Monday, December 17, 2007

Cardozo vs. Yale

This is an exciting piece of news:

"Commencing with the Fall 2008 entering class at Cardozo School of Law, a new merit-based full-tuition scholarship will be awarded to six highly qualified Yeshiva University undergraduate students. This award will additionally include a generous stipend to be applied toward living expenses while attending Cardozo."

My question is this: If you were one of these six highly qualified YU undergrads, who presumably also got into law schools like Yale, Harvard, and NYU, would the scholarship and stipend (worth, to the best of my estimates, around $150,000) make you choose Cardozo?

I can only imagine this working for students who don't actually want to practice law.

If you had the choice between Cardozo for free or Yale, where would you go?


Eli said...

I actually know someone who almost turned down NYU law school for Cardozo because he was offered a scholarship. He didn't in the end, but, just saying...
Also, Cardozo beat out Cornell and other NY state law schools in terms of bar results, with a 92% passage rate, beaten only by NYU (96%) and Columbia (95%). So, it's not a bad school to begin with.
I also know plenty of successful lawyers who graduated from Cardozo, so I think your YU-cynicism is misplaced here.

Eli said...

Oh, here's a link:

Julian Horowitz said...

I'm not sure if it's true, but I was once told by a successful international lawyer that it's better to graduate number 1 from a good law school than to graduate middle-low from a great law school. I also imagine that such a scholarship would bring with it some sort of title which wouldn't look too shabby on a resume. Throw in no classes on yomtov, (i think) NYC location, and spare cash and you may have yourself a deal.

Noah said...


I actually am not being YU-cynical (great phrase you just coined). I really think that despite Cardozo being a fine school, most people who got into significantly better schools, in terms of ranking and alumni, would go there.

Ultimately, this is not the same as giving full scholarships to Stern grads going to Albert Einstein College of Medicine. It takes much longer for doctors to pay for 4 years of medical school plus residency, than lawyers (especially from great schools) who only go for 3 years.

Lawyers from great schools very often get great jobs and can pay back loans quickly. Which is why I venture to bet that schools like Yale, Harvard and NYU don't bother to offer financial scholarships - they are being nice enough to you financially by letting you in.

I am still not sure what I would do.

nyfunnyman said...

as someone in law school, the only way you would go to Dozo' under those circumstances was if you don't plan on being the breadwinner for your family- then take the $$. If someone plans on supporting a family- no doubt go to Yale, NYU, Columbia b/c even being 75% there is better than 25% at Dozo. and bar passage results are almost meaningless- everyone knows that

Eli said...

Julian: Cardozo is in NYC. 14th St. and 5th ave, I believe.
nyfunnyman: Bar results are actually not "almost meaningless." They are used in ranking law schools. And this is one of those good vicious cycles. I.e. a great bar passage rate improves the overall ranking, which attracts better students, which increases the likelihood of a better bar passage, etc. Law schools take these results very seriously.

Eli said...

Oh, and Noah - Yale does offer a form of financial scholarship (albeit of a different kind). If you make less than a certain amount (I don't remember the details offhand) right after law school, they will pay your loan repayments. Apparently this is a way to try and get people not to take jobs at big, high-paying firms.

Mr. B. said...

hey noah great blog! i'm becoming an avid reader.

you know that this blog is being taken seriously when yu admin. is caught both reading it and subsequently acting on your suggestions!

to confirm what eli just mentioned: schools that encourage public interest law following graduation have established "loan forgiving" programs based on a sliding scale, so that if a law school graduate is making less than a certain amount for a certain amount of time, he can be (if he does it long enough, and is getting paid little enough) be forgiven of all of his loans. Harvard has such a program.

So, to answer your questions: if one were interested in public interest and had a free Cardozo and a sliding scale Yale/Harvard as options, he may very well wish to choose the latter; the finances, in this scenario, might not be too different in the long run.

-hillel b.

nyfunnyman said...

your comments are show a total lack of knowledge of the law school world. you say that bar passage rates will lead to hire rankings- those are almost meaningless as well. In NY, every employer knows how the schools rank- no one goes from an interview at Dozo and the employer says "what is Dozo ranked this year 51st or 55th? every knows the pecking order- NYU/Columbia, Fordham, Brooklyn/Cardozo. it may take Cardozo another 15 years to even reach Fordham status.

MoChassid said...

FYI, Back in the day, NYU Law School was not ranked nearly as high as Columbia. One of the ways they broke into the top rankings was by ofering full scholarships (plus stipends) to top students who would otherwise have gone to the Ivys. (The other way was by recruiting top professors for much more money). So, the method that Cardozo is using is not new. Whether it can work here remains to be seen.

Zelig said...

is this a merit based scholarship that is based on grades or CJF community service stuff. Any clue?

Noah said...

I am glad to see new commenters. As always, we are happy to post any well-written ideas related to YU. So send them my way. Why comment when you can blog?

Also, let's try to keep things polite in the commenting.

Mr. B:

Glad to see that you are enjoying the blog! We are always looking for alumni to write posts. If you have any ideas, let me know.


Here is a quote from Pre-Law Advisor Rani Lustiger:

"This prestigious new scholarship will be awarded by the Cardozo Admissions Committee to Yeshiva University undergraduate students who have thrived academically, been engaged in their communities, and who have demonstrated leadership abilities and potential for making meaningful contributions to American life and the legal profession."

Whatever that means.

NiceandEZ said...

I've decided to grant Noah's request (more like been compelled to give in to Noah's demands) and respond to this post with my personal opinion on the matter. Not to say that my opinion matters more, or is more qualified, than anyone else's, but Noah said this post was aimed at me so I figured I should reply with something.

I've actually thought about this question for a while and here's what I came up with so far.

On the one hand, saving $150,000 today is a BIG deal, as I'm sure everyone would agree. Plus, in 3 years from now that's really more than $150,000. And even if you end up with a higher paying job straight out of law school with a diploma from a better school, how much more could it be? If it were a difference of $30,000 a year it would take 5 years to make that back. For arguments sake let's say 6 years because of the time-value of money. But what's to say that in those 6 years there will even still be a $30,000 difference in salary for the guy who went to Yale? After working in law for that long wouldn't you think that the school you went to no longer makes much of a difference and you will have had a chance to switch firms and go to the highest bidder? In that case you may not ever make up the $150,000.

However, I spoke to a family friend who is actually a head-hunter for law firms. So he has the inside scoop on what top law firms are really looking for. He suggested that you go to the best place to which you are accepted. His reason was that the school that you attended will follow you forever. He says law firms bill you out for huge sums per hour. They can justify doing that when they can tell their clients, "We have 10 Yale graduates, 12 Harvard graduates, and 8 Stanford graduates." Who cares that a guy from Fordham may be a better lawyer, the client won't know that and will pay based on reputation. So even if you are better-qualified than someone else, they can charge more for the other guy's work if he comes with a better diploma. He said he has had cases where he recommended people to firms and they were not interested because of the school that they attended. He listed their accomplishments, the big firms that they worked for, and everything else that qualified them as a good hire, but the firms still weren't interested. Your diploma will follow you everywhere.

So the question is, is that competitive advantage worth $150,000 today? I don't know and I'm not sure anybody out there does. I still haven't decided what I would do if I was in that situation so unfortunately I won't be able to give my definitive answer in this post, but I hope Noah (and the rest of you) appreciate these observations.

nyfunnyman said...

any person in law school could have just said what you just said without resorting to your "family friend the head hunter." everyone in the legal world knows this. the difference, btw, b/w a starting salary at a big firm and a small firm could be well over 100k.

nyfunnyman said...

i meant 100k per year

Anonymous said...

It is very clear that most people here havent the slightest understanding of law school and the legal profession.

To start, the question isnt even close. Virtually everone at columbia, harvard and yale was offered a full scholarship to any school they applied to outside the top 25 or so, and major scholarships at most of the schools rankings 7-24. It is almost unheard of for anyone to choose a school outside the top 50 over a top 5 or 6. So to answer you question, 99% of the time people choose the top school.

The question would perhaps be slightly closer if it were fordham v. full scholarship. most in this case will still choose fordham.

You have to understand that the legal profession is very prestige and rankings obsessed. Top NY firms (which btw now pay 190k total comp to first year associates) would rather hire someone who is bottom 10% from NYU than top 20% for cardozo.

In the legal world, cardoza is considered a solid second tier school, but would never be mentioned in the same breath as schools like fordham or BC, let alone columbia and harvard.

Also, whoever said bar passage rate is meaningless is 100% correct. Plenty of lower tiered schools in many states put up very high passage rates. Its very dishonest for the YU commentator to try and lump cardoza with top schools based on bar passage rate. There is a 4th tier school, cooley law, which also does this. They create their own rankings every year which coincidently place them in the top 20. YU should be above these 4th tier tactics.

stern grad said...

I actually personally know two people who turned down better schools because they got full scholarships to Cardozo. However, I do not believe those better schools included Harvard or Yale.

Anonymous said...


Last week, we asked you to nominate the most newsworthy lawyer of the year. Many of the candidates were predictable — former AG Alberto Gonzales; Pakistan’s Chief Justice Chaudhry; and, of course, Roy Pearson of The Great American Pants Suit. But a number of you floated the a surprising and rather mysterious nominee: Loyola 2L

But when the nominees were put to an unscientific vote, Loyola 2L won in a landslide. And despite a late surge from Bob Munley and Chris Renz supporters, our readers have spoken. Loyola 2L is our 2007 Law Blog Lawyer Of the Year. (And before you start whining, “But he’s not even a lawyer!,” we never said we were strict constructionists!)

So who — or what — is Loyola 2L? For the non-cognoscenti, he, or she, is purportedly a second-year student, or “2L,” at Loyola Law School in Los Angeles. And his claim to fame? For over a year, Loyola 2L has beaten a loud and consistent drum of discontent around the Web by posting in online forums about the job prospects for graduates of nonelite law schools.

A comment from last summer was typical: “Two years ago I stupidly enrolled in Loyola Law School, thinking it would lead to a decent job,” he wrote. “Now I’m in massive debt and have been taught a hard lesson. … Students from tier 2 schools aren’t allowed to have good jobs, despite all the money and work we put into the education.”

Joel Rich

K.C. said...

If you plan on teaching, you can't go to a school below GWU in the rankings. So, this scholarship is geared more toward those who plan on practicing.

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