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Messages - bigfatbox

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Current Law Students / Re: Contracts
« on: September 04, 2007, 02:43:22 PM »
The FRCPs have a mechanical aspect to them.

However, jurisdiction is far from mechanical. Not all schools cover jurisdiction in civ pro though.

The thing with civ pro is it is all very mechanical.  You follow the rules, then apply them.  Contracts is a more straight up law school type thinking class.  You have issues that can go either way (i.e. UCC or common law) and then you have to make the argument.  It's all about issue spotting.

For Civ. Pro., you generally know the issues up front and just have to analyze them and apply the rules.


There may be some danger in sticking with law school solely because you think it will help you get a leg up into the aforementioned fields/agencies; when deciding to go to law school, I read a lot about how the people who are least disillusioned by the law school experience are those who were satisfied with the idea of working as a lawyer, and not holding out hope that their J.D. could translate into all those positions (CEO; State official; diplomat; screenwriter) that laypeople think are open to law graduates because of their degree. In fact, that stats I've read say most people who go to law school become lawyers, because it is a trade school like any other (i.e. mechanic school) that is geared toward one profession.

You have a point. There are so many clueless, naive people in law school or people who are just plain misdirected. As an extreme example, one guy told me he wanted a law degree so he could be a sports agent and another has aspirations of being an "entertainment lawyer".

In reality, a law degree has much less cache for other fields than people think. When you see people with law degrees who managed to get those plum non-legal jobs, that usually means they had work experience or inside connections. For most people fresh out of law school, or even with a few years experience, sans those connections, the only think you're good for is practicing law.

To whitearbiter, if you really don't want to be a lawyer, I'd urge you to get out of law school while you can.


William and Mary
2.8 (actually 2.77 but WM rounds to first decimal)
Downward trend (3.0 -> 2.6)
No ranking/percentile list yet, but WM curves to a B+ (3.3) which means my percentile is going to be bottom 25%, at best.
Submitted packet for journals but I REALLY screwed up my packet. I am assuming no journal invites come July. So let's, for the sake of argument, stipulate no journal.
Not in moot court or whathaveyou.

I doubt any journal other than law review is going to make a difference.

$8,000 scholarship per year, in-state. The scholarship is renewable with a C average or higher (2.0), but as seen by my 2L roommate, not all of his scholarship was renewed for his 3L year (and for no good reason than they ran out of money. He's in top 20%). This places me at $8,500 per year in government loans, and another $12,000 per year that my parents are keeping tabs on.

Are your parents paying for the 12K or not?

Just for reference, my UGPA was a 3.65 at a top-20 university in history and foreign affairs - probably more than enough to get a job in the State Department.

If your undergrad was so great, why did you go to law school? Maybe you could get a Fed Job with your UG credentials, maybe not. You won't know until you start looking and applying. Some of those types of jobs may be a lot more competitive than you think. If you're willing to branch out geographically, you might fair better at a Fed field office in another state, outside the hypercompetitive DC area.

I am geographically fixed. I want to work in the DC metro area including N.Va (less so with MD... Baltimore's prolly too far out), Richmond, and everything in between. I'd prefer not to go more south than Richmond and I hesitate to go to, say, Baltimore.

A little picky here considering your might have more luck if you branch out. Where is home? Have you thought about trying to make some connections and look for something there, legal or otherwise?

1. What is my job potential regarding my 2L job? Do I have a snowball's chance in hell for private sector? My personality does not lend itself well to small firm positions in my opinion, but at this point in the game, I imagine I would take a job if offered, just for the experience.

Talk to your career services office. They should be able to tell you something.

Again, I doubt you are in any position to be picky. You'll probably have to adjust your "personality" and start thinking about smaller firms. Also, realize many small firms do not have the resources to hire people until after they graduate. Some will not hire until after you get passing bar results for your jurisdiction.


3. What can I do to help mitigate the situation some in regards to question 1 and 2?

Get your grades up. Time for a new approach, whatever you were doing obviously wasn't working well. Assumming you are still looking for a job post-grad, which you may be, it is important to get the GPA up. What you've got right now is too low to even be listed on a resume.


4. There's a very faint chance that a friend of mine has a very BIG connection in NY, but I have concerns that even if I do get my foot in the door regarding that possible opportunity, it might be difficult to migrate down to my ideal market. I imagine that if it's just a job for my 2L summer, as long as I get the experience, since I won't be making a biglaw firm anyway, it won't hurt to pursue and see where this ends up. Pursue?

See where you are might not have the option to turn it down, assuming your friend's "connection" comes through.

5. And the big question, is it worth staying? Is a JD from a Tier 1 school and not bottom 10% going to open any new doors, in say, the Federal government, that my UGPA did not already? Am I just a lead weight sinking in a murky pond? Is my future flipping burgers at a Burger King Franchise and not being able to sue outside of Florida?

You have to make that call after doing more research and evaluating your options. How do you feel about looking for permanent employment post-grad, for example?

As an anecdote, someone I know of dropped out of law school after one year because he got a Fed job in a state field office and didn't see the point in continuing.

Current Law Students / Re: help - freaking out!!
« on: May 31, 2007, 10:21:38 AM »
Assuming you are paying full price at your T2 in NYC, I would think long and hard this summer about whether you should stay.

If you don't really like law school, and are not willing to take a pretty big risk at this point to finish, I would say quit or take an extended leave of absence (say, 1 year) and then decide whether it is worth going back at all. If you do decide to go back, you may want to check into transferring your credits to a less expensive, in-state law school in a less competitive market.

Again, this is assuming you don't have any serious connections for potential employment and are paying full price yourself.

The chances of you finding a permanent job before you pass the bar are not good. If you are deep in debt on graduation you may have to do temp work to survive. If that doesn't sound good to you, then you need to serious consider whether staying is worth it.

To some of the other posters in this thread, forget about getting rich, think about whether the situation makes economic sense.For many people, it does not and some would be better of getting out while they can. Big debt is no joke as you will realize as soon as your loans go into repayment.

Lastly, plenty of people drop out of law school. For some, it is the best decision they ever made.

if you look at the fundamentals of St. Thomas i think you'd quickly change your mind.  they breezed through ABA accreditation ahead of schedule, they have an incredible Dean (Mengler) who has brought a good deal of talent to the law school (from UM, Mitchell-Prof Hamilton for example was a full tenure prof at Mitchell and bailed to go to St. Thomas, and schools too numerous to mention-check out their web site), they have an insane amount of money and a well established alumni network inside Minneapolis/St. Paul (especially within the busiiness community), the campus is brand new and right smack in the middle of a vibrant city.  i have no doubt St. Thomas will quickly out rank both Hamiline and William Mitchell and establish itself as the alternative to UMN, i predict it begins in USNWR as a T3 but quickly moves up to T2.  the hard facts are that WM and Hamline have been (for years) and will probably remain T4 schools.

Comments like this make me laugh.

FACT: old reputations die hard, and new ones are long in being built.

FACT: the difference between T4 and T2 and T3 is not as big as pre-laws tend to think it is.

St. Thomas will probably debut at T4, because no newly accredited school has ever debuted anywhere else. Look at Ave Maria, for example. That school has been around for about ten years and still only one of the big firms in Detroit recruits there. Even Detroit Mercy, a school that has been T4 for years gets more attention from the big Detroit firms. Why is that? Lawyers are risk averse, and hire what they are familiar with, which means schools they've hired from in the past whose students they've had good experiences with.

Another case in point: my own school has risen from T4 to T2 since the beginning of the USNEWS rankings, yet job prospects have been affected only slightly. The school has been around a long, long time and job prospects are still best in the surrounding area and surrounding states and that will never change. Also, many employers still prefer students from the top schools in the local area and surrounding states over students from my own school. That isn't likely to change either

Even though the school has had improved success at placing the very, very top students nationally, job prospects aren't all that different for the average student compared to say, 10 or 20 years ago.

There is no way to predict how well you will do in law school. Ask anyone in law school. If anyone or any school tries to tell you it is "on the rise" I'd be very,very skeptical of that statement.

For most people, if cost is equal, the best choice is going to the school with the best local reputation NOW, not what you think the reputation might be in 10 or 20  years.

Current Law Students / Re: Which school is best?
« on: February 27, 2007, 10:01:38 AM »
Probably Case. However, I'd doubt the degree would carry that far, at least initially, if you don't get grades/class ranking.

As for the transferring thing, good point-if you do well. I've heard that Case used to be ranked a bit higher in the past, so that might have something to do with it.

Have any of these schools offered you money?

Case is expensive, and I'd probably be hesitant to go if you have a cheaper option elsewhere with a similar job outlook.

I doubt the job outlook from Case is sufficiently bright enough for most of the class to justify the high cost of attendance. You probably need to be in the top 20% or so to get the higher paying job offers, I'd imagine.

Can you get in-state tuition at Pitt or Cinci for your 2nd and 3rd years? I would look into their residency requirements if you haven't already.

Current Law Students / Re: Wayne (50% tuition) v. MSU (Full ride)
« on: February 23, 2007, 08:14:01 AM »

Easy there. I completely agree.  And the schools definitely have different feels so the OP should go where he/she feels most comfortable.  Although I do think that down the road if one wants to practice outside of the midwest, MSU will have better name recognition.  But by then, employers will care more about your previous job than your school.

MSU's name recognition may help a little at small firms out of state. However, they will still probably want to see good grades or some other compelling factor to justify hiring an out of state student over the local school students they usually favor.

As a general rule, employers favor students from the top law schools and the very, very top students at the local schools. Pick any decent sized city in America. Go to the websites of the large law firms there. Scan the attorney profiles. Look at who was hired from the local school (i.e. tier 2/3/4 school). Chances are they graduated with latin honors and were on law review.

Big firms, competitive government agencies, etc. know that MSU law is not a top law school and not on the same level as the other big ten law schools even though MSU is well known and decently respected as a university. Thus, I doubt the "name recognition" really helps there.

Again, employers have fixed ideas about where schools stand. They don't need the USNEWS rankings to tell them anything.

Mitchell seems to have the best rep of the three. It's been around the longest (large alum base) and has decent admissions standards and a high bar passage rate. Academic attrition also appears to be quite low.

Hamline seems to lag behind Mitchell a little. This is probably due to the fact that Hamline wasn't accredited until 1975, so it hasn't been around long enough to build up a huge alum base.

With St. Thomas, the problem is that it's so new they don't really have an established law school alumni base. Sure, they may have a lot of undergrad alumni but that's not the same as have a LARGE base of law school alumni. Thus, you might have trouble when it comes time to find a job. If you already have a legal job lined up before law school OR know you want to open a solo practice, this may not matter.

Try talking to local attorneys and see what they have to say.

What other schools are you looking at?

Have you visited any of these schools?

What are your career goals?

Do you have scholarship offers from any of the schools?

Current Law Students / Re: Wayne (50% tuition) v. MSU (Full ride)
« on: February 23, 2007, 07:40:17 AM »
I would pay first tuition deposits to both for now and then see how MSU does in this year's USNWR rankings.  If MSU goes back to T3 or possibly even T2 (I said possibly) like they hope, then your decision gets tougher.  If MSU still ranks T4, then your decision is easy, IMO. 

Paying both deposits might be good advice if the OP is trying to decide might be a good idea.

However, basing the decision on where MSU ranks is a joke. The difference between tier 2/3/4 isn't really as big as a lot of people like to make it. Especially people who aren't in law school yet. In particular, the job opportunities aren't all that different at these types of schools.

For example, to even get a screening interview with one of the big Detroit firms, you need to be need to have a top 10% ranking and be on law review if you go to Wayne(tier 3), Detroit-Mercy(tier 4), or MSU (tier 3/4). The same is probably true if you go to a tier 2 a few hours away.

In the Michigan legal market, employers won't care. They already have fixed ideas about where the schools stand that aren't going to change that because of the USNews rankings.

Current Law Students / Re: Wayne (50% tuition) v. MSU (Full ride)
« on: February 17, 2007, 09:21:32 PM »
Neither school's curve will be a picnic.  I would use the offer from MSU to try to negotiate more $$$ from Wayne. If that doesn't work, I'd still go with Wayne if you have in-state tuition. If you lose the scholarship at MSU you will wind up paying a bit more than if you lost it at Wayne. Do not bet on your class rank.

Look up both schools here under "advanced search" to get an idea of how class rank breaks down.

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