Law School Discussion

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Topics - Law2k6

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1
General board for soon-to-be 1Ls / Backing up Your Computer
« on: July 16, 2006, 11:54:54 PM »
Ok, so I know we all talk about it but few of us actually back up our computers as often as we should. I thought I'd post my thoughts and see what other good ideas people have.

Suggestions:

1. Backup daily
2. Backup to an external HD
3. Backup to an online service

Regarding backing up online:

Off-site backups are important in the off chance that your apartment burns down or is plundered by thieves. I know a guy from work whose computer was stolen a couple months ago and he lost all his files from college forward. Think about it. It happens. It would not be a fun surprise to come home from a bar review and find your laptop and your external HD (the place where you had all your backups) both missing.

I suggest looking into: http://mozy.com. It's a pretty slick online service. They provide free online storage for 2GB and you can purchase more at very reasonable rates. If you're concerned about privacy, they let you encrypt with your own private key. Also, you can specify what folders to backup, so you could just specify your law school folder and not your "taxes and top secret personal files" folder. Basically, it will regularly backup your data to the Mozy servers so you don't even have to think about it...until that fateful day when your HD crashes and you need your data.

An alternative to online backups that would also provide offsite protection would be to keep a USB thumbdrive on your keychain and use that to backup. The drawback is that thumbdrives sometimes break unexpectedly. I had one that must have been dropped one too many times and just quit working, despite no external damage. Also, you lose the convenience of automatic backups.

Also, some schools have a certain amount of network storage space they give to students. You might utilize that for backup purposes too.

My strategy:

1. Use Mozy (http://mozy.com) to automatically backup my important files online (offsite) whenever my computer is idle.
2. Use KeepSafe (see review at: http://www.pcmag.com/article2/0,1895,1948066,00.asp) which automatically backs up files every time they are changed. You can specify how many old versions you want to keep and where to save the backups (locally, remotely, or both). This is very useful in situations where you do something stupid like accidentally save over a file or delete something from a document, save it, and realize you goofed (or otherwise delete or lose a file). If you're between backups, this can be a real lifesaver! I've done dumb stuff like that before and it's an awful feeling to spend hours working on a paper (outline/brief) and then lose it before you get home to backup. KeepSafe only saves files when they are changed, though, so it's not a comprehensive solution.
3. Nightly backups to an external HD of my entire "law school" folder. I haven't decided whether I'll just do a manual drag-n-drop or use software to do it automatically. Software that might be worth checking out is Microsoft's new SyncToy which will let you only copy changes and should be quick/easy to use. (http://www.microsoft.com/windowsxp/using/digitalphotography/prophoto/synctoy.mspx) An external USB hard drive can be picked up pretty cheaply.
4. Regular (weekly?) full system backups to my network storage drive (a 250GB mirrored storage unit).
5. Backups to DVD from time to time.

I'm not saying that this is the best strategy or that everyone needs to do all of the above, but I figured I'd share it and see what others might suggest. (The last two I admit might be overkill and thus not appealing to most people. But, hey, I'm like that. :P)

2
Financial Aid / T.H.E. Premier Rate
« on: May 29, 2006, 11:12:17 PM »
Does anyone know what credit score you need to get the T.H.E. Premier Rate on private loans?

3
General board for soon-to-be 1Ls / Best Note Taking software?
« on: April 28, 2006, 03:20:11 AM »
I figure I'll use Word, but One Note could be interesting. I haven't researched this much yet. I'm used to ye ol' paper and pencil. Does anyone else have a take?

4
Financial Aid / Borrowing > Budget???? - Car Payment Problem!!
« on: April 09, 2006, 12:30:48 AM »
I just discovered I'm going to have a really tough time living with the UVA budget. I asked the host I'm staying with and he said they absolutely won't increase the budget to accomodate car payments (he had the same problem himself). That makes for a very big problem for me. Is there any way I can borrow more money than the law school budget???

I don't like the idea of racking up a credit card balance. Are there any other options? (Besides selling non-fancy car.)

5
Reviews, Visits, and Rankings / Chicago Review
« on: April 06, 2006, 01:16:59 AM »
I finally got around to typing up a review of my visit to the University of Chicago. I must say, I was more impressed than I expected to be.

Day 1 (Saturday)
I arrived in Chicago Saturday afternoon and took a cab to the law school. As the other admitted students arrived we hung around and drank and ate fancy finger foods (chips & salsa but also sushi). Once everyone arrived (maybe 100 give or take), we went to the Sears Tower where the Schiff Hardin law firm held a reception for us on the 66th floor. The view was great and it was a nice gathering. Once again more fancy finger foods, though this time we had chicken, shrimp, and such. Both gatherings had plenty of alcohol. Some partners from Schiff Hardin were present and walked around to talk to us. Following the reception some students went back to Hyde Park (where the law school is located) or to their student hosts' places. A little less than half went to a local bar for an after party.

Day 2 (Sunday)

We began the first full day of the visit with lunch and a talk by Assistant U. S. Attorney Lisa Noller. The talk was interesting, but not as informative as it might have been if the audience (now 216 give or take) was smaller and allowed for questions. We were also given spiffy Chicago Law shoulder bags and thumb drives. After lunch we had a town hall meeting with Dean Saul Levmore in the courtroom. Like all the classrooms and the auditorium, the courtroom looked like it had been recently renovated. The seats were comfortable but the courtroom got hot after we had all been sitting in there a while. Dean Levmore spoke well and fielded questions from admitted students. He came across as genuine and spoke positively of the law school while also acknowledging that Chicago is not the right place for some of the people they admitted.

Following the town meeting with Dean Levmore, we attended a mock class with professor Geoffrey Stone where we discussed the Supreme Court's decision in Boy Scouts of America v. Dale. That was fun and quite interesting, though not entirely like a real class since there were 200+ of us and the professor didn't know our names to call on us. After that, we had a financial aid and career session.

After that we went to a "Wine Mess" in the law school lounge. Then we went out to dinner in smaller groups led by student hosts. Later we went to Lucky Strike, a bar with bowling lanes and pool tables. The Law School had reserved a private room for us with more free booze.

Day 3 (Monday)
We began the day with breakfast at the law school. While we were eating, Dean Levmore came and sat down at my table (round table with about 7 admittees). He made some interesting conversation. He asked if any of us had committed any felonies (an unusual conversation starter if I've ever heard one). He managed to get one guy to confess to speeding regularly. For the next several minutes that was discussed in Chicago fashion (considering lots of different hypothetical scenarios and discussing why young people take bigger risks when they arguably have more to lose than an older person in terms of the percentage of their lifespan).

At 10am we attended a fascinating faculty panel discussion entitled "Commander-in-Chief: Presidential power in Times of Conflict and Emergency." Three of the law school's best professors discussed their views on the matter: Cass Sunstein, Eric Posner, and Richard Epstein. After that we broke up into three sections by last name and attended a real law school class. I was fortunate to have the best draw: Epstein's Land Use class. That was the best part of the entire trip. Epstein was brilliant, engaging, and entertaining. It was quite possibly the best single class I've ever attended. Epstein began by giving us a brief summary of what they had covered in the first week of the quarter and then began the class. He made good use of the Socratic method and called on students to state the case under consideration and answer questions. He even called on us admitted students. It was quite fascinating.

After class, we ate lunch and sat with the student organization of our choosing. Following lunch, we attended the annual Faculty/Student Trivia Contest where the student finalists compete against law professors. For the first time in 15 years the professors beat the students. They answered questions in all manner of subject areas, not just the law. The professors were able to name the four noble gasses, define "sin, cosign, and tangent", name who won the second season of Survivor, and a host of other topics.

Lastly, we took a tour of the most popular 1L apartment complex, Regent Park. They offer law students special pricing and access to the exclusive rooftop "Summit Club" reserved for students at the University of Chicago law school, medical school, and business school. It sits on the 38th floor and has a bar area, pool tables, a chess table, and various seating and table areas. It opens onto the roof with more tables and chairs outside where you can enjoy a magnificent view of the city and Lake Michigan. The rooms themselves were decent: about the size of what I have now for $300 more per month, which is purportedly $300 - $400 less than the market rate for the same rooms to non-law students. ... After we left the Regents Park they dropped us off at the train station and I rode the "L" to the airport where I caught my flight home.

Conclusion
I was much more impressed than I expected to be. The school sells itself well. The professors were absolutely brilliant and the other current and admitted students were also evidently bright. The library isn't pretty, but it's functional. The classrooms all look good. I was impressed with the 1L summer prospects. I'll let others add their thoughts, but overall it was a great visit. I hope this helps some of you who weren't able to visit. Cheers!

6
Where should I go next fall? / Diversity in Virginia
« on: March 27, 2006, 12:26:53 AM »
Ok, so this is an unusual topic for me. Racial diversity isn't something I've paid much attention to because I'm not a URM and I've never personally had any concerns along those lines. I grew up in a very diverse community (probably among the most diverse in the nation) and haven't really seen much in the way of discrimination.

I'm leaning towards UVA and am trying to convince a good friend of mine who is graduating this spring to look at teaching jobs in Virginia. Tonight while we were talking she brought up the issue of how people would treat her there as a Jamaican (black) woman. Would she move into a neighborhood and parents wouldn't let their kids play with her kids (when she has them)? Or, would she find it difficult to get jobs or if it would be safe for her to drive alone at night?

I know VA is part of the South, but this is the 21st century. I know racism still exists, but is it prevalent in Virginia? There will be idiots in any community and probably a few more in the South than other regions. Are we talking a sizeable minority? Would she really face major issues of discrimination that affected how the community treated her, her ability to get a job/promotions, or her safety?

She isn't so concerned with the percentage of the population that is a racial minority. The more important question is how minorities in Virginia are treated overall. Any feedback from people with knowledge or experience in this regard would be appreciated. Oh, and I should add that the areas of interest would be places such as Rockingham County not just Charlottesville. Thanks!

(It probably goes without saying that this issues gives me pause to think. I don't much like the idea of moving someplace where my friends would not be accepted.)

7
Law School Applications / GPA/LSAT Combination & Scholarships
« on: March 16, 2006, 02:55:25 AM »
I'm curious which combination is likely to be better for scholarships. Any thoughts?

8
Law School Applications / COA Clerkships from W&L
« on: February 27, 2006, 09:15:31 PM »
Does anyone know stats for Circuit Court of Appeals clerkships for Washington & Lee grads?

9
Law School Applications / Weird Phone Survey
« on: February 25, 2006, 01:28:09 PM »
I just got a phone call from some guy claiming to be doing a survey of people who have or are likely to apply to law schools. He asked a bunch of questions about where I had applied and which schools were my first and second choices. Supposedly they are going to pay me $10.  Frankly, I'm suspicious of the whole thing. Would law schools be so sneaky as to conduct phone surveys to see where people applied? It's too bad I'm always nice to the annoying telemarketers. I should have just said "not interested **click**." Not that it really matters if any of the schools know that I applied to most all of the T14 + Texas.

10
Where should I go next fall? / Chicago vs. Virginia
« on: February 22, 2006, 03:09:02 AM »
I'm really torn between these two schools. I feel like I would enjoy UVA more, but that perhaps Chicago would be a better career move. (Then again, perhaps I would rank better at "laid back" Virginia than at "top 5" Chicago.) I'm curious if anyone else is debating these schools. Below I'm posting a bunch of info comparing the two.

As others have posted in other threads, we know:

Clerkships
Circuit Court of Appeals (2005):
Chicago:  33 (16.3% of class)
Virginia: 45 (13.4% of class)

SCOTUS (1991 - 2005):
Chicago:  65
Virginia: 19

Rankings
USNWR (2006):    Overall / Historical Average / Peer / Lawyers & Judges
Chicago:            6   / 4.8                / 4.6  / 4.7
Virginia:           8  / 8.4                / 4.3  / 4.6

Other Rankings:  Cooley   / Brennan / Gourman Report / Leiter / Insider's Guide / Brody
Chicago:         39      / NR      / 4              / 2      / 6               / 4
Virginia:        3      / 16      / 16             / 10     / 8               / 8

Princeton Review: Best Overall Academic Experience / Professors Rock / Best Career Prospects / Best Quality of Life
Chicago:                                   1      /        7        /           3           /  NR
Virginia:                                  4     /         NR      /            9          /   2

Starting Salary (2003 Graduates)
Chicago:   $95,000 - $125,000 / Avg: $125,000
Virginia: $100,000 - $127,000 / Avg: $117,000

Cost in 2005-2006 (Out of State)
Chicago:   $56,475 * 3 = $169,425
Virginia:  $48,900 * 3 = $146,700
            Difference =  $22,725

Law Firm Placement
According to a 2005 study that updates the 2003 Leiter Report, a highly respected and comprehensive ranking of law school performance, the Law School was tied for second with Chicago (behind only Harvard) in overall success in placing graduates at top national law firms. The same study also had U.Va. ranked second, this time tied with Columbia behind Harvard, in the number of top firms with five or more alumni. (from UVA website)
See the Report here: http://leiterreports.typepad.com/blog/2005/03/new_study_of_na.html

Also, U.Va. is third only to Harvard and NYU in the number of alumni who are managing partners at law firms nationwide.

Stats
                  Student Faculty Ratio / Total Enrollment
Chicago:               10:1            /  600
Virginia:              14:1           /   1,100


Thoughts
Virginia by virtue of it's size offers more classes.
Chicago by virtue of it's size makes it easier to get to know profs.

Both schools purport to be collegial and not super competitive, though Chicago is more competitive than UVA.
Both schools are slightly more conservative than most of the T14 law schools.

I plan to practice law in Virginia and find C-Ville a more appealing location, but am willing to live anywhere for three years (even some place cold and windy).

Anyway, I hope this information is useful to some of you making this choice and would love any thoughts or opinions from the rest of ya'll.




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