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Messages - procrastinator

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1
2L job search / Re: below-curve hls 2L re: oci prospects
« on: June 18, 2008, 10:21:38 PM »
The results of "average" students (all of these were at the median during 2006, when the economy was still good):

Morrison & Foerster LLP New York Screening Interview -- Rejection
Paul, Weiss, Rifkind, Wharton & Garrison LLP New York Screening Interview -- Rejection
Sidley Austin LLP New York Screening Interview -- Rejection
Wilmer Cutler Pickering Hale And Door LLP Washington, Dc Screening Interview -- Rejection
Proskauer Rose LLP New York Callback -- Rejection

Lesson?  Bid widely.  Don't take anything for granted.  Interview well.  Cling to your callbacks.

My research has increasingly indicated that, with the exception of Y, T14 students have to make the grade like everyone else.  I think it's silly to assume otherwise.

I'm willing to bet this is due to a questionable personality and not grades.  Look, Harvard students get special privileges during OCI.  I don't think most top firms even have a GPA cutoff (unofficially) for Harvard students.  The universal decision date when law students must decide on a 2L summer firm is December 1.  That is, universal, bar Harvard: I think Harvard students have until December 5 or something like that.  My point is, firms love Harvard students, no matter where they fall on the curve and I really think a 3.1 at HLS is golden.  Just make sure you charm the socks off the interviewers and you'll have your pick of firms.  Dude, I know below median folks at UCLAW who got V20 firm jobs.  Of course, they were not the norm.  But if it is a possibility at UCLA, it is a near sure thing at Harvard.  I know we law students have delicate egoes and are used to shining in academia, which makes it especially hard to swallow a 3.1.  But honestly, as far as OCI prospects are concerned, you're sittin' pretty.  That really is the beauty of going where you go.

2
haha, wow. I love Hastings too, but anyone who lives in CA has to know that USC is on a level far above of UC Hastings.  Would you pass up on UCLA (a school way closer to USC than any other) for Hastings?  Your chances for big law out of USC are far better plus they have a much better reputation (even though Hastings is respected).  If you want to live in Socal it's no contest really.

I would say the bolded is debatable, even in SoCal.  Hastings has a reputation for producing very hard-working lawyers.  Plus, the fact that it's a UC gives it an automatic bump in most Californians'  minds.  For someone with aspirations to do government work, a free ride to a very well respected school would be a shame to pass up.  I would even pick Hastings without any money over USC.  The difference between in state public school tuition and private school tuition outways the difference in prestige - particularly for DA work.

Do you live in CA?  I have my whole life and not one lawyer I've personally met would agree with this (though I don't doubt there are those, especially in the Hastings alumni network, who hold this opinion)

Yes, I go to UCLA.  I wasn't suggesting that Hastings has a better rep than USC.  I was suggesting that the disparity between the two schools is not big enough to dismiss the value of a free legal education at Hastings.  I know many people in the legal world in SoCal who hold Hastings in high regard.  Granted, no one places it on par with USC, but someone who desires government work (read: less than stunning income prospects) should really take the free ride seriously.  Worse case scenario, the OP does not end up in the top of the class, loses the scholarship, pays in state tuition for two years (significantly less than three years' tuition at USC) and graduates from a first tier law school.  There are worse things.

3
haha, wow. I love Hastings too, but anyone who lives in CA has to know that USC is on a level far above of UC Hastings.  Would you pass up on UCLA (a school way closer to USC than any other) for Hastings?  Your chances for big law out of USC are far better plus they have a much better reputation (even though Hastings is respected).  If you want to live in Socal it's no contest really.

I would say the bolded is debatable, even in SoCal.  Hastings has a reputation for producing very hard-working lawyers.  Plus, the fact that it's a UC gives it an automatic bump in most Californians'  minds.  For someone with aspirations to do government work, a free wide to a very well respected school would be a shame to pass up.  I would even pick Hastings without any money over USC.  The difference between in state public school tuition and private school tuition outways the difference in prestige - particularly for DA work.

4
Hastings.  SF rocks.  I don't think this is a flame and I'm serious.

5
I paid the $500 deposit to UCLA in order to keep my admission offer. I still haven't decided if I want to go.

In theory, I'm completely fine with working long hours at a big firm. However, I haven't experienced big firm life personally so maybe I won't find it enjoyable.

Coming from W&L, I'll be looking at a debt of around $60k.

Coming from UCLA, I'll be looking at a debt of around $150k.

Is it realistic to pay $150k off? Is the debt burden too high?  ???

I like the idea that UCLA will probably offer me better career prospects coming out of school. However, I've had working attorneys tell me that it doesn't matter where you went to school after a few years (I found this hard to believe). Is the UCLA education really worth $90k more? (plus compound interest on the debt of course)

I really do think this is true.  Once you land your first job, all other jobs will only care about the fact that you were able to land and hold down a job in the first place.  If your first big job happens to be at a prestigious place - be it large and fancy corporate firm, competitive PI job, gov job, clerkship - lateral places will simply be impressed by the fact that you were able to secure such a good gig.  I have heard this time and again from attorneys who have experience with lateral moves at large firms.  Academia is a whole other beast, but that's a special case.  I mean, seriously, if your first job out of a decent (although maybe not "top") school is with a V100 firm, doesn't it just make sense that other employers will care a lot more about your ability to turn out good work in a firm environment than the school listed on your diploma?

Now the real challenge lies in landing that first good job.  Whether or not it's worth $90,000 for the easier first gig prospects is difficult to say.  I go to UCLA and know the prospects are pretty good from here.  Those who want DC and government jobs got them (though they are relatively few in number.  But this might actually cut the competition a bit).  I know next to nothing about W&L.  It's a tough call, indeed.

6
Pros and Cons anyone? That and if no money, where would you go personally and why?

Northwestern:
Pros: Moderately NLJ250 placement than GULC or UCLA, Chicago, Supposedly collegial atmosphere, portable to DC, NYC.
Cons: Expensive housing, outdated transit system, narrower range of journals/concentrations

GULC:
Pros: Government/PI connections, DC, Superb transit system, large number of journals/concentrations, porable to NYC
Cons: Large class size, recent cutthroatness reputation, Expensive housing

UCLA:
Pros:Los Angeles, Great PI opportunities/journals
Cons: Expensive housing, bad transit system, narrower range of journals/concentrations


While agree with Matties that journals should not be central in your decision-making process.  UCLAW has 12 student-run journals.  Do they really cover a narrow range?  What journals do the other two schools have that UCLA doesn't?  But, more importnantly, where do you want to work after graduation?  What kind of legal career do you envision?  And somewhat relatedly, what is your financial situation?  Will you get in state tuition at UCLA?

7
Where should I go next fall? / Re: GULC vs. UCLA
« on: May 21, 2008, 03:12:45 PM »
I was faced with the same decision two years ago.  I chose UCLA because of the tuition break and I DO plan to practice outside of CA after graduation.  Based on my peers' and my own experiences with job searches (now this is purely anecdotal, so take it with a grain of salt), UCLA might even give us an edge in large non-CA markets.  Firms want diversity.  New York firms get tons of GULC applicants, but comparatively few UCLA applicants who are serious about practicing outside of CA.  Conversely, CA firms get tons of UCLA students who absolutely plan to stay in-state after graduation.  I know a few people who place below the median who had great luck with New York firms and less than stellar responses from CA firms because their diversity gave them an edge in the former market, but they were one of many vying for LA-based firms.  Of course, no one really knows hiring partners' exact rubrics in assessing candidates, but I honest to God believe this whole T14 business exists only in online discussion boards.  Hiring partners do not set an arbitrary prestige cutoff between the 14th and 15th schools (at least, as far as I've seen and experienced).  Obviously they will treat similarly ranked candidates from Harvard and UCLA very differently.  But GULC and UCLA?  I really don't think so.  If you want the change of scenery and the experience of living in DC for a few years, GULC might be a great option.  But if you're judging by job prospects alone?  I don't believe the differential outweighs the difference in tuition.  Again, this is not based on hard scientific evidence, but my own experiences and perceptions.  Take what you will.

8
Acceptances / Re: UVa vs UCLA
« on: May 04, 2008, 02:15:58 PM »
Go UVA.   I go to UCLA, and I really like it, but I place highly in the class. It's true not every student gets their job through OCI, but almost any job worth having in gov't or private practice is achieved through OCI. Law school isn't worth your time and effort if you won't be guaranteed a good career as a lawyer.  It's definately doable from UCLA, but your path will be a lot easier at UVA - go UVA.  You always want the statistics in your favor.  People have this tendency to say "well, I'll be OK" when anything could happen on law school exams.  Incoming credentials can help predict class rank, but there's plenty of variance, and the last thing you want to be is the exception who had a good GPA and LSAT coming in but bombed because it turns out you're not good at law school exams.


It sounds like your class placement gives you a skewed perception of what happens when you're not at the top of your class at UCLA.  There are plenty of people who are at or below medium at UCLA with a good job from OCI.  I know them personally.  They just don't advertize that their grades are "sub-par," particularly to people known to have high GPAs.  That's law school for ya :-\  I know a lot of attorneys at LA firms and I have a really hard time believing that they place that much of a higher premium on UVA than they do on UCLA when controlling for all other factors.  Most attorneys I know in LA (from large firms) don't even realize UVA is ranked higher than UCLA according to USNWR.  They just know that UCLA is #1 in LA and UVA is just another good public law school in a different region of the country.  I think once you start working you'll realize how meaningless a few spots on an empty, sensationalized ranking system truly is.  UCLA is highly regarded in LA.  If you want something out here, you'll get it.  If you don't do well at UCLA, you probably would not have done well at UVA and hiring partners at LA firms STILL won't be impressed simply because your GPA comes from UVA.  And of course, again, people with non-stellar grades still get great jobs when they put in the time and effort.  The "UCLA 3L" who can't get a job sounds like a serious headcase and probably turned off employers with his lackluster (to say the least) personality.  I would bet he would not have fared much better at OCI with a 3.8.  Personality matters.  ALOT!







9
Law School Applications / Re: 160 + 3.5 at Yale = WHAT LAW SCHOOLS?
« on: May 01, 2008, 02:51:03 AM »
Oh, wow.  There's a lot of room for improvement.  If you had the intelligence to matriculate at Yale for undergraduate and earn a 3.5, you definitely have 170 potential.

Wrong, so WRONG!  The LSAT tests a particular skill that is not necessarily linked to intelligence.  Most liberal arts majors I know - some of whom are brilliant - just don't have the capacity think in terms of game theory and abstract logical reasoning.  But they have an incredible command of language, and think wonderfully critically.  In fact, every English/History major I know from some fancy private UG did outright terribly on the LSAT, after months of prep.  Nor is the LSAT significantly related to LS GPA.  I know people with LSAT scores of 175+ who are below the median of my class, and people with scores in the mid 160s who are at the top of the class.  I also know of fantastic lawyers who did not go to "elite" (whatever the hell that bullsh-- means) law schools and did not get particularly high GPAs.  They're just smart, hard working and have killer writing skills - something every good lawyer needs, even though neither the LSAT nor law school test or teach them.

And yes, it's very impressive to have gone to Yale.  But I've gotta say, some of the stupidest, thick-skulled, dull-witted people I've ever met went to HYP.  Yes, some of the most brilliant people I've met also went to exclusive private schools.  But some of them also went to low-ranked state schools and community colleges because they don't do well on empty standardized tests or if they do, because that's all they could afford.  Where you go to school - UG or LS - will not pre-determine your entire life.  If you want to be a lawyer, just go to the school that you think will provide you with the best learning environment, work your ass off and be a lawyer.

10
Where should I go next fall? / Re: Why choose USC over UCLA?
« on: April 29, 2008, 02:16:45 AM »


Doesn't look like UCLA places 8th for clerkships (this is the NLJ 250 data, including clerkships (second bar), ordered by clerkships.
Accessed from http://taxprof.typepad.com/taxprof_blog/2007/11/law-school-rank.html.
November 30, 2007
Law School Ranking by Federal Appellate Court Clerkship Placement
The Federal Appellate Clerkship Blog ranks law schools by the total number and percentage of their graduates with 2008-09 circuit court clekrships. 

The Top 10 law schools in both measures are:

Harvard (#1 in total number of graduates, #4 in percentage of graduates)
Yale (#2, #1)
Stanford (#3, #2)
Chicago (#4, #3)
Columbia (#5, #7)
Michigan (#6, #8)
Texas (#7, #12)
Georgetown (#8, #17)
NYU (#8. #13)
UCLA (#8, #8)
Northwestern (#11, #5)
Duke (#13, #6)
Penn (#13, #10)

Because I don't know anyone at USC, I can't compare the two schools' level of competitiveness.  Law students are mostly type-A personalities.  That'll be the case everywhere.  UCLA doesn't rank.  It reveals the top ten students (that's top ten, not ten percent) at the end of 2nd year and the students who graduate order of the coif (top ten percent) after 3rd year.

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