later.



Return to “Choosing a Law School?

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 8 guests