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Messages - Burning Sands

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I already know based on my stats I am destined to go to a tier 1 (top15-50) school
What i really want input on is a worse case scenario.
i already possess and mba and 4 years work experience
if place dead center of my class upon graduation will my mba an experience make up for my completely unimpressive performance as a jd

The Legal Profession is one in which you can't really place "dead center" and expect to do well. You really have to be at the top of something, be it your respective class, the USNews rankings, whatever. 

I have a friend thinking about going to law school and the best advice that I can give him is that if you're going to go, you have to go into it with the mindset of taking no prisoners.  I have several close friend who graduated from Tier 1 law schools, did so-so in their class and still have difficulty finding a job.  They're pretty much relegated to clerking for a year and hoping to make the big jump, and even then, some of the ones who clerked still can't get Biglaw jobs. And these are Tier 1 law schools we're talking about.

My friends at the T14, however, are sitting pretty nice.  Actually, they're throwing away jobs. Literally.

Furthermore, with the exeption of tax or patents, your previous life before law school is to a large extent irrelevant.  In other words, your performance in law school is unfortunately paramount to all the many achievements you may have accumlated before law school.  :P

Current Law Students / Re: Transferring from UVa
« on: July 02, 2006, 04:20:08 PM »
Why would you want to do such a thing?  Every student I know from UVa is doing big things.  Many of them are here in NY working for blue chip law firms.

heya burning sands

i feel as if maybe my educational "career" is at least ostensibly following in teh footsteps of your own in the sense that 1) i'm currently in the midst of a judicial externship [which I enjoy as the judge is very, very bright and yet amusing, educational, etc. - and he has absolutely no problem giving me responsibility which I'm definitely not qualified to handle (i.e. writing his ruling minute entry orders on summary judgment and now even writing one of his opinions) - which makes it fun], and 2) in August the fall interview program will begin and I will try my best to land one of these summer associate jobs with a large to mid-sized firm in either DC, NYC, or SF.

You mention that you don't really enjoy the internship with the firm (i'm assuming that this is a SA position) - why not? Compared to your externship experience, what is it that you dislike about the firm position?

just curious...

In my personal opinion, the only good thing about law firms are the salaries they provide.  Everything else about them is negative.  just my 2 cents.

To elaborate, most people complain about the hours...I don't really care abour hours because that's just life. Even if you're working for yourself in your own business you're going to put in hours. But keep in mind, I'm single with no kids so I'm biassed.  If you were trying to have any significant family QT, working at a manhattan firm is not exactly conducive to that.

Also, you have to accept that if you're working for big law you're working for the bad guys.  If you have a strong conscience this is not the job for you.  I handled an employment discrimination/sexual harassment claim the other day and my main job was to find case law that would allow us to conceed that harassment took place but still screw the plaintiffs over by dismissing their case because they missed the statute of limitations time period by a few weeks.  Stuff like that.

But I think my main complaint is that the work that you get at a law firm is monkey work compared to the work you get working for a judge.  Especially in NY.  Assoc's get all this doc review and depostition summaries (not fun) and junk like that.  Don't get me wrong, I've had plenty of research assignments but its just not the same.  I think the District Court experience spoiled me.  I'm used to writing court opinions and picking apart other law firms' case briefs, etc.  You get to see the big picture of the practice working for the court. From the law firm assoc' perspective you only get to see bits and pieces of litigation.

But some people have no problem doing the monkey work after spending 3 years towards a legal education so hey, to each their own.

I am convinced the reason why so many lawyers are so miserable is because they don't REALLY know what they're getting into. Whoever mentioned people should do some kind of legal work first, I completely agree with that. When faced with the reality of what law firm life is really like, many people would probably decide not to go. Many people (like myself) may be reassured that it is something they want to do.

I have enjoyed reading the responses here and hope to add my own two cents.

Am I still glad?  The Jury's still out on that one.

After having completed two years of law school I can fully agree with the quote from above that many people are unhappy because they missed that chapter in Planet Law School that said "Don't do this unless you know what you're getting into."  To that end, many of my classmates are/were liberal arts majors who had nothing better to do with their bachelor's degree, weren't making any money in the workforce and just upped and decided to go to law school as some type of a "get rich quick" plan - only to find out that law school and the legal profession is FAR from that.

You can graduate from law school and make $145k or $45k.  Its different from med school where irrespective of what particular residency you enter, you're guaranteed to come out making $150k, $200k, and even $250k in some areas. The law has no such guarantee.  So to the poster in the first few pages who said that there are far easier ways to make (more) money, you couldn't be more correct.

But as far as my personal perspective, the reason why I'm torn is because I actually like the process of learning the law, the intellectual stimulation, being charged with the task of finding the most persuasive answer to a complex fact pattern, etc.  So I like the educational side of law school. 

What I can't stand is the dirt and grime of the legal profession and those in it.  I'm not talking about work or long hours, I'm moreso talking about the elitist attitudes, the snobbery of the law, and all the other nonesense that comes along with actually finding a job in the law. 

I guess my frustration generates from the old school notion that if you work hard and handle your business in the classroom then things like finding a job shouldn't be a problem, but in law school I've discovered the hard way that you can't take anything for granted.  (although I'll concede that this probably doesn't apply if you attend Harvard, but for the rest of us who don't...)

I think what may be the most frustrating aspect for all law students, regardless of what law school you go to, is that the things that may interest us the most within the law usually pay the least.  Not that its all about money, but unfortunately the majority of law students at every law school are faced with a significant amount of debt upon graduation. So its been my experience that we're often forced to sacrifice what we'd like to do for what what will pay the bills.  Personally speaking, I've had the pleasure of externing for a federal judge in the nearby District Court, and I absolutely loved it!  I am currently interning for a mid/large size NYC law firm and I can't say that I'm as thrilled. 

So I guess you could say that I love the substance of the law, but hate the procedures that govern the profession.

Current Law Students / Re: Grades v. Moot Court/Law Review
« on: March 14, 2006, 09:35:58 AM »
I agree.

And also a jedi recognizes another fellow jedi - I'm also on my school's law review as well.  ;)

Current Law Students / Re: Grades v. Moot Court/Law Review
« on: March 14, 2006, 08:52:54 AM »
you need good grades to get on law review, even for write-on.

That is correct.

I have to differ in observation with Bored3L in one regard.  For the other 36 schools in the Tier 1, and for the 50 of us in Tier 2, its not a necessity to have good grades AND law review to get into Big Law.  Good grades alone will do the trick.  A couple of my classmates immediately come to mind who I know for a fact are not on law review but are still going to the top NYC law firms this summer and after graduation.

That may be true for the most part, for a lot of the reasons that have already been mentioned.

People do tend to slack off 2nd semester.  Mainly because you're burnt out from first semester.  I'm a 2L and I have yet to match the intensity level that I studied at during that first semester of 1L when the pressure was on.  I didn't slack off, but it definitely wasn't as intense for me 2nd semester.  After you take those first set of law school exams, the mystery is gone. You know what it takes and more importantly, what it doesn't take.  I figured out that I don't need to spend hours upon hours in the library briefing cases anymore, because that didn't help for the exam. 

Current Law Students / Re: Grades v. Moot Court/Law Review
« on: March 14, 2006, 07:13:41 AM »
I have to chime in here and agree with what both unlv and bored3L have said.

20 years after we all graduate from law school, even when we're all dead and gone, people in the legal profession will only have 2 questions:

1. What law school did you go to?
2. Did you make Law Review?

That's it.  Not what was your GPA coming out of law school.  Not were you involved in moot court.  Not did you do a clinic while you were there.  Not how involved you were with the SBA.  All of those things are virtually collateral to the primary 2 factors that they always seem to ask about. Especially in Big Law.

I had the unique opportunity to one of a few students to sit in on the hiring committee of 2 new faculty members at my law school, and it never failed, after each candidate left the room question #2 always came up.  In academia, making Law Review is as essential as your graduation.  I heard the committee say things like, well, he IS from Harvard, but he didn't make law review though...NEXT.  I thought they were crazy to be honest, I mean the guy's from Harvard Law, what else do you want?  But that's the mentality.

In Big Law its not much different.  If you're at a T-14 then it really doesn't matter too much for Big Law whether you're on a journal or not.  I have several friends at Columbia and NYU currently who are no where near making Law Review but have jobs lined up at Cravath, Sullivan & Cromwell, Wachtell, etc.  Making Law Review at a T-14 is just icing on the cake for Big Law.  It only becomes critical if you plan to teach later. [trust me on that one]

I don't attend a "T-14".  My school is, per US News, a T2, so making Law Review here is a little more important for Big Law purposes.  As far as Law Review/No Law Review I have seen both types of students here secure jobs with Big Law.  But just about everybody on our Law Review has a job with Big Law.  I can name about 7 or 8 going to Shearman & Sterling off the top of my head.  Now as far as those students not on Law Review, grades are crucial, as both of you have pointed out.  Big Law is very picky.  And they do have GPA cut offs.  If you're not on Law Review they're going STRAIGHT to your GPA.  Conversely, for many on Law Review, grades are not even discussed in the interview.  Its just presumed that if you've made it onto Law Review then you must be ok.

So for the OP, Haz, if your grades are so-so and you're at a decent school from the sounds of it, I would highly encourage you to make Law Review.  It can only help.

Current Law Students / Re: Anyone here a BAR/BRI or PMBR rep?
« on: January 12, 2006, 10:40:17 PM »
They don't pay you jack squat.  Your reward for your indentured servitude is the fee waiver of the rediculously overpriced review course.

I'm tellin you right now, if I had 3 G's in my pocket I wouldn't even f*ck with being a BarBri rep.  Its like a cult.  They take themselves a little too seriously and the stuff sells itself anyway.  Something like 90% of all law students take BarBri to prepare for the bar so why they push the reps so hard to sell the stuff is beyond me.

Current Law Students / Re: Engineers in Law School
« on: January 12, 2006, 10:30:54 PM »
And what if you didn't kick ass as an undergrad???  My GPA was a 3.0 in undergrad..  But I have lots of work experience..  Will that hurt my chances at getting into a good IP firm?? 

Not at all. If I had your 3.0 I would have landed several of these IP firms who look at first year grades.  3.0 in engineering is not bad at all and the IP firms definitely recognize that.

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