Law School Discussion

Big Decision (CA vs NYC)

Big Decision (CA vs NYC)
« on: April 06, 2004, 10:48:13 AM »
I am currently deciding which law school to enter in the Fall, but I'm torn between two scenarios.

The first is to stay in California, moving from Palo Alto to San Francisco for Hastings (UCSF). The advantages to this are that I would be surrounded by friends, near my family, and on the West Coast, where the temperature never drops to freezing.

Alternatively, I could pack my bags, move to NYC, and go to NYU, which is a better school as far as rankings are concerned. NYU, however, costs 3 times as much and I'm certain I would be offered no money beyond loans, whereas at Hastings I will probably get some sort of grant (my financial aid package is still pending).

Would going to a lesser school be a major mistake? Do you believe that the difference between the two, especially insofar as job prospects are concerned, would warrant moving across the nation, away from everything and everyone I know?

Competition at NYU, I suspect, would be much more intense. I could probably be top 10% at Hastings, but NYU might be another story. I'd hate to get my ass kicked for three years.

Any insight would be greatly appreciated. I know that ultimately this is my decision, but I'd like to gain some perspective from those of you who have already gone through this.

Some details: Still waiting for Harvard and Columbia. Rejected by Boalt and Stanford. Ideally, I would have gone to Boalt, the best of both worlds - ranking and location - but that would have been to easy.

Re: Big Decision (CA vs NYC)
« Reply #1 on: April 06, 2004, 11:04:27 AM »
It just depends on where you want to work after school.  You could probably go back to California with an NYU degree, but I doubt that you could easily break into the east coast from Hastings.

Personally I would probably go with the cheaper school in your case.  Being free from loans means that your options are extremely more open come graduation.


Re: Big Decision (CA vs NYC)
« Reply #2 on: April 06, 2004, 11:07:12 AM »
Oops, I thought I mentioned that. My goal is definitely to practice on the West Coast.

Re: Big Decision (CA vs NYC)
« Reply #3 on: April 06, 2004, 11:29:19 AM »
For your information, UCSF does not = Hastings.  UCSF is primarily a medical school whereas UC Hastings is a stand alone law school.

I have always heard that you should choose the higher ranked school unless the schools are very similar in rank and the lower ranked offers you a great financial aid package.  A degree from NYU will allow you to practice basically anywhere in the country, and will offer you first dibs at any job, whereas Hastings will allow you to work primarily on the west coast.  Hastings grads, furthermore, have to compete with Boalt, Stanford, and Davis grads for jobs in the Bay Area.  NYU, being a top 5 school, will offer you an edge on all of the above with the exception of Stanford (and possibly Boalt).  It seems as though NYU is the better investment.
Another option is to finish your first year at Hastings and apply to transfer to either Boalt or Stanford.  This is a little easier said than done but it is not inconceivable. 
I would recommend that you take a look at the NYU placement rate in the pacific region.  If you are interested in practicing with a large firm NYU is probably the place to go.  If you are interested in public interest then Hastings may be the better option.  Good luck!

Louder Than Bombs

Re: Big Decision (CA vs NYC)
« Reply #4 on: April 06, 2004, 11:31:09 AM »
I would go to NYU. NYU is one of the best schools in the country, period. If you have an opportunity to get that education/degree, I am sure it will pay off in the end. A degree from NYU will go far in any part of the country.


Re: Big Decision (CA vs NYC)
« Reply #5 on: April 06, 2004, 11:35:23 AM »
By the way, I got into UCLA too, so that is another option.

Re: Big Decision (CA vs NYC)
« Reply #6 on: April 06, 2004, 11:42:59 AM »
Personally, I would choose NYU.  But that's because I want to end up in NYC.  Want to trade?  I got into Boalt but got rejected from NYU.  :-P  Anyway, if you got into UCLA as well and want to practice in the West Coast, my suggestion is go to UCLA for a year then try to transfer to Boalt or Stanford.  If money is an issue, definitely go to UCLA and try to transfer to Boalt.  NYU is a great school, but since you got into some other great school, you might want to think about if NYU is $100k + better than UCLA.  However, you can't really make a wrong decision with the options you have. 

You might want to think about where you want to spend your next 3 years.  And, what kind of people do you really want to experience law school with? 

Goodluck.  And if you still want to trade... :-P 

Re: Big Decision (CA vs NYC)
« Reply #7 on: April 06, 2004, 11:46:29 AM »
I'd trade with you in a heartbeat.

Re: Big Decision (CA vs NYC)
« Reply #8 on: April 06, 2004, 11:49:42 AM »
How difficult is it to transfer?

The main issue for me is whether or not I want to spend the next 3 years of my life (25-28) in NYC since I plan on moving right back here when I graduate.

The problem with UCLA is that I was down there for undergrad (at Pomona, not UCLA) and the prospect of living in LA for three years does not really excite me. Plus, I really don't know anyone down there besides my ex-girlfriend, which could prove problematic.

Re: Big Decision (CA vs NYC)
« Reply #9 on: April 06, 2004, 11:59:39 AM »
Looking at the rate of transfer admittance, it seems that it is just as difficult to transfer as it is to get in as a 1L.  However, there seems to be a lot of law students transferring from lower tiered schools.  So, this might bring the admittance rate down.  From what I read (I don't remember where I read this), law schools prefer transferees from equally prestigious schools.  If you do well enough, transferring won't be so hard. 

I think you would have a better chance of transferring from NYU to Boalt, if that's what you really want.  However, I really don't see the point of living in NYC for a year and then coming back to SF a year after.  And I hate LA as well (no offense, folks, I'm a Norther California gal), so that's out of the question.  I guess you should go to Hastings.  Maybe you can try to get some money from them.  If you do well at Hastings, I'm sure transferring to Boalt won't be as difficult as say, if you went to USF.  :)  It will still be relatively difficult to transfer, but you will probably have it a lot easier than others. 

Judging from your posts, however, it seems like you have already made your decision.  At the very least, it seems like you know where you don't want to go. 


And, I take back the trade.  Thinking about NYU's price tag scares me!  :)