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Author Topic: Stay here or go to Columbia?  (Read 3391 times)

cannotpick

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Stay here or go to Columbia?
« on: July 07, 2006, 09:17:02 PM »
Hey. I haven't been accepted yet, but I think I have a good shot (top 2.5% at Brooklyn). If I do get in, I'm not sure what I should do. Here's my situation:

Brooklyn: Doing well, on Moot Court, probably will make Law Review, live in a brand new/fully furnished BLS apt, nice scholarship, great friends, great professors. I'm really happy here, I just worry about letting an opportunity pass me by.

Concerns about Columbia: probably won't make Law Review, might not be toward the top of my class, basically am starting all over with GPA, less time to make close contacts with professors.

When I graduate, I'll probably start off at a big firm for a few years no matter what. Afterwards, I'd like to clerk. What's better? Coming from BLS at the top of my class with a lot of professors that will go to bat for me OR coming from Columbia where my academic standing/contacts are a little more uncertain? I had always dreamed of going into academia and I KNOW that Columbia is better in that department. It's just that academia is a very small, closed circle so I wonder if I can even get in, especially if I'm not on law review. As of today, I'm leaning towards staying. Tomorrow, that might change. Any advice is appreciated. As you can see, I've been thinking about this a lot.
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cannotpick

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Re: Stay here or go to Columbia?
« Reply #1 on: July 08, 2006, 01:47:11 AM »
Thanks for the advice. That's how I'm leaning right now. Anyone else?
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nate

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Re: Stay here or go to Columbia?
« Reply #2 on: July 08, 2006, 11:24:32 AM »
if academia is your end goal, then i would definitely say go to columbia. of course it's not as easy coming out of CLS as it is from YHS, but if you get some publications under your belt, you should have no problem. academia is so elitist that even coming out of BLS at the very top of your class wouldn't beat graduating from CLS.

as far as grades, considering that you finished so high in your class (top 2.5% is much different from even something like top 10%), i'm willing to bet that you'll do just fine at CLS.
GW

Ronald Hyatt

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Re: Stay here or go to Columbia?
« Reply #3 on: July 08, 2006, 12:46:41 PM »
here's one of my big reasons for transferring. for better or worse, when you tell a person where you went to school, they immediately have certain preconceived notions about how smart and how capable you are. i would rather have these be positive prejudices than neutral ones. to put it another way, i would rather just tell someone that i went to columbia than to tell them i went to brooklyn* (* "but i graduated at the top of my class and made law review... what's that? yeah, you didn't know there was a law school in brooklyn? it is really well known for its clinical progams" etc.) besides, ten twenty years down the line, no one will care which percentile you were in, and law review will become equivalent to any journal membership. so that when you are applying for a job (be it academic or otherwise), or giving a speech at a conference, or submitting papers for publication all that will remain from your three years in law school is the name of the school you went to.

i really like my school too. i have no doubt that i could get the biglaw job of my dreams and/or circuit clerkship, BUT i can also do both of these things at my new school too. mind you, i'm also moving up about about 80 places in the usnews game, and i think that you would only be moving up about 50. i think i would still do it in your position.
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cannotpick

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Re: Stay here or go to Columbia?
« Reply #4 on: July 08, 2006, 12:49:52 PM »
Nate, those are all equally fair points. Let me just briefly summarize why, if I had to decide today, I probably would stay here anyway. It isn't that I don't think I can succeed, so much as I don't want to go through all of the stress. I'll be starting from scratch & will have to prove myself all over again. I'll need to go through the whole process of meeting people, trying to find reasons to hang around professors' offices, forming a study group, etc. It will be almost like being a 1L all over again. While I enjoyed my 1st year of law school, I don't know if I'm ready to do it all over again, especially if I don't also have the opportunity to do some more interesting stuff, like a journal or moot court.

In terms of academia, it seems to be a very closed group. Unless you go to Yale, it is very tough to become 1 & really depends on doing something special after graduation. Although being a professor is my dream job, I'd hate to transfer over a pipe dream. So, while that consideration surely plays into my mind, I don't want it to be defining.

However, this is by no means set in stone. I still put in my application & need to keep weighing the pros & cons. Thank you both for your advice, thus far. Anyone else please feel free to chime in with your opinion. It doesn't have to be a long or well written response. I'm more interested in just polling people. Hmmmm maybe I'll add a poll to this thread.
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cannotpick

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Re: Stay here or go to Columbia?
« Reply #5 on: July 08, 2006, 12:51:35 PM »
Equally fair points, even if your name is RonJeremy. The prestige wh*re inside me also pushes me in the direction of Columbia. Let's be honest, we all like to feel special & smart. We all like it when after you say where you go to school, the person you are speaking with replies "Oh my God. You must be smart." I know it sounds superficial, but it's the truth.
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Lenny

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Re: Stay here or go to Columbia?
« Reply #6 on: July 08, 2006, 12:57:15 PM »
The statement that you are "guaranteed" a COA clerkship in your position at BLS is absurd.  First, those positions are unbelievably competitive.  I know people with similar class standing at my school, which is ranked significantly higher than BLS, that were unable to get a COA clerkship, and in some cases, even a District court clerkship.  Second, the ugly truth is that you have nowhere to go but down in your class rankings bnetween now and your third year.  The people below you have had time now to figure out this whole law school thing and will be gunning for higher ranking.

If you goal is a federal clerkship, much less academia, go to Columbia.  If your goal is just Biglaw and then MAYBE trying for a clerkship (which again is much easier said than done) stay at BLS.

Ronald Hyatt

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Re: Stay here or go to Columbia?
« Reply #7 on: July 08, 2006, 01:16:32 PM »
Debunking some of the more common myths about transfer...

Brooklyn: Doing well, on Moot Court, probably will make Law Review, live in a brand new/fully furnished BLS apt, nice scholarship, great friends, great professors. I'm really happy here, I just worry about letting an opportunity pass me by.

Concerns about Columbia: probably won't make Law Review, might not be toward the top of my class, basically am starting all over with GPA, less time to make close contacts with professors.

Law Review: First of all, CLS says that you have a chance at all 14 of CLS law journals. Sure you won't grade on, but don't you have any confidence in your writing skills? At the top 2.5% of the class, you must've done well in Legal Writing too, right? So write on to a journal at CLS. You might not make the Law Review, but maybe one of the specialty journals fits a strong interest of yours. In the end, I don't think that being on the Law Review is as important as just being on some law journal's editorial board.

Class ranking: Might not be at the top of the class at CLS... which means that you might be. As the prvious posted said, based on your outstanding performance this past year, there is no reason to think that you wil not do as well at CLS. Maybe not top 2.5%, but almost certainly top 10%. This will be good enough to get you Honors (I don't think they do Order of the Coif at CLS, but then again neither does Brooklyn), and get you biglaw and/or circuit clerk. You should read around through Sua Sponte's blog.

Circuit clerkships: Previous poster said that you stand a much better chance at getting a clerkship from Brooklyn. I don't think I agree. I'm looking at stats from a couple of years ago (when I was applying the first time) and it says that Brooklyn placed 6% of its graduates in judicial clerkships (doesn't break it down into scotus, circuit, district, etc) compared to CLS placing 15%. It would seem to me that you have a better chance at CLS.

Relationships: Whether it be your close 1L relationships or your supposed close ties to your 1L professors, the argument always goes that you will never be able to recapture that magical bond of 1L. Who came up with this silly argument? I bet it was the Association of TTT Law School Deans. You spent one year at that school, and you will spend two years at the next one. You have plenty of time to make close friendships with both students and professors. Odds are that a much greater percentage of these contacts will go on to powerful positions. I made a small group of good friends from 1L and I will stay in touch with them. I've made some good contacts with a couple of professors and I will stay in contact with them too. I will happily move on to my new school and start making friends with the future partners, fortune 500 GCs, judges, politicians, and law scholars of the world. As a matter of fact, I would cite quality of contacts as one of my motivating factors. I even mentioned it in my personal statement.
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Ronald Hyatt

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Re: Stay here or go to Columbia?
« Reply #8 on: July 08, 2006, 01:26:38 PM »
We all like it when after you say where you go to school, the person you are speaking with replies "Oh my God. You must be smart." I know it sounds superficial, but it's the truth.

They don't usually say it out loud, but you can see it in their eyes.  ;)
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cannotpick

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Re: Stay here or go to Columbia?
« Reply #9 on: July 08, 2006, 02:08:13 PM »
Excellent points. Where are you trying to transfer?
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