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U of T vs top US

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2 minutes ago, providence said:

Except tuition at HYS is crazy unless you're poor. 

Class of 2016 employment data:

http://hls.harvard.edu/dept/ocs/recent-employment-data/

349 of 588 are in law firms, of which 287 are in big firms. 137 have clerkships. They're certainly not all in biglaw.

But, much like you said earlier, not everyone wants biglaw out of HYS, which is quite true. The tuition may be harder to justify for public interest careers, I'll grant that. I've always said U of T is not a good idea for those careers either, folks should be looking to cheaper schools like Mcgill, UBC, and Queens for those. Honestly, if I had a public interest bent (and the requisite French skill), I would probably have picked Mcgill over Harvard, but that decision could go either way.

Edited by Livinginamerica
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11 minutes ago, Livinginamerica said:

But, much like you said earlier, not everyone wants biglaw out of HYS, which is quite true. The tuition may be harder to justify for public interest careers, I'll grant that. I've always said U of T is not a good idea for those careers either, folks should be looking to cheaper schools like Mcgill, UBC, and Queens for those. Honestly, if I had a public interest bent (and the requisite French skill), I would probably have picked Mcgill over Harvard, but that decision could go either way.

While I'm flattered, I would warn any readers here that certain public interest jobs wouldn't be open to you as a McGill grad unless you did well, and did certain things (took transystemia very seriously, did a Human rights major, wrote a term paper on a specific subject, RAd with a superstar prof, etc). Conversely, it seems the Harvard name gives you much more of a boost to get those coveted jobs.

 

For sure the statement is true when debt comes to mind, and if you're considering public interest jobs outside that international niche I was referring to above like criminal law, family law, etc. For all these things, it's best to minimize debt and learn the law of the land you'll be practicing in.

Edited by pzabbythesecond

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12 hours ago, Livinginamerica said:

So you're saying that someone who can get into Harvard should feel assured of getting top 50% marks at U of T? I know for me that would not have been a good bet. Not to mention the very different demographic and business interests of American and Canadian firms (Canadian firms are much smaller, and hire much more based on fit, which often means class/race). All I can say is that the majority of U of T students who go through OCI probably are successful, but at Harvard, I don't know a single student without a biglaw job, even the one person I know who struck out at OCI was helped by the career office to find a market paying (180k) biglaw job. It's all a question of whether you want to roll the dice or have the guarantee. I continue to maintain that students going to U of T law should be prepared to enter into smaller practice at lower pay if biglaw doesn't work out.

Well, yes, I think if you get into Harvard, you should be able to do respectably at UofT.  

As for Canadian biglaw hiring, do you really believe that there are people who US biglaw will snaffle up but Canadian firms will pooh-pooh? Seriously?

Aside what's the basis for your claim that Canadian firms hire more on the basis of class/race? There is research that suggests US firms do, I'm not aware of similar research for Canada, and my own experience of being involved with biglaw hiring is utterly inconsistent with that claim (and, for what it's worth, the LSUC data, read critically, doesn't really support it). 

Finally, no matter where they end up Canadian grads should expect to earn less than US grads, so I'm not sure what your point is.  

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7 hours ago, Livinginamerica said:

Yes, by virtue of there being many more biglaw positions in America, a strong favoritism towards HYS, and very strong support and networks from OCS to assist people at the bottom of the class attain market paying jobs. The student who missed biglaw at U of T (and who wanted it), and who could have gone to HYS, made a mistake, plain and simple.

Wow, that might be the most impressive thing I’ve heard about Harvard Law. They should be very proud of that assuming accuracy - I can’t imagine someone totally bombing interview after interview and still getting the job, Harvard degree or not. Do you have any knowledge of whether or not these kind of duds go on to last or even have meaningful careers in biglaw? Just to add substance to whatever biglaw guarantee Harvard apparently offers

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7 hours ago, Livinginamerica said:

Yes, by virtue of there being many more biglaw positions in America, a strong favoritism towards HYS, and very strong support and networks from OCS to assist people at the bottom of the class attain market paying jobs. The student who missed biglaw at U of T (and who wanted it), and who could have gone to HYS, made a mistake, plain and simple.

Well, no. No doubt part of the reason they chose to go to UofT was because they wanted to work in Canada rather than the US - perhaps for reasons of politics, family, comfort, immigration status. I never even thought of applying to us schools because my then girlfriend (now wife) had a great job in Toronto and my friends and family are here.  Going away for school, or working in the states simply aren't meaningful options for people in that situation. 

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25 minutes ago, maximumbob said:

Well, no. No doubt part of the reason they chose to go to UofT was because they wanted to work in Canada rather than the US - perhaps for reasons of politics, family, comfort, immigration status. I never even thought of applying to us schools because my then girlfriend (now wife) had a great job in Toronto and my friends and family are here.  Going away for school, or working in the states simply aren't meaningful options for people in that situation. 

Exactly. I'm from the US, have citizenship, my partner at the time was there, and I still passed up US schools and scholarships/aid to live in Canada closer to friends, family, health care, etc. 

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I generally agree with @Livinginamerica here. I considered attending U of T, and if I knew when I was applying what I knew when I was choosing from my offers, I would have foregone applying to U of T and applied to HYS. I think you can justify the HYS tuition by virtue of the job prospects for graduates, but I don't think you can justify U of T's. 

At the end of the day, I wish I'd applied to HYS, but I'm happy with my decision to turn down U of T. I'm fairly confident I'll secure a 2L summer position, and I continue not to see the logic in paying U of T's tuition premium in order to marginally increase my chances of getting a job. Maybe those students are just being pragmatic, but I went into law school expecting to work hard and be a competitive applicant, not to be an average student who gets a big law job because more average students from my school get one.  

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5 hours ago, providence said:

Exactly. I'm from the US, have citizenship, my partner at the time was there, and I still passed up US schools and scholarships/aid to live in Canada closer to friends, family, health care, etc. 

Your subjective experience doesn't make it a good decision. Just because in your situation it happened to work out, doesn't mean the life you would have been living instead would have been at least a bit better. It also doesn't mean that most people would be better off doing what you did, even if they have similar circumstances.

Turning down a full ride at HYS for a full ride at UfT is giving up a huge amount of potential in terms of what you could have achieved in the US. Even if you knew you didn't want big law, the connections you potentially could have made may well have been worth it. If you one day decide to run an NGO, run for office, become a professor, start a company etc. you could have had far more opportunities open up for you on the name of your law school alone, never mind the connections. People who return from New York are welcomed with open arms as well, so if ending up in Canada was your plan all along you may still have been better off starting in the US.

The analysis gets trickier if you factor in odds of failure/burnout at associate level, but you still will likely be in a better position when you come back to Canada vs. if you just went to school in Canada.

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5 hours ago, hopefulcanadianlawyr said:

Wow, that might be the most impressive thing I’ve heard about Harvard Law. They should be very proud of that assuming accuracy - I can’t imagine someone totally bombing interview after interview and still getting the job, Harvard degree or not. Do you have any knowledge of whether or not these kind of duds go on to last or even have meaningful careers in biglaw? Just to add substance to whatever biglaw guarantee Harvard apparently offers

Nobody goes on to last or have meaningful careers in big law. That's partially a joke, but not entirely. The vast majority of big law associates in NY or other cities will leave to go in-house or tangentially related jobs within 5 years of practice. It's not unreasonable to assume that the socially inept bad interviewer will do the same. 

And I think you may be misunderstanding what @Livinginamerica is saying. I don't think he's suggesting that you can literally bomb every interview and get a job. I think he's suggesting that Harvard's CDO is strong enough that their students aren't going into OCIs and bombing every interview. They're coached to the point where even the socially inept can fake it.

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35 minutes ago, BlockedQuebecois said:

Nobody goes on to last or have meaningful careers in big law. That's partially a joke, but not entirely. The vast majority of big law associates in NY or other cities will leave to go in-house or tangentially related jobs within 5 years of practice. It's not unreasonable to assume that the socially inept bad interviewer will do the same. 

And I think you may be misunderstanding what @Livinginamerica is saying. I don't think he's suggesting that you can literally bomb every interview and get a job. I think he's suggesting that Harvard's CDO is strong enough that their students aren't going into OCIs and bombing every interview. They're coached to the point where even the socially inept can fake it.

To your first point: fully aware of that. I would have said meaningful careers generally but that would have obviously been too subjective. Point being, getting a job that doesn’t last for at least a few years because you aren’t meant for it isn’t a very attractive guarantee when you’re paying $250K USD for it. Alternatively, If those people still end up having fantastic careers, it is an extremely attractive guarantee. I was trying to get at whether or not this was the case. 

 

To your second point, I’m not sure I am misunderstanding, though I suspect what you’re getting at is that I am taking what he said literally when he may not have meant it to be taken that way. Fair. But that’s why I asked my first question. They suggested that going to Harvard provides a guarantee of a biglaw job while going to UofT presents a risk of not getting a biglaw job. If he said it increases your chances of getting a biglaw job significantly, or something similar to what you said above, then I would of course agree with you. That sounds accurate. But that’s not the same thing as a guarantee. Also, I’m not sure truly socially inept people can fake it for extended periods of time. A few months, maybe.

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1 hour ago, hopefulcanadianlawyr said:

To your first point: fully aware of that. I would have said meaningful careers generally but that would have obviously been too subjective. Point being, getting a job that doesn’t last for at least a few years because you aren’t meant for it isn’t a very attractive guarantee when you’re paying $250K USD for it. Alternatively, If those people still end up having fantastic careers, it is an extremely attractive guarantee. I was trying to get at whether or not this was the case. 

 

To your second point, I’m not sure I am misunderstanding, though I suspect what you’re getting at is that I am taking what he said literally when he may not have meant it to be taken that way. Fair. But that’s why I asked my first question. They suggested that going to Harvard provides a guarantee of a biglaw job while going to UofT presents a risk of not getting a biglaw job. If he said it increases your chances of getting a biglaw job significantly, or something similar to what you said above, then I would of course agree with you. That sounds accurate. But that’s not the same thing as a guarantee. Also, I’m not sure truly socially inept people can fake it for extended periods of time. A few months, maybe.

Sure it's an attractive guarantee! It's not like former NYC Big Law associates get put down old-yeller style when they leave the firm. They go on to lucrative jobs in different environments, which are generally better suited for socially inept people than the service industry. If you told me when I was picking careers that after I graduate I would work at a 180k a year job for a year before getting shuffled over to a 200k job in-house somewhere, I would jump on that. You'd be crazy not to. 

It's essentially a guarantee. As @providence mentioned, 424 out of 588 are either at a clerkship or at a big firm job (noting, here, that big firms in the US are defined as 501+ lawyer — all but 10 Harvard Law grads in firms are at 100+ lawyer firms). 48 Opt out of big law to do public interest, 29 go to business or industry, 7 go to further education, and 18 more go to the government. It's safe to assume that pretty much all of those were choices made by those lawyers, not thrust upon them. You're left with 62 people that go to "smaller" firms of <500 lawyers. Note here that in Canada the divide between a medium-sized and a large firm tends to be ~100 lawyers in Toronto. If you use that as your dividing line, only 10 lawyers are at small firms.

For those 10, sure, you could guess they're at some backwater corporate litigation firm, and their actual dream was to make it to NYC. That seems unlikely to me. It seems far more likely that they're at a specialized boutique firm (see e.g. Gupta Wessler) doing impressive work. Those jobs are often more difficult to get than the big NYC or Bay St jobs (see Lecnzer Slaight in Canada).  

So yeah, HYS offer essentially a guarantee of a big law job, if that's what you want. Maybe a few people fall through the cracks, but it doesn't strike me as likely. 

Edited by BlockedQuebecois
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2 hours ago, Kemair said:

.Turning down a full ride at HYS for a full ride at UfT is giving up a huge amount of potential in terms of what you could have achieved in the US. Even if you knew you didn't want big law, the connections you potentially could have made may well have been worth it. If you one day decide to run an NGO, run for office, become a professor, start a company etc. you could have had far more opportunities open up for you on the name of your law school alone, never mind the connections. People who return from New York are welcomed with open arms as well, so if ending up in Canada was your plan all along you may still have been better off starting in the US.

Well, yes, if she had an interest of achieving anything in the US.  If that's not her interest, it's not worth much.

As for the last point, I wonder, do you think having worked in New York or gone to school in the US is a huge advantage for someone who wants to practice Canadian criminal defense law (like Providence, or me, before I went to law school)?  Because, I gotta say, I don't think summering at Sherman Sterling is really going to impress Jimmy "the Kiddie Diddler" Fitzgerald, and I'm not sure how many courses Harvard offers on Canadian criminal procedure, Canadian evidence, or Canadian constitutional (at a quick glance  "none" seems like a good first-order approximation), but those would seem to be relevant to someone wanting to go into that area.  

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3 hours ago, Kemair said:

Your subjective experience doesn't make it a good decision. Just because in your situation it happened to work out, doesn't mean the life you would have been living instead would have been at least a bit better. It also doesn't mean that most people would be better off doing what you did, even if they have similar circumstances.

Turning down a full ride at HYS for a full ride at UfT is giving up a huge amount of potential in terms of what you could have achieved in the US. Even if you knew you didn't want big law, the connections you potentially could have made may well have been worth it. If you one day decide to run an NGO, run for office, become a professor, start a company etc. you could have had far more opportunities open up for you on the name of your law school alone, never mind the connections. People who return from New York are welcomed with open arms as well, so if ending up in Canada was your plan all along you may still have been better off starting in the US.

The analysis gets trickier if you factor in odds of failure/burnout at associate level, but you still will likely be in a better position when you come back to Canada vs. if you just went to school in Canada.

If I had looked at it that way, I may have come to that conclusion. However I didn’t. I had no idea what kind of law I wanted to practice and had no idea about Biglaw or their salaries, but I knew I did not want to live in NYC. I had not done much research and was at a very confused/chaotic/low time in my life when I applied to law school. But I ultimately did decide against biglaw in either Canada or the US. 

As to the options you suggest - I doubt I would ever have an interest in running a company other than my law firm. An NGO maybe, but I potentially have other avenues by which to do that that would possibly not have existed unless I stayed in Canada. To become a professor, I’d need further school and I could always try to go to Harvard for grad school if I wanted. Running for office? I doubt I would ever do that either and if I did it would probably be in Canada rather than the US and I can’t see Harvard being that big of an advantage for a Canadian politician. 

I am perfectly happy with my choice to practice criminal law and raise my family in Canada. And I don’t see how anything I did in the US would have put me any further ahead in Canada. I had good grades, clerked, articled for/juniored for/was mentored by a reputed Canadian criminal practitioner and am now a partner in my own firm. 

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43 minutes ago, maximumbob said:

Well, yes, if she had an interest of achieving anything in the US.  If that's not her interest, it's not worth much.

As for the last point, I wonder, do you think having worked in New York or gone to school in the US is a huge advantage for someone who wants to practice Canadian criminal defense law (like Providence, or me, before I went to law school)?  Because, I gotta say, I don't think summering at Sherman Sterling is really going to impress Jimmy "the Kiddie Diddler" Fitzgerald, and I'm not sure how many courses Harvard offers on Canadian criminal procedure, Canadian evidence, or Canadian constitutional (at a quick glance  "none" seems like a good first-order approximation), but those would seem to be relevant to someone wanting to go into that area.  

Exactly. Corporate law is a lot more international than criminal law where knowing the law where you want to practice is so important. 

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6 hours ago, hopefulcanadianlawyr said:

To your first point: fully aware of that. I would have said meaningful careers generally but that would have obviously been too subjective. Point being, getting a job that doesn’t last for at least a few years because you aren’t meant for it isn’t a very attractive guarantee when you’re paying $250K USD for it. Alternatively, If those people still end up having fantastic careers, it is an extremely attractive guarantee. I was trying to get at whether or not this was the case. 

 

To your second point, I’m not sure I am misunderstanding, though I suspect what you’re getting at is that I am taking what he said literally when he may not have meant it to be taken that way. Fair. But that’s why I asked my first question. They suggested that going to Harvard provides a guarantee of a biglaw job while going to UofT presents a risk of not getting a biglaw job. If he said it increases your chances of getting a biglaw job significantly, or something similar to what you said above, then I would of course agree with you. That sounds accurate. But that’s not the same thing as a guarantee. Also, I’m not sure truly socially inept people can fake it for extended periods of time. A few months, maybe.

I can certainly say, anecdotally, that I don't know of a single person who wanted biglaw at Harvard and didn't get it. Is it possible that they exist? Sure. I imagine someone with the level of social ineptness that you are describing is probably not going to be well known by his or her classmates, so it's possibly that a very small number of them do exist. But I have known some extremely akward and inept people who have found biglaw jobs at Harvard that pay market. These opportunities are often at less prestigious firms that just need warm bodies and don't care if you're super weird, but they are still making 180k, and still have the same exit options as other biglawyers. If they can do it, surely a relatively normal person is assured biglaw at Harvard? And they most certainly are. For all intents and purposes, unless you are so akward you are basically known as a serial axe murderer, Harvard offers a guarantee of biglaw for all those who want it.

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4 hours ago, maximumbob said:

Well, yes, if she had an interest of achieving anything in the US.  If that's not her interest, it's not worth much.

As for the last point, I wonder, do you think having worked in New York or gone to school in the US is a huge advantage for someone who wants to practice Canadian criminal defense law (like Providence, or me, before I went to law school)?  Because, I gotta say, I don't think summering at Sherman Sterling is really going to impress Jimmy "the Kiddie Diddler" Fitzgerald, and I'm not sure how many courses Harvard offers on Canadian criminal procedure, Canadian evidence, or Canadian constitutional (at a quick glance  "none" seems like a good first-order approximation), but those would seem to be relevant to someone wanting to go into that area.  

I don't actually necessarily disagree with this point. I have always said, and continue to acknowledge, that the unhappiest Canadians at Harvard Law are the ones who wanted to pursue non-white collar criminal defence, family law, legal aid, and other such community oriented legal ventures. They have often said the same thing, actually, that they wish they were in Canada building the relevant networks, as opposed to here at Harvard, and, in a sense, being driven into biglaw (or maybe large scale NGO/public interest work, often with an international bent). If your goal is to really work to make a difference in your local community (which is a commendable ambition) you are always better placed to make that difference by being in that local community.

 

But that being said, if I had had the wherewithal, capability, and desire to pursue that kind of public interest legal work, I would certainly have never picked the highest tuition law school in Canada to pursue it. I would picked a place like Mcgill, Ottawa, UBC, Queens, etc. where I knew I would not be saddled with such debt as to prevent me pursuing those aspirations.

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3 hours ago, providence said:

If I had looked at it that way, I may have come to that conclusion. However I didn’t. I had no idea what kind of law I wanted to practice and had no idea about Biglaw or their salaries, but I knew I did not want to live in NYC. I had not done much research and was at a very confused/chaotic/low time in my life when I applied to law school. But I ultimately did decide against biglaw in either Canada or the US. 

As to the options you suggest - I doubt I would ever have an interest in running a company other than my law firm. An NGO maybe, but I potentially have other avenues by which to do that that would possibly not have existed unless I stayed in Canada. To become a professor, I’d need further school and I could always try to go to Harvard for grad school if I wanted. Running for office? I doubt I would ever do that either and if I did it would probably be in Canada rather than the US and I can’t see Harvard being that big of an advantage for a Canadian politician. 

I am perfectly happy with my choice to practice criminal law and raise my family in Canada. And I don’t see how anything I did in the US would have put me any further ahead in Canada. I had good grades, clerked, articled for/juniored for/was mentored by a reputed Canadian criminal practitioner and am now a partner in my own firm. 

Providence, I have the utmost respect for you and what you have accomplished, but you have said yourself here, and in other places, that you made the decision to attend U of T law over Harvard/Yale law for very personal/relationship reasons that had little to do with the merits of the two schools, and more to do with your particular familial needs. Are you really saying that others should use your experience to make a decision between these two schools? I understand if your point is merely that everyone has their own struggles and issues going on in life, and so we shouldn't judge anyone who may make one choice or another. But to make those circumstances broadly applicable seems unwise and inapposite to me.

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13 hours ago, maximumbob said:

Well, yes, I think if you get into Harvard, you should be able to do respectably at UofT.  

As for Canadian biglaw hiring, do you really believe that there are people who US biglaw will snaffle up but Canadian firms will pooh-pooh? Seriously?

Aside what's the basis for your claim that Canadian firms hire more on the basis of class/race? There is research that suggests US firms do, I'm not aware of similar research for Canada, and my own experience of being involved with biglaw hiring is utterly inconsistent with that claim (and, for what it's worth, the LSUC data, read critically, doesn't really support it). 

Finally, no matter where they end up Canadian grads should expect to earn less than US grads, so I'm not sure what your point is.  

Don't Canadian firms hire a great deal based on "fit"? To me, that is often sugarcoating prejudicial hiring, whether we like it or not. I have also had experience interacting with Canadian and American firm lawyers, and the Canadians always seemed a little more "fratty" and country-clubbish than the Americans did (not that the Americans are much better, but strivery and gunnerish seemed more apposite for them). Forcing people to talk about sport and hockey in interviews seems very elitist as well. Do you know how expensive it is to buy hockey equipment, and how many poor kids are kept from that experience due to familial wealth? And to then ask that same poor kid about his experiences with hockey? If your going to prefer the kid who played (or plays) hockey recreationally to one who doesn't, at least recognise the class and racial implications of that preference.

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42 minutes ago, Livinginamerica said:

Providence, I have the utmost respect for you and what you have accomplished, but you have said yourself here, and in other places, that you made the decision to attend U of T law over Harvard/Yale law for very personal/relationship reasons that had little to do with the merits of the two schools, and more to do with your particular familial needs. Are you really saying that others should use your experience to make a decision between these two schools? I understand if your point is merely that everyone has their own struggles and issues going on in life, and so we shouldn't judge anyone who may make one choice or another. But to make those circumstances broadly applicable seems unwise and inapposite to me.

Yeah, my reasons not to go to Harvard or anywhere in the US were personal and not related to the merits of the schools.

 I’m not saying anyone should do anything at all based on my experiences. I’m just pointing out that there are reasons, whether or not they’re good ones, whether or not they have to do with the quality of the schools, why people might not go to Harvard and why it might not be the best choice for everyone. 

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45 minutes ago, Livinginamerica said:

Don't Canadian firms hire a great deal based on "fit"? To me, that is often sugarcoating prejudicial hiring, whether we like it or not. I have also had experience interacting with Canadian and American firm lawyers, and the Canadians always seemed a little more "fratty" and country-clubbish than the Americans did (not that the Americans are much better, but strivery and gunnerish seemed more apposite for them). Forcing people to talk about sport and hockey in interviews seems very elitist as well. Do you know how expensive it is to buy hockey equipment, and how many poor kids are kept from that experience due to familial wealth? And to then ask that same poor kid about his experiences with hockey? If your going to prefer the kid who played (or plays) hockey recreationally to one who doesn't, at least recognise the class and racial implications of that preference.

Yeah, in the US, they just care if you went to Harvard, which in a lot of cases (not all) means you come from money, and went to expensive prep schools, had SAT tutoring, paid LSAT prep, didn’t have to work while going through school, etc. 

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