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Messages - RobWreck

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1
General board for soon-to-be 1Ls / Re: License Lawyers Without JDs?
« on: February 08, 2013, 10:08:59 AM »
New York has had a way for non-JD's to take the bar for many years now...

http://www.nybarexam.org/Eligible/Eligibility.htm
Quote from: NY BOLE
LAW OFFICE STUDY/CLERKSHIP

New York is one of only a few jurisdictions that permits an applicant to qualify to take the bar examination on the basis of some law school study combined with law office study or clerkship. Section 520.4 of the Rules of the Court of Appeals sets forth the eligibility requirements for law office study. Interested applicants are urged to carefully review the requirements of Section 520.3 To qualify to take the bar examination on the basis of law office study under Section 520.4, the applicant must demonstrate:

1. that applicant commenced the study of law after applicant's 18th birthday; and
2.the applicant successfully completed the prescribed requirements of the first year of full-time study in a first degree in law program at an ABA approved law school, whether attending full-time or part-time, earning a minimum of 28 credit hours (the threshold period);
3.that applicant thereafter studied law in a law office or offices located within New York State under the supervision of one or more attorneys admitted to practice law in New York State, for such a period of time as, together with the credit allowed pursuant to this section for attendance in an approved law school, shall aggregate four years.

While at least the above-method replaces the formal education portion with practical experience, I think the idea of simply abandoning the last year is a horrible idea. I think the opportunities and experiences you have during law school, many of them unavailable to 1L's, really give a depth of understanding to the materials. Internships, clinics, externships, etc... all help to give context to the actual practice of law, all within the safety of the academic world. Skipping that last year really takes away a lot of that contextual development...

2
The reality is very few incoming 0L's have any idea what they really want to do since you know very little about the law prior to enrolling and even after law school your interests can change greatly.

Legend's right again here... what you *think* you want to focus on when applying to law school can easily fall to the wayside once you've been exposed to other fields of law and the opportunities your school provides. Considering the dismal state of organized labor (7% union density in private sector), I would caution against choosing a school on the basis of their labor studies opportunities. Instead, let that be a 'soft factor' in your decision after you've narrowed your choices with the 'hard factors' of job placement and expense. Labor law is a small, specialized field with limited job opportunities, and it's not one of the more lucrative fields (at least not on the union/worker side).

3
While Legend is correct that "no school will focus on labor/employment law completely," some schools do have more labor offerings than others. St. John's has a Center for Labor & Employment law that draws top speakers and practitioners (I've heard Richard Trumka & Wilma Liebman speak at various SJU events). You can find out a little more about the program here...

http://www.stjohns.edu/academics/graduate/law/academics/centers/laboremployment

Hofstra University has a well-known Labor & Employment Law journal, but I have no familiarity with their actual program...

Alternately, as your interest is in representing unions and workers, take a look at the Peggy Browning Fund's website here...

http://www.peggybrowningfund.org/

The schools that regularly have Peggy Browning Fellows may be considered as ones that have a stronger emphasis on labor & employment law. I know that my experience as a PBF was very rewarding and I credit SJU in part for my selection as 1 of the 50 fellows selected for Summer '10. In '09, SJU students recieved 4 of those 50 fellowships.

But Legend raises another good point when he says that you can judge a school's commitment to labor & employment law by reviewing their course offerings. Some schools offer just the basic 'Labor Law' class. Others (like SJU) have more extensive offerings like: (1) Labor Law; (2) Employment Law; (3) Employment Discrimination; (4) Advanced Labor Law; (5) Labor and Employment Arbitration; (6) Public Sector Labor and Employment Law; (7) Pensions and Benefits Law (ERISA)

In short, you have to do your research. My bias shows here, but it is clear that there are schools that have more to offer in the field of labor & employment law.

Good Luck!
Rob

4
You won't get any argument out of me about the vast differences between law school, sitting for the bar and the actual practice of law. I guess I just fall more into the law school = legal education camp, rather than the law school = career training belief.

That's fine, but it sucks that a practitioners' group like the ABA and state bars would require three years of legal education unless those years were necessary.   I'm fine with 1L, and 2L really depends on what type of law you want to do, but 3L is a joke for pretty much everyone.  I did law review, moot court, and worked part time and I had a ton of time to mess around.

Don't most states have an alternative route for eligibility to sit for the bar exam? NY does - a combination of law school and real law office experience. My thought is that if you're going to be in law school, paying for law school, then "do" law school. If you're not there for the education, then why pay for those later years?

http://www.nybarexam.org/Rules/Rules.htm#520.4
520.4 Study of Law in Law Office (effective April 1, 2012)

(a) General. An applicant may qualify to take the New York State bar examination by submitting to the New York State Board of Law Examiners satisfactory proof that:

(1) the applicant commenced the study of law after the applicant's 18th birthday;

(2) the applicant successfully completed the prescribed requirements of the first year of full-time study in a first degree in law program at an approved law school as defined in section 520.3(b) of this Part, whether attending full-time or part-time, earning a minimum of 28 credit hours (the threshold period);

(3) at the conclusion of the threshold period the applicant was in good standing, not on academic probation, and was eligible to continue in the law school's degree program;

(4) the threshold period was completed within 36 months of the commencement of law school study; and

(5) the applicant thereafter studied law in a law office or offices located within New York State, under the supervision of one or more attorneys admitted to practice law in New York State, for such a period of time as, together with the credit permitted pursuant to this section for attendance in an approved law school, shall aggregate four years.

(b) Employment and instruction requirements. An applicant studying law in a law office or offices within New York State must be actually and continuously employed during the required period as a regular law clerk and student in a law office, under the direction and subject to the supervision of one or more attorneys admitted to practice law in New York State, and must be actually engaged in the practical work of such law office during normal business hours. In addition, the applicant must receive instruction from the supervising attorney or attorneys in those subjects that are customarily taught in approved law schools.

(c) Credit for attendance in approved law school. Credit shall be allowed toward the required four years of combined law school and law office study in accordance with subdivision (a) as follows:

(1) one full year (52 weeks) of credit shall be allowed for successfully completing the threshold period;

(2) following the threshold period, two weeks of credit shall be allowed for every additional successfully completed credit hour at an approved law school, but only if at the conclusion of the semester in which the credits were earned the applicant was in good academic standing, was not on academic probation and was eligible to continue in the school’s degree program.

(d) Vacations. Vacations taken by the applicant in excess of one month in any year of law office study shall be deducted from the period of law office study for which credit shall be given, but if the applicant does not take a vacation there will not be an adjustment in the period of study required by this section.

(e) Certificate of commencement of law office study. It shall be the duty of the attorney or attorneys with whom a period of law office study is about to be commenced to obtain from, complete and file with, the Clerk of the Court of Appeals a certificate of commencement of clerkship, Appendix B-2, infra. At the time the certificate of commencement of clerkship is filed, the applicant shall provide the Court of Appeals with a copy of the determination of the State Board of Law Examiners of the credit to which the applicant is entitled under subdivision (c) of this section.

(f) Credit for law study in law office. Credit shall be given only for study in a law office or offices engaged in after the successful completion of the threshold period of law school study and after the filing of the certificate required by subdivision (e) of this section.

(g) Proof required. Compliance with the requirements of this section shall be proved to the satisfaction of the State Board of Law Examiners.



5
You won't get any argument out of me about the vast differences between law school, sitting for the bar and the actual practice of law. I guess I just fall more into the law school = legal education camp, rather than the law school = career training belief.

6
I would summarize the following points from the original poster...

1) Don't do the work that the professors and the legal education institution, whose expertise you're paying tens/hundreds of thousands of dollars for, feel you should to obtain a quality legal education. (THE SINGLE BIGGEST MISTAKE students make in law school is sinking thousands of hours reading and briefing cases in preparation for class)

2) Flagrantly disregard rules instituted by the school and the accrediting board of law schools ( I did it while working ~30-35 hrs/wk (in flagrant violation of school rules)) (See 304(f) http://www.americanbar.org/content/dam/aba/publications/misc/legal_education/Standards/2012_standards_chapter_3.authcheckdam.pdf)

The poster states that he is currently in his 2nd year as an attorney and offers statements indicating a highly successful law school career ("graduated with High Honors, got Order of the Coif"). Although his law school is not identified, OP's profile shows a location of Miami. Although certainly not the only possibility, University of Miami is an Order of the Coif member school.

He has no other posts, although acknowledges that this forum helped him alot in his pre-law days. His profile indicates that he only joined LSD yesterday. His sig file is a link to a rather detailed lawyer/law student website, but there is no readily available information identifying the owner/author of said website.

Taken all together and contrasted with my law school experience, I would not credit his response as being suitable for most potential law students. His post suggests that shortcuts and disregarding rules is a way to a successful legal career. It is a method that does work for some. Conversely, some that follow that method grace the disciplinary review pages of my local bar association's newsletter. Relying on not getting caught and exclusively using commercial supplements rather than learning to synthesize the material yourself may have worked for the OP but I question whether the majority of other law students would be satisfied with the results.

JMHO

7
Ok, so that explains why you're not @ Western anymore... because of their absurdly high dismissal rate. The follow-up question is 'What have you changed that will cause you to have a different result?' If you haven't identified why you weren't in the top half, then what makes you think that you'll have more success the second time around?

A brief search of the school's website led me to this disheartening statement...

Grades will be assigned on a C curve.
Prof. Dellinger's Contracts I class - Syllabus p.4
http://content.wsulaw.edu/assets/Academics/Syllabi-Booklists/2011/contracts-IIIB-syllabus.pdf

Perhaps I'm mistaken here, but a C curve indicates that a 2.0 is the midpoint of the grading curve, no? So roughly half of Prof. Dellinger's students will be facing academic problems, and less than half will receive the required 2.5 to earn a 'foundation point'? You may want to reconsider whether you really want to get back into a program so heavily stacked against you...

8
Addressing this post as an honest request for help and not a humorless hoax, you haven't provided enough information for any reasoned advice...

1) Why were you dismissed? If it was an academic dismissal for poor grades, have you identified the source of the trouble and come up with a solution? If it was a disciplinary dismissal that would impact potential bar admission, that's an even more significant concern.

2) Why do you want to go back to law school? Is there a more affordable alternative that meets your goals? How committed are you to a career in the legal field?




9
You leave out a few important considerations in determining whether you've  'set myself up for failure'...

1) Are you looking at a full-time or part-time program? The courseload difference between the two can be 4-5 credits each semester... one large course or two smaller courses.

2) Expect to regularly have 2-3 hours of out-of-class prepwork for every hour spent in class. For your 15 hour FT program, expect 30-45 hours of work fully prepping for class, each week. Many try to put in less time, but in a system where you're graded on a hard curve against each other, often the lesser effort is reflected in the results. Legal writing assignments (briefs, memorandums, etc...) can consume a disproportionately large amount of time as well. Then there is the final exam crunch, during which time most of my fellow PT'ers took off from work.

3) Will you be able to free up additional time for 'optional' extracurriculars such as journals, moot court, mock trial, internships/externships/clinics? While some of these *may* provide credits towards your courseload, their workload generally far exceeds the credit pay-off. I refer to them as 'optional' because while they may not be required to earn a degree, some sort of extracurricular is a virtual necessity to obtain a legal position (necessary, although far from sufficient).

In short, there are significant time concerns you need to consider that are outside the classroom. Figure those out and you'll know whether this is something you can do...

Best of luck...
Rob

10
General board for soon-to-be 1Ls / Re: T Minus 4 Weeks
« on: July 20, 2012, 10:20:12 AM »
Here's a silly question... how many actual case excerpts have you read? Reading the E&E's and having the black letter law spoonfed to you doesn't compare with actually reading the cases and understanding the reason why a law developed a certain way. One of the things that I felt gave me a leg up, at least initially, was knowing how to brief a case... pulling the procedural and substantive facts from the brief, identifying the issue, identifying the holding, etc... and later when it came to final exams, besides reciting the black letter law, the ability to compare and contrast the fact pattern with the actual assigned cases can score you the crucial easy extra points.

It's a skill that everyone develops quickly in law school, but knowing what I was doing right out of the gate made me feel more comfortable adapting to the learning process of law school.

Good luck.

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