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jbird9226

U of T vs top US

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As stated, U of T or first-tier US school (think HYS/CCN)? No particular attachments to location. I know I'll be taking on more debt at the US school, but it's my understanding that I'll also have better prospects at higher incomes from the US schools. Open to most areas of law practice, science background in undergrad may be a small advantage for IP. Thanks all.

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I think it's definitely true that if you want to attend U of T, you need to be prepared for the prospect of a smaller practice and lower income. Even Bay Street and NYC salary differentials continue to grow, such that in American dollars, Bay pays less than half of what you receive in the US. 

 

Honestly, the only school that I would seriously consider against HYS in Canada is Mcgill, and that would be if I had public interest/clerkship aspirations. Mcgill is a great alternative to the top American schools because it is a real bargain price wise, and opens up very interesting options in terms of international work. U of T essentially models itself on the American schools, and does what they do, just a lot less well. It aims to place its class in biglaw, but its placement numbers are closer to Georgetown in America than they are to HYS. It charges you based on the expectation that you will get a Canadian biglaw salary, and yet half the class doesn't get that outcome, and still has to pay the school back (I have friends from Canadian law schools who are increasingly struggling to pay back their debt in smaller practices). 

 

Given your interest in IP work, there is a lot of fantastic work of this nature in the US, so I think the top American schools are a good option for you. If you do end up going to U of T, you should be very clear that you are not going to an HYS level school, and be prepared to work in a non-biglaw practice should your grades or interviewing force that.

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If you wanna live and work in the States, obviously go there. Comparing though, I'd say U of T is probably closer to the lower t14 than schools like Yale or Stanford. 

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Thanks for the in-depth reply. Georgetown is definitely the worst T14 based on placement, and that was a pretty eyebrow-raising comparison you pointed out there. Unfortunately I haven't got anything close to the French proficiency for McGill, so that's out of the question already. 

Regarding US schools specifically, assuming I do decide to do IP (not for sure yet), how would you weigh the relative advantages of Harvard/Yale being somewhat bigger names with Columbia/NYU being in somewhat more advantageous locations (really location, singular, because Manhattan can't be beat)? Not to mention, both Columbia and NYU seem to actually have better firm placement rates than Harvard and Yale do. 

Thanks again for the advice.

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If you truly have no attachments and don’t care where you live (really?) then HYS by a mile. U of T doesn’t even come close to the opportunities and prestige offered by top US schools. But surely you knew that before you asked? Or maybe not, since CCN are not first tier... I love when people get into/have a shot at CCN and then somehow try to casually lump them together with HYS, lol

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6 minutes ago, ludo said:

If you truly have no attachments and don’t care where you live (really?) then HYS by a mile. U of T doesn’t even come close to the opportunities and prestige offered by top US schools. But surely you knew that before you asked? Or maybe not, since CCN are not first tier... I love when people get into/have a shot at CCN and then somehow try to casually lump them together with HYS, lol

I have acceptances in "both" categories, and Columbia beats HYS for big law hiring. What's wrong with asking for the opinions of others?

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@Livinginamerica has some great insight on UofT vs HYS/T6s in his/her post history if you are really interested. I've done some research on US schools myself but not enough to form a strong opinion on UofT vs T6 (although I do think that UofT's tuition is exorbitant for what it is, a Canadian JD), but I am inclined to agree with Livinginamerica's sentiments. Here are a couple things he has expressed that might be of use to you OP. I hope this doesn't come off as creepy or weird Livinginamerica

Quote

I only have a limited perspective having attended an American school, but I will say that when I was debating between HYS and U of T, I found the cost of the U of T degree to not be worth it. The school does not offer enough of an advantage in biglaw placement, or in future earning power, or even in terms of things like clinics, professors, and courses, to justify its vastly higher fees compared to other Canadian schools.

 

If you are dead set on working Bay Street, U of T MAY be worth it, but ultimately in Canada, there is no school that provides you with any advantages. At each school, you will need top drawer grades to get Bay Street (unlike in America where biglaw is 95% guaranteed from the top schools), and so, if you are dead set on Biglaw, you may actually want to go to a less intellectually competitive school that will give you more room to succeed grades wise. Nonetheless, that's just my two cents. I've had friends who went to UBC and spoke highly of it, it won't shut any doors for you. And at the end of the day, if you want American work, you should be going to an American school. Getting US biglaw from any Canadian school is incredibly difficult.

 

Quote

In the United States there is this idea of so-called 'trap' schools. These are schools that charge the same as the T6 but do not have very good biglaw placement rates, meaning it is nearly impossible to pay back the loans you would need to attend said schools. What makes them 'trap' schools, however, is the fact that they lure students in with slick marketing materials promising prestige and biglaw money, and yet, only the top 25% to 33% of the class manage to get those jobs. However, those biglaw jobs are the only way you are able to pay back your tuition, there is absolutely no protection if you have to, like the majority of your classmates, end up working at a small firm that pays less.

 

U of T is comparable to these US 'trap' schools. Thanks to their high tuition, they lure unsuspecting students in to pay their high fees with promises of "prestige" and "bay street". Their tuition is such that it can only be paid off in a reasonable amount of time if you are able to land a Bay Street job. And yet, only the top 33-40% of the class actually manages to land these jobs. U of T is comparable in its placement rates to these US 'trap' schools. If you think Fordham is worth sticker price, then go to U of T. Both offer similar biglaw placement rates, and both require a biglaw job to be able to sustainably pay back the loans you will incur to go there. 



You said you avoided US schools because of the amount of debt you would take on, but I would stress this to you, as someone who had a similar decision to you, you are taking an even bigger risk going to U of T than you ever would going to a US T6. I know you think, right now, that you will be in that top portion of the U of T class that gets Bay Street, but statistically, it is far more likely that you will not be. So if you fall in that 60-66% that strikes out, what do you do then? You still have U of T debt that was built in anticipation that you would be earning Bay Street money once you graduate, only now, like most of your peers, you are working at a small firm that doesn't pay you enough to service that debt. 

 

I think people really overestimate the value of rankings in Canada. The top school in Canada only matters if it gets you something, as in, a better paying job or what have you. Ranking matter in the US because biglaw (and therefore big money) is pretty much guaranteed from the T6 (as in, 85% chance at a lower T6, 95% chance at HYS), meaning that even though its big debt, you can be reasonably confident of being able to pay it back with you 180k salary. That is simply not the case at U of T. Everyone who goes to U of T is dissapointed on some level. If you make Bay Street, you will resent the people who went to cheaper schools, got the same firm as you did, and now can enjoy their money rather than servicing U of T debt. If you end up a lower paying small firm, you will I am sure hate U of T for saddling you with massive Bay Street debt that you have no hope of paying back in a reasonable time frame. I was honestly shocked, when I did my research, how poor the placement rates at U of T actually are compared to the American T6, and when measured against the level of tuition they are charging.

 

It's just not worth the risk, stick with UBC, if you do well, you can still make Bay Street, if you don't make Bay Street, you don't have to worry about not being able to pay back your debt. U of T is a marketing trap, shiny materials that don't deliver. No one can really say what unique opportunities U of T offers compared to other schools, think about that. 

 

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12 minutes ago, BayStreetOrBust said:

@Livinginamerica has some great insight on UofT vs HYS/T6s in his/her post history if you are really interested. I've done some research on US schools myself but not enough to form a strong opinion on UofT vs T6 (although I do think that UofT's tuition is exorbitant for what it is, a Canadian JD), but I am inclined to agree with Livinginamerica's sentiments. Here are a couple things he has expressed that might be of use to you OP. I hope this doesn't come off as creepy or weird Livinginamerica

 

 

Not at all, Bay Street, part of the reason why I make those posts is to build up the information on this topic so that it can be reused for further questions. That being said, the only amendment I would make to my earlier statements is that U of T's placement rate is probably between 40-50% rather than 33-40%, but I think the overall point still holds.

 

With regards jbird's question regarding CCN vs. HYS, both levels of school have excellent, and close to guaranteed biglaw placement. The better firm placement rates at CCN is likely attributable to a larger portion of HYS students wanting to do niche public interest or clerkships, nonetheless, those rates are indicative of the very strong placement power of CCN. Certainly, folks at HYS have been noticing that the CCN students have been getting savvier about networking with firms, and I think their OCIs happen a week earlier. Since they are in NYC or Chicago, they can go to callback interviews in those cities during the week of OCI. In the US, speed is of the essence, and CCN have really been utilizing their locations to get early callbacks and offers at some great firms. I would caution that CCN does not protect the bottom 10% of its class or so as well as HYS does. HYS has very extensive programs for those people who, for whatever reason, may strike out at OCI, to ensure that they are still able to get biglaw jobs. This means that even if OCI doesn't work out for you at HYS, the school has ways of ensuring you are able to get a biglaw job (maybe at a less well known firm, but a market paying firm nonetheless) to ensure that you don't fully strike out. H and Y also have very generous loan forgiveness programs, such that if your salary falls below the 180k benchmark, you are put on a repayment plan to ensure you don't default on your loans. CCN does not have as strong programs in this regard, in that you really have to go into public interest or government to get their loan forgiveness program, whereas H and Y give loan forgiveness for even private sector jobs that fall below 180k.

 

CCN, though, are great schools that give you much better chances at biglaw than U of T (as in, 85-90% chance). IP is also super in demand, so you may be able to weigh that as a factor that gives you a lot more downside protection. Firms lack IP lawyers in America, and really need them, meaning that if you are coming from a good school you're generally set if you have the right background for IP.

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Wow, nice, thanks again so much for the reading material. To probe further into the question of IP specifically, what level of science education is considered the "right" background? For reference, I have a BSc in the life sciences, an honours thesis in the protein engineering/orgo chem/biochem sort of area, couple of scholarships for the sciences, and both summer and school year research experience and an NSERC USRA. Been out of school for a few years doing other gainful things but I haven't forgotten much.

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1 hour ago, jbird9226 said:

I have acceptances in "both" categories, and Columbia beats HYS for big law hiring. What's wrong with asking for the opinions of others?

You seem remarkably uninformed, if true. If you really have acceptances from both, then perhaps you should know that HYS (especially Y) grads have opportunities in academia, international NGOs, and other things that 1) aren't open to CCN and 2) lower the stats for big law hiring among HYS. It has NOTHING to do with desirability. HYS are cream of the US crop (unless you attended CCN on a Ruby or similar) and employers know this. A significant portion of Y has no interest in and would not work at a big firm in NYC, under any circumstances.

Columbia is very good, obviously, located in NY, and, most importantly, is filled with students who genuinely want big law and do not have HYS options available to them. Going to C on a scholarship rather than attending H at sticker is a reasonable choice if you want NYC big law. I'd argue that passing up Y for any reason is foolish, but that is beside the point here -- the reason why Columbia's big law hiring numbers are what they are is not because HYSCCN is a tier. HYS is tier. CCN is a lower tier. Always.

You are also uninformed about U of T. It is not comparable in really any way to HYS or even CCN. As Livinginamerica pointed out, U of T is a poor man's T14. The tuition is comparable, the quality is not. U of T is a good choice if you want to practice law in Toronto. Its high tuition makes it hard to justify even then, but it does well enough on Bay to make it worth it for many people.

I wouldn't suggest U of T for anyone wanting to practice in BC or Alberta, for instance. It isn't like the US where the T14 are national schools and place well everywhere and often better than the local schools.

That wasn't what you asked though, so it's not a major point. You asked about if there are no ties (which is a little ridiculous) where is the best law school in a vacuum, U of T or HYS or CCN. The answer is most definitely HYS and CCN. But then again, if you were smart enough to get an acceptance at HYS, I'm sure you could have figured that out all by yourself.

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1 hour ago, Livinginamerica said:

Not at all, Bay Street, part of the reason why I make those posts is to build up the information on this topic so that it can be reused for further questions. That being said, the only amendment I would make to my earlier statements is that U of T's placement rate is probably between 40-50% rather than 33-40%, but I think the overall point still holds.

 

With regards jbird's question regarding CCN vs. HYS, both levels of school have excellent, and close to guaranteed biglaw placement. The better firm placement rates at CCN is likely attributable to a larger portion of HYS students wanting to do niche public interest or clerkships, nonetheless, those rates are indicative of the very strong placement power of CCN. Certainly, folks at HYS have been noticing that the CCN students have been getting savvier about networking with firms, and I think their OCIs happen a week earlier. Since they are in NYC or Chicago, they can go to callback interviews in those cities during the week of OCI. In the US, speed is of the essence, and CCN have really been utilizing their locations to get early callbacks and offers at some great firms. I would caution that CCN does not protect the bottom 10% of its class or so as well as HYS does. HYS has very extensive programs for those people who, for whatever reason, may strike out at OCI, to ensure that they are still able to get biglaw jobs. This means that even if OCI doesn't work out for you at HYS, the school has ways of ensuring you are able to get a biglaw job (maybe at a less well known firm, but a market paying firm nonetheless) to ensure that you don't fully strike out. H and Y also have very generous loan forgiveness programs, such that if your salary falls below the 180k benchmark, you are put on a repayment plan to ensure you don't default on your loans. CCN does not have as strong programs in this regard, in that you really have to go into public interest or government to get their loan forgiveness program, whereas H and Y give loan forgiveness for even private sector jobs that fall below 180k.

 

CCN, though, are great schools that give you much better chances at biglaw than U of T (as in, 85-90% chance). IP is also super in demand, so you may be able to weigh that as a factor that gives you a lot more downside protection. Firms lack IP lawyers in America, and really need them, meaning that if you are coming from a good school you're generally set if you have the right background for IP.

Hey there. Thanks so much for the really detailed information you've provided! I just wanted to confirm, the 40-50% figure, is that based on summer student placement rates? I.e. : http://ultravires.ca/wp/wp-content/uploads/2017/03/Recruitment-Special.pdf Just wanted to make sure!

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57 minutes ago, Osgood said:

Hey there. Thanks so much for the really detailed information you've provided! I just wanted to confirm, the 40-50% figure, is that based on summer student placement rates? I.e. : http://ultravires.ca/wp/wp-content/uploads/2017/03/Recruitment-Special.pdf Just wanted to make sure!

I am not the person you quoted, but probably yes. I would say that its actually closer to 50% (or a bit over) but keep in mind not all jobs are Bay Street/Big Law jobs; however, LivinginAmerica's point still stands, more or less.

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4 minutes ago, BayStreetOrBust said:

I am not the person you quoted, but probably yes. I would say that its actually closer to 50% (or a bit over) but keep in mind not all jobs are Bay Street/Big Law jobs; however, LivinginAmerica's point still stands, more or less.

It is from the Ultravires survey, though, from my understanding, Canadian firms do not have 100% hireback rates (whereas American firms do), so even though you might get a summer position, you still have to compete for articling and hireback spots. So I'm assigning a small penalty for the people who get to summer at biglaw firms, but don't make it to the first year associate stage, and therefore don't make Bay Street money. The rate does vary a little from year to year though.

 

In answer to jbird's question, IP isn't really my field, so it's hard for me to give much details on what biglaw firms are looking for in that area. My understanding is that they often want people who are patent bar eligible, so I would look up those requirements in the US to see if you meet them. If you do, it's often a big boost. Any science background is good though, as there are a lot of kids who are scared of sciency IP cases, but these form a huge amount of the biglaw workload, meaning they need people who can understand, and are willing, to work on these matters.

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You know, not everyone who goes to U of T wants to work on Bay Street. Where are the statistics showing that significantly more than 40-50% of the class wants to do that? Likewise, not everyone from a US T14 wants to do biglaw either. And not everyone going there is paying high tuition. Depending on income, they have very generous scholarships.

And some people do turn down HYS to stay in Canada. I did, and I was offered full scholarships for both HYS and Canadian schools. Not everyone wants the same thing. 

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21 minutes ago, Livinginamerica said:

It is from the Ultravires survey, though, from my understanding, Canadian firms do not have 100% hireback rates (whereas American firms do), so even though you might get a summer position, you still have to compete for articling and hireback spots. So I'm assigning a small penalty for the people who get to summer at biglaw firms, but don't make it to the first year associate stage, and therefore don't make Bay Street money. The rate does vary a little from year to year though.

 

 

Where are you getting this information from? I have never heard of a firm not hiring a student back from summering to articling. It is important to note that every year there are a number of students that leave after the summer usually because they want to practice somewhere else, but this is always the student's decision. While hire-back from articling to associate is not 100%, from most of the New York lawyers I talk to, it is significantly higher than NY first year associate to second year associate hire-back.  

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15 minutes ago, NathanDrake said:

Where are you getting this information from? I have never heard of a firm not hiring a student back from summering to articling. It is important to note that every year there are a number of students that leave after the summer usually because they want to practice somewhere else, but this is always the student's decision. While hire-back from articling to associate is not 100%, from most of the New York lawyers I talk to, it is significantly higher than NY first year associate to second year associate hire-back.  

....or NY associates who hate it so much, they quit very early on...

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17 minutes ago, NathanDrake said:

Where are you getting this information from? I have never heard of a firm not hiring a student back from summering to articling. It is important to note that every year there are a number of students that leave after the summer usually because they want to practice somewhere else, but this is always the student's decision. While hire-back from articling to associate is not 100%, from most of the New York lawyers I talk to, it is significantly higher than NY first year associate to second year associate hire-back.  

What about articling to first year associate positions?

 

Further, in response to Providence's point, I certainly don't claim that everyone wants biglaw, but in order to actually make that point and break my comparison chain, you would have to give some reason as to why you believe there are fewer U of T students interested in biglaw than there are Georgetown students interested in biglaw.

Edited by Livinginamerica

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18 minutes ago, Livinginamerica said:

What about articling to first year associate positions?

 

Further, in response to Providence's point, I certainly don't claim that everyone wants biglaw, but in order to actually make that point and break my comparison chain, you would have to give some reason as to why you believe there are fewer U of T students interested in biglaw than there are Georgetown students interested in biglaw.

Georgetown tuition = 58K a year. 

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25 minutes ago, Livinginamerica said:

What about articling to first year associate positions?

 

Further, in response to Providence's point, I certainly don't claim that everyone wants biglaw, but in order to actually make that point and break my comparison chain, you would have to give some reason as to why you believe there are fewer U of T students interested in biglaw than there are Georgetown students interested in biglaw.

It depends on the firm and can range from 100% to 60%, but like I said NY year-to-year hire back is hardly 100%. 

The issue with your comparison is you are looking purely at numbers, without dwelling into them. From personal experience I can tell you UofT's biglaw placement is around 63-65% when you take into account the number of students who are going to New York (they arent included in the UV numbers) and the number of students who opt out. However, in Toronto there are a number of firms that hire (and pay bay st market rate) who do not participate in the OCI recruit. Georgetown may have 40% biglaw placement but their employment rate is around 85%...that means 15% of a 600-700 person class is graduating with 300K debt and no job. Conversely, Uoft employment is around 95% so very few people are graduating with no jobs. 

So essentially, UofT and Georgetown have very similar upside but vastly different downsides, which dont make them similar schools. And once again, pure employment rates are not perfect. Columbia has a 80% biglaw placement, UofT has 65%. I think it is probably as hard to stay in the top 65% of UofT as it is Columbia. Then after that you have to take into account that, while the U.S pays significantly more than Bay st starting salaries, the vast majority of people leave (U.S is like 6 partners per 100 summer students), and once you leave biglaw the gap between salaries closes significantly. Also, if you have someone staying on Bay and someone going in-house in NY, the Bay lawyer is going to make significantly more. 

So yes, to answer your question, if you look at purely biglaw placement without delving into the numbers or doing any other analysis then yes, UofT and Georgtown have similar numbers (so does Georgetown and any other bottom-half T14 school, such as Berkley, NW, Cornell) but when you actually look into the numbers they are pretty different. 

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