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Messages - Maintain FL 350
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« on: March 04, 2014, 12:50:40 PM »
I want to practice family law. I got a special certification in family law and am now VOLUNTEERING for around 50 hours a week at a family law firm. Obviously, I'm not waiting for things to be handed to me, but rather am working as hard as I can (and trying to learn as much as I can).
Without trying to sound condescending or critical, there are some aspects to your approach that strike me as counterproductive. Volunteering
If you have a JD and have passed the bar you should not be volunteering 50 hours a week. Maybe volunteering 10-20 hours per week is OK to gain experience and learn the law, but the rest of your time should be spent trying to get a practice going.
Even if you get one client per month, or only bill 10 hours per month, you'd be better off than giving away your time for free. I would really focus my attention on how the firm gets clients, how referrals work, etc.
I understand that it's tough to find clients and to navigate the system without guidance, but you are a lawyer. You know how to learn the law, and you can talk to others who have started solo practices. Spending 50 hours a week volunteering is crazy, in my opinion. Family Law
You may need to branch out. Take DUI cases, worker's comp cases, social security administration cases, and family law cases. As a new lawyer you can't afford to be too picky, and it's all good experience. Talk to solo practitioners and see how they did it.
I don't doubt that you have the motivation and intelligence to succeed, but your approach does seem flawed. You're spending inordinate amounts of time on a path that will likely not produce results.
Lastly, consider moving if necessary. Other than that, I don't know what to tell you. Law is a business like any other and you aren't guaranteed a job. You will have to make your own luck.
« on: March 03, 2014, 04:42:38 PM »
BTW, some of the CBE schools in southern California are Glendale College of Law, University of West Los Angeles, Santa Barbara, Ventura, and there's one in Long Beach but I can't remember it's name. Some have decent bar pass rates and good connections to the local bar, others don't. Check them out individually.
There are also a few ABA schools (in addition to the ones you mentioned) which might accept someone with a 2.8 GPA, as long as it was accompanied by a decent LSAT score. These would include La Verne, Western State, and (in San Diego) Thomas Jefferson and Cal Western.
« on: March 03, 2014, 03:18:12 PM »
Go to the California State bar website, they have a list of all ABA, CBE (state accredited), and non-accredited schools.
If you are interested in the CBE schools, take a look at some of the threads on this site regarding them. They can be the right choice for the right student, but it is imperative that you understand the potential limitations of such a degree.
The biggest is that many states won't let you practice, so if you plan on leaving CA that's a problem. Another is that many firms and government offices won't hire a non-ABA grad. However, others will. If you plan on solo practice, that won't matter anyway. Just be sure to look into all aspects.
« on: March 03, 2014, 12:24:43 PM »
Before I go any further, let me say that without a real LSAT score everything is speculative. It's difficult to guess what your eventual LSAT score will be, and most people grossly overestimate their abilities.
With a 2.8/163 you have very little chance at UCLA.
LMU, Pepperdine, USD, and UH (Hawaii?) are also longshots. Your speculative 163 would be average for those schools, but your 2.8 is significantly below average.
Santa Clara would also be a longshot. Southwestern, Chapman, and McGeorge are possibilities. You'd have a decent shot at all three. BYU is tough to get into, you'd need around a 3.5/165.
As a non-traditional student you should be thinking more about your post law school goals rather than which specific school you'll attend, and let that determine your choice of school. If you're going to be 45 and just starting out in law, you don't want a $150,000 debt hanging over your head 20 years before retirement. I would suggest studying like crazy for the LSAT and using your score to secure a scholarship offer, rather than seeking mere admission (without a scholarship) to a higher ranked school.
If your goal is to work for a small firm or solo practice, you do not need a degree from a high ranked school. As another poster mentioned, you may be the kind of student who should look into the California accredited law schools. You'll save $70,000 - 100,000. That savings may be worth more than any slight reputational advantage gained by attending a lower ranked ABA school.
One thing to understand is that the importance of your pedigree is directly proportionate to it's prestige. In other words, a Harvard degree may be worth $150,000 because it's Harvard and will open doors. When it comes to schools like Chapman, McGeorge, and Southwestern, most employers view them as interchangeable. They all exist on the same level, more or less. I would take the cheapest one.
Lastly, spend a little time checking out life at small firms and solo practices before you invest the time and money. Make sure it's for you. I went to law school when I was a little older too, and I can tell you from experience that you should only do this if you are absolutely 100% committed. It is a grind, and after law school you will still have to tackle the bar exam.
Good Luck with your decision!
« on: February 25, 2014, 03:31:25 PM »
The addendum is probably sufficient for the purposes of law school admission, but I would highly advise contacting your state bar and asking about their admission requirements.
There is variation among the state bars as to how much this type of thing will affect you. In some states an explanation and proof that you fulfilled any requirements may be all that is needed. In other states, these types of things could delay your admission for a long time.
Law schools may be willing to admit you and to accept your money for three years, whereas the bar may not. Definitely check into it before you spend the tuition.
« on: February 25, 2014, 12:52:23 PM »
I strongly disagree with the above replies. I graduated two years ago from a tier-1 school, did an externship with a federal judge, completed a certification in my desired field, volunteered to do pro-bono work, and still have not been able to find a real job. Although its true that the job market for young professionals is generally weak, the legal job market is particularly bad. Anyone thinking of going to law school now is a real fool.
Well, I don't know the details of situation but have you considered moving to different area? Or opening a solo practice? Or starting a small firm with friends from law school?
Look, it's tough out there and I completely get that. But I know people who graduated from T4 schools in the last couple of years, and have successful practices. Clearly it can be done. I think the key to develop skills that actually translate into gaining clients and learning how to practice law.
« on: February 25, 2014, 12:44:10 PM »
Interesting list, thanks for providing it.
It is a sad state of affairs when some of the most expensive law schools in the state are PUBLIC institutions. The costs for legal education have gone so through the roof that it's absurd. There is literally not one reasonably priced law school in California.
I agree with Citylaw that a CBE school can be the right choice for the right student, as long as they understand the potential limitations. I've met plenty of very successful CBE grads.
That said, I am little bothered that the CBE schools are now only comparatively inexpensive. $60,000 - $70,000 is not exactly pocket change, and is far more expensive than many public ABA schools outside of California.
« on: February 18, 2014, 12:35:18 PM »
The RAP is a perpetual headache, and that's about it.
Law schools spend so much time torturing students with this medieval artifact, and the irony is that most states have simply enacted statutes to deal with the problem. My property professor and my wills and trusts professor were both obsessed with the RAP, and I spent countless hours trying to identify validating lives and pregnant octogenarians. Then, when I took the bar exam, the RAP came up a handful of times on a few MBEs and that was it.
This is a good example of what's wrong with a lot of legal education. It often has very little real world application.
« on: February 15, 2014, 01:00:56 PM »
If you have the numbers to get a scholarship to Cornell, then you might very well be able to get a full ride at many other perfectly respectable law schools.
I think your choice of law school really should take into consideration what you want to do after law school. Biglaw is a shrinking field, and won't be an option for the vast majority of law grads even from places like Cornell. For other jobs, you don't necessarily need a Cornell degree but at the same time, hell, it's Cornell!
There are very few schools that have truly national reputations and whose pedigree alone will open doors. Cornell is one of those schools.
However, if you are interested in jobs that don't necessarily require that kind of degree, then a degree from a very good regional school and without debt may be a better option.
Unless you're in a rush to start, I would at least apply to a few other places and see what happens. I understand the draw to someplace like Cornell, but having zero debt can be nice too!
Hope that helps, and Good Luck!
« on: February 15, 2014, 12:49:49 PM »
Miami88 has already offered excellent advice, I just wanted to add that until you have an actual LSAT score everything is speculative. The LSAT is such a huge factor in law school admissions that without knowing exactly where you stand all you can do is guess.
With a 3.1 and a very high LSAT score (say, 170ish) you may be able to get into a few of the lower Top 25.
Here's something to consider, however. There is nothing magical about a school being in the Top 25. Some of those schools (like Harvard, Yale, and Stanford) are elite, internationally recognized institutions and the pedigree alone is a huge benefit.
However, not all Top 25 schools are created the same. Some, like Harvard, Yale, and Stanford are truly elite schools and the pedigree alone is a huge benefit. Others are more like very good regional schools. Regardless of their inclusion on a made up list of schools they will never have the same cache as the truly elite schools.
When it comes to those schools, I'm not sure that the employment outlook is necessarily all that much better than the next tier of schools. Also, look closely at the employment data. Schools at the middle to bottom of the Top 25 are likely to have employment prospects which are much more localized than the elite schools.
For example, I think Emory is now in the coveted Top 25. that does not mean that firms from LA, NYC, and Washington D.C. are flocking to Atlanta to hire graduates. I can tell you that in my hometown of LA, a Loyola or Pepperdine grad with good grades would probably have a better chance at getting hired than an Emory grad with average grades, maybe even with very good grades.
So, even if you're admitted to some school that is ranked somewhere in the Top 25, but it's not a Harvard/Yale type place, you still need to think about location and cost.
Hope that helps, and Good Luck!
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