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Messages - loki13

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If you can't be a part of the solution, become a lawyer.

General Board / Re: Should I do Mock Trial?
« on: January 12, 2009, 12:17:38 PM »

You are correct. My points apply to BigLaw, and, to a lesser extent, MidLaw. If you go to work for a much smaller law firm, they will not have the luxury of paying you to research.

However, unless you work for an ID firm (or some other niche, like a divorce/family law boutique) it is true that civil litigation is very rare.

General Board / Re: Should I do Mock Trial?
« on: January 12, 2009, 12:06:27 PM »
Why is there this perception that litigation actually involves courtrooms?

where do they argue the pre-trial motions?

Wow, tm, your brilliant powers of insight have foiled me!  Since you appear to want to highlight a small part in order to miss the larger point, let me make this simple for you:

1. The vast majority of civil litigation settles before trial. That means that all the work that is done in a "litigation" case is work to improve the posture of your client to get a settlement on better terms.

2. If a case does actually make it to trial, it often is an incredibly lengthy process. The vast majority of the time you'll be doing research. If you're lucky (starting out) you'll be taking depos. You'll be writing motions and responding to them.

3. As a starting atty, you will not be conducting a trial. If you firm is smart, they'll try and find a few pro bono cases so you can argue a case or two in your first years. Otherwise, you'll be a part of a team -- you'll be doing the all-night research after each day to better position your side for the next day.

4. Of course, 3 only happens if your firm takes cases to trial. Most large firms don't do much trial work; they manage cases for clients.

General Board / Re: Should I do Mock Trial?
« on: January 12, 2009, 11:44:06 AM »
Why is there this perception that litigation actually involves courtrooms?

If you want to do real litigation (aka speaking in courtrooms) I have a few recommendations for you:

1. Public Defender
2. Prosecutor
3. Uh... that's about it.

Wait, you say, I want to do CIVIL LITIGATION!. Hmmm... well, if you want to do civil litigation in terms of trials, you can always go to an ID firm. Or a smaller firm and hope for some opportunities.

But even there, most cases are decided far before trial. You're talking about litigation management, not litigation. Your public speaking will be confined to arguing pre-trial motions before a judge (if that) to better position your client for a settlement.

The number of lawyers who are get JDs > the number of lawyers who are practicing > the number of lawyers who do civil work > the number of lawyers who do "litigation" (as opposed to transaction) work > the number of lawyers who are will do more than depos/motions > the number of lawyers who have more than the very occasional trial > the number of lawyers who do appellate work.

Do it because it's fun, not because it's that useful.

General Board / Re: Should I do Mock Trial?
« on: January 12, 2009, 11:18:29 AM »
what about at a school where they are very good?  does it mean more there?

No. Unless you're interviewing with an alum who was in the program.

LR (or most prestig. journal) > Moot Court > Secondary Journal > Trial Team > Other Stuff School Makes Up.

It's that simple.

General Board / Re: Should I do Mock Trial?
« on: January 12, 2009, 10:04:15 AM »
I disagree with Matthies 100%. To put on my *serious* hat for a while (take it while you can), allow me to relate the following pieces of advice:

1. The information you learn in law school has a low correlation, and sometimes no correlation, to what you actually practice. With the exception of a *very* few specialized classes, there are almost no subjects that you will not be able to pick up on the fly if you have a decent background.

2. Given 1, you should try and take classes with professors that are good and will engage you, not classes with a subject matter that you think some future employer might find relevant. As with all advice, there is some limit to this- if you want to do commercial litigation, it would help if you took something other than criminal law classes.

3. Given 1, it is also irrelevant what you 1L experience is so long as you gain something from it. I clerked for a state judge in family law division; I'm now doing BigLaw.

4. The relative focuses of the extracurriculars do not really matter for most jobs; they are signals. Law Review (or most prestigious journal) > Moot Court > Secondary Journals > Main Trial Team > Other Stuff Schools Make Up (other moot courts, intramural stuff, yada yada yada). Guess what? If you're applying to be a "litigator" at Skadden, they don't want need to see Trial Team- they want to see Law Review (although you can also be on trial team). There's many reasons for this, starting with the likelihood of seeing the inside of a courtroom your first year.

5. Look, many people's ideas of what they want to do changes during law school. The best advice is real simple- get the best grades you can. Take classes with the best professors your school has. Get on the most prestigious extra/co-curricular organization your school has. Do some interesting things so you don't seem like a dud during your callback interviews and have a few anecdotes to tell. Accumulate credentials (signals) for future employers. But most firms  realize that you have a general education, and that you first six months -  year will be ramping up on learning the difference between law school and law practice.

3L job search / Re: 3L With No Job Experience!!!
« on: January 12, 2009, 09:46:33 AM »

WTF, man? The first on the blame list is SOCIETY!

Society made me do it. man. Society is the root of all my problems. *sheesh*

Original Poster: My job chances are growing are growing dim Loki13. I know a career in the law has led me to this sorry fate, and yet, I blame society. Society made me what I am.

Loki13: That's bull. You're a white suburban punk just like me.

Original Poster: Yeah, but it still hurts.

(A lot o' people don't realize what's really going on. They view life as a bunch o' unconnected incidents 'n things. They don't realize that there's this, like, lattice o' coincidence that lays on top o' everything. Give you an example; show you what I mean: suppose you're thinkin' about a plate o' shrimp. Suddenly someone'll say, like, "plate," or "shrimp," or "plate o' shrimp" out of the blue, no explanation. No point in lookin' for one, either. It's all part of a cosmic unconsciousness.)

Where should I go next fall? / Re: UF 3L - Will Answer Questions
« on: January 11, 2009, 08:24:17 PM »

I cannot emphasize the following strongly enough when looking at schools in Florida.

1. There are only three schools I would consider- UF, FSU, and UM. While Florida has a number of other schools, some of them quite good for specialized purposes (see also Stetson if you want to do litigation in the Tampa area), there are the three heavyweights in the state.

2. Of the three, UF has a decided advantage over the other two schools. One reason is tuition; I cannot emphasize this strongly enough; given the vagaries of attending a non-T14 school, and given that many people decide not to pursue Big (or Lucrative) Law on graduation, it pays to keep tuition costs low. UF (and FSU) cost less than 10 grand a year- before any scholarships. That freedom gives you post-graduation options; in addition, if you decide to do BigLaw (as I did) it gives you more money to count as you cry yourself to sleep every night.

3. UF also has an overall reputation advantage. It is sometimes called the Harvard of the South. That appellation is, quite frankly, total BS. It's closer to the Tufts of the South. Anyway, the rep does wonders, giving you an entrance into all sorts of state positions.

4. UM will have a slightly easier time networking in south Fla. because you ARE THERE. Other than that advantage (which can be considerable, depending on how you work it) the UF degree is just as valuable. Many of my classmates are working at the large Miami firms (W&C, GT etc.) are for boutique SFla firms are clerking down there. 

5. There are no beaches close to G'ville. This is a bucolic, tree-filled college town. If you like the energy and pace and stores and nightlife of Miami, well, this it ain't. Then again, you'll be in law school, so perhaps you don't need the distractions.

Hope this helps.

General Board / Re: Etiquette question: Discuss about grades ever?
« on: January 11, 2009, 06:10:57 PM »
I believe in the following theory of grade and work dissemination:

1. First, you must identify those who are most obsessed about their grades and are constantly stressed out and overworking. Make sure to build friendships with them. At this point, once you have gained their trust, make sure of the following:

a) Never allow them to see you studying.
b) If they ask you what you've been up to, always mention something along the lines of "Well, t's hard to remember after the 4 hits of acid and the liter of ether, but I'm pretty sure it involved lemurs."
c) If they ask you if you study at the library, feign ignorance that the law school has a library.
d) Every now and then, out of the blue, make sure to ask them a difficult question in an offhand manner. Ex. "After my tenth bonghit last night, I was wondering what Scalia would do if personal service was effectuated by a state court in a manner consistent with 1890 but not 1850, and if that manner was also used by a federal court?"
e) Three days before the exam, make sure to ask them if they found the textbook useful, and whether they thought you should purchase it.

No matter how you do on th exam, tell this friend you received an A.

2. For the other friends, code-named, the slacker, do the following:
a) Every time they miss a class, make sure to loudly call out to them, "Hey- tough life! Interviewing again? I had thought you had dropped this class!"
b) Always bring up obscure twists in the las that are referenced briefly in the notes cases whenever they try and make a point. "Well, yeah, but you know Hawaii doesn't follow that rule for pets, right?"
c) Anytime they bring up the fun they were having, they television they were watching, or the wild hookup they just had, you should say you didn't have time for that because you were printing out from Westlaw and reading all the stringcite cases from the textbooks.

No matter how you do on th exam, tell this friend you received an A.

And that is how to succeed at law school.

Where should I go next fall? / Re: UF 3L - Will Answer Questions
« on: January 11, 2009, 05:54:00 PM »
1. There is a distinction between "BigLaw" and the private firm (in general) route. You are best off attending the school in the region you wish to practice for the regional schools (Emory = Atl/GA, UF = Fla, UNC = Charlotte) as far as private firms in general. For BigLaw, you will need 10% + LR (or, perhaps, moot court, but LR is considered a better BigLaw signal).

2. You are correct- the COLA can really kick your butt. It's also about quality of life; Some people love the culture and nightlife and restaurants that NYC provides; others prefer the fishin' and boatin' and no snowin' of Tampa. In addition, there are other factors to consider- the prestige of a NYC job, for example, allow for more options in the future, but in some cases you may get no practical experience in the meantime. Would you rather get more money and be stuck doing doc review / due diligence with the chance to do one depo in your first five years, or be arguing motions in your first year?

No matter what, the calculus is simple- if you get to a certain type of school (roughly T14, certainly HYS) your grades, if there are grades, are nearly irrelevant. Beyond that, your grades your FIRST YEAR matter an incredible amount. The lower ranked the school (moving to T3 and T4) the more a few bad grades will kill your options.

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