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Author Topic: Villanova vs. Hofstra($$$)  (Read 1127 times)

incognitomusic

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Villanova vs. Hofstra($$$)
« on: April 12, 2009, 12:49:32 PM »
So this is extremely last minute, but I am desperately trying to make a decision between Hofstra with 27500(70%) annual scholarship (must maintain 3.25) and Villanova at sticker price.  I have been accepted to many other schools with varying scholarship offers(I applied to too many!) but have narrowed down to these two.  Right now, I am weighing debt vs. job prospects as main criteria.
Some more info:
I am married and currently live in NJ.
Would move to Brooklyn if I chose Hofstra.  Obviously would move to outer Philly area if I go to Nova.
I like both areas equally and am willing to practice in Philly or NY, all things considered.
My wife can keep her current job if I go to Hofstra.  She has a fairly high paying position with a huge workload based in Manhattan, and under normal circumstances (no recession) could find a similar position in a different city no problem.  Right now it would be a little harder for her to find the same in Philly but cost of living might negate that problem.
Total debt would look something like this-50k at Hofstra vs. 130k at Nova.
Would the job market/salary for a Nova grad be that much better than a Hofstra grad to justify the increased debt?
Thank you all so much for your advice!

GhostofTomJoad

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Re: Villanova vs. Hofstra($$$)
« Reply #1 on: April 12, 2009, 10:53:44 PM »
I would definitely take the huge scholarship offer from Hofstra in this situation.  In the present economic climate, I don't think that taking out a huge debtload is such a good idea unless you're attending a top 25 school.  I don't think that the job prospects that you would have out of Villanova would be that much better in order to justify the HUGE cost differential between the two schools.  As someone who is trying to decide between two second tier schools myself, I think it's important to remember that only the top 10% or so of the class at second tier schools have a legitimate shot at gaining employment in corporate law firms.  Given that corporate law puts you in the best position to pay off your debt, I'm guessing you'd weight likelihood of securing summer associateships as a factor.  You can go into law school banking on being in that top 10%, but you then have to ask yourself if that's a reasonable wager that you're willing to make?  Since Hofstra is in one of the most competitive legal markets in the entire country and Villanova basically has to compete with the fraction of UPenn graduates that decide to stay in Philly (I'd imagine Villanova grads would lose out when competing against Penn grads), the job prospects out of either school can't look too pretty.  As a result, I'd lean in the direction of just minimizing that debt load.  I'm assuming that you would not have a problem meeting the academic requirements to have your scholarship renewed for each year at Hofstra. 

incognitomusic

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Re: Villanova vs. Hofstra($$$)
« Reply #2 on: April 12, 2009, 11:20:32 PM »
Thank you for the advice.  I see from your Syracuse vs. Seton Hall question that you are almost literally facing the same decision I am.  For what it's worth on your end, I also got into Seton Hall but I've heard from too many local people (including my advisor) that despite the ranking, Rutgers-Newark is the much better value for the respective prices.  Did you apply/were you accepted at Rutgers?...In-state tuition there is very reasonable.
I was accepted to Rutgers as well but I am from the general Newark area and don't relish the idea of going to school in Newark.  The highest ranked school I have been accepted to thus far has been UConn, though it seems best to go there with the intent of practicing in Conn. and I don't see myself wanting that.
I don't think I will be in jeopardy of losing my scholarship from Hofstra but I also am aware that I absolutely have to work as hard as possible 1L year to try and make law review and then get all of the internship/externship opportunities available in order to have any chance of competing in he NY law market.

GhostofTomJoad

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Re: Villanova vs. Hofstra($$$)
« Reply #3 on: April 12, 2009, 11:43:25 PM »
Thank you for the advice.  I see from your Syracuse vs. Seton Hall question that you are almost literally facing the same decision I am.  For what it's worth on your end, I also got into Seton Hall but I've heard from too many local people (including my advisor) that despite the ranking, Rutgers-Newark is the much better value for the respective prices.  Did you apply/were you accepted at Rutgers?...In-state tuition there is very reasonable.
I was accepted to Rutgers as well but I am from the general Newark area and don't relish the idea of going to school in Newark.  The highest ranked school I have been accepted to thus far has been UConn, though it seems best to go there with the intent of practicing in Conn. and I don't see myself wanting that.
I don't think I will be in jeopardy of losing my scholarship from Hofstra but I also am aware that I absolutely have to work as hard as possible 1L year to try and make law review and then get all of the internship/externship opportunities available in order to have any chance of competing in he NY law market.

I'm seriously considering doing a master's or another graduate degree after law school because I have little to no confidence in the job prospects out of any second tier school.  As for New York, yeah...the most congested/competitive legal market in the entire country.  You're basically competing against grads from Columbia, NYU, Fordham, Brooklyn and Cardozo, as well as tons of graduates of other T14 schools that move into Manhattan.  I'm not expecting any corporate law work at all.  I'd be happy with government work, compliance work in industry, or working as an associate in a private practice.  Regardless of where you choose, I wish you the very best of luck in law school and feel free to PM me at any time if you have any questions. 

incognitomusic

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Re: Villanova vs. Hofstra($$$)
« Reply #4 on: April 13, 2009, 05:02:55 PM »
Thank you so much for the helpful words.  I also wish you the best of luck as well, and let's keep our fingers crossed that not only do we both finish towards the top of our class, but that the market looks vastly different (better) in three years than it does right now.

ohioan

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Re: Villanova vs. Hofstra($$$)
« Reply #5 on: April 13, 2009, 07:22:12 PM »
I thought this was an interesting conversation because it was similar to what I was debating between Cincinnati and DePaul. Though Cincinnati was the highest ranked and lowest cost option for me, I felt the best law school experience, maximal job opportunity three years later in my field (biotech IP) would be in Chicago. Overall, I felt the whole legal education at DePaul was stronger, and I felt more comfortable there than at UC. Cost/debt is a huge factor, but you also have to strongly weigh your job prospect potential. I have heard more bad things about Hofstra, where I also got the same scholarship (and had declined), than good. With the debt at Hofstra (and 50K doesn't seem quite right by my estimation including living costs and interest on the loans), I was terrified of the bleak employment prospects for a Hofstra grad. I did a lot of research looking up grads from various schools through Martindale and NALP, as well as as at IP firms in the cities in which my schools were located.

Best of luck in your decision!

GhostofTomJoad

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Re: Villanova vs. Hofstra($$$)
« Reply #6 on: April 14, 2009, 04:18:42 AM »
I thought this was an interesting conversation because it was similar to what I was debating between Cincinnati and DePaul. Though Cincinnati was the highest ranked and lowest cost option for me, I felt the best law school experience, maximal job opportunity three years later in my field (biotech IP) would be in Chicago. Overall, I felt the whole legal education at DePaul was stronger, and I felt more comfortable there than at UC. Cost/debt is a huge factor, but you also have to strongly weigh your job prospect potential. I have heard more bad things about Hofstra, where I also got the same scholarship (and had declined), than good. With the debt at Hofstra (and 50K doesn't seem quite right by my estimation including living costs and interest on the loans), I was terrified of the bleak employment prospects for a Hofstra grad. I did a lot of research looking up grads from various schools through Martindale and NALP, as well as as at IP firms in the cities in which my schools were located.

Best of luck in your decision!

While I certainly understand your sentiment with respect to job prospects, we have to keep in mind that job prospects at most second tier schools are going to look pretty awful in this market because even first tier schools are taking a hit in their employment numbers.  Corporate law firms are downsizing and laying off associates, scaling back on summer associateships, and some are even rescinding offers made to 2L summers.  The fact of the matter is that second tier schools will be disproportionately affected by the contraction in the legal market because first tier grads will have to scale down in terms of firms (even T14 grads).  As a result, second tier grads will also have to scale down or face even stiffer competition from first tier grads applying to the positions that second tier grads would apply to in a "normal" legal market.  Secondly, with fewer openings available at the corporate law firms, competition will become even more fierce for those existing openings.  Taking out a huge debtload in this climate just seems too risky to me, especially since we're talking about two second tier schools here.

If the OP said that he was debating between a top 25 school vs. the huge scholarship at Hofstra, I would be singing a different tune entirely because I would agree with your argument regarding the superior job prospects from a top program.  In my opinion, the $150+ debt is totally worth it for any T14 school and selected first tier (non-T14) schools.  If the OP was debating between Boston College (150+k debt) and Hofstra (50k), I would strongly suggest BC and would recommend popping open some champagne after he signs off on the loans.  However, we're talking about a Philly school that competes with UPenn (to a smaller extent because I think most Penn grads head straight to NYC), and Temple in a fairly competitive legal marketplace.  And that's assuming that he stays in the greather Philadelphia area, where I'd imagine his degree would carry the most weight.  If he takes that degree and moves into NYC and competes for attorney positions, may God help him. 

At least with Hofstra, he gets to minimize his debtload while accomadating his wife so she doesn't have to search for a comparable job in Philly.  In addition, Hofstra's proximity to the NYC legal market can hopefully work to his advantage in terms of networking opportunities, clerkship opportunities, etc. 

ohioan

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Re: Villanova vs. Hofstra($$$)
« Reply #7 on: April 14, 2009, 03:21:32 PM »
He still has to go through law school and perform well. If he goes to Hofstra and is simply miserable, as many Hofstra students have indicated they are, then his future prospects will be bleak. However, one of the most common comments I got was to consider where you want to work and live. So if he knows he wants to work in NY over anywhere in the PA area, then certainly Hofstra gives him the best option for that market. If he wants the best law school experience knowing that he would likely begin the first part of his career in the PA area, then Villanova would be the better option. Certainly the employment issue is bleak presently, but in three years, hopefully the climate will have improved enough. However, nothing is more important than first year grades, so ultimately he should choose the school where he feels the most comfortable. Best of luck however you choose!

incognitomusic

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Re: Villanova vs. Hofstra($$$)
« Reply #8 on: April 14, 2009, 07:46:59 PM »
Been away from the board for a little while, and I'm glad to see some more discussion happening on my post.  Tomorrow is big seat deposit day for most of my schools and I was still fretting and then a funny thing happened.
After I had asked about a week and half ago (and used a full ride offer from a tier 4 and acceptances to higher ranked schools to plead my case), Hofstra increased my scholarship offer to 35K annually.  This makes it so that I can come out with something like 12K debt now.  It's probably important for me to mention that I don't plan on taking additional living loans (for at least my first year) as my wife and I have money saved plus she'll be working and is paid fairly well.
I've done some research into corporate NY law firms and have found that many students that excel at Hofstra can find themselves in quite a good position coming out.  On the other hand, I've also seen a lot of the same negative Hofstra talk that ohioan mentioned online, and while I don't discount those voices, I do believe that if I work hard and finish towards the top of my class and make law review I will be fine.  And even if that doesn't happen, with such a relatively small amount of debt, perhaps I can find a position somewhere where I may never be rich but I can be happy and comfortable.
So at this point, the difference between under 20k debt vs. well over 100k debt seems a safe enough gamble to take given that I'm comparing Hofstra with Villanova and UConn, not Duke.

buyitlow

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Re: Villanova vs. Hofstra($$$)
« Reply #9 on: April 14, 2009, 09:45:31 PM »
Did you ask for more money in writing, or did you speak to someone over the phone?