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Messages - Maintain FL 350

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Golden Gate / Re: Going to Golden Gate
« on: June 19, 2012, 02:23:19 AM »
I did not attend GGU, so I can't speak to the specifics of their program. I'd be willing to bet, that GGU works pretty much like any other law school. Total cost of attendance (based on thte per unit cost) is around $118,000. Throw in few grand extra for books, etc. Some people will have that significantly reduced by scholarships, which are probably based almost solely on GPA and (especially) LSAT. This is just a guess, but looking at GGU's admissions profile, and based on what I've seen at other T4 schools, an applicant with a 160-165 could probably get at least a 50% scholarship, and someone with a high 160s could probably get a full ride. Again, this is just a guess. I might be totally wrong.

People with those kinds of LSAT scores make up a small percentage of GGU's student body, however. Many more students are probably be offered scholarships in the 5-25% range. A huge issue with all law schools is scholarship retention. Schools routinely hand out big scholarships to entice well qualified students to attend, but place difficult stipulations on them. I had to rank in the top 15% after my first year in order to retain the entire amount of scholarship, for example. It's rare that any law school will simply hand out a scholarship without some kind of GPA/ranking requirement. One effect of these policies is that they make it difficult to predict how much law school will actually cost, because it's very difficult to predict how you will perform. 

Another thing to consider is that tuition always goes up, never down. Usually scholarships are for a set dollar amount, not a percentage of tuition. Therefore you will likely pay several thousand extra. My guess is that alot of people at GGU end up owing pretty close to that 118k sticker price when you factor in loss of scholarships, tuition increases, and living expenses. If you're interested in going, try to get the highest LSAT that you possibly can. In my experience a high LSAT will trump a high GPA.

General board for soon-to-be 1Ls / Re: Solo Practice Advice
« on: June 16, 2012, 04:22:21 PM »
I have not started a solo practice, but I worked at a small firm during college. When I started the firm was just a year old and comprised of two lawyers, both about three years out of law school. They had both obtained experience in civil litigation with mid/big firms before striking out on their own. Within another year they grew to five lawyers, and focused on entertainment.

The biggest hurdle (not surprisingly) was getting clients. They wanted to do entertainment law and had some great contacts in the industry, but still took in cases ranging from business disputes to divorce. I remember that they spent at least as much time drumming up business as they did billing hours. It was tough, and they worked very, very long hours. When you don't have much of reputation it can be difficult to obtain referrals, so they were constantly working to make contacts at local bar meetings, civic organizations, you name it. They kept costs down by doing most of the secretarial/paralegal work themselves.

All of the attorneys at that office knew that the needed to build up a good rep, and they went the extra mile to provide truly excellent service. By the time I left the referrals were starting to come in and they firm was growing.

B.S. in Asian Sexual Migratory Patterns. Who cares what any of us majored in? The vast majority of law school students come from liberal arts programs. Go figure.  ;)

Participation in the discussion is voluntary, if you don't want to respond, don't. But why be obnoxious? You look absurd when you respond to something that you claim not to care about.

I majored in history.

LSAT horror stories / Re: LSAT means nothing in the big picture
« on: June 16, 2012, 03:29:58 PM »
The LSAT is not a perfect predictor of law school success, but it's not meaningless, either. The LSAT tests the type of logical reasoning and reading comprehension which are essential to law school success. It also tests how well the taker is able to prepare and to master new concepts. If the correlation between high LSAT scores and law school performance wasn't well established, why would law schools offer scholarships to applicants with high scores?

The law schools can simply look at the statistical data from previous classes and see the correlation between LSAT score, grades, and bar pass rates. They want students who will pass the bar the first time, and LSAT scores are indicative of this. 

Does any of this mean that a low LSAT score guarantees failure in law school or in legal practice? No, of course not. Anyone can have a bad morning and get a low score, but no one accidentally scores 170. A high LSAT score is a decent predictor of potential.

Much better.

All I have to do to keep my scholarship is stay in the top 20% of my class, and based on my academic performance I can even receive more money

I know nothing about you or your abilities, OP, but staying in the top 20% of your class at any law school is no small feat. I'm not saying you can't do it, just be aware that you may lose that scholarship and will have to decide whether to continue at Brooklyn or not. In law school you won't be competing against slackers like you were in undergrad. Those people have already been weeded out. Pretty much everyone in your class will be smart, accomplished, and ambitious. In other words, just like you. Many of them will be competing to retain their own scholarships as well.

Law school is competitive in a way thats hard to describe. It's very different from undergrad and its difficult to predict how you will perform. Again, I'm not saying you can't do it, but top 20% is no joke. You could try to negotiate better terms with Brooklyn. Maybe shoot for scholarship retention based on good standing or at least top half. It's worth a shot.

A couple of things to consider:

What are the stipulations on Brooklyn's offer? If they're generous and the scholarship is relatively easy to keep, that makes the Brooklyn offer more attractive. If the offer requires you to maintain a high class rank, that's obviously less attractive since you may lose it anyway.

What do you want to do after law school? If you want biglaw or a prestigious federal job, Fordham might offer a better chance assuming you perform very well once you're there. Performing well in law school is very different from performing well in undergrad, it's much more difficult to predict. If your goal is smaller firms or local govt jobs, Brooklyn might be just fine.

The real issue is debt. I'm not very familiar with the NY market, but I doubt that Fordham is really worth 200k compared to a full ride at Brooklyn. Fordham is ranked higher, but it's not an "elite" school, like Columbia or NYU. Most firms and agencies that will hire someone from Fordham will probably also hire someone from Brooklyn. If you were contemplating a full ride at Brooklyn vs. sticker price at NYU/Columbia, that would be a different story and I'd say go for the elite institution. It's important to be entirely realistic about how much a degree from a particular school will help you. I don't doubt that Fordham has a better overall reputation, but 200k worth of debt is a huge gorilla on your back after graduation. Less debt (or no debt!) from Brooklyn will give you much needed flexibility after law school. In this market you need to be competitive and adaptable, not chained to a debt which limits your options.

Good Luck!

"The weird, loud, obnoxious, snobby guy in the back ususally didn't find employment." I love it! That describes about half the people I went to law school with.

OP: I don't live in NY and I have no experience with the NY market, but if a firm or government agency is willing to hire from St. John's wouldn't they be willing to hire from Brooklyn? The possibility of retaining the $$$ at Brooklyn is much better, and less debt will give you greater freedom and less stress after graduation. Something to think about.

General Board / Re: 2011 Employment Prospects worst in 18 Years
« on: June 12, 2012, 06:27:15 PM »
Those numbers don't surprise me one bit. The market is bad right now, and may remain that way for years. I wonder, however, how many recent grads simply refuse to accept jobs that they think are "beneath" them? Do alot of young grads have a $$$ figure in mind, and refuse to work for less? I'm also surpised by how many grads refuse to go into solo practice. Don't get me wrong, I'm fully aware of how tough it would be to start up a solo practice fresh out of law school. But if I'd been looking for a job unsuccessfully for nine months, I'd take anything.

There are some jobs that aren't worth taking, or are actually bigger resume killers than being unemployed. The market is the market - if there were jobs out there worth taking, people would take them. There isn't some mass boycott of worthwhile jobs being turned down out of some sense of entitlement, as you seem to be implying. To the extent there are jobs out there that are going unfilled, the market has deemed them worthless.

I certainly don't mean to imply that there is some "mass boycott of worthwhile jobs". Obviously, the vast majority of law school grads would take a good job if offered one. I'm simply asking a question: are some people refusing to take crappy jobs because they think that they deserve better? Your comment that "some jobs aren't worth taking, or are actually bigger resume killers than being unemployed" seems to indicate that my suspicion is true. 

I've worked at both private firms and government law offices, and I can't think of a single legal job (including doc review) that looks worse on your resume than a huge blank spot. Please don't get me wrong, I completely understand the frustration and anger that someone can experience when they've spent 150k on a degree and aren't getting a good return on the investment.

I think that there are three basic problems: 1) a terrible economy,  2) huge student loan debts, and 3) unrealistic expectations. Many of the people I went to law school with were entirely unrealistic about their post-graduation options. They thought that a law degree guaranteed them a comfortable income right off the bat. They also accrued so much debt that only a high paying job could possibly service the payments.

The fact is, if you graduate in the bottom half of your class from a T2-T4 (maybe even some T1s!) you will need to hustle like crazy to get some experience during those first few years out of school so that you can eventually land a good job. You may need to move to another city or move in with your parents, you may need to take crummy DUI and PI cases, and you may have to work very long hours for very little pay. It sucks, but this is the reality of the situation. This is why I constantly urge people to research their post-law school options before accruing the debt, and to choose scholarships over rankings.

General Off-Topic Board / Re: mittster: satan?
« on: June 11, 2012, 09:54:12 PM »
I have a hard time telling Mitt and Obama apart.

One was born to a single mother, became editor of the Harvard Law Review and taught at the University of Chicago, and the other was born rich and doesn't give a crap about you.

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