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Messages - kenpostudent

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I think some state schools do. I know Texas law requires something like 75% of their medical school students to be in-state. I think UNLV has a policy (I don't think there is a statute) to admit 70% in-state students at their law school. It just depends on the state and the school. The UC system has no in-state preference. Call the admissions office. I would think that you could find that information on a school's website, though.

282
Choosing the Right Law School / Re: Columbia vs. NYU
« on: June 30, 2008, 06:12:38 PM »
I don't doubt that you are right. Unfortunately, I have no choice in paying taxes (if I wish to stay out of prison). I can choose not to attend CLS.

283
Choosing the Right Law School / Re: Cooley has a JINGLE
« on: June 30, 2008, 05:56:38 PM »
I actually base that assertion on posts that I have read on various forums and conversations that I have had with law school students and graduates. I don't know what percentage of top school applicants go to big firms and what percentage go to government, clerkships, ect. However, I have spoken a many 3ls that tell me that there are many grads that do not get biglaw jobs. Some who do want the positions don't get hired. They may be the lower third of the class, I don't know.

You have not addressed my question, though, besides prospects for your first job, how is someone worse off for going to a lower rated schools?  In fact, I will make this assertion: a graduate that works for a prosecutor's office for three years upon graduation will more than likely be a far better courtroom litigator than his peers at big law after three years. Since this is true, will the prosecutor who makes the lateral move to big law then move up the ranks faster than the associates who are nothing more than glorified clerks? I wonder.
I really don't know the answer to that question, but I suspect that the lower tier graduate who has spent time litigating will have a leg up on the top five grad who had done document review and research. Any thoughts?

I would bet my bottom dollar that the prosecutor will certainly mop the floor with the biglaw associate if they happened to meet in court (though that would never happen because only very experienced attorneys at biglaw go to court). So, back to my point, once both the top law grad and the T3/T4 grad get experience, how are they materially different?

I will concede that there are areas of law that do not involve litigation. I mention that only because that is what I want to do. I've done my time on mergers, acquisitions, and IPOs (as an accountant). If that is what you want to do, you probably will never see the inside of a courtroom either and may enjoy your job. I confess, this type of law requires a different skill set. From experience working with corporate, securities, and tax attorneys, they are a cut above the rest and mostly come from good schools (I have run across a few from lower tier schools, though). You have to be bright to do this work. Excluding this type of law, how is a top law graduate different from a lower tier graduate?

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That may be a prevailing perception. I'm not arguing that point. I'm simply saying that there is life outside of big law firms and that plenty of jobs are available to those who are willing to look for them. I guess we would also have to define affluence. If by that you mean upper middle class lifestyle, then this is true. You can make a decent living as a lawyer regardless of what school you attend. If you define affluence as $500k per year plus, then no. Very few in ANY profession make that. According to IRS records, less than 2% of taxpayers have an AGI above $120k. Those are the facts. So, anyone who argues that law school is a ticket to that lifestyle is probably mistaken. It takes hard work and a little luck in any profession to break the $100k barrier (usually).

I believe it's possible to make an upper middle class living, though, in the practice of law regardless of the school you attend. That is my point. If you want to make big bucks, start a company and issue yourself stock options in a bull market. Sell out just after the 144 restrictions run out and just before the market takes a dive. That's how you get rich.

285
Choosing the Right Law School / Re: Columbia vs. NYU
« on: June 30, 2008, 05:06:08 PM »
He is more than a detractor. If he were simply that, then I would personally invite him to speak at any law school. However, he is much more. He is actively funding the militias that are fighting our troops. That makes him an enemy.

If someone speaks ill of my family, I don't care so much. We can chat over coffee. When someone dispatches hitmen to kill my family, well, we can have coffee only if I'm pouring boiling hot coffee over their genitals. That's the difference.

Now had CLS invited the jack-ass to speak only to have snipers waiting for him, then I would give the dean a medal.

286
Choosing the Right Law School / Re: Columbia vs. NYU
« on: June 30, 2008, 03:56:05 PM »
I wouldn't attend CLS if they gave me a full-ride and paid me a stipend. That is just me, though. I wouldn't quite fit in. I don't fault anyone who chooses to attend, though. I mean, patriotism isn't for everybody  ;).

Seriously, though, I wouldn't go to any NYC school. I'm from CA and can't stand the cold. Both are fine schools, though. It's like trying to distinguish between USC and UCLA (even though everyone knows USC is superior); they are ranked so close that there is virtually no difference... and they are about 20 minutes away from each other. Pick the one you like the best. Since you have to donate a kidney to afford the tuition at either, you might as well just roll the dice.

287
I would agree with you if you qualify your analysis to reference the first job out of law school. After two or three years of experience, where you went to school won't matter, except to maybe get an occasional interview. You rise and fall on your experiences after your first job. It's true in ANY profession. Clients and employers seldom care where you went to law school after your first job.

After my first accounting job, no one has ever asked me where I went to school. No one really cares. The trick is getting the experience fresh out of the gate. That can be tough. It's hard to find decent jobs outside the geographic area of your law school unless you happened to attend a national school. Sometimes you have to sacrifice for what you want. You may have to take a lower paying job out of the gate to get experience and move up. No one wants to start at the bottom anymore.

Most graduates can find a job that pays between $45k to $55k. It's not alot, but it is enough to live if you budget well, even with high debt. In a few years, you can up that salary to $80k to $100k if you network well and get some litigation experience. Hell, government jobs pay damn near $80k - $100k for experience attorneys. If you have say three or four years of litigation experience, you can start your own firm with a few peers. My mentor did that and made a ton of money doing family law. The divorce rate is at 50%. That should tell you what the income potential for family law is. Given that even an uncontested divorce runs at least $1,500 (done by an attorney and not a paralegal), there is plenty of money to be made.

There are attorneys in Las Vegas who make good money doing nothing but DUI defense and traffic tickets. It's not my cup of tea, but it's a living. There are jobs if you don't mind relocating and doing a thorough job search. I think the debate centers around what lifestyle you want. If your goal is to make big bucks, you almost have to go to biglaw. The only other way to make the big bucks is to become Johnnie Cochran, i.e. build a big name by winning important cases. If you practice law for the love of the profession, the money will follow as you get good at what you do. Granted, it takes hard work and patience. Moreover, you may never make $500k plus a year either; but, job satisfaction is a commodity that is hard to value in dollars.

288
Well, another dimension to the debate is practice areas. Securities law is a growing practice area. So is tax law. Every securities lawyer I work with is booked solid and can take no more clients. Tax law is very similar in the ratio of practitioners to clients. If you practice vanilla corporate law or litigation, you need experience to set yourself apart. Criminal law is a decent field, but cash flow becomes a problem for firms. You really have to get paid up front because incarcerated clients don't pay. It just depends on the practice area. There is only a glut of general practitioners. In specialized areas, there are plenty of opportunities.

IP and patent law both have many opportunities, as well. Jobs in the legal profession are only scarce for those who want to find big corporate law jobs at the biggest firms in the most saturated markets. Those huge firms serve the interests of big transnational corporations and the truly wealthy. If you numbered those people, they could fit in a few football stadiums. The entire rest of the world is underrepresented. Therefore, there is plenty of work available for people who love the job. You may not command a huge salary or impress alot of people, but there are plenty of noble legal jobs that pay middle and upper middle class salaries.

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You make a good point. Demand for a legal education does fuel the supply. However, there must also be demand for jobs, as well. If not, law schools would get fewer applications over time. If no one (or a very low percentage) of grads from T3/T4 schools could get jobs after graduation, those institutions would earn a reputation for such and would lose business. This could take time, but it would happen.

I encourage you to research firms in smaller markets. Most of their attorneys went to small local schools. If you research attorney profiles at big firms, you will find that most of their associates attended the presigious schools. Look in the Las Vegas, Phoenix, Salt Lake City, or similar markets. You will find that most of the attorneys at small to mid-size firms are not T14 grads. Yet, they still found jobs. Imagine that. The idea that only T14 grads get good jobs is a myth. I have friends from UNLV who got jobs at the SEC fresh out law school. The fact that UNLV is ranked at the bottom of T2 didn't even come up. I also have many friends at the IRS (since I'm an accountant and deal with them on a regular basis). The same is true. Most of them went to either UNLV or Utah. Some went to T3/T4 schools in CA. They had no trouble getting hired fresh out of law school. Most were not the top of their class or even in the top 30%. Yet all of them had some sort of real world experience before law school (mostly in accounting).

The jobs are out there for those who are willing to look for them and are willing to accept entry level positions that don't pay biglaw salaries. A friend of mine at the SEC will certainly be in line for a big law job after four or five years in SEC enforcement. He would never have gotten such a job fresh out of law school, though.

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Common sense seems to dictate such.

I would be wary of making assumptions based on what common sense would seem to dictate.  Common sense is often wrong.

Ok, let's view it from economic reasoning. If T3/T4 schools did not provide a valuable service to someone, they would eventually go out of business. Since most are not government supported, they must be providing a benefit to someone to remain in business. If they served no purpose or were completely ripping students off, they would get a reputation for such and eventually be driven out of business. The fact that they remain in existence shows that they are serving a purpose. In fact, if you research attorney profiles at small firms outside of big markets, I believe that you will find that most of their new associates are graduates of T3/T4 law schools. So, how can the job prospects be so bad for such graduates?
The just don't get the biglaw jobs (in general). So? Biglaw is only one facet of legal work. Many attorneys would find that life repugnant. Others thrive on it.

I think the qualifier that should be added to the assertion that job prospects are bad for non t14 graduates is that this is only true for saturated markets like NYC, DC, SF, LA, ect. Take NYC for example. There are 4 top 30 law schools in NYC. Add to this fact that practically everyone one on earth is competing for jobs at big NYC firms, it's simply no surprise that job prospects in this market are stilted towards the graduates of top firms. Move to Las Vegas or Phoenix and the big law graduates have little or no advantage. In fact, Phoenix and Las Vegas firms prefer to hire locals because of the climate extremes. Alot of new hires can't take the heat in the summer, so they move after a few years. It's all about markets, not so much the prestige of a school. In national markets, national schools fair better. In local markets, local schools compete well.

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