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Messages - livinglegend

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131
Law School Applications / Re: Chances of Acceptance?
« on: May 22, 2013, 10:45:52 PM »
I see this question posed by many prior to taking the LSAT and I think you are putting the carriage before the horse.  There really is no point on wondering what your options are until you have a real LSAT score.  Once you have that score it is real and you will know what your options are. Therefore, I recommend you do everything you can to succeed on the LSAT and once the results are in then you can realistically weigh your options. Thinking about what law schools you can get into prior to having a score is frivolous in my mind.

If you really are curious about what numbers will get you into what school websites lawschoolnumbers.com or simply using the LSAC website are great resources.

Not to discourage you, but I am an attorney and worked briefly in law school admissions and  I cannot tell you how many people tell me they score between 165-175 on the practice LSATs, but somehow they never end up getting a real score. I do not know what the reason for this is I know when I was doing practice LSAT's I gave myself a little leeway maybe gave myself an extra minute or two or who knows what else. Not to mention the real pressure of test day makes a significant difference on performance. Therefore, even if you do not get a 165 it is not the end of the world if you can get into an ABA school you have a chance at a successful legal career.

With that said I sincerely hope you get a 180 that would be awesome.

Good luck on the LSAT.

132
American / Re: Is the $$$ worth it?
« on: May 22, 2013, 01:46:05 AM »
The reality is any ABA school will teach you the same thing. No law school will prepare you for all the realities of actually being a lawyer. Just as no Police Academy will teach you everything you need to be a good cop. No Construction Management School will teach you to build a highrise as soon as you get out of school and the list goes on and on.

The reality is at any ABA school you will take Torts, Civil Procedure, Property, Contracts, Criminal Law, and possibly Con Law or Crim pro in your first year or you will be required to take all of those courses by the end of your 2. You will then take courses such as Professional Responsibility, Corporations, Evidence, etc and in these courses you will read Supreme Court cases and read the Chemerinksy case book in Con Law.

I guarantee you whether you attend Harvard or America you will read the Palsgraf case in Torst and learn Proximate Cause, in Civil Procedure you will read Pennoyer v. Neff to learn about notice etc. You might have a few electives here and there, but even if you dominate trial advocacy in law school it will not prepare you completely for your first real jury trial when someone's life is on the line how you handle that will be much more up to you than whatever law school you attend.

I imagine American is a fine school people will not be lined up out the door to hire you, but if you graduate pass the bar you will be a lawyer and you can succeed from there, but the legal profession is like any other career path and you will start at the bottom and half to work your way up.

Good luck to you.

133
Where should I go next fall? / Re: Advice
« on: May 22, 2013, 01:39:29 AM »
I don't know if the world is exactly your oyster when you are a recent grad and realistically you will be confined to the region you attend law school most likely. Even if you had opportunities arise elsewhere you would have to take another state bar and over 3 years of law school you develop many connections in the area you attend law school making it hard to leave. Are there exceptions of course, but I would bet substantial sums of money that if you attend law school in Kansas you will end up living in Kansas

With that said there are numerous things to consider when choosing a law school and please, please, do not use U.S. News Rankings as the primary reason for choosing a law school remember this is nothing more than a for-profit, unregulated magazine, and whatever difference there is between any of these schools does not matter and I have no idea and don't care, which of these schools are better. I know Kansas blew my NCAA tournament pool and I know nothing about the other two schools.

I would recommend you consider the following things when choosing your law school.

1) Location: I realize these are all in the Midwest, but I imagine Lawrence, Kansas is obsessed with College Sports while Topeka, Kansas might be more low Key and UMKC might be a bit more of a bigger city. I no nothing about you, but whatever town you live in will be your home for three years so make sure it is a good fit.

2) Personal Feelings About School: It is also important to realize each school has a vibe to it when I was a 0L some schools I liked others I didn't just my own personal opinions and you might like what I hated and vice versa. I would encourage you to visit the schools, talk to professors, the dean, admins, students, and just see if it is a fit. If any of these schools give you a bad feeling cross them off if you feel good about it listen to your gut.

3) Reality of Legal Education:
Realistically whatever school you attend you learn the same thing your first year is Torts, Contracts, Property, etc and you read Supreme Court Cases and they do not write separate opinions for different law schools.

There is no "right" school and certainly no anonymous interent poster can tell you what is best. It appears you are considering the costs, but really think about what school and city suits you best it will be a life altering decision. Good luck.

134
If you have done everything you can and it sounds like you have taken the Kaplan course etc take the test. A 155 will get you into an ABA law school and a 165 puts you in the top 15-20% of LSAT test takers who were all motivated enough to get a bachelor's degree and show up for the LSAT.

Most people do not get into Harvard and even when you attend law school there is a 50% chance you will be in the bottom half of the class. A 155 is not a bad score and you will likely be able to pass the bar with a score like that. Once you graduate from law school and pass the bar you are a lawyer so if that is your goal take the test and see what happens.

I was a OL once and certainly believed I was smart/special etc and I came away with a 157 I went to law school with that passed the bar and now love my job as a lawyer. I did not attend Harvard or Yale either and I am guessing you will not either, but if you want to be a lawyer the first hurdle is taking the LSAT.

I also have to point out if you put off the test it you will probably never take it. Life has a way of throwing surprises at you and odds are in October you will think you could do a little better and just keep putting it off. It sounds like your as ready as you can be so I would advice you to take the test and see what happens. Once you have the LSAT score combined with your GPA you will know what your options really are.

Good luck whatever you decide.


135
Reviews, Visits, and Rankings / Re: Are CBA schools a joke?
« on: May 22, 2013, 01:08:10 AM »
I don't think my prior posts ever sought to credit or discredit CBA schools. I can tell you there are many CBA grads doing in the legal profession below are a few examples.

1) Head D.A. of Fresno CBA grad.
http://www.co.fresno.ca.us/Departments.aspx?id=156
attended San Joaquin College of Law
http://members.calbar.ca.gov/fal/Member/Detail/179758 


2) The Mayor of Los Angeles
Antonio Villaigosa
http://mayor.lacity.org/index.htm
Attended People's College of Law and never passed the bar, but is doing well.

3) San Francisco Head District Attorney
George Gascon
http://www.sfdistrictattorney.org/
Attended Western State prior to it becoming ABA approved and I think currently it is only provisionally accredited
 http://members.calbar.ca.gov/fal/Member/Detail/182345 (Here is his bar information)

Do most CBA grads experience this success? No. Does attening an ABA school give you an advantage of a CBA school? Yes. Does going to Stanford give you an edge over a Tier 4 school? Yes.

Does the school you attend determine your legal career? no.

Are employment statistics important? Not really.

First the statistics reported by ABA schools are highly flawed and manipulated for multiple reasons.

1) Most people simply do not fill out the surveys. Realistically you graduate from law school in May then you study your ass off for the bar from May until the end of July and then in California you wait for bar results for months. Many people go on vacations, start working, etc and do not want to fill out any paperwork from their law school that is not mandatory.

I personally passed the bar started and got a job right the day after results were released. I was nervous about starting a new job and then was busting my ass the thought of filling out an employment survey never even crossed my mind so I guess technically I was unemployed grad according to my law school and these "stats"

2) Many people in law school particularly CBA schools have no real desire to be lawyers. I knew plenty of night students at my ABA school that simply wanted a law degree to help them in their non-legal jobs, wanted an academic challenge, god knows what and not everyone in law school has the same exact goal.

3) You are also correct that many people attending CBA schools do not pass the bar, but the bar is a standardized test and people from Harvard fail the same as people from CBA schools it is much more up to the individual than the school.

The overall point of my post is that people can succeed in the legal profession from CBA schools. Furthermore, being an attorney I can tell you what school you went to means almost nothing once your in the mix of the legal profession and your work ethic, ability to relate with people, handle pressure, etc will make or break you not the name on your diploma.

With that there are obviously drawbacks to CBA schools and some doors will be closed, but Cravath is just as likely to hire a Monterey College of Law Grad as they are a Santa Clara, USF, or Golden Gate grad which are all ABA schools.

Are CBA schools elite institutions? No. Do people succeed from CBA schools? Yes. Will it be an uphill battle especially starting out from a CBA school? Yes.

Anyone considering a CBA school should use their common sense and if they know what they are getting into it can be a good decision, but manage your expectations if you plan on attending a CBA school.

136
Reviews, Visits, and Rankings / Re: Are CBA schools a joke?
« on: May 15, 2013, 01:53:06 AM »
I don't know if there is really an ABA bubble it is more of a California law school tuition bubble many ABA law schools outside of California have very reasonable tuition rates I.E. Florida International Law School, CUNY, South Dakota, North Dakota, all are $10,000 or less per year in tuition.

However, California law schools can charge as much as they do because people keep enrolling and many students nationwide want to live in California so the tuition keeps getting hiked up. With that knowledge perhaps to graduate with an ABA degree you might want to consider a law school with cheaper tuition rates outside of California. I don't know if that is a possibility, but I think having an ABA degree is better than a CBA one all things considered.

Right or wrong there will be doors closed to you without an ABA degree it doesn't mean you can't succeed, but many firms, agencies, etc will only consider ABA grads at a minimum. On top of that if you go into private practice or start your own firm potential clients will look you up and if they see you went to an unaccredited school they probably won't choose you. I personally know the educational difference is minimal, but when selecting an attorney people like hear the word accredited. On top of that if your a Solo you will be competing for clients and other attorneys from ABA schools to help themselves may say oh she went to an unaccredited school. Kind of shady and certainly many lawyers do not do that, but it is a competitive business and something to consider.

By analogy if you were choosing  a doctor to perform you surgery and you heard one of them went to an unaccredited Medical School you would be more hesitant to choose them over other doctors that went to an accredited law school. Does that mean you can't succeed from a CBA school?  Absolutely not the Mayor of L.A  graduated from a law school that was not even CBA accredited and he is bossing around Harvard Grads.

In the end since your halfway down the ABA path I think your better off staying there, but I am just some guy anonymously posting on the internet. Also on the flip-side when you pass the bar whether from a CBA school or ABA school you are a lawyer in California with the same rights, responsibilities, etc that a California Lawyer from Harvard has.

137
There are several things to consider when choosing a law school and it is a life altering decision, but one thign to really understand is that every ABA school will provide you with roughly the same education and job prospects. There are a few that will truly open doors i.e. Harvard, Yale, Stanford, but other than that it is much more up to the individual what they do with the degree with that said I think any 0L shoudl consider the following factors when choosing a law school. (1) Location (2) Cost (3) Personal Feelings about the school (4) Understand the reality of legal education and a distant (5) U.S. News.

1) Location
As shoreman mentioned if you want to live in Boston go to law school in Boston at a minimum you will be in the city you attend law school for three years and realistcally you will get an apartment, friends, internships, likely a romantic relationship, and take the state bar of the state you attend law school in.

Also what kind of person are you would you prefer living in a big city like Boston during law school can you handle the distraction, will you enjoy it, etc. Or will a smaller town be more your style only you know the answer to that, but really consider the location.

2) Cost & Scholarship Conditions

Tuition

Suffolk 41k per year
Northwestern 49k per year
Seton Hall 45k per year

I noticed the 30k scholarship at Seton Hall, but what are the CONDITIONS? Typically it will say something along the lines of maintaining a 3.0 GPA. As a 0L this sounds like a piece of cake, but typically schools require you to be in the top 35% of the class you have a 3.0 GPA that is the "curve" you will hear so much about. The reality is everyone at an ABA school is smart, hard working, and motivated and 100% of them are sure they will be in the top 35%, but 65% won't be, which means there is a 65% chance you will lose your scholarship for years 2 & 3.

Every schools conditions differ, but ASK what they are and negotiate for better terms this NY times article does a better job explaining the scholarship conditions than I can http://www.nytimes.com/2011/05/01/business/law-school-grants.html?pagewanted=all&_r=0

3) Personal Feeling About the School
When I was a OL I visited many schools and as a law student I participated in mock trial competitions. I can tell you some schools I liked others I hated, but that was my opinion. It is very possible you will like what I hated and love what I hated. To determine YOUR personal feelings I highly encourage you to visit both campuses, interact with students, talk to professors, admins, etc. You will get a gut feeling about each and maybe you will like both schools equally, but you may also hate one and love the other, but really listen to that gut feeling where you attend law school is three years of YOUR life, $100,000 of YOUR money, and YOUR legal career and don't let a magazine or anonymous internet poster overrule your gut feeling.

4) 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 IP courses I know in the Bay Area where IP is everything schools over a few IP courses, but realistically you can only take 4-5 specialized law school courses based on availability, scheduling, etc.

On top of that you can't really know what you want to do until you start law school. I honestly though IP was what I wanted when I started, but after the one course I dropped it and really liked trial advocacy, which all schools offer.

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

5) U.S. News Ranking
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

As you can see from 2009 until 2013 Kansas has gone from 65 to 86th and if you had been a 1L in 2009 you would have been attending the 65th best school, but somehow by the time you graduated in 2012 it became the 86th best. There is no rhyme or reason for this and review this chart to see how drastically schools change from year to year http://www.top-law-schools.com/rankings.html . You can see Depaul is 80th then in the 90s, then back to 80's and this year in the 100's nothing has changed there over the last few years.

To further illustrate this point 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.

You can certainly use it as a tiebreaker and if you were debating Harvard or St. Louis then it might be a different story, but truly nobody cares about the ranking difference between the 65th or 80th best school especially since it is very possibly St. Louis could be ranked higher than Kansas by the time you graduate.

Conclusion:
I cannot possibly tell you what is best and neither can anyone else on this board. However, your main question is the difference in rank worth it I really do not think so. Really consider the location, cost, and your personal feelings about each school. It will be a life altering decision and some magazine writers in Pennsylvania should not be the basis of it.

Congrats on getting into law school and good luck in your legal career.

138
Where should I go next fall? / Re: SLU or KU?
« on: May 06, 2013, 10:05:30 PM »
First off please realize advice from anonymous internet posters on boards such as this mine included should be taken with a major grain of salt.

With that said I have gone through law school and can tell you some very important things to consider when choosing a law school and one of the LEAST important considerations is what "U.S. News" a for profit-unregulated magazine thinks.

In my opinion these are the factors any 0L should consider in this order. (1) Location (2) Cost (3) Personal Feeling about the school (4) Understanding the reality of legal education (5) Last AND Least U.S. News Ranking. I will analyze why this factors are important below.

1) Location:
This is far and away the most important factor when choosing a law school. Whether you attend law school in Lawrence Kansas or St. Louis, Missouri will change your life. You will spend a minimum of three years in either of these places and make friends, get an apartment, find restaurants, likely enter into a romantic relationship, etc. On top of that if you go to law school in Kasnas you will likely take the Kansas bar if you go to school in Missouri you will take the Missouri Bar so your career will be in that state. On top of that if you attend law school in Kansas 9 months of the year you will be located in Kansas and only able to do internships in Kansas so all your legal connections will be in Kansas.

I have never been to either Lawrence or St. Louis, but I am guessing Kansas is much more of a college town and St. Louis is a bigger city, which will make for a different experience over three years. Just really understand the importance of location in this decision you may also want to consider any personal connections you have if your from Kansas leaving your friends, family, etc during law school will be tough.

I also emphasize that while law school is difficult you will still have free-time so live in a location that suits you.

2. Cost & Scholarship Offers
Next thing to consider is cost whatever school you attend you will leave and whether you attended Harvard or Cooley the creditors will want their money make this number as small as possible. With that there are two factors to consider in your decision.

A) Scholarship conditions
I noticed you stated you had "similar" scholarships at both schools, but pay attention to the CONDITIONS of the scholarship. Typically it will say something along the lines of maintaining a 3.0 GPA. As a 0L this sounds like a piece of cake, but typically schools require you to be in the top 35% of the class you have a 3.0 GPA that is the "curve" you will hear so much about. The reality is everyone at an ABA school is smart, hard working, and motivated and 100% of them are sure they will be in the top 35%, but 65% won't be, which means there is a 65% chance you will lose your scholarship for years 2 & 3.

Every schools conditions differ, but ASK what they are and negotiate for better terms this NY times article does a better job explaining the scholarship conditions than I can http://www.nytimes.com/2011/05/01/business/law-school-grants.html?pagewanted=all&_r=0

B) Tuition differences between KU & STL
I noticed that Kansas offers in-state tutiion of 15k per year. I don't know if you have residency or can obtain it, but this will be significant savings with or without the scholarship over STL, which charges 35k per year.  That is a savings of 60k over three years in tuition so if you can obtain in-state tuition and you don't mind living in Kansas that may be the better option.

3) Personal Feeling About the School
When I was a OL I visited many schools and as a law student I participated in mock trial competitions. I can tell you some schools I liked others I hated, but that was my opinion. It is very possible you will like what I hated and love what I hated. To determine YOUR personal feelings I highly encourage you to visit both campuses, interact with students, talk to professors, admins, etc. You will get a gut feeling about each and maybe you will like both schools equally, but you may also hate one and love the other, but really listen to that gut feeling where you attend law school is three years of YOUR life, $100,000 of YOUR money, and YOUR legal career and don't let a magazine or anonymous internet poster overrule your gut feeling.

4) 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 IP courses I know in the Bay Area where IP is everything schools over a few IP courses, but realistically you can only take 4-5 specialized law school courses based on availability, scheduling, etc.

On top of that you can't really know what you want to do until you start law school. I honestly though IP was what I wanted when I started, but after the one course I dropped it and really liked trial advocacy, which all schools offer.

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

5) U.S. News Ranking
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

As you can see from 2009 until 2013 Kansas has gone from 65 to 86th and if you had been a 1L in 2009 you would have been attending the 65th best school, but somehow by the time you graduated in 2012 it became the 86th best. There is no rhyme or reason for this and review this chart to see how drastically schools change from year to year http://www.top-law-schools.com/rankings.html . You can see Depaul is 80th then in the 90s, then back to 80's and this year in the 100's nothing has changed there over the last few years.

To further illustrate this point 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.

You can certainly use it as a tiebreaker and if you were debating Harvard or St. Louis then it might be a different story, but truly nobody cares about the ranking difference between the 65th or 80th best school especially since it is very possibly St. Louis could be ranked higher than Kansas by the time you graduate.

Conclusion:
I cannot possibly tell you what is best and neither can anyone else on this board. However, your main question is the difference in rank worth it I really do not think so. Really consider the location, cost, and your personal feelings about each school. It will be a life altering decision and some magazine writers in Pennsylvania should not be the basis of it.

Congrats on getting into law school and good luck in your legal career.




139
I think the ABA school has definite benefiets over a CBE school for job prospects, getting licensed, etc, but I have known successful CBE grads, but the grind from an ABA school is tough enough if your looking for a job. If you want to be a solo then CBE is the better way to go since all you need is a law license.

As for Maintain's statement about the bar I agree many of the CBE schools seem to prey on people who were not qualified to get into ABA schools, but there are many CBE schools that are great options. I think CBE schools should require some minimum LSAT score for consumer protection purposes. I think to many people are drawn by being attorney, but if you can't get at least a 150 on the LSAT that is probably an indicator you are not a great standardized test-taker and the bar is about 100x times harder and more pressure than the LSAT.

As for Cher if you were admitted to an ABA school and have been there a few years you have already given so much money it is probably better to stay to have an ABA degree. You will probably only save 30,000 in tuition or so and there will be some doors closed without an ABA degree. If you were a 0L and it was going to be $200,000 in savings it might be different, but you have gone so far down the path you might as well finish it off.

Another issue with CBE schools is I believe (without about 51% certainty so take it with a grain of salt)  Barbri does not offer their services to non-aba students, but I am sure CA Law Dean will interject if that is incorrect. BarBri or Kaplan is really what prepare you for the bar law school builds the foundation, but those courses get you the license. If those courses are available from a CBE school and you do what they say you are likely to get that law license whether from a CBE or ABA school.

140
I think Duncan and Cher make some good points, but if you read Duncan posts you can see part-time law study is not for most people and I personally don't agree with it since it ends badly for most people, but there are plenty of exceptions and people who succeed as part-time students, but as Duncan indicates more than half fail out.

The "All-In" approach Cher describes is something people think they are ready for, but I do not know how anyone could be All-in with law school and a full-time job so I commend both of you for doing that. However, to the OP it is a grind if you are going to work and if your not going to work then you should go full-time and get it done as quickly as possible.


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