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Messages - Morten Lund

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Job Search / Re: Military after Law School
« on: March 31, 2011, 01:03:05 PM »
It is "Corps" and not "Core."


Unless you talking about the USMC, of course, in which case "Marine Core Soldier" is the correct appellation.

Law School Admissions / Re: hi everyone! :) request your advice!
« on: March 31, 2011, 10:59:03 AM »
I would keep all of these projects if you want to be T5.  The ability to juggle a lot of significant extra's, while maintaining the credentials you need for T5, are what makes you stand out. 

I also think your passion for drug policy will make you an attractive candidate at top law schools. I don't think it will hurt.  Law schools look for students that they think will add meaningful perspectives to class discussions--whether the school agrees with the opinions or not.  Your interest screams of this quality. 

Good luck, and let us know what happens.

This is spot-on. 

To throw in an anecdote...  While in law school (at one of those ivies), I took a class on drug policy.  It was intended to be a hard-hitting discussion class on the merits of current drug policy.  First class:  professor asks who is in favor of general legalization.  All hands go up.  Prof then asks who is in support of current policies, more or less.  *crickets*  Result:  Most boring discussion class ever.  Except that it was taught by a hysterical professor, whom we all believed to be a complete pothead.  And, of course, this was long ago - back in the day when "legalization" was a radical position.

I wouldn't worry about law schools frowning on your herb support.

And, as Mike hints at - these are the type of things you not only want, but NEED on your resume to boost your t5 chances.  Those schools get loads of applications from valedictorians with 170+ LSATs and Guatamalan Peace Corps experience.  To set yourself apart you need to show something different, and preferably something that shows initiative and leadership.  You know, like the efforts you listed in your post.

Now, one the grumpy side of things, I suggest you take a look at the resumes of ACLU lawyers.  You will find that they not only have excellent academic credentials, but they mostly spent time with BigLaw firms as well.  ACLU and pals generally don't hire out of law school.  To get the job of your dreams, you will likely have to first  put in some time working for The Man.

I'm with Louis and Bigs on this.  Rankings are given far too much weight in general, and this is increasingly true further down the ranking lists.  Does it make sense to choose Michigan law school over San Diego law school?  Sure.  But as between #35 and #45, or #50 and #75# - not that much of a difference, frankly.  Employers just won't care.  Factors other than ranking should drive the decision at that point.

So adding more ranked schools strikes me as a waste of time for everyone, except for the folks who are in the business of selling school ranking lists.

(Big giant caveat:  I have said before, and will say again, that if you get a chance to go to a really, really top school - YHS, basically - you should absolutely do so, at almost any cost.  But this is because of the tremendous value of those schools, not because of their ranking.  The value of a YHS diploma exists independently of their ranking.)

Incoming 1Ls / Re: General Question...Personality for Law School
« on: March 31, 2011, 09:11:24 AM »
I know this is not what you are looking for, but the legal world is so screwy that there is no way to properly make the decision without taking the LSAT.

If you have a high GPA and LSAT and you can get into the top 14, then your freedom to pursue the career you want (and still eat) will be much greater.  It sounds like you might be the right fit for a law professor, so that might be a possibility if you are a genius.

It doesn't sound like you are cut out for law if you are limited by going to a low-ranked law school.

I agree with this (as well as earlier posters.  As noted above, the question isn't whether you have the personality for law school, but whether you have the personality for what comes after law school.

Based on your initial post, it sounds like you would make an awful lawyer but a good (if somewhat aggravating) law professor.  :)

Law prof jobs, however, require top-notch academic credentials.  So take a crack at the LSAT and see how that goes.


The point I want to make is that yes, a JD can open doors, but there may be other far less costly ways to pry these same doors open.

... and a big "ditto" to that one as well.

I think everyone agrees going to law school because you are having a hard time finding a job with a Bachelor's degree is not a good idea.



 If you can get into Harvard, Yale, Stanford or law schools of that caliber then you can probably do something unrelated to law. The name in itself is impressive, but having a J.D. from Hamline, GGU, Santa Clara, Southwestern, etc is not going to impress anyone. I think the opportunities at Yale, Harvard, etc are amazing, while people from lower ranked schools have difficulty getting started as lawyers. They do of course, but it is difficult and  rare for a mid level J.D. graduate to be hired for a prestigious non-law related job. At least in my limited knowledge.

This is true, but my point was a little different - with just a few exceptions, the non-law law students I know/knew were in law school on purpose.  One guy, for instance, was a reporter, and we wanted to pursue legal beat.  His paper had assured him that he didn't actually have to practice law to be the legal reporter (kind of scary), he just needed the paper credentials.  Others went into banking, which was their plan  all along.  Or politics/government service.  Or whatever.

The point being that they had a plan for life after law school, and they believed that law school would help.  They didn't just go to law school first and then start thinking about what they wanted to do when they grew up.  I know plenty of those folks too, but they are not an example to follow.

I think this applies regardless of which law school you attend.  The range of opportunities may vary, but the fundamental idea that you should go in with a plan - a realistic plan - is pretty universal, IMO.

The big question is 'where do you want to be?'  If the answer is NOT "practicing lawyer." then one needs to very seriously evaluate whether law school is the best path to that goal.  IMO, it almost never is.

This. There is exactly one reason to go to law school, and that is to be a lawyer.

Here I have to disagree a little.  There are plenty of other reasons to go to law school.  Whether they are legitimate reasons or not will depend on you, but I know of plenty of folks who went in to law school never intending to practice.

The central point stands, though - know what you want.  Don't go to law school just cuz.  Go because it will help you achieve your goals.

Minority and Non-Traditional Law Students / Re: CPA and Law school
« on: March 28, 2011, 11:12:33 AM »
I think MikePing's last post highlights the issue that needs to be addressed before you can determine whether law school is for you.

As pointed out, there are no jobs that pay 80k out of law school.  Fresh lawyer jobs either pay <75k or >150k, with not much in between, and they are very different kinds of jobs.

If you get (and keep) a BigLaw job then you will make more than you would as an accountant, AND your CPA experience will be valued.  A good understanding of tax and accounting is essential to any big firm corporate/finance/securities practice, and having that experience will make you attractive to those firms, and will also contribute to your success on the job.

BUT - as other posters pointed out, BigLaw jobs are hard to come by, and you should be realistic about your chances.  If your grades and test scores make you think that you could get into a T14 school, then it might be worth a shot.  Otherwise, frankly, it will be tough going.  It isn't that these jobs aren't there - BigLaw still hires thousands of fresh JDs every year - but the academic criteria are pretty strict, so be honest with yourself.

Non-BigLaw jobs basically put you in that second financal category.  These are still fine jobs and careers, but qualitatively different from BigLaw.

Law school can be the start to an excellent career, or an expensive waste of time, so make sure to educate yourself well ahead of time.

My immediate thought is that you are too worried about school and not worried enough about your career.  PhDs and JDs lead in completely different directions - the schooling itself is the least of it.  What kind of PhD are we talking about here?  What do you want to do after finishing school, whether grad school or law school?

If that deliberation leads you towards law school, I offer this insight as well:  getting in to law school is not your problem as an international student - getting a job after graduation, that is your problem as an international student.  Ignoring for the moment the current market conditions for lawyers in general, many of the attractive legal employers are not familiar with immigration practicalities, and will give you a puzzled look when you ask them to sponsor you for an H-1B.  And green card?  Triple ugh.

It varies significantly by field, of course, but I suspect that most employers in the market for PhDs will be far more friendly to immigrants than legal employers.  That is assuming that you plan on staying here after graduation, of course - if that is not the case, then the decision is easy as law school would simply be foolish.

Transitioning from school to workforce is very difficult for international students in the US under any circumstance (unless you were to, say, fall and love and get married to an American citizen, of course...), but it may be more difficult for lawyers than for most.

As always, however, my main advice is to make your decisions based not on "now" but on "later."  Determine your goals, and then make decisions that point you in the right direction.

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