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Messages - livinglegend

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111
First and foremost realize that any anonymous internet poster myself included should not be a major influence in your law school decision. There is no licensing exam to post on this board and for all you know myself or Maintain FL could be bums in a public library bottom line take anything you read on this board or others with a major grain of salt when making this life altering decision

With that said Maintain offers solid advice, which I am going to elaborate on it and when choosing a law school I think you should consider the following factors in this order (1) Location (2) Cost (3) Personal Feeling abut the school (4) LASTLY not First consider U.S. News rankings and I will also explain the reality of legal education. All of these factors are analyzed in more detail below.

1) Location
This is by far the most important factor especially when considering a school in Syracuse, New York v. Los Angeles, California or San Francisco. Remember at a bare minimum you will spend three years of your life in the City you attend law school and law school does not exist in a vacuum. Syracuse is a small town in upstate New York that has nothing to offer except a University and it is freezing in the winter. I imagine you are from California based on your other law school selections and have probably never dealt with real weather.

On top of that you will be going away from Family and Friends. Now you may like the small college town atmosphere opposed to L.A., but that is really something to consider when choosing your law school because odds are wherever you attend is where you will spend the rest of your life. Of course there are exceptions, but if you go to law school in New York you will probably end up taking the New York Bar make friends in NY, get into a relationship in NY, have an apartment etc and it will be difficult to leave. When I was in law school many people thought they would end up moving back, but it just doesn't happen law school occurs during the prime of your life essentially and three years is a long time so just really make sure you are comfortable with the location.

Not only that if you attend law school in Syracuse, New York you will not be able to do an internship with the L.A. D.A's office during law school simply due to location. At Syracuse you could probably intern with whatever County D.A's are in upstate New York and I am sure Syracuse has connections in New York for employment, but not in California. Vice Versa for Southwestern.

2. Cost
Do not be sucked in by these scholarships to easily first off they are generally not renewable and you need to maintain a 3.0 generally, which requires you to be in the top 35% of the class in law school. No offense to you, but everyone in law school is smart, hard working, motivated and 100% of people think there is no way they will not be in the top 35% of the class, but you don't need to be a math major to see there is a 65% chance you will not be in the top 35% and you will lose the scholarship for years two and three. Syracuse is also the most expensive of the schools you mentioned at 45k a year although the others are not much cheaper Chapman at 42k per year and cost of living may be less in Syracuse, but don't move across the country for an 8k scholarship that is not guaranteed. It can be a factor, but 8k for law school tuition is just a drop in the bucket.

3. Personal Feelings about the school
This is going to be a three year, 100k investment, that will change your life I highly encourage you to visit all the schools you are interested in attending and see how you personally feel about the school. I know as a OL and having competed in mock trial competitions with other law schools that each school has a culture to it and I know some I liked others I didn't, but I am not you. You may very well have liked what I hated and hated what I liked.

For example I do not like Hastings it is in the Tenderloin the worst part of San Francisco, has giant class sizes, and it just gives me a bad vibe. Conversely I loved the Chapman Campus the campus was beautiful, it had an undergrad, and I liked the smaller town of Orange. However, you may love the bigger city and large class sizes and hate Chapman, but the only way for you to know if a law school is a good fit for you is to visit the school and make the determination yourself.

4) U.S. News Rankings
I see you mentioned the rankings in your post  and you are making the common mistake that many 0L's myself included make by basing a life altering decision on a magazine. It is very important to realize that U.S. News is a for-profit, unregulated, magazine offering an opinion. Furthermore, their opinion changes from year to year for no real reason.

Furthermore  U.S. News ranks more than law schools New Mexico is the best place to live http://money.usnews.com/money/personal-finance/real-estate/articles/2009/06/08/best-places-to-live-2009 . Are you going to move there because U.S. News says so? I imagine not surely there is something good about New Mexico, but I would not alter my life because U.S. News says New Mexico is a great place to live. Similarly I would recommend not making the life altering decision on where to attend law school based on this magazine.

If you were choosing Harvard over Southwestern it might play a role, but nobody will be impressed that Syracuse is the 96th best school and rankings are irrelevant for schools of this caliber.

Reality of Legal Education

The realty is what you learn at an ABA school is pretty much identical. Your first year will consist of torts, civil procedure, property, contracts, and criminal law. In these courses you will read Supreme Court cases and they do write separate opinions for different schools. You will read Palsgraff in Torts for proximate cause, Pennoyer v. Neff in civ pro to learn about notice etc .

You might have a few electives here and there, but the majority of your legal education will be identical no matter where you go. As for your desire to be a prosecutor I suppose you would want to attend a school that has a large mock trial competition team as that can help, but still only minimally in your goal to become a prosecutor.

On top of that you can't really know what you want to do until you start law school. I honestly thought IP was what I wanted when I started, but after the one course I dropped it and really liked trial advocacy and became a City Attorney. You may hate criminal law and end up loving IP so just keep your options open in law school.

Bottom line is at any ABA school you will learn the same thing.

Conclusion:
Do not let me or any other anonymous internet poster make the life altering decision of what law school to attend. It will be three years of your life, 100K of your money, and your legal career so listen to yourself when making the decision .Good luck!



112
Online Law Schools / Re: Current ABA Response to Distance Education
« on: June 08, 2013, 09:56:36 AM »
I am going to agree with CA Law Dean having been through law school I think brick and mortar is the way to go and I believe to become a MD you must also attend a brick and mortar institution as well. I think online law school can work and if you go through the California Online school and fight to sit for the bar in another state, which I believe a few aspiring attorneys have done and won you can, but I went to a school that offered both a full-time and part-time program and a significant number of part-time students failed out. I imagine the attrition at online schools would be even higher.

None of these people were stupid they were highly intelligent motivated people, but learning the law is a lot of work. I meet many people who say they can handle work and a part-time program and it does happen, but the majority of times it does not work out. I think the ABA is doing this for consumer protection purposes more than anything many people are intrigued by the legal profession it can be awesome gig if you put the time, energy, and effort into it, but it takes a lot of time, energy, and effort and a lot of it.

CA Law Dean is also correct that in the social aspect you learn a great deal. Just interacting with students and talking things through after class is very helpful. I cannot tell you how many times in class I literally felt like I had no idea what was going on, but then I would talk it through with friends and it would come together. I also think there is more accountability with a Brick & Mortar institution and more access to resources you need.

A final point my law school did a study on our Bar Exam Passage Rate with students using Barbri, which you can do entirely online or do in a classroom setting it is your option. Students who did the online option had a much higher fail rate than those who came to the classes. The content of what you learning was exactly the same , but when your by yourself it is a lot easier to take a 15-20 minute break that turns into a 4 hour break. Much the same way home gym equipment never seems to be get used, but if you go to the Gym you will work out.

Just my two cents, but I think Brick & Mortar is the way to stay for law school, but if you are fully focused on doing the online route and it does sound like your situation is unique you could get an online J.D. and challenge a State Supreme Court to let you sit for the exam it has been done.

113
Law School Admissions / Re: Good enough soft factor?
« on: June 08, 2013, 01:37:44 AM »
Well one thing to know is that there is no subpar legal education honestly at any ABA law school you learn the same thing. Your first year will consist of torts, contracts, civil procedure, property, and con-law, crim pro. In these courses you will read Supreme Court cases such as Pennoyer v. Neff in Civ Pro ,   Palsgraff in torts, Hadley v. Baxendale in Contracts, etc, etc. The supreme court does not write different opinions for different schools. I know as a 0L I put far to much emphasis into what U.S. News Rankings thought about law schools and there is no bigger mistake you can make than that. Obviously Harvard or Yale has prestige, but what you learn at any ABA school is for all intensive purposes is the same.

One thing to realize when choosing law schools is that U.S. News is a for-profit, unregulated, magazine offering an opinion nothing more nothing less. They ranked Alberqueue, New Mexico as the best place to live. Citation http://money.usnews.com/money/personal-finance/real-estate/articles/2009/06/08/best-places-to-live-2009 I don't see New Mexico as one of your options and I don't think U.S. News saying New Mexico is best place to live will change your life plans. Use the same common sense when choosing a law school I cannot stress that enough.

When I was a OL I really thought there was so much more to law school, but in the end you learn the law at every schoo. l I have worked with Harvard Law Grads and T4 Grads some are good some are bad, but it has a lot more to do with the person than the school they attended and any one that graduates and passes the bar knows the basics of Pre-Emption, Offer & Acceptance in a contract, Notice for a lawsuit, so on and so on. Bottom line is any ABA school will teach you the law just fine so if you really want to pursue a legal education and continue running a business you need to look for part-time programs in a location you can succeed in. In law school you will be in the City for the school is located for three years and spending three years in Houston, Texas will be a lot different than three years in Chicago.

Also realize that U.S. News law school ranking change drastically year to year. My law school was 78th when I started it went to 64th then dropped into an 11 way tie for 84th my third year. Then into the 100's then back into the 80's and I will tell you nothing changed at the school for better or worse.

I think knowing the law will be very helpful your business, but I can't stress enough the fallacies of making a life altering decision based on a for-profit, unregulated, magazine. Again good luck whatever you decide.

114
Law School Admissions / Re: Good enough soft factor?
« on: June 07, 2013, 09:37:21 PM »
Having a successful business is a solid soft factor, but law school admissions are highly geared on numbers. If you started a multi-million dollar company that is something that would catch the eye of an admissions committee, but again check out lawschoolnumbers.com and you will just how much of a numbers game law school admissions is.

There are also no ABA two year programs law school needs to be three or more years. Southwestern law school in L.A. might have some specialty program and with your numbers you could probably get in there. You also probably will not be able to manage this large of a business and get through law school. I knew many people in law school that tried the part-time program and had just 9-5 jobs and failed out. They were not dumb, but law school is very time intensive probably more so than any other form of education.

I have to ask what your motivation for law school is as well. I loved law school, but I do not know how you could manage 30 employees and an entire company while learning the intricacies of interpleader or the rule against perpetuities. Feel free to prove me wrong, but I think you either have to choose law school or your business.

Good luck with your decision.

115
First you have to be honest yourself getting a 165 or 170 is unlikely. That puts you in the top 10% of test takers and people that take the LSAT in the first place are college graduates who are motivated enough to attend law school, which puts you in about the top 1-2% of people and 98% of us myself included did not get a 165-170 on their LSAT.

On top of that if you got a 149 on your diagnostic it probably means you won't score that high. With that said you if you show up and take the test you can likely get into an ABA law school and I will tell you only 5% of lawyers nationwide attended top 10 schools. There are 200 ABA law schools and only 10 in the top 10. This means 95% of lawyers nationwide did not attend Harvard, Yale, Stanford etc. I myself didn't, but am a lawyer and love my job. I also work with many other lawyers most of whom did not attend top 10 schools a few Berkley grads, but we are all licensed by the state bar to practice law and work in the same office.

On top of that what is really going to change in a few months? You have been prepping with Kaplan for months if you were saying you hadn't done anything to prepare then you should probably wait, but it sounds like you have been studying. In a few months you will feel the same panic and being unprepared. When you go to law school you will completely unprepared for finals every time and then when teh bar comes my god you will feel unprepared. Then when your a lawyer you will never feel fully prepared for a trial and that feeling of not being 100% ready is part of being a lawyer.

With that said it is your decision, but I am willing to bet if you wait until the October test this same feeling will come up. If you have taken courses and put in a good faith effort take your test and get a score then know your options. Also do not be disappointed if you don't get a 170 almost nobody does.

You will also need to be prepared for that realization when you attend law school in the same way only 10% of test takers can score 170 only 10% of any law school class can graduate in the top 10%, but on your first day 100% of law students who are the same people you are competing with on the LSAT are smart, motivate, and hard working and truly believe they will be in the top 10%, but 90% of those people are wrong and half of them finish in the bottom half of the class.

Bottom line I recommend taking the test you have taken the course and studied for months. There is not much more you can do, but if you truly believe you are not ready it is your call, but I don't think anyone that has ever taken the LSAT felt confident going in, but once it is done it will be a relief. The same feeling will be present throughout your law school career, the bar exam, and your career as a lawyer.

Good luck whatever you do.

116
Choosing the Right Law School / Re: NYLS or Retake??
« on: June 06, 2013, 05:38:16 PM »
Yes I think if you will not be comfortable attending NYLS then do not attend it is a highly personal decision and if you want to live and work in New Jersey attend law school in New Jersey. Do not go to law school just to go my point is many people say they want to go to law school, but they never end up going instead they are waiting for the perfect situation and if you wait for everything to be perfect nothing will ever get done.

It is entirely your choice and there is no right or wrong decision hopefully you get into Rutgers or Seton Hall next year.

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Maintain is correct especially since you want to attend a school like Rutgers or Seton Hall it is all numbers. Obviously draft a competent personal statement, but they are looking through 4,000 or more applications and people on an admission committee are humans unless you have some extraordinary story such as being an NBA basketball player, Navy Seal, or something else that really jumps off the page your personal statement won't be that big of a deal.

Go to lawschoolnumbers.com and you will see how much of a numbers game law school admission is. The reason for this is these admissions committees are reading 4,000+ personal statements most of them saying I want to go to law school because I worked in a law firm, or I am seeking a challenge, etc, etc. These are all fine statements, but 99% of people do not have a story that will catch an admissions committee's attention.

If you really want to go get into a "higher school" although I believe that is a bad distinction then you are much better of spending time studying for the LSAT opposed to working on a personal statement.

118
Choosing the Right Law School / Re: Can any transfers help me??
« on: June 03, 2013, 10:59:29 PM »
I think everyone above gives you advice and one of your last concerns about choosing a law school should how they rank percentages for the purpose of transferring. The main reason being to transfer you need to generally be in the top 20% of your class and there is an 80% chance you will not be in the top 20% no matter where you go.

On top of that first year of law school is a life changing event and many people do not transfer and very few people end up transferring. It could happen, but Fordham had 479 first year students last year and only 14 transferred out that is about 2%, which are what your odds of transferring will be most likely.  Bottom line do not attend a law school you will not be happy graduating from.

119
Choosing the Right Law School / Re: NYLS or Retake??
« on: June 03, 2013, 10:54:00 PM »
I am copying what I said on another thread regarding the flaws of placement statistics.

Law school transparency and employment statistics are not a great indicator of anything. Although I am all for law school transparency and their mission the reality is that tracking each student is impossible especially since it is not mandatory. If look on law school transparencies website typically the vast majority of students are unreported. This does not mean they are unemployed I know that when I graduated, passed the bar, and got a job I never reported. It was nothing personal I just didn't get around to it the same way I didn't get around to mailing a birthday card to a friend or some other inconsequential thing that occurs.

Bottom line is it doesn't hurt to look at the stats, but realize these come nowhere near painting an accurate picture of what the outcome of your law school career will be. There are Harvard grads that never passed the bar and Cooley grads who are doing quite well for themselves.

On top of that realize that each person is unique and has their own life circumstances for example several people in class got pregnant right after graduation they were married etc and dealt with 9 months of pregnancy opposed to 9 months of job searching. You cannot assume everyone graduates law school at 25 and is looking to go straight into working. On top of that by the time bar results get released it is 7 months after graduation at least in California and they are released a week before Thanksgiving and the majority of law firms do not hire anyone during the holidays.

I can tell you my law school has a law school transparency placement rate of about 50%, but almost everyone I know from my class is employed as an attorney now. I will admit I do not know everyone, but I surrounded myself with somewhat competent people and most of them did quite well. I also know there are several people who did not find jobs, but it had a lot more to do with them than school on their diploma. For example one of my friend's got hired as a D.A., but he failed his drug test and his offer was rescinded and it turns out he has a cocaine problem that is his own deal not the school's again that just shows the individuality of each person and why these law school stats are so flawed.

With that info use your common sense NYLS is not Columbia or Harvard, but it will teach you the law and you can have a successful legal career, but make sure it is the right fit for you. For the same reasons the employment statistics are flawed since they are highly individual your satisfaction with your law school decision will depend heavily on what is important to you so visit the school, make sure NY is what you want, talk to alumni, professors, etc and see if the school fits your personality.

Good luck whatever you decide.

120
Law school transparency and employment statistics are not a great indicator of anything. Although I am all for law school transparency and their mission the reality is that tracking each student is impossible especially since it is not mandatory. If look on law school transparencies website typically the vast majority of students are unreported. This does not mean they are unemployed I know that when I graduated, passed the bar, and got a job I never reported. It was nothing personal I just didn't get around to it the same way I didn't get around to mailing a birthday card to a friend or some other inconsequential thing that occurs.

Bottom line is it doesn't hurt to look at the stats, but realize these come nowhere near painting an accurate picture of what the outcome of your law school career will be. There are Harvard grads that never passed the bar and Cooley grads who are doing quite well for themselves.

On top of that realize that each person is unique and has their own life circumstances for example several people in class got pregnant right after graduation they were married etc and dealt with 9 months of pregnancy opposed to 9 months of job searching. You cannot assume everyone graduates law school at 25 and is looking to go straight into working. On top of that by the time bar results get released it is 7 months after graduation at least in California and they are released a week before Thanksgiving and the majority of law firms do not hire anyone during the holidays.

I can tell you my law school has a law school transparency placement rate of about 50%, but almost everyone I know from my class is employed as an attorney now. I will admit I do not know everyone, but I surrounded myself with somewhat competent people and most of them did quite well. I also know there are several people who did not find jobs, but it had a lot more to do with them than school on their diploma. For example one of my friend's got hired as a D.A., but he failed his drug test and his offer was rescinded and it turns out he has a cocaine problem that is his own deal not the school's again that just shows the individuality of each person and why these law school stats are so flawed.

Again they are worth browsing, but you should not make the life altering decision of what law school to attend based on some statistics that are flawed.

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