Harvard vs. Yale NY Big Law

Discuss comparisons of various school choices and the various metrics that inform them, including rankings, student life, location, etc.
cookiemonster
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Harvard vs. Yale NY Big Law

Post by cookiemonster » Wed Nov 25, 2020 7:31 pm

Goal is to do transactional big law in NY. Say I got into both, which one would be the better choice?

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Nony
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Re: Harvard vs. Yale NY Big Law

Post by Nony » Wed Nov 25, 2020 7:58 pm

Whichever is cheaper.

cookiemonster
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Re: Harvard vs. Yale NY Big Law

Post by cookiemonster » Wed Nov 25, 2020 8:00 pm

Nony wrote:
Wed Nov 25, 2020 7:58 pm
Whichever is cheaper.
Imagine they're both the same price, whats the best choice then?

Story
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Re: Harvard vs. Yale NY Big Law

Post by Story » Wed Nov 25, 2020 8:29 pm

I would make my decision on things other than your goal of transactional work. City, class size, etc.

cookiemonster
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Re: Harvard vs. Yale NY Big Law

Post by cookiemonster » Wed Nov 25, 2020 8:33 pm

Story wrote:
Wed Nov 25, 2020 8:29 pm
I would make my decision on things other than your goal of transactional work. City, class size, etc.
Are the two really indifferent in terms of job placement and career outcomes?

Story
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Re: Harvard vs. Yale NY Big Law

Post by Story » Wed Nov 25, 2020 8:43 pm

If you’re talking about transactional work, then yes. IMHO.

cookiemonster
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Re: Harvard vs. Yale NY Big Law

Post by cookiemonster » Wed Nov 25, 2020 8:52 pm

Story wrote:
Wed Nov 25, 2020 8:43 pm
If you’re talking about transactional work, then yes. IMHO.
If I eventually want to do general counsel at a Fortune 500, will there be a difference then?

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Stranger
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Re: Harvard vs. Yale NY Big Law

Post by Stranger » Wed Nov 25, 2020 8:55 pm

Whichever t13 gives you a full ride. NY transactional biglaw isn't the sort of unicorn job where it's worth the extra expense (debt) for fairly similar outcomes in terms of odds of getting the job. I mean, if it's all debt free, sure, pick based on location/profs/class size/preftige.

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Nony
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Re: Harvard vs. Yale NY Big Law

Post by Nony » Wed Nov 25, 2020 9:00 pm

cookiemonster wrote:
Wed Nov 25, 2020 8:52 pm
Story wrote:
Wed Nov 25, 2020 8:43 pm
If you’re talking about transactional work, then yes. IMHO.
If I eventually want to do general counsel at a Fortune 500, will there be a difference then?
Not really. By that point it will be about your experience, and anyone who cares about pedigree will be satisfied by either school.

Yale has some employment advantages over Harvard, but they're generally not in NYC transactional work, but in more niche kinds of work (not GC of a Fortune 500 types of jobs). That said, if you want NYC transactional work out of Yale you'll certainly get it. If everything else really is equal, I would pick based on class size (do you want a small class or a big one?) and location (do you want to live in New Haven or Boston?).

But really there's no bad option here, if you have this choice.

cookiemonster
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Re: Harvard vs. Yale NY Big Law

Post by cookiemonster » Wed Nov 25, 2020 9:00 pm

Stranger wrote:
Wed Nov 25, 2020 8:55 pm
Whichever t13 gives you a full ride. NY transactional biglaw isn't the sort of unicorn job where it's worth the extra expense (debt) for fairly similar outcomes in terms of odds of getting the job. I mean, if it's all debt free, sure, pick based on location/profs/class size/preftige.
Ahh so if it was all debt free then there wouldn't really be a difference between Harvard or Yale?

cookiemonster
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Re: Harvard vs. Yale NY Big Law

Post by cookiemonster » Wed Nov 25, 2020 9:01 pm

Nony wrote:
Wed Nov 25, 2020 9:00 pm
cookiemonster wrote:
Wed Nov 25, 2020 8:52 pm
Story wrote:
Wed Nov 25, 2020 8:43 pm
If you’re talking about transactional work, then yes. IMHO.
If I eventually want to do general counsel at a Fortune 500, will there be a difference then?
Not really. By that point it will be about your experience, and anyone who cares about pedigree will be satisfied by either school.

Yale has some employment advantages over Harvard, but they're generally not in NYC transactional work, but in more niche kinds of work (not GC of a Fortune 500 types of jobs). That said, if you want NYC transactional work out of Yale you'll certainly get it. If everything else really is equal, I would pick based on class size (do you want a small class or a big one?) and location (do you want to live in New Haven or Boston?).

But really there's no bad option here, if you have this choice.
Cool, don't have the choice, but was just curious. Thank you for participating in this thought experiment haha.

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Nony
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Re: Harvard vs. Yale NY Big Law

Post by Nony » Wed Nov 25, 2020 9:22 pm

cookiemonster wrote:
Wed Nov 25, 2020 9:00 pm
Stranger wrote:
Wed Nov 25, 2020 8:55 pm
Whichever t13 gives you a full ride. NY transactional biglaw isn't the sort of unicorn job where it's worth the extra expense (debt) for fairly similar outcomes in terms of odds of getting the job. I mean, if it's all debt free, sure, pick based on location/profs/class size/preftige.
Ahh so if it was all debt free then there wouldn't really be a difference between Harvard or Yale?
Not in terms of getting you to a NY biglaw corporate job. Sure, Yale is ranked #1 and Harvard is ranked #3. But that doesn't translate into a measurable difference in corporate biglaw opportunities. Fewer people at Yale will go into biglaw than at Harvard, and Yale is quite a bit smaller, so the culture will differ at the two schools, but which one you prefer will depend on personal preference.

Gun to my head and everything else (i.e. cost) equal, I'd probably go with Yale, just because it's Yale. But if you want to live in a bigger city, you want a bigger class, you just like Harvard better, you wouldn't be losing out on anything to go there.

(But also full ride at CCN is probably the correct answer, if that's an option. Or frankly at most of the T14.)

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pneumonia
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Re: Harvard vs. Yale NY Big Law

Post by pneumonia » Wed Nov 25, 2020 10:54 pm

NYC transactional while aiming for F500 GC is one of the few goals where Harvard makes sense over Yale. Proximity to HBS and larger class sizes both favor H here.

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pancakes3
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Re: Harvard vs. Yale NY Big Law

Post by pancakes3 » Thu Nov 26, 2020 12:09 am

i mean, if you got into Yale, you should go to Yale.

cookiemonster
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Re: Harvard vs. Yale NY Big Law

Post by cookiemonster » Thu Nov 26, 2020 10:34 am

pneumonia wrote:
Wed Nov 25, 2020 10:54 pm
NYC transactional while aiming for F500 GC is one of the few goals where Harvard makes sense over Yale. Proximity to HBS and larger class sizes both favor H here.
Ahh so this is the network argument, correct? Does the alumni network, or simply knowing a lot more future lawyers, really make that much of a difference? The prestige of Yale's law school wouldn't outweigh this?

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Nony
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Re: Harvard vs. Yale NY Big Law

Post by Nony » Thu Nov 26, 2020 11:01 am

Look, if you want to go to Yale, that's totally defensible. If you want to go to Harvard, that's totally defensible. There's no scientific way of judging the weight of Yale's prestige v. the weight of Harvard's network. I think it's probably undeniable that there are more Harvard alums in corporate biglaw than Yale alums, because there are more Harvard alums, period, and it seems that a smaller proportion of Yale grads go into corporate biglaw as compared to Harvard grads. So a larger network means more people in positions that might be relevant to you. That said, a smaller network might create stronger ties, and corporate biglaw is one of the easiest routes to follow from a top school, so a larger network might not make much difference. None of this can be scientifically measured.

That said, the difference in prestige between Yale and Harvard is small enough that it shouldn't be weighted much except in a specific subset of jobs that you haven't shown any interest in.

(I do think it's fair to weigh the strength of alumni networks - that's a bit more concrete and measurable than "prestige," when you're comparing 2 of the top 3 schools in the country - although it's not dispositive.)

This is why I said to pick the one that's cheaper - you can achieve the career goals you've identified just as easily from either of these schools so assuming all else is equal, save some money. Or if they really do cost the same, pick on purely subjective factors. Yale being #1 is a perfectly fine subjective factor. Liking Boston better is a perfectly fine subjective factor.

(And as suggested already, going to a top school that's not H or Y on a full ride is another, much less expensive way to achieve what you want to achieve. Certainly not everyone who gets into H & Y has the option of money at CCN/MVP, but for someone who does, who wants to do corporate biglaw --> in-house, they should probably take the money and run.)

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pancakes3
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Re: Harvard vs. Yale NY Big Law

Post by pancakes3 » Thu Nov 26, 2020 11:39 am

The best answer is likely: you probably don't want to be a lawyer and if you have the credentials where Yale is in play, and want to be in a senior position at a F500, it'd be better to go to b school

cookiemonster
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Re: Harvard vs. Yale NY Big Law

Post by cookiemonster » Thu Nov 26, 2020 11:47 am

Nony wrote:
Thu Nov 26, 2020 11:01 am
Look, if you want to go to Yale, that's totally defensible. If you want to go to Harvard, that's totally defensible. There's no scientific way of judging the weight of Yale's prestige v. the weight of Harvard's network. I think it's probably undeniable that there are more Harvard alums in corporate biglaw than Yale alums, because there are more Harvard alums, period, and it seems that a smaller proportion of Yale grads go into corporate biglaw as compared to Harvard grads. So a larger network means more people in positions that might be relevant to you. That said, a smaller network might create stronger ties, and corporate biglaw is one of the easiest routes to follow from a top school, so a larger network might not make much difference. None of this can be scientifically measured.

That said, the difference in prestige between Yale and Harvard is small enough that it shouldn't be weighted much except in a specific subset of jobs that you haven't shown any interest in.

(I do think it's fair to weigh the strength of alumni networks - that's a bit more concrete and measurable than "prestige," when you're comparing 2 of the top 3 schools in the country - although it's not dispositive.)

This is why I said to pick the one that's cheaper - you can achieve the career goals you've identified just as easily from either of these schools so assuming all else is equal, save some money. Or if they really do cost the same, pick on purely subjective factors. Yale being #1 is a perfectly fine subjective factor. Liking Boston better is a perfectly fine subjective factor.

(And as suggested already, going to a top school that's not H or Y on a full ride is another, much less expensive way to achieve what you want to achieve. Certainly not everyone who gets into H & Y has the option of money at CCN/MVP, but for someone who does, who wants to do corporate biglaw --> in-house, they should probably take the money and run.)
100% agree with the full ride being a better option, especially for this career path. But your points on network and such make a lot of sense, thank you for clarifying. I'm certainly not wealthy enough to go to any school for free, but was just interested in comparing two of the top schools.

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Re: Harvard vs. Yale NY Big Law

Post by BlendedUnicorn » Thu Nov 26, 2020 11:48 am

Stranger wrote:
Wed Nov 25, 2020 8:55 pm
Whichever t13 gives you a full ride. NY transactional biglaw isn't the sort of unicorn job where it's worth the extra expense (debt) for fairly similar outcomes in terms of odds of getting the job. I mean, if it's all debt free, sure, pick based on location/profs/class size/preftige.
Yeah if NYC biglaw transactional is the goal it would be insane to take Harvard or yale over $$$ at CCN

cookiemonster
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Re: Harvard vs. Yale NY Big Law

Post by cookiemonster » Thu Nov 26, 2020 11:49 am

pancakes3 wrote:
Thu Nov 26, 2020 11:39 am
The best answer is likely: you probably don't want to be a lawyer and if you have the credentials where Yale is in play, and want to be in a senior position at a F500, it'd be better to go to b school
Assuming b school means business school, you need experience, no? I'm a KJD so I don't think business school will be an option for at least 2-3 years, law school seems like a quicker path IMO. Am I wrong to think so?

cookiemonster
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Re: Harvard vs. Yale NY Big Law

Post by cookiemonster » Thu Nov 26, 2020 11:51 am

BlendedUnicorn wrote:
Thu Nov 26, 2020 11:48 am
Stranger wrote:
Wed Nov 25, 2020 8:55 pm
Whichever t13 gives you a full ride. NY transactional biglaw isn't the sort of unicorn job where it's worth the extra expense (debt) for fairly similar outcomes in terms of odds of getting the job. I mean, if it's all debt free, sure, pick based on location/profs/class size/preftige.
Yeah if NYC biglaw transactional is the goal it would be insane to take Harvard or yale over $$$ at CCN
I agree 100% $$$ or $$$$ at CCN a better option than sticker at HYS for corporate law. Would it be better than full aid at HYS though? With about half the tuition covered?

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Re: Harvard vs. Yale NY Big Law

Post by icechicken » Thu Nov 26, 2020 11:58 am

cookiemonster wrote:
Thu Nov 26, 2020 11:51 am
BlendedUnicorn wrote:
Thu Nov 26, 2020 11:48 am
Stranger wrote:
Wed Nov 25, 2020 8:55 pm
Whichever t13 gives you a full ride. NY transactional biglaw isn't the sort of unicorn job where it's worth the extra expense (debt) for fairly similar outcomes in terms of odds of getting the job. I mean, if it's all debt free, sure, pick based on location/profs/class size/preftige.
Yeah if NYC biglaw transactional is the goal it would be insane to take Harvard or yale over $$$ at CCN
I agree 100% $$$ or $$$$ at CCN a better option than sticker at HYS for corporate law. Would it be better than full aid at HYS though? With about half the tuition covered?
Full aid at HYS still leaves like $150k of total costs (I assume this keeps going up with inflation too). Not worth it. The marginal value between any two T6 schools is small for NYC transactional biglaw.

cookiemonster
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Re: Harvard vs. Yale NY Big Law

Post by cookiemonster » Thu Nov 26, 2020 12:03 pm

icechicken wrote:
Thu Nov 26, 2020 11:58 am
cookiemonster wrote:
Thu Nov 26, 2020 11:51 am
BlendedUnicorn wrote:
Thu Nov 26, 2020 11:48 am
Stranger wrote:
Wed Nov 25, 2020 8:55 pm
Whichever t13 gives you a full ride. NY transactional biglaw isn't the sort of unicorn job where it's worth the extra expense (debt) for fairly similar outcomes in terms of odds of getting the job. I mean, if it's all debt free, sure, pick based on location/profs/class size/preftige.
Yeah if NYC biglaw transactional is the goal it would be insane to take Harvard or yale over $$$ at CCN
I agree 100% $$$ or $$$$ at CCN a better option than sticker at HYS for corporate law. Would it be better than full aid at HYS though? With about half the tuition covered?
Full aid at HYS still leaves like $150k of total costs (I assume this keeps going up with inflation too). Not worth it. The marginal value between any two T6 schools is small for NYC transactional biglaw.
Ahh when you put it that way I fully agree. Name just isn't worth that much in a career where all you need is a T14 to do great. Thanks for your help!

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Re: Harvard vs. Yale NY Big Law

Post by pneumonia » Thu Nov 26, 2020 12:15 pm

cookiemonster wrote:
Thu Nov 26, 2020 10:34 am
pneumonia wrote:
Wed Nov 25, 2020 10:54 pm
NYC transactional while aiming for F500 GC is one of the few goals where Harvard makes sense over Yale. Proximity to HBS and larger class sizes both favor H here.
Ahh so this is the network argument, correct? Does the alumni network, or simply knowing a lot more future lawyers, really make that much of a difference? The prestige of Yale's law school wouldn't outweigh this?
Yale's prestige is very real and measurable in many contexts. I don't think NYC transactional law and F500 GCs offices are among them. As nony said, the HLS network is bigger, by about 3x. That mean all the more touch points for going in house. Meanwhile, many from Yale's smaller class will be aiming exclusively for academia or academia-adjacent roles. There were about a half-dozen people that I knew in my class who had chosen HLS over YLS. One did so because s/he liked Cambridge more than New Haven and didn't really plan to practice anyway. The rest were hypersocial networkers aiming for business or political careers.

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pneumonia
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Re: Harvard vs. Yale NY Big Law

Post by pneumonia » Thu Nov 26, 2020 12:17 pm

pneumonia wrote:
Thu Nov 26, 2020 12:15 pm
cookiemonster wrote:
Thu Nov 26, 2020 10:34 am
pneumonia wrote:
Wed Nov 25, 2020 10:54 pm
NYC transactional while aiming for F500 GC is one of the few goals where Harvard makes sense over Yale. Proximity to HBS and larger class sizes both favor H here.
Ahh so this is the network argument, correct? Does the alumni network, or simply knowing a lot more future lawyers, really make that much of a difference? The prestige of Yale's law school wouldn't outweigh this?
Yale's prestige is very real and measurable in many contexts. I don't think NYC transactional law and F500 GCs offices are among them. As nony said, the HLS network is bigger, by about 3x. That mean all the more touch points for going in house. Meanwhile, many from Yale's smaller class will be aiming exclusively for academia or academia-adjacent roles. There were about a half-dozen people that I knew in my class who had chosen HLS over YLS. One did so because s/he liked Cambridge more than New Haven and didn't really plan to practice anyway. The rest were hypersocial networkers aiming for business or political careers.
ETA: put another way, either will give you almost a 100% shot at NYC transactional, which is the first step in your plan. Beyond that, moving in house will require connections (some of which you'll develop at your firm), and the prestige difference between H and Yale will be irrelevant.

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