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Messages - loki13

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Take another jurisdiction's exam, and transfer in the MBE score.


As always, personal preferences matter. So this is general advice. For signalling purposes (resume, BigLaw) it tends to break down like this:
Law Review > Moot Court ............ > Other Journals > Trial Team. (Some might put trial team ahead of other journals, either way, it's close).

A brief explanation. The main journal (usually referred to as just "Law Review") is the single "best" thing you can do, period. Employers love it, because it both shows you accomplished something early on (either grade on or write on) and that you continue to work your behind off and learn second year. Moot court is 1a; I think that moot court is awesome, it's a wonderful experience, and it will help you, esp. if you do litigation, but remember that it focuses on appellate work- the vast majority of attorneys will not be doing much appellate work. So, again, it's the bluebooking, writing, researching that's important.

If you had to ask me which is the most useful, and you know you're going to be a litigator, I might say trial team. But it's not very prestigious, and unless you're going to a small, litigation-only firm, it's not going to look that good (but better than nothing).

As for the other journals, it is usually the opinion of people that many of these journals have "lax" standards. It's much better than nothing, especially if you can tie it into an interest or publish something, but it's not Law Review.

Everything else is "niche"- intl' moot court, ADR, whatever. Clubs too. Sure, they can look good, give you some networking, maybe some wider exposure (FedSoc, ACS). But none of them are a substitute for LR/Moot Court/Journals/Trial Team (The Big 2/4).

Clinics and externships are great.

What I say is always true, Phantom! :)

Seriously, I always try to give aspiring students is the following-
1. When you go to choose courses (after your 1L year, when they are selected for you), do it based on the following criteria, and in this order-
a. Professor
b. Subject Matter

Why? Because a good professor will make any course awesome. On the other hand, a bad professor, no matter how cool the subject or how "important" the subject matter is to your future, will never help you. Here's a dirty little secret of law school- the vast majority of what they teach you doesn't matter. The basics- civpro, conlaw, tort, contracts, real property? Yes. How to read cases and think like a lawyer? Yes. The lingo? Yep. But I have have practiced, now, for some time in areas of law that I never, ever, ever took any courses for in law school. And this is common. Take courses with professors that will challenge you, engage you, and get you to think like an attorney- and they may be in subjects that you will never practice in- and you will come out a better attorney for it. (Ex. I took an advanced and specialized admin law course with a professor because he was amazing. I will never, ever, practice in that area. I am so glad I took that course, because I still use some of the things he taught, which had nothing to do with the subject matter.)

2. After your first year, do not take any classes just because they are "Bar Classes."

Huh? But my school says I should take (BizOrgs/Estates&Trusts/FamilyLaw/CrimPro/whatevs). Don't do it. Go back to (1). If one of these courses is being taught by a good professor, then take it! If not, then don't. There is only one class I regret taking in law school- Estates & Trusts. It was taught by the worst professor. I took it because it was on the bar my first semester, second year. I hated it, and to this day, I still know nothing about the subject. I learned more from BarBri review than I did from that class. If you are paying attention in law school, if you are "living the law," then you'll pick up enough in general.

3. General classes are better than specific classes.

As a general rule, foundation classes are better than hyper-specialized classes, assuming a good professor. Look, classes like "CivPro II" and "Conflict of Laws" and "Federal Courts" and "Corporations" and "Estates and Trusts" don't sound as interesting as "Corporate Responsibility in the Amazon Basin" but they will provide you with more general tools for practice.

4. Talk to other people to understand.

Some classes might sound strange, and you might not understand their use. As an example, I would highly recommend Administrative Law, and some schools are considering putting it into their core curriculum. It's really hard to practice now without running into it on the state or federal level, and you probably want some exposure in school. If you're a litigator, Remedies is kind of important- the first question you ask (either prosecuting or defending a suit) is what can a person get? Sales (as it is often called) just sounds bizarre, but this is sort of an advanced level UCC/contracts. If you don't understand these things, you might not know that these are some classes worth taking (if that floats your boat).

5. But it's really about the professor.

I can't emphasize this enough. Every school will have amazing professors, and every school will have deadwood. After your first year, you will have the choice. Make sure you don't get the deadwood.

Does it change my opinion that this is 1L?

Yes. Your 1L summer only matters in terms of the experience for you. If you want BigLaw, then what matters is your 2L summer- build up for OCI (on campus interviews) to get a BigLaw summer association position for your 2L summer.

I clerked with a judge my first summer and it was an amazing experience. It was unpaid, but I loved it. I had a great time, I learned a lot, and I came back to law school so much more comfortable and happy; in addition, I was able to see other practicing attorneys and realize that I could do it. Here's the thing- none of the BigLaw employers cared that much about the exact job, it was just something to talk about briefly during itnerviews (although I did get a killer writing sample from it that I received approval to use).

So, I'd again go with the DOJ position. If this is the end of your first year, and you just have general ideas that you want to practice BigLaw, give the DOJ and a little bankruptcy law a shot. Also- however hard you worked your first year, if you are like me, your second year will be that much harder. My first year was a blur because I was constantly learning. But my second year (with the addition of law review + law review note, added student group responsibilities, more difficult classes, research assistant etc.) I just remember working myself to death.


I wouldn't worry too much about it. IMO, bar passage rates largely reflect the quality of the student body, which reflects the quality of the institution. In all honesty, I don't think law schools should teach for the bar. Barbri-type prep materials (whether through the course, or done independently) are more than sufficient to pass any state bar, provided the person in question takes it with a modicum of seriousness, paid a bit of attention their first year, and doesn't panic. In fact, it's usually a sign of a bad law school when they teach to the bar. I would even go so far as to recommend against taking specific subjects just because they appear on the bar if you have absolutely no interest in them (other than your base 1L classes), since they'll be covered in bar prep anyway. It's worked for me on two bars- one in California.

Rates fluctuate from time to time. My alma occasionally has hiccups. It happens. And when it does, everyone overreacts. If it's a long term trend, though, that usually means that admission standards are getting worse, or there is a structural problem (they aren't doing a good job the first year). But, again IMO, I don't think the solution is to teach to the bar.


Okay, this is helpful. Why? Well, first, there's a big divide between litigation and transaction. So, if you know (or at least have a predilection toward) you want to go into transaction work in BigLaw, that is helpful!

So, the first thing is there are no wrong choices. The ideal position for your path would probably be a BigLaw summer position with the firm you want, but, barring that, none of these are *bad*. Next- everyone kind of says they want "in house" long term. But your summer position isn't going to be the key. You need to consider what these disparate opportunities bring to the table. Unless you want to work in the tech industry (patent work? other in house tech work?) I'm not seeing why the tech company is appealing.

Bankruptcy law is kind of cool, in its own specialized way, and seems right up your alley. The DOJ program sounds like it would be a good fit, would give you a good experience, and would be something to talk about with future BigLaw employers. Also? Knowing the BR Code is a good way to start learning about how a set of laws operates together. Of those three, absent other considerations, and given what you've written... well, that would be the most appealing. But I also don't know how important that "extension into the school year" is to you, or money, or, for that matter, the opportunity to maybe catch on with that tech firm as a permanent position.


First, congratulations! Any summer position that gets you some legal experience your 2L year is a good thing.

However, in order to answer your question, more information is needed. What do you want to do? Do you want to litigate? Public service? BigLaw? Real estate transactions? Any ideas? Are you viewing this as an opportunity to rule in/out certain practice areas, or just gain experience in general, or gain a foot in the door somewhere? Money can also be a factor; sometimes, working and bringing home a lot of money that summer (the BigLaw track) can be really helpful; other times, people just need the experience.

For me, I did a judicial clerkship my first summer (1L) and BigLaw my second summer (2L) and that was wonderful for eventual BigLaw. But everyone is different. That DOJ position, for example, looks interesting, but then again, why are you interested in the tech company? Those are two very disparate opportunities. In short, this is such an individualized assessment that just throwing out a bunch of positions, without more, isn't going to be very helpful. I'm also a little concerned that you're just viewing these as resume boosts; it's important to have something on your resume for your 2L summer, but the main thing is the experience it gives you, the networking opportunities, and the chance to understand what you want to do in practice. Put another way, the DOJ position will be very different than the tech company one.


Before I make a long reply (which I have been known to do), let me ask you a few questions; what, if any, conditions are on the scholarships?

More specifically, does the TJ scholarship have a minimum GPA or class rank requirement? If so, what is it?

TJ graduates students, on average, with some of the worst job prospects in the nation. It is facing some severe financial issues (defaulting on debt obligations for its new building). It is offering full rides to students who score a 153/3.0 (uGPA) who, IMHO, are students who probably shouldn't be considering law school. So if you are *seriously* considering it, make sure you know what you're getting into, make sure that the "renewable" scholarship has conditions you are aware of, and price in the cost of living. And be aware that you very well could graduate and not have a job in the legal profession.

Huh. I just looked at TLS.

Part of me was like, "Woah. Pretty cool and vibrant. Kind of reminds me of LSD (heh) back in the day."

And then part of me was like, "WTF? This isn't the blind leading the blind... this is the some of the worst FUD I've ever seen. Nice avatars, though."

Choosing the Right Law School / Re: USD v. UC Hastings v. (Maybe) UCI
« on: April 08, 2015, 03:09:53 PM »
I'm going to add a statement that largely agrees with Citylaw.

If you want to practice in LA/SoCal, and you have a free ride at Chapman (and check those scholarship conditions), then why not go there? Especially if the scholarship conditions are less onerous than other schools.

Look, USD and Hastings are better schools, but not by much. All things being equal, I would go to USD or Hastings. But they are not. If the difference is a full ride, plus you know you want to practice in LA, then go to Chapman. Just have very realistic expectations coming out of it.

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