Law School Discussion

Nine Years of Discussion
;

Author Topic: Boalt or Harvard?  (Read 5065 times)

TLFKARG

  • Guest
Re: Boalt or Harvard?
« Reply #40 on: December 27, 2004, 05:43:15 PM »
Re: IP, I am taking Intro to IP as one of my spring electives -- I will have a better idea of what it's like at that point.  Even if I don't end up liking it, an IP certificate from the top IP program in the country certainly won't hurt my chances of placement.

TLFKARG

  • Guest
Re: Boalt or Harvard?
« Reply #41 on: December 27, 2004, 05:44:28 PM »
LOL @ Ruskie....You Boalt lover!

I do like Boalt, but that's not to say that I wouldn't have considered other schools if I had applied and gotten in.  You know Stanford broke my heart. :'( :'(

Regal_Muse

  • Guest
Re: Boalt or Harvard?
« Reply #42 on: December 27, 2004, 05:47:40 PM »
Eh Stanford. My cousin graduated from there. She just passed the CA bar and the firm she's working for is paying her a ridiculous amount of money. Starting wage 140K plus a 25K signing bonus. If she bills a certain amount of hours, she'll be eligible for even another bonus ranging from 10-50K...How insane is that?

headlesschicken

  • Sr. Citizen
  • ****
  • Posts: 282
    • View Profile
Re: Boalt or Harvard?
« Reply #43 on: December 28, 2004, 02:50:34 PM »
Just to be contrary, I'll add my two cents to this discussion. At my firm in California (a small private public interest firm where all but four attorneys clerked on a US circuit court and about 1/6 clerked on the SCOTUS) Boalt and Harvard are seen as equally prestigious. Harvard is clearly a great law school, but everyone thinks Boalt is just as good and that the students who at Boalt (especially those who choose Boalt over Harvard) tend to be more interesting and broad-minded. Moreover, they all agree that while the overall student body is stronger at Harvard, the top students at Boalt are just as smart as the top students at Harvard and do just as well getting into academia, clerkships, etc. (one of the attorneys to whom I am very close actually felt that coming from Boalt rather than Harvard or Yale helped her get a clerkship with Ginsburg on the SCOTUS).

I decided long ago that my top three choices were Boalt, Stanford, and Yale (in no particular order, although Stanford is looking good today) and this is still the case, although I've been accepted to Harvard as well. One of the main reasons for my decision is the culture of public interest at Boalt. While both Harvard and Boalt have many students interested in pursuing public interest, Boalt does not have the overwhelming Biglaw feeding culture of Harvard. The attorneys in my office who went to Harvard have said that they liked it, but only after finding the ten other people in their class that they could stand. (When I told the same attorneys that I had been accepted to both Harvard and Stanford, they said without any hesitation that I should go to Stanford!) The attorneys who went to Boalt met many people who shared their values and interests and definitely did not feel like they were surrounded by people whose life goals involved making money and jumping through prestige-hoops. For this reason alone, I would choose Boalt over Harvard --- you may just end up a better person.


Then again, I was trained for four years during college to hate Harvard, so that may have something to do with my lack of interest in going there.
179/3.97 (Top3)
Total payments to Yale, 1999-2008: >$250,000

amelus

  • Sr. Citizen
  • ****
  • Posts: 1347
    • View Profile
Re: Boalt or Harvard?
« Reply #44 on: December 28, 2004, 03:31:57 PM »
Moreover, they all agree that while the overall student body is stronger at Harvard, the top students at Boalt are just as smart as the top students at Harvard and do just as well getting into academia, clerkships, etc.

i have no idea, but i wouldnt at all be surprised if the top students at any, or at least most, of the t-14 are as smart as the top students at harvard.  many probably chose large scholarships at other places, had desires/obligations to stay in a particular local, or weren't admitted to harvard but wherever attended they showed that not accepting them was a mistake on harvard's part.

meaning, i think a lot of points were great there, but i just took it as a given that top students at any of these schools can choose just about whatever job they want.  the way to judge a law school (if you're looking to analyze the school's reputation) is to look at how the middle, or bottom, of the pack do.

sounds like even those who you worked with that feel boalt is outstanding (particularly in public interest), realize harvard is overall superior.

nekko

  • Sr. Citizen
  • ****
  • Posts: 297
    • View Profile
Re: Boalt or Harvard?
« Reply #45 on: December 28, 2004, 08:34:15 PM »
Yeah I don't think anyone outside of the xoxo board would make the contention that the top Boalt grads (or Penn/UVA/Mich/etc.) are inferior to the grads from Harvard. But as the people you talked to indicated Harvard has more depth. So the average student has a greater likelihood of getting academic jobs/clerkships/etc. Going in while it's something to short for I'm skeptical of people expecting to be better than everyone else they're competing with whether it be Boalt or Harvard.

I'm not sure how much I buy into the more interesting/broader personalities view of Boalt grads v. Harvard grads. This is something you hear all the time, even in undergrad that folks from higher up schools are only focused on academics whereas folks from lower ranked schools have some broad set of interests. While like undergrad this is true to an extent (you have to be pretty academically focused to get into the higher schools) I think it can be overstated both by folks from lower ranking schools, who sometimes feel the need to explain why despite lower ranking they are in reality superior to the top school and by the folks from the top schools who have a warped perception of less prestigous schools (it's not like folks at less prestigous schools aren't studying their brains out).

In terms of Harvard v. Stanford isn't that kind of what you would expect? Stanford isn't far from Harvard prestige wise and if you're asking someone who chose to live on the west coast a near comparable school that's in CA rather than Mass. seems like an obvious choice.

In a lot of ways this seems to be more like an East coast, West coast debate where Harvard cranks out corporate drones and Boalt cranks out community service defend humanity types. There's an element of truth to it but I think people are making very broad generalizations. If you take a look at Boalt grad incomes by and large they aren't bad and they mostly have a lot of the incomes you would expect from a school of its rank. They don't have these high incomes because all or even most of their grads are foresaking corporate life. Similarly if you look at a lot of public interest groups, particularly the more noteworthy ones you're going to see a ton of Harvard grads.

ghostpirate

  • Sr. Citizen
  • ****
  • Posts: 215
    • View Profile
Re: Boalt or Harvard?
« Reply #46 on: December 29, 2004, 03:00:02 AM »
.

headlesschicken

  • Sr. Citizen
  • ****
  • Posts: 282
    • View Profile
Re: Boalt or Harvard?
« Reply #47 on: December 29, 2004, 02:59:38 PM »
Most of the attorneys making the "Boalt students are more interesting and broad-minded" argument went to Harvard or Yale, so I don't think the response comes from the perspective of a less prestigious school. Moreover, these attorneys don't say the same thing about Stanford or Yale, and, having gone to HYP for undergrad, I know that the argument that top school graduates are necessarily less broad-minded is BS. The argument has less to do with academic-focus and more to do with the Biglaw/career-focused culture at Harvard, which draws many people who are (clearly) very smart but lack a certain perspective on life in that they are overly concerned with prestige and starting salaries.

I would say that our attorneys (many of whom went to Harvard) generally acknowledge that Harvard is overall stronger academically, but that this is a far cry from saying that it is a better law school. Our attorneys would probably say that the two are awash, and that the hiring of Dean Edley bodes well for Boalt (especially for those of us committed to public interest/social justice work).

Finally, I don't think the Harvard/Stanford distinction is simply geographic ... especially considering that it came from someone who clearly likes the East Coast (she went to Harvard for both undergrad and law school). She really disliked the corporate law culture at Harvard and thought public interest work was more accepted at Stanford and that the students there were happier there.
179/3.97 (Top3)
Total payments to Yale, 1999-2008: >$250,000

amelus

  • Sr. Citizen
  • ****
  • Posts: 1347
    • View Profile
Re: Boalt or Harvard?
« Reply #48 on: December 29, 2004, 03:06:33 PM »
so why did you bother applying to harvard? ;)

headlesschicken

  • Sr. Citizen
  • ****
  • Posts: 282
    • View Profile
Re: Boalt or Harvard?
« Reply #49 on: December 29, 2004, 03:18:47 PM »
It's a good enough school that I didn't want to cross it off my list without due consideration and a visit. Same reason I applied to Columbia (although Colubmia's application fee was waived, while Harvard's wasn't).
179/3.97 (Top3)
Total payments to Yale, 1999-2008: >$250,000