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Messages - taplinb

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Current Law Students / Best wishes!
« on: September 04, 2007, 03:12:59 PM »
My thanks to all of you who have responded nicely and respectfully, or will, to naive questions. Karma. Twelve days in and I'm excited and buried. I may not make the time to visit this site for a long while.

Good luck to all who care about the world and their fellows.

Was it Woody Allen who wrote that a Jewish fetus isn't considered viable until it has graduated from Med or Law school? Not that I know many Jewish people or am particularly interested in starting something ethnic. It's just an old joke that seems apropos to some of the postings here.

Anyhow, having completed my first real assignments for Torts and Contracts, I consider myself a student, sense of entitlement nonexistent. It won't be "real" for another two weeks, until classes start, so flame on. I'll be in the books by then, or chasing a preschooler, and not so much here.

Good luck to all, even to those for whom the feeling may be, or have been, mutual.

Hey former participants of this or similar programs,

My school, William Mitchell, offers a 3 or 4 credit summer option to study law in London and, optionally, Edinburgh. This is offered jointly with Case Western, New England, and South Texas. I do not currently plan to do International, but I could be very interested in Criminal, and the four London courses focus on that. Another option is a 3-credit internship there. In either case, the cost per credit is hundreds below what William Mitchell normally charges.

Have you done this? Housing costs may be unusually high for me if my wife and son come, but I imagine that it would be not be much more expensive than what we've paid for other vacations. Does the Acorn work for small families? Is there a famliy-friendly (and pet-free) hotel close by? We could rent a home. It may not really be a vacation for me, per se, but for my family it would be, and might coincide nicely with seeing a nephew in grad school at Oxford.

I am eager to plan finances and family time for next year. My main question is this: if I blow an extra few thousand next summer on this, will those 3 or 4 credits help later? Could I then take fewer credits in my third year and work more? Working my first law school summer may earn me little, but working that third year with a potential future employer would be different, right? I don't mean that pay would be great, but for well-invested time.

Current Law Students / Re: Office 2000 Premium or OpenOffice?
« on: July 12, 2007, 07:15:36 PM »
I like OpenOffice, though higher-end features of Word and Excel might not work, e.g. macros. If you have a Mac, NeoOffice is a custom version of OpenOffice "aquified" to look and work like other Mac apps. Nice and fairly mature, though not as fast or featureful as Office 2004 for OS X. OpenOffice has all the basics, most of the fancy stuff.

As for outlines, maybe OneNote. Much as I dislike Microsoft, that's a cool application. My favorite non-Microsoft academic desktop tool may be WordPerfect, which is still surprisingly good, especially for outlining. It can output to PDF, read and write .doc files just like the latest OpenOffice (more or less), and seems stable and powerful.

However, I worry about my laptop being dropped or stolen, so I may use Google Docs for briefs. It is a far cry from a high-end word processor, but I won't have to worry about backups and can use any computer on the Internet.  Some may worry about privacy or the reliability of the Internet, but I have less faith in the survival of local drives, and I do not plan to blow much time running backups. Also, you can email a doc to a Google account and have it ready to edit later, a possible time saver. I have this briefing form which sends such an email when completed.

I'd like to try the beta of Thinkfree Premium, but they have been slow about responding to my request, and I think it's too new to be counted on. Google Docs is also young, but seems very stable and should serve my purposes.

Current Law Students / Re: Non traditional students.......
« on: June 22, 2007, 06:35:23 PM »
I am a 43-year-old incoming full-time 1L, and the reading load kinda scares me, particularly as I must do most of my share during working hours so I can have time with my wife and young child after dinner. Otherwise, this promises to be much more fun, and potentially more lucrative (not a primary objective), than another 17 years in tech support.

Current Law Students / Re: Respect: Automatic or Earned?
« on: June 22, 2007, 06:30:50 PM »
Mr. Laurel,

I have not yet entirely digested your posts on this topic, but I agree with the gist of the first few paragraphs. Regardless of perspective, you write well and carefully, rarities in the current blogiverse. Thank you. Responses to the substance may follow.

Thank you, VitaminE, vercingetorix, and others.

I have now been dinged by Hamline and the U of MN, but am in at William Mitchell and St. Thomas. Go figure. Maybe my personal statement to Hamline was not enthusiastic enough.

It is a relief to have the decision simplified. My big question now is whether St. Thomas will be so much better than William Mitchell that I can justify driving up to an extra hour per day for three years, pending traffic. The costs of attendance are comparable, meaning I must borrow $100k+ to attend either. The jury is out on whether St. Thomas will rise as far as some predict. I have seen little evidence thereof, and the respective entering classes sport very similar stats. I do know that most William Mitchell grads ultimately land jobs.

St. Thomas feels friendlier and very supportive, but this is about a career decision, not summer camp.

I need to chew on it more.

Thanks, bigfatbox. In response:

> Try talking to local attorneys and see what they have to say.
I've done so, and they mostly seem to agree that Mitchell is the most established.

> What other schools are you looking at?
All in MN, but the U of MN dinged me (though I am employed there now).

> Have you visited any of these schools?
Took the LSAT at Mitchell, have seen them all. I plan to attend a St. Thomas "admitted students" day on March 2nd. I think it's a good school, whether or not one is Catholic - a bit equivocal about religion, but who better to equivocate than lawyers? Not dogmatic, more into social justice. Eager to be inclusive. The parent institution is massive and growing, with a new business school next to the law school. I like that the law school is a fifteen minute skyway walk from Minneapolis courts and most Minnesota law firms. My concern is that St. Thomas is over ten miles from my St. Paul home, whereas Hamline is half the distance and Mitchell a quarter the distance.

Rush hour traffic between Minneapolis and St. Paul gets bad, and downtown parking near St. Thomas, even when subsidized, is expensive, whereas Hamline and Mitchell are in/near residential areas where street parking is free. The Hamline neighborhood is kind of mixed - not deadly, but a bit risky a night. Mitchell's neighborhood is tony Summit Avenue, near restaurants and century-old mansions, brownstones, victorians, many churches. I like the idea of studying in a coffeehouse above Garrison Keilor's bookshop or having a beer at W.A. Frost, etc. Those are a bit north of Mitchell on Selby, a bit west of the Cathedral. I love Saint Paul.

Ambience aside, time is the concern. I must cross the Mississippi (twice from Minneapolis) to get home for dinner with my wife and preschooler, then hit the books again when he's down around 8 pm. From what I hear, most of you youngsters will be in the library (or bar) while I'm playing hide and seek or teaching my son to swim.

> What are your career goals?

That's the tricky part. I will stay in MN. I'd like to be a prosecutor, or something public, but the pay isn't so great and it's looking like I'll have to borrow $100k+. I may litigate or whatever to get established. IP looks interesting, and I know that Mitchell has a few respected profs in that, but Criminal and IP are very different tracks. I guess that is not something I must decide until mid-2008. I imagine that many folks in Criminal started in the trenches handling DWI and traffic ticket or juvenile cases. Nobody hands a baby lawyer a major felony.

As to scholarships, none yet, but I have not yet heard from Hamline. If they offer me a nice one, that could be enough to swing me over from St. Thomas and Mitchell.

I know this is sort of a pre-law question (except for transfers), but readers of the pre-law board would not necessarily know any more than I do. You would know, so... which Minnesota school would you pick and why? I have been dinged from U of MN so it's down to those three.

Didn't realize that cross-posting would be seen as obnoxious (or even noticed). Learning. Dupes deleted.

As to your remark about STUDENTS, I am one, now that I have been offered admission and plan to accept it, and my questions pertain to success during law school, not before. Everything I have heard suggests that it's best to hit the ground running. You may know how. Posting to a board of fellow newbies would strike me as a waste of time.

Thanks for the substantive responses. Always good to learn from one's elders.

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