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Messages - legalese_retard

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1
Can we get the administration to sponsor a 1L forum on what law students should do at parties? I mean, first the shoe thing and now the Mexican party. I know student groups at other law schools do stupid stuff too, but at least they are smart enough to not get it posted all over the internet. Being a private school in the South puts us under greater scrutiny for racist issues. While the party was in bad taste, it's going to make Tulane look worse than it really should.     

2
I HATE this forum because it is filled with pompous and elitist complainers, but it is filled with NYC law students: http://www.jdunderground.com

Most of them went to BLS, Seton Hall, Hofstra, Cardoza, etc. According to those posters "if they ever visited JDUnderground before going to their law school, they would have never gone." They are definitely overdramatic, but if you don't think you can handle their experiences, then a 3rd tier school may not be worth it to you.

3
First and foremost, my intentions behind my posting is to provide a personal account. The only reason why I even stated where I went to law school, was to put my story in perspective. Most people assume that if you haven't been employed after 1 year of graduation that you must have gone to a "TTT" law school (however you define it) or did terribly in your class. While I know I may sound "whiney" and "entitled," I am mainly frustrated. The fact that several here think I am a flame demonstrates what I already know - that with my credentials I am "supposed" to have a job after a year. Now I had a family emergency that caused me to graduate in December instead of May, but that is only one component that might have delayed my employment. I've asked the folks at the OCS several times to review my resume and cover letters to see if there is a glaring mistake that I missed or if my approach is wrong. They have suggested that smaller firms may not take me seriously because I am "supposed" to be already employed at a higher paying job.

While some here think I am only sitting on my ass bitching online, no I am not. If I am not working at Starbucks, I am working at a free clinic getting to know several prominent attorneys who are doing their pro bono. They have told me that if a job or job lead come up, I would be the first one they would contact. The firm I summered at also said they are keeping an eye out for me and one of the partners even emailed me last week to see how I was doing. Again, they were all shocked that I haven't even received an interview. They told me that I should contact them before a future interview so they can recommend me and make sure that the firm knows that I didn't get an offer solely because of the economy and not because of my performance. I also attend local bar assocation meetings and the local young lawyers meetings (as long as they are free), but they are filled with other recent grads who are jobless and trying to network their ass off.

Again, you may think I am a flame or a loser or whatever explitive you want to use to describe me. I know I have done the best that I can do both in law school and after graduation. I don't expect my school to magically create jobs and I never viewed OCS as a career placement office. I'm also not expecting the world's greatest legal job - hell, if I was a temp doc review attorney getting $35/hour, you would not see me posting on here. That's a good job to hold someone over until the economy and job prospects turn around. Maybe you call this being "entitled" but yes, I thought that if I went to college for 4 years and law school for 3 years I could work at a job that I actually wanted and was remotely interested in. I'm sorry, but being a solo is the last thing I ever wanted to do. I know beggars can't be choosers, but when should a law school grad ever be a beggar? THAT is the story I wanted to share on this board. I never intended a "whoa is me" story or a "please be sorry for me" story, but a real story beyond the incesant complaints you will read on places like JDUnderground. Like I said many times before, I am grateful that I got into a tier one law school and had an amazing experience at Tulane that I would never give up, in the end I am frustrated with how it all ended. I got caught up with where I am "supposed" to be after I graduate and where I am actually at now.

As far as the other questions, I am not "too" worried about finances yet. I can make my minimum private loan payments and my government loans are in hardship deferrment. To me it's just embarrasing that I have to be in a hardship deferrment when several of my classmates ranked barely above and below me are making 6-figures or are at a legitimate law practice. The reason why I am at Starbucks is because I worked there before law school, it is the only job that would hire me that had health care provided (for my medical issues, I can't afford health insurance), and I can get free food on days that I close (we throw away any sandwiches that are left after closing, so I can eat off of those for a few days). If anything, I have learned to be especially frugal since law school ;)     

4
The true intention of my post is to provide a cautionary tale for those looking at law school (like someone already mentioned). There are a few rants in my post, but I'm not trying to disparage my law school or the practice of law (I would probably still go to Tulane if I had to do it all over again). This is reality. I have seen a number of posts from people who think law school is a golden ticket. I've even seen a couple of people talking about how they will soon own a BMW because they just got accepted to XYZ law school. I'm sure a lot of it is in jest, but I have a feeling that there are some half-truths in there. I was gungho when I applied to law school and didn't think unemployment or underemployment would ever be an issue. I saw the $100K+ average starting salary stats and the 98%+ employment after 9 months of graduation stat and thought law school was a sure thing. I also remember hearing stats about how the legal field is recession proof because "you are always going to need a lawyer" and there is always bankruptcy law, etc, etc. Again, stupid on my part for not researching further.

I posted on here several times when I was applying to law school and swept up by the group think mentality. Look around. The majority of people who post on here are not trying to convince each other to NOT attend law school. Most here have already convinced themselves to commit (rightfully or wrongfully) and they use these boards to pump themselves up waiting on admissions and determining what to do before going to law school. No one likes a debbie downer, but I think more debbie downers need to start posting about realities people here don't know about, or purposely try to avoid.

A lot of folks on here engage in active ignorance - they know recent law school grads are struggling, they know more law schools are opening up, they know there are more lawyers, they know some legal jobs are being outsourced to India, they know law school debt is getting higher and higher. These folks think that they will never graduate below the top 10%, that the economy will be bad at graduation, that they will make less than $100K/year, or that their monthly payments for their law school loans will be more than $2K/month. I know this because that's what happened to me. There were tons of cheerleaders on here congratulating me when I was accepted to Tulane, told me how good the school was and that the job prospects would be good.

According to OCS, I did everything I was supposed to in law school. I made above average grades, graduated with honors, was an editor on a law school journal, was published, was active with law school student groups, did some pro bono my 1L year, interned for a federal judge for a summer, was a summer associate during my 2L year, worked part-time at a law firm during my 3L year, networked with alumni and local attorneys, etc. Yes I haven't turned EVERY stone, but I didn't spend 4 years of undergrad, 3 years of law school, and 3 months prepping for a hellacious bar exam to throw my hands up in the air and pick an area of law I have no interest in and don't want to pigeon-hole myself into.

If you think it's easy to setup your own shop and start practicing and billing hundreds of dollars an hour, then you are up for a rude awakening. If you think it is so easy to setup a solo, why aren't the people who graduated in the 10% or T-10 law schools opening up their own law firm? Yeah an attorney earned $800K last year as a solo...I also know someone who won the lottery. Go look at actual statistics and see how much the average solo is making right out of law school - (hint: it's not going to be 6-figures). Do you know the amount of money you have to spend to get malpractice insurance, to be current on your CLE, to hire staff, to advertise, to get westlaw/lexus, to buy equipment, or to even get a lease? Guess what, being a solo is not for everyone. Just because I don't want to "fight" to be a solo, doesn't mean I won't fight for my clients or that I will be a crappy attorney. I know several established partners who would cringe at the idea of setting up their own practice, and they have been practicing law for years. Not to mention the number of malpractice suits and disbarrment hearings that solos have to put up with.

Again, caveat emptor, read the fine print, look before you jump. I'm not saying that people should avoid law school...I am saying that prospective students do better research and analysis before going to law school. Am I complaining? Yes. Am I sitting around expecting a job because I graduated from a tier 1 law school? Hell no. I am being proactive, but the economic conditions are not optimal for recent law school grads. I even went on an interview a few months ago for a contract attorney position. The recruiter looked at my resume after he called me in and said that he could not give me a job because I was "over-qualified." He said someone with my stats will find a much better job and his client does not want to risk hiring someone who will not be on the project for at least 1 year.    

5
Law School Applications / Re: Tier 3 with full ride or Tier 1 with no money
« on: December 12, 2008, 02:00:28 PM »
Vandy and other lower ranked schools are great

Yeah, the fact the Vandy is only the 15th ranked school in the country is very alarming.

I appreciate your response because I really think you tried to give me a well-thought out opinion.  However, the point of my original post is that each person should do what is best for them.  For me, considering that I am from the South and moving to Nashville in a week, my wife has an internship with a hospital in the area beginning in January, and I love Nashville and have no desire to ever live in the North/ Midwest, Vandy is a very good match for me.  I don't consider Vandy a Timex... maybe a Citizen (and I like Citizens...).

A Timex will keep better time than a Rolex

I doubt this statement, but I'm going to take your word for it.

Sorry, my post was not meant to put down Vandy (I was waitlisted at Vandy and I would have gone in a heartbeat if I was admitted), but was trying to use it as an example. The OP was actually asking about a tier 1 vs. a tier 3, which has greater implications. Since you know for a fact that the South will be your future (especially since your spouse is in Nashville), then Vandy is a no-brainer. I should have used a Rolex vs. Tag Heuer watch example but I have too many friends that would debate on which watch is superior to the other so that is why I tried using Timex. The Timex/Rolex example is more relevant to the OPs question regarding tier 1/tier 3.

6
Law School Applications / Re: Making donation to law school
« on: December 12, 2008, 12:37:48 PM »
For those who would actually (seriously) consider doing this, DONT. It's not about money when it comes to admissions (believe me, the school has thousands of other applicants who are more than willing to fork up the thousands of dollars to attend their school). Your character would be shot to hell if you tried to "donate" your way into their school. You have to look at it from the law school's perspective? What will keep you from stapling a check to your law school final or to the MSJ you are filing with a judge. I doubt a law school is going to want to admit someone who will probably be involved in some kind of an extortion or black mailing scheme in their future legal career.

7
Law School Applications / Re: Tier 3 with full ride or Tier 1 with no money
« on: December 12, 2008, 12:32:19 PM »
I am facing somewhat of a similar decision, only my decision involves tier 2 versus upper-tier 1.  Basically, I could go to Michigan for sticker (probably), Vandy for some scholarships (probably), or Kentucky for a really big scholarship (probably).  I am leaning toward (though not entirely sold on) Vanderbilt.

I don't think there is one right or wrong answer, and, contrary to popular board belief, I don't think you are dooming yourself to a lifetime of regret if you do choose the tier 3.  There is something to be said for avoiding debt.

You have to figure out what you want to do and where you want to do it.  You want to have big bucks and big hours with big law?  Go tier 1.  You want the security of having no debt, but the lack of the prestigious name on your resume?  Go tier 2/3/4.  You have to figure out what is best for you, regardless of what anyone on a message board or anywhere else tells you that you should do.

While I commend you for not blindly following the Rankings in picking a law school, make sure you really look at where you want to be after law school (aka having options). I know you said you don't care about Biglaw, but there is more to going to a prestigious law school than persuing biglaw. I knew tons of people at my law school who thought they were going into community service or becoming an activist or a politican after law school. Then they got enticed by the money and prestige of the big law firms and have placed their initial goals on hold. I also knew someone who wanted to go straight from law school to a smaller firm and then raise a family. She is now a clerk for a federal judge.

While having no debt is the best option after graduation, you must also look at future opportunities that you haven't even considered that may only be available at UMich as opposed to Vandy. What if you want to be judicial clerk for a circuit court of appeals or even SCOTUS? What if you want to work for a law firm in London? What if you want to work for an Obama-like administration at the White House (if you haven't noticed, most if not all of the attorneys Obama considered went to a T-10 law school). What if you graduated in the bottom half at Vandy? If you graduated bottom half at Michigan, I can guarantee that you will still have several job opportunities to pick from. What if you have a spouse that needs to move to NYC or San Francisco or Japan? Which degree will is more recognizable and more respected?

Vandy and other lower ranked schools are great and I'm sure there are several of its grads who could smoke a Michigan grad out of a courtroom or a corporate negotiation. But in the end the brand name of your degree could shape your future. A Timex will keep better time than a Rolex, but the status symbol of a Rolex will always trounce a Timex. You have NO idea where you will or want to be in the next 5-10-20-50 years from now. Harriet Miers was lambasted for "only" to SMU Law (in addition to having no judicial experience) when she was nominated for SCOTUS. Even if she had a superior judicial records, she didn't have the papers to become a SCOTUS justice or even a SCOTUS law clerk. Several big law firms who are laying attorneys off will sometimes do it on the basis of pedigree. If you have two attorneys who work equally hard, have good hours, and personality but one graduated from Cooley and the other went to Harvard, I'm sure the firm would rather have that Harvard resume on their firm's website. The legal world is a prestige whore....get used to it.

8
I am still hesitant to pursue the ID/PI/traffic law route. While beggars can't be choosers, I am pissed that I have to pick between working crappy hours for less than $40K/year or nothing. If I went to a law school that was in the 3rd or 4th tier or graduated in the bottom half of my class, I would expect this scenario. But I went to a repuatable school (albeit not Harvard or even a Vanderbilt), but still a good school. Every time someone tries to tell me "don't worry things will get a better, this is only because of the economy," I want them to call my student loan company and give them that line when I can't make my student loans.

I don't think I am entitled and I'm not trying to be a spoiled brat by not taking ID/PI/traffic or the like. I have been networking at the local bar and alumni association in town and the attorneys at those events highly advised me AGAINST taking those jobs. Even the folks at the OCS at Tulane cautioned me about this route. They all said that I could be "pigeon-holed" into that area of law for the rest of my career. People who go after ID/PI/Traffic are stuck and almost never move up to big law firms or even medium-small practice law firms. Apparently there is a stigma attached to those law jobs and unless you have the entreprenurial know-how to make your practice big, you will be relegated to 2000+ hours/year at $40-50K per year (plus a holiday bonus of a $50 giftcard to Starbucks).

9
I never was interested in PE. I had a really good family friend that was a partner at a smaller PE firm and got the connection through there. The firm likes hiring JDs, even if they had no knowledge of finance because they "learn faster." He said that his firm received so many more qualified applicants than they were expecting, that they decided to only hire someone who was already in PE. Like I said, the job eventually went to a Wharton grad...had I known it was that competitive, I would have taken my hat out of that job pool before I even interviewed.

My original focus was in transactional law, but I adjusted when the economy tanked. The problem is that firms that you would expect would be hiring (bankruptcy, employment, litigation, etc) are not. Supposedly "things will pick up at the end of January." What's said is that I have even been looking on craiglist and the firms there are only paying $30-40K/year with no benefits. What's sad is I think those firms are still getting flooded with resumes and that they can be very selective. One of those firms was in family law and the other one dealt with traffic tickets. 

10
Thanks for the heads up on the state job, but competition is fierce even for those jobs. Plus, the State has a bias for in-state law students, especially people from the lower ranked Texas law schools who have a tougher time looking for a job. I did submit my applications for a couple of positions on there, but haven't heard a peep.

As far as being a solo or utilizing the solo option, I'm going to have to take a pass on that. Malpractice insurance alone prohibits me from even opening up a shop even if I wanted to (plus I'm sure I maxed out the amount of money a lender would be willing to give me on top of my law school loans). Another PR fact, over 70% of the lawyers who are suspended or disbarred are solos. Usually for failing to communicate effectively with clients or misapplication of client escrow accounts. Finally, of all the subjects I dealt with in law school, criminal law was my least favorite. I just don't feel comfortable representing a client straight out of law school who is facing jail time if I don't represent them effectively. Again, another quick way to lose my license before I even start utilizing it. 

Very, very understandable.  Fingers crossed for those state jobs.  I always thought Tulane was practically a Texas school -

I did want to ask you about malpractice insurance, though.  I've heard that malpractice insurance for newer grads in solo/small firms is often lower compared to more established attorneys at large firms because newer grads handle lower-value matters.  If you don't mind me asking, have you gotten quotes on insurance in Texas? I'm probably going to practice there, and I'm interested in what this would cost for a new attorney.

Nope, I haven't asked for a quote. I think it can go up to $10K/year, but you are right about newer solos having a reduced rate (for the first 3 years I think).

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