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Author Topic: Berkeley v. Columbia v. Chicago  (Read 965 times)

mchllhcm

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Berkeley v. Columbia v. Chicago
« on: April 09, 2009, 01:51:16 AM »
I finally have all the information I need to make a decision and want to hear what some of you would do.

I will most likely go into private practice; however, I would like to study critical race theory and other similar policy/social justice courses while a law student. I am from the Bay Area, go to school in Southern California and REALLY want to get out of California for law school! I eventually want to practice in California though.

Berkeley ($100,000)
+Great curriculum with variety in social justice, critical race theory and policy courses
+Great journals, clinics and student organizations
+Amazingly humble, friendly and passionate students
+Great weather!
+I'm from the Bay Area so close to family/friends
+Wasn't wowed by the ASD, but the students there really persuaded me that I could be really happy at Berkeley

-I'm from the Bay Area and I think three years is a great time to get out and explore another part of the country! I don't want to regret not living somewhere else during law school.
-They don't have the star faculty that the other two schools have

Columbia ($147,000)
+Great curriculum with variety in social justice, critical race theory and policy courses (What better place to study these issues when they have Kimberle Crenshaw, Patricia Williams, Ted Shaw, Jack Greenberg, Katherine Franke, and Susan Sturm!)
+Great journals, clinics and student organizations
+Student body overall wasn't as cool as Berkeley's; however, the students of color that I hung out with were amazing and I feel a real sense of community and friendship with the students I was around when I visited
+Out of California!
+AMAZING ASD! I had a blast, liked Morningside Heights and was wowed.
+Star faculty

-EXPENSIVE!! Is going to my favorite school worth the difference?

Chicago ($135,000)
+Out of California
+Star faculty
+Small student body

-EXPENSIVE!!
-Don't like the lack of variety in courses
-Not very much diversity in the student body
-Don't get the sense that students are enjoying their time as much as at other schools--a lot more academic/intellectual, which is a great thing (maybe just not for me)
-Small number of journals and not interested in most of the clinics offered

I think for me, it's really down to Columbia and Berkeley. I could be happy at both, but I want to go to Columbia more if it wasn't for the money issue. The difference is ~$52,000, which goes down to ~$37,000 if I factor in earnings after 2L summer at a firm (it goes down because Columbia won't change my grant, but Berkeley will change my financial aid if I make significant earnings at a firm).

So, is going to the school you like better worth $20,000-40,000 more over three years?

goaliechica

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Re: Berkeley v. Columbia v. Chicago
« Reply #1 on: April 09, 2009, 02:01:44 AM »
1. I am a 2L at Berkeley, and I think our ASD is generally terrible, so I'm glad you weren't totally turned off by it.

2. Just from reading your post, it sounds like Columbia is what you want. If you want a chance to get out of California and you're really thrilled by the faculty, just do it. I can't tell you how much the extra debt means to you, but if you suspect you'll spend some time in private practice, it's not actually that much of a difference. You'll easily be able to come back to California from CLS. I say go for what you really want!

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ETA: I didn't add that I love Berkeley and am glad I chose it, etc. Just to make sure that perspective is in here somewhere.
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menlow

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Re: Berkeley v. Columbia v. Chicago
« Reply #2 on: April 09, 2009, 04:43:46 AM »
...So, is going to the school you like better worth $20,000-40,000 more over three years?

I think you should do what feels best to you.  How many times are you going to go to law school, right?

JayCLS

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Re: Berkeley v. Columbia v. Chicago
« Reply #3 on: April 15, 2009, 01:17:59 AM »
I'd agree with the others that the money won't be a big deal.  One thing to consider if you want to go BACK to California is that this year Columbia had a terrible year with California firm recruiting.  That being said, the market may be different when you get here, and I am not sure how much better things were at California law schools/the California legal market just seems to have tanked.

themanwithnoname

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Re: Berkeley v. Columbia v. Chicago
« Reply #4 on: April 15, 2009, 02:28:47 PM »
the California legal market just seems to have tanked.

titcr

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Re: Berkeley v. Columbia v. Chicago
« Reply #5 on: April 15, 2009, 03:58:30 PM »
I would remove the words "the," "legal," and "market" from that sentence.

Sad but true.  :(
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