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If these were your only two choices and assuming no $ from either, where would you go?

Chicago
Virginia

Author Topic: Chicago vs. Virginia  (Read 528 times)

Law2k6

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Chicago vs. Virginia
« on: February 22, 2006, 03:09:02 AM »
I'm really torn between these two schools. I feel like I would enjoy UVA more, but that perhaps Chicago would be a better career move. (Then again, perhaps I would rank better at "laid back" Virginia than at "top 5" Chicago.) I'm curious if anyone else is debating these schools. Below I'm posting a bunch of info comparing the two.

As others have posted in other threads, we know:

Clerkships
Circuit Court of Appeals (2005):
Chicago:  33 (16.3% of class)
Virginia: 45 (13.4% of class)

SCOTUS (1991 - 2005):
Chicago:  65
Virginia: 19

Rankings
USNWR (2006):    Overall / Historical Average / Peer / Lawyers & Judges
Chicago:            6   / 4.8                / 4.6  / 4.7
Virginia:           8  / 8.4                / 4.3  / 4.6

Other Rankings:  Cooley   / Brennan / Gourman Report / Leiter / Insider's Guide / Brody
Chicago:         39      / NR      / 4              / 2      / 6               / 4
Virginia:        3      / 16      / 16             / 10     / 8               / 8

Princeton Review: Best Overall Academic Experience / Professors Rock / Best Career Prospects / Best Quality of Life
Chicago:                                   1      /        7        /           3           /  NR
Virginia:                                  4     /         NR      /            9          /   2

Starting Salary (2003 Graduates)
Chicago:   $95,000 - $125,000 / Avg: $125,000
Virginia: $100,000 - $127,000 / Avg: $117,000

Cost in 2005-2006 (Out of State)
Chicago:   $56,475 * 3 = $169,425
Virginia:  $48,900 * 3 = $146,700
            Difference =  $22,725

Law Firm Placement
According to a 2005 study that updates the 2003 Leiter Report, a highly respected and comprehensive ranking of law school performance, the Law School was tied for second with Chicago (behind only Harvard) in overall success in placing graduates at top national law firms. The same study also had U.Va. ranked second, this time tied with Columbia behind Harvard, in the number of top firms with five or more alumni. (from UVA website)
See the Report here: http://leiterreports.typepad.com/blog/2005/03/new_study_of_na.html

Also, U.Va. is third only to Harvard and NYU in the number of alumni who are managing partners at law firms nationwide.

Stats
                  Student Faculty Ratio / Total Enrollment
Chicago:               10:1            /  600
Virginia:              14:1           /   1,100


Thoughts
Virginia by virtue of it's size offers more classes.
Chicago by virtue of it's size makes it easier to get to know profs.

Both schools purport to be collegial and not super competitive, though Chicago is more competitive than UVA.
Both schools are slightly more conservative than most of the T14 law schools.

I plan to practice law in Virginia and find C-Ville a more appealing location, but am willing to live anywhere for three years (even some place cold and windy).

Anyway, I hope this information is useful to some of you making this choice and would love any thoughts or opinions from the rest of ya'll.



U.Va. Law, J.D. 2009

nicodemus

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Re: Chicago vs. Virginia
« Reply #1 on: February 22, 2006, 09:28:55 AM »
Why do you say Chicago is more competitive than UVA? I attend Chicago, and I'm sure I have no way to say that either Chicago or UVA is more competitive than the other. My guess is that the schools in this range aren't really "competitive" at all. Chicago may be more of an intense experience, but I don't really have any way to compare there either. Just curious.

nicodemus

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Re: Chicago vs. Virginia
« Reply #2 on: February 22, 2006, 12:43:19 PM »
Why do you say Chicago is more competitive than UVA? I attend Chicago, and I'm sure I have no way to say that either Chicago or UVA is more competitive than the other. My guess is that the schools in this range aren't really "competitive" at all. Chicago may be more of an intense experience, but I don't really have any way to compare there either. Just curious.

Ooh, a Chicago student, maybe you can help me.  It seems that most T14 schools have a single adjective attached to them that is so frequently used as to seem definative, but which has no correspondence to any tool for comparison.  I'm really interested to know what exactly these adjectives mean.  For Chicago, the adjective is "intense,"  which I think many prospective students seem to associate with "compettive," althugh you arge the opposite.  What does "intense" mean, and why does it apply to Chicago?

One of the other one's I'm investigating is "laid-back" to describe Virginia.  This seems to be distinct from "friendly" or "collegial,"  but is it? Any Virginia students want to explain what makes Virginia "laid-back" and how this condition affects students?

First let me say that I only attend one school, so I can't really speak for other schools. To the extent that a particular school has an adjective attached to its name, my guess is that this is the result of a drastic magnification and/or distortion of some marginal difference in what is an otherwise pretty similar experience (at least among schools of relatively the same caliber.) Think the telephone game.

When I say that Chicago is "intense," I mean that it is personally intense and not interpersonally so. I think I've posted on this before, but I'll try and explain again here. People don't compete for grades; job prospects are uniformly good. You couldn't really compete for grades if you wanted to, as it's virtually impossible to predict how you'll do on an exam, what amount of effort is required to do well, and what you need to know to do well. These factors, coupled with a small class size, tend to promote a very collegial environment. People are friendly and cooperative, and they are genuinely interested in what their classmates have to say (most of the time.) The intensity is hard to describe. I think it's best described as a sort of relentless inquiry with no visible end. To generalize: Professors challenge conventional wisdom regularly, very little is ever settled, and new ideas are highly valued. Students tend to think and work hard because they like what they're doing, not because they need an A to get a job.

While I'm speaking about only Chicago, I don't imagine that these things I'm saying are *that* unique to my school; maybe they're just a bit more pronounced here. I have no idea where the "Chicago is a conservative, competitive, anti-social hellhole" stereotype comes from, but it hasn't been my experience at all.

Law2k6

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Re: Chicago vs. Virginia
« Reply #3 on: February 23, 2006, 01:42:46 AM »
Found this link today discussing "competitive" vs "intense": http://www.law.uchicago.edu/Life/competition.html
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Denny Crane

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Re: Chicago vs. Virginia
« Reply #4 on: February 23, 2006, 05:37:06 AM »
My undergrad college has a similar reputation as Chicago's for being 'intense', but it is far from competitive.  Competition, in my estimation, is marked by students always comparing grades and performance, and where the schools ranks their students and publicly makes that information available.  Intense simply means that students are highly dedicated to their work and demand the best of themselves not solely for the sake of doing better than everyone else, but because they are genuinely interested in doing the best they can.  Also, my UG does not grade based on a scale (at least not in the soc. sci and humanities departments), which helps eliminate the perception that grades are a zero-sum game.
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katedennis

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Re: Chicago vs. Virginia
« Reply #5 on: February 23, 2006, 12:10:20 PM »
If you figure it out, Law2k6, let me know and *hopefully* I will be in the same boat soon.
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