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Messages - kenpostudent

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Choosing the Right Law School / Re: Columbia vs. NYU
« on: July 01, 2008, 10:39:42 AM »
But seriously, employment oppurtunities are very similar, so unfortuantely there is no easy answer. It will probably be your feel of the school that will make one stand out. Although, depending on what you specifically want to do or what your interests are, there are differences in course, journal, and clinical offerings that may sway you. If you obsessively reseach the schools, like I did for hours upon hours, you'll find the minute distinctions that will help you differentiate the two and make a decision. But no point in stressing too much yet.

How do you distinguish between two schools so close to each other geographically and hierarchically? I honestly can't see how one is really better than the other. Visit both. Maybe you can visit with the faculty of both schools and pick the one whose faculty you can develop the greatest rapport with. I don't think there are major differences in any meaningful category between the two schools. It will probably come down to soft factors like the neighborhood of the campus, the general feel you get from the univeristy, the vibe you get from the faculty, ect. You can always enter them both in Cooley's ranking system and see which one they say is better...jk.

Choosing the Right Law School / Re: Cooley has a JINGLE
« on: July 01, 2008, 09:35:43 AM »
I also want to add that many big firms practice various specialities that don't require the same kind of litigation experience that hardcore product liability or class action tort cases require. For instance, bankruptcy, tax, and securities proceedings are often held in administrative courts that don't conduct jury trials. Jury trials are a completely different animal than bench trials (hence, why most corporations are registered in Delaware, which hold bench trials in corporate cases). Juries are unpredictable and don't always follow the letter of the law. Judges, on the other hand, were all skilled attorneys once upon a time and are usually experts in the respective statutes that govern their practice areas. Therefore, arguing in a jury trial requires a different skill set than arguing in a bench trial. A bench trial is similar to an appellate court where you must make the fact pattern agree to the statute or the various precedents in similar cases. This may or may not be a winning strategy in a jury trial. Very technical cases tend to bore or confuse juries (look the the Richard Skrushy trial, or the first OJ Simpson trial).

Many of the big firm associates that I know practice in areas governed by administrative courts that have their own specific rules and procedures, as well. So courtroom experience is important, but in very specific types of proceedings. Hence, big firms that practice securities law tend to hire former SEC employees. Tax divisions tend to hire former IRS counsels. Those are the point associates to go to court. The new associates do their research and document review. I'm not knocking the system, but I am saying that I would rather be the guy who goes to court rather than the research biyatch. It is very difficult to break that barrier in a big firm, especially within your first three years. In contrast, a government attorney or prosecutor is lead counsel on many cases within their first six months.

Now, I don't know that lower tier students can get government jobs or prosecutor jobs when big firms are competing with them for the same positions. However, I do know that in Las Vegas, the DA's office is full of UNLV grads and almost no top law grads. The Salt Lake DAs office has a similar distribution of attorneys from BYU and U of Utah.

Choosing the Right Law School / Re: Cooley has a JINGLE
« on: July 01, 2008, 07:35:11 AM »
Skilled litigators don't necessarily become partners at such firms because, in most cases, neither side wants their case litigated.

If I were a client and I didn't want to go to court, I'd hire the best courtroom attorney I could find so that the other side would be under more pressure to settle.  So why exactly would skilled litigators be less in demand at firms with clients that didn't want to go to court?

Every firm needs a group of experienced attorneys. Most big firm attorneys are not experienced in the courtroom, say to the degree of a seasoned prosecutor or civil litigator. The hierarchy of a big firm allows for large groups of attorneys to work on one case. Only a few at the top of a case need to be skilled courtroom attorneys. The rest do research and clerk type work. There are varying degrees of responsibility for sure. I can't speak from experience since I only have second hand info. So, if anyone feels I am wrong, feel free to correct me. I'm only speaking in a very broad and general sense.

I think it's analogous to the military, in that, only the officers at the top need to understand the overall strategy. The NCOs and junior officers are only given small tasks in the overall accomplishment of the big mission (guard the flank, take an enemy supply depot, although neither objective win the campaign by itself). In the same way, in a big law suit, a senior partner may task a seasoned associate with handling a case (he/she may be a junior partner). That individual will develop the strategy and depose witnesses and so forth. Most of the trial work will be handle by the this experienced attorney or group of attorneys. The rest of the staff on the case research relevant legal issues to the case, review documents, draft motions, ect. Yet, someone far above them in the chain tells them what to research what motions to right. Much of this is hypothetical arguments because the cases usually settle. Hence, the firm either keeps the litigation from ever going to court, or puts enough pressure on the other side to settle. Either way, the firm bills a ton of hours and makes money.

Choosing the Right Law School / Re: Columbia vs. NYU
« on: June 30, 2008, 11:46:25 PM »


One could argue that American soldiers had no business in their land.  Others could counter-argue that they deposed a brutal dictator who deserved hot coffee poured over his genitals.  Others could counter-argue, yet again, that there are other brutal dictators in this world who should have their genitals fed to wild hyenas. 


Well, there was no one clamoring to invite Fidel Castro or Nikita Kruschev to an American university in the 1960s (or at least no one with the power to accomplish the task). I think the whole thing was a spectacle. Where was Leonidas to throw him in the pit of death? Seriously, do you think the Spartans would have invited Darius to speak at the the Acropolis?

The man is clearly our enemy. It makes no difference to me why he is our enemy. Maybe the Shiite militias have a valid cause to expel American troops from Iraq in their own minds. Even if we are there unjustly (which I don't believe, but I'll concede that point for argument's sake), why should we invite a man to speak who is building a nuclear program that will likely be deployed against us or our allies someday?

I did love the entertainment value of his remark on gays. He claims there are no gays in Iran... maybe that is why he spends much of his time abroad. No, on second thought, if he were gay , he would dress way better.

If you really find yourself shut out of the "prestige" circle but you really want to be IN it, there's always an LLM from one of the T14s in a few years' time. Build your academic and publications resume, get up-to-snuff on certain connections and expectations, save up. Five years after the JD?

You bring up a great point. There are many paths to the top. They don't all run through top law schools at the JD level. Personally, that life is not for me. I know too many top law associates (nearly every one of my clients use a big city 100+ attorney firm). In my interactions with those associates, they are all miserable. I could be wrong, though. It's just my perception. I work 50-60 hours on average, and they make me look like I'm a banker. When I've visited their offices, though, I've been blown away. Maybe they don't mind working 80 hours a week in such a nice setting. I would rather have the time to spend my salary and do something substantive with my life. I've written my fair share of 10-Ks and 10-Qs... I have no idea who even reads them. I can say the same, even more so, for all the damn memos and motions those associates have to churn out. It all seems somewhat pointless to me. I suppose it's important to someone, though.

I agree with that.

Choosing the Right Law School / Re: Cooley has a JINGLE
« on: June 30, 2008, 08:40:06 PM »
Yeah but your insults get rewritten by the dirty-word filter. :P

No, seriously ... I think the point, that much promotion in a firm is about bringing in business, is an important point. "Mopping the floor" with a win in court might, actually, cause lowered income for the firm in certain circumstances. There's really a lot of intangibles that go into it, as I understand, and my interest in this thread is less along the lines of arguing for or against T14, for instance, as it is in learning about those intangibles, about adequate career planning, and the like. I don't think prestige alone does it; but I do think you can make some mistakes, to the point that your access to some small degree of prestige gets wasted. And I also think a MUCH larger percentage of Cooley grads than of Harvard grads are inept, or at least only marginally adept, at both (A.) making "good money" for their firm or as private practicioners and (B.) being "good lawyers."

I won't argue with anything you just said. Let me hightlight a point that you made: biglaw is a different animal than many other types of firms. Biglaw is all about billable hours and attracting and retaining paying clients. As such, alot of soft factors like personality and demeanor play heavily into success at such firms. Skilled litigators don't necessarily become partners at such firms because, in most cases, neither side wants their case litigated. There is simply too much as stake. Hence, why big law is really not for me. I don't have the personality for it. Many (maybe most) cases at big firms settle.

There are certainly many intangibles that go into success at such firms. If you want to be a partner, you have to have the personality to relate to high-profile CEOs and CFOs. I have dealt with some of those in accounting firms. They can be very tough to deal with. You have to be thick-skinned and be able to respond to almost anything with a smile and a positive attitude.

I've met good criminal attorneys who make a good living, as well.

Look, there is no doubt that a degree from a top school can pay dividends for life. However, I don't think it is a determinant or dispositive factor after your first job. I could be wrong in some specific cases. In most cases, I think I'm right. This is really a question that cannot be answered in this forum because it's simply too hypothetical. However, my main assertion is that tops school degrees are not the only road to success. I never said that they are not the BEST road. I would love to have a degree from a top school...just not the debt that comes with it.

I have never said that top schools don't give you better chances, just that there is life (good life) outside of that circle of top grads.

Choosing the Right Law School / Re: Cooley has a JINGLE
« on: June 30, 2008, 08:14:42 PM »
Would you care to elaborate or just level insults? Why is my reasoning flawed? I invite you to tell me all about why I am wrong. If you can only level insults, then shut your female dog ass up. See, I can level insults, too

Incoming 1Ls / Re: Criminal Law - Stable Career?
« on: June 30, 2008, 08:01:12 PM »
My girlfriend works for a criminal defense firm. Her bosses make $80-$100k apiece. They typically work 40-50 hours per week. Sometimes more. I think it would be a good living. The problem with any firm, big or small, but especially small firms, is cash flow. You have to get money up front.

DUI cases are good money. Domestic violence are also money makers. Here in Las Vegas, the firm where my girlfriend works gets alot of solicitation cases. The working girls always have plenty of money to pay. Criminal defense can be a good living.

Securities defense is the best, but you really need to have experience with SEC trials to be effective. Most SEC enforcement actions are brought in a court before administrative judges. You really need to know the procedural ins and outs of that kind of trial to effective. Also, if you have ever seen an SEC reg book, it looks like a law school casebook... maybe bigger. The pages are razor thin (like a bible), and it's full of some of the most labrynthine regulations you have ever seen. It's a tough field to break into.

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