Penn vs Berkeley : what would you do?


Chang
Hi,

I'm quite hesitating between these two. Please feel free to help me.

Here are some factors, thx to tmalmine:

1. East coast v. West coast
I like both. There are advantages in both cases.

2. Sunshine v. snow
I'd prefer sunshine, of course.

3. LA or SF job market v. NY market
An LLM graduate got more chances to secure a job in NYC, right?

4. Financial aid packages
If I got a tuition waiver/scholarship from any, a decision will be easily made. :)

5. Higher v. lower-ranked school
Penn wins here.

6. Your fields of special interest
Litigation, arbitration. Mmm, well, maybe Penn.

7. California chicks v. Penn nerds
"Answer is in the question".

8. Extra
Penn is unknown in my country. At the opposite, Berkeley is famous, even though very few are LLM graduates.

As you can see, it's not a no-brainer I think.
What would you do ?

Cheers,

Chang
Hi,

I'm quite hesitating between these two. Please feel free to help me.

Here are some factors, thx to tmalmine:

1. East coast v. West coast
I like both. There are advantages in both cases.

2. Sunshine v. snow
I'd prefer sunshine, of course.

3. LA or SF job market v. NY market
An LLM graduate got more chances to secure a job in NYC, right?

4. Financial aid packages
If I got a tuition waiver/scholarship from any, a decision will be easily made. :)

5. Higher v. lower-ranked school
Penn wins here.

6. Your fields of special interest
Litigation, arbitration. Mmm, well, maybe Penn.

7. California chicks v. Penn nerds
"Answer is in the question".

8. Extra
Penn is unknown in my country. At the opposite, Berkeley is famous, even though very few are LLM graduates.

As you can see, it's not a no-brainer I think.
What would you do ?

Cheers,

Chang
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dam
Berkeley. I wouldn't have any doubts.
Of course, this is just a personal opinion.
Berkeley. I wouldn't have any doubts.
Of course, this is just a personal opinion.
quote
figaro
Re ranking: I would say that there is not much difference between Penn and Berkeley... Berkeley has a more prestigious reputation here as well. About 5 to 10 years ago, Berkeley was really tough to get in (I hear) but now they have enlargend their LLM class a bit. Penn is not very well known here.

Have friends who went to Berkeley and Penn and they are all very enthusiastic about their schools - the only difference I see among my friends is that Penn graduates are in general more leaned towards corporate law (I think one of the main reasons to go to Penn is to attend classes at Wharton) - but again, I also know corporate lawyers who went to Berkeley.

Have the impression that you are more attracted to Berkeley and its surroundings, no? Whats your gut feeling?
Re ranking: I would say that there is not much difference between Penn and Berkeley... Berkeley has a more prestigious reputation here as well. About 5 to 10 years ago, Berkeley was really tough to get in (I hear) but now they have enlargend their LLM class a bit. Penn is not very well known here.

Have friends who went to Berkeley and Penn and they are all very enthusiastic about their schools - the only difference I see among my friends is that Penn graduates are in general more leaned towards corporate law (I think one of the main reasons to go to Penn is to attend classes at Wharton) - but again, I also know corporate lawyers who went to Berkeley.

Have the impression that you are more attracted to Berkeley and its surroundings, no? Whats your gut feeling?
quote
Chang
Berkeley. I wouldn't have any doubts.
Of course, this is just a personal opinion.


thanx a lot dam. But why Berkeley ?
<blockquote>Berkeley. I wouldn't have any doubts.
Of course, this is just a personal opinion.</blockquote>

thanx a lot dam. But why Berkeley ?
quote
Chang
Thank you very much figaro.
I guess it's a win-win so. :)
Yes, if I gotta spend only one year in the US in my life, I'd prefer Cali over Philly. Cali vs NYS would have been a tougher choice though.
BTW, where are you from figaro?
Thank you very much figaro.
I guess it's a win-win so. :)
Yes, if I gotta spend only one year in the US in my life, I'd prefer Cali over Philly. Cali vs NYS would have been a tougher choice though.
BTW, where are you from figaro?
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dam
If you were to get the same value for money in both places, the choice would be - again: In my opinion - an absolutely no brainer.
Berkeley is simply wonderful: weather, campus, surroundings, people. I decided to apply for an LLM after visiting Boalt Hall and I am absolutely in love with San Francisco.
You might object that because of rankings you're not going to get the same value than in UPenn.
I don't think this is true: UPenn is 7th whereas Berkeley is 8th (and the difference between the two is 1/100 on the absolute scale).
But: Berkeley has consistently ranked among the top 10 since US News ranks schools, while UPenn (much like NYU) has climbed the rankings more recently (I'm not saying this is something to be ashamed of - just that choosing Berkeley your prestige investment looks more stable in a long period prospect).
Furthermore - at least in Western Europe - Berkeley is much more renowned than UPenn, i.e. almost everybody you talk to knows Berkeley, both inside and outside legal circles.
As a matter of personal experience I did not have to explain to anybody why I applied to Berkeley, whereas I had to explain to many people what made UPenn a comparable choice.
That being said, I must state that UPenn is a terrific school (and they admitted me, too!), but I'd choose Berkeley without hesitation.
If you were to get the same value for money in both places, the choice would be - again: In my opinion - an absolutely no brainer.
Berkeley is simply wonderful: weather, campus, surroundings, people. I decided to apply for an LLM after visiting Boalt Hall and I am absolutely in love with San Francisco.
You might object that because of rankings you're not going to get the same value than in UPenn.
I don't think this is true: UPenn is 7th whereas Berkeley is 8th (and the difference between the two is 1/100 on the absolute scale).
But: Berkeley has consistently ranked among the top 10 since US News ranks schools, while UPenn (much like NYU) has climbed the rankings more recently (I'm not saying this is something to be ashamed of - just that choosing Berkeley your prestige investment looks more stable in a long period prospect).
Furthermore - at least in Western Europe - Berkeley is much more renowned than UPenn, i.e. almost everybody you talk to knows Berkeley, both inside and outside legal circles.
As a matter of personal experience I did not have to explain to anybody why I applied to Berkeley, whereas I had to explain to many people what made UPenn a comparable choice.
That being said, I must state that UPenn is a terrific school (and they admitted me, too!), but I'd choose Berkeley without hesitation.
quote
From an Austrian point of view (I'm from Vienna) Berkeley is - at least among academics or higher educated people - regarded as absolute elitist institution - Penn maybe is quite reputable among jurists with a broader (international) horizon, but certainly not among academics in general. I would even say that Penn is to some degree unknown while Berkeley is regarded to be in the same league as Harvard, Yale or Stanford. Say you studied at Berkeley - people will be gobsmacked; say you studied at Penn - people will be left without much orientation. Of course you will not want to practice in Austria but perhaps this is helpful to calibrate your position (whereas I want to emphasize that I am solely speaking in regard to reputation here! I am convinced that concerning quality of courses etc both may be more or less equivalent).

Cheers, Chief W.
From an Austrian point of view (I'm from Vienna) Berkeley is - at least among academics or higher educated people - regarded as absolute elitist institution - Penn maybe is quite reputable among jurists with a broader (international) horizon, but certainly not among academics in general. I would even say that Penn is to some degree unknown while Berkeley is regarded to be in the same league as Harvard, Yale or Stanford. Say you studied at Berkeley - people will be gobsmacked; say you studied at Penn - people will be left without much orientation. Of course you will not want to practice in Austria but perhaps this is helpful to calibrate your position (whereas I want to emphasize that I am solely speaking in regard to reputation here! I am convinced that concerning quality of courses etc both may be more or less equivalent).

Cheers, Chief W.
quote
And - by the way - Hans Kelsen taught at Berkeley. Just because he was of Austrian origin... ;-)
And - by the way - Hans Kelsen taught at Berkeley. Just because he was of Austrian origin... ;-)
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fg
I haven't studied at either school but I should point out that the comment regarding long-term investment with a Berkeley degree may be incorrect. In fact, Berkeley, as a state university, is currently being squeezed for funds and really struggling financially. I not sure if this is the same for Penn (which is an Ivie, btw, if that matters to you) but I know that people in the academic staff at Berkeley are leaving and they can't recruit as many top people any more.
That being said, I did apply to Berkeley and think highly of it. Really it is a win-win situation so I would choose based on faculty and city. Personally I prefer SFO to Phillie.
I wouldn't worry about the NY job market - I know people at my commercial firm in NYC who are from Berkeley.
I haven't studied at either school but I should point out that the comment regarding long-term investment with a Berkeley degree may be incorrect. In fact, Berkeley, as a state university, is currently being squeezed for funds and really struggling financially. I not sure if this is the same for Penn (which is an Ivie, btw, if that matters to you) but I know that people in the academic staff at Berkeley are leaving and they can't recruit as many top people any more.
That being said, I did apply to Berkeley and think highly of it. Really it is a win-win situation so I would choose based on faculty and city. Personally I prefer SFO to Phillie.
I wouldn't worry about the NY job market - I know people at my commercial firm in NYC who are from Berkeley.
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marina81
struggling financially? can't recruit as many top people any more?

I think its exaggerated.

For example, astrophysicist George F. Smoot, Professor of Physics at the University of California, Berkeley, has been awarded the 2006 Nobel Prize for physics.

http://www.berkeley.edu/news/media/releases/2006/10/03_nobelph.shtml

http://www.lbl.gov/Publications/Nobel/

And as everybody knows, research requires money for such things as salaries, equipment, travel, etc. and lots of it.

Berkeley is one of the most prestigious research universities in the world and will continue to be one of the best universities in the future.

http://ed.sjtu.edu.cn/rank/2006/ARWU2006_Top100.htm

http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/14321230/

The Law School (Boalt Hall) is really great and I strongly encourage you to go to Berkeley.

For example, John C. Yoo, a young law professor at Berkeley, is one of the most influential legal scholars in the country.

http://papers.ssrn.com/sol3/cf_dev/AbsByAuth.cfm?per_id=180248

By the way, I am an LLM student at Stanford and I love Berkeley!

“struggling financially”? “can't recruit as many top people any more”?

I think it’s exaggerated.

For example, astrophysicist George F. Smoot, Professor of Physics at the University of California, Berkeley, has been awarded the 2006 Nobel Prize for physics.

http://www.berkeley.edu/news/media/releases/2006/10/03_nobelph.shtml

http://www.lbl.gov/Publications/Nobel/

And as everybody knows, research requires money for such things as salaries, equipment, travel, etc. and lots of it.

Berkeley is one of the most prestigious research universities in the world and will continue to be one of the best universities in the future.

http://ed.sjtu.edu.cn/rank/2006/ARWU2006_Top100.htm

http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/14321230/

The Law School (Boalt Hall) is really great and I strongly encourage you to go to Berkeley.

For example, John C. Yoo, a young law professor at Berkeley, is one of the most influential legal scholars in the country.

http://papers.ssrn.com/sol3/cf_dev/AbsByAuth.cfm?per_id=180248

By the way, I am an LLM student at Stanford and I love Berkeley!
quote
fg
ok, whatever. I am just trying to help out. I actually have read this in numerous places and have a good friend on the faculty at Berkeley but don't really care enough to dredge up articles.
I should point out that the articles cited above are for science research which has completely different funding structures than law - it is much easier to get funding for science than law.
I should also point out that my job for 6 months before I started at Columbia was as a researcher for a university comparing funding for various top universities around the world hence how I came to my opinion about Berkeley.
People should really monitor their tone on this forum (it will help you with your legal writing also - nuance is best). It is such a disincentive to help out when you get accused of exaggeration and otherwise trashed. Let people have their opinion and if you want to disagree cut the sarcasm and aggression.
ok, whatever. I am just trying to help out. I actually have read this in numerous places and have a good friend on the faculty at Berkeley but don't really care enough to dredge up articles.
I should point out that the articles cited above are for science research which has completely different funding structures than law - it is much easier to get funding for science than law.
I should also point out that my job for 6 months before I started at Columbia was as a researcher for a university comparing funding for various top universities around the world hence how I came to my opinion about Berkeley.
People should really monitor their tone on this forum (it will help you with your legal writing also - nuance is best). It is such a disincentive to help out when you get accused of exaggeration and otherwise trashed. Let people have their opinion and if you want to disagree cut the sarcasm and aggression.
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marina81
I should point out that the comment regarding long-term investment with a Berkeley degree may be INCORRECT (flygirl).

First cast out the beam out of thine own eye; and then shalt thou see clearly to cast out the mote out of thy brother's eye

“I should point out that the comment regarding long-term investment with a Berkeley degree may be INCORRECT” (flygirl).

“First cast out the beam out of thine own eye; and then shalt thou see clearly to cast out the mote out of thy brother's eye”…
quote
fg
Yes I said MAY be incorrect - I did not boldly accuse him personally of exaggeration and the like and I did not say it was definitely incorrect. It is all a matter of tone. I am all for rigourous debate about facts provided it is in a respectful way. Comments about exaggeration is a direct attack on the credibility of the speaker not on the fact at issue.
I don't have a whole lot of time for this but here is article from 2004 when the new dean of Berkeley Law School/Boalt Hall stated:

"[Berkeley has] a very ambitious fund-raising campaign to make up for dwindling state support...Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger's plan to cut funding for higher-education while steeply raising fees for graduate students. "This to me poses a grave threat to the character of this university and this school," he said somberly. "The harsher reality is, this situation is not going away. Even if we get past the next two years of state-budget chaos, the long-term pattern in California is for decreasing public commitment to education, including higher education. I do not see golden days on the horizon."

http://www.berkeley.edu/news/media/releases/2004/02/10_edley.shtml
Yes I said MAY be incorrect - I did not boldly accuse him personally of exaggeration and the like and I did not say it was definitely incorrect. It is all a matter of tone. I am all for rigourous debate about facts provided it is in a respectful way. Comments about exaggeration is a direct attack on the credibility of the speaker not on the fact at issue.
I don't have a whole lot of time for this but here is article from 2004 when the new dean of Berkeley Law School/Boalt Hall stated:

"[Berkeley has] a very ambitious fund-raising campaign to make up for dwindling state support...Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger's plan[s] to cut funding for higher-education while steeply raising fees for graduate students. "This to me poses a grave threat to the character of this university and this school," he said somberly. "The harsher reality is, this situation is not going away. Even if we get past the next two years of state-budget chaos, the long-term pattern in California is for decreasing public commitment to education, including higher education. I do not see golden days on the horizon."

http://www.berkeley.edu/news/media/releases/2004/02/10_edley.shtml
quote
I agree with flygirl She and I had a little fight a few weeks back but now we've made up. his I think is because we disagreed on the merits and didn't get personal. I think disagreement on the merits is terribly useful and a great deal of fun; the problem (as is evidenced by my dispute about Duke with zoey or R) is when poorly expressed and confused ideas are coupled with personal attacks. I acknowledge that I did get personal alter on, but only after I was exasperated at his/her silly responses.
I agree with flygirl She and I had a little fight a few weeks back but now we've made up. his I think is because we disagreed on the merits and didn't get personal. I think disagreement on the merits is terribly useful and a great deal of fun; the problem (as is evidenced by my dispute about Duke with zoey or R) is when poorly expressed and confused ideas are coupled with personal attacks. I acknowledge that I did get personal alter on, but only after I was exasperated at his/her silly responses.
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dam
I think it is perfectly appropriate to state that something may be incorrect.
In fact, I was illustrating a personal opinion based on a very limited knowledge of the relevant facts, observed from a particular European country (namely, Italy) where perceptions may be different from other places (but are indeed almost identical to those reported by Chief Wiggum).
My statement regarding the relative long-term prestige prospects of Berkeley and UPenn was the most audacious speculation I made in that post and surely it should have taken into account the circumstances reported by Flygirl.
By the way, it's not the first time that I happen to hear about Berkeley's financial troubles and I'm certain that Flygirl possesses more data than me to judge the situation from this particular point of view.
I should have said that, even if at the moment and for the forseeable future Berkeley enjoys a far greater reputation than UPenn in Western Europe, it cannot be ruled out that a dramatic decline in public funding and/or mismanagement problems might change this picture in a 10-15 year time span.
The Prestige Investment looks sound only on a short-to-medium term basis.
I think it is perfectly appropriate to state that something may be incorrect.
In fact, I was illustrating a personal opinion based on a very limited knowledge of the relevant facts, observed from a particular European country (namely, Italy) where perceptions may be different from other places (but are indeed almost identical to those reported by Chief Wiggum).
My statement regarding the relative long-term prestige prospects of Berkeley and UPenn was the most audacious speculation I made in that post and surely it should have taken into account the circumstances reported by Flygirl.
By the way, it's not the first time that I happen to hear about Berkeley's financial troubles and I'm certain that Flygirl possesses more data than me to judge the situation from this particular point of view.
I should have said that, even if at the moment and for the forseeable future Berkeley enjoys a far greater reputation than UPenn in Western Europe, it cannot be ruled out that a dramatic decline in public funding and/or mismanagement problems might change this picture in a 10-15 year time span.
The Prestige Investment looks sound only on a short-to-medium term basis.
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fg
heh, that is true - E'sD and I will never agree on the Columbia v Cambridge debate for international law (which is ironic because I think I might be going to cambridge) largely because it is a matter of taste. But I do respect her/his opinions (and in fact find them very helpful) and we wouldn't discredit each other just because we disagree with them (well, I try not to anyway...).
Happy foruming everyone! I really appreciate everyone's help in my perpetual angst regarding which uni to choose.
heh, that is true - E'sD and I will never agree on the Columbia v Cambridge debate for international law (which is ironic because I think I might be going to cambridge) largely because it is a matter of taste. But I do respect her/his opinions (and in fact find them very helpful) and we wouldn't discredit each other just because we disagree with them (well, I try not to anyway...).
Happy foruming everyone! I really appreciate everyone's help in my perpetual angst regarding which uni to choose.
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Csák
Thank you all for your comments and contributions.

I am a lawyer from Slovakia (Slovak Republic in Europe) currently working in a governmental agency in my country. I have been admitted to Cornell, Georgetown and Berkeley so far (still waiting for Virginia) and I was seriously considering going to Berkeley (I must give an answer by March 29, 2007 by 12noon Pacific Standard Time) but after reading this thread I must say that I am not really confident and comfortable with my choice.

If people in the academic staff at Berkeley are leaving and if they can't recruit as many top people any more, do you think its worth going to Berkeley? Im not rich and my LLM is a big investment for me, so I dont want to attend a law school whose future is now in question.

Any other thoughts, especially from people considering going to Berkeley in August or from people attending the program this year?

Thank you all for your comments and contributions.

I am a lawyer from Slovakia (Slovak Republic in Europe) currently working in a governmental agency in my country. I have been admitted to Cornell, Georgetown and Berkeley so far (still waiting for Virginia) and I was seriously considering going to Berkeley (I must give an answer by “March 29, 2007 by 12noon Pacific Standard Time”) but after reading this thread I must say that I am not really confident and comfortable with my choice.

If people in the academic staff at Berkeley are leaving and if they can't recruit as many top people any more, do you think it’s worth going to Berkeley? I’m not rich and my LLM is a big investment for me, so I don’t want to attend a law school whose future is now in question.

Any other thoughts, especially from people considering going to Berkeley in August or from people attending the program this year?
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fg
I wouldn't let my comments influence your decision too much. I was merely expressing some caution about the future of Berkeley. I imagine it is more of an immediate concern to the people who work there (such as my friend) since it limits their resources. In my friend's case she was deciding between a tenure-track position at Berkeley and one at a much lower ranked school because of the funding squeeze. That is going to be a problem at any publically funded university. She ultimately chose Berkeley because it does still have a great faculty (Yoo is an example although I dislike his politics) I still think Berkeley is a fantastic place with a great reputation in a great city.

I am sure Berkeley will come up with other creative ways for attracting funds (such as charging international students higher fees!) and other faculties such as science shouldn't suffer too much since they compete for government research money on the same footing as the private universities. These faculities should hopefully continue to thrive and maintain the reputation of the university.

One final point, I should also point out that compared to the funding for my university back home Berkeley is extremely wealthy! It is not though compared to other US universities and the regulation by the state causes problems for it that the other universities don't face.

I was just pointing out a potential problem for Berkeley and don't want to create mass panic or discourage ppl from attending what I think is a great school
I wouldn't let my comments influence your decision too much. I was merely expressing some caution about the future of Berkeley. I imagine it is more of an immediate concern to the people who work there (such as my friend) since it limits their resources. In my friend's case she was deciding between a tenure-track position at Berkeley and one at a much lower ranked school because of the funding squeeze. That is going to be a problem at any publically funded university. She ultimately chose Berkeley because it does still have a great faculty (Yoo is an example although I dislike his politics) I still think Berkeley is a fantastic place with a great reputation in a great city.

I am sure Berkeley will come up with other creative ways for attracting funds (such as charging international students higher fees!) and other faculties such as science shouldn't suffer too much since they compete for government research money on the same footing as the private universities. These faculities should hopefully continue to thrive and maintain the reputation of the university.

One final point, I should also point out that compared to the funding for my university back home Berkeley is extremely wealthy! It is not though compared to other US universities and the regulation by the state causes problems for it that the other universities don't face.

I was just pointing out a potential problem for Berkeley and don't want to create mass panic or discourage ppl from attending what I think is a great school
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Csák
Its very late in my country so I will probably not be able to read all your answers before tomorrow but many thanks in advance!
It’s very late in my country so I will probably not be able to read all your answers before tomorrow but many thanks in advance!
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dannyh
Berkeley is a great school with a great location and great weather.

But which fields are you interested in ?

I have no idea how the job market is in California, but I think most LLM work in NY, and it may be a little difficult to travel for interviews from CA to NY (and you may have less interviews than you would have just because of this)
Berkeley is a great school with a great location and great weather.

But which fields are you interested in ?

I have no idea how the job market is in California, but I think most LLM work in NY, and it may be a little difficult to travel for interviews from CA to NY (and you may have less interviews than you would have just because of this)
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