Law School Discussion

Nine Years of Discussion
;

Show Posts

This section allows you to view all posts made by this member. Note that you can only see posts made in areas you currently have access to.

Messages - bass

Pages: [1] 2 3 4 5 6 ... 293
1
Law School Applications / Re: Harvard v. Yale?
« on: December 10, 2007, 10:28:34 PM »
Probably also worth mentioning that there are many more HLS alums on the Supreme Court than YLS grads (5+ to 2).  Thomas shouldn't even count on Yale's side, since he doesn't think the degree is worth the paper it's printed on.  If you plan to be a Supreme Court Justice, it's probably best to go to Harvard.  Particularly if you want to be a Chief Justice.  I can't name a Chief Justice from YLS.

2
Law School Applications / Re: Harvard v. Yale?
« on: December 10, 2007, 10:17:47 PM »


I was with you until the last part.  Well, ok, I'm not smart enough to understand the sentence that precedes the last part, but I jumped ship at the last part.  There's a million reasons to prefer Harvard over Yale.  Yes, most people who have the choice tend to go to Yale.  But Yale isn't necessarily the better choice if: you hate New Haven, you really care about IP/internet stuff, you want to do a JD/MBA, you have family reasons to be in the Boston area, you want school leadership that is more politically balanced (at least in its hiring), you want a more comprehensive 1L curriculum, you like the idea of more faculty or more class options, you like ice skating or volleyball, you are certain you want to work internationally, you care how many books are in the library system, you want the motivating factor of grades, you appreciate the institutional history of being where modern law school education was invented, etc.  These aren't equally good reasons to prefer Harvard over Yale, but they are reasons.  If you really care about some of them, you might be better off, ex ante, at Harvard.

Eh, poorly written and hard to parse, but I thought the point would be clear since you're a philosophy guy.  We both agree that uncertainty drives many prospectives to Yale.  Your reference to risk aversion implies (or at least so it seems to me) that you think that, in doing so, they're employing a decision-making process that doesn't equally account for the pluses and minuses of each possible outcome, scaled to probability.  Maybe they don't--but I think they'd end up in the same place if they used a standard expected utility calculation.

Agreed that personal reasons or particular academic focus could tip the balance in favor of H.  I just don't think that ends up happening very often.

You're not the first to mistakenly assume I know something.  I'm surprisingly bad at knowing things, least of all philosophy.  Now that I understand the point somewhat, I'll say something about it.  I didn't mean to say that law students are irrationally risk averse.  They might be precisely as risk averse as they ought to be, or perhaps their sensitivity to risk should simply count as one of many axes for preferences.  I just think they are risk averse.

As to how often rational actors should choose Yale, I think it's really hard to say.  I think it's at least possible that the differences between the schools, and in particular the differences in expected outcomes for individuals choosing between the schools, are very small compared to the perceived differences, mostly due to ranking and selectivity.  If perceptions really do outpace reality, then you'll probably have a nontrivial number of people ending up at Yale who would be just as well off or better off at Harvard.  This kind of perception gap probably skews much more strongly toward Yale, though some will have an inflated perception of Harvard's superiority in X.

At the end of the day, because I believe that the differences are probably marginal for most, it won't matter if they chose the "wrong" school.

On a related note, I think one or more people transferred from HLS to YLS this year (probably every year).  This is an odd choice to me, for various reasons.

3
Law School Applications / Re: Harvard v. Yale?
« on: December 10, 2007, 07:09:20 PM »
Sort of changing the subject a bit...

One of the things that really attracts me to HLS is their more voluminous offering of joint degree/enrollment programs. I have a specific interest in a graduate school at Harvard, in an area that Yale doesn't offer any sort of instruction.

This a good reason to prefer Harvard, though it's worth checking out cross-institutional joint degrees.  I know someone doing HLS + ____ PhD.

4
Law School Applications / Re: Harvard v. Yale?
« on: December 10, 2007, 07:07:59 PM »
Also, I didn't mean to imply that those who favor Yale are employing a maximin heuristic or any other method of calculation that places inordinate weight on the worst that could happen (or irrationally discounts the best possible outcomes).  I think that ex ante, it's the better choice for pretty much everyone.

I was with you until the last part.  Well, ok, I'm not smart enough to understand the sentence that precedes the last part, but I jumped ship at the last part.  There's a million reasons to prefer Harvard over Yale.  Yes, most people who have the choice tend to go to Yale.  But Yale isn't necessarily the better choice if: you hate New Haven, you really care about IP/internet stuff, you want to do a JD/MBA, you have family reasons to be in the Boston area, you want school leadership that is more politically balanced (at least in its hiring), you want a more comprehensive 1L curriculum, you like the idea of more faculty or more class options, you like ice skating or volleyball, you are certain you want to work internationally, you care how many books are in the library system, you want the motivating factor of grades, you appreciate the institutional history of being where modern law school education was invented, etc.  These aren't equally good reasons to prefer Harvard over Yale, but they are reasons.  If you really care about some of them, you might be better off, ex ante, at Harvard.

5
Law School Applications / Re: Harvard v. Yale?
« on: December 10, 2007, 06:03:51 PM »
Yale, much smaller class size, no grades, and fewer douchebags than what you read about on OneL.

I'm sure you're joking, but it's worth noting that OneL is about a law school of decades ago.  And the grades thing isn't 100% positive, depending on your situation.  It's hard to know how you'd do in advance, but a student with a not-super-impressive background (non-ivy ugrad, no grad degree) who goes to yale will have more trouble distinguishing herself than if she had gone to harvard and did well.  Make no mistake: not every Yalie gets the clerkship of her dreams.  Distinctions are made along some axis, and some people fare much better when that axis is grades rather than 1) ability to schmooze w/ profs or 2) pre-law school accomplishments (e.g., Rhodes).

If all you want to do is work at a firm, then the no grades pressure is probably amazing.  It just so happens that most Yalies want more.

It's the lack of certainty about relative class standing that makes Yale so inviting.  Very few people actually enjoy exam prep, and even most folks with the capacity to get topnotch grades will probably have to do a considerable amount of it to get high marks.  I think for most, the drudgery is not worth the ex ante 1/5 chance of becoming a rockstar.  Obviously the calculus changes once you know where you stand.

I agree that the uncertainty is a factor, and probably a major one.  And if you go in with a ridiculous background, then my argument doesn't even apply.  That said, I want to push back on a couple of things here.  Obviously, (most) people probably don't love studying. But (most? many?) people study at Yale too.  Either they want to know the law, or they want to impress a prof for a recc (even in a P/F class), or they're just so used to being really good at exams that they can't imagine turning in a crappy exam.  Also, while you probably have to study to be a "rockstar," grades and study time don't necessarily correlate well.  I am probably in the bottom third of the class in terms of study time (particularly during the semester), but not in terms of grades.

On the other hand, to be at the bottom of the HLS class with a not-super-impressive background is far worse than in the ??? of the YLS class with the same background, and future lawyers do tend to be risk averse.  The point wasn't that HLS is necessarily better, just that the "no grades" thing serves some people (HYP-ers) better than others (me-ers).

6
Law School Applications / Re: Harvard v. Yale?
« on: December 10, 2007, 10:18:22 AM »
I'm sure you're joking, but it's worth noting that OneL is about a law school of decades ago.  And the grades thing isn't 100% positive, depending on your situation.  It's hard to know how you'd do in advance, but a student with a not-super-impressive background (non-ivy ugrad, no grad degree) who goes to yale will have more trouble distinguishing herself than if she had gone to harvard and did well.  Make no mistake: not every Yalie gets the clerkship of her dreams.  Distinctions are made along some axis, and some people fare much better when that axis is grades rather than 1) ability to schmooze w/ profs or 2) pre-law school accomplishments (e.g., Rhodes).

If all you want to do is work at a firm, then the no grades pressure is probably amazing.  It just so happens that most Yalies want more.

I totally beat you.

do harvard students tend to turn everything into a competition?

No.  I guarantee we are 40% less competitive than Yale or, heaven forbid, any school in New York.

7
Law School Applications / Re: Harvard v. Yale?
« on: December 10, 2007, 10:17:38 AM »
Honestly they are both so awesome that I'm really having a hard time letting one go for the other. It may just come down to COL and financial aid offers.

Harvard
-In Cambridge. I've heard it's a wonderful city.
-Large school. Lots of opportunities to meet some truly outstanding ppl.
-It's got an internation reputation for being the "It" school.
-Lots more classes to choose from.

Yale
-In New Haven. Yeah, I know, but at least it's cheaper.
-Small school. A big plus for those who love a more intimate setting.
-No grades. Yes getting a coupld of Hs will be necessary depending on what you want to do, but it's still nice to have the first semester (or is it first year?) only P/F. Or should I say P/P?  :D
-Ummm, it's Yale.

Money is an important factor, but I want to say two things about financial aid offers.  First, whatever your preference is between the schools, you can probably get the school with the lower offer to match or beat the higher one.  HLS offered me MUCH less than YLS, and then I convinced them to offer me marginally more.  Second, unless the difference in aid packages is very significant, it is probably a less rational factor on which to base this decision than you might think, depending on your career goals.  For example, 1000 per year extra (presumably in loans) paid back over ten years at a lawyer's salary isn't especially noticeable.  That said, cost of living differences may amplify aid differences, such that it amounts to much more.

EDIT: A 3000 loan at 7% paid over 10 years is less than $40 per month.  That's the kind of number I was talking about.

8
Law School Applications / Re: Harvard v. Yale?
« on: December 10, 2007, 10:07:43 AM »
I'm sure you're joking, but it's worth noting that OneL is about a law school of decades ago.  And the grades thing isn't 100% positive, depending on your situation.  It's hard to know how you'd do in advance, but a student with a not-super-impressive background (non-ivy ugrad, no grad degree) who goes to yale will have more trouble distinguishing herself than if she had gone to harvard and did well.  Make no mistake: not every Yalie gets the clerkship of her dreams.  Distinctions are made along some axis, and some people fare much better when that axis is grades rather than 1) ability to schmooze w/ profs or 2) pre-law school accomplishments (e.g., Rhodes).

If all you want to do is work at a firm, then the no grades pressure is probably amazing.  It just so happens that most Yalies want more.

I totally beat you.

Yes. 

9
Law School Applications / Re: Harvard v. Yale?
« on: December 10, 2007, 10:06:55 AM »
Weeeell, you gotta love the no grades thing at Yale.  :D

Well, yes and no.  When applying to fellowships and for OCI, all that does it put an undue value on your undergarudate institution, as that's one of the only ways for firms to differentiate.  Students at Yale, like Harvard and Stanford, obviously don't have much of a problem, but hiring people are effectively rewarding you for where you to undergrad and not your performance in law school.

If you went to HYP or some other similar school, you've got to love the no grades thing.  However, some of my closest friends at Harvard who did extremely well as 1Ls went to schools that would not have opened a lot of doors for them.  At the clerkship level, you will have at least one year of Hs to show for it (hopefully), although that wasn't true in the past.

I know you!

my perception is that harvard and yale have different attitudes in terms of teaching legal doctrine as opposed to legal philosophy.  do some of the harvard, yale students want to address that issue?

I thought this was false because, on the whole, law profs are largely similar, they move from harvard to yale and vice versa, they were largely taught at the same schools.  I'm less sure now that I've taken a class with a prof who moved here from yale, but I still think this varies widely by professor, and less by school.  Two institutional points bear mentioning, however.  First, that a core doctrinal course is taught in small groups at yale will probably drastically shift the focus of 1L towards theory, at least in that course.  Second, that the 1L required curriculum lasts only one semester at Yale allows for digging into less doctrinal stuff more quickly.

10
Law School Applications / Re: Harvard v. Yale?
« on: December 10, 2007, 10:02:05 AM »
Yale, much smaller class size, no grades, and fewer douchebags than what you read about on OneL.

I'm sure you're joking, but it's worth noting that OneL is about a law school of decades ago.  And the grades thing isn't 100% positive, depending on your situation.  It's hard to know how you'd do in advance, but a student with a not-super-impressive background (non-ivy ugrad, no grad degree) who goes to yale will have more trouble distinguishing herself than if she had gone to harvard and did well.  Make no mistake: not every Yalie gets the clerkship of her dreams.  Distinctions are made along some axis, and some people fare much better when that axis is grades rather than 1) ability to schmooze w/ profs or 2) pre-law school accomplishments (e.g., Rhodes).

If all you want to do is work at a firm, then the no grades pressure is probably amazing.  It just so happens that most Yalies want more.

Pages: [1] 2 3 4 5 6 ... 293