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Prestige vs Money

ExcitedKidExcitedKid 0 replies1 threads New Member
I have a 173/3.8 from a usnwr top 10 university.
*Suppose* I get accepted to HYS. Then *suppose* I get decent money (say 50%) from a lower school.
How far down the ladder would you suggest *NOT* to take the money because the prestige of a law degree from HYS far pays back the money I save up front from the scholarship (and, yes, assume that I can pay the money if I really had to). I assume that I would take the money if a bottom 6 offered it. How about a bottom 14? top 20 school?
I would like to hear people's opinion.
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Replies to: Prestige vs Money

  • SlippinJimmySlippinJimmy 39 replies0 threads Junior Member
    I think this is a personal decision with no one right answer. It depends on your career goals, your financial situation, and your tolerance for debt. HYS give you a better shot at certain super competitive jobs, whether that's working at an elite law firm or doing impact litigation at a major nonprofit. But even then, those kinds of jobs are still tough to get. If you'd be happy with any big law firm job (they pretty much all pay the same), that's plenty achievable from any T14, so I think it could make sense to take a scholarship to a slightly lower ranked school. If you dip too far out of the T14 though, you're taking a bit of a gamble because lots of those students don't land biglaw jobs.

    It's probably not worth thinking about it too much until you actually have the offers. But you can go on Law School Transparency and look at the career outcomes from different schools and play with a debt calculator to see what your monthly payments would actually look like.
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  • bluebayoubluebayou 28255 replies213 threads Senior Member
    edited November 2016
    It depends on your career goals.

    Bingo. If you are after a unicorn-type job, than HYS should be the top of your list. Of course, you will be competing with all the other Unicorn-wannabes, and if you end up in the middle of HLS's (really smart, and gunner?) class, you have no chance at Unicorn.

    If your goal is Big Law, then any of the T14 will give you a great shot. That being said, if you are a Texan and want to remain and practice in Texas, then attending UT on a ~full ride would make perfect sense. Ditto if your interest was SoCal (UCLA./USC).

    edited November 2016
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  • HappyAlumnusHappyAlumnus 1177 replies46 threads Senior Member
    SlippinJimmy and bluebayou are correct.

    You can look at each law school's yield to see how many people do decline their offers and go to other schools. I'd guess that most people who decline HYS go to another one of those schools, although certainly people turn them down and go to lower-ranked schools for cash.

    I turned down about a 25%-off scholarship at one top 10 school and went to H, but just because I did it doesn't mean that you should. However, it's still a tough job market, and I wouldn't go too far below HYS. I'd do Columbia and U. of Chicago, but not much below.

    Also, just because you have amazing grades and amazing test scores doesn't guarantee a specific outcome within your law school class; sometimes people do OK in college and amazing in law school, or amazing in college and just OK in law school, so don't turn down HYS and expect to be at the top of your class elsewhere; that might or might well not happen. College and law school can be such different areas of study that ability in a college major doesn't equal ability in law school--in my own experience, at least.
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  • juilletjuillet 12879 replies165 threads Super Moderator
    I think it depends on your goals but only to a certain point. Once you get below the top 20-30ish, take the HYS/top school at full pay vs. the scholarship. An HYS law school is pretty much a guarantee of a law job, and you can get a pretty well-paying one. If you attend a #35 law school at 50%, you'll still owe around $100,000 in law debt and you may not have a salary that can repay that.
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