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Messages - loki13
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« on: August 14, 2015, 10:14:27 AM »
"The top 4 schools or so in CA typically average that but afterwards there is a steep drop off."
Oh, I agree. But I thought we were talking about in general, not just for the CalBar.
"California has a notoriously difficult bar, but what about states with a 80-90% pass rate? If you can't pass an exam that 80-90% of your classmates passed, should you really be allowed to give legal advice?"
« on: August 14, 2015, 09:27:44 AM »
"I'd also point out that those numbers are hilariously off base."
Not really. It depends on the jurisdiction and the school. My school's bar passage rate is approximately 90% every year. So, yeah, 90% of my classmates pass the bar.
If you look at jurisdictions, they average from 70-95% each year, with jurisdictions ranked from 18-48 in difficulty between 85-95%.
« on: August 14, 2015, 09:21:54 AM »
I have no reasons to doubt your post- after all, on the internet, no one knows you're a dog! That said, one thing did catch my eye-
"Within six months I was getting PD conflict and family law cases on a regular basis because I let every attorney in town know I would gladly take any cases they wanted to get rid of. "
"First full year out in solo practice I netted six figures."
I have some great deal of difficulty reconciling these two statements based on what I know. First, even had you said that you grossed six figures, I would find that remarkable and difficult to believe. But you wrote that you netted six figures (that is to say, after expenses, filing fees, staff - if any-, phone service, rent, what have you).
Family law and conflict PD cases earn almost no money. Now, I can believe that the rates were a little more beneficial before the state cutbacks of the last recession, but that time period was: a) also a recession, and b) before the most recent expansion in attorney salaries. And to *net* six figures, in your first year, doing discarded (not desirable) family law cases and conflict PD cases.... I don't know what to say. I can't say that it's impossible, but I know a lot of family law practitioners, and people that try to make it starting out, and they work hard- and I've never known any of them to have that success in their first year.
If you're not misremembering, you should really post about how you did it in more detail, because I'm sure there's a lot of people that would love to know about it.
« on: August 13, 2015, 12:59:23 PM »
"I don't think anybody was hurt by going to law school."
Let's be clear here. People were hurt, some badly. Now, we can debate whether these people were partially, mostly, or totally to blame for it. Whether they should have done their own research in, say, 2007 rather than depending on T4U's glossies and a half-remembered episode of Boston Legal. But the simple reality is that a large number of young people went to schools, spent three years of their life (which they will not get back), spent 200k (which they will not get back), spent the opportunity cost (which they will not get back), have gigantic student loans (which, like herpes, will stay with you forever- and they're even larger if they had to finance UG), and will never, ever, work in the legal profession. Moreover, contrary to some beliefs, a law degree is not a great "general purpose" degree, and I know from talking to many who were in those years that they omit their JD when they apply for certain, lower-level jobs because it is a hindrance to employment.
But that's why it's so important to emphasize that law school really should be a risk/reward situation. If you are paying for it, then it needs to be treated like a job opportunity- an investment. And most people wouldn't invest without trying to cost in the risk, and the possible payoffs. That's why, when we discuss what we would "bet on," it's important to state things clearly.
Sure, Taft might work for some people. But that's going to be an incredibly small subset of people. For the vast majority of people, the standard advice is, and should always be, attend the lowest cost ABA-accredited school in (or near) the jurisdiction in which you plan to practice (if you are completely agnostic about where you want to practice, that's increases your options, but factor in cost of living). Check the scholarship conditions. Be wary of certain schools (although they may have attractive options- do your research). Check the real employment numbers, and where students likely place. You can make an exception to this if you get into a T14 school, and believe you want to either do a clerkship/2 years in BigLaw/academic route, or the BigLaw route, or you have other clearly identifiable goals that the connections will help with.
« on: August 13, 2015, 11:01:41 AM »
" If you can't pass an exam that 80-90% of your classmates passed, should you really be allowed to give legal advice?"
Given the quality of lawyering, I have serious doubts about the abilities of those who pass the bar. I certainly don't want to make it easier.
« on: August 13, 2015, 09:38:55 AM »
"The odds of making millions with a law degree from Harvard or any other law school are about the same."
That's just a false statement. First, if you really want to make tons of money (as opposed to a lot of money), get an MBA and take some risks. Start a firm. But if you want to the best shot of making "millions," then, yes, Harvard is your best bet. Sure, some people will go to "Random Law School U" and strike it rich as a plaintiff's attorney. But if you want the best odds of one of those million-dollar partner jobs, Harvard is the place to go. You're pretty much guaranteed an opportunity to compete for one (getting a rung on the BigLaw(tm)) latter). Let's go with a football analogy. If you want to play in the NFL-
Then Harvard is a guaranteed slot in training camp.
Other schools are like going to Alabama.
Other schools are like going to a FCS school.
DL is like going to a NESCAC (DIII) school- it's theoretically possible, and people have done it, but that might not be your best option if you want to play in the NFL.
"So the point of the rant is there is no easy way plenty of people go to "good" schools and get hit by bus and never work in a day, get strung out on heroin, or god knows what could happen."
Just stop it. This is why your advice is bad. You can't acknowledge the obvious truth. Yes, I am sure that there are people that go to good schools and get hit by a bus or strung out on heroin- but I'm guessing that bad things happen to people at bad schools as well. Your constant reiteration of (paraphrasing) "any school that might eventually let you take a bar somewhere is just dandy" is wrong. Moreover, we just went through a period where advice, just like you are giving now, hurt people. Badly. That you haven't learned from these mistakes, and continue to parrot this terrible point is telling.
« on: August 13, 2015, 09:27:23 AM »
"Honestly, I think only non ABA grads should have to take it. Wisconsin has the right idea."
I disagree. While a person can reasonably argue about the states (through the Boards) partially delegating their accreditation process through the ABA, I also think it's perfectly reasonable to note that the ABA's standards aren't all that. In other words- there are bad ABA schools (with a few good students), and there are bad students at "good" ABA schools. Just getting into a "good" ABA school that won't fail you and coasting through shouldn't be sufficient to practice. Certain professions (doctors, attorneys, etc.) have licensing exams- nothing wrong with it.
"How many lawyers actually orally argue cases in front of a judge, though?"
This is a good point. I think that the answer is that if you do it, it happens way more often than you think; if you don't, it never happens. For example, in house counsel? Transactional attorney? And so on.
Even civil practice rarely gets that many *trials*, and, when it comes right down to it, federal civil practice (excepting criminal) rarely sees a judge because the motions, including summary judgment, are done on paper. But if you're doing a lot of state court litigation, even civil, you'll be in court.
All that said, I know many attorneys who have never stepped foot in court, and never plan to.
« on: August 12, 2015, 12:11:36 PM »
"telling them ABA or no way is a disservice IMO"
I don't think I do that. But I would say that it is a very, very rare person for whom a non-ABA school is a better alternative. And I wouldn't be giving advice such as you were giving- instead, I would be upfront as you were in the last post (20-1 odds again, probably no job), before saying that it might make sense, if you are just the right type of unique snowflake.
Overall, I am agnostic about the future of accreditation, distance learning, etc. But I prefer advice that is descriptive rather than normative. And for the vast majority of people, going to a non-accredited school is a bad decision (unless you don't particularly want or need to practice law). To use an analogy- just because there are example of people that make a career out of the NBA, doesn't mean I suggest that everyone in middle school can make it to the NBA. If you want to be a practicing attorney, you significantly increase your odds by going to an ABA-accredited school. I think people can make reasonable arguments about the barriers to entry, but they exist currently. And I think you can point to people that have succeeded from non-ABA schools (but not Orly Taitz, please), but they are exceptions. Maybe this will change, but I wouldn't bet *my* future on it.
« on: August 12, 2015, 10:48:18 AM »
I think you are missing, well, a lot of points. I have already covered what you discussed, twice. Anyone who has been through law school has encountered Sperry v. Florida ex rel. Florida Bar, 373 U.S. 379 (1963) and its progeny.
However, your "sweeping generalizations" about the protections afforded by, inter alia, not meeting clients face to face and just trying to avoid bar licensing requirements are dangerous. Telling people not to worry about bar licensing requirements because they can look forward to a career litigating exclusively federal claims is disingenuous.
I will reiterate- don't give bad advice. The best advice, if you don't want to worry about a severe lack of career options, is to attend an ABA-accredited school. If you attend a school that is not ABA-accredited, you should understand that your options may be very limited, and you should have identifiable goals (in terms of jurisdiction and career options) prior to attending, and research same. But if you have some type of nebulous, "Maybe I'll be a public defender, or try to work at BigLaw(tm), or patent law sounds interesting, and what's this I hear about trust..." then you're doing it very, very, very wrong.
This may change in the future. But that future is not today.
« on: August 12, 2015, 09:59:48 AM »
I'm not entirely sure where this conversation went awry, but it does seem like you're very close to giving advice to people out there that they do not have to follow the bar rules of jurisdictions, and, moreover, that these types of ethical constraints are just old fashioned. This might be true, but they exist, and if you are what your name says (a legal practitioner), I find it hard to believe that you would knowingly counsel people to engage in the unauthorized practice of law.
I think the more appropriate answer is that if a person really wants to practice law, they should go to an ABA-approved law school. If they are considering a non-traditional option, they should fully educate themselves on the various barriers to entry in the profession, and match those with their desired objectives. This includes paying attention to jurisdiction-specific rules, as well as desired future employment.
These things may change in the future; that said, I do not find your assertions... reassuring.
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