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Messages - Burning Sands, Esq.

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51
Black Law Students / Re: Black Law Student Discussion Board
« on: April 08, 2011, 09:12:50 AM »
Just joined this website, thought I'd take a look at this blog.

First and foremost is great to see brothers and sisters using the internet to network. Second, it's even better to see theirs fellow NUPES on here. YO YO!!!  :)

Just a general question for all and anyone willing to answer: I am a recent graduate and examinee of the California Bar. California is absolutely saturated with attorneys. Given this fact in conjunction with the fact that CA has been hit really hard by the recession, their is a strikingly small window of opportunity for "baby attorneys" such as myself. I'm considering relocating (which means I'll unfortunately have to take another bar), does anyone have any suggestions as to which states would be a good place to relocate to?

Thanks.

YO YO, Nupe!  Good to see another Henry T. Asher in the making.

As far as the bar exam/relocation question, man that's tough.  I don't think there is any state in the U.S. that hasnt' been affected by the recession.  I'm in New York and we got hit crazy hard.   Same for DC. 

I would say 3 things:

#1 - things are (slowly) beginning to uptick in the legal profession, so if there's anything you can do in the meanwhile (doc review, temp associate, whatever) to keep the lights on then it may allow you to stick around until a job opens up in CA.

#2 - assuming that no jobs will open up in CA ever, then search other market listings on ladders, NBA, ABA, etc.  I'm starting to see more and more listings, even out here in NY.  So hopefully you can find something in another market if CA is just not producing.

#3 - if possible, look in states that give reciprocity for your CA bar license.  Each state is different and has its own rules about how many years you have to have under your belt, which states can wave in, which states can't, etc.

Good luck.

52
Black Law Students / Re: Black Law Student Discussion Board
« on: April 08, 2011, 09:01:27 AM »
Hi everybody-I'm curious how everyone deals with the race issue/racism in law school? I am a resident of Iowa and have been my entire life so I'm no stranger to racism or being the only minority at school or work. However the ignorance and racism on this site and some other sites is off the charts.Today, I let my emotions get the best of me. I did apologize for my behavior but I was wondering if the attitudes in school are similar to the attitudes displayed on this board?If so, how do you deal?

You're absolutely right that this is an issue. 

I went to a fairly diverse school (diverse by law school standards anyway) on the east coast and we STILL had racial issues/resentments between students so I've come to the conclusion that its just life no matter what school you go to in America.  But there's something about the dog-eat-dog environment of law school that brings out the worst in people.  It takes somebody who may ordinarily have no issues with minorities or affirmative action and then convinces them that in order to get ahead they must take issue with minorities and affirmative action, which unfortunately many students succumb to.

My advice first and foremost is to apply to schools with at least SOME minority population.  It doesn't have to be an HBCU but it certainly helped to have at least 4 or 5 other Black students in my Criminal Procedure class, for example, when the question was posed to the room whether minorities are naturally prone to crime, or in Constitutional law when the subject of affirmative action in state schools came up.

Beyond that, deal with racism the same way in law school that you would deal with it in any other setting - pull the perpetrator aside if you can, voice your concerns, try to make it a building moment if possible.  If not, so be it but state your piece and make it known that overt racism in the classroom will not be tolerated.  If they wanna talk junk on their own private time in a corner somewhere among like-minded classmates then they're more than welcome to do so but there's no place for that in the classroom, and 9 times out of 10 any decent law professor is not going to allow it in the first place.

But I've found the most effective way to "get back" at the Archie Bunkers of law school is to be the best possible law student you can be.  See how quickly their jaw hits the floor when you make law review, moot court or order of the coif. ;)


53
Black Law Students / Re: Black Law Student Discussion Board
« on: April 01, 2011, 07:34:06 AM »
You may have a point there.  After so many seasons of the same info over and over, we might have exhausted the advice necessary to apply to law school.  LOL!!!

But then again, the advice was but only 1 component to this community so it still doesn't quite explain the ghost town atmosphere of late.   Oh well...


Hi Everyone,  I am glad that I found this page while surfing for information on Tulsa Law School. 

To address something that I feel should be duly noted by anyone new to this site...This site isn't new...I am exhausted from reading the 1000's of posts by potential law school applicants and the matching replies from the Moderator and everyone else who has something to contribute to this arduous journey...

Once I finally registered (and today was my first time on the site)  I was accosted by a poll asking why Newbies don't post...Well, Obviously, (in my Antoine Dodson voice) over the past nine years ya'll have covered just about everything! But I am glad that the site is still here so that I can a question that applies specifically to me.  Plus,  I think that there may have been some changes in the current admission standards  since we've entered the depression and "the changing economy" blah , blah, blah....

So no questions tonight just a couple of observations. Thanks to everyone who has contributed and continues to contribute.  I have gained a lot of insight into the LSAP....(I thought I would throw my own acronym up in here)  I'm not going to say how long it took me to finally figure our what "URM" was..LOL!!!  Which reminds me, there could be some sort of legend for the abbreviations used in these discussions...I had to figure out T14 too...Love the site and I look forward to chatting with you all soon.

I think people who may be peeping and want to ask a question get turned off by seeing those who do ask get either no response, or immediate responses telling them to go search the boards.  The board stays fresh with fresh responses to the what might be the same old questions, but in a new economic and legal climate that's still changing and hasn't decided what it's going to be yet...

I see it on other sites too...people are just too hostile to newbies who may not even know how to search the boards...plus even the site will warn you about responding to posts older than x amount of days...

Yes, Prelaw students can be, how shall we say, jerks sometimes, so I understand.  Well the offer still stands, if anybody needs advice or a seasoned experience from a law school grad in this new economic era, don't hesitate to ask.  I work in biglaw so I can't answer everyday but I'll definitely answer.


54
Black Law Students / Re: Black Law Student Discussion Board
« on: March 04, 2011, 11:14:16 AM »
You may have a point there.  After so many seasons of the same info over and over, we might have exhausted the advice necessary to apply to law school.  LOL!!!

But then again, the advice was but only 1 component to this community so it still doesn't quite explain the ghost town atmosphere of late.   Oh well...


Hi Everyone,  I am glad that I found this page while surfing for information on Tulsa Law School. 

To address something that I feel should be duly noted by anyone new to this site...This site isn't new...I am exhausted from reading the 1000's of posts by potential law school applicants and the matching replies from the Moderator and everyone else who has something to contribute to this arduous journey...

Once I finally registered (and today was my first time on the site)  I was accosted by a poll asking why Newbies don't post...Well, Obviously, (in my Antoine Dodson voice) over the past nine years ya'll have covered just about everything! But I am glad that the site is still here so that I can a question that applies specifically to me.  Plus,  I think that there may have been some changes in the current admission standards  since we've entered the depression and "the changing economy" blah , blah, blah....

So no questions tonight just a couple of observations. Thanks to everyone who has contributed and continues to contribute.  I have gained a lot of insight into the LSAP....(I thought I would throw my own acronym up in here)  I'm not going to say how long it took me to finally figure our what "URM" was..LOL!!!  Which reminds me, there could be some sort of legend for the abbreviations used in these discussions...I had to figure out T14 too...Love the site and I look forward to chatting with you all soon.

55
Black Law Students / Re: Black Law Student Discussion Board
« on: February 24, 2011, 10:00:15 PM »
Where is everyone??? I am a 0L looking for guidance and experiences of current African American law school students......this is very disappointing =/

Ask away.

56
Black Law Students / Re: Black Law Student Discussion Board
« on: February 15, 2011, 04:14:34 PM »
Good points.



Earl Cat, Burning Sands

Non URM here, but I can show the LOVE for the BLSD!

I think the problem you are seeing (not just on BLSD, but on the entire site) may relate to a sense of generalized anxiety in terms of the legal field's saturation and the economy.  You know, those tacit "Will I measure up?" type questions.

Also, there are not enough cheerleaders, like Thane Messinger, posting.  There are plenty of anal sphincters, naysayers, and general twits.  Any meaningful discussion goes two ways.  Oftentimes, when a sincere question is asked by a relative newbie (especially 0Ls), they are lambasted.

That doesn't exactly spread the love.  Just my .02

57
General Off-Topic Board / Re: Engineer looking into Law
« on: February 15, 2011, 04:07:43 PM »
Hello Law Schoool Discussion Board,

I'm a mechanical engineer in my late 20's whose lost admiration for the once proud proffession.  There are many reasons why I'm choosing to walk away from the field, the primary reason being my lacklustre compensation I've been recieiving for the past couple years.

I've been pondering Law School for the past few months and have some questions.

1) Aside from the court room, what other jobs can a lawyer score?
2) I have a background in project managment as well as business managment, can a law degree help me bolster these two career paths?
3) How competative is the education, I'm fairly confident I can get into law school, but what is a typical minimum GPA?  I'm sure I can surpass it, but I want to get an idea of how many late nights in the study hall I'm going to endure.
4) If I'm not going to work in the legal system, is a law degree transferable to other countries?

Thanks!

I can relate.  I was in your exact same shoes a few years ago.  I graduated Arch Engr., worked for an engineering firm for a while, got tired of the insulting cost-of-living increases they kept trying to pass off as "raises" and figured since I had always had a genuine interest in the law why not go to law school right?

Before you run out and register for the LSAT you should be aware of a few things:

#1. The economy SUCKS for lawyers right now.  This may change by the time you graduate if you happen to go to law school right now, but caveat emptor.

#2. Everybody will automatically tell you that you should do Patent Law because you are an engineer.  It is true that only engineers and other select degrees (Chem., Bio, Comp. Sci, etc.) actually qualify to sit for the patent bar, so from that standpoint it seems like the thing to do if you happen to have one of those backgrounds.  2 quick points on patent law:
(i) a common misconception is that you must take the patent bar in order to do "patent law."  Not exactly true.  "Patent law" comes in two flavors: Patent Litigation and Patent Prosecution.  ANY LAWYER can do Patent Litigation.  Largely b/ c litigation (drafting briefs; arguing in court) is litigation, no matter what the subject matter is.  Patent Prosecution, on the other hand, does require the Patent Bar.  Prosecution is the transactional half of Patent law where you actually take the patent and file it in the USPTO in DC.
(ii) somebody told me this when I was in your shoes but I considered them a Debbie Downer so I didn't listen to them, but as it turns out, they weren't far off the mark: patent prosecution is boooooooooooooor-ing!  And I'm an engineer saying this.  The litigation side is always exciting b/c litigation tends to keep you on your toes.  The transactional side, however, not so much.  You basically are drafting patent applications all day long which is basically like drafting C++ computer code. 

But of course, if you're interested, you should look into it for yourself.  The point of me telling you all of this is so that you don't feel that you have to take the patent bar in order to do patent law b/c you don't.

To answer your questions:

1) we've touched on this briefly, but law firms are divided into two halves, the litigation side and the transactional side.  The litigation people are the ones who go to court.  The transactional people never go to court.  Instead they do the paperwork side of business deals, mergers & acquisitions, real estate deals, etc.  Also outside of the courtroom, lawyers can become in-house corporate counsel to big companies.  Or you can take your JD and never practice law at all and instead go into business.

2) Yes.

3) How competitive is legal education?  COMPETITIVE!!! It's probably one of the most competitive academic environments out there.  Let me put it like this, everybody else in your class will be smart so being smart is not enough - you have to beat the curve.  And the curve in law school (for most schools which give grades) is a beast.  You could literally give an excellent analysis of 90% of the issues on a law school exam and still get a "B" b/c of the curve.   What also makes it so competitive is that law school is not like other schools where you can just go and graduate and be ok.  You have to actually be in the TOP of your class to secure employment after law school.  So everybody in your class will be gunning for the top 10% & law review.

4) Your legal degree will transfer with you anywhere you go just like any other degree.  I think what you may be asking about however is the bar license perhaps?  With respect to that, other countries have different legal systems and requirements so you'd have to look at each country on a case by case basis.

58
General Off-Topic Board / Re: Engineer looking into Law
« on: February 15, 2011, 03:30:20 PM »
I've read before that a BA in a science field can take the Patent bar and practice intellectual law without a JD. Have you thought about looking into that?

You can never practice law without a JD (and a bar license) but I think what you are probably referring to is becoming a Patent Agent which only requires the patent bar.  As a Mechanical Engineer, the OP qualifies to take the Patent Bar right now and could work as a Patent Agent for the USPTO in DC (pays around $50-60k last I looked) or work for Patent Attorneys to help clients in the prosecution of patents.

59
Politics and Law-Related News / Re: Legal Theories on the Health Care bill?
« on: February 04, 2011, 12:13:24 PM »
I agree that no case to date is on point.  Although the proposition of regulating so-called "inactivity" may not be so far fetched as it seems on the surface. 

As the district court in Michigan noted, in Heart of Atlanta Motel v. United States, 379 U.S. 241 (1964), the SCOTUS held that the Commerce Clause allowed Congress to compel those choosing not to engage in commerce to, in fact, engage in commerce.   Of course you could attempt to distinguish that case on the grounds that the hotel owners were already engaged in the commercial activity of running a hotel.  But I suppose if we accept the Michigan court's premise that, as humans who are always in need of medical care, we are already engaged in the commerce of the health care market, then it follows that our decision to buy or not to buy health insurance does have an effect on interstate commerce and is thus subject to regulation under the commerce clause.

What complicates this health care issue is the fact that the SCOTUS has never ruled that the test for whether something can be regulated by Congress under the commerce clause is whether that something is an activity or not. (It's always been assumed that it must be an activity).  Rather, the test of whether something can be regulated by the commerce clause is simply whether it effects interstate commerce. (going back to Heart of Atlanta Motel)

Again, as far as I'm aware, there is no Supreme Court case squarely on point that could settle the issue of whether the "thing" that effects interstate commerce MUST BE an activity as opposed to an omission. 

One thing's for sure though, the SCOTUS has to grant cert here.  There's no way this can be left to the circuits.


Boils down to Lopez in my mind. The test is whether or not this is regulating an activity that substantially affects interstate commerce.

Both Liberty U. and Florida (first one said constitutional, second said not) framed the issue that way. Is not buying health insurance an "activity"? If it is, it probably can be mandated. If it isn't, then it probably can't (under Lopez, anyway).

Liberty U. said basically said that the decision not to purchase health insurance is an activity and therefore it falls under the Commerce Clause.

Florida said that it is, almost by definition, inactivity (not buying insurance) and that Congress's power didn't reach that far.

It's not really Wickard/Gonzales because those cases, while regulating purely intrastate activity, were at least regulating activity (growing and consumption of wheat and marijuana, respectively). This isn't doing that. To play with Wickard a little, it would be more like the government mandating that you grow corn on your land (ignoring any seizure arguments or w/e; let's pretend we're solely in Commerce Clause land). I'm betting on 5-4 against.


By the way, the beautiful thing about the South Dakota law is that the legislature is trying to prove that they can't mandate the purchase of a firearm when, as a state government, they probably can.

60
Politics and Law-Related News / Re: Legal Theories on the Health Care bill?
« on: February 04, 2011, 11:32:55 AM »
And the SCOTUS would be bound by the district courts because....?

 ;)

Right, it would be hard for anybody to argue that the Commerce Clause can require the people to buy something, but that's not exactly the issue in front of us.  The question presented here, rather, is whether the Federal government can create a tax for people who don't have health insurance.  This is where the Tax & Spend Clause will likely come into play.

I think this is really unlikely. Of the four district courts that have looked at this, all of them say that this isn't a tax. It's a regulatory penalty.

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