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Current Law Students / Re: 3rd year of LS = unnecessary?
« on: July 28, 2009, 11:43:31 AM »
Research, write briefs and memos, spot issues etc., etc.

Current Law Students / 3rd year of LS = unnecessary?
« on: July 28, 2009, 09:33:34 AM »
I know this is an old debate, but it's rather pertinent to us rising 3Ls. 

Why do American lawyers need a doctoral level degree?  Wouldn't a 2 year Master's be enough?  I have a summer clerkship, and I have found I can already do anything the lawyers do. The only difference is that they have more practical experience. Is the 50-60 thousand dollar cost + another year without income really necessary?  The 3rd year of law school seems to be a waste.

Job Search / I abhor cover letters
« on: July 28, 2009, 08:24:53 AM »
I am going to vent.

I absolutely hate writing cover letters.  We must apply for so many jobs, and every time we are expected to write an individualized letter explaining just how much we love the position.  The thing is, I really don't care.  I just need a job.  Okay?  I just need 1/500 to hit.  Does anyone have time to research each firm?  Not really.  We just bull and they know it.  Oh sometimes we really want a job.  But you can't just apply for those jobs or you could end up living with your parents.  I'd just like to write:

To Whom It May Concern,

I'm applying because you posted a law job. I will need one of those after graduation.  I haven't had time to thoroughly review the job posting, but I promise to read it if you give me an interview. At this point, I'm willing to entertain whatever sort of legal work. I'm sure I'd be great. Yes, of course, I have excellent grades and a pretty resume.  It's all attached.


Rising 3L     

I know that if I were making hiring decisions, I'd probably hire the kid from the higher-ranked school even over someone I know well.

In the immortal words of TLC: "free your mind, don't be so shallow!" You'd hire someone essentially on the basis of one test he took before ever going to law school. No doubt, many graduates of top schools are quite smart.  But so is most everyone else.  Are you more stupid than most T14 students because you're a mere T25 kid?  The system is what it is.  And I understand that you need to play by its rules.  But here you're saying that you would perpetuate prestige whoring propagated by some third tier magazine. 

Let me tell you how I will make hiring decisions.  I will invite applicants over for interviews on the basis of class rank, publications, experience etc.  That's normal so far.  Then I'll give them an assignment that a partner at the firm has already just completed.  I will give the applicants 24 hours to finish the memo.  Then compare results to the model answer provided by the partner, and make cuts.  Then I'll have the survivors come in again, and I'll tell them they have to do some group project.  I won't assign groups.  I'll let them work it out.  Then I grade the group work.

Cut 1 = normal GPA etc
Cut 2 = individual legal skill
Cut 3 = interpersonal and teamwork skills

My way is better than your way.  If Harvard is really better, the Harvard kids get hired.  If not, whatever.

A parade of horribles!  But anecdotal evidence only proves that those individuals had bad experiences.  It cannot be extrapolated.

My guess would be that lower ranked schools in the top 100 might do better than you think.  Those schools are regional and have strong alumni networks in their regions. I would suppose that a hiring partner at a small/medium size firm in a secondary market is not going to favor "prestige schools" over his Alma Mater and similar schools. Ditto for DA's offices.  In some sense, this economic downturn could hurt the bottom half at "prestige schools" much more than the top students at regional schools. The big markets have suffered the most in this downturn, and that's where top schools have their strongest alumni network. As the annoying 0L's at TLS might say: "T14 doesn't have a deep alumni network in "crap law!" The culture of prestige whoring is probably more established at Cravath than at the friendly neighborhood Public Defender's office. :P

PS: I realize that will not help the OP very much, as his school is in the most crowded primary market!

I just can't imagine dropping out unless it were absolutely necessary.  And I can't believe it is absolutely necessary. Maybe we disagree.  But there is no way to intelligently debate this. We all know it's bad, but how bad?  Firms have cut hiring.  There are layoffs. New associates have been deferred for a year.  No one really knows how this will all sort out in a year or two. It's reasonable to conclude things will be much harder. But it is not possible to reasonably conclude that things will be so horrible that median tier 1 graduates will be unable to find jobs at all. That is apparently your opinion. I submit that it tells us more about your emotional reaction to these admittedly awful facts than it does about the OP's prospects in a year or two. Likewise, for me and my opinion (which follows).

There will always be a need for laywers.  People hurt each other, break laws and contracts, and get divorced. Maybe median tier 2 grads should be concerned and maybe the OP won't work in the city.  But is there really any basis for concluding that he won't be able to work at all (as a lawyer)?  And are you serious that your T14 classmates are afraid?  Do you really think even this weak-ass market can't find some modest use for ten thousand geniuses?  I doubt it.  But we'll see.  I think we both hope you're wrong.  And the OP should be absolutely certain before he dumps a year's investment on account of fear and rumors.  You know, "fear is the mind killer."

This thread is over the top. The sky isn't falling. It isn't 1929.  You are around the median at a low Tier 1.  Okay, so you probably won't get Biglaw.  I'm sure you can find some fufilling job elsewhere (maye in a boutique, federal/state/local government, or some sort of public interest group). Seriously, there are tens of thousands of law students who go to lower ranked schools and have lower class ranks. Just work hard, get involved with meaningful activites/internships/publications, and network.

Note: I might have very different advice if you were at a Tier 3/4.

Current Law Students / Re: Do these things happen in law school?
« on: June 29, 2009, 02:35:01 PM »
Yes to 1 & 5. The others occur, but not so much as in undergrad. College was definitely more fun.

I don't think you need to worry about ND thinking you're too good for them.  :P  RE: transfering: you can't rely on it, but maybe.  I hope you sent out many transfer applications to maximize your chance of moving on up.  Good luck, and relax: you'll know one way or another soon enough.  :)

Current Law Students / dumped b/c of law school?
« on: June 28, 2009, 02:07:54 PM »
So, I was dumped expressly because I'm in LS (thus busy and w/o present income).  Apparently, I'm in a relationship with LS and should have dropped out if . . .. Meh.  This must be fairly common -- maybe even a right of passage for law students. It stings though. Have any of you ever been similarly dis'd on account of LS? Commiseration would be welcomed.

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