First caveat: you should still negotiate, even if you think Michigan is the right fit for you. You have negotiating leverage until you've exhausted every negotiating angle with your current offers. LRAP is a great tool to manage debt when you're going into lower paying work in PI or government, but limiting debt is always better than not limiting debt, if you can. LRAP acts as a safety blanket, not as a blanket excuse to take on unnecessary extra debt.mwest42 wrote: ↑Thu Apr 19, 2018 8:54 pmHello, would be extremely grateful for advice!! Stats: 3.7/172, 1 yr out of undergrad.
Michigan with 120k total scholarship for COA of ~125k
UChicago with 75k total scholarship for COA of ~175k
Paying basically everything with loans. I have NU and Duke offers with COA similar to Michigan's, but have pretty much decided Mich is a better fit than those two. I haven't tried to negotiate with Michigan but I assume that wouldn't really work since I have no higher scholly offers in the T14.
Want to work in Chicago or DC - strong Chicago ties. Aiming for PI/government (impact lit would be super but not 100% sure on specifics). I really want a clerkship after graduation, and while I know that depends on grades, it seems UChicago really emphasizes clerkship placement. Not interested in BigLaw but if it seems doing that for a couple years is the best path to high-level PI/gov then I wouldn't completely rule it out.
I visited both and liked both. I think I prefer Michigan's more laid-back vibes but also slightly prefer Chicago's location so those kinda cancel out in my mind. The two schools' LRAPs seem pretty comparable to me so not sure how to factor that into cost considerations, assuming I manage to stick with PI. I think it comes down to whether UChi's superior clerkship numbers and access to Chicago market make it worth the extra debt? I was thinking no but then they upped my scholly in negotiations and now I'm struggling. Thanks!!
I mean this in the most respectful way I can muster via an online community, but the way you describe your goals seems to be some mixture of "I want to do good!" with "I want to have prestigious outcomes!" with "I want to impress people with what I'm doing!" I know that's not completely fair, because we're basically eliminating nuance in discussing generic goals of a 0L, but it comes off that way. This mainly stems from "I really want a clerkship," which is a weirdly normal career goal in our online community, for better or worse, followed by effectively "I want to do impact lit or government, don't want biglaw, but would do it if it made sense for ultimately getting PI/gov." This isn't meant to make fun of your goals or to say that you shouldn't have any of them individually, but just that they're not really very particular (for instance, you don't specifically want to get into one particular impact lit type of organization like Sierra Club or ACLU). So just understand that any advice I give beyond this point is colored by this understanding of your goals and how they fit into the decision.
You seem pretty unsure of what you want to do ultimately, and while you have a few general goals and markets you want to end up in, nothing screams a clear answer. When that's the case, I especially warn people to limit debt (and to be fair, I warn people to limit debt more often than not, so this definitely paints my general aversion of debt, but it doesn't make it necessarily bad advice). So if you were strictly picking between Michigan and Chicago, you should limit debt and go to Michigan. If you find yourself studying for the NY bar before starting at a big firm in NYC or the IL bar before starting at a big firm in Chicago in 2021 (which seems to be your least desired goal that you'd be potentially interested in), you'll be grateful you didn't pay an extra $50k to be in that position.
All of this said: the better you can define the career you ultimately want to have, outside of platitudinal goals of a clerkship-->impact lit/elite federal gov't of some kind, the better you can make this decision. Clerkships are usually a big plus for someone wanting to be a litigator, but if you can better refine what you want in your ultimate career, you can better assess your options. Right now, you're not incredibly well-prepared to do that kind of differentiation.
I would recommend Michigan here, but I also don't think Chicago is a terrible option given your circumstances/goals. I know you're not looking for deferential advice that basically says "you just do you" I'm not trying to do that, but I want you to know that if you decide to take Chicago in this particular instance, I wouldn't shake my head and worry that I'm doing a disservice to you in the advice I provided. I just want to help you suss out this decision.