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Messages - Maintain FL 350

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General Off-Topic Board / Re: Who Should Pay Attention to Rankings?
« on: June 15, 2015, 11:24:45 AM »
Loki, I understand what you're saying and I think that's sort of what the author was saying, too.

I do think the rankings have some utility, but most 0Ls don't understand the limitations or context required to make sense of them. If Michigan is consistently ranked in the top 10, for example, then of course that indicates a strong national reputation and it does allow the 0L to get a basic picture of which schools are national and which are not.

The problem that the author has pointed out is that all schools are ranked on a national scale, which makes it nearly meaningless once you get past the T20 or so since the vast majority of schools don't have a national reputation, and their graduates will stay in the immediate area.

The harm caused by this scheme is that a law student in Montana will look at the rankings and go "Wow, University of Montana is only ranked #100 (or whatever it is). I better go to Ohio State instead, because that's ranked 40." But, Montana has a great in state rep, which isn't reflected in the rankings.

Frankly, I'm not even sure about some of the schools in the T15-25. They seem more like strong regional schools rather than truly national schools.

Anyway, maybe part of the fault lies with students who need to make an attempt to understand the context better, or maybe the rankings should be based on region after the T14. Either way, it really does seem meaningless once you get into the details of #77 vs. #93, and yet people are making life decisions based on this stuff.

Talked to a rep about Smarter Review Cheat Sheets.  He told me that if a Cheat Sheet "can't help [me] we'll buy you a new car."  I got a Cheat Sheet.  Is that a binding agreement?  Do I have to fail to get the car?

Well, if the car's value is over $500 the UCC SOF kicks in and it has to be writing. Besides, it's a joke (although...Lucy v Zehmer!).

I don't think the OP is talking about actually cheating, I think that's just the name of the company. But anyway, cheating on the bar? You'd have to be out of your mind. I can't speak for other states, but in CA the proctoring was pretty intense. You would get caught, and you would throw away three years of law school.

I'm positive that we were NOT allowed to check anything during the exam. Again, maybe this varies by state.

As far as cheating in law school, I'm sure it happened occasionally but it was not common at my school. In fact, the general attitude was that we would happily turn in fellow students for cheating. There was one incident where a few people got caught cheating on a Contracts exam, and it was a huge deal. They were booted and/or voluntarily left law school. After that, people were pissed off and watched for cheating. 

Remember EVEN IF you want to move to another state to practice post graduation, if you are already licensed in WI then you can do "licensed in any state" type temp jobs and make a few extra bucks while in the limbo of post exam but waiting for results (or god forbid repeating exams)

What are those jobs? I don't mean that in a snarky way, I mean I've just never seen that particular phrase in the job ads. Federal stuff, maybe?

General Off-Topic Board / Re: Who Should Pay Attention to Rankings?
« on: June 11, 2015, 02:52:51 PM »
I think that even local/regional competition can be overstated, depending on the market. I mean, are CUNY and NYU grads really going to be in direct competition with each other just because they're in the same city? Or Boalt grads vs. Golden Gate grads? In most cases I doubt it.

They will likely be vying for different jobs regardless of location. The GGU grad is not going to be competing for a Biglaw job (usually) and the Boalt grad isn't going to be looking at small DUI defense firms. There is some overlap in jobs like PD/DA/County Counsel, etc., but most new law grads are probably going to be competing against other applicants from peer institutions.

General Off-Topic Board / Who Should Pay Attention to Rankings?
« on: June 11, 2015, 11:16:14 AM »
Interesting article from Above the Law on who should or shouldn't worry about rankings. The basic idea seems to mirror what most attorneys say: unless you're in the running for Yale, look local.

If you go to a Wisconsin school you can avoid the bar exam. Even if you want to practice out of state, just practice in state for a few years first.

Seeing how some states are down to a coin toss or less on bar pass rates lately.........factor that in.

I wouldn't go to law in WI just to avoid the OR bar exam, though. That's an awful long time to sit in the snow waiting to return to the rain. You'd be better off just preparing hard for the OR bar.

Besides, does WI even have reciprocity with OR? You may have to take the bar anyway. 

The major points of your question have already been addressed, and I agree. If you want to live in Portland, L&C. For that matter, Willamette or Gonzaga would also be preferable to UW, in my opinion.

This is a great example of why the rankings do such a disservice to so many law school applicants. The rankings give the erroneous impression that all law schools (and thus, their graduates) will be evaluated according to rank only, without considerations for location and local reputation.

Here's the thing that a lot of 0Ls don't get: there is a HUGE difference between an elite school and a "good" school. Harvard and Yale are elite, and a Harvard/Yale pedigree is universally recognized as badass. UW is a good school, no doubt about it. We've all heard of it, and we all know it offers a solid legal education. According to USNWR (and a bunch of 0Ls on the interwebs), it should also be considered "better" than say, L&C.

The problem is that although it's good it's not elite, and once you get away from the elite schools rankings are subject to local distinctions.

So, if you're applying for a job in Portland no one is going to go "Oh my God, Wisconsin! They're ranked #31! That's way better than L&C! I'm hiring the Wisconsin grad based on pedigree and rankings alone." Not gonna happen. If you were comparing L&C with Harvard, Stanford, or even say, Virginia, then yes, the pedigree alone would be decisive.

A L&C grad with relevant local experience, connections, and a degree from a well respected local law school will have a distinct advantage over an out of state grad with a good but not exactly elite law degree.

Does that mean that a UW grad can't get hired in Portland? Of course not, but you'd have to seriously hustle and make your own luck.

Something else to SERIOUSLY consider. It looks like you'd be paying close to full price at either school. Have you looked into starting salaries in Portland and the Midwest? Can you afford to service that kind of debt on an average salary? If not, you need to be looking at scholarships and possibly even reapplying and waiting a year. I used to live in OR, and starting salaries at small/mid/govt were not great. 

General Board / Re: Stay or leave?
« on: June 05, 2015, 12:19:29 PM »
As Groundhog said, the curve at your particular school can vary greatly and determines your class rank. Your GPA could place you anywhere from the bottom 25% to the top 25%. However, you are probably ranked somewhere in the middle along with the majority of your classmates. 

If your GPA is the only reason you are considering dropping out, then I would say NO, don't do it! If you hate law school (sounds like you don't) or are resolutely against anything other than a Biglaw/federal job, that's a different story. But dropping out over a 2.9? No way. You have many good opportunities still open.

That said, here's some reality:

With an average GPA from a non-elite school you are almost certainly not going to be in the running for Biglaw, a federal position such as US Attorney, or a judicial clerkship. Those jobs are crazy competitive, and that's just how it is. I have no idea where you are located, but you may also have difficulty moving to another major city outside of your immediate geographical location. In other words, if you are ranked middle of the pack at University of Oklahoma that's probably not a big deal when you're looking at local govt and midsized firms in Tulsa. It is a big deal if you want to move to LA or NYC.

So, what you're realistically looking at in terms of post grad employment are small firms, local govt agencies like DA/PD (although these can be very competitive), and maybe midsized firms. If you can be happy drafting wills, reviewing contracts between small businesses, and defending DUIs, then great. If that is anathema to you and you will only be happy with the prestige of a big firm, well . . .

The vast majority of people are a bit shocked when first year grades come out. You work ten times harder than you did in undergrad, and you get Cs and maybe Bs. It's brutal, but that's law school. Don't feel bad about it, just recalibrate your goals and expectations.

My experience with mediation and arbitration has been that lawyers acting in that capacity are usually pretty experienced. I've never heard of someone getting into either field straight out of law school, but I could be wrong. Arbitrators are often retired judges, mediators are usually seasoned lawyers.

If you can participate, why not? You may get lucky, and at the very least you might make some contacts.

I really lack perspective on what grades are considered good, bad, or just average. So do you have to get a C to be considered in trouble?

Again, it really varies from school to school. LOTS of law students get Cs, which isn't necessarily bad. Remember, Cs are supposed to be average! The absurd grade inflation at undergrad programs has given everyone the impression that you're supposed to get a B for showing up. Not in law school. It's all about class rank, though.

Keep in mind that your grades will really only matter when it comes to getting your first job. After that, employers want to know what you've been doing with your degree, not what grade you got in Civ Pro. Do what you need to do to get a job that allows you to build up some experience, and use that to build a career block by block. Your first job doesn't have to be your dream job, it's a stepping stone and an opportunity.

Transferring / Re: Just drop out instead
« on: June 04, 2015, 11:57:58 AM »
I guess it depends on why someone is considering transferring, but this would be a really bad move for the vast majority of students.

First, good luck finding a lawyer or judge to sponsor your studies. I can't speak for NY, but in CA the supervising lawyer has to send in timesheets to the bar certifying that they've taught you X number of hours in Torts, X hours in Contracts, supervised exams, etc. It's not as freewheeling as people think, and most lawyers don't have the time or interest in spending half their day teaching law to someone. That's why even in CA only a tiny handful of people (like 4 or 5 a year) go this route.

Second, this type of study will not sufficiently prepare most students for the bar exam. The bar pass rates are close to zero.

Last, most employers will not hire you without a JD. If you plan on a solo practice, I guess that doesn't matter.

Bottom line, if you can't handle the rigors of traditional law school then there is no reason to think that this would be a viable alternative. If anything, it's a more difficult route and requires even greater discipline and brain power to succeed.   


There's a lot to address here, so I'm going to be pretty general.

First, in order to have a shot at readmission to your current school or transferring to another school you're going to have to convince them that your 1L problems won't be repeated. Simply reapplying without a clear plan for future success will be a problem.

They're going to want to see (at least) that you've identified the problems and have a plan to deal with them. Incidentally, you should want this too. It's necessary for success.

Second, it sounds like you haven't really done that yet. You stated that you changed things after the first semester but still had low grades. Clearly, something else needs to change. Until you figure that out, reapplying is putting the cart before the horse. I completely understand how anxious you must be to get back in the game, but unless you figure this out you're likely to have a repeat.

Lastly, this is a concern:

Issue (2): I am tired of having my soul crushed,  and swallowing my pride. Although my school is in the same state it is kind of far from the city where I want to practice.  The kids here are all way too smart and competitive. I have never been a "try hard" and I do not intend on starting now.

I'm not exactly sure what a "try hard" is, but if you mean that you are not willing to absolutely work your butt off then you need to seriously consider whether or not this is the right profession for you. It's not going to get easier. Not when you take the bar, and not as an attorney. Law school success is only partly based on intellectual prowess. Hard work (as cliché as this may sound) really is the key ingredient.

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