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Messages - livinglegend

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131
Choosing the Right Law School / Re: Villanova v Widener DE
« on: April 19, 2013, 10:03:35 PM »
Jchaverri

First realize anything you read from anonymous internet posters myself included should be taken with a grain of salt.

With that said your situation is not uncommon for 0L's, but as an attorney who at point thought the rankings meant everything I can tell you they mean very little particularly between schools such as Widener and Villanova.

What is important to realize is that U.S. News is nothing more than a for profit, unregulated, magazine offering an opinion. U.S. News has also ranked Albuquerque New Mexico as the best place to live http://money.usnews.com/money/personal-finance/real-estate/articles/2009/06/08/best-places-to-live-2009 . U.S. News ranks everything and not just law schools and it is far from a perfect science as seen by Villanova getting caught lying to them.  Realistically do you think moving to New Mexico because U.S. News says so? I hope not use the same logic when choosing a law school it sounds like you love everything about Widener, but a magazine is saying Villanova is better and you are considering it.

Also realize this is your life and as you have seen from your visit you did not like Villanova and you liked Widener. In my experience as a OL every school had a feel some I liked others I didn't it is a personal preference and based on your post you like Widener more than Villanova therefore you should go to Villanova.

A final point to realize is that the education you receive at any ABA school is essentially identical. You will read Supreme Court cases and Judge Cardozo in 1930 did not write a separate opinion in Palsgarff for different ranked schools. Whether you attend Villanova or Widener you will take Civil Procedure and read Pennoyver v. Neff, Contracts -Hadley v. Baxendale, so on and so on and what you learn will be the same. At the end of three years you will then either take BarBri or Kaplan for bar preparation and then if you pass you will have a law license and be a lawyer.

The reality is rankings mean very little obviously Harvard, Yale, etc will open some doors, but no employer will track you down with a degree from Villanova or Widener. You can succeed from either school, but nobody cares about the difference between the 80th or 120th school. I imagine someone out there does, but in reality a Widener Grad will be more likely to hire you from Widener and a Villanova grad more likely to hire you from Villanova. There are successful grads from both schools.

Hopefully that is somewhat helpful to you, but I really encourage you to not make a life altering decision based solely on what a for-profit, unregulated, magazine thinks.

132
Minority and Non-Traditional Law Students / Re: Never too late
« on: April 07, 2013, 05:54:54 PM »
I attended an ABA school, but agree with Duncan's point for the most part an attorney is an attorney. There are some places that have elitism and anyone attending a CBA school should be realistic in their expectations as they are unlikely to clerk for the Supreme Court right out of law school, but there are plenty of people in need of legal representation and most clients simply want an attorney to resolve their problem with a law license from any school you can accomplish a goal for your client.

I don't think anyone even CA Law Dean would encourage someone who wants to work for Cravath or O'Melveny & Meyers to attend Monterrey College of Law as those doors will be closed, but someone that wants to do Family Law, Criminal Defense, even small civil Litigation in the Bay Area particularly Monterrey itself it is likely a good option for the right person.

133
Choosing the Right Law School / Re: Help a sister out?
« on: April 05, 2013, 05:41:06 PM »
First off realize that I or anyone posting on this board or others is nothing more than an anonymous internet poster and whether to attend law school and where you will be attending is a life altering decision so please take any advice your receive from anonymous sources on the internet my post included with a major grain of salt.

I have gone through law school and am a practicing lawyer, but there was a time when I was a 0L that didn't quite think things through and was extremely confused, scared, and nervous about the decision. Looking back on it and knowing what I know now I think any OL should consider the following factors in this order when choosing a law school. (1) Location (2) Cost (3) Personal Feeling about the school (4) Understanding the reality of legal education (5) Then use U.S. News Ranking LAST NOT FIRST when choosing a law school. I will analyze these factors in more detail below and apply them to your situation.

1. Location
It is very important to realize that law school does not exist in a vacuum and more importantly where you attend law school is likely the location where you will spend the rest of your life. You have listed schools in New York (Manhattan) New York (Queens), Pittsburgh, Philadelphia, and Maryland. These are all very different cities even Cardozo and St. Johns the locations are very different. Then Pittsburgh a large enough city is really nothing like Manhattan and whereeve you attend law school is a place you will be living for three years.

Are you someone that will be able to focus with all the distractions that NY City has to offer or would you be better suited to study law in Pittsburgh? I certainly don't know since I have never met you, but you have been living with yourself for over 20 years so you can probably make a guess.

On top of that you are unlikely to leave the location you attend law school three years in the prime of your life is generally where you end up. Odds are during law school you will enter into a romantic relatonship, get an apartment, make friends, etc, etc on top of that you will likely take the State Bar in the state you attended law school. If you take NY you are unlikely to ever taken the Pennsyvlania Bar maybe you will, but most people only get licensed in one state. Therefore, I highly recommend choosing a school in the state you want to live in after graduation.

One additional point is I am assuming your from Pennsylvania based on your in-state tuition. Now if you are from Pittsburgh and have friends, family, and a whole support structre in Pittsburgh this is something to consider. If you move to NY and don't know a soul there and have to deal with the stress of finding an apartment, not knowing anyone, etc combined with the stress of 1L it may not go well for you. Conversely, you may be someoen that will thrive in that scenario, but consider those realities if your really close to family Pittsburgh NY is not that far, but it is far enough that you will not be able to just stop by.

2. Cost
These scholarship are great, but what are the CONDITIONS generally schools will require you to maintain a 3.0 to keep your scholarship for 2L and 3L. I imagine you got a 3.0 in undergrad without breaking a sweat, but law school is much different typically only 35% of the class can have a 3.0 in law school. However, I am certain like 100% of law student at any ABA school you are completely confident you will easily be in the top 35% of the class. However, 100% of students at ABA schools are smart, hard working, and motivated and there is a 65% chance you will lose the scholarship and then St. John's for example is 44,000 per year, which you will be stuck paying 2L and 3L.

St. Johns Example

14,000 x 3=42,000 tuition assuming you keep scholarship all three years 35% chance of this happening assuming typical conditions, BUT EACH SCHOOL IS UNIQUE CHECK ST. JOHN'S AND DREXEL'S CONDITIONS

14,00+44,000,+44,000=102,000 in tuition assuming you lose the scholarship for 2L and 3L there is a 65% chance of this happening assuming typical conditions, but EACH SCHOOL IS UNIQUE

Pitt with in-state tuition is 26,000 per year so 78,000 that is the tuition rate.

Here is a NY times article explaining it in more detail. http://www.nytimes.com/2011/05/01/business/law-school-grants.html?pagewanted=all&_r=0

Also be wary of living expenses if your family is in Pittsburgh and they will give you a place to stay, take you out to meals, help with groceries, etc this will save thousands in living expenses. NY you may not have that option and this goes back to location as well just think of anyone who might be willing to help you.

3. Your Personal Feelings About Each School

Each school has a culture to it and some you may like and others you may not. I know when I was OL there were some schools that rubbed me the wrong way and others I hated, but that was me you have your own opinions. I highly recommend visiting the schools, meeting career services, talking to some professors, meeting the dean, etc and see what you think of these people that you will be paying to provide you with a legal education. If these people cannot put on a good show for someone considering paying them 100,000 then imagine what they will be like after your locked in.

Just visit each school and listen to your gut it is a powerful tool.

4. Reality of Legal Education

I know there is all this discussion of "better" schools, but the reality is at every ABA school you learn the same exact thing. Your first year you will take Torts, Contracts, Property, Civil Procedure, and then they generally mix up Con Law, Crim Law, and Criminal Procedure between 1L and 2L, but you will take those courses.

For Contracts you will likely read the Epstein Book and then Epstein himself will be your BarBri Instructor when you graduate no matter what law school you attend. In Contracts you will read the Hadley v. Baxendale Decision and other Supreme Court decisions and believe it or not the Supreme Court does not write seperate opinions for different law schools the law is the same.

In Torts you will read Palsgraff to learn about proximate cause and Justice Cardozo in 1930 did not write 200 different opinions for every law school there is only one.

Pennoyver v. Neff in Civil Procedure again the Supreme Court in 1800 wrote one opinion and that is what you will read whether you attend South Carolina or Harvard.

After you graduate you will then take Barbri or Kaplan to pass the bar and if you graduate from an ABA school and pass the bar your a lawyer period.

5. Rankings
When I was a OL I though this was the gospel and should be the basis of any decision I made, but now I realize this is nothing more than an a for profit, unregulated magazine offering an opinion. This should not be something you base a life altering decision on you can use it as a factor, but it is literally a magazine nothing more.

To illustrate this point realize U.S. News ranks more than law schools for example New Mexico is the best place to live according to U.S. News http://money.usnews.com/money/personal-finance/real-estate/articles/2009/06/08/best-places-to-live-2009

South Dakota is one of the best places to retire in 2032 http://money.usnews.com/money/blogs/the-best-life/2012/08/07/here-are-the-best-places-to-livein-2032 One of the factors in making this decision is access to dental visits. Really read the formula U.S. News used to make this determination and you can realize how little research goes into their rankings.

I imagine U.S. News saying New Mexico is the best place to live is not going to inspire you to pack your bags and move there or even apply to New Mexico Law School. Furthermore, I think you would question anyone who opened a retirement account in South Dakota based on this magazine alone. Are their legitimate points made by U.S. News sure, but where you attend law school will impact the rest of your life what some magazine thinks should play a very minor role in your decision and not be the basis of it.

Conclusion
There is no RIGHT ANSWER to what law school you should attend I am sure all of them will provide you with the basic tools to learn the law and obtain a law license, but there is a lot more factors that will determine whether you will have a good law school experience and you know better than anyone else the personal factors that will impact your law school and legal career.

You also can analyze these factors until the end of time eventually you will just have to choose one and it may go horrilby wrong or be a wonderful experience it is a life altering decision, but if you want to be a lawyer one that has to be made.

If I was you, which I am not and assuming you actually live in Pittsburgh I would probably stay there for the in-state tuition and fact that Pittsburgh is the best law school in Pittsburgh, but I am just some random guy on the internet who could be a crackhead in a public library for all you know. Hopefully some of this is helpful and I wish you good luck in your legal career.

134
 Cher is worth listening to and as I stated plenty of people are suited for part-time law study, but you need to be honest with yourself. I personally would have failed miserably as a part-time student my personality is I am all in or I will fail, but everyone is different.

I know plenty of people that managed a career and succeeded as part-time law students and plenty of others that failed out after 1st semester, but you have to be honest with yourself and determine if you are capable of managing the stress of your job and being committed to the long hours necessary to succeed in law school.

I would also recommend talking to part-timers at the school you are considering to see how they handled it. Good luck.

135
First off before I say anything realize that anyone posting on this board or others is nothing more than an anonymous internet poster that knows nothing about you, your situation, or what is best for you and on top of that their is no qualification for typing on this board or others all you need is an internet connection, which a bum can acquire at a public library.

With that said I am an attorney and have gone through law school and notice several things to be concerned about in your post and I also think any OL such as yourself should consider the following things in this order when choosing a law school. (1) Location (2) Cost (3) Personal feelings about school (4) The reality of legal education (5) and last NOT first U.S. News rankings.

Concerns form your post
First you say you are confident you will be in the top of your class, but I can tell you 100% of students at every ABA school think this on the first day, but only 10% of the class can be in the top 10% and there is a 90% chance you won't be in the top of your class. This is not a knock on you, but everyone that attends an ABA law school is smart, hard working, and motivated. Not to mention if your dealing with a toddler at home the multiple 25 year old single people will have a lot more time to study than you, which puts you at a disadvantage.

You also really need to answer the question of whether you want to be a lawyer or not. A lot of people go into law school expecting things to be handed to them at graduation, but that is not how it works. You have to work your way up the chain and starting out sucks to be frank and if your doing that with a young child it will be tough, but it can all be done. However, make sure a legal career is something you really want.

With that said I will go into the following 5 factors I think every 0L should consider.

1) Location
It seems obvious that you understand this your Husband has a job in South Carolina and you have a small child so the only law school you can attend is South Carolina so for your scenario I don't need to break this down.

2. Cost
It is great you received scholarship, but one thing any potential 0L really needs to understand are the CONDITIONS of the scholarship. Typically the school will say you need a 3.0 GPA to maintain the scholarship and I am sure you obtained a 3.0 in undergrad without breaking a sweat as did everyone else who got accepted into an ABA school, but law school is much different based on the curve.

Typically only 35% of the class can have a 3.0 and as to my point above there is a 65% chance you will not be in the top 35% this is no knock against you, but just a simple reality. So I strongly encourage you to check on the conditions of the scholarship as there is a good chance you will lose that scholarship for years 2 and 3, but I do not know SC's system.

3) Personal Feeling About the School
It appears you only have on option, but somethign I think is important is to visit the school and see how it fits your personality. When I was a OL I visited multiple schools some I hated and others I loved, but that is my personal opinion. Visit the school interact with students, professors, admins and if you get a good feeling from the school listen to your gut if you feel like it is a cesspool then stay away it is your life and your decision make sure the school fits your personality.

4. Reality of Legal Education
I know there is all this discussion of "better" schools, but the reality is at every ABA school you learn the same exact thing. Your first year you will take Torts, Contracts, Property, Civil Procedure, and then they generally mix up Con Law, Crim Law, and Criminal Procedure between 1L and 2L, but you will take those courses.

For Contracts you will likely read the Epstein Book and then Epstein himself will be your BarBri Instructor when you graduate no matter what law school you attend. In Contracts you will read the Hadley v. Baxendale Decision and other Supreme Court decisions and believe it or not the Supreme Court does not write seperate opinions for different law schools the law is the same.

In Torts you will read Palsgraff to learn about proximate cause and Justice Cardozo in 1930 did not write 200 different opinions for every law school there is only one.

Pennoyver v. Neff in Civil Procedure again the Supreme Court in 1800 wrote one opinion and that is what you will read whether you attend South Carolina or Harvard.

After you graduate you will then take Barbri or Kaplan to pass the bar and if you graduate from an ABA school and pass the bar your a lawyer period.

5. Rankings
When I was a OL I though this was the gospel and should be the basis of any decision I made, but now I realize this is nothing more than an a for profit, unregulated magazine offering an opinion. This should not be something you base a life altering decision on you can use it as a factor, but it is literally a magazine nothing more.

To illustrate this point realize U.S. News ranks more than law schools for example New Mexico is the best place to live according to U.S. News http://money.usnews.com/money/personal-finance/real-estate/articles/2009/06/08/best-places-to-live-2009

South Dakota is one of the best places to retire in 2032 http://money.usnews.com/money/blogs/the-best-life/2012/08/07/here-are-the-best-places-to-livein-2032 One of the factors in making this decision is access to dental visits. Really read the formula U.S. News used to make this determination and you can realize how little research goes into their rankings.

I imagine U.S. News saying New Mexico is the best place to live is not going to inspire you to pack your bags and move there or even apply to New Mexico Law School. Furthermore, I think you would question anyone who opened a retirement account in South Dakota based on this magazine alone. Are their legitimate points made by U.S. News sure, but where you attend law school will impact the rest of your life what some magazine thinks should play a very minor role in your decision and not be the basis of it.

Conclusion:
It sounds like you have on option to attend law school in South Carolina at this time in your life. Law school is not going anywhere and if your husband moves somewhere else then perhaps you can attend law school elsewhere, but South Carolina might be a great choice for you.

You also have to consider whether you want to occupy yourself with law school while raising a toddler that is a major decision that only you can make.

I am sure South Carolina is a fine school nothing spectacular, but it will give you the tools to pass the bar and assuming you pass what you do with your law license is up to you. I have met many great attorneys from "tier 4" schools and many bad ones from "tier 1" schools and obviously vice versa. Bottom line is whether you make it in the legal profession has a lot more to do with you than the school you attended.

136
As Irrx mentions the best person to ask will be the school and whoever is coordinating the part-time course schedule. I know at my school the first year curriculum was the same for each section time/class/etc I was a full-time student, but the part-timers all had the same schedule. They probably have not put out the course schedule for the Fall semester yet and it will likely come in June or July as the administration likely has not figured out what rooms, professors, etc will be where.

One thing to note is that most part-time students who continue working full-time do not succeed it does mean you will not succeed, but your 1L year is time consuming and balancing both usually results in people failing out of law school. I personally think if your going to law school you should be all in or do not do it all, but that is only my two cents and there are plenty of examples of people succeeding in part-time programs, but the majority of attrition comes from part-time students who simply cannot keep up with a career and the pressure of law school. If you fail out it is a waste of 30,000 dollars in tuition and it may adversely impact your job as well.

Furthermore, even if you don't fail out the majority of other students will not be working and will have a higher class rank than you, which is something to consider. The legal job market is tough and if you finish in the bottom half of the class at Williamette it will be tough to find employment. It is nothing against your intelligence just a simple fact that if you are working the students not working will have 40 more hours a week to study. Again just my two cents as an anonymous internet poster so take it for what that is worth.


137
I have lived in Hong Kong and can tell you one thing to really understand is the cultural differences in America and the regions of America. For example all of these schools are in entirely different areas.

Emory is in Atlanta in the South

Notre Dame is in a very small town in South Bend Indiana

Boston University is in the metropolitan City of Boston

W & M is in a very small college town.

As an international student you need to consider how comfortable you will in these new areas along with the weather Notre Dame for example is cold they all are, but South Bend is probalby the coldest while I don't believe Atlanta ever snows.

Also these schools are different Notre Dame is a Catholic University that loves American Football someone from Hong Kong might have a hard time understanding this, but you might love it. Conversely Boston University is in Boston there is a lot more going on there and more diversity so a transition might be easier.

Maybe for comparison Indiana might be like the Sichuana Province in China while Hong Kong would be the Boston/New York area. America is not quite as big as China, but there are very different regions so that is something to really consider.

138
Current Law Students / Re: Preparation Question
« on: March 30, 2013, 03:38:42 PM »
A lot of people have different opinions on this I personally believe preparing for law school is the wrong path, but plenty of reasonable people disagree with me.

You could simply look at the sylabuss for professors at your school and read some of the cases. Your first year will consist of Torts, Property, Contracts, and Civil Procedure for sure. Then schools mix up Criminal Procedure, Criminal Law, and Con Law you will have or both of those in 1L and one in 2L, but those are all courses you will be taking.

However, my personal opinion is just do a lot of things you want to do get your life in order before going to law school. Your first semester is horrible and you will be freaking out. After that first semester it gets a lot easy as the language becomes more understandable, but when your a OL you are likely to not understand the language of what is going on and either learn the law wrong or get frustrated.

For example you will read the case of Pennoyer v. Neff it is a case from the 1800's which is insanely long the Angela makes no sense, but all it really says is you need to provide notice when serving a lawsuit, but if you read that case in a law school textbook without really knowing you will not get that.

Bottom line I recommend getting your life together and having as much fun as possible also do as much work as you can to have some savings in your bank account.  Your going to be spending the next three years of your life studying your ass off no need to get a 6 month jump on it especially since in my opinion it may hurt you and any benefits will be minimal.







139
Frederic White was the Dean of Golden Gate Law School from 2004-2008 I believe he was the first ever African-American Dean of an ABA school. He left to become the Dean of Texas Wesleyan and I believe he is still there.


140
Choosing the Right Law School / Re: JD/MBA
« on: March 28, 2013, 09:11:02 PM »
When you graduate law school you will be in the same position as your are now. If you attend MBA school you will be in the same position as well. If you go to the Police Academy or Fire Academy the same will occur as well. When you graduate no school guarantees you a job and going to law school simply because you can't find a job is a terrible reason to attend.

I am confident if you keep looking for work with your undergraduate degree you will find something, but it will take a lot of time, effort, and rejection. Just look at these different articles from each profession

http://money.cnn.com/2013/01/14/news/economy/nursing-jobs-new-grads/index.html (nurses can't find work)

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/04/22/job-market-college-graduates_n_1443738.html (College grads can't find work)

http://online.wsj.com/article/SB124026550135236597.html (MBA"s can't find work)

Will most college graduates, nursing graduates, MBA"s, law grads find jobs? Yes more than likely if they stick with it, but it is hard to find a job and when you graduate from law school you will be in the same position.

Now you say you want to be an attorney and if that is the case then law school can be a great choice, but WHY do you want to be a lawyer. T.V. and movies make it a little more glamorous than it is, but it can be a very rewarding career if you know what your getting into.

Your options of going to law school for free or attending a top 10 school are unrealistic. With a 3.5 your not getting into a top 10 school and no law school is going to pay for your living expenses, but if you want to be a lawyer then go to law school, but you really need more direction. The JD/MBA won't hurt your career prospects, but it will cost you 100,000+ and you will spend 4 years in school, which will take from professional development you might obtain over 4 years. You will find a job in 4 years if you apply yourself, but it will be hard and it probably won't be a glamorous position you have to work your way up the chain that is life.

I think if you give a little more detail on what you want more advice can be given, but do not attend law school or any graduate degree because you don't know what else to do, which is the impression I obtained from your post. It is to big of a commitment to enter into simply because your having a tough time finding a job.

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