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Messages - Burning Sands

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Law review is very relevant during fall recruiting.  If you are considering government with public interest work, then I think its worth doing.  I actually think its worth doing, even if you aren't looking at fall recruiting type jobs.  Anything you do as a lawyer is going to require you to have good research and writing skills.  That is what law review develops. 

A lot of public interest jobs are very competitive.  Law review is a great way to set yourself out from the rest of your class. For this reason, I wouldn't view volunteering as a comprable substitute for law review.  Anyone can work for free, but as you pointed out, only 45 people get on law review. 

Also, law review gives you something to talk about in interviews.  You will be able to discuss your note or comment with interviewers, and they often ask about it if they see law review on your resume. (Notes and Comments are the articles that students write when on law review or journal).  Volunteering would also give you something to talk about, but only if the volunteer work is really meaningful and worth doing.  You can never be sure what you will do, or if you will have any work product that you can show interviewers until you get there.  Law review is much more of a sure thing, in terms of giving you substance to talk about in an interview.

In terms of volunteering, you might be able to do both law review and volunteer.  See if your school has internships for credit.  Then you would earn credits for working, and reduce your class load.  I did this last semester, with law review and it worked out. 

Couldn't agree more.

When you go out into practice, there are 2 questions that you will get asked everywhere you go:

1. where did you go to law school?
2. did you make law review?

Irrespective of the field of law you plan to go into, these two things will follow you around and, as many people have noted here, will open doors for you that are not open to others.  It is definitely worth the 1 or 2 weeks of aggravation that you will have to put up with right now when you consider the benefits you will receive for years to come once you start practicing.

Current Law Students / Re: Report Chowdahead for illegal porn
« on: May 10, 2007, 04:08:44 PM »
Sorry, I'm a mod from the other side and just got deputized for this side today in response to these posts.  Please report anything else we need to remove.  Thanks

Current Law Students / Re: poor lawyers
« on: May 10, 2007, 04:05:58 PM »
In debt, young lawyers struggle to make it
Young prosecutors and assistant public defenders are struggling to pay for even the bare necessities.


For Allison Haney, it's a good thing Publix takes credit cards. By the end of the month, she often doesn't have enough money left from her salary as a prosecutor to buy food.

Ayana Harris turns to Mom and Dad for help with the basics every month, and knows her parents will have to chip in even more when the brakes in her car go, or the dog needs to go to the vet. As an assistant public defender, she's also strapped for cash each month.

Haney and Harris are among dozens of young South Florida lawyers who have decided to sacrifice the comforts a law degree could offer in order to practice criminal law for the government. They are sharp, dedicated and idealistic, and their dreams are sinking them deeper and deeper into debt each month.

''I'm 27 years old, I shouldn't be asking my parents for money,'' Haney said. ``It's sad. I don't want them to give me money, but sometimes I do go to their house to eat.''

Haney is a top ''pit prosecutor'' in Circuit Judge Larry Schwartz's courtroom, meaning that with a little more than three years' experience, she's already trying rapists, robbers and even the occasional murderer.

She earns $50,000 a year to do it.

''It's financially irresponsible for me to remain here,'' Haney said. ``But it's socially responsible. I love my job. There's nothing else I'd rather do.''

She has about $130,000 in debt, mostly school loans she took out to get her law degree.


The issue of underpaid prosecutors and public defenders is getting attention around the country as the difference grows between their salaries and what they could make in the private sector and even in other government positions.

District and state attorneys and their counterparts, the public defenders, report losing staff attorneys at alarming rates, and recruiting for such low-paying jobs is increasingly difficult.

In Tallahassee, Rep. Ari Porth, D-Coral Springs, is sponsoring a bill that would at least help assistant public defenders and prosecutors pay their school loans, but he said it's not getting much support in a tight budget year.

Porth has been a Broward prosecutor for 12 years and says he's been able to stay in the office that long only because he doesn't have any school loans.


Help with her loans is exactly the kind of thing that could keep Harris in her job as an assistant public defender, defending the indigent people that Haney prosecutes.

Harris' debts -- about $140,000 -- are crushing when compared to her $56,000 salary.

She owed only $120,000 when she started working for the public defender's office almost six years ago, but the interest has added up as she's deferred her school loans. And she still owes taxes from 2001 and 2002.

Her parents regularly pitch in to keep her afloat.

'I don't think there are many people who go to school for seven years to live in their parents' pockets,'' Harris said over lunch in the courthouse cafeteria. ``It makes me feel like I'm not a complete adult.''

She's not even trying to live well at this point. She's basically given up vacations -- her parents pay for her tickets home and she doesn't travel anymore, even though she studied abroad and used to love to wander.

''I promised I'd take my mother to Africa for her 60th birthday. Now it's coming up, but I don't see how I'll do it,'' she said sadly.

Harris' father, Robert Harris, is happy to help his daughter, but he's not sure how long he can subsidize her.

''As a father, you want to be there for them but at some point you think you cut those apron strings and they'll be able to support themselves,'' he said.

``I don't mind doing it, it's just sort of unfair.''

And he worries about those looming loans and what they're doing to his daughter's credit.

''You mortgage your life away because you wanted to educate yourself,'' he said. ``I see someone like Ayana who's willing to work in a job that probably a lot of people don't like to do. I think she should be fairly compensated.''


The low salaries mean both offices are struggling to keep attorneys like Haney and Harris.

Consider the Miami-Dade state attorney's office. It has a staff of 291 attorneys and lost 126 of them in 2005 and 2006. The public defender's office, with a staff of 192 attorneys, lost 63 during the same two-year period.

Harris and Haney don't want to be part of those statistics, but they're realistic.

'The only thing that is keeping me here is my parents' ability to supplement my income,'' Harris said. 'Initially, they thought `how noble' to defend people who can't afford a lawyer, but quite frankly, both of them are a little bit over it now.''

''I can't do this much longer,'' Haney said. ``I keep meaning to put my résumé out, but the part of me that wants to stay here hasn't gotten around to it yet. . . . It's an amazing feeling when you get a guilty [verdict] in trial for somebody who is truly a danger to the community. I'll miss that.''

Current Law Students / Re: Bottom Half of Class-Job Opportunities?
« on: January 26, 2007, 04:26:46 PM »
Externing for a judge is a great experience.  Highly recommend it.  If you're concerned about job opportunities in the future with your current grades, your best attack strategy is to, as others have advised, do all things necessary to work on raising your current GPA and in the meanwhile look into working for a judge. I suggest a Federal Judge if you want to go into Biglaw.  A judge will not only increase your research and writing skills, but they will also be able to put you in contact with many other employment opportunities. 

Good luck.

Current Law Students / Re: BigLaw Bonuses
« on: January 26, 2007, 04:12:40 PM »
I believe that whenever you get a bonus they are required to withhold at the highest marginal rate (nearly or over 40% when you include state withholding).  You get the money back when you file your taxes (if you end up being in a lower tax bracket).

Sad to say it fellas but this is correct. 

The bonuses get taxed at a higher rate of about 40%.

Agree with what everybody has said so far.  Every firm is different.  My firm gives a bonus for every 100 hours you go over the minimum billable (1900).  So if you hit 2000 you get X dollars, if you hit 2100 you get Y dollars, etc.  I know many are set up this way over here (NYC).

Current Law Students / Re: NYC Biglaw Raises to $160k
« on: January 23, 2007, 07:46:17 AM »
What's crazy to me is that the NY market just got to $145k one year ago, now its already trying to jump up to $160k?  That's wild.

Current Law Students / NYC Biglaw Raises to $160k
« on: January 23, 2007, 07:12:16 AM »

Breaking: Simpson Thacher Raises Associate Base Salaries!!!

Simpson Thacher & Bartlett has raised associate base salaries across the board, by $15,000 for every class. You heard it here first, people -- less than ten minutes after the memorandum was sent.


This Simpson Thacher memo was emailed to us by multiple sources. So we do not doubt its authenticity. It was sent out today by email, at 4:28 PM, by STB executive committee chairman Philip T. (Pete) Ruegger III, to all associates and non-senior counsel at the firm.

We are seeking additional comment from STB representatives -- namely, Pete Ruegger, who sent the memo, and Susan Bussy, who handles media inquiries. We will let you know if and when we hear back from them.

Without further ado, the memo:



The Firm has been very busy and we expect the high level of activity to continue. We are proud of the results we are helping our clients achieve.

We believe we have the finest legal team of any global law firm. In appreciation of your efforts, we are pleased to increase associate base salaries as follows, effective January 1, 2007:

Class of 2006 - $160,000

Class of 2005 - $170,000

Class of 2004 - $185,000

Class of 2003 - $210,000

Class of 2002 - $230,000

Class of 2001 - $250,000

Class of 2000 - $265,000

Class of 1999 - $280,000

Class of 1998 - $290,000

We are also raising the base salary for the members of the Class of 2007, who will arrive in the fall, to $160,000.

Counsel and classes senior to 1998 will be addressed on an individual basis.

Again, on behalf of the Firm, thank you for your commitment and hard work.

January 22, 2007

Pete Ruegger

Other firms will surely follow suit and match this base salary increase. As the various firms match, please note their moves in the comments. THANKS!!!

Current Law Students / Re: Studying for constitutional law
« on: December 11, 2006, 09:18:10 PM »
Ex Parte Milligan, 71 U.S. 2 (1866)

Current Law Students / Re: Do 2L grades matter at all?
« on: December 10, 2006, 10:51:59 AM »
Please don't fall victim to the myth that 2L grades don't matter, because they do.  Especially if you want to go into big law. 

1L grades are undoubtedly the most important but employers do look at the 2L grades. Even if you have the job lined up with them after your 2L summer some firms have been known to spy in on their incoming associates.  Plus, just as a general rule, you always want to leave yourself options.  Should you be one of the lucky few who have a job at big law lined up for your 2L summer that was attained based on your 1L grades, it is very possible that you may not like the firm afterall once you get there and interact with the people everyday. 

Unfortunately, the nature of the beast with law firms is that even if you're a bright individual who does good work, there is no guarantee that you will receive an offer because firms put A LOT of stock into your chemistry with the firm.  I personally know of a few law students who are at the top of their respective classes who did not receive offers simply because they didn't vibe well with their firms.

So fight the urge to slack.  Save that for 3L (if ever).


Here's my sob-story and I'll keep it brief.  I spent five years in accounting as a CPA before law school (lots of SEC and financial experience).  Went to a third-tier law school in Los Angeles and transferred to Loyola-Los Angeles after my first year.  Made it into the top 5% at Loyola at the end of my second year and summered at a relatively small office in SoCal of a firm with six offices nationwide.  Had a good summer, got an offer, but the firm's practice areas aren't really diverse and they don't really jive with my prior experience.

I sent out about 25 unsolicited resumes to firms at the beginning of September, heard back from about ten saying they're done hiring.  Anyone out there have any insight as to the interview process for 3Ls?  Am I just completely out of the running?   I'm sort of sitting on the offer I got this summer hoping that something better comes a long, but am getting a little antsy.  Actually, very antsy.  I thought my previous experience and grades would take me a little further than it has in this process.

Thanks - you guys rock.

Absolutely not.  I'm also a 3L, I attend a decent Tier 2 law school on the east coast and I just accepted an offer with a top NYC firm two weeks ago and I did NOT summer there or have any prior dealings with the firm whatsoever.  Its a different game as 3L's, because you're right, most places make offers to their summer associates and just take them back, so as a 3L having not summered at a law firm you are somewhat of a foreigner to them.  However there is still hope.

My experience has shown me that at our stage in law school, its really about networking.  Use every possible connection that you can think of.  One thing that was very helpful for me was to call up recent grads from my law school who were working with these big law firms and have them pull some strings to get an interview.  The hardest part as you're probably well aware is just getting in the door.  Once you're in the door, you can sell yourself and show them what you've done and what you will do for their firm, etc.

Getting in the door as a 3L is WAAAAAAAAAAAAAY harder than getting in the door as a 2L.  Firms hand out summer associate positions like they grow on trees (relatively speaking of course).  Handing out full time associate positions is a different story.  But just focus on using your connections to get yourself in the door:  old friends in the class above you or above them, judge you may have interned with, professors with connections, etc.  In this profession its all about who you know.

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