Columbia vs. UPenn vs. Duke ($) vs Northwestern ($$)


DL5J

Hey guys,

Same question as lots of you have, how much is it worth doing the LLM at an ivy league school? I got accepted by Columbia and UPenn (also Cornell/NYU), but have not received a scholarship or scholarship decision yet, respectively while I have been offered a $25K scholarship by Duke and a nearly full ride by NU.

Which one would you choose?

I’d be able to afford all schools, but without scholarship it’s a huge amount of money and I’ll need to take a substantial loan (leaving aside opportunity costs). From a course perspective, I think all schools offer great courses in the areas I’m interested in (commercial, tech, capital markets). I’m already working in a big law firm in my home country (corporate) and plan to return to my job afterwards. Nevertheless, the perception on the US legal market is also an important factor and I would not exclude it to make use of OPT in case of a great offer. Is there really much difference regarding job opportunities for LLMs regarding big law or in house positions (yes, I know Columbia’s interview program is more elite)?
Of course, Columbia (also UPenn) seems to be more prestigious and known in Europe, but I guess all schools have good alumni networks, so I’m wondering if this really makes a difference? Duke and Northwestern seem also to be quite interdisciplinary from a business / tech perspective which I appreciate much.

I think there is definitely no wrong choice here, but I’d be happy to hear your thoughts on what might be the best solution.

Hey guys,

Same question as lots of you have, how much is it worth doing the LLM at an ivy league school? I got accepted by Columbia and UPenn (also Cornell/NYU), but have not received a scholarship or scholarship decision yet, respectively while I have been offered a $25K scholarship by Duke and a nearly full ride by NU.

Which one would you choose?

I’d be able to afford all schools, but without scholarship it’s a huge amount of money and I’ll need to take a substantial loan (leaving aside opportunity costs). From a course perspective, I think all schools offer great courses in the areas I’m interested in (commercial, tech, capital markets). I’m already working in a big law firm in my home country (corporate) and plan to return to my job afterwards. Nevertheless, the perception on the US legal market is also an important factor and I would not exclude it to make use of OPT in case of a great offer. Is there really much difference regarding job opportunities for LLMs regarding big law or in house positions (yes, I know Columbia’s interview program is more elite)?
Of course, Columbia (also UPenn) seems to be more prestigious and known in Europe, but I guess all schools have good alumni networks, so I’m wondering if this really makes a difference? Duke and Northwestern seem also to be quite interdisciplinary from a business / tech perspective which I appreciate much.

I think there is definitely no wrong choice here, but I’d be happy to hear your thoughts on what might be the best solution.
quote
safgold

Hi DL5J, I am literally in the exact situation as you. I have also received an almost full-ride to Northwestern. I am too, still waiting for scholarship decisions from Columbia, UPenn and NYU.

I am probably going to choose Northwestern, it's a great school with a stellar reputation for corporate big law. I'm planning on finding a US big law job afterwards and the career services seem really supportive and connected. I am qualified in a common law jurisdiction and have trained at an international office of a Top 5 (lawyer count)  US big law firm - factors that should make my job search slightly easier than most LLMs. Like you, I also have to take a loan to supplement the scholarship award. Attending an Ivy or a higher ranked school would be awesome, but I don't believe it would make a huge difference in securing a post-LLM US job.

Also some extra perspective, in my home country and currency the Northwestern award is equivalent to buying a 1-bed room apartment, or a mid-level lawyer's annual salary compensation at a local Top 5 law firm. If you think in relative terms - then I would be stupid crazy to pass on the Northwestern scholarship offer to attend an Ivy on full tuition.

[Edited by safgold on Mar 24, 2021]

<div>Hi DL5J, I am literally in the exact situation as you. I have also received an almost full-ride to Northwestern. I am too, still waiting for scholarship decisions from Columbia,&nbsp;UPenn and NYU.</div><br><br><div>I am probably going to choose&nbsp;Northwestern, it's a great school with a stellar reputation for corporate big law. I'm planning on finding a US big law job afterwards and the career services seem really supportive and connected. I am qualified in a common law jurisdiction and have trained at an international office of a Top 5 (lawyer count)&nbsp; US big law firm - factors that should make my job search slightly easier than most LLMs. Like you, I also have to take a loan to supplement the scholarship award. Attending an Ivy or a higher ranked school would be awesome, but I don't believe it would make a huge difference in securing a post-LLM US job.</div><br><br><div>Also some extra perspective, in my home country and currency the Northwestern award is equivalent to buying a 1-bed room apartment, or a mid-level lawyer's annual salary compensation at a local Top 5 law firm. If you think in relative terms - then I would be stupid crazy to pass on the Northwestern scholarship offer to attend an Ivy on full tuition.</div>
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DL5J

Hi safgold,

very interesting to hear! NU is obviously also a great school and their LLM program looks pretty good to me. There's definitely a chance we might meet there in summer ;) I’d also agree with you in respect to job placement. Of course, ivy status might open some more doors, but I’d guess this gap is rather small and especially foreign trained lawyers will have to bring a lot more to the table than graduating from an ivy LLM program to be hired by an US law firm. For those who return to their home countries I think it doesn’t make much difference and T14 would be more than sufficient to demonstrate internationality, understanding of the common law system, etc. And, still, Columbia&Co are tempting…of course, most people will tell you to go to the highest ranked school since they don’t have to cover tuition and living themselves…

I’m curious what are your pros and cons for NU and your favorite school (if all would cost you the same)? Are you going to ask for expedited review of scholarship decisions?

[Edited by DL5J on Mar 24, 2021]

Hi safgold,<br><br>very interesting to hear! NU is obviously also a great school and their LLM program looks pretty good to me. There's definitely a chance we might meet there in summer ;) I’d also agree with you in respect to job placement. Of course, ivy status might open some more doors, but I’d guess this gap is rather small and especially foreign trained lawyers will have to bring a lot more to the table than graduating from an ivy LLM program to be hired by an US law firm. For those who return to their home countries I think it doesn’t make much difference and T14 would be more than sufficient to demonstrate internationality, understanding of the common law system, etc. And, still, Columbia&amp;Co are tempting…of course, most people will tell you to go to the highest ranked school since they don’t have to cover tuition and living themselves…<br><br><div>I’m curious what are your pros and cons for NU and your favorite school (if all would cost you the same)? Are you going to ask for expedited review of scholarship decisions?</div>
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