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Messages - Felsen

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Job Search / Re: 5 months until OCI
« on: February 25, 2008, 04:14:17 PM »
Over this summer, participate in the legal job fairs aimed at students.  The firms will hire a few students through these programs.  You may be able to go through the process before they even start looking at students through OCI.  If things don't work out with the firms you liked, you can still apply with them again during Fall OCI and get them to look at you again.  You get two chances at them, and if they don't like you, they just tell you no twice.

That doesn't help with the resume, but does increase the chances of getting seen by the person who likes you.  For resume, it'll be grades, law review, etc.

Current Law Students / Re: Clerkship chances?
« on: February 23, 2008, 08:32:25 PM »
Your school's career services office should keep track of statistics on this.  They may even be able to tell you the names of a few judges who like to hire from your school.

Your chances are probably worse if there are other top schools in your region.  E.g. if you are near New York City and going for a court in New York, you'll likely have more problems competing with New York, Columbia, Cornell, etc. students than if you are at University of Nebraska looking at a Nebraska/Kansas/South Dakota court.  Again, your school should be able to clue you in on such details.

My school's career services has also suggested that more borderline students go ahead and consider the Federal Magistrate Judges, Bankruptcy Judges, and State Courts.  They are typically easier to get into, but can still be good experiences.

I am certainly thinking about applying, though I admit it is a tough choice.  I know one guy from school who landed a district court clerkship, and he says that firms that dismissed him out of hand before are now trying to keep contact and make offers.  He hasn't even graduated and started clerking yet.  So there does appear to be some good benefits for job prospects.

U of Texas - Austin / Re: Class of 2011
« on: February 22, 2008, 09:16:48 PM »
I love the Austin area.  I've lived in the suburbs around here since April 1999 when I move here after undergrad.  It is the largest city I've lived in, so I prefer its smaller size compared to the other legal markets.  My wife is a native, so she loves it too.  If it lacks something you want, you can usually find it with a drive to San Antonio (1.5 hours), Dallas (3 hours), or Houston (3 hours).

Yes, the Dean is hoping to use some of the tuition increase for more scholarships and financial aid.  That's a whole other issue of who will get it (usually that means the really smart kids and the really poor ones).  But on average, I believe about 1/3rd of the tuition increase will be returned to somebody in the form of aid.

U of Texas - Austin / Re: Class of 2011
« on: February 18, 2008, 03:59:54 PM »
Just as a note while making your decision, UT is about to become more expensive.  I don't know how much cost factors into your opinion, but the Dean has proposed a $4K/year increase in tuition for year 2008-2009, and another $4K/year increase for 2009-2010.  The University system is adding on another $500-800 on top of that for each of those years.

It is all still proposals, and nothing is approved yet.  I'm passing this on as they just had a meeting with current students who will be affected by this, and they said they haven't mentioned it to possible incoming students at all yet (as it is still just a proposal).

The Dean is still shooting for the school to be less expensive than its peers, but more like being 75% the price of other schools than being 50% the price of other schools.

Job Search / Re: HELP: Judge v. Firm
« on: January 21, 2008, 03:00:15 PM »
I would check with career services before you ask for more time or to spilt. When I started the interview process with federal judges, I was told that it was very rude to turn them down. It looks bad on you and the school. I was told that your not supposed to apply to work with a judge unless you would happily accept it on the spot.

Congrats though.

I haven't heard this specifically aimed at summer internships.  I have heard this when talking about judicial clerkships after graduation.  Part of it is that when the judges make their decision, they supposedly start at the top of their list and start calling till they get someone on the phone who will accept right then.  If you miss the phone call or ask to think it over, they move on to the next one.  That obviously isn't the case here, since the OP already has a bit of time in which to decide.

If you are in one of the top 50 law schools, you can use this guide to get a fairly accurate picture of various cut-off marks:

If you aren't in a top 50, it can still give you a ballpark idea.  Just find the schools with similar median curve points and see what the spread across schools is.

Off the cuff, I'd guess that a 3.89 on a 3.2 curve is likely top 10%, and possibly top 5%.

Current Law Students / Re: Study groups?
« on: September 22, 2007, 12:08:57 AM »
It all depends on what helps you study best.  Hopefully you have some clue about that from High School and College.  Some people work best alone, some work well in big groups.

Personally, I prefer small focused groups.  My ideal size is 3-4 people.  With 5-6 you have to have a good taskmaster to make sure the conversation doesn't devolve.  People also have to make sure they don't talk just to contribute "I agree with" statements.

More importantly is that you find out what the groups will actually be doing and make sure it fits with your goals.  My group studied exclusively for the tests.  We took old tests from the professor, took them on our own time, and then talked about the problems and how we would answer them.

Other study groups will sit and discuss the readings for the week, rehash what the professor talked about, or prepare outlines for the tests.

As I said at the start, look back on High School and College to see what kind of studying worked best for you.  Find the group that has the right size and focus for you.

Job Search / Re: After the offer
« on: September 13, 2007, 10:52:10 PM »
I expect any and all firms to do reference checks.  At the very least they will call the human resources department to make sure that you aren't adding fictional companies and job titles to your resume.  They will probably ask if there were any disciplinary problems and ask to speak to your manager if they have the time.

Wouldn't you expect this to happen before the offer?

At first glance, yes, I would.  Ideally the employer would call the references before extending the offer.  Realistically, many of these firms are trying to get back with people quickly in order to keep them fully happy.  As a student, I am much more excited about the employer who calls me back within two days to give me a callback, and calls back within 4 days of the callback to extend the offer.  So many places may postpone the background check (even calling former employers) until later.  If they postpone it till after you have accepted, they've also cut down on the costs.

Most people coming out of law school are probably not going to fail the background check.  The ones that fail are the exception and will be handled when the issue arises.  When the employment is at-will, they can fire those exceptions before they even start.

Job Search / Re: After the offer
« on: September 11, 2007, 09:19:06 PM »
As thorc854 says, keep your other callbacks, especially with only two others.  Firms expect to only get a fraction of the people they extend offers to.  If nothing else, it gives you a chance to find out a little more about the other firms, and they may impress you enough that you keep them in mind for a lateral move in a few years.

Firms typically ask for an updated transcript after your 2L summer.  They want to make sure you didn't just have a decent 1st year and are goofing off the rest of school, as it shows a potentially poor work ethic.  As such, I don't think they typically care for an updated transcript after this semester's grades.

I expect any and all firms to do reference checks.  At the very least they will call the human resources department to make sure that you aren't adding fictional companies and job titles to your resume.  They will probably ask if there were any disciplinary problems and ask to speak to your manager if they have the time.

I don't expect them to do an extensive check and find out any jobs you left off your resume.  They might do a few quick searches in criminal records, they could do a credit check, they could check if you are skipping out on alimony or child support payments, etc.

Job Search / Re: The Call Back Interview
« on: August 31, 2007, 01:52:33 PM »
anyone have the interviewers suggest that you work at a better firm first?  One told me I should split and work elsewhere and the other said he recommends people go to the much larger firms first.  It is weird to here that from a big firm, so I wasnt sure if they just didnt like me, or if they thought I could work somewhere better?

I haven't heard this from interviewers yet.  I have heard similar advice from people who come and talk to people on campus or during happy hours.  This kind of information typically comes from firms who try and emphasize a quality of life idea.  It is typically a smaller firm that will get you into the meat of a case sooner, or a larger firm that doesn't work you to death.  They would actually like you to go to the biggest law firm that works you 60 hours a week on document review.  Then their small and friendly firm looks better, especially when you get to control your own small case in your first year.

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