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Messages - Betty_Crocker

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Choosing the Right Law School / Re: UT or Baylor?
« on: February 02, 2009, 03:39:30 PM »
I responded to a similar topic in a different thread, but I wanted to reiterate my vote for UT over full scholarship at Baylor. However, in the end it will depend on what your goals are in the future and timing after graduation. If BIGLAW, prestige, and portability are some of your goals, UT will be the better option. You have a better chance at Biglaw out of graduation and if that 10% chance that you want to practice outside of Texas ever arises, UT will offer better transportability to a respected law firm or government entity [**I copied part of a chart below of how Texas law schools place in biglaw firms in Texas, just to give you some more perspective].

I realize that in the shortrun a full scholarship at a good law school is tempting, you never know if you will be interested in a clerkship, a fellowship, an honors program government job, etc. The law field is extremely pedigree-oriented and you never know what you want to do with your degree. I had a friend who recently decided that she would like to become a law school professor some day. While a Baylor JD will not automatically preclude her from teaching law, her road in legal academia will be difficult. Usually folks from Ivy League schools simply have to graduate in the top percent of their class and get a clerkship to become a professor; folks from lesser known schools have to do all that AND be well-known in their area of law, and will probably be relegated to an adjunct professor position.   

University of Texas School of Law 108
Southern Methodist University Dedman School of Law 53
University of Houston Law Center 49
University of Virginia School of Law 21
Texas Tech University School of Law 14
Baylor University School of Law 13
Harvard Law School 13

Okay, so here's where it gets real interesting. I was pretty sure that I'd go to UT anyway, but then I visited both schools. Without even thinking about the scholarship, I had a better feeling about Baylor. The class waa more interesting (the prof was WAY better than the one they recommended I see at UT), the staff was much more helpful, the facilities seemed like they would meet my needs better, and I just overall felt good about it when I left.

Would that change any of your minds? I know that it's not as prestigious a school, but isn't about the school that is more comfortable for you?

Also, I know I don't want to leave Texas. I've lived outside of Texas in the past and I hated being so far away from my family. My husband also made it clear that he wouldn't leave with me again.

Well now it's a personal preference issue. If you are prepared for Baylor's "bootcamp" style of teaching and Baylor's employment prospects in comparison to Texas, then go for the school that you like. Just make sure you understand Baylor's law school experience BEFORE you attend. I think very highly of Baylor, but it gets slammed on law student satisfaction surveys and I think it's because the students were not fully prepared for what Baylor's law school was going to be like. Remember, your 3L will be one of the hardiest years (and that is completely opposite of other schools). But, Baylor probably has the best professors in Texas when it comes to teaching and interest. During Bar/Bri, we were exposed to different law professors around Texas. The professors who taught Evidence and Texas Procedure were the best and they were both from Baylor. Baylor will definintely teach you how to be a lawyer. Just remember that if you want to have better career options after graduation, you are going to have to be top 10% at a very competitive school at Baylor, while you only need to be in the top-third to top-50% at Texas. 

As an SMU Law alum, I recommend UT hands down. Even though Baylor is a really good litigation school and is highly regarded in Texas, UT opens so many more doors for you in the future. I know the debt is a bit disconcerting, but if you are really interested in litigation, you will probably want to get a good clerkship at a federal court or the Texas Supreme Court. Judges are more prestige whores than the big law firms, so UT will definitely give you a bump over a Baylor, SMU or UH graduate. Plus, you say you don't want to live outside Texas NOW, but stuff can change in the future. A UT JD is a lot easier to shop around outside of Texas than a Baylor JD.

Also, for the sake of full disclosure, you don't HAVE to be in the top 5-10% at Baylor, SMU or UH to secure a Biglaw firm job in Texas. Most of the these Biglaw firms in Texas will go as deep as the top 25% at all three schools; but it is true that those firms will go deeper in the class at UT. I know a couple of people in my graduating class at Baker Botts, Weil, HayBoo, V&E, and Locke who were barely in the top 1/3 at SMU. I'm sure it's also the same at Baylor and UH.

But as I already said, definitely go to UT notwithstanding the Baylor scholarship. You should also check the fine print on that Baylor scholarship too. Baylor is notorious for giving over half the class a scholarship that all requires the students to be in the top half of their class. I'm not a math wiz, but I can tell you that there will be several students who will lose their scholarship because they were outside of the top 50%. Now if you really want to move to a smaller town and work in a small firm or set up your own shop in Texas, then I would recommend being debtfree and getting the litigation skills you will obtain at Baylor. 

Choosing the Right Law School / Re: BigLaw firm placement of schools
« on: January 20, 2009, 09:01:38 AM »
Yes, but remember these are the 2005 employment numbers. The "Unemployed" and "Business" lines are going to be a lot longer for 2008. Also, note that "Business" also means working at the Gap, Starbucks, and McDonalds and "Other Law Firms" include people who are working as contract or temp attorneys. I wish they would do a better job at defining everything that is included in their statistics to prevent "sticker shock" for people going to law school. 

Agreed, why risk trying to get into law school, working your butt off, and spending all that time and money to later being told that you can never practice because you couldn't pass the Character and Fitness portion of the Bar. When investing you (and they DO investigate), they will compare what you put in your law school admissions packet to what they discover on you when they contact your old schools, references, employers, etc. They will fingerprint you in your first semester of law school and use investigators to see if you ever broke any laws or did something in your past that you didn't fess up to. BTW, you are required to give the BAR authorization to look at all of your records. I think they also look at your record even if you were convicted of something as a minor, but I am not sure if they have access to those records. I know only a small group of entities can have access to those kinds of records and I think the BAR are one of those groups.

Choosing the Right Law School / Re: 3.6/148
« on: January 20, 2009, 08:47:35 AM »
I don't have an airtight explanation as to why my LSAT is so low.  Historically, I am not good at standardized tests, but I know the LSAT can be learned and mastered. 

The fact that you admitted that the LSAT can be learned and mastered demonstrates that you NEED to retake the LSAT. If you don't WANT to retake, then don't go to law school. The BAR exam is FAR worse than the LSAT. If I put a 10th of amount of preparation I did for the BAR when I was studying for the LSAT, I would have gotten a score high enough to warrant scholarship dough at my law school. While I don't recommend this while studying for the BAR, I think you should freak yourself out a bit while studying for the LSAT. Push yourself to study more, but tone down the panic a week before you actually take the LSAT. It's a fine line between being prepared and being paniced before the LSAT. Because the LSAT is only a test for admissions into law school, I don't think people are close enough to being overtly paniced before they take the LSAT.

I only bring this up because there are two types of people who fail the BAR: those who don't take it serious and are not prepared, and those who studying so much that they become overwhelmed and panic. I think most people who practice for the LSAT fall into the latter category: they study for the sake of studying for the LSAT, but wear out easily and don't take the practice questions and exams seriously. 

Once you get a bar card, a whole new world of possibilities opens up.

Nope, even with a bar card your job prospects are no better right now. It will get better for entry level associates, I just don't know when.

And while the CCRAA is a nice program in theory, the job market is so bad right now that you can't even get a job that qualifies for this program. Legal Aid, the Public Defenders Office, the District Attorney office, and non-profits AREN'T hiring. It's so bad right now that the DA's office in DC actually started laying off attorneys. You know it's bad when the GOVERNMENT starts laying off attorneys...

Choosing the Right Law School / Re: Non-T25 3L's-How bad is it?
« on: January 11, 2009, 01:38:19 PM »
It is pretty bad. I graduated from the top 1/3 of my class from a T-50 school and I am struggling to find permanent placement. I have a temp doc review type job, but it is only helping me to pay bills and rent for the time being.

For future law schools, note that the "Employment of Grads" percentage listed on USNews does not mean PERMANENT jobs received. Even though this is a temp job, my school will list me as employed for USNews reporting purposes. The people who are listed as unemployed, are ACTUALLY unemployed. Meaning that they don't have ANY money coming in and have nothing to add to their resume.

Choosing the Right Law School / Re: 3.6/148
« on: January 11, 2009, 01:31:07 PM »
Don't listen to these people.  Most of the pepole that post on this site beleive that if you don't go to a top 14 school you shouldn't go at all.  If you know what you want to do and feel that you will be able to do it go for it.  As for other schools schools to look at go to LSAC and use the UGPA and ULSAT tool to look at schools that you have chances at.  Keep in mind that most of the schools will be regional and it will be easiest to find a job in that area so make sure you are happy with the area.

None of the comments above had anything to do with going to a T14 school. Retaking the LSAT is essential, not just for the sake of getting into ANY school but to getting a scholarship and having options. Look at the state of the economy right now. Hopefully it will be better by the time y'all graduate from law school, but there could easily be another downward economic cycle upon graduation. I personally think that there are too many law schools and that the ABA should either cut the number of accredited schools by half or start regulating the amount of tuition the law schools are charging its students. Yes not everyone is going into the law for the sake of the all mighty dollar, but there is a downward trend regarding the number of legal jobs are available for new law school grads. The ABA recently endorsed the ability for law firms to "outsource" certain legal jobs that can only be performed by lawyers, to India. Yes, a doc review job is nothing people strive for after graduation, but if you are going to go to a lower tiered law school your first 5 years after graduation are going to be HARD (in the sense that you will be working long hours for little money and huge student loans looming over your head).

For some personal perspective, I graduated from a top 50 law school in the top third of my class, and I am in the city where the bulk of law grads from my school find jobs. I have not received an interview since 3L OCI and not even the law firms paying less than $30K/year are hiring in this economy. Luckily have a temp job to hold me over, but I know several people who graduated from lower ranked schools and in the bottom half of the class who can only sit at home and apply online. Even the free legal clinic isn't hiring because there are too many lawyers willing to work and the clinic would rather have attorneys with experience as opposed to a recent law grad with ZERO experience.

In short: Caveat Emptor - you don't have to go to a T14 law school to be a successful lawyer, but be prepared for some hardship after graduating from law school.   

Incoming 1Ls / Re: Tulane vs William and Mary
« on: January 11, 2009, 01:16:38 PM »
Determine where you want to work after graduation or what you want to do upon graduation. I know this is hard because you probably don't know if you want to be in transactional v. litigation, but your law school experience will be better. Both schools are good, so you won't be making a bad mistake. W&M is the nation's oldest law school and has consistently been ranked around the 30ish range on USNews. Tulane is a reputable law school that has risen and fallen in the rankings, but is definitely on an upward trend. I would wager that Tulane would place better in the South over W&M and vice versa, but you should check the career services department at each school to see actual placement numbers.

Be open and look at more things than big law firm placement: check judicial clerkship placement, private business, and medium law firm placement stats. Make sure to ask them where their students prefer to practice and see how many firms visit each school's OCI event. Beyond that, check to see how expensive each school will be and even check the cities the law schools are located in to see if it's a place you want to live in (if all else is equal for you).

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