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Messages - tacojohn

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Current Law Students / Re: What classes to take to prepare for Big Law?
« on: October 07, 2009, 07:04:23 AM »
Not that many recent graduates or soon-to-be graduates will be breaking into big law anyways, so I should probably rephrase the question: What type of classes should a student take throughout law school if they hope to specialize in a practice typically handled by 'big law' firms. My law school has so many electives that are likely relevant to some sort of corporate/business practice its hard to know which should definitely be on a student's transcript once graduation rolls around. So, beyond the generic "Business Organizations" and "Securities Regulation"...what else should be included?

Part of the problem is that a case "typically handled by a big law firm" could be almost anything. The only common thread is that the client will typically be a large corporation. The only time it might be appropriate to load up your schedule with courses for Biglaw is during 3L when you're holding an offer letter that includes the practice group you'll be working in.

Current Law Students / Re: Those who passed California Bar
« on: October 07, 2009, 07:01:04 AM »
For something specific to the CA Bar, I found Bar Breakers to be extremely helpful. The book gives you a writing approach for each subject tested on the California essays. It's not as substantive a review as a bar course will be though. I would think of it as PMBR for the essays.

And I agree that you don't need to study right now. If you're still in law school, everything you're studying for your classes will get mixed up with what you're studying for the bar. Enjoy your 3L year, focus on those classes, graduate, and then work your ass from May-July.

Current Law Students / Re: Law schools are starting to get the picture
« on: October 07, 2009, 06:57:10 AM »
Good article.  The reality is that it has to start sinking in to those thinking of applying to law school that there are a ton of people graduating and making a starting salary in the 50K range, if they land a job at all.  With 100K in loans, is it worth the time, stress, and financial hardship?   

Just a head's up...everyone is just as smart as you in law school, so if you think you're a shoe-in for the top 10%, think again.  Something's got to give in the end.  Wake up, people...

Good point. The system can't support this volume of people. So there's two solutions:
  • Change the system and have a cheaper education with more options for employment afterwards; or
  • Take fewer people
Either way, you're right, something's got to give. I'm just not convinced it has to be the students, although they're the most likely.

Consider upgrading the gym shorts to khaki shorts or cargo shorts and you'll be fine. It doesn't matter what you wear in class, but I didn't see many people come in looking like they had just rolled out of bed. Maybe mix in some business casual every once in a while just to get used to it.

And don't worry about these being your future colleagues or future referrals. The nice guy who dresses like a cleaner hippie is going to get a lot more benefits from his fellow students in the future than the feminine hygiene product who treats people like dirt because of what they wear to class.

Can they accept you and then deny you based on your grades Senior year?

Yes. It would need to be a total disaster, but it's possible. If you slip a bit, say your cumulative GPA is a 3.7 and you turn in a 3.0 final semester, you'll be fine. But if you get straight Ds and/or fail any courses, it might be a tense month or so when you send that final transcript.

Current Law Students / Re: Class Scheduling
« on: August 22, 2009, 09:17:45 AM »
If you can swing it, take crim pro (if your school splits it into crim pro I, II, etc., I'm talking about investigation/constitutional crim pro).  Other crim law classes aren't all that important.  But don't ditch mock trial to do so.

If the choices are just these two, take the Crim Pro classes, especially one that covers Crim Pro investigation (i.e. 4th Amendment). Not only is it useful information, but it's on the Multistate as well and many state bar exams too, plus it's fairly difficult stuff to learn in a few weeks.

Current Law Students / Re: Cuz I'm Curious
« on: August 22, 2009, 09:14:18 AM »
Good news:

Firms still want a diversity of schools represented, so if you've done well at a reasonably well-ranked school you are fine.  The kids who are screwed are those who have average grades at a great school, who in any other economy would have a great selection of jobs.

As for T3/T4, my prediction is employed rates will be way off and many will be shutting their doors in a few years.  We can't take this many lawyers (we've known that for a while), and now reality is hitting hard.  I mean seriously, JAG Corps is competitive this year.

This is dead on. There's just too many lawyers and too many law students. As those schools shut their doors, hopefully it sends the message that law school is not for people who just need to kill time for three years. It's for learning legal skills, although that assumes schools start teaching more of those skills.

Current Law Students / Re: Tips for law review write-on?
« on: May 21, 2009, 04:05:50 PM »
1. Follow directions. If the directions say the note needs to be printed on a sheet of parchment made from the wool of a lamb that is exactly 435 days old, do not use wool from a lamb that is 434 or 436 days old. But seriously, this thing is all about following directions. Margins, font, number of copies, method and time of delivery, what sources you use, etc. are all worth a sizable chunk of the grading.

2. Start early. You need to do that so you can...

3. Edit more than you write. Along with following directions, having perfect spelling, great grammer, and correct citations are key. As a 2L you're going to spend more time with the Bluebook and Chicago Manual of Style (at least I did) than you would ever want to. That's the skill they're looking for.

4. Organize everything. A dull but well-organized note will beat a genius but completely disorganized note every time.

Bottom line: this is about form over function. Get the form right, and if the function (the substance) is passable, you should be in good shape.

Incoming 1Ls / Re: Facebook and Law School...
« on: April 14, 2009, 07:25:24 AM »
I'll start by saying that I'm coming at this from the idea that if I'm an employer and I Google your name, I'm going to be very suspicious if I find absolutely nothing.

I think a lot of the advice about social media is so defensive that you might shoot yourself in the foot, particularly if you end up applying for non-traditional legal jobs or non-legal jobs when you're out of law school.

I say the best defense is a good offense. Build a really good Linkdin profile and link to it on places like here to push it up the Google rank. Make a Twitter account with your real name, and just be sure to not put up a bunch of tweets about drinking, smoking weed, and property damage. If you can wall off a half-hour per day, write a blog (preferably on a topic other than your law school). Get out in front of this stuff and instead of just avoiding Google as a liability, make it an asset.

That said, my Facebook account is as private as I can make it. I can't be friended, seen, or even searched for. That's less about avoiding embarrassment than about not being friended by every Tom, male private part, and Harry who might know me. I use Facebook for real friendships and acquaintances, and except for a few outliers, I've at least met everyone I'm friends with there. But that does do a pretty good job keeping my profile out of Google.

Incoming 1Ls / Re: What kind of notebook should I buy?
« on: April 12, 2009, 08:32:56 AM »
Never ask for advice about buying a computer on a forum this big. Eventually you will get one horror story about every brand of computer made.

Set a budget, go to a store with lots of different types and brands, and look at all of them. And consider all the possible options like a convertible tablet or maybe a desktop for home and a netbook.

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