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Choosing the Right Law School / Re: why do you want to be a lawyer?
« on: May 23, 2011, 09:16:22 AM »
The other one I'm curious about is DUI defense.  Unlike a lot of criminal law, a lot of these defendants have money and really need as favorable an outcome as possible.

And generally, DUI's are quick and easy.  If you're good and have a decent client, you can get the 1st knocked down to something a little less...embarrassing.  Or even keep the possibility of probation with eventual dismissal on the table during sentencing on the table.  I have personally seen a guy go from DUI 1st to "Public Intoxication" based on his attorney twice in two years.  Problem I've noticed is every other small-office lawyer out there knows it as well, and actively seeks DUI defendants through mailings after pulling the docket sheets for the same reason I used to see my father do a lot of wills and "no contest" divorces...they're quick, simple, and plentiful.  Good  "bread and butter" cases with little stress.

Choosing the Right Law School / Re: why do you want to be a lawyer?
« on: May 23, 2011, 07:58:57 AM »
Complex answer:  To carry on a family tradition of having an attorney in a rural area, coupled with a sincere interest in the practice of law and a realistic view of a practice.  I grew up in the law, have worked in legal areas my entire life, and wish to practice it in my family's office with my great-uncle's simple motto of "Everyone deserves a lawyer."  Knowing the realities of practice, I don't have any grand desire to be a public service attorney, or own a big house...just a down-in-the-muck Sh*t law practitioner who builds a decent reputation and can feed his family while helping his clients as much as possible.  Prestige? I said, I grew up with lawyers.

Less Complex Answer:  Divorces.  There's gold in them thar hills, and from observing my family's practice I've learned that not many attorneys want to take on these types of cases because they're emotional, heated, and get downright nasty.  I am, by and large, not that nice of a guy and kinda like the idea of being the backwoods pitbull in a case of who gets "the jeep" and who gets the "trailer".

Yeah.  Who wants to watch me run a good name into the muck in five years?

Acceptances, Denials, and Waitlists / Widener Harrisburg
« on: May 05, 2011, 03:33:04 PM »
Oh boy, be careful what you wish for.

I applied to Widener Harrisburg on a whim, mainly because my wife's family farm is less than 40 minutes away, and I figured I'd apply to see what happened...what was I out except the $16 report fee, right?

Then I got accepted. With a full ride offered. And 14 days to confirm or withdraw.

So now I have to decide...wait or accept? I'm hoping for NKU, but they still have me in their committee review, and if I pass up on this scholarship deal and then don't get an acceptance...


Well, time to do some thinking.

Is there any way your Dad would go along with having his other associate submit the letter?

I think he would go along with it without a problem.  I just have the ethical issue myself...mainly on the whole "you're applying to school to earn the necessary degree to sit for the Bar and become a sworn officer of the Court" aspect.  Idealism...I don't have much of it, but what I have can be strong.

The man who loves his cups a bit too much, who we'll just call FY, would sign it without problem. He'd probably submit it without a problem as long as happy hour didn't distract him...but after that I'd have to deal with having FY's name on the letter, and God help me if anyone on the admissions staff Googles him.  His reputation is not sterling, and his inability to practice alone is more or less the reason he's still on the letterhead.

I gotta say, I'd have to think about it though.  My ethics sometimes outweigh my common sense.  Especially since the Bar Examiners will be...familiar...with at least 3 people involved in my application package when I sit for the Bar a few years down the road.  Cart before the horse, I know, but it's something to think about on my end.


I wish I could say yes...but my father's practice is a small office.  His direct legal secretary is my mother, and he hasn't had a personal clerk since I left the office a few years back.  Most of the junior lawyers in his office are hired straight out of law school, and are gone within a year or two to positions elsewhere.  His partner's clerk is the man's drinking buddy, and isn't too reliable.  The best I could do with someone from within the organization would be his legal researcher...a disbarred attorney with a great mind for research and a horrible mind for practice.

My main problem with using someone else in his organization is simply the "knowledge" factor.  The juniors are only likely to know me from case files of long-time clients that they're now handling, and it would essentially be my father's letter with their signature.  Ethically, something just catches me about submitting anything along those lines. 

As for "matching up", though, that's the other part.  I've seen his letter, and the opening line is "This applicant is my son, who also worked as my personal legal assistant, clerk, and in-court support from..." and then on.  It really is one of those "explanatory" letters that just flat out says the nature of the work performed.

Complicated situations arise when the family business is something like this, dangit!

Trustafarian...I like that term, by the way.  No, my father spent 30+ years building his practice, and only became profitable at it after all of his kids were out of the house.  I have a family network to fall back on to help find work after law school (most likely with the county) or a law practice that I can set up office in and hang a shingle out taking cast-off cases, but outside of that I'd be dealing on a family name and not much else.

The only reason I'm thinking the letter may be appropriate as a supplement is, well...people lie on resumes.  Or "expand" the truth.  A secretary becomes a highly trusted clerk/assistant experienced in many matters.  I'm really trying to get a letter like this in to support my resume and explain the nature of my role in his office.

I'm meditating on how to do it.  Like I said, his partner is out of the question, and I'm not ethically comfortable in having someone else write the letter and append another attorney's signature to it...But I see your point as well, and like I said, actually have the same concern.


Thank you!  That's actually my concern with the letter in the first place.  I'm not considering it an LOR so much as a "supplement" to the application to explain the work performed at his office.  But I'm worried for the exact reasons you stated:  that it would come off as a nepotistic letter saying "admit my son because he's my son!" 

I've held back from assigning it to any application yet, and am actually thinking of, if I do assign it, including it as part of the resume or a supplement to explain the work at my father's office.  I heard from at least one admissions rep at another university (not one I'm applying to) that they see a lot of lawyers' kids and assume that they did clerical/filing work in the office.  I'm trying to advise a bit better as to what my work actually was at his office.  I was thinking, if I include that letter at all, maybe stick it in as part of the resume?

I read the letter yesterday, and he acknowledges I'm his son, then gives a dry run-down of what my duties were and how they were performed.  Very sparse in  praise...reads a lot like a letter from an employer, which is how he's writing it.  I'm still torn, though, for exactly the reasons you said.  At the same time, the senior attorney at his office (other than my father) is an inveterate alcoholic that he keeps on out of loyalty, so I really don't trust him to write a letter running down what I did.

I guess I should change the question around a bit:  Not as an LOR, but as a supplement to the Resume information in the application, would such a letter be acceptable to detail the work performed as part of his staff?  The LOR's I have covered (2) from other sources. 

Also, I can always find two people willing to write some schlock about how great I am...but for something like this?  I'd prefer that they be people that can speak honestly about my suitability for the study of law and my ability personally.  Hence the In-House insurance counsel and the Fortune 100 Management.  I think on the LOR front I'm good....I'm just trying to figure out whether to stick in the letter from my father as my employer or not in the application package.

The problem with a professor letter is I'm 3 years out of my UG studies.  The professor I was close to has passed on in that time, and the others...well, I'm a blurred memory these days.  I'm relying more on professional references.  My current job is a high research/analysis position, hence the manager from there.  The in-house counsel is familiar with my legal research ability and quality of my work from the same time as my undergraduate days. 

Law School Admissions / Re: And we'll have fun fun fun
« on: April 22, 2011, 01:49:00 PM »
You might be better off waiting because many of the scholarships may already have been handed out if you apply now. With your numbers you should get scholarship money from any tier 4 and most tier 3 schools, and if you don't it is probably because they have already handed out all their scholarships. If you apply the first day applications open up for the next cycle you might save yourself upwards of 80,000 dollars. Just something to consider and I might be wrong, but generally schools offer out scholarship money early on to attract the students they want the most. By April and May they pretty much have their classes filled. Again, I am only a law student and never worked in a law school admissions office so I could be 100% wrong, but I am speculating that is how admissions offices handle things.

I thought about that...The one I'm really shooting for is a state school, so I could swing tuition and books for a year on my own.  I'm trying for the evening program at first, with a transfer to their full time (I checked, it's not only allowed but encouraged) for the 2L year.  For the first year, I'd be able to get tuition assistance of $5,000.00 from my company, ya know, because law is one of those areas they think it would benefit them to have me studying.  If I can continue working part-time, I'll be able to hold onto that through the entire time...which knocks my yearly resident tuition down to about $10,000.00.  I can swing that and books through a re-jiggering of my finances, 401K, and a small loan.  After that, I'd still be eligible for a merit scholarship as a 2L (They reassess every year) even if I don't qualify/don't receive an offer as a 1L.

Other places?  Well, that's why I'm taking the "wait and see before I commit" route.  If I retake the LSAT in June, then I'll probably be switching up where I'm applying (score dependent) with one exception, as I'd be planning on full-time attendance and have a lot more leeway (my "live in" condition on my mortgage is up in October, meaning that starting in 2012 I can rent it out and not sell). So, basically, if the school and amount is right, swinging a year of tuition through creative funding is more than possible as long as I can get assessed for a merit scholarship as a 2L.

Law School Admissions / Re: And we'll have fun fun fun
« on: April 22, 2011, 11:46:33 AM »
Thanks to everyone who replied!  I'm applying late in the admissions cycle, so I guess I'll see where we go this year, retake the LSAT in June if I get no admission (all of the schools said they "take the highest" score, with a couple saying they only accept up to 3 reportable scores), and go from there. get back to work.

Alright.  Here's where I stand:

I have two recommendation letters from people that know me by work ethic and ability alone:

A manager from my Fortune 100 company that I worked closely with in an area of contract interpretation and ALJ hearings; AND
Well known in house counsel for a large insurer (actually practicing and trying cases before the Bar, not doing "doc review")

I've requested a couple others, but they most likely aren't going to be submitted anytime soon.  However, a large amount of my legal work in the past has been done in my father's practice acting as his assistant and in-court support (basically clerking for him).  My father,as a member of the Bar, is offering to write a letter speaking solely to my responsibilities and performance in his office .  He's more than capable of doing this (my father makes no bones about loving his children, but being completely candid as to their abilities, especially where his profession is concerned), and I know that most admissions departments will look at it as a "supplement" and not a letter of recommendation, which is fine by me. 

Still, I was wondering if anyone has an opinion.  I spent a good portion of my adult life (since 18) working for him before working full time as his assistant/clerk.  Knowing my father, he'll acknowledge I'm his son, then state he's making his statement based off of my actual work product in his office.  I still have letters from other recommenders submitted...I don't see a downside, but then again I'm not in admissions.


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