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Messages - JBrien

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Law School Admissions / Re: DO NOT GO TO LAW SCHOOL!!!
« on: February 21, 2012, 02:32:34 PM »
The simple truth of the matter is that law school (and more importantly a career in law) is right for some people and not right for others.  Unfortunately too many people go to law school for the wrong reasons (money, parents, they don’t know what else to do), and that is why there is so much bitterness from people on law school discussion boards. 

So then how do you find out if a career in law is right for you?

1) First you have to conduct a deep self-assessment of who you are.  Think about your strengths and weaknesses; what geographic location do you want to work; do you want to travel in your work; are you more business or litigation oriented; what do you value the most time or money…  The easiest way to do this is isolate yourself for several hours and write down everything you can think of regarding your personality.

2) Learn about the lawyer personality.  Though there are many different forms, types and niches of law, with different personality types suited for each, there is an overall lawyer personality.  The general lawyer personality is characterized by; hard working, type A, highly critical, disciplined, ability to separate emotions from the matter at hand, thick skinned. 

3) Talk to attorneys who practice in the niches of law that interest you.  Find out from those that actually practice law what it is like (and not recent grads).  Talk to those lawyers who have practiced for a t least a few years.  Ask them what it is like, and what type of personality is required for their niche.

The fact remains that in this economy it is tough for everyone…  The bitterness concerning law school can be avoided if law school candidates (and recent graduates) where to spend more time researching what a lawyer does, and what the lawyer personality is really like vs. trying to score highly on the lsat or get a high paying job. 

Check out the below sites for a more thorough discussion…  Hope this helps!

Job Search / Re: Lawyer/Attorney Salaries from the U.S. Department of Labor
« on: February 21, 2012, 01:24:36 PM »

I know where you are going with your question, and I cringe whenever I hear such things.  Not because there is anything wrong with the question (I am sure I asked a similar question when I was in law school), but please do not drink the cool aid.

The lawyer salary is not the proper justification to choose a career in law (or specific niche therein). 

The truth of the matter is that if you believe the hype and only follow the money, you will most likely not be emotionally satisfied with your career, and may find yourself trapped by the old “Golden Handcuffs”. 

The truth is that there are infinite ways to make money… and if money is your sole pursuit then believe me you will make significantly more money if you are in an industry where you LOVE the work.

So the proper pathway here is not which niche of law pays the highest, but where does your personality (strengths and weaknesses) fit best into which niche of law?  Once you have fully made a self-assessment you can then go on to pursue a specific field and the sky is the limit for making all the money you want. 


For a more thorough discussion please read the below pages… hope this got you thinking!

Current Law Students / Re: Socratic method = russian roulette?
« on: February 21, 2012, 01:00:54 PM »
You guys have to relax…  I remember how important it seemed first year of law school, but in reality the socratic method (and further class discussion) is valued very little in terms of your grades (at most law schools). 

The goal is not necessarily to get the correct answer to the question.  When you start practicing law (and if you practice litigation) you will be required to make arguments that are incorrect, or weak, but they remain the only ammunition you have to advocate your client’s case.

Thus, the socratic method classroom is setup to get you to argue a position…  so when you get called on take a position and act like it is 100% correct, and defend your position.  People respond to confident body language and vocal tones.

Take some comfort in the following facts about the Socratic method:

-It doesn’t matter what you say.
-Everyone in the class will say something stupid at least once.
-The person that speaks the most and seems the most confident is probably not going to do well on the exams.  (This is a personal observation of  my law school classmates.)
-The goal is to make you analyze, state a position, and think on your feet.
-A relaxed mind is a quick mind.
-Never let anyone see you sweat, always answer a question confidently (half of the students probably aren’t listening anyway so unless you start hemming and hawing the other students will remain in zombie mode.)

I hope this helps read through the below link for more information.

Current Law Students / Re: 3L worth. Was it worth it?
« on: February 21, 2012, 12:28:34 PM »

Having gone through the entire circus and been practicing for 6 years now, I can confidently state that you have to start exploring as soon as possible all the different types of law you want to pursue.  Conduct informational interviews with anyone in those fields.  You would be surprised at how easy it is to get a job if the employer believes you have a PASSION for the work.

The problem that most people have is that they do not know how (or are willing) to put some time and effort into a self-assessment and discover who you are. 

What is your personality like? 
Do you want to go to court or not?
Are you the type of person who enjoys leaving the office and appearing at different places, or would you rather not travel with your job?
How important is status to you?
How important is money to you?
How important is your free time?

Overall you have to know yourself and then learn about each type of law…  talk to real practitioners (not law school professors).  Pick three types that interest you and then contact the development individual at the professional associations of those types of lawyers.  (Google search should take about 10 minutes to come up with names of people, and by the way those people have job descriptions which require them to assist young law students/attorneys.)

Check out the below site and good luck to you!

Studying for the LSAT / Re: my score has hit a plateau...what do I do?
« on: February 21, 2012, 12:01:33 PM »
Ok, something that improved my score significantly on both my practice tests for LSAT (and eventually the bar exam): You have to start analyzing what percentage of questions you are getting correct at the beginning of the test and at the end of the test.

This form of test taking is almost like running a marathon… at first you are doing just fine, but then you get tired and you slow down.

In the case of taking these grueling and stressful tests it is only natural that you will mentally begin to get tired.  If you analyze your correct and incorrect answers closely you will find that you will get more questions incorrect during the second half of the test vs. the first half of the test.

Most likely in preparing for the LSAT (or bar exam) you will need to improve your mental
endurance. How do you improve your mental endurance?   

1) Slowly increase the quantity of questions you do for practice (ie when you are not taking a full test) don’t just work on 25 questions, slowly increase it to 30, then 35, and so on. 

2) When you take practice tests do not immediately stop your practicing… add another section with no break.  (Think of a marathon runner slowly increasing distances.) 

3) Studies have shown that caffeine can increase mental capacity for short periods of time. When you take your test have a cup of coffee or other caffeinated beverage ready for the half way mark of the test (or when 3/4 of the test is completed).

Break down your scores to see if endurance is a weakness for you, read some more about the
LSAT at the below link, and start training for endurance (increasing slowly). 

I hope this helps!

Choosing the Right Law School / Re: University of Arizona V. Syracuse
« on: February 20, 2012, 01:40:47 PM »
In making your decision you have to consider two main questions:

1)  Where in the geographic United States do you want to practice law?  Geographic location is a very significant concern for choosing a law school.  It is wise to choose a school that is close geographically to where you want to practice law.  There are several reasons for this; i) each law school leans their academic lessons towards the geographic area where the school is located, and ii) the school’s alumni powerbase will be located in its surrounding jurisdiction, which will help you obtain employment with a judge (clerkship) or private law firm upon graduation.

Thus, if you are sure you want to practice in AZ then don't go to Syracuse.  If you definitely want to practice law on the east coast then you should probably go to Syracuse. 

2) What is your financial situation?  This is major concern for many graduates of law school...  long term debt can be a killer if you do not manage it properly, and worse yet may handcuff you to a job you hate (but pays well). 

So if your family is paying for your law school education, or if you are personally wealthy, then make your decision based on question #1 above.  If money is a significant concern, and you will be taking on a lot of debt you should definitely save the money and stay in AZ.
Overall, do not make your law school decision based on the quantity of the alumni who have had noteworthy careers.  Your decision should be 100% based on YOUR personal situation and where you want to practice. 

Check out these two pages with a more in depth explanation:

Hope this helps!

This is well written...  However, as a reader it seems you focus more on engineering vs law.  You need to first reduce the discussion and passion for engineering into only a few sentences, as the remainder of the letter should be reserved for demonstrating the following:

1) Passion for the law (and more importantly what ACTION you have taken to ensure it is the correct career path for you).
2) What you can contribute to the law school classroom and how you can enhance your peers' learning experience.   
3) Attitude (You do not need to improve on this.)
4) Congruence (Is the letter congruent with who you are?  I think you already do this quite well.  Your personality seems to shine through.)

Overall not bad, but definitely needs work, and be sure to remove anything that indicates you are committing to law school because you don't know what else to do. 

I am a practicing attorney and contribute to a website which you might find interesting... 

Good luck,

Hi Chuey,

I can relate to your predicament and was actually in a similar situation when I was applying to law school (many years ago).  My problem was that I wanted the admissions committee to focus on my GPA from my Jr and Sr years of college, and to demonstrate that my academic aptitude (and maturity) increased drastically from my freshmen year (and would continue to do so in law school). 

Thus, I attached to my applications what I referred to as a "Grade Point Breakdown", which was a two page attachment consisting of my GPA for each year of college and a chart indicating my improving performance. 

It seemed to work, I received admission to my first choice of law schools, and have been practicing law for some time now.

If you don't mind me asking, why exactly do you want to go to law school?  I ask because I mentor many prospective law students and they all seem to be well prepared for the LSAT, but put ZERO thought into developing a career plan that suits their interests and strengths...  and speaking as someone who has been down this road, a career plan is ESSENTIAL.

I also contribute to a website that may interest you;

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