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Messages - john4040

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Incoming 1Ls / Re: Is it worth it to go to Whittier?
« on: May 21, 2010, 12:20:24 PM »
Do you work in a circuit court room? Public Defenders aren't paid as well as private institutional lawyers. Mostly state public defenders are the lack-luster types and I have yet to see a good federal PD.

I work at a District Court. 

Attorneys working at the DOJ aren't paid as well as private attorneys, yet the DOJ still gets the cream of the crop of law students through its honors program.  This should give you an indication that sometimes students value experience and high-profile cases over the instant gratification that may come from a Biglaw salary.  You can bet your ass that, for every student that chooses to go to the DOJ, there was/is a Biglaw firm willing to hire them.

Incoming 1Ls / Re: Is it worth it to go to Whittier?
« on: May 21, 2010, 11:50:29 AM »
I've seen plenty of PD's in my life time to know they are just bottom-feeders of Law. The one PD you see does not constitute the majority of PD's.

I'm a federal judicial law clerk, I see public defenders every day.  Although not all of them are as talented as THE Federal Public Defender of my district, they all have impressive resumes.  The attorneys that they draw from (in my district) include an Ex-US Attorney, several Ex-Assistant US Attorneys, and many prominent partners of white collar crime firms.

As for a state public defender, I cannot comment, as I have limited knowledge on that particular area.  However, I can say with confidence that federal public defenders are not "bottom of the barrel" by any stretch of the imagination.

Incoming 1Ls / Re: Is it worth it to go to Whittier?
« on: May 21, 2010, 11:05:22 AM »
Secondly, becoming a PD is not an honorable profession, but rather a profession that says, "he obviously didn't cut it." Why do you think when people hear public defender, they roll their eyes? Public defenders are just the bottom of the barrel. If people could afford a lawyer, they would not opt for some public defender. It is rather dishonorable. People who believe it is honorable see themselves as public defenders, or are already public defenders. Public defenders are the welfare checks of law.

ROFLMAO, you couldn't be more wrong.  I can guarantee you that the Federal Public Defender at my Court can open up a serious can of litigation whoop-ass on just about all of the Biglaw attorneys I have seen practice here.  These public defenders are often Ex-US Assistant Attorneys who litigate cases DAILY.  They do it because they love the work and appreciate the challenge.

Your quote reminds me of a layperson's (ignorant) perception of a Federal Judicial Law Clerk or an attorney for the Federal Government:

"Lawclerk... isn't that some kind of person that files documents for the court?"

"Attorney for the US... why would anyone want a government job?  Those guys don't even work and they get the 'bottom of the barrel' over there."

Job Search / Re: T4 with intern
« on: May 21, 2010, 10:34:32 AM »
According to the posts on this board I must be an exception to the norm.  I do go to a T4 school.  I found an intern at an Estate Planning firm.  I have turned down one job offer and will have to turn down one more since I will take the Estate Planning job.  However, my networking skills are very mature.  Unfortunately, not many in the top 10 at my school have this ability.  Could this be the reason they are unemployeed at the moment??

Your lack of reading comprehension skills is not particularly shocking.  Therefore, I lay it out as simply as I can:


That is all.  Thanks for your time.

Incoming 1Ls / Re: Is it worth it to go to Whittier?
« on: April 29, 2010, 07:21:14 AM »
Many people say that it is not worth it to attend a 4th tier school period.  I have been accepted to Whittier with a nice little scholarship.  I have not been able to find a job since I graduated from college and I am flat broke.  My feeling is that things cannot possibly get worse for me.  I have heard a lot of complaining from people that they are forced to take low paying jobs after law school.  I would rather work like a dog for peanuts then continue being unemployed and facing homelessness.  Should I go to law school?  What possible consequences could I face from attending a 4th tier school?

When you consider Bigs' advice, please keep in mind that he is talking about T4s getting summer jobs (not full-time attorney positions).  Finding a full-time position in the legal field from a tier 4 is extremely difficult.  Also, Bigs' quote that "very few schools have people waiting with contracts in hand at graduation" should be revised to state: "very few T2, T3, and T4 schools have people waiting with contracts in hand at graduation."

With that said, your quote: "My feeling is that things cannot possibly get worse for me" is ABSOLUTELY WRONG!  You will accumulate more debt during law school than you would have otherwise had if you had not attended.  Also, it is possible that you will earn the same amount as you would have earned had you not gone to law school.  It is also likely that you may be unemployed at the end of law school. I hope you have a good scholarship, because you'll need it.  Tier 4s are notorious for placing rigorous stipulations on their scholarships.  You might want to check into this as well before committing to law school.

Current Law Students / Re: Does class ranking include the flunkees?
« on: April 15, 2010, 09:33:43 AM »
If by "flunkies" you mean people who drop out, then they aren't included in your class rank.
For example, if ten people go join the circus, your ranking will be 75/180 instead of 75/190. (At my school, at least)

Seconded, as this was the case at my school as well.  Those who flunked out or left were taken out of the total class size.  

Although taking transfers out of the equation did help some in the sense that transfers were generally at the top of the class, it did more harm than good when the flunkees were taken out.  There were generally more students that flunked rather than transferred.

bigs5068:  I see that you are about to finish your 1L year and have a 1L summer gig lined up.  Although you may be correct that GGU students are able to find legal positions after graduation, please refrain from speculating on the hiring of first year associates from third and fourth tier schools when you clearly have no experience in that area.

The fact that you were able to land a 1L summer gig from GGU has little to no bearing upon the issue of whether you will actually be hired as a first year associate at a law firm.  Just ask all of those students who summered with a firm only to be deferred and then no-offered or simply no-offered from the get go. I believe the most recent NALP data on non-V50 firms speaks for itself in those regards.

Moreover, your anecdote concerning the Harvard grad vs. Cooley grad is extremely telling as to your knowledge of the actual practice of law:  

(1) Cases are rarely, if ever, decided by a single misstep which may cause a client to win or lose.  Instead, cases are typically drawn out and the real battles are fought in the trenches via discovery and motions.  Therefore, your hypothetical attorney would have to seriously botch things in order to lose (assuming that he had the facts necessary to win in the first place).

(2) How would the client know which attorney could get them a better result?  Clients pay for the "safe bet" (e.g., consistency and decent results).  The "safe bet" in your scenario is undoubtedly the Harvard grad.

(3) Assuming that your scenario deals with a seasoned attorney (as no junior associate is staffed on a million dollar breach of contract claim by himself), it is more likely than not that (a) the Harvard grad has a support group of like-minded peers that he can bounce ideas off of in order to successfully litigate the case, and (b) the Harvard grad has had the benefit of more rigorous/complex legal training.

Choosing the Right Law School / Re: T1 non T20 Law Schools - Worth it?
« on: February 05, 2010, 06:46:10 AM »
Well, hopefully the the class of '13 will have easier time getting a good job...

Don't count on it.  

BIGLAW firms are moving away from lockstep compensation and towards merit-based compensation.  Their hiring has slowed to an absolute crawl in the hopes that they can keep their PPP up.  Many firms are still extremely overstaffed and continue to defer first years and fire associates and partners.  There is a backlog of supply to the market as well - many attorneys who would have otherwise landed BIGLAW have taken Midlaw or Sh1tlaw positions.  My guess is that, when times get better, because these attorneys have both great credentials and experience under their belt (and are willing to be paid the same as a 1st year associate), BIGLAW will start hiring many more laterals and severely cut down on the number of first year associates (such that the firm is only doing a summer program in order to keep their relations with top schools/recruits).

Current Law Students / Re: How do you think like a lawyer?
« on: February 04, 2010, 11:12:49 AM »
I'm not sure whether this will help but I'll give it a shot...

Is reading case after case going to help me think in such way?  It will help some, but it probably isn't the most efficient way to learn.  Judicial opinions don't always point out and argue for or against every single argument that the parties have made.  Usually courts will restrain themselves from solving issues that are not determinative of the case or claims (judicial restraint).  In order to get a good idea what "thinking like a lawyer" involves, I suggest you read trial court briefs produced by top attorneys.  What I think you will find is that these attorneys lay out the facts, the law, and the issues and then b1tch about EVERY SINGLE MINUSCULE ISSUE that, when considering the facts of their case, might plausibly lead a court to rule in their favor.  Attorneys lay out many arguments in hopes that a court will hook into a single argument and use it in their favor.

So, what I propose you do for an exam is b1tch about every single issue (obviously minding your time).  Unlike an attorney, however, your teacher expects you to argue for BOTH SIDES during an exam. As you focus on more and more issues, this will gain you points above and beyond your classmates.  After you point out the issues, make sure that you completely flesh out the arguments that both sides could make (even if they are stupid arguments) and, if the call of the questions asks for it, make a judgment call and give your reasons why a particular argument was better.  Being able to do what I just mentioned is how professors separate the bad from the great.

IRAC essentially teaches you organizational skills - it is the logical progression of an argument.  Once you've read enough cases, seen enough briefs, and written enough practice exams, IRAC will become second nature.

how is it hard to understand? 1) If they authenticly make "bad" lawyers then by comparison you'd look good

2) He's better off making money as a lawyer then not

1.  This is exactly what is wrong with the legal profession today.  There are way too many lawyers out there giving good, intelligent lawyers a bad name.  Like the medical profession, the legal profession should strive to provide a higher quality of legal services rather than a higher quantity.  Many variations of this same argument have been hashed out millions of times over - I'm not going to re-hash it here.

2.  "or for sure going into debt working in some broke factory"

How did this hypothetical factory worker get into debt in the first place?  Most factory workers do not have a college education and therefore have no debt when beginning their jobs.  If the factory worker has no debt, then at least he's only paying his rent + utilities.  On the other hand, consider an attorney who has significant debt from both college and law school.  The attorney is only making enough to pay off his rent, his utilities, and the interest on his loan.  At the end of the day, sure the attorney has made more money, but he still owes the principal on his loan and is no better off than the factory worker.

Sometimes you just have to think with your head.  I don't think you really comprehend what it's like to pay 8% interest on $120K student loans while working a $30-40K job, paying rent, taxes, and utils.

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