« on: April 18, 2007, 12:49:33 PM »
I agree with Anne Shirley-- Stanford definitely felt more welcoming, close-knit, and embracing of diversity. The ASW really played to the school's strengths: community, location, and quality of life.
Of the HYS bunch, Stanford is probably the least well-known as an academic powerhouse, but it's still a great school. Attending SLS won't shut you out of clerkships, academia, or biglaw. The clinical programs are excellent, and opportunities in corporate law, finance, and business are outstanding because of the location and specializations. I suspect that, because many of the students are firm-bound, grades are not as much of an issue at SLS. Most students do a lot of stuff (and also downplay their achievements and activities), but there seem to be fewer gunners than at HY.
Personally, I like the idea of knowing everyone in law school and having a sense of community. When I visited Harvard, the law students I met and saw didn't seem as friendly or as happy. At Harkness Commons, for example, pretty much all of them ignored the admits and did their own thing, and most people ate alone at their tables. Even at the HLS student fairs, the students didn't seem as approachable. At a few tables, I stood around for 3-5 minutes waiting while the people staffing the booths ignored me entirely to talk to other people.
In contrast, at Stanford, a lot of law students made an effort to get to know admits. On minority preview day, students took admits to a bar/lounge; on Saturday, a lot of law students showed up for bowling, and I even got to go clubbing with the Outlaw group. When I mentioned that a former co-worker is now a 2L at Stanford, one of the law students ran off and got him for me. On Sunday, I had dinner with next year's student body presidents (both double minorities). More so than Harvard (which had lots of presentations by faculty), Stanford focused on students and alumni, and their Stanford Law experiences.
There are probably a lot of people for whom quality of life is less important than academic/professional opportunities, and if that's the case, HY are most probably better choices. Dean Koh, for one, seems to think that people who choose law schools based on weather, relationships, geography, convenience or other similar concerns deserve what they get. But I think that QOL is pretty important to the overall law school experience with regards to the relationships we build with classmates and professors, our academic success, mental well-being, etc.
I'm not committed to Stanford yet, but I think that if I do attend (based on the relationships, geography, convenience and other reasons), I will be really really happy there.