Law School Discussion

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Messages - Groundhog

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I've been banning users and IPs and removing threads as fast as I can, but I can't do any kind of reprogramming of the forums.

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Acceptances / Re: Cal Western in SD or Loyola Law School in LA
« on: December 18, 2014, 02:14:11 PM »
Nope, just that OP was considering Cal Western in SD, not USD, which has tougher admissions standards.

I know nothing of firm hiring as I'm a public sector attorney. My impression was that some SD firms hire locally, but it's more about connections to San Diego than checking off a SD school box.

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Acceptances / Re: Cal Western in SD or Loyola Law School in LA
« on: December 17, 2014, 05:42:56 PM »
Secondly, I live and work in the LA area and I can tell you that none of the schools you mentioned are so prestigious that they are worth $150,000 in my opinion. No firms are going to be so impressed with a degree from Loyola or San Diego Cal Western that they will hire based on pedigree alone.
I went to law school in LA and otherwise, agreed.

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Acceptances / Re: Cal Western in SD or Loyola Law School in LA
« on: December 15, 2014, 06:57:01 PM »
Hmm, I would be extremely careful about choosing a law school or city based on one particular clerkship. Chances are, if you are interested in it and know about it, so is and does everyone else. I also wouldn't choose it based on the assumption that you know what kind of law you really want to practice, after you get out of law school.

I suppose to me, it goes back to the old adage of "A bird in the hand is worth two in the bush." Your law firm sounds like as close to a sure thing as one can get in this uncertain legal market, barring a rich attorney relative with a firm. Lots of debt and no job is no joke.

Less crowded does not necessarily mean less competitive. If anything, the smallness of the legal market in SD makes things tougher. See Thomas Jefferson. And USD is widely considered to be superior to Cal Western. The same people from schools like Berkeley and Stanford or UCLA/USC that want to live in San Diego will still want to live in San Diego.

My personal recommendation would be do Loyola, assuming you get in. They have a decent track record of getting people into the DA's office. This also keeps you in the running for a job at your firm if, for whatever reason, the DA doesn't work out.

The tough part with this plan is that you'd ideally need to do a semester and summer externship at the DA's office. During the summer you could extern for credit part-time, but most are looking for full-time over the summer and you would want to do this ideally full-time summer after 2L to really maximize your experience, followed up during the semester 3L. The summer training program is usually more comprehensive and focused, so the tough part would be taking 10 weeks off of law firm work if you could. During the semester you can extern for credit half-time while still working part-time at the law firm.

Later on, either immediately after law school or after you have some experience, regardless of practice area, it will be easier to move to San Diego if you still desire.

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Law School Applications / Re: QUICK READ! PLEASE RESPOND!
« on: December 15, 2014, 06:01:53 PM »
That's true, but it is possible to quantify the effect of URM status vis a vis LSAT scores. The tough part is that it varies based on whether we're talking a 140, 150, or 160 as your base.

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Acceptances / Re: Cal Western in SD or Loyola Law School in LA
« on: December 15, 2014, 06:00:17 PM »
Several things...

Loyola is generally better-regarded as a law school, but it is also one of many top tier or thereabouts schools in LA. Southwestern less so. Cal Western is #2 in SD but in a much less crowded market. However, to a large extent, the LA and SD markets overlap.

What kind of "offer" is your law firm making? That if you go to law school and pass the bar, you will be offered an associate position? As a part-timer, that is 4-5 years away at a minimum. It is very difficult for law firms, even large ones, to predict their employment needs that far out. The "offer" may amount to nothing after you spend 5 more years working there while in law school, accumulating debt. Is that an acceptable result?

What other connections do you have in San Diego? Can you articulate why you'd rather be there than LA? The LA market is probably stronger but there is significant competition.

You will be likely be practicing in the city where you attend school regardless of which school you choose as all of the schools you've mentioned are regional.

To me, I would weigh the likelihood of actually obtaining an associate position at your current employer with how much you think you'd rather live in SD. Personally, if you have a good thing going and can do the part-time program while having reasonable hopes of full-time associate employment afterwards, I'd do that. If it's all smoke and mirrors and you are dead-set on living in SD, go down there. I'd also consider that after you have some experience practicing law you will be much easier to move around SoCal.

Regardless of what you decide, good luck!

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Law School Applications / Re: QUICK READ! PLEASE RESPOND!
« on: December 15, 2014, 12:51:08 PM »
Yes, being an URM such as yourself will help. Although the exact numbers vary, 5 points on the LSAT may be a reasonable assumption, but it is by no means a guarantee. I would plug in your stats to something like lawschoolnunbers and then compare that to self-identified URM applicants and non-URM to get an idea of where you might get in.

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Personal Statement / Re: Need advice on Personal Statement Conclusion
« on: December 03, 2014, 08:44:45 PM »
It's not just about getting into Harvard. The personal statement matters just as much for anyone applying to schools where they aren't a lock based on numbers, regardless of whether it's the lowest-ranked ABA school or a Tier 1 or Harvard. Unless one is only applying to safety schools, writing a good personal statement is important.

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Personal Statement / Re: Need advice on Personal Statement Conclusion
« on: December 03, 2014, 07:22:04 PM »
One mustn't have done something incredible to write a great personal statement. The best personal statements I've read were sincere and self-aware, gave me an idea about the applicant. None of the most outstanding personal statements I've read were about any particularly noteworthy achievements, but the writing set them apart. Years later, I remember one about playing the cello. The applicant wasn't particularly skilled in the cello, a competent college player at best, and made no effort to appear otherwise, but she described what it meant to her in a way that gave me understanding of who she was.

I feel like this discussion is partially missing the point. By the time one is writing a personal statement, one should already have an LSAT and GPA. Yes, those are the most important factors, and will account for 90% of your admissions chances. But that remaining margin is likely to matter at reach or target schools, where applicants are in a pile getting more scrutiny and either neither presumptively denied nor admitted(competitive) or slight presumptive deny.

In sum, the personal statement is important because it's the biggest factor outside of LSAT and GPA, which should already be determined by the time an applicant writes a personal statement. This matters the most for schools an applicant is most concerned about, the target and reach schools. It absolutely makes the difference at the best law schools where an applicant is likely to be admitted.

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Personal Statement / Re: Need advice on Personal Statement Conclusion
« on: December 02, 2014, 09:35:50 PM »
Have to disagree. Personal statement can be much more helpful or harmful to an applicant than references. While no one is immune from their numbers, an amazing story or a poorly-written personal statement has a much more meaningful impact on the admissions committee than the usually dry letters. This matters the most when the applicant is competitive, but not a presumptive admit by the numbers, presumably the kinds of schools about which an applicant would care.

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