Law School Discussion

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Messages - livinglegend

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141
Non-Traditional Students / Re: Never too late
« on: May 03, 2013, 03:24:35 AM »
Having an individual state bar exam is a great money maker for each state. I think that is the real reason for the system clearly the MBE is basically a national bar exam, but I think big states i.e. Califronia really enjoy the revenue of a $500 moral character application and an $838 bar exam fee from 10,000 or so students every year. Not to mention the annual $410 bar member fee they receieve where would all that money go if there was a national bar exam? :)

142
Reviews, Visits, and Rankings / Re: UC Davis
« on: May 03, 2013, 02:25:51 AM »
UC Davis is a fine school, but it should be noted Davis is not exactly a "fun" or "beautiful" town it is way up in Northern California Sacramento is close, but still it is pretty "white" and "small town" so it may be tough if you are from more urban environment.

As for how "good" the school is I am sure Davis is good, but every ABA school will offer you a quality education and if your an international student the real reason to take the LLM from my understanding is to be able to take the bar exam. As for international recognition I don't think Davis offers that most people in California don't know where Davis is although the school is fine remember U.S. News is nothing more than a for-profit unregulated magazine do not make a life altering decision based on it.

143
Reviews, Visits, and Rankings / Re: Are CBA schools a joke?
« on: May 03, 2013, 02:21:41 AM »
He is the dean of Monterrey College of Law my two cents as a Bay Area attorney is that employment "stats" are highly inaccurate and do not reflect the reality that no matter what school you attend if you pass the bar and use common sense and have a modicum of social skills you can have a career as an attorney at least in California. It difficult to start out and I think without getting into costs, location, etc even CA Law Dean would agree having an ABA degree would be better than a CBE one, but CBE schools are great for certain people.

Overall are CBE schools a joke? They can be if your trying to get hired at Cravath or Latham, but so is a degree from a the 47th ranked ABA school. There will also be people out there who think CBE schools are a joke and plenty that don't. I have interviewed and hired CBE students for internships etc some were good some were not the same can be said for students at every law school I have dealt with in the Bay area GGU, Hastings, USF, etc. Whether a person is a good attorney has a lot more to do with the individual than the school they attended.

144
The bar exam is insane particularly the California Bar, which I did take and pass. I personally do think it is up to the individual as there are graduates from Harvard who never pass and graduates from CBE schools that do. It really comes down to your focus, ability to handle pressure, and a little bit of luck.

On the California Bar you are required to study 14 subjects in extreme depth, but half the stuff you study is not not on the test. There are 6 essay questions, 200 multiple choice questions, and 2 practical essay tests, which each test different skills.

I think if you received a 180 your ability to handle pressure and thrive on a standardized test have been displayed and that is why Harvard grads typically pass in my opinion. Someone who choked on the LSAT is likely not a good test taker and the bar is one big standardized test, but it is different from the LSAT.

 The education you receive at a CBE school or an ABA school is the same I would imagine. Your first year would consist of Torts, Criminal Law, Civ pro etc and you would read Supreme Court cases. Perhaps CBE schools have a different setup, but I do not imagine they would.

One disadvantage to CBE schools is that I believe most are part-time and part-time law study is not what you need for the bar exam. It may lead you into a false sense of security and having only 3 exams spread out over a few days in law school is a cakewalk compared to what you are required to do on the bar.

145
Non-Traditional Students / Re: What are my chances?
« on: April 30, 2013, 12:58:19 AM »
Well first off if you really are interested in Patent law and you have an engineering degree you may be able to avoid law school all together and take the Paten Bar here is the link for it http://www.uspto.gov/ip/boards/oed/exam/registration.jsp . You will be able to do engage in patent law disputes, but not licensed to practice in other areas, but if you truly are interested in patents law and nothing else this may be a way to avoid spending a lot of time & money unnecessarily.

In regards to your specific question you can get into a number of law schools with a 2.86 and there is no "required" GPA, but a 1.2 is not going to cut it. You can see where you stand a chance at certain schools by looking at lawschoolnumbers.com a 2.86 and a 160 LSAT will provide you with plenty of law school options, but Harvard and Yale will not be on the list, but you can have a successful legal career from any ABA law school.

Good luck.


146
Where should I go next fall? / Re: U. San Francisco vs Golden Gate
« on: April 28, 2013, 05:51:45 PM »
As a bay area attorney I think I can give you a little insight, but also realize that I or anyone else on this board is nothing more than an anonymous internet poster that knows nothing about you, your situation, or what is best for you so take my advice and anyone else's with a major grain of salt.

With that intro I think you have the most important equation of selecting a law school down, which is selecting the location. If you want to live in San Francisco or the Bay area then attend these schools I know plenty of successful grads from both Golden Gate and USF.

HUMAN RIGHTS LAW & THE REALITY OF LEGAL EDUCATION
One thing few 0L's realize is that what you learn at an ABA school is exactly the same. Whether you attend USF, Golden Gate, Stanford, Harvard, your first year will consist for Torts, Contracts, Civil Procedure, Property, Criminal Law, and Con Law. In these courses you will read Supreme Court cases and those justices do not write separate opinions for different schools you will read Pennoyer v. Neff for example in Civil Procedure a case from the 1800's and you will learn about Notice. In Torts you will read Palsgraf to learn proximate cause, Contracts Hadley v. Baxendale for contract remedies, etc etc.

You will have the opportunity for a few electives here and there, but those courses will make very little difference in your career. The location is what really matters and there are no shortage of human rights and other public interest legal jobs in the Bay Area which are open to both GGU & USF students. The Human Rights element means very little and you will realize law school is quite generalized you can't really specialize until you have been out in the legal world for a few years and you usually end up in something you never would have thought.

Keep your goal of Human Rights, but realize a schools' reputation for a specialty program means very little since at absolute most you could take 3-4 courses in the area. So there really is NO IDEAL program they are all the same particularly USF & Golden Gate they have many of the same professors.

SCHOLARSHIP CONDITIONS
Having a 30k a year scholarship from GGU is awesome and getting out with as little debt as possible is the ideal situation. However, you need to pay close attention to the conditions of these scholarships. Typically they will require you to maintain a 3.0 GPA. As an undergrad I imagine you achieved a 3.0 without trying, but law school is a whole different ball game. First off there is the curve typically only 35% of the class can have a 3.0 at the end of first year and you lose the scholarship for 2L & 3L this is common at law schools throughout America.

However, like 100% of law students you will think your special and will work really hard and easily finish in the top 35%, but at every ABA school students are smart, hard-working, and motivated, which means there is a 65% chance you will lose the scholarship.

I do not know the specific requirements of your GGU scholarship, but it is very important that you ask. If you have essentially a full ride and all you need to do is maintain good academic standing then GGU might be the way to go, but really grill them on the conditions.

Personal Feelings About School
I have been to both campuses multiple times and think they are both fine schools, but they give off a different vibe.  I personally like GGU a little more since it is in the heart of downtown and students tend to be friendlier, but USF is a beautiful campus and in far less crowded area of San Francisco. Many of the professors you have will be the same whether you attend GGU, Hastings, or USF the same people teach Sylvester for Contracts, Keane for Con Law, etc so again the academic quality will not be much different, but the administration, buildings, general feel are unique to each schools.

I highly recommend visiting both schools a few times and really seeing, which one feels right nobody knows better than yourself what suits you best so really listen to yourself. Do not listen to anonymous internet posters, or a for-profit, unregulated magazine offering an opinion like U.S. News.

Conclusion:
I know nothing about you or what the best decision is and no right answer will pop up. Both schools are ABA accredited and will allow you to sit for the bar exam and give you a solid education, but whether you succeed in the legal profession will be up to you.

If you have more detailed questions about either school feel free to PM me.

147
It certainly doesn't help anything, but I have known people who got DUI's and arrested for assault who went on to become attorneys. As Jack Stated each state is different and some schools may care more than others, but I imagine if you apply to a law school in Colorado or Washington where Pot is legal now it won't be much of an issue. California it is basically legal and you I live in San Francisco and openly see people smoking pot in front of police so I don't think schools in any of those states will mind much as long as YOU DISCLOSE WHAT HAPPENED.

Just stay out of trouble and report your incident fully when you apply. The only way this will really impact you is if you don't disclose, because then you will be in trouble for lying not the original offense.

On top of that you are only 19 and may never end up going to law school as a great deal may change for you during your undergrad years. For now stay out of trouble, get good grades, participate in school activities, then when the time comes take the LSAT. Hopefully you do well enough to get in, but really what you should be most concerned about is getting the most out of your undergrad experience.

148
I think there are plenty of misreable lawyers and plenty of happy ones. Just as their are misreable cops, firefighters, building inspectors, architects, salesman, paramedics, etc. There are also plenty of happy cops, firefighters, building inspectors, architects, salesman etc.

The reality is working is tough you meet very few people who in any profession who say I am overpaid, get to do  I want, and never have an issue with my job. Is law school hard? Yes. Expensive? Yes. However, I meet people from all walks of life who complain and hate their job or love their job. Therefore, whether you succeed as an attorney in any profession are far more up to you than any number, school, etc.

Jack is right that if you want to be a lawyer then you should go to law school, but there is always the paradox of you cannot possibly know if you will like being a lawyer until you are a lawyer. However, you will not really know if you like being a cop until your a cop so on and so on, but life is trial and error. I think law school is like anything else and you will get what you put into it.

Being a lawyer is nothing like T.V. makes it out to me you will not be recruited wined and dined and yes there will be numerous applicants for any attorney job, but there are numerous applicants for every position out there and whether you go to law school or pursue some other profession starting out will be tough.

149
Where should I go next fall? / Re: Villanova v Widener DE
« on: April 20, 2013, 12:03:35 AM »
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.

150
Non-Traditional Students / Re: Never too late
« on: April 07, 2013, 07:54:54 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.

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