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Messages - Einstein

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1
Where should I go next fall? / Re: SMU Law 3L Taking Questions
« on: January 23, 2011, 10:17:41 PM »
How's the Texas legal market looking right now?  How well is SMU placing students in legal jobs?

The Texas legal market seems to be fairing better than other markets, but I personally have experienced issues.  Like I said earlier, I went to law school to do patent work.  I have had few interviews but have not gotten an internship.  I thought I was the ideal candidate for these jobs because in the job posting they say that top 30% and BS in electrical engineering is preferred.  I have not met one other electrical engineer in both of the law schools I have attended.  I am also in the top 15-20% so you would think that I would be the ideal candidate.  But the last interview I had was telling.  I straight up asked them, how many interns do you plan on hiring?  They candidly responded that they were still trying to decide if they were going to have an internship this year.  Which is consistent with my theory.  All law firms that usually do OCI dont want to tarnish their reputation by not participating in a sagging economy.  So they just interview students at OCI and make 0 offers or substantially less offers than usual.  So, the Dallas legal market is hurting a bit, but I think that the most hard hit are the larger firms that do corporate work.  "people law" is not hurting that much.  There will always be criminals, who have family that will sell their home to pay the lawyer, and there will always be injuries in accidents which the lawyers take on contingency.  Transactional work is the hardest hit in a down economy.  When commerce stagnates or declines, then there are less transactions.  But litigation seems to not hurt as much because people will sue on their patents or contract or anything else to get money where they wouldn't normally get money.  Its an avenue that people start to explore when normally they would not sue. 

So to sum up everything, yes the Dallas legal market has been hurting but most legal markets are as well.  Transactional work the worst, with litigation taking a hit as well but still going.  We shall see where the economy takes us.  One thing about Dallas though is we have a low cost of living.  So the money you make goes a little further than CA or NY.  Plus you get the benefit of the large population DFW = 5mill  Houston = 5mill. etc. 

As far as SMU's placement of students... I personally have not been placed in a job.  But I do get emails from Career Services every once in a while, and they do ask for you to tell them if you currently have a job or not etc.  But what they do with this information I have no idea.  Ever since I told them that I had a job, I have stopped receiving emails from them lol.  I used to get emails saying which jobs have been posted lately on symplicity.  When I told them I was looking for a job, nothing really changed.  If you want something out of career services you will have to seek them out and take advantage of what they have to offer like resume editing, and general recommendations etc.  In a perfect world the career services department would be like a head hunter calling around for you trying to place you somewhere.  But this is not the reality of most career services departments.  SMU is not harvard or yale.  The top schools career services probably would fair better with placing students.  SMU on the other hand will only be able to place easily in a job those students in the top of the class.  The others it would be really hard to do, and take a lot of work on the part of the career services employee.  So take it for what its worth and go out and do your own thing.  Take advantage of what they have to offer and dont just sit around hoping they find something for you.  Dont be a job snob and apply to places you feel are beneath you and you will be fine.  Sometimes these jobs end up being the job you always wanted anyway. 

2
Where should I go next fall? / Re: SMU Law 3L Taking Questions
« on: January 23, 2011, 09:48:40 PM »
Einstein,

Thank you for your post, being a potential non-traditional law student I found it quite interesting.

I have very long list of undergraduate schools (11 in total) that I attended in route to eventually earning my B.S.. My early years in undergraduate studies were unfocused and it showed in my GPA (roughly 2.7 for the first half of credits), but it was a upward trend as my last 13 courses (those at my 11th and final UG school) came in at 3.92. From start to finish this 4 year degree took me 16 years.

During these 16 years I worked full time almost the entire time. This includes a stretch in the USMC. When I became a civilian again I came into the IT field, starting with phone support, then system administration, and finally into Information Security.

I was pleased when I finally earned my B.S., but I felt disappointed that the unusual path I had taken to get there did not reflect the level or quality of work that I had performed along the way. I began looking for high quality grad school programs that were flexible enough to allow me to continue working on vary challenging projects. After reviewing several programs I ended up enrolling in a Information Technology program at    the Harvard University Extension School.

At the time I started my Masters, law school was not on my radar screen. Over the last few years I have moved into roles at work that include overseeing large InfoSec projects which has shed a light on the impact of contracts, regulations, and laws upon IT and InfoSec, this has been augmented by academic work focused on these maters. I have become convinced that there is a notable shortage of lawyers who understand key issues related to the IT/InfoSec. I have come to suspect earning a JD would put me into a position to provide guidance in an area that quality guidance is limited.

My thoughts are to look look into PT programs in the DC area, of which there are several. But before I get too far ahead of myself, I need to complete my Masters, and prepare for the LSAT (looking into a prep course, perhaps Griffon which seems to be receiving good reviews). Currently I am in data gathering mode, learning what I can about the schools I will likely be applying to, learning more about the LSAT, and the like.

Recently I was informed that 1Ls in the nearby George Mason University part-time program meet 5 nights a week. Which seems limit the amount of class prep time for those of us who would be working.

Thanks for sharing.  It sounds like we have a lot in common as far as the GPA in UG and the trend towards the end, and the idea that law + tech = good.  I remember back when I was looking at applying to law school I would spend hours a day posting on this forum and reading others posts, pretty much data gathering as well.  Law school for me was fun compared to engineering school.  Every case you read is like a mini story.  The criminal law and tort classes are the most interesting stories lol.. i.e. guy shoots at person A but misses and the bullet hits person B.  Or flower pots falling out of windows and hitting someone etc.   Much more exciting than x^2dx/dt + y^2dy/dt + z^2dz/dt... 

You being a non trad will most likely be able to foresee where you will be able to use your law degree more than the others.  Most of the non trads usually do really well in law school. 

3
Where should I go next fall? / Re: SMU Law 3L Taking Questions
« on: January 23, 2011, 02:16:44 AM »
My law school endeavor has been like this.  I chose to go to law school in a state in which I thought I would want to practice but quickly realized that I was better off in my home town.  I was one of the lucky ones to actually get to transfer to my home town law school.  Although I went to law school to do patent law, at this point, I probably wont be practicing in that area.  A combination of factors including poor economy, and personal interests have led me on a different course into litigation work.  I entered law school with hopes of being that top 10% and law review guy etc. For the first few years of law school I felt like a complete failure because I missed grading on to the journals by .05 GPA  and I missed the mark as far as writing on.  I am now in the top 15-20% but early on I was a little bit lower.  For a while it felt like I was failing at everything I tried to do including finding a good internship etc.  But I did a little soul searching after first year and decided that I only wanted the big firm job because of the guaranteed money it offered and the prestige factor.  I really never considered whether I would actually be happy in the job itself.  Now that I have heard stories of other students who have worked in biglaw and been a little closer to people that experienced the life, I now realize that I would not be happy in such an environment.  I got a job with a small firm and realized that you can still make good money in a small firm.  The lawyer I work for right now started his own firm a few months after he graduated.  Within 2-3 years he had his first $1,000,000 settlement check (he copied and framed it lol). Just last year, he settled a case and netted himself over $800,000 in fees.  These are just two cases, among many other cases.  After experiencing this, I now plan to one day open my own firm doing litigation. 

So knowing what I know now I would not have gone to engineering school and would have probably picked another UG major and applied to law school straight out of UG.  I would have started studying for the LSAT while I was in college for maybe the last two years.  Then I would take the high LSAT and get a scholarship to a good school. 

In my case, I really had not planned on going to law school until a year before I applied.  I spent that year working full time and studying for the LSAT.  I had already been working as an engineer for 1.5 years then decided to go to law school for patent.  Then a year later I applied.  So really the only thing I can think of that I am glad I did before law school was taking an LSAT prep course.  The prep course really helped me in guiding me on what to do for the test.  Other than that, there is really not much you can do to prepare for law school short of taking an UG major like philosophy that includes a lot of writing and debating etc. Coming from an engineering background, first year of law school I had no idea what an outline was and what you were suppose to put in them.  I had to get one from another student and see what they had done to see how to do one. 

I forget the name, but the law school admission counselor that wrote a book on how to get admitted to law school, was a good purchase that I think helped a ton in getting the acceptances I did.  Trying to study for classes before you get to law school is not going to help.  The book, getting to maybe, is a good read but I dont feel that it helped me any on my exams. 

You should really think about going to law school part time as well.  I went part time and was able to work for law firms the entire time.  I will graduate with 2.5 years of experience now.  Because I worked for smaller firms I was entrusted with doing actual legal work.  At this point I have drafted petitions, summary judgment motions, discovery, motions to appoint auditor, motion for entry upon land, motion to compel, motion for new trial, motion to substitute counsel, motion for sanctions, motion to remove lien, bill of exceptions, notice of appeals, two appellate briefs, TONS of legal research, witnessed multiple hearings and trials, talked with clients, drafted subpoenas, and the list goes on and on...  I am miles ahead of most law school graduates in terms of experience.  I feel like I am paying my dues right now while im in school instead of paying my dues after I graduate.  I can now graduate and hit the ground running.  I feel confident enough to open my own firm as soon as a graduate and will do so if I need to. 

I say all of this so others can start to think about this stuff before they go to law school.  That way they can mold their experience in law school to what will make them truly the happiest.  If you guys have any other questions then let me know i'm happy to help.  Wish I had been told all of this before I started myself.

4
Where should I go next fall? / Re: SMU Law 3L Taking Questions
« on: January 22, 2011, 04:01:20 AM »
Well, I guess no one has any questions. 

5
well, there are other considerations that you should have other than making it into big law.  At these schools you would have to be in the top 10% to make it into a biglaw position.  With that said I know a Washington and Lee graduate who was editor of a journal and top 10% without an offer from a big law firm.  So, I would suggest that you pick the school in the city in which you want to practice.  It will be really hard to graduate and then move back to the state you want to practice and then take their bar exam.  Also, 10% is not good odds.  Would you enter into a wager where you had a 10% chance of winning?  Chances are you will not be in the top 10%, trust me.  I am a 3L and it is really really hard to do.  Everyone else wants it and there are people that spend all day in the library AND are really smart.  I ended up going to a good school in the city where I grew up and got a job working for a small firm.  I actually think at this point that I would be unhappy working for a big firm.  Small firms can make a good amount of money.  For instance, the lawyer I work for settled a case last year for over $800K in fees.  This is on top of all of his other cases.  He started his own law firm right after he graduated and within 3 years he had a 1 million dollar settlement in a case.  So trust me, go to the school where you want to practice, which for most people is where they grew up.  Then try and decide if biglaw if for you.  In biglaw you will be pressured into working long hours doing memos on minor issues for a case.  You will be looking through documents etc. After about 5 years then you might be able to do a motion or take a little more responsibility for a case.  And these days making partner is less than guaranteed.  On the other hand, finding a good small firm, where the lawyer is willing to take you on as an apprentice while you are in school, then you will learn a TON about trying cases and law practice.  I understand why people want big law though.  Its guaranteed big money right out of the gate.  But that doesnt make happiness.  There are many people that go biglaw and end up leaving after a few years, and dont know how to try cases or practice law. 

Just a little about the schools
Pepperdine is in a community that is really expensive to live in and in a state that has a TON of law schools.  It is close to LA and LA has a TON of law schools.
Colorado is in a smaller town north of denver, you will have problems networking with lawyers for biglaw or any other law for that matter unless you are willing to make the drive to denver frequently.
Cincinnati and Ohio State, not real sure about these schools. 


6
Where should I go next fall? / SMU Law 3L Taking Questions
« on: January 19, 2011, 03:45:04 AM »
Hey law school applicants!  I was in your position a few years ago and I want to now give back to the community and answer some questions.  Shoot away!  A little about me.  I am a transfer student that transferred from a school in the 60s range to SMU which is in the 40s range.  I now have 1 year left, and I do have a job already.  Anyway, feel free to ask any questions you may have.

7
General Off-Topic Board / Re: laugh at tea parties!
« on: April 16, 2009, 05:54:26 AM »
And this is where I tell you guys that you have it all wrong.  The original tea party was conceived by Ron Paul supporters during the presidential run in 2008.  April 15th 2008 was the first tea party that was thrown by Ron Paul meetup groups in 2008.  The current tea party was planned by Ron Paul supporters but was over taken by conservative groups hoping to take some of their fire.  If you dont believe me then go here and poke around.  Almost every thread is about the tea parties.  And how they were hijacked from RP supporters.

Here is a specific thread confirming what I am saying
http://www.ronpaulforums.com/showthread.php?t=188646

These are links to the general forums where the general tea party threads are located.
http://www.ronpaulforums.com/forumdisplay.php?s=26e3d1e77c6e82df8f50fc54545bb5d5&f=2
and
http://www.ronpaulforums.com/forumdisplay.php?s=26e3d1e77c6e82df8f50fc54545bb5d5&f=23

You might want to go back a few pages as the threads are probably now on the second or third pages. 


RP supporters are not pro Bush and never have been.  They actually lean more third party libertarian than Neocon conservative.  Dont listen to what the news stations are feeding you.  If you do then consider yourself brainwashed.  Its funny I talk to people about this stuff all the time and all they can do is parrot what they hear on CNN or MSNBC. 

Please before you act like you know everything, stop and actually do some research before you spew nonsense. 

8
Where should I go next fall? / Re: University of San Diego..part time
« on: August 09, 2008, 09:08:13 PM »
Just one example of a top notch professor that decided on USD, in part, because of the "retirement" factor. 

Frank Partnoy
http://www.sandiego.edu/usdlaw/faculty/facprofiles/partnoyf.php

He teaches corporations as well as a deals class and possibly others. 

I just got through reading his book "F.I.A.S.C.O.: Blood in the Water on Wall Street"
http://www.amazon.com/F-I-S-C-O-Blood-Water-Street/dp/0393046222

The book is pretty much his autobiography while in investment banking. When the book was released it sold out a couple of times.

He even gave testimony on Enron before the United States Senate Committee on Governmental Affairs: http://www.senate.gov/~gov_affairs/012402partnoy.htm

He even answers questions on the Financial times website: http://www.ft.com/cms/s/2/cbca697e-4694-11dc-a3be-0000779fd2ac,dwp_uuid=d355f29c-d238-11db-a7c0-000b5df10621.html

Frank went to Yale law and worked for Morgan Stanley as an investment banker.  He was a member of their Derivative Products Group. While Frank was working for the DPG group they were the most profitable group on the planet. They brought in over $1 billion dollars over the course of 2 years.  He then worked in DC doing corporate law.  He "retired" in San Diego and now teaches at USD.

He was co-recipient of the 1999 Thorsnes Prize for Excellence in Teaching and is the 2004 Herzog Endowed Scholar.

Just one example of a top notch prof. flocking to the most beautiful city with the most temperate sunny weather.  Frank actually said in his book that he was attracted to San Diego because of these things.

Quote directly from the book: "Meanwhile, I was settling in to a quiet routine, teaching a few dozen law students at the University of San Diego, sharpening my golf game, and preparing several decades of comfortable, easy living tucked away in a sunny, seventy degree where-is-he-now file."

USD will continue to attract such top talent until UCSD opens a law school, which isn't in the foreseeable future. 

9
Where should I go next fall? / Re: University of San Diego..part time
« on: July 28, 2008, 10:16:35 PM »
Quote
so does this mean there are NO NONE ZERO chance of getting a law position between 70-90k job starting out? even if say we scored in the top quarter of the class?

Of course not, no. What it means is that the bulk of employers who hire on a regular basis (see above + biglaw) don't pay in that range. I've heard of people getting salaries in the 70-90 range (botique firms, coporations, employers hiring people w/ some significant work experience), but it's not something to bank on. See this link:

http://www.elsblog.org/the_empirical_legal_studi/2007/09/distribution-of.html

My point is that many students reason to themselves that if the elite of the class will get $100k + jobs, then the middle of the class probably gets between $80-100k starting salaries. It doesn't work that way. US News adds to the confusion because they usually list average starting salaries in the 80 - 90's range for T2's and lower T1's. These figures are skewed by the eye popping salaries for those on the top and those starting out with $35 per hour contract jobs but who often move on to more stable (but less lucrative work.

In short, don't go to law school expecting a great starting salary unless you end up at the top of the class.



Please stop infesting the 0L class with your lack of knowledge of the SD legal market.  You have never lived here and you have no knowledge of USD or its placement.

You are just spewing generalizations based on a magazines rating of a school without knowledge of the truth.

Please disregard lawnecon's comments as he has no (zero) experience with USD or the SD market. 

StevePirates and theor have the more correct responses.

10
Where should I go next fall? / Re: USD law gone wild!
« on: June 26, 2008, 03:42:57 PM »
bump for daytime..  ;D

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