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Where should I go next fall? / UC Hastings v. Cardozo. Still undecided...
« on: January 28, 2010, 02:38:23 AM »
Hi,

My choice between UC Hastings and Cardozo is a difficult one.  After thinking about it for a while now, I still can't decide where to go.  I've read some very helpful advice on LSD so I thought I'll give this a try. 

I want to practice patent law after graduation.  I don't have a preference for either the San Francisco Bay area or New York City.  Cardozo is a recognized (ranked #8 USNWR) IP school while Hastings is ranked better overall (10-point difference in USNWR ranking).  Even though Cardozo offered $28k/yr merit-based grade-contingent scholarship, money isn't a major consideration for me.  More important are (1) quality of education and (2) job prospects after graduation. 

Below are various considerations relevant to the two criteria above:

(1) Quality of Education

(a) Patent-related courses/externships: Cardozo has more patent-related courses (e.g., "Patent Claim Construction") that will be directly applicable to my job, (supposedly) allowing me to 'hit the ground running.'  Furthermore, Cardozo also has externships that are specifically IP-related while Hastings does not (I think). 

(b) Quality of teaching:  I have read complaint(s) about the quality of teaching at Cardozo (but no such gripes for Hastings).  I have also read that the turn-over rate for Cardozo professors is relatively high -- teachers don't stick around for long.  (I don't remember if I had read all this in a single post on some discussion forum.)
   
(c) Class selection:  Hastings has a lottery system for enrollment in upper-division elective classes so students may be limited in their course selection.  I don't think Cardozo has this problem.  Furthermore, Cardozo has some really interesting classes such as "Philosophical Foundations of the Common Law" and "European Legal Theory" which are very tempting (but perhaps are only irrelevant distractions).   

(d) J.D./L.L.M. joint degree:  Cardozo allows students to complete their JD and LLM in IP law in seven semesters.  There are certainly conflicting opinions about the actual value of LLM degrees.  However, having the opportunity to earn another degree while possibly waiting for the economy to more fully recover is not a bad plan. 


(2) Job Prospects after Graduation

(a) Alumni network: Hastings' alumni network in the SF bay area is extensive.  Cardozo's alumni network is smaller since it is a relatively new law school. 

(b) Class-standing:  All things being equal, I will most likely achieve a higher class-standing at Cardozo.  However, I read that Cardozo groups all their scholarship-winners together into the same sections(s) to increase competition (and possibly save money on grade-contingent scholarship awards). 

Are there any considerations I have missed?  How would you decide?
Any suggestions, advice, or comments very much appreciated.   
Thank you.

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