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Messages - Hamilton

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Law School Admissions / Re: General discharge from Army (misconduct)
« on: September 14, 2010, 07:30:16 AM »
Your stats should get you in a decent school.

Before you leave the country, I think it would be worth (1) talking to the state bar about it, (2) talking to the law school about it, and (3) MAYBE some lawyers you know.  This should only be an issue getting into LS and passing the bar.  I dont know how deep an employer will probe into the particulars of your discharge, so perhaps an opinion or 2 there would be useful.  They may say that they do not even look at that or might say that unless the reason was fraud or criminal activity, they do not care about some rule infraction that was not criminal... I do not know.  Also, 3 years of law school, exemplary performance, and perhaps some community service would go a long way toward erasing the stain and showing growth beyond the incident along the lines of your explanation of the incident.

Current Law Students / Re: Law and life advice
« on: September 14, 2010, 07:04:03 AM »
One more thought - and this is not a criticism - but you say you got no callbacks, maybe it is your appearance or demeanor.  Perhaps you need to evaluate your style and demeanor while working and interviewing.  Not being critical, but maybe there is something that you are not aware of setting folks off (e.g. sloppy, poor communication, no eye contact, mumbling, nervousness, appearing disinterested, etc.).  Perhaps an honest and critical evaluation with friends, family, or career services is in order.

Current Law Students / Re: Law and life advice
« on: September 14, 2010, 06:55:21 AM »
Some tough decisions to make, but I think most people go through this when faced with sudden uncertainty.  Life is too short to not do what you love - when you are in your 40s, you do not want to look back and say 'I should have pursued my passion, instead I am stuck here.'  You are in a T10, so that bodes very well for you in a good law career - if that is what you want.  All you need to do is pursue it.  OTOH, if you now know that you do not want to be a lawyer, then sinking yourself in debt for the JD is not the answer.  Hard to believe that you have no interests or desires - perhaps this is a short-term crisis of vision where your eye has been on the law ball and you have not really thought about anything else or let that interest develop - you may need to give yourself that time.  Perhaps the first decision is (1) do I want to be a lawyer?  If the answer is a definite "no," then you know what you need to do and let the chips fall.  If the answer is something other than "no," it may be best to finish your 2L and see where you are mentally at the end of the year.

This can all just be the normal wear-and-tear of LS stress excacerbated by the disapointment of no call backs.  Man plans and God laughs.  You will always have curve balls thrown at you and few things go as planned.  When that happens, you adapt and overcome.

While outside counsel from an outside perspective can be helpful, ultimately the decision on what you want and where you need to be is yours.  You got into a T10, so you are obviously very intelligent.  You will figure it out, just dont get beat down, tired, and quit on yourself.

Law School Admissions / Re: Best Law school or best school for you
« on: September 14, 2010, 06:31:31 AM »
As i have said before, school ranking matters when it comes to landing interviews and getting a job - and that is not just for biglaw, it is for anylaw.  If you must go to law school, go to the higher tier and work your tail off.  Personally, I think the top 30-40% at any T3/4 would do just fine at a T1.  The real distinction for the T1s are that they do not admit the lower percentiles that the T3/4s do.  GENERALLY speaking.

I've read where folks recommend omitting the JD from resume - I do not buy that.  One should never apologize for getting a better educations.  If the concern is coming across as overqualified, that can be addressed in cover letter/interview - there are a lot of positive things learned in LS, highlight those and how they make you a better (not overqualified) candidate.  If I am an employer in a non-legal field, I am worried that this is a temporary gig and you will be out looking for a lawyer job while working for me - be prepared to address that honestly.  The best answer would be along the lines of found practicing law not what want to be doing, want to be doing what I am interviewing for, here is why my JD makes me an even better candidate.

Choosing the Right Law School / Re: Deciding which route to take
« on: September 13, 2010, 11:27:56 AM »
I am not (here or any other thread) talking biglaw... I am talking ANYlaw.  Financially set or not - who has $100K+ to p*$$ away on a degree that may be useless, or at least a very bad investment?  I am just saying that there are 2 sides to the equation.  I went into law school financially set and with a good career - I got lucky b/c I had the scholarships and have kept my well-paying job.  It's a different world for "seasoned" non-traditional students to crack into the law.  When you are working you can't do the summer associateships or internships - and thats who most folks hire.  Speaking from experience (personal and observed), I think there is an inverse relationship between your age when you pass the bar and the liklihood of landing a job.  The reality of the world is that the law firm culture is not all that interested in us older "non-traditionals."

My advice to anyone with an established background in a field is to build on that background.  I think it is generally an unwise choice to switch trains and pursue law.

Choosing the Right Law School / Re: Deciding which route to take
« on: September 13, 2010, 07:43:16 AM »
Think long and hard about it and do your own research on the REALISTIC job prospects out there - research the reasons why not to go as well as how/why to go and reach your own conclusion.  The market is saturated with lawyers and it is just going to get worse despite what the rainbow and unicorn crowd try to peddle.  You could be hurting yourself financially by spending upwards of $100K for a degree with very little opportunity for a job.  Age discrimination is illegal, but think about it, if a place is looking at hiring a young energetic 20-something from a T1 who they know will take the crap they shovel at the versus an older experienced person from a T3 who is (l) less likely to put up with BS, and (2) not quite so motivated to put in 80 hours a week, who do you think will get the nod? 

Any advice?  Suggestions, etc?

Law School Admissions / Re: Should I apply for Law schools with 155 on LSAT?
« on: September 13, 2010, 06:17:56 AM »
At my T4, only Federal Income Tax, Sales, and Secured Transactions were open book.


The trend at the top schools is for open-book throughout.  All my 1L exams were open book (as far as I can remember).  Keep in mind, however, that due to the time crunch, you rarely look at your materials during the exam.  They're mostly there as a crutch to avoid panic.

Unfortunately this is an increasing trend.  There is a body out there that will simply dismiss this as him making the wrong choices, not working hard enough to find a job, being too selective, etc., etc., but the sad reality is that there simply are more lawyers than jobs - folks do not want to hear that.  Agree with previous poster, try to find a job based on his undergrad degree or which is enhanced by JD, but where JD not necessary.

I will give you my take as it sounds similar to yours (working, non-trad, family, part-time school, UGPA).  I did well on LSAT and got great scholarship from a T4 based on the LSAT only.  Graduated in top 20% of class and passed bar first time.  I do not speak from a disgruntled perspective - I have a great job and great family, and paid very little for my JD - I just look back on it as a waste all things considered.  You can read my other posts on this subject.

My schpeel on law school - ask yourself 'why?'  Do you have a burning lifelong desire to be a lawyer or does this seem like the thing to do lacking any other ideas?  Unless you get a great scholarship and can go to school without wracking up unsustainable debt I advise against going - unless it is your dream to be a lawyer and you get into a T1 school.  The job market for lawyers is brutal, especially for non T1 grads (yes Bigs, its tough on everyone and no job is ever guaranteed, hard work, luck, all of that stuff...).  Do your homework and truly know what you are getting into if you pursue this - there is a growing community of anti-law school blogs (linking main-stream media articles) that give a lot of reasons to consider.

Law school is a brutal time drain - plan on substantially missing 3+ years of your kids lives while you go to school.  That time away takes a huge toll on the kids, jacks the household stress level up 10-fold, and places a huge burden on your spouse to raise the kids.  You are either gone at school, need to sudy, there for a limited amount of time b/c you have to study or go to class, or you are there but not THERE.  Think about it and ask whether it is worth it.

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