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Messages - jonlevy

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521
Seeing as how this is a distance learning forum, one thing for sure, if you have a DL JD, you will never work for a big law firm.

Secondly, Orly is a fellow Taft graduate and my former client so I know something about it. Since her practice of law is on a single issue, one cannot draw any conclusions from it that would apply to anyone else. I might add her "success" is in generating interest in a topic (I won't digress here) that has attracted attention from a variety of public figures like Donald Trump. Success does not always mean winning a case, the lawyers that began the tobacco litigation never saw a penny for their efforts and lost repeatedly yet they laid the groundwork for one of the biggest cases ever. Were they unsuccessful, not from a public policy standpoint. Law firms are about profits by their very nature, the practice of law however has other measures than money, LSAT scores, and grades.

I would think anyone who goes down the DL road, is not in it primarily for the money because they will be  disappointed.

522

So by your definition, all those attorneys, who graduted near the top of their class, in the top 14 law schools in the country, working in biglaw, representing large clients, aren't good attorneys?  You do know that most large firms have pro-bono requirements too, so do they become "good" attorneys only while doing pro bono work?  Hate to break it to you, a large poriton of those "Good attorneys [who] work for people" are pretty average at what they do, if not much worse.  Biglaw has a way of weeding out the deadbeats.  While there are many attorneys doing what they feel is for the betterment of society than just looking for a big paycheck, there are many more who just can't cut it at a big firm, and are taking whatever they can get.

There is no apriori proof big law firms do anything better than any other forms of practice other than charging  big fees. In fact, some of the most spectacular fails have come out of big firms becuase of their size and ability to create big rather than small mischief. They are just big and politically powerful and rarely get sanctioned and disciplined for that reason. As for not "cutting it" at a big firm, anyone with any common sense would flee any job that requires one to work more hours than they humanly want to and induces highter than average rates of sleep deprivation, stress, and substance and alcohol abuse. Having said that, they do practice law well or they go out of business just like anyone else.

Reading for the bar is what online and correspondence law school is all about just without the sponsoring attorney and with a shorter time period involved. The statistical rates I think though are meaninless because the sample would be so small and self selecting. Anyone who opts for distance learning law in the US better be hard core and a gambler as the odds are at least 10-1 against in California. In fact I suspect many wash out even before they hit the FYLE. As I said before, the only reason for opting for distance learning would be geographic as the time involved to be successful will be the more not less than traditional school. The only exception I contend is that someone with excellent mnemonic skills can pass the California bar by simply memorizing all the outlines, Blacks law dictionary, nutshells, past bar questions and Flemings or something similar. Of course once they get their law license, they will need to learn how to practice law by hanging out with attorneys and attending court everyday for a few months.

523
A few points FJ:

1. Remember with contingent fees, attorneys do not win every case, it is real gamble and service to the public who would not otherwise be able to afford an attorney.

2. SSI, Workers Comp. SSD, Veterans Claims, etc are all on contingency, the client not the government pays and without attorneys a goodly number of these claims would fall by the wayside.

3. Loan repayment for legal public service is a great idea, I have suggested it to President Obama who has not yet gotten back to me.

4.  Harvard law graduates will always be in demand regardless.

5. English solicitors are not only transactional lawyers but they also litigate and file lawsuits, the barrister is retained directly by the solicitor if there is a trial however solicitors may now obtain rights of audience and essentially proceed without a barrister if they choose to.

524
Distance Education Law Schools / Re: Best Online Paralegal Degree
« on: December 21, 2011, 09:18:59 AM »
Kaplan University MS in Legal Studies has a high degree of interactivity in its online program including weekly live audio seminars where faculty provide  presentations. There are of course many others but make sure any program is regionally accredited or your degree will not be worth as much.

525

Which means that you will only create cheap attorneys by creating bad attorneys.

Unless you define "good" as equalling how much an attorney earns, hourly fees have absolutely nothing to with how good an attorney is for a client. Some of the best attorneys work for free or on a contingent fee basis, the hourly guys who work for big firms, are usually good at one thing - billing their clients for every nanosecond spent on a case. Good attorneys work for people and causes not corporations and insurance companies. Or to put it another way, an attorney who represents SSI claimants does a Hell of a lot more good than one who helps corporations squeeze more money out of consumers and employees.  My unsolicited advice, go read one of Gerry Spence's books.

Therefore, I disagree, we need far fewer indebted attorneys who paid big law school tuition and are more concerned with paying off their loans than helping clients. If someone has a bachelors degree and training and can pass the bar, why shouldn't they be an attorney? In England, an undergrad degree, a one year conversion course, and two year training contract at a law firm are all that is required with no bar exam at all to become a solicitor (which is a lawyer).

526
They're just greedy SOBs that don't want the ABA cutting into their bottom line with silly "standards" like requiring the library have books, when that money could be paying for something far better like the dean's salary.

I'm not arguing that law school adminstrators and faculty (who after all usually only possess a JD themselves are overpaid) but why would anyone actually need a paper lawbook these days? They are super expensive, cumbersome, and have regular Hellishly expensive updates. And they come in electronic versions anyway. Any attorney who is doing more than 5% of their research from paper books is way behind the technology curve. Let's face it, law books which can't be searched for terms or immediately cross referenced are a waste of time. Law schools who rely on paper are setting students up with outmoded skill sets. The ABA is so far behind the times that it is hugely irrelevant to most lawyers except where it maintains its death grip on law schools. The ABA can't even begin to resolve the morass of multijurisdictional practice and the Internet - they s_ck. But the law book publishers love them.

527
I would check the bar pass rate for American Heritage very carefully. I turned down a faculty position there a few years ago when they were just getting started. While things may have changed since then, I was not impressed with the program.

528
I don't think Taft traditionally gives A's. Looking back on my transcript, I graduated with a 2.79 GPA and never made a 3.0 average any year, in fact the worst year was my 4th, got a 2.44 GPA.

But the grades were largely irrelevant since I passed the FYLE and Cal Bar on my first tries. Those are the only tests that really count with a distance learning law degree.

The Taft degree is not really an academic degree (it was in essence a reading list) though when I had it evaluated recently for admission to an LLD program, I was given credit for having completed a Bachelors in Law.

529
L.L.M. Board / Re: Is an LLM worth it?
« on: December 12, 2011, 08:37:12 PM »
I was wrong, figure one year for a LLM in Tax from what I can see. Best deal would be a joint JD/LLM program like Loyola LA offers.


530
L.L.M. Board / Re: Is an LLM worth it?
« on: December 11, 2011, 11:22:38 AM »
I can't see how a LLM IN Tax is going to make anyone much more employable unless they have some work experience as an attorney first. It might make you marginally more employable but you would have to give up two years of potential earnings  and I am not sure the math would make sense since Tax law does not come to mind as paying more than say litigation. In fact, LLMs have to compete somewhat with CPAs, CPA-Attorneys and Enrolled Agents.

And yes, $16-$18 an hour is what Intuit is offering licensed attorneys with tax experience I know because I spoke with them last week. I had to hold back the laughter but they would not have offered that rate unless there were takers.

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