Law School Discussion

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Topics - bigs5068

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In my continuing quest to show the absurdity of rankings in everything I had to show this to depricate my own place a little. http://pdfserver.amlaw.com/ca/TheBest092611.pdf. Here it is Golden Gate has the BEST LLM Program in California yep we beat out Stanford, Berkeley, UCLA, everybody we have the best program according to the San Francisco Recorder a for-profit private magazine. This NEWS is front page news on our website and it just annoys me. I truly wish law schools across the board would give this sh** up and focus on their students. Instead of focusing time and energy having some magazine or newspaper say they are good. Everybody loses here and I truly wish law school deans would get together and say lets stop this. Golden Gate is just as guilty as the rest of them fighting and bragging about a petty ranking that USF or some other place will win next year. If Golden Gate spends enough time, energy, and money rubbing elbows with the right people maybe in 10 years we could become a tier 3 maybe tier 2 school. Just need to keep raising tuition and fighting with other schools for the attention of a for private magazine.

I wish all schools from Harvard to Cooley would just stop this absurdity and give law students a good education at a fair price. I wish more schools would be like REED COLLEGE http://www.reed.edu/apply/news_and_articles/college_rankings.html who questioned U.S. News methodology and refused to participate. They were a top school, but they questioned the absurd methodology of U.S. News and concluded oh yea you guys are just a for-profit magazine holding a gun to our heads and we don't want to play your game. What did U.S. News in their typical bully way do in response? They severely downgraded them for refusing to play their stupid game. Nobody put U.S. News in Charge and nobody should or has to listen to them, but schools fall into this trap. I wish more colleges would take a stand like Reed did.  I don't know how long it will take higher education in all forms to learn this lesson and focus on developing professional students rather than worrying about what some for profit magazine thinks about them.

2
http://infoproc.blogspot.com/2007/07/cooking-books-us-news-college-rankings.html

An article criticizing the formula of U.S News rankings for overall universities not law schools. Some interesting points I thought.

3
http://www.nytimes.com/2011/01/09/business/09law.html

Many people cite to this article and I want to discredit a lot of what is says to give some encouragement to future 0L's. In all honesty this guy made a lot of mistakes and his own decisions are likely more responsible for the situation he is in than his law school. A short of list of the very obvious mistakes he made.

Page 5 of this article are where the actual facts about this guy pop up.
1) Page 5 He BORROWED SO MUCH MONEY AS A FIRST YEAR student that he nearly put down a deposit on a 350,000 condo. He had not worked a day in his first year of law school and was trying to buy a condo on student loan money. I am almost certain this is illegal and a violation of the direct loans promissory note you sign. This is one of many mistakes he made along the way.

2) Continued on Page 5 in the summer after his first year instead of working he studied abroad in a spacious apartment in France. Again on borrowed money.

3) Then this poor guy again who never worked a day over three years lived in a spacious apartment instead of buying his $350,000 condo on borrowed money.

4) He borrowed another $15,000 to study for the bar, which seems a bit high.  That might be reasonable, but considering he had rented a spacious apartment in San Diego for three years and studied in France he should have been a little more careful, but none of that. The mistakes don't end there.

5) On page 5 he says I am not very good at keeping records. He is supposed to be a lawyer and he is not good at keeping records no wonder he can't get hired. Keeping track of evidence and being responsible is somewhat important for a lawyer and it is not something law school can teach you. It is just plain responsibility.

6) Page 6 he moved from San Diego to New York on Page 6 it was Queens so not as expensive, but moving cross country is highly expensive move and he moved another high cost of living area.

7) Then the kicker so he has a job granted a low paying one, but a job. This is again on Page 6 during a firm wide lunch his employer wanted to everyone to thank him for giving him labor day off. Sure that sucks, but he was there a month and instead he said the following.

Direct from Page 6
“When it was my turn, I said, ‘Labor Day is about celebrating the 40-hour workweek, weekends, that sort of thing,’ ” Mr. Wallerstein recalls. “She said, ‘Well, workers have that now so you don’t need a day off to celebrate it.’ ”

He lasted less than a month.

Conclusion:
This article was geared to making this guy look sympathetic and there is a list of 7 things that are just plain dumb. I don't even want to know what they would have uncovered if they actually looked into more facts. What we know about this guy is during the first year of law school when you are trying to achieve a high class rank he was buying trying to buy a condo on borrowed money. He is not good at keeping records by his own admission and there is no indication he worked at all during law school. A few weeks into his first job he insults his boss and can't keep a job. All of these things are on him not TJSL and I hate that the New York times is putting these type of stories out blaming the schools instead of the students for their bad decisions. Maybe one day law students will take an ounce of accountability for themselves.

4
I have heard the term 1L they scare you to death, 2L they work you to death, and 3L they bore you to death and I have found that to be true so far, but since I will be bored in my 3L what are the best things I can do to get the most out of it? This is a very general question, but if any graduates regret not doing something their 3rd year or did something they found very beneficial during their 3rd year I would love to hear it.

5
Job Search / Fall Internship v. Fall Judicial Externship
« on: May 02, 2011, 11:39:37 PM »
I got offered a few jobs for fall some doing judicial internships where you can only get work study money and I have also gotten a few fall internship offers at a few different firms (mid-level, small, no spectacular offer, but you actually make some money. Anyways, I wanted to know which would be more beneficial for the fall of your 3rd year?  Any insight would be awesome.

6
I just came across this randomly and have to say it is very well written and realistic view of the effects that U.S. News Rankings have had on legal education. Schools are caught in the Catch 22 presented in the article. http://www.lsac.org/LsacResources/Research/GR/GR-07-02.pdf

Page 27 of the Report
You have people who focus on whether or not the rankings are in fact valid, whether they really show anything,
whether the methodology is good, and so on. And those debates can seem endless at times as everybody kind of
decries the rankings. On the flip side you have the pragmatic reality of the rankings. … Whatever the validity of
the methodology, it’s difficult to pretend that the rankings don’t matter. I mean prospective students use them;
employers use them; university administrators use them. So whether we in legal academics think they’re valid
or not, whether they’re reflective or not, the truth is that I don’t think you can just ignore them. Page 7

This is the sad part whether you support or hate the rankings. Page 10
Reputational rating is the most heavily weighted criterion in the USN ranking formula and therefore has
become an obvious target of attention. Law schools are spending substantial amounts of money15 on brochures and other
marketing publications that are distributed to those who have a vote, or even might have a vote, in the USN survey
(e.g.,
other deans, administrators, faculty members). Administrators note that they receive these brochures throughout the year,
but they arrive in very large quantities in the weeks immediately prior to the October release of the USN reputation
survey, what one marketing director referred to as “sweeps week.” Many report that these mailings usually end up in the
garbage unread.16 Regardless of their effect on reputation ratings, these brochures represent a large expenditure of
resources that could be used for any of a variety of other purposes. Among the alternatives mentioned were new faculty
members, writing centers, scholarships, and library volumes—purposes that, according to most administrators, would
more directly benefit the school in terms of educational quality. Not surprisingly, this is a hot-button issue for these
administrators:
I could hire a faculty member for the amount of money spent on this; I could support twenty students for this
price; I could buy a substantial number of books for our library; all of which strike me as what this enterprise
ought to be about … I could almost support an entire legal writing program, I could fund a clinic, I could do any
of those things. Instead I’m putting out a magazine which goes out to people who aren’t interested in it and
perhaps to some who are interested in it. But those who are interested in it would be the alums, not the federal
judges in Milwaukee.


-This is really bad because students could be much better served if this magazine with no authority choose to not make money of this system. I am completely for ranking the top 25 or so schools. This is because no expenditure needs to be spent on determining these elite level schools. Harvard Grads are hired each year and judges, firms, etc can make realistic evaluations on the quality of the graduates because they are scattered through the country. However, you are unlikley to find many Marquette Grads outside of Wisconsin so why in Gods name is Marquette spending money on sending brochures etc to Southwestern or having Williamette send information to a Federal Judge in Nebraska? Why is all I can ask it's so stupid and inefficient, sadly the only people that really get hurt by this whole system our the student's whose tuition dollars are going to boosting a schools ranking instead of improving the educational experience.

Complaints About the Rankings
Page 7
Many deans criticize the quality of USN measures. To take one example, many suggest that respondents to the
reputational surveys are ill-informed about the schools they evaluate and that their evaluations are strategic responses. As
one dean put it:

The data on the reputational survey are so bad … I don’t understand how you get anything other than some
consensus… There is clear consensus of the 10 or 12 schools that should get a five [where five is “outstanding”
and one is “marginal”]. How is there any difference between Chicago and Yale based on reputation? Anyone
who doesn’t put Yale, Harvard, Chicago, Michigan, NU, or Berkeley as a five, is either being instrumental or is
an idiot.

The Positives of the Rankings. Page 8


USN has forced law schools to place students well; to do a better job of this. Before [rankings] there wasn’t a
number that was running around. … In the past a dean could pontificate about how great his program was, but
now it’s harder to pull the wool over people’s eyes. With these numbers, you can’t just talk. The basic things
that law schools do are still all there: we want to get the best students, the best faculty, and we want our students
to be successful. Our job and our career goals haven’t changed, but now we have metrics. I think it’s just like
Consumer Reports for cars. ( There is no doubt there should be some statistics to make sure law schools don't become like politics and make just make thigns up out of thin air, but I still don't understand why they don't simply rank the top 25-50 schools so they can all strive to be in this category. If they are not in the upper tier of schools then why distinguish between Tier 2/3/4?

7
General Board / MPRE Questions?
« on: March 02, 2011, 04:48:21 PM »
I have to take the MPRE in a few months and nobody seems to provide much information about how to prepare for it. I am taking professional responsibility, but apparently there is some rule that the ABA does not allow the professor to teach you how to pass the MPRE. So for anyone who has taken it what steps did you take and what was helpful. Also how difficult was it? Is it like a typical law school final or less intense more intense. Basically I have gotten very little information from the bar website or my school and I don't even know the exact questions to ask. Any assistance woudl be appreciated.

8
General Board / Rising School Cost does the ABA regulate at all?
« on: January 18, 2011, 03:14:57 PM »
I was just looking through LSAC archives of schools and noticed since 2007 every school I looked at has increased their tuition by 5,000 to 10,000 dollars. From Franklin Pierce to George Washington I probably looked at 15 schools and every single one's tuition went up 5-10k.  In 2007 it seems like most schools were in the 25k range and now they are all 35k annually. That is an increase of roughly 30% in 4 years and I wanted to know if the ABA regulates tuition increases at all. I tried a quick google search to find the answer, but that as far as I am willing to go? Does anyone know if there is tuition increase form or something schools are required to fill out. I imagine these increases are a big reason for the disgruntled graduate I mean they have just increased fees by 30% over 4 years. I remember seeing Santa Clara when I was in undergrad in 2007 and thinking the campus was pretty nice. The tuition then was 31k and now it is 36K I visited it last year and nothing had changed from 2007 and I just wanted to know how they justify such an increase and if there is anyone regulating these increases at all?

9
General Board / What are your schools Required Courses?
« on: January 11, 2011, 10:25:17 PM »
I was just curious if schools had the same Required Courses. I will list the courses required by GGU  and maybe others can follow. I just really want to know how much the curriculum varies by school.

Golden Gate University Required Courses First Year
1. Property I
2. Civil Procedure I
3. Torts
4. Legal Writing & Research I
5. Contracts I
6. Criminal Law
7. Property II
8. Legal Writing & Research II
9. Contracts II
10. Civil Procedure II
11. Elective of your choosing.

Second Year
1. Con Law I & II
2. Appellate Advocacy

Other Required Courses with no set time frame.
1. Criminal Procedure
2. Evidence
3. Wills & Trusts
4. Corporations/Business Associations
5. Professional Responsibility
6. Practical Legal Writing

I believe you need to have 27 elective units to graduate.




10
News Discussion / Legal Theories on the Health Care bill?
« on: January 07, 2011, 04:07:26 PM »
I am curious if & when this whole thing gets to the Supreme Court what the arguments will be. It seems like it might violate the 10th amendment to me, but I know it is uncertain if that is a truism or something that can make legislation unconstitutional.  If any actual lawyer has an opinion I would be interested in hearing it. The news seems to ramble on without saying anything really and I would love to hear what the Supreme Court will actually decide when it gets there.

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