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Messages - lmc08

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Visits, Admit Days, and Open Houses / Re: Hofstra vs. Buffalo.
« on: April 09, 2006, 10:16:02 AM »
You're welcome! Anytime you have any questions please don't hesitate to ask.

Visits, Admit Days, and Open Houses / Re: Hofstra vs. Buffalo.
« on: April 07, 2006, 08:25:08 PM »
The way I see it, there are a few options if you're considering work outside Buffalo:

1. For your 1st & 2nd year summer in law school, look for internship in the city you want to work in. This way, you build up your contact in that city. Hopefully you like your internship well enough to find a lawyer mentor who can then guide you to local opportunities .

2. UB has a mentorship program. You are paired up with a local lawyer or judge (though they also ask you where you want to practice, etc.) and you can build trust with this professional mentor to find a way to assert your status outside of UB. In the tri-state area, UB is still a pretty decent school. Again, your GPA and Networking skill as well as your course of study (do you have a particular preference for certain area of law, are you in law review, etc.) all play into factor.

3. Mentorship alone doesn't guarantee you a job. So you need to actively search out recruiting events and send out A LOT of resumes. I am not kidding you when I tell you that some students send out over 200 resumes and only get 7-10 interview call-backs. You need to be prepared to make that kind of effort if you're not in the top-tier (as in the first top 15 schools).

4. PIL might not pay as much, but you don't need to go into PIL right away. As you've mentioned, you're interested in small firms. There are also mid-sized firms that do pro bono work. UB is a good place to start because you are not as worried about debts when you get out of school, and you have some flexibility in the minimum salary.

5. If you are worried about passing the bar or finding a job right away, I would suggest looking at the Dual-Degree programs. The great thing about UB is there are several programs which you could apply AFTER you enroll in law school. You could apply fro JD/MBA or JD/MPH (Masters in Public Health) your first or second year of law school. This is extremely flexible compared to other schools. It also boosts your marketability.

6. After living in NY for a year, you qualify as resident. If you apply for dual degree, the tuition is only 1/2 of in-state law school tuition (or so I have heard. Check with School of Preventive Mediciine just to make sure). So if you can't find a job right away, you could complete your 2nd degree (a master's) and then look for a job that pays well in the city you live in.

7. You can transfer out if you keep up with your schoolwork. I'm not saying this is easy because there are pretty bright students in UB, and second, law school examinations is completely different from anything you have ever taken. But some people are just very good at it. If you do well your first year, you could try to transfer out to a law school that interests you more. Not saying this is a guaranteed option, but it is certainly an option.

8. When you interview for a job, emphasize why you want to work in that city. If you have family ties in that city, that's an EXCELLENT reason (b/c that way the company can be certain you want to settle there, and they might be less worried that you would leave.) You want to express your understanding of local clientals. You would have that advantage if you do your research & keep up with local news.

9. UB Alumni are everywhere. This school is very old (and even though we only have 750 students, the smallness of the classes make people very close to each other). We have a very strong alumni network (UB raised the most $ amount from alumni). Although many alumni are centered in Western New York (some judges and law partners), you can find out who lives in the city you're interested in by using something like Westlaw or LexisNexis services (Martindale Hubble Lawyer Locator Service, which they'll train you at law school).

10. Students are not as cut-throat. There are plenty of associations and (mostly friends you'll make) who will point you to job opportunities both inside and outside the state. I'm sure you'll find students who are interested in practicing in the same cities you're interested in, and you could help each other out. It could be a Western New York thing, but students who end up attending UB tend to be more laidback and helpful than other schools I've heard of (esp. 4th tier schools).

So the big picture is how well you seize opportunities to market yourself. Yes, WNY is pretty desolate. Yes, most students here are from Western New York, but it doesn't mean people don't practice in other places aside from NYC. I am planning to go back to the West Coast myself.

For PIL, you could apply for scholarships. UB has a BPIL organization whose sole purpose is to raise money for students who are interested in a Public Interest area of law. You can apply for summer fellowship if you're doing an unpaid public interest internship. We even have a career office branch that's devoted PURELY to public interest opportunities (separate from the regular career office, though they often work closely together).

Visits, Admit Days, and Open Houses / Re: Buffalo (mmm wings)
« on: April 07, 2006, 06:56:16 PM »

I'm currently an 1L at UB (rising 2L), so I'll try my best to answer a few questions (however belatedly). From lightest to heaviest subject:

Buffalo Wings:
Anchor Bar is the original inventor, but I've heard Duff's serve THE BEST wings. I've been to Duff's and they do serve very moist chicken wings, but I haven't had a chance to visit the Anchor Bar just yet.

Life Outside Law School:
First of all, that's sort of an irony. First year students are pretty bogged down with studying and when we do have fun, it's usually hanging out, going to someone else's place or going to Bar Night (or visit one of the pubs or local eateries). I would say the events happening in school (student associations, journals, friends, moot court for 1L's, events) keep everyone pretty busy. Again, it depends on your preference: what's more important to you - the ability to get outside the school, or is school more important to you than having coffee shop outside the school to hang out?

There are several joint degree programs offered along with the JD. The best thing about many of these programs is that they will take LSAT as substitute for the GRE. For business school JD/MBA, you need to prove you have some calculus/statistics background, but for the most part, the application process is pretty straight forward. If you don't want to spend an extra year in school, you could opt to take a concentration (certification in specialized areas of law). The concentration program give your academic schedule a structure.

There are several clinics offered by the school. However, no 1L's are allowed to take them. They are only open to 2L's and 3L's with instructor permission. Some professors look at your GPA only. Some look at your GPA and a personal statement (or something that makes them think you're a compelling candidate. E.G. You've taken a course with that professor and he/she knows you, or you are doing a concentration/joint-degree or has a background in that area of law, etc.) Clinics have limited number of slots, so I would suggest applying early.

Salary, Professional Advancement:
Since most students in this school are from Western NY, and WNY has a lower living cost than NYC, the starting salary, on average, is lower than other school. But this is not suprising given the composition of the student body. Another thing you might want to factor in is because most firms that do on-campus interviews are from WNY. To work in another place like NYC or out-of-state, you have to do active search. In another words, you have to be your own promoter. Even if you are studying in a law school in NYC, you won't land a job "just because" you are from a NYC school. Having an on-campus recruiting job in NYC simply means it's more convenient for the students. But again, your selling point should be that YOU are the BEST candidate, not just you're a student of a NYC school. In fact, it might be very competitive in NYC b/c there are so many upper-tier law schools there vying for a top position. If you have housing in NYC, you could spend a few weekends over there for recruitment events. UB Career Center keeps an updated list and regular e-mail reminder of upcoming recruitment events (even those in NYC).

The biggest thing that bothered me the most about Buffalo is the winter. It lasts from 4-6 months, and since I've never lived in Northearn U.S. prior to law school, it was almost unbearable. Luckily I got used to it, so I can endure for a few more years.

Class Size:
Each class year has approximately 250 students. In the first year, you are divided into 3 sections, with about 80-90 students per section for substantive courses, and about 15-20 students for research & writing class. This is a pretty small ratio for a public law school.

Professor Quality:
Like every school, there are star faculties and those who are not so effective lecturers. All the faculties are very knowledgeable about their subject. It really depends on your learning style. As a first year, you don't get to choose, but by your 2nd & 3rd year, you will have a say in your schedule. Overall, UB has a stellar faculty.

I hope this helps.
If you have any questions please feel free to contact me.

Visits, Admit Days, and Open Houses / Re: Hofstra vs. Buffalo.
« on: April 07, 2006, 06:35:56 PM »

I am currently an 1L at UB (rising 2L).

Let me try to answer some of your questions.

Tuition, Debts, Average Starting Salary:
Yes, Buffalo is definitely cheaper. There is no question about this. As far as starting salary goes, the reason why it is lower is because most students who attend here (and those who stay), are from Western New York. UB has strong presence in WNY - I don't think Syracuse could really compete with UB in terms of prestige and tuition. However, Western NY has lower cost of living. Since it's cheap to live in WNY, the living wages are lower, which is why the average starting salary is lower (it's not due to the quality of the school). Now if you decide to go back to NYC to work, you get to negotiate your salary. So it's really about how you market yourself, and where you choose to work.

Clinics are only open to 2L's & 3L's. You can just "enroll" directly in a clinic. You need instructor approval. Usually this means you write a statement of interest or something that makes your application stand out. Some professors will decide solely on your GPA, but again, if you have taken a class with that professor before, and if you could demonstrate your interest in that particular area of law, you have a good chance of making it in. Because UB is the ONLY law school in Buffalo, you have less competition in a sense, because you're not competing against other schools to serve this community.

I suggest you visit Buffalo and UB before you decide. Some people hate the climate (winter lasts 4-6 months), some people hate the suburbian feel to this city. The downtown is bleak and everything seems to close on Sundays. There's not much to do in downtown aside from bars and grills. However, if your goal is simply to study and work, that is not a problem.

Many students from my year came from out of state. Some prefer to leave WNY and go east to NYC. Whatever your preference is, you need to remember that most firms that recruit on-campus are from WNY, not from NYC. You could go back to NYC for a few weekends (if you have relatives who live in NYC, housing shouldn't be a problem) for recruiting events. The school does keep a list of recruiting fairs in NYC.

So in the end, it's really comes down to your debt-sensitivity and your ability to market yourself. If you are debt-adverse and have no problem marketing yourself (doing a bit more work to go to NYC recruiting events), then UB might be a better choice. On the other hand, if money is not a problem and you don't mind being in debt for 3-5 years post-graduation as long as it's convenient for you to find a job in NYC, then Hofstra is probably a better choice for you.

Good luck with your endeavor.

Any questions please feel free to contact me.

Visits, Admit Days, and Open Houses / Re: Buffalo?
« on: April 07, 2006, 06:25:17 PM »
This could be kind of late, but I haven't logged in for a long time.

I am currently an 1L at UB (rising 2L) and I could tell you a few strong points about Buffalo.

Like you said, the school prides itself in Affordable Housing (we have 2 strong clinics). We are also pretty strong in the concentration areas (e.g. Health Law). The best thing about UB is the small size. We have around 250 students per year (meaning 80-90 people per section, and there are 3 sections for the first year law). Additionally you get 15-20 students for research & writing class.

There are, of course, some area that UB is not as strong in: International Law and Patent Law. However, International Law is usually very difficult to get into regardless of which law school you go to. Even with law school experience, law firms rarely allow first year associates to do international law. Almost without exception you will have to work from bottom up before you could work in the area of international law. Patent Law and Intellectual Property class selections are few. If you are interested in Patent or Intellectual Property, I would suggest Santa Clara University.

Of course, for the dollar value, UB is a rare find. You will come out with lower debt than those who attended private school.

If you are from this area, you probably know how "suburban" Buffalo is, or how long the winter could last. So as far as climate and remoteness of the campus, it probably wouldn't bother you. Anyway, we're assuming you're here to study and not to "check out the beautiful campus." To be fair, there are some parts of North Campus that could be picturesque. I have taken tons of photos of nature trails of campus environs.

The best thing about UB is the sense of mellowness. Yes, people are still somewhat competitive, but for most part, students are laidback and friendly (compared to your average law students). The administration is pretty helpful, and we have a wonderful library (free printing for this year, but not sure about next year).

Please don't hesitate to contact me if you have any questions.

Hi Gwen,

I'm currently a 1L (rising 2L) at UB. The application process really depends on the applicant pool, anywhere between 4-8 weeks (sometimes longer, if you are on the waitlist, they'll notify you). I applied on March 15th and didn't receive the acceptance until the very last week of May.

Do you know which Dean you will be meeting with? From my own experience thus far, all the Deans have been more than helpful. One of the reasons why I have chosen this school is because the administration seemed very approachable.

I see that you're also a non-tradition student (or so I assume). We have several non-traditional students in my year. Some people are in their 50's, and one guy is in his 60's. I myself have worked a few years before coming to law school. Most students, however, are coming straight out of college or worked for one year in between.

Please don't hesitate to contact me with any questions you may have.

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