Prestige vs Location for DC Big Law

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Holoholo

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Prestige vs Location for DC Big Law

Postby Holoholo » Tue Apr 30, 2019 4:58 pm

Hey everyone,

Weighing options on where to apply/attend for my goals and what would end up being better. My goal immediately following graduation is big law, DC is preferred, but I plan to pursue opportunities in NYC and California during OCI since DC is so competitive. Currently planning on applying to NYU (reach) UMich, Berk, Cornell, GULC, and UT-Austin (safety school). Might add a few others depending on recommendations.

Would the added prestige of attending (assuming acceptance at any of them) any of the schools ranked above GULC outweigh the networking opportunities available to me during school by being located in DC? Do you think I'd be more likely to get into DC big law coming from NYU, UMich, or Berk compared to GULC?

Additionally, DC is honestly the best location available for me and my SO during my time in school so GULC wins major points here.

Cost of attendance is effectively $0 for all of them. Thanks in advance for any advice!

AdieuCali

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Re: Prestige vs Location for DC Big Law

Postby AdieuCali » Tue Apr 30, 2019 6:56 pm

You should definitely add UVA to your list. It has the best DC placement and network of MVPD and will probably give you a better shot at DC biglaw than GULC. Doubly so if the reason you’re going for free is the GI Bill. UVA is super vet friendly and gives a major boost to military applicants.

cavalier1138

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Re: Prestige vs Location for DC Big Law

Postby cavalier1138 » Tue Apr 30, 2019 8:29 pm

AdieuCali wrote:You should definitely add UVA to your list.


UVA should probably be your goal school. There's never a reason to be uber-selective about which T13 schools you apply to, but in your case, not applying to UVA would be absurd.

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Re: Prestige vs Location for DC Big Law

Postby Holoholo » Tue Apr 30, 2019 8:36 pm

cavalier1138 wrote:
AdieuCali wrote:You should definitely add UVA to your list.


UVA should probably be your goal school. There's never a reason to be uber-selective about which T13 schools you apply to, but in your case, not applying to UVA would be absurd.


Thanks, UVA was definitely on my radar but I'm below both medians and from what I've seen on admissions stats that gives me almost no chance on getting in. That and it would likely require me to live apart from my wife for the duration of school due to location, something that I really would prefer not to do.

AdieuCali

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Re: Prestige vs Location for DC Big Law

Postby AdieuCali » Tue Apr 30, 2019 11:51 pm

I know several people who lived in Charlottesville during the week and with their S/Os in Richmond, Norfolk, and DC on the weekends. DC is only a couple hours away. Once you're a 2L, you can block all your classes on Mon/Wed or Tues/Thurs and spend the rest of your time in DC as long as your not a stickler for certain courses and aren't on law review.

If it's very important to be with your S/O full-time, GULC will give you a great shot at Biglaw, but DC is not guaranteed. As long as you're open to NYC, it's a good choice.

Just curious, would your S/O be living with you if you went to school in Ithaca, AA, or Austin?

Holoholo

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Re: Prestige vs Location for DC Big Law

Postby Holoholo » Wed May 01, 2019 3:06 am

AdieuCali wrote:I know several people who lived in Charlottesville during the week and with their S/Os in Richmond, Norfolk, and DC on the weekends. DC is only a couple hours away. Once you're a 2L, you can block all your classes on Mon/Wed or Tues/Thurs and spend the rest of your time in DC as long as your not a stickler for certain courses and aren't on law review.

If it's very important to be with your S/O full-time, GULC will give you a great shot at Biglaw, but DC is not guaranteed. As long as you're open to NYC, it's a good choice.

Just curious, would your S/O be living with you if you went to school in Ithaca, AA, or Austin?


Probably, though it would likely require her to switch jobs which she's not keen on doing, that's why DC is so attractive. That's good to know, I didn't realize I would be able to block my courses like that once I got to my second year and definitely makes UVA more attractive. I've considered retaking to hit a 169 LSAT score (currently 168) and ED'ing at UVA while applying everywhere else and just going to the highest ranked I get accepted to.

Taking in what everyone has said about UVA I think it really comes down to there and GULC for me, barring some major change. I suppose I'm just paranoid that I'm "settling" for GULC when I should be reaching higher, while the other part of me is saying GULC with a $0 COA is still a great outcome and I should be content with it.

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Re: Prestige vs Location for DC Big Law

Postby albanach » Wed May 01, 2019 9:16 am

If any school has an ED boost, it's UVA. If it's your goal and, since tuition isn't much of a factor, you should ED. I'd also recommend retaking for that 169. Make sure you have a good Why X for UVA that focuses on some of the school's unique factors.

What does your spouse do that they can do in Ithaca but not in Cville?

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LSATWiz.com

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Re: Prestige vs Location for DC Big Law

Postby LSATWiz.com » Wed May 01, 2019 9:58 am

I'm not sure if being away from your wife for 8 months out of the year justifies a ~10% better chance of DC big law. Psychology tends to be underrated in these discussions, because in most instances law school culture is a farce and most people would not perform markedly differently if they were somewhere more rural than somewhere more urban. However, depending on the individual, being away from your spouse can have a marked impact on LS performance. While you can speak on the phone every day and if being physically present with her is a big part of your happiness and functionality then I'd argue that can impact your performance in law school. Although lawyers have a high divorce rate, your marriage is more valuable than a 10% greater chance of big law.

That said, you can still use other schools to negotiate with GT.

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Re: Prestige vs Location for DC Big Law

Postby AdieuCali » Wed May 01, 2019 10:27 am

I think you're spot on that for many people doing long-distance would be detrimental. But allow me to retort.

LSATWiz.com wrote:I'm not sure if being away from your wife for 8 months out of the year justifies a ~10% better chance of DC big law.


But it would only be 8 months of 1 year. And it wouldn't even be 8 months. It would only be 8 months of weekdays minus spring and fall break and a huge month-long break in the middle. After that, OP could spend 2 days a week in Cville. He might not even need to get a place here - we have professors that commute from as far as Bethesda/DC/WV a few times a week. It would be different if we were talking about LA/NY split.

LSATWiz.com wrote: However, depending on the individual, being away from your spouse can have a marked impact on LS performance. While you can speak on the phone every day and if being physically present with her is a big part of your happiness and functionality then I'd argue that can impact your performance in law school.

Again, you're absolutely correct for many people. However, the opposite is true as well. Anecdotally, the people I know who lived apart from their spouses during 1L performed above median. Of the 5 people I know in that category, 2 got V5 NYC, 1 V5 DC, and 2 V50 DC. For some people, being able to focus entirely on LS 4.5 days a week without worrying about having dinner together or staying in the library until 10 can have a positive impact on your grades. I didn't do this during LS, but I lived 500 miles apart from my wife for the first 2 years of marriage. We still saw each-other almost every weekend, but we were able to focus entirely on our school/career the rest of the time. There were certain downsides, but it was great to focus on our individual challenges for a short time. Still going strong 10 years later. Cville is close enough to DC that you could easily drive up for a special occasion or emergency mid-week.

LSATWiz.com wrote:Although lawyers have a high divorce rate, your marriage is more valuable than a 10% greater chance of big law.

OP wants DC Biglaw, which is the most competitive market. UVA would provide a major boost toward that end such that roughing in for a few months might be worth it.

LSATWiz.com wrote: That said, you can still use other schools to negotiate with GT.

I guess I'm kind of assuming OP has the GI Bill or an extremely rich uncle such that tuition doesn't matter. If the former, then there is no point in negotiating at all - just go to the top ranked school you get into. If the latter, that's a good point and better to let GULC cover part of your tuition than your uncle.

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LSATWiz.com

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Re: Prestige vs Location for DC Big Law

Postby LSATWiz.com » Wed May 01, 2019 12:12 pm

I'm not disagreeing with any of your points, and would always vouch for UVa as an alum, but I think this is a very personal question that people on forum can't answer. My opinion is that having a 10% or so better chance of getting a better job is probably not worth anything that can be harmful to OP's marriage or unhappiness of not being able to come home to his partner every day even if it's only 8 months. On the other hand, if the spouse can be annoying, then maybe going away is a great idea. I also don't think it's 100% that they'd only have to take classes 2 days a week. You're banking on a lot of luck from the lottery, and this idea also presupposes that OP would be able to work effectively from home, which not everyone can.

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Re: Prestige vs Location for DC Big Law

Postby QContinuum » Wed May 01, 2019 1:13 pm

LSATWiz.com wrote:this idea also presupposes that OP would be able to work effectively from home, which not everyone can.

If OP can't work effectively from home, wouldn't that lean in favor of OP living separately from his wife during law school?

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Wild Card

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Re: Prestige vs Location for DC Big Law

Postby Wild Card » Wed May 01, 2019 1:24 pm

There are "summer classes" threads where you can see what schools the DC firms hire from. IIRC, every school besides YHS does terribly.

Holoholo

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Re: Prestige vs Location for DC Big Law

Postby Holoholo » Wed May 01, 2019 1:30 pm

albanach wrote:If any school has an ED boost, it's UVA. If it's your goal and, since tuition isn't much of a factor, you should ED. I'd also recommend retaking for that 169. Make sure you have a good Why X for UVA that focuses on some of the school's unique factors.

What does your spouse do that they can do in Ithaca but not in Cville?


Works with the Navy, our hope is that she could transfer without issue to the naval base in DC (Anacostia-Bolling). I'm planning on registering for July, shoot for the 169 and cancelling if I don't get it, if I fall short I may just consider forging ahead with a 168. I would ED to UVA for the boost and apply everywhere else regularly, and may just ED to GULC (to cover the off chance they don't accept me as a splitter) if my ED to UVA doesn't go through.

LSATWiz.com wrote:I'm not sure if being away from your wife for 8 months out of the year justifies a ~10% better chance of DC big law.

That said, you can still use other schools to negotiate with GT.


Thanks for this, as it is one of the big reasons I'm hesitant on shooting for schools besides GULC. I don't want to put my wife in a position where she's forced to switch jobs when she doesn't want to just on my account. For the sake of clarity I am using my GI Bill so scholarships are a non-issue, but in a normal situation I would for sure being applying more broadly for negotiation leverage.

As far as whether or not I would perform better living in the same location or away from my spouse, I'd imagine personally it would either make no difference, or be a detriment. Time wise I know that I will be able to spend as long as I need on studying and schoolwork, if that means I'm in the library until 10 every night of the week she's okay with that.

I think that's everything, thanks again for the advice everyone.

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hdivschool

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Re: Prestige vs Location for DC Big Law

Postby hdivschool » Wed May 01, 2019 7:03 pm

As to whether GULC punches above its weight based on networking opportunities, I would assume that is baked into the employment numbers already. So you should look at the numbers. Apart from that, I personally don't know anyone who got a DC biglaw job based on "networking."

Holoholo

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Re: Prestige vs Location for DC Big Law

Postby Holoholo » Wed May 01, 2019 9:05 pm

hdivschool wrote:As to whether GULC punches above its weight based on networking opportunities, I would assume that is baked into the employment numbers already. So you should look at the numbers. Apart from that, I personally don't know anyone who got a DC biglaw job based on "networking."


Going off of their 509 employment reports shows that they place roughly 40% of their class in DC, some of that is obviously in government, PI, or clerkship positions though. I took a closer look at their 2017 NALP report and 58.5% of their class were working in private practice (median 180k, mean 171k). Considering that some students likely self select into government and PI work that alleviated my concerns with GULC greatly. They placed 35% in DC out of the 2017 class with a median salary of 180k out of those.

I'm comfortable with those numbers personally, if I manage to be near the top of my class I'll take my chances at some DC firms in OCI and if it doesn't work out I'm not going to be heartbroken with having to "settle" for NYC. Thanks again for all the help everyone.

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Re: Prestige vs Location for DC Big Law

Postby LSATWiz.com » Thu May 02, 2019 11:21 pm

QContinuum wrote:
LSATWiz.com wrote:this idea also presupposes that OP would be able to work effectively from home, which not everyone can.

If OP can't work effectively from home, wouldn't that lean in favor of OP living separately from his wife during law school?

Presumably, they'd have the law library.



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