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Author Topic: Harvard v. Yale?  (Read 8184 times)

bass

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Re: Harvard v. Yale?
« Reply #10 on: December 10, 2007, 10:18:22 AM »
I'm sure you're joking, but it's worth noting that OneL is about a law school of decades ago.  And the grades thing isn't 100% positive, depending on your situation.  It's hard to know how you'd do in advance, but a student with a not-super-impressive background (non-ivy ugrad, no grad degree) who goes to yale will have more trouble distinguishing herself than if she had gone to harvard and did well.  Make no mistake: not every Yalie gets the clerkship of her dreams.  Distinctions are made along some axis, and some people fare much better when that axis is grades rather than 1) ability to schmooze w/ profs or 2) pre-law school accomplishments (e.g., Rhodes).

If all you want to do is work at a firm, then the no grades pressure is probably amazing.  It just so happens that most Yalies want more.

I totally beat you.

do harvard students tend to turn everything into a competition?

No.  I guarantee we are 40% less competitive than Yale or, heaven forbid, any school in New York.

H4CS

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Re: Harvard v. Yale?
« Reply #11 on: December 10, 2007, 01:21:46 PM »
do harvard students tend to turn everything into a competition?

Only when we can win.  Which is why I always compete with bass.  Playing it safe, you know.

Max Fischer

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Re: Harvard v. Yale?
« Reply #12 on: December 10, 2007, 05:53:49 PM »
Yale, much smaller class size, no grades, and fewer douchebags than what you read about on OneL.

I'm sure you're joking, but it's worth noting that OneL is about a law school of decades ago.  And the grades thing isn't 100% positive, depending on your situation.  It's hard to know how you'd do in advance, but a student with a not-super-impressive background (non-ivy ugrad, no grad degree) who goes to yale will have more trouble distinguishing herself than if she had gone to harvard and did well.  Make no mistake: not every Yalie gets the clerkship of her dreams.  Distinctions are made along some axis, and some people fare much better when that axis is grades rather than 1) ability to schmooze w/ profs or 2) pre-law school accomplishments (e.g., Rhodes).

If all you want to do is work at a firm, then the no grades pressure is probably amazing.  It just so happens that most Yalies want more.

It's the lack of certainty about relative class standing that makes Yale so inviting.  Very few people actually enjoy exam prep, and even most folks with the capacity to get topnotch grades will probably have to do a considerable amount of it to get high marks.  I think for most, the drudgery is not worth the ex ante 1/5 chance of becoming a rockstar.  Obviously the calculus changes once you know where you stand.

bass

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Re: Harvard v. Yale?
« Reply #13 on: December 10, 2007, 06:03:51 PM »
Yale, much smaller class size, no grades, and fewer douchebags than what you read about on OneL.

I'm sure you're joking, but it's worth noting that OneL is about a law school of decades ago.  And the grades thing isn't 100% positive, depending on your situation.  It's hard to know how you'd do in advance, but a student with a not-super-impressive background (non-ivy ugrad, no grad degree) who goes to yale will have more trouble distinguishing herself than if she had gone to harvard and did well.  Make no mistake: not every Yalie gets the clerkship of her dreams.  Distinctions are made along some axis, and some people fare much better when that axis is grades rather than 1) ability to schmooze w/ profs or 2) pre-law school accomplishments (e.g., Rhodes).

If all you want to do is work at a firm, then the no grades pressure is probably amazing.  It just so happens that most Yalies want more.

It's the lack of certainty about relative class standing that makes Yale so inviting.  Very few people actually enjoy exam prep, and even most folks with the capacity to get topnotch grades will probably have to do a considerable amount of it to get high marks.  I think for most, the drudgery is not worth the ex ante 1/5 chance of becoming a rockstar.  Obviously the calculus changes once you know where you stand.

I agree that the uncertainty is a factor, and probably a major one.  And if you go in with a ridiculous background, then my argument doesn't even apply.  That said, I want to push back on a couple of things here.  Obviously, (most) people probably don't love studying. But (most? many?) people study at Yale too.  Either they want to know the law, or they want to impress a prof for a recc (even in a P/F class), or they're just so used to being really good at exams that they can't imagine turning in a crappy exam.  Also, while you probably have to study to be a "rockstar," grades and study time don't necessarily correlate well.  I am probably in the bottom third of the class in terms of study time (particularly during the semester), but not in terms of grades.

On the other hand, to be at the bottom of the HLS class with a not-super-impressive background is far worse than in the ??? of the YLS class with the same background, and future lawyers do tend to be risk averse.  The point wasn't that HLS is necessarily better, just that the "no grades" thing serves some people (HYP-ers) better than others (me-ers).

Max Fischer

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Re: Harvard v. Yale?
« Reply #14 on: December 10, 2007, 06:46:24 PM »
1. The level of psychic investment people generally put into exams at H and S is much, much greater than at Y--and I'd bet there's a pretty vast disparity in time dedicated towards the end of writing better exams as well.  On the plus side, you'll probably end up knowing a bit more doctrine.

2. Again, agreed that the payoff from H is higher in the final analysis for some folks.  But identifying yourself as such in advance is extraordinarily tricky.  I guess it's a start if you know that you're able to write voluminously, on the spot, and cogently about matters you may have no particular concern for.  But there are other variables too, some of which we've touched on.

Also, I didn't mean to imply that those who favor Yale are employing a maximin heuristic or any other method of calculation that places inordinate weight on the worst that could happen (or irrationally discounts the best possible outcomes).  I think that ex ante, it's the better choice for pretty much everyone.

rabbit9198

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Re: Harvard v. Yale?
« Reply #15 on: December 10, 2007, 07:07:48 PM »
Sort of changing the subject a bit...

One of the things that really attracts me to HLS is their more voluminous offering of joint degree/enrollment programs. I have a specific interest in a graduate school at Harvard, in an area that Yale doesn't offer any sort of instruction.
Read my blog about 1L life at Yale (and Harvard): http://similarlysituated.blogspot.com/

http://lawschoolnumbers.com/rabbit9198/

YLS 2011

bass

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Re: Harvard v. Yale?
« Reply #16 on: December 10, 2007, 07:07:59 PM »
Also, I didn't mean to imply that those who favor Yale are employing a maximin heuristic or any other method of calculation that places inordinate weight on the worst that could happen (or irrationally discounts the best possible outcomes).  I think that ex ante, it's the better choice for pretty much everyone.

I was with you until the last part.  Well, ok, I'm not smart enough to understand the sentence that precedes the last part, but I jumped ship at the last part.  There's a million reasons to prefer Harvard over Yale.  Yes, most people who have the choice tend to go to Yale.  But Yale isn't necessarily the better choice if: you hate New Haven, you really care about IP/internet stuff, you want to do a JD/MBA, you have family reasons to be in the Boston area, you want school leadership that is more politically balanced (at least in its hiring), you want a more comprehensive 1L curriculum, you like the idea of more faculty or more class options, you like ice skating or volleyball, you are certain you want to work internationally, you care how many books are in the library system, you want the motivating factor of grades, you appreciate the institutional history of being where modern law school education was invented, etc.  These aren't equally good reasons to prefer Harvard over Yale, but they are reasons.  If you really care about some of them, you might be better off, ex ante, at Harvard.

bass

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Re: Harvard v. Yale?
« Reply #17 on: December 10, 2007, 07:09:20 PM »
Sort of changing the subject a bit...

One of the things that really attracts me to HLS is their more voluminous offering of joint degree/enrollment programs. I have a specific interest in a graduate school at Harvard, in an area that Yale doesn't offer any sort of instruction.

This a good reason to prefer Harvard, though it's worth checking out cross-institutional joint degrees.  I know someone doing HLS + ____ PhD.

H4CS

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Re: Harvard v. Yale?
« Reply #18 on: December 10, 2007, 07:16:08 PM »
I think that ex ante, it's the better choice for pretty much everyone.

Statements like these astonish me.

Eveman in Ingmarland

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Re: Harvard v. Yale?
« Reply #19 on: December 10, 2007, 07:17:18 PM »
I think that ex ante, it's the better choice for pretty much everyone.

Statements like these astonish me.

You are easily astonished.