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Messages - LegalMatters

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Ugh - who cares?

Current Law Students / Re: Grades
« on: May 02, 2009, 11:19:12 PM »
Actually, I'm heartened by the fact that the same rule applies to lawyers that does to college grads, except law grads have to suffer a little longer. After college, employers only care about the university and program on the resume for no more than two years. Anyone with more than two years experience actually has to show they deserve their paycheck. Lawyers have to wait about five years before firms stop caring about the name on the diploma and start looking at actual productivity and results. Timeless rule of the business that often works for those of us in the lower echelons.

Your MBA is a soft factor that will be taken into account, contrary to what the admissions "experts" on this board say. If you don't end up where you want to first year, as long as your grades are good at the end of the first year, apply to transfer somewhere else. A former classmate and a friend of mine, former Army, did this very successfully.

I go to school with a former police officer who is doing really well and is very involved in student life activities. Having a former police officer is a great asset to help keep perspective on theoretical v. practical realities of law. At least, in criminal law and procedure. There are a lot of former police officers-turned-lawyers and many of them don't go into criminal law - fresh start in the second career?

Lawyers make money on the side doing wills and trusts. There are still full-time family law attorneys but not in the way you think. By the time you graduate, there may be a market for general practitioners again.

I'm not at a top-tier school but I don't doubt you. We have students who fit that demographic where I go but the extended division program works for them since most of the students going part-time have families and other responsibilities so they cannot just quit their jobs and go to school full time.

The law school I attended last year had a program from for students with "risk factors", like being out of school for several years, where we started a week earlier than everyone else. If you're going to a T1/T2 law school, call and ask about it (it's not something those schools like to advertise but I know for a fact Harvard has a program as does Villanova Law School in Pennsylvania). It's much more beneficial than wasting money on a commercial program because the program at the law school is tailored for students attending that particular school. Plus, it's just comforting to be amongst others who are coming from the same place in life, at least that's how I felt.

Current Law Students / Re: Screwed in Legal Writing
« on: May 02, 2009, 10:57:02 PM »
It's best to keep in mind that fact that legal writing in law school does not resemble legal writing in the real world. Everyone has to write those god-awful open memos that run 12-30 pages their first year. Professors grade on everything from a single misplaced comma to writing style (whatever that means in legal writing). A lawyer gave me some advice before I started my internship last summer: In real life, a partner or supervising attorney does not have the time to read memos longer than 10 pages unless it's a very complex set of issues. Therefore, keep it brief and current. Last summer, I made sure to write research memos that were no longer than five pages because my supervising attorney did not have forever to read a 30-page memo and I was given a good review.

Pretend the legal writing assignments are formal "papers" and then toss it out the window for accuracy and brevity in the real world.

Current Law Students / Re: Grades
« on: May 02, 2009, 10:48:33 PM »
Here in T4 we curve to 2.6-2.8 (15% A and B+, 25% B, 50% C+ and C, 10% D+ and below) it is brutal. (no A+'s or any -'s).

I don't know why T3-T4 schools do this.  Is it so they can promote the very top of their class and get them jobs?  Even if you knew you were one of the better students it would be incredibly stressful knowing that over half the class is going to have a C or lower average.  That would kill you trying to apply anywhere as soon as anyone just glanced at your school and GPA.

What I think you mean is that the curve is kept lower so that the rest of us have to work even harder to find jobs. After all, nothing says "quality" like the students in the lower 70% of the class funding the law school so that only the top 30% have a chance at finding employment that can pay the bills.

Transferring / Re: Should I Transfer
« on: April 28, 2009, 08:36:16 PM »
Actually, based on experiences from some of my former 1L classmates at a T4 school - Ain't got nothing to lose except possibly the application fee.

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