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Messages - Duncanjp

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41
General Board / Re: Is Law School a jungle?
« on: June 30, 2012, 03:40:58 PM »
second one more like julie's favorite show, raising leafy ferns.

LOL

42
General Board / Re: 2011 Employment Prospects worst in 18 Years
« on: June 17, 2012, 01:37:40 AM »
Just speculating here, but the unrealistic expectations of some (perhaps many) who enroll in law school doubtless stem from inexperience with the world outside their college dorms. The money fallacy is one aspect. But I'd really like to know how many young grads are attracted to law school every year after watching TV dramas and movies that glamorize the practice of law by featuring supermodel attorneys who snap a constant barrage of witty moral barbs at slimy male associates and hero lawyers who zealously rescue the innocent accused from the reckless grip of injustice. It's entertainment, I guess, if you like that sort of thing. My wife loves those shows. (Committed law student here and I usually can't stand shows about lawyers unless Marisa Tomei is involved.) But the reality is that practicing law can be a lonely occupation, with heavy pressure, long hours, and unfortunate consequences for snapping too many witty moral barbs at people. Smart attorneys keep their mouths shut most of the time. The attorneys I work with and the professors at my school are all very bright people, but God, they're also terribly ordinary for the most part. There is very little sparkle and glam. In fact, several attorneys of my acquaintance, excellent lawyers who have toiled in law for many years, have assumed the rather sad demeanor of old soldiers who have simply seen too many people die.

But nobody in her right mind wants to sit and watch that.

43
General board for soon-to-be 1Ls / Re: Baby Bar
« on: June 14, 2012, 10:49:08 PM »
I also am new to posting here, but have been quite disappointed with the negativity on these boards. 

Welcome to the reality of law school forums, Glen. Negativity I can handle. But I really struggle with the lack of civility and petulant disposition of so many of those who post on law school forums, whether this one or others. Law school forums are unequivocally the rudest topical forums I have ever experienced on the internet. I might post more often if I thought I could get a polite, vigorous discussion about issues and points of view, which can be thoroughly enjoyable. I like banter and I respect alternate points of view. But the second you express an opinion of any kind on a law school forum, those who disagree frequently seize the chance to launch reprehensible personal attacks. And they don't really warrant a response because replying just gives them fuel to keep showing how juvenile they are and how incapable they are of serious discourse. I would have expected more from law students. A lot more.

That said, Falconjimmy, Fortook, Cerealkiller, Roald, and a couple of others on this forum are very capable of holding intelligent conversations about issues without telling you to stfu just because they disagree.

44
They also fail to understand that law is a results driven industry, and that if you don't produce results nobody gives a s*&$ where you went to law school. You can only rest on those laurels for so long.

Yes, results are the true goal. But I must add that the attorneys who run my company's legal department(s) are all ABA grads. There are plenty of CBE-educated attorneys in the company, and some of them have risen fairly high up the corporate ladder. But to rise to the absolute top of the legal department of a national insurance company, results + pedigree is critical. For me, just becoming an attorney at all is the goal, even if it's the blue collar, unspectacular sort. Getting a J.D. and passing the bar will vault me far above my current colleagues and open many doors, but I have no delusions of grandeur: my bosses will always be ABA grads. And that's fine by me. They're my heroes anyway.

45
For what it's worth, the DA of Sacramento is another who went to a CBE school, and she's been the DA for a fairly long time now. Approaching 20 years, perhaps.

About once or twice a year, usually on a long weekend between semesters, I get a buzz out of writing about attending law school. It can be fun to argue the benefits of attending a CBE school because the difficulty of making the case presents an entertaining challenge. But the rest of the time, I'm too busy with my career and my studies to waste a lot of time posting on law threads. Besides, law forums, especially that other one, are absolutely riddled with posters of invincible rudeness. I don't have the patience for it.

But once in awhile somebody like Roald comes along, a person of class and respectful disposition, who writes intelligent, thought-provoking posts, and does so eloquently and with perfect English.

Nice chatting with you, Roald.

46
I would agree with you that a high attrition rate is not a feather in any school's cap, Fortook. But there are some differences in the circumstances between students who attend ABA schools versus those who attend CBE schools, such that it may not be completely fair to view a 40 percent attrition rate from a CBE school the same way one would (or should) view the same attrition rate from an ABA school. For one thing, poor grades are likely to account for a smaller percentage of those who fail to advance at a CBE school than with an ABA school (although I have no doubt that it's a leading cause in each). I don't know the true statistics, but I recall that a substantial number of people just couldn't handle the grind of working all day, five days a week, and spending three of those nights in class, then spending all of the rest of their time studying. It's a serious dose of bottle shock when you first enroll, and nobody really knows whether he or she can handle it until he tries. Maybe I'm wrong, but I tend to think that coping with the grind of attending a full-time ABA law school is not as significant a contributing factor to ABA attrition rates as it is to CBE schools.

At an evening CBE school, the grind may be the reason why a third or more of the 30-40 percent who leave do so during or after the first year. Maybe it's as many as half. (I honestly don't know. I'm speculating, based on anecdotal knowledge.) But it's a rigorous and unrelenting lifestyle. As an example, three nights a week, M, T, Th, I leave my house for work at 7 a.m., and I don't get home after class until 10 p.m. I'm on the go the entire day. Usually I have to eat my lunch at my desk while working to keep my bases covered because I can't stay more than an hour late at the most without being late for class. When I'm not at work or in class, I'm studying. I've had to sacrifice most of my social life to keep from falling behind. For many, including myself, this is doable. But a good number of people find that they can't take it and end up dropping after the first month or two before their tuition becomes non-refundable. Their numbers inflate the attrition rate of CBE schools beyond what I would expect from an ABA school.

On the subject of grades, CBE schools don't pull any punches when it comes to grading exams. At the beginning of the the first year, or 1E, a percentage of the people admitted had received relatively low scores on the LSAT: not because they're stupid, but because their brains just aren't wired to think logically and analytically. Maybe they don't possess the critical reasoning skills to IRAC a problem from both sides at the level that it takes to succeed. It would be easy to say that they should not be allowed to enroll at all, and thus save themselves time and money. But the fact is that the LSAT is not conclusive evidence of how a person will perform, even if it can be an indicator. I think it's good that there is an accredited option out there for unspectacular students to take a stab at becoming an attorney, if that's their dream. Some of them are going to be weeded out, maybe a lot of them, but at least they had a chance to try. Meanwhile, the A/B students frequently go on to successful careers. The people I would be most concerned for at a CBE school are the C students. My crim law professor told us during the first week or two of school that students at state-accredited schools who pass with only marginal grades statistically have a very difficult time passing the California bar. So help me, I will not allow myself to fall into that category.

47
I've met plenty of CBE grads, and found them to be smart and competent. (Incidentally, I've met a few top T1 grads who complete assclowns.) 
I have noticed, however, that the cost of the CBE schools has increased quite a bit. The average total cost now seems to be about 50-60k. Although that's half the price of an ABA school, a student with s decent LSAT score could probably obtain enough in scholarships to a T4 ABA school to make the cost competitive.

You hit the nail on the head about career services, Roald. I don't know about other CBE schools, but mine in Sacramento offers very little other than the occasional email announcing an opening. Not that I need it. But if I ever find myself looking for work, I'll be mostly on my own. The more important thing for me is knowing that they're providing me with a solid legal education. You're right that the options for electives are limited. You take what they offer, when they offer them. Regarding tuition, mine's gone up slightly, like everything, but it's still less than $40k over four years. When you factor in the cost of casebooks, transportation, and the litany of ways that a legal education nickels and dimes you to death, it's probably over the $40k mark, but not by much. The last I heard, the most expensive CBE school in the state was down in SoCal, and it was somewhere in the $50-$55k range. I don't recall the name offhand.

The nut that state schools will never be able to crack, and why a CBE degree will always be less prestigious than an ABA degree, is that the academic credentials of the average student who enrolls in a CBE school is lower than the average T2-T3 student. I'm not convinced this necessarily holds true for all T4 schools, especially after the first-year CBE students have been separated into pass-fail categories. But CBE schools admit certain students who would never be accepted at even the lowest of ABA schools, if only to say, "Here's your chance: sink or swim." The people who do well in a CBE school would do fine at an ABA school (the course material isn't any different). But a substantial percentage of people who enroll in CBE schools either drop out or flunk out after the first year. Fortuitously, this elevates the average caliber of the student body that advances and increases the level of competition.

While CBE schools may offer otherwise unremarkable students a chance to see whether they have what it takes to become an attorney, they don't fiddle around with people whose first-year grades don't meet the minimum requirements. I was astonished last year by how mercilessly my school weeded people out. We lost about 35-40 percent of our 1E class entering the second year. But I get it: their accreditation is on the line. I'm told that the number of students who drop out after passing the first year drops precipitously over the second to fourth years, but the fact remains, a large number who were admitted should not have been there in the first place. They often left me scratching my head. Their English communication skills left too much to be desired. (At the same time, many of the writers who frequent TLS and LSD write with an unimpressive grasp of basic grammar and punctuation themselves, but that's another matter.)

In the end, you get what you pay for. I have a question: how many 1Ls at ABA schools do not make it to 2L - for whatever reason? I suspect the percentage would be much lower than at a CBE school, and that the higher the school is ranked, but lower the number would be. But just curious to hear about it.

48
I'd say the way to go is to go to law school if you must.  Do your best.  Then vote Democrat until the day you die because Republicans are the a-holes who made student loan debt non-dischargable in bankruptcy.

Yeah, those a-holes. The very idea of thinking that the government shouldn't let intelligent adults blithely off the hook after they have signed contracts to pay a price they agreed to pay in exchange for something they wanted. Fuckers.

If you disagree with the concept of bankruptcy, so be it.  Suffice to say that it has been a part of American life for quite some time now.  Perhaps living in Victorian-era England would be more your style.  After all, debtors prison seems like a wonderful idea.  Why in the world would you ever allow people to have a fresh start, especially after Republican policies got the economy to this point?

You're assuming that the quantum of forces that push and pull on the nation's economy distill down to the influence of a single political party. This militates against everything I've learned in law school. I would maintain that both of the two major parties share equal credit for the status quo of the economy. At the same time, a substantial amount of the pressure on the economy lies well outside the power of either party, or both parties together, to withstand. It's a global economy. But ultimately, I don't want to see either party cut loose to work its terror on the country unchecked by the other.

49
There is not one single affordable law school left in the entire state of California. Apart from Stanford, not one of them is worth 40k per year. (And Stanford is only worth it if you want to go into biglaw).

Your advice in that post was pretty sound (I'm not quoting all of it here). But a little clarification is in order as to your first point. It's true that there is not a single affordable ABA law school in California. You're SOL if you want an affordable ABA education in this state. However, it's not true that there are no affordable law schools in the state. What ABA students with $100,000 - $200,000 of debt after law school do not want to hear is that a large number of law students are attending state-accredited schools in the evening and are getting their law degrees, passing the bar, and becoming gainfully-employed attorneys in California for a fraction of the cost of an ABA degree. I say this conceding immediately and without equivocation all of the disadvantages of getting a J.D. from a state school versus any ABA school. The prestige and superiority of an ABA degree cannot be denied. But the fact is, when you survey the room in a state school, most of the students are slightly older, extremely driven, and they're often well-entrenched already in career positions, either in the legal field or a closely-related one. Getting the license is their only objective, not biglaw. If I were 25 with no meaningful experience in the real world to place on my resume, then I would not settle for anything less than the best ABA school that would accept me. But if a person has established credentials and contacts by working in a given field for a respectable amount of time, I honestly do not see the point of spending the kind of money that the ABA requires for a law degree unless your only goal is to leave your current field to obtain biglaw employment. A lot of my classmates are getting great experience working full-time in law firms and business while paying their way through law school at night. Most of my classmates and I will graduate with little or no student debt and will probably continue working happily in small to medium law firms or in government or finance after passing the bar. Having an ABA degree may not matter that much one way or the other once we've gotten the license. That said, the principal disadvantage to getting a J.D. from a state school is that the holder has a greater burden of showing credentials beyond the mere prestige of the law school he attended when competing against ABA grads. And of course, biglaw is out of the question. But from what I hear, biglaw often chews young people up and spits them out like peanut shells. No, thanks. I have no problem working late and on weekends when duty calls, but I'm not going to squander my life ignoring my wife and family. I need balance.

It boils down to this: California-accredited schools are an affordable option to ABA schools. For the right people, they're an excellent option. Regardless of where you attend law school, you must make of it whatever you can after graduating. You can bet big: big risk, big reward. Or you can bet small: less risk, smaller reward. State schools have plenty of success stories: judges, district attorneys, partners, and so forth. And there are miserable failures as well the 2.0 students who can't pass the bar. Juxtaposed against the biglaw success stories of ABA grads and their unemployed classmates burdened with crippling debt, opting for an affordable and accredited, but non-ABA legal education can be a reasonable choice. It just depends upon the person and his or her goals.

50
I'd say the way to go is to go to law school if you must.  Do your best.  Then vote Democrat until the day you die because Republicans are the a-holes who made student loan debt non-dischargable in bankruptcy.

Yeah, those a-holes. The very idea of thinking that the government shouldn't let intelligent adults blithely off the hook after they have signed contracts to pay a price they agreed to pay in exchange for something they wanted. Fuckers.

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