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Messages - livinglegend

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Choosing the Right Law School / Re: Brooklyn Law vs. Fordham Law
« on: June 18, 2013, 11:14:33 AM »
First and foremost remember to take anything you read on this board or others from anonymous internet posters should be taken with a grain of salt my post included. Remember this is a life altering decision and I like anyone posting on this board knows nothing about you, your situation, or what is best for you.

With that said I see the typical 0L logic in your post placing rankings above everything and I can tell you when I was a 0L I made the same mistake and now as a lawyer I realize how flawed that logic was.

I tell any 0L to consider the following when choosing a law school in this order (1) Location (2) Cost (3) Personal Feeling about the school (4) the reality of legal education (5) and last and certainly lease U.S. News rankings and these reasons are analyzed below.

1) Location
Thankfully you are not getting to crazy with this and all your schools are in New York However, having lived by Fordham and Brooklyn law school I know the areas are very, very different. Fordham is in a beautiful part of Manhattan and Brooklyn is in a less than ideal neighborhood. However, you might like it a little grungy and not enjoy being near the symphony and so forth that is your own call.

Since all your schools are in New York this is not that big of a factor, but for other 0L's considering attending school in California or New York, Washington or Arkansas  etc etc realize living in Arkansas will be much different than Washington

2. Cost
I see you have the foresight to realize getting a full scholarship is great. However, one thing to be very careful about are the conditions attached to these scholarships. Often there will be a requirement that you need to maintain a 3.0 GPA or finish in the top 50% of the class or some other restriction. It is usually the 3.0 GPA requirement, which is very deceptive and law students do not realize until it is to late.

Now as an incoming law student I am sure you got a 3.0 in undergrad without breaking a sweat and assume the same will happen in law school. However, in law school everyone is smart, hard-working, and motivated. Not only that law school grading is far different and generally only 35% of the class can have a 3.0 at the end of 1L. 100% of law students at any ABA school are convinced they will be in the top 10% and there is certainly no way they would finish outside of the top 1/3 of the class, but 90% of those people will not finish in the top 10% and 66% will not finish in the top 1/3.

If the typical conditions apply to this scholarship then odds are you will lose it year 2 & 3 and pay full price. This NY times article does a pretty good job explaining the system .

Bottom line pay attention to the CONDITIONS and continue to negotiate for the most favorable terms possible. As you saw by your scholarship increase you have the leverage as a OL and they want you in there, but once your enrolled you have no bargaining power left so do not be afraid to push for more.

3) Personal Feeling About the School

I can tell you having been a OL and visited various schools and competed in mock trial competitions that every law school has a culture to it. I know I hated some schools and loved others, but you may hate what I love and love what I hate.

This is three years of your life, your money, and your legal career so visit the schools, talk to professors, look at the neighborhood, talk to students, admins, and so forth and get a feel for the school to see if you fit in. You may love Fordham or hate it that is your personal decision and only you know what you enjoy.

So really listen to your gut when visiting these schools.

4) Reality of legal Education
Another important thing to realize is that any ABA school you learn the same thing. Your first year will consist of torts, contracts, civil procedure, property, etc. In these classes you will read Supreme Court cases Pennoyver v. Neff in Civ Pro, Palsgraff in Torts, and the Supreme Court does not write separate opinions for everyschool and neither do textbook publishers. Whether you attend Fordham, Cardozo, or Brooklyn you will likely read from a Contracts text book written by Epstein and read Hadley v. Baxendale, also the hair hand case and so forth.

The law does not change and you will learn the same thing at any school. After three long years you will then decide whether to pay for Barbri or Kaplan for your bar review course along with all the students at Cardozo, Fordham, Brooklyn, NYLS, Touro, Pace, etc and then you will all be in a barbri lecture hall for the next few months and finally all of you will take the bar exam and you will not list what school you attended and it will be up to you personally to pass the bar. That is the reality of legal education.

5 Rankings
Remember that U.S. News is a for-profit, unregulated, magazine offering an opinion. You can take it or leave it there is no authority and U.S. News has identified New Mexico as the best place to live. they have a balloon festival and the writers of U.S. News decide that make it the best place to live. Are you going to move to NM because these writers said so? I would hope not.

Use the same logic when choosing a law school the rankings system makes very little sense and clearly Harvard, Yale, Stanford etc have pedigrees, but none of these schools will have people falling over themselves for you.  New York has Columbia, NYU, not to mention plenty of Harvard & Yale grads want to come along with Stanford, UCLA, and USC, Cornell, so forth and so forth Fordham, Cardozo, and Brooklyn do not have that sort of pedigree.

They will jump around from year to year in the rankings between 30-70 I would imagine and there is a good chance Brooklyn will be higher ranked than Cardozo by the time you graduate or vice versa.

Use your common sense when choosing a law school to many law students myself included over think the decision and make U.S. News their deciding factor, but a magazine should not be the basis for a life altering decision your own personal likes, dislikes, goals, etc should guide your decision.

Good luck whatever you decide.

I see no reason to drop out if you are enjoying law school. The situation is pretty common for most 1L's as 50% of your class finished in the bottom half of the class and I know when you start as 0L you are convinced you will be in the top 10% and there is certainly no way you would finish below the median, but it happens.

Is finishing in the bottom quarter of the class the end of the world? No once your in the real world as a lawyer in front of a judge etc a judge will not care if you got an A or C in contracts. You would rather do well of course, but once you graduate and pass the bar you get a bar card from your respective state. The bar card does not list what school you attended, what your class rank was, or anything like that you will either be licensed to practice law or you won't. If you got through first year there is a good chance you will be capable of passing the bar and once that happens your a lawyer.

With your class rank the only door that will be closed is a biglaw associate job, which you probably wouldn't get even if you were in the top 20% of the class and it doesn't sound like you even wanted that.

The above poster gives good advice live life for the final two years, study, do your best, but all things considered getting a B or C in torts will mean little in regards to your legal career.

If you hated law school and everything about the law I would say drop out, but it sounds like you are just discouraged by not having done as well as you expected, which is what happens in law school. As you probably noticed everyone in law school is smart, hard working, and motivated and there was a 90% chance you were not going to finish in the top 10% and a 50% chance you were going to finish in the bottom 50% of the class and there is no shame in that you got through 1L so congrats!

Maintain's advice is spot on and I am just going to add a bit for to it.

First and foremost congrats on getting into an ABA law school. Having gone through law school myself I can't tell you how many people I know that continually put off the LSAT or are never satisfied enough with their score. Furthermore, graduating college and scoring well enough on the LSAT to get into an ABA law school is an accomplishment I know on a lot of these boards you read how awful everything is, but people that sit around attacking people on the internet are typically not who you want to listen to.

A 3.8 or 3.6 with a 158 will not change your options much at all. However, what do you really want to happen if your goal is Harvard, Yale, UCLA, USC and you won't take anything less then retake the LSAT and with a 3.8 you might have a chance. However, there is a 95% chance you won't score in the top 95% of LSAT takers so those schools are probably out of reach.

As Maintain says and I can tell you from being a lawyer nobody even knows let alone cares about any ranking difference between Loyola, Pepperdine, Southwestern, etc none of those schools have employers begging to hire grads through OCI instead you are going to have to make your own luck, but it can certainly be done.

--Main Consideration--
I think if your ready to go to law school then you should go putting law school of for a year usually results in people never attending. If you have some plan or some solid reason for putting law school off then that is understandable, but at this time next year you will probably be in the same spot of choosing between USD, Loyola, Pepperdine, etc and you you will graduate in 2017 instead of 2016 and be one year behind in your career. Assuming you even end up going to law school.

On top of that life has a way of throwing things in the way and a year is a long time to wait. You may get into a relationship, get a new job, get a promotion at your current job, have a family emergency, or simply think about waiting for the same reasons next year and you may never end up going.

I think if you wait for everything to be perfect you will never get anything done and you have put in a lot of work to get a law school admission ticket. If you have visited the schools and have a good feeling about them go for it, but don't put your life on hold in hopes of getting into the 48th instead of the 64th school according to  on  U.S. News a for profit and unregulated magazine.

If you cannot see yourself attending Loyola, USD, Pepperdine, and would be miserable there then don't go to law school just for the sake of going, but from your post it sounds like these schools sound like good options, but you might get something better next cycle. However, with a much higher LSAT you will have these same options next year and again there is 95% chance you won't score in the top 95% on the LSAT.

Good luck whatever you decide

I believe Harvard and Michigan are extreme examples and if you went to Harvard or Yale you have a different path. I also think many more individuals who are more likely to plan a pregnancy or be wealth with no intention of practicing law would attend Detroit Mercy than Harvard. Furthermore, Harvard and Michigan have far more extensive alumni networks and keep in touch with their alumni by providing more events, etc.

I am going to guess the Harvard 10 year law school reunion has far more attendance than the Detroit Mercy 10 year reunion. Many of the tier 3-4 schools are commuter schools with part-time students who go in and go out. Harvard and Michigan have no part-time program and attract the typical overachieving 22 year old right out of college who aspires to work at Cravath. Where as Detroit Mercy, Golden Gate, or those sort of schools appeal to older who have had careers and want a law degree to open their own firm, or achieve their law school dream, or appeal to spouses of rich people who want to say they went to law school, but have no intention of practicing law.

I think each school has a very different culture and Harvard and Michigan have the traditional law school route and student. All the information books for 0L's etc are written for people who want to attend Harvard, Yale, Michigan, but only 5% of law school applicants can get into the top 10 schools because there are 200 ABA schools. The statistical measurements for Harvard, Yale, Stanford, in their current state work for the other 90% of law students it doesn't in my opinion.

Choosing the Right Law School / Re: GGU Law vs. USF Law
« on: June 13, 2013, 10:39:35 AM »
First off realize anything you read from anonymous internet posters myself included should be taken with a grain of salt. With that said I am a bay area attorney and am very familiar with all of these schools and I believe you are making the very common 0L mistake of placing far to much emphasis on rankings. I tell any 0L to consider the following factors when choosing their law school and thankfully an attorney told me these factors when I was a 0L before I made a life altering decision based on a  a for-profit, unregulated, magazine offering an opinion.

The factors are these and in this order (1) Location (2) Cost (3) Personal Feelings about the school (4) last and certainly lease U.S. News rankings. Then you also need to understand the reality of legal eduation and I will analyze all these factors below.

1. Location
This is by far the most important factor in your decision, but it sounds like you understand that to some extent as all your school are located in the Bay Area. However, there is a big difference between going to law school in Santa Clara oppoesd to San Francisco I went to a law school located in San Francisco and I never interned with Santa Clara grads in S.F. simply because the 1 hour commute to the City and Back was to much and I never took a job in the South Bay for the same reasons. On top of that Santa Clara is a little more isolated than USF or GGU and you will be spending three years of your life at these schools if you want more of a University environment then USF or Santa Clara are much more isolated while GGU and Hastings are in the heart of a City what you prefer is your choice.

Thankfully you are at least looking in the Bay Area I see plenty of posters and talk to OL's who are considering a school in Michigan or California and they don't seem to understand law school does not exist in a vacuum and sub-zero temperatures, midwest mentality and so forth are very different from California. Neither is right or wrong, but they are certainly different.

(2) Cost
A nearly full scholarship is something to consider, but check the conditions GGU like almost ever other school requires you to maintain a 3.0 GPA, which sounds like a breeze to every 0L and you were accepted to USF and waitlisted at Santa Clara so I'm sure in your mind you expect everyone at GGU will not be able to compete with you. However, I will tell you at GGU, USF, or Santa Clara or any ABA school everyone is smart, hard-working, motivated and sincerely believes they will be in the top 10% of the class, but 100% of people cannot be in the top 10%.

Also I am sure you got a 3.0 with ease in undergrad, but every law school has a curve and I believe GGU has the typical curve where only 35% of the 1L class can have a 3.0. This means there is a 65% chance you will not keep your scholarship for years 2 and 3. However, I would encourage you to negotiate for better conditions if you can get a guaranteed scholarship for all three years or make the requirement that you not finish in the bottom 25% of the class GGU can be a great option at that cost. Don't be scared to negotiate as you saw GGU changed their offer as soon as you rejected them and all the schools will. You are a paying customer and you have all the leverage as a 0L, but when you enroll they don't have to do you anymore favors. I would highly recommend you negotiate favorable terms for yourself it is something I did not do a great job of as OL.

Paying full price for any of these schools will be tough combined with San Francisco cost of living you will probably end up with over $200,000k in debt accruing interest at a rate between 5-8%. If GGU can get you out a lot lower then that may be a better option I personally don't think paying an extra $100,000 to say you went to the 86th best school instead of the 114th best school is worth it.

3. Personal Feelings About the School
This is also a major consideration each school has a vibe and I have been on the campus of all three schools and they are all different. I honestly did not like Santa Clara at all everybody felt stuck up and the campus was isolated and it was just not for me. Plenty of people love Santa Clara, but I am not one of them.

USF has a beautiful campus and it is pretty cool part of San Francisco, but I still get somewhat of stuck up vibe from that school.

GGU the campus is in the heart of downtown SF, which is a fun place to be, but the campus is ugly. However, I feel like the professors and students are all very down to earth and I enjoy interacting with most people there.

That is my opinion and you may think the USF campus is tacky and people at GGU are a-holes so I highly recommend you visit each school and see how you feel. This is going to be 3 years of your life, 100k of your money, and your legal education make sure you choose a school that works for you.

(4) U.S. News Rankings
When I was a OL I thought this was what you used to make your decision and if you were debating between Harvard and USF then use it. However, the rankings for schools outside of the top 10 or so do not matter particulary in San Francisco. You will be competing with Stanford and Berkeley grads locally not to mention plenty of Harvard, Yale, Columbia, and NYU grads want to move to San Francisco. If an employer really cares about prestige and rankings they will not hire you from Santa Clara, USF, or GGU for the firms like Cravath or O'Melveny & Meyers etc that truly care about rankings none of the schools you are looking at are even on their radar.

Not to mention U.S. News is a for-profit, unregulatd, magazine offering an opinion. They also rank more than law schools New Mexico is the best place to live according ot them here is the cite the reason is access to Golf Courses and Hot-Air Balloon Festivals etc. This is what the raters at U.S. News found to be important, but those things do not appeal to me and I am not going to move to New Mexico because U.S. News said to. I imagine you would not either so I highly recommend you use the same common sense when choosing your law school.

I see the mistake of putting rankings first and foremost far to often and I did it myself as a OL, but you will realize that not only are the rankings irrelevant, but they change year to year. For example when I was applying to law school USF was a top 100 school and U.S. News did not even rank past 100 then two years ago they started ranking to 145. USF in only a few years has dropped 50 spots, but nothing changed there and it has also gone up 50 spots.

Here is a graph to show how much these rankings change and remember they are based on nothing. Richmond for example went from 53 to 77 up down up down over 5 years. Nothing changes, but the rankings are based on people nationwide filling out a scantron that is it so please do not make a life altering decision particularly for schools of this caliber based on rankings.

5) Reality of Legal Education
My final point is this at GGU, USF, or Santa Clara you will recieve a quality legal education. Every ABA school teaches you the same exact thing your first year will consist of Torts, Contracts, Civil Procedure, Property, and Criminal Law or Con Law. You will read supreme court cases Palsgraf in Torts for Example Pennoyer v. Neff in Civil Procedure and believe it or not the Supreme Court does not write seperate opinons for different caliber law schools and the law does not change if you attended a tier 4 or tier 2 school.

When you graduate from any of these schools you will then sign up for a bar review class either BarBri or Kaplan and study alongside GGU, USF, Hastings, and Santa Clara Studnets and all of these schoosl have approximatley the same bar passage rate. If you pass you get a bar card if you don't whether your from Harvard or Golden Gate you don't and the bar is anonymously graded so they have no idea what school you went to.

Once you get a bar card your a lawyer plain and simple with the ability to represent clients and there are plenty of great lawyers from Santa Clara, GGU, and USF along with plenty of bad ones. So I highly recommend you visit the schools see what is a fit and really do your best to minimize your debt because the debt collectors won't care that you attended a Tier 2 instead of Tier 3 law school.

Hopefully some of that helps and congrats on your acceptances any of these schools can lead you to a successful legal career, but how it turns out depends much more on you than the name on your diploma.

This obsession with law school employment stats need to put to a stop at some point. Measuring how a law student is doing 9 months after graduation is ridiculous especially since there is no reporting requirement and not every person that attends law school is the same person. As I have mentioned in my class several girls not pregnant after graduation and did not take the bar exam until the following July. They were unemployed statistically, but they had planned pregnancies and wanted to be a mother first since the bar exam and legal jobs will always be there.

Still others came from wealth families and had no intention of every practicing law, others had 0 social skills, so on and so forth so to use some blanket statistic makes no sense. As a final point to this unlike other career fields such as when you graduate with a engineering degree there is no licensing exam you are ready to go. In the legal field you have to pass the bar to represent a client and you graduate in May take the bar in late July and results are released late October or Early November depening on the state.

This means you cannot even be licensed to practice law until 6 or 7 months after your graduation date whether you attended Harvard or Cooley if there is a job that requires bar passage you cannot be employed in that position until 6 or 7 months after graduation. When you get your license a week or two before Thanksgiving employers are not really looking to hire until January.

I can tell you when I graduated very few people except for myself got jobs in November, but almost every single one of my classmates got jobs in January assuming they passed the bar.

I just think these statistics are so misleading and paint such an untrue picture of the legal profession.

Well it sounds like you have a real passion for the law, which is something I do not see in a lot of the lawyers I work with. I will say it can be a very rewarding career, but it is difficult. As for law school admissions looking down on those who were dismissed I don't know if that is necessarily true across the board I am sure some schools think that way while others may respect your determination to come back and you could certainly address what you have learned in your personal statement.

As for the LSAT as you know that is nothing compared to a law school exam and the bar exam is the LSAT on Jose Canseco Steroids so be sure you are up to the challenge.

As for your questions?

1) Is it worth it financially
This is a big consideration law school is extremely expensive and you will lose three years of income. I am an attorney and I honestly believe I could have made more money had I pursued a different field, but I love my job and being a lawyer. I personally think loving what you do is worth sacrificing some higher numbers in your bank account, but everyone is different. 

2) Am I really meant to be a lawyer?
There is no answer to this you can't possibly know if your meant to be a lawyer. I know many practicing lawyers that are miserable and plenty that are happy. Failing out your first year is tough, but as an attorney you will need perseverance and if it is something you really want I would encourage you to pursue your goals. You only have one life and if you are passionate about being a lawyer go for that path.  If your not then don't waste your time.

3) Do I possess the required skills?
I have never met you or know anything about you and again being a lawyer is something you learn once your out in the real world. Law school gives you a foundation, but there are no multiple choice questions in the real world. Again you can't possibly know if you possess the skills unless you work as a lawyer and then it will be sink or swim.

4) Is that career even for me?
Again I have never met you and know nothing about you. If being a lawyer is something you are passionate about then I would say yes, but that is a question only you can answer.

Good luck whatever you decide.

Current Law Students / Re: HELP!!! Rising 3L... What should I do?
« on: June 12, 2013, 09:35:50 PM »
Law school is not a breeze for everyone and MC questions are tough for law students, but if you pass the bar you will never see a MC question again. It sounds like you didn't consider the location aspect of law school when you choose your first year school and struggled with moving away from home I saw it all to often in law school and see it happen to people all the time. Let it be a warning to any 0L's to really consider location when choosing a law school whatever the rankings say mean very little and real life happens when your in law school.

With that said I am going to respectfully dissent from Thane and say you have made it this far you might as well get a J.D. and try and get a law license. Remember once your licensed your an attorney whether you finished at the bottom of the class or as Valedictorian you have a right to represent clients and your bar card does not have your class rank on it. I know plenty of people from my law school that finished in the bottom half of the class that are doing fine as practicing attorneys and even a few that didn't pass the bar their first attempt.

If you absolutely hate the law and want nothing to do with it then you should quit, but even if your lukewarm towards a legal career at this point having a law license can be very beneficial as you never know what turns life will throw your way and if you leave now you won't go back.

As for transferring back I don't know if an ABA school would even take a transfer back and your 2L grades would stick with you. More importantly you are going to need to learn MC questions, because the MBE is on almost every state and if you want to take the Bar Exam you will need to learn how to handle a law school multiple choice question. These are very difficult at first, but can be learned.

If I were you, which I am not and I am just some random guy on the internet I would stay where you are and finish your legal education. However, if you have some great job waiting for you or some other passion you are dying to pursue then get out of law school, but if you don't have any other options I say finish your J.D. and hopefully you will pass the bar and have a law license.

Good luck.

Law School Admissions / Re: Top law school chances for an engineer
« on: June 12, 2013, 03:01:40 PM »
I think you are making the common mistake of putting the carriage in front of the horse. If you have a 3.75 and a 170 LSAT can you get into a top law school? I would bet substantial sums of money the answer would be yes, but until you take the LSAT you have no idea what your options are.

Instead of worrying about what schools you might be accepted to before getting an LSAT score focus your attention on taking the LSAT and doing as well as possible. Once you know your score you will know what your options realistically are, but until you have an LSAT score it is a waste of time to consider if you can get into a Top Law school.

I will also add that getting a 168-170 puts in the top 10% of test takers and people that actually show up for the LSAT are college educated individuals that are focused enough to want to go to law school and did not chicken out and cancel your score and I would guess people that show up for the LSAT are in the upper echelon of intelligence to begin with so finishing in the top 10% of that pool is unlikely and 90% of people don't finish in the top 10%.

This will also be true when you attend law school I know on my first day 100% of students were convinced they would be in the top 10% of the class. Almost everyone in my class was smart, hard-working, and motivated, but 90% of my class did not finish in the top 10% and half of my class finished in the bottom half of the class, but many still went on to have successful careers.

I personally also think rankings and other things are destroying law schools and students. The reality is that at any ABA school you will learn the exact same thing and once you graduate and pass the bar your a lawyer whether you attended Harvard or Cooley.

With all that said I hope you get a 180 on the LSAT, but I won't be betting on that happening. Good luck and please focus on the LSAT and don't worry about schools until you have a score.

Studying for the LSAT / Re: LSAT 2013
« on: June 12, 2013, 02:54:15 PM »
Could not agree more with LSAT Blogger getting a few questions right on an i-phone app means very little. The real difficult of the LSAT is staying mentally focused for 4 hours and finishing on time.

In law school and the bar 3 days in a row of 8 hour testing is even more intense. Also life will always have a way of throwing obstacles at you and everyone wants to do really really well and get a 170+, but 95% of test takers can't score in the top 5%. When you attend law school the same will be true everyone thinks they deserve to be in the top 10% of the class and will be, but 90% are wrong. Just be realistic as you move forward and realize you can have a successful legal career from any ABA school.

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