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Messages - Maintain FL 350

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Job Search / Re: Re: Testing Period
« on: January 28, 2016, 05:28:39 PM »
I assume you're talking about a probationary period?

It's simply a specified period during which the firm is trying you out, seeing if you're a good fit. During the probationary period they can let you go if it's not going to work. 

Also, do you mean as a lawyer, or as a law student? The expectations will vary accordingly.

As far as expectations, they should be pretty clear on what experience you have and what your capabilities are based on the interview and resume. They'll probably ask you stuff like "Ever written an MSJ?", so there should be no surprises.

The level of guidance and help you'll get varies (unfortunately). I had a great experience as an intern during law school. The attorneys were awesome about really teaching me something. I got to write MSJs, make appearances, lots of good stuff. My wife had the opposite experience. She was stuck in an office and told to do stuff with almost no guidance, "Go figure it out." It just depends.

By the time you are a lawyer (even a brand new one working at your first job) you will be expected to perform most basic legal tasks with little or no supervision. When something is more complicated, you will seek advice from other lawyers. Again, the level of help you'll get varies widely. Some offices are great and have good training, others have a sink or swim attitude.

General Off-Topic Board / Re: Who would you hire?
« on: January 28, 2016, 05:15:08 PM »
But here's the salient difference- you're assuming that the average HLS grad isn't a hard worker. That's the opposite type of bias.

No, no. Quite the opposite. I have no doubt that the average HLS student is a very hard worker. I don't think anyone can earn the numeric qualifications to get into HLS without being a hard worker.

And I definitely understand your point regarding competition. A Harvard student is going to be graded in comparison to other very high caliber students.

But, I do wonder. If you are T14 student who doesn't care about law review, or gunning for some prestigious clerkship, is it really more difficult to get Cs at HLS than at the University of Kansas? I don't know, maybe it is. Maybe the competition is so talented that even getting a C requires far more work and intellectual acumen.

I know someone who graduated from Harvard and now teaches law. I'll ask what he thinks.

General Off-Topic Board / Re: Who would you hire?
« on: January 28, 2016, 02:44:06 PM »
Yeah, I essentially agree. I would never dismiss the accomplishment of getting accepted to a T14. These are the superstars among superstars. Anyone can have a bad day and get a 150, but nobody accidently gets 175.

Here's what I'm getting at:

I have no doubt that the "average" Harvard student is anything but average. I understand that they are very, very smart. But, as I get further into my career I see that lawyers who are smart enough + VERY hardworking are typically more productive employees than those who are VERY smart + average work ethic.

I've worked with T14 grads who sucked and non-ABA grads who kicked ass. Some T14 grads I've known were very smart but were not necessarily good employees. They were entitled, bored, felt that some work was beneath them, complained a lot. Of course, I've worked with other T14 grads who were excellent, dedicated, and put most of us to shame. It depends on the individual, I suppose.

So if the issue is who would make a better employee, I tend to think that the one who has shown exceptional motivation and discipline would be my choice, regardless of pedigree. I've never met a top 10 percenter from any school who wasn't insanely motivated.

General Off-Topic Board / Re: Who would you hire?
« on: January 27, 2016, 01:48:54 PM »
On the other hand, it is so difficult to get in, and the overall level (of instruction and peer level) is so high, that there are students that are average at a T14 that would have finished at the top of a T4 school.

To me that's the real issue. Is the overall quality of T14 students so high that an average-ranked T14 grad is essentially equivalent (or even superior) to a T4 valedictorian?

For example, I didn't attend Harvard so I have no idea what is required to earn a C in torts at HLS. But, is getting an A in torts at the University of New Mexico going to require a degree of intellectual firepower, discipline, and writing ability that would only get you a C at HLS? I understand that the pool of peers to which the Harvard student is being compared is of a very, very high caliber. But again, is it really that difficult to get Cs at HLS?

I really don't know, but I sort of doubt it. I have a suspicion that the student who consistently gets As at New Mexico is probably a harder worker and has more self discipline.

General Off-Topic Board / Re: Who would you hire?
« on: January 27, 2016, 01:34:29 PM »
Yes, I would agree that the Valedictorian vs. T14 scenario is not common. I mean, there are only so many valedictorians in the world, right?

But depending on where you work, similar matchups are not that uncommon. In large markets like LA it's not unusual for Biglaw and federal offices to get average ranked T14 applicants who are simply trying to trade on the name versus top 10% from say, Loyola or Pepperdine. 

General Off-Topic Board / Who would you hire?
« on: January 26, 2016, 06:03:14 PM »
Had lunch with a group of attorneys today, and this hypothetical came up (as it has before).

Lets say you were in charge of hiring a new associate. Who would you be more inclined to interview: a T14 grad ranked in the middle of the pack, or a T3-T4 valedictorian?

Our group was pretty academically diverse. We had T14 grads, T4 grads, and everything in between. Interestingly, the T4 grads seemed more likely to hire the T14 grad and the T14 guys were like "No way, take the higher ranked grad!".

One guy (a T14 grad) summed it up like this (I'm paraphrasing): the average T14 student and the T4 valedictorian are probably more or less intellectually equivalent. The difference is that the valedictorian works harder, and will probably be a more productive employee.   

I realize that there are many variables, but I think I agree with his assessment. It's far more competitive to get into a top school, but once you're there is it really that much more difficult to get average passing grades?

Politics and Law-Related News / Re: POTUS
« on: January 22, 2016, 12:16:26 PM »
Call me old fashioned here...............but "Better Dead Than Red" Mr. Sanders (all I am willing to say on the matter)

I don't necessarily disagree with Sanders on certain issues, and I don't think he's "red". For example, I think it's absurd that the richest country in the world doesn't have a comprehensive public healthcare system. We have a patchwork of policies and agencies that sort of form a national healthcare system. Seems silly.

But he is very much like modern European democratic socialists, which is fine as long as you're realistic about the costs and limitations.

The countries which have successfully adopted this model tend to be very small (5-20 million) and have very high taxes. I don't know if people like Sanders have ever really considered the implications of trying to establish such a system in a diverse nation of 350 million. To my knowledge, it has never happened.

Another point that I think American socialists don't realize is this:

The European welfare state system did not create the high standard of living that many enjoy, so much as it preserved what was already in place.

For example, Sweden already had a very high standard of living and a highly educated, mostly middle class, populace by the time the welfare state really kicked in (1960s and 70s). That's not the case in America. We have poverty and socio-economic disparity totally unlike anything Scandinavia can imagine. People like Sanders are expecting an American welfare state to fix that, but I'm not sure how realistic it is.

Politics and Law-Related News / Re: POTUS
« on: January 21, 2016, 05:42:39 PM »
Yeah, I more or less agree. Sanders is an honest guy, and his heart is definitely in the right place. But as you say it's not very realistic at this point.

For example, I constantly see people posting stuff on social media about the awesomeness of the democratic socialist EU countries (Finland, Ireland, Denmark, etc). "In Denmark the minimum wage is $20 an hour and universities are free!" Well, I actually know something about these countries (I'm a dual citizen with one), and here's the point the memes always omit: the average joe in those countries pays 50% in taxes.

Not millionaires, not CEOs with yachts, but average people. Bernie says he can do it by just taxing the rich, but I don't buy it. Sweden wasn't able to sustain the welfare state by only taxing ABBA, and neither will we. Sooner or later, the kinds of programs that Bernie wants will require the average middle class American to pay much higher taxes. And at that point, he will be the most unpopular man in America.

Also, they have rather draconian immigration policies which are designed to limit the number of people who can access the welfare state. Try emigrating to Norway sometime and let me know how it goes. I assume this is not something Bernie is interested in emulating.

Job Search / Re: 2L Summer & Post-Grad Employment Search & Alternatives
« on: January 21, 2016, 02:05:35 PM »
Yea I'm not at Berkeley or Stanford. (Wish I was). I'm at UC Hastings. So certainly not a Berkeley or Stanford but better than a GGU?

Hastings is a solid, well established school with a good reputation throughout California (and my better half's alma mater to boot!). That will certainly not hurt you.

Incidentally, I have nothing against GGU either. I've met GGU grads who were great attorneys and cool people, and I've met T14 grads who were clueless douchebags. Just depends.

Do you know of any looking to hire or recommend any firms that you would recommend I reach out to?

No, I don't. I think Citylaw offered a great opportunity with the basketball league. Seriously, stuff like that is a great way to meet people and to make connections. Look for similar stuff in the Eastbay.

For the resume drops, would you recommend calling them first? Or just showing up and dropping off a resume? Like will the receptionist actually pass the resume on? And do people still print on the nicer paper for resume or is that viewed as pompous these days?

Try to get a feel for the firm, some are more formal and some are more casual. Personally, I think it's OK to just drop it off. If it's a small office you may get a few minutes with a partner, maybe not.

If the receptionist says "Alright, thanks" and shows you the door, don't push it. Be polite and professional, dress nice. At larger firms it's unlikely you'll get past the receptionist. If you want to call first that's fine, but understand that they will probably just tell you to mail it in. Others here may have a different opinion, this is just my personal view.

I've been meaning to ask about legal experience. Does it need to be relevant? Like if I take a position at a family law firm for example, but let's say I want to do corporate or business law in the long run and be in-house down the road. Will it look odd on the resume? Will it box me into family law or whatever area of law I intern for?

The answer is a qualified "no", BUT...

You will obviously be far more likely to get hired at a job if you have specific experience in that field.

If your first job is in family law, are you barred from ever working in corporate? No, I'm sure that some people make that leap, but why would they hire you when they have experienced applicants to choose from? It's not impossible, it's just harder. 

The other aspect is this: as you gain experience in a particular field, you will naturally gravitate towards jobs that need those skills. It's just easier. You already know the law and procedural stuff. If you do family law for a few years and want to make the jump to corporate, you're going to have to learn corporate law somehow.

I do people who have made the jump from stuff like family law to government positions (county counsel, city attorney, etc), but that's different. Even then there were similarities. Like they went from family law into setting up trusts on behalf of the state. Still somewhat related. 

If you can get into a firm that does general business litigation, contract disputes, that sort of thing, that can be a little more generally marketable. Stuff like family law, criminal law, juvenile law etc is more specific.

Again, just my opinion. Others here may have a different view.

Job Search / Re: 2L Summer & Post-Grad Employment Search & Alternatives
« on: January 21, 2016, 01:32:17 PM »
Unpopular thought but one I stand by, just take classes over the summer and get done faster

Yeah, maybe if you started taking summer classes after 1L, but at this point as a 2L is that really going to speed up graduation? You're probably only going to be able to take what, two or three classes? I don't think it would enough to get you out a semester early.

Second issue is this: you graduate early with no experience at all. Now what? Study for the bar and start becoming a "volunteer attorney" to get some experience? No thanks.   

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